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What’s next for the SU bar? Image: Newcastle University Students’ Union

Motion passes to rename ‘Mensbar’ Motion to rename Mensbar was proposed by Sabbatical team to Student Council By Valentina Egorova News Editor Mensbar is set to be renamed following a Newcastle University Students’ Union vote. The “Christmas council” passed a motion to change the controversial name of the bar by 76% in favour to 15% against, while 9% abstained. The sabbatical officers who introduced the motion argued that the name ‘Mensbar’ could be interpreted “as a bar only for men”. Commenting on the result the sabbatical team told The Courier: “” The motion reads: “The names “Men’s Bar” and “Mensbar” are in essence the same name – and therefore implies they share the same history.” The haunt, which was first opened in 1925, was formerly called “Men’s Bar”.

It came at a time when women were excluded from a number of public places on the grounds of their gender. Ladies were only allowed into the Men’s Bar once a week, on Tuesdays. On February 7, 1963, The Courier reported on “a mass invasion of the Men’s Bar by a crowd of women, who entered the bar as if they had every right to do so”. The protest was strongly objected by male habitués of the bar, who thought they had an escape place from the opposite sex. Four years later, the Men’s Bar opened its doors to women, which made the name no longer relevant. In the early 1980s, the apostrophe was removed and since then the bar has been transformed into a modern, allinclusive Students’ Union Bar. Today the name comes from the Latin motto “mens agitat molem”, which

Student council voted to pass the motion with a majority of 76%

means “mind over matter”. But the sabbatical team argued that it “does not promote a progressive and inclusive message” to those, who do not speak Latin. Mark Sleightholm, a former Newcastle University history student, said: “While Mensbar is now inclusive to all students, and should have a name chosen by a majority of students, the bar and its name have a history mixed up with discrimination and “lad culture”. “Taking away the apostrophe linked the name to the Union’s motto, but still caused confusion, prompting calls to change the name every few years. “None of these attempts have been successful or even generated any serious alternative names, except from ‘Stonewall Bar’, which was imposed against the wishes of most of the students, who actually used the bar.” He added: “The Union used to have

Plans in place to engage students in the renaming process

way more bars than it does now, including the Cochrane Lounge, named after the man who funded the construction of the Union’s building, and Spiny Norman’s Organic Garden, named after Spiny Norman. “Men’s Bar has been the most enduringly popular bar name with students, with the failure of all these attempts to change it proof of that. “But attitudes change, and maybe now is the time for a new name.” The current controversy could’ve been settled decades ago, with complaints about the name dating back to the 1975, when The Courier suggested the bar could be renamed. The name has also come under fire many times for being sexist in the Student Council, with a number of motions passed to rename the bar. The most recent failed attempt was in 2014.

A spokesman for Mensbar said:“ It’s not something we weren’t expecting. “The motion has gone to council a few times in the past few years so it’s been something regularly debated. “As it has just happened we aren’t sure how the name change will happen or who will decide, but it’s something, which, I am sure, will be discussed by the officers with input from a variety of people.” It’s not clear when the bar will be formally re-named. Commenting on the result, Jade Holroyd, Editor of the Courier and one of the six sabbatical officers that proposed the motion said: “We’re absolutely ecstatic with the outcome.” The new name will be chosen via a vote by Newcastle University students, with an option to pick one of two names. The bar will be exempt to change the new name for the next three years.




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History written by the Ballers

Monday 12 December 2016

The Courier

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

Outrage over Post Grad loan withdrawals

End of year Student Council overview



2017 Crystal Ball


13 16 20 23 28 31

Blind Date:

Verity and Sam

Spotted on campus: Christmas Special Interview with Alphabetti Spaghetti

Album Review: Starboy Weeknd Review: Her Majesty’s SPIFFING How to reduce pre-exam stress

Postgraduates writing a petition against the loan withdrawals Image: Flickr, Edar

By Elizabeth Steele Student Finance England has caused outrage by withdrawing postgraduates’ loans last minute, leaving many in debt. The petition, which was started by a Newcastle University postgraduate student, revealed that ‘settled’ residents in England - such as those from other UK dominions -are not treated equally and cannot proceed with postgraduate study alongside their English peers. An online petition explained that Student Finance England (SFE) approved funding over the summer for Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish students seeking to study in England. These loans were later withdrawn, but not until the university term had already started and the students were legally bound to pay their tuition fees. The loans are part of SFE’s new postgraduate loan service. The new system offers postgraduate students up to £10,000 to help with course fees and living costs. The loan is available for UK or EU na-

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tionals, or anyone with ‘settled status’, according to the government’s website. ‘Settled status’ means there are no restrictions on how long you can remain in the UK. Despite eligibility extending to all UK nationals, SFE has displayed discriminatory behavior towards Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish students. In addition to the emotional distress of approving these students’ funding, only to retract the loan last minute and leaving many students with no way to pay their fees, the Student Loans Company will continue adding interest to their existing tuition fees, despite banning them from receiving this loan. The only way SFE will agree to fund

loans to Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish students living in England is if they take a gap year to prove they are living in England for purposes other than study. The petition’s ultimate goal, according to its creator James Robertson, is “equality and fairness for all British postgraduate students studying as ‘settled’ English residents.” The Courier spoke to two current Newcastle postgraduate students to ask their perspective. An English Media student, who received the Postgraduate loan, said she “can’t even imagine” the frustration. “I had a fear, when the UK chose to leave the EU, that it would affect my loan,” she said, explaining that the uncertainty after Brexit made her feel she could empathize with the situation. “I

“The loans are part of SFE’s new postgraduate loan service. The new system offers postgraduate students up to £10,000”

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

hope they receive the compensation they so rightly deserve.” Another student, who comes from Northern Ireland and is studying Psychology, told The Courier that she did not apply for the postgraduate loan. “I remember it first being advertised on the news and thought how amazing it was,” she said, but upon research she found that she was not eligible. “I don’t think it’s fair because, unlike a lot of my friends, I’m having to work part-time to be able to afford to live in Newcastle.” She added that she knows other Northern Irish students who were granted the loan, only to have it taken away. “In this situation I think that SFE is totally to blame - they should know who is and isn’t eligible for the loan, there is no acceptable excuse in my eyes for awarding the grant to people who aren’t eligible. “They don’t think about how doing this will affect that person at all. The students are being punished for a mistake that wasn’t theirs.”

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

The Courier

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Monday 12 December 2016

Winter graduation ceremonies on campus By Jade Holroyd Editor Last week over one thousand students graduated from Newcastle University during the annual Winter Congregations. From 6 - 8 December, students attained degrees from numerous academic disciplines including both Undergraduate and Postgraduate courses. The December ceremony is the main Congregations period for students who complete awards in SeptemberNovember. Ritwik Sarkar graduated with an MA in International Multimedia and Journalism. Sarkar was selected as the student orator for his graduation ceremony. Speaking at the congregation Sarkar said: “Our experiences, scholastic and otherwise, must now take us a step further into this place called the ‘Real World’. Until now, we’ve been able to point the finger of blame at the ‘Real World’ with the use of a simple word— They. ‘They’ should have come up with a better solution, ‘They should’ve seen this coming’, but let me tell you something, after today, ‘They’ are going to be

you and me. We are going to become the problem solvers, the ones to act on expectation, the ones who’ll forge a path through this big, scary and brave new world.” Commenting on his selection as student speaker Sarkar said: “I loved giving the speech at my graduation ceremony because it gave me a chance to voice my own experiences and represent those of my fellow students.” Many students took to social media pages in celebration of their graduations, making the use of #nclgrad. One student wrote: ‘Had the most amazing graduation with the most amazing people! Thank-you everyone for making this day so special.’ This event is one of five Congregation Ceremonies hosted by Newcastle University across the academic year. The ceremonies include: Newcastle Summer ceremonies, a Singapore Ceremony, a NUMed Ceremony in Malaysia, a NU London Ceremony and Newcastle Winter ceremonies. All Congregation Ceremonies were both broadcast live and recorded. The videos can be found at: congregations/ceremonies/view_online/.

“We are going to become the problem solvers, the ones to act on expectation, the ones who’ll forge a path through this big, scary and brave new world”

Newly graduates pose for photos at Winter Congregations Image: Jake Jeffries

Oxford student suing University over degree result By Grace Dean An Oxford graduate is suing the university after failing to graduate with a first class degree. Faiz Siddiqui graduated from Brasenose College in 2000 with a 2:1 degree in Modern History. He is holding the University of Oxford responsible for his grades, negative career consequences and mental health problems. Siddiqui argues that he was prevented from becoming an international commercial lawyer by the poor quality of teaching he received as a student. He has complained about the university’s emphasis on research rather than teaching, and pointed to the fact that four out of seven lecturers teaching the ‘Indian Imperial History’ module were on sabbatical leave, while Siddiqui was in his final year of study. Siddiqui argues that the university was aware of this, yet did little to lessen the impacts it had on students, who picked the module, which he believes ‘could have been catered for by restricting the number of students’. The Oxford graduate’s overall grade fell following his poor grades achieved in this module. Siddiqui believes it impacted on other History students at the university. Siddiqui is to bring a loss of earnings claim against the Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Oxford that his lawyers have valued to be

at least £1 million. His counsel Roger Mallalieu said: “There is a statistical anomaly that matches our case that there was a specific problem with the teaching in this year having a knock-on effect on the performance of students. “The standard of teaching was objectively unacceptable.” Julian Milford - who represented the University in court - argued that it was too late to make the case against the university. He added that Mr Siddiqui had already received special allowances during the exam period anyway. The lawsuit has been widely reported in the media and has been met with a degree of controversy. Among those, who support Siddiqui’s argument, debate has revolved around the focus of prestigious universities on financial profits and international reputation rather than on the quality of education. Paul Renteurs, writing for The Independent, described students in the education sector as being consumers rather than academics, and with that they should be protected by consumer rights as to the quality of education based on their expectations. Melissa Livingstone, second year Law student at Newcastle University, said: “I believe that whilst the standard of teaching available to Mr Siddiqui was clearly unsatisfactory, ultimately it did not prevent him from pursuing a successful career.

“He received a 2.1, which is the grade asked for by top law firms today, and, furthermore, successful development in a law career does not rest upon grades but the value a particular solicitor can add to the firm. “Mr Siddiqui’s particular interest in international commercial law requires an approach highly focused on business

and current global affairs. “I therefore do not think his university grade would be held relevant when considering his self-declared disappointing career progression. “I do however believe this matter raises interesting points on what factors can impact teaching standards at universities – they should be at the forefront of

Universities concerns when evaluating the education quality that they provide to students.” It is believed that, should Siddiqui win the claim, many similar court cases might follow, and the debate about the role of higher education will open further.

“Siddiqui argues that he was prevented from becoming an international commercial lawyer by the poor quality of teaching he received as a student”

Keble College: Oxford University Image: Wikipedia

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Monday 12 December 2016

The Courier

Shelter UK builds awareness on Northumberland Street By Kotryna Kairytė News Editor Last week Shelter UK organized a Christmas Stunt in Newcastle to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the organization and raise homelessness awareness during Christmas period. The two part event involved students from Dance Society and Amnesty International who helped Shelter North East volunteers to build a house out of donated red boxes on Northumberland Street on the 9th of December. The ‘Shelter’ did not only stand as a visual trait for Shelter UK’s brand itself, but also symbolized a shelter for homeless people that organization aims to provide. When looking through the symbolic windows, pictures of bad houses with unacceptable living conditions could be seen to highlight the issues that Shelter UK has to tackle. “All this is to encourage people to donate so that we can continue to fund the work that we do on the ground, and give the advice and support to people that need it,” said Tracy Guy, Shelter North East Hub Manager. Tracy hoped that these campaigns will help to promote Shelter North East and what the organization can do. “We hope to get people to come to us when they’re just getting into trouble, and not when it’s an actual crisis point,” she added. The day also marked ‘Slippers for Shelter’ campaign in which people have been asked to wear slippers and donate for the charity in support of the cause. To support the campaign and mark the 50th anniversary, Gateshead’s Millenium Bridge turned red on Friday afternoon attracting social media interest

and marking the end of the Christmas stunt. Ms Guy admitted that the organization relies on volunteers and was happy that Dance Society and Amnesty International got involved in raising awareness. The campaign itself was coordinated by one of the student volunteers in the PR department for Shelter North East, Ruby Nguyen, third year Media, Communication and Culture student at Newcastle. “We also do a lot of advice work with students, regarding tenancy deposits, bad landlords and similar things.” Ms Guy added. “So this is one of the ways to promote the service to them as well.” She was enthusiastic about students getting involved more in volunteering and reassured that Shelter North East has plenty of different roles and events, and can always use some extra ideas to help the cause. “We’ve spent the last 50 years trying to make homelessness a thing of a past. Obviously we’re on there yet, but we’re doing our best.” Founded in 1966, Shelter UK helps millions of people every year struggling with bad housing or homelessness through advice, support and legal services. Over 120,000 children in Britain face spending this Christmas homeless and in temporary accommodation, the highest level recorded since 2007, new analysis of government figures shows. Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said: “News of the devastating rise in homeless children will bring heartache to millions of people across Britain. But the sad fact is, fifty years since Shelter was founded, too many families still need our help.” To support Shelter’s urgent Christmas appeal visit or text SHELTER to 70555 to donate £3.

Helping those in need Image: Kotryna Kairyte

The Courier

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Monday 12 December 2016

Mighty mitochondria research on the rise By Ollie Burton Deputy Editor The Wellcome trust, the world’s largest medical research charity has announced its investment of £6.3 million in funding for Newcastle University’s Centre for Mitochondrial Research. Established in May of 2012, the facility is part of the University’s Faculty of Medical Sciences. It is currently undertaking research in a revolutionary IVF technique, which could reduce or eliminate some forms of genetic disease. Mitochondria are organelles inside cells that generate energy from food molecules. Mutations in their DNA can lead to an array of symptoms, including loss of muscle coordination, learning disabilities and gastrointestinal disorders. The treatment pioneered by the Centre for Mitochondrial Research involves replacing the mutated mitochondria of a mother with healthy versions from another woman, meaning that the baby eventually born via IVF is far less likely to develop mitochondrial disease. Professor Sir Douglass Turnbull, the director for the Centre said: “I am delighted that the Wellcome Centre for Mitochondrial Research at Newcastle University has been funded. “The Wellcome Centre is about sup-

porting research excellence and our aim is to use the very best science to improve the lives of our patients.” Professor Turnbull’s knighthood was awarded in the 2016 Birthday Honours for his creation of this pronuclear transfer technique. While the technique was controversial in its early stages, the House of Commons and the House of Lords both voted to allow it last year. The governmental decision aimed to reduce suffering caused by these preventable diseases.

boy in Mexico. The mother had Leigh disease, a neurometabolic disorder and had previously suffered four miscarriages, as well as having had two children that both died as a result of the disease. The allocation of funds is part of a wider effort by the Wellcome Trust to ‘advance understanding of health and disease, and span fundamental and social sciences, clinical research and engineering’. The total being given to 14 major UK research centres over the next five years stands at £118 million. Wellcome Centres themselves aim to bring worldclass researchers together to collaborate and thrive in a dynamic and vibrant environment, allowing them to research and improve the dialogue between science and society. Their director, Dr Jeremy Farrar, said: “At Wellcome we believe in long term support for discovery-driven science, and Wellcome Centres are an outstanding environment for researchers to further our understanding of fundamental biology, accelerate translation to clinical practice, and explore the social and cultural context of medicine.” Alongside their groundbreaking research, the group aims to ameliorate the suffering of patients currently dealing with the effects of mitochondrial diseases.

“The allocation of funds is part of a wider effort by the Wellcome Trust to ‘advance understanding of health and disease, and span fundamental and social sciences, clinical research and engineering’” The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has determined that the procedure is now suitable for cautious clinical use through consultation with an independent expert panel. Earlier this year, Dr John Zhang at New Hope Fertility Center in New York successfully used the spindle transfer technique, which works on the same principles to assist the birth of a baby

Under the microscope Image: Wikimedia Commons

History is written by the Christmas Ball-ers By Henry Bradshaw It was of great delight once again for the Society to host the annual History Society Christmas Ball, at the Assembly Rooms. The historic landmark in Newcastle provided the ideal backdrop for an evening of celebrations, aided by the superb decorations throughout the venue. With arrival drinks starting at 7.30, a massive number of 225 students and staff joined together in the joyous and exciting atmosphere. All in attendance looked the part, donning sharp black tie suits and party dresses. Indeed, in the words of Helena Vesty, “everyone looked fantastic, perfect for the merry occassion”. Whilst being wined and dined with a traditional Christmas dinner, society members were treated to Christmas classics and much-loved anthems including a range of Stevie Wonder hits, and everyone’s favourite, ‘Uptown Funk’ performed by the University’s very own Jazz Orchestra. The musical display received a brilliant reaction, with all getting on their feet to dance along to the, as described eloquently by one attendee, “absolute tunes”. This was followed up with a DJ set which went on into the late

evening. Among society members and lecturer alike, conversation ranged from matters of high politics, to discussions of university modules and plans for the night ahead. Whatever the topic of conversation, the ease in which members socialised with one another was testament to positive mood of the event, and to the nature of the History Society more broadly. Throughout the evening, with the postassignment mentality encapsulating many within the Society, members of all years relaxed in the festive ambiance, in what was a perfect way to end the academic year. Enormous thanks go out to all of the committee who helped to make the evening possible, with a special mention to Faye Patton. Faye, who led the organisation of the event, commented “Assembly Rooms is one of Newcastle’s more opulent venues”. Adding that people “certainly rose to the occasion”, having a smashing experience in the process too! For more information about getting involved in the History Society, get in touch over Facebook and keep up to date through their Wordpress blog. Upcoming events include the famous Metroline pub social, in collaboration with the Politics and Classics societies.

“With the postassignment mentality encapsulating many within the Society, members relaxed in the festive ambiance, in what was a perfect way to end the academic year”

Final preparations for the Ball Image: Newcastle University History Society

Monday 12 December 2016

The Courier

Ban of ‘juicy’ stories on St. Mark and St. John campus By James McCoull Culture Editor

The student union at the University of St. Mark and St. John has elected to ban the sale of orange juice with pulp, as a satirical swipe at rival institution Plymouth University’s decision to block the sale of tabloid papers such as the Daily Mail in the campus shop. In the Marjon SU’s Facebook post, the statement claimed that the student union did not trust the students “to make up their minds on what drink they have.” The statement continued, digging at Plymouth University’s controversial decision by adding “They buy a bottle of bitty orange juice and they like it so much that they only buy bitty orange juice for the rest of their life… we simply cannot allow our students to be converted into bitty orange juice drinkers.” Plymouth University followed several other universities in their decision to remove tabloids such as the Daily Express, The Sun and the Daily Mail as these publications have been accused of the denigration of various people in society, such as immigrants, the disabled, and

other typically marginalised groups. The Marjon SU’s decision has been well received by students at the university, who have joined in the top bants on Twitter. Student Ed Surtees included the hashtag ‘#PreJuiceDice’ in his response to the decision. There has been rising tension as to the question of freedom of speech and information versus the right to noplatforming (refusing to host the messages of certain groups or persons), and this has been only the most recent event in a long and contentious series of clashes. Advocates for the banning of inflammatory publications such as these claim that the prevention of spreading hate messages and misinformation is more important than the right to freedom of expression; opponents of this, by contrast, believe in the unalienable right to voice ideas regardless of their potential effects. Elsewhere, the Marjon SU’s decision has not been well received. Haaris Qureshi commented: “banning orange juice as a so-called ‘parody’ of another university’s decision is immature.”

“...digging at Plymouth University’s controversial decision by adding we simply cannot allow our students to be converted into bitty orange juice drinkers”

Christmas Council sees 2016 end on a high By Sam Cooke Chair of Council

Last week, NUSU Council met for the last time in 2016. It was our third meeting of the academic year, meaning that I only have three more meetings left during my term as Chair. Even though everyone was in the Christmas spirit, we had a wonderfully productive final meeting which saw every motion pass with more than 75% in favour. The meeting began in its usual fashion, though with a festive twist. Our regular offering of free pizza was supplemented with mulled wine and mince pies, which went down a treat. Once we had all had our fill, we started off by passing minutes and reports. Since it was the end of term, we had a lot to get through. We needed to pass the usual reports from executive committees, as well as the PartTime Officers and Sabbatical Officers. The sabbatical officers also submitted End of Term Reports which detailed what they had done since the start of the year. The reports were really interesting to read - the entire officer team has been up to so much this term, and the sheer amount of work done was all the more apparent when written down on paper. All of these passed without a problem, including the State of the Union which was delivered by the Courier’s very own Jade Holroyd in place of Jack Taylor. We also had our first question to the Sabbatical Officers - one student wondered when their famed naked calendar would be released, and we were informed by the RAG team that we wouldn’t have to wait for very long. Once we got to the motions, I had to give up my chair - the first motion up for discussion was submitted by me, so Education Officer Chris Duddy took the gavel in my stead. My motion set out

to update the job descriptions for the Part-Time Officers. I had spent a while combing through the document to fix spelling and grammar mistakes and to make our roles more clearer in general. I didn’t expect this to cause any controversy, but as a team we had also agreed that the liberation officer positions (representative roles like LGBT+ Officer, Racial Equality Officer etc.) should only be held by members of those liberation groups. This point was the main one up for debate, but fortunately the motion passed with almost 80% in favour.

binary identities, so this was a great achievement for them to see Council pass this motion with support of nearly 80%. The final motion was submitted by the Sabbatical Officer Team and proposed by Chris Duddy - to change the name of our much-loved Students’ Union bar, Mensbar. The motion made clear that the bar was once known as “Men’s Bar” and did not permit women to enter, and that they often have to clarify to new students and visitors that the name is currently related to the Latin motto, “Mens Agitat Molem”. Motions to change Mensbar’s name have been attempted before, but it looks like this will be the last as it passed with 76% in favour. Moving forward, the Sabbs are going to collect student suggestions for a new name which will be decided by campus vote. We had a few more committee positions to fill, so we elected these once the motions were complete. Finally, we discussed the Open Debate - how to increase competition for the Freshers’ Week Organiser elections. This was a lively discussion with a lot of suggestions made, including having the position appointed rather than elected. We rounded off the meeting with a classic Council raffle - this time with five prizes rather than the usual two. However, the fun didn’t stop there and most of us headed down to Mensbar for bubbly, canapes and a Christmas singalong. It was lovely to spend the evening with my fellow councillors and I’m looking forward to what the new year will bring. NUSU Council meets again on Thursday February 16 2017. If you would like to submit a motion, you must do so by 10am on Friday 7th February - more details can be found at council.

“We needed to pass the usual reports from executive committees, as well as the PartTime Officers and Sabbatical Officers”

NUSU Representation Image: NUSU

I took my chair again to go through the remaining motions. Welfare & Equality Officer Rachael Kitching submitted a motion to help her case in asking the University Accommodation Team to install menstrual care bins in shared bathrooms in halls which passed with ease. Continuing his streak of exciting administrative motions, Chris Duddy’s motion, which will see council attendees print their own documents or view them on a smartphone, was also passed. Following this, Marginalised Genders’ Officer Saffron Kershaw-Mee’s motion was next up for discussion. Their motion mandates NUSU officers to lobby the University to increase gender options on forms and documents to include gender identities other than ‘male’ or ‘female’. Saffron’s work as MGO this year has been focusing heavily on non-

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Monday 12 December 2016

Boris fights international students corner By Isabel Sykes Boris Johnson risks causing conflict with Downing Street after suggesting that international students should be omitted from migration statistics. Appearing on ITV’s Peston on Sunday on the 4th of December, the Foreign Secretary stated that we are the “knowledge capital of the world” and international students are a “massive benefit” to the country. When asked if he thought that international students should be excluded from “immigration figures” he said “I do take that view”. He went on to say: “you’ve obviously got to have limits, you’ve got to make sure – as Theresa has rightly said – when they come, they’ve got to be coming for a bona fide degree and they’re not staying on without permission.” The Foreign Secretary added: “as Theresa and I have found virtually everywhere you go, the number one question people ask is ‘How can I make sure my kids are going to be able to come to the UK and come to university here?’” He says this is “a great compliment to this country.” These views appear to directly oppose that of Downing Street. As Home Secretary, Theresa May oversaw procedures that made it difficult for international students to reside in the UK after university, and as Prime Minister she has refused to omit students from migration figures. As recently as October Downing Street slapped down the

Chancellor Philip Hammond’s suggestion that removing students from the migration count was more in-keeping with public opinion. How does this debate affect Newcastle University? Professor Richard Davies, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Engagement and Internationalisation), explained what our university stands for regarding internationalism and its value. He said: “We believe that education and research transcend international boundaries and our aim is that internationalisation is integrated into every dimension of what we do. We have over 5,000 international students that bring in £115m of revenue to the region per year.” In terms of excluding students from migration figures, the view is that this would be in line with what our university represents. Professor Davies went on to explain: “Our idea of a university is that it represents a community of learning, open to all who have the ability and the wish to participate and benefit from it and we continue to emphasize this to our students, staff and overseas partners. We welcome Boris Johnson’s recent statement that international students should not be included in immigration figures.” For now, the Government’s stance on the matter is unchanged. Following Boris Johnson’s statement, a Downing Street spokesperson has told The Independent: “Our position on who is included in the figures has not changed and we are categorically not reviewing whether or not students are included.”

“We are the “knowledge capital of the world” and international students are a “massive benefit” to the country”

The man himself, Boris Johnson Image: Financial Times

uTalk app competition launched in Newcastle By Leana Tajkov A group of British entrepreneurs has developed a new language learning app uTalk that will soon be available for all students through Newcastle Univeristy’s Language Recourse Centre. While the market is full of online language courses and apps, but something new recently showed up, uTalk has more than 130 languages available for learning and, due to developed technology, gives more people an opportunity to learn a new language. Liz Dyer, marketing manager for Utalk, explained a little bit more about the app: “The idea of this app is to have fun while learning a language. We cannot make you fluent in any language, but we can provide you with a very useful vocabulary and expressions that can be used in real life situations.” This multiplatform language-learning tool also offers a lot of new features. uTalk is very easily accessible from all the devices: IOS, Android, Windows, Mac and even Kindle Fire. Beside typical languages, it provides numerous non-typical languages like ancient Greek and Latin as well. One of the key features of this app is that learning a new language does not have to start from English, but people pick their native language and then

pick the language their want to learn, without any restrictions or limitations. Most of the apps usually require learning a language with a starting point in English, so this is something new and innovative. Using this app is quite simple: all students have to do is log in with their University ID, pick a language they want to learn and then pick any of the topics within that language. Interestingly, this app does not require completing certain topics in order to reach a new level, so it leaves a complete freedom when it comes to picking and choosing what you want to learn. Dyer says: “The idea of this app is to learn a language, make friends, meet new people and be able to communicate with them.” She also promised that a lot more interactive material is coming to the app in the near future. To celebrate the launch of uTalk, the team will be running a free competition until the start of the end of January. It will challenge all Newcastle students to complete a topic in a language of their choice for the chance to win a £100 gift card for Intu Eldon Square. F For all Newcastle students, the app can be accessed online ( ncl) or downloaded to a smart phone.

“The idea of this app is to have fun while learning a language”

An example of the uTalk app Image: Flikr

news .9


Not he or she - it’s ze

Oxford University Students’ Union (OUSU) is urging students to use the gender-neutral pronoun “ze” rather than “she” or “he”. The idea was outlined in a leaflet written by OUSU, aimed to reduce the risk of offending transgender people on campus. Under Oxford University’s behaviour code, it is an offence to use deliberately the wrong pronoun, while addressing a

transgender person. Sophie Buck, welfare officer at Cambridge Students’ Union, told the Sunday Times: “Events start with a speaker introducing themselves using a gender neutral pronoun. “It’s part of a drive to make the union intersectional.” Students hope the move will be accepted by all lecturers and ‘ze’ will be used during lectures and seminars.


Kardashian clothing choices Queens university in Belfast have come under fire after advising students against dressing like Kim Kardashian while attending their graduation. An article on its website said women should “think Grace Kelly, not Kim Kardashian” and also commented that “short skirts and cleavage” are “out of the question”. Queen’s does not have a compulsory

dress code for graduations, but Queen’s graduate Thom Dickerson wrote in the article that women should not treat the event “like a night out.” Many have criticised the outtdated nature of this statement, which recommended dress codes for both men and women. The article is no longer on the University webisite.


Expelled student honoured

Former Liverpool University student, Pete Cresswell, has been awarded an honorary degree by the institution, after being expelled in 1970. Cresswell was one of 10 students, including Channel 4 News presenter Jon Snow, to be reprimanded for their participation in a six-week long sit-in protest, demonstrating against the university’s investment in apartheid-era South Africa. Vice-chancellor, Professor Janet Beer, described Cresswell’s treatment as “un-

fair and wrong”, and hopes the degree will go some way “put this right”, despite recognition that they “cannot undo” past actions. Cresswell commented that he was “gobsmacked” that he would finally get an opportunity to attend his graduation, adding that he thought “hell would freeze over” before the university would go back on their decision in 1970. However, he also said that if he were to face that situation once more, he would make the same decision.


Drug discovery Dundee University has been given £13.6 m to tackle parasitic diseases, which affect companion aimals and livestock. Parasites cause most diseases in animals that might impact on animal welfare and lead to significant economic loss for farmers. The Drug Discovery Unit of the University of Dundee, the Institute of Parasitology and Tropical Veterinary Medicine (IPTVM) of the Freie Universitat Berlin, Germany, and Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health, Germany, have

already announced they have initiated first steps for a partnership to discover new drug. Professor Paul Wyatt, Director of the Drug Discovery Unit at the University of Dundee, said: “The situation with these diseases is not dissimilar to what we see in neglected human diseases, where existing treatments are often ineffective and increasingly subject to parasistic resistance. “So we desperately need to find new drugs that can treat these diseases.”

By Valentina Egorova, Louise Hall and Helena Vesty News Editors

Comment 10.

Monday 12 December 2016

The Courier

Comment Editors Jamie Cameron, Sinéad CorkettBeirne & Sunil Nambiar | @Courier_Comment

May’s Brexit plans are crystal clear as muck Minds Matter Benjamin Eckford attacks the Tory government for obstructing basic Brexit scrutiny

Sarah Davis writes that worsening mental health outcomes demands more government funding


epleted, severely overstretched, and under-resourced. These are not the adjectives you would like to associate with our beloved NHS, but in the case of mental health services especially, this is critically true. With a lack of knowledge and funding, provisions by the U.K. government to manage the soar in mental health issues and illnesses have become inadequate to serve a growing population. A new NHS study published in September 2016 found 12.6% of women screened positive for PTSD, compared to 4.2% of women in 2007. A third of women screened positive for varying mental health conditions.


he government’s wilful disregard for the sovereignty of parliament is a disgrace. British democracy has always been about a free parliament, accountable to the people, holding the government of the day to account. Theresa May’s government, however, in its desperation to avoid looking incompetent as it handles Brexit, is trying to sweep all the details of our exit negotiations under the carpet. The Prime Minister and David Davis constantly trot out the tired excuse that the government shouldn’t reveal its negotiating positions before it sits around the table with the EU. There is a world of difference between sabotaging your negotiating stance and allowing the proper scrunity. Our parliament represents Leavers and Remainers, and it also needs to hold the government to account and determine whether or not it is doing a good job. The truth is, the government doesn’t want parliament to scrutinise its Brexit plans because it knows that a little bit of scrutiny

will expose the fact that it is completely at sea. It has no plans, there are splits in the cabinet over key issues such as freedom of movement and membership of the single market, and when the EU gives us a punitive deal, which it almost inevitably will, the government doesn’t want this to be exposed and doesn’t want to be blamed for it.

‘‘May’s government... is trying to sweep all the details of our exit negotiations under the carpet’’ Although a Brexit Select Committee of backbenchers, chaired by Labour’s Hilary Benn, has been set up, it has so far been provided with precious little disclosure to scrutinise. As recently as 20 October, the House of Lords EU Committee published its report urging that parliament be ac-

tively involved in scrutinising the Brexit process as it happens, rather than after decisions have been taken. However, anyone who asks for the slightest bit of scrutiny is immediately denounced as a sore loser and a democracy denier, deliberately seeking to block the will of the people. This was most shockingly seen in the way the Supreme Court judges were scandalously treated by the media, labelled ‘enemies of the people’, simply for insisting that the British constitutional tradition that our free and sovereign parliament scrutinises the government was upheld. The government, of course, was complicated in this appalling treatment by its silence. The whole point of the Leave campaign was to restore sovereignty to parliament., right? Now that sovereignty threatens to expose their incompetence, all of a sudden they don’t like it. Strange how that happens, isn’t it?

‘‘Since the Conservatives came to power in 2010, the number of mental health nurses employed by the NHS has dropped by a sixth’’ New figures obtained by the Guardian in October 2016 showed that self-harming amongst young people is also on the rise. In the last 10 years the number of young girls treated for selfharm has increased by 285% alongside a 186% rise in boys. This does not even account for rising suicide rates among men. Stimagtised and belittled by various tabloid media outlets, mental health amongst men has not gained anywhere near the adequate amount of attention it needs or deserves. Jeremy Hunt, the Conservative health secretary, agreed that the NHS care for the mental health of children and young people was by far one of its biggest weaknesses. With a pledge to improve this service he said, “I think we are letting down too many families and not intervening early enough (…) if you leave it until they are 15 or 16 it’s too late.” Yet, it was reported in November 2016 that since the Conservatives came to power in 2010, the number of mental health nurses employed by the NHS has dropped by a sixth.

‘‘We must build a society that encourages illness prevention and a healthy mind” With the help of fantastic awareness campaigns an increase of reports regarding mental health problems has occurred. Therefore, a drop in physical provisions by the government is simply not good enough. Such strains on these services has resulted in patients waiting years for treatments, over the phone therapy sessions and even computerized cognitive behavior therapy which, instead of being able to work with a therapist face to face, involves the patient sitting at a computer screen to work through a program. Within a social media age there are surely new triggers that need imminent research. The #lifegoals and #relationshipgoals we pine for, and compare with our own ‘mundane’ lives has created a culture of failure and inadequacy that can start right from the moment you wake up and check your feed. With so many new reports every day of deteriorating mental health we must build a society that encourages prevention and promotes a healthy mind. We can’t continue to allow human minds to be debilitated, and then treated in a completely unsatisfactory manner.

Five years on, is there hope for Libya? Wrought by civil war, the N. African nation has a way forward, writes Thomas Hussey


t’s been five years since the death of General Muammar Gaddafi. Since his fall, Libya has descended into abject chaos with multiple factions fighting for both the power and enormous wealth of the North African nation. 40% of health facilities have closed and more than 400,000 people have been displaced. By 2015, half a million people had sailed from Libya to Europe. With no legitimate government and no end in sight, it is clear that the Civil War in Libya is about two things: power and wealth. While this is a war of multiple factions, two main actors have appeared as serious contenders for power.

‘‘Haftar is open to negotiation and cooperation - something rarely seen in a man of his ilk” The first contendor is the internationally recognised General National Accord (GNA) that deposed the former opposition government in 2016. The armed wing of the GNA, the Libyan National Army, led by longstanding political figurehead General Khalifa Haftar has so far secured the main oil terminals of Libya and been the main force against Islamic

State. The LNA also has links to militias across the region. While a controversial figure, Haftar is open to negotiation and cooperation – something rarely seen in a man of his ilk. Operating out of Tripoli to the West and the second major contender for power is the pro-Islamist non-Jihadist Libya Dawn Alliance, the armed wing of the former government. In 2014, Libya Dawn made huge territorial gains - taking control of Tripoli airport as well as virtually all coastal cities from Misrata right up to the border of Tunisia. Widely considered disorganised and poorly trained, they have gone on to acquire military planes and vehicles and subsequently pose a real threat to Haftar’s forces. Among the other actors are Islamic State and Jihadist group Ansar Al-Sharia, a Benghazi based Al-Qaeda splinter group who like IS have moved into the power vacuum left by the collapse of the Gaddafi regime and the two warring governments of Libya. The enormous oil reserves coupled with a small population manifest themselves in a potentially very wealthy nation – one which each faction want to get a hold of. The UN backed ‘unity’ power sharing deal which sort to unite the two main factions has been far from successful with peace between the factions remaining elusive. Added to this, it is clear the West needs to refrain from its seemingly oxymoronic stance of disconnected influence in the region.

Poor attempts at ‘consolidation’ and ‘unity’ of the warring factions appears to be ineffective and outrageously insincere considering Western powers were influential in creating the situation in the first place. As controversial as it sounds, I believe the answer to Libya’s problems lies with General Haftar.

‘‘The enormous oil reserves coupled with a small population manifest themselves in a potentially very wealthy nation’’ Many will argue that Haftar is simply another Gaddafi in the making with his military background and I would sympathise with this view. Yet, I feel a man who is willing to cooperate and negotiate is a small step in the right direction for this country. Others will argue the GNC and its military wing Libya Dawn is the way forward- yet this is comprised of highly corrupt former members of the Gaddafi regime who need to be consigned to history. To put it simply, Haftar is the better of two evils.

The Courier

Monday 12 December 2016


his year seems to have been a rotten year for Western democracies. Populists and demagogues have made strides forward in Britain, America, France, Italy and elsewhere. Citizens are losing faith in the liberal order which has underpinned the world since World War II. People are questioning the necessity and desirability of democracy, looking favourably towards autocrats like Vladimir Putin. Centrists and moderates mustn’t lose hope, though. Not only do our democracies continue to have strengths, but there are real solutions to this apparent crisis. The level of political discourse often appears to have sunk to new depths recently. The Brexit debate, for instance, was an orgy of untruths, and never has a presidential candidate lied so systematically or with such electoral impunity as Donald Trump. In comparison to the creeping and regressive authoritarianism worsening in countries such as Russia, Turkey, and China, political debate in Britain is as open and diverse as it has been for a long while.

‘‘Establishment politicians must show contrition”

At the same time, politicians and campaigners have to start to do more to confront lies. In democracy it is hard to have an undisputed arbiter of truthfulness, but its practitioners should stop pandering to falsehoods. For far too long, casual dishonesty about immigration and free trade has gone unquestioned. These two trends have made our country richer, economically and culturally. Establishment politicians must show contrition and accept that they have got things wrong, and that the net benefits of globalisation have left some people behind. Communities disproportionately harmed by recent trends do deserve particular attention. The worst outcome, however, would be for moderate politicians to adopt the anti-globalism, authoritarian and protectionist instincts of the populists who rail so hard against them.




ope drives what I believe in. But 2016 has been a tough year, the most shambolic, chaotic since 1940. Brexit, Trump and the coup against Corbyn were awful. The deaths of beloved celebrities and the downsizing of toblerone simply added to the atmosphere of loss. But the night is darkest just before the dawn. Hope is all around us, in the good people who don’t take these things lying down. They are brave, strong and resolute. Where xenophobes and nationalists seek to pull up the drawbridge and cut us off from the world, we fight for the true Britain, with open minds, open hearts tolerant and welcoming. Where racists scapegoat migrants, we stand up for them. Where misogynists degrade a woman’s right to choose, we defend that right. Where Islamophobes and anti-Semites seek to divide us on religious lines, we shout loud and proud that we have more in common than what divides us. But more than resisting right wing change, we must regain the initiative. Brexit will dominate 2017, and though it pains me to leave the EU which I campaigned so hard to Remain a part of, we need to face the new reality. I take hope from the situation I see in parliament. The Conservatives are divided, tired and bereft of ideas. They are there for the taking. They could easily be beaten at the next election. There is an opposition bursting with ideas and talent, the biggest membership in Europe, and a leader of integrity, who has provided hope to many already. If the opposition can unite and exploit the government’s divisions, which I believe can happen, then there is so much hope to be had. Already, Brexiteer Zach Goldsmith lost his seat in Parliament when the Greens and Liberals worked together. If they and Labour can learn to work together in a progressive alliance, then we can win the next general election and have Jeremy Corbyn as our prime minister. I am very hopeful for the future.


