Page 1 Monday 17 February 2014 Issue 1285 Free

BACK, SACK & HEART ATTACK What is male beauty? Intrepid

Marc Smethurst investigates p.19

The Independent Voice of Newcastle Students


Est 1948


Mens Bar changes up for discussion The uncertain future of Mens Bar was subject to discussion at last weeks Student Council meeting. The call comes after NUSU officers made the request for consultation earlier in the week. Opening the discussion, NUSU President Calum Mackenzie explained that “the use of the Mens Bar space is currently under review, this is prompted by both research on student demands and also patterns of trade.” This falls in line with trends in students’ drinking behaviour nationally which show that stu-

the day has decreased dramatically with the exception of the Christmas period. Another count early Thursday evening early evening showed there were less than a dozen students in Mens Bar at 8pm. Calum Mackenzie disclosed that NUSU had already had to cut other budgets to the tune of £20,000 in the face of a drastic fall in income from the bar’s revenue. Speaking at Students’ Union Council, Graham Hattam, NUSU’s Director of Commercial revealed that there had been a four-day face-to-face survey which consulted students about Mens Bar. “We asked roughly 350 students

dents’ spending on alcohol has dropped significantly since the introduction of £9,000 a year tuition fees according to a Save the Student survey. “Obviously students needs and demands change rapidly”, confirms Calum. Before the refurbishment in 2011, NUSU was praised by visiting students from all over the country for having a bar on every floor whereas now even one bar fails to entice students. A headcount during one weekday lunchtime revealed that less than a third of all those occupying Mens Bar’s seats are paying customers. It was confirmed that consumption in Mens Bar during

and about 78% of them said that they wanted changes to the way the Mens Bar space is used” he explains. This conforms with the results of a survey carried out by NUS nationally, which shows that students express a preference for more ‘coffee-bar’ style areas than the traditional licenced offering – a development that leads NUSU to want to “reduce the area for bar sales and replace it with a café”, according to Calum. He also emphasised such a change would make the social space more inclusive as less alcohol is consumed by students. Continued on Page 4

By Sabine Kucher Deputy News Editor

“the use of Mens Bar space is currently under review, this is prompted by both research on student demands and also patterns of trade”

IS THE FUTURE BRIGHT?: The future of Mens Bar’s was debated at Student Council. Image: Emily Keen

Union condemned for response to protest By James Simpson News Editor

The Birmingham Guild of Students have been condemned by over 50 student representatives for their response to a protest on their campus. Thirteen Students were arrested and were reportedly held for fourteen hours by police after refusing to give their personal details. They have since been suspended from the University and banned from entering any University owned buildings. Elected student representatives from around the country signed a statement

arguing that the guild should condone the protest action and that it should condemn allegedly illegal police tactics. Another statement written by five of the arrested, describing themselves as “examples”, they said that students and staff from around the University of Birmingham were to “report on us if we are seen on campus, treating us like wanted criminals” President of the Guild Poppy Wilkinson released a statement via her Facebook page two days after the protest describing the actions of some protesters as “extremely dangerous” and she described feeling “threatened, intimidated

and unsafe”. She describes how “a group of masked students surrounded a police officer and began singing and chanting” She goes on to say that “I was, and still am, unwilling to support the protest action that took place” which has drawn opposition among some sabbatical communities up and down the country. In response to her statement the protest organisers, ‘Defend Education Birmingham’ released a statement in the form of a petition signed by over 50 sabbatical officers from around the country, stating that “We believe it is deplorable that the Birmingham Uni-

versity Guild of Students statement in relation to the national demonstration held on the campus this week failed to condone protest action on the University campus” Newcastle University student Luke Neal was witness to the events which took place on 29th January and told The Courier during the protest they tried to gain access to buildings but were “beaten back by private security”. He went on to say that “students were subject to excessive force by security, who I witnessed with their hands around students’ throats and dragging female protesters down corridors by

their hair” He went on to say that when trying to leave they “were met by a police kettle”, which refers to the action used for crowd containment by forming a human barrier of police officers. Luke went on to say they were “made to exit one by one, and were searched by police officers” The protest was attended by over 300 students and followed the national meeting for campaigning over cuts to higher education. It follows strike action carried out by University staff up and down the country at numerous points this year.



Monday 17 February 2014

News Editors: Anna Templeton and James Simpson Deputy News Editor: Sabine Kucher and Emily Keen | @TheCourier_News

4 5

PIONEERING PUPILS Professor Mitra opens first of five ‘schools in the cloud’ in India


9 10 SPORT

PRINKING LESSON Lizzie White looks at the reality of student drinking


Animal cruelty? Copenhagen zoo’s killing of Marius

36 39

“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” - Winston Churchill

Consumer A new coffee shop has opened in Southern California which has been named ‘Dumb Starbucks’. It bares the same style logo and drinks menu as the normal Starbucks, though it has the word ‘dumb’ before them all. The company claims it looks up to Starbucks as a role model, yet law states they can only imitate them if they are making fun of them. The company has overcome this obstacle by using the word “dumb”. A spokeswoman for the real Starbucks says the case is being looked into.

Women beat South Wales in cup game

Ruth Davis


A 65 year old woman from Woking has been charged £100 for ‘furious horse riding’. Charges were pressed after a woman claimed Elizabeth Millard rode past ‘at great speed, shouting at her horse’. Millard pleaded guilty to the offense, which comes from legislation dating from the Town Police Clauses Act of 167 years ago.

Feeling Stoked Johnathon Crow

Fast Food

Too much dough

The Edinburgh branch of the pizza chain ‘Papa John’s’ is thought to be the culprits for the large quantities of dough seen exploding out of a recycling bin near the restaurant. It was noticed by a commuter on her way to work, and the photo has since gone viral, along with its caption: ‘I have a feeling @PapaJohnsUK owe a local sanitation worker free pizza for a year’

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

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Dangerous riding Hair raising hats

Diet and health


Eco-friendly loo breaks in the US

Three American women have made the decision to stop using toilet roll and instead use reusable cloth wipes. Their reasons for doing this are mostly that it is more environmentally friendly, as toilet roll contains dioxins which are chemicals that never leave the environment once they have been released into it. It has also turned out to be much cheaper. However, all women use normal toilet paper when they are anywhere but in the home.


‘Dumb Starbucks’

SIX NATIONS STARS Looking at this year’s best players



Newcastle street artist protests against Russia’s anti-gay laws



Wise Words:


e h t


The Courier

Obese people in Stoke on Trent are being sent motivational texts from the council in order to help them lose weight. Examples include ‘use the stairs more’ and ‘eat fruit and veg’. This ten week scheme will cost £10,000, being available to 500 people.

A Chinese woman has spent 11 years knitting her own hair into a coat and hat for her husband. 60 year old Xiang Renxian pulled out 116,058 strands of hair from her own head wanting to preserve it as she aged and reminder her of the good times she and her husband shared in their youth.

Airport security has reached new levels after security staff at London Heathrow confiscated a miniature gun from a figure of Woody, a cowboy from Toy Story. It was carried by a man who took photos of the figure throughout his travels to show his son, and had never before experienced difficulty due to its weaponry. The airport has said it has the right to remove any item that may be seen as containing a potential threat.


S.A.D. Penguins

Penguins are being given medication in order to improve their depressed mood. The inhabitants of Scarborough sea life and marine centre have seemed depressed recently, which keepers think is to do with them being unused to the winter, as they originate from the somewhat warmer climate of South America.


Damn the floods

With mass rainfall causing serious flooding in many areas, experts are considering reintroducing beavers to Britain. Apparently the presence of these dam builders can cause wetlands to hold up to 40 times more water. However, there are as yet, no definite plans to see this happen.

Heathrow crack down on toys

Hannah Swithinbank

Editor George Sandeman Deputy Editor Tom Nicholson Web Editor Ben Brown News Editors Anna Templeton and James Simpson Deputy News Editors Sabine Kucher and Emily Keen 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

Aaron Morton

Pet’s Corner

Discrimination against porky pets Two classroom rabbits have been banished for being too fat. Fudge and Freckles were bought into Peters Hill Primary School in the West Midlands to help teach the pupils of a Year Five class how to look after animals. However, just over a month later and they had grown too big to fit through the door of their hutch, so were subsequently removed. Pupils are campaigning to have them bought back.

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

The Courier

Monday 17 February 2014


Gold medal winners share stories of success for disability awareness By Liam Turnbull-Brown

Last week saw the student union run ‘Disability Awareness Week’ across campus, following on from the success of its inaugural week last year. The week, organised by Students with Disabilities officers Mollie Henaghan & Joseph Mulcahy, aimed not only to increase awareness of students with disabilities on campus, but also to tackle potential stigma and prejudice that may exist against disabled people, with the main motto being to celebrate disabilities rather than hiding them away. Getting behind this cause was two of Britain’s most famous Paralympic athletes; Tanni Grey-Thompson and Stephen Miller. They were on campus to talk about their experiences of disabilities in sport, and the amazing success and careers which they have enjoyed. The success which these athletes have achieved in their respective fields of sport is unparalleled. Both have won numerous gold medals at World Championships and Paralympic Games, breaking multiple world records along the way. For eight years, Stephen Miller was undisputedly the best in the world at the club throw in his class, winning three consecutive Paralympic gold medals in 1996, 2000 and 2004. Tanni Grey-Thompson is generally considered to be one of the best disabled athletes Britain has produced, winning 16 medals (11 gold) in various wheelchair racing events across 5 different Para“You can go one lympic Games, her career of two ways: you with spanning over can feel sorry for 20 years. To hear yourself , beat their thoughts a range of yourself up, or on topics, from Paryou can accept alympic glory to it and move on, the day-to-day of a handimake the best life capped person, of it” proved fascinating and inspiring for the audience to hear. Perhaps most admirable was to see a demonstration of the determination in their attitude towards life, and how this resilience and positivity was installed in them from an early age. As Stephen talks about his upbringing and being born with cerebral palsy, he explains the challenge that his parents faced raising a disabled child, saying that “You can go one of two ways: you can feel sorry for yourself, beat yourself up, or you can accept it and move on, and make the best of it”. Tanni shares a similar story, that when she became paralysed with spina bifida aged 7 “ there were loads of people who told my parents all the things I wouldn’t be able to do, but my parents decided that the best thing was not to treat me any differently, and not to wrap me up in cotton wool”. It’s clear to see how this has fuelled competitiveness and a desire to win and improve in both Tanni and Stephen’s careers. It’s interesting to hear how the organisation of the Paralympic Games has developed and fluctuated over an athlete’s career, from the games in Sydney in 2000 (described by Stephen as a “watershed games”) to Atlanta in 1996. The provision of bunk beds for Paralympic athletes at these Games provided a fun-

AWE-INSPIRING: Students got a chance to chat with the paralympians after the talksImages: Hugh O’Neill, YouTube,

ny anecdote – “we just sawed them in half and squeezed them into our room” laughs Tanni. It is generally agreed that the Paralympic Games in London two years has had a hugely positive impact for disabled sport in the UK, and also the view of disabilities in the wider society. Tanni Grey-Thompson, who was involved in the bid from the start, said that “people just got it”, and that a clear vision for the Paralympics propelled it forwards. Stephen adds that it has “made a huge difference for Paralympic sport, and has pushed it forward many years”, citing the extensive media coverage on the games (such as Channel 4’s TV coverage which Stephen was a big part of helping it reach 10.9 million viewers) as a key factor in explaining its success and how it changed perceptions. However, on the back of this, Tanni says that one of the main challenges facing attitudes towards people with disabilities is the split in the portrayal of disabled people in the media, and people’s subsequent perceptions, “which ranges from Paralympians at one end to benefit scroungers and skivers at the other ”. She adds: “Too much focus is being put on the cost of disabled people in society, and not enough on the benefits that disabled people can bring”. Tanni also explains how despite the success that the Paralympics saw, the figures for hate crimes against disabled people are at an alarming level, the highest they’ve been for ten years. London 2012 has definitely inspired a generation, but the work is not yet done. “We need to harness the interest in Paralympic sport and provide more opportunities for disabled people to do sport, to do it simply for the fun of it” argues Stephen, “what we need is more investment at grass-roots” in order to build on the impact of the London Paralympic Games and looking ahead to Rio 2016. He is also hopeful that a similar difference can be achieved in Russia on the back of the Winter Paralympic Games next month in Sochi – “sport has the power to open doors and to open people’s minds” Stephen states. As well as impressive sporting careers, both athletes can boast of academic achievements as well. Tanni graduated from Loughborough in Politics and Social Administration, perhaps being a foresight into the political career that would follow after her athletics. Stephen graduated in 2002 with a 2:1 in Business Information Systems from Northumbria, which he describes as his greatest achievement outside sport. “1% off a 1st…” he hastens to add, “…which I’m still a bit gutted about” he says with a smile. Both Tanni and Stephen described the invaluable support that Loughborough and Northumbria gave them in their studies and for pursuing their sport whilst studying at universities. When asked for his prediction on the upcoming Stan Calvert contest in a few weeks, with Newcastle looking for a 7th unprecedented consecutive win, Stephen said: “It’s a tough one to call…. but I’m going to have to go with Northumbria”. Summing up the event, it is safe to say that the talk was clearly enjoyed by the audience there. Third-year student Tim Whitbread said: “It was really inspiring to hear how they overcame life’s difficulties, despite how far other people thought they would get at the time.

