www.thecourieronline.co.uk Monday 9 December 2013 Issue 1283 Free
The Independent Voice Of Newcastle Students
Zombie flashmob took over toon raising awareness of reform
The comment team look over the best and worst of 2013
‘No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” - Nelson Mandela
Sally Hickey writes in favour of the Adidas partnership
Trampolinists bounce to new heights
FENCERS FOIL MANC
Newcastle beat Manchester in showdown
A little girl from Cambridge has reached media fame after sending a letter to John Lewis Cambridge after she broke a bauble. The letter read “To John Lewis, Cambridge. I’m sorry I broke a Christmas bauble on Saturday. It cost two pounds. Here is the money for it. Sorry again” The handwritten letter was accompanied by two pound coins. The manager of John Lewis took to twitter to find the little girl known only as Faith, using the hashtag #findfaith
Residents in Stockton on Tees have taken to social media over what is been hailed as the worst Christmas tree ever. A Facebook campaign has been started over what has been described as an ‘upside down cornet’ has been placed on Stockton on Tees highstreet. Someone else on facebook has described it as a ‘wigwam’. The council released a statement explaining that it was inserted due to a space issue as the high street is undergoing renovations.
Professor produces amazing images by mapping websites
WEB OF ART
News Editors: Anna Templeton and James Simpson Deputy News Editor: Sabine Kucher email@example.com | @TheCourier_News
e h t
Monday 9 December 2013
Food glorious food
Game has revealed their innovative new product, the Christmas dinner in a tin. The tin starts with scrambled egg and bacon, followed by the main course ensemble, sprouts and all. If you haven’t thrown up then you will discover the Christmas pudding at the bottom of the tin. Whilst it might not appear the most appetising, it is innovative and could come in handy for those inevitably long library revision sessions when you want to relish in Christmas spirit for as long as you possibly can.
Santa Skypes kids
For the first time ever you can tell Santa what you want from the comfort of your own home. The new app called ‘Hello Santa’ has been launched by Make Believe Labs and promises to provide an alternative to waiting in shopping centres for grotty grottos. The app directly connects to the child to a real life Santa. The company’s CEO has said he hopes this will be the first in real time calling children’s characters. It might take some time to take off though as each call costs close to £10!
A shop in Manchester has been embracing the festive spirit by offering free kebabs with the purchase of any Christmas tree. The owners of ‘Khawaja Brothers Mini Market’ also run ‘Adam’s Chippy’ and have joined forces giving away a free Local people kebab with the purchase. One Reddit user commented ‘You could get a free kebab on Christmas Eve. Truly, we are living in the golden age”
A reindeer named Humbug has escaped from a Christmas market in London. It is reported that he jumped over his enclosure and gave police a run for their money. He was eventually cornered into a car park and returned to his home in Staffordshire
Image: Timo Newton-Syms
Rip off Rudolph A life size animatronic reindeer has been unveiled for sale this Christmas. The Animated Talking Reindeer will set you back just under £3,500 but can support adults sitting on its back and comes complete with a durable steel frame to prevent theft! Despite been an American product, the company ship worldwide.
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A pub in Worcestershire is providing free tents for patrons to sleep in after a hard nights drinking. The Drum and Monkey has room for 19 people in tents set up in front of the pub. It is a bid to stop people drink driving throughout the festive period. You will be given a bed, sleeping bag, and breakfast for a Christmas hangover. It will be running until New Year Day.
Pants decorations Christmas day zombie attack
A town in Somerset has raise eyebrows after decorating the town with ladies underwear. The bras and knickers were scattered around on Christmas decorations after people commented it was ‘too dull’ It has attracted mixed feelings though as not everyone in the town is happy with it and people have complained to the council.
Editor George Sandeman Deputy Editor Tom Nicholson Web Editor Ben Brown News Editors Anna Templeton and James Simpson Deputy News Editor Sabine Kucher Comment Editors Lydia Carroll and Joe Wood Deputy Comment Editor Victoria Armstrong Culture Editor Sam Summers Lifestyle Editors Evie O’Sullivan, Elizabeth Archer, Hazel Parnell and Katie Smith Fashion Editors Amy O’Rourke and Frances Stephenson Deputy Fashion Editors Rebekah Finney Beauty Editors Amy Macauley and Saﬁya Ahmed Arts Editors Millie Walton and Charlie Dearnley Deputy Arts Editor Laura Wotton Film Editors Muneeb Haﬁz and Jacob Crompton-Schreiber Music Editors Kate Bennett and Ian Mason TV Editor Beth Durant Deputy TV Editor Helen Daly Science Editor Lizzie Hampson Deputy Science Editors Peter Style and Emad Ahmed Sports Editors Nick Gabriel, Freddie Caldwell and Francesca Fitzsimmons Copy Editors Lucy Davis, Emma Broadhouse and Megan Ayres
Ladbrokes has announced odds of 2000/1 for a zombie apocalypse to take place on Christmas Day. According to Ladbrokes there’s more chance of a zombie apocalypse than there is of Crystal Palace winning the Premier League.
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.
Monday 9 December 2013
Professor hits back at accusations of unethical animal testing abroad EXCLUSIVE By Anna Templeton News Editor A Newcastle professor has defended the use of wild-caught baboons in his research into how stroke affects the human brain. Professor Stuart Baker, part of the neuroscience department at the University, has hit back at critics who have labelled his research as “unsafe” and “invasive”. Professor Baker’s research has discovered how a particular part of the brain, called the reticular formation, is of fundamental importance in recovering from stroke. The Professor also says that his work could lead to vital new treatment for other neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s and motor neurone disease. In an exclusive interview with The Courier he spoke about his resarch: “It’s been a fundamental understanding of how we might recover from stroke.
animal welfare standards, they’re good people who care a lot about their animals. But they are a developing nation, so they don’t have quite the same standards we would have here but they aspire to meet those standards.” When asked about the welfare standard at the IPR, Professor Baker rejected the claim that the animals are currently kept in substandard conditions. “When I first started working there two and a half years ago, all the animals were housed in those kind of small cages. “I think that was one of things we felt uncomfortable about when we first went, but they’re changing. Now they’ve built very large cages, big social groups and many of the animals have been moved into those. They’ve just built a large new baboon housing area, where they’re housing small groups. They’re very much on this upwards trajectory.” The BUAV’s investigation claims that: “Some of the baboons were housed on their own in barren metal cages with no enrichment. These conditions can cause disturbed abnormal behaviour and some animals were seen pacing and
“What’s more ethical? Breeding an animal in captivity for 4 or 5 years, then taking it to the lab ... or capturing an animal where it has lived in the wild for 4 or 5 years” We’ve tested it on monkeys in Newcastle and shown that it’s indeed the case.” However, Professor Baker’s alternative research location at the Institute for Primate Research (IPR) in Kenya was discovered through an undercover investigation by the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV). The BUAV have accused the academic of bypassing British law and ignoring the welfare standards set for animal research in the UK, stating that: “Wild baboons are captured and held at the (IPR) under conditions which seriously compromise their welfare and breach international guidelines, before being subjected to disturbing experiments.” Professor Baker responded to the allegations made by the BUAV and “Now they’ve explained the reabuilt very large soning behind the to work cages, big so- decision in Africa. cial groups and “We do primany of the mate work here animals have in Newcastle, it’s strongly regulated been moved and quite rightly into those” so. We’ve got high standards of welfare which we’re proud of. All of that is good, but the one problem of doing primate work in the UK is the cost, it is very expensive.” He added: “The study we do well here in Newcastle is the sort of study that needs two animals. Those animals are worked with intensively over a few years, we train them to do tasks and make recordings from their brain. A single animal will be with us for two or three years.” Commenting on his trip to Kenya, he said: “That’s where travelling to somewhere like the Institute for Primate Research is a good thing to do. They have a very high aspiration towards good
circling. “The introduction of baboons to others was often done poorly, resulting in fighting and injuries. Some infants were taken from their mothers at a young age and housed alone.” In the UK, using wild-caught primates in research was effectively banned in 1995 but Professor Baker was keen to point out that the standards at the IPR met American standards of welfare. He stressed that his time in Africa has helped the IPR work towards better standards of animal welfare. “When I first looked at the large new caging, it looked fantastic but there was nothing on the floor. I said that in the UK we would expect to have some sort of foraging possibility for the animals because foraging is a very natural behaviour that animals show. They said to me, we can’t put sawdust on the floor because we can’t afford it. “When I next went back, they had covered the floor with branches from the forest, which were free. This then allowed the animals to express their natural behaviour.“ However, the BUAV has accused the researcher of a “blatant breach of recent guidance by UK funding bodies which requires UK researchers to maintain UK welfare standards when carrying out experiments abroad.” When asked about the BUAV’s criticism of his research, Professor Baker argued that “the BUAV would always be opposed to any animal experiments” and went on to stress the need to unpick the reasons behind animal research. He said that without animal testing, researchers are not going to make significant breakthroughs. The Professor acknowledged alternative methods but stressed his unease at the term ‘alternative’. “In my labs we do experiments on
human subjects, we use non-invasive, safe methods and we get some data and that’s fantastic – we do that all the time. “We do experiments on patients, recordings from people with neurological disorders, we do computer modelling. “They give us additional, important information, but it’s very different in its whole flavour from what you get from animals. We need both.” The BUAV have accused the academic of “bypassing UK law and travelling to Kenya to use wild-caught baboons in disturbing and highly invasive experiments. “This is also in blatant breach of recent guidance by UK funding bodies which requires UK researchers to maintain UK welfare standards when carrying out experiments abroad.” When asked if he felt his research complied with the University’s animal research policy, Professor Baker sought to emphasise that he was “not going abroad to circumvent ethical standards.” He pointed out that the experiments carried out in Kenya would be allowed under the license he holds under UK law. However, scientists are banned from using wild-caught animals in the UK, but Professor Baker explained the reasons why he felt that this law had been put into place. He said that transporting animals from abroad to the UK would involve transport stress due to the distance, “that doesn’t apply to using wild-caught animals in Africa, as they don’t have to travel a very long distance.” The academic went on to explain the
IPR’s policy of capturing the baboons, describing the process of camping in bushes for two to three months and training the animals to enter traps. The IPR researchers gradually train the animals until the entire troop enter the trap. “This greatly reduces the stress, as the animals are already acclimatised to the trap.” Professor Baker also explained how the IPR take entire groups of animals into captivity: “Taking the whole troop together maintains the social bonds “Animal and they are much happier coming research is captivity.” ﬂawed, unsafe into The academic and barbaric then stressed that - animals are it “wouldn’t be not ours to use ethical to take wild-caught tigers and abuse” and experiment on them when they’re so rare in the world.” He added that with baboons in East Africa “they have a vastly inflated population due to the breaking of human crops, there’s a huge animal vs. human conflict there.“ He also explained how the Kenyan Wildlife Service, when an excess population is realised, culls baboons and other animals. BUAV Director of Special Projects, Sarah Kite stated: “It is a mockery if UK researchers can bypass UK law and use public funds to go overseas to carry out horrific surgery on wild caught primates kept in such appalling conditions. Such practices and conditions would
not be allowed in the UK.” The Courier also spoke to the campaign group ‘Close Newcastle Animal Lab’. Jonathon Procter from the campaign group stated: “I am dismayed to find out that Professor Stuart Barker is heading abroad to carry out unsafe medical research. Animal research is flawed, unsafe and barbaric - animals are not ours to use and abuse. “Close Newcastle Animal Lab condemns Newcastle University for this barbaric stunt and we will be watching closely to see what happens. “We will continue to expose Newcastle University and their shameful vivisection labs to bring about an end to unsafe animal testing in Newcastle.” The Courier asked Professor Baker how he responded to such claims of ethical indecency. “What’s more ethical? Breeding an animal in captivity for 4 or 5 years, then taking it to the lab and doing those kind of experiments or capturing an animal where it’s lived in the wild for 4 or 5 years, it has a short period of captivity and then it’s used. “You could argue it’s more ethical to use a wild-caught animal in that circumstance.” Rob Shannon, a third year biology student, said: “I understand that’s it’s necessary to have animal trials of some kind, and obviously primates are closely related to humans. “They do this with chimps I believe in the USA, so it’s not something that doesn’t happen. Generally I don’t like animal trials but I understand that it can be necessary.”
Monday 9 December 2013
Data art shows internet in constant flux By Jess Harman Newcastle University’s Architecture Lecturer, Dr Martin Robertson, has developed a unique method to illustrate the structures of websites at a particular moment in time. Websites are constantly changing and being updated, therefore, each and every image is unique as once the structure has been captured, it cannot be recreated. Dr Robertson has created a software application called “Data Cartographer” which maps the website data it is fed. These images are made up of a vast number of thin white threads (URLs) drawing together hundreds of white dots representing different pages and portals. The artworks created by the data include not only the main links within the website but the codes that create them, images, videos and external links, which together portray the complete structure of a website. Dr Robertson explained, “I used a web crawler, which is what Google uses to retrieve data on a website and which looks at all the website links. I then put that data in a force-directed graph and ran a physics simulation.” Dr Robertson said: “I’ve been interested in the ideas behind the data portraits for some years now, looking at the way the online world is developing and how you could show that dense information in a new way in my research.” Over the past ten years he has been re-
fining his research, drawing upon links between his professional subject and the ever-evolving nature of the Internet and their website structures. “I was interested in the architecture of the web and the perception that the Internet is very like a city. As an architect I like to be able to visualise things but the sheer scale meant they are too large to really be useful.” Dr Ronbertson explains that his ability to illustrate websites, “came about because of a failed research experiment”, since the depictions created by his software are sadly unable to be put to use due to their enormous scale. However, many companies are fascinated by the idea of visualising their websites and take pride in the beautiful images that they create. “Often a lot of what companies are doing these days is online and they have no way of capturing that. In the past a company would have taken a photograph of its factory or office. This is just another way of showing that.” Examples of Companies that have had artworks created from their websites by Dr Robertson are Google, NASA and Apple and further commissions have been requested from UK Net Park and Savilles. Dr Robertson hopes that the proceeds from his work will help to fund further research into the ties between Architecture and Online spaces and Information visualisation and that the proceeds might also help to support a student scholarship.
Lecturers on strike for second time over pay By James Simpson News Editor Lecturers took to the picket lines again last week to strike for the second time over a dispute regarding pay. The three unions UCU, Unison, and Unite organised the strikes, which took place on Tuesday 3 December. Demonstrations were held at central points around campus with picket lines outside King’s Gate, the INTO building and the Daysh building. The second strike comes during the on-going pay dispute, with the unions claiming there has been a 13 percent pay cut in real terms since October 2008. The strike action comes despite all University staff being given a 1 percent pay increase in their December wages. “Failure of A spokesperson meaningful ne- from Newcastle gotiations will University said: addition [to inconvenience “In the 1% rise] a one students as it off payment of £300 was made means that our lowest paid we’re unable to to workers. No staff do our jobs.” members refused the pay rise.” Dr Martin Farr, Senior History lecturer said: “The 1% offer hasn’t been accepted, but it has been imposed, and staff have no choice as it’ll be in pay packets.” UCU Newcastle President and Senior Lecturer of Psychology Dr Joan Harvey described how “there is no easy mechanism to pay it back at our level.” Dr Farr continued: “This is another deeply regretted day of action, and
some of us are greatly displeased that the failure of meaningful negotiations will inconvenience students as it means that we’re unable to do our jobs. “We’re in constant contact and communication with our students, and, certainly as far as the history ones are concerned, their support and understanding has been greatly appreciated and very important to us. I fervently hope this is the last time we have to do this!” Students were urged to come out and support the strike in a statement released by Newcastle Free Education Network. Final year computer science student Greg Mee spoke about his support for the cause: “Students should join the strike as the issues it is confronting are student issues.” He commented on the higher education and the University: “We believe it should be free, democratic and run by workers and students, not by senior managements whose only care is for themselves.” The statement continued: “NFEN stand in solidarity and support of students nationally who are occupying their campuses in support of education workers and against the privatisation agenda.” Students that The Courier spoke to had been affected by the lecturer strikes. Joe Wood, final year English student, said: “I had to go to a different seminar group and most of my lectures were cancelled.” The University said: “The strike had minimal impact on students and the work of the University. Less than 5% of staff voted to support industrial action, less than the previous strike.”
Monday 9 December 2013
Toon legends launch new store By Anna Templeton News Editor A new adidas store opened on 29 November in Eldon Square, with the public coming face to face with Newcastle football stars. As part of the new sponsorship deal between adidas, Newcastle University and Newcastle Students’ Union, the sportswear brand organised a series of events to “have a positive impact for Newcastle University students and staff.” The “strong sporting heritage and vibrant student culture” was pointed to as one of the reasons why adidas have brought the brand to Newcastle, stating that the Toon is “the ideal place to continue its own store development outside of the capital. “ The launch kicked off with a ‘Hide and Sneakers’ event, where students followed clues which led them to a pair of free trainers. Clues such as “Keep MOOving sneaker seekers” led students to Leazes where the trainers were found. Ed Dickinson, a third year business and agriculture student, said: “I’m still absolutely chuffed to bits to get my “Since I came hands on a free pair of Adidas to Newcastle even if I have always trainers, the task itself was said to myself pretty arduous I would meet for such an unfit person as myself. Shearer” I’m not sure the painstaking 100 metre sprint I had to do at the end to make sure I was one of the final five did any favours for my dodgy knee either, but it was definitely all worth it in the end.” Tom Nicholson, an MA student, spoke about the competitive but exciting nature of the event: “It was carnage. Some people brought bikes, but that felt a bit like cheating. The first clue was ‘nice biceps’ so most people went to the gym, but my partner and I sneakily went off to the Armstrong building and took an early lead.” “Sadly, this was eroded during the 20 minutes we spent running up and down both Ridley buildings looking for the next clue. Such is life.” Following the ‘Hide and Sneakers’ event, the official adidas store was opened by Newcastle United football players Yanga-Mbiwa, Mathieu Debuchy, Moussa Sissoko’s and Yoan Gouffran. The final adidas event last Tuesday saw the new store play host to one of
The new store opening featured stars ols and new and there was even the chance to go head to head with Shearer in a shoot-out! Image: Adidas UK
England and Newcastle’s biggest legends – Alan Shearer. Shearer challenged Newcastle fans to a football skills competition, where he missed all of his goals. The Courier had the opportunity to sit down with Shearer after the launch was over, and he joked about missing the goals on purpose: “I came last which wasn’t a surprise. I came joint last actually – there were two guys who got them in. But I couldn’t win those, so I’ll say mine were deliberate!” Shearer responded positively to the day’s events: “Good day, good reaction! Plenty of people around and they’ve all
been good with me - it’s great.” The Courier asked Shearer whether he felt the adidas store would enhance Newcastle as a city. “Well it’s difficult for me to walk around Newcastle during the day at times, so I don’t really see a lot of it,” he said. “But the bit of the adidas store that I’ve seen is great, it’s new, it’s fresh. Obviously the gear is what it is, it’s been around for years and it’s always been top quality and I don’t think that’ll change.” Freddie Watson, a third year English student, met Alan Shearer at the launch. He spoke to The Courier about
how much the opportunity meant to him: “Since I came to Newcastle I have always said to myself that I would meet Shearer one day. To be honest, it’s one of the reasons why I chose Newcastle University and he’s one of the reasons why I support Newcastle. “I was pretty starstruck, but Shearer (as I thought he would be) is a really cool guy. It’s awesome that the new partnership with adidas can bring these kind of opportunities to Newcastle students.” Katie Rimmer, Athletics Union Officer, said: “‘Hide and Sneakers’ saw our students’ logic, legerity and luck put
to the test in the search for free adidas trainers worth up to £110. The event was very successful with many students eagerly rushing around campus in the hopes and grabbing themselves some brand new trainers. The event coincided with the opening of the new store in Eldon Square where staffing opportunities were specifically reserved for Newcastle students. “With the adidas gear set to arrive next week, many students representing Team Newcastle will be ready to compete in the new year in high quality, bespoke kit available only to our students.”
Rare diseases given renewed attention By Antonia Velikova Newcastle University will be taking part in the UK Rare Diseases Strategy, which aims to raise awareness of rare diseases and boost research to find effective cures and therapies. The strategy was launched by Health Minister Lord Howe. According to research, there are more than 3 million people in the UK living with rare diseases. The UK Rare Diseases Strategy aims to ensure that none of them are left behind and involves pioneering research at Newcastle University. “Millions of people in the UK are affected by the thousands of different kinds of chronically debilitating ill-
nesses that are defined as rare diseases,“ Lord Howe commented. “So when looked at as a whole, rare diseases are not rare and our focus should be on making sure that no one who suffers from one is left behind. “For the first time, we are strengthening the links between research and the treatment and care of patients with rare diseases. “This is about putting those patients first, with better diagnosis, treatment and support for them and their families. “The UK already leads the way with ground-breaking research to better understand and treat these illnesses and this strategy will help cement our reputation as the driving force in this field.” There are currently more than 5,000
diseases which classify as ‘rare’ and the number keeps rising as new genetic discoveries uncover the truth of disease patterns previously wrapped in mystery. By estimate, one of 17 people will There are cur- suffer from a rare disease in their rently more lifetime, which than 5,000 means more than diseases which three million people in the case of classify as the UK. Thererare and the fore, when we number keeps look at the bigger picture, rare disrising eases are actually not rare at all. On the contrary, they are a significant cause of illness and put
enormous strain on the NHS and other care services. The UK is a recognized leader in rare diseases research, treatment, and care. The genomics revolution promises a true revolution in the treatment, research, and care for patients with rare diseases over the next 10 years. Last year, the Prime Minister, David Cameron, announced that the personal DNA code — known as a genome — of up to 100,000 patients or infections in patients will be sequenced over the next five years. This will improve understanding, leading to better and earlier diagnosis and personalised care. Together with the launch of the Rare Diseases Strategy, the National Institute
for Health Research (NHIR) is investing £20 million in the launch of the Rare Diseases Translational Research Collaboration (TRC). In the course of four years, the TRC will aid immensely in the diagnosis and treatment of people with rare diseases. At Newcastle University, the collaboration into rare diseases is led by Professor Patrick Chinnery who said: “Most rare diseases have no treatment, and together they affect 7% of the population. The NIHR Rare Diseases Translational Research Collaboration will help us understand these diseases, and working with the life sciences industry, we will develop new treatments to help patients and families, and contribute to economic growth.”
Monday 9 December 2013
Magical market to grace campus By Kate Dewey This Wednesday SCAN (Student Community Action Newcastle) is holding their first Christmas market in the Students’ Union. Bob Milan, the manager of SCAN, commented: “SCAN is holding the Christmas Market to bring sustainable, ethical, and local traders onto campus for the benefit of students and “To celebrate to celebrate the the festive sea- Christmas season good food, son with good with music and a fesfood, music tive feel.” The market will and a festive place an emphafeel.” sis on the importance of organic, healthy produce with an array of stalls selling “tasty, local, healthy and ethical foods.” The Students’ Union will be laid out like a market, with stalls providing food and drink samples, products to buy, and information advocating more sustainable ways of living. There will be a great variety of stalls to peruse for Christmas gifts. Students will also be able to gain cooking advice and information concerning more healthy, economical ways of eating and buying produce. One of the participants will be North East Organic Growers, a company growing organic vegetables that is based just outside Newcastle. Their stall will be advertising their
SCAN regularly hosts Green Markets to as part of their Student Green Fund Campaign to encourage healthy living Image: SCAN
“organic-vegetable box scheme membership”, which enables the customer to buy organic seasonal fruit and vegetables on a regular basis in a cost-effective way. Their website promises that “all produce is certified organic and guaranteed to be free of added pesticides, herbi-
cides and GMO’s, grown using ecologically sound and sustainable methods.” Alongside it, the Real Food World stall will be creating some food samples by demonstrating how to cook more healthily using seasonal ingredients to create something delicious. There will also be stalls not concerned with
healthy eating. One of the stalls will be advertising Newcastle University’s very own microbrewery Stu Bru. This stall will offer the chance to taste a range of beers, for free, in order to decide on the best recipe for Stu Bru’s first real ale. Other freebies include coconut water samples and free pizza.
Bob Milan hopes that “by the end of the sessions the participants will be aware of the importance of food in development and well-being.” The market will be decorated with festive tinsel and offer Christmas present ideas, whilst also providing useful information concerning healthy eating.
Monday 9 December 2013
Magical remix on track for success By Louise Dubuisson The President of the Newcastle University DJ Society, George Mayfield, recently rose to fame after his remix of the Christmas anthem ‘Jingle Bells’ with Boddika’s track ‘Mercy VIP’ racked up 5000 views in just three days. This caused a near frenzy of speculation online that he’d be able to race for the Christmas Number 1. Whilst the possibility of a Newcastle University student competing against X Factor for the coveted position was very exciting, it unfortunately turned out to be a misconception. It is actually Boddika’s ‘Mercy VIP’ that is on track to Christmas Number 1. George was inspired to remix “I switched it the two tracks coming on to ﬁnd that after across a Facebook I’d made it campaign to get when I got in Boddika’s track from the night ‘Mercy Bells’ to Christmas numout.” ber one. The campaign’s picture features Boddika surrounded by festive holly and wearing a Santa hat. George explained how he “started to hear jingles in time to the beat and I thought it’d be funny to mix the tune with jingle bells.” The next morning, after heading out to a NU: DJ social at Cosmic Ballroom, George awoke “slumped on the sofa with my laptop in front of me out of battery, I switched it on to find that I’d made it [the track] when I got in from the night!” George admits that the track “has far more plays than any of the tracks that
I’ve actually put time and effort in to making whilst sober”, and it’s evident that ‘Mercy Bells’ bizarre genesis certainly didn’t detract from its quality. The track went viral after George posted it on his SoundCloud and Boddika’s campaign website. The campaign even reposted it with the caption: “Big respect to George Mayfield for his incredible ‘Mercy VIP Xmas VIP’. You’ll definitely want to at least listen from just before the last drop.” Nearly instantly the remix attracted a large following and currently has 6,163 plays. George also received shout outs and praise from the likes of producers Toyboy & Robin, online dance music magazine Data Transmission, and MadTech Records, who created the now infamous #mercybells. The masterminds behind Boddika’s campaign page, Taches and De$ignated, even asked him to make a club mix of the tune so that they could incorporate it into their DJ sets. So listen out for it being played on BBC Radio 1Xtra and Rinse FM soon. What was most important to George was, of course, the response from Boddika himself, who commented on Twitter that the tune was “deep ;)”. When asked what he thought about an alternative dance track potentially beating X Factor, George responded: “I think it’d be bloody brilliant! Can’t stand the positively wet garbage that X Factor churns out.” However, with X Factor viewing figures in the millions, and Boddika’s campaign only attracting 7000 likes so far, Boddika may need a little more than Christmas spirit to take him to number one.
George Mayﬁeld’s remix of the classic Christmas jingle caused an internet frenzy Image: A-PEX
Campaigners dead set on making a difference By Kate Dewey Newcastle’s Medsin society recently staged a ‘zombie flash-mob’ at Monument in recognition of the NHS reforms. Held simultaneously at universities across the country aims to raise awareness of how the NHS works. Pete Campbell, a final-year medic and organiser of this national protest, said that his aim was to ‘unite students across the country to understand about the NHS’. The 20 students gathered outside the Students’ Union donning zombie-like face paint and surgical scrubs. The atmosphere was lively, with fake blood being squirted and Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ being blasted out of portable speakers. However, with this came a serious undertone and mission to provide the public with information concerning the NHS and to discourage passivity in relation to our country’s health care. Questioned on the choice of Zombie attire to get this serious message across, Pete responded: “Everything’s happening above everyone [in the NHS], everyone’s sleepwalking like zombies and just letting things happen.” Generally there was a consensus among all the students that the specifics of the NHS reforms have been largely ignored by the public. Some of these changes include: structural reform, increasing privatisation, and changes to migrant health issues. All these were included on the leaflets the students handed out on Northum-
NUSU Society Medsin staged a zombie ﬂashmob to raise awareness of NHS cuts taking over the city centre a couple of weeks ago Image: Pete Campbell
berland street while making their way to Monument. Ben Beattie, a medical student and lead campaigner of the anti-reform movement, said: “I want to work in a system that is open to everyone [and] doesn’t have any barriers.” Most of his criticism was levelled at the increasing privatisation of the NHS as the newly introduced CCGs (the local governing bodies that are now in control of distributing NHS money to their assigned area) are now allowed to negotiate contracts with providers. Doubters of the reform, including Ben, believe the capability to create profit will result in increasing health insurance premiums and therefore widen social inequalities as medical treatment becomes unaffordable to some. Seeking to highlight the positives of the UK healthcare system not just negatives, the students asked the public to write why they love the NHS on white boards. Many wrote “because it’s free” and one summarised the essence of the event: “because universal healthcare is a right not a privilege.” This links in with another criticism the students raise concerning temporary migrants, like international students, who will now no longer receive free healthcare. By donning zombie make-up and showing off ‘Thriller’ style dance moves, Medsin created awareness of the proposed cuts and changes to the NHS. They continue to advocate public response and action to the changes that will affect Britain’s health care system.