Benjamin Eckford HAVE HOPE


hat an absolute nightmare this year has been. If it wasn’t bad enough that Brexit happened, much to my dismay, then a man who cannot even position his hair in the right place is set to become President of the most powerful country in the world, bearing in mind that he has no political experience. The past year has seen the political world deteriorate rapidly alongside my faith in humanity, but other news occurred which made 2016 a bleak year to reflect upon. For example, the musician David Bowie passed away, as did the actor Alan Rickman - both of whom were extremely talented. I wonder what 2017 will bring. Can it be a more positive year for humanity or will things look even bleaker? Is this the rain before the rainbow? Or will things become worse than they already are? If you ask me, I think that the worst is behind us. A part of me believes that 2017 will be much better than the previous. I might be wearing my rose tinted spectacles but I sincerely hope for everyone’s sake that Donald Trump will turn out not to be as villainous as we imagine that he will be. I also cling on to the hope that Brexit might not affect us as much as we have in mind.

‘‘I think the worst is behind us’’ As each year passes by, there continues to be improvements made to technology as it becomes more and more innovative. With a bit of luck we might be able to make even greater scientific discoveries. It is important to maintain a positive attitude, despite what knock backs and curve balls may be thrown in our way.


Our Comment writers channel Mystic Meg this week by predicting what they think is to come in the next political year

his year has been an awful. We lost some of the greatest figures in modern western culture: Alan Rickman, David Bowie, George Martin, and Leonard Cohen to name a few. Politically we faced some of the greatest shocks to the world order since 1991 with the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The election of Donald Trump, Brexit, and the rise of the populist European right fiercely challenges the idea of the ‘end of history’, in which historian Francis Fukuyama argued that the spread of liberal democracy would put an end to the kinds of conflicts that ravaged the twentieth century, through constantly expanding markets and democratisation. The military build-up in the South China Sea has been given little media attention in the UK, and especially not as seriously as it should be. China is building artificial islands in the South China Sea against the chain of heavily fortified United States military bases that surrounds China. As both sides begin to build up arms, even minor instances could turn into lighting an already handsomely stocked tinder box. Regardless of which ideological side you are on you cannot deny the seriousness of the issue and the precarity which the election of Donald Trump adds to the situation. Anyone looking towards 2017 cannot fail to look at this without taking it seriously. The response which comes from the presidency of the United States is key. Nations from all over Asia depend on the United States for protection, as recently as 2013 Japan depended on the United States. Any kind of serious miscalculation from the president could create a desperate international situation. Let’s just hope this is just a blip in Francis Fukuyama’s theory.



ooking back on this year, I cannot stop thinking it has been one heck of a ride for the world. With so many changes on the political scene one has to wonder what is next for us? Since the beginning of time, there has been war and conflict. This year brought new conflict and huge separations within nations themselves The most powerful countries in the world have had huge changes of power and shifts of their political ideas. It feels like this year has consisted of quick, drastic and not so thought-through decisions in political terms.

‘‘Let’s consider if we are the ones harming ourselves’’

A lot of countries are becoming militarily powerful. Are we actually heading towards a bigger conflict and even a possible war? I do not think so. The world saw the damage WWI and WWII caused to all the people and nations, and with rapid technology development, the consequences of having WWIII would be unthinkable. I believe no nation in this world would be stupid enough to put their people and the rest of the world in the position to start something so dangerous and unstoppable. Yet, people keep making quick decisions without thinking about the consequences and most importantly, not getting enough information to make an educated decision in the first place. So what we should fear more is self-destruction and self-sabotage, rather than the danger from other countries and even possible war. Instead of being worried if someone else can harm us, let’s consider if we are the ones who are harming ourselves in the first place.



Zoë Godden

s I fill out yet another absence form on S3P, I ponder how staff think they have the right to complain about low attendance. Last year, a seminar leader told me to get my act together after I was consistently late. Another lecturer humiliated a student who arrived at 12:20pm in front of the whole class. Yet why do those that don’t turn up at all seem to get away unscathed? No wonder people don’t want to attend when all you do is chastise those that do. Academics are quick to judge us as lazy. Do you think I don’t want to attend? My mental and physical health means I rarely make my morning timetable, and I’m not alone in these experiences. So yeah, I got to my 9am lecture an hour late – why should that bother you? Just because we’re not physically there doesn’t mean we don’t work our arses off. ReCap at least has some manners.



comment .11



hatever your opinion of major events in 2016, there’s one thing we can all agree on: it’s been a rollercoaster of a year. From dozens of high profile celebrity deaths to unexpected political earthquakes, we haven’t been short of things to talk or panic about. Of course, the two elephants in the room are Brexit and Trump. No matter which way you voted in the EU referendum, or which candidate you supported from the wrong side of the pond in the US presidential election, I’m quite confident to say that both were a shock to the vast majority of us. Farage capitulated before his side won, and numerous Trump supporters claimed that the election might even be rigged in Clinton’s favour. In a strange, almost sadistic way, I’m looking forward to the carpet being pulled out from under the Establishment’s feet. I’m far from supportive of the direction things have taken this year in the political landscape, yet the promise of upheaval somewhat excites me. Austria just elected a new president after a re-run of its summer election which was annulled. The Green party candidate won against the far-right FPÖ, but only by a slim majority. While I’m glad of this result, when seeing the spread of the seismic wave throughout Europe, I can’t help but feel intrigued as to what’s going to happen next, especially as 2017 brings presidential and federal elections to France and Germany. But never fear – despite the hysteria being thrown at us by the media, and the politicians panicking and resigning left, right and centre, I believe we should take a step back and think for a moment. Is this really going to affect our day-to-day life and our plans for the future? Even if it does, we’ll find a way around it. We’ll find our way through. After all, this might only be a blip in history.


Hannah Frew

enwicks have outdone themselves this Christmas. No-one I have walked down Northumberland Street with has responded to their display of oversentimentality with goodwill. There’s a sweet point on the street just before the saccharine jingle comes into focus and sours my mood. To extinguish the festive spirit of someone who blasts Christmas classics in November is quite the achievement. The ‘twee automata’ of last year (see Alex Ridley’s article) have been replaced by an equally twee dedication to Beatrix Potter. A dedication that would probably make Mrs. Potter turn in her grave. Whilst last year’s display was at least an allegory for Yuletide oppression, Fenwicks’ have abandoned their Marxist principles this year in favour of all-out Capitalist excess. The energy wasted on powering this shrine to consumerism is curious considering Mrs. Potter’s conservationism. Kittens with heads spinning like some festive version of the Exorcist, it’s too much.With the disingenuous salutation ‘Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year’ in the voice of an overzealous saleswoman, the abomination concludes.



Helena Vesty

hile it once did provide some light humour, the term ‘Brexit’. I think we can all agree, is more than a little physically repulsive. Whilst it did provide some light humour to an otherwise concerning situation, this ridiculous term has taken on a hateful life of its own, now defining a core issue at the very centre of British politics today. Why the public needs to have this over simplification of what is quite an easy concept to understand, the UK’s departure from the European Union, constantly shoved in their face is beyond me. As we all know, when May says “Brexit” she really does mean “Brexit”. However, the new slang seems to detract from the seriousness of the problem in question, as well as being simply horrific to hear aloud. The sheer number of times it is used on a daily basis is infuriating. Surely, British culture has progressed enough to warrant public discourse to be a tad more literate.



Monday 12 December 2016

The Courier

Culture Editors: James McCoull & Jack Oliver Parker Sections: Lifestyle, Fashion, Beauty, Arts, Music, Film, TV, Gaming & Science | @CourierOnline

HOW TO: The collapse of the condom? Coconut Dahl

Cheap, warming, healthy and filling. Hope Coke ticks all the boxes with this recipe!


ow that Winter is well and truly underway I’ve been cooking warming, fragrant meals that make me feel all cosy even when it’s freezing outside. This coconut dahl does just that, and it’s comfort food with a nutritional boost too thanks to the protein packed lentils. I’ve kept it fairly simple with mellow spices that complement the sweetness of the coconut milk and only a couple of extra vegetables, but feel free to add in or omit what you like. Roasted peppers, aubergine and sweet potato are great stirred into this, or you could swap the spinach for kale or green beans. Serves 3 to 4 Ingredients: -2-3 tbs coconut oil/ olive oil -1 large red onion, diced -2 cloves garlic, finely chopped -1 thumb size piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated -2 tsps cumin seeds -250g red split lentils -1 x 400ml can coconut milk -1 tsp curry powder -a generous pinch cinnamon and/ or nutmeg -1 tsp turmeric -1 tsp salt -2 large handfuls fresh spinach -1 large handful cherry tomatoes, cut in half -1 handful fresh coriander, chopped, to serve Directions: Set a good size sauce pan over a medium heat on the hob and heat your oil. Add the onion, garlic, ginger and cumin seeds and cook until soft and fragrant - about 5 minutes. Rinse your lentils under cold water in a sieve and tip into the pan. Add in the can of coconut milk and stir so that everything is well combined. Have the heat on medium high, or at the point where the coconut milk is simmering but not at a rolling boil. Cook for about 20-25 minutes (check with the packet instructions on the lentils), stirring occasionally, until the lentils are starting to lose their shape and are breaking down into a thick pulp. If at any point during cooking it looks like the liquid in the pan is almost boiled away, top up the coconut milk with a little water. You want most of the liquid to be absorbed by the end but the lentils should be submerged throughout the cooking time. Next add in your spices and salt, tasting and adjusting if you like, followed by the spinach and tomatoes. Stir to combine, until the spinach is wilted. Remove the pan from the heat, scatter over the coriander and your dal is ready! Serve with quinoa, brown rice, chapattis, or whatever you like. It goes great with mango chutney and/or - if you’re feeling ambitious - plain yoghurt stirred together with chopped mint, cucumber and garlic. Any leftover dal can be decanted into an airtight container once cool and stored in the fridge for a couple of days. To reheat, just spoon into a saucepan with a splash of water and warm through on the hob

Is unsafe sex just another thing to regret in the morning? Even though it seems like everything has a cure, Elizabeth Steele evaluates just how safe we should be in this day and age


he days of embarrassment and shame surrounding sex are far removed from the present day’s attitude; now, it seems our society is saturated with sexuality. The fears of our parents’ and grandparents’ generations seem distant in an age where teenage pregnancy is glamorized on MTV and young people have more information at their disposal than ever before. Nowadays, we know that pregnancy is not the scariest risk of unsafe sex. When you are in a committed relationship, birth control might be the only issue you need to consider. Today, it is relatively easy to get ahold of the Pill, or alternate birth control methods. Figures show that teenage pregnancy in the UK is dropping. It is great that girls are protecting themselves against accidental pregnancies and taking control of their reproductive health.

drink, you might forget or decide not to waste a few moments on a condom. These things happen. But why aren’t today’s youths, arguably the most sexually informed generation ever, being as safe as possible? A popular reason for not using condoms stems from the belief that they detract from sexual pleasure – but this is surely a small price to pay for avoid-

ing infections. Some argue that condoms are expensive – except that you can get free condoms at many NHS locations, effectively invalidating this argument. In fact, the NHS website has a page locating free condom services, with over 20 pages of results for Newcastle alone. Are young people just not scared of getting sexually transmitted diseases anymore? Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea can be swiftly treated and, thanks to modern medicine, even HIV is not the death sentence it was 30 years ago.

“Are young people just not scared of getting STDs anymore?”

Still, it seems daft to have to go through treatment for something that is so easily preventable. Condoms are still the most successful way to prevent contracting infections. And no matter how curable they are, diseases can evolve, as evidenced by the emergence of a strain of gonorrhoea, dubbed “super-gonorrhoea”, which doctors warn is untreatable. ‘Risking it’ could have far-reaching consequences for you, your partner and any future partners. Is safe sex outdated? No. There are always risks in unprotected sex, and it is always important to protect yourself. Birth control has evolved tremendously, but it is much harder protecting against STDs. With how easy it is to get condoms and find other advice today, it’s so worth being careful. Nothing is worth playing fast and loose with your health.

“A report found that in 2015, there were 435,000 diagnoses of STIs in England” However, rates of sexually transmitted diseases are still high. A government report found that in 2015, there were 435,000 diagnoses of STIs in England. The most at-risk group is the under-25s. A 2013 study published by The Lancet found that, in the 16-24 age range, 16.4% of men and 14.3% of women had at least two sexual partners in the past year with whom they had not used a condom. Sometimes, when you’re swept up in the romance of the moment, or if you’ve had a bit too much to

Newcastle Christmas Market

It’s that time again - stop walking past Monument if you’re on your last dregs of your student loan. Sarah Davis assesses how Newcastle rates against the other Northern markets


hat better way to ring the chimes of Yuletide spirit than immersing yourself in the aroma of softly spiced mulled wine, freshly cooked bratwurst and meandering around a twinkling Christmas market? As cascades of tinsel fall from our cobwebbed cupboards and attics, December has finally arrived, the first window of your advent calendar has been unlocked, and it’s now time to adorn that festive morale. Whether you are attempting to find early quirky original Christmas presents from independent Newcastle makers, or you are simply there to indulge your Christmas appetite can the North East markets match up to the likes of Edinburgh, Manchester, Bath or York? Is it worth braving the chill, is there really anything other than food on offer, and is it worth travelling outside the Geordie realm to satisfy that seasonal yearn?

“Is it worth braving the chill, is there really anything other than food on offer?”

Boots turkey and cranberry sandwiches and red Starbucks cups have finally arrived in store and most importantly the perfectly Northern cuisine: festive bakes at Greggs have reached the counter. The Newcastle International Christmas Market has once again taken up residence next to Greys Monument, which will run from Friday November 18th till Sunday December 11th. Open from 9am till 9pm on weekends the Newcastle International Christmas Market has a variety of foods to tickle your taste buds, from German currywurst

to Australian Kangeroo burgers, Belgian waffles to French crepes. There is also the opportunity to buy Christmas tree decorations, outside seasonal ornaments, Russian fur hats, and sweet treats that can be disguised as Christmas gifts (or eat them yourself- we won’t judge!)

“Edinburgh instead holds six weeks worth of light shows, fireworks, funfairs and a large ice rink”

Whilst boasting a wide variety of culinary delights the Newcastle International Christmas Market does not quite reach the heights of Edinburgh, Manchester, York or Bath. With local charm the market creates an obvious festive attraction however it is possibly not the most extensive you will find. Edinburgh instead holds six weeks worth of light shows, fireworks, funfairs and a large outdoor ice rink. Split into two markets, the first is the European Christmas market in East Princes St Gardens, it holds traditional wooden stalls selling classic seasonal goods, and second is the Scottish market in West George Street that exhibits a patriotic display of some of the best goods that Scotland has to offer. With the backdrop of Edinburgh Castle and the genuine possibility of a white Christmas, what more could you wish for on these bitterly cold evenings? Over 200 miles away, with over 200 stalls the Manchester Christmas market won the “Best Market Attraction 2010”. Having attracted over 900,000

visitors and set with the backdrop of the Old Wellington: a periodic Tudor public house, Manchester will certainly satisfy the Christmas market craving you have had since Michael Buble’s Christmas album was played back in September. However if you really are sick of the humdrum, and wish to experience an authentic original Christkindlmark, the English equivalent simply cannot beat the magical seasonal cheer of Frankfurt, Cologne and Munich.

Lincoln definitely makes the most of its setting for their market!

The Courier


Monday 12 December 2016

Verity on Sam

Verity Thomas, 1st year Marine Technology meets Sam Blakeman, 1st year MSc Town Planning

Hi Verity! How was your date with Sam? It was nice! We went to Decanter and then to the Hancock. Decanter was nice, it’s down in town about 20 minutes from here. Sounds nice. What did you get up to when you were there? We had a few drinks, followed by a few more drinks... That’s cute. Did you like him when you first met him? What was your first impression of him? He was really nice! So he was earlier than me... I was a little bit late, and as I came into the place he waved to me and I thought “Oh! It’s you!’ So I wasn’t worried about who it was. He gave me a hug too. So that was nice. He sounds very nice and friendly! Was there an immediate spark? Not an immediate spark... I think maybe towards the end when we got to know each other a bit better. He was nice, but not an initial spark no. Aw well that’s good then. What kind of things did you talk about? Everything, from small talk to the kind of bigger stuff. But yeah the conversation flowed really well which was good. Like uni, hobbies, societies, that sort of thing. Is there anything that stuck out in particular? Not that I can remember! It was just nice standard conversation. Can you tell me one fun fact about Sam? He seems unfazed by mostly naked guys.. we went back to my flat after drinks for food and he saw all 3 of my male flatmates in just their pants! Would you want to see him again? Yeah maybe in the future, though he is quite a few years older than me. So, we’ll have to see in the future I guess... If Sam was a chocolate what would he be? Oh, um... He’d be one of those long bars of caramel thingies... Like a Twix? Yeah similar! But the ones that don’t have the biscuit. Cos he’s tall and long... and skinny, but sweet inside. Aww! That’s so cute! Did you find him attractive then? Yeah a little *giggles* What kind of things did you have in common? We both like The Apprentice and Newcastle If Sam was a piece of furniture what would he be? A high chair because he’s solid, tall, and highly intellectual. Did he fulfil your hopes and dreams? I was actually apprehensive about the date and especially as he told me he was also first year I was hoping it wouldn’t be a really young straight out of school fresher as I didn’t go straight to uni. Luckily he was doing a town planning masters and we bonded over that as one of my sisters studied it at UCL and he was able to tell me which period the buildings we passed were from (which I thought was really cool). Did you kiss? I may have awkwardly kissed his hand. I wasn’t sure if he was at all interested in me because although conversation flowed easily there was distance between us. Although at mine we were sitting closer so I thought ‘hmm, maybe he is’, and when I said goodbye it seemed like he wanted to, but I’m shy and didn’t want to misread anything or be too forward so instead was weird like that. If you could rate the date out of 10? 9! Sounds like a Christmas Romance!

Sam on Verity

Firstly where did you go? So we were both relatively new to Newcastle so we weren’t exactly sure where to go. But I had a friend who recommended Decantus, which is a nice gin bar. Would you recommend it? Definitely! You get free tapas with every drink! Then we went to the Hancock which is between our two houses. Did you choose the Hancock specifically for its romantic vibes? It was a joint decision. What was your first thought when you met Verity? She was wearing a very nice Christmas jumper. Christmas jumper… on the date? Wow, did you like that? I can get behind Christmas feelings yeah! She was wearing a very nice top underneath so it was fine. What do you think she thought about you? Umm… is my date that really tall guy by the bar? Standard, you are pretty tall. Did you talk about anything interesting? We talked a lot about her two gap years She did two gap years? Yeah her CV is amazing… she’s done a lot with her life Oh god, that sounds intimidating… I was intimidated certainly by her many jobs and life experiences… we also talked a lot about sailing and ships because that was part of her degree, which was pretty cool She sounds like a real woman of the world… if she was a piece of furniture what would she be? I want to go for a chaise lounge… I think I might have read that last week though … maybe I should say something else. Yeah please do! Actually we’ll come back to that one. Did she have good table manners? Yeah! She ate the tiny tapas thing very politely. Did you go on anywhere after the Hancock? (long pause) Like… go back to hers or anything? You’re meant to say a gentleman never tells aren’t you? Did you fancy her at all? Oh definitely, she was a really nice, attractive person. Yay! Did you kiss? Erm… ‘a gentleman never tells.’ Sam that’s such a cop out! You’re so elusive… will you see her again? I hope so. Have you made any big plans? Not yet, it was only yesterday. Did she fulfil your hopes and dreams about the date? Definitely! Quickly back to the furniture… do you want to change it from a chaise lounge? What would you suggest? Something gingery, mahogany maybe? Okay… I would say she’s a mahogany bureau, because she’s practical and knows lots of life hacks, but also has a lot hidden away, and is a really interesting person. And finally, what would you give her out of 10? I can’t believe you still mark people out of 10... Why, did you want to rate her higher? I’ll give her a 9! Because she was a really nice person and had a real zest for life, which I always find attractive in people

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

Monday 12 December 2016

The Courier

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

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

Christmas is around the corner you need to cut yourself some slack, particularly when it comes to food... treat yo’self

Taurus April 20- May 20 If your surname begins with a vowel, beware of snakes in the grass. they may be out to steal your crown, queen bee

Gemini May 21- June 20

Someone you dream about will return to your life. However, they might not be as ‘tall, dark and handsome’ as you remember...

Cancer June 21- July 22

Everyone’s stressed but for goodness sake, cancer, stop being such a brat! You might think you have friends for life, but if you continue behaving like this they might melt away

Leo July 23- Aug 22 If you’re going home this week watch out for a tall woman on the train. She will tell you the secret to a question you’ve been longing to ask... or she’ll try and steal your food, so keep your pasties close!

Virgo Aug 23- Sep 22 If you went on a date last week it will have gone unexpectedly well! Maybe text them, I can guarantee they’re waiting by the phone for you

Libra Sep 23- Oct 22 If you live in Heaton, beware of a malicious spirit skulking around the late night Sainsbury’s. Libras beware, this week you will handle your money very badly

Scorpio Oct 23- Nov 21

Walking in a winter wonderland? More like dancing in a cage of dreams... sinners is the place to be for my scorpio children this week, cupid lingers by the trebels bar.

Sagittarius Nov 22- Dec 21

If you have a middle name name and you’re a saggitarius, the gods are smiling on you this week. Good things come in threes, keep your eyes peeled for signs of good luck.

Capricorn Dec 22- Jan 19

Try smiling this week, a smile in the right place could lead to a job in the future. or just dazzle everyone you meet with your natural charm, this will be a very sociable week for you

Aquarius Jan 20- Feb 18

Hang in there Aquaruius, its been a looooong week. don’t wear anything green, it doesn’t look good on you (know matter what your friends say)

Pisces Feb 19- March 20 Silver is a good omen this week. it could mean money, love or an ego boost is winging its way to you... score!

It Takes Two to Tango

The first date’s gone really well, but how do you wow them on the second? Emily Wilkinson has some ideas


o you survived the awkward small talk of the first date, and now you have to step up your game and come up with something even more impressive. You could play it safe with the traditional dinner, cinema or bowling trip, or you could take your date somewhere a little more out of the box. Hopefully you actually paid attention the first time around, and there’s a hobby or activity you and your date both mutually enjoy or fancy giving a go together. Dating experts actually suggest skipping the restaurant and bar scene and having a go at something a little more active and original. This not only demonstrates an amount of effort and thought (which your date will greatly appreciate as it shows that you actually care about them), but equally allows you to discover a side to your date that may not necessarily have been established over a three-course meal. So here are a few different ideas that will hopefully test your compatibility and really get sparks flying: You’re lucky enough to have timed dating this lucky lad/lass at one of the most notoriously romantic months of the year which has loads of cute couple activities you can have a try at. Why don’t you head down to the ice rink by the life centre, and follow this up with some mulled wine or hot chocolate. Alternatively, you could take your date on a trip to the Christmas markets, either in town, or further afield, perhaps in Edinburgh, or by the beach in Tynemouth. If money is tight, and you would much rather stay in and avoid the cold, you could have a go at cooking together; this could be as simple as dinner, or as adventurous as Christmas goodies or your own milkshakes or cocktails. You could follow this up with session of all your favourite films- festive or otherwise. If you’re a bit of a scrooge and this doesn’t appeal to you, you could have a look at the ‘Give it a Go’ page on the Newcastle University Student Union website. This has loads of fun ideas that you may not necessarily know that Newcastle

has to offer. These range from Battlezone lazer and paintballing, to escape rooms and extreme trampolining, whilst Eldon Leisure has a rock climbing wall. If you and your date have a shared love of culture and you want to get the conversation really flowing, you could take a trip to one of Newcastle’s many art galleries. There’s the Hatton Gallery on campus, the Baltic Centre down by quayside, or you could have a look round the contemporary exhibitions at The Biscuit Factory. Perhaps you fancy a night out to the comedy club, or a trip to the theatre. A l t e r n a t i v e l y, you could go for something a little more quiet and conventional. There are loads of cute places to go for a walk and a chat around Newcastle, for example down by the quayside, along the beach in Tynemouth, or around Jesmond Dene, just to name a few. All that walking will definitely work up a thirst; perhaps you could then go for coffee and cake at Quilliams, Blakes, Olive and Bean or Kappa Coffee (all very

cute, tried, tested and definitely recommended). Alternatively, if you’re fancying something a little stronger, you could go for cocktails at Jalou, the Botanist, or Mr. Lynches, or perhaps a trip down Osborne Road, as many of these bars have open mic nights which create the perfect setting for romance to blossom.

Spend Time, Not Money For Victoria Young, the mass commercialisation of Christmas has gone way too far


t seems to me as if Black Friday brawls, dreadful debt and gratuitous gift-giving has taken everything away from what used to be a traditional time of family, faith and goodwill. For some reason it is spending and commercialisation that has defined our reason for the Christmas season. Consider something as simple as Coca-Cola truck, for example, which tours around the country as if it’s somehow intrinsically linked to Christmas. Since 1931, Coca-Cola has had a bunch of Christmas adverts with images of SantaClaus to sell their products. Believe it or not, the fat man who delivers the presents actually wore green before the company got their hands on him through the advertising industry. Now we flock to get our selfies with the red truck, to see the ‘CocaCola-red’ Santa and take our free Coke - why?... So Coca-Cola can strategically make us a part of their product promotion this Christmas. Then, of course, we have John Lewis who makes their long-awaited heart-wrenching Christmas advert each year. In 2013 we had ‘The Bear and the Hare’, in 2014, ‘Monty the Penguin’, in 2015 we had ‘The Man on the Moon’ and this year we have ‘Buster the Boxer’. In 2014 alone, John Lewis managed to sell out its Monty the Penguin toys which were £95 each and boosted sales by 300%. In reality,


it’s a Christmas campaign to draw us into their department store, because, well… Apparently, at Christmas, we don’t mind spending £95 on a 35cm stuffed toy! My final example of Christmas commercialism is the Christmas list, made longer and more expensive thanks to the work of Argos and Toys-R-Us, who delight in bringing catalogues out as the Christmas season begins. “What would you like from Santa Claus this year?” suddenly amounts to a £200 new bike, £100 video games, a £300 new console, a £500 IPhone 5 and another £300 on “some other little bits-and-bobs just to wrap up”. Parents are stressed out, and we’re all skint and

roped into following unnecessary social-media fads and campaigns which promise to bring us an “authentic” Christmas. But, are we any happier when we wake up on Christmas morning or spend the week trying to find places for gifts and ways to lose the weight?

“Parents are stressed out and we’re all skint!”

I would argue, not at all. You see, Christmas has become purely based on consumption that never truly satisfies. It’s unnecessary and serves no real purpose at all, even when it comes to traditionalism and finding “the meaning of Christmas” because, it’s meaning is totally lost. The “true meaning” of Christmas, is found in the celebration of the Nativity of Christ, one that is focussed on faith and the realities of a joy that the Coca-Cola Christmas truck can never truly provide. It’s probably better expressed by Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’ than it is, even by John Lewis; that even an ‘old miser’ like Mr Scrooge can never find his true contentment through money, self-gain or possession. As the Christian season celebrates, the reason for the season is Christ; true joy and rejuvenation, love, peace and hope…

This week’s spotted comes from a place of ingenuity. with chritmas round the corner we face our biggest question... to take a cota on a night out or not? that’s why we applaud the ingenuity of a guy we saw last night, wearing only a pair of underwear and an ikea bag he fgound on the floor on his way back from tup tup. Who needs to take a coat, just find one on your way home!

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

The Courier

lifestyle .15

Monday 12 December 2016 | @CourierLifestyle

Baby all I want for Christmas is food RANT OF

Be ‘elf’ sufficient this year and make your own Christmas dinner! Victoria Affleck is here to help us create a festive feast without us becoming ‘Saint Nickel-less’


hristmas is almost here and it’s almost time to go back to our families and eat all the Christmas food you can possibly stomach – that’s what Christmas is for, right? Before you head back to the ‘rents house, why not end the year with a bang (not literally) and have a roast dinner with your flatmates/friends? You might be thinking this is a disastrous idea and will end up with you being even closer to dipping into your overdraft, or even further into your overdraft, but it doesn’t have to be expensive if you shop around and find the best deals. Between the presents, food, alcohol and decorations, Christmas is often the most expensive time of the year for everyone, but it is possible to not break the bank completely. For a little contribution of just a mere few pounds per person in a group of roughly 8 people, you can cook a hearty Turkey roast dinner for as little as £20 – bargain.

“It is possible to not break the bank completely!” Although this entirely depends on where you choose to shop for your ingredients. A recent survey published last month suggests that the most expensive place to shop for the essentials is (unsurprisingly) Marks and Spencer cashing in at £49.50, whereas on the other hand, the cheapest supermarket is Aldi cashing in at just £22.03. However, if you wanted to shop for all your produce at the likes of Tesco, you wouldn’t be set too far back, with the total coming to £28.08 – just £6 a head for a group of 8. If you choose to shop around and make the most of the bargains from the many supermarkets at your disposal, you can get all ingredients you need for under £20.

Good Housekeeping’s £2.48 a head Christmas dinner: the 11 ingredients Turkey: Asda – £8 (2.8-4kg) Potatoes: Aldi – 29p (2kg) Stuffing mix: Asda and Morrison’s – 30p (2 x 85g) Brussels sprouts: Aldi – 58p (2 x 500g) Carrots: Aldi – 29p (1kg) Parsnips: Aldi – 58p (2 x 600g) Cranberry sauce: Lidl and Asda – 55p (200g) Christmas pudding: Aldi and Lidl – £3.49 (907g) Brandy butter: Aldi and Lidl – £1.25 (200g)

ent shops to get the cheapest ingredients, but if it means being less in debt than shopping at your local store, such as Marks and Spencer or Sainsbury’s on Northumberland Street which will set you back a whole £30 and £15 more, it is worth it. The Good Housekeeping survey tracked the price of the 11 main Christmas ingredients across 10 of the major supermarket chains across the UK and found prices were the cheapest since it began its survey eight years ago. The overall cost has dropped 10.8% since 2009, when the price for Christmas dinner was 30p cheaper at £2.78 a head. However, reports suggest that the price could fluctuate enormously next December due to the result of this year’s referendum and leaving the European Union, so now is the best time to cook for your friends – arguably it’s now or never! Have a great Christmas and whatever you do, don’t get too drunk and accidentally burn your kitchen down…

Mince pies: Lidl – £1.49 (12 pack) Christmas cake: Iceland – £3 (2 x 400g) Total – £19.82

“Don’t get too drunk and accidentally burn your kitchen down...” Good Housekeeping magazine found in its annual festive shopping basket cost survey that if you chose to shop at Aldi, Asda and Morrison’s you could bring the cost down to just £2.48 per person for a group of 8, totalling £19.82 for the whole shop. Yes, it can be a nuisance travelling to differ-

The ghost of Christmas dinner Become as stuffed as your Turkey with these fab Christmas leftover ideas by Grace Dean


hristmas day is a magical time. From waking up early and sipping coffee in your cosy dressing gown with the fire roaring, to eagerly dishing out present to your relatives, to watching the Christmas specials in the evening with a glass of Eggnog in hand, the big day is full of laughter, happiness and joyful memories. However, among most families, especially those with ravenous teenagers the countdown to the 25th of December is based on the idea of having a top-notch roast to beat all others. To allow that tasty experience to last past the 25th, here are some tips for using up leftovers that will make every day as magical as Christmas. Turkey Obviously the first idea many people have is the classic Christmas sandwich. Turkey, stuffing, veg, cranberry sauce…bung it all some fresh seeded bread in and it will make a Boxing Day feast fit even for a king. Post-Christmas food needs to be quick, easy and substantial, while we’re all still suffering from Christmas gluttony and need a filling meal to stop us from snacking on Terry’s Chocolate Oranges between meals. Turkey curry is also a great way to use up leftovers if your tastebuds are tired of roast dinners, and are a good way to use up the leftover veg too.

“Leftovers make every day as magical as Christmas”

Vegetables Leftover veg often seems a bit boring. A fridge full of cold carrots, broccoli and sprouts (if you can stomach them) may not seem like a hotbed of creativity, but using some other staple kitchen cupboard ingredients you can whip up a treat. Boil in hot water with an array of herbs, blend, and top with some leftover cheese from the cheese board, and you have a vitamin-packed soup to kick any Christmas lethargy, and it is also perfect to bring in a flask when going on lovely snowy festive walks with the family. To turn into something even heartier, you could stew the veg with pearl barley and leftover sausage from the pigs in blankets, and make a delicious flavourful stew, perfect served with crunchy bread rolls.

“Vitamin-packed soup to kick any Christmas lethargy”

Cranberry Sauce Aside from having a fantastically festive cranberry and brie sandwich, there are a surprising amount of uses for leftover cranberry sauce. Stir into cream cheese with melted white chocolate and sugar to make a fantastic cheesecake filling, or add to the filling of an apple crumble to add a particularly festive twist. Have a look on Google to see the array of salad dressing you can make using cranberry sauce, particularly suitable for adding a zing to a sweet salad with walnuts, grapes and cheese.

Custard If you’re like me and you love lashings of custard with your festive deserts then having leftover custard in the fridge is a slim, yet very exciting, possibility. If you are fortunate enough to have some, then it’s the perfect accompaniment to a quick and easy cinnamon bread and butter pudding, or if you have any pre-rolled pastry in the fridge then it takes just minutes to make delicious nutmegtopped custard tarts to rival Greggs’.


Lauren Sneath has had enough of people bringing the festive mood down


t’s the most wonderful time of the year; a plague on anyone who dares to suggest otherwise. The music, the presents and general goodwill celebrated throughout this entire season, culminating in the birth of Christ and the best turkey dinner imaginable, are only a few of many reasons why Christmas is so magical to me and to anyone with a any semblance of a heart. It physically upsets me to hear people call me “childish” for enjoying a little Christmas spirit. So what if I’m wearing Christmas jumpers in early November? What’s it to them if I blare Mariah Carey at full volume on repeat as I merrily sip mulled wine and binge-eat mince pies? Just because for most of us over 18s Father Christmas has long since retired, it doesn’t mean that we are no longer permitted to enjoy this holiday season and all the presents, food, booze and happiness it brings. Don’t complain about Christmas crowds and sweaty shopping; it’s all about attitude. Instead, march into Eldon Square with what’s left of your student loan and get Christmassy! Giving is just as good, if not better, than receiving presents; and dont tell me that you don’t “believe” in giving presents because it feeds the corporate poison which has managed to seep into everything good in the world. Let’s not allow the pure magic of Christmas to be consumed by the swirling vortex of corporate consumerism, like Halloween and Valentine’s Day before it; let’s just continue to enjoy it as much as possible.

“‘Tis the season to be jolly... any Grinch I spy needs to watch their step”

But if you think it’s “cooler” to be aloof and above all the people spreading Christmas cheer, then that’s fine. Feel free to sit alone in your dark, cold, spiritless house and obnoxiously parade a cactus instead of a Christmas tree. Go ahead, ignore with cold and Scrooge-like condescension the carol singers at your door as you determinedly scroll through channels to avoid Christmas specials on TV. Just don’t come crying to me when the block of ice around your heart begins to melt and the turkey cravings kick in. Or better yet, do; because that’s exactly what Christmas is about, sharing goodwill and being generous with everything- love, presents, and that second helping of honey-roasted parsnips. So, a message to all the green, long-fingered, Christmas-hating creatures who lurk in the dark spots between Christmas lights: t’is the season to be jolly, god dammit, and any Grinch I spy needs to watch their step.This year, rather than changing the radio station upon hearing the first strains of “Fairytale of New York”, sit through it and try, just try, not to join in. We all ought to adopt a “Buddy the Elf ” outlook, and instead of sneering at those who enjoy the season, give it a go ourselves. Grab some tinsel and a good attitude. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.

16. fashion

Monday 12 December 2016

The Courier

Fashion Editors: Liz Rosling, Izzi Watkins & Zofia Zwieglinska

2017: A Fashion We wish you a tasteful Christmas, and a stylish New Year Rebecca Jones shows us how to keep head-to-toe on trend this festive season Forecast Lois Johnston predicts sunny skies with a sprinkling of tulle and band Ts


Intsagram: @phoebelettice

e have had a pretty disastrous year, politically, economically, not to mention it hasn’t been great for many treasured celebrities who sadly left us this year. However, one of the few positives to have come out of 2016 is the fashion. This year we have seen the re-emergence of camo prints, velvet, embroidery, and puffer jackets to name just a few. But the question remains, which styles are going to make the cut and stick around into 2017 and beyond? Towards the end of this year, we saw the emergence of ruffles and statement sleeves. At the beginning, I swore this trend wasn’t for me and actively avoided it. However, as the months went by, and brands such as Topshop began to release their own spin on the trend, I began to warm to it. Sometimes, this trend can be taken very seriously and, as we saw in many SS17 catwalks, is not for the faint hearted. However, if you’re someone who likes to follow trends and stay up to date with fashion, but also want to keep it simple, there are plenty of subtler takes on this trend that are out there on the market.

“Anyone who knows me knows that half of my wardrobe is a light dusky pink (if it’s not broke don’t fix it, right?)”

Instagram: @houseofholland

Possibly my favourite trend to be going into 2017 is the band t-shirt. Back in September at London fashion week, Henry Holland celebrated a decade of his brand with a modern take on his old-school slogan t-shirts. “I’m yours for a tenner, Kendall Jenner” and “Let’s breed Bella Hadid” were just a few of the bold rhymes that filled his oversized tshirts styled as dresses. Band t-shirts are also set to make a comeback next season with lots of different takes on them. For example, with make-shift chokers made out of the neckline or lattice fronts. I feel this is one for all types of people as they can look super casual but also be dressed up when needed. One trend I feel is a going to grow and grow into the new year is tulle. In skirts, dresses, tops – everything. It is by far one of the most transitional trends to have emerged this year, and can be a subtle slip of tulle underneath a sweatshirt, or you can take the trend a lot further and have a full tulle dress. For example, Topshop’s Petite Mesh Overlay Mini is a great versatile piece which can be worn over jeans, or alone. One trend I wish was never out of fashion is pastel pink. Anyone who knows me knows that half of my wardrobe is a light dusky pink (if it’s not broke don’t fix it, right?). And I think this is a great way of brightening up an otherwise black wardrobe, without having to add too much colour. Trends which have been set to become big next year, and are worthy of a mention, include bralets and preen. In the words of Queen Meryl Streep: “Florals? For Spring? Groundbreaking.” If you were wanting to take on the preen trend, however, and steer it away from the type that looks like your grandma’s curtains, it could be an idea to dress it up with a leather jacket and boots to give it a grunge look.


ne thing that’s fact during the festive al Glitter sandals, and they’re only £25. The shimseason, is that you can never be over mery hues and wrap-tie details add a touch of luxe dressed. Christmas time allows all sequin to the classic heeled sandal and the 4-inch heel enlovers to show off those embellished outfits to the abling you to dance the night away with not too world – which I for one strongly encourage. Be it much discomfort (whilst also adding that extra Christmas Day or New Years Eve, you’ve got to be element of class for the countdown). If you’re dressed your best and show off such cutting edge keeping it more casual with NYE, I’d recomstyle to family and friends. mend a pair of waxed skinny jeans, which With Christmas being a traditionally sophisticat- can be bought from Zara. The wax effect ed and classy event, it’s important to keep outfits adds that extra dressy feel compared to a bit more PG, especially if your Grandma is sat normal black skinnies and pairing this round at the dinner with a “Shine your way into 2017: table... So with this in chic blouse you remind, ditch the glit- embellishment and glitter is the way ally can’t go wrong. ter halter necks that Again, accessories you’ve worn to every forward. If you aren’t the type to wear are a key part of outevent at Digi, and days, and a something so boldly decorated, I finots these opt for something brainer for New similar to Topshop’s suggest sticking with the classic LBD Years Eve is the oncropped cable knit trend choker. Don’t jumper, teamed with and accessorizing subtly with glitter just stick with the a faux black leather classic black coland sequins” skirt. With this outfit oured choker for the you can dress it up confidently with a pair of over- holiday season, venture out and see what else is on the-knee boots, or down with a pair of fluffy slip- the market. Personal recommendation is the Luelpers for prancing around the house comfortably. la Multicolored Diamond Choker, only £5 from Christmas day sorted, let’s tackle New Years Eve. Miss Pap. This choker is the perfect accessory for Being the final party of 2016, celebrating the end the festive season, it’s discrete enough for someone of the year requires an outfit of equal importance. who doesn’t like to overdo the glitz and glam but Shine your way into 2017: embellishment and glit- it’s also the icing on the cake for shimmer lovers ter is the way forward. If you aren’t the type to wear like me. Whatever your style there really is somesomething so boldly decorated, I suggest sticking thing out there for everyone and I for one can’t with the classic LBD and accessorizing subtly with wait to take full advantage of that when spending glitter and sequins. Topshop offer a range of shoes which are bound to make you stand out from the and splurging this holiday season. crowd. A personal fave of mine have to be the Roy-






2. 1. 3.