Monday 17 February 2014

The Courier

Scotswood Road shows Sochi shame By Ria Fretwell-Deery Newcastle artist ‘Ida4’ Chris Fleming uses hand cut stencils and spray paint to express ‘whatever is on his mind.’ His latest work can be found on Scotswood Road in the City (close to the Pink Triangle), an emotive mural in protest against Russia’s anti-gay laws and propaganda, a particularly topical issue at the moment with the Winter Olympics held in Russia. Fleming admits to having been a victim of homophobic attacks himself, and understands the psychological effects this can have. He hopes his work will let others know that ‘the state is on their side and recognizes them’. The work is the start of a protest piece,

highlighting the plight of the LBGT community in Russia. The image is taken from the St Petersburg pride Rally where participants and supporters were arrested under the new propaganda laws that have been passed in Russia. Fleming said the look the man’s face “I can’t imagine on that is pinned to what it would the ground struck be like just to a particular chord with him; and feel that illustrates the you couldn’t hostility and segregation some walk the are sadly facing. streets … or just He says he canbe happy being not imagine the fear felt by those yourself” in Russia without the freedom to express who they are, or who they love without the fear of persecution. The constant worry of being arrested or attacked is a daily trouble for many and Fleming wanted to let others know that people all around the globe are on their side. His work highlights the unprovoked violence against innocent people and the politically charged debate surrounding holding the Winter Olympics in Russia. With heavy sanctions from fines to jail time for those who speak about homosexuality or engage in affection towards the same sex, there has been talk about countries boycotting the games and the media to restrict coverage, in a stance against Putin’s undemocratic administration.

SOCHI SORE POINT: Chris Fleming protests against Russia’s anti-gay laws. Images: Ria Fretwell-Deery

“There won’t be any pressure on students to not bring in your own food” Continued from front page Hazel Parnell, one of next year’s Freshers’ Week Organisers, argued that Mens Bar is used primarily by societies in the evenings. She was sceptical about the uptake of a café in the place of Mens Bar citing Campus Coffee and the Starbucks on the top floor as existing alternatives. Emily Waller, NUSU’s Welfare and Equality Of“It was highficer, reassured the Council that lighted that there would alstudents will ways be a bar be consulted in the Union, before anything but that “the bar may just be goes ahead moved down and at this point one level.” Others apall options for the rethinking the plauded drive for more use of Mens Bar i n c l u s i v i t y pointing out that space are on some students the table.” would not join in social activities in Mens Bar. It was pointed out that Mens Bar is one of the only places on campus where students can sit and eat their own food. Emily Horswill wanted students to continue to enjoy their breaks between lectures here: “It is vital that there won’t be any pressure on students to not bring in your own food.” This suggestion appeared to be met with agreement by the students present that were concerned about los-

ing their favourite lunch venue. Calum Mackenzie calmed students’ concerns about the future of the student employees stating that NUSU will probably continue to maintain the opportunity for student staff to be employed. Closing this initial consultation, Jason Watson, Chair of Council, was visibly impressed with the level of debate at Council: “It was very involving, conducive and students got to speak on the issue. Hopefully anything we did discuss will have an impact on the debate.“ If changes are implemented, all the necessary construction and refurbishment will happen during the summer holidays to minimise the impact on students. The 2014/15 cohort will celebrate their Freshers’ Week using the reconfigured space. It was highlighted that students will be consulted before anything goes ahead and at this point all options for rethinking the use of Mens Bar space are on the table. All students will get the opportunity to share their thoughts on the issue by answering a dedicated question in NUSU’s main survey. Calum Mackenzie commented: “It’s really good to get lots of different perspectives on the opportunity of changing Mens Bar around. It’s really important to consult students - it’s their union. Understanding what everyone expects of it is absolutely central to everything we do and will be pivotal in making a decision in the coming months.”

The Courier

Monday 17 February 2014


“Don’t be a fool - wrap your tool!” By Anna Templeton News Editor Two business students are representing Skins Condoms with the new launch of the Geordie Skins range. The condoms are sponsored by characters from the well-known, Toonbased TV series Geordie Shore. Will Bennett and Jonny Hall are planning on a venture selling Geordie Skins condoms to Newcastle University clubs and societies at a discounted rate. The intention being that the organisations sell them to members for a profit. Will Bennett, who studies international business management, said: “Who wouldn’t want to raise money by having sex? Who can resist that, as long as it’s safe?!” Jonny, also a business management student, explained how clubs and societies struggle with budgets: “equipment, socials and anything else. Teams always seem to be tight for cash.” “The idea came about because we were part of a 5-a-side team, and as part of a sponsorship deal for our team, we said we would do this. Skins Condoms gave us kit, and we’re doing a bit of work for them,” he added. The condom boxes show images of Gary Beadle, Vicky Pattison and Scott Timlin from the show, and urge customers to “never go in without a skin”. Gary, who is more commonly known as ‘Gaz’, said: “I’m a young man with the best job in the world, loving life and learning from my experiences.

“And one thing I have learnt is to protect my parsnip. If you are having sex, make sure you do it with a condom.” Skins has been working in association with the NHS, providing condoms to sexual health clinics across the UK for about six years. A recent survey by Skins also showed that Newcastle is regarded as the most sexually promiscuous city in the UK, with Gaz and Vicky being lusted after by people all over the country. The box of condoms which shows Vicky from Geordie Shore has the slogan: “Don’t be a fool, wrap your tool.” “That’s one of our main aims of the venture: safe sex,” added Will. “We also want people to recognise us, then they can come to us and make a bit of money. We want people to trust us and be as professional as possible.” The 12 pack of Geordie Skins condoms have an RRP of £6.99, but the boys plan to sell to organisations at £4. They suggest selling packs to players and members for £5; making a profit of £1 per pack for Newcastle clubs and societies. “We all know teams, societies, clubs and so on can be strapped for cash, so it’s a fun way to overcome this problem”, said Jonny.

Want to contact the guys? @WillyandJonny

WHY AYE: Willy and Jonny hope to sell Geordie Shore condoms to societies. Image: Skins Condoms

Dancehall to be demolished for digs A scheme to build a £20 million student accommodation building has been approved by Newcastle City Council whilst another multi-million pound scheme has been drawn up to provide accommodation on the site of popular Newcastle nightlife spot Liquid. Plans have been approved for a 338 bedroom student accommodation building in the Shieldfield area of Newcastle. The development joins an existing student development in the Portland Green Student Village, known as Turner Court, which was completed last

stories high. The development would mean the demolition of Liquid nightclub, which first opened as the historic Oxford Ballroom in 1924. Many students have experienced a night out in Liquid or its many incarnations over the years, the application is sure to cause controversy amongst students and party goers alike. First year student India Stacey understands the need for more student housing being built “based on the influx of international students, as well as UK students.” However she also felt that the club would be a great miss to Newcastle: “I feel it could be a bit controversial knocking down Liquid as it’s popular

August. This development was highly sought after and was fully let to students within days, highlighting a strong demand for student housing in the city. The new scheme, developed by Metnor Group, will be open to students from both universities in Newcastle, similar to existing complexes such as Victoria Halls and Central Link, both of which have opened in recent years to accommodate Newcastle’s growing student population. The new development should be built and ready to accept students for the 2015/2016 university year. Meanwhile plans have been submitted by London-based developers Magnetic for a 305 bed student accommodation unit comprising of three accommodation blocks of between seven and eleven

with students and people local to Newcastle too, so it would be a shame to see it go.” The possible loss of Liquid follows the loss of Legends in November; another nightclub closing in Newcastle could affect its status and reputation as a party city, with Newcastle being ranked as one of the top universities for nightlife in the 2013 Which? Universities Survey. The historical parts of Liquid, John Dobson House, which is now the entrance, will be preserved and possibly used for retail or restaurant use, keeping vital leisure facilities in the area. The planning application will come before Newcastle City Council’s planning committee in March, leaving the future of Liquid unknown for the next month or so.

By Jack Parker

“I feel like it could be a bit controversial knocking down Liquid as it’s popular with students”

DEMOLISHED: the Liquid building which used to be a historic dancehall. Image: Wikimedia Commons

Monday 17 February 2014

The Courier

Teach First targets North East schools By Antonia Velikova The educational charity Teach First will be on campus from this week with volunteers holding an event later this term to promote Teach First’s aim to end education inequality. Teach First places high-achieving motivated graduates in deprived schools all over the world. Participants in Teach First are dedicated to spreading quality education for disadvantaged Participating children. They graduates teach full-time in schools where raise their come pupils’ achieve- pupils from low socioments and economic backgrounds. Teach aspirations. First teachers undertake a two-year Leadership Development Programme which involves completing a PGCE and combining theory and practice for a successful career in teaching. Using their newly developed skills participants raise their pupils’ achievements and aspirations. Following completion of the programme, successful graduates become Teach First Ambassadors and join the global network which continues to address educational disadvantages in schools and businesses. The North East is of particular interest to Teach First as it is the region with the lowest GDP per capita in England and thus badly affected by poverty.

According data by the Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion, 52 per cent of young people aged 16-18 in the North East are classed as being in ‘low-income’ families, compared to 45 per cent nationally. There are over 400 eligible schools in the region and Teach First Ambassadors currently work for all 12 local authorities. “Having grown up in the North East I decided Teach First would allow me a great opportunity to give back to my region,” says Mike Roberts, a 2011 Science Ambassador for Teach First. “From the very beginning it has been clear that improving the confidence of my students as well as increasing their aspirations is vital for them to achieve future success.” Upon completion of the programme over 40% of ambassadors move into other areas, where they are able to instigate significant change. Teach First has strong links with small and big employers such as PwC, Procter & Gamble, Accenture and Goldman Sachs. All of them appreciate the values and hard work that are being taught in the Teach First programme. “Goldman Sachs recognises the excellence of successful Teach First applicants and values the experience and skills that are developed through their teaching experience,” said an official Goldman Sachs representative. Research confirms that education has the power to make young people reach their full potential. That is what Teach First aims to do, not only with pupils but also with the young teachers.