Monday 9 December 2013
Recruitment cap to be scrapped By Sabine Kucher Deputy News Editor In a surprise announcement during his autumn statement the Chancellor George Osborne revealed that the coalition will lift the cap on undergraduate recruitment in 2 years. He also revealed there will be 30,000 more student places next year as a stepping stone towards full deregulation of student numbers. The government explains that it wants the UK to catch up with other industrialised nations that have a higher proportion of people educated to degree level. Mr Osborne stated: “Each year, around 60,000 young people who have worked hard at school, got the results, want to go on learning and want to take out a loan to pay for it, are prevented from
Job Title: Food and Beverage Associate Employer: Marriott Hotel Closing date: None given – Apply asap Salary: Competitive Basic job description: A Food and Beverage Associate is required to work 20 hours per week at the Marriott Hotel in Gateshead. In this role you will serve food courses and alcoholic beverages to guests, set tables according to type of event and service standards, answer questions on menu selections and communicate with the kitchen regarding menu questions, the length of wait, recook orders, and product availability. Person requirements: Previous Restaurant experience required, in terms of service and supervisory and the ability to manage varying needs and prioritizing to ensure best business results. Location: Gateshead. Job Title: Customer Service Representative Employer: EE Closing date: None given – Apply asap Salary: £14,200 per annum, pro rata Basic job description: A Customer Service Representative is required to work 20 hours per week at the EE call centre in North Tyneside. To join this team, you’ll need real strength of character and plenty of experience of dealing with people. And while it’s important that you’ve a genuine enthusiasm for the products we sell, you must also be sensitive to our customers’ individual needs. Person requirements: Be a real people person who’s brilliant on the phone, have a talent for making customers feel special, have a genuine interest in communication technology and enjoy being part of a team but still have the drive to work on your own initiative. Location: North Tyneside. Job Title: Bar Staff Employer: Beacon Hotel Closing date: None given – Apply asap Salary: To be conﬁrmed Basic job description: Bar Staff are required to work part-time hours at the Beacon Hotel in Whitley Bay. Our Bar and Waiting Staff ensure each and every one of our customers have a great service experience. You’ll be responsible for taking orders, serving excellent quality food and a great range of drinks. Person requirements: The key is a passion for delivering the highest standards
doing so because of an arbitrary cap.” The government also believes that access to higher education needs to be the focus if the UK wants to be able to compete globally. Despite the cost in implied subsidies for this policy estimated to be around £700m annually in the medium term by the Treasury, the chancellor is optimistic: “The new loans will be financed by selling the old student loan book, allowing thousands more to achieve their potential.” In a document published alongside the Chancellor’s speech, the Treasury confirms that the cap will be removed at all publicly-funded higher education institutions in England by 2015-16, with smaller universities also affected in the same year.
Initial reactions to the policy announcement express concerns. Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of Universities UK representing 133 institutions, said it was “good news that the government is committed to expanding student numbers”. However, she added: “We will need to understand how this is sustainable in the long-term, given that this policy is being funded in coming years by the asset sales. We also need clearer information on future cuts to the BIS budget.” Libby Hackett, chief executive of the much smaller University Alliance, said: “This shows that the government are future focussed and fully recognise the role that graduates and universities play in driving the UK economy towards a more prosperous future.”
of customer service. Don’t worry if you haven’t had lots of experience, we’ll give you all the training you need. In return you should be enthusiastic about what you do, and willing to learn. You should also have a good eye for detail and be able to work under pressure. Location: Whitley Bay.
Basic job description: COOP Chicken House will be opening on Collingwood Street in Newcastle City Centre this December. We are bringing a new style of dining to Newcastle based on spit roast chicken cooked over an open ﬁre pit. Our philosophy on food is to keep it simple but do it well. We’re looking for part time waiting staff to start (approx.) the ﬁrst week of December. Must be able to work over the Christmas period. Person requirements: Enthusiastic and hard working with a can-do attitude. All positions are for a maximum of 18 hours per week. Location: Newcastle upon Tyne.
Job Title: Sales Advisors Employer: Sweatshop Closing date: 13.12.2013 Salary: National Minimum Wage Basic job description: Sales Advisors are required to work on an ‘as and when required’ basis at the Sweatshop store in the Metrocentre. Duties will include stock replenishment, providing excellent customer service, creating sales, cash handling, meeting targets, merchandising and other general store duties. Person requirements: Candidates must have previous retail experience, be able to work within a team and have good customer service, communications and numeracy skills. This role would ideally suit candidates with an interest in running or health and ﬁtness. Candidates must be ﬂexible with their working pattern and must have some day time availability. Location: Gateshead. Job Title: Medical Science/Bioscience Notetaker Employer: Clearlinks Closing date: 31.01.2014 Salary: £11.08 per hour + £1.34 holiday pay per hour Basic job description: Clearlinks are looking for Medical Science/Bioscience Notetakers to work on a temporary/casual nature. In this role you will be required to produce an accurate and legible handwritten record of the content of lectures, seminars etc. which are then handed over to the Client. The work is during term-time only. A range of hours is available. Person requirements: Applicants must have completed at least 1 year of higher education study, or be able to demonstrate an equivalent level of experience, and have clear and legible handwriting as well as accurate spelling and grammar skills. Location: Newcastle upon Tyne. Job Title: Part Time Waiting Staff (15 positions) Employer: COOP Chicken House Closing date: 10.12.2013 Salary: National Minimum Wage
Job Title: Lunchtime Supervisory Assistant Employer: Northumberland County Council Closing date: 12.12.2013 Salary: £1,617 - £1,784 per annum Basic job description: A Lunchtime Supervisory Assistant is required to work 5.75 hours per week at Red Row First School in Morpeth. In this role you will supervise pupils in the dining hall, playground areas and school premises, ensure the maintenance of good order and discipline and deal with accidents and incidents in accordance with school procedures. Person Requirement: We are committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and expect all staff to share this commitment. An enhanced disclosure and barring service (DBS) check is required for this post. Location: Morpeth. Job Title: Sales Assistant Employer: Savers Closing date: 14.12.2013 Salary: National Minimum Wage Basic job description: A Sales Assistant is required to work 12 hours per week at the Savers store in Gateshead. In this role you will ensure that the store is well merchandised and replenished to maintain a high level of store standards and presentation. This will enable you to drive sales and achieve targets. Person Requirement: Conﬁdent and clear communication skills with strong selling skills, passionate about retail and customer service, willingness to learn and progress, ﬂexible and adaptable to change. Location: Gateshead.
Tuition fees Office occupied in paid for by pay dispute Pot Noodle Edinburgh University
Around 40 students including its Students’ Association’s Vice-President stormed and occupied the office of Edinburgh University’s Finance Director for an entire day last week in protest over wage distribution among staff. The protesters demanded that the university uses its wealth to evenly disperse the pay for all who work at Edinburgh Un i v e r s i t y. The university’s president, Timothy O’Shea, currently earns £227,000 per annum, significantly more than even the prime minister. The occupation is part of a nationwide protest of university staff and lecturers who are faced with the prospect of a 13% pay cut over the next five years (similar protests took place at Ulster, Birmingham, Sheffield, Sussex and Goldsmiths). The protesters left the Finance Director’s office the next day in order to join the picket line, showing their support for striking staff in industrial action.
One of the week’s more trivial picks saw the appointment of the nation’s first ever ‘Pot Noodle scholar’. John Moore, a student at London’s SOAS, won the award after the submission of his own ingenious video submitted via the company’s Facebook competition. His four-minute video attested his loyalty to the brand, suggesting how far he would go to consume the ‘world’s last ever Pot Noodle’. As a reward, Moore gets this year’s university tuition paid for by Pot Noodle. In exchange he has to lead a ‘Pot Noodle-branded life’, wearing branded t-shirts, trainers and even using a Pot Noodle bus pass holder. John commented on his accomplishment: “Student life isn’t always easy, juggling study with part-time work can be tough. Not only will this prize actually make a real difference to my life, I get to complete some insane tasks, have a laugh and become a campus legend with it!”
Students outsmart robbers
National outcry after suspensions
University of East Anglia
University of Sussex
An attempted robbery at East Anglia University’s main campus was cut short last week after 3 masked men attempted to steal an ATM. The incident took place at around 8.30pm on Monday, 2 December. Fortunately, several students were nearby at the time of the event, and contacted the authorities immediately. Onlookers realised something was awry when a black SUV rammed one of the campus buildings where the cashpoint was situated. Two of the men then attempted to obtain money from the machine, but decided to make a run for it when police arrived on the scene. A police vehicle blocked the robbers’ escape route, and the robbers hit several cars in a frantic bid to escape. They eventually abandoned their vehicle and ran through a nearby field, but were soon caught. Meanwhile the cash machine had been left to lie on the floor.
Five students have been suspended indefinitely and are banned from going onto campus for their involvement in a peaceful protest. Sussex’ Vice-chancellor Michael Farthing explained that their suspensions are caused by their connection to the recent occupation of a floor of a university building. Students are outraged and the wider public condemns the actions as an assault on the right to peacefully protest. An online petition attracted more than 6,000 signatures in 2 days. John McDonnell, MP for Hayes and Harlington, has shown support for the suspended students on Twitter: “I have signed petition and tweeted it. I will be tabling early day motion in parliament in morning to support you.” He also promised to table an Early Day Motion in Parliament on the matter.
Images: Ismar Badzic/ Lachlan Hardy
William Ibbott and Sabine Kucher
Comment The Courier
Monday 9 December 2013
Comment Editors: Joe Wood and Lydia Carroll Deputy Comment Editor: Victoria Armstrong firstname.lastname@example.org | @Courier_Comment
Who was who in 2013? Our oh-so-humble, sometimes clueless and rather outspoken Comment Editors sat down at The Hancock with (too many) drinks to ﬁght it out: who were the people who made - or ruined - 2013?
Woman of the year
Man of the year
(10.10pm)Lydia: It’s gotta be Malala Yousafzai! Joe: Who now? Victoria: Really? Isn’t that a bit outdated? Lydia: How can it be outdated? It happened this year. Victoria: No offence to the girl - she’s really brave and that - but she didn’t ask to get shot in the head. Lydia: UmJoe: She got shot in the head? Christ! But I suppose you can’t just give it to someone for being dead. Lydia: She’s alive! She lives in Birmingham! She was nominated for a nobel Peace Prize. And wrote a book. Joe: Oh wicked! Victoria: What about Jennifer Lawrence? Lydia: Oh, I forgot about her. Yeah, she wins.
(4.30pm) Joe: Oh, God. We never talk about the good ones! Who hasn’t been in the news for being a dick? Victoria: How about Andy Murray? Joe: Andy Murray? He’s a tennis player! When he plays tennis and wins he’s just doing his f*cking job. He can’t really win for that. Lydia: This is true. Joe: Alfonso Cuaron! Gravity was sick. Victoria: What section do you think you’re in? This isn’t film. Lydia: Tom Daley came out as bi-sexual, which is quite brave for a sportsperson in a pretty macho-oriented playing field (pun intended). Joe: If it’s bravery we’re after, how about Edward Snowden? Victoria: Yes! He kept us in articles about surveillence for weeks.
Winner: Jennifer Lawrence Honourary Mention: Malala Yousafzai, Miley Cyrus, Caroline Criado-Perez
Winner: Edward Snowden Honourable Mention: Tom Daley
Twat of the year (5.45pm) Lydia: This should be a fairly easy category, at least. Joe: There are so many worthy contestants. Victoria: Nigel Farage. Joe: Not my number one though. Findus were a wee bit horsey this year... Victoria: Can Osborne win for two categories? Joe: The Mayor of London is a knob. Victoria: Yes, but has been a noteworthy knob this year? More so than last year? Lydia: I vote Findus, Tesco and all others involved in the horsemeat scandal. I expect politicians to be full of shit, but when I can’t safely bank on my bi-weekly lasagna and burger routine, I start to get pretty upset. Victoria: Charles Saatchi? Lydia: Always nice to have a figurehead for domestic abuse. Joe: Charles Sachet? Lydia: Saatchi! Although now that you mention it, I would also like to nominate all condiments that come in sachets. Winner: Findus, Tesco Honourary Mention: Condiments in sachets, Charles Saatchi, everyone who blacked up on Halloween
Top Image: Alex Brown, Richard Martin
The Wet Blanket
(7.10pm) Joe: So this a category for people who we don’t like, yet aren’t aggressive enough to deserve the accolade of ‘twat of the year’. Victoria: So people who are just a bit nothingy. A bit damp. Joe: A wet towel, indeed. Victoria: So sort of like Ed Miliband, then? Joe: Yes! I’d vote Boris again but I’ve probably said enough about him. Lydia: I know! George Osborne. Definite wet towel. Joe: God, he’s more like a wet flannel. Lydia: Barely even a damp baby wipe. Joe: He did, at least, recently purchase a bichon frise puppy. An excellent choice. Lydia: Even if it is very much something a wet blanket would choose. Victoria: A nomination for hero of the year? Probably. Winner: George Osborne Honourary Mention: Ed Miliband
Nutter of the year
Hero of the year
(8.35pm)Joe: Robin Thicke. Purely because we were up to our tits in angry articles about him, and I want revenge. Lydia: Kanye. I love him, but he is. ‘North West’? I just can’t even... Victoria: And he always wears those leather skirts. They’re very bad. Joe: I think we are all forgetting Katie Hopkins. Lydia: Oh, shit! Victoria: Oh, shit! Joe: She is without doubt the maddest person to grace mid-morning television. And that is a crowded field. Lydia: She did claim India was not a geographical location.
(11.00pm) Joe: But we never talk about good people. Lydia: There might be a reason for that. Victoria: The Queen’s alright. Joe: What’s she done? Literally what does she do? Victoria: Queen things... Lydia: Well there was a rather special baby born this year... Joe: I bloody hate royal babies! As a republican I want to make my opposition to royal babies publicly known. Lydia: How about the inventors and developers of the male birth control pill? Victoria: Ha! Joe: Just no... There’s gonna be a lot more babies in general coming our way if this pill takes off. Lydia: Not royal babies, I hope then. Victoria:: Alpacas are pretty cool. They make Victoria hats. Joe:: Oh. Um, sure. Joe Lydia:: Why not? Alpacas. Lydia
Winner: Katie Hopkins Honourary Mention: Rick Santorum,‘that guy who nailed his balls to Red Square’, Sarah Palin, Cher, Robin Thicke
Winner: Malala Yousafzai Honourary Mention: Creators of the male birth control pill, alpacas, George Osborne’s bichon frise puppy
Images: gnarlsmonkey, Aldon Hynes, andersabrahamson, GeneHunt, Peter2anemoneprojectors, Andrew Sutherland, altogetherfool, all at Flickr
SOAP BOX BLACK FRIDAY
On yer bike, Boris
The Mayor of London hit the media recently, slamming “16% of our species.” This seemingly crude attack is a telling sign of Boris’ calculated political agenda
‘No worries mate’ and ‘see you later mate’ are phrases I hear all too often, and the word ‘mate’ certainly grates on me. Why do people who you don’t know or who don’t know you well feel the urge to call you their mate? I just don’t like the word, it doesn’t sound nice, something about it just doesn’t agree with me. Anyway, I am not your mate, I don’t know you, friendships take time don’t you know. Please don’t call me it, ever. It’s just a bit too friendly for someone who outwardly dislikes people in general, not that I am some sort of snotty, self-interested misanthropist who goes around giving off hateful vibes, far from it. I just don’t want to get all ‘matey’ with you, you unknown person: that is all. If you do have the misfortune of calling me mate however, I will not let you know of my dislike for the word. I will instead smile at you, whilst dying just a little inside as you utter THAT word. Jack Parker
MAN OF THE PEOPLE!
niversity students may find themselves occasionally gloating at their own clever little brains. Why the hell not? We made it to University after all. Yet even with the odd cocky thought, self-doubt will be there to kick the teeth out of the arrogant snob in most of us. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the ohso lovable Mayor of London. His recent speech, arguing that as “16% of our species have an IQ below 85 while about 2% have an IQ above 130” equality is impossible, suggests Johnson’s lil snob is armed to the teeth. So why does Boris bring this into the context of equality? Well, being an Etonian perfectly suited to the perceptual demands and reasoning of an IQ test might have something to do with it. But maybe this morose ‘look at me I’m right, stern and hate the poor (unless I’m on Have I Got News For You or it’s the London Olympics where I’m liberal, jovial and a comrade to the masses if ever there was one)’ speech by Boris is linked to his notion that greed is good. By greed Boris means the unashamedly no-hold-back competitiveness where all that matters are targets and bonuses; a
system which will inevitably come bashing on our metaphoric, economic straw-door like the debt collectors for Wonga the week after Christmas. What this kind of philosophy of competition achieves is a mentality that reaching figures is the only means to success. Thus negating anything of value that is outside of this confined space of commendation to the waste bin of insignificance. It is simple to the simple minded, once you say that this person with a big number is better than that person with a smaller one then it must be true. Now don’t get me wrong, bumbling Boris is not simple-minded. Johnson is a cut-throat politician with an ever watchful gaze on his political rivals and the British public. It’s definitely not the environment he’s thinking of when he’s filmed and photographed riding his bike through London. But to the audience he is communicating to, this surmising of what intelligence is fits the bill nicely. Boris has swathes of supporters across the political spectrum. But the group he wanted to hear his speech (‘What Would Maggie do Today?’) is the traditionalist, neo-imperialistic, monarchist rejoicing slice of society slyly and rapidly being magnetised by Mr Nigel Farage. This is, again, a cold statistical take on a much more diverse and intermingled society we live in.
However, I think we can all imagine Boris toying with the many ways he can hang on to this demographic and make them like him. We can all agree Boris likes to be liked. And so, seeing the political ideology right now en vogue, Boris lunges for a group he feels he can nip his fangs into whilst still keeping face with the rest of us. IQ is a grossly elitist and entirely Western measurement for intelligence. There may well be 16% of the world that have an IQ below 85. However, this does not determine their actual social awareness, practical capability or emotional intelligence. You can’t discern who will be the better poet, construction worker, journalist, fisherman, or even the Mayor of London from an IQ test. But that doesn’t really matter to Boris. What matters to him is maintaining an impression of being the man of the people whilst paradoxically seeming to be indifferent to the qualms of the masses. And the thing is, he’s achieving this. He still keeps favour with the public right, left and centre, through that calculated cunning born out of experience and sheer natural instinct. Something you can’t suss-out through an IQ test.
Santa Claus admits to missing out the biscuits with his brandy on practice run for Christmas
Allegations of poor practice in KFC factories revealed ﬁrst hand by escaped, inside informer
Christmas batch of royal baby photos received poorly (William overjoyed by son’s resemblance)
CHEEKY CYCLIST Cute? Chubby? Quintessentially “British”? Bell-end. Boris Johnson is a lean mean austerity machine dressed up in a chubby Santa outfit and you should not trust him. If this isn’t clear to you then watch his Margaret Thatcher speech, where he defends greed, inequality and envy, saying that “the gap between the rich and the poor spurs economic activity”. That’s all well and good except students are twenty thousand pounds worse off than they expected to be, pensioners are freezing their wizened nubs off, and let’s not even get started on those using Jobseekers or on disability allowance, heaven help them. It’s pretty easy to say how ‘beneficial’ something is when all you feel is the benefits. If you weren’t from a family so filled with silver spoons they don’t have an orifice to pass wind from (thus feeling themselves superior) you’d probably be thinking the same as I am. For anyone else still wondering if Boris is the ‘cheeky cyclist’ the media seem to promote, realise he bears a name that is derivative of a word that encompasses what he is: a cock. David Leighton
...WHEN IT SUITS....
Who knew that Britain partakes in America’s Black Friday? I didn’t until this year, but as soon as I realised, I was trawling through the online bargains. Fantastic. I especially loved the shopping extravaganza after reserving two gifts from Argos at half the price. (Yes I felt gleefully proud of my Christmas finds.) Until the next day. “What do you mean I will have to pay the full price when I have reserved the item and have the receipt?!” As you can imagine, things kicked off. The Stock Manager came over and declared, “No, we can’t do that deal” and left. Well, that did it. On collecting another item (I really should have refused to purchase anything from Argos – but it was such a bargain) I stated very loudly how pissed off I was and how the Stock Manager ignored me, probably because I’m a student. That got his attention. He rang customer services and explained, but to little success. Off went an angry email to Argos, declaring, quite truthfully, this was a breach of customer services and confidence. I’m still awaiting a reply. Kate Dewey
Monday 9 December 2013
Monday 9 December 2013
Jumping on the bandwagon
In light of the recent death of actor Paul Walker, issues arise over the sincerity of some mourners and how the death of a celebrity is treated in the public conscious
et me tell you a little secret. I never cared that much about Paul Walker. Sure, I saw Fast and Furious, thought it was utter crap, left the cinema, and didn’t think about it again. There was a sequel, a sequel, and a sequel. Yet another long-running movie franchise, created with the sole purpose of making money. Nothing new there. No, but that’s not the secret. Here’s what it is: now, as we’ve learned from every news channel and social media in the world, last week Paul Walker died tragically in a car accident. Yet my Paul Walker care cup is still completely empty. Now, don’t get me wrong. Paul Walker’s death is tragic. But that’s because he was a young man, an artist, a father, an animal lover, a human being. Which is definitely not the reason why I see people popping up on my Facebook feed with “RIP Paul Walker #sosad” while just yesterday they’ve been dissing his movie(s) through and through. It’s alright to mourn. It’s not alright to be a hypocrite about it. Technically, though, it’s one of the things that happen every time when there is a big media boom
Image: Rosaura Ochoa
over a celebrity death. Think of the likes of Michael Jackson, Amy Winehouse, Heath Ledger, Cory Monteith. While they’re alive you can spew hate on them, but when they die you’ve suddenly been their closeted fan for ages and it hurts you so much that you barely had the strength to tweet that very sad tweet. No, stop, just, no. Mourning is not a party that you haven’t been invited to. Death is not supposed to be a glamorized fiasco. It’s not supposed to be a reason to get skeletons out of closets. And, above all, it’s meant to be private. That’s the main thing about celebrity culture, isn’t it? Privacy is stripped away from you, stomped over, chewed, digested, and spat back out. The words ‘Rest in Peace’ don’t really apply to celebrities, because they never do rest in peace. In fact, perhaps they’re all twisting and turning in their graves, wondering just what dirt will be spewed upon them not that they’re no longer around to hear it. Another thing: did you, in this entire media craze, once hear the name Roger Rodas? I didn’t. And it took me a good while of digging through various news websites to actually find what his name is. Yes, that’s the other person in the car. Who also passed away, as a matter of fact. Have a good think on that.
Adidas: sport club saviour
Responding to an opinion published in The Courier which argued against the partnership between Adidas and NUSU, Sally Hickey argues in favour of the deal Image: Rod Senna
ewcastle University prides itself on its sporting prowess, with a top ten BUCS ranking and multiple athletes competing on a world stage. Yet, some of the negative press that has surrounded the recent announcement of the Adidas-Newcastle partnership have been moderately alarming and out of proportion. This partnership is the first of its kind, and signals the beginning of the end for student-funded clubs which have, for years, struggled to send their athletes to events, and have had to take financiallymotivated compromises on kit and equipment. Our clubs are now, as a direct result of this agreement, able to buy state-of-the-art equipment and high-quality kit that they would have not been able to afford before. This makes a huge difference to performance, as well as general morale. From the people I spoke to, it is clear that the vast majority are really happy about the deal. The idea that the University is now partly funded by Adidas is untrue. Whilst there is financial ben-
efit, the additional funds and other benefits gained from this partnership are all directed straight at students. These benefits include: two sporting scholarships provided to students, sponsorship of the Athletic Union (which is being fed directly to the Athletic Union clubs), teams receiving discounted high quality kits, part-time job opportunities through
Adidas seem no worse or better than any other in terms of sourcing their goods the opening of the new store at Eldon Square, and the ambassador programme, as well as the chance to meet world famous athletes and sports stars at events throughout the year. However, clubs still have a free choice to decide whether or not they use Adidas as their main kit
supplier and, if they wish, can exclude themselves from the sponsorship and kit deal. 40 out of 59 Athletic Union clubs have opted in, and the main reason for not participating is the need for very specific kit that Adidas does not offer (e.g. rowing lycra or netball dresses). The benefits for Adidas are enhanced advertisement, both on the website and by students on campus wearing their brand, as they consider students to be a new market for their products. As a brand, Adidas seem no worse or better than any other in terms of sourcing their goods. The media is very sensationalist when it comes to global corporations and regularly distorts information in the hope of releasing headlines as shocking as possible. The university and the union questioned Adidas before entering the partnership. We are satisfied that Adidas is working to the recognised international standards, and actually fared relatively well when compared to competitors. So all in all, this deal is undoubtedly positive for the university as a whole, and we should be proud that Adidas have chosen us, out of a long list of high performing universities, to participate in this one-of-a-kind deal.
o-ho-ho and a Merry Pugsmas to all (plebs included!). With a wealth of port, sherry and mulled wine filling the dogs bowls of all for these coming weeks, even I can’t help but be overtaken by the Christmas specter. WOOOOO! Rah-rah-rah. On that note, I must remember to tell my manservant Timmons to go and buy some festive food – nothing from Iceland mind! I’m thinking that we need the biggest turkey-wurkey in the shop. We might even give some to those odd people who sleep on the street at night. Tis the season of giving and love after all – is that not the saying? Ah, no matter - my bowl of care is empty now. As is my third bowl of sherry. How did that happen again? Rejoice, plebeians! Merry thoughts and cheer for everyone! Especially you, students! Oh, how happy I am to behold the wondrous sight of your behinds, all leaving for your respective homes to stuff your faces with roast pies and mince potatoes or whatever it is that you eat. Even in your celebrations, you are meager and predictable. Christmas, however, is indeed a time of magic. Or, in your case, a time of majestic soberness. I am aware, of course, that it won’t last for long – New Year’s Eve will soon be upon us and then I will once again be morally obliged to furiously nom on your ankles. Rest, for now. Let your scars heal, while bursting around the seams with your mothers’ no doubt astonishing cooking. No. No, but seriously. Christmas is the time to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Well, I have no clue who he is, but if everybody is celebrating him, he is probably someone at least marginally important. A wisdom which has run for centuries in my family is that behind every great human being is a pug to lead him on the right path. So I am pretty certain that Jesus must have been a good acquaintance of the very first in my line of heritage – the great lord Pugsimus, first of his name. A true, noble gentlepug he was. I am blessed to have ancestors, who are particularly fond of savory whiskey – so fond as to leave bottles of it in the basement for their greatgreat-great-great-great-great-grandpugs. It is my utmost pleasure to finally unseal this bottle, deeply inhale its heady scent, and feel it’s splish-splash in my mouth. Rah! Rah-rah-rah, WOOO! I have received many letters from my faithful followers, demanding that I describe them the perfect present. Sadly, darlingest curdle-wurglers, I believe I may be a bit too busy to take over the position of Prime-Minister. Although, imagine it – would that not be a flawless, pugful society? Steaks for everyone, no plebs on the streets, drinking restrictions on students! Ah, what a utopia. Sadly, it shall never be so – I am just too flawless to waste myself in the already ruined politics sphere. I plan to concentrate my artistic forces on something much better. So worry not for a present. Sherry, port, and meat of any kind are always welcome in the Pugs residence. Happy holidays to my favourite plebs. I shall see you on the other side. Yours,
Illustration by Flora Anderson Overheard by Antonia Velikova
Pugs has got a new iPad, and he’s been dictating tweets to his manservant Timmons. Follow him on Twitter at @LaVoiceofReason
Monday 9 December 2013
Lifestyle Editors: Evie O’Sullivan, Elizabeth Archer, Hazel Parnell and Katie Smith
On your markets, get set, go! #2 York
ork is one of the most charmingly picturesque places in the UK and that is never truer than during the annual Christmas Markets. At the very heart of the city centre, amidst the spruced up for the season streets and store displays, you can enjoy dozens stalls of pure Christmas cheer. In the lead up to the big holiday, locals and visitors both can get in the festive spirit by perusing the Parliament street market. The specially constructed wooden market, full of jolly visitors, is surrounded by historic buildings and glamorous shop-windows featuring numerous mini Christmas trees, garlands and wreaths. The view is Hallmark Christmas card worthy. Most notable festive experiences on offer include: traditional mulled wine to ward off the chilly weather, handmade Christmas decorations, and the obligatory meet Santa Claus (reindeer entourage optional). Each year there are new participants and surprises but regular successes are the wonderful custom jewellery and keepsakes stands, the seasonal fireworks of all kinds for personal use and the traditional Christmas gastronomic delights – from hot cocoa and spiced wine to warm gooey pudding, snowmen cupcakes and more savoury options. A must is taking a picture in front of the authentic charming multi-coloured carousel – straight from your tooth-ache-inducing sweet childhood memories. It is the best motivation to brave the winter chill and immerse yourself in the holiday spirit. What’s more – there is tons more to do and see in York during the Christmas season after you have investigated the market to your heart’s content. Eve Boykova
ow in its 9th welcome return to Newcastle, this is a festive market with a difference, boasting of traders from more than 18 countries - including Germany, France, Holland and Spain. The cheerful vendors are more than happy to help you on your venture of finding a distinctive present for loved ones. A good place to start for the more eccentric among you is the microbrewery where Grumpy Git, Shitfaced and Arse Liqueur can all be purchased (3 for £10) - great for a giggle on the big day after trying to look happy about generic smellies and Christmas jumpers. Or if something a little more ordinary is what you’re after, how about an authentic, handmade scarf that won’t leave you with a hole in your pocket? These stalls are scattered across the market selling vintage leather bags, jewellery and cosy pompom hats. And if the seemingly subzero Newcastle chill is starting to nip away at you, a serving of delicious jerk chicken or a spicy veggie hotpot makes the Island Spice Grill a great pit stop, but act fast as queues for these delicacies can back up. For those with a sweet tooth there are freshly made banana and maple syrup crepes or samples of Irn Bru, Vimto (tried and tested) and Jagerbomb fudge. It proves itself to be a very welcome rest stop amongst the hussle and bussle of Christmas shopping. Rosie Bellini
Y Illustration by Cali Mackrill
What girls really want...
Jewellery If you really want to make your girl smile then you should know that what she really wants for Christmas is jewellery. Let’s face it, diamonds really are a girl’s best (non-human, non-animal, completely unreciprocal) friend. Pandora is a great choice for treating your girl to something upmarket but not too expensive. And I’m sure you will be rewarded for it later (wink wink). Underwear Girls want to feel sexy and confident (even when they are pretty much naked) so be choosy about what she is going to like. Don’t make the mistake of substituting your girl’s taste for what you’ve seen in dirty videos – this will not bode well. Victoria Secret is a far safer bet than crotchless pants from Grainger Market. And remember, don’t let her open this prezzie in front of her parents. Awkward. A surprise It doesn’t have to be something to unwrap; maybe she might like to do something fun with her special guy. A trip to London for a show on the West End wouldn’t go amiss. Or if you’re not splashing the cash, then how about a romantic evening meal across the Tyne at Six, The Baltic? It’s something you can both enjoy, plus you might deceive her into thinking you’re cultured. For a really big surprise, give her a potato in a sock. She won’t see that coming.