Christmas styling:

1. Topshop Wide Sleeve Rib Crop Jumper 23E14KIVR £32.00, 2. Topshop PU Short Pencil Skirt 27A32KBLK £32.00, 3. Topshop Pink Fluffy Mule Slippers 08C03KPNK £16.00, 4. Topshop CAPRI Injected High Knee Sock Boots 32C02KBLK £69.00

NYE styling:

1. Topshop Beaded Side Mini Dress 35E14KBLK £125.00, 2. Miss Pap Multicolored Diamond Choker £5.00, 3. Topshop Royal Glitter Sandals 32R82KMUL £52.00, 4. ZaraWaxed Effect Xkinny Jeans 6156/242 £29.99

Spotted on campus: Christmas special This week the fashion editors scout out six students on campus sporting festive fashion

Jess Hepburn Jacket: Retro Newcastle Knitted jumper: Topshop Hat: Rab

Izzy Sharpe Knitted Jumper: Vintage Leggings: Topshop Shoes: Topshop

Jennie Layden Dress: Urban Outfitters Tights: Urban Outfitters Shoes: Dr. Martens

Mikhail Barb Jacket: Superdry Jeans: ASOS Shoes: Burton

Edvinas Blazer: Independent store in Spain Boots: Timberland

Henry Chui Coat: All Saints Scarf: All Saints Shoes: Clarks

The Courier

fashion .17

Monday 12 December 2016

Unlikely style icon: Jack Skellington Rory Ellis shows that the star of ‘The Nightmare before Christmas’ has serious style cred

What’s so wrong with having curves?

Sophie Schneider considers fashion and its influence on body image



t is not the first time Tim Burton has influenced fashion with his dark and creepy stylistic films. Characters like Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands have endorsed a head of untamed hair and an uncomfortable amount of leather clothing. Yet with Christmas edging closer, its time to discuss Jack Skellington’s (protagonist of The Nightmare before Christmas) contribution to the fashion world. Jack’s pinstripe suit that only so very few can pull off and an oversized bat bow tie deserve nothing less than bags of respect. A pinstripe suit is a dangerous game. At its worst, it could be a professional equivalent of sneans (sneakers and jeans), while also harbouring the potential to be a painfully cool homage to Vivienne Westwood at it best. The pinstripe is a strong look, and is only further enhanced by his skeleton dog, the perfect accessory for a trendsetter. As with any fashion icon,

the loveable film costume designers (even in animation!) occasionally get it all wrong. During the film, Skellington shamefully trades in his suit for a Santa outfit. Not his best look really, but we can forgive him because he wears it with confidence and a wicked smile.

“I know this is supposed to be a comic piece but in all seriousness Jack Skellington has it going on”

What’s more, Jack and his lover, Sally, are pretty much the perfect Gothic style duo. The Halloween/Christmas fashion in the film borrows heavily from the two celebrations, and Sally comes with a frayed wedding dress and a patchwork piece that overstates how she was ‘sewn together’. The two of them provide a costume idea for couples around the world heavily invested in Halloween, at the

same time being the subject of a Christmas film. Tall and somewhat unusual looking, they are a pair full of fashion goals for power couples everywhere. I know this is supposed to be a comic piece but in all seriousness Jack Skellington has it going on. He is revered for slaying his Halloween costume every single year, wears black like a boss and gives the children parcelled vicious snakes and severed heads instead of the expected free presents. Jack Skellington is indisputably a fashion icon and while we have the right to question some of his aesthetic choices, there is a lot to like about him, including his ominous charm. If the Burton characters teach us anything, it’s how normality lacks value, and how much more important it is to be yourself. As a final note, Jack Skellington and all the Burton characters alike show no regret for their outfit choices despite how crazy and unconventional they may be, which is something we can all learn from.

’Tis the season to buy Xmas jumpers

Jack Gill embraces the comeback of our favourite, festive knits this Christmas Darth Vader Unisex Christmas Jumper £20.62

Miss Selfridge: Red Reindeer Christmas Jumper £5.00 (Sale)

instagram: @anna.rastorgueva

John Lewis: Joules Woodland Men’s Christmas Jumper £69.95


he build up to Christmas, with all its fun and frivolity, offers an equal amount of controversy: mince pies or Christmas pudding? Stockings or sacks? Ho Ho Ho or Humbug? These aside, perhaps one of the most topical issues falls upon fashion and the infamous Christmas jumper. The jumper itself provides an interesting back story, born very much through the influence of 80s TV presenter Timmy Mallett, among other icons of the era such as singer Val Doonican. In this sense, the jumper provided a degree of novelty and identity with a good helping of cheesy aesthetic (what else would one expect of the 80s?). Though its popularity saw a decline during the early noughties period, its resurgence in recent years with a wide-spanning celeb fan base, begs the question of you humble shopper; to buy, or not to buy? To pardon the mouth-watering analogy, one can look upon Christmas jumpers in the same light as food; offered by many, ranging in price, with a basic function - to satisfy. But where exactly does satisfy one’s Christmas jumper needs? The cheap and cheerful Primark is a safe bet for those less conscious of subtlety, and more in favour of a festive bonanza with all the trimmings. Whether it be

a pun-ridden piece (nice baubles and the kind), a bold colour scheme or a classic fairisle pattern, one can be sure to find something for the season which won’t break the bank.

“To pardon the mouth-watering analogy, one can look upon Christmas jumpers in the same light as food; offered by many, ranging in price, with a basic function - to satisfy. But where exactly does satisfy one’s Christmas jumper needs?”

As we all know however, the concept of ‘budgeting’ is easier said than done. At the expense of your piggy bank, there are of course other options on the market. Beyond their monumental adverts, John Lewis have been known to provide sleek, minimal designs guaranteed to attract the attention of any Christmas party-goer. While you might find yourself paying double that of a Primark jumper, the store’s links with nationwide charity Barnardo’s ensures that £10 of your money goes toward helping those in need at this special time of year - look at it

TOPMAN: Green Me My Elf & I Christmas Jumper £30.00 as the gift that keeps on giving. The high street overlord Outfit are sure to provide an equal amount of variety in their stores. Miss Selfridge provide some tradition in their reindeer-infused collections for women, while Topman offers a similar sort to the men; classic, stylish designs with a price range accommodating all student bank accounts. Yet sometimes the traditional just doesn’t cut it. For something a little more off the cuff, branch out into your favourite icon’s google search, whack on christmas jumper after their name, and see what you can find. While these require delving into independent, one-off online stores, your unique piece will make the search worth it. From Morrissey to Minnie Mouse, Drake to Darth Vader, there’s plenty of cultural crossovers to ensure a mix of style and personality in any sweater you’re sporting. You really do have no excuse for not finding the perfect Christmas jumper, be it traditional, individual, or flat-out irreplaceable. Whatever it may be, wear your jumper loud and proud, and bring some Christmas cheer to your wardrobe this festive season.



he average woman in the UK is 5ft3, weighs 11 stone and wears a size 16. This means 45% of the female population is size 16 or over, (which can also be debated to not be an entirely healthy figure). Yet, the fashion industry still predominantly caters for smaller sizes. I do not agree with normalising obesity; however, I also think that punishing consumers using unrealistic 6ft tall mannequins with a 24-inch waist that aspire perfection, yet cause shame (as well as a distorted body image and eating disorders) is not the answer. High-street retailers simply refuse to accept the size of their customers. Instead, average body sizes are now understood as ‘plus size’ with collections of this title, and a new collection from New Look is disturbingly named ‘curves’. This huge high street retailer has now created an artificial cut-off at size 14 where everything above is for those with ‘curves’. When did possessing curves become out of the norm? These ‘plus sized’ collections are already marginalised, because they make it sound as if they are catering for 10% of the female population, not the average woman. Most high-street retailers even have price differences for ‘plus sized’ individuals, as if we didn’t feel quite discriminated enough. Boohoo charge £7.00 more for a floral peplum dress in plus size, and Forever 21 charge £11 for their Paisley Print mini dress and £15 for a plus size version. I’m sure the question of surplus fabric cost comes to mind; however, fabric is an extremely minor cost in the production of a dress, marketing and branding being predominant. Retailers are simply making more profit out of us ‘average’ consumers, and throwing in a bit of discrimination and humiliation as they do so.

“Most high-street retailers even have price differences for ‘plus sized’ individuals, as if we didn’t feel quite discriminated enough” If Marilyn Monroe was alive today, I’m sure she wouldn’t be slipping into a size 6 bralet with matching W26 ripped jeans. She’d have to choose from bullshit styles which label her body-shape as something abnormal and alien. I’m not saying that the image of the ‘ideal’, ‘perfect’ woman won’t revert to a curvier style in this vicious cycle of aspiring to be anything but ourselves. However even if it does, retailers will start discriminating other sizes: the petite collection perhaps will be named Skinny or Bony. Is this because retailers are thirsty for selfdegradation so that their customers can torment themselves on aspiring to look ‘perfect’ and then feeling ashamed when we fail? It must be true that retailers thrive on women’s hope to look better, so that they continue buying ill-fitting product after product after choosing clothes from a wardrobe designed for an entirely different body. In any case, it’s time for retailers and designers to get a grip and start to accept the ‘average’ woman; start using mannequin’s that are her size, models her size, more collections with clothes suited for her size and not add a ‘plus’ or ‘minus’ to degrade her and profit off the labels.

18. beauty

Monday 12 December 2016

The Courier

Beauty Editors: Miranda Stoner, Ellie Trent & Ellen Walker

Keep your skin Lush this Christmas

Beauty Editor Ellen Walker tells us about her favourites from this year’s Lush Christmas collection


ush’s Christmas products epitomize Christmas gifts, with a range of products and scents for everyone, it’s no doubt their Christmas range attracts a ton of media attention. Lush expand their Festive range every year, constantly bringing out both a wider range and more advanced products and this year is no exception. The ‘Father Christmas bath bomb’ is a returning contender to this year’s collection. It’s a favourite amongst lush-lovers and it really is the front runner of their festive scents. Its aesthetically the very essence of Christmas with it fizzing away into a deep red, revealing a holly-green in the centre. Soak yourself in a sickly sweet candy floss aroma and become immersed in the sweet sent of the holidays. Retailing at £3.75 this really is an offer you can’t refuse.

Photos taken from

If bath bomb’s aren’t your thing, the ‘Santasaurus bubble bar’ might be the product for you. It’s reusable which makes it great value for money at £5.95 and it really doesn’t take much to fill your bath with a deep green hue and delicious smelling bubbles. Its scent is light and musky with sweet citrus undertones. It contains Burgamot oils which works to be uplifting, cleansing and encourage sleep. This perfect for a pre-bedtime festive soak in the tub. If you want indulgence in your every day clean-

“This perfect for a pre-bedtime festive soak in the tub” ing routine, grab yourself a bottle of ‘Rose Jam shower gel’ This product is perfect for those who don’t have time to spend hours wallowing in the bath. A small dollop of this will infuse your shower with the scent of Turkish rose, vanilla, Sicilian lemon oil and fresh goji berry juice; just about as indulgent as it gets. It contains argan oil which serves to condition and nourish the skin, leaving you feeling and smelling every day with ease. For those who are skin care enthusiasts, don’t worry, Lush has got a product on offer that’s right up your street. The ‘Snowman shower jelly’ is another quick and simple product that can be used in several ways to kick start your skin after winter walks in the cold and a few late night’s spent at Christmas parties. If a skin re-nourishment is what you need, the snowman is the product for you. It contains Carrot infusion which is rich in antioxidant beta carotene and vitamins A, B, C, D. This not only works wonders on the skin but gives you a kick of energy in those hungover morning showers. It also contains Buchu oil has been used as antiseptic and anti-inflammatory, calming the skin and healing any drunken scrapes. At £3.95, its worth stocking up on for the holiday season.

This girl really is on fire Katherine Rawlings gets real about make-up and Alicia Keys taking a stand against pressures to stay glamorous 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Will yay or nay be the verdict?


licia Keys’ started her journey against makeup this May, where she wrote an essay for ‘Lenny Letter’ detailing her motivations for no longer wearing makeup, and explaining several problems regarding the harsh world of the entertainment industry. In this essay, Keys makes the comment that “women are brainwashed into feeling like we have to be skinny, or sexy, or desirable, or perfect.” I imagine this statement will have rung true for many readers, perhaps raising painful memories of times these expectations haven’t quite been ‘achieved’, and the consequences that this can have upon one’s emotions and self-esteem. It seems normal practise today to feel pressure to look a certain way, or to feel as though your appearance does not fulfil ‘societal expectations’.

“The use of make-up can also become addictive at times”

These expectations were also clearly demonstrated when Alicia Keys took to the red carpet at the MTV Video Music Awards barefaced. This seemingly small decision was followed by shock throughout the media. Wearing makeup has become so widely considered ‘the norm’, that it’s barely believable to us when celebrities are seen bare faced, especially at highbrow events such as the VMAs. Fortunately, however, a large proportion of the responses to Keys’ decision were positive, with people praising her for being confident enough to brave the public eye without her mask of makeup. But the question today is whether it actually is so positive for Alicia Keys to be encouraging this movement? On the one hand, this is a brilliant step in moving towards a society where people are

judged less for their appearance. There is so much pressure on beauty standards today, for men as well as women, through models that only represent a tiny fraction of the population’s body type; through the use of Photoshop editing to a point where not even the most beautiful models can achieve such standards; and through constant media that tells us we can only be successful if we own a specific appearance. So, of course, it must be positive to see a female using her influential power to show how makeup doesn’t need to be worn to be successful or powerful or attractive. In fact, it’s brilliant to simply see a celebrity using their influence, especially on the younger generations who can receive a lot of conflicting ideas about beauty from the media, in an attempt to make some positive change. Alicia Keys movement reminds us that if she can walk the red carpet barefaced, then we too can leave the house without our worrying about the state of our ‘morning face’. Although sometimes fun and a way of expressing identity and style, I think there is the additional danger that the use of makeup can also become addictive at times, making us forget that we can actually look just as good and feel just as confident without the need to hide behind the comforting, superficial mask that it can provide.

All I want for Christmas is food Instagram: @aliciakeys

Beauty Editor Miranda Stoner shares her tips on how to fight the food baby when your mind is telling you no but that piece of Christmas pudding is telling you unequivocally yes


hristmas time is the most wonderful time of year. Everywhere you go people are singing, the bleak mid-winter sky is illuminated by millions of colourful fairy lights and glittery decorations, and then there’s the food! Mince pies, gingerbread houses, chocolate coins and suddenly drinking hot chocolate like a 9 year old, with marshmallows, whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles becomes acceptable again. However, come January when the snow melts and you’re left trying to cram your Santa belly into the jeans that needed a belt to stay up last November, you can’t help but wonder whether 5 portions of fruit-cake a day was really a wise idea. This doesn’t have to be the case though. Small things like when stood in a lunch-time queue, that could rival the Fenwick’s window, waiting to order your third Starbuck’s Christmas cup of the week, swap the high fat, high sugar, high calorie gingerbread latte in favour of a chai tea latte. It contains the same spices with half the calories and an eighth of the fat content, so you’ll still get that warm fuzzy Christmassy feel, whilst reducing the chance of your belly becoming round like bauble and your face breaking out like a school choir into song.

Instagram: @sparklingpink13

Instagram: @bees__eats

Instagram: @ shannoncarino Instagram: @ cariocakitchen

“The fruit and veg on offer at Christmas is also spectacular”

Furthermore when you’re skating round the Christmas markets putting every biscuit, sweet and cake on your Christmas list, don’t forget to follow your nose towards the roasted chestnuts and candied almonds. Roasted chestnuts are low in calories, fat and contain some protein whilst conveniently also tasting divine making them the perfect thing to nibble whilst perusing the Christ-

Instagram: @tamunoida

mas stalls. This will also stop you buying unnecessary sweets which will not only help your waistline but ensure your bank balance is sufficiently positive to buy everyone a Christmas present too. As for candied almonds they may be high in sugar, but they taste amazing and contain more calcium to stop hair and nails becoming brittle as well as a higher protein content than sweets or even milk for that matter, so they will fill you up before you eat enough to feel sick, stopping you from overdoing it. Almonds also contain Vitamin E which is perfect for keeping your skin bright and fresh. The fruit and veg on offer at Christmas is also spectacular- oranges, cranberries, parsnips and let’s not forget the best Christmas food, which is of course sprouts. These little gems have bad press but they are actually full of vitamin C, which can help you fight colds and keep skin glowing from the inside out. When cooked right sprouts are more precious than gold, frankincense or myrrh. Learn to love these and forget about getting fat, you’ll be healthier than ever! One of the main reasons for weight gain over Christmas can be accredited to a lack of exercise, whether you’re staying in to shelter from the snow or just have better things to do, like watching Christmas films, becoming as idle as the angel atop the Christmas tree is normal. The best ways to combat this are to layer up, get the wellies on and take a brisk snowy walk or drag your friends to an ice rink for some good quality aerobic exercise it will keep your body in shape. However, remember that the Christmas holidays are the best time to relax and take advantage of an eternally full fridge at home. It may be the end of the year but it’s not the end of the world if you do find yourself a little larger come January. After all you have a whole new year to turn those gingerbread cookies into ghosts of Christmas’ past.

The Courier

beauty .19

Monday 12 December 2016 Instagram @courier_beauty | Twitter @CourierBeauty

Modern photoshop pressures Angel

Fiona Leishman discusses the increase in diversity in front-page models and defends the idea of the use of Photoshop as generating insecurity and a lack of self-confidence


n a turbulent world full of racial violence, hate-crimes and discrimination, there is still one constant in life- the unrealistic and often unattainable beauty standard. No matter how hard some companies work in order to ditch this beauty ideal, there will always be a pressure to look a certain way. There are companies such as Dove, with their Campaign for Real Beauty, and American Eagle’s lingerie off-shoot company Aerie, with the #aeriereal movement, that have taken the notion of the beauty standard and turned it on its head.

Instagram: @youlivenetworks

As a generation, we are more confident to speak out against the increasing pressures placed on us; the #aeriereal campaign allows young women to see models with body types and imperfections similar to their own. These models are selling underwear and swimsuits to girls at a very impressionable age, and they’re doing it without using Photoshop. Aerie started this campaign in 2014, and since then they have seen a positive effect on their sales, with an increase of 32% in the first fiscal quarter of 2016. Put simply; giving Photoshop the axe has boosted sales for this brand aimed at young women. No

matter the success of those companies that go without Photoshop, there will always be companies that will alter their photos in order to sell products. As someone who worked purely in photography and manipulation using Photoshop for her A-level art, I am familiar with the extents to which an im-

“As a generation, we are more confident to speak out against the increasing pressures placed on us”

age can be manipulated whilst still maintaining a realistic look. It’s impressive, and slightly scary. However, being an avid photographer also means I understand that the majority of photographs I take will have to be edited at least a small amount in order to improve their look. the look of them. Whether this is cropping the image to exclude unwanted aspects, or altering the lighting and colouring to improve the clarity, these enhancements are all done to create a more vivid and enticing image. This is the aim of most photographers, to create an image that will draw in any viewers, and when you combine this with the marketing campaign of a large company it becomes even more important, often to the detriment of the model who finds their body altered or the consumer who ends up with a warped body image. Having not only taken and edited photographs for this year’s RAG calendar, but also been in it, I have seen first-hand the insecurities generated from Photoshop. Although I disagree with the use of Photoshop to drastically alter someone’s appearance, I accept that sometimes we all need that confidence boost of maybe having a pesky spot removed in a photograph. Part of the editing process was to inspect the images closely (partly to ensure the guys hadn’t tried to sneak part of their genitals

into the picture as a joke), and despite the concerns people had voiced about their appearance, I couldn’t see a single imperfection. Self-confidence is something so rare and hard to come by in young women that we should celebrate it, whether it has come about from a slight manipulation on the computer or not. Everyone looked beautiful, no matter their body shape, or the condition of their skin. So when it comes to the use of Photoshop in the campaigns of beauty or fashion retailers we still see a massive divide. While we are seeing a gradual increase in the diversity of models, there are still certain standards that these models have to live up to. Think about it, when was the last time you opened up Elle and saw a model without perfectly pore-less skin? Even though the world of modelling is accepting more plus-sized models, such as Ashley Graham gracing the coveted Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover, there is still no stretch mark or spot in sight. So while some people will argue that beauty standards do not exist any more, I say that they have changed.

Instagram: the_brotographer

Quick, just act natural Lois Johnston gives a quick guide on how achieve that natural, ‘undone’ look


Skin Care

ltimately, a true natural make-up look begins with the skin care. If you are going to invest anywhere in your make-up routine, I would strongly advise that it be in this area, especially if you often struggle with problem skin. It is important to realise that every person’s skin is different and that what works for someone, might not necessarily work for someone else. However, if you follow the basic steps of cleanse-tone-moisturise, you cannot go far wrong. If, like me, you have combination skin, it might be good looking into purchasing an oil-based cleanser (for example, Clinique’s take the day off balm, £22), a toner with glycolic acid (for example, Pixi glow tonic, £18) and a good moisturiser. Also, it is recommendable that you use a face mask once or twice a week, depending on how much you feel your skin needs it – preferably one which contains salicylic acid (Una Brennan clay mask, £9.99).

Concealer If you struggle with bad acne or regular breakouts, I would recommend going to a Nars counter and asking them to match you with a shade of their creamy concealer. This is one of the best coverage, non-cakey concealers that I have ever come across (and believe me, I’ve used a lot).

In terms of base, I would recommend purchasing a good primer to create a barrier between your skin and your make-up and also to improve the longevity of your make-up. To get that really radiant, glowing look, my favourite base is Loreal’s Lumi Magique which is £9.99 in boots. This product claims to be multi-purpose and doubles up as a highlighter, however, I don’t think that this is so true. However, just one squirt of this applied all over the face underneath your foundation – or even just alone – gives a dewy, natural glow to skin you may have thought was beyond help.

Photos taken from

Even though it has a bit of a hefty price-tag of £22, it is completely worth the splurge as is easily blendable, quick to use with the dofour applicator and doesn’t flake off towards the end of

Chloe Bland brings us the best of the Victoria’s Secret fashion show


ictoria Secret 2016, took place in Paris, and was yet again a fabulous success with the models flaunting their stunning figures and features. They were all perfectly bronzed with flawless skin and bouncy curls. How was this look achieved you ask? The beauty regime of the models was executed by chief makeup artist Tom Pecheux, whooped for both a ‘natural’ and ‘Hollywood; style for the models. He also emphasises the ‘French look’ of the runway. In an attempt to become angels ourselves, I have discovered some of the make-up tricks used in the show.

“To achieve the ‘glow’ of the angels, there is a huge use of bronzer, highlighter and a natural contour”

Firstly the skin tone of the models again opted for a natural glow, with a light foundation (Max Factor) offering coverage with a semi-matte finish. To achieve the ‘glow’ of the angels, there is a huge use of bronzer, highlighter and a natural contour. Penteux used again Max Factor Miracle Touch Creamy Blush and then applied further highlighter to achieve the sparkle of the angels. In terms of the eyes, the brows are kept as natural as possible, with little definition added. The eye shadow consisted of all natural and neutral tones to create a depth with darkness surrounding the eye, capturing a youthful image. The eye-liner look was a cateye wing, as Peteux describes ‘Victoria’s Secret is bringing wings to the girls, I’m bringing me to the wings of the eyes of the girls.’ The subtle mascara was achieved by Max Factor again, with their False Lash Epic product. The lips were focused around the pink colouring of the Victoria Secret sportswear range. These pinks and nudes were topped with a gloss to perfect the glamour and Hollywood look of the Paris runway.

Face the day. This is a key piece in my natural makeup routine because I never want to completely smother my spots in make-up as sometimes this can make breakouts seem worse than they are. One of the main things that people tend to forget to add to their make-up routine these days is blusher. This is an especially vital step for any skin tone, but especially if you are as pale as me. It is important to pick which tone best suits you – orange, nude or pink? And then also you should decide if you want to use one with a bit of shimmer for an extra glowy look or if you’d rather a matte. After blusher, it is up to you personally if you would like to add contour or bronzer. Perhaps you think that the more products you add the less natural this make-up look will seem…but if you do, remember to follow the number 3 shape that is on the side of your face and to also swipe over your nose in an X motion to give yourself a natural glow.




Even though strobing has become a huge trend recently, I understand this is not for everyone and may not fit into an everyday natural make-up look for many people. However, for one of the most natural highlights, I would recommend gently swiping The Balm’s Mary Loumanizer highlighter over the tops of the cheekbones, the brow bone and the tip of the nose. For a more dramatic glowy look, or to take it from day to night, add as much highlighter as you see fit! As for the eyes, finish the look off with a neutral matte colour on the lid and a coat

Instagram: @victoriassecret

Not only can we envy their bodies, their make up but also their manicures! Victoria Secret has also revealed their nail range involved celebrity manicurist Elle, partnering with Red Carpet Manicure and Victoria Secret to create a PINK nation look for the show. The high-shine gel look has also incorporated Swarovski crystals as they are such a main part of the show. This polish will also hit the stores in 2017 so watch out ladies! In terms of the hair-styles of the runway, Victoria Secret designated the models with a bouncy loose curl and wave throughout the show. The voluminous look added to the sex appeal of the models and created a natural style. This look was created by Beach-wave tools. The models themselves have offered up some beauty tips for us readers. Sara Sampaio insists that the key is highlighter, whilst Josephine Skriver emphasises hydration which ‘keeps your skin looking fresh and also keeps your energy up.’ The girls have this year released many of their own fitness tips and workouts on social media and exercise is clearly a major part of their maintenance and preparation for the show, therefore Karlie Kloss urges the removal of any make-up before exercise to avoid breakouts. For anyone who hasn’t yet watched the show I would highly recommend it.

20. arts

Monday 12 December 2016

The Courier

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


Everyday sexism’s time to girl up

The weekly showcase of Newcastle University talent Carys Rose Thomas wonderful look into gender equality and the rise of everday sexism

JAMES McCOULL POET ‘Moral Lessons in Survivalism for the Young and Innocent’ Let’s play the game about the princess in the woods where I’m one, or both but haven’t picked yet. She goes walking through a forest that menaces her, that comforts: every branch a claw, reaching down as she blunders through, innocent of the danger; every gust of wind sweeping through the trees, keeping her on a path she barely knows she’s following. Let’s play the game where the wolf comes, and it seems like she should get away, but she doesn’t. A bloody dress and picked-clean bones. A path no-one knows to avoid, and a capricious breeze nudges you towards... A girl comes walking through the woods and finds the dress; puts it on. What does she know? And the wolf sees her, snorts, leaves her alone, because he’s killed this one once already. Let’s play the game of live and let die. I’ll take my turn, you take yours. No-one will help each other, because that’s against the rules, and I’m more use to you dead than alive.

From Girl up, Laura Bates


he next time someone tells you that sexism ‘isn’t a thing anymore’ or simply ‘doesn’t exist’, point them in the direction of Laura Bates and she will give them a good talking to. Laura Bates founded the Everyday Sexism Project in 2012, a project which has amassed over 100,000 accounts of everyday sexism. Bates began her talk by absolutely filling my head to the brim with tiny factual weapons I can now whip out and use to metaphorically shoot down any misogynistic arse who tries to tell me I have ‘equal rights’. Like the fact that only 1 in 5 front page newspaper articles are written by women, and 84% of front page articles are also about, or centred around, men. These are two examples of the plethora of facts she relayed. The most impressive thing was Bates’ ability to effortlessly evidence sexism in such an extensive way, you couldn’t imagine anyone ever disagreeing with her after they’d heard her speak. Massive kudos to her for talking about intersectionality: for example the fact that 1 in 4 women experience sexual assault in their lifetime, but that figure doubles to 1 in 2 for disabled women.

The audience seemed to be largely made up of middle-aged second-wave ‘white feminist’ women, so I feel like hearing a prominent figure like Bates talk about intersectionality was valuable.

“Congratulations, you have a penis!”

Bates discussed how young women are affected by feminism and how this can be tackled she discussed sexting, unsolicited ‘dick pics’ and sending ‘nudes’ which is sadly a frequent occurrence in the lives of teenage girls. What was especially brilliant about Bates was that she gave realistic ways for young women to tackle these issues. A lot of people’s response to a young girl telling them they’d be asked for nudes would be “shut it down, delete snapchat, don’t go on your phone” which ignores how important some young people see these forms of social media to maintain a good social life. Bates’ tools for responding to these issues were so wonderfully witty, such as an illustration girls can send to men who send them unsolicited pho-

tos saying “congratulations, you have a penis!” The thing that slightly ground my gears was the Q&A at the end of the talk. One woman commented on how much ‘nicer’ and ‘respectful’ men had been when she was at uni. I felt bewildered that this woman thought younger generations than her own had taken some backwards step in the progression towards equal rights. I just sat there thinking, “I’m pretty sure when you were at uni it was still legal for a husband to rape their wife, so excuse me for not thinking things were oh-so-much better when you were young”. I like to think of feminism more optimistically as on a continuous upward trajectory. Overall the talk was brilliantly empowering and informative. I loved that as well as Bates commenting on the challenges facing young women, she also commented on how intelligent and socially aware young people are today. So thanks for the little compliment Bates, you’re not too shabby yourself. Side note: if this article has interested you in any way, I highly recommend you read “Girl Up” by Bates, all about issues young women face and how they can be tackled.

Alphabetti Theatre is a necessity Arts Editor Tamsin Daisy Rees interviews the founder of Alphabetti, Ali Pritchard T he announcement that Alphabetti theatre was moving from their iconic basement after two years, filtered into our inboxes last week; and already, as I plodded through the pissing rain to Newbridge Street, I was met with the a horde of building work: orange plastic barriers and men in high vis vests. I was greeted, as I usually am, with the Theatre’s usual warmth and comfort, characteristic of its underground labyrinth of vivid creativity. They’re dealing with it well though, metaphorically speaking, as when we went to see How to Be a Man on the following Saturday we were kindly offered blankets, which was very sweet. So here I was, rudely stumbling into the bar, drenched, loudly asking where Ali was (turns out he was the guy on the phone). From years of working in retail, I have mastered small talk; I asked how his day was (“Terrible”) and how everything was going (“Busy”). I quickly decided that was more than enough, so settled into the interview proper: me leaning against the bar, with my scrappy notebook at the ready (I find if you hav a recording devices, people get too self conscious to be natural); and Ali Pritchard behind the bar, delicately peeling a tangerine. Ali Pritchard is the founder and artistic director of Alphabetti Theatre. I read on the website that he founded it at just 23, making Ali one of the UK’s youngest artistic directors. As I’m

22, I asked him, or more sort of told him that this is an incredible feat, which lead onto probably the only direct question I asked Ali: Why Alphabetti? It happened by accident, he said.

“A space to experiment, evolve and discover excellence”

It was an organic process and continues to be. They started in the upstairs space of The Dog and Parrot after a combination of charm and persuasion, before moving to a basement of an old office building in December 2014. The temporality of this company struck me; they are ever evolving, ever changing: their philosophy and ethos is to create “A space to experiment, evolve and discover excellence”. Ali pressed that this is as much for the audience as it is for the writers, artists, and performers — it is a community endeavour. We moved on to discuss Alphabetti’s ‘alternative Christmas show,’ How Did We Get To This

Point? A development piece about individual change, nuanced to expose wider change and implications. I jokingly said it was the Daniel Blake of theatre, but apparently people have already picked up on that and they have received support from Tyneside Cinema. Supported by Crisis at Christmas, with 5% of the ticket prices going to the charity. Ali has been working closely with Crisis members through creative writing workshops, and he has created a response piece entitled Wrong Place, Wrong Time, which will be performed directly after each of the shows. Ali quietly revealed he was nervous; it is essentially, autobiographical — everything in this show is true. Alphabetti is a necessity. It champions the fringe culture of Newcastle and is picking up on talent like Matt Miller’s brilliant ‘Sticking’ before others in the region. Ali stated how: “We try and say ‘yes’” — or give writers, artists, companies, or performers, the support, direction, or contacts that can improve their work. Running a fringe theatre company in the North East demands dedication, time, hard work, flexibility, and charisma. Where are they moving to next? Top Secret, but we’re excited. Congratulations, Alphabetti. For more information, and to keep up to date:

Our N.E. Pick of the Week: HOW TO BE A MAN


alking into the Alphabetti theatre my first thought was, how did I not know about this cool little place? My second thought was that the ten rows of mismatched chairs would offer no degree of anonymity to neither me nor the performer. The lights dim and Jon Coleman, the creator of this one man show about the complexities of masculinity, struts out in a pair of grey underwear and begins rifling through a rack of dresses, suits and frilly shirts, eventually deciding on a red sparkly number. I looked towards my friend, what had we got ourselves into? But what followed was neither sensationalist, nor preachy. It was a frank, funny, often devastating exploration of what it means to be a white, middle class straight man. Coleman introduced two robotically voiced fig-

ures—a shop mannequin and an inflatable doll— to act as the other players, and at first I was dubious about the necessity of their part in the performance.

“What followed was neither sensationalist, nor preachy. It was a frank, funny, often devastating exploration of what it means to be a white, middle class straight man”

There were points when Jon and Manfred the mannequin held stilted conversations about gender that made me squirm in my seat, unable to hide,

but on reflection this was probably the intention. Conversations about gender are awkward and stilted and when confronted with adverse ideas we do want to shy away from them. However, Manfred totally came into his own in a final monologue detailing the causes of Coleman’s need to be masculine, delivered while Coleman sat on a chair staring unblinkingly ahead as the robot announced ‘Jon is not capable of saying any of this himself. That’s why he got me to do it.’ I left, wondering about why such a stigma around men expressing their emotions exists. ‘How To Be a Man’ is a step in the right direction to fighting this. Jon Coleman’s piece is an interesting expose on the power, the privilege and the patriarchies that silently rule our lives and I would see it again - though I perhaps wouldn’t sit at the front.

The Courier

arts .21

Monday 12 December 2016 | Instagram: @CourierArts

Poly-spacing out into new territory TV Editor Luke Acton had coffee with the creatives behind POLYSPACE at Newbridge


11-13 December NUTS: CINDERELLA NUSU @ 19.30


had a good time at his exhibition: I get it! The brain child of Peter Ashley-Jackson and Oliver Perry, the exhibition at the Newbridge Project Space explores the relationship between ‘rural, urban and digital spaces’. The name is definitely representative of the kinds of art that occupied the space. There are no barriers or markers between the works to denote separateness so the space took on a holistic feel, the pieces were whole in themselves, but they take on another aspect being shown as they are. Three of the pieces are to do with systems in the digital space, and its interactions with the real world. Charles Danby and Rob Smith’s Limelight (2013) and Limelight (2016) as well as Tim Shaw’s Ring Network both use programmes to produce light and/or sound as the result of digital processes. They are conceptual art in the post-advent-of-theinternet kind of way, they make you think about the actual dynamics of the systems that define our perspective of the world in more developed countries (only about 40% of the world has access to the internet, this up from 1% in 1995). They look at the relationship between digital and real-world, because things don’t just exist on the screen, things on the internet has real housing in terms of servers, and the things they represent in terms of their

14 December

special existence too. Both pieces are different, but explaining them out to you would defeat the point (go and see them). The bells, speaker and lights attached to these processes create a kind of noise art that super I’m into, their embodiment of the abstract systems is engaging. The other pieces, Udall’s lithographed diagrams, Hughes’ giant collage and manipulation of film photographs, Hendry’s sculptures embedded into the floor of the space are, all complement each other and the digital art. Their plurality in medium is what complement the sound-producing works and makes the works very present and that compel your engagement.

“Their plurality in medium is what complement the soundproducing works and makes the works very present and that compel your engagement”

POLYSPACE engages on a much more explicitly intellectual level than more conventional shows. When I sat down to with the curators, we were talking about the relation between artworks and accompanying text in exhibitions, Peter Ashley-

Jackson noted that ‘[for] the artwork itself, if that’s going to be read, it’s whether you have the tools [to read] the visual language.’ This exhibition feels more like an experience than an engagement with individual works. Of course the aesthetics of the works come in to play, even in the more systembased works. But their processes are all explicitly relevant to understanding of them. Anna Udall’s Sketchbook is a series of prints in the corner in the room, created through the imperfection of the software, the hardware and the hands that had a part in making them, the space between each process producing irregularities that directly contribute to the work. Hughes’ collage also deviates from the traditional representations of film, which was great, especially in the context of the dominance of the Kinfolk aesthetic in analogue photography. They all diverted from the obvious, and it is rewarding. As much as there is excitement in the technical precision that is honed through years of dedication and practice, the exploration of the nodes in systems, whether that be in the flow of information or in an artists practice, is extremely relevant to not only the audience of the Newbridge projects, but for anyone engaged in the digital.

Festival of the Zine: the Winter edition is in

Helena Buchanan takes steps in illustrating why zines are truly an exciting art form


good arts magazine is one of the greatest joys in life. Small things which can make you feel like a giant are one of the others (which is, incidentally, why I always eat with a teaspoon). A ‘Zine’ must therefore be a great joy times two. The festival was a coming together of zine creators from across the North, selling their works and basking in the glow of this wonderful artistic, literary, political form. One of the best things about zines is the variety in which they appear, this flexibility evident in the collection seen there ranging from one or two pages

of A6, to full A4 booklets, to ‘mystery boxes’- highly tempting shoeboxes wrapped in brown paper.

“Mistakes are part of it”

This flexibility is so much a part of the charm of the zine. As a fringe art form lacking specific definition (when a friend who had never heard of them asked for a definition the only response I could think of was “well sort of like a smaller, better magazine?”) the creator has complete freedom in what they wish to create in format, style and content. This freedom of form means that anyone

can make one. They are an ‘in’ to the world of publishing and whatever subject you wish which unlike other ‘foot in the door’ methods seems genuinely accessible and genuinely fun. “Mistakes are part of it,” stated the woman running the event which, again, aids the sense of freedom in the form and was greatly reassuring when I began to make my own at the large craft table set up. Inspired by the Zines I had seen I spent a very happy hour there (making me somewhat late for my shift; my excuse “for art” sadly did not impress…) feeling artsy, liberated, and for some reason curiously optimistic about the world.