RAISING THE BAR: Teach First graduates inspire their students. Image:

The Courier


Monday 17 February 2014

Mitra opens first ‘school in the cloud’ By Anna Templeton News Editor Sugata Mitra, the Newcastle academic who inspired the film Slumdog Millionaire, has opened his first ‘school in the cloud.’ The new project is based opposite the ‘hole in the wall’ where Professor Mitra put a computer 15 years ago and left it for children to use on their own. The new facility has been opened in the Government Girls School in Kalkaji, India. The project will allow children to explore and learn from each other by tapping into online mentors and resources. Mitra’s original ‘hall in the wall’ experiments began in 1999 when Mitra carved a hole in his research centre into an adjoining Delhi slum. He found that groups of children, with no prior experience or knowlof English, Last year, Mitra edge could teach themwon the TED selves to use the computer softprize which ware. awards $1 His experiment million to an led to a fundamental reassessexceptional ment of the poindividual sition of formal education. Hidden monitoring showed the benefits of what Mitra nicknamed ‘Minimally Invasive Education.’ Last year Mitra won the TED prize, which awards $1 million to an exceptional individual. “My wish is to help

design the future of learning by supporting children all over the world to tap into their innate sense of wonder and work together,” Mitra said. Professor Mitra is currently using the prize money to fund further research into his theories both in India and Tyneside. His educational research has also led to more than 100 Self-Organised Learning Environments (SOLEs) being set up. These allow children to search for answers to ‘big’ questions. It has also inspired Self Organised Mediation Environments (SOMEs), which are also known as the ‘Granny Cloud’. The Granny Cloud allows children to engage in a wide range of informal activities. Prof Mitra said: “We already know that reading comprehension is likely to improve in the children taking part in these activities, but we do not know what else might happen in the process,” he explains. “What we do know is that order emerges out of this creative chaos. “In India, we will be looking at two things – whether the children can learn to read and also search the internet accurately by themselves. If they can do this, then it’s the end of schooling as we know it.” The Kalkaji facility is the first of five new SOLEs to open in India. The primary aim of the scheme is to improve children’s reading comprehension and search skills and develop their confidence.

HEAD IN THE CLOUDS: TED-prize winning professor opens pioneering school in India His ‘hole in the wall’ project prompted imitations all over the world, and helped inspire the book Q&A by Vikas

Swarup, which in turn inspired the Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire. Last year, Mitra was named as part of

the ‘CNN 10: Thinkers’, a list of the top 10 science and technology “visionaries whose ideas are shaping our future.”

Prof proposes smoke ban in cars with kids By William Ibbott

A vote was made by MPs in Parliament on Monday 10 February which addressed the issue of whether vehicle owners should be allowed to smoke in their cars with children present. If passed, the vote would stipulate a ban on such activities, forming part of the Children and Families Bill.

Alongside this, the issue of e-cigarettes and the age of car passengers, add a whole new dimension of difficulty to the proposed law. Police run the risk of wrongly apprehending drivers due to mistaking cigarettes for substitutes, while the age of passengers in the car could potentially be wrongly interpreted. Many understand that drivers will have much leeway when it comes to side-stepping

Critics say that police will find it hard to enforce because motorists will be able to shield their cigarettes from both cameras and the human eye The proposed ban, which has come under some conjecture, was disclosed by Dr. Neil Thorpe, lecturer in Transport Studies in the School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences here at Newcastle University. Critics say that police will find it extremely hard to enforce because many motorists with children in their cars will be able to shield their cigarettes from both cameras and the human eye. Similarly, while front-facing cameras may be able to capture the face of the driver, identifying children at the same time in the rear of a vehicle, would remain a tougher task.

these rules if they are imposed. The proposed ban has received widespread support from over 500 healthcare professionals, who signed an open letter to Parliament in support of the ban. Some have favoured the alternative of self-enforcement: which largely involves the practice of encouraging motorists with children to give up smoking by educating them of its dangers. Many believe that simply chastening people for smoking in their cars is unlikely to prohibit them from smoking within the premises of their children in other confined spaces.


Monday 17 February 2014

The Courier

NEWS STACK Coke found in Oxford Uni

PRETTY iQUIZ-ITIVE: Newcastle student team makes iQuiz final. Image: Andrew Fox

Job Title: Newcastle Work Experience Fashion Blog Writer Employer: Kings and Dukes Closing date: 23/02/2014 Salary: £600 bursary Basic job description: Kings and Dukes is a designer clothing shop situated in Whitley Bay, selling men’s and children’s designer clothing for the past 24 years. We have a newly created website and are seeking a talented individual to write a weekly fashion blog highlighting trends, our latest products and features. The role will also include writing press releases and articles for the brand. Person requirements: We are seeking an individual with a passion for blogging and social media, and an interest in fashion. You should have excellent written and communications skills, with the ability and time to write a 250 - 500 word blog per week. Working hours are flexible. Location: Working from home (occasional meetings in Whitley Bay required). Job Title: NCS Sessional Worker Vacancies Employer: Catch 22 Closing date: 20/06/2014 Salary: £7.33 per hour Basic job description: National Citizen Service (NCS) provides young people in Years 11 and 12 from all backgrounds, and with varying abilities, with the opportunity and support to take on new challenges, learn new skills and make a difference. You will be responsible for working directly with young people to support their development and progression through each stage of the NCS. Person requirements: Experience of working directly with young people presenting violent and challenging behaviour and experience of leading the planning, delivery and evaluation of activities for and with young people. Able to work within a flexible timetable as this post requires working evenings, weekends and during school holidays. Location: North East Job Title: Sales & Retentions Advisor Part Time Employer: NRG Closing date: 10/03/2014 Salary: £7.14 per hour Basic job description: The role involves working as part of a large team handling both inbound and outbound customer calls. You will deal with various customer enquir-

ies, explain details on their account and be able to understand different customer requirements. You will be responsible for promoting business products and services to customers and retaining customer accounts. Person requirements: You should have proven customer service experience in order to apply. Due to the nature of the role candidates must be able to pass a credit check and provide satisfactory references. This role will also be subject to a Basic Disclosure. Location: Cobalt Business Park Job Title: Shop Assistant Employer: Rehill’s of Jesmond Closing date: 06/03/2014 Salary: Minimum wage applies. Basic job description: General shop duties to include: replenishing stock, handling cash, occasional lifting of heavy goods. Person requirements: Need to be punctual, reliable and living in the local area for the full academic term. Should be available to start ASAP. Location: Jesmond Job Title: Waiting Staff Employer: Café Rouge Closing date: 05/05/2014 Salary: Competitive Basic job description: Café Rouge is the UK’s premier French café brand with a broad all day offering of classic French dishes and wines. We are looking for committed, passionate and enthusiastic waiting team members to join our restaurant. Training will be given if you are successful. Person requirements: As a member of the Café Rouge Waiting Team, you will ideally have experience on the floor in a similar restaurant environment. You will be a team player who really believes that the customer experience is not just something that happens at the table and that every member of the team is just as important as everyone else. Location: Gateshead Job Title: Customer Service Advisor Part Time Employer: AA Closing date: 06/04/2014 Salary: £7.90 per hour Basic job description: We are currently recruiting for part time staff to work in our Member Retention Section. The department is often the first point of contact for most members who have a query regard-

ing their membership; they may want to do something as simple as change their name and/or address, upgrade their existing package or make a complaint. Person requirements: Looking for a career that you can fit around your study commitments? Are you a determined person who loves to have goals to achieve? Do you find it easy to engage others and build rapport? If yes, then why not apply for a job with the AA! Location: Newcastle upon Tyne Job Title: Male Personal Assistant Employer: Disability North Closing date: 04/03/2014 Salary: £8.50 per hour Basic job description: A Male Personal Assistant is required to work 6-9 hours per week supporting a 33 year old man. You will assist with various social and educational activities. The posts are most suitable for enthusiastic and motivated individuals, who have an interest in sport. Person requirements: You must have a sense of humour and be flexible around working hours. Driver preferred. Posts are subject to CRB checks and references. Location: Newcastle upon Tyne Job Title: Newcastle Work Experience Online Marketing Assistant Employer: North East Access to Finance Closing date: 23/02/2014 Salary: £600 bursary Basic job description: North East Access to Finance (NEA2F) acts as a signpost for local businesses to sources of finance and support in the region. In addition, NEA2F are working to develop new sources of public investment funding that will become available to the regions SMEs. The purpose of the placement will be to contribute to, and manage certain areas of a project designed to increase traffic to both NEA2F websites. Person requirements: Previous experience or knowledge of SEO and Google Analytics is essential and proficiency in MS Excel, PowerPoint, and Word is required. Attention to detail is crucial in this role along with strong organizational, project management and time keeping skills. Experience of working with CMS and building/administering content in CMS environments (particularly WordPress) is desired. Location: Gateshead

An investigation by Oxford University’s student newspaper has revealed traces of cocaine in several of the university’s buildings. Swabs revealed traces of 6 out of 10 buildings tested, including the Bodleian library, the Oxford Union, the Ruskin School of Fine Art and the Oxford University Language Centre. A student reporter writing for the student newspaper carried out the tests using chemical cocaine swabs which change colour from pink to blue when the drug is detected.

The swabs were used to wipe surfaces in bathrooms. The swabs are said to provide 95 per cent accuracy, with instant results. Cherwell also published the results of a student survey in which 11 percent said that they had used cocaine in the last year. A spokesman for the University said: “We do not believe there is a problem of widespread cocaine use at Oxford University. “However, the findings are of concern and information from this investigation has been forwarded to the relevant University authorities.”

Report makes HE look bleak A report has been published that predicts a bleak future for students in the year 2034. Student Accommodation firm Unite Group and University Alliance mission group’s report claims that future university experience could be focused entirely on training for employment. The report, Living and Learning in 2034: a Higher Education Futures Project, predicts that university life could suffer as a result of a highly competitive society 20 years in the future in which the economy has stagnated. Higher education could become “almost exclusively” focused

on employment and full-time degrees may only take 18 months to complete. In the dystopian prediction, all students will take concentration pills and campus bars, clubs and societies will “have mainly fallen by the wayside.” Large-scale gatherings will be “severely limited” and experiences purely for the sake of fun will be “rare.” The predication also claims that, student numbers are down overall, and very few go on to postgraduate education. An alternative for 2034 is one in which employers expect students to have a “rounded” university experience.

Porno filmed on campus Police are investigating after a porn film was made on the campus of the University of the West of England. The 23 minute video made during the summer holidays shows a man on the university’s Frenchay campus searching for a girl who “wants to earn some money and have some fun.” A number of unwitting students are seen in the video, although the man and his co-star, Xzena, are not students, according to UWE Bristol. The film sees ‘Xzena’ perform-

ing a sex act on the man, by the gates to the campus, as well as on a bus and in Bristol city centre. The University and Students’ Union became aware of the video, entitled “Johnny Rockard at University of West of England in Bristol Student pick up and public sex with horny Xzena”, during monitoring of their social media activity. Students’ Union President Charlie Roper added that: “UWE Students’ Union are deeply concerned that this act has happened on campus and are aware that UWE are fully investigating and taking legal action.”