What boys really want...
Grand Theft Auto 5 Assuming that your boyfriend is just like every other male specimen in the world, he no doubt owns an Xbox or Playstation. What he really wants is the latest game hype that is the new GTA. Yes, he dreams of car jacking, shooting people and acting like a criminal for Christmas. Help him vent these urges virtually before you end up having to pay his bail fee. Nike Airmax Just like girls need their beloved Kurt Geigers for a night out on the Toon, boys have their own signature shoe: Nike Airmax trainers. If he’s scuffed up his last pair during endless nights out at Digital, then a pair of these bad boys will definitely be of use to your fella. Bose Speakers If you want to really push the boat out, then why not buy your man some Bluetooth speakers from Bose? He’ll love jamming to Shakin’ Stevens and get great use out of these over the jam-packed festive party season. Just vet his playlists first. All Saints Although it’s ridiculously over-priced, the menswear at All Saints is likely to suit most boys with its casual style and neutral colour palette. Go safe by getting him something in the knitwear section, or go wild and grab a gold lamé jumpsuit. Lauren Windas
Credit: Gareth Buddo www.visityork.com
recently ventured up to Edinburgh in search of whiter pastures and although I wasn’t met with snow, I found that Christmas in Edinburgh hits a solid nine on a scale of one to Whoville - regardless of the weather. From the moment you step off the train you’re hit with what can only be described as the festive equivalent of the Lion King buffalo stampede. The smell of mulled wine is so strong that you’re drunk just by breathing, everywhere you look there’s a novelty Christmas jumper, the sound of carols fills the air and the gingerbread houses are so large they could shelter a small family. Like London’s fabled Winter Wonderland, Edinburgh trumps other Christmas markets (ahem, Newcastle) with their inclusion of rides. What more could you want, after wolfing down five Nutella crepes and a pint of Baileys hot chocolate, than to whiz around in circles 60m up in the air? They’ve also got a big wheel which gives you a chance to sit back and soak up the sights of the city from your own weather-proof pod. From here you can gaze out over the whole market, the ice rink, the castle and all of Edinburgh’s winding cobbled streets. Alternatively this doubles as a great vantage spot from which to find your Christmas companions if you lose them in all the excitement (as I did after getting particularly enthusiastic about a stall selling clothes pegs dressed as angels). On this note, as you float around perusing the different stalls, you’ll suddenly realise how important it is that you buy a handbag made out of recycled tin cans, a soap on a rope, 50 types of obscurely flavoured fudge, or a novelty hat with technicolour pompoms. And when you’ve sicked up your crepes and bought your fill of fudge, you can always try your luck on the ice rink, or venture to one of Edinburgh’s famous bars. Cali Mackrill
Credit: Sandrine Huet
very December, Leeds’ Millennium Square is overtaken by the German Market, attracting thousands of people to the 40 authentic, twinkling little stalls, and don’t forget the huge beer stall bang in the centre. But the thing I look forward to most is not the mulled wine (although that is a plus) but a chocolate crepe. Made right in front of your eyes, on large hot plates, dribbled in milk chocolate and toppings galore: bananas, strawberries, cream, you name it. Once pancakes have been ticked off the list, the next stop has to be the beer market. Sadly we got there around 6 o’clock and there was a 2 hour wait, but thankfully Leeds is bursting with great bars for casual drinks. We went to a small bar on the corner called Nation of Shopkeepers, which was packed with people huddled in their hats, gloves, scarves, obviously all rejects of the beer stall. There was Christmas music playing from vinyl decks in the corner, which gave our cosy evening even more of a Christmas-y feeling. Besides the queues, the Christkindelmarkt is always the best way to start the countdown. Only 14 days to go... Amy Bolser
#5 Jesmond Dene
was a little dubious when I arrived, dragging my boyfriend and sister along. The small stage piping cheesy Christmas music gave it a village fair sort of vibe, especially when someone who looked like he had just strolled out of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol got up to say it was almost closing time. Despite these first impressions, however, the stalls were some of the best I’ve seen. Unlike most Christmas markets with endless lines of stalls selling the same collection of hot drinks, woolly hats and identical wooden ‘handmade’ baubles recycled over and over again, there were some true festive gems to be found. The market had a very local feel, with small home businesses selling beautiful handmade gifts. A few of our favourites were selling colourful hats and gloves made of alpaca wool, jewellery, mirrors framed with pieces of sea glass collected from nearby beaches, and some of the most adorable Christmas decorations I have ever seen, including candle holders made of materials collected right there in Jesmond Dene.
The small stage piping cheesy Christmas music gave it a village fair sort of vibe, especially when someone strolled in looking like he was out of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol And the food! As well as the usual mulled wine and roasted chestnuts, there was some very unusual fair: bars of boozy fudge, mince pie style muffins, and (my personal favourite) a stall selling some very novel flavours of chocolate. I never knew frankincense and myrrh chocolate existed, never mind that it tasted so good. If the three wise men had been carrying this instead of the real deal, it wouldn’t have lasted a minute. My purse is a lot lighter, but it’s all worth it knowing the dreaded Christmas shopping is out the way. Becky Irvine
Culture The Courier
Monday 9 December 2013
Culture Editor: Sam Summers Sections: Lifestyle, Fashion, Beauty, Arts, Music, Film, TV and Science email@example.com | @CourierOnline
Under the mistletoe:
Freddy Green, 1st Year Maths meets Hannah Goldstein, 2nd Year English Lit
Lane7 and Tilleys Bar Who paid? Freddy Who won the bowling match? Freddy, but only just
Hannah on Freddy
Freddy on Hannah
Describe your first impression of him in three words. I don’t remember... Well that is three words, what’s your usual type and how far did he meet it? Hairy rock stars... so not so much.
What were your first impressions of her in three words? Smiley, nose ring.
Did the conversation flow well? Yeah we talked for ages, he was easy to talk to. It was funny when he admitted to having a tattoo on his ankle that was his house number last year. Sounds lame but it was in Roman numerals and was kind of cool.
What is your usual type and did she fit it? My usual type is... I don’t know, probably brunette, and edgy, so yeah, she fit it well.
So no awkward moments at all then? Not really. When we said goodbye and promised to give each other good ratings. Which may or may not happen.
Any awkward moments? Probably when she said she goes on loads of first dates.
What were his best and worst traits, do you think? Best was that he was easy to talk to. Worst was... I can’t think of anything!
Any weird conversation topics? Tattoos. I hate mine and showed it to her. It’s really embarrassing. Can you understand why she’s single? I don’t know. From what I gathered she enjoys being single.
So at any point on the date did you understand why he might be single? I don’t know. He seemed busy when we were trying to plan the date. He seems to have a busy schedule.
What are her best and worst features? Best was she was easy to talk to and she didn’t leave it all to me to decide what we were doing, she was like, “Let’s go get a drink.” Worst was... I can’t really think of anything. But it does irk me when girls don’t offer to pay. I’m happy to pay, but from what I can remember she didn’t offer.
Did you open the ‘ex-files’? No, it didn’t come up. Would you take him home to meet your mum? My mum’s quite scary so I probably wouldn’t take anyone home to meet her as she would scare them away.
Would you introduce her to your mum? Yeah, she’d be fine.
Would your flatmates approve? Yeah, he was nice and chilled, they would like him.
Shag, Marry or “see ya bye”? Shag.
How did the date end? Anything naughty? A hug. So no, nothing naughty. Cute, sexy or hot? Cute.
Would you take her on a second date? We got on really well, but there was no real chemistry, so probably not. We got along and had a nice evening but I don’t really see a future.
Clever, funny or sweet? Funny.
Cute, sexy or hot? Hot.
Shag, marry or “see ya bye”? “See ya bye.” But not in a mean way... these options suck!
Clever, funny or sweet? Clever or funny. How did it end? Just kind of said, see you around. We didn’t arrange anything really.
Do you think you’ll see each other again? No. I mean if we ran into each other we would probably chat. But I don’t think we will be arranging anything. Rate yo’ date: 6
Rate yo’ date: 6.5
Unlucky in love? The Courier is here to help! Send your details to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday 9 December 2013
Lifestyle Editors: Evie O’Sullivan, Elizabeth Archer, Hazel Parnell and Katie Smith
Student savvy drinker: Christmas edition Owen Bull
Final year nutritionist
Fab or fad?
The Skinny Bitch Diet
o, I was meeting in our local coffee shop with my model friend Lexi. She is usually so sensible about eating (which I applaud with the sort of enthusiasm which is usually restricted to finding a Mulberry under the Christmas tree). However, this encounter was rather shocking. She has traded her usual balanced approach for the Skinny Bitch diet and so sits before me with a glass of green tea (which I have to admit smells rather like my granddad has slow stewed his compost heap and served it in rather ridiculous oversized china). As you are about to find out my views on this LA derived regime are rather strong. We had ‘the chat’ and now Lexi is once again my favourite dairy drinking diva. Now onto the nitty gritty. The Skinny Bitch diet advocates a purely vegan diet, scorning dairy with the kind of hatred that should be reserved for terrorists…or people who wear Uggboots. The Skinny Bitch diet was the brain child of model agent Rory Freedman and former model Kim Barnouin. The only scientific credentials between the pair is a master’s degree in holistic nutrition, conveniently procured from an online university despised by the scientific community. With a celebrity following including the skeletal Victoria Beckham, the Skinny Bitch diet has got fashionistas going meat free
“Underqualified hacks get away with pedalling self-flagellating dietary regimes. ”
this winter from LA to London. Let’s get one thing straight. It’s not veganism in itself I have a problem with. When approached in the correct manner, looking at the right way to address nutrient balance, then Veganism can be a safe dietary choice full of antioxidant rich fruits and veggies. However dropping dairy means potential calcium deficiency, which overtime can lead to osteoporosis (brittle bone disease). Replacing dairy with calcium rich pulses, prunes and figs is a sensible way to approach veganism. For me veganism should be a choice made because of a commitment to animal welfare, not as a way for LA quacks to shame people into under eating and potentially falling into nutrient imbalance. The average calorie intake on the diet is a miniscule 1200 calories a day, which is quite frankly unsafe. The diet book spouts one-liners like “eat shit and you are shit” which isn’t the sort of eating psychology I would prescribe for an individual desperately trying to make a positive change, albeit a misguided one. I have a major problem with the way the book is pedalling the avoidance of meat and dairy as a way for venerable girls to get skinny. Not slim, or svelte or healthy, but SKINNY. With eating disorders in the UK and US still on the rise, it is enraging that underqualified hacks get away with pedalling selfflagellating dietary regimes. They are largely responsible for the glamorisation of under eating. It’s wrong. It’s infuriating. It needs to stop. No undereducated LA busy-body is shaming me out of my Christmas mulled wine on the scientifically unfounded grounds that it is miraculously going to give me cancer. (It isn’t.) And as for the turkey , well, don’t even get me started.
The Skinny Bitch diet - fad.
Our resident cocktail guru Jenny Dodsworth gives some classic cocktails a seasonal twist in the run-up to this year’s Christmas parties. All of these cocktails are designed to be shared so use a mixing bowl and make enough for the whole house The Classic: White Russian.
Vodka and coffee liqueur, shaken with milk and cream.
The Classic: Cosmopolitan.
Student Style: After Eight
Citron vodka, Cointreau, lime, and sugar with a hint of cranberry juice. Shaken and served straight up.
We couldn’t do Christmas cocktails without putting some Baileys in there. Any own-brand Irish Cream will work fine though. Again this drink would be really good hot (or cold). Basically, make a bowl full of hot chocolate, heat up the milk, and use a whisk or a fork to beat in the chocolate powder. Buy a little bottle of mint food flavouring in the baking aisle at the supermarket. You will only need a couple of teaspoons (this has been learnt the hard way, trust me) so start small and add to taste. Add a healthy glug of Irish cream and a splash of vodka once the mix has been removed from the pan, or it may curdle. Use the whisk or fork to keep it light and frothy.
Student Style: Christmas Cosmo Punch
This would be delicious hot or cold, and is basically a chance for you to get rid of some unwanted spirits that may still be lurking in the cupboard (if any). The key basics are a carton of Cranberry Juice, citrus and Orange liqueur. You can use normal vodka (double shots per person), and squeeze in a couple of fresh lemons and limes to your bowl to give the drink a citrusy bite. Triple Sec (just a single measure per person) is available widely and cheaply, if Cointreau is pushing the end of term remnants of your student loan a bit too far. You can add a good splash of any other spirits you have left over. Brandy or whiskey would work particularly well. Stir in some golden syrup or honey to sweeten the mix. Make it Christmassy by muddling oranges in with the other fruit, and once in the pan, if you’re heating it up (recommended), stir in a stick of cinnamon, (or a sprinkle of powder), for extra yuletidey goodness.
The Classic: Mulled Wine.
Red wine served hot and delicately spiced, the classic winter warmer.
Student Style: Mulled Cider
Gently heat your cider on a stove, with a good handful of raisins in the pan. If there’s any spiced rum left from Halloween that will work great too! Add any or all of the following, according to personal taste and budget, for a unique and delicious budget alternative to the classic: a sprinkle of cinnamon, vanilla essence, honey, golden syrup, caramel sauce, amaretto, apple slices, orange slices, marmalade, orange liqueur, peach schnapps, apple juice, whiskey. Enjoy. Illustrations by Daisy Billowes
Christmas dinner on a budget
There are many things you’ll have to splash out on over the festive period, so don’t make your flat Christmas dinner one of them. Gobble up these simple steps from Alix Thorpe for a stress- free budget dinner, that won’t result in you eating wafer-thin sandwich turkey with frozen peas
Prepare a list; know exactly what you want and how much of it you need to avoid unnecessary overspending.
Turkey’s can be really large and aren’t cheap, so if you are willing to throw tradition to the wind, try roasting a chicken, especially if there is not many of you. A chicken is also much easier to prepare (no giblets), and cooks faster. If tradition’s your thing but a whole turkey is too much, try a turkey breast joint that is easier to cook and saves purchasing a lot of meat that will go to waste.
Source your ingredients cheaply for example your meat, stuffing, pigs in blankets, carrots, parsnips, Brussels spouts and gravy. Grainger Market in the city centre is a treasure trove all year round for students, offering fresh ingredients at a fraction of the price of big chain supermarkets. Almost all of your other ingredients can be sourced here, from your veg to your meat, and some stalls even offer student discount. There are also stalls here to purchase amazing homemade (and cheap) cranberry sauce.
If you want to stick to homemade gravy, use the juices that come out of your meat while it cooks, adding a chicken stock cube, hot water and some flour. Alternatively, instant gravy, as well as instant stuffing packets (just add hot water) can be bought relatively cheaply at supermarkets.
Clearance sections are also ideal for finding cheap dessert; there is almost always a cheesecake or pie that is nearing it’s sell-by date and has been significantly reduced in price. If you have the luxury of a car, big supermarkets, particularly Asda, often have 3 for £10 offers on bottles of wine and cava, especially over the Christmas period. Finally, head to Poundland where you can purchase some cheap and cheerful Christmas crackers for that final festive touch.
Raid those reduced sections, I once found 18 sausages for 35p in Waitrose Reduced. Cutting bargain sausages in half and wrapping in bacon would be a great cheap alternative to buying pre-made pigs in blankets.
Monday 9 December 2013
thecourieronline.co.uk/lifestyle email@example.com | @Courier_Life
Ignite that festive feeling Essays and exams getting you down? Not feeling too Christmassy this year? Have no fear as Evie O’Sullivan and Hazel Parnell take your through these surefire ways of lighting your inner yuletide flame
Wear a Christmas jumper, preferably one with lights on or one that makes noises, every day of December without fail. This attire is key in order to obtain said Christmas spirit.
Carry mistletoe around with you at all times. Do not be afraid to bring out said item in prime social areas such as the library or Primark. There is no shame in a crimbo smooch. However, check the willingness of your chosen target to avoid possible legal reprecussions.
Festive bakes from Greggs are food for the Noël soul - enjoy them lovingly and unconditionally.
Tinselify your life. From your handbag to your manbag, make sure you’ve got Wilko’s finest draped and intertwined into everything you own, particularly if you’re on campus. Inspire your peers and they will follow.
Write, record and publish your own Christmas song. If Band Aid can do it so can you. Upload to SoundCloud and wait to be discovered. You’ll be turning on the South Shields Christmas lights in no time.
Eat Christmas cake on the hour every hour. Be in no doubt, getting this right takes preparation. You will first have to purchase ample amounts of Christmas cake in addition to some sturdy cling film. Divide said cake into 12 portions and wrap each one carefully to seal in that juicy festive spirit. Then enjoy, on the hour, twelve times a day, every day, for a fulfilling month.
Subscribe to a strict sartorial colour scheme. Red and green must always be seen and form your base when picking out your daily wardrobe. The more you dress like an Elf - Will Ferrell is the model to copy - the more Christmas spirit you will find via a process of diffusion. That’s a scientific fact.
Accompany each meal with bread sauce / cranberry sauce / mint sauce. Not only will this provide a great substitute for mayonnaise (which you obviously consume daily for the other 11 months of the year) but it will totally give your meals the edge you need to out-Christmas your friends. Bonus.
Ask Uncle LeBron
Wassup homeslice! Uncle LeBron here, Castle Leazes’ third best rapper and sixth biggest baller, your bestie from another teste. I’m here to make sure y’all have a bangin’ Chrismizzle and a happy new yizzle, ya check? Hit me with your seasonal shitstorms and I’ll jingle they bells like a Yuletide Yeezus Illustrations by Caroline Mackrill
“Should I put an angel or a star on the top of my tree?” You want LeBron’s advice? Take a screencap of the Kim K sex tape, print that mutha out, shove some fairy lights through the nips and you got the only angel y’all ever gon’ need, know wut I’m talkin’ bowwwt? I’m talkin’ bowt titties, yo. Make sure to reinforce that shit with some cardboard, son #bettersafethansorry
“How can I make a move on a girl before we go home for Christmas?” Y’all gotta get her nice and alone, dark lights and shit, Mariah C on low in the back. Y’all gotta hit her with a gift-wrapped box, and boy you bet you gotta tie that homie with a bow. Then when she opens that bitch, what does she find but a bespoke vibrizzle cast from LeBron’s own D. That’s the LeBron way, you slick muthafucka #frostythehoeman
“How do I balance my studies at this busy time of year?” Same way LeBron balances his women: stick in and don’t pull out til the job’s done #decktheballs
If y’all have any problems and are in real need of Uncle LeBron’s words of wisdom then holla at your dawg: firstname.lastname@example.org
My Unfortunate Life #5
hristmas is a time of merriment and good cheer and every fortunate person of 2013 will be rewarded with gifts under the tree. For my unfortunate self and my kindred spirits out there, Christmas is a holiday spent avoiding third degree burns from a Christmas pudding disguised as an arsonist and working out what to do with the three identical One Direction calendars received from three different great aunts. (Who am I kidding? Obviously saving one of them…) I’d like to take this opportunity to cast my mind back over this term and highlight my twelve not-so-fab days of Christmas… 1. On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me (LOL, I wouldn’t know what true love was if it slapped me in the face with a turkey drumstick…)A pigeon in a tree. And we all know what happened there. It pooed on me. Right down my face. 2. Two awkward turtles. I think my record for silencing a conversation with some unsuitably awkward comments has averaged around the 5 second mark. 3. Three French kisses. I’m not going to lie, it’s not been my most prosperous term. Think I might need to invest in some mistletoe… 4. Four, drunk girl calling. Yes I have been that girl – and I’ll be the first to admit checking my phone history the mornings after nights out have been some of my lowest points of term. Apologies to all those who have had somewhere between 10 and 20 missed calls and god forbid a voicemail. But it doesn’t stop there – texts, snapchats, whatsapps, lord knows I’ve probably challenged you on Quiz Up then started messaging you when you won’t accept a round of ‘Logos’! 5. Five golden cringes. I think that judging by my consistent embarrassing behaviour, this one rather speaks for itself. 6. Six loosey gooseys. Hearing the words, ‘Sue (yes that is an unfortunate nickname that I have acquired), you were on flying form last night’ makes me want to go into hibernation for the duration of the winter. I dread to imagine what I was like, but am sure my drunken dance moves resembled something similar to a ‘loose goose’. 7. Seven ugly ducklings. In my last article I told of how I have changed (apparently for the better) since school. Flattered as I am, I can’t help being struck down by a case of the winter blues at the fact that I may have been regarded for the first 18 years of my life as an ugly duckling. I’m now also a little worried that I have a lot of similarities with various poultry… 8. Eight maids with some seriously off milk. Running late for a 9 o’clock. Bowl. Cornflakes. Milk. Spoon. Mouth. Off milk... Now I know how Miss Muffet felt eating her curds and whey. 9. Nine ladies (attempt) dancing. This Thursday I found myself at Dance in Koos. As I loosey-gooseyed my way across the dance floor I managed to fall into a metal banister. I now have an extremely big, black and purple ‘Koos bruise’ on my thigh! 10. Ten Lords a-LOLing. Involves people laughing out loud – normally ‘at me’, as opposed to ‘with me’… 11. Eleven pippers pipping. The smoke alarm just outside my bedroom is running out of battery but the ceilings are too high for any of us to reach and change it. It has been pipping every 15 minutes. That’s 10,080 pips this week. 12. Twelve drumsticks. Yes, I scoffed this many chicken legs when we recreated KFC in our home. And now I have two rather podgy drumsticks of my own.
Monday 9 December 2013
Fashion Editors: Frances Stephenson and Amy O’Rourke Deputy Fashion Editor: Bex Finney
2013: the highs and lows
Kathryn Holland guides us through the definitive events of the fashion year that was
Image: Zoe J Ltren
Gift guide for guys Its that time of year again and whilst we are all embracing the Christmas spirit with a giant Santa sized hug, putting up the stockings and roasting chestnuts on the fire, Emily Marsh helps us to pick the perfect Christmas present. Our men will be stylish this season; here is a little guide to 5 of the best accessories a man could want at Christmas
Cara-zy for Cara Model of the moment, Cara Delevigne, had a busy year working campaigns for Mulberry, Fendi and DKNY to name a few, pair this with her extravagant partying and friendships with the likes of Rihanna and Rita Ora, the British model was never very far away from the media spot-light.
The new grunge This year we got a chance to rock our inner punks without looking like we’ve raided Claire’s accessories. Rihanna This year the star was propelled into fashion spotlight with her new collection for River Island.
Head-to-toe prints The catwalks this year were over spilling with prints of all kinds, from stripes, florals, impressive geometrics, and hallucinogenic spots and swirls.
Pink If you were wondering what colour you should’ve made your summer, it was pink. Kicks Don’t think these are just for the Jesmond hipsters, the catwalk took trainers into their stride this year with Nike Airs sported by the models at Max-Mara
Harry Styles The most photographed celebrity this year, Styles doesn’t look like he’s going anywhere.
Image: Eva Rinaldi
Fat Fa ce
28 Bank £
Trophy jumper Not your average jumper, the trophy jumper needs a striking design, to be lovingly handmade or to be of an interesting material mix. Perfect for standing out from the crowd in 2013.
rrr it’s cold outside! The Christmas scarf is the best gift to beat off the cold whilst remaining stylish at the same time. Any man will be grateful for a little extra warmth this season. The scarf is a great choice as they come in hundreds of different styles and colours; brilliant if your man is particular about his colour choices or even likes to stand out from the crowd. This Fat Face number promises to be soft to the touch and keep him snug, the snowflake pattern adds some Christmas cheer and a classic slate grey colour will
TIP: Choose wisely, although some statement pieces can seem a brilliant idea at the time, it’s best to see the watch through their eyes to determine if it’s a good buy or will end up in the charity pile come next year.
TIP: The backpack is a great choice if you are on a budget this winter, many stores are replicating the style and good buys can even be found in Primark.
TIP: A fab option for all you savvy shoppers out there and likewise for those of you who want splash out, scarves are everywhere right now and are available in tonnes of styles and colours. So, you’ll be sure to find what you are looking for.
do believe that both men and women alike love a good pair of shoes, be it the latest sneaks, boots or fancy pants brogues, shoes are a great idea for that special guy this Christmas. A good pair is an investment, sure, but is certain to last the year. I’ve chosen these desert boots as the style is simple yet sophisticated, they can easily be teamed with any outfit for day or night and continue with our wintery theme. Although they fall in the pricey category the real suede makes up for it especially since, when it comes to shoes quality is certainly better than quantity. TIP: Although knowing the special guy’s size beforehand would be very helpful, don’t worry if you get it wrong, just remember to gift receipt them for a quick exchange in the New Year.
or the techno loving man in your life, a funk i-Pad case makes the perfect small gift, Especially if you find yourself in a situation with a new fella, the dilemma is always how much to spend, should I be thoughtful or insincere, schmaltzy or cute. This is the perfect halfway house between a big and small prezzie. You can be safe in the knowledge that this will be a gift used for years to come. I love the funky print, it is so festive and jolly, this is one of those ‘presents’ you will end up stealing and using yourself- after all what else is a boyfriend for? TIP: Make sure you pick the correct size for your man’s i-Pad, there’s nothing more frustrating than getting one that is too small. Keep the receipt just incase.
Next £ 20
veryone loves a gift they know they will actually use and the backpack is no exception. So why not give the gift of practicality this Christmas, this key accessory is right on trend and as we all know males can often be a bit useless when it comes to sorting their affairs out – give him a hint. This double buckle strap backpack is right on trend, great for lugging books back and forth to the library, hitting the gym or heading home for a weekend. It’s practically perfect in everyway. The green is on season giving a festive feel but will defi-
Topma n £25. 99
t goes without saying that the watch is a perfect staple accessory. Whether it’s simple or a statement piece watches can bring a bit of luxury to any outfit, and let’s not forget, everyone needs to know the time now and again, so why not tell it on something special. I chose this classic Rotary leather strap number as its just timeless, a great option for any savvy gentleman out there. If your looking to impress then this is a great idea. Of course, watches can be pricey but many other brands are available and most are emulating the same style.
Tom Ford The designer took London Fashion Week by storm by producing one of the most glamorous shows of the year. Taking inspiration from around the globe the models were covered in sequins and bright neon shades.
Plaid Tartan, checked, or hounds tooth Autumn 2013 saw a return of plaid on a huge scale.
elt up, look sharp! This is a key accessory that always makes the list, it’s practical yet can really complete an outfit. Similar to our Christmas scarf, the belt can come in many colours and styles making it a perfect choice to personalise for your man or just keep it classic. You don’t have to push the boat out if your on a budget either as great options are available in most stores. I went for this simple woven tan leather belt. The woven style means you don’t have to worry about belt holes too much – good stuff if he’s planning on taking advantage of the Boxing Day buffet! Tan leather is classic, and teams nicely with a good pair of blue jeans. TIP: Belts are often sold in sizes S, M, L be sure to get a gift receipt to air on the side of caution if it doesn’t fit.
Monday 9 December 2013
thecourieronline.co.uk/fashion email@example.com | @Courier_Fashion
Fictional festive fashion C
olin Firth plays the loveably awkward, bit of a pompus arsehole at some points, Mark Darcy in every girls (and guys, admit it) favourite chick flick Bridget Jones Diary. I think the point at which we all fell in love with Mark Darcy was that pinnacle moment when Bridget thinks he isn’t a lost cause loser her mother has picked out for her, only for him to turn around wearing the infamous role neck, reindeer clad, Christmas jumper. For me this wasn’t just the moment when I swooned and fell for this Christmas jumper wearing gentleman but a fashion fave. The first Christmas jumper I ever bought was inspired by this movie moment, with a reindeer front and centre. I now own three Christmas jumpers and I am not ashamed. When you wear a Christmas jumper it is fully acceptable to look like a bit of a gimp, I say go all out, do your very best to look like a walking human Christmas parade. Or if you are a little more shy go for the Darcy approach and wear with a simple pair of jeans. Done.
lthough not technically a Christmas film, Breakfast at Tiffany’s is certainly a firm favourite for the festive season. If Breakfast at Tiffany’s taught us anything, it’s that an LBD is an essential staple item for every woman’s wardrobe. Audery Hepburn’s floor length Givenchy dress and pearl necklace in the opening scene remains an iconic fashion moment in film. Everything about Breakfast at Tiffany’s I adore; from the ‘Moonriver’ soundtrack to the cat without a name, this film is a classic for relaxing after the hectic, turkey-stuffed festivities. Hepburn graces each scene with an effortlessly stylish wardrobe, featuring predominantly black, pearls and slick black eyeliner. A perfect muse for any festive wardrobe, Hepburn’s classic style can be used as fashion inspiration year after year – it is a look which can never be anything but timeless. With Christmas fast approaching, the festive social calendar suits the LBD more than any other season. A sophisticated silhouette, with a flattering retro shape, will always look good and will never go out of style.
Phase Eight £ 89
Missgu ided £ 16.
Amy Tideswell, Bex Finney, Hannah Fitton and Maria Case feature some of our favourite Christmas characters in their most festive gear and how you can recreate their iconic look with the help of the high-street
s the Christmas season approaches the sweet little face of six year old Susan Walker appears on television screens across the country as the BBC religiously play Miracle on 34th Street. It is the adorable and savvy Susan Walker who makes this film. Old beyond her years, Susan is already clued up on the disappointing truth that Santa is not real. Her grown up attitude is reflected in her prim and proper style and her carefully coordinated outfits. We will start from the top, Susan’s head wear. Susan has an array of velvet headbands, in burgundy, navy and dark green, that she wears in accordance with her outfit. Whilst this attention to detail may be too much of a chore for some, I think her headbands are a perfect way to spruce up dishevelled hair on a busy morning. A staple look of Susan’s is her checked pattern dress paired with a cute cardigan. The checked print is everywhere this season and this dress by Primark is perfect and says festive without having to clad yourself in tinsel. Miracle on 34th Street is the ultimate Christmas movie.