Women with a Latte on, Espresso Themselves

As the Costa Book Awards selects a predominantly female shortlist, Carys Rose Thomas explores this exciting new development in the literary field. I doubt they can make a mocha-ry of this now


ust like every other field of arts/science/ everything, men still seem to dominate the literary world. A 2011 article by The Guardian revealed that 3/4 of books reviewed by the London Review of Books were written by men in 2011. So I find it quite interesting that about 3/4 of the books shortlisted for the Costa book awards this year are written by women. Personally, I don’t look to book awards for what I should read next, nor do I particularly like the way book awards place objectivity on a subjective art form. However, they do get less enthusiastic readers in to literature and help some people find a “good” book. So why are there so many women shortlisted for this year’s awards? A popular theory is social media and the ability for one to self-promote has allowed lots of female writers publicise themselves in the way that bigger companies won’t. Take Kate Tempest’s poem “Europe Is Lost” on YouTube has amassed over 300.000 views (if you haven’t seen it give it a watch, it’ll make you feel

suitably bitter about 2016 politics). However there’s something bitter sweet about the awards. Albeit brilliant that so many women are being recognised for their work despite the odds being against them, I don’t feel grateful to Costa for it. What I feel is more like an about-fucking-time kind of r ig ht-

eousness. At Newcastle University, 71% of creative writing students are women. The difference in the number of women seemingly interested in

“I hope that next year we won’t return to disregarding ample good literature, simply on the because of gender” this field of work, compared to the number who actually get their work out there is absurd. It’s good to see women writers finally being put in the spotlight for a change. I hope what we are seeing in the Costa Book Awards this year is the beginnings of women’s work being valued more highly in the literary world. I hope that this year isn’t some random fluke and I hope that next year we won’t return back to d i s re g a rd i n g ample good quality literature, simply because of g e n d e r.

Hip-Hop Cinema Culture Lab @ 19:00-22:00

16 December

CHRISTMAS JAM BYOB Tower Cafe @ 19.00-23.00

16 December



Character from my favourite classic I would love to get a secret santa from One of my all-time favourite classics has to be To Kill a Mockingbird - one of the first books I remember consciously reading even though I must have been twelve at the time. My twelve-year-old self wouldn’t have had any difficulties answering this question right away – I had a massive crush on jem, and who wouldn’t love to get a secret Santa from their crush? But thinking about it now, Miss Maudie Atkinson seems like a better option – she’s open-minded, cute, caring and probably knows best what I’d like to get for Christmas. Scrooge-iest character that isn’t from Dickens? I know that nothing can compare to Dickens’ Scroogey characters so I’ll try to avoid comparisons. But seriously, what is a better example than an angsty teenager like Holden Caulfield himself – the protagonist in The Catcher in the Rye by Salinger. He is irritable, cynical and distanced from his surroundings and his grey hairs could easily remind us of Scrooge. Classic to give to your Christmas crush? Here I would definitely go with Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. First, because of the fact that the guy has never actually read it, like seriously? And second, because I would like him to catch a glimpse of what’s inside of my crazy head since lots of the reasons why my imagination has developed a certain way are a result of me reading this book at an early age. Classic to read over Christmas to avoid interaction? The book I am planning to read over Christmas is Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne. I’ve always wanted to read it but for some reason it never came down to it. The first time I heard about this book was it getting mentioned in Back to the Future and as a big fan, Doc’s opinion on this book definitely affected my desire to read it. Snog/marry/kill the last classic you read? Last classic I read (or close to it) has to be The Sun Also Rises by Hemingway. So I’d snog Romero for obvious reasons, a beautiful bullfighter just my age whose confidence is a definite turn-on. I’d marry Cohn because of the romantic soul that he is and I’d definitely kill Brett, the bitch absolutely deserves it.

22. music

Monday 12 December 2016

The Courier

Music Editors: Sophie Ahmed, Serena Bhardwaj & Ben Grundy

N.M.E-aningless: The Awards Toon In Robyn Wainwright laments the results of the 2016 NME Awards and urges the magazine’s readers to understand that popularity does not equate talent when it comes to music

Finlay Pelling recommends the best new Post-Indie and Garage Rock bands in the region


Avalanche Party

ure, untamed, garage rock and roll is an unusual commodity in present day music, but it is something which Avalanche Party offer in abundance. The band was formed by brothers Jordan (guitar, vocals) and Joe (bass) Bell in the remote North Yorkshire Dales. Speaking in an interview, the latter mentioned the influence that this had on the formative years of the band, claiming that music was all they had to avoid the inevitable boredom they faced and the harshness of their isolated winters. Avalanche Party has released a handful of high octane tracks, the majority of which appear on the self-titled EP released earlier this year. If it is to act as a sign of what is to come for the band, then they can be hopeful for a bright future. Their music conveys real energy, and lends itself to a live rendition. The lyrics are as intelligent as they are rousing, and the music itself is provocative, foot stamping, mosh inducing rock at its finest. The sound is driven by compelling basslines and pounding drums, with overdriven guitars and spat vocals layered on top. The end product is a refreshing synthesis of punk, garage and rock, and one which is likely to break through into certain circles within the near future.

For fans of: Biffy Clyro, Queens of the Stone Age, Nick Cave, Garage Rock and Roll When to see them: Avalanche Party are playing in Leeds on 10 December Listen to: ‘Revolution’, ‘Mountains’, ‘Let’s Get Together’

PLAZA For connoisseurs of post-indie rock music, PLAZA will undoubtedly tempt you into repeated listening. The fact that they have recently supported Gengahr in Leeds and Newcastle is a testament to their recent prominence; their music entirely justifies this kind of exposure on a larger scale. From Hartlepool, PLAZA have been prolific this year, releasing three singles: ‘Totem’ (February), ‘Blood Orange’ (June) and most recently and perhaps most impressively, ‘Youth’ (November). These three releases encapsulate the broad diversity of the band’s sound, sometimes dreamy, others chaotic, and often anthemic. Altogether, the sound is very impressive, encompassing intricate guitar lines and thought-provoking lyrics. Their songs are expertly crafted, building and crashing and rising and falling in perfect proportion, and the impression left is one of maturely depicted youthful angst, portrayed with maturity beyond the band’s teenage years. It is utterly evocative and with the development of their sound, a forthcoming album will be gratefully received. Such is their promise that they have been highly acclaimed by the BBC’s radio stations, including joining Huw Stephen’s Best of BBC Introducing playlist. It is clear that PLAZA are a band with enormous potential to break through into the post-indie scene, and hopefully they can realise this potential with the release of their first LP, which we can only hope will be aired in the coming year.

For fans of: Gengahr, Peace, The Horrors, post-indie rock When to see them: PLAZA have no upcoming shows Listen to: ‘Youth’, ‘Totem’, ‘Blood Orange’

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


ooking back at the history of the NME awards makes me undeniably sombre. Previous ‘Album of the Year’ winners include Bob’s Dylan’s Desire, David Bowie’s Heroes, Nirvana’s Nevermind and Oasis’ Definitely Maybe. These albums personified NME Magazine, not only in the choice of controversial artists, but also in their aptitude for choosing talent amongst the waves of mediocrity. However, this year’s choices reflect not only NME’s reliance on popularity as a main factor when deciding talent, but also their sell out to the ‘pop’ genre. Although the music scene has undeniably changed since the 1970s, there’s still a vast array of talent on the outskirts of the mainstream, that NME could have chosen to celebrate.

The 1975’s I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of it named ‘Album of the Year’ NME described Healy as ‘fabulously nonchalant’ when hearing the news that the band had won ‘Album of the Year’ 2016. Healy said ‘But it’s a bit, like so-reee, isn’t it- for that time you called us the worst band in the world (NME Music Awards 2014). ‘The world needs to hear this album’, Healey told NME. A bold statement, even for someone of his personality. It is undeniable that there are some well written and popular songs on this album and yet I still find myself disappointed with this result. The 1975 are very good at what they do, yet their music does not reflect the NME that I remember reading as a young scamp. There is a feeling of surrender about the whole thing.

“There is a feeling of surrender about the whole thing”

Rihanna’s ‘Work’ named ‘Song of the Year’ I was particularly excited to write about this decision. Although I don’t 100% agree with the choice of The 1975 for ‘Album of the Year’, the album still has merit and NME’s reasoning behind it is justifiable. However, NME’s very limited and almost hilarious justification for Rihanna’s song ‘Work’ being chosen for the ‘Song of the Year’ is utterly disappointing.

“The ‘Song of the Year’ decision rounds off an utterly lousy year”

NME described ‘Work’ as ‘the downbeat dancehall anthem…the hottest thing to hit 2016 - a mating ritual set to music’. It may have been a popular song but that DOES NOT make it the best song of 2016. ‘Work’ was popular but then so was X Factor contestant Honey G! Popularity does not mean that something should be deemed critically superior. The ‘Song of the Year’ decision rounds off an utterly lousy year, with another lousy decision that was out of our hands. Good riddance 2016.

“There were undoubtedly worthier candidates”

I don’t think either of these decisions will fit particularly well with the NME readership. Although The 1975 ‘Album of the Year’ wasn’t the worst decision ever made, there were undoubtedly other worthier candidates. However, Rihanna’s song ‘Work’ being named the ‘Song of the Year’ is simply a sell out to chart popularity. I think these decisions reflect the change of direction of NME in recent years, and I’ll leave it up to the readers to decide if they’re happy with that.

Editors’ Picks: A Review of 2016 To round off the year, your beloved music editors reflect on their best musical mo-

ments of the last 12 months. Sophie talks up Techno, Serena hypes up O’pener and Ben reflects on The Stone Roses turning the Etihad Stadium into a Mancunian Mecca


ne word to describe this festival: sweat. I naively imagined the weather in Poland to be like a Russia-induced winter with thick snow and a sharp breeze. But that was not the case. This was compensated by the tranquil beach close by where we retreated in the daytime in an attempt to cool our sizzling skin. Another compensation was the line-up. The acts at Open’er are always top-notch and this years featured Tame Impala, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, LCD Soundsystem and Kurt Vile. It’s an intimate festival set on an old airfield which creates a surreal setting and a totally unique atmosphere. The back of the grounds is met by open fields - an ideal backdrop for a pristine sunset- the type that cameras can’t quite do justice of. In the airfield bunkers they have late night raves, fashion shows a cinema and a museum. Open’er is a celebration of the arts which was an incredible thing to be part of. Whats more, everyone seemed to be there for the music; it wasn’t just a massive piss-up in a field like Reading and Leeds - it was more respectable, more classy… if that can be said about camping in a field?

“A celebration of the arts”

All in all it was a weekend of good music, good food and good company and I suppose I’ll always have a soft spot Open’er (despite the ridiculous amount of rules and regulations - they need to chill out a bit on that.) Serena Bhardwaj



he second the infamous lemon posters were spotted around Manchester. I knew this was something I couldn’t miss. Stone Roses. Saturday Night. Manchester. From that alone, you know this was special. Never before had I got my hands on gig tickets already certain of the night which was in store. Support came from Public Enemy who brought along classics such as ‘Harder than you think’ and ‘Fight the power’ alongside covers of ‘Seven Nation Army’ and ‘Smells like Teen Spirit’ to awaken the crowd.

“Flares were out in force ”

My heart leapt the moment ‘I wanna be adored’ kicked in and the band came on stage. The rest of the crowd responded with similar enthusiasm. As expected, flares were out in force. The crowd soon became a loud murky sea of yellow and blue, whilst the band rolled effortlessly through timeless tracks such as ‘Sally Cinnamon’ and ‘Waterfall’. During ‘Fools Gold’, the band’s musicality shone through. New songs, such as ‘All for one’, were welcomed with the likes of ‘Love Spreads’ and ‘Made of Stone’. In fact, this was the perfect environment for ‘All for One’. Though not revolutionary musically, it just worked when there were thousands of people chanting the catchy chorus in unison. The evening closed with ‘This is the one’ and ‘I am the resurrection’ sening the crowds into new levels of ecstasy. The flares turned the Etihad Stadium into almost a canvas with Ian Brown as the artist. The atmosphere was unbeatable and one which I won’t be forgetting anytime soon. Ben Grundy

echno. Kylie Jenner was right when she said that 2016 would be the year of realising stuff, as over the last 12 months I’ve realised that I can dance to this for endless hours. It all started in Vienna when I was crossing ‘interrailing’ off my student bucket list. Having no clue about the nightlife, we were directed to Flex, a grimy, graffitied basement club by the canal. It was here that I had my religious experience, downing pints of water in a sober, sweaty techno trance - I didn’t even need alcohol to have fun. Europeans appreciate techno and this is the number one reason why Brexit is a bad thing. I brought my obsession back to Newcastle, and Backdrop at WHQ is now my favourite night to attend if I need to shake my limbs around a bit to destress. When I went to see Flume at Warehouse Project recently, the techno DJs in the smaller rooms were so much better, but that was probably because the sinister sound suited the venue more than Aussie bae’s sexy single, ‘Say It’. Honestly, Techno > Tove Lo. Like an intoxicated wise woman once said on a snapchat story – it’s a basic four by four beat so if you don’t have a primal instinct to enjoy techno you mustn’t be wired up right. Or maybe I’ve just listened to too much of it and the repetitiveness has hypnotised me. Either way, just let me into Berghain now. Is this the sound of the future? I won’t tech-no for an answer. Sophie Ahmed

The Courier

music .23

Monday 12 December 2016


t 26 years old, Abel Tesfaye has had a hell of a career. I remember first hearing of him when he appeared on Drake’s ‘Take Care’, in ‘Crew Love’ providing a lush, dreamlike hook behind Drake’s smooth lyricism. That felt like his big break, and ever since then he’s been lighting up the billboard, collaborating with exponentially bigger artists like Disclosure and Travis Scott to propel himself to the front of the mainstream. His voice gets all of the attention, a soulful siren echoing the past who sounds best layered over a contemporary beat. Though, last year when he released Beauty Behind the Madness, I felt he was backing himself into a corner. He’d gone down the sultry road, with songs like ‘Earned It’ and ‘Often’ showing his capable ability to drive sex appeal into his songs. Whilst effective, I felt this album wasn’t really standout, with only a few gems among the rough; namely ‘The Hills’ and ‘Shameless’. Abel is destined for pop stardom, so if he was to seriously make some headway and mould the scene in his creative image, he’d have to do something surprising. Enter stage left, STARBOY. Where I thought BBTM was talking to me through an over-produced lens, this feels like Abel telling stories he’s experienced, moments he’s felt and lived through. It’s experimental in his own special way, but hits that sweet spot where most of the songs could and do get airplay. The title track proves he’s as much of a lyricist as a singer “Star Trek roof in that Wraith of Khan” - of course helped by the undeniably fantastic production of Daft Punk. But I think this album shines in the later cuts, songs that might not indulge Radio 1, but get personal and reach through genre boundaries to entertain the ears. ‘Secrets’ is a modern hip-hop revival of Tears for Fears’ ‘Pale Shelter’ in both sample and tone, exploring a tale of deceptive love, and showing his eclectic taste.

“It’s experimental in his own special way”

Chasing Dreams

Bradley Walsh


eah, that bloke from The Chase. Who knew he could sing? I thought his skills only extended to being a slightly inferior version of Alexander Armstrong on daytime Television quiz shows yet how wrong I was. It’s hardly a surprise that this album has sneaked into the Top 10 this week after a listen or two. Simply, it’s the perfect panicked Christmas present for mum or nan this year. Walsh’s melodies perforate around the room and serenade the ears of anyone with whom they come into contact with. Perhaps the highest praise of all came from my housemate with the statement “It’s actually alright this” which I’d argue is the student answer to critical acclaim.

“It’s the perfect panicked Christmas present for mum or nan. ”

Whilst it may seem almost comical to conceptualise the juxtaposition of a Bradley Walsh album, once you begin to delve into the album’s intricacies, you hear Walsh flourish. The album is jam-packed with jazz and swing covers. It’s easy-listening at its finest. You can pop this on in the background of Boxing Day, whilst lay comatose on a sofa after consuming your bodyweight in Christmas leftovers and confectionary, and drift into a delightful daydream soundtacked by Bradley Walsh. The songs covered in the album such as ‘Fly Me to the Moon’ are all-time classics and, despite initial fear of Walsh ruining a song of this magnitude, he copes surprisingly well. He may be a joker on the screen but his voice is seriously strong. These swing songs are not for the faint-hearted and he pulls them off with aplomb. Bradley Walsh’s Chasing Dreams is more than a below par pun on his day job. It’s a respectable album from the unlikeliest of sources. So get it in your mum’s stocking. Now. Ben Grundy

Biffy Clyro Review

by The Weeknd

Songs like ‘Sidewalks’ with Kendrick and ‘All I Know/Six Feet Under’ with Future are bumpier, and the features are passable, ultimately making them feel like cutting room clean-ups from his last album. Further, ‘Ordinary Life’, a song unabashedly about ‘Road Head’ (seriously) is a total mis-

other song with the influence of producer Cashmere Cat, a polemic song about an undervalued partner. The stories Abel tells on this album are certainly worth hearing past the title track, and the evolution of his sound is seriously impressive. Don’t sleep on this one! Jordan Oloman

fire, but I can look past it for the sake of the other gems. ‘True Colors’ is the standout marvel of this record, a gorgeous early 2000’s ballad cataloguing Abel’s need for the women in his life to be who they are, not who they’re attempting to be for ‘The Weeknd’. His voice is almost tortured as he weaves lines about this girl ‘painting him a picture’ of her genuine self through her actions instead of giving him something fake. It’s beautiful, and a must listen on an already unmissable album. This is followed later by Attention, an-

Kylie Minogue


“I just find the whole album to be so disappointing,” The main problem is Minogue’s weak and watery delivery. Her voice is just about audible, when she’s not whispering her way through the songs. SING LOUDER MAN! If she had put some more energy into it, the album would sound a lot more energetic and vivacious, Instead, what we have is Kylie Minogue drawling her way through 22 Christmas songs after taking some Valium. She’s taken something that should be fun and lively and turned it into something that is all rather pedestrian, and I just find it to be so disappointing. Also, the fact that James Corden is a featured artist on the song ‘Only You’ is simply a crime against music. Of course, there are the inevitable original songs included on the album, probably in the hope that they’ll become Christmas classics. Well, Slade she isn’t. To be honest though Kylie doesn’t really need to come out with a mega Christmas classic that she spends the rest of her life relying on for royalties. I just don’t understand why contemporary artists


his was my first venture to Newcastle’s Metro Arena, primarily due to the extortionate ticket prices but also because of my personal preference to see guitar bands in more intimate environments. However, despite my slightly snobby prejudices, Biffy Clyro ensured my maiden voyage was a special one. The stage was illuminated bright white and the stage’s frame backdrop became clear. This use of frames added a depth to the visuals which further enhanced the set’s eye-catching nature. Accompanied by a cacophony of slightly odd yet uplifting gospel music and teenage screams, the band came onstage. Bassist James Johnson and drummer Ben Johnson had adopted the classic Biffy shirtless look, whereas guitarist and lead singer Simon Neal chose initially to don something vaguely resembling a white Chemistry lab coat, before (inevitably) joining in with the shirtless style later on. Bright white lights flashed - this was not a good gig for the epileptic - as guitars crashed during Biffy’s rip-roaring opener ‘Wolves of Winter’ which set the tone for the night. Not content with only providing aural delight, Biffy ensured they gave their fans a visual spectacle too.

“Biffy ensured they gave their fans a visual spectacle as well as aural delight”

Kylie Christmas (Snow Queen Edition)

ylie is back and trying to stay relevant by repackaging her 2015 album Kylie Christmas. I don’t really know where to start. The album opens with a sickly sweet cover of ‘It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year’. It’s not bad, but it’s not good either. I wouldn’t be returning to it any time soon. Whilst the album is a very pleasant and entirely affable Christmas album, there is nothing that is special or ‘magical’ on the album. In short, I just think that Kylie is playing it safe here, too safe. As the Princess of Pop, Kylie should be coming out with something spectacular, this is the woman who brought you classics like ‘Spinning Around’ and ‘Can’t Get You out of my Head’.

Music Editor Ben Grundy reviews Biffy Clyro’s banging set at Newcastle’s Metro Arena

even try to release new Christmas songs, the ones we already have are so deeply rooted in Christmas tradition, they’re just setting themselves up to fail. That said though, there are some hidden jems to be find amongst the duller sounding songs. Whilst not exactly Christmassy ‘Everybody’s Free (To Feel Good)’ is a standout song for me. Now I don’t know how much of this is down it being used in Boots’s Christmas advertising campaigns, but whatever it is has worked its magic on me. Despite what I said earlier, here the delicate delivery just works so well, it adds a gentle subtleness to it and sounds like it is being sung from the heart. It is possibly the most genuine song on an otherwise sickly sweet and sanguine record.

“The main problem is Minogue’s weak and watery delivery. Her voice is just about audible ”

The record just feels like it is far too safe. There’s no doubt that it’s slick and well put together, but there’s nothing that really makes you want to go ‘wow!’ to. Your grandma, who probably doesn’t know the music of Kylie Minogue very well, is more than likely going to enjoy listening to this. It’s pleasant, placid even, but that’s about it. I can’t see this getting to number one in the charts, but you could say that about Kylie’s recent career in general. Thankfully this is one of those albums that you can quickly put away after a few days and never have to think about ever again. That is until next Christmas of course, when Kylie creeps out of the attic ready to wheeze out ‘Winter Wonderland’ when you’re least expecting it. It’s like a neverending cycle of Christmassy musical torture that you’ll never be able to escape from, thanks Kylie, we all really appreciate it. Just get us a gift card next year, yeah? Jack Oliver Parker

Energetic does not do justice to describe the endeavour, enthusiasm and vigour with which Biffy Clyro performed their mammoth yet masterful set. A sea of hands applauded the band’s every move and thousands of eyes followed Simon Neal with his undeniable swagger. In fact, their appearance somewhat embodies the band as a whole. From a distance, it may seem abrasive and somewhat uncouth yet once you delve further you realise this a band who are actually incredibly tight and intricate musically. Another thing which catches the eye is the diverse demographic of audience. This is a band who have been making music before I was even alive. They have attracted and entranced young and old alike and tonight proves why. Quite simply, they have absolutely huge tunes. ‘Sounds Like Balloons’ and ‘Biblical’ kick-start the set into life, the riff of ‘Bubbles’ is undeniably timeless, whilst ‘Mountains’ and ‘Black Chandelier’ have everyone’s vocal chords in ruins. ‘Medicine’ sees Neal solely joined by an acoustic guitar and stood above the audience at the top of the stage like the deity he really is. During these bangers, the visual display continue as the white frame turns a smoky red as green lasers emerge from the side of the stage. However, it is through the emotive songs rather than the heavier ones where Biffy seemingly reach new levels of excellence. ‘Many of Horror’, despite Matt Cardle and Simon Cowell’s best efforts, is wonderful. I’m fairly certain ‘Folding Stars’ has The Courier Music Columnist - and my plus one for the evening Finlay Pelling with a slight tear in his eye and, by the time ‘Machines’ comes around, I’m joining him. ‘Machines’ is the set’s final song and has Neal stood inches away from the audience singing “I’ve started falling apart, I’m not savouring life” with the audience’s rallying response of “Take the pieces and build them skywards”. The raw interaction and interchange is nothing short of magical. The atmospheric intangibility of such a moment makes it almost impossible to truly describe its emotional magnitude.

“The raw interaction and interchange is nothing short of magical” Biffy leave the stage to rapturous applause and, obviously, return - following audiences cries of “Mon the Biff”. Their encore is one of pure power through tunes such as ‘The Captain’ and ‘Stingin’ Belle’. It’s in your face, aggressive and absolutely transfixing. It’s exactly why I love Biffy Clyro.

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Monday 12 December 2016

The Courier

TV Editors: Luke Acton, Alison Scurfield and Dominic Corrigan

Too much Mrs Brown?

e v i t s Fe back w Thro

This week, Ally Wilson looks back to the 2008 Christmas Special of Gavin and Stacey


t only takes the familiar opening credit song to remind you of how much you’ve missed Gavin and Stacey, with Smithy’s obsession of putting Italian suffixes onto the end of every word, Gavin’s tragic done-up-top-button-without-a-tie look, Pam’s constant state of panic and Bryn, Jason and Dave’s adorable awkwardness surrounding the ambiguous ‘fishing trip’. It is the clash of characters that makes this show so entertaining, and yet the subtle nature of its writing keeps it a classy and intellectual kind of humour. Alison Steadman’s performance of the hysterical mother wanting everything to be perfect is so unbelievably relatable, and is complimented beautifully by Larry Lamb’s constant coolness in the face of adversity, as well as his patience whilst having “Oh my Christ!” repeatedly shouted at him. Rob Brydon plays pretty much the only character he’s ever been able to play in a comedy, but he does it with a delivery so uncanny, you’d be forgiven for forgetting that he’s the same guy from the Crunchy Nut ads and Would I Lie to You? As much as we love the main characters, poor old Matthew Horne and Joanna Page pulled the short straw by having to play Gavin and Stacey- the two most boring characters in the show, who have to spend an hour giggling about how in love they are and smooching grossly. Sorry. But of course, there’s James Corden and Ruth Jones- the real stars of the show, both behind and in front of the camera, who are so unselfish with the writing, and so exquisite with the delivery of their own lines. They can have you crying with laughter during Nessa’s very Welsh act as Santa, and crying with despair as Smithy begs her not to marry dodgey Dave.

“James Corden and Ruth Jones are so unselfish with the writing, and so exquisite in the delivery of their own lines” One of the best things about the Gavin and Stacey Christmas special is that you don’t need to be a religious watcher of the show in order to enjoy it- just a vague idea of the background of the characters and you’re sorted. And even if you hate the show, hate the characters, hate everything about it, you can’t deny the fact that it is overflowing with some absolute Christmas bangers. I’m talking Chris Rea, Brenda Lee, Band Aid, the whole shebang. In fact, I don’t think it’s actually possible for any normal human being to hear the cavernous, echoing drums of Do They Know It’s Christmas without bawling their heart out to it like Smithy does down the phone to Gavilar. More than anything, this Christmas special teaches us so much. Not only does it teach us the redundancy of wrapping paper following Smithy’s revelation that with tin foil you can just “scrunch and go”, or how not to mime the keyboard (Larry, I’m talking to you). No, Ruth Jones and James Corden seem to have realised what the writers of Doctor Who, Downton Abbey and Eastenders just can’t seem to grasp; the normality of it all makes it so heart-warming. It includes all the standard features of a family Christmas- the constant state of intoxication, the inevitable huge family argument, the endless consumption of unnecessary food- and yet underneath it all, runs the themes of marriage and friendship, growing old and moving forward, all accompanied with a glass of mint Bailey’s and aching cheeks.

Mrs Brown’s Boys has been given two Christmas specials this year. Ciara Clarke looks at whether or not the sitcom about an Irish Mammy and her family has finally ran its course


hen Brendan O’Carroll’s Agnes Brown first graced our screens in 2011, it was almost impossible not to laugh at her antics, not to mention the often rude humour which, surprisingly was openly accepted by even the most traditional BBC viewers. Soon the show became a classic but after three series, ten specials and not to mention THAT movie, has the show finally worn itself out?

“The emotional mottos behind each episode are heartwarming and genuinely moving” When I first began watching the show in 2011, I instantly fell in love with it both due to the excellent family actors who bounced off each other so naturally, but also the emotional mottos behind each episode which, even though were lightly dusted over the humour, were none the less heartwarming and genuinely moving, adding just the right amount of humility to this comedy. A particular favourite for me was during a Christmas special when ‘Mammy’ Agnes Brown reminisced about her own father to her grandson Bono. The Christmas specials quickly became almost as traditional to BBC Christmas TV as the Eastenders or the Doctor Who Christmas special raking in over 9 million viewers in 2013. The show definitely reached its peak here, proving that it is not critic reviews that make a show, but the views of those that matter, the people at home. Then it all came crashing down with Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie. To me, this was the turning point in the shows legacy as it clearly became more about making money than the quality of the comedy. Most of the gags were seen before, the acting was painfully awkward and the storyline just didn’t work on the big screen. Here, I had to agree with

the critics, the movie was a complete disaster. I feel like this is a growing problem for most TV shows and films nowadays where it becomes all about moneymaking for the producers, rather than whether a spin-off or sequel actually works.

“Personally, I cannot see how the show has any laughter left in it, with the release of the two Christmas specials for 2016” The following Christmas specials and the Live 2016 special seemed to add a little bit of the old

Peep Show



’m very particular when it comes to comedy programmes but a show that I have really enjoyed watching this year, and something which I couldn’t recommend more is Peep Show. A classic British comedy starring David Mitchell and Robert Webb, the show was released on Netflix this year but first began in 2003. It follows two very different but equally as dysfunctional friends called Mark and Jeremy, who tough it out through the most awkward of scenarios. The dark, sarcastic comedy, narrated by the thoughts of the pair is extremely relatable yet weird and outlandish enough to make anyone feel as though they aren’t as awkward as they once thought, compared to these protagonists. The pair have original and individualised story lines and often differ on social decisions. Mark is arguably more sensible but is an over-thinker, and Jeremy is borderline mad on occasion, as he even accidentaly facilitates a robbery in the bank that Mark works at. However, arguably the programme is based on an extremely subtle, unwritten bromance between Mark and Jeremy, even if they don’t completely understand each other’s perspectives on life. “‘Soz’ is not an appropriate level of apology for facilitating an armed fucking robbery” - Mark So, if you need something to binge watch over Christmas, to get away from revision or the family, there are seven series total of Peep Show which are perfect for a rather quirky and cynical 25 minute break from whatever you are doing this holiday.

Sian Dicke



oly prequels, Batman! Gotham’s third season has been the most engaging, with plotlines unfolding far more smoothly than ever before. The show had a rocky start, with a first season that was hit-and-miss. Tonal issues were sorted in the second season, with the two sides of Batman’s mythology being balanced -the gritty grimness of Christopher Nolan’s films and the camp, largerthan-life zaniness of the 1960’s TV show, in order to create the comical darkness that the show does better than any other currently airing.. The third season has seen Jim Gordon struggle with Leslie Thompkins’ engagement to Mario Falcone. Of course, this being Gotham, Mario is not just a normal guy, but is infected by a virus, which makes him crazy and super-powered. Still, it hits the right notes emotionally, with the ultimate result being tragic for pretty much everyone involved. Meanwhile, Ed Nygma finally discovers that The Penguin was the one who killed Isabella. Unsurprisingly, he’s not best pleased, and plots revenge teaming up with Barbara, Butch and Tabitha. While it does feel like this combination is really forced, the confrontation between Ed and The Penguin seems to be edging ever closer and the pay-off should be worth the wait, though I am disappointed about collapse of their (b)romance. The latter half of season 3 is set to kick off with the re-introduction of fan-favourite Jerome, the show’s potential proto-Joker. After his death last series, it can only be assumed that he was brought back by Hugo Strange’s crazy experiments. It wouldn’t be the first time that this has happened to a character. Dominic Corrigan.

sparkle back into the show. Although, here it began to feel like the same old gags and predictable, empty storylines. Nonetheless, I found myself laughing away, but nowhere near to the extent of the original series. I felt that, after gaining back some face after the movie, here would have been a good place to call it a day. Personally, I cannot see how the show has any laughter left in it, with the release of the two Christmas specials for 2016. I feel that all the laughs and comedy will just be the same and will ruin the only-just intact reputation of the earlier series. Producers need to learn that sometimes, it is better to leave things as they were and move on, rather than play it out and ruin the magic.

The Missing



istory threatened to repeat itself in this week’s the missing as we saw Sophie Giroux teetering on the edge of the cliff in front of a horrified, desperate, Julien Baptiste, who willed her not to jump like her mother did ten years ago. The finale certainly did not disappoint, leaving us on cliff hangers throughout as we watched Sam and Gemma trekking across Europe with Baptiste to discover the fate of their beloved daughter, Alice. We saw Adam, Alice and Sophie’s abductor, hunting them like a predator in the woodlands, trying to protect what he sickeningly dubbed, his ‘family’. As the shaky camera cut between Baptiste, Gemma and Sam between the trees, we were left on the edge of our seats, waiting to find out who would be Adam’s next victim. Sadly, in the end, it was Sam that fell victim to the sniper and, as he finally laid eyes on daughter Alice for the first time in 11 years, he slipped into unconsciousness, never to see her again. As Alice re-joined her family, they lost Sam. As Sophie’s Dad finally goes to see her, he discovers he has a granddaughter, but his own daughter has rejected him out of anguish at the loss of Adam. Of course, if everyone had listened to Baptiste, the series would have reached its conclusion much sooner. But part of the pleasure of watching The Missing are the thrills we have in discovering the dark secrets of each of the characters. Certainly, the season finale was no disappointment, and as we watched Baptiste finally undergo brain surgery, the writers cleverly had him count down to three before he slipped under the anaesthetic. Will our beloved Baptiste be returning for a third series of BBCs best drama? I certainly hope so. Holly Cowan

The Courier


Monday 12 December 2016

Christmas Picks

Our writers give us the low down on their top shows to cosy up and watch over the festive period

Car Share

Last week it was announced that a Christmas special of Peter Kay’s Car Share will air this Christmas eve. The long awaited special comes after the announcement of a second series, due to air in May next year. Series one hinted at a festive episode, with John (Kay) being put in charge of organizing Christmas at the supermarket where he and Kayleigh (Sian Gibson) work, and Kayleigh insisting she be a part of his Christmas team. With talk of elf costumes, Christmas CDs and a bad experience at an ex girlfriend’s house on Christmas eve all included in the first series, Car Share has lots of potential for a fantastically funny festive jaunt to and from work, from our favourite northern coworkers. With the announcement that the second series of Car Share will only contain four episodes, a Christmas special comes as a much needed fix of comedy legend, Peter Kay. Alison Scurfield


The new series of the now legendary Sherlock can’t seem to come around fast enough - when the fourth series premieres on New Year’s Day, we’ll have had a near three year wait to find out how the supposedly deceased criminal mastermind, Jim Moriarty appeared on our screens asking if we’d missed him. Oh, we did. The game is on again for our favourite high-functioning sociopath Sherlock Holmes and his loyal blogger John Watson, as they rampage through London attempting to solve this mystery. With the introduction of new villain Toby Jones, and presumably many more, this series is certain to be full

of deductions, deerstalkers and resurrections from the grave. Not forgetting the new arrivals of a baby for the Watsons, and a bloodhound for Sherlock, perhaps compensating for the absence of a certain best friend. Only one thing’s for sure: as always, we’re in for an electrifying experience. Stacie Byers

Doctor Who

This year’s festive adventure, aptly titled The Return of Doctor Mysterio, sees the Doctor return to our screens for the first time this year. After a 24-year-long holiday with River Song, our favourite Time Lord is accompanied once again by Matt Lucas’s Nardole, and New York is under threat from brain-stealing aliens. The pair team up with mysterious masked vigilante The Ghost (Justin Chatwin) in a superhero caper, inspired, according to writer Steven Moffat, by Clark Kent’s Superman. It promises to be a light and funny episode, but it wouldn’t be a Doctor Who Christmas without a whole lot of heart too. Expect some emotional moments as the relationship between The Ghost’s loveable alter-ego Grant and investigative reporter Lucy is tested, when he attempts to conceal his superhero identity. Get ready to be hiding behind the sofa one minute and reaching for the tissues the next. Cathie Swan

Coronation Street

What is Christmas without a dose of drama? Overlooking the fact that no Coronation Street residents have noticed how unlikely it is that so many disasters could happen on one street, especially at the most wonderful time of the year, this festive season is shaping up to be a good one. Firstly, Andy will attack villainous Phelan, after suspecting he played a part in his fake father’s demise, and Kevin will be blamed for the assault. Kevin is also struggling to fund an operation for Sophie. Furthermore, Peter’s secret lover will finally be revealed- hopefully it’ll be worth the wait. Pers o n a l l y, my money’s on Norris. Also, Aidan and Maria admit their feelings to each other, but as always, the course of true love never did run smooth. Expect fireworks! Dominic Corrigan

Have a tipsy Christmas

Errol Kerr gives us his best Christmas TV drinking games- play with your favourite festive tipple


irst things first, The Courier does not condone excessive drinking. That disclaimer now having been said, over the course of the festive season, I assume that whether due to wanting to get into a festive mood, because you’re sick of watching Christmas specials again, or because your family are all also pissed, you’ll want to play a drinking game to make the endless Christmas re-runs of everything ever, survivable. Therefore, lo and behold, I am to provide you with several rules you can apply to your TV-watching in which you can really discover the true meaning of Christmas- getting absolutely mortal.

The Santa Hat

This one’s a classic - you’ll have seen on the Internet, and I’m going to put a bit of a twist onto it. Simply pop a Santa hat onto the top left corner of your television screen. Every time s o m e one’s head fits perfectly underneath that Santa hat, waterfall your drink until they’re out of sync with the hat. Sounds easy, right? Tell me that when you’re on the floor.

Oh Christmas Tree

Take a look at the layout of any room on any TV show: Is the fireplace lit? If so, shot of whiskey – warm yourselves up, for Christ’s sake. (literally for Christ’s sake.) Conveniently placed mistletoe? If you’re with a significant other at this point in time, you’ve both got to drink – if you’re not, then you drink twice as much as you normally would to cheer your lonely selves up. Finally, is there a Christmas tree on the screen? Drink! Alternatively, play this one a little more hardcore, and break the spirits out. Take a look at the item

that adorns the top of the tree - If it’s got an angel on the top, shot of tequila. If it’s got a star, shot of whiskey. If it’s something else, I’m so sorry, but shot some vodka.

Advertised Drinks

This one’s best played as a group, and can be done one of two ways: Each person picks one of the adverts this year – whether the one by John Lewis, H&M, M&S, Aldi, even the Burberry one. Whenever your ad comes up, you’ve got to drink. Alternatively, set the H&M one aside, and everyone picks another advert. Whenever your ad comes on, pour some of your drink into a glass in the middle. When the H&M ad comes on, the last person to pour their drink into the glass has to drink the entire thing before the ad’s over. If they don’t manage it, well, that’s just going to have to be them drinking a shot of whiskey afterwards. On a non- TV related note, let’s throw in a couple more, just for good measure.

Christmas Jingle

This one’s a cruel one, but it’ll do the job. ANY TIME a Christmas song comes on - whether on a TV show, advert, whatever – drink. It’ll make those constant bloody Morrisons ads remotely bearable, and means that even the breaks are worth something.

It’s Christmaaaaas!

This one’s painfully simple – every time the word Christmas is said, take a drink. EVERY SINGLE TIME. At this current time, you’d be surprised. I hope by now you’ll all be suitably tipsy and falling asleep in front of old reruns of Christmas special on G.O.L.D. Have a very merry Christmas, and a hungover New Year!

Joel’s dead good shows AHS: Covern


ollowing the success of the first two seasons of American Horror Story, Ryan Murphy exposed the world to his latest cackle of complex characters. Set in a school for young witches, the third cycle of the show, subtitled Coven, is one of my favourites. With a central mystery of who’ll become the next Supreme (the witch leader of sorts), the season brings the shocks but also a little Murphy predictability too.