Images: Valerie Everett, Collegedegrees360. Joe D

Kathryn Riddell

Comment The Courier


Monday 17 February 2014

Comment Editors: Joe Wood and Lydia Carroll Deputy Comment Editor: Victoria Armstrong | @Courier_Comment

In defence of pre-drinks

Are you are ‘prinker’? Or perhaps you’ve been necking nominations on Facebook lately? Either way, the media likes nothing better than sensationalising student drinking - the reality of which is often tame

Lizzie White


rinking. Classified by the ever trustworthy thusly: ‘PreDrinking - The act in which one consumes alcohol prior to attending an event at which alcoholic beverages may or may not be served. Often popular with university or college students who can’t afford to buy many drinks at a bar or high school kids who plan to attend events such as dances.’ A simple enough concept, but one that has taken the media, it seems, by storm. “Prinking’ has become the new devil of the youth drinking culture and the monster responsible for the vast array of drunk and disorderly images of students which slap us in the face every time we browse the internet. In an online article, the BBC ‘warned of the dangers’ of what they bafflingly named ‘prinking’ (pre-drinks, to you and me), which is apparently the hot new fad responsible for drink and drug induced chaos at a recent over sixteen concert in Belfast. It seems that this article is no anomaly. The Daily Mail regularly prints pictures shaming students for their (and I quote) ‘knock-it-backuntil-you-pass-out mentality’ at events like Carnage and even the Guardian has jumped aboard the NeckNominate outrage boat. According to the media, it appears that young people are drinking like never before. So let’s break this down a bit. What exactly constitutes ‘prinking’? When I asked my friend if she was familiar with ‘prinking’, she looked at me blankly, screwed up her face and looking puzzled asked ‘sorry?’ She then proceeded to laugh in my face. Great response. I have to admit, I’ve heard the term before - albeit not often, but once or twice it has graced my ears throughout my twenty-one years. Personally, I don’t like it. To me, it sounds like one of those try-hard words that your parents would crack out amid a conversation with your friends to get somewhat ‘down’ with the younger generation’s ‘lingo’. May I also point out that it’s hardly taxing

on the vocal cords to say ‘pre-drinking’, although if you do feel particularly strongly about using abbreviations, then ‘prees’ will happily suffice. Ranting aside, from my experience, ‘prinking’ is very much a - dare I say it - normal and accepted aspect of student social life. “Come over to mine for about 9, we’ll have a drink and book taxis for 10,” is what a normal pre-night out plan usually consists of for me (crazy, I know). If it is this kind of pre-drinking that the media has chosen to demonise as the ‘new craze’ capable of hospitalising young adults and causing chaos for the emergency services, then I think they’ve taken a turn down a very wrong path indeed. “What about the aforementioned Belfast gig? What about people downing bleach for NeckNominate?” I hear you cry. Granted, you would be right to question me if I was in anyway endorsing the use

It’s hardly the outof-control, peer pressure fuelled orgies of drinking tabloids depict of drugs (which I am not). But what I am arguing here is not about drug use prior to a night out or underage drinking, but ‘prinking’ amongst young adults of legal drinking age. I think it’s very wrong of the media to have grouped the illegal with the legal under the same demonised ‘prinking’ umbrella, because let’s face it - everyone knows that heavy drug use and normal alcohol consumption can be mutually exclusive. Anyway, back to ‘prinking’. Simply enough - the media have got it wrong. Let me ask you: what would students do if ‘prinking’ was forbidden from university halls? Would they sit and sip cups of tea before hitting the town, or maybe hit the CocaCola hard in search of a sugar high? Of course not. They would just head into town earlier in search of the cheapest bar, most likely a trebles bar - renowned for their high quality ‘vodka’ - or even worse, bottle up a hip flask and rendezvous on a park bench somewhere (well, perhaps). By contrast, ‘prinking’ allows students the opportunity to drink in a relaxed and may I add, safe environment before going out for the night. It’s the norm to take your preferred choice of self-

bought alcohol to these social occasions, which is something that I endorse for a number of reasons. Firstly, you know what you have in your drink, and it allows you to measure the quantities out yourself – meaning you remain in control. On most ‘prinking’ occasions you are so often chatting to friends (that social aspect I keep harping on about) that you only manage a drink or two before the taxi pulls up outside. Hardly the out-of-control, peerpressure fuelled orgies of drinking that the good old tabloids have depicted. There is also the underlying issue of finance here. The elder generation seems to forget that drinks prices are not what they were in their own student days. Also forgotten is the fact that the government decided, oh so kindly, to raise the tuition fees gloriously by around 200% in 2012. With this in mind, do students have the money to gad about spending £5 or £6 (per drink!) in bars? I certainly don’t. Lucky you if you can, but I’m sure the majority wouldn’t accept that kind of price tag per beverage lying down. The concept of ‘prinking’ allows students to buy their own alcohol and mixer and decide how much they wish to spend, how much they take with them to the pre-drinking event. ‘Prinking’ is far more than trying to consume additional alcohol; from my point of view, it’s a social event, and it is this aspect that massively outweighs the desire to ‘get mortal’ before going out. If we are to remove the ‘prinking’ aspect from a student night out, is it the same as saying you shouldn’t have a tipple of wine at a dinner party, or have a few beers at the pub? Once again, as with most issues integral to the image of student culture portrayed by an increasingly pearl-clutching media, it is a minority that let it down for the majority. I do not blind myself to the fact that ‘prinking’ may at times become more than a sophisticated glass of wine - I certainly have broader shoulders than that - but let’s face it; ‘prinking’ is nothing new. Ask any of your parents if they used to have a few drinks before a night out, and I’m sure their answer will likely be yes. Besides, this generation was not the first to discover that alcohol could actually induce drunkenness, and exploit it accordingly. This media sensationalism is just driven by a need to shock and titillate by portraying student drinking culture as somehow the most extreme it’s ever been. The idea that this generation of youth is somehow the wildest, most debauched one yet occurs every generation; and it’s all very “yawn yawn” and frankly rather boring. My point was excellently proven after I searched on Instagram to see what a ‘prinking’ hash tag would throw into the mix (I admit, it’s not one of my usual

pastimes, however for the purpose of this article I took the hit and typed it in). After seeing the vast array of shameful images that media outlets have used in an attempt to prove their point, I was half expecting to see equally as outrageous ‘prinking’ pictures of unconscious young women wallowing in their own vomit. However (and I hate to disappoint) nothing quite so outrageous cropped up. In fact, all-in-all they were really rather boring, and I only had to endure the usual pouting wine in hand ‘selfies’ that graced my screen and some very normal, even civilized looking pre-drinking events. So media, I say to you: don’t tar us all with the same ‘prinking’ brush and find something new and original to complain about. And students: enjoy your pre-drinks, but I think it’s best for those with a tendency to abbreviate to drop the ‘prinking’ lingo. It scares the tabloid reading oldies, and certainly won’t earn you any BNOC points around campus.

Poetry Corner O, Marius; An elegy O, Marius! Once-noble King giraffe Once so sure of your regal glamour; Your species was slang for having a laugh Until Danes bashed in your skull with hammers. You never asked to be born a captive, And killed due to concerns about incest It’s not your fault your sister’s so attractive The knobheads refused your final request: That was, getting to shag your sister. Emmerdale tells us it’s not that bad But in Denmark it’s better to whisper Or your guts get cleaned up with Brillo pads. Summat’s rotten in the state of Denmark; When a giraffe’s corpse is thrown to the lions Rather than let the poor lad disembark In foreign lands, or on his own island. O, Marius! If only you could know How much everyone wishes you weren’t dead, Like children who saw you hack’d to and fro In whom PTSD will be widespread.

By Tom Nicholson (age 22 and a half)

Image: St Stev

Image: Alois Staudacher

Ho Li



Monday 17 Feburary 2014

Are you havin’ a giraffe?

The death of the eighteen month old giraffe, Marius, at Copenhagen Zoo as a result of his genes has been divisive. The question is, was it right to do?

BEAUTY The Channel 4 documentary BodyShockers broadcasted the latest beauty fad – getting pieces of flesh cut out from your cheek with a scalpel. Why? To achieve the perfect dimples. Surely this ‘dimpleplasty’ is just one step too far. Cherelle Campbell was featured undergoing surgery in which holes were punched in her cheeks and then stitched to create the perfect dimple smile. Quite frankly, she looked awful after surgery as she was filmed with what appeared to be two craters in her face. My housemates and I cringed and expressed a united ‘Oh no’. But maybe this isn’t that shocking anymore; the next ‘natural’ step in a world driven by physical appearance and striving to make transient beauty permanent. A female doctor was shown having Botox injections in her feet so she could walk painfree in heels. Oddly, this seemed fairly normal to me, the shock factor occurring when she said she wore them on the hospital wards at work. I’ve watched Junior Doctors – they run to emergencies. When do we say stop? When a life is put at risk for fashion?

Sarah Pratley


f you’ve never lost a pet before then please just trust me when I say this: it’s traumatising. I can still feel my inner seven-year-old reading a poem for her dead guinea pig Tonks (yes, that is a Harry Potter reference). Marius, the 18-month-old giraffe, seems to be the pet that the world is mourning. Marius was kindly ‘euthanised’ last week in Copenhagen by the zoo that kept him. Euthanasia is the death of someone suffering an incurable or painful disease, or just generally something irreversible. Marius had been diagnosed with the very serious condition of ‘common genes’. As Copenha-

gen Zoo’s scientific director, Bengt Holst, stated, “Giraffes today breed very well, and when they do you have to choose and make sure the ones you keep are the ones with the best genes”. Now, I’m sorry as I only rest on my Year 7 scientific knowledge, but I do believe there is such a thing as ‘natural selection’. I’m sure that the giraffes can look after their genes on their own, Mr Holst. Do we just shoot someone on the street because their hair colour isn’t right, they’re too short or their eyes are too far apart? This seems like an absolutely ridiculous reason to kill an animal. Furthering this, surely Marius’ genes didn’t become more common as he got older. Surely they were common when he was conceived? Why was he even bred if he was to be deemed quite so useless to the giraffe species? Aside from the whole ‘common genes’ thing,

DAILY FAIL I tend to avoid reading the unbiased, balanced pillar of honesty that is the Daily Mail; but today it published something on its website which really riled me. The article stated that Britain should take money from the foreign aid budget to help the flood relief effort in southern England. Now, I acknowledge that what has happened there is awful, and that more help should be given to the homeless victims of this terrible occurrence. However, I find it extremely angering that the Mail has managed to use this natural disaster to cynically whip up yet more hatred of ‘foreigners’. In my opinion, we should take a look at spending on our own shores before cutting aid to countries that really need it (Haiti, for example). How much did Prince Charles’s ‘visit’ to Somerset cost? Taxpayers are forced to spend millions on our pointless, outdated monarchy, but we should stop giving aid to needy countries? I shouldn’t have expected anything less from this horrible, hate-filled newspaper, but people need to start speaking out before everyone starts believing their ideological tosh. Adam Martin

There is much that can be said about Sochi and its politics. There is much that can be said about Putin’s Russia. And there’s even more to be said about the conditions that athletes are made to face, especially in terms of accommodation. I don’t approve the treatment of migrants and locals, the rampant corruption on which these Games were built, and the many issues surrounding the LGBT community. There is plenty to criticise when it comes to Sochi, and, equally, to Russia. However, watching the Olympics’ opening ceremony, I thought it was, largely despite myself (see above) beautiful. While people spend all their time focusing on that-one-Olympicring-that-didn’t-work, no one’s talking about the construction of Petersburg scene, or the Swan Lake excerpt, or the strength and idiosyncrasy of that show that constructed the beautiful enigma that Russia actually is. “It was propaganda”. Of course it was – glazed, sugar-coated version of reality. Were the ceremonies in Atlanta, London, China, Salt Lake, etc. not propaganda then? So by all means do criticise Sochi and Putin’s politics away. But in a smart, constructive way, not in an “omg dat shit so bad lol #Sochi” way. Antonia Velikova

there is an international programme in place to ensure that only unrelated animals can breed, to prevent inbreeding. This seems fair enough. I’m sure the giraffes themselves don’t want deformed babies as much as we don’t want that. However, this is supposedly a programme that is in place to protect the animals and preserve their species. Please explain to me how killing a giraffe fits in with this. Can we also take a moment to consider the possibility (yes there is a possibility) that death wasn’t the only option for Marius? He doesn’t have relations all over the world that will make his offspring inbred. Yorkshire Wildlife Park offered to re-house Marius and they already have a giraffe from the same Copenhagen Zoo, so clearly it’s not that much of a faff to ship them over. If it is too much of a faff, then several other zoos in Copenhagen made similar offers. If a giraffe can’t breed, or even be housed at one zoo, then fine – sometimes we bite off more than we can chew. But there is more than one zoo in this big old world.

Can we consider the possibility that death wasn’t the only option for Marius?