Missgu ided £ 24.99
t’s come around again to that time of year where we are all whacking out those Christmas jumpers or that favourite sequin dress for all those course balls. And obviously the plastics are getting in to the spirit, perhaps a little too merry. We can see the mean girls haven’t taken their own advice of ‘Halloween is the ONE night a year when a girl can dress like a total slut’ and they’ve opted for a more provocative look for Christmas. I wouldn’t necessarily say to hit the course balls or family meals in this attire, but I will take inspiration from their look to get on those LRD’s (little red dresses), an essential in your Christmas wardrobe, to of course pair with the Santa hat! Depending on your style you might want to choose a skater style dress which is more reserved, think Cady before her mean girls inanition. If you want to emulate Regina then opt for a more fitted, sexy dress. After all that pair your LRD with black heels and either Christmassy gold or silver jewellery and obviously topped off with your Santa hat. You will have got yourself a look that is so fetch.
Festive foot forward
Charlotte Dickson tells us how to get packing home for the Christmas holidays down to an art, even making room for presents
The sophisticated strappy The strappy kitten heel has clip clopped its way on to the fashion circuit and doesn’t show signs of departure any time soon. You either love or hate this style but you can’t deny it adds sophistication to any outfit. This style can leave your legs looking stumpy so wear with midi length dresses for a touch of class.
The flat ankle boot These are an investment buy; you can run around in them all day but add a cute glittery pair of ankle socks and a shift dress, you are ready to sip cosmos on ozzy road for the forseeable evening. And no need for ‘party feet’.
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Leave space for presents A very important thing to remember for this season: leave space for your presents. The whole reason you went home, okay to see family too but the presents were a big reason. Or what you could do is take home the things you just did not wear this term, and replace that space with your new goodies. Christmas could be the prefect opportunity to fung shui your winter wardrobe.
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Don’t leave all your laundry to Mum As tempting as it may seem, don’t leave all of your laundry until the end of term for your mum to wash. Dirty clothes will only take up unnecessary space in your case, as you should try and pack what you know you are going to wear over the holidays.
Pick your favourite winter warmers Thick jumpers and winter accessories can take up a lot of space in your bag, so be sure to pick your favourite ones, whether it be for cold walks in the snow, your festive jumper for Christm a s day or a cover up for the night-time. The same goes for coats and jackets, wear your biggest coat to travel home in and maybe pack one smaller one in your suitcase.
The killer wedge This may look like a shoe made by a foot hating sadist but wedges are really comfortable as the platform gives your foot more support and less pain. You can dance till the lights come on and your legs will look super sexy.
Save space with your shoes When it comes to packing your suitcase, pack your shoes first. You can save space in your case by placing them in the corners, as well as stuffing them with socks. This ensures that your footwear does not get squished or lose its shape amongst your clothes.
Forget your duplicates If you’re organised enough to remember what you left behind at home, try to avoid bringing nearly duplicate items. For example, if you’ve got a chunky woollen scarf lying about at in the house don’t bother packing another you’ve got at university. All space is essential so use it wisely.
£ ot Pil
Don’t forget your party gear With it being the season to be merry, you should remember to pack your favourite dresses, suits and shoes! With Christmas and New Year’s parties right round the corner, you need to dress to impress, especially if you’re looking for a cheeky kiss under the mistletoe or when the clock strikes midnight.
Bex Finney tells us which three heels are the must have for surviving the Christmas party season
Monday 9 December 2013
Beauty Editors: Amy Macauley and Saﬁya Ahmed
Metallic make up
Kirat Sagoo guides us in ontrend Christmas looks
This year’s perfect products
Grace Beddow knows a thing or two about beauty products and here she rounds up ﬁve of the best from the last 12 months La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo
Beneﬁt ‘They’re Real’ mascara
on’t be shy…’tis the season to shimmer! Why? Metallics are back in full force this season to propel us into the season of parties. From hypnotic deep red shades on the eyes of Gucci models to the rich golds favoured by Wu, metallic make up has shown a surprising amount of versatility. For those of us who become slightly nauseated by the glitter overload at this time of year, Metallics offer us a more sophisticated and edgy sheen, a refreshing turn from all things sparkly and fairy like. I admit, the dramatic looks in magazines look a little scary to recreate (some versions are plain scary) but a little bronze or gold is all it takes to make this work for you. To create shiny new eyes, there are a huge number of colours to choose from depending on how fierce or festive you’re feeling. I’m a big fan of the Maybelline ‘24h Colour Tattoos’- they come in a range of gorgeous colours and more importantly, will last through a night of questionable drunken behaviour! For a slightly softer look, opt for the beautiful rose gold. Start with Stila’s ‘Smudge pot’ in black to create a thick black line above the lash line. Use a clean buffer brush to soften and smudge it into the outer corner of the eye finishing by bring the brush along the lower lash line. Accentuate the lash lines with liquid liner and finish by filling in the eyelid with the rose gold eye shadow to create a sexy two step contrast. Feeling bold? Use Stila’s bronze smudge pot and with a colour tattoo in the shade ‘eternal gold’ to achieve an earthier look. Aside from uncovering an unhealthy Maybelline obsession this week, my new discovery was Sleek’s ‘Rose Gold’ metallic blusher. Highly pigmented with a beautiful golden sheen, this little compact would complement any metallic look. The best part? Find it in Superdrug at a student friendly £4.50! No look would be complete without some killer nails. Butter London’s ‘Brown Sugar’ (a copper shimmer) and Laura Mercier’s Bewitched (a deep green with gold shimmer) are two stunning shades that I’d recommend. Alternatively, try experimenting with Barry M’s gold ‘crackle effect overcoat’ painted over an emerald green basecoat to get a striking grunge edge. If you prefer plain shades, then head to Barry M for their lovely ‘Foils’ in silver and gold. Perfect Christmas colours… Happy holidays!
Easily the most hyped product of 2013 was Benefit’s release of a new mascara promising the effect of false lashes and the necessity to convince people that your lashes are in fact your own. Despite finding that product launches with masses of publicity surrounding them often lead to disappointment, ‘They’re Real’ mascara does exactly what it said on the tube; creates a lengthened and volumised lash look. This makeup hero has won countless beauty awards and become an iconic product for beauty lovers, but with a price tag of nearly £20, this is definitely a student loan day splash or perhaps a last minute addition to the Christmas list!
Having been an unsung hero sitting on the shelves of French pharmacies for years, this product has recentl y received huge amounts o f publicity in the blogosphere, praised to be an ‘ a n swer’ to oily and blemish prone skin. It’s easy to be fooled by its inconspicuous and low key appearance, but when given a chance, this product can work wonders in minimising the appearance of pores, blemishes and generally improving the overall appearance of the skin. At around £9-£13 (it’s currently on offer in Boots) it is a product worth trying if your skin can be problematic, as when worn under foundation it creates a smooth base or alternatively, it can be used more as a treatment in certain areas over night.
Barry M Gelly nail paint Real techniques brushes
A launch surrounded by much hype this year was Samantha Chapman’s release of a range of makeup brushes. The quality and multi-purpose nature of these brushes meant that they quickly replaced the previous occupiers of my pencil-pot-turnedmakeup-brush-holder. The staple ‘set’ to go for is the ‘core collection’ which, including a buffing, contour, concealer and detailer brush, is priced at £21.99, meaning a not to extravagant £5 per brush. The star of this set is the buffing brush, which can be used to buff in foundation to create an airbrushed effect or to apply a contour cream below the cheekbones.
V05 Miracle Concentrate hair elixir
Hair oils are another product which an uncountable number of brands have spoilt us for choice with this year. Having tried a few resulting in weighed down and greasy locks, the V05 elixir’s lightweight feel and shiny finish for just over a fiver stood out to be a sure winner. A few drops of this golden oil worked into the ends of the hair transform heat abused, dry hair into a more tamed, glossy and frizz free situation. The packaging is as stylish as the oil itself, as the glass pipette applicator leaves you feeling more like a scientist than a student seeking shiny hair.
2013 has seen an abundance of innovative nail trends, including feathers, matte formulations and confetti polishes, however, it was the varnishes replicating those used in gel manicures that won my vote. Barry M’s offering at just £3.99 exceeded my expectations, with a formula no thicker or harder to work with than a regular polish but with the extra longevity and a glossy finish rivalling that of a £40+ gel manicure. A personal favourite of the collection for the Christmas season is the shade ‘watermelon’ which, despite the slightly deceivingly summery name, is a beautiful pine colour.
Saving your skin
The festive season is a skin care mineﬁeld. Hannah Fitton shows us the key weapons that will best defend your skin
eemingly, your skin can’t win in winter. From the central heating sucking your skin dry to the bitter winds of the outside world, your skin is left feeling less than fresh. Fortunately, there are many moisturisers, face masks and cleansers geared to getting your skin back on track and with the Christmas season fast approaching brands are bringing us new treats to help us on our way. You can’t talk skincare without mentioning
From the central heating sucking your skin dry to the bitter winds of the outside world, your skin is left feeling less than fresh Liz Earle. Her cult ‘Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser’ truly deserves the reputation it beholds, the creamy texture melts onto your face and used with the muslin cloth it gently exfoliates the skin whilst still managing to remove even the most stubborn mascara. For Christmas Liz has brought out the ‘Daily Radiance Gift’ which not only includes the cleaner and muslin cloth but the ‘Instant Boost Skin Tonic’ and ‘Skin Repair Moisturiser’. Using all the products combined your skin will soon become radiant and packaged in a sweet snowflake embossed bag it can also be the perfect
Christmas present. Investing in a good moisturiser is crucial for combatting the winter weather. Clinique’s ‘Moisture Surge Intense Skin Fortifying Hydrator’ sounds a tad more complicated than it actually is, essentially it is a really great face cream. After only a few days of applying the cream it repairs the skin’s moisture barrier which will make your skin moisturised and plump. At £32 it is expensive so maybe one for the Christmas list, however, if you are looking for a cheaper option ‘Aveeno Cream with Natural Colloidal Oatmeal’ is a bargain at only £6.99 for 100ml. Like Clinique’s Moisture Surge, regular use of Aveeno helps prevent dryness and fragrance free it is suitable for sensitive skin too. However, Aveeno can also be used as an all over body cream and therefore is two products in one. Whilst moisturisers and cleansers are the forefront of skincare we must not forget the face mask. When we use the same product religiously our skin can start to become resistant to the benefits of it and therefore it is important to use a weekly face mask to prevent this from happening. Origins ‘Drink Up Intensive Overnight Hydrating Mask’ is raved about by many a beauty blogger
and I can see why: a clear cream with gel like consistency you apply it as the last step in your night time skin care regime, and when you wake up your skin is left feeling refreshed.
Monday 9 December
thecourieronline.co.uk/beauty firstname.lastname@example.org | @Courier_Beauty
Sparkle,shimmerandshine DIY Xmas Charlotte Davies tells us about the key makeup trends for Christmas, and why you can never have too much glitter during the festive season
winkling lights, sparkling stars and shining tinsel. The festive season is all about shimmer, and of course this applies to your makeup too. Though I personally think there’s nothing wrong with a little bit of glitter all year round, Christmas really is the time to embrace the sparkle. Mac’s pigment eyeshadows are indispensable when it comes to sculpting your festive look. This range of loose powders come in a variety of colours and so you’re guaranteed to find one to satisfy your Christmassy needs. Copper sparkle is my personal favourite for adding shimmer to the eyes. However, if this is a bit much for you, simply opt for a more matte based golden shade and leave the sparkle for the outer corners only. The downside? These little gems are slightly on the pricey side, especially with Christmas gifts gradually burning a hole through the wallet. Don’t panic, NYX a brand available on www.love-makeup.co.uk, have released a great dupe at the much more affordable price of three pounds. So there really is no excuse for eyes that don’t glitter this Christmas. Of course this shimmering look is not limited to your eyes alone. Try using an illuminating high-
lighter to brighten up your look this season. For a complexion that glows simply sweep a powder based highlighter across the cheek bones, under the brow bone and lightly down the centre of your nose. Mac’s soft and gentle is very much considered to be a holy grail product in the world of highlighting. However, rumour has it that mua’s undress your skin highlighting powder is a good match, and clearly at three pounds, it’s much friendlier to the Christmas budget. Now, I know I’ve made it clear I’m all about the sparkle this Christmas. However, there’s a voice inside my head saying glitter based lips are
a little bit too nineties. In terms of lips this season, its much more about the darker, matte shades. Rimmel’s Kate Moss range offers 2 festive shades of red that will work great against your glittering eyes and illuminated cheeks. Finally its time for those festive finger tips. Darker colours of burgundy and red will look great against your glass of mulled wine this Christmas. As Always Barry M have you covered with an endless choice of festive colours. And if you’re not quite sparkling enough, a layer of glitter polish will always go down well.
Beauty by the Geeks show you how to make your own candy cane lipbalm, the perfect homemade gift
Would you trust your mates to give you a restyle? We’ve all seen what has happened to Shane Warne after he allowed Liz Hurley to completely overhaul his look, but would you take styling tips from your friends and better halves just before Christmas? Tom Tibble shares his experiences of taking advice
o, absolutely no bloody way if they’re anything like mine. I have had four haircuts this semester due to the dreadful misplacement of trust in an eager friend’s hairdressing credentials. The two occasions that I was misguided enough to believe that my mate might cut my hair well, or even only a little terribly, both resulted in subsequent visits to the hairdresser requesting the poor
I have had four haircuts this semester due to the dreadful misplacement of trust in an eager friend’s hairdressing credentials chap to try their best to resurrect the patchy baldy mess that my mate had left me with. So when it comes to hairdressing make sure you start a thorough research into your buddy’s portfolio before letting them emboss a bloody big crop
circle onto your scalp. Don’t let your housemates dictate what you wear either. I wear a ton of fashionable clothes but no one gets that they are fashionable. Everyday before I walk out the door I get slated with abuse but wearing the same clothes all month isn’t that unhygienic if you avoid muddy dog-shit laden paths and don’t do anything to induce sweat or vomit, like churning out a session of press-ups in a room fogged with heavy fart. Believe in your own look and don’t get disheartened by dreary housemate advice, such as ‘wash your clothes’. Another interesting question, and what would have been the original article title had I been able to qualify for it, is ‘should you let your girlfriend style your look?’. If you don’t have a girlfriend then no, you can’t rely on her to pick your clothes and hair product and all that jazz because she doesn’t actually exist. If you relied on a non-existent girlfriend to pick your outfit you’d wake up naked and stay it for the rest of the day wondering why no one has asked
you which shop on from. If you do have take note of it’s probably don’t be a wet and beKen doll. Stick tastes, no horrific cause your i t ’s your
you got your shrivel a girlfriend then her advice because worthwhile but lettuce about it come their to your own matter how they are beif it’s not choice, n o t look.
on’t fancy facing the Christmas shopping crowds this year? Why not make your own stocking fillers this season with Beauty by the Geek’s recipe for Candy Cane Lip Balm. If the icy wintery wind is causing your lips to dry and crack, your winter wonderland savior is here with our peppermint flavoured lip balm. Kick-start the Christmas period with this simple recipe: - 1 tbsp shea butter - 1 tbsp beeswax - 2 tsp almond oil (carrier oil to dilute the peppermint and tea tree oil) - 4 drops peppermint oil - 2 drops tea tree oil - Red lipstick shavings - A few small, clear plastic containers (little pots are easy to get hold of from pharmacies or health and beauty stores) Shea butter – This is the ingredient to help heal the dry, cracked skin on our icy lips. It’s packed full of fatty acids which are fantastic moisturisers and protect our lips from dryness and irritation. It also contains Vitamins A and E, which protect the skin from UV damage (from the little sun we get in winter). Beeswax - contains antibacterial properties and vitamin A, and is widely recommended for chapped lip care and prevention – a winter musthave. Peppermint oil- This is key in this recipe – it puts the ‘candy’ in our candy cane lip balm with that needed much needed Christmas kick. Time to mix it up a bit: 1. Place the shea butter and beeswax in a pan and heat on low until they’ve melted 2. Add the oils and lipstick shavings 3. Mix gently until you have an even liquid and the deep red desired colour 4. Pour carefully into your small containers and leave to harden Voila! There you have it – your very own homemade candy cane lip balm. Enjoy! Just to add an extra Christmassy touch you can tie green ribbon around the container to make it a great stocking filler for all of the family. Beauty by the Geeks is a team of Beauty Geeks on campus that are setting out to demystify all the science behind your beauty prods. Whether it’s the latest shampoo or that new skincare range, they differentiate the fads from the facts and let you know what’s hot on the beauty scene - and the science behind it. They also make their own products with scientifically proven ingredients, so be sure to check out their DIY page for some more science-savvy recipes that you can try at home.
Monday 9 December 2013
Puzzles Editors: Tom Nicholson and Sam Summers
Hand in your answers at The Courier office to have a chance of winning drinks at MensBar! Now that’s what I call a Merry Quizmas
Christmas Crossword 1
Win a MensBar voucher
Grandma’s Pictionary I sat down with Grandma for a game of pictionary, but she’s not very good, bless her. Can you help me ﬁgure out which Christmas phrase she’s trying to draw?
13 14 15 18
1 Four sided shape (13) 8 Abbreviation for a unit of time (3) 9 Receptacle in which one might chuck hot soapy suds all over oneself (7) 10 American organisation who are big fans of firearms (1, 1, 1) 11 ___ Reed, late Velvet Underground man (3) 12 Consent to an accord (5) 13 _____ Mansell, moustachio’d champion car jockey (5) 14 Political party once led by Nelson Mandela (1, 1, 1) 15 1959 epic starring Charlton Heston, Ben ___ (3) 18 Jocular name for a father (2) 19 Shakespeare play; game of flipping counters (7) 21 Put off work (13)
The first person to bring the completed puzzles to The Courier office in the Students’ Union will be awarded the prize and the respect of their peers, which, let’s be honest, is priceless.
1 North-Eastern Australian state (10) 2 Practice of restraining oneself from a vice (10) 3 Sitting apparatus favoured by the elderly and mad people with shotguns in southern states of America (7, 5) 4 Open to new ideas; generous (7) 5 Shabby, probably with loads of holes and mud and things on it (8) 6 Brutal; self-serving; unscrupulous (8) 7 Activity which is exhausting but ultimately fulfilling (6, 2, 4) 16 One of the several New York TV pals (4) 17 Third farmer from The Fantastic Mr Fox (4) 20 American hospital drama series which launched George Clooney’s career (2)
1 7 4 9 4 3 6 2 4 9 4 8 9 3 3 1 7
1 8 9 8 2 3 6
Monday 9 December 2013
Puzzles Editors: Tom Nicholson and Sam Summers
Homeward Bound Bored in the flat waiting for 5pm to roll around? Have a go at Deputy Editor Tom Nicholson’s fabulous festive family funtime facilitator. The aim of the game is to navigate your way from the SU all the way to Central Station in time for your train home, skilfully avoiding the myriad obstacles in your way. Mind the Metro checkies, chum
Photos: Steve Gawley, Kloeffon, Peter Clarke
A Christmas board game You will need: A dice
Game tokens featuring notable Christmas faces
2 3 4 5 7 16 15 13 12 11 21 23 17 18 19 32 31 29 28 27 33 35 36 38 39 48 47 46 44 43 42 49 50 51 52 53 55 60 59 63 62 65 66 68 69 71 80 79 78 76 75 74 81 82 83 85 87 96 94 93 91 90 100101 102 97 98 You take a flyer from a promo wanker outside Campus Coffee. Stop encouraging them, you fool. Miss a go
The ghost of the Jazz Man points you toward a shortcut, then disappears with the toot of a clarinet. Roll again
You wait for the lights at Haymarket. And wait. And wait. JUST CHANGE YOU BASTARDS. Miss a go
A steak bake pit-stop gives you a carb boost and the added grease helps you slip through crowds. Roll again
Ooh, sneaky. Roll 4 or above to move another 4 spaces, otherwise miss a go for being a smart-arse
You think you’ve swallowed a fly but it turns out to be a large currant. Halve whatever you roll next then multiply it by 3
Ant & Dec try to enlist you for Saturday Night Takeaway. Roll 4+ to escape, or else miss a go
You are stopped by a charity mugger and end up giving your loan to Snowshoes For Donkeys. Miss a go
Faces of Disco challenge you to a dance-off, but the duo’s comedy masks obscure their vision and you run away. Roll again
How’ve you ended up here? Roll a 6 to go to Monument, or miss 2 turns while you work out what Pelaw is
You give £2 to the accordion lady by TK Maxx. She plays the same three notes at you for 45 more minutes. Miss a go
You notice a human statue is actually a leftover Halloween mannequin, so steal a couple of quid and run off. Roll again
You are waylaid by superponces outside Jack Wills. Roll even to punch them to death, odd to silently fume 2 spaces back
A lust for currywurst distracts you, but you fight it. Roll 4+ to ignore sausages, or else miss a go
The Grainger Market’s fishmongers launch the day’s offcuts onto the street and into your face. Miss a go while vomiting
You bump into Peter Beardsley outside Cancer Research UK. He admires your roll-neck jumper. Roll again.
The gypsy fortune teller says you’ll make your train, but takes ages about it. Roll even to go forward 2 spaces, odd to go back 2 spaces
In a moment of terrible clarity, you realise you’re wearing flip-flops and shorts in December. Go back 5 spaces
Oh deary me - the Metro checkies are out in force. Roll a 5 or higher to dodge them, or go back to Monument station
The sculpture of the sideways man is caught by the wind and spins violently, making safe passage impossible. Go back 4 spaces
A ruckus following a Toon match ends in you being taken to A&E after a fan mistakes you for a police horse. Miss a go
While grabbing a meal deal in Sainsbury’s you mistakenly buy a margarine sandwich and bottle of water. Miss a go
You go to print out your tickets at the machines but realise you’ve lost your wallet. Go back to the start you big idiot
Endless patience and courage
8 9 24 25 40 41 56 57 72
You stop off at Bambu to lay a wreath and take a moment to mourn its passing. Miss a go
Monday 9 December 2013
Arts Editors: Millie Walton and Charlie Dearnley Deputy Arts Editor: Laura Wotton
In the ‘art of Venice
THE NEWCASTLE UNIVERSITY ADVENTURES OF...
ahhhh humbug! What in the name of the devil and Christmas, a tree, a Christmas tree with colourful, yes bright and colourful lights has appeared on my doorstep! How delightful. What cheer, goodness I do love a good tree. Let’s just call it kindling! A few branches and small who or two to melt away those Christmas blues (ball balls and tinsel I’m speaking in rhyme! Badness how I do blaspheme). Max, to work. Let us rid ourselves of this festive frolicking and chase the whole of Who-manity into the hills. Stop barking Max that was an excellent pun, a fun, rum-bundling ball of wit and wisdumb. (It just rolls off the tongue, apologies to one and all). Yes, Max, those Whos are fools! And you, my canine creature, are about to be an accomplice in the most sinister seduction of Christmas that this Whoville university has ever seen! First my 9 o’clock though. I’ve offered to help a girl Cindy with the seminar questions. Said I’d wrap it all up for her. Give her a summary, if you please. Wrongo! The only thing I’ll be wrapping is her. In some wrapping paper! Deliver her straight back to Mummy and Daddy down the chimney. Father Christmas needs to up his game.
“I deserve a medal. Or a nice little Kentucky Fried Who wrapped in bacon and barbecue sauce”
Snow and darkness, it’s lunchtime already. Time to search those bins. Yes that’s right professor, I am looking through your leftovers, and a nice little luncheon I shall have. And a bone for you too Max, that’s budgeting my little who-bunnies. Perhaps I’ll pose as an elf and hand out candy later. Then go to the carols, light a candle and sing a hymn with all the joy and love in my heart. Oh how one amuses oneself. I deserve a medal. Or a nice little Kentucky Fried Who wrapped in bacon and barbecue sauce. I’ll take either, fussiness is for those who care. FEELINGS? Don’t insult me with this poppycock. That’s right Max I’ve been researching some old- time ways of speech. It suits, dontcha think?! Let’s play Who-conquers on the way home. Catch one in Osbornes, another in Spy, line them up on the road (just outside of Waitrose - best viewing arena) and let the traffic lights go green. Then Bam! The cars hit like thunder from above and they fly, fly merrily away through the air hoping that Santa will save them. Chuckle chuckle. What’s that officer? Oh cuff me, cuff me indeed. I have stolen Christmas and I will be selling it on to the highest bidder. But first, let me pop home, I’ve a Who in the oven and it would be a shame to let dinner dry out.
Lucy Chenery records and photographs her trip to the romantic city of Venice for the international art fair, the Venice Biennale
or over a century now, The Biennale has been one of the most prestigious international art exhibitions in the world. Established in 1895, the Venice Biennale had over 475,000 visitors this year. The 55th exhibition, The Encyclopedic Palace, ran from the 1st June to the 24th November at Venice’s Arsenale and Giardini including smaller sites around the city. Forty art students went to discover what was going on…
Day 1: Arriving in Venice (October 31)
Flying in at 7pm and soaring over the city lights heightened our Italian anticipation for our time in Venice to the maximum. After eventually arriving by coach and reaching out hotel, we settled in and headed out to the centre of town. We were all itching for pizza so we decided to sniff out a restaurant; we chose one on the edge of a buzzing, atmospheric old square. After heaps of pepperoni and mozzarella we headed off to explore. Lots of hidden away bars, full of character, housed Halloween-dressed venetians. After chats and some drinks we headed back to prepare for the day ahead.
Day 2: Giardini Biennale (November 1) Getting up bright and early to the sounds of rushing boats right outside our window was idyllic. We headed down for a quick breakfast and followed the party, with maps at the ready, to the first sight of the Biennale. Venice’s winding streets and tall buildings made walking everywhere a pleasure. Each wall has its own threadbare charisma that gave the place a magical history. We wandered down alleyways, got lost many a time and eventually arrived at the edge of the city just off St. Marx’s square. Bustling crowds were milling along the front and we had to work hard not to lose everyone! None of us students really knew what to expect from the Biennale but when we arrived it all very became clear. After receiving a map we entered the site and walked into our first pavilion of countless to come. After exploring the eccentric wonders of Denmark, the Netherlands, China, U.S.A and
more, we came across one of our favourites. The Russian Pavilion was an installation and performance based piece, by the conceptual artist Vadim Zahkarov, which re-staged the ancient myth of Zeus’s seduction of Danaë and commented on the greed of modern life. We entered to a man high above us on a horse’s saddle balanced on a wooden beam in the ceiling, dressed in a clean-cut suit. Bewildered, we moved into the other room; he eventually descended and followed us through. We looked up to a round disk in the ceiling, which was dropping gold coins into a cavity below. We peered over the gallery and watched people holding see-through umbrellas picking up the coins. We eventually went downstairs and participated. We discovered that our job as a viewer was to collect the coins and place them in a bucket so they could be replaced onto the conveyor belt. After a long 5 hours of soaking up incredible, diverse art forms and seeing around 30 different countries we called it a day and wandered back. After hunting down some icecream we stumbled across one of Venice’s many churches, The Church of San Salvador. Within this ancient building we saw Titian’s ‘Annunciation’ and many other astounding pieces of artwork. The grandeur of the church bought us all to silence
Day 3: Arsenale (November 2) After a coffee reboot and a handful of sticky pastries, to take the edge off a late night, we headed into the Arsenale. The high ceilinged, long space used to be a cluster of shipyards and armouries, where the state used to store boats and military equipment. Unlike the Giardini, this part of the exhibition was continuous room after room. After filtering through lots video work and installation I reached a section of the exhibition that really held me. In the Arab-Emirates pavilion was a video installation called, ‘Walking on Water’ by the artist Mohammed Kazen. You immerse yourself in a black pod that covers you by nearly 360 degrees. An ocean is projected all around you
so you seem as if you are indeed, walking on water. There is a digital compass on the ground and the screen tilts and the compass moves. I even felt slightly seasick! Lawrence Carroll, in the same building, also caught my eye as one of the very few painters of the Biennale. He hangs light bulbs and uses muted colours to create large-scale canvases. Finally, the array of heaped, multi-coloured spices set out on the floor in the Bolivian pavilion amazed me – the smell was sensational. After finishing the building and having a breather I ventured into the garden and absorbed some fresh air. By now it was nightfall and we wandered back to find some refreshment in the form of a traditional drink, the spritz, made up of prosecco and liqueur. After freshening up back at the hotel after a very long walk we went out to the Jewish Quarter and met some friends for drinks.
Day 4: Saying Goodbye (November 3)
Waking up feeling a little fragile we packed and headed out the door for last minute sightseeing. We went into lots of churches and drank plentiful amounts of coffee while exploring the mindblowing Irish Pavilion. Pink, super-sized photographs of the Congo African landscape teamed with a three dimensional, interactive video installation by the artist Richard Mosse. We sat there for a good half an hour and absorbed the many stories and sound effects going on around us, some incredibly moving, some awfully shocking. We went into lots of kooky little shops selling art supplies and yet again had pizza for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Exhausted and satisfied after astounding, adventurous few days, we headed back to the airport for our evening flight. Goodbye Venice, and thank you for having us.