“The four students each bring their own special ability, which is why they’re in the academy in the first place” The bewitching characters reside in Miss Robichaux’s Academy, a beautiful New Orleans mansion, where headmistress Cordelia Foxx (Sarah Paulson) harnesses their abilities in an attempt to save the witch line from extinction. The four students each bring their own special ability, which is why they’re in the academy in the first place; their ability has brought them unwanted attention from a society which has no awareness that witches are real, and essentially the students have been forced to attend the academy to prevent such recognition. In typical Murphy style, the abilities are both amusing at times but pretty cool too: one can induce a brain haemorrhage through sex; one is telekinetic; another can inflict pain on a recipient by harming herself; and the other is clairvoyant. These four teenagers spend the season in competition to be the new Supreme, much to the dismay of the current one, Fiona Goode. Played by the queen of AHS, Jessica Lange, Fiona is one sassy lady with an array of a bad-ass powers. Having murdered her Supreme when she was a teenager herself, the woman is awaiting a similar fate herself, though she’ll do whatever it takes to keep hold of her reign. As always, the season would be nothing without Lange, frankly. Everyone else is wonderful in their roles, particularly Emma Roberts in her AHS debut, but nobody even comes clse to Lange.

“Everyone else is wonderful in their roles, particularly Emma Roberts in her AHS debut, but nobody even comes close to Lange” Intertwined with the witches storyline are two other screen legends: Kathy Bates and Angela Bassett. Bates portrays real life 19th century slave torturer, Madame LaLaurie, who in the show has been kept alive under a voodoo spell. The spell has been enacted by her enemy, Marie Laveau, played by Bassett, who is herself based on a real life 19th century New Orleans figure. The two character continue to lock horns centuries later, though Fiona Goode and the witches are now part of the war. The season was definitely quite complex yet interesting, particularly for its historical concepts. Speaking of legendary cast members though, look out for Stevie Nicks towards the latter half of the season, with her role as...wait for it...herself!? One character, Misty Day (Lily Rabe), is obsessed with the Fleetwood Mac vocalist and is convinced she’s a ‘white witch’ – cue the guest appearance by Nicks herself. Coven isn’t the most polished of the AHS franchise, but it’s fun and interesting. If you’re looking to watch a bunch of sassy characters throwing each other against walls, using only their minds, and that sort of dramatic entertainment, then it’s probably your kind of show. Joel Lever


Monday 12 December 2016

The Courier

Film Editors: Emma Allsopp, Zoë Godden & Simon Ramshaw

Ho-ho-ho or bah-bah-humbug? ‘Tis the season to be jolly...or is it? Benjamin Eckford and Alex Peden fight it out

GUILT TRIP White Christmas (1954)

The column of shame takes a festive turn this week, as Alice Wilson breaks out the mince pies and mulled wine and takes a look at White Christmas. Was her viewing experience merry and bright?


hite Christmas features all the worst parts of a traditional Hollywood musical: terrible sets, teeth-clenchingly cheesy acting and some truly astonishing outfits. The likelihood of any normal adult getting as excited about snow as Bob, Phil, Betty and Judy do on the train to Vermont is very slim, but for the purpose of this musical, the thought of frozen water falling from the sky sends them into such a frenzy of anticipation, they simply have to sing about it and miraculously conjure up an orchestra to accompany them. The excitable energy which constantly pulses out of Judy and the slapstick nonsense that falls out of Phil is enough to make you actually feel like chundering on the settee. The stiff-upper-lip-nononsense-you-can’t-help-me stubborn General is a character so cliché even a Martian would call it stereotypical. And yes, the cringey convenience of Bob knowing everyone in the television industry enabling him to culminate just the right amount of money to keep the hotel up and running is all rather unbearable. Oh, and of course the central love story of Betty and Bob which keeps the evolution of the characters flowing throughout the movie, seems to be reconciled by the world’s shittiest Christmas present ever (seriously, watch it and you’ll see).

But, I love it. Even with its disgraceful one-liners, wearisome clichés and ridiculously far-fetched plot, it’s one of the all-time greats. I could not be more ignorant of show and ballroom dancing, and yet even I can appreciate the excellence of the choreography, and the effort with which such exquisite showmanship is brought about. In addition, there are some absolute bangers in there, whether it is the girly duet of Sisters, the glorified war chant of Gee, I Wish I Was Back in the Army, or, of course, the title track White Christmas, which has been the soundtrack to everyone’s Yuletide for decades. And these songs are truly done justice by the immortal baritone of Bing Crosby, the mellifluous melodies of Rosemary Clooney (who, by the way, is George Clooney’s aunt - fun fact) and the intricate and graceful dancing of Danny Kaye and Vera-Ellen. And anyway, when you’re layered up with five jumpers not only because it’s very cold outside but also because you need to hide the evidence of the copious amount of mince pies and shortbread you’ve eaten, whilst sipping on a Lemsip to nurse the cold you seem to have had for about three months, do you really want some weird psychological thriller which will make you feel stupid and depressed? No. What you need is an uplifting, heart-warming, if slightly mind-numbing, easyto-watch movie about love, music and nostalgia. So you’re welcome, Merry Christmas!

over whether the tradition of festive films is a perfect winter-warmer or just old hat


FOR: Benjamin Eckford


ome people malign this holiday tradition, but it’s one of my absolute favourites. There’s nothing better in the month of December than to settle down in your lovely warm house while it snows outside and watch one of the old classics. It’s a wonderful way to spend the cold winter evenings and helps me get into the Christmas spirit. People often assume that Christmas movies are all the same, they’re unoriginal, they’re bland, they’re sappy, etc. Not true. Tell me that when John McClane bellows ‘Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker!’ while blowing up an elevator shaft, Harry and Marv get smacked in the face by paint cans, or the haunting of Scrooge. There’s a huge diversity of Christmas movies out there. Are they sappy? No. I hate sappy movies. They have all the worst aspects of films which tug on your heartstrings with none of the good aspects. The emotional payoffs are clunky and undeserved. Christmas films, however, are probably the biggest contributors to the whole idea of the Christmas ‘spirit’. It’s hugely enjoyable for viewers to be imbued with that belief that anything is possible at Christmas. I challenge you to watch those gutpunchingly emotional moments and not feel your heart break. Every time I see little Kevin reunited with his mother on Christmas morning, I choke back tears. When Scrooge wakes up on Christmas morning and changes his way, or (in the best Christmas movie), George Bailey is glad he was born. Long live Christmas movies.

AGAINST: Alex Peden

hristmas movies are easily the worst thing about the Christmas period. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no Grinch. I love Christmas; the food, the Christmas cheer everywhere, the decorations, the lights but I cannot stand most Christmas movies. In general, Christmas movies are made simply with the mind-set of exploiting the Christmassy feeling of moviegoers this time of year, just like the ever-present Christmas adverts which start sometime in August. Many Christmas films have weak plots and rubbish, cringe-worthy acting, but because they’re specifically aimed at punters who want to see something festive they do pretty well. Yes, I’ll accept that some Christmas movies are fun, and have a strong nostalgia attached with them, but many more, especially ones made in recent years, are just bad movies wrapped up in a Christmas façade. Take Christmas out of these movies and what do you have? A bad movie, that’s what. The plots are often formulaic and predictable – to save Christmas, or to help someone – nice stories, but can be very cringe-worthy. And the characters are rarely developed and poorly acted. It’s safe to say Christmas movies aren’t going to be winning any Oscars, or anything for that matter. People love Christmas movies for what they represent – an idealised vision of Christmas, which never really reflects the real thing. But behind this festive mask, Christmas movies are repetitive, over-simplistic and just plain bad. If a Christmas movie comes along and it’s good, I’m all for it. But that’s a rarity.

This year’s cinematic Christmas crackers There’s barely three weeks left of 2016, so how many films have we got left in store? Quite a few, Toby Bryant states, as he rounds up the films to end the year with a bang


he winter, and the festive period that comes with it, is very much here. Thankfully, for us film lovers, this provides the perfect excuse to stay in and have movie nights or seek refuge in the safe warmth of our favourite indoor activity – the cinema! Here I take a look at the best films to watch out for this winter. Firstly, the compulsory Christmas film. Sadly, this year the choice of movies for Christmas fanatics is rather scarce. Office Christmas Party, out December 9th, looks to be the best bet. There’s nothing outstanding about the plot, a bunch of employees on the edge of being sacked indulge in an O.T.T. Christmas Party, but I will nonetheless be paying to watch the film. Everyone loves a Christmas Party and the fun ‘n’ frolic shenanigans which fill the film will be sure to leave viewers in a jovial mood. Furthermore, it features Jennifer Aniston who never disappoints!

“Christmas is the perfect excuse to go to the safe warmth of our favourite indoor activity - the cinema!”

Disney’s Moana has already been released this month but will continue to pull in crowds right into deep December. If Alessia Cara’s theme-track ‘How Far I’ll Go’ wasn’t enough to convince you that the film was worth watching then the trailer, full of the infectious joy that Disney have perfected over the years, certainly is. Moana definitely looks to be one for the family this month! For those wanting something a little more serious, The Founder is set to be a good watch. The film documents the story of Ray Kroc and the rise of the chain McDonald’s in a biographical drama format. The film’s release date has been pushed back all year but is now set as a limited release on December 16th with a wide release following on January 20th 2017. The movie features Michael Keaton as Kroc and Laura Dern as his wife Ethel Fleming. Another film out next month is Damien Chazelle’s musical comedy-drama La La Land which

has a star studded cast including heartthrob Ryan Gosling, The Amazing Spider-man’s Emma Stone and even pop-star John Legend. The plot follows a musician and aspiring actress who fall in love in Los Angeles. The on-screen chemistry between Gosling and Stone should be second to none as it is, after all, the third time the duo appears as lovers after both acting in Crazy, Stupid, Love and Gangster Squad. Indeed, the film has had rave review from critics who praise the main actors’ performances. Before the year runs out there’s still time for another of those big money, extravagant sci-fi films. Passengers follows the story of two astronauts, played by Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt, who wake up on a spaceship 90 years early from an induced hibernation. It is set for release December 21st and will, without doubt, generate attention given the calibre of the actors in it. I tend to be dubious with far-fetched sci-fi films such as Pas-

sengers but, watching the trailer, director Morten Tyldum could well have pulled it off.

“In La La Land, Gosling and Stone’s on-screen chemistry should be electric after their rom-com Crazy, Stupid, Love” Finally, I couldn’t leave out the hotly anticipated Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The film is a move away from the classic Star Wars films as it is the first anthology of the series and a standalone story which takes placed before the original events in the infamous Star Wars saga. Felicity Jones and Diego Luna top the bill in a movie which follows a group of Rebel spies in their endeavour to steal designs for the Galactic Empire’s Death Star.

The Courier


Monday 12 December 2016 | @Courier_Film

Moana (PG)

Golden Oldies Presents... Frank Capra’s


had been looking forward to Moana since Disney first released information about it, and not only was it well worth the wait, it was so much better than I expected. It follows a young girl who, with the help of demigod Maui, tries to save her Polynesian island, and even though the story itself isn’t particularly special, everything else makes up for it. Firstly, the characters are wonderfully wellrounded. Maui, voiced by Dwayne Johnson, is one bragging demigod, but it appears there is more to him than his heroic deeds. He also argues with his hilarious tattooed mini-me, who is basically helping him on the right path. Moana herself, voiced by real-life look-a-like Auli’i Cravalho, is a strong, independent woman who can stand her ground, but who also makes mistakes. Besides that, her hair very realistically keeps getting in her face, and with more flesh around her bones and a waist that is not as inhumanly thin as the overused wasp-waist, Moana is a princess with a more realistic body shape than, well, basically other female Disney character (except for Nani from Lilo and Stitch). And yes, she is a princess, although Moana herself would say that she’s just the daughter of a chief, but it basically comes down to the same. Besides, “if you wear a dress and you have an animal sidekick, you’re a princess.” Talking about the animal sidekick, you would never think that an idiotic chicken like Heihei

The Edge of Seventeen (15)


he Edge of Seventeen has finally and successfully filled the void that is women’s coming-of-age films. My issues with films like this, such as The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Me, Earl and the Dying Girl are that they are so focused on boys, their relationships with their families, friends and girls (often manic pixie dream girls). Although I am a fan of this genre, I often feel its reliability for women is somewhat limited. Seeing a story of a similar ilk from a girl’s perspective for once was refreshing. In all honesty, I was expecting to leave the cinema in annoyance at yet another ‘quirky alternative kid tackles the trials of growing up’ film. And yes, she did tackle said trials of high school, teen romance, family issues etc., but it was done in a brilliantly original way. The film had fantastic comedic value by actually including all those really random bizarre moments in real life that coming of age films often ignore and replace with a more idealistic kind of ‘awkward’. The protagonist, Nadine, was hilarious, purely because she said what you didn’t expect her to. Although the overall plot was a rather predictable one, her character was consistently entertaining and kept you slightly unsure as to what she would do next. Kudos for the film for so brilliantly highlighting the weird attraction people have to being ‘the only one with problems’. Unlike many films of this genre which focus on one misfit who categorically cannot be understood by anyone, The Edge of Seventeen focused on a character who didn’t seem to want to be understood by anyone, but learns throughout the film how to be dependable and relate to others. I’d recommend the film to anyone looking for an obscure yet lighthearted comedy, intertwined with some more genuinely heartfelt messages also to anyone wanting to feel some nostalgia for their own bizarrely awkward high school years.

More like this: Juno (2007) Carys Rose Thomas

could steal the show, but he does. Besides this surprise, there is also the adorable Pua the pig, but he sadly doesn’t have as much screen time as Heihei. Another character (human) who hasn’t enough screen time is Moana’s grandmother, who is just hard not to love even though (or because) she is the “crazy village lady”. And watch out for a cameo from a character of another recent beloved Disney film as one of the easter eggs! Of course, as a Disney film, it needs catchy songs and a wonderful soundtrack, and with thanks to the mastermind behind Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda, it has just that (although admittedly, they’re not as big of a hit as Frozen’s “Let it Go”, but that is a high bar to pass). Inspired by the Polynesian music, it feels exotic and familiar at the same time, and you will have some songs stuck in your head for quite a while. And who knew Dwayne ‘the Rock’ Johnson could sing?!

It is also very refreshing to have a Disney princess film in which romance is not important at all. No soon-to-be-spouse to the chief-to-be in sight. Not mentioned either, and in fact, they don’t even dare to think about it. Instead, this is just a story about finding who you are while saving the world, and you better get on that canoe and join Moana, because she will kick your ass if you don’t. Maui had to learn the hard way. Honestly, I believe I have seen all of Disney’s animated films, but I think this film has already become one of my favourites. I urge you to go see it over the holidays, because it’s one wonderful journey, and then, what can I say, except… You’re welcome. More like this: Lilo and Stitch (2002) Becky van Leeuwen

Sully (12A)

One More Time with Feeling (15)

n January 2009, when both engines of US Airways Flight 1549 failed, Captain Chelsey ‘Sully’ Sullenberger (Tom Hanks) is forced to make an emergency landing on New York’s Hudson River, saving the lives of everybody on board and turning the captain into a national hero. However, he faces an investigation about the incident, threatening both his reputation and career. Based on the Captain’s autobiography, this account of the ‘Miracle on the Hudson’ is Clint Eastwood’s best directorial effort in years. The combination of tense sequences, first-rate acting and a taut running time makes Sully an intense yet insightful drama.The film’s emphasis on the landing sequence makes for quite a repetitive narrative, as the events play out in different iterations. However, the brilliance of the special effects makes these scenes gripping and frighteningly realistic. Not only do we see the actual events from different perspectives, but tragic alternate outcomes are illustrated in Sully’s visions, which, along with the heroism of the crew and first-responders evoke parallels with 9/11, and bring Eastwood’s recurring theme of heroism to the fore. Tom Hanks is excellent as ever. He captures Sully’s everyman figure, authoritative nature and reluctant hero status in a nuanced and brooding performance, for which he should receive the awards recognition that he has missed out on recently with Bridge of Spies and Captain Phillips. Aaron Eckhart and Breaking Bad’s Anna Gunn are the stand outs from an impressive supporting cast, although Laura Linney is largely wasted as Lorraine, Sully’s wife, who spends the entirety of her screen time on the phone to her husband. The combination of Eastwood and Hanks is perfect for the film’s real-life subject matter. Hanks’ immensely trustworthy and likeable persona keeps Sully grounded as the film’s heart, while Eastwood handles the set-pieces with ease and honours the bravery of those involved. More like this: Flight (2013)

t was an exciting prospect to find a new documentary focused on the enigmatic Nick Cave a mere two years after the wonderful 20,000 Days on Earth landed, but after seeing One More Time with Feeling was made under better circumstances. While 20,000 Days was a joyous celebration of the creative process, One More Time revisits Cave in the throes of a deep personal grief after the accidental death of his 15 year-old son, Arthur. Going into this, I was fully prepared to be emotionally gutted by the candid material on display, and it still wasn’t enough to contend with Andrew Dominik’s probing documentary. There are points where the limits of the format are stretched to the point of agony, particularly when Cave’s wife, Susie Bick, enters the picture to talk about the tragedy alongside her husband. But the content never feels exploitative, which is a sheer marvel, considering the painful sequences of Cave simply talking himself through this unspeakable trauma. But Dominik doesn’t completely leave us adrift in this sea of suffering, as the documentary is just as much about the making of Cave’s (and the Bad Seeds’) new album, ‘Skeleton Tree’. Dominik has two world-class DoPs working for him in fascinating ways in these stretches, with Danny Boyle collaborator Alwin H. Küchler grounding the material and the ever-ambitious Benoît Debie sending the camera flying into some pretty insane areas. Debie’s work is occasionally distracting and showy in alignment with the beautiful wordplay of Cave’s lyrics, but there’s not a lot that can stunt the flow of such gorgeous music along the way. Shot (mostly) in sumptuous black-and-white 3D, One More Time with Feeling is an almosttoo-intimate brush with an artist at his lowest ebb that thoroughly deconstructs the god-like Cave of 20,000 Days on Earth. As a follow-up, it’s eye-watering. As a stand-alone film, it is still ruthlessly unbearable. But don’t let that put you off. More like this: Gimme Shelter (1970)

Dan Haygarth

Simon Ramshaw



It’s a Wonderful Life Throughout December, the Tyneside Cinema is showing regular screenings of this 1946 holiday classic. For our Chrimbo issue, Joe Holloran argues whether this iconic winter wonder still holds up today.


hen you think of Christmas movies what comes to mind? Snow, Christmas trees covered in decorations, an overweight, aged gentleman in a crimson gown. All pleasant thoughts. Why is it then that a film following a suicidal middle aged man’s Christmas Eve crisis has burrowed its way into our hearts and become a staple of our yuletide viewings? It’s a Wonderful Life brings us through this dark subject matter to the light at the end of the tunnel. That light being the affirming of life, family and love. The film follows family man George Bailey, portrayed fantastically by the charismatic James Stewart, as he struggles with depression and suicidal thoughts. This despite all the seemingly wonderful things going on in his life. Namely a loving wife Mary and his caring children. Life wasn’t always this way for George though, having suffered hearing loss saving his younger brother as a child and struggling through the Wall Street Crash. The portrayal of George as a caring man wanting to provide for his family but let down by the system, is as relatable today as it was 70 years ago. For a film of this time It’s a Wonderful Life portrays mental health difficulties with both realism and compassion. Credit for this must go to director Frank Capra, writer Phillip Van Doren Stern and the vulnerable performance of Jimmy Stewart. George is helped through his troubles by Angel 2nd Class Clarence, who is determined to save George and gain his wings in the process. Through flashbacks we empathise greatly with George as we learn of his past problems, whilst rooting for him to find a way through the fog.

On the surface the narrative seems to suggest you and your family are about to sit down to a gloomy French neo-realist film rather than a Christmas classic. It succeeds, however, due to the life affirming message of its third act, which I won’t ruin here for the few among you who haven’t yet seen it, but it’s safe to assume that George has a change of heart. As good as Stewart is, the film would not be the same without the great performances of his co-stars, notably Donna Reed and Henry Travers. Given it surface plot it’s perhaps not hard to believe that upon it cinematic release back in the winter of 1946, It’s a Wonderful Life was a box-office failure. Just barely recouping its threemillion-dollar production cost. Few films if any are this life affirming even after many viewings. It is a great example of the indomitable human spirit to overcome adversity and sorrow and find salvation not from without, but from within one’s own heart, a will to survive and to share life with those who make it worth living.


Monday 12th December 2016

The Courier

Gaming Editors: Jordan Oloman, Errol Kerr & Jared Moore

Top 5 Vehicles

Jack Coles talks vehicles as the Courier moves towards Christmas 5. M35 Mako – Mass Effect Let’s get one thing straight: I loved the driving sections of Mass Effect. There were a few driving bits added to Mass Effect 2 as DLC, but they weren’t a core part of gameplay and offered no substantial benefits. Driving in ME1, though, was the highly enjoyable poppyseed bread and Anchor butter that tied the action sequences and extensive dialogue together. I’m still disappointed that they took out the Mako for ME2 and ME3, but it’ll be back for Andromeda. Let’s hope that EA discontinue their track record of being terrible, just for this game.

4. Roach - The Witcher III: Wild Hunt Geralt frequently says that all of his horses are called Roach. Never says why, though, so I choose to believe that Roach is the name that he ascribes to his father, who abandoned Geralt for being utterly deadpan as a child. And while Roach is an unreliable ‘vehicle’ at best, she makes up for it by being able to carry literally a hundred swords. She is also the centrepiece in one of the Blood and Wine expansion quests, where she points out that she can teleport across miles of sea, but jumping over a small fence is beyond her.

3. Aircraft Carrier – Battlestations Midway

This game may be a little obscure, but seriously, have you ever sailed an aircraft carrier? I haven’t. I have, however, managed to get a 3D model of an aircraft carrier to shoot down computerised enemy planes with machine guns and flak cannons while sending AI-controlled light bombers out to harass offscreen enemy battleships. When I dig out this old game I like to turn the music down and put on ‘Ride of the Valkyries’ while commanding this ship. I’m struggling to think of anything bigger and better than an Aircraft Carrier, but there is one...

2. The Avenger – XCOM 2 Yes, yes, I know I keep bringing up XCOM like a suspicious rash, but this is mostly because I haven’t played it in three months and I’m getting withdrawal symptoms. And anyway, the Avenger is possibly one of the coolest vehicles ever, and I don’t say the word “cool” very often. It holds a theoretically infinite supply of weapons and armour as well as a couple hundred people. Let’s not forget that the legendary Skyranger VTOL aircraft is on board. There’s also a nuclear reactor, a modular layout for building smaller facilities, and even a bar… yep. Pretty hard to beat.

1. Bandit Technical – Borderlands 2

Surprise! The best vehicle of them all is a clunky thing that holds four people at once. And yes, it’s fun to sit in the back and fire your weapons at unsuspecting bandits from afar. It’s more than that though. Managing to get three other friends to add you on Steam, buying Borderlands 2 on it, and reaching a similar character level and then scheduling a time to all start playing is harder than most Dark Souls bosses. A fully crewed Bandit Technical isn’t just a truck and four people. It’s a statement of acute organisational skills.

Credit: CD Projekt Red

Review: Her Majesty’s SPIFFING Sophie Holt tackles Brexit in space in BillyGoat games’ hilarious point-and-click revival O riginally conceived pre-Brexit, Her Majesty’s SPIFFING is an exploration of the consequent future. But now that this ludicrous ideal has become historical fact (depending on the competence of the Tory party), does that make it any less funny? This depends on your angle. The game’s satirical tone nonetheless points out Brexit’s short-sightedness, whilst simultaneously defending itself with “it’s just a joke”. Now, away from political context, and to the game itself. The game occurs post-Brexit, after the Queen has thrown a paddy, decided to leave Great Britain and colonise another planet instead. How this represents her supporting the Remain ideology, I’m not entirely sure, but we’ll go with it. You attempt this mission as Captain English with his sidekick, Jones, on board the HMS Imperialism, which is essentially a Mini Cooper shitting a space ship. English looks like a balding Brian Blessed, whilst Jones is just a Welsh Harry Potter (JK’s illustrator should really take notes). SPIFFING, quite aptly, stands for ‘Special Planetary Investigative Force for Inhabiting New Galaxies’, which I frankly think deserves a gold fucking medal for creativity. You explore the HMS Imperialism and eventually another planet, completing incredibly complex puzzles along the way. I managed to complete it without rage-quitting, although I came rather close. Honestly, my only qualm with the game was these puzzles. They felt confusing to me, although this may be due to my own impatience and low attention span. So if you’re willing to click EVERYTHING before finding a solution, this is definitely the game for you! Unsurprisingly, the game is very British. One of the first tasks i s

to bring yourself (English) and Jones a cup of tea. English’s mug reminded me of the kind you find in your Grandma’s glass cabinet, with the flag and the Queen’s portrait. I even ended up pausing the game to go make my own cuppa, which says it all really. This trend continued with my examination of the cup of tea – turns out that if you turn the cup upside down, it actually empties everywhere and you have to start again. I repeated this with my own cup of tea and discovered the same thing. Remarkably realistic.

“Jones is just a Welsh Harry Potter (JK’s illustrator should really take notes)”

Upon exploring a new planet, named ‘The New New World’ by English, you meet the French, who resemble Han Solo if he looked like Napoleon Bonaparte and Chewie if he was a gorilla. There is a particular gem of dialogue in the ensuing scrap. Bon Solo asks how you will defeat him, and you can respond with “By clinging to past glories”, which Bon Solo admits that the French have been perfecting for centuries. As a history student, I must admit that this tickled me. The rest of the game continued tickling. Upon asking beefy English to wear a rubber glove, he claims he is ‘too girthy’ for it. Although this could be completely innocent, Rule 34 comes to mind. Alongside this, English refers to the length of the game (as an indie game, its shortness is unproblematic), pointing out that “This isn’t Skyrim. Another ample hour and we’ll be done.” Any loving reference to Skyrim is cool in my book.

“You meet the French, who resemble Han Solo if he looked like Napoleon Bonaparte and Chewie if he was a gorilla”

Her Majesty’s SPIFFING is a fascinating game. Some of the puzzles felt like I was banging my head against a brick wall, but that’s due to my impatience rather than any inadequacies. Its satirical tone particularly stood out to me, although its humour often strayed from its response to Brexit. I must admire the writer’s wit, which really was the shining star of the game. Credit: BillyGoat Games

Memory Card: Knights Of The Old Republic

James McCoull insists this is the RPG we’re looking for - and it’s no mind-trick


tar Wars is a hell of a series, isn’t it? Seven films (soon to be eight), countless books and comics and who knows how many games – among them, some of the truly great, such as Battlefront 2, Republic Commando, and Jedi Academy. But who could forget the sovereign diamond amongst even those amazing titles? I am, of course, referring to Knights of the Old Republic. These games do nothing mechanically revolutionary, directly adapting the D&D RPG system refined in Bioware’s own Neverwinter Nights series (to which KotOR owes plenty). However, what they do offer is an entirely unique take on the wide and wonderful Star Wars universe, the likes of which have never been done before or since. KotOR takes place some 4,000 (ish) years before the events of the film series, and although the primary fixtures of lightsabres, space travel and culturally variable planets in a diverse and dangerous galaxy are present, there’s plenty new to dive into. Or old, as the case may be. The first game puts you in the shoes of a non-descript soldier in the Republic fleet, under the command of the Jedi Knight Bastila Shan. When your ship is destroyed, the Jedi captured, and you and one other survivor marooned on a hostile world controlled by the fascist Sith Empire, you take

matters into your own hands to set the galaxy to rights, eventually taking on the mantle of the Jedi and embarking on your very own quest of galactic significance. KotOR 2 follows a similar narrative: space crash, hostile world, learn the Force, save the galaxy, et cetera, et cetera.

“Who could forget the sovereign diamond amongst these amazing titles?”

Along the way, though, you meet characters whose stories are engaging in a very real and emotional sense. The writing in KotOR is often lauded, especially the latter (wherein Obsidian took over), and with good reason – you seriously care about the characters, even your somewhat blank canvas protagonist, and when the plot twists start to hit, the tension rises to some very visceral, exciting moments. Additionally, the D&D mechanics lifted pretty much directly from Bioware’s hitherto mentioned action RPG series map extremely well onto the Star Wars universe: everything that was magic is the Force, everything that was a bow is a blaster. Except the bowcaster, which is sort of both, I guess. If you’ve played a tabletop RPG, you’ll find KotOR delightfully familiar, and although combat is semiturn based it still feels dynamic and lively.

Playing this for the first time at the age of about 10, the intricacies of the combat system went over my head – I was happier cutting Sith to shreds with a vibroblade than min-maxing stats and choosing my equipment conscientiously – and yet it still captivated me. Now, though, I can appreciate the whole package as the jewel it is. And what a brilliant shine that jewel has, even now. The graphics, certainly, are dated, but the designs are not – the Republic’s iconic attack ships, the Sith trooper’s chrome armour, the rustic tranquility of Dantooine and the soothing yet sinister atmosphere of Manaan are all timeless, even if the engine isn’t. The worlds, despite the accessible areas being quite small, never feel tight or choked; they feel, as they should, like exploring a world, every time without fail.

“Everything that was magic is the Force, everything that was a bow is a blaster. Except the bowcaster”

KotOR is a must for all Star Wars fans curious about the expanded universe, and all RPG fans looking for an example of the genre’s best and brightest.

Credit: BioWare

The Courier


Monday 12th December 2016

What I’m Playing: Crusader Kings 2 Gerry Hart leads his nation to glory, trying to avoid appointing his horse as King along the way S o last year I bought Crusader Kings 2, a Grand Strategy Game by Paradox Interactive. It’s a daunting quagmire of ever shifting dynastic, cultural and religious relations condensed into one of the most intricate and impenetrable strategy games I’ve ever played. And I love it. The premise of the game is that you control a given dynasty, with you playing its various heads as they live and die throughout the course of the game. There is only one real objective; survive until 1453, with defeat only occurring if your dynasty dies out or your last piece of land is taken. Beyond that, what you do is left completely up to you. The most obvious choice is to form or expand your own kingdom but this is rarely achieved by military power alone. Interpersonal relationships between yourself and other feudal lords (both higher and lower) underpin much of the game and these are informed things such as your personal traits or your past interactions with them.

“It’s a daunting quagmire of ever shifting dynastic, cultural and religious relations ... And I love it ”

Governance is a complicated affair. There are several layers to feudal hierarchy such as counties, duchies, kingdoms or empires and because the

game focuses on dynasties, land ownership is a rather fluid affair. Religion and culture are also important facets to gameplay. It is entirely possible to rule over vassals and populations who belong to different religious or cultural groups than your own (say a Muslim Turkish ruler governing a Greek Christian Population) and whilst coexistence is possible, revolts are an ever present threat, especially if you try and force your faith on others.

“There is only one real objective; survive until 1453 ... what you do is left completely up to you1”

What I like about CK2 is that once one becomes proficient enough, a surprising number of gameplay and roleplaying possibilities reveal themselves which allows for some very organic storytelling. One of my favourites was when I was playing as a Persian Zoroastrian king who had a habit of seducing the ladies of the court. He came to be widely loved by all (save his wife) and ushered in a period of prosperity and stability within his realm. Eventually he died from an overabundance of mistresses, leaving his beloved kingdom to be torn apart by the legions of emotionally damaged bastards he had sired. Such stories don’t even begin to scratch the surface of what the game allows. One

can go on pilgrimage, study eldritch Lovecraftian terrors or go mad and name ones’ favourite horse as chancellor (all hail Glitterhoof). I do have some complaints concerning CK2 however. Much of the game’s content is contingent on the myriad of expansions that have been released since launch. Without them, the game offers a rather barren experience, restricting you to playing Christian dynasties only. Which leads me to my second complaint in that there are just too many paid expansions. Granted most of them are cosmetic but that still adds an immersive element to the game which is hard to overlook. There is also a strong undercurrent of RNG which can fuck you over when your prodigal heir suddenly develops terminal cancer.

“One can ... go mad and name ones’ favourite horse as chancellor (all hail Glitterhoof)”

On the whole Crusader Kings 2 is a game with rather niche appeal. Navigating its interface is a minefield in itself and despite the possibility for interesting scenarios much of the game consists of a whole lot of nothing. Still it’s a fascinating examination of politics in the pre-nation state, feudal world. Also; someone made a Game of Thrones mod for those still unconvinced.

Credit: Paradox Development Studio

Pokemon Sun & Moon: Tales from Alola The Courier Gaming Writers tell us their stories after a few weeks in tropical Alola Richard Liddle finds new life in the beauty, tactics and atmosphere of the Alolan Islands


’ve got to admit, I wasn’t expecting to enjoy Pokemon Moon as much as I am. My interest in the main series has been trailing off since X and Y, but the new format of Alola’s island challenge has managed to completely refresh the games. Granted, the new trials all boil down to a Pokemon battle in the end, but the new Totem Pokemon are a cool new alternative to the gym leaders of old. Their heightened defences and ability to call in other Pokemon for help mean you actually have to think about your strategy rather than just spamming super-effective moves, which adds a welcome challenge that’s been steadily disappearing from the series till now. As well as the new format, the general atmosphere of Alola is more vibrant than any other entry in the series so far. The graphics are a step up from the sixth generation games (people actually look like people now!) and each town and city feels distinctly different from the last, from the seaside metropolis of Hau’oli to the Paniola ranch town to the more Eastern-inspired Malie City. I’ve only just reached the third island, so the main bulk of the story has only just started, but from what I’ve seen of Lillie and Cosmog’s relationship to the mysterious and totally-not-evil Aether Foundation and the Ultra Beasts it definitely seems a lot more interesting than in previous games. Then there are the new Pokemon themselves; as well as some great new critters (Wimpod is the most adorable thing ever), the Alolan forms of some of the original 151 breathe new life into old fan favourites. All in all, Alola is shaping up to be a fantastic new direction for Pokemon.

Sam Blackburn finds himself on an unpredictable archipelago, with predictable Pokemon


t has been a good week since I booted up my DS and woke up in the body of a teenage boy in the middle of an unknown region, that looks like nothing I’ve ever seen before. I’m actually not complaining, this body I’m in is pretty skinny, so it’s a nice flashback to how I looked when I first played Pokémon Sapphire. If I’m honest with you, I’m in no great danger or threat here, at least that’s how I feel in this present moment. I’m just bored. I was taken to some village by a half-naked guy claiming he’s a professor. And no, this is not a weird Pokémon fanfic, before you jump to that conclusion. I went for a wander, met some really annoying chick called Lillie, who lost her little gas ball Pokémon thing. She made me walk across a bridge to save it from loads of angry Spearow. The bridge collapsed, and all I thought as I fell was that I’ve just wasted my whole entire life playing Pokémon, until some weird looking thing saved me and the gas blob. Honestly, Lillie won’t leave me alone now, and it’s really annoying. I was then asked to pick a starter. Surprise surprise, it was out of Water, Grass and Fire, as per! So after much deliberation, I picked the really ugly water one. I noticed online that everyone seems to hate the water dog thing, but hell am I picking a cat as my starter… even if its final evolution is pretty cool. I ended up meeting some chick in the city who said she was a ‘trial captain’. She made me defeat some big fat Raticate and then rewarded me with some crystal thing. Sounds like she’s exploited my naivety - are there any child labour laws in Alola? It’s not that it’s bad here, it’s just I’m bored and want to be back in my real body playing XCOM 2.

Georgina Howlett and her sidekick Rowlet explore the islands in-depth


lola! As with every other Pokémon game I’ve played, I spent my first ten hours on Pokémon Sun doing… well, nothing, really. After being introduced to my partner Pokémon (Howlett the Rowlet - don’t judge), Professor Kukui, Hau and Lillie, I explored every inch of the map that I came across, found all of the hidden items and berries, and spoke to every NPC that had the misfortune to enter my sight. I spent hours battling wild Pokémon in each patch of grass hoping that something different would pop out, catching ‘em all as I went, and when I finally got ushered into completing the trainer’s school, it turned out that my team was rather overpowered. Oops. After that, I decided to actually pursue the main story and encountered Team Skull for the first time. I have to admit, they are perhaps the most cringe-worthy organisation I have ever had to defeat. Their premise makes me cringe, their design makes me cringe, and their objective makes me cringe most of all – but heck, their battle music is GOOD. Perhaps my favourite thing about Sun and Moon, though, is the region itself. Alola and its Island Challenges completely overhaul the traditional gym structure, making you explore different terrain and in effect presenting the ‘Totem Pokémon’ as the gym leaders and wild Pokémon as the trainers who precede the final fight. You have to apply strategy and logic in order to succeed, and the fact that Pokémon can now call for help in battle means that you have a tougher time, too – and I love that difficulty and the challenge aspect. Admittedly, I still have a long way to go in the story – but from what I’ve already seen of the challenges, new Pokémon and the Alolan culture and terrain, it’s going to be amazing. @Courier_Gaming

No Man’s Sky: Foundation Update too little, too late?

Errol Kerr desperately looks for hope in Bungie to protect the ‘destiny’ of Hello Games


n the last week of November, Hello Games released version 1.1 of No Man’s Sky. Entitled the Foundation Update, NMS 1.1 has made huge changes to the game. Despite these changes, the phrase “too little, too late” has been uttered every time I’ve discussed the Foundation Update. A problem that gaming writer Sam Blackburn (name-drop!) discussed last week is that games are, more often than not, coming out relatively unfinished or unpolished in order for the developers to cash in – and this is definitely the case for No Man’s Sky – however, whether it is “too little, too late” is entirely up for debate. Said debate shall occur right here, between me, myself and I. Enter what I call the ‘Destiny Effect’. “What on Earth is that, Errol?” I hear you ask. Well, it’s something I coined midway through 2016, named after Bungie’s 2014 MMO-FPS hybrid, I’ve roughly defined it as when a shit-ton of cash is poured into advertising (often advertising the player base considers misleading) which in turn leads to overhype. This in itself means when the game’s released, it’s so different from expectations that reception is… poor at best. Honestly, I wouldn’t have coined the term until No Man’s Sky was released, as now, it’s becoming endemic within videogame development. Because of this, gamers are just straight-up put off. Having played enough hours of Destiny in my time, and having played a handful of hours of No Man’s Sky, I was incredibly displeased with both games’ original iterations.

“The ‘Destiny Effect’... when a shit-ton of cash is poured into advertising... which in turn leads to overhype” However, in thinking about this article, I decided to go and boot up Destiny after a few months. After the release of its four major expansion packs, two new explorable areas and more varied enemies to kill and weapons to kill them with? It’s not actually a bad game, now. Sure, it’s lacking in the same places it did in the first year – primarily its storytelling (Bungie, how could you) but altogether, it’s a bloody good experience. Should Destiny have taken two years post-launch to become a decent game? God, no. Does that mean it’s been “too little, too late” for them? Also, no! Rise of Iron’s launch made more cash for Bungie than Destiny’s initial release did. There’s still a large thriving community. So that begs the question: Is it possible for HelloGames, like Bungie, to release a poor game, update it into a good game, and still be relevant and playable? That, I’m still unsure about. See, the buildup behind Destiny was nothing in comparison to No Man’s Sky. I don’t think I’ve seen a game so hyped, so violently anticipated by the gaming community. Hell, my PC is awful and still, I wanted the experience that No Man’s Sky initially offered. The response from the gaming community in regards to NMS was terrible. Its player base is still no higher than 9,000 on PC, from a game that initially had 200,000 players. That kind of drop doesn’t look like it’s going to recover any time soon. The game could become playable again. In fact, I am almost sure that by the end of any updates that HelloGames produces, No Man’s Sky will be an amazing game. However, I think that the starship of relevance has already sailed.