Kate Dewey


The Courier

Marius the giraffe 2012 - 2014 Image: Tambako the Jaguar



loods hit the UK at alarming rate, with water being reported at ‘biblical proportions’. Between shouting at some gay people and complaining about the French, one UKIP party member has called for foreign aid funds to be transferred into the construction of an Ark, in order to save the inhabitants of Surrey and their livestock. He stated: ‘Well why do the bloody


Ongobongo tribesmen need our money anyway? I’m not racist, but...’ He later went on to explain the cause of the floods was less meteorological and rather because: ‘You know, Elton John and that. It’s just not right’. In response to this statement, God has defended himself at a press conference, saying: ‘I have no idea where these claims are coming from. Truth be told, I’m a massive fan of Elton John; ‘Rocket Man’ and ‘Your Song’ have got me through good times and bad alike’. In related news, Somerset has now officially had its name altered to ‘The Lost Kingdom of Somerset’. Head Government Re-Namer Jim Sludgemaker, from the Department of Useless Activity, has described the move as ‘both a reaction to the floods and a result of no-one remembering where Somerset was in the first place’.


his week at Bieber News Central: Justin gets turnout crowds for his one-off prison concert, ‘Breakdown (My Life)’. Miley Cyrus has already confirmed plans for her own prison set, ‘Wrecked

If zoos really are the ethical institutions that we like to believe they are, then there should be some sort of official process by which the animals can be transferred and looked after. Although all of the hype is currently surrounding Marius, this isn’t really that uncommon. At Longleat Safari Park, five lions have very recently been killed because they were suffering serious genetic defects caused by high levels of inbreeding. Sure, you could argue that inbreeding can easily happen in the wild, but the point is that they are not in the wild. Breeding can be controlled and the fate of these lions shows the irresponsibility of the zoos keeping them. However, the zoo that killed Marius to prevent such inbreeding is just as bad. All in all, I think it’s fair to say that following such a catastrophic PR disaster, it’s going to take a while for zoos to be considered responsible, ethical and ‘good’ institutions again. That is, assuming that they ever were in the first place.


by Balls’. Speaking to reporters, Lindsay Lohan expressed the ‘pride’ she felt at seeing ‘a new generation pick up where myself and Paris left off ’.


ld rivals come together this month, with Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg collaborating on a concept album entitled ‘I believe I can be PM’. Ed will play rhythm guitar and sing as lead whiner, whilst Nick is going to be on percussion where he repeatedly runs head first into a gong. Borris Johnson is set to release a solo album, with an early release of his single ‘I will be Prime Minister Motherf***ers’ already making top 20. David Cameron has made no comment on whether there will be a follow up to his 2010 hit, ‘You didn’t want me, but here I am’. Ed and Nick’s album is set for 2015 release, but critics expect ‘minimal innovation or general interest in the new material’. In other news: hundreds of thousands of children are left homeless in Syria, violence against the LGBT community in Russia sees no end, and the USA continues its drone strikes in the Yemen. Images: More Good Foundation, HitnRun Tony, cukuskumir

Joe Wood

The Courier


Monday 17 Feburary 2014

The ugly face of beauty


Voice of


The fact that beauty ‘guru’ Osmel Sousa encourages Venezuelan pageant contestants to get extreme plastic surgery is disturbing enough, but that he is near-deified for his advice is beyond horrific

Katy Turner


o it’s a standard night and I’m procrastinating from uni work by trawling through BBC Iplayer. I come across a BBC Three documentary called ‘Extreme Beauty Queens’. Even though it sounds like a replica of every other beauty pageant documentary in existence, plus the fact that I really can’t stand the narrator, Billie JD Porter, I’m getting rather desperate and decide to give it a go anyway. I assumed it would be controversial, (because Miss Porter seems to enjoy her ‘edgy’ journalism before jumping on a plane back to her privileged lifestyle) but I was definitely not expecting to end up in tears. The programme was part of a series, investigating various different areas of South America. This episode focused on the Miss Venezuela competition, a national beauty competition which attracts thousands of entrants and is televised to millions of viewers every year. Astonishingly, the contest has been running since 1952 and has come to form a crucial part of the country’s national identity. Its scale is monumental – think Olympics opening ceremony level – and the current director of the whole production, Osmel Sousa, is credited with the competition’s global success. In fact, ‘credited’ is not a strong enough word to describe how the Venezuelans view this 67 year old ‘guru’. They literally worship him like a god, believing that through driving the pageant to its prestigious heights, he

has successfully put Venezuela on the world map. But behind this glamorous, life-changing dreammaking machine lies an extremely worrying reality. Osmel’s influence is such that the girls (many of whom hail from modest backgrounds, such as the crime-ridden ‘barrio’ slums) are prepared to go to extreme lengths in order to seek his approval. Even Billie, after interviewing the man himself, swooned in his presence and admitted to feeling “starstruck” (really not helping your case there, Billie). I watched in complete disbelief as they stood be-

They had cosmetic surgery to fix whatever Osmel had branded ‘wrong’ or ‘ugly’ fore him and nodded along as he made scything criticisms of every little ‘imperfection’. Even more shocking, they followed it up by having cosmetic surgery, in a desperate attempt to fix whatever Osmel had branded ‘wrong’ or ‘ugly’. One girl had even sewed mesh onto her tongue, thus making it painful to eat and easier to lose weight from her already worryingly thin frame. If that’s not messed up, I really don’t know what is. The documentary did attempt to show both sides of the argument, suggesting that the competition offered the poverty-stricken population a means of

hope and escapism. I, however, was not convinced. The footage of little girls as young as 4 attending ‘beauty-training classes’ was painful to watch. Unsurprisingly, they were mesmerised by the idea of pretty dresses and stardom, but inevitably there will be serious implications of creating a generation obsessed with physical perfection. Speaking of perfection, Osmel proudly announces that this is precisely the driving force behind his vision. He claims that he grew up around “ugly women” and therefore strives to release every woman’s inner potential. By ‘potential’ he is obviously referring to the Barbie doll proportioned body which he hails as perfect. No consideration whatsoever is given to how the girls view the world or what they believe in. In fact, individuality is actively discouraged and someone is specifically assigned the role of teaching the girls how to appear stupid and neutral, in order to increase the entertainment value and appease political tensions in the country. Effectively, Osmel Sousa is manufacturing vulnerable young girls into beautiful but brain-dead robots. Like the plot of a dystopian novel, the general public have been indoctrinated into thinking that this is admirable, remarking on the exuberance and prestige of the phenomenon whilst queuing up for their government-controlled food provisions. Anyone who attempts to criticise the competition is immediately dismissed as bitter, jealous and ugly. But if being beautiful means conforming to one misogynist’s severely damaged perceptions, give me ugly any day.

Image: Rick Chung @ Flickr Image: freefotouk

Müller: In the yog-house

We are all familiar with the Müller as an upbeat and healthy yoghurt company, but is that the real Müller? Or are they hiding a corrupt and shady business practice waiting to be revealed?

Tanya Nies


he German company Müller is famous for its yoghurts, deserts and drinks – and not just in its hometown. In every supermarket, even the SU shop, you find their products. Famous stars such as Nicole Scherzinger have been featured in advertising for Müller. But look at what stands behind the delicious yogurts and the company is not as glamorous as it seems. Just recently Müller closed down one of their factories. Normally that wouldn’t attract any headlines, however not in this case. Müller received millions in EU funding to create a new factory and create more employment. The company is now being accused of economic subsidy fraud. Rightly so, as most people think. Müller got great funds to build one of the most modern dairy factory in Europe, giving them an even greater advantage in the market than they already have through their big name. It has been critiqued frequently that these

funds should go into support local, smaller dairy factory instead of the monopolists. They were granted the support of 70 million Euro as they promised to create employment. Which to be fair it did, 148 jobs to be exact. Nevertheless, after finishing the new factory the company closed down two older ones, unemploying 165 people. This adds up to 240,000 Euros ‘reward’ per person the company fired. No commission by the European court has been started so far and it is still in doubt whether it will happen as well. These barely legal actions could also be investigated within Germany, but again it is doubtful. Müller themselves haven’t released a statement towards the allegations. In which many see an admittance of guilt. Furthermore, Müller has been repeatedly accused by Greenpeace and Foodwatch of feeding the cows genetically modified plants which they create in their labs. Theo Müller, head of the company, went against these allegations and lost in a German court. He is still fighting against the ruling but his chances look slim. He claims the company cannot afford to switch to regular food. Studies

show that most consumers of Müller products are against these methods, yet continue to invest their money into the products. Theo Müller himself also gives a bad image to the company, physically attacking Greenpeace activists and journalists. Going so far he had to appear in court, yet again. And there is another thing about him and his company. It has been highly discussed by the media and on the internet without reaching a definitive conclusion, however it should be mentioned. For years now, the company has been accused of supporting the NPD, a German nationalist party which is barely legal and causes plenty issues within the German political system. There has been no proof of this so far but these allegations have been holding up for years now. Despite the final statement being true or not, the questions stand if after all of this, can we really still justify supporting Müller by buying their products? Or rather leave them in the supermarket and support of companies which are far more ‘de luxe’?

No. 10: Winter has come


s I roll around, happily sated in the warmth of my fireplace, I rejoice. I have survived yet another year of pink hearts, the sickeningly sweet and tempting smell of chocolate, and plebs licking each other’s faces. The cats dare not venture outside, for it is too cold for them to thrive and I can stroll down the road like the noble pug that I am, unbothered by their scrutinizing stares. The students are in a period of concentrated silence and surprising sobriety. There is no upcoming monstrosity that humans will obnoxiously be celebrating. In short, it would seem that the world is full of happiness and cheer. I am content. Hours later: Oh the horror. The terror. I am scarred forever. Snow, I beg you! Snow! Just as I thought that my week was going rather well and look what it is – nature stands once again on the side of the plebs. The horror. The terror. Snow brings with itself everything that repulses me about human nature. Even Timmons, whom I considered to be at least partially more intelligent than the ordinary pleb, could not resist the sheer overwhelmingly stupidity-inducing power of the snow. “It’s snowing!” He exclaimed excitedly as if the pieces of frozen ice falling from the sky, which we the educated know rather well are called ‘snow’, were not telling enough. I believe that this reaction was provoked in many other human beings as well. Why do you have such an annoying passion of stating the obvious, humans? Had it been sunny outside, would you have ran down the street, shouting “It’s sunny” in ten different languages, while laughing hysterically? No, you would have not. Yet this is what I firmly believe happens every year when the time for snow is upon us. As if that can be called snow! Mushy, disgusting piece of muddy work. Timmons put me in my smartest winter coat and I was very set on crafting a snowman. I would call it ‘The Pleb’ and I would draw moustaches on its carroty face, after which I would unceremoniously proceed to smash through it with the entire force of my incredibly muscular body. But it was not meant to be. I’m sure that the snowfall is some evil plan conjured up by the leftists. Not only does it reinforce everything that is wrong in our utterly beffudling society of today, but it also deprives me of one of the few joys I could have to at least momentarily forget just how dense this nation truly is. Why I remember the big winter of … sometime, when the noble Lord Pugsington, my renowned father, taught me all there was to know about the then plentiful snow. Snowball fighting, the making of snowmen – it was a trade in itself, back then. Now everything is a travesty, with plebs hopping around in puddles of mush, rejoicing on one day and complaining on the other. Make up your feeble minds, curdlewurglers. However, since I am an endlessly generous and equally as ravishing, I shall share with you perhaps the most important bit of advice that I took from my father, the Lord Pugsington. Bear it, since it is most likely the most paramount piece of information that you will receive in your sorry lives. Should the snow be the same colour as a lemon, do not, for Pugs’ sake, do not eat it. Ever. Yours,

Pugs Overheard by Antonia Velikova Illustration by Flora Anderson

Pugs has got a new iPad, and he’s been dictating tweets to his manservant Timmons. Follow him on Twitter at @LaVoiceofReason

Monday 17 February 2014

The Courier

Lifestyle Editors: Evie O’Sullivan, Elizabeth Archer, Hazel Parnell and Katie Smith

Love me Tinder The worst, weirdest and most wonderful (genuine, homegrown, free range) Tinder messages

1. From the most bizarre chat up lines...

Love at first swipe

Dating apps are changing how we find partners - but is it changing for the better?