Images: Lucy Chenery
QUOTES SO SIMPLE:
“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!” ‘How the Grinch Stole Chistmas!’, Dr. Seuss
Monday 9 December 2013
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Pic of the Week
ach week we choose the best arty Instagram pic to feature in the paper. Whether it’s taken on campus, on a night out, or in your own house, we want your snaps! Simply hashtag #nclarts and we’ll pick a weekly winner. Besides featuring in an award winning paper, the winning pic is worth a delicious bag of sweets too. Get instagramming folks!
he Sunderland Empire theatre will transform into a faraway land this Christmas, with Cinderella taking its annual pantomime slot. Oh no it isn’t... Oh yes it is! Produced by Martin Dodd, one of the country’s leading musical theatre personalities, the show is guaranteed to be a first-rate performance. Heading the cast, and playing the all important character of Fairy Godmother, is Sherrie Hewson, best known for her roles in ‘Benidorm’ and ‘Coronation Street’, and regular appearances on ‘Loose Women’. Other famous faces include Channel 5’s ‘Milkshake’ presenter, Amy Thompson as Cinderella, and co-presenter of ‘GMTV Toonattik’, Jamie Rickers. All that stands between Cinderella and her happily ever after are her two wicked sisters. With a Fairy Godmother, a pumpkin, and a bit of magic to help along the way, will Cinderella be able to find her prince charming? The performance includes all the basic components of a good panto – slapstick comedy, bizarre costumes, and the odd cross dresser, but the cast of Cinderella are pulling out all the stops, featuring a pair of Shetland Ponies live on stage to transport Cinderella to the all important ball. In my opinion, it’s a perfect opportunity to revisit childhood...who doesn’t love a bit of cheesiness to help get into the festive spirit anyway?
hristmas is dawning and it comes around to that time of year when the theatre is overrun by fairy tales, singing and dancing, a bit of slapstick and a drag queen or few… yes, it’s pantomime time! This year The Tyne Theatre is performing the well-known favourite ‘Sleeping Beauty’, running the show from Friday 6th December till Monday 30th December. The story of the infamous damsel in distress, the rescuing prince, the good and evil fairies, and the all too well known ‘Happy Ever After’ makes for a definite watch by all ages. However, The Tyne Theatre has taken a slight twist on the common fairy tale to showcase some of Newcastle’s famous faces, so it’s not just all about Aurora herself. The production has utilised the chance to include the Jester Character, named Numpty Norman, played by Charlie Richmond who hit our screens in The Pot Noodle Advert alongside the likes of Sue Sweeney, an award-winning comedian from BBC Radio Newcastle. Their comedic backgrounds should make for a hilarious interpretation of the classic! The Tyne Theatre housed in a convenient place on Westgate road is not a bad price either, so panto lovers are in for a welcome, cost-friendly treat if it’s this show that takes your fancy.
This week’s winning pic is ‘Snow Attire’ by...
Creativity & Coffee
This week Ruth Davies ﬁnds out what The Butterﬂy Cabinet has to offer
Located in Heaton, The Butterfly Cabinet is a café well-known to many for its coffee and all day breakfasts. The Americanos served are rich and balanced, with a full-bodied flavour, creating a coffee which is enjoyable to drink. Uniquely decorated, the café has a quirky vintage-style theme expressed through the old chandelier, deliberately mismatched chairs, bookshelves filled with pastel coloured hardback books and old posters. Local artwork adorns the walls, with the work of local illustrator David Todd being especially prominent. Due to its popularity, Saturdays often see people queuing outside the door, and there is always a lively vibe inside.
Drinks Art Vibe
Sunderland Empire Theatre 13 December - 5 January
Tyne Theatre 6 - 30 December
Jack and the Beanstalk
The Island of Treasure
Venue 8-10 December
ritten and directed by two big names on campus Emil Franchi and Ciaran Mitchell, NUTS veterans and the delightful duo that is one half NSR presenter and one half comedy society regular, comes the most hotly anticipated Panto of the festive season, ‘The Island of Treasure’. With characters such as Jim “Ladd” Hawkings, “Billy Boner”, “Severed Smith” and “Fanny Drake” this year’s panto is set to be an original and amusing rethinking of Treasure Island. It promises a convoluted plot which will provide “a giggle and a gaff ” and really, what more could you possible want at Christmas? If you haven’t been to support NUTS yet this term, this is your last chance, with showings on the 8th, 9th and 10th of December The Island of Treasure is set to end this season of theatrics with a bang, right in the Union’s Venue. Get your tickets from the mysterious moving NUTS table in and around the Union whenever you are lucky enough to frequent upon it. Katie Smith
No Sex Please We’re British
espite often taking place during great wars, Shakespeare’s histories have a reputation for being among the least exciting of his plays, but Adam Stubbs and Dan Galvin directed a brilliantly kinetic production of Henry V aided by a game and energetic ensemble willing to throw themselves violently from one end of the stage floor to the other in the names of England and France, and some surprisingly intricate fight choreography. Seating the audience so close to the action was an excellent decision, showcasing the impressive detail of the fights, the props, the costumes and the performances. Despite excellent performances all around, it was doubtlessly James Heaford’s night. Hearford managed to imbue every line with not only the necessary authority, but with a blind rage which betrayed the young king’s immaturity and uncertainty. More impressive still, his skill reached beyond the battlefield and into the play’s comedic final act. Heaford and his co-star, the delightful Beatrice Henderson as the French princess Katharine, drew every ounce of comedy from the lines and brought the play to a satisfying conclusion. Sam Summers
s a self-confessed theatre geek, I have seen about 23 plays this year, and plan at least five more before it’s done. It’s therefore no mean feat that director Lizzy Carr is to be congratulated for staging the funniest play I have seen, not only this year, but possibly in my whole life. This is not subtle Wildean wit or the sort of Shakespeare jokes that hit you a few seconds later – this is utterly British, utterly bonkers humour that had Stage 3 shaking with laughter. The casting for the production is spot-on, with fantastic performances from every actor with special mentions for leading lady Rachel Slattery, whose facial expressions merit their own credit in the programme, and Kate Beckwith, as the ultimate nightmare mother-in-law. The central struggle of Frances and Peter (along with their gauche friend Brian) to hide an ever-increasing supply of Scandinavian pornography from his mother-in-law, boss, and a suspicious chief inspector is played out with impeccable comic timing and – as I saw the last performance – genius moments of improvisation. No Sex Please is a classic farce in which everything that would possibly go wrong does, leading up to a hilarious finale involving some sleeping pills, a fire and two Lauren Hickin confused call girls.
Theatre Royal 20 November
f pushed to describe Jack in one word it wouldn’t take me long – fabulous. Bloody fabulous. It was a busy affair, with a near three hour run-time that was action packed with great performance and laughter all the way through. The cast was predominantly local, including the father and son duo and an excellent drag queen. This year’s bit of splendour concerns Jack, a local boy from Piddling on the Tyne who had to defeat the giant, marry the princess, and save the village! He had his work cut out, but he managed it. I have to give credit to the cast for some of the more “accidental” moments as well, there was a point where one of the actors fell out of bed, wigs lost and arse out, and handled it extremely well – I assume this was an accident because it was just too hilarious, made even funnier by the fact the “father” burst out laughing. Any performance that ends with a Geordie rendition of ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’, complete with blow-up-doll-Cheryl-Cole and “Two bottles of brown” that leaves kids in tears with laughter and an audience rife with mirth gets a thumbs up from me. David Leighton
St Luke’s Church 28-30 November
Northern Stage 3 25 -27 November
Monday 9 December 2013
Film Editors: Muneeb Haﬁz and Jacob Crompton-Schreiber
he first semester is coming to an end. Many of us are steeplechasing through the final assignment(s) of the first term with the Christmas and New Year break the speck of light at the end of a gloomy tunnel. The trinity of family, food and fortune epitomises the Crimbo experience for many. However, perhaps the most treasured of trios is met with a fourth F, films. The movies that make us laugh, cry and rejoice over the festive period often constitute such a significant part of the celebrations - so embedded are they in our notions of Christmas - that for some they have come to define the annual experience. While the holiday may not mean as much as it once did in that the fantastical spirit of the season has waned slightly, it is nonetheless something that warrants a countdown long before the advent calendar is bought, a major investment in itself. The time when you woke up to gifts under the tree, when you had a list of stuff to expect rather than buy, when the Grinch was terrifying instead of hilarious, may have passed but the movies and
their significance have remained consistent. The crowd that satirises Christmas as a hyperconsumerist, superficial, snow sprinkled holiday of über sentimentality and wooly jumpers, aka the Scrooges, have gained an impressive degree of credence in recent years giving birth to ‘Festivus’, for example. Yet, if scenarios of sharing a special day with your loved ones, and perhaps not-so-loved ones- Uncle Knobhead for example (see Peter Kay for further detail)- doesn’t melt your heart then perhaps you are beyond saving and are completely Scrooged (sorry). The vintage Hollywood moment of a family with food babies circled around the television, wood fire ablaze and wistful smiles on faces is perhaps poles apart from the realities of your Christmas Day,
however, there is something intrinsically special in the Christmas movie and it is found in its tradition. The great Christmas movie is to Christmas as much as the dinner, or the board games or whatever occurs in your worlds. Even for those who do not celebrate Christmas the TV listings always make for much better reading than perhaps any other time of year and, thus, the Christmas movie caters for all. Merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah and a joyous Kwanzaa. Muneeb Hafiz
Face for the studio? Rosanna Bellini explores the real voices behind the animated ﬁction
ey, it’s that voice! So you’re sitting down watching an animated superhero beat the snot out of a villain. The villain reels back and snarls “Is that all you’ve got?” at the hero. Hold the phone, you know that voice. It’s [that character] from [that film] you love so much! And the hero, he’s sounding a little familiar too… You get the picture. Only, this scenario doesn’t seem to happen as frequently anymore as the animation industries have been struck hard by the curse of typecasting their voice actors. It’s almost natural how this phenomenon has occurred in live-action films as we just love categorising actors and putting them into their delicately niché genres. Angelina Jolie did epitomise “the tough sexpot” in Gone In 60 Seconds that Tomb Raider, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Wanted, Salt, and The Tourist were welcome additions to her career. But for casting to voice cast her as the dark, feline love interest Tigress in Kung Fu Panda doesn’t appear to be based on rational explanation but more like plain laziness. Dare I ask the question of whether the casting directors believe we really that used to comforting, flat archetypes that we can’t shake the image of an actor from their liveaction films? From the evidence in recent years I believe they’ve already made up our minds for us as it’s not just Mrs Jolie that’s fallen foul of this type casting dilemma; just check out Owen Wilson, Elijah Wood and Drew Barrymore’s filmographies where their typecast characters have crossed over to animation territory with seemingly more celebrities to join. Without stating the glaringly obvious; typecasting in animation is not always negative. A hefty portfolio of impressive performances in a particular genre is an
excellent indicator to both fans and producers that they’ll fit be able to cover the range of the role. After all, you can’t really punish someone for doing their job well. However, the standard misconception of skilled actor equals skilled voice actor needs to be stamped out as I believe is at the heart of the insulting, lazy voice casting that has occurred from the incorrect assumptions that voice acting only acts as a simpler copy of “real” acting. One figure that stands above this mess is Hayao Miyazaki, the visionary behind Studio Ghibli productions, for trying his very best to keep celebrity voice acting separate t o the
general splendor of animation stating “you should connect with the characters for who they are to you, not who a celebrity is trying to represent”. If only Disney and Dreamworks would take a page out of his book and remember what a real, animated story should be like. But maybe I’m being too picky, as if done correctly type casting is by far better alternative than turning to it’s dark, evil twin that takes on the form of an “ink-suit actor” - a famous actor whose animated counterpart is essentially the actor themselves.
“The standard misconception of skilled actor equals skilled voice actor needs to be stamped out” I’d be very pushed to try and argue that Cameron Diaz’s appearance was not the consummate or at the very least, a major inspiration for Princess Fiona’s looks in Dreamworks’ Shrek, especially when the actress herself claims that watching Fiona felt like “watching a red-haired sister”. Hiring a typecast celebrity voice actor to a film seems like just another smack in the chops to new, struggling voice actors for it presents an unfair foothold to actors with better publicity and a potentially savvier agent. But when we compare this inequality in contrast to tailoring an entire film’s narrative simply to endorse a famous actor’s name, it seems to get off lightly. So yes, we shamefully do typecast animation characters more than we should and yes it does appear to insult our capacities of imaging actors outside of their standard roles but this could all change the moment we start to tackle the real inequalities between actors and voice actors.
Bio-fact or bio-ﬁction?
How malleable is the truth in the biopic? Bridget Bunton takes a look
he biographical film has been around since 1900 and has become more and more popular as film has developed over the years. There have been over one hundred biopic films in the past three years alone. Biopics often dramatize the lives of interesting figures as a unique and specific category within film. So, what makes it work? Likeness is one of the most important factors in casting: an actor must resemble the person whose story is being told, plain and simple. If one does not, it will just not work. With Nixon (1995), there was criticism for the fact that Anthony Hopkins simply did not look enough like Richard Nixon and that another actor should have been chosen to play the part. Whilst smaller actors are sometimes chosen for that anonymity factor and perhaps their uncanny likeness to the figure, often, notable actors are cast because they have the ability to give the strongest and most accurate performance. Such can be seen with Jamie Foxx and his Golden Globe, BAFTA, and Oscar -winning performance in 2004’s Ray. His representation of the legendary soul/rhythm and blues musician Ray Charles forever changed the way he was perceived as an actor and allotted him respect and praise in the acting community. Furthermore, ‘biopics’ as a genre tends to have its certain master actors: Johnny Depp, Helen Mirren, Denzel Washington, Leonardo DiCaprio, among others are cast time and time again due to their immense versatility and ability to truly break away from themselves to become the characters. There is a certain degree of freedom in which directors can alter the stories of these figures for dramatization or to allow the plot to move along more swiftly so that it does not drag for the viewer’s benefit. However, it must remain mostly truthful and accurate. I mean, these are or were actual people who lived in this world and contributed to society in some way. There needs to be some amount of respect for the
figure being depicted no matter whom it is or what there actions have been because it is not fictional; these stories are true and have changed history in some way, many majorly so. In terms of inaccuracies, they can sometimes be
There have been over one hundred biopic films in the past three years alone tolerated with the mind-set that the films themselves are pieces of art, creations in and of themselves rather than the exact truth as with Marie Antoinette (2006). Certain stories break boundaries and highlight social issues of the time and films are created to reflect their importance: Boys Don’t Cry highlights the issue of trans-gender inequality and likewise Milk reflects the injustices and inequality of gay individuals in history as well as in the public sphere.
The importance of these stories in today’s world and in society allows the films to stand out and be truly successful biopic films. However, biopics of historical figures from hundreds of years prior are also successful as respectful reminders of their contributions to history and insights of the complexities and details of their lives. Biopics highlight the stories, either specific moments in time (as in My Week With Marilyn) or the entire lives of notable figures in society throughout history. Many of these people are innovators, changing history forever, and their stories are recreated and retold over and over again because they are so influential and inspiring or simply aweinducing. This genre of film is only continuing to grow in popularity and with good reason. In fact, with Saving Mr. Banks in cinemas now it’s time to read up, buy your tickets and popcorn and check out these two films generating a great amount of buzz.
Monday 9 December 2013
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“Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” Mary Poppins (1964)
Saving Mr Banks (PG)
t’s hard to imagine a time when the magical Nanny we all know and love was confined solely to the pages of a book. But it took 20 years of Walt Disney’s perseverance before the magic of Mary Poppins was brought to the big screen. Saving Mr. Banks is the true account of how P.L. Travers story became one of the most iconic films of all time. The cast is simply incredible with Emma Thompson starring as the author P.L Travers, a no-nonsense English lady who is “perfectly capable” on her own. Her opposite number comes in the form of Forrest himself; Tom Hanks is the larger than life Walt Disney representing everything Travers has come to despise about the world. The story begins in 1906 Australia with the words of Chim Chim Cher-ee read by Travers father (Colin Farrell) accompanying scenes of her playing as a child. The audience is then transported 55 years into the future to London and a strikingly different tone. After resisting the advances of Walt Disney towards her beloved Mary Poppins for so many years Travers is told she has no money and must travel to Los Angeles to sell the rights. Cue hilarious encounters as Thompson portrays a typical Brit abroad disgusted with American culture, Disney and all it stands for. She struggles to let
go of her story and it’s characters, particularly Mr Banks. Despite Travers difficult nature Disney’s determined to make it work as he’d made a twentyyear-old promise to his children that he’d make the film. There’s lots of flashbacks to Travers as a child and the struggles her father faced as a dreamer in the real world. These help to uncover the nature of her attachment to the story. But the film takes a poignant turn when Travers says to Disney “You think she’s come to save the children?”. From then on the previously uncovered importance of Mr Banks is revealed and the audience realise that he’s not just a character, or in fact a real
person but the happy ending craved by both Travers and Disney. This film is funny, charming and heartbreaking as the same time, there are guaranteed tears here people. Thompson’s performance is incredibly moving, surely standing her in good stead for oscar number 2. Saving Mr. Banks embodies everything we love about Mary Poppins; the magic, the moral and the strong independent woman breaking through the window.
It’s a Wonderful Life (U)
Free Birds (U)
rank Capra’s timeless tale is for many the ultimate Christmas film. The always-affable Jimmy Stewart is George Bailey, a compassionate but frustrated businessman in smalltown America. Bailey’s helped by angel Clarence (Henry Travers) as he contemplates suicide on Christmas Eve, who shows him what life would be like if he never existed over one snowy night. Both Capra and Stewart both consider if their favourite film; it truly is a genuine classic, it improves with both age and familiarity and brings joy to all those who experience it. The original black & white version, the only way to watch it, conjures up the lustre of old Hollywood and fables of old. The word ‘magical’ is often bandied about in film criticism but It’s a Wonderful Life is one of the early pictures that deserves every letter of the word. It tackles humour, sentimentality and warming charm perfectly; it takes you through the emotional scale and is incredibly watchable. The performances are marvellous, Stewart taking the reins as the relatable small-town man with big dreams, Donna Reed – in her first major role – as the ideal American wife and Travers as the always-kind Angel 2nd Class. Everything fits, everything works; it all comes to together so succinctly and perfectly that it is hard to aim any criticism in the direction of Capra’s masterpiece. Few films are flawless, however exceptions can always be made, especially over the festive period. Heartwarmingly beautiful, It’s a Wonderful Life is the perfect Christmas film.
really enjoy being scared. I think it’s the adrenaline that I crave, the uncertainty produced when I can’t tear my eyes from the horror before me, whilst fighting the urge to turn around and acknowledge the shivers running down my spine.
The Tyneside Cinema is showing numerous repeats of It’s a Wonderful Life from the 8th through to the 24th of December. Catch it while you can on the big screen.
arrie (Grace-Moretz) is on a spree, telekinetically slaughtering anyone that stands before her on her vengeful voyage, as she commands the environment and rains havoc down upon her peers. At least, she was in 1976. The remake of the 1976 horror classic Carrie sadly left me feeling slightly unsatisfied. I just wasn’t scared at all. Admittedly I’ve unassumingly desensitized myself through watching too many horror films, but still, I’d hoped that Carrie, one of the most malevolent figures of horror could evoke at least a wince. Sadly not. Carrie is a young girl, twisted and tormented by her peers as they laugh at her naivety. Her mother believes she is a mistake and yet loves her in a way only a sociopath could. It is Carrie’s consequential purity, which renders her so immensely dangerous. The remake failed to maintain a vulnerability to Carrie’s character as she grew confident far too quickly, and became aware of her own powers before rage set in. That one moment in the original when her eyes dilute, and a centre stage blood soaked Carrie embraces her rage and calmly murders those she had considered close to her with nothing more than the dart of an eye, is lost. The film was entertaining and visually impressive, as the ending massacre has been enhanced through massively improved visual effects. But, it wasn’t dark enough. The colour palette was too light, the supporting cast too whimsical and extraneous, and the modern high school prom scenario too tacky. Apart from some contemporary culture references to cyber bullying, the film did very little to re-invent Carrie. If you’re set on watching a film involving telekinesis try Matilda, or better still, watch the original.
More like this: Home Alone (1990)
More like this: Chronicle (2012)
More like this: Finding Neverland (2004) Georgia Bygate
t is always pleasant to see an animated film that is not a product of the Disney-Pixar empires because the two companies have an all too apparent monopoly on the children’s market. Whilst Free Birds can pride itself with this title, it fits all too easily into the formulas the two cinematic giants have constructed. Owen Wilson voices Reggie, a turkey who alone is aware of the upcoming genocide that will befall his fellow turkeys on Thanksgiving, is spared the butchers block by becoming the celebrated presidential pardon. Shortly after arriving at the president’s compound, he is kidnapped by slow-witted muscle bird Jake (Woody Harrelson), the leader of the Turkeys Liberation Front who takes him back in time to the year 1621 in order to prevent the first Thanksgiving from ever happening. I personally enjoyed this film but was all too aware of the fact that I was being manipulated more than a little by the basic plot construction that many modern popular animations portray. Reggie is the typical reluctant hero, an intellectual superior to his peers who eventually rouses himself to heroism. Perhaps it is an in-built hatred for Owen Wilson as a human being that caused me to see his character as ultimately clichéd. The romantic relationship which should build a bit of excitement in any movie was terribly lacking in tension. It made me wonder whether the producers of children films are a little too careful not to traumatise their intended audience with unnecessary “peril”. That said, this film did have its amusing moments. The relationship between Jake and Ranger (the second in command of the native turkeys in 1621) was based on one trying to out man the other which threw a light on the frequent ridiculousness of masculine competition. More like this: Chicken Run (2000)
The thing that I find the most frightening is my own imagination. When I’m walking through a dark space the creatures that form in the black abyss before me are always so fractured and feasible that they are more nerve-shattering than any defined image of an axe murderer on a screen in front of me. This is something that sadly, many horror film remakes miss completely I associate fear to the old classics, the films that actually scared me and left me contemplating my own safety. Alien, The Shining, Carrie, The Exorcist, The Wicker Man, the list goes on. Modern horror remakes have yet to frighten me in the same way. With the advance of visual effects, the focus seems to have shifted all of these thrilling, chilling tales to gore. When violence and terror are shown so realistically and vividly, nothing is left for the imagination. There is no space left within the idea to interject one’s own personal fears.
The 1973 Wicker Man is a terrifying journey of Pagan rituals and blood sacrifice, though most of the film is just gentle taboo. It is made so unnervingly uneasy through its mystery, and the knowledge that the ice of tension beneath your feat could crack at any moment. The anxiety and the steady pace at which it is built become almost unbearable as we watch, horrified and unable to interject. The remake of the Wicker Man was just bloody awful. Nicholas Cage ruined everything. “AAHHH THE BEEEEES, THE BEEEEESSS.” The sacrificial ending could not have come sooner, the only downside to the death of Nick being that he made a lot of noise.
Admittedly there are some horror film remakes that hit the money. The Evil Dead being a prime example. The film was unreasonably gruesome, but with the gore of the original to compete with, the amount of fake blood was always going to be monstrous. The sound of someone hacking at their own face with a glass shard was far more stomach curdling than the sight itself. Still, it was nothing on the original. Bruce Campbell still stands manically triumphant, eyebrows, chin and chainsaw in tow. Groovy. Charlie Dearnley
Monday 9 December 2013
TV Editor: Beth Durant Deputy TV Editor: Helen Daly
TVintage Every kid remembers The Snowman, but what about this Christmas treasure? This week Lewis Ancrum gets nostalgic
hristmas is incomplete without the TV adaptions of Raymond Briggs’ famous cartoons. Most people automatically think of The Snowman, but in my opinion his earlier work of Father Christmas is just as good, if not better. Adapted for television much later than The Snowman, my first memory of Father Christmas was when my sister insisted on playing the version we had taped on repeat in the run-up to Christmas. Since then it has become a sort of family tradition to watch it on Christmas Eve.
The Snowman is far more famous but I find it much more enjoyable to discover what poor Father Christmas gets up to on the other 364 days of the year. Aside from his really hectic hard work of delivering all the presents to all the boys and girls, he has a pretty fun time. He leads a jet-set lifestyle travelling around the world for food, wine, sun and camping. This rather surly version of Santa enjoys trips to France, Scotland and Las Vegas. He eats and drinks his time away, moving onto the next place only when people become suspicious of his iconic identity. I’m not to sure how appropriate the portrayal of Saint Nic’ would be nowadays but I quite like my Santa complete with a knack for swearing, drinking and eating. A lot of the jokes are implied and aren’t too blunt which makes it brilliant family television. I certainly get his jokes about his weight and alcoholism a lot better than I did when I was a kid, and I know I’d sacrifice squeezing uncomfortably down chimneys to eat all that food.
Of course he doesn’t forget his reindeer, and apparently Father Christmas also has enough room for a cat and dog as well. It’s not all fun and games though, as through the year there’s a lot of business to take care of before Christmas Eve such as the conversion of his sled after it spends a portion of the year as a camper van. There is also the truckload of letters dropped off by the mail man which I never quite understand, because his terraced house looks more like urban England rather than the North Pole. But you shouldn’t question Christmas films too much, after all how does one man travel the globe delivering presents in one night and still have time to party with The Snowman? No matter how old I get I will always enjoy this short little Briggs masterpiece, and having written this article I can’t wait until my family and I all return to the same TV on Christmas Eve.
as everyone recovered after The Day of the Doctor? Good, and just in time for the next instalment of the time-travelling hero this Christmas. In this episode, an enigmatic message throughout time and space not only gets the Doctor’s attention, but also the attention of his most deadly foes. After calling by at Clara’s to take her on another adventure, the Doctor and his companion will learn what this message is and what it will mean for our trusty Time Lord. That’s not all we can expect this Christmas. Trenzalore calls for Matt Smith and The Time of the Doctor will see the regeneration of Matt Smith and the introduction of Peter Capaldi into the TARDIS. It’s that sad time again when we have to say goodbye to another Doctor and welcome a new one at the
In true-Who fashion, no sooner have we said goodbye to one terrific actor that we must accommodate a new one. Peter Capaldi was announced as the Doctor in August and aside from the internet pretty much imploding at the thought of Malcolm Tucker taking over the TARDIS, the reaction has been positive. This will not be the first time we have seen Capaldi in Doctor Who; he played Caecilius in The Fires of Pompeii and of course (spoiler alert), he made a surprise appearance in The Day of the Doctor… is there anyone who didn’t gasp when
they saw the fierce eyes of the Twelfth Doctor; as head writer Steven Moffat has explained, it’s time to see the ‘old beast snarl’, and if eyes could snarl, that’s exactly what they did in that brief glimpse. What has the Doctor got to snarl about? In The Day of the Doctor, the Doctor’s planet Gallifrey was saved, so why could he be upset? If we know Doctor Who, I’m sure we’ll find out before long. Back to Christmas Day, and before we get to see Capaldi in action, there’s the small matter of a goodbye. We can expect that it will be a sad one, with Jenna Louise Coleman describing the episode as ‘traumatic’, but also ‘perfect’. With the word ‘Trenzalore’ still on everyone’s lips, what more can be in store at the Doctor’s graveyard? The episode also promises to tie up some loose ends of Matt’s tenure, although don’t expect everything to be answered in that much of a hurry... Forget about the turkey, grab a couple of tissues and prepare to have your heart broken as the Eleventh Doctor leaves the TARDIS. But just don’t forget that the next Doctor, Capaldi, will patch it up faster than you can say ‘Geronimo’. Helen Daly
Still Open All Hours
BBC 1, 7:30pm Christmas Day
same time. What a Doctor Matt Smith was; having taken on the role after Tennant, Smith jumped onto the TARDIS and reinvented the show completely. The Eleventh Doctor was fun, quirky and dark all at the same time. He found a best friend in Amy Pond, an equal in Clara and a wife with River Song. Matt Smith is and will always be my Doctor and for that, I can only thank him.
“It’s that sad time again when we have to say goodbye to another Doctor...”