Credit: HelloGames

Monday 12 December 2016

The Courier

Science Editors: Matthew Byrne, Natalie Farmer & Ciara Ritson-Courtney

On this day December 12th 1927

Ciara RitsonCourtney celebrates Robert Norton Noyces birhtday


orn on December 12th 1927, Robert Norton Noyce is better known as the Mayor of silicon valley and was one of the 20th century tech giants. Noyce’s father was a reverend and he was the third of four children. As a boy he was continuously interested in science and engineering and by the age of 12 he built a ‘boy-sized’ aircraft with his brother which they used to fly from the roof of the Grinnell college stables. Other projects of his included a radio built from scratch and a motorized sledge created from an old washing machine engine. Noyce displayed a talent for maths and physics at school, undertaking a college(or university) level physics course while still at high school. Yet his interests didn’t only extend to education, as the star diver of his college swim team, a singer and actor in their theatre society and an oboe player he proved himself to be a very well-rounded student. Robert was also quite the rebel at school, stealing a pig from the mayor and roasting it at a school Iuau. He should have been imprisoned for the crime but his physics teacher wanted to keep his star pupil so much that he got the mayor to compromise and allow the college to repay him, while Robert was only expelled for one semester.He graduated with a Bsc in mathematics and physics, and moved on to apply for a doctoral program at MIT in physics which he completed in 1953.

“Robert was quite the rebel at school, stealing a pig from the mayor and roasting it “

After graduating Noyce took his first job as a research engineer at the Philco Corporation in Philadelphia. After 3 years there he then progressed the the Shockley semiconductor laboratory in California. The founder of the company - William Shockley is best known for being the co-inventor of the transistor and won a nobel prize for his work. Noyce left the company with ‘the traitorous eight’ in 1957, a group who went on to found Fairchild semiconductor. In 1968 Noyce and Gordon Moore founded Intel after leaving Fairchild semiconductor. Noyce was known for his fair treatment of employees and brought a ‘family’ feel to his companies. From Intel, the microprocessor was born, the building block that allowed us computers,smartphones and so much more. While this project was invented by multiple electrical engineers including Ted Hoff it would never have happened without Robert Norton Noyce. Robert married Elizabeth Bottomley in 1953 and had 4 children, they divorced in 194 and he remarried Ann Schmeltz Bowers in the same year. She became the director of personnel for Intel and vice president for human resources for Apple Inc.ann was widowed in 1990 when Noyce had a heart attack at home on June 3rd. She now serves as chair of the board and the founding trustee of the noyce foundation.the Noyce foundation was set up by his family and aims to improve public education in maths and science. Roberts brilliance was recognised throughout his life with various awards ranging from the US business hall of fame to Ronald Reagan awarding him the national medal of technology, however he was never awarded a nobel prize for his work (although he was apparently footnoted). Happy Birthday Robert, I couldn’t have typed this without you.

Sundrop farm qualms

Science Editors Ciara Ritson-Courtney and Matthew Byrne talk about the new phenomenon that is renewable farming and its impact across the globe


arming is a relatively new concept, and has been one of the reasons humans have been so successful as a species. The shift from hunter-gatherer to farmer, meant that food could be produced more efficiently and reliably. Since its inception there have been a number of key developments, for example, crop rotation, farming machinery, and more recently genetic modification. Sundrop Farm represents the next step in farming’s lifecycle. After 6 years of waiting, the world’s first solar and seawater farm has been opened in Australia. Located near Port Augusta, Sundrop farm has a 49-acre greenhouse, and is the culmination and combination of solar and hydroponic technologies. It has completely changed the face of the renewable energies scene. Sundrop farm is a technological farming solution which allows crops to grow with a reduced need for finite natural resources.

“It has completely changed the face of the renewable energies scene” Sundrop is just over a mile from a gulf where it pumps seawater into its system; this water is then purified in a thermal desalination plant to remove the salt. The desalination plant itself is powered by an 115m high solar tower, which also supplies the electricity and thermal regulation to the greenhouse. The tower can produce up to 39 megawatts

The whole project has been estimated to have cost $200 million. Sundrop Farms may seem like an expensive alternative to a problem that some feel as though we don’t need to solve yet. However, there are a number of reasons why it is worth the investment.

per day; this is achieved by pointing around 23,000 mirrors at it to reflect precious sunlight towards it. This energy is then used to distill the saltwater, and by doing this the evaporated water is separated from the salt. This is a necessary step in the farming process as the salt content of the water is too high for plants to grow. The salt and various nutrients collected are then used as plant fertilizer or sold, with excess salt discharged back into the ocean. The greenhouse will grow around 180,000 tomato plants to meet local demand and doesn’t use pesticides or soil. Instead, it uses coconut husks and coir to hold the roots and an air sterilization system which is run off of the solar tower to prevent the need of pesticides. As Sundrop doesn’t use soil it can survive its desert based location, this revelation means that previously infertile areas can be used for farming and with the ever increasing climate, areas that become too warm to grow certain crops in can still be used to create viable produce.

“As Sundrop doesn’t use soil it can survive its desert based location, this revelation means that previously infertile areas can be used for farming” Sundrop Farms is a prototype of this farm design; its success has demonstrated that it is viable to farm in previously non-farmable areas. The population of the earth is expected to expand to around eleven billion before it stabilises, i.e. another 4 billion mouths to feed. Unless even more of the natural environment is turned over to agriculture it will be impossible to reach this goal with current farming methods. Instead, desert locations could be transformed into solar powered farms. This is particularly important given that the Earth’s temperature is expected to rise by two to four degrees Celsius by 2100. Farms such as this will become increasingly necessary to supply the world’s food requirement. Sundrop has just proven that green energy can be successful in the harshest of environments.

Indian insect spreads killer virus Ollie Burton investigates tales of a terrifying allegedly deadly arthropod


ord on the scientific street is that a new and dangerous insect has been discovered in India that spreads a deadly virus to humans. This nefarious beast resembles a typical leaf in shape and is a deep brown colour. However, the standout feature of this creature are the bulbous pustules that cover its back. Following skin contact, the epidermis of the unsuspecting victim becomes covered in tiny dark holes, with death potentially occurring within mere hours. Naturally, urgent messages have been flooding social media pleading people to not touch any unknown insect or its bodily secretions. However, it has emerged that these reports are nothing more than an elaborate hoax, instigated by internet pranksters. In reality, the insect itself is simply a common water bug with a brood of eggs attached to his back. Now he can probably give you a nasty bite, but certainly can’t accomplish some sort of systematic destruction of humanity. The photo of the nasty in question was even taken in Delaware Creek, quite some way from India.

“Naturally, urgent messages have been flooding social media pleading people to not touch any unknown insect”

More cynical internet users have also worked out the mechanics of the skin affliction photos. It’s simply the work of a talented makeup artist utilising copious amounts of skin wax and peanut butter – delicious AND convincing. The photoshopped closeups of skin were composed by combining a normal human hand with overlaid images of lamprey mouths, full of tiny teeth. It’s a clever prank, to be fair. There is strong evidence (crucially, real evidence) that many people within the population find the appearance of these structures disgusting and uncomfortable, hypothe-

sised to be the result of a fear that something might be living inside the holes. This becomes more obvious when you compare the ‘diseased’ hand to something like a wasp’s nest. People speculate that humans actually have a primal fear of holes, particularly in flesh – this phenomenon is known as trypophobia, although it has never been confirmed by any sort of medical literature.

“People speculate that humans actually have a primal fear of holes, particularly in flesh this phenomenon is known as trypophobia” While things like this are funny to those in the know, there can potentially be dangerous consequences. There is already a known divide between science and the general public, with a multitude of causal factors. Whatever the reason, we’ve seen time and again that scaremongering stories can potentially have disastrous consequences. It’s an extreme example, but consider the hoax where the MMR vaccine was claimed to cause autism in children – I will defend the right to speech until the cows come home from the fields of lintellectual iberty, but scientists have a responsibility to consider the ethical implications of their statements. This is especially relevant in the current climate where the public is becoming increasingly distrustful of scientists alongside the mainstream media. Public science awareness is in dire need of improvement, and with entire markets (homeopaths, chiropracters and their ilk) in place to separate the unsuspecting public from their money, scaremongering, even for the sake of a laugh, is not something I can heartily endorse. As humans our natural response is of course

to share information when we think that others might be in danger, as self-preserving creatures are wont to do. However, we do additionally run the risk of demonising innocent creatures and potentially bringing them to harm in the process. With the rate that news stories like these spread through the popular media, the real consequences are hard to predict. Thankfully in this case groups such as snopes and the bastion of goodthink that is reddit cottoned on quickly, and citizens did not run out smashing waterbugs left right and centre. But it can serve as a warning of how quickly misinformation can invade common knowledge and affect public opninon. Take heed, fellow scientists and use your understanding for good, not evil.

The Courier


Monday 12 December 2016

Reducing pre-exam stress

Mythbusters: Do fish have a three second memory?

Experiencing exam stress? Jack Coles helps us to avoid the 3am crying sessions


xams are coming! Or, at least they are for you. I don’t have exams this winter, so I can spend as much time as I like writing this article, eating chocolate digestives, looking really smug, and… I just remembered that I have two extended assignments due in this week. Oh well. Those can wait. Here are some tried and tested solutions for de-stressing.

Do some exercise Stress, by large, is caused by a repeating innervation of the sympathetic nervous system and production of stimulating hormones. It’s essentially a “fight or flight” response that simply doesn’t go anywhere, leaving a lot of nervous energy that doesn’t get expended. By doing something active, you metabolically inform your body that the danger has passed (even though the brain still knows about the exam). Also “exercise”, doesn’t necessarily mean “go to the gym”. You could run in the park, play the drums, jump up and down to a local band, dance a salsa. Anything besides sitting down and revising will help.

“Stress is a “fight or flight” response that simply doesn’t go anywhere, leaving a lot of unexpended energy” Get out of and go to bed on time I know that we’re students and that sleeping into the afternoon is just something we’re supposed to do, but if you try to set regular timings for sleep then you will find yourself feeling much better as a result. It’s not necessary to follow a sleep regime religiously, but pulling all-nighters or using a random number generator to determine your sleep pattern is not the healthiest of options. Try to cut down on naps and afternoon caffeine in the long term as well.

each day, you can mitigate or even completely remove the build-up of unrevised lectures just before the exam. It’s a good idea to try to leave a blank day before an exam so that any spill-over can be handled and to look over all your notes one last time. Similarly, writing a to do list each day helps organise your thoughts. Revision should be a priority in these lists, but so should other things like eating regular meals and paying your rent.

“We’re students and sleeping is something we’re supposed to do, if you set regular timings for sleep you will find yourself feeling much better as a result” Talk to a friend People assure me that humans are sociable creatures. Social connections are an integral part of mental wellbeing, but staying at home revising tends to minimise the contact you may have with people. Revising in a library is little better, as many people prefer it to be a quiet place in which to work (so having a loud conversation there is a no-no). If you haven’t spoken to anyone lately, pick up your phone, and call someone. Anyone. Even your parents. You’d be surprised how much better you feel after hearing someone’s voice on the phone who isn’t trying to sell you something.

Take a break You might think that you need to work flat-out for several hours to get anywhere, but this usually does more harm than good. You’ll just end up exhausting yourself. Taking a short 5-minute break every half hour or so to do something else will really help you relax. If you had a particularly good revision session, reward yourself with a jelly bean or something. Don’t talk about the exam afterwards Bit of a weird one, but it’s especially useful if you have another exam approaching. Don’t discuss what you put for question 14b, just walk away. Eat a pizza. Have a pint. Start revising again. Whatever. Just don’t talk about what you wrote in that exam, as it will likely destroy your spirit and leave you in a worse mental position afterwards. If you really need to talk about your exam, then find someone who is on a completely different course so that they won’t understand a word you’re saying – that way, you avoid self-doubt from being told that Ouagadougou is actually the capital of Burkina Faso, not Cameroon. Give up? I have no idea if this piece of “advice” is going to even be allowed to go to print, but if you stop caring about your exams – really stop caring, not just saying it to look cool – then stress levels will drop overnight. Probably a bad idea though. If you go through with this it’s on your head, not mine.

Set up a timetable and a to do list By ensuring that you do a set amount of revision

Brainwashed bugs

James McCoull looks at a creepy-crawly computer


e’ve all seen a toy robot at some point in our life, maybe even specifically a toy insect. Simple motions, such as a walking pattern, applied to a set of plastic legs with motors and wires. Nothing too fancy there. But now, engineers in Singapore have gone one step further: not a toy, but a living insect, controlled with circuitry. Cyborg beetles. The team of researchers lead by Dr. Hirotaka Sato have been working on large beetles, wiring into their leg and wing muscles in order to selectively stimulate the limbs of the hapless insects. By doing this, they can directly control the walking gait and even flight of the cyborgs, though the latter is still in early stages. In a video for Motherboard, journalist Alejandro Tauber tested the technology currently used to guide the beetles in flight: with a Nintendo Wii controller, he was able to direct the beetle to steer to the left and right using the directional buttons. Dr. Sato and his team demonstrated how the electrical signals could be used to directly cause the beetle to step, run and gallop at varying speeds.

“they can directly control the walking gait and even flight of the cyborgs” It’s certainly fascinating technology, but I have to admit feeling a little disturbed at the sight of the beetle, helpless on its back and plugged into a computer causing it to twitch and scurry against its will. The engineers confirmed that the procedure is apparently not a painful one, nor does it have adverse effects on the

lifespan of the subjects; yet the simple notion of stripping free will and bodily autonomy away so directly is, regardless, a troubling one. The technology to ‘hijack’ a living creature’s nervous system is in its early stages, but it’s easy to imagine where this might lead. Regardless, Dr. Sato was optimistic that the technology had great potential as an instrument of good. Suggested applications (with the addition of more apparatus such as heat sensors) included search and rescue operations in the aftermath of a natural disaster, wherein people might be trapped under rubble and therefore inaccessible to anything other than small creatures, or the apprehension of terrorists and criminals. With a little more work, we might be seeing these little amalgamations of carapace and computer scurrying through collapsed buildings, buzzing around crime scenes, or any number of other possible applications. And after that - who knows?

Word of the Week: Piloerection

Errol Kerr looks into this weeks hair raising word


iloerection contrary to my initial beliefslash-hope is not an Irishman describing a gathering of excited male genitalia. However, a piloerection is something we can all get, and have little control over. No shame to be had in these random erection moments here. Piloerections are involuntary reactions whereby your hair follicles force your hairs to bristle on edge due to a reflex – whether it’s the cold, shock, fright, or a drug or some such which causes it. You’ll know them more affectionately as goosebumps, goosepimples, gooseflesh, or some other thing involving geese. Seriously, why geese?! Anyway, so the idea is that, when humans had longer hair, this would bounce into action when we were under threat, and by making our body hairs stand on end, we’d theoretically make ourselves appear larger to possible predators. It works for other animals – most animals with hair utilise this – it’s why your cat turns into a fluffball when it’s pissed off. In humans? Just makes us look odd.

Matthew Byrne helps us understand our forgetful friends


t’s unclear when the myth that fish have a three second memory started, but it’s clear that fish don’t have a great reputation. Which, considering Dory is one of their spokespeople, is no surprise. It’s a myth that everyone knows and one that has been perpetuated by popular culture, made famous by films such as Finding Nemo and Monty Python. Scientists now believe that fish can in fact recall information for up to five months. That’s approximately twelve million, nine hundred and fifty nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety seven seconds more than the myth suggests, or in other words we got it wrong. Fish actually have a number of talents: they can recognise light, music, and even press buttons. More interestingly, however, is that they can form relationships too. They have been shown to develop a preference for humans and can even have favourites (normally the one that feeds them). In the presence of these humans they are much more active, and the normal flight response exhibited by goldfish where they hide from threats can even decrease to the point where they can be touched. This is particularly impressive considering that around strangers they would normally cower in fear. But it seems like carp steal the mustard when it comes to intelligence, as they can tell the difference between classical music and blues, and whether the song is played forwards or backwards. As expected some fish are more intelligent than others. For example, the goldfish is in fact not as dim as you might expect, and is in fact smarter than a trout… Even the humble minnow is as intelligent as a rat: widely regarded as one of the more ingenious rodents. They can navigate mazes, recognise their friends, and know which of their mates are better at beating them to their meals.

“Scientists now believe that fish can in fact recall information for up to five months.” Scientists have demonstrated that they can respond to specific sounds and still react months later even after they are released. Similar to the experiments of Pavlov and his dogs, if a sound is repeatedly played when the fish are fed, months later if the sound is played again they will return to the feeding area. This is particularly important for fish farming. Fish could in theory be trained to respond to this sound, and they could then be released into the wild to grow naturally until they are ready to harvest. This approach would massively reduce the cost of farm fishing, as fish would no longer require feeding or to be kept in cages. Moreover, it’s better for the environment as pollution from intensive fishing would decrease, and the quality of the fish would improve and arguably the quality of life of our salty friends too.

“Fish actually have a number of talents: they can recognise light, music, and even press buttons. More interestingly, however, is that they can form relationships too.”

This myth has been thoroughly busted. Fish have many talents among which is a memory that lasts much longer than previously thought. However, it does seem that all their activities revolve almost exclusively around food, and in that regard I suppose they aren’t much different to me. On that note where on earth did I put my lunch?

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The Courier


Puzzles Across


Monday 12 December 2016

1 Surname of this year’s new Film editor (as opposed to the veteran two from last year) (6) 5 The sixth horoscope in Lifestyle (5) 7 An idea shared across a group, modernly understood as a kind of internet-specific joke (4) 8 The section which had the two feature pages in last week’s issue (5) 9 Organic source of the material on which the Courier is printed (4) 12 Surname of the charming and talented editor responsible for this very crossword (7) 14 First name of the deputy editor who also helped with said crossword (6) 15 You can always ___ the Courier, at the low low price of free (6) 17 A type of cheese - hidden somewhere on this very page! (4) 18 Accompanying publication of the Courier which was assimilated into the latter in 2010 (4) 19 The colour of the TV section (5) 20 Winners of the ‘Section of the Year’ award in 2015/16 (5)

Puzzles Editors: James McCoull Deputy Puzzles Editor: Daniel Robertson 3 4





7 9




1 The Courier’s youngest section, first printed as its own page in 2013 (6) 2 Half of Latin phrase meaning ‘sieze the day’ - which, incidentally, you can do by writing for the Courier (4) 3 The first section you’ll find as you go through the paper (4) 4 A vital if understated ingredient of the Courier’s creation (4) 5 First name of last year’s Courier editor (8) 6 Full name of Lifestyle’s veteran editor (4, 8) 10 To alter, usually with the intention of improving (4) 11 The day on which each week’s edition of the Courier is released (6) 13 Collective name for every section in the paper that isn’t News, Comment or Sport (7) 14 Blackcurrant-flavoured speciality of the Mensbar, favoured by editors when the deadline is looming (6) 16 Society on the front page of last week’s issue (5)




14 15


17 18



Completing this crossword will prove that your knowledge of our beloved student rag is second to none. Bring proof of your achievement to the Courier office (and naturally you’d know where that is) where you will be rewarded with a vintage issue from when the Puzzles section was actually good

34. sport

Monday 12 December 2016

The Courier

Sports Editors: Lucy Brogden, Tom Shrimplin & James Sproston

After a long process, the panel have decided on the top six Sports Personalities that Team Newcastle has to offer



Image: Lucy Brogden

Pippa McLeod-Brown is a third year architecture student. Since joining the club in her first year in 2014, Pippa went on to become the youngest ever dance President, and is now treasurer of the dance society. Next year, she’s leaving Newcastle for her year in industry, but may well be heading back to the toon to continue her studies. Under her presidency, the club had their most successful year to date. We spoke to her to find out the secret to her success: How do you feel to have won SPOTY? Really surprised! I was so surprised to be nominated at all, let alone make the shortlist, and then to win! I can’t believe it. I really didn’t expect it at all- there’s a lot of debate as to whether dance even qualifies as a sport, so it’s great for us to be recognised. How did you get into dance? I started dancing when I was two, attending weekly ballet classes. When I was four, I started going to tap classes. From the age of four I tried in ballroom dancing, jazz, and contemporary. Then, when I was 9, I joined a CAT scheme (Centre for advanced training), and I danced there for four years, which was really intense- I trained for 25 hours a week on top of taking classes at my local scheme, and playing basketball. Most people from on the CAT scheme chose to audition for dance school, but I decided to come to university instead.

“I trained for 25 hours a week on top of taking classes at my local scheme, and playing basketball” What’s your favourite style of dance? Contemporary has got to be my favourite. I was never going to be a ballet dancer, and I love how expressive and fun contemporary is. At Newcastle I do around 12 hours of dance a week.




How do you feel to come runner up? I was so surprised to be nominated at all- I just didn’t expect it! I was thrilled to be so high up in the rankings, and although I’m gutted to have missed out on top spot, Pippa really sounded like she deserved to win. What’s been the highlight of your WP career? When I played for GB, we came 7th at Europeans back in 2010, the first GB team to come in the top 7, so that was special. My university highlight was coming second twice in BUCS. I’ve been in the club for nearly five years, and every year each team has been full of such a good group of girls; team spirit has always been really high. When did you start playing WP? I started playing for Carlistle when I

What do you do for the club? I taught the advanced contemporary class last year, and this year I’m teaching the advanced jazz class. This means choreographing and teaching routines to my classes for competitions. We only have four hours to teach a group an entirely new routine, so it can be stressful! All of our teachers (and we have about 40 for all the different styles of dance) was 11, they were my first team. Since, I’ve played for Liverpool, Manchester, and now Leeds at national league. I also played for GB when I was 16. What do you like so much about the sport? Polo is my favourite sport by far. I love playing team sports first and foremost, and I enjoy the physicality of the game, it’s what makes it fun. At uni, water polo is my release, and I’d be bored without it. I can come out of uni, go to training and forget about work. It’s a de-stress, and it gives me something to do. What are your plans for the future? I want to continue playing at national league level, and when I graduate I hope to still live in Newcastle, so I’ll be able to come back and visit the team! This year, I want to win the BUCS premier

are students. What does it mean to be president of dance? Being president of dance means that you’re the president of the society, and the club. The society is mainly social, and members dance for their own enjoyment. With the club, members have to audition, and go on to dance in competitions across the country. There are a lot of dancers at Newcastle- we have 404 members in the society, and 104 members in our club. What did you do for the club during your time as president? When I became president, it was only the second year that dance had been a part of the AU, and I wanted to make sure we became fully integrated. There were small things like ordering kit from the Team Newcastle supplier and making sure we had the Team Newcastle logo on our kit, but I also wanted to work towards making the club more serious, so that it ran more like a competitive sports team. To do this, I made limbering sessions compulsory, since flexibility is so important in dancing, and inflexibility is often what brings you down most at competitions. I also became stricter with session attendance, which encouraged members to become more committed. It was hard to change people’s minds on why becoming more stringent was a good thing, but eventually people seemed to come round. We also ran our own dance competition last semester, which was a big financial risk, considering that the last competition we hosted three years ago made a big loss. Thankfully, it was a success, with over 450 dancers from all across the UK coming to compete at the Sage. This year, we’re planning on running the competition again. I also tried to make dance classes more consistent- with so many classes it’s logistically difficult. The timetable used to be emailed every Sunday night, and league. Although, realistically, I would be happy to get through to finals. We didn’t make it out of semis last year, and that was really disappointing. This year, we’re going to rectify that. We’ve got a strong team, and we’re training harder than ever, so we should win Stan Calvert too! I would also like to win team of the year at the AU ball. We’ve made the shortlist nearly every year I’ve been here, and it would be great to finally win. What’s it like having your dad as the coach? I don’t mind it. He’s always coached me, and it was him that got me into the sport in the first place. When I leave, my dad and my brother will both carry on coaching. I think it’s down to them that we’ve been so successful- we’ve got a dedicated coaching team in place.

your classes would be at a totally different time each week, which meant if you did more than one class you just had to hope that they didn’t clash. I tried to make is so that all classes were held roughly at the same time every week, and that as many as possible were held in the sports centre.

“When I became president, it was only the second year that dance had been a part of the AU, and I wanted to make sure we became fully integrated” What are your best moments? We were shortlisted for the pride of Newcastle University awards, which was great. We also came second for ‘best society’ at the national society awards, and won best event of the year for our competition too! A personal highlight was that it was our most successful year as a club- we won 31 trophies, which was a huge improvement on the previous year where we won 18. It’s not until you go to a competition and get an actual result that you see if what you’re doing is making a difference, so it was amazing to see that the changes were making an impact, and the club was thriving. What are your plans for the future? I’m doing my year in industry in London next year, and I’m looking forward to dancing while I’m there because there are so many great schools in London. What I love about dance is that people dance forever. Any final words? The year required a lot of really good time management, and it was tricky to fit in with my degree, but I enjoyed every minute. What’s been your biggest challenge whilst you’ve been at Newcastle? Being secretary was especially challenging. Having to organise matches is especially time-consuming when your university don’t have a pool. We always have a fight on our hands at play-offs to get into the semi-finals as we can’t get Wednesday pool time, and teams refuse to play so late on a weekend. What do you like about NUWPC in particular? We’re a warm and welcoming club. There’s no cattiness, everyone just gets on, and is accepted for who they are. You can be whoever you want to be. It’s a nice club to be a part of. Any final words? Thank you to my lovely team mates for nominating me!

By Sophie Matthews AU Officer AU Officer Sophie Matthews gives her verdict on the TNSPOTY Top Six Pippa McLeod-Brown Pippa is such a diverse dancer and a huge success in so many different categories. She’s also clearly a brilliant committee member, with a bubbly personality and has helped the Dance club to succeed in so many aspects! Emma Little A player that shows incredible talent both in the pool and out, and has a positive, welcoming and encouraging attitude which is exactly the kind of athlete that makes the Athletic Union so great! Dianne Marquez Lopez Dianne is not only a high spirited individual who keeps the clubs moral high, but is so talented and is a key member pushing the teams towards multiple successes. Olly Walker Joining the 100 club is an achievement in itself, but to do it with such modesty is exactly what makes Olly Walker a huge hit. He’s so committed to the team and is a really fantastic addition to the men’s 1st football team. Ben Smith Ben is an all round athlete that has shown the ability to strengthen the bond between the Canoe club members and ensure the safety, wellbeing and happiness of all club members in all situations. Jack White Jack has been so important in helping the Sepak Takraw club progress, both performance and social wise. He’s dedicated and driven, shows fantastic sportsmanship, and is a real friend to all club members.



Image: Phil Haswell




The Courier

sport .35

Monday 12 December 2016 Instagram thecouriersport | Twitter @Courier_Sport



Image: Elgan Jones




How do you feel having come fourth? Good. It’s nice to be recognised for my achievements, and to be nominated. Fourth is a good place to be, I’m very happy, thank you very much. Why do you think you finished where you did? I’ve put in a fair bit of hard work, done pretty well throughout the year. I’ve tried pretty hard, despite some injuries. When did you start playing football? Literally since I was born, since I could move, and from there the obsession’s just grown ever since. Pretty much every other thought is football. What teams have you played for? I played for Manchester City, then Tranmere Rovers up until I was 17. In my first year I came up to Newcastle



Image: Tom Clare

Why do you think you think you did so well in our sports personality competition? I’m not sure- I hate bragging! I didn’t even know I was entered until you told me! I guess because I put so much time into this club. I hope I don’t fail my master’s degree because of it! How do you feel about the club’s success? I’m over the moon that the club is doing so well. We recruited so many people over the last two years, which is great for the club in the long run. I think it’s partly down to the people in the club. I enjoy seeing people fall in love with the game. I’m passionate about it; it’s weird and wonderful. What did/do you do on committee? Last year I was the tournament direca week early for pre- season, and I’ve played for the 1s ever since. What is it that you like so much about football? I don’t know why I love it; it’s just the best game in the world. You can’t beat the feeling of scoring a goal or winning a game. It’s the best feeling in the world. What NUAFC roles have you had? Last year I was first team co-ordinator, which meant I sorted out all the fixtures for the firsts. This year is my final year, and I’m President, which has been enjoyable so far. It’s a pretty big role, but it’s been a good experience. What’s been your highlight of playing at uni? There’s a few. Scoring the winning goal in Stan Calvert last year was pretty How do you feel to have finished in the top six? It’s very nice! It’s nice to have been nominated - that’s the best bit. The fact that someone had the thought to nominate me is the most touching.



Why do you think you came so high? It’s not about me it’s about takraw. We are the first people in the country to start this, and I’m the only person that’s been there from the start. It’s about the club, it’s not about me. Tell us a bit more about the club: The club started in my first year, and it’s got bigger and bigger ever since. We started with 12 people: six turned up each week. It’s great because every time new people turn up it doesn’t matter that they haven’t done it before- everyone has been transformed into competitive players by the end. Why did you join in the first place? I saw it on the SU’s twitter page. They’d retweeted ‘fancy football volleyball’. As a kid that’s all I ever did- lots of street football and keepy-uppies.

What do you like about the ultimate club? Ultimate Frisbee is a unique sport: it gives you a solid group of friends, gives you the best memories and experiences, and means you get to travel all over, all while getting super fit. It’s a community. I think people realise that, and so keep coming back. Also, you can play Frisbee good. We won the league in first year, with a last minute winner. We got promoted in out Saturday league last year, and won the league cup as well. What’s the best thing about NUAFC? It’s the togetherness of the group. In all the years I’ve played, never have I been in a team that’s as tight knit than here. Everyone in the team is best mates and that helps on the pitch as well. What do you want to do as President? I want to make sure the club runs smoothly, and hand it over in a better state. On the pitch, it’s my last year with the team, so I want to win everything possible. We keep getting better, and I want to continue that progress. You’re now a member of the 100-club? 112 goals in 95 games. I’m on 25 goals aren’t good at other sports- people who aren’t on a hockey or rugby team. It’s a good sport for gathering the rest of us together, and it’s social and fun.

When did you start canoeing? I started in my school club when I was 14. Before doing my undergraduate degree, I took a year out and got some canoeing qualifications. As well as being a member, I coached at Durham.

What is your role within the club? This year I’m slalom captain, and I’m the club’s unofficial coach. We have pool sessions every Tuesday where we teach everyone the basic skills, let everyone get to know each other, and introduce people to the club. We have early morning sessions twice a week in Newburn, and my job involves organising that. I arrange getting transport to the river at 6am, coach the session, whilst making sure people get back for lectures.

What do you like about canoeing? I like it because I’m good at it! Although that’s not a very good reason. I like it because it’s good for people who You were Vice President early on? Yeah, there weren’t many people at the beginning, so practically everyone was a member of committee, so it was more of a social thing to begin with. Nowadays I actually have an input, but I’ve still got the original vision.

Why do you coach? I enjoy coaching, and I get a lot of satisfaction from it. I like seeing people get better, and seeing their own improveto do this with out GIAG sessions, and in the new year I’m going into some primary schools to try and get people involved from a younger age- we want them to understand how good it is. Even if people just hear of it and know what it is, that’s a success for us.

You’re Vice President again this year. What’s changed in the club? Last year the club was purely down to John Haswell. This year we’ve actually had to find jobs for people- it’s no longer a one-man operation. We’ve expanded as a club as well, which means we have to do more things. Our Facebook page shows we’re now appealing to hundreds, rather than tens of people.

What have been your highlights? Our 2016 tournament was a definite highlight. The guys we played against had played for 15 years, whilst we were a rag-tag bunch of individuals in ridiculous teams, who just didn’t take it too seriously. Getting a home-grown team to finish in the top three was great, beating guys who were from Malaysia. The 2017 tournament needs to be bigger and better. Although the date is up in the air at the minute, we can count on everyone from last year coming back again. We’ve got a much wider member-

Why do you think you placed so high? Erm, because I’m nice, and people like nice people?


tor, and this year I am the women’s captain and co-club captain. Unlike other universities and other clubs in Newcastle, we can’t afford to hire a coach. For years, the club has thrived, with the club captains doing the coaching. It’s time consuming and really hard at times, but it’s been worth it. It’s a group effort; if it weren’t for the help of current, experienced members in the club then we wouldn’t have had the same success as we had the last two years.

What are your priorities this year? We need to make takraw bigger, so that everyone is aware of it. We’ve tried

causally or competitively; it varies. I love the people in the club; we’re like a little family. I’ve made lifelong friends in this club. If that’s not enough reason, I don’t know what is. What is your background in ultimate? I had never even picked up a Frisbee before I came to uni; I was a total newbie. But I picked it up straight away on my first year and even got chosen to play the mixed first team that year. They must have seen something in me, I suppose. In second and third year I was an integral player for the women’s and mixed teams. I’ve played with local clubs. What are your plans for the future (academic and ultimate)? Recently, I got picked for the Under 24 GB developmental squad! Hopefully, I this season and I’d like to get 50 this year, so I’m halfway there, but we don’t score as many goals as a team this year.

pass my masters degree despite all this frisbeeing! My ultimate goal is to make it to the World championship, Perth 2018! What has been your highlight of playing ultimate at uni? We won the women’s indoor regional championship, and came third in the BUCS women’s outdoor regionals, which meant we won a lot of BUCS points. Not enough to be recognised by the uni though! What has been your proudest moment/personal highlight of playing with the Pies? Besides all the tournaments that we’ve won? Probably winning most “welcoming player” in the club for two years running! And, of course, recruiting loads of women to the team! Image: James Watson

Who was your best strike-partner? Allan Owen last year, he scored about 30 goals. We were on fire. What are your plans for the future? I’m going to play football for a few years and see how it goes. It’ll probably be somewhere in Manchester because there are lots of teams around there. What’s been your favourite Newcastle team? That’s a tough one, I don’t know. Maybe first year because we won BUCS, and I was new to it all. It’s hard because last year was great too. This year the team is the worst it has been on paper, but it may end up being the most successful. ments. I also like being in charge! When did you join the club, and why do you like it? I joined in my first year at Newcastle. I like NUCC because everyone is very keen and very friendly. We’re a sociable club, and I’d happily sit and talk to anyone there- everyone’s really friendly. What’s been the highlight of your NUCC career? I liked how happy everyone was at our BUCS competition earlier this year. It was a miserable river to throw new freshers down, and everyone was really happy about being there- there was such great participation and willingness from everyone. A personal highlight was winning medals at BUCS. I also like trying new disciplines. So, last year I tried a C2 for base this year, so hopefully they’ll come along and give it a go.




the first time, and we came 2nd and 3rd. We came 8th this year.

What are your plans for the future in terms of canoeing? Canoeing is a hard sport to continue, but I’ll definitely try and be part of the club again next year. I’d like to do the same role as this year- I enjoy the coaching, and I enjoy developing the club. When I leave, I want to leave behind a club with a really strong base for the future, one that can coach themselves. The club’s already really self- reliant, but I want to make sure this continues, and to get more people into the sport. Any final words? It’s so nice to be thought of. I’m not fussed where I finish- just the thought of being nominated is nice. Image: James Sproston

How’s the future of sepak takraw at Newcastle looking? I can’t see that there’s going to be much happening unless we get more people involved. Next year, when I graduate, that will be the last of the original guys gone. The people who took up the mantle from them will be gone too, so we’ve got to inspire new people to want to take it as seriously as we do. That could be the biggest challenge. What’s on the agenda for you? I joining the Navy in September, and there’s no takraw team. Within ten years, however, there will be takraw in the navy, even it it’s just my lads getting games going! You’ll see me at the Newcastle tournament in 2020!








36. sport

Monday 12 December 2016

The Courier

Sports Editors: Lucy Brogden, Tom Shrimplin & James Sproston

The real sports personality of the year

Putting our own Sports Personality of the Year aside, we look at the nominees for the BBC’s prestigious award Nicola Adams

Alistair Brownlee

Kadeena Cox

Mo Farah

Sarah Storey

34-year-old Nicola Adams has had quite the year. At Rio the boxer defended with a win over France’s Sarah Ourahmoun. In doing so, Adams became the first British boxer to retain an Olympic crown since Harry Mallin in 1924. She also added to her medal haul by winning her first World Championship this year to complete the “grand slam” of medals when her Commonwealth title from 2014 is added. Aside her sporting achievements she has a number of accolades to her name. In 2012 she became the first ever female boxer to receive an award from the Boxer’s Writing Club of Great Britain, she received an MBE in 2013 and completed her Doctor of Laws at the University of Leeds last year. Furthermore, Adams is a strong representative of the LGBT community and was named the most influential LGBT person in Britain by The Independent in 2012. Toby Bryant

Alistair Brownlee’s year has consisted of great triumph as well as enthralling drama. The decorated British triathlete has had a wealth of past successes, having earned 14 gold medals across all competitions. Most notably of all his victory in the London 2012 Olympics. This year, Brownlee took home another triathlon gold medal at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. This was the only occasion in the history of British athletics, that a triathlete has won consecutive gold medals in the Olympic Games. Brownlee performed so well in Rio, that his brother and rival Jonathan joked that “maybe in four years he’ll be older, slower and greyer”, in light of consistently placing after his brother. Also, who could forget when Brownlee assisted his dazed, heat-stricken brother over the line in the World Triathlon Series final in Mexico? The viral spectacle was adored by both the public and the sporting community. Brownlee gave up a gold medal to help his brother finish the race, placing Jonathan second, and himself third. Harry Webb

Kadeena Cox was one of Great Britain’s Paralympics stars picking up four medals across cycling and athletics with Gold medals in both sports. This makes her the first British Paralympian to win gold medals in multiple sports at the same games since Isabel Barr at the 1984 Summer Paralympics. Kadeena was able-bodied until 2014 when she suffered a stroke and a few months later she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. She turned her attention to the Paralympics and despite being reclassified in both events in the run up to the games she still managed to come away with two gold medals in the C4-5 cycling women’s 500m time trial and the T38 athletics 400m. Kadeena’s achievements are something few Paralympics athletes making her a stand out performer in this year’s British Paralympics squad. Tom Cox

In 2016, Mo Farah solidified his place as a long distance running legend. Britain’s greatest track athlete of all time is nominated for a fifth time this year, having finished third, fourth (twice) and seventh in the past. In truth, it seems astonishing that Farah hasn’t taken the big prize yet, but his success has coincided with arguably Britain’s richest sporting years since the competition began in 1954. This year, the 33 year-old accomplished his most impressive feat to date – the ‘double double’. Farah became only the second man to retain the Olympic 5,000m and 10,000m titles. The difficulty of this achievement must not be underestimated. Not even the likes of Haile Gebrselassie and Kenenisa Bekele managed to defend both titles. Farah also broke a 34 year-old 3000m British record and won the Great North Run for the third consecutive year. A career of astounding achievement deserves recognition, but the top prize may be just out of reach once again for Farah. James Harris

Sarah Storey is a British road and trackracing cyclist who has been short-listed for the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year award after becoming known as one of the most successful paralympians of her time. Storey - a former swimmer - was awarded DBE (Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire) following the 2012 London Olympic games. Although Storey has competed in able-bodied Olympic events, she is primarily known for her contribution to the Paralympic games - both for swimming and cycling - after she was born without a functioning left hand following difficulties during her mother’s pregnancy. She holds several impressive titles, such as being a 27-time World champion, a 21-time European champion and the holder of an astonishing 72 world records. In addition, she has brought home a whopping 14 gold medals for team GB, certainly an remarkable role model and worthy contender for the award. Emma Bancroft

Adam Peaty

Jason Kenny

It’s the third time that swunner Adam Peaty, a golden boy of the Rio Olympics has been nominated for Sports Personality of the Year. The breaststroker continued his dominance in the pool at 100 metres, even breaking his own world record with a time of 57.13 in the final. It wasn’t just his emphatic victory that makes him a serious contender for the SPOTY crown, but how he gained that Olympic gold. Peaty finished 1.56 seconds in front of second-place Cameron van der Burgh, the largest margin recorded in sprint racing since 1972. The victory also meant that the City of Derby swimmer became Britain’s first male Olympic swimming champion for 28 years. This year he has already won FINA’s Olympic Performance of the Year and European Male Swimmer of the Year, but can the boy from Uttoxeter add 2016 SPOTY to his impressive résumé. too? Anna Woodberry

The Farnworth Flame, undoubtedly had the greatest year of his career and life in 2016. Winning 3 Olympic gold medals in Rio’s velodrome, becoming the joint highest holder of gold medals in team GB history, and finally getting married to fellow cyclist Laura Trott. Kenny’s glorious summer began with leading the British team to the Men’s team sprint gold for a third successive Games. He then won the 5th Olympic gold of his career, defeating fellow Brit Callum Skinner in the individual sprint final, before ending his Rio campaign with a dramatic victory in the keirin event. One of the most memorable moments of the games followed, seeing him celebrate with then fiancé Trott after the medal ceremony. Now undoubtedly one of Britain’s greatest ever Olympians, if Kenny does lift the SPOTY trophy on December 18th it will simply cap-off, what has already been an incredible year for him.