Lucy loves a modern romance


2. To unlikely innuendos...

3. To the plain filthy and wrong...

ith the stigma that online dating has carried with it over the last few years, I think it is now becoming a much more acceptable way to meet new people. Although it does seem to be an unconventional way to find a partner, one in five couples now reportedly meet online, and the latest craze for dating apps is sweeping campuses nationwide. Tinder in particular, as I’m sure you are well aware, has taken the UK by storm. Whether you view it as online dating or just another social media app where mutual friends can get to know each other, there is no way of denying that it is a great way to meet new people. By matching individuals from a similar location, who share mutual friends and have similar interests, Tinder is definitely a good way of opening your eyes to who is living nearby. And if you are not strictly looking for a love, one of Tinder’s main attractions is its cheeky nature. With the occasional romantic messages from people asking ‘fancy a bang?’ Tinder has been the source of many a friend’s amusement over the last few months. Admittedly this app does have its downfalls; I felt really shallow liking or disliking people based on looks alone. But as Whitney Woolf, one of Tinder’s marketing big wigs, points out looks are often the first thing you notice when you meet strangers in a bar or coffee shop. Other dating apps available for phones, such as and eHarmony are a much more serious way for people to meet their other half. Whilst Tinder seems to be more of a social media app than online dating, and eHarmony are aimed at people who are older and who are in search for love. These sites seem to be a very good for those who are in full time work, or who have children, and therefore find it difficult to meet new people - they are a much better way of meeting someone for a long term relationship.

“They make the introductions and the rest is up to you.”

4. To questionable marketing strategies...

5. And finally to an imaginary love story...

The dangers of the internet are well known to us all, which has made me question why these apps are so popular. We have all heard horror stories about online dating and how fake accounts have been created, and the fact that people can pretend to be something that they are not. However, I think as long as people are sensible and cautious with the people they choose to meet with, they can be a great idea. Overall I am in favour of online dating. Whether it is a way to joke around with friends, or to genuinely meet a partner, these apps are a good way to meet new people that you wouldn’t meet otherwise. I have friends whose love has blossomed thanks to Tinder, and they have convinced me that despite the downfalls, dating apps can help to create lasting relationships. They make the introductions and the rest is up to you. Lucy Harper

Holly hates ‘shallow’ dating apps


ould you ever get into a car with a complete stranger? Then why on Earth would you meet up with one in person and go out for coffee or dinner? The risks and dangers involved with online dating are enormous. I don’t want to knock the relationships that have emerged from online dating, because there are many cases where even successful marriages have came out of websites such as and Uniform Dating. But it does beg the question whether these “in-love” couples have simply found their soul mate in each other because they were both looking for one. Are these hopeless romantics kidding themselves into feeling the disillusion of love through their shared wish fulfilment? The answer is, in many cases, probably yes. On the other hand, we have apps like Tinder, and however funny and amusing they can be, I have been told that people use this app seriously to seek out hook-ups and casual flings. It all sounds pretty dodgy to me. Now, unless you are desperate, who on earth would want that? It’s like putting a banner above your profile saying “Click here for meaningless sex.” Even if you don’t see it that way, many others searching on Tinder do.

“Tinder is like picking meat from a butcher’s, with its ‘Hot or Not’ attitude towards dating” Apart from the safety aspects of these dating services, I also take serious issue with the idea of rating others’ physical appearance and attractiveness in the search for a date. A recent study by the University of Tennessee proved that the correlation between someone finding their partner physically attractive and the success of their relationship to be non-existent. The study “recruited 82 newlyweds to rate each other’s attractiveness” and found was that there was “no relationship between either partner’s level of physical attractiveness and either partner’s relationship satisfaction.” The only significant association found was that the most physically attractive men were least satisfied with their marriages. Tinder is like picking meat from a butcher’s shop, with its “Hot or Not” attitude towards who you would want to date. He picked you because your sparkling personality shone through that photo? No dear, it was because your tits were big. And imagine if when you finally met up with your perfect match to find one or the other of you was much more att r a c t ive in their photo than in real life! In my opinion if you want a real, successful relationship, steer clear of online dating apps. They are unsafe, shallow, and full of desperate romantics. Holly Suttle

Join the chirpse Charlotte Maxwell gives the rundown on the best dating apps for students

[He continues in this vein for some time.]


For quick hook-ups

rindr & Blendr: Blendr is like Grindr’s new buddy, the new kid on the block. Grindr focuses on dating within the LGBT community, while Blendr has often been referred to as the ‘straight version’. Both apps advertise themselves as ‘dating communities’ which when you translate the marketing means hookup central. Both use GPS to locate nearby hookups and show you potential matches near you. Both apps are free and claim to be full to the brim of ‘fun singles’. So, if you think no strings fun will float your boat, have a look in your app store and get downloading.

For dates that could blossom


inder claims to have resulted in 50 marriage proposals and millions of matches since its September launch last year- so it’s possibly worth a shot. If you’re looking for a quick, simple, no technical issues app, this is the one for you. It’s a little like a virtual ‘hot or not’ with a huge update since the 90s. If you’re tempted click ‘like’ and if you get a ‘like’ back, let the games - I mean, messages begin. However, if you don’t like just click ‘pass’ and have a gander at the next profile, the best bit of this being that the other person can’t see what you’ve clicked, so no red faces or awkward turtles.


For finding Mr/Mrs Right

f you’re in search of your other half, eHarmony may well be the place to go. After all, the creators claim that they have thousands of matches turned marriages under their belts. E-harmony uses scientific thinking to match people- claiming that physical attraction just isn’t enough. So this is starting to sound a little more legit, right? Wrong. Whilst, you can see your matches for free, you have to pay £30 per month to communicate with them - this is a hefty investment! However, with a high success rate and plenty of users, if you’re looking for love, this may be the best virtual shout.

Culture The Courier


Monday 17 February 2014

Culture Editor: Sam Summers Sections: Lifestyle, Fashion, Beauty, Arts, Music, Film, TV and Science | @CourierOnline

Ayesha Bradley, 2nd Year Biomedicine meets Josh Horton, 3rd Year Engineering student from Durham University

Posh vs. Posher

Josh on Ayesha How was the experience of going on a blind date? Were you nervous? I was only a teeny weeny bit nervous…I didn’t really over think it too much. But then when I was at the bar I was chatting to two guys also from Newcastle and they told me everyone on campus reads Blind Date, so then the nerves set in a bit. Describe your first impression of Ayesha in three words. Fun, interesting and pretty. What do you look for in a girl, and did Ayesha fit the bill? I like girls who are down to Earth, preferably someone who’s as much into travelling as I am. We talked a lot about travelling so she seems to fit the bill. Were there any funny/awkward moments at the start? Well she was telling me about a time she was having sex and forgot to close the curtains, so that was funny. Oh, and I asked her when the last metro home was within the first five minutes, which probably came across as rude but I didn’t mean it like that!

JamJar Who paid? Went dutch What did you drink? Vodka Jam and Gin Jam

Ayesha on Josh Describe your first impression of him in three words. Relief (on my part), cute, jaw-line. What is your usual type? Tall, brown hair, handsome. Yes, he fits the mould. Were there any awkward moments? There were genuinely no awkward moments, thank god! Usually, I’m pretty awkward, but it was fine. What did you talk about? Everything really; travelling, cheer, cross country, friends and sex. Sex? What about it? Nothing too saucy. Mainly stories. I had an awkward story published in The Courier which I told him about. Find it if you want to read it. Oh, and I learned that he likes nongirly girls.

At any point did you understand why she’s single? I was perplexed as to why she didn’t have a boyfriend, she’s very nice. She did also tell me she’s very manly, so maybe that’s a reason haha.

Interesting. Are you a girly girl? No. Not at all. Perfect. Why is he single do you think? He went to university with a girlfriend, but they broke up. A similar situation to me really.

“She told me she considered standing me up” Best and worst features? Best: She had a beautiful smile. Worst: She told me she considered standing me up because she was so nervous about the date.

Aw, two peas in a pod. What were his best and worst features? Best: He was easy to talk to, and easy on the eyes. Worst: He doesn’t live in Newcastle. Would you introduce him to your mum? Yeah, he’s well spoken and polite; I’m sure she would like him.

What do you think your flatmates/parents think of her if you brought her home? I think my flatmates would think she’s really hot, and probably be jealous and try to steal her off me. And I think she’d get on really well with my family because she’s outgoing and outdoorsy, which they are too.

Shag, marry or “see ya bye”? Umm... marry? Would you see him again? Potentially. In Durham.

So do you think there’ll be a second date? Yeah I hope so. We’ve been texting most days since we met up. [About a week ago.]

Cute, sexy or hot? All of the above.

Cute, sexy or hot? Sexy.

“He was easy to talk to, and easy on the eyes”

Clever, sweet or funny? Clever and funny.

How did you finish the date? Anything cheeky? A hug at the metro, and texts since.

How did the date end, anything cheeky? Nothing cheeky as I had to get the last metro home. I would have loved to stay a bit longer but I had loads of work to do the next day. But maybe things will develop in the future. Rate yo’ date: 8


Rate yo’ date: 9

Unlucky in love? The Courier is here to help! Send your details to:

Monday 10 February 2014

The Courier

Lifestyle Editors: Evie O’Sullivan, Elizabeth Archer, Hazel Parnell and Katie Smith

Restaurant Review: Las Iguanas Owen Bull

What’s your nutritional personality?

Christmas, New Year and the exam period may have played havoc on your once temple-like bodies with the copious amounts of food, stress and booze you’ve thrown at them. Our resident nutrition guru brings you a quiz you can use to discover your inner nutrition god or goddess whilst giving you some tips and advice on how to get there.


What’s your poison? A: Beer with the lads B: I don’t drink, the body is a temple don’t cha know C: Chambord spiked champers, biatch D: Guinness (but not without a few packet of crisps of course!)


ne of the best things about living in Newcastle is its eclectic mix of eateries, from the student friendly to the (g)astronomically expensive. One of my favourite haunts – Las Iguanas – falls somewhere in the middle of that spectrum, making it the perfect place for a treat if you’re feeling a little fancy. Start with one of their signature cocktails, mixed by expert staff at the bar. The extensive Happy Hour menu is 2-for-1 Sunday to Wednesday and before 7.30pm the rest of the week; making it a fun and inexpensive way to awaken your palette to the subtle South American flavours of the restaurant. The drink selection is inspired by Las Iguanas’ Latino roots, and features Brazilian, Mexican and Cuban classics, naturally with lashings of tequila and rum. My personal favourite is the Caipirinha, supposedly Brazil’s national cocktail, which is a mixture of lime, sugar and cachaca served over ice. The citrus notes make it a refreshing way to start the evening after a long day at uni, and it is suitably alcoholic to get the conversation flowing. When you’re ready, move onto the food menu, which also offers a wide range of authentic South


“I’d say Las Iguanas would be the perfect place to go for a date or perhaps girls’ night out.”