ITV, 8:30pm Christmas Day
BBC 1, 9pm New Year’s Day
s we enter December it’s time to contemplate the Christmas Day special of Downton Abbey, and after the lacklustre finale in season four it’s easy to speculate that it’s going to be eventful – especially when you consider that last year the producers ruined our Yuletide glow with the death of Matthew Crawley. Fingers crossed though, as executive producer Liz Trubridge has promised, “nobody dies”. In the last episode it was covertly revealed that Cora’s mother Martha, and brother Harold Levinson would be coming over next summer for Rose’s coming out ball, and as they are both featured in the Christmas photo it is likely that there will be a year time jump. So what does this mean for Edith? Will she follow through on her plan to adopt her baby on her trip to Switzerland with Rosamund, or return to her original strategy of an illegal abortion? And doubtlessly there will be some big news about the mysterious disappearance of her love, Michael Gregson. Maybe some light will be shed on the big whodunit with Mr Green. It’s too predictable for it to have been Mr Bates, even if his alibi is a tad sketchy. But hopefully this will pave the return of Lord Gillingham, one of Lady Mary’s suitors. Romance is in the air with many potential couples in Downton, and perhaps ITV will be feeling jolly and give us a few secret kisses, but between who is anyone’s guess. Ultimately it should prove to be a lively episode this Christmas with some inevitable witty one-liners by the Dowager Countess of Grantham.
n New Year’s Day, and after a very long two years, Sherlock will finally burst back onto our screens for its long-awaited third series. It returns with three brand new episodes, punnily entitled ‘The Empty Hearse’, ‘The Sign Of Three’ and ‘His Last Vow’. Two years on from the events of ‘The Reichenbach Fall’ (you know, Sherlock’s dead but he’s not actually dead), John Watson is beginning to move on with his life. But as a terrorist attack looks set to threaten London, Sherlock must rise from the grave to do what he does best. There’s also the small matter of telling John he’s been living a lie this whole time and, by the state of Sherlock’s face in the trailer, he doesn’t exactly take the news well. With Moriarty now dead (oh, how we’ll miss him), there is room for a new villain in the form of Charles Augustus Magnussen, played by The Killing’s Lars Mikkelson. The character is said to be a master of manipulation and blackmail and co-creator Steven Moffat says that he is ‘terrifying’. Sounds promising. There’s the arrival of Mary Morstan, John’s wife in the original stories, so it is likely we’ll be seeing John getting hitched, and Sharon Rooney, her of My Mad Fat Diary fame, is also starring in the opening episode. Unfortunately, all three episodes are airing within twelve days of each other and it’s likely there will be another long hiatus before the expected series four (Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman say they’re in). So, we’ll have to enjoy it while it lasts and prepare ourselves for the obligatory massive cliff-hanger (there will be tears apparently) that Sherlock seems to be so fond of. Chloe Carroll
BBC 1, 7:45pm Boxing Day
e’ve all experienced the over familiarity shown by our local shop keepers when we nip round the corner shop to get some penny sweets. Now imagine that shop keeper was actually David Jason… that makes the ordeal a little bit better, right? Well, grab your mince pies, and get comfortable on your couches because this Christmas sees the revival of the 70’s British sitcom Open All Hours. This year’s one-off Christmas special Still Open All Hours sees the small grocer’s shop passed down from the miserly shopkeeper Arkwright (played by the late Ronnie Barker) to his nephew Granville (David Jason) and his son Leroy (James Baxter), and this time Granville is finally his own boss. Written by the original series creator Roy Clarke, we should expect nothing less than the hilarious hijinks and the sometimes risky one-liners that were so familiar to the 1970’s Yorkshire grocers, made more entertaining with original characters such as Nurse Gladys Emmanuel (Played by Lynda Baron) still visiting Arkwright’s today, giving us an idea of what Granville has been up to since the show last aired in 1985. With all the excitement surrounding this halfhour Christmas Special, I am hoping to see another full series of Open All Hours hit our television screens sometime next year and I’m crossing my fingers that, even without the legendary s-s-s stutter of Shop Keeper Albert Arkwright, Open All Hours will bring as much laughter today as it has to the generation before and that this revision of the classic Northern Sitcom will act as a fitting tribute for the late Ronnie Barker. Becca Cummings
Monday 9 December 2013
thecourieronline.co.uk/tv firstname.lastname@example.org | @courier_tv
Ding dong merrily on hi-def With so many highlights this Christmas, it can too easy to miss some top TV. Charlotte Maxwell takes a look at what we shouldn’t miss this Christmas season
ith so many top shows on TV this Christmas, it could be quite easy to miss some of your favourite shows. Here’s my take on the best of the rest of highlights. Kicking things off nicely we have the super popular Great British Bake Off. Pie man Paul Hollywood and Pudding queen Mary Berry will be sharing their clay balls of wisdom in this much anticipated Christmas special. The two will lead all of us baking bunnies through their master class of Christmas cookery. This step by step guide is this year’s Christmas essential for all ‘December 25th chefs’ ….and for those of you that are solely spectators, of course. No soggy bottoms please. Carrying on, we have one for the young at heart with Walliams’ Gangsta Granny. David Walliams finally brings his children’s paperback to life, this Christmas. A young boy despises the thought of going to stay with his scrabbleobsessed granny. B u t , his feelings s o on
change when she reveals that she was once an international
thief and still has a heist to complete. With Joanna Lumley, Robbie Williams (yes, you have read that correctly) and Miranda Hart, this one’s bound to give you the giggles. For the period drama lovers among us, Death comes to Pemberly makes its debut on the BBC. During the 200th year since the publication of Pride and Prejudice, the BBC has dished up the renowned second helping of Mr Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett. This beautiful costume drama with
“Last year, we saw Agnes stuck half way up a Christmas tree so who knows what she’ll be up to this year.” an all star cast is sure have any Austen fans glued to their screens. Mrs Brown’s Boys is back again to bring the laughs this festive period. This year, a double dose of Agnes and the gang is a foot- as the BBC have commissioned two special Christmas episodes. Last year, we saw Agnes stuck half way up a Christmas tree so who knows what she’ll be up to this year. Aside from trying to play Santa but not getting to her grandson’s letter before he posts it, she’ll taking his education into her own hands and planning a New Year’s eve party. Plain sailing, right? The BBC has decided to bring arguably its most successful show Strictly
Come Dancing back for a Christmas Special. You may be admiring Vincent’s during his stint in the jungle, but the sequined strictly spectacular is sure to dazzle your vision towards the dance floor. Sir Bruce and Tess are back to host an episode featuring everyone from Rufus Hound to Rochelle from The Saturdays. The festive merriment (commonly known as too much mulled wine) is bound to get you up in your living room and attempting to perfect your quick step. For seasoned fans and novices, this is not one to miss… And finally, Call the Midwife will be delivering a festive treat. Taking us back to 1958, this episode is far from short of drama when an unexploded bomb is discovered- disturbing the intended nuptials of Dr Turner and Sister Bernadette. In the entire calamity, Nonnatus House is closed and so the nurses and nuns must find themselves a new home.
BADvertising The holidays are deﬁnitely here
ovember 28th, I sit down to a rather delightful episode of Doctor Who and…Oh sod it, it’s Christmas isn’t it? I’ll actually talk about something I like…because Scrooge is a dick. I hadn’t actually seen this advert (or at least not this year) until the other day and I didn’t realise how much I missed this little beauty. Even though I know it’s not even December yet and the critic in me is screaming: “It’s November bitches!’, I still forgive Coca-Cola? Why? I suppose deep down I know it’s the heart of consumerism and that CocaCola roll out that advert like heroin – letting people see it every now and then just to give them a buzz, but I don’t care, I like it. Incidentally (and here’s a fun little factoid for all you smarty pants out there), Coca-Cola used to be made with cocaine, hence the name. It was green when it first came out and it was so popular because people genuinely became addicted to it. How’s that for getting your target audience hooked. But that’s all in the past now and soft drink companies are frowned upon nowadays for introducing high level narcotics to youngsters so Coca-Cola is less lines and jollies and more brown and water. Still though when that big truck screeches to a halt, covered in so many Christmas lights that
Rise of the sofa roastie
Watching a dose of festive TV post-pudding seems to be the go-to thing to do around the Christmas period. Dylan Healy discusses why we love it so much
he Christmas dinner has been eaten, the kitchen is a mess and all the presents have been opened. Everyone has over-indulged in festive spirit and the comfort of the sofa is calling. All the family sit back and watch The Royle Family.. It’s a common image of our Christmas celebrations. We all know that familiar feeling you get post-dinner when your grandma and auntie have had a few too many Baileys and have started to curse at every grandchild she can find running around their ankles. Perhaps
“Christmas television in general seems to be immune to what we see happening on the high street. It manages to tug at our hearts and convey the true emotion of the festive season.” it’s time to bang on the TV and vegetate for a few hours and forget about all the awkward “So, how’s university?” conversations you’ve had with your extended family. Time to find some common ground with the arguing family members, perhaps. On average a British household on Christmas day watches over 8 hours of television every single year, and over the past few decades Christmas television has become a huge cultural phenomenon in the UK, with many prime time shows such as Doctor Who, Coronation Street and The Great British Bake Off, becoming the very backbone of our Christmas Day celebrations. We all spend way too much time sat in front of the telly-box on what is the “happiest day of the
year” - it’s almost ironic that we transport ourselves into an alternate Christmas reality and watch other families watch TV as we ourselves watch TV. We’re a strange bunch. However on a more serious and bleaker note, Christmas as a holiday itself has certainly become very much more secularized in our modern lives. You
only need to watch the barrage of Christmas advertising from John Lewis, Coca Cola and Tesco to see what’s happening. These companies see the effect Christmas has on its customers and pump millions into various marketing campaigns in order to tug at the heart and purse strings. Many argue that in recent years the schedule has become dry, and that the ratings for the biggest seasonal treats are sliding. With new gaming consoles and tablet devices competing for our eyeballs. Catch up services mean that even the must-see Coronation Street special is no longer a general viewing. Christmas television in general seems to be immune to what we see happening on the high street. It manages to tug at our hearts and convey the true emotion of the festive season. It buoys the spirits of the nation and cherishes the true meaning behind Christmas in the UK. And this is truly what Christmas is all about, getting all the family around the television to watch The Royle Family…. and lets be honest everyone finds Ricky Tomlinson’s antics whatever the age.
there’s a genuine possibility of it blinding the local populace I still do a tiny little wee because that means it’s Christmas! I suppose that’s the heart of the matter really, Christmas is a consumerist thing now and even though most of my internal organs squirm and twist in rage at the prospect of it my brain still lets it slide because Christmas is a good thing. It wouldn’t really exist in the way we know of it if consumerism didn’t exist so I suppose I’ll just have to get off my hypocritical ivory-toweroverlooking pedestal and accept that. So yeah, Coca-Cola advert, Santa, big-rig, CocaCola, snow, Christmas lights, delightfully happy young children and they’ve got my soul. Huzzah! To be fair they’ve actually gone for the angle of “be nice toDevelopment your neighbour” this year rather than Arrested just “Buy our shit” which is pretty nice – I’m suspending my belief here because I know they’ve only gone for that because they think it’ll sell more
– but once again I don’t care. Santa asks people to be nice, “invite a friend round who you know is alone”, the elves work like the little bitches that they are and Coca-Cola is gulped down by all with a gullet; at this point I start to feel all warm and fuzzy when I know all I should feel is rage, because it’s Christmas! So on that final and very conflicted note, I’d like to point out that bottled Cola tastes better than any other kind, I’d also like to say “Merry Christmas” and “I haven’t been paid by Coca-Cola to write this one I swear!” David Leighton
Monday 9 December 2013
Science Editor: Elizabeth Hampson Deputy Science Editors: Emad Ahmed and Peter Style
Gander before you gobble: where has your turkey come from?
Before you sit down to your roast dinner, Science Editor Elizabeth Hampson takes a closer look at turkey farming in the UK - the current standards of care may make you think twice about where you’re buying your poultry from this season
s the madness of the Christmas rush descends upon us, supermarkets will get busier and busier. You’ll wander through the aisles trying to buy everything you need to make Christmas dinner; get shoved around by other panic stricken shoppers, fight over the last packet of profiteroles, grab a frozen turkey and get the hell out of there. I asked my friend where she thought turkeys came from, she stared at me blankly for a minute and then replied “errr, Asda?” As many of you are laughing at that answer, she’s not alone, most of us don’t think about how that turkey got from being a living thing to something frozen and packaged in the freezer section of Morrisons. Or if we do, we think about feathery things gobbling around farms and eating as much corn as they want until the man comes and gets them. Sadly for a lot of turkeys this isn’t the case. This isn’t an article to ruin everybody’s Christmas’ I’m not a vegetarian on a rampage, I’m not even claiming that you shouldn’t eat turkey at Christmas, I just want to make you think a little bit more about where the bird you’re eating has come from. As you can see, the steps of turkey farming are not the most comfortable to read. There are parts of the process which, whatever your stance on animal welfare, you will probably agree are quite shocking and it is hard to believe that they adhere to the current legal standard for turkey farming. This isn’t to say we should all boycott intensive poultry farming by serving up tofu instead of turkey on Christmas day, but we can all take a moment to think about whether the extra few quid it takes to buy a bird which has lived out its short life in happy, natural conditions is worth it. At the very least it will clear your conscience and it will probably taste better too.
1. Rearing sheds
At only a few days old chicks are supplied to the farms from hatcheries, they are immediately put into windowless rearing sheds which is where they will spend their lives. The top half of these sheds is normally made of fencing rather than solid wood, to allow in light and air. The floor is covered with a mixture of wood shavings and straw designed to soak up spilled water and faeces, this will not be changed during their lives. The lighting is very dim and some chicks are de-beaked to stop them from pecking each other.
In Britain no meat or bone from or any animal is fed to poultry, instead the birds are fed a mixture of cereals, vitamins and amino acids. Turkeys are intensively reared, meaning they are forced to gain weight rapidly which can cause serious health problems. The British Poultry Council states that turkeys are reared to 13kg at around 20 weeks, however the RSPCA says that depending on breeds, a modern male turkey may reach up to 25kg at 20 weeks.
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As the birds grow, numbers per shed are “thinned” meaning the birds have slightly more space to move around and eat whenever they want from automated feeders. The average shed is around 500m long and contains around 7,000 birds. The density of birds stocked in one shed depends on their age and weight. Government standards state that a minimum of just 0.026 square metres per kilogram, meaning a maximum of 40kg of bird per square metre. The RSPCA free food scheme sees that turkeys are kept in stocking conditions which are 25kg of bird per square metre.
Marks and Spencer
Once at the abattoir, the turkeys are taken from the crates and shackled upside on a moving chain. Some farms dip the birds into an electric bath to stun them before they’re killed, others use gas. The carcasses are then dipped into a scalding hot bath to loosen feathers before they are moved to mechanical plucking machines. All birds are checked for signs of disease, washed with clean water and chilled before being packaged.
In the wild turkeys can live up to 10 years, intensively indoor farmed turkeys are slaughtered between 12 and 21 weeks old. Free range farms normally insist on a minimum of 20 weeks old before slaughter. Teams of “catchers” then collect the birds from the sheds and put them in crates to transfer to the abattoir. The crates are loaded onto lorries with a roof and side curtains to protect them from the elements.
Out at Bob’s
“At only a few days old chicks are immediately put into windowless sheds where they will spend the rest of their lives”
Monday 9 December 2013
Film Editors: Muneeb Haﬁz and Jacob Crompton-Schreiber
Are Disney princesses frozen in time?
With Frozen now in cinemas, Culture Editor Sam Summers investigates just how far the Kates and Eugenies of the Magic Kingdom have really come since 1937
s of the time of writing, Disney’s Frozen has yet to be released in the UK. It’s been out in America for a week or so, so I could look it up if I wanted, but I’ll be damned if I’m exposing myself to Disney Princess spoilers for the sake of something as trivial as a newspaper article. That being said, I have the good word of the sun-starved madmen who edit The Disney Wiki that Elsa, one of two new princesses introduced in Frozen, is the first in the franchise to ever be crowned a ruling queen. Now, I know you’re all ready to break out the commemorative plates and the Danish national anthem and celebrate the coronation of Queen Elsa, representing as it does the culmination of Disney’s quest for gender equality in the Magic Kingdom. Finally, they’ve caught up to the English Kingdom, which crowned its first Queen Regnant in 1553. Still, baby steps. So how far have the Mouse House really come since their first princess passed into her first coma just over 75 years ago? As a man who owns every single Disney film on DVD (yes, I’ve got that one. Yes, that one too. Yes, even that one) I feel I’m as good a person as any to trawl obsessively through the annals of animation history and analyse the trajectory of a franchise aimed at little girls. What? Some of my best friends are little girls. Let’s start with where it all began. No, not with Snow White, but with Andy Mooney, a former Nike executive who was put in charge of Disney’s consumer products division in the late ‘90s. Mooney was attending a Disney on Ice show when he noticed that the girls in the audience were wearing generic princess costumes, instead of officially licensed outfits. Mooney, who’s apparently never seen a little girl who couldn’t stand to be a little poorer, came up with the idea to produce a line of merchandise based on the company’s existing princesses. The characters were combined into one mega-franchise, and the whole gang was emblazoned across everything from chicken nuggets to fishing rods.
“The characters were emblazoned across everything from chicken nuggets to fishing rods”
One of the upshots of this is that a group of previously unconnected films, only loosely associated with one another in the public consciousness, are now forever linked by an official and ever-growing ‘Disney Princess’ canon. Despite never appearing on screen together, and never even making eye contact in promotional images, they princess are so intrinsically associated with one another in the minds of children everywhere that they might as well be shacking up in apartments for embarrassing karaoke sessions like a Fantasyland Lena Dunham and co. The original line-up, unchanged for nearly a decade; Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora, Ariel, Belle
Kingdom charts Interested in the facts and figures behind your favourite princesses? Well I’ve got whozits and whatsits galore. I’ll just leave these here and let you draw your own conclusions...
and Jasmine, with Pocahontas and Mulan lurking on the outskirts, ostensibly because they aren’t actual princesses. Cruelly overlooked was Robin Hood’s Maid Marian, leaving the fox community woefully underrepresented in the final set. There’s a clear division in the original six between Snow, Cinderella and Aurora, the quiet, demure housewives of the ‘30s, ‘40s and ‘50s, and Ariel, Belle and Jasmine, the princesses of the ‘90s, commonly held to be more intelligent and proactive than their predecessors. Snow White in particular can look a bit jarring sitting next to her spiritual successors, with a more simplistic design (her original incarnation didn’t even have much of a nose) and a shrill, bird-like voice that strangely never crops up on any of the Disney Princess crossover songs. Aurora and Cinderella haven’t aged much better, and the three of them have little to do in their respective films beyond passing out prematurely and waiting for their prince to come, with the odd bit of housework along the way. However, while they certainly weren’t good fe-
“Snow White looks a bit jarring sitting next to her successors” male role models, these characterisations stem as much from good old-fashioned sexism as they do from Disney’s lack of interest in his lead characters. Uncle Walt was always more concerned with spectacular animation, quirky sidekicks, and terrifying villains than he was with fleshing out his protagonists, especially in his princess films. If you think the women in these films come off as stereotypes, spare a thought for the men; yes, they were strong, handsome, powerful cardboard cutouts, but they were cardboard cutouts nonetheless. At least the princesses had different coloured hair. After the rather dismal box office performance of Sleeping Beauty the company took a break from the princess game for three decades, reviving the genre with 1989’s The Little Mermaid. The huge success of that venture led to a revival of interest in animation in general and princesses in particular, with Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin following in 1991 and 1992. Of course Jasmine, and even arguably Belle, weren’t the main character in their respective films, but they were the ones that captured the imagination of little girls everywhere. It might have helped that all three of these princesses were pretty much the only non-teapot female characters in each movie, so it wasn’t exactly a crowded field when it came to strong role models. It’s obvious that the ‘90s princesses are kingdoms ahead of their earlier counterparts, what with their motives and penchant for making their own decisions, not to mention their ability to remain conscious for most of a film’s runtime. However, times change, audiences get wiser, and the internet has a funny way of making everything Disney’s ever
done seem offensive to somebody, which can be irritating, even when it’s true. As a result, everybody can now look back and agree that Belle had Stockholm syndrome, Jasmine was utterly powerless, and Ariel was probably a bit of a plonker for selling her voice and half her body for a vagina and a man she’s never met. It feels a bit weird to look back at the early ‘90s through the same ‘it was a different time!’ lense
“It feels weird to look back at the ‘90s through the ‘it was a different time’ lens” with which we view the ‘30s and ‘50s, but that’s true in a lot of cases, and mainstream animation is certainly one of them. Back then, Disney was just starting to get its groove back after two decades of false starts with the likes of Tha Black Cauldron and The Fox and the Hound,, decent films one and all, but hardly bastions of meaningful characterisation. At that point, having a protagonist who was beautiful and read books seemed like a revelation, and lo and behold, an amazing film followed. Yes, Beauty and the Beast wasn’t exactly The Colour Purple,, but it was a watershed moment for the studio. Since then, of course, Disney Princesses have become a recognised brand, and the films released since the establishment of that brand have sprinkled that synergy like pixie dust all over their marketing campaigns. The Princess and the Frog was the company’s first 2D feature in years, and you’ll remember the big fuss made over Tiana, the first black princess. Since then the welcoming of a new character into the franchise has become a much-hyped event, with last year’s Brave contributing Merida, the first Pixar character to enter the canon. The last five years have seen a revival of the princess film, playing on the nostalgia of the older viewer as well as the affections of the young. While the posters and such for these films to what they can to make each character look as similar as possible, usually by giving them the same sultry expression (begging the question of just what Rapunzel and her boyf are doing in that pile of hair) the women seen on screen couldn’t be more different. In a post-Pixar world, Disney are finally coming around to the idea that their characters should be as detailed as their backgrounds. In many ways the 21st century is still a land far, far away for the Princess franchise; they characters each project an unrealistic body image, and regardless of their on screen persona they’re all presented as the same old pony-petting girly girls in merchandise. Still, they’re getting there, inching ever closer to something resembling real women as standards in both the animation industry and the real world continue to change.
were shown in their undergarments: starred in terrible sequels: have murdered somebody: helped to run the kingdom:
2 6 2 0
Parental mortality Orphaned Dead Mum Dead Dad Full Set
Monday 9 December 2013
Music Editors: Kate Bennett and Ian Mason
Lost Love A Mary Christmas Mary J. Blige
Charlie Cottrell gives a Lostprophets fan’s perspective on Ian Watkins’ recent convictions
nyone who has once-upon-a-time indulged their teenage self in Kerrang! magazine will have known who Ian Watkins was when they saw his name plastered over the news: a skater-come- punk rocker, a teenage icon; worshipped religiously by a die-hard fan base of his band, Lostprophets. All in all, Watkins appeared to be your average frontman for a popular rock band. The reality of this once-adored musical figure is unfortunately very different. On Tuesday 26th November, Ian Watkins pleaded guilty to the most unjustifiable crimes of paedophilia. Social media erupted into a tirade of disgust and abuse regarding the once credible frontman; even those who had previously defended the name of their beloved idol now turned their back on him, their dedication cast firmly aside. Watkins’ inexplicable acts of savage cruelty have stained the face of the music industry as well as the band that he and the other members worked so hard for. It is naturally the victims of Watkins that I feel the most pity for, experiencing things that I cannot and do not wish to imagine. As a result of the charges that Watkins was guilty of, and the media spotlight being so concentrated on the case, HMV soon decided to withdraw all Lostprophets records from their shelves. Some pity must therefore be spared to the other members of the band. Their hard work and commitment now lies in tatters and will forever be stained by their frontman’s crimes. Their album Liberation Transmission truly was a masterpiece and credit must be given to the band it reached Number 1 spot on the album charts and
Some pity must therefore be spared to the other members of the band. Their hard work now lies in tatters
has since gone platinum. Sadly, that seems somewhat irrelevant now. On a personal level I was consumed by a mixture of devastation and nausea when learning of what Ian Watkins actually did. As a young teenager I was a big fan of the band, and distinctly remember spending my hard-earned pocket money on their album – ironically, purchased from HMV. Being Welsh myself I can speak from first-hand experience in saying how heavy an influence the band had on the South Wales music scene. Even now I can admit that they produced songs that any angry young teen could sit in their bedroom and listen to on repeat; the mixture of catchy, pop-punk riffs and passionately chanted choruses can certainly be appreciated on a non-emotional level. It truly makes me sad that from now on I will never be able to listen to the band without feeling guilty and bitter. I would like to hope that Lostprophets as a whole will not be penalised for Watkins’ crimes. The other band members certainly do not deserve the tainted name that will indisputably have been accumulated. Perhaps their achievements will one day outlive their stained reputation, but they must move on just like their fans, for now. On the Lostprophets’ Facebook page they left a poignant message which is extremely sincere and honest. “We are heartbroken, angry, and disgusted” is a line that I’m sure many fans of the band will be able to relate to. As for Mr Watkins, there is no clichéd Lostprophets lyric that I can incorporate here to conclude his story. The man is just not worthy.
or a relatively serious-looking woman (see the album cover), Mary J. Blige doesn’t seem the type to come up with a five star cheesy pun such as A Mary Christmas. Maybe she genuinely believes that the day should instead be dedicated to her; the kind of diva-ish behaviour we know and love from The Blige. Title aside, A Mary Christmas is full of Christmas classics and some excellent ‘Mary/Merry’ wordplay, such as ‘The First Noel’, ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ and ‘Mary did you know’. Blige’s voice is beautiful and rich and makes for very easy listening, perfect to use as background music during Christmas Eve drinks, or to have on when your gran is falling asleep in front of the Queen’s speech and everyone is feeling sufficiently like a beached whale after Christmas dinner overload. The album begins with a very atmospheric version of ‘Little Drummer Boy’, complete with the kind of faultless vocals you’d expect from Mary J. It carries on along this vein until ‘Rudolph the Red
Perfect to use as background music during Christmas Eve drinks, or when your gran is falling asleep in front of the Queen’s speech Nosed Reindeer’, which she adds some sass and a jazz band to. This song is a great little pick me up in the middle of the album amongst the more traditional songs, with Mary herself declaring, “That was fun!” right at the very end.
This is, however, where it peaks in terms of a more upbeat tempo, as you’re plunged straight back into the slow classics afterwards with ‘When You Wish Upon a Star’. ‘Do You Hear What I Hear’ with Jessie J melds together both artists’ vocals beautifully, and adds an extra beat towards the end which
Easy Christmas listening alongside beautiful vocals exactly what you want during the festive season switches up this traditional Christmas song nicely. For this album, Mary has brought a few special and a reasonably random mix of Christmas guests along for the ride, such as Barbara Streisand, the aforementioned Jessie J, and Marc Anthony, with whom she collaborates in a Spanglish version of ‘Silent Night/Noche de Paz’. Don’t expect any original takes on Christmas songs, because you definitely won’t get them on this album. However, what you will get is some easy Christmas listening alongside beautiful vocals, which is exactly what you want during the festive season.
Recommended download: ‘Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer’
If you like this, try ... Leona Lewis Christmas, With Love
eaturing a host of festive classics, from Wizzard to ‘Ave Maria’, Lewis’ fourth album is perfect for when you’ve got assorted relatives round for mince pies and questions about why you won’t be attending Midnight Mass this year, you godless heathen you.
Duck The Halls
have never taken a liking to Christmas albums. It’s just another way for a band to suck as much profit as possible from their fans while putting as little effort into the album as possible. Christmas Songs, the immensely original title for Bad Religion’s effort, appears to be no different. The constant bashing of drums throughout the album becomes increasingly tedious and frankly the band sound like they would have had more fun sticking pins in their eyes. The album’s best feature is the first thirty seconds of the first song, which speaks volumes about the remaining content. A pleasant a capella rendition of ‘Hark! The Herald Angels Sing’ raised my expectations for Christmas Songs;; the three part harmony is something that the band are renowned for, and it works admirably well in this introduction. However, this is the only point where it can really be appreciated. All of the classics are covered, but despite Bad Religion’s best endeavours, ‘White Christmas’, ‘Little Drummer Boy’ and the rest just aren’t enjoyable to listen to. I found it slightly difficult to distinguish where one song ended and another began. One really has to pose the question – would even the biggest fans of Bad Religion buy this album and listen to it. It is hardly something that would be stuck on to get everyone in a festive mood while sitting around the table with the family, tucking into a fat Christmas dinner. I would probably give it ninety seconds before “turn that shit off ” would be yelled, and the norm would resume with Slade being reinstated.
uck Dynasty, for those who don’t know, is a reality TV show following the Robertsons, a family of swamp-dwelling, rednecks who’ve amassed a fortune selling duck hunting gear. This year, the Robertsons have decided to add a couple of grand to that pile by knocking out a Christmas album, and if you’ve been after an album about both Christmas and duck hunting, this is your lucky day. ‘Ragin’ Cajun Redneck Christmas’ sets the tone, with banjos, harmonicas and whatever other instruments they can rustle up in the bayou, creating a Christmassy cacophony of country sludge. That’s pretty much the size of it from beginning to end, with songs like ‘Hairy Christmas’ spreading the joy of the season in which “everyone gets a new shotgun”. ‘Camouflage And Christmas Lights’ was originally a ballad about soldiers celebrating Christmas during wartime, but in this context it’s hard to interpret it as being about anything other than duck hunting. The most surreal moment is Uncle Si Robertson’s spoken word rendition of ‘The Night Before Christmas’, in which he drunkenly encounters Santa, mistaking him first for a raccoon, and then for his nephew, Willie. Of course, the record is far from full of original material, and there’s a ragtag bunch of Christmas classics thrown in for good measure. If you thought ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ was creepy, you have no idea what you’re talking about until you’ve heard it sung by a wasted Cajun. Also, because I know you’re dying to ask, yes, title track ‘Duck The Halls’ is identical to ‘Deck The Halls’ except they say ‘duck’ instead of ‘deck’.
eaders, we’ve reached that time of year again. The twelfth month inevitably drags forward, the festive season brims in full festoon and I’ve yet to fizz with any Christmas cheer. I put this down to the realisation that I haven’t gorged on a solitary mince pie packet yet. In the meantime, a Christmas release from 80s synth-pop duo Erasure is on the cards. While sounding a bit like several different versions of ‘The Safety Dance’ by Men Without Hats, only wrapped up in a yuletide tourniquet, it will suffice. In reality, no-one in their right frame of mind takes a Christmas record seriously. This throws the role of reviewing an LP to a wholly different angle. The Christmas release can rarely be taken seriously. Most recording artists release such things because they’ve either fallen on hard times and need to make a fair buck or else it’s some self-serving springboard for their charitable concerns (look to Bob Geldof for that one). Armed with this notion, Erasure’s Snow Globe is generally decent and adheres to their hedonistic punch and electronic rhythms that marked them out in the cream of the mid-late 80s pop crop. And so, while the Christmas single never normally smacks of much artistic merit, Erasure do a fair job. I’d sooner listen to Snow Globe than have to endure three minutes of Cliff Richard, whose voice often urges me to give whatever music device it’s being played on a hefty thwack with a cooking utensil in an uncontrollable rage. Besides, why would I want do such a thing? It’s not the Christmas spirit…
Recommended download: ‘Hark! The Herald Angels Sing’
Recommended download: ‘Hairy Christmas’
Recommended download: ‘Bells of Love’
Monday 9 December 2013
thecourieronline.co.uk/music email@example.com | @courier_music
Master of pop-ets:
SceNE: Record Store
Each week we take a closer look at a different spot in Newcastle’s music scene. This week: RPM
Music editor Ian Mason delivers his selection of Heavy Metal Christmas crackers to warm you up this season
hristmas is approaching, and with that in mind what better place to pop into in our guide to the Newcastle music scene than one of it’s premier record shops. Think HMV, minus the charts, the prices and the tat. It sells music of all manner of eclectic genres as well as a decent selection of DVDs and T-shirts as well as being a reliable outlet for ticket sales without the ludicrous booking fees. It’s pretty well stocked in whatever you may be looking for. They have a nice selection of vinyl for you to pore through and pick out for that music loving friend that you just can’t think of anything for. They stock all manner of genres, be it hip hop, funk, soul or anything else that you just can’t get your hands on elsewhere. They feature prominently during Record Store Day too, often with some rare releases but expect to queue if you want to get your hands on them.