Max Whitlock

Kate Richardson-Walsh

Gymnastics has always been a sore subject for Great Britain. No British gymnast had ever taken home a gold medal in artistic gymnastics until Max Whitlock. But he didn’t stop at one. Whitlock won three medals in Rio, a bronze in the all-round gymnastics event and two golds in Men’s Floor and Men’s Pommel Horse, propelling himself to become Great Britain’s most successful gymnast ever and the first Olympic champion in gymnastics. 10.4 million people tuned into the BBC’s coverage to see Max receive his second gold medal. Not only was his performance in the event outstanding, the way he handled the awkward encounter with Louis Smith, crying over his silver on the podium, shows he has the grace of a deserved winner. Whitlock has also worked with Children in Need and visits schools inspiring the next generation to get involved in gymnastics. He was recently voted Best British Sports Star at the Radio One Teen Awards although winning Sports Personality of the Year would probably top that. Sophie Chapman

Though the name Kate RichardsonWalsh may be new to many people, this has hardly been a breakthrough year for the former captain of Great Britain and England. At the age of 36, RichardsonWalsh is nearing the end of a fantastic career. Having made her international debut in 1999, the Mancunian won her first medal in the impressive England side that took silver at the 2002 Commonwealth Games, taking a further silver and two bronzes in the next three Games, as well as battling through a broken jaw to win the bronze in London four years ago, GB women’s first ever Olympic medal. After becoming the most capped female in Great Britain in February and an MBE in 2015, Richardson-Walsh made history. Not only was RichardsonWalsh the captain of the first GB women’s team to take gold in then hockey, but she is one half of the first same-sex married couple to win Olympic medals. She retired in August after 375 games, 49 goals and 19 medals. A true sporting legend. James Sproston

Gareth Bale Gareth Bale was at his dazzling best in 2016, for both club and country. Undoubtedly Britain’s most talented footballer, it seems that he has once more gone up a level this year. After being pivotal in securing Real Madrid’s tenth Champions League title in 2014, Bale repeated the trick this year, assisting Sergio Ramos’ goal and scoring in the penalty shootout. He has 18 goals in 33 appearances for Los Blancos in 2016 and his responsibility in the side continues to grow as Cristiano Ronaldo begins to slow down and adapt his own style of play. In March, Bale surpassed Gary Lineker as the highest scoring Briton in La Liga, but it was at Euro 2016 where the former Tottenham star shone brightest. Bale had almost single-handedly taken Wales to the tournament and he inspired again in France. The 27 year-old scored three goals for his country, leading them all the way to the semi-finals – their greatest ever achievement. A Welsh icon and one of football’s giants, Bale has every right to his place on the shortlist. James Harris

Nicholas Skelton Nicholas Skelton is a British horse rider whose riding career began at the tender age of 18 months old, and led to him becoming the world record holder for the British Show Jumping High Jump record at a whopping 2.32m high, which he set in 1978. It’s certainly easy to see why Skelton has been hailed as a sporting inspiration and has therefore been nominated for the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year award when, after breaking his neck in 2000, he recovered and went on to win 2 Olympic gold medals. One of his Olympic golds was down to his outstanding individual performance at the 2016 Rio Olympic games making him the second oldest athlete to be crowned an Olympic champion. In addition to his Olympic successes, Skelton holds several other accoladesincluding his medals won at both the European Show Jumping Championships and the World Show Jumping Championships, and his appointment as Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2012 for his services to equestrian sport. Emma Bancroft

Laura Kenny Laura Kenny (you might know her better as Trott) was one of the highlights of Great Britain’s most successful Olympics since 1908. Kenny contributed 2 gold medals to GB’s haul of 27, that’s 7.4% and along with her team mates broke the team pursuit world record multiple times in the process. Her most recent Olympic success combined with her achievements in 2012 make her Great Britian’s most successful Olympian in any sport. Looking past her status as a woman Laura is the 9th most successful Olympian overall. Almost overnight Laura became one of the most recognizable cycling stars, inspiring girls everywhere to start plaiting their hair and get on their bikes. Combine all this with organising a wedding to the joint most successful British Olympian of all time and Laura’s not had a bad year. Winning Sports Personality of the Year is probably at the back of her mind, making it all the more deserved. Sophie Chapman

Danny Willett Danny Willett enjoyed his greatest successes in 2016. The British-born golfer has had a long climb to the top of the sport, from “playing par three courses in a sheep field” as a child, to becoming the number one ranked amateur in the world at 20, before going pro a few months later. Now, at 29 he has his first Masters victory under his belt. Willett enjoyed his fourth European Tour win at the Dubai Desert Classic, came second in the 2016 Italian Open, third in the BMW PGA Championship, and third in the Ryder Cup world point list scoring 271.99. Willet has been massively successful this season, well deserving of his eleventh place in the Official World Golf Ranking. Willett’s Masters victory is of course his greatest, most extraordinary achievement. Willet finished three strokes ahead of runners-up Lee Westwood and defending champion Jordan Spieth. In doing so, Willet became only the second Englishman to win a Masters, after Nick Faldo who won in 1989, 1990 and 1996. Harry Webb

Andy Murray

He may have twice been awarded Sports Personality of the Year, but if there were ever a time Murray deserved it most, it would have to be 2016. Not only did he maintain his Olympic title at Rio, but this win also crowned him the world’s first ever singles player with two Olympic golds. And don’t forget his second Wimbledon victory: the most of any British player since 1935. Indeed, despite falling to world number 3 at the Madrid Open, Murray powered on to become the first ever British world number 1 by reaching and then winning the finals at the Paris Masters. The icing on the cake was his straightset win against Djokovic at the World Tour Finals, confirming his ATP standing for 2016. The year has proven beyond a doubt that Murray is the best British tennis player of all time. Let’s award him for it! Lily Earnshaw

Jamie Vardy

No-one encapsulates Leicester’s meteoric rise like Jamie Vardy. As recently as 2012, he was playing in the Conference with Fleetwood, but helped Leicester to promotion, survival and become champions. His 24 goals this season fuelled victories, but he contributed more than that. He became the club’s talisman, personifying their image as underdogs Neutrals adored him for it, cheering him on for England in Euro qualifiers. He scored braces in vital wins against Liverpool, Sunderland and Everton, but he fulfilled the less glamorous side too. The constant sight of him galloping upon defenders to chase lost balls, busting a gut for his teammates and being deservedly rewarded, epitomises the nature of British sport. Benjamin Eckford

Sophie Christiansen The 29-year old English equestrian has had a great 2016. This year in Rio she matched her record from London 2012, with golds in the Freestyle, Championship and the Team Championship aboard her beloved horse Athena. In 2016 she has also not finished lower than second in any FEI event in which she competed. Furthermore she now works two days a week as a statistical analyst for Goldman Sachs to have “something else to think about” While she is one of less-well known nominees on the list her talent and determination make Tom Shrimplin

Jack Lacey-Hatton

The Courier

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Monday 12 December 2016 Instagram thecouriersport | Twitter @Courier_Sport

Snow better way to end the year Sports Editor, Lucy Brogden, spoke to NUSSC social sec, Georgina Hawkins, to learn all about their latest exploits

Newcastle University Ski and Snowboard Club is one of the most popular clubs at Newcastle, attracting over 1000 members. Members range from complete beginners, to competitive racers, so there’s something to suit everyone, and it’s never too late to sign up since the club accept new members throughout the year. For competitive skiers and snowboarders, the club run training sessions for the both disciplines: racing and freestyle. Interested members are encouraged to come along and participate in whichever sessions appeal to them. For those interested in downhill racing, there are weekly sessions in Sunderland on their dry slope, where skiers are coached alongside students from both Northumbria and Durham.

“This year at Christmas, the club are heading off to Val Thorens”

For freestylers, there are monthly sessions at Castleford’s snowdome, where students spend the four hour session honing their skills, under the critical eye of freestyle captain, Donny Marsden. To supplement this, skiers and boarders can also take the opportunity to make use of the weekly trampoline sessions the club put on at Benfield, offering them the opportunity to improve their skills a little closer to home. Recent successes for the club include

taking victory in the team, mixed ski dual event in the Northern Dome Series at the end of November at Castleford. At the annual BUCS dryslope competition, held this year in Edinburgh at the start of November, the team enjoyed considerable success: placing fourth in the ski team dual. Mentionable individual performances came from Ryan Jamieson who came 15th in the male giant slalom, and Emily Miller who placed seventh in the snowboard giant slalom and an even more impressive fourth in the female boarder cross event.

d’Huez. This year at Christmas, the club are heading off to Val Thorens- the highest resort in the alps, which was recently voted the best ski resort in Europe. Fifty members will head off to enjoy the

snow, enduring a long coach journey, which will see them return back to the UK on Christmas eve, allowing them to get home in time to enjoy the festivities. Their second trip at Easter is the biggest in the club’s calendar, and this year

they hope to take 1,000 students for a week of fun in the snow. The destination is yet to be released, but we’re told it’s going to be big! We look forward to hearing about their exploits!

“Aside from being competitive, the club also has a huge social side”

Aside from being competitive, the club also has a huge social side, putting on a string of events for members to attend. Here, the local rivalry between the Toon and Northumbria seems to have been forgotten, as the two regularly collaborate on such events, even inviting Durham’s team along to join proceedings. Other events in the club’s social calendar are their balls, which the committee work hard to organise. Arguably, what NUSSC is most known for is their annual trips at Christmas and Easter, which are always immensely popular. Trips always tend to be to the French alps, with past destinations including Val d’Isère, Tignes and Alpe

Snowboating: NUSSC welcome both experienced and novice members Image: BUCS Events

38. sport

Monday 12 December 2016

The Courier

Sports Editors: Lucy Brogden, Tom Shrimplin & James Sproston

Non-League Knowledge By Hannes Read Non-League Society President Football and the North East. The two go hand-in-hand don’t they? It doesn’t matter whether you’ve only been in Newcastle for a few months as a first year or have zero interest in the game, it’s impossible to miss the passion that the region has for football. With the popularity of the Mackems and Geordies, you’d be forgiven for mistaking that football in the region is just about those two teams. But the thirst for football here is prominent in the nonleague scene too. It’s obvious that local identity and rivalry drives the passion for the supporters of the North East’s. People from Whitley Bay, Heaton and North and South Shields turn out in huge numbers in to support their respective teams. The rivalry between North and South Shields is something to behold as a crowd of over 2600 watched their game in November. Not bad for two sides in the 9th tier! Non-league teams give back the sense of community that is often diluted at the higher levels of the game. As a Blackburn Rovers fan, I have become particularly disenchanted over the last few years (don’t get me started…) however, after getting involved with my local team Lancaster City, my interest in the game has not just been rekindled but has taken on a new lease of life. Football and its inherent social links makes the community feel so important. And this is why I decided to start up the Non-League Football Society this year. Myself and our committee members took a few of our friends along to an FA Cup game at Whitley Bay last year and thoroughly enjoyed it. So surely other students wanted to go too? With proper food, exciting football, good pints, cheap entry and doing all that with your mates whilst making new ones, what more would a student want? And we have been rewarded with incredible success so far. We have been recognised by NUSU as being runnersup in the Society of the Month for November! This is a great achievement after only being officially ratified in October. We have also established a great core of members and average 10-15 people coming each week, often adding a significant percentage onto the gate. We’ve been to teams such as Whitely Bay, North and South Shields, our local Heaton Stannington and the famous Blyth Spartans – and have plenty more on our radar! But we’re not just a bunch of football nerds protesting against modern football. We have made connections when visiting teams and our members have written articles for the match programme at Whitley Bay, Newcastle Benfield, Blyth Spartans and Heaton Stannington. In addition, radio stations KoastRadio and Blyth Live have given members an opportunity to gain real, practical work experience by reporting live on air! The North East is undoubtedly the best region for non-league football in England at the minute. In the national FA Vase competition (a kind of nonleague FA Cup), a North East side has brought back the Vase 7 times in the last 8 years. Our ultimate aim is to go to Wembley with one of our local teams. We’ll definitely make that happen! With huge crowds and a very high standard – all at a very cheap price – there is much more than meets the eye. So why not get involved!

Rugby boys remain bottom Men’s Rugby Union Newcastle 3rds


Leeds Beckett 3rds


By Tom Shrimplin at Heaton It was a game of two halves in Heaton, as Leeds Beckett left the victors after facing off against our Men’s 3rds. Newcastle in sky blue started brightly, bringing great energy and focus in the first half. The link up play between the backs and forwards was fantastic, which was the real difference between the two sides. No.8, Eddie Goss alongside fly half and Courier Sport’s Personality of the Year nominee Jack Pennell, created chances with some quick-thinking, with instinctive throws to players out wide. By using the full width of the pitch it allowed the flankers and wingers to fully use their blistering pace to score a number of great tries. Although with the tries being scored near the corner flags, it left tight angles for Pennell to try score the conversions which would prove costly later. Leeds Beckett, kitted out in purple, were reduced to dirty tactics, slyly niggling in an attempt to stall the Toon juggernaut, who at this point

of the game were on top and threatened to be out of sight. Unfortunately Newcastle’s efforts in the first half were for nought as Leeds Beckett took control in an incredibly messy second half. It started badly as the visitors started with a try in the first few minutes. Further lapses in concentration allowed the guys in purple a way back into the match as they scored consecutive tries. On one occasion in a show of brute force they literally bulldozed their way through the Toon’s defence. Similarly they used line outs to great success in spearheading a number of attacks, showing the importance of thinking about tactics when restarting play.

“The link up between the backs and forwards was fantastic”

Nevertheless, Newcastle did rally in the final few minutes of the game. The introduction of some fresh legs like No.22 Joe Burns, definitely helped as they started to offer a threat they had lacked since the end of the first half. Ultimately, however the visitor’s defence stood firm and the damage had already been done. Leeds Beckett were the victors, winning by a margin of 9 points as the game finished at 34-25. The feeling of the day was clearly summed up by team coach Andy Kennedy who remarked that it “had been a frustrating day at the office”. After a dominant performance in the first half, Newcastle lost their intensity by moving

into cruise control mode, which allowed Leeds Beckett a way back into the game. The result means the Toon remain bottom of the Northern 2B league. However it is not all bad as with players like the No.6 blind-side flanker and man of the match, James Hattersley, plus No.10 Pennell, the team definitely have a great amount of potential. If they can learn to keep focused for the entire game there is still plenty of time for the Men’s 3rds to turn their season around.


James Hattersley

Dr Jeckyll or Mr Hyde: Newcastle never turned up in the second half Image: Tom Shrimplin

With the sun beginning to disappear into the clouds, it started to be abundantly clear that any chance of victory for the Newcastle had also disappeared. Leeds Beckett continued their all-out assault. While Newcastle’s defence valiantly stood up to the purple with some fantastic tackles from the likes of No.3 Joe Gutteridge, the momentum had definitely shifted to the visitors.

Princesses are kings of the court Intramural Netball Polo Princesses




By James Sproston at the Sports Centre This week’s netball offering was a tasty affair, with the water polo girls coming out on top. In their previous fixture, Princesses lost 24-7 to another team of medics, and were looking to bounce back. In contrast, Shooters beat league-leaders NTM 17-12, and were the only team to do so going into this match. Misfire: Shooters struggled to take their chances Image: James Sproston

However, it was Princesses that started brightest. After narrowly missing moments earlier, Polo goal attack, Jade Holden converted the first goal of the day from outside the circle. Holden then doubled her team’s lead, following a neat one-two with wing Megan Lord. Though Polo had the early advantage, Shooters responded well. From Grace Anderson, wing Ellie Tittle found the shooter in a good position. Both Anderson and Venetia Miller then had a couple of attempts each before Miller finally scored her team’s first goal. An interception by Princesses’ goal defence Rowena Moores, releasing to Lord, who in turn played a swift onetwo with Marie Warren to give goal shooter Charlotte Duff a shot at goal. The rebound fell to Holden, who made no mistake from three yards away. Again, Shooters responded quickly. After three waves of attack, Miller found some space, converting another of her chances. But just as the medics pulled level, the water polo players again edged back in front. Warren found Holden in the middle third, who looked for the give-andgo with Lord. The wing attack instead opted for a powerful bounce pass, picking out Moores, who was able to find Holden in acres of space inside the cirFootball M2 v York 2nds W1 v Northumbria 2nds W2 v Leeds Trinity 1sts

Badminton M1 v Leeds 2nds M2 v Sunderland 1sts W2 v Leeds Beckett 1sts

5-3 6-2 4-4

Basketball M1 v Leeds Beckett 1sts M2 v Sunderland 1sts M3 v Leeds Trinity 3rds W1 v Durham 1sts W2 v Leeds 1sts

69-51 59-44 70-52 47-127 62-40

Fencing M3 v Durham 4ths W2 v Liverpool 1srs

131-98 62-135

9-2 0-2 7-0

Golf 2 v Leeds Beckett 2nds


Hockey M1 v Edinburgh 1sts M2 v Durham 3rds M3 v Leeds 3rds M4 v Durham 5ths W1 v Leeds 1sts W2 v Sheffield 2nds W3 v York St Johns 1sts W4 v Hull 1sts

0-0 0-6 0-1 0-4 2-3 1-5 2-4 2-2

Lacrosse M1 v Sheffield Hallam 1sts W1 v Nottingham 1sts

12-11 4-18

cle. Despite the Shooters defence closing her down quickly, Holden kept her nerve and scored another. After the restart, Polo once again asserted their dominance. Having intercepted the ball, Moores laid the ball off to Holden, who released to Lord, who’d moved to centre despite her face resembling a squashed tomato. Following a one-two with Poyntz, Lord again picked out Holden in the circle, who made the score 6-2.

“Lord and Holden utilised low bounce passing that often helped unlock the opposition defence” Another interception, this time by Duff, put Princesses on the attack again. Holden picked the ball up deep, before passing to Lord. The centre gave the ball to Poyntz, whose shot rebounded to Holden, and unsurprisingly ended in another Polo goal. Shooters fought back, with Anderson scoring twice in quick succession from two Tittle passes, whilst Holden scored another for the water polo girls. After a Shooters attack broke down, both Lord Netball 2 v Leeds 2nds 3 v Durham 3rds 4 v Bradford 1sts

47-50 43-39 53-25

Rugby M1 v Nottingham Trent 1sts M3 v Leeds Beckett 3rds M4 v Leeds Beckett 4ths W1 v Leeds Beckett 1sts W2 v Bradford 1sts

17-46 25-34 22-3 35-26 31-35

Rugby League 2 v Leeds Beckett 2nds Squash M2 v Manchester 1sts M3 v Sheffield Hallam 2nds M4 v Teesside 1sts W1 v Leeds 1sts W2 v Durham 2nds

and Bell jumped on the ball, leading to an impromptu wrestling match. Though Shooters got the referee’s decision, they were unable to capitalise on the opportunity. Following a spate of missed chances, Holden scored from four yards out, and Poyntz netted two more, assisted by Lord and Duff. As the game progressed, Lord and Holden dominated through their linkup play. Having played together at club level, the chemistry between the two was evident. Standing at 5’ 2” and 5’ 4” respectively, Lord and Holden utilised accurate, low bounce passing that often helped unlock the opposition defence. It was this chemistry that finished Shooters off. Despite Miller grabbing a goal, Holden and Poyntz scored another one each to increase the team’s lead and finish up the game at 13-7. On this occasion, Polo seemed to click, and the medics did not. With a few key players missing, it’s clear that Shooters can be a team to be reckoned with, but they came up against a Polo Princesses side that were on top of their game, and never looked likely to lose.


Jade Holden

Table Tennis M1 v Sheffield 2nds


Tennis M1 v Sheffield Hallam 2nds M2 v Leeds 3rds W1 v Sheffield Hallam 1sts W2 v Leeds Beckett 2nds

10-2 10-2 8-4 0-12

Ultimate M1 v Northumbria 1sts M2 v Teesside 1sts

10-7 14-3


Volleyball M v Teesside 1sts


5-0 3-0 3-0 0-4 0-4

Waterpolo W1 v Sheffield Hallam 1sts W2 v Sheffield 1sts

12-12 1-16

Wednesday 7th December Results

The Courier

sport .39

Monday 12 December 2016 Instagram thecouriersport | Twitter @Courier_Sport

Tennis girls hammer Hallam Women’s Tennis Newcastle 1sts


Sheffield Hallam 1sts


By Oliver Warren at Northumberland Lawn and Tennis Club In a pulsating encounter, the Hallam contingent had arrived ready for a dogfight, and a dogfight is exactly what they got. The first doubles was played by Newcastle number one pair Eleanor Bradshaw and Hayley Macpherson who won 7-6 (7-5) 6-2. The first set was a war of attrition, shown even by the tiebreak score that was won 7-5 by the Newcastle girls. The second set was won much quicker as the mounting pressure by Bradshaw and Macpherson caused the Hallam girls to fold. Izzy Reid and Eva Lennox were paired together in a feisty doubles match. There was a good chemistry between the two who have played together in the second team in the early parts of this season. The first set went to the Newcastle girls 6-3 as the “tactics” of the Hallam second pair started to be questioned. With two bathroom breaks from the same Hallam girl, one had to question if it was possible that anyone could possess a bladder that small. The Newcastle pair immediately came under pressure at the start of the second set losing two breaks of serve but holding their nerve to come back to 4-4. Tennis is a hard activity, like any other BUCS sport, but the added complication of having to call your own lines and be 100% accurate can be difficult.

A close call, but ultimately the correct one, did not go down well the Hallam player who disputed it. As is common knowledge “an eye for an eye” does not achieve anything productive, in this case it didn’t for the Hallam girls. A dubious call on the Hallam side of the net caused outrage amongst the Newcastle pairing and the home support. The following points allowed the home support to get behind the home pair and create a loud and hostile atmosphere. The NU second pair then broke and put their opponents to the sword winning 6-4.

Struggling to find her rhythm again, Macpherson unfortunately lost 7-10. Bradshaw was involved in a very well balanced match as the two girls played similar styles of tennis. With rallies as unpredictable as Nick Kyrgios, it made for an enthralling two sets. Bradshaw came out narrowly defeated 6-7 3-6. This season, fresher Izzy Reid has made a habit of winning her singles in three sets. This time, with no arguments, there was enough time to play a full third set as Reid defeated her oppo-

nent 6-3 4-6 6-2.

“With two bathroom break for the same Hallam girl, one had to question whether anyone could possess a bladder that small” Eva Lenox was extremely convincing

in her win of 6-3 6-3, hardly breaking a sweat. However, what Lenox did break out immediately after packing up her bag, was a bag of jelly tots that she was more than happy to share with the rest of the home support. This was a strong display from our heroines on their last game of this term.


Izzy Reid

“With rallies as unpredictable as Nick Kyrgios, it for an enthralling two sets” The controversy continued into Macpherson’s singles tie. The match was even and well fought, with Macpherson doing most of the attacking, and her opponent doing the hard running. However Macpherson could not break through, losing the first set 1-6. The second set was a complete 180 as the Hallam number 1 tired and conceded the set 6-1. Standard procedure after 1 set all split is to play a full third set, yet the Hallam player sensed that if she was to beat Macpherson, her chances would be best in a match tiebreak. Not believing the rule as it was not written down on paper, Newcastle Women’s Coach Tracy Smith was required to call a representative at the AU office to clarify this situation. After 20 minutes, time was running out to finish the match, so the girls were forced to play a match tiebreak.

Home birds: Newcastle’s Women’s 1sts are unbeaten at home so far this year Image: Oliver Warren

Officials cost Newcastle Women’s Football Newcastle 1sts


Northumbria 1sts


By Oliver Ross Assogna at Coach Lane It was an unusually warm Wednesday afternoon at a buzzing Coach Lane, which hosted a very intense Christmas derby. Newcastle were looking to conquer a vital victory after last match’s 3-2 unexpected defeat in Sheffield, in order to wrap up all three points to display under their Christmas tree. However, Northumbria had different plans and proved that their first position is not just fortuity.

“The atmosphere soon became tense and the game extremely physical”

The naugty list: Newcastle got on the wrong side of the officials Image: Oliver Ross Assogna

Poly almost started with a bang, rattling the crossbar with an acrobatic scissor-kick, which caught Newcastle by surprise. Soon, Newcastle started bombarding Poly’s defence with penetrative passes that created confusion among Northumbria’s defence. However the linesman continuously waved the flag to signal offsides, though Jessica Meakin managed to get a shot away after a moment of hesitation from the home side. On the other side, Northumbria’s

Ella Thornton started to warm up as she represented the biggest danger for NUWFC throughout all the match. In fact, not long after her good shot was blocked by a full-stretch save by Emmy Campbell who then managed to bounce back to deny Laura Chellin’s rebound.


Newcastle players booked by the referee in the second half

The atmosphere soon became tense and the game extremely physical. One of the fouls led to a free-kick from 30 yards which, however, was struck with an outstanding knuckleball by Northumbria’s Thornton which this time Emmy Campbell couldn’t catch: 1-0 to the hosts. Newcastle’s defence appeared a bit intimated after that worldie and almost conceded a second goal, as a misled clearance gave Thornton the opportunity to score twice in a matter of minutes. After Danielle Claydon stole the ball from Northumbria’s defender, she was mowed by the on-rushing goalkeeper to avoid a potential draw. The referee said to carry on, starting one of his many ambiguous decisions. Another interesting chance arrived moments later, as Zoe Rutter whipped in a venomous cross that Justine Lee missed only just. The second half started after the referee had a chat with players and managers, as the atmosphere was becoming a bit too tense. Minutes later, he ironically showed a yellow card to a NUWFC player as she incidentally hit him with the ball. However, no Newcastle player was laughing when Zoe Rutter’s delight-

ful long pass for Eleanor Mitchell was back passed by a Poly defender to her goalkeeper; the referee, once again, didn’t blow his whistle. Things got even worse when Anna Jimenez de Veciana’s headed goal was called off due to Justine Lee’s questionable offside position. Newcastle’s manager was fuming. At this point, the referee completely lost control of the game as the teams became very nervous; Immy Ewbank and Rosa Evans finished on the ‘naughty list’, both being booked.

“After Danielle Claydon stole the ball from Northumbria’s defender, she was mowed by the on-rushing keeper” Anna Jimenez de Veciana kept putting pressure on Northumbria’s defence, chasing breathlessly every ball whilst the home team players tried to gain as many fouls as they could. One of these led to another free-kick from a more or less prohibitive position; however, Thornton once again stepped up and blasted the ball behind a helpless Emmy Campbell. 2-0 and final whistle. Unfortunate result for the girls in blue who performed well and had good ideas but some decisions from the referee let them down.


Zoe Rutter


TENNIS REPORT, P.38 Monday 12 December 2016 Issue 1343 Free

Sports Editors: Lucy Brogden, Tom Shrimplin & James Sproston Twitter: @Courier_Sport | Instagram: thecouriersport




Lacrosse loving life in the league Men’s Lacrosse

By Tim Deehan Men’s Lacrosse President A new season comes with new hope for men’s lacrosse firsts, with an influx of 2 Americans, Conor Doyle and Ryan Scott, as well as two previous English academy players, Jack Clohessy and Matt Rees, to support the already experienced seniors at the club, the team has returned with a new freshness to their side. The end of last season saw the team finish 6 for 4 losing out to rivals Northumbria and an impressive Sheffield Hallam team stacked with England players. This year has proven very different; the team started out with a very commanding victory against Leeds 1sts securing a 17-2 win which sent them straight to the top of the table. General lacrosse IQ and quick ball movement was enough to secure the win against Leeds but when it came to the first away game versus Sheffield 1sts it was very much a different game. Starting slow, at half time the score was more resembling of a football score than a la-

crosse game sitting at 1-0 to Newcastle. Finishing 7-1 to Newcastle, there were early signs of a defence working extremely well, and with Clohessy making wonder saves, there was great promise from such a newly formed side. The first real test given to the team came in the form of Northumbria first team. In a nail biting and freakish game, witnessed by both Newcastle and Northumbrian Alums, the rivals clinched the victory by a one-goal margin 4-3. The opposition for many periods of the game had no intention of extending their lead, only to run down the time.

“The start of the season has proven very generous to the club” Newcastle have since taken this experience positively and regrouped. They now sit 2nd in the table with a fourgame winning streak. This has included another commanding 15-2 win against Leeds, a win in the cup and Newcastle also overturning both Sheffield univer-

sities in consecutive weeks. The fixture in the cup took Newcastle to Nottingham Trent University, where we saw a weakened team due to injuries win 20-5, with most importantly Patrick Kearney stepping up at the Face-Off and Matt Holland winning man of the match in his first team debut. The next game Newcastle played host to Sheffield firsts, in which turned out to be another nail biter finishing 10-9 with one Newcastle goal being incorrectly discounted by the referees. Nevertheless NULAX showed mental toughness to edge over the line and secure the win against an improved Sheffield side. The close of the season proved almost to be a mirrored game against Hallam firsts although there was a change at the Face-Off with Tim Deehan recovering fully from injury, again Newcastle seemed like they were taking control only for the score to finish 12-11. Conor Doyle, Rob Baldwyn and Luke Ramsbottom scored at crucial times to ensure Hallam gained no momentum, and again at the other end of the pitch Clohessy made vital saves to keep Newcastle on the front foot.

The start of the season has proven very generous to the club; with a new intake of talented beginners the second team has also seen some success.

The club are very proud of the fact that newcomers can turn up to training and receive some top-class coaching from experienced players.

Strong start: the men’s 1sts trail only Northumbria in the league Image: Tim Deehan Monday 12 December 2016 Issue 1343 Festive Pull-out Free

The Independent Voice Of Newcastle Students

Est 1948

Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year from the Courier

Monday 12 December 2016

The Courier

Christmas dinner... to take away please As we are always told, we are the generation that rushes through life and pretty much lead our existence on the move. Living up to our stereotype, the Lifestyle Editors give you the top 10 ways to enjoy your Christmas dinner (mainly in sandwich form) whilst madly rushing from town to Robbo to get those end of term assignments in on time.


M&S are usually one of the star performers in the sandwich world. However, this one fell short of their normal standard. The turkey and bacon didn’t really come through at all. The only thing I could taste was sausage and cranberry sauce, and whilst I love both of them individually, that combo just wasn’t worth the £3. The pastry was also pretty oily- definitely not up to the same crispiness as Greggs. Although, if you are looking for a SUPER speedy lunch, it is pretty filling and will be gone in approximately 3 bites so if you don’t have time for a Turkey, bacon & cranberry sausage roll proper Christmas sandwich, M&S this would be perfect. 3/10


Turkey and butternut squash stuffing sandwich M&S 5/10

Another contender from M&S, this one fares better than the sausage roll - evidently their strengths lie in sandwich making, not pastries. This is for those who want to enjoy their Christmas dinner without putting on those Christmas pounds. After trying this sandwich though, I don’t really know why you would bother. Eating healthy is a little dull... which is reflected in this sarnie. It was all a bit drythe butternut squash stuffing didn’t have the succulence of the standard meat one. The orange and pomegranate had a nice touch, but it was more chunky than juicy which again made for a pretty dry and dull mouthful. It could be far worse; if you’re looking for a less calorific sandwich- since Christmas can be pretty indulgent - this is the better one to go for since it is healthy without verging on those vegetarian substitutes.

Boots Christmas Selection Boots 9/10 If you are one of those awkward buggers that JUST can’t decide what the best thing about Christmas, here’s a combo of everything you could possibly need. You’ve got poultry, fish and cheese all in one meal. Who needs to sit down for Christmass dinner this year? The pricing isn’t too bad either- for you O2 priority peeps, pop down to Boots on a Monday and you can grab this in a meal deal for just £1! The only bad thing about this sandwich is that inevitably, you’re going to have your favourites. For me, I wish there was more of the Turkey and stuffing; it is pretty perfect. The cheddar and fig was a bit bland after that delight. Very close contender for the top place. If you can’t be arsed to venture further down Northumberland Street, Boots will definitely sort you out.


Subway Chicken and Bacon Ranch Subway 4/10 The fast food sandwich king Subway are putting up a pretty poor show for this festive season, claiming that a chicken and bacon ranch melt counts as a Christmas special. Firstly, I’m pretty sure this sandwich is available all year round and secondly, it isn’t a Christmas sandwich without turkey and/ or stuffing. It’s still a nice sandwich, for a reasonable price but I’m afraid it just isn’t festive enough for my liking.


Christmas Lunch sandwich Pret-a-manger 8/10

Everyone knows that Pret sandwiches are some of the best you can find. As one of the most expensive places to grab your lunch on the go, you do expect perfection incarcerated in bready goodness. This Christmas Lunch sandwich does not disappoint. As you can see from the picture, they are very generous with the filling, basically bursting out of the packaging. They manage to get the perfect combination of crunch, stuffing, turkey and sauce; something which most of these other sandwiches struggle with. If you can choke down the high pricing (nearly £4) you will most definitely not be choking on this bad boy. If you’re not balls deep in your overdraft this season, treat yourself.

3 1


This is a pretty substantial lunch if you’re ever starving hungry and in the Christmas mood. Value for money is therefore pretty good because Sainsbury’s don’t take the mickey with pricing. Aside from being a good price, however, the sandwich itself tasted pretty much like a regular chicken salad with a pitiful amount of festive stuffing and cranberry sauce. Most of the festive fillings are overwhelmed by the huge amount of mayo they stick in there. Overall, as always, you what you pay for with Turkey, stuffing and get Sainsburys. Good value, cranberry but not for those who are picky about their mayoSainsburys filling ratios. 7/10


House dinner leftover sandwich Your own kitchen 9/10 Cooking a Christmas dinner always means leftovers for days and a leftover sandwich is the best way to cure a hangover. Of course, the contents and quality of the sandwich will differ depending on your housemate’s cooking ability. We cannot guarantee that your sandwich will not feature a dodgy threebird-roast jobby from Iceland. However, a home-cooked (and free) offering will always trump anything a supermarket can give you.

Turkey and stuffing (with all the trimmings) Frankie and Tony’s 10/10 HURRAY! WE’VE FOUND IT! Get yourself down to Frankie and Tony’s when you’re in the deepest, darkest sorrow and see no way of enjoying Christmas. You’ll find the dedicated staff working at top speed to get through the (definitely bigger than last year) queue down the road. This beauty will never fail to cheer you up. You can choose marg or mayo, what salad you want so none of the nasty surprises like in packaged sandwiches. You can either eat your precious sandwich straight away when it’s lovely and warm - although at your own peril as they put so much filling in, it can be a bit messy. Or you can rush home and enjoy at your leisure. Personally, I would recommend the latter, since this sandwich has the same affect on me as consumming a proper Christmas Dinner i.e. needing to lie down and fall asleep from sheer delightful fullness. For us, it’s an easy win.

The Courier

Monday 12 December 2016

Which book is your one true love? Start...

Tyneside Cinema: Muppets Christmas, 17 Dec

What is Your Ideal Cultured Christmas Date?

Alphabetti Theatre: Alphabetti Soup, 31 Dec

Tyne Theatre: Beauty and The Beast, 31 Dec

Mistletoe Justin Bieber BandAid

The Sage: The Snowman, 22-24 Dec

Which character do you most identify with in Love Actually?

What’s your Xmas jam?

Fairytale in NY - The

Lucky Break

All I Want For Christmas is You - Mariah Carey

Liam Neeson Emma Thompson Alan Rickman Are you serious? You’re the worst.

Would you call Carley Rae Jepson about your date?

What’s your favourite Xmas consumable? No



Turkey Flesh NutRoast

Hit the mall with your crush

Contemplate the void

What do you do in your spare time? Mansplain

Hide from muggles in Hogsmeade


Listen to Records

Wa t c h Elf with Bae


Are you sure? Yes

Monday 12 December 2016

The Courier

Christmas 2016: A Gift Guide instagram: @thelustlist

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:


1. “Boyfriend approved”

“The perfect stocking filler...”





1. Marshall Major Headphones - Pretty Green, £100 2. Premium Black Boots - Timberland, £109.99 3. Calvin Klein Sweatshirt Topman, £90 4. Navy and Green Check Scarf - Topman, £12 5. Reindeer Trouser Socks - Ralph Lauren £9.95 6. Murdock London Beard Set - END, £20



“NYE outfit nailed!”

10. 8.


“Personalised pressies”


7. Cat Knitted Jumper - Miss Selfridge, £35 8. Survival of the Chicest - NARS, £59 9. Silver Sequin Skirt - & Other Stories, £65 10. Twist Front Velvet Dress - Topshop, £29 11. Camera Bag - Pop&Suki, £153 12. Skinndip x Zara Martin Kitty Headphones, Urban Outfitters £35

The Courier

Monday 12 December 2016

It’s the beauty festive countdown 05

Product recommendation: Liquid lipstick from the NYX ‘Lingerie’ collection in the shade ‘Beauty Mark’ is a gorgeous deep brown shade perfect for anyone wearing gold this party season.


Top Tip: When doing your lower waterline today, use a white eye pencil rather than black or brown as this makes your eyes appear bigger.


Top Tip: Slightly wet your eyeshadow brush before putting on any vibrant colours. This will make the colours pop!


Product recommendation: The Body Shop’s ‘Born Lippy’ lip balm in Strawberry is a bargain at just £2 i, so take a day off the lipstick and protect lips from the cold.

Here we go ladies and gentlemen!


Top Tip: Jump onto the Anastasia Beverly Hills website for the best tutorials on perfect eyebrows this party season!


Top Tip: Give yourself a make-up free day today, try a facemask instead!


Product recommendation: Colour Pop metallic liquid lipstick in shade ‘Mugshot’ is the perfect dupe for Kylie’s ‘Merry’ from her holiday collection and costs just £5.


Top Tip: Line your lips with a pencil a shade darker than your gloss to achieve an ombrestyle look.

Whilst we all love the excitement of opening a door a day for chocolate, nothing brings more joy to the world than beauty


Top Tip: Always follow exfoliating with a moisturiser if you want your skin to stay smoother for longer.


Product recommendation: Anything from the Too Faced Christmas range! Pop into Debenhams and check out the latest festive editions to their ‘Chocolate Shop’ collection.


Top Tip: Sign up to newsletters for all your fave beauty brands now so you’re the first to hear about boxing day sales.


Top Tip: When using primer around your eyes, make sure it’s an eye-only one. These have different ingredients to primers used for the whole face and are more sensitive.

so, Susanne Norris and your Beauty Editors bring you a daily product recommendation or magical make-up tip


Product recommendation: LUSH Sleepy body lotion, the soothing lavender will help you relax after a long first semester.


Top Tip: Primark do make-up sponges like the Beauty Blender ones at a fraction of the price!