American classics. Many old favourites such as burritos and chilli con carne are complemented by more adventurous dishes like the famed Brazilian xinxim: a creamy lime chicken dish dressed in a peanut and crayfish sauce. The dishes are fresh-tasting with a beautiful balance of flavours and the perfect spicy kick. I’m particularly fond of Las Iguanas’ famous fajitas served with chunky guacamole and mouth-watering chicken strips. Although the fajitas are a little on the pricey side compared to the rest of the menu, the novelty of the deconstructed dish adds to the relaxed atmosphere of the restaurant and is cer-

What is your health aim? A: Strong as Wolverine with guns to match B: Better time, better form C: Toned and flexible D: I Just want to stop being mistaken for Rik Waller My ultimate food craving is... A: Big mofo steak, bro B: Anything covered in melted chocolate C: Roasted goats cheese with caramelised onions and quinoa salad D: Sorry, I’ve forgotten the question because of my rumbling stomach


To you nutrition is... A: Maaaate, it’s a tool to enhance muscle gains B: The fusion of mind body and food C: Of great interest to improving race times D: That gobbledeegook on the back of the Dairy Milk pack The results: Mostly A’s Your dietary alter ego is Hulky Hugo Tips: To build some serious muscle for the pitch a recent study by Symons (2009) found that a small portion of protein (30g) found in 90g of lean beef improves muscle synthesis by 50% whilst muscle gain doesn’t increase by increasing the protein levels above 30g. Practically this means overeating protein that won’t get used, eat small portions of protein regularly throughout the day to increase synthesis. Mostly B’s Your dietary alter ego is Fast Fez Tips: Ditch all notions of carbophobia, the potato is your nutritional BFF in the mission to increase your glycogen (muscle energy) stores. Before an endurance event (e.g. great North run) bin any notions of old school carb loading and skip the hardcore exhaustive exercise a week before race day which can hinder your chances of a PB. Mostly C’s Your Dietary alter ego is Bendy Wendy Tips: To get that ultra-toned stomach embrace the anti-bloating effects of nature’s little helpers, probiotics. Evidence suggests these microorganisms cultivate in your gut and take the place of pathogenic (harmful) bacteria and therefore can reduce the chance of illness whilst decreasing bloating and digestive health. Some studies have suggested that phytochemicals in green tea extract can boost metabolism so why not pop an herbal wonder to increase the definition of your abdominal toning. Mostly D’s Your Dietary alter ego is “BIG BONED” Bertie Tips: Going hungry should never be the only option for losing weight healthily The GI diet ensures that blood sugar remains constant to lower your cravings for those Krispy Kremes.

tainly worth the extra pennies. Perhaps unusually for a Latin restaurant, there is also a comprehensive dessert menu. I have to confess that following the usual carb-fest of nachos and fajitas I rarely have room for much more than a sorbet, but their zesty lemon, raspberry and mango combination is one I highly recommend. The restaurant itself is split over two levels, with a bar on the upper and the restaurant on the lower mezzanine. It is decorated in warm harmonies of coral and turquoise with muted lighting and sixties-style fittings, which give the overall impression of being on a (slightly more tasteful) Bond movie

set. Classic South American rhythms play in the background, but don’t overwhelm the atmosphere, creating a relaxed and lively vibe. Given the presence of alcohol, food to share and the reassuring hum of background noise, I’d say Las Iguanas would be the perfect place to go for a date or perhaps girls’ night out. The best time to go is at the beginning of the week, when there are good deals to be had on drinks and tapas. But be sure to book a table, as the restaurant is usually fully booked by early evening. Elizabeth Archer

Nekno-one gives a f**k Neknomination has taken over our Facebook newsfeeds for the past couple of weeks with various friends necking things such as eggs, bottles of wine and dirty pints. George Smith brings us his view on Neknomination and why he’s hoping the trend goes down in one Now that it has been complicit in the deaths of two youths in the Republic of Ireland, the Neknomination craze has come under scrutiny for the potential risks it exposes young people to.

“On principle, I didn’t want to look or feel like a dick ”

If you have been living under a rock since new year or don’t have Facebook (if that is the case, I applaud your self-effacing hipsterism) then you may not have heard of Neknomination; allow me to enlighten you. It involves a participant filming him or herself rapidly “downing” a beverage of their choosing, upon completion they nominate one or more of their friends to follow suit thus forming an eternal chain of peer pressure. From what I can gather, its origins can be found in Australia with the first videos posted in around 2010. This particular incarnation did not spark into a full-blown craze but when it was revived in December of last year and Neknomination spread around the globe. At the moment you can easily find videos of people performing various stunts in

the name of the fad as far away as South Africa or Canada, with university students being the most regular practitioners. Of course this is not the first “dangerous” activity to start trending on social media. Many will recall the planking epidemic, which apparently claimed at least one life in Australia in 2011. With 7 out of 10 people in the UK now owning a smartphone, it is unsurprising that with this increase comes a proportional rise in novelty social media trends. Effectively, neknomination has added alcohol into this equation and made things rather more problematic. The trouble can be said to stem from the fact that “peer pressure” circumvents personal intelligence making people behave in ways that they would not in other circumstances. This is what led to the deaths that neck and nominate has been associated with. Once a trend reaches a certain level of popularity, it seems inevitable that people will die in the performance of their imagined “duty”. But that is not why I loathe this practice: it is because it belittles the independence and intelligence of the practitioner. A couple of days ago, I personally was asked to perform a neknomination and found myself caught between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, refusal of the invitation would mean losing the respect and admiration of many of my peers

“With 7 out of 10 people in the UK now owning a smartphone, a rise in novelty social media trends is unsurprising” and the call to be creative was almost unsurpassable but on the other, on principle, I didn’t want to look or feel like a dick. I imagined all of the neanderthals dragging their knuckles down to the pub, downing dangerous amounts of alcohol in order to affirm to others that their testicles were as swollen and hairy as the next man’s and thought “do I really want to join them”. I’m personally relatively comfortable with my manliness, its not exactly huge but cuts a fine figure when needs be; for this reason I rejected my call to neknominate and urge others to join me or to treat it with appropriate irony. Illustrations by Daisy Billowes

Notable neknominees

- That woman on a cow in Cumbria - Two guys jumping off a helicopter - That man on a quad bike going through McDonald’s drive-through - That man who downed a pint of deer’s blood

The Courier


Monday 10 February 2014 | @Courier_Life

Slim without the gym

Break a sweat without breaking the bank. Sometimes the gym can be downright embarrassing, getting out of breath on the treadmill after only five minutes, when that speedy guy next to you has been sprinting flat out for twenty. If you don’t want to fork out all your money on a brand new gym membership, or simply don’t like the gym but realise that time is ticking to check that New Year’s Resolution (“KEEP FIT”) off your list, then read on 1. Refreshers’ Week has just passed,

why not take up a new sporting society? Whether you’re a serious competitor or want to join for a laugh and the training, then why not sign up? It’s a win-win situation, you don’t need to be a pro sports-star to join. And the socials are top notch.

2. GoPlay Nusu: It’s free to sign up, and

you can pick any activities you want! GoPlay encourages students to play sport for fun, and organises many sporting activities for as little as £2 a person, and sometimes (like their weekend football in the park run by students) for free as well. Check out their website and Facebook page, see what’s on, and maybe enjoy a bit of social tennis, or take up their new Archery club. They offer volleyball lessons, basketball sessions and even karate — you don’t need any experience whatsoever. Ever played UV pingpong? It’s like playing pingpong in a rave club. And it’s free. And who wouldn’t want to try that out? We’re pretty lucky to have this offered to us in the University at such a good rate, I wouldn’t waste opportunities like these to keep fit.

4. Have you heard of the insanity workout? Well, I hadn’t until this year — me and my flatmates are now addicted. This has been our new challenge: it’s a 60 day intense cardio workout, lasting 45 minutes 6 days a week. Sometimes, we really, really hate it. But we love it. Our love-hate relationship with insanity resonates from our highly challenged willpower to do it each day, and the great feeling of success after every aching 45 minute period. We might live in Ricky Road, but who cares when we are keeping fit intensely exercising, and getting rock-hard abs? You don’t need that much space to do this workout in front of the TV, or in our case, a 13-inch laptop screen wired to loudspeakers. Even if insanity isn’t for you, there are plenty of other workout videos out there, and trust me, your core will feel so much stronger if you commit to the programme.

W 3. Get back into your weekend routine of running and take part in the 5km Newcastle Parkrun — it’s every Saturday at 9am and runs in Exhibition Park right next to Jesmond and is run by a group of volunteers. All you need to do is register then turn up on the day! Why register, you ask? Because, this group of friendly athletes want to help everyone of every ability improve and enjoy running (or a little jog) by timing your run, so you can monitor your progress and watch yourself improve, week by week. They all run for their own enjoyment, as it states on their website, so feel free to run at whatever pace you like! 5. You don’t need a shiny gold membership to keep fit. Or even sports clothes and equipment (although it helps). Swimming might just be the perfect recreational activity for you as it can be relaxing and equally therapeutic, whilst also working all your body and core muscles. Believe it or not, it has been proven that swimming is the best form of exercise for all your four S’s: Suppleness, Strength, Stamina and Stability. Sounds inviting, huh? Well then, head down to Jesmond Swimming Pool today. With a student price of £3.00 you can’t go wrong. They offer more than just swimming there, check out their Ta Chi, Pilates and Spinning classes too. Holly Suttle

2014 is going to be my year Tom Tibble’s gluten experiment Last semester I was in the habit of eating a perfectly fine meal and then randomly vomiting it up afterwards. The mainstay of my diet was beer, cereal and lots of sandwiches made from that sliced bread-that-probably-isn’tbread type of bread (stuff with gluten in basically) and since my uncle is a celiac it seemed clear that I was too. I reduced my gluten intake over Christmas and thought I’d use the New Year as a ceremonial target for total elimination. I drank wine on New Year’s Eve (a gluten free win) but the resolution effort lasted all of about 8 hours into New Year’s Day as, hanging badly in a wine induced hell, I demolished four of those incredible Tesco caramel cookies in a bid to satisfy my hangover hunger – an abysmal resolution effort. I went to the GP with my diagnosis and he, in the most polite way possible, told me to man up. It turns out I don’t have a gluten allergy and that a combination of painkillers and excessive alcohol had minced my insides. I carried on half-heartedly being gluten free as a kind of continual denial that it was the alcohol that did the mincing, however, since I’ve drunk less alcohol, the symptoms of my gluten allergy have mysteriously disappeared.

Every year’s the same: the clock strikes twelve and your inner Cinderella realises she (or he) has some changes to make. “New Year, New Me.” But how long into the New Year do you realise, you are actually quite fond of the old you? Over a month on, 3 Lifestyle writers reflect on their resolutions

Alexandra Gibbs and her girls give ‘food rationing’ a go So me and my girlies all have our guilty food pleasures, from chocolate to gin to syrupy granola. We’ve all limited ourselves to one sacred portion a week, or for me, one big bag of granola and golden syrup tub a fortnight. So far, we’ve had our ups and downs, some more downs than others. Some petty cash has gone into the naughty jar when instead of two nights of alcohol, it ends up being five a week – gotta love end of exams. It’s even worse when we take the cash out for some more much-needed alcohol. All in all, we’re not perfect, but sometimes students need that extra alcoholic/chocolate incentive.

Suzie Bliss

Beki Crawshaw and her ‘Sex-free Sundays’ Everybody knows Sunday is the ‘day of rest,’ right? No. It seems that this Commandment has been forgotten by many. I mean, c’mon, the amount of girls that openly admit to being in bed with a guy on a Sunday morning after their Saturday night ‘out-on-the-pull’ is potentially higher than any day during the week. As a result, they are failing to respect the fact that their “bodies are temples”– and lets just say I’m not one to talk; if mine was a temple once, it certainly isn’t now, taking into consideration my past sexual antics that had me traipsing back to my accommodation at 9am on frequent Sunday mornings, still in full dress and make-up from the night before. In fact, having sex on a Sunday is like entering the Taj Mahal with your shoulders on show – it’s strictly FORBIDDEN. It was through these continual walks-of-shame that I finally came to my senses: I need to change. At the start of the New Year I vowed to have sexfree Sundays (which went surprisingly well since Freshers Week had practically turned me into a sex-addict), and damn it feels good. I feel like a new woman with a new temple (ready to exploit).