As well as international new releases they are well stocked with releases from local artists, as well as featuring an almost encyclopedic gig listing of the area. It’s worth keeping your eyes out on their own listings too, as from time to time artists such as local icons Maximo Park pop up and play either inside the store itself or in the alley outside. Across three different premises RPM has battled on for over twenty years in Newcastle: while their tag-line for such perseverance may be that it ‘beats working’ the reality is that this is a record store run
Think HMV, minus the charts, the prices and the tat for music lovers, by music lovers. It’s dedication to providing quality music at prices that aren’t likely to have you feeling ripped off is true testament to why stores such as RPM need to be supported in the local area. We all saw high street record store HMV go to the brink this year, and it would be a great shame if real record stores like RPM were to ever find them-
selves in that situation as they simply don’t have the bail out ability that stores on the high street find. Shopping in these stores isn’t only about protecting their livelihoods however, far from it. They survive because they legitimately do provide a service to true music lovers in offering an outlet for a wider variety of music both local and international to share their music, and lets be fair, who doesn’t love a record that’s passed hands numerous times before it finds its way to your turntable? Directions Walking: RPM is located in Old George Yard, which is easiest found just off High Bridge Street. Walk straight to the bottom of the Big Market and turn left at the Bee Hive Hotel, you’ll find it facing the Old George Pub. Metro: The nearest stop is Monument, follow the walking instructions down past the Theatre Royal Bus: Being dead central, take any bus into town and follow the walking instructions. Ian Mason
1. Nightwish - ‘Walking In The Air’ There’s nothing that needs to be said about this song other than the fact that there’s no cheese: it’s actually absolutely class. A reworking of the Snowman classic, staying true enough to the original to incorporate it’s sound while working in some really nice guitars and Tarja Turunen’s spectacular voice. Anyone who isn’t a fan of the original from their childhood clearly is a total Scrooge, and any metal fan can surely find a place in their hearts for this. This track can stand up against any Christmas song of any genre for me. Yes, even Band Aid. 2. Lemmy, Gibbons & Grohl – ‘Run Rudolph Run’ Motorhead, ZZ Top and the Foos. It’s a pretty mental mix, but why? In 2008 the late Ronnie James Dio’s wife Wendy put together a bizarre selection of rockers for the album We Wish You A Metal Xmas. Like most Christmas songs, it’s a bit crap, but who doesn’t want to hear Lemmy sing to them on Christmas day? Like most Christmas songs it’s the reworking of a classic, but it’s fun and worth a listen at the least. Other tracks on the album feature Dio himself in a song with Tony Iommi which is actually pretty good, as well as Alice Cooper and John 5 among others, but ‘Run Rudolph Run’ is definitely the cheese highlight.
Battle of the Band Aid I
Band Aid (1984)
could shut this down right now just by pointing out that unlike its successors, Band Aid I doesn’t involve either Cliff Richard or Dido. In the interests of writing more than one sentence, though, I’ll continue. Okay, it starts off unimpressively with Paul Young looking like he’s about to burst into tears, but then - IT’S BOY GEORGE. George Michael with a fabulous perm! Simon Le Bon, in a dapper striped blazer ‘n’ polo shirt combo! Sting, in tartan scarf and scowl! One of Spandau Ballet! BONO! In 1984, this was pretty much the most exciting supergroup you could possibly assemble. ‘89 had Chris Rea. ‘04 had Katie Melua. ‘84 had sexy Bananarama and sexier Frankie Goes To Hollywood. There’s also the music itself: John Taylor’s throbbing bassline, Midge Ure’s iconic synth hook, Phil Collins’ drums. Band Aid II had a shitty proto‘World In Motion’ rave thing going on, and Band Aid 20 was a dirgey attempt at a tearjerker with a half-hearted Dizzee Rascal rap spliced in. Band Aid I was properly, upliftingly anthemic. Band Aid 20 is just a reminder that Keane, Snow Patrol, Coldplay and Travis once all gathered in one studio in some kind of festival of beigeness, and most people have forgotten Band Aid II ever happened. Stick on Band Aid I, though, and no one with a heart can resist. Kate Bennett
Band Aid II (1989)
and Aid II is very much the forgotten middle child in this pop family. Its siblings Band Aid and Band Aid 20 are remembered for being, respectively, the first and most massive charity single there ever was, and a historical record that the Darkness were once allowed within 500 yards of the top 40. Band Aid II skulks around the back of family photos, hiding behind its badly-dyed Flock of Seagulls fringe, while its older siblings sit polishing their prefect’s badge. Band Aid 20 is probably being sick after eating too many flying saucers or something. Trying to claim that Band Aid II is the king of the Band Aid brothers is a possibly sectionable act: it’s often unfairly criticised for being a pile of bollocks. Admittedly, the calibre of acts isn’t as high as Band Aid ‘84. Behind the front line of Kylie, Jason and Cliff, there’s the flimsy back-up of Big Fun, D Mob and Glen Goldsmith, with pop royalty like New Order and Pet Shop Boys nowhere to be seen. I’d also admit that the sunny, calypso-tinged Stock, Aitken & Waterman production is completely inappropriate for a Yuletide single aimed at helping victims of drought and famine. However, the sheer weirdness of the thing as a cultural artifact is just too delicious to resist. Like Christmas cake, it’s pretty weird, but at this time of year all bets are off. Tom Nicholson
Band Aid 20 (2004)
any people see Band Aid 20 as totally pants, rubbish and that it never should have happened. True. However, that’s the charm of it all really. In what other world would you get Dizzee Rascal and Paul McCartney on the same track? You could argue that having THAT rap ruins the song and the feel of the song, I am here to argue that you must change your ways. The song had been done twice before, and so people may have yawned when hearing about another one of the same ilk coming out telling us to ‘feed the world’. However, throw in a dash of Joss Stone, a drizzle of the Darkness and a light sprinkling of Busted and what’ve you got? A melodic, rocked up, cheesefest. How can you not love it? It seems easy to say that Band Aids mk. I and II are more much professional and of a higher standard, but why should that be? At the end of the day it is a charity single, with a strong message, but it needs to capture the audience and offer hope. Band Aid 20 has its own way of doing this. It offers hope to everyone that even the worst of us can join the music industry. Josh Nicholson
3. Corey Taylor - ‘X-M@$’ In all fairness to the Slipknot frontman, this song is considerably more listenable than 99% of Christmas songs. The chorus of “If I ain’t drunk then it ain’t Christmas” is catchy and you’ll find yourself singing along, and while the X rated lyrics may not be something to stick on while having your gran over for dinner, it’s a cracking tune to laugh along to when you’ve had too much Bucks Fizz 4. KoRn - ‘Jingle Balls’ This track featured on the bonus disk of their 1999 album Issues, so before they started to absolutely suck, and if you’re a fan of the band you’ll probably think this song is actually pretty badass: really heavy, bordering on death metal. It’s effectively just the classic Christmas song, but a superb reworking. It’s worth checking out if cheese just isn’t your thing. They do have another Christmas song on an album of Nightmare Before Christmas covers, entitled ‘Kidnap the Santy Claws’, but for the love of God don’t listen to it. 5: Far featuring Deftones’ Chino Moreno - ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’ In all honesty I’m including this as a protest against the article you’ll see on your left. My belief that Band Aid is crap was overruled, and in all fairness, this song is pretty much a direct cover except for a reasonably decent guitar solo and some inexplicable metal screaming. It was for charity too though, so I’m not a total Scrooge. Recorded for a punk Christmas CD back in 2003, and just like the original it’s absolutely garbage, but at least it includes some credible musicians. That’s got to count for something right?
For more gig reviews and interviews visit us online at:
Monday 9 December 2013
Science Editor: Elizabeth Hampson Deputy Science Editors: Emad Ahmed and Peter Style
Survival in the wintry wild
There’s no harm in a little snow, right? Well these intrepid explorers had more to contend with than walking down Osbourne Road without slipping on the ice and publicly embarrassing themselves. David Naylor tells their tales of battling blood-freezing conditions
Douglas Mawson Death-Defying Douglas Mawson endured a ridiculous 315km trek to his Antarctic base after a crevasse swallowed up one of his colleagues taking the majority of their supplies with him. The adventurous Aussie and his sole surviving co-explorer were forced to eat their trusty dogs, which fatally poisoned the Australian’s partner and subsequently led to the soles of Mawson’s feet falling off. Nevertheless the determined scientist ploughed on towards base, only to see his ship sailing off into the horizon- he’d missed it by a few hours. He lived to tell the tale though after a small band of rescuers eventually found him holed up in a cave. Mawson later said of his ordeal: “It’s dead easy to die- It’s the keeping-onliving that’s hard”. Well said indeed. Newtown Grafitti
Our second story involves a rather tricky blizzard and a somewhat unfortunate Japanese explorer. Keizo Funatsu, a member of the 1989-1990 International Trans-Antarctic Expedition, was cut off from the rest of his group during a hurricane-like blizzard deep into the frozen wastelands of Antarctica. Funatsu had left the relative luxury of his tent to feed the group’s dogs but dreadful visibility led to the explorer becoming well and truly lost amongst plummeting sub-zero temperatures. The intrepid explorer, with his tent nowhere to be seen, tried to follow a trail of ski markers and husky number-twos to camp, but was eventually forced to desperately dig himself a snow ditch and hold out until the morning after losing the trail. Thankfully he was found alive and well in the morning by his team leader however a luminescent tent might be the way to go next time Keizo.
Climber Don Whitley also had a chilling experience after being trapped in the deadly midst of a lighting storm on Colorado’s Mount Massive (astute naming America). The fact that lightning had caused the death of someone the day before on the neighbouring mountain didn’t stop Whitley and his pals from staying on the summit well into the recognised danger-of-extremely-hazardous storm period, as sounds of forbidding thunder rolled across the mountains. This natural declaration of imminent danger led the climbers to attempt a rapid descent from the mountain top, only for Whitley to slip on ice and fall deep into a subterranean tomb of snow when trying to ski down the treacherous slopes. By the time he’d clawed his way to the surface, the forewarned storm was engulfing Mount Massive and the climber was forced to cling to the mountain in the hope of avoiding the torrent of fatal lightning bolts. So, take it easy guys when you’re on that spontaneous expedition to the deep-freeze this Winter.
How close are we to... Santa’s sleigh
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a jolly man with a white beard ﬂying at 1800 mps-1 pulled by genetically modiﬁed reindeer. Laura Staniforth explores the science behind the sleigh
’m afraid I have to break it to you that it’s not magic and good old fashioned Christmas cheer that powers our beloved Santa’s sleigh as he journeys around the globe. I’m sorry, it’s time to give up that belief, we are university students now. It’s estimated that the sleigh is powered by over five and a half million genetically modified reindeer, give or take a few. Thanks to the clever folks at The Telegraph,, all the difficult maths has been done for us to pin down just how Herculean the task of global present giving is for poor Father Christmas. He has to travel to at least 233,000,000 houses over a staggering 342,510,000km, more if we start counting households with just adult occupants or those with non Christian residents. With just 32 hours to do so, assuming time zone differences and that gift receivers have a solid eight hours sleep, he’s certainly got his work cut out for him. All this means a horrifyingly breakneck speed of 10,703,437.5km hr-1 (1800miles/sec), and this is assuming no stops for the sleigh at all. It’s unknown how Santa manages to find the time to actually put the presents in their respective houses, though it’s most likely by breaking the space-time continuum. While he’s doing that, there’s also the matter of all the mince pies and sherry left out as refreshments. If we’re going by the standard 50ml of sherry and using the 250kcal value for Co-op’s own brand mince pies, then Santa will consume around 71,764,000,000 calories total. He’ll also
“Speaking of reindeers, how do you hide 5.6 million of them at the North Pole without them being spotted by satellite imagery or intrepid explorers?” drink 58,250,000 times over the Department of Health’s alcohol limits. I really hope one of the elves has stepped up as designated driver. The obstacles facing Father Christmas and his sleigh just get more difficult when we begin to consider the weight of the whole operation. To make calculating things easy, every child is going to receive a Buzz Lightyear action figure weighing 1.2kg. So, that’s 700,000,000 multiplied by 1.2, giving a total of 840,000 tonnes.
This is where the 5.6 million reindeer are needed; when you add their bulk then the total would be a whopping 2,363,200 tonnes. Good thing the chosen present wasn’t the often wished for bicycle or pony, because I’d have certainly quit if I was one of the reindeers. Speaking of reindeers, how do you hide 5.6 million of them at the North Pole without them being spotted by satellite imagery or intrepid explorers? Answer is that you don’t, unless there’s a secret facility underground. Down there, some shady, unethical animal experimentation must be occurring to produce reindeer both capable of flight and of pulling so much weight. As noted by Dr. Roger Highfield, Santa’s elves are “undoubtedly the most spectacular research and development outfit on the planet”. Honestly though, this is all idle speculation. Santa could have developed teleportation technology, or even cloned himself billions of times.
Illustration by Rebecca Irvine
Monday 9 December 2013
thecourieronline.co.uk/science firstname.lastname@example.org | @courier_science
The wondrous Wood frog
You think it’s cold over here during winter? How about the amphibian that can allow 65% of its body-water to freeze during hibernation on multiple occasions? David Leighton reads up on frozen frogs to bring you the low-down
ome animals migrate to warmer climates during winter, some burrow deep underground or cover themselves in moss to keep warm, the Wood frog does not do these things, the Wood frog just pops a leaf on its head to hide and freezes – the Wood frog does not give a shit. The method by which they do this may one day revolutionise the way that we look at organ transplants. Currently an organ might have hours between the time of removal and the time of insertion before it goes “off ”, freezing isn’t an option also, as organ cells dehydrate far too quickly. However when a Wood frog undergoes the big chill, special enzymes in its body called “Nucleating proteins” cause water in the blood to freeze first, sucking most of the water out of the cells. The frogs liver then starts churning out glucose like there’s no tomorrow – replacing the “perishable” cell water with glucose, a preservative of sorts.
Then when warmth is applied to the frog (in natural terms, spring) the water outside the cells defrosts, leaking back into the cells, replacing the glucose and kick-starting the frogs revival, this is the closest thing we have to real life cryogenics. In fact, the only real reason we cannot apply same-style cryogenics to humanity is because we lack nucleating proteins, so when we freeze it causes cell damage. Even if we did have those proteins the amount of glucose it would take to freeze our entire
body would be far too much for a human to produce – thus we’d have to find some other source of glucose. With this we hit another roadblock, glucose that doesn’t occur naturally in the body freezes differently to the body’s own, freezing in a spikey formation that damages cells, rather than a smooth formation. So if you’re of the science-y persuasion, feel free to check out this slick little rebel of an amphibian, one of the most interesting creatures I’ve researched in a while.
“When a Wood frog undergoes the big chill, special enzymes in its body called “Nucleating proteins” cause water in the blood to freeze” They should be called ‘Jam frogs’ really. So with a body full of glucose to prevent “overfreezing” the frog just chills under its leaf, in fact in their frozen state it is reported that if you drop them (you cruel, cruel creature) they land with a “plink” and risk shatter damage. The frog can theoretically remain in this state for almost any length of time, only reanimating when the temperature rises. Even so, if the frog were to experience a false spring – as in it only gets warm for a week or two and then everything freezes over again – the frog can defrost and re-freeze. This can happen as many times as the frog deems necessary. What a maverick.
Image by Dave Huth
Scientists have recently found new evidence to suggest the origins of the supposedly man sized, hair covered, two legged creature that wanders around in snowy places. Penny Polson investigates
Image by Wanida.w
Whether it’s your flower bed or the North Pole, there’s no escaping how important bees are. This guy lives in the Arctic and pollinates the plants reindeer eat, making sure they’re feeling strong and ready for the big day. Dressed in a winter coat that’s decidedly fuzzier than the ones on your garden bees, the Arctic Bumblebee traverses snow and i c e to reach the flowers that keep the Great White North in bloom. If anyone deserves a holiday this Christmas, it’s the Arctic Bumblebee. Trounce
The Antarctic Krill doesn’t have an easy life. Imagine being 6cm long and a keystone species a.k.a a choice meal for just about everything around you. If you did manage to go through life avoiding the ravenous baleen whales, crabeater seals (of which 98% of its diet is krill…nice one, animaldescriber person…), assorted birds, squid and fish, then chances are you’d end up as pet food, human food or in some fancy oil supplement. Even their young have it hard, with declining sea ice coverage reducing their available source of food and shelter, year by year. When you’re tucking into your turkey this Christmas, spare a thought for your euphausid brethren. Uew Kils
Finding bigfoot: are we there yeti? ecent news at the beginning of the festive season announced that the Yeti may yet be a very real problem for Santa, and other inhabitants of the frozen Northern Hemisphere. DNA evidence came to a surprise conclusion, suggesting that the mythical monster was in fact, an ancient polar bear. This heavily conother trasts with anDNA-based
Top 5 polar animals you won’t ﬁnd in a Christmas advert
theory in the USA, where there is an argument that there is ‘proof ’ the Yeti is relative of humans. Most scientific communities have discredited the existence of the human-related Bigfoot, and for this reason, the results for this study were never published in a peer-reviewed journal. Even more speculative claims suggest that the Yeti is an extinct ape species Gigantopithecus, which was alive between one hundred thousand, and nine million years ago. However, these are also claims made in the USA where there is no fossil evidence of this species on that continent. Brian Sykes at Oxford University tested three DNA samples of hair taken from Bigfoot ‘encounters’. One of them was supplied by mountain guide Christophe Hagenmuller, who went on a suspiciously trippy journey in the seventies, to a village he could ‘never find his way back to’. He was shown a giant stuffed wolf/bear creature, which he took a hair sample from, and then went on his merry way. This is the hair sample that matched another sample found 800 miles away in the Bhutan province. Both showed DNA that was identical to a polar bear jawbone from the Pleistocine era,
which died out 40,000 years ago. The Pleistocine era was around the time that polar bears and brown bears first became distinct species from each other. It is possible that there was a third species derived from the common ancestor, which is now living in rarity. However, critics argue that something so large could not stay hidden for so long. But who knows. Maybe it’s just really shy. The other option is that the Yetis from these samples are hybrids of mating brown bears and polar bears. This is known to happen where the species overlap in the north, and would explain the strange appearance described in the Yeti descriptions. Either way, a bear ancestry would also explain the descriptions of a ‘two legged’ beast, as bears do often get up on their hind legs to reach high branches, and to appear generally terrifying. So are we there Yeti? Is the Abominable Snowman simply a giant bear species hybrid? While this DNA evidence has put a Bigfoot on some of the Yeti myths, it can’t be conclusive from so few samples. But it can be concluded that the Yeti is based on some sort of fact, just like many other myths and folklore. Therefore, Santa should be advised to continue investing in Sasquatch watch for the foreseeable future, until more research is done. Although some people don’t believe Santa is real either. Now that’s just crazy.
Ah the icefish, the hipsters of the fish world. I’m sure you’ll agree few things in life are as exciting as a fish with flair, and our next choice is just that. The bizarre members of the family Channichthyidae glide along the slopes of the Antarctic continent, all whilst sporting a rather unique adaptation to cope with the sub-zero temperatures: a lack of haemoglobin. Despite the enlarged heart and extensive blood vessels required to accommodate their eerily transparent blood, this still isn’t as efficient as our well-loved pigment. So icefish, to you I say “good effort and fair play for being different”. Uew Kils If you ever find yourself in the Arctic, it’s likely that few animals will inspire as much confusion as the male Narwhal. Females on the other hand, look more akin to oversized seals, with most lacking that distinctive tooth. Hailing from the Arctic Ocean, the Narwhal spends its days foraging for fish at depths of up to 1500m. It’s believed that the entire unicorn myth originated from the Vikings, who hunted Narwhals but retained their horns to intimidate the people they conquered. Holding the Narwhal tooth aloft, it’s likely the tales of Scandinavian kings riding horned steads of blinding white into battle struck fear into the hearts of many Europeans. Times change, and needless to say unicorns have lost their fearsome reputation. But Narwhals are still cool and that’s something we can all be sure of. Chris Lovell & Jack Marley
Monday 9 December 2013
Stop me if you think you’ve
Is it possible to be a professional footballer and complete a degree at It would be near impossible to fathom the number of people who, at point of in their lives, have had the ambition of becoming a professional footballer. However, for the majority of us, at some point in our adolescent years we are subject to the harsh realisation that we lack the talent to make it, and subsequently are forced to plan for alternate career paths instead. Therefore you would expect for those currently attending university who have ever dreamed of making it in the Premier League to long ago have had to relinquish their boyhood aspiration. Enter Duncan Watmore. A second-year Business and Economics Newcastle University student by day, Watmore also happens to moonlight as a promising member of Sunderland Football Club’s U21 Development Squad having joined the club from Conference North outfit Altrincham FC earlier this year. “I don’t actually know how much they paid for me,” he beams
season. Following on from that, I stayed with the senior side for the next preseason and just started putting in some really big performances over the next few months”. Sure enough, it wasn’t long before those in the know started to sit up and take notice of the young Mancunian’s potential. “In about March time Sunderland made contact just to say they were having a look. They said it was nothing too serious but that they had sent scouts. The month after they invited me up to the training ground to take a look around. At that point they just said ‘keep doing what you’re doing and we’ll make a decision once the season’s finished’”. Watmore ended his side’s campaign with an impressive goal return of 15 in 35 starts, leading Altrincham to the play-offs where they would eventually lose in the semi-final to Brackley Town. However, by then Watmore had already done enough to secure his dream move.
Newcastle working towards a Business and Economics degree. With only two full days off a week, it is unsurprising that Watmore occasionally finds it difficult to balance his double life. “It is quite hard in terms of time. I don’t go to many lectures; the Uni know about my situation so they expect me not have the highest attendance in the world.” However, when he does have the opportunity, he does like to make an appearance; “Evening lectures are perfect for me, even though they’re a nightmare for the average student; most people dread those 5:30 to 6:30 ones [in the Business School] but I’m buzzing for them”. Whilst Watmore’s poor attendance record may not distinguish him to the extent it probably should from the typical university student, it goes without saying that there are other sacrifices that he has to make in terms of not quite being able to lead the same life as the average student.
as we first sit down. “It came up as ‘undisclosed’ on Sky Sports News so I can’t actually tell you I’m afraid. I’d love to know though.” Originally hailing from the Manchester area, Watmore got his first taste of academy life at the age of just six when he joined the Manchester United youth setup. He stayed there for six years, prior to being released by the club at the age of 12. “From that point I was just playing a bit of school football for a bit”, he recalls, “ it was nothing serious at all”. But soon that all began to change. “A few years later, Altrincham signed me up. I started out in their youth squad, before progressing on to the first team, making a few substitute appearances at the back-end of the [2011/12]
“I’d been injured towards the end of the season and I’d all but given up on it to be honest, but then I got the news – they’d made the bid and Altrincham had accepted. It was an unreal feeling. Two years ago I was playing school first team football and now this. It was mad.” Previously a student at Manchester University during his time with Altrincham, following the completion of the transfer Watmore made the judicious decision to proceed with his studies in spite of the obvious extra time commitments that the move would add to his already busy schedule. Admirably, his decision was well supported by all the parties involved, and as a result he was given special dispensation to take up a second-year place at
“Last year in Manchester I was able to go out once or twice a week, but this year I haven’t had one night out in Newcastle. When you’re in every single day, you know when your game’s on form. If you drink, even two or three days before, you’re still really able to notice it in your performance.” Watmore proceeds to admit that he has found the step-up in class both tough, but ultimately rewarding. A centre forward turned winger – “At this level your weaknesses get found out, and I’m not good enough with my back to goal”, Watmore humbly acknowledges; he is also quick to praise the almost instantaneous effects top class coaching has had on the level of his performance. “The coaches I have are so good at knowing
Two years ago I was playing school first team football and now this, it was mad
Graham Hunter: the Scot
Freddie Caldwell talks to the Spanish football writer about Sir Bobby There can be few people who can claim to be equally comfortable in a café on Las Ramblas or a chip shop in Aberdeen, but Graham Hunter is one of that select group. Consequently, it was perhaps not surprising that the Scot turned Spanish football journalist chose a table outside the Tyneside cinema café as the location where we would conduct our interview; it is perhaps excessive to suggest that it combined the chill of Aberdeen with the al fresco style of a Catalan eatery but you get the idea. Although he now makes a living writing about Spanish football, Graham began his career closer to home reporting on Scottish league matches for the evening papers where he would find himself often “writing six match reports for six different people” all at the same game. This is a far cry from the glamour of La Liga but was evidentially a good place to cut his teeth as a journalist. Having got his foot in the door, Gra-
ham had to find a way of distinguishing himself from the rest of his colleagues and he was able to do this by talking to his foreign counterparts at press events, something which other Scottish journalists were reluctant to do.
flight; this story was to be a first major scoop for Hunter. Graham’s success has not come through simply developing relationships with other journalists but also with the personalities within the sport,
So many people in football are posers... Bobby [Robson] didn’t care... he just loved football. That’s what made him special to me It was through speaking to Dutch journalists at one of his first press conferences that he learnt that new Celtic signing Pierre Van Hooijdonk was to be late arriving at the club because he had been out gambling and missed his
one example being the great Sir Bobby Robson. Hunter was able to interview Sir Bobby just before he left his role as manager of Barcelona to be replaced by Louis Van Gaal.
During their conversation, Robson’s assistant, a certain José Mourinho, informed him that the board would like to speak to him, however, Sir Bobby would not be rushed and he made them wait in order to finish the interview. This was to be the beginning of a strong relationship that saw Graham strongly advocating that Robson take the post of Newcastle manager following Ruud Gullit’s departure in 1999; sure enough, Robson took the position. Hunter reminisces: “So many people in football are posers... Bobby didn’t care... he just loved football, that’s what made him special to me”. Unfortunately it seems that he was not so special to the Spanish press for whom “it made more sense to be on the side of the club... they didn’t appreciate Bobby as a man”, which is probably one of the major reasons for him eventually leaving Spain. Whilst the Spanish may not have had
an overly enthusiastic view of Bobby Robson’s English footballing style, there was just as much disdain for European football in England during that period in the late 90s; Graham describes how he was viewed as “sectionable” for taking it seriously. As times have moved on, he believes that this attitude has been “undermined but not completely eradicated”. If this is the case then why is that so few English players and managers move to Europe to continue their profession? Hunter believes that this is because they are reluctant to learn a language, which leads to an understandable reluctance amongst European clubs to hire them. He also thinks that there is a belief that “we have everything here, and over there is secondary”. This coupled with the fact that the pay tends to be better in the Premier League creates this ‘perfect storm’ where English players and managers appear to have an insular outlook.
Monday 9 December 2013
heard of Duncan Watmore Newcastle? Nick Gabriel went to meet a man trying to do just that how to improve your game. Things you don’t appreciate before - they’re able to notice, and it just makes you ten times better.” Indeed Watmore is in little doubt as to what part of his game has improved the most during his short time at the club: “Definitely my left-foot. The other week we were playing Chelsea at the Stadium of Light; I was edge of the box and curled one top bin with my left-foot so that was quite satisfying. After four months of working on stuff like that, it’s such a good feeling when you see it really progressing as part of your game.”
Competing in an ultra competitive reserve league has also allowed Watmore to face up against some familiar Premier League faces, and there was little doubt in his mind as to best he’s played against so far. “Raheem Sterling is absolutely unbelievable. We played Liverpool earlier in the season, and I think he scored one and set up three. He’s just so quick; you just don’t appreciate it when you’re watching on TV. He’s easily the best player I’ve come up against this year.” Previously a season ticket holder at United, Watmore also boasts a real passion for watching the sport. However,
looking to develop as much I can and just see where it goes. If that leads to the first team that’s unbelievable, but I know the chances are that that might not happen.” Undoubtedly it is encouraging to see a measured understanding of the potential short-termism of football, with Watmore clearly intent on remaining wary of putting all his eggs in one basket. “I’ve always said to myself, I’m going to do my degree and just get it done. Obviously I’m at the best standard I can imagine to be at, the hardest level to then be doing a degree as well, but because I know I want to do it.
Further to recognizing the increase in quality of the coaching, Watmore also paid homage to the effects of being able to witness first-hand the on-field standard that’s required if you are to make it at the very highest level. “So far a few of the players from the senior squad have played the odd reserve team game with us – Conor Wickham, Wes Brown, Lee Cattermole. When you watch them play, they’re just unbelievable. They really set the standard for the calibre you need to be at.” There was however one individual that Watmore had been particularly enthused by both on and off the field. “Not only is his technique an absolute joke, but Phil Bardsley is also an absolute quality guy. You can imagine some senior players being put with us and kicking up a fuss, but he was first class. He was so sound with all the lads and now he’s back in the first team like he deserves.”
on a scale of Benoit Assou-Ekotto to Jamie Carragher with regard to his offthe-field love for the game, he was quick to rank himself somewhere in the middle. “I’ve always watched football, ever since I was a kid. But now occasionally it’s nice to have nights away from it. As you can imagine, you’re playing every day, sometimes I’ll go home and Monday Night Football is on, I’ll look at it and just think I really don’t want to watch that.” Whilst Duncan’s two-year deal with Sunderland can be seen as simply coinciding with the end of his degree, the fact he has been given such a deal is undoubtedly testament to the potential the club see in him, as a rolling year-long deal for someone his age tends to be the norm. “The club see my development as a two-year project. By next March (2015), I’ll be 21 and too old for the U21. So within the next two years I’ll just be
Clearly I’m doing well at the moment, but in two years time if I don’t get another contract and another club doesn’t take me and if I don’t have a degree, I won’t know where to go, I’ll be in nomans land.” If any budding footballer is deserving of not having such a problem, it is Duncan Watmore. It goes without saying that in a modern footballing world dominated by huge egos, prima donnas and money-grabbing mercenaries, it is refreshing to see someone who is approaching the top remain so grounded and politely modest, in spite of evidently having such exceptional ability. It is certainly admirable that he is still refusing to get carried away when he is living the boyhood dream of so many. As a consequence, this astute sense of perspective that Watmore clearly possesses should hold him in good stead in years to come, irregardless of what path he ultimately goes down.
Undoubtedly, it is refreshing to see someone who is approaching the top remain so grounded and politely modest
Photography: Getty Images
who was seduced by Spain
Robson, Spain’s dominance and the perception of English football abroad Conversely, Hunter believes that Spanish players have been affected by playing in England and this experience has brought an increased robustness to the Spanish game. This leads to the conclusion that “English football was a component factor in Spain having become champions”. The Spanish international team is another area where Graham has built up relationships which eventually led to him being allowed into the dressing room following Spain’s victory in the 2010 World Cup Final in Johannesburg; he subsequently got involved in Gerard Piqué’s quest to find one of the nets used in the match. These stories show what can be achieved by getting along with players and managers at the highest level; a skill that Graham Hunter clearly possesses. It has helped him to provide a level of insight that is unattainable to all but the very best sports journalists.