Top Tip: Heat your lash curler with a hairdryer first for a false lash effect!


Product recommendation: Sleek highlighting palette in Solstice, the glittering tones will have you party ready in minutes.

to make every day of December as special as the 25th. Merry Christmas xoxo


Top Tip: White eyeliner pencil acts as a perfect primer when put on your lid first to make any colours over the top seem more vibrant.


Top Tip: Use two mascaras for popping eyes! Use one that promises length first, and then a volume promising one as an overcoat.


Product recommendation: *‘Stay Time’ concealer from 17. 18 hour coverage for £3.99 will ensure any blemishes you get from all this festive drinking go undetected.


Top Tip: Don’t be tempted to peak! Hopefully that stocking is full of makeup goodies!

Monday 12 December 2016

The Courier

Top 10 Albums of 2016 1. 2. The Last Shadow Puppets Everything You’ve Come to Expect

Returning after an eight-year absence as The Last Shadow Puppets, Alex Turner and Miles Kane – alongside musicians James Ford and Zach Dawes – pulled off their second album in style. The Baroque-pop instrumentation and seductive vocals impress just as much as on their 2008 debut, but here their Californian influence really shines through. Crafted in Hollywood with string-arrangements from the Oscar-nominated Owen Pallett, the record has a richness really setting them apart from the crowd. The Puppets have re-imagined a style that they had already established as their own, and it is this unique quality that renders the record the best of 2016. Turner and Kane may be odd public-figures right now – with their deeply-profound bromance, somewhat unhinged interviews and matching tracksuits – but no one can argue that the frontmen can’t write some impressive tunes.


It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Kaytranada’s 99.9% has made it into our Top 3 albums of the year. Despite having its own signature sound, the Haitian-Canadian producer’s debut defied categorization and pleased music-lovers far and wide when it was dropped in May. Kaytranada has been adored by streamers since 2010, littering remixes of club favourites like Modjo’s ‘Lady’ on the internet and reigning over Majestic Casual’s YouTube account. His first full-length was better than we could have ever imagined, even from a production prodigy who started DJing at the age of 14. But it’s only right to consider it a collaborative effort. It features an insane mix of artists ranging from Little Dragon to BadBadNotGood. Oh, and ‘GOT IT GOOD’ is the best thing to have come from Craig David’s comeback. I rated it 99.9% in May, but I’ll be generous and give it that extra 0.1% after listening to it nonstop for 7 months.


Sophie Ahmed

Skepta - Konnichiwa

The fourth album from grime legend Skepta, Konnichiwa serves to prove that even though four years have passed since his last album, the grime artist still has more than enough tucked under his belt. Undeniably, Konnichiwa feels more like a mixtape of singles than a defined album, but that’s what makes it so damned good. There’s no shame in his anti-governmental, anti-authority messages, his bravado and selfawareness in that he’s been able to push grime into the mainstream without any help from the mainstream itself. It’s a brutal “fuck you” to institutions, almost as if a call to arms, and lyrics are self-aware to the point where you’ll feel that call to arms whether you want to or not. It’s one of the most British records to come out of 2016, and with collabs from Pharrell Williams as well as A$AP Nast and Young Lord, if anyone says that grime’s dead? They couldn’t be more goddamn wrong. Jordan Oloman

Frank Ocean - Blond

I feel like we need to put this in context. I was anticipating this album for a seriously long time, and it came to me when I was on an overnight layover at Cologne airport after a week of fun. The roof was open so I just sat until the silly hours of the morning listening to Blond on my lonesome. The reason it worked so well is because its melancholy moments like the one I’m describing that Frank manages to capture on this record. It’s a work of art in many ways. A genre defying set of stories that are injected with such astounding raw emotion, sentiment that you can actually parse in his moving lyrics. Now I guess we won’t see him for another four years until something ticks again in that genius brain of his. Regardless, I’ll be waiting.


King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard Nonagon Infinity

For the past five years King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard have been making records which delve deep into the different corners of psychedelia. Nonagon Infinity is their most powerful album to date; delivering a full throttle psych rock masterclass. Rammed to the brim with smouldering guitar riffs which are drenched in enough fuzz to melt your face clean off the sheer intensity of each track catapults you through the album without a moment to catch your breath. Stu Mackenzie plays the satanic narrator, whaling like an animatronic Ozzy Osbourne, while Ambrose Kenny Smith’s harmonica injects an old school Texan psychedelic screech. Nonagon Infinity has managed to blend erratic energy with a selection of tidy tandem riffs. It is a disciplined beast, a precise punk monster; which has cemented itself into its own corner of the psychedelic sphere.

Tom Cooney

Leonard Cohen - You Want it Darker


Errol Kerr

7. Seb Masters

Alistair Greer

Legendary songwriter, Leonard Cohen, delivers one last record with a deep bassy rasp during his last months battling severe health issues. Anticipate Goosebumps. The LP begins with the harrowing and religiously critical title track ‘You Want it Darker’, the statement sums his bitter viewpoint towards figures of faith in a sorrow world where there’re “a million candles burning for the help that never came”. Cohen seldom deviates from his iconic melancholy roots musing over life, love and loss whilst accompanied by a mixture of orchestral flourishes, humming organs, sombre choirs, tender piano and an aching string selection that is ultimately poignant. This album is his resignation, humble, he is ready to die. Although this doesn’t exclude attempts to make peace as expressed on tracks such as ‘On the level’ and ‘Treaty’ which includes his beautiful last lines sighed: “I wish there was a treaty between your love and mine”.

Miranda Stoner


Lemonade relied solely on the dedication of Beyoncé’s fans. The album steers the ear on a tempestuous journey through musical genre and era from folk to the more modern R’n’B with almost everything in between. Beyoncé has also brought in some of the biggest names in the business including Kendrick Lamar who joins her in ‘Freedom’ to preach against racism and police brutality. These harmonious collaborations highlight her musical diversity and political astuteness but also conveniently creates a selection of tracks that are pleasant to listen to. Lyrics wise; the focus is mainly on themes of infidelity and anger but at its core is the idea that when life gives you lemons you make lemonade; which Beyoncé has certainly done.

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds Skeleton Tree

Robyn Wainwright

With Skeleton Tree being their 16th album, we know Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds can produce innovative and exciting music. However, the context of this album is so important when listening to its alluring and sombre tracks. This album was written in the midst of a tragedy, the death of Cave’s 15 year old son. The album was started before his tragic death, and was completed in its aftermath. This album is overflowing with raw emotion, and no song screams that more than ‘Skeleton Key’, where his loss can be felt most strongly. The lyrics and melody draw sentiment and sadness, from any listener. The album reached number reached number 2 in the UK, and number 1 in several countries including Australia, Norway, and Ireland. If you listen to one album of 2016, please let it be this one.

Mild High Club - Skiptracing

Serena Bhardwaj

Instructions for use: pop the record on (headphones recommended for ultimate absorption). Bump up the volume (obviously). Kick back and imagine you’re floating on a cloud (obviously). This album takes you on a weightless journey through time and space as you unwind to beautiful melodies and airy vocals. The first tracks merge seamlessly, adding to the euphoric effect and cleansing the palette before making way for ‘¿Whodunit?’ - a noisy, aberrant song to disrupt the calmness. It acts as a breather before dipping back into the gooey and lethargic ‘Chasing My Tail’. Meanwhile, the lazy lyrics of ‘Chapel Perilous’ are totalling mesmerising, lulling the listener into a bubble of ethereality. The band describe their sound as ‘a stone in the zen garden of LA slack funk psychedelia’. I’ll leave it at that.



Beyoncé - Lemonade

Kanye West - The Life of Pablo

Say what you like about Kanye but he’s come up with another brilliant album in 2016. The Life of Pablo is genre-ignorant. It draws from gospel in ‘Ultralight Beam’ alongside deeper bass-led vibes in ‘Feedback’ and ‘Fade’. Impressively, the album is somewhat introspective from the world’s most prominent extravert. Themes as diverse as police brutality, pornography and his upbringing are discussed in the record. That being said, Kanye retains his humour as illustrated by ‘I love Kanye’ which solely concerns – you guessed it – Kanye West. Not one to miss potential controversy, TLOP’s lyrics are occasionally questionable - ‘Famous’ starts with “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex. Why? I made that bitch famous”. The album has a star-studded cast: Rihanna, Kendrick, The Weeknd and Frank Ocean to name a few but Yeezy remains King.


Ben Grundy

The Courier

Monday 12 December 2016

Top 10 Shows of 2016 1.


Game of Thrones

After the big finale of season five that left everyone into hysteria and left twitter in meltdown, Game of Thrones fans were left questioning as to what would happen next. We started the series in the aftermath of Jon Snow’s death but we soon were put out of our misery after a couple of episodes, much to fans delight. After Kit Harington’s beloved character and his luscious locks were returned to their former glory, fans were ‘treated’ to some happier revelations. With an emotional reunion of Jon and Sansa, the return of The Hound, the death of two loathed characters and a magnificent penultimate episode of ‘The Battle of the Bastards which for me, was the highlight of not just this series but the show itself. A part of me can’t help but be a little melancholy as this series firmly marks the beginning of the end.



Ciara Clarke

Westworld Fleabag


Black Mirror

I’m going to suggest something that probably isn’t too exaggerated, and that is that Charlie Brooker is a televisual genius. He’s demonstrated the extent of his sense of dry humour to the world with ‘Screenwipe’ and his yearly wipes, as well as the main attractions that are Black Mirror Season 1 and 2. Black Mirror Season 3 is just as good, if not better than its last 2 seasons. With a Netflix budget and certain Americanized concepts, this season offers a perspective on technology that is, in many ways, much closer to the present day than the other seasons, which you can even see in the first episode with the human rating system. Not all episodes end as depressingly hopeless as last season either. In fact, the ‘San Junipero’ one is probably one of the best episodes, especially for its clever use of music, and ending that would make even the hardest of nuts crack. All I can do now is eagerly await the next season.

The Night Manager


Do you love the eighties? You don’t? What’s wrong with you? Everyone who has a heart for pulpy cinematics, clever horror, diverse science fiction, inspirational music and nostalgic fun loves the eighties. And guess what? Stranger Things is all these things and more. It has the parallels with eighties films, combining horror and sci fi with undoubtable references to Spielberg’s E.T and John Carpenter’s The Thing. The music will catapult you back in time with classics like The Clash’s Should I Stay or Should I Go. The plot will have you engrossed week by week, the villain always mysterious, always terrifying, a mixture of Lovecraftian and Star Trek. But most of all the characters are what make this show. Especially the adventurous group of geeky, weird, Dungeons and Dragons loving boys who make it their mission to save their best friend from an interdimensional being along with their new friend, Eleven, the telepath, and her murderous abilities. Jacob Clarke

Michael Crichton was a hell of a writer. He gave us Jurassic Park, ER, and the latest of his literary works to be transferred to a bigger screen (ignoring the 1980’s movie) is Westworld. It’s about a theme park full of synthetic ‘hosts’ created by Robert Ford, brought to life for egregious human consumption. You can pay to come to the park to live out your most horrid desires, enacting them on the questionably alive hosts. Most come to murder, sexually abuse and drink their way through the Wild West, but there’s something going on in the background of this sinister thrill ride. Can synthetic humans so close to the real thing gain consciousness, rebel and confront their masters? Westworld seems to think so, with delightful results. JJordan Oloman

Kassie Hopewell

Stranger Things

4. Jack Taylor

The star studded BBC mini-series included other big names such as Hugh Laurie, Olivia Coleman and Tom Hollander. It follows Hiddleston’s character from the night manager position in a Cairo hotel, into the confidences of an international arms dealer. Before the first episode aired, critics may have said that the cast and crew would bring the high ratings; but after the first episode no one could claim to be watching only to stare at Hiddleston’s perfect frame. His portrayal of ex-soldier Johnathon Pine is compelling and mysterious, and Laurie as Richard ‘Dickie’ Roper is horrifyingly charismatic and indifferent. The plot twists and turns, and will keep you hooked from beginning to end. Overall, it’s a thriller with a very Bond-like take; maybe it’s just Hiddleston’s audition tape for the role.

This is Us

This is Us reunites the most unique moments of the Pearsons, since Rebecca (Mandy Moore) and Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) were still a young couple. Then, she got pregnant with triplets and things got complicated. No other series will make you think about your own family and parenthood, as This is Us did in 2016.The show travels between the past and the present of four people with the same birthday. What amazes me is the mixture of emotions evoked and the way that Rebecca and Jack go from inexperienced parents to the most incredible ones. Like any other good series, the pilot has to be seen until the very end to touch you. After the first episode, the story only gets better. Marina Costa


Fleabag is hands down one of the best things that has been on telly this year, hailed as “Angry, outrageous, pervy and hilarious”. It follows the story of Fleabag. You don’t really like her, but she confides in you anyway. You don’t really like any of the characters - they’re all pretty horrible. But they’re so recognisable and you feel for them all so much. Fleabag runs a guinea pig themed café in London, which she set up with her best friend, Boo, who died in an accident. The series follows Fleabag as she attempts to save her business, interjected with tensions of breaking up with her boyfriend (again), her Mum’s death and her Dad’s new partner, her very together sister and her terrible husband, her grief over Boo, and Fleabag’s obvious insecurity. It brilliantly exposes the (somewhat) realities of the millennial 20-30 something female. It is heartbreaking. Tamsin Daisy Rees

Gilmore Girls What makes this show so unique is the idyllic town which it is set in, named “Stars Hollow”; The little village adorned with fairy lights and quaint little stores like “Luke’s” the diner makes everything so magical and fantasy-like. Along with the unique town comes an equally magical cast of characters that recur in the series. Boyfriends and family feuds come and go but ultimately the show is a fast-talking, pop-culture referencing masterpiece with a mother and daughter who are more like best friends at the helm. The revival was equally as heart-warming as the original series run. The essence of the show was still maintained, even if it is weird seeing “Stars Hollow” with 2016 technology. Sian Dickie

The Hollow Crown


No longer is Shakespeare presumed to be for the most pretentious Oxford postgraduate, but the common viewer, who simply likes gore, unrequited love, and messy revenge on their Saturday night telly. Of course the language barrier is a struggle at first, but 15 minutes into this 6 hour special and you’re completely invested, mesmerised by the characters and the ever-unfolding dramatic plot. Cumberbatch gives one of his best and most harrowing performances yet, exhibiting Richard III’s decline into tyrannical insanity and showing how one of the most notorious fictional villains came into being by delivering his devious monologues straight into the camera, directly telling the audience his plans to manipulate, betray, and murder. This is no boring, by-thebook Shakespeare adaptation, but an electrifying, exhilarating and genius one, forcing the play out of the 16th century and into the 21st. Stacie Byers


The Grand Tour

Captain Slow, Hamster and Clarkson have outdone themselves, but ultimately it is still just a bunch of middle-aged men having a laugh. Albeit a very expensive laugh. The meta-humour is a new feature of the show, they implicitly make light of the things the show cannot do. They aren’t allowed a celebrity section due to the resemblance to Top Gear, therefore every week a celebrity is hilariously killed off, from Simon Pegg falling off a bridge or Jeremy Renner hurtling from a plane. Having the controversial trio back is a delight whatever your views of Jeremy Clarkson, there is no doubt of their abilities as performers and presenters. The way the three of them play off their own history is entertaining and nostalgic for fans who tuned in for over a decade of antics on Top Gear. Be warned, if what you had in mind was a car show, you may be disappointed. This show is all it was ever supposed to be: unopposed chaotic fun. Jacob Clarke

Monday 12 December 2016

The Courier

Top 10 Films of 2016 1. 2.

I, Daniel Blake

Ken Loach’s second Palme d’Or winner, I, Daniel Blake is an immensely powerful film, which shows humanity at its best and worst. Dave Johns is superb as the titular character, a carpenter who requires benefits after suffering a heart attack. Daniel meets single-mother Katie (Hayley Squires) and together they experience the hardship and humiliation of the Kafkaesque modern welfare system. They both face intimidation, forceful opposition and difficulty when merely trying to provide for themselves, reducing a starving Katie to grasp tin of beans in the film’s harrowing and moving food bank scene. Daniel’s strident self-respect and unwavering defiance act as a rallying call for the dispossessed and less fortunate. Simply essential viewing.


Captain America: Civil War

Considering its big cast, Civil War could also be viewed as Avengers 2.1, sadly missing Thor, the Hulk, and (surprisingly) Nick Fury, but wonderfully adding Ant-Man, Spider-Man, and Black Panther to the mix. I was therefore excited, but, knowing the storyline, also scared for the film, having followed most of these characters since the start of Phase One of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The clash between Captain America and Iron Man was nicely done and what they stood for made sense for both, and even though the division of characters was used as advertising (i.e. which ‘Team’ you were on), I’m glad the film showed both sides as deeply flawed. The film was gritty and grim but thankfully also had some comic relief, and it was a brilliant kick-off for what is supposed to become a darker Phase Three.


Becky van Leeuwan

Jamie Gomersall


What director Tom McCarthy achieved in the shooting of Spotlight is, quite frankly, incredible. It’s easy to write an action-filled investigative journalism plot, but McCarthy created something so much deeper. The film is strippedback and portrays the work of investigative journalists in a more realistic way. There aren’t the fistfights and overextended moments of suspense, but a real focus on the mesmerising plot, which is based on true events. The film follows an investigation into child sex scandals in Boston, based on a series of true stories run by the “Spotlight” team in 2003. Mark Ruffalo gives what could well be his best performance to date. It’s no surprise that the film won Oscars for Best Film and Best Original Screenplay. It is an honest, thought-provoking work that is ground-breaking in the genre. Toby Bryant


10 Cloverfield Lane

Imagine regaining consciousness after a car crash and finding yourself trapped in an underground bunker under John Goodman’s close watch, who insists that a chemical apocalypse is underway in the outside world. Originally shot and edited under the name The Cellar, 10 Cloverfield Lane was marketed as a sister film to J.J. Abrams’ Cloverfield – a film where New York is invaded by massive fuck off insects and Janis Ian from Mean Girls explodes. The two films couldn’t differ more. Goodman’s performance is unnervingly impressive as we spend the film deciding whether our alliances lie with him or the tenants he’s rescued. They’re told by Howard that the outside air is poisonous…but is he telling the truth? Is he an unstable murderer or an overprotective father figure? This film will have you screaming at the screen – it’s got gore, tension and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. What could be better?

There’s been something horribly wrong with the relationship between humanity and 2016. Deadpool was the only catharsis we could find. Sure, it’s not as beautiful as The Revenant,, nor has the narrative depth of Inception. But, my god, it’s fucking cathartic. It takes everything that superhero film culture has created and punches it in its steel-plated crotch. It’s brash, inappropriate, and most of all, fun. It’s the kind of limb-tearing, bone-breaking grit that fans want from superhero films, and the boisterous hilarity that we need after the shitshow of 2016. The CGI is wonderful, its characterisation spot-on, its score composed by Junkie XL; what’s not to love? I mean, it’s also nice to have a protagonist with a face like an avocado had sex with an older, more disgusting avocado. Like, hate-fucking.


Saffron Kershaw-Mee

Tom Cooney


Jordan Oloman

The Jungle Book

It’s easy to criticise Disney for cashing in on their classics by remaking them in the live-action format, but this year’s The Jungle Book proved that there’s as much love poured into these films as with their originals. Firstly, the special effects used to render this film’s beautiful setting and scarily-realistic animals dispelled any doubts that the studio couldn’t handle the challenge of bringing these things to life. Additionally, The Jungle Book boasts one of the year’s best casts, including the likes of Bill Murray, Idris Elba and Scarlett Johansson. Surprisingly though, the clear standout was Neel Sethi as Mowgli, who pulled off acting to a green screen for most of the film seamlessly. And whilst the intensity was ccranked up from the original, its loveable charm was not lost. So, if The Jungle Book is anything to go by, next year’s live-action Beauty and the Beast is certainly something to look forward to.


Room is a touching drama that fantastically deals with the issue of trauma and how people can overcome it. Having first read the novel, I was sceptical; however the film does the difficult storyline perfect justice. Jacob Tremblay is one of the best child actors the screen has seen recently, and audiences are guaranteed to be drawn in by his curiosity and innocence. The plot follows Jack and his Ma’s life within a single room - what I love is that the reason they’re in the room comes secondary to their endearing relationship, and although what they experience is very traumatic, the film prioritises the human feeling it takes for them to survive in that room. The content isn’t for the faint hearted, but it’s a testament to the things that strength and courage can triumph, and is in the end a very feel-good film.


Errol Kerr

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

I’ll be honest with you. I’m a bit of a Harry Potter heretic. I really didn’t like anything beyond the fourth film, The Goblet of Fire (Rest In Pepperonis Robert Pattison) as I thought the story just kind of fell off and it devolved into a bleak narrative devoid of all the fun of the first three installments. That’s why it was such a shock to me when I walked into Fantastic Beasts,, a movie I wasn’t really all that bothered about, and came out grinning like a child, the same as I was when I first saw Philosopher’s Stone all those years ago. A truly magical film in a bold new setting with exciting characters, Fantastic Beasts is a return to form for the franchise, with standout performances from Ezra Miller and Katherine Waterston. It made me laugh, well up, and feel fear, but most of all it had me hook, line, and sinker.



Zootropolis is the most engaging Disney film I’ve seen in a while, and I applaud its fiercely anti-racist message. Set in a world populated b y animals, the protagonist, a bunny called Judy Hopps, must fight societal prejudices to become the first ever bunny police officer. The film’s strength is not in its brilliant visuals or exceptional voice cast, but its exploration of modern day prejudices. We want desperately for Judy to succeed in spite of all those who dismiss her, and later when the government of Zootropolis spreads hateful propaganda against the ‘predators’, the lions, wolves and tigers, we see a corrupt and intolerant society that is all-too-familiar. Zootropolis is a triumph. It’s funny, smart, and political, and in the world of Trump and Brexit, where we seem to be heading towards a right-wing nightmare, this film offers a glimmer of much-needed optimism.


Dan Haygarth


Rachel Baker

The Hateful Eight

I’m surprised that The Hateful Eight only made it in at number 10, but I haven’t seen any of the above so I’m biased. I admit, I’ve been useless at keeping up to date with new film this year, but my love for Tarantino got me straight down to Tyneside Cinema when this was released. It was the first time I’d seen one of Quentin’s films on the big screen, but although I was late to the party, it was a good one to start with. With most of the brutal action taking place in the confines of ‘Minnie’s Haberdashery’ over the 3 hours, you really felt as though you were drowning in the bloodbath, the tension heightened by Ennio Morricone’s original score. Without giving away any crucial spoilers, the biggest plot twist in this Western is the fact that Channing Tatum stars in it. And Samuel L. Jackson’s character is as disturbing as any performance he’s ever given.

Sophie Ahmed

The Courier

Monday 12 December 2016

Top 10 Games of 2016 1.Uncharted 4


- Jared Liam Moore

150 words doesn’t seem anywhere near enough to explain just exactly how breathtaking Uncharted 4 is. In fact, the soundtrack alone could have 150 words dedicated to it. The combination of exotic locations, fast-paced action and a lost city or two sets up the perfect final chapter for Nathan Drake. However, despite its highend graphics and Michael Bay style action sequences, Uncharted 4 still manages to capture what made the franchise so fantastic nine years ago, its storytelling. Each entry into our top ten justifiably deserves its place. However, it’s Naughty Dogs ability to create such a formidable and emotional bond between player and character that separates Uncharted 4 from pretty much every other entry here. If you haven’t yet picked up a copy of Uncharted 4 then we highly recommend adding it to your Christmas list. Not only is it packed full of immersive dialogue and rewarding gameplay, but it also manages to transform a dreary wet Scottish graveyard into a tense environment filled with exploration and action. Credit: Naughty Dog

- Gerry Hart

I’m a pretty big advocate for games as an artistic medium, but sometimes it’s fun to just kill shit with really big guns. Enter Doom, the fourth entry into Id Software’s venerable franchise and one of the most gripping gaming experiences I’ve had all year. Gone are the narrow corridors and slow pacing of Doom 3. There’s a real kinetic energy to Doom that is entirely contingent on the player’s actions. You exchange fire a n d circle strafe round enemies in a manner that’s almost graceful like a ballet in an abattoir, with the new glory kill system helping to maintain the flow of combat. Granted Doom is slightly guilty of nostalgiabation but I feel it’s earned it. It understood what made its predecessors great and how to apply them to the current generation. Doom is a shining example of what an FPS can be, and for the reasons outlined, ranks at number 2.

.3 4.Civilization VI Credit: id Software


Coming in at #3 we have Overwatch, Blizzard Entertainment’s ultimately refreshing first-person shooter. Some may say that it’s just a modern Team Fortress 2, but I say that it’s perhaps one of the most inventive games to grace our screens in recent years. Featuring a huge cast of characters all with unique abilities, personalities and customisations, no two games are the same, and no two players play the same characters in the same way. The variety of maps, scenarios and objectives to complete mean that you never get bored, and plus the bonus content by Blizzard – including comics, animated shorts and artworks – is amazing. There are so many achievements to unlock, so many different modes and styles of play, and ultimately a great competitive scene to get stuck into either by yourself or with friends. So really, what have you got to lose? After all, the world could always use more heroes…


- Georgina Howlett

Dark Souls 3


- James McCoull

I can’t tell you how tragic the timing of Dark Souls 3’s release was for me. That’s not to say I wasn’t happy or excited, but it happened to come out mere weeks before my third year dissertation was due, and had the exact impact on my work ethic you would expect. For me, Dark Souls 3 represented the series’ climactic efforts to destroy not only my long-suffering virtual avatar, but my actual life. Dark Souls 3 was indisputably one of the most anticipated titles of 2016, and it would be abhorrent to forget it just because it came out so early in the year (if April can be called early). The famous/infamous FromSoft combat mechanics polished to perfection; some of the most absolutely breathtaking vistas in the series; and a return to the bleak atmosphere that made Dark Souls what it was in the first place have cemented DS3 as my favourite in the series, and easily the best RPG of the year. Credit: FROM Software


Dishonored 2 - Jordan Oloman

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

Credit: Arkane


Credit: Blizzard Entertainment

- Sam Blackburn

XCOM 2 allows you to use magical powers to control the minds of enemies, unlike any other game in the top 10 - Bar Dishonored 2. Honestly, I got XCOM 2 expecting to be extremely disappointed. I’m not a big sci-fi guy, and it always looked so complicated. Oh, how wrong I was. 1 month and 435443 PEC forms later, and I’m still addicted to this wonderful game. There’s just something so fun about sending all your soldiers into battle to destroy the alien scum who have invaded the world. You can even customise your soldiers, therefore instead of generic male A killing aliens, it is me, Samson Dragonbreath Blackburn assassinating the all the aliens, lizards and robots who get in my path.


Credit: Firaxis Games


Six years after releasing the monochromatic nightmare fuel Limbo, indie devs Playdead crafted another masterful dystopian sidescroller with INSIDE. Thematically and visually borrowing from its older sibling, INSIDE expands upon the former with a wider colour palette and richer narrative. There are no tutorials – you’re left completely defenceless in a science facility running from guards, underwater sirens, and those bloody rabid dogs. You can, however, eerily control the minds of the lifeless bodies that roam the complex, offering a unique and challenging puzzle mechanic that perfectly pairs with the game’s bleak diegesis. Each frame is meticulously crafted; dust particles float in empty rooms, the protagonist stumbles after landing a jump, and the camerawork in particular is commendable for its breathtaking use of perspective. But all this pales in comparison to the game’s twist ending; I don’t think I’ve empathised with a video game character more than when that disgusting blob of limbs started sunbathing. In short, INSIDE is, in fact, outstanding.


- Errol Kerr

It’s been six years since Firaxis has released a Civ game, and with Civilization V being such a massive step forward, they had one hell of a lot to live up to in creating Civilization 6. Despite this, they more than delivered. With new and refreshed worker systems and democratic and diplomatic abilities and techniques, the game allows you to fully master the art of peace, war, and general global domination, should that tickle your fancy. Firaxis has managed to bring together its new art style (and the dulcet tones of Sean Bean) with classic Civilisation gameplay, and it’s the kick that the series needed. Will you tell yourself you’re only playing for ten more minutes and then suddenly it’s 4am? Most likely. Will Sean B`ean’s voice lull you to sleep? Definitely. Will Gandhi nuke you into the dust for shits and giggles? Absolutely.

Credit: Playdead


- Zoë Godden - Jack Coles

Just sneaking onto the leaderboard, we have Clustertruck, the Creme Egg of videogames; great for filling odd little moments, but does terrible things to your cardiac health if you continually consume it. I am naturally quite a calm person, but this game really gets my blood pumping. It starts off fairly innocuously, with just having to traverse a straight stretch of land by jumping on several lorries driving in single file. It then jumps up the difficulty like going from GCSEs to A-levels, especially with the addition of giant mallets, trampolines, lasers, and great big drops. It’s nice to see a physics engine being used for something fun, as opposed to mechanical engineering projects or weird Skyrim mods. Its main detriment is the aforementioned heart rate thing, as it is deeply frustrating at times – but all the more rewarding when a difficult level is passed (even if is thanks to the butterfly effect). Credit: Landfall


Credit: Firaxis Games

Pokémon Sun & Moon - Michael Hicks

When I finished Alpha Sapphire two years ago, I felt completely burnt out. I felt that I had finally gotten “too old”; that it was time to draw the curtain on the series. I am so glad to say that Pokémon Sun and Moon have completed changed this, and I’m in love with the series in a way I haven’t been in ages. The region of Alola is absolutely lush, looking absolutely gorgeous on Nintendo’s aging handheld. The island trials are great, being far more interesting and varied then the standard gym battles of previous games. The story and characters are up there with the series best; littered with laugh-out-loud and genuinely touching moments. While the number of new Pokémon is slim compared to past entries, I’ve found more than a few new favourites amongst the Alolan locals. I think I’ll be staying on this tropical holiday for quite some time.

Credit: GameFreak

Monday 12 December 2016

The Courier

How obese Why NYE will never be great Christmas would Father be? Katie Eddison reveals the depressing truth behind the last night of year


nce again it’s getting closer and closer to that time of year. It’s finally December so we can start to get properly excited about Christmas and everything it brings with it (most importantly the food, the best thing about the holiday season). But after the Christmas season comes New Year’s Eve. The night that everyone buzzes about, the one that films, TV and seasonal adverts have always suggested is possibly the single best night of the year. Only it isn’t. It never is. You wake up either hungover, let-down by the night before, or disappointed that the day feels absolutely no different to the rest of the 365/6 days in the year, despite all the hype. And luckily science has the explanation for why it really is that terrible. New Year being rubbish isn’t just a trope that we roll out to make excuses for a bad night. University College London researched into the disappointment in 2014 and their psychologists uncovered that our moment-to-moment mental happiness depends massively on our expectations. This isn’t particularly surprising given the general disappointment we have when we are let-down by something, but they created a formula explaining how happiness is dependent on various factors. It takes into account the event, how important or significant the event is, and when the event occurred. Their work found that it is our own expectations that often ruins the night and thanks to the media

“You wake up either hungover, let-down by the night before, or disappointed that the day feels absolutely no different to the rest of the 365/6 days” there’s no expectation higher than New Year. Usually a night out on New Year’s Eve involves overpriced drinks, people crying, and the standard ‘I’ll see you next year’ jokes that seem to never get old for some people. On top of this there’s the impending pressure of New Year’s resolutions and

having to tell everyone who asks what you’re planning to do in the coming

year w h e n most of the time you are fully aware that your resolutions will fail two-thirds of the way into January. UCL’s attempt at explaining it all isn’t the first study into the disappointment of New Year, as they were building on the work of three American scientists, Schooler, Ariely, and Lowenstein, undertaken in

“It is our own expectations that often ruins the night and thanks to the media there’s no expectation higher than New Year”

1999. It was shown that 83% of the subjects who took part in the study said afterwards they had been disappointed by their New Year’s Eve. The American study suggested that in order to have a good New Year you shouldn’t plan it and those who are overly concerned with having a good time tend to ruin it for themselves. Instead spon-

Mistletoe madness

Jared Moore discusses an old Christmas tradition


hristmas, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. Each year, the 25th December acts to warm the hearts of families across the country at a time where long nights and frosty temperatures prevail. From Santa Claus to Christmas Carols it’s a festival packed full of traditions dating back hundreds of years. One of the more obscure traditions held at Christmas features people kissing under mistletoe. But, what makes mistletoe so romantic around this time of year? Well it’s probably not its name! Whilst the exact etymology of mistletoe is rather hazy, it’s commonly accepted that the word is an amalgamation of the german words mist (meaning dung) and tang (branch). That’s right, the next time someone sweeps you up for a quick smooch under the mistletoe, just remember that you’re essentially getting some action underneath a shitty branch.

“The next time someone sweeps you up for a smooch remember you’re getting action underneath a shitty branch” If that isn’t bad enough, the plant itself actually acts as a parasite in its natural environment, embedding its roots into a host and feeding off their nutrients. In nature that host is often an unsuspecting tree. In romantic terms however, it’s the equivalent of people that think tapas is a good idea. The whole thing becomes a race for sustenance, culminating with one person satisfied and the other filled with hunger-fuelled resentment. Finally, just in case you weren’t assured at this

taneity is key. So it isn’t New Year that is rubbish, it’s our need to plan it all out. We spend so long monitoring the night and being concerned about everything going right that we actually forget to enjoy ourselves. Spontaneous plans are always better and given the high expectations of New Year’s Eve, that rule is even more relevant. But this may all sound a little cynical, as not everyone has a rubbish time. Sometimes it really is the best night of the year, and the commercialised excitement that we get invested into pays off. And for those of us who don’t have that experience, the solution to our terrible New Year events has been provided. The results of the study in 1999 demonstrate that the combination of higher expectations, more money being spent, and more being effort put in equals higher levels of disappointment. So this New Year, invite your friends round last minute, keep expectations low and have the best night ever. And on the bright side, even if this New Year’s Eve is rubbish, at least we’ll be leaving 2016 behind.


ather Christmas is famous for his love of mince pies and has persuaded many families around the world to leave him a mince pie (or two!) and glass of sherry near the fire place in return for presents left under the tree. It seems like a bum deal for Santa but say he did eat every mince pie that was given to him, what would be the consequences on his health? To answer this we first need to estimate how many mince pies he would consume. There are approximately two billion families in the world, and if each mince pie weighs 65 grams, this leaves Santa Claus around twelve-thousand tonnes of mince pies to consume. This volume of mince pies can’t be good for anyone and if he were to eat them all at once his stomach would explode. But, if by some glorious miracle he survived, then there would be some serious long term complications.

“If by some glorious miracle he survived, there would be serious long term complications” Two billion mince pies contain around half a trillion calories. This would be enough to feed a normal person for 700 thousand years. As a consequence Santa would be morbidly obese, his blood would pretty much consist of 100% fat, and don’t get me started on the state of his liver! His pancreas would be failing due to the sheer volume of sugar, and presumably after a thousand years of this glutony, Santa would be on his umpteenth heart attack and maybe even a transplant. Perhaps next year Father Christmas should politely decline the mince pies and chose the carrot left for the reindeer instead. Regardless of his decision, he needs to see his Doctor stat!

Red nosed

Sam Blackbur pulls apart Rudolph’s big red nose

J point that mistletoe in no way spreads joy or love in this world, many species of mistletoe are poisonous. The Phoradendron strand of the famous plant contains the toxin phoratoxin, which when eaten can induce abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, blood pressure changes and in rare cases, even death. Interestingly, whilst the Viscum species of the parasite contains a different concoction of chemical formulae (including the alkaloid tyramine), results in a rather similar outcome. It might be worth sticking to the eggnog and mulled wine over the holiday period or at least at best don’t order the Mistle-Tea… With all things considered, perhaps it’d make sense to take a minute to think before going in for a quick peck under the mistletoe this year. As a tradition it just lacks the right amount of thought and rational thinking that other festive traditions uphold in a far maturer fashion. Instead, maybe you could try believing in Santa Claus.

Matthew Byrne uncovers Santa Claus’s mince pie addiction

ust like clowns, heavy drinkers of alcohol and the head teacher of my first Sixth Form, some Reindeers have red noses. Although I normally find myself listening to Christmas classics like ‘American Jesus’ by Bad Religion and ‘Killing in the Name’ by Rage Against The Machine, I must admit the song about Rudolph’s red nose and how he was bullied for being different is in my top 10 Christmas Songs of all time. It does make me ponder if a red nose reindeer could exist, but it makes me ponder the existence of flying reindeers more so, but I digress. According to an article on The Telegraph, some scientists in Sweden have been studying reindeers, looking at how much heat the radiate when they scran on the finest grass in the North Pole. They noticed that their noses will turn orange as they release a lot of heat whilst doing so. It is said that r e i n d e e r s have a significant amount of blood vessels in their nose, to make them nice and warm for when they search through snow for delicious grass.

So yes, reindeers can have red noses, but no, it’s not to illuminate the cold skies on Christmas Eve when they fly Santa around, it’s to keep them warm. I would hate to break the joy of that classic Christmas jingle, but I feel like this myth has been proven. You’ve got to really feel for Rudolph though. The only reason his nose was red because he was cold and then the rest of the reindeers decided to berate and abuse him for it.

“Reindeers can have red noses, but it’s not to illuminate the cold skies on Christmas Eve” It’s not cool to bully kids… Actually, maybe the reindeers were being distant with Rudolph because of his over reliance on alcohol what had made his nose red. Very serious stuff, especially when you think he could have been leading Santa’s sleigh drunk.

The Courier

Monday 12 December 2016

Puzzles Across

1 Festive goat-demon who punishes naughty children (7) 4 Messy glitter snakes used to decorate trees and living rooms (6) 7 The ___ Before Christmas, classic animated film best viewed between October 31st and December 25th (9) 10 Diminutive unpaid labourer responsible for making toys (3) 12 On Christmas, we tend to ‘eat, __ and be merry’ (5) 13 One type of tree commonly used for decoration in December (3) 17 Verb meaning ‘to fall asleep’, usually slowly and comfortably, such as in front of a fire (4) 18 A drink particularly popular in America, almost exclusively consumed at Christmas (6) 19 The name for the Germanic December celebration pre-Christianisation (8)



3 4


6 7



1 Surname of the American version of Saint Nicholas (7) 2 You’ll have twelve of these by Christmas, provided a true love buys them for you (9) 3 Another kind of tree commonly used for decoration in December (4) 5 Inexplicably common citrusy Christmas gift from frugal family members (7) 6 Angel who guided a rag-tag collection of vagabonds to the birthplace of the baby Jesus (7) 8 Christmas dinner fixture made of sausage meat and seasoning (8) 9 Winter pastime, especially in Alpine regions (6) 11 ___ Navidad, Spanish holiday greeting (5) 13 Turkeys, ducks and other birds consumed at dinner time are examples of this (4) 14 You can always __ on Santa 15 Carbon lump given to naughty children (4) 16 ___ Upon A Christmas, 2000 family film (4) 18 To consume food, such as turkey or whatever (3)

9 11







16 18



“Eat, drink, and get VERY merry you’ll need a drink after trying to do these puzzles”

To celebrate the season of giving, we gave Gaming editor Jordan Oloman the gift of free reign over the wordsearch. Find his twelve words of Chrstmas in this grid:




Completing this special festive Puzzles section will bolster the Christmas spirit engine on Santa’s sleigh, thus saving Christmas, just like in Elf (2003). Bring proof of your achievement to the Courier office, where you will be rewarded with an A4 print out of Will Ferrell’s smiling face. Failure to finish will show you up as a cotton-headed ninnymuggins (okay, sorry, that was probably too far.)

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