Hunter’s book is a detailed examination of how Spanish domestic and international football has come to dominate the game Photography: Getty Images
Monday 9 December 2013
Sports Personality of the With the big competition just around the corner, The sailors and hitters looking to follow Bradley Wiggins’
fter years of coming second and heart-breaking disappointment, this summer saw the Scottish born tennis player create history, defy the critics and finally break the 77 year long wait for a British Wimbledon champion, an achievement more than worthy of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award. The current world number 4 kicked off his year at the Australian Open, showing off increasingly impressive form that took him all the way to the final, overcoming the renowned Roger Federer in a gruelling five set battle only to face the number 1 seed, Novak Djokovic. Murray refused to lose face and narrowly missed out in four close sets. Following success around the world, Murray’s spectacular run came to an abrupt halt when he had to withdraw from the French Open due to a back injury. But the Scot refused to give up on the title he so badly wanted after painfully losing out on the crown the previous year, a result which saw him break down in tears on Centre Court. Through relentless physical therapy, he returned to play on home turf at the prestigious Queen’s Club which he sailed through effortlessly. Showing his generous side, Murray also hosted and participated in a charity event for his cancer stricken friend and former doubles partner Ross Hutchins and donated his entire winnings from the event to charity. Throughout the run-up to Wimbledon, Andy was under an unimaginable burden of expectation and pressure from the public but he triumphed in the world’s greatest tournament to finally hold aloft the highly coveted golden trophy. His monumental achievements throughout the year culminated in his Wimbledon victory this summer which created a sense of pride throughout the nation for which I believe Andy Murray is most deserving of the Sports Personality award this year. Sian Bayliss
ouncy and pot-holed, Kenyan roads were never meant to create legendary cyclists. However, right there, in the hills of the Great Rift Valley, they offered a starting point to a future champion. Christopher Froome often recalls happy memories of the country where bikes don’t belong on the road. But years later, it was exactly his own bike that took him to the top of the world and earned him a place into BBC’s Sports Personality contest. At the quite surprising age of 22, Chris turned professional and had to race patiently through six campaigns before finally getting his major breakthrough. In the beginning of 2013, ‘Froomey’ sealed the first stage race win of his career at the Tour of Oman, where he claimed the fifth stage and also went on to top the points classification. His successful streak continued with overall victories at the Critérium International and Tour de Romandie. At the following Critérium du Dauphiné, the British contestant rode roughshod over Alberto Contador and Alessandro De Marchi to add a fourth trophy to his collection. The ground was set for the Tour de France. Despite an unsatisfactory start, Froome showed the class of a climber to win the first mountain stage of the race. He cruised to another one in the fifteenth and put on the Polka dot jersey, defending the “King of the Mountains” title for six consecutive rounds. After nearly 84 hours of racing, The Brit was crowned as a champion and ranked first in the UCI World Tour. Awarded with the famed Vélo d’Or prize, he recently put an end to the most memorable season of his career. A strong personality demands powerful character, determination and will. Christopher Froome has all that on his side. Purely British or not, Froome certainly deserves to be the hero of the British nation. And why not? After all, he is one hell of a wheeler. Peter Georgiev
t was due to runs scored off Ian Bell’s bat that England were able to win the Ashes and humiliate the Aussies when they toured England this summer. England won the series 3-0 and retained the Ashes with Bell man-of-the-series. He scored 562 runs at a healthy average of 62. In less than two months time, he racked up 562 runs equalling the English record for a five-match home Ashes set by Denis Compton back in 1948. He also became only the fourth Englishman to score three consecutive centuries in Ashes Tests after scoring his first century in the previous Ashes series at the Sydney Cricket Ground, his second in the first test at Trent
Bridge, and his third at Lords. Bell wasn’t really in form in the previous series against New Zealand. However while preparing for Ashes at Loughborough he said he felt good about his batting while facing bowlers in swinging conditions under lights and he gained confidence; after that it was a different ball game for him . It seems that his different ball game helped England achieve a different result as without Bell’s runs, England might have lost a series which they went on to take 3-0 and humiliate the Australians. He scored 109 on a slow Trent Bridge track in six and a half hours and went onto compile 109 runs again in five hours at Lords, and scored 113 off 210 balls in 285 minutes to set up the win at Chester-Le-Street. These achievements make him a worthy potential winner of the Sports Personality award. Ash Akarsh
his was another great year for British sport, and one man in particular. Justin Rose ended England’s long wait for a major trophy, and even longer wait for a US Open winner with a stunning victory at Merion back in June. Rose finished the tournament one shot over par, but when you consider that Tiger Woods went round thirteen over, and Rory McIlroy fourteen over on one of the trickiest major courses in years, the level of his achievement becomes clear. Rose also had to see off the challenge of home favourite Phil Mickelson going into the final round, but held his nerve to record a famous victory by two strokes. Why should Rose win Sports Personality of the Year ahead of the likes of Wimbledon champion Andy Murray? It’s a tough case to argue, but Rose’s rapid rise to be one of the very best golfers in the world has been phenomenal. A pro since 1998, Rose’s talent has always been undeniable, but until recently he had struggled to reach his full potential. His previous best showing at a major was tied third place at the 2012 US PGA, and you got the sense that whilst he was playing well he was still a long way behind the world’s top players. In the same year he was instrumental in Europe’s incredible final day recovery to win the Ryder Cup at Medinah, again seeing off Mickelson and holing some memorable putts on the last three holes. Whilst that was a great achievement, 2013 eclipsed it as he finally won a major, on Fathers’ Day, which he dedicated to his late dad with tears in his eyes. Rose is one of sport’s nice guys, humble in defeat and in victory, and no one could begrudge the year he has had. At the age of 32 he still has many seasons at the top ahead of him, and will no doubt add to his major collection now he has got the ball rolling. Will Crane
n the year that the British and Irish Lions reclaimed their sense of pride with a dominant performance Down Under, it seems entirely befitting that their most pivotal match-winner and talisman is acclaimed as the BBC Sports Personality of the Year. Metronomic, I feel, is too diminutive a word to describe the way in which Leigh Halfpenny performed during that tour. This doesn’t only apply to his performance with the boot; though his success rate of 82% throughout the tour is a Lions Record, his endeavors in open play were equally as emblematic of sporting legend. Halfpenny for many, if not most, Lions aficionados was the first name on the team sheet in terms of selection. His dynamism from Fullback is truly outstanding; his ability with ball in hand, compounded by his consistency with the boot makes him a truly world class athlete. For those select few who have had the privilege to participate in Lions Tours, the jersey is more than just an item of clothing; it is a legacy that is passed down from one player to the next. Those who wear it are obliged, nay, expected to uphold the intrinsic values of the Lions and to do their best to carry them forward to victory, whatever their surrounding and whatever their opposition. The number 15 shirt has had many a worthy incumbent; Hastings, Jenkins, Perry, Thomas, Kearny and now Halfpenny have all had this honor bestowed upon them, however, only a few of those names have won in that Jersey. The Lions Squad of 2013 has therefore completed a monumental and historic feat, and each and every member of that team is to be valued and esteemed. Though, in terms of individual performances, Leigh Halfpenny stands tallest of all; a beacon of hope, a bastion of consistency and a truly great Sports Personality. Jonty Mawer
In this summer’s Ashes, Bell was named man-of-the-series as he scored 562 runs at a healthy average of 62
Monday 9 December 2013
Year: The Contenders
Courier takes a look at the runners, riders, wheelers, triumph last year and win this people’s choice award
annah Cockroft may not be the most recognisable name on the list of Sports Personality nominees, but she may well have the best story. ‘Hurricane Hannah’ rose to fame during the Olympics last year when she took gold in the 100m and 200m T34 category wheelchair races, breaking Paralympic and World records in the process. This was a remarkable achievement but is made more special by the fact that Hannah has overcome huge adversity. At birth she suffered two cardiac arrests in different parts of the brain that left her with limited movement and motor skills. However, her determination has seen her rise to the very top. This dominance has continued from
‘Hurricane Hannah’ rose to fame during the Olympics last year when she took gold in the 100m and 200m T34 category wheelchair races the Olympic year into 2013 as Cockcroft retained both her 100m and 200m crowns at the IPC World Championships in Lyon. Her success was recognised as she was awarded an MBE for services to athletics.There are very few sports people who can claim to have accomplished so much by the time they are just 21 years old. Hannah could potentially dominate her sport for many years to come. Hannah will now be looking forward to Rio 2016 where there is no reason to think that she won’t retain her titles. What can her opponents do to stop her? Well, in a recent interview she revealed that she may have ichthyophobia or a fear of fish. Luckily, she doesn’t seem to fear anything that she encounters on the track and this has made her into a Paralympic legend and a great sports personality. Freddie Caldwell
hristine Ohuruogu first appeared on our television screens in 2007. After winning the gold medal in the 400 metres at the World Championships, Ohuruogu’s first major title saw her kick off her athletic career in winning style, as it was only her fifth competitive race at professional level. It was in 2008 that we all became acquainted with Christine. The Beijing Olympics saw the World Champion take the gold in the 400 metres, becoming both World and Olympic champion in the process. Her consistency was recognised and rewarded with an MBE in the 2009 New Year’s Honours List. London 2012 brought yet more titles as she fought hard to win the Olympic silver medal, and keep her name firmly at the top of her sport. After an impressive few years on the circuit, Ohuruogu has proved relentless when it comes to taking titles. In August of this year, Christine stormed to an emphatic victory in Moscow at the World Championships. In the process of her victory, she broke Kathy Cook’s long-standing UK record, which had been in place since the 1984 Olympics. Her victory in Moscow also saw Christine become the first British woman to win two World Titles, and three global medals of any colour. Her photo finish of 0.004 seconds ahead of the 2012 champion Amantle Montsho brought floods of tears to Christine, as she attributed the commitment of her team to her lengthy and successful athletic career, which spans across nearly a decade. With Kelly Holmes the last athlete to claim the SPotY trophy way back in 2004, and Zara Phillips being the last woman winner in 2006, Christine Ohuruogu will hope, against the odds, that her consistency and commitment to athletics will finally be rewarded by the British public. Fran Fitzsimmons
Hannah Christine Cockroft Ohuruogu
aving proved himself as arguably the greatest competitive sailor of all time there didn’t seem a lot more than Sir Ben Ainslie could accomplish at the start of this year. However, after guiding Oracle Team USA to a comeback victory in the fabled America’s Cup, he accomplished perhaps his single greatest accolade. With his team trailing 1-8, in competition for the world’s oldest sporting trophy, the four time Olympic champion led his bedraggled crew to a 9-8 victory to crown the mother of all comebacks. In his role as tactician on board the wing-sail catamaran, the 11-time world champion was in charge of the boat-onboat manoeuvres meaning it was up to him to decide when to attack and how to respond to the other boat’s decisions. Before he joined the crew Oracle Team USA had been beset with controversy having been docked two points, issued with a $250,000 fine and had three crew members banned for illegal boat modifications. As well as winning eight races in succession the team also contested what was only the third winner-takesall final in the event’s 162 year history. However, preparations for victory in the 34th edition of the race, was not all plain sailing as Ainslie suffered the loss of one of his best friends. Andrew Simpson was a crew member of Artemis Racing, a Swedish team competing in the America’s Cup. Whilst on a training run the catamaran he was on board capsized and the father of two drowned after suffering multiple blows to his head and body. Ainslie later revealed in an interview that the incident had made him seriously consider his future as a sailor. Dealing with such personal tragedy, masterminding one of sport’s greatest comebacks and being the first Briton in 110 years to be on board a victorious America’s Cup boat makes Sir Ben Ainslie this year’s standout choice as Sports Personality of the Year. George Sandeman
ony ‘AP’ McCoy deservingly finds himself nominated once again for BBC Sports Personality of the Year award following the riding of his 4000th ever winner back in November. The 18-times champion jockey secured the remarkable feat at Towchester aboard Mountain Tunes in characteristically dramatic fashion. Earlier in the year, McCoy had previously showed incredible powers of recovery as , back in April, he suffered a severe back injury where his lung was punctured and inherently collapsed following a heavy fall at Cheltenham. Against all odds, McCoy returned to action just a month later, and has since proceeded to enjoy yet another fruitful
season. When McCoy won the SPOTY award back in 2010, he was assisted by an organized campaign that was set up with the aim of overcoming the alleged long-running prejudicial treatment of Horse Racing as a credible sport. The campaign was hugely successful, serving to unite the racing community as McCoy ultimately secured 40% of the vote on the way to becoming the first jockey to take home the crown since its inception in 1954. With seemingly no such campaign this time around, it may prove a step to far for AP to become only the fourth person in history to win it on two separate occasions. However the fact that he has been nominated again, is undoubtedly testament to how well revered the 39 yearold is in the British sporting community. Nick Gabriel
fter storming to gold in both the 5000m and 10,000m in the London 2012 Olympic games on ‘Super Saturday’, this year has seen Mo Farah continue to achieve success across the board. In the IAAF World Championships in Moscow, Farah made it a double success, mirroring that of the 2012 Olympics by winning both long distance events for the second year running, becoming only the second man in history to double his assets in the long distance running field and winning his fourth global title. This year, he has broken another European record in the 1500m on July 19, 2013 in Monaco with a time of 3.28.81. He also won the London Diamond League Anniversary Games’ 3000 metres event in August, in recognition of the London 2012 Olympic games, proving he still has exemplary speed a year later, at times becoming even faster. Farah broke the national half-marathon record in New Orleans and subsequently smash his own record in the Bupa Great North Run on 24 February and 15 September respectively. Wishing to expand into the realms of the marathon, Farah has been training for longer distances this year. Alberto Salazar, Farah’s award winning coach, says Farah can only run one marathon, held in Glasgow, without risking injury for the 2016 Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro. Having been placed third in SPOTY 2011, Farah is second favourite to take the prestigious title this season. Arguably, Andy Murray is the only man worthy of piping Farah to the post, however, as historic as Murray’s Wimbledon victory was, Farah’s victories of 2013 are equally as significant in the sporting world. No other athlete or sporting star nominated has reached the same heights of success as Somali born Farah. As such he remains a strong contender for this years award. Jenny Coles
Sir Ben Ainslie
Tony ‘AP’ McCoy
The 18-time champion jockey secured his 4000th career win aboard Mountain Tunes at Towchester in dramatic fashion.
Monday 9 December 2013
Jumping for joy Knights on Trampolining By George Filipović-Bullock at Loughborough The team return from Loughborough with the lads winning two gold and two silver medals including Gold in the Elite category with President Greg Lymar’s two stunning routines. Newcastle University Trampoline club came, saw and conquered, with our trampoliners rising to the challenge to beat bigger and better funded teams, confirming that despite their small size and lack of professional external coaches, they remain one of the teams to beat. After four uncomfortable hours in cramped and battered minibus the team arrived tired at the Travelodge to rest for warm up in the morning. One sleeping pill later, morning came quickly and it was time for a first go on the competition trampolines. Warm up was somewhat intimidating with some competitors throwing moves like triple back somersaults that usually seem to only exist in the Olympics or on YouTube. Despite this the team all got a good feeling for their respective trampolines and were ready to start the competition. Newcastle got off to a flying start with their first gold medal of competition courtesy of Greg Lymar in the Elite category. The boys of Newcastle continued to dominate for the rest of the day with Stu Walker winning silver in the Advanced category and later in the Intervanced category Alistair Hardy and Barney Gush won gold and silver respectively.
Unfortunately the ladies were not so lucky with Captain Sophia Berry unable to compete due to a back injury, and Georgina Smith crashing out on her voluntary routine. To add to this the scores from the ladies Intervanced category where the great bulk of Newcastle ‘s girls competed were not written down and were lost. However, the girls who competed smashed their routines and did well under the pressure. However, arguably the highlight of the competition was seeing the recently crowned World Champion Bryony Page complete a routine consisting entirely of back bounces to compensate for an injured foot and the winner of the men’s Uber category complete a routine that can only be described as jaw-dropping and gained the attention of every trampoliner and smart phone in the room. After an interesting night out in Loughborough, the next day of competition was far more relaxed. Whilst Barney and Greg competed in the synco (finishing 6th) other members of the cub made use of the free trampolines to do some fun bouncing as well as the Double mini trampoline. The team left Loughborough a lot more tired than anyone had expected with much of the bus ride back spent asleep. Overall the competition was a great success with team veterans taking medals and new trampoliners gaining valuable experience for BUCS. With a two gold medals and two silver medals on tow, the Newcastle trampoliners made their way back to the North East with hopes of building up their success in the next event. Bring on Manchester.
Men’s Basketball Newcastle 1sts
By Chukwuma Duru at the Sports Centre The Men’s 1sts kept their unbeaten run in the league with a 74-61 victory over Manchester University 1sts. The Knights struggled offensively in the opening minutes of the first quarter, missing a number of lay-ups at the basket. However, they made up for it on the
The Knights got off to a slow start entering the 3rd, and found themselves trailing 39-36 midway through the period. However, an increased defensive effort saw the Knights regain the lead, with an 11-0 run to take a 47-39 lead with 3 minutes to play. Good shooting from the Knights allowed them to take a 53-47 lead going into the fourth quarter, where they were able to gain control of the game. Solid defensive and offensive efforts saw the Knights edge Manchester in the fourth quarter 21-14, cruising to victory in the process. The victory means the Knights are now 7-0 in league play and need just one win in their remaining 3 games to be crowned as champions of BUCS Northern 1a and qualify for the promotion playoff in April 2014. Their
The victory means the Knights are now 7-0 in the league, and are just one win away from sealing the BUCS Northen 1A Division Newcastle put on a series of medal winning routines. Photography: George Bullock
defensive end, keeping Manchester to just 8 points in the quarter, taking a 15-8 lead at the end of the first period. The second quarter saw Manchester pounce on defensive lapses by the Knights, where they were able to cut the lead to just 3 at 30-27 in favour of Newcastle.
last home game for the season will be against Lancaster 1sts on the 5th February 2014.
ball from Murray was not handled by the Barca backline, leaving Nyadu to loft the ball into the goal. The two goal lead was, however, cut short in a matter of minutes. Following a deep Tom Paulin corner which Eco failed to deal with, Adamson curled the loose ball into Tenanty’s bottom left hand corner. \This appeared to lift Barca, however, it proved to be a short-lived fillip as Eco-soccer soon regained dominance in the game, stroking the ball around in a manner far removed from the poor Longbenton pitch, which Eco handled the better of the two sides. Barca were constantly on the back foot and Eco’s midfield duo of Murray and Dolby were instrumental in maintaining this pressure which the Barca midfield failed to adequately contain,
despite the best efforts of the energetic and tenacious Black. One driving run from the impressive Nyadu, holding off three Barca defenders, ended in him squaring the ball across goal for Marinov to tuck home and effectively securing a big three points for his side. Shortly after, Macdonald made it 4, again driving forward unchallenged to take his goal well. The fourth completed the rout and condemned Hoctor’s men to another defeat in the Wednesday league, with the prospect of a relegation battle very much on the cards. Eco, on the other hand, look set to push on to a mid table finish. Manager Homer would undoubtedly consider such an achievement a huge success in their first season back in Intra Mural’s top-flight.
Knights scorers: Chuck Duru, George Beard, Mark Elderkin, Asteris Papastergios, Jack Beresford, Hussam Ahmed, Nick Yii.
Barca-ﬂawed-Na against Eco Intra Mural Division One Barca-Law-Na
By Scott Rawson at Longbenton A tame Barca-Law-Na team were comprehensively beaten on Wednesday afternoon by an Ecosoccer side who, contrary to many pre-season predictions, are proving to be no soft touch in the
top division. A 20 minute spell of dominance at the start of the second half proved to be enough for Eco to beat a lacklustre Barca side in what could prove to be a huge six pointer come the end of the season. The off form Lawyers, plagued by injuries and who hadn’t picked up a single point since the reverse fixture in October, were up against an Ecosoccer side that were proving able to match teams in this division. Ecosoccer were at close to full strength for the fixture, hoping to continue their ascent up the table, meanwhile Barca were in dire need of points to help propel them out of the relegation battle. The game began in line with both teams’ fortunes in the previous weeks. Barca lacked previous confidence on the ball and Eco were fearless; threatening
with intelligent movement of Fibon Nyadu and the deft touches of Joe Murray. Eco’s pressure paid off shortly before half time when a good run from Dolby exposed Barca’s left hand side and a pulled back ball from the touchline led to a scramble in the goalmouth before Timperley’s effort found its way into the goal, despite the best efforts of Barca centre half Shaw. The lead could have been doubled shortly after. A rampaging run from Timperley saw him one-on-one with the Barca keeper who pulled off a cracking save to push the ball aside the post. The half time score was a fair reflection on proceedings in which Barca struggled to compete with the far hungrier Eco side. Eco doubled their lead shortly after the break, a sumptuous lofted through
League Tables Wednesday 11 a-side Football
Division 1 1
Newcastle Medics 1sts
Pld Pld WW
FC Bayern Toonich
1 1 Sons of Law Pitches Barca Na
1 2 2750 9 15 16 28 0 2 1836 8 20 13 26
F F AA
Newcastle Medics 2nds
2 2 KFC Newcastle Medics 1sts
Henderson Hall FC
South Sandwich FC
3 3 Newhist FC Hall Henderson
1 4 3341 1229 12 22
Roman Villa F.C
Dyslexic Untied 4 4 We Need to talk about Kevin
3 5 9 32 1526
Brown Magic F.C
Newcastle Agrics FC
5 5 Geogsoc Crayola
4 7 6 18 3622
6 (R) FCAftermath Twente Bag
4 9 6 14 3647
7 (R) Borussia Castle Leazes
4 10 9 12 1842
Monday 9 December 2013
Sports Editors: Nick Gabriel, Freddie Caldwell and Francesca Fitzsimmons email@example.com | @TheCourier_News thecourieronline.co.uk/sport
Boats so simple for rowers
By Sally Hickey at Rutherford Head Last weekend, NUBC opened the season with a day of racing on home ground, at Rutherford Head. The 5k head race from the bridges to the boathouse is a brilliant opportunity to dust off the cobwebs and try out some new combinations. Looking out of the window on Saturday morning, many fears were confirmed when it was clear that the weather had taken a turn for the worse. Not to be deterred, on our arrival at the boathouse we were greeted with hordes of oarsmen and women busily unloading trailers, rigging boats, and adjusting blades. Surprisingly, everyone on the NUBC side of the bridge boated quickly, calmly, and most importantly,
on time. Racing in Division 1 were the Senior Men’s VIIIs, the Senior Women’s quad and four, and the Novice Men’s VIIIs and Novice Women’s four. The 1st VIII (Tom Ford, Jasper Holst, James Rudkin, Sam Arnot, Florian Reinecke, James Reeder, Freddie Stuart, Matt Smith and cox Calum McRoberts) had a brilliant race to win elite 8s, also being the fastest crew of the day. The 2nd VIII (David Manterfield, Barnaby Stroud-Turp, Andrew Ronaldson, Tom Mountain, Ed Davies, Tom James, George Patrick, Ed Munno and cox Tommy Reeves) came second in senior VIIIs. The 3rd VIII (Will AnslowWilson, Ali Brown, James Miller, Michael Trevena, Oli Houghton, Will Jolly, Joe Anderson, Calum Thornhill and cox Svenja Perkins) also saw success, coming second in IM3 8s.
The women’s elite quad of Gemma Hall, Nicole Lamb, Emily Ford and Natalie Hardy flew down the course in first place, with the IM2 coxed four of Claire Hibbert, Rebecca McPhee, Lulu Gallagher, Hannah Foxcroft and cox Lexy Dobson coming fourth in their category. The novice men’s 1st and 2nd VIIIs were racing for the first time., with their 1st boat (Matt Brown, Alex Temple, George Webb, Dan Avis, Callum Shaw, Cam Watson, Liam Parsons, Will Torr and cox Niamh McAllister) coming 3rd. The 2nd boat, with a cheeky sub of the female variety (Mike Stevenson, Jamie Evans, Rob Mounter, Tom Woollens, Jonno Watt, Andrew Hunter, Luke McDermott, Martha Dixon and cox Arabella James) finished 4th. Division 2 saw the 1st and 2nd women’s VIIIs take to the water. Racing
in elite, the 1st VIII of Nicole Lamb, Gemma Hall, Philippa Neill, Natalie Hardy, Emily Ford, Helen O’Riordan, Georgia Parry, Rosie Rust and cox Arabella James finishing second, by an agonisingly small gap of a second between them and the winners, Durham. The 2nd VIII of Claire Hibbert, Emily Howard, Pippa Howarth, Rebecca McPhee, Lulu Gallagher, Alice Meadows, Becky Bennewith, Hannah Foxcroft and cox Emily Ollis came second in Intermediate 3 VIIIs. The men’s elite coxless four of Sam Arnot, Tom Ford, James Rudkin and Jasper Holst won their category convincingly, with the 1st coxed four of James Reeder, Florian Reinecke, Freddie Stuart, Tom James and cox Calum McRoberts coming second in elite 4+s. The second coxed four of Andrew Ronaldson, Tom Mountain, Ed Davies,
Ed Munno and cox Tommy Reeves were third in elite coxed fours., and the women’s novice 8+ (Becci Brennan, Megan Powell, Ella Brunt, Sarah Carthy, Helen Mcall, Lottie Landers, Kitty Nelson, Niamh Burke and cox Niamh McAllister ) came 5th. The men’s novice coxed four (Mike Penn, Hugh Harris, Paul Cooke, Roy Stubbs and cox Lexy Dobson) came 9th in their category. The day ended in misfortune as IM2 coxless four of George Patrick, Barnaby Stroud-Turp, David Manterfield and Matt Smith were controversially disqualified, alongside the women’s novice 8 (Grace Hockenhull, Hannah Paish, Lottie Woodall, Izzy Proctor-Smith, Rachel Leatherbarrow, Rachel Denton, Charlotte Hill, Jess Rayner and cox Jess Banks).
vantage, riding high in the clash. Put to the sword by the impeccable Ellie and Maddie, the visitors dropped behind 29-17, before Jowsey owned the stage again. Molly achieved crucial 6-0 dominance, followed by the Bulgarian sisters who finished it at 45-28. Manchester were ranked second in the Northern 1A Group before the game and without doubt hadn’t come to the Sports Hall for nothing. Having barely inflected a flesh wound in the first two rounds, they raged to a 2-10 lead in the final one. However, it was Molly Jowsey who crushed their dreams, winning the next duel 13-4
for an overall score of 15-14. Madlen and Elena came next to increase the gap with 6:0 and 5:4 victories. Maddie struggled a bit in the last showdown but stabbed efficiently to secure Newcastle’s 45:40 dominance. Meanwhile, the Men destroyed the opposing side 135-76, not much bothered by Manchester’s 1st team. Daniel Ming, Sam Ridley and Daniel Remedios proved their class to claim the second spot in Premier North, six points behind Durham 1st. Topping their group, the women’s fencing team remains invincible and will be looking forward to advancing the successful run in 2014.
ing dejected, exhausted and annoyed, but eager to turn the game around. After inspirational words from Ross (aka The Gaffa), the girls headed back to the pitch fired up and with a point to prove. The change of atmosphere on the pitch was immediate; Newcastle were completely dominant and Sheffield were left quaking in their boots. Katie Fisher and Gisella Otton played the ball brilliantly through the middle of the pitch, switching the ball from side to side. Tash Jockell showed some brilliant energy upfront and piled on the pressure on the Sheffield defenders. Helen Knott slipped the ball down the left wing to Claudia Wilson who popped the ball over the defence to Mabel Beckett who smashed the ball into the back of the net, leaving the score 4-1. Newcastle were back with a vengeance and pressurised the Sheffield players once more. Lucy Crann showed some brilliant ball skills down the right-hand side and ran gallantly along the wing before hammering in another goal for Newcastle (4-2). The team were buzzing and held Sheffield within their own half. A nasty foul on a Newcastle player resulted in a penalty being awarded to the home side. Lucy Crann lined up for the penalty but unfortunately hit the crossbar. Newcastle then pressed Sheffield further and were rewarded with a string of corners. Crann cut in some classy crosses but unfortunately Wilson only managed to hit the woodwork with her headed effort. The final whistle blew and the players left the pitch feeling disappointed but they did put in a Herculean effort in the second half which they should be proud of.
Fencers fend off Shefﬁeld Manchester attack steal win
Women’s Fencing Newcastle 1sts
By Peter Georgiev at the Sports Centre Newcastle’s Ladies continued their fantastic winning streak after yet another scintillating display versus Manchester 1st on Wednesday. The fencers cruised to a 135-103 (45:35, 45:28, 45:40) win against the visiting side, wrapping up their sixth consecutive victory in the campaign. Though Manchester did put up a huge fight, it wasn’t much trouble to their rivals, who still don’t know the taste of defeat. With the Men’s 1st also battling the same opponent alongside, Molly Jowsey, Elena Ivanova and her sister Madlen put in an inspired performance in their fifth league game this season. Holding the foil, Jowsey drew first blood and gave her team a 5-2 advantage in the first rallies. However, Manchester replied with a hasty 6-8 turnaround, after the 3 minutes slowly ticked away. Ellie and Maddie Ivanova shared some happy moments with another comeback to take the lead again at 2014. Their teammate Molly sealed a clean 5-0 sweep in her second appearance and did her best to end the round at 45-35 in the third one. The Ladies reached for the epées to open the next set. After three duels, ruthless Newcastle grabbed a 15-7 ad-
Madlen Ivanova foils her opponent. Photography: Zhulien Genev
By Claudia Wilson at Longbenton The air was cold, the ground was crisp and the sun beamed down on Cochrane Park on Wednesday as Newcastle firsts took on Sheffield university. With precious points up for grabs, neither team looked ready to go down without a fight. Newcastle kicked off and got the game under way. Immediately Sheffield looked sharper than the sluggish home side and they managed to pass a few balls around. Slowly Newcastle woke up and regained their composure with some good play down both wings, particularly from Helen Knott and Esme Richards. However, Sheffield still managed to zip past the Newcastle players and quite quickly managed to slot a goal into the net, giving them a 1-0 lead. Morale on the Newcastle side dropped after this, but some rousing words from captain Crann got the players geared up to face the opposition. However, Newcastle kept having a few too many touches on the ball and Sheffield managed to capatilise on their chances and score three more easy goals, leaving the visitors 4-0 up in the first half. The girls came off at half-time look-
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, There’ll be much mistltoeing And hearts will be glowing When love ones are near, It’s the most wonderful time of the year - Andy Williams
Published on Feb 10, 2014