Ignorance is Bliss

ith thanks to the trusty Urban Dictionary, ‘ignorance is bliss’ is defined as the lack of knowledge to a situation. And, that usually once the whole truth is revealed, you realise you were happier being clueless. With my last column in mind, it can be concluded that I certainly am one of those people who bumble along in a clueless, ignorant contentedness with life. Since first year, it has become apparent that I have been ignorant in a few of my lifestyle choices. I was clueless to the fact that it wasn’t really ok to choose the stew and dumplings at dinner in Leazes - even the kitchen staff looked down on my poor meal choice. I was also quickly informed, that spending days hungover and alone in my room watching episode after episode of Escape to the Country wasn’t acceptable conduct for a supposedly fun-loving student. Whose to say that I wouldn’t have been perfectly content bumbling along in my stew-eating, property program-watching state? I can only hope that learning from these PLCs (poor life choice) has helped me salvage any shreds of self-respect and hold onto my friends. There are however some very serious issues that far too many of us go through life completely oblivious to and I feel that through personal experience of ‘being shown the light’, I must bring you out of blissful ignorance and into reality. My housemates and I recently watched a documentary called Blackfish. It was 83 minutes that changed my outlook on SeaWorld. I ignorantly believed that these aqua parks were institutions of honest, family entertainment. How wrong I was - the documentary follows the life of a killer whale, named Tilikum, who was captured in the wild as a youngster and put into captivity.

“Your childhood favourite Free Willy clearly wasn’t so free after all”

The short film shows Tilikum living in a tank barely double the size of him. He is resorted to simply swimming round in endless circles instead of the 100 miles they swim daily in the wild, Tilikum is shown endlessly circling his tiny tank. In addition, performance whales are often locked in with one or two other whales that are not part of their natural social groups. The whales are subjected to a restricted diet. In the wild, killer whales eat approximately 500 lbs of fish a day while in captivity they have to survive off 140 to 240 lbs a day. These minimal amounts of food are intended to keep the whales alert and more responsive during performances. These factors of captive life put the whales under enormous amounts of stress and hence, provoke aggressive behaviour. So much so that the whales attack each other; they are covered in teeth marks and the film shows performances being stopped due to their wounds reopening and heavily bleeding. The documentary focuses on the three deaths of SeaWorld trainers in which Tilikum was involved. Three attacks that despite the unacceptable conditions in which they keep Tilikum, SeaWorld continue to describe as ‘unprovoked’. To find out the full extent of the hardships of captive life for these magnificent creatures, I urge you to watch Blackfish. And once you’ve watched it -sign all the online petitions you can find. As we speak two orcas have been captured and are being flown in to the Sochi Winter Olympics simply to be ‘put on display’, and yes there is a petition you can sign to try and stop this. Don’t be ignorant to the tortured, listless lives of Tilikum and friends, stand up to SeaWorld and just think – your childhood favourite Free Willy clearly wasn’t so free after all.

Monday 17 February 2014

The Courier

Fashion Editors: Frances Stephenson and Amy O’Rourke Deputy Fashion Editor: Bex Finney

My week in fashion

You’ve got a trend in me

Hannah Fitton asks fellow students if her favourite winter buy is a winner or a binner


ASOS - £48



‘This coat is something I’d probably only glance at in the shop, but then when seeing it being worn as well as this, I’d race back to buy. Although quite a daring colour for winter, you’d definitely stand out in a crowd and it means the rest of your outfit can be monochrome without looking dull’

‘This coat is definitely a brave choice, and I have not seen many other people wearing it, but I really like it. The cut of the coat is interesting and the balloon style is different to lots of other coats you see’

“Posh stole the show with her romantic ruffled dresses and loose silhouettes, firmly securing her place among fashion’s finest” Posh has come a long way in the fashion world, I remember receiving her book one Christmas, ‘That extra half an inch’, and to be honest I had no interest in reading it, I had never valued her as a fashion icon (except for the little black dress in Spice World, of course) but I gave it a read and you know what? It’s pretty amazing. Who knew Posh was so funny and this woman knows fashion in and out and ever since reading the book I haven’t been surprised at her vault in to the realm of the fashion elite. It’s not just my fashion eye that has spied the wonder of Victoria’s collection, A-list celebrities including Eva Longoria (VB’s BFF), Miranda Kerr and and Kim Kardashian have all been papped often sporting a sleek VB dress and killer heel, Victoria’s trademark. Victoria’s personal style has evolved throughout the years from wedged trainers and pleather dresses to classic cuts and timeless accessories. Our Posh has come far. A student budget means owning our own piece of VB gear isn’t exactly plausible but you can find some great look alike pieces on the high street this ASOS asymmetr ic dress id very VB without the cost, just add some big shades and a pout.

‘I love this coat! I have seen it in Topshop in a blue and pink too, and have being thinking about getting it. I can imagine that due to the colour you have to really plan what you are going to wear with it, but I think you have done this really well’

‘I like the material of the coat, the fluffy texture looks good and I can imagine it is really cosy. You have opted for a bright colour which I think works really well as it brightens up any outfit’

Bex Finney

veryone has their own opinion on Victoria Beckham; out of tune bimbo, role model, fashion icon. Personally I think she’s fabulous and even more so after her runway show at New York Fashion Week. Victoria Beckham did us Brits proud and to the dismay of many Posh stole the show with her romantic ruffled dresses and loose silhouettes, firmly securing her place amongst fashions finest. The great thing about this seasons VB collection is that it is tailored to flatter any woman whilst still retaining a couture finish. Victoria is a woman who knows how to dress the female form, accentuating each curve of the body deliciously through her designs.





‘I like this coat as it is different to the normal black coats you see. I think the lime adds colour to the winter months, but it can also be worn throughout the rest of the year. It is a good length and fits really well.’

‘I really like the cut of the coat, the sharp lines and the cocoon shape makes it a little bit different whilst still following current trend. I also like how you have paired it with a simple black snood as it really compliments the coat’

How to score with sports luxe Sara Macauley gives us a game plan on how to win gold and avoid injury when wearing one of this season’s biggest trends, sports luxe


he Sports Luxe trend first made its catwalk debut following the 2012 Olympics, with the likes of fashion giants Stella McCartney, Alexander Wang and Isabel Marant sending their models down the catwalk clad in aertex fabrics, flashes of neon and the all-important bomber style jacket.

“Adding layers of jewels to your outfit is a risky move and the outcome will be more Ultrabeat than ultra-cool”

The record breaking trend is back with a vengeance for Spring/Summer 14, so I’ve created a game plan to make sure you look on top form, should you decide to give Sports Luxe a whirl this season. Although the trend is sometimes perceived as hard to pull off, the aim of the game is to keep things simple - clean lines and statement shapes are your friends. The key to this trend is to ensure you feel comfortable yet remain looking elegant - for example by pairing a slouchy silk bomber jacket with tailored trousers and finishing the look off with a pair of minimalistic barely-there heels. When it comes to Sports Luxe, the question on every fashionista’s lips is “Does that mean I can wear my

trackies?” Thankfully, the answer is yes, as long as they are made of leather. Metallic or leather joggers are an integral part of the Sports Luxe look and in my opinion, should win a gold medal for achieving the perfect mix of comfy yet cool. Pair yours with a structured blazer and cami for dinner and drinks or wear them high waisted with a racer-front crop if you’re hitting the Toon. To nail it during the day, focus on loose mesh t-shirts and for a subtle nod to the trend, look to Topshop, ASOS and River Island for a selection of revamped slip on trainers.

“The aim of the game is to keep things simple clean lines and statement shapes are your friends”

While the Sports Luxe look has the potential to look amazing, when worn wrong it can cause major sartorial injury. Thankfully, the guidelines for the look are easier to understand than the offside rule. Firstly, the pair of trainers that have taken residence in the back of your wardrobe since you last wore them in 2010 should remain there. They were buried for a reason. Another key point to note is that wearing a baggy pair of tracksuit bottoms will always result in an outfit which looks more à la gym than à la mode.. Although a flash of neon is accepted and

actively encouraged within the trend, a £3 neon crop top from Primark’s bargain bin is not – leave it to the ‘Call on Me’ girls.

“A varsity jacket paired with shiny black disco pants is a look which belongs to Sandy and the rest of the Grease cast”

Since the trend draws its luxe qualities from super-soft jersey materials and neat tailoring, there’s no need to pile on the bling - adding layers of jewels to your outfit is a risky move and the outcome will be more Ultrabeat than ultra-cool. Similarly, a varsity jacket paired with shiny black disco pants is a look which belongs to Sandy and the rest of the Grease cast. The whole trend is based on a healthy mix of three quarters luxury to one quarter sports, so keep things chic – wearing your entire basketball kit with a pair of heels just won’t make the cut. All in all, to score goals with the Sports Luxe trend this spring/summer, keep things simple and minimalistic, and with a bit of luck you’ll pull off the trend without spraining something.

The Courier


Monday 17 February 2014 | @Courier_Fashion

Full, flirty and fabulous

Daria Sergeeva shares her tips on pulling off the full skirt, a trend predicted to fly off the shelves this Spring

What I wore the night before


£1 hop Tops

£28 hop Tops


fter a stressful week of exam results, a mountain of books and a hectic schedule of gym classes, Friday night arrived with the sound a trumpets blaring and fireworks in my mind. I needed to forget the past week and dance/drink the night away with the girls. I knew it was going to be a heavy night so I needed something comfortable to wear yet, still made me feel fabulous and ready to party.

“I like to keep up with the trends; this month, I’m a big fan of tartan”

Topshop £36


f you are thinking of getting a new skirt, don’t buy a mini again. The shops are full of various midi and maxi ones giving you a huge range to choose from. High waist midi skirts are extremely popular right now. Wear it with a cropped top and a pair of high heels- all the attention will be on you. Another choice is getting a skirt and a top of the same texture and colour and maybe wearing them with a narrow strip of your body visible making the look subtly sexy without flashing too much flesh. Don’t forget to check the length of the skirt when buying it- the wrong length might make you look shorter than you actually are. The perfect variant is the skirt that goes just a little below the knee. The range of skirts available on the high street is impressive; monochromatic, colourful, leather, jeans, pleated, there’s a style to suit everyone’s tastes.

Monochromatics look minimalistic and are easy to wear, leather ones are quite fancy but they tend to show every small defect of your body so if you tend to overeat and nurse a food baby, this probably shouldn’t be your choice. A floral print adds a spring note into your look and knitted skirts are the most suitable for winter as they keep you warm. If you choose a monochromatic skirt, go for white colour, it is the new black this season. You could also choose a nude tone, which looks innocent and coquettish at the same time. A bell-bottomed skirt looks best when paired up with heels as it makes a stylish and feminine look and a colourful tight-fitting one can even be worn with sneakers. For winter looks try wearing a midi skirt with something between shoes and ankle boots as sporting sandals just isn’t practical and boots rising higher on the

It’s in his jeans

leg will make you look shorter when worn with a long skirt; the best option is a pair of boots with a slight open toe. A full skirt would also look beautiful with an oversized sweater, shorted at the front and longer at the back, flat ankle boots and a biker jacket. Adding a fedora or a floppy hat will only make the look more interesting and worth of putting onto the pages of street fashion magazine. In the outfit shown the white Topshop diamond patterned skirt is sublte in colour but heavy in texture, and thus, the top has to be minimalistic in order to keep the look understated and not so OTT. Skirt; Topshop £28 Clutch; House of Fraser £30 Sandals; Topshop £55

Ede Dugdale tells us why we don’t need a man in our lives - we just need his jeans instead

Topshop £42


particularly effective style that is increasingly on point and popular within high street to high-end fashion is the ripped destroyed jeans that simply add that little something more to your outfit. Similar to the vintage mom jeans, these darker denim jeans are more fitting to your body which allows them to be worn with a loose fisherman jumper to complete the baggy, ‘boyfriend’ look. The queen of chic, Alexa Chung, regularly sports this popular ‘edgy-chic’ look.

Topshop £42

way. These high-waisted denim ones are an almost revised, new style of boyfriend jeans that are made to fit even better that the original 80s ‘boyfriend jeans’. The light denim makes them perfect to wear with the upcoming spring season’s pastel colours. Dress them up or down with an edgy crop top or fisherman jumper and cute sandals, perfect for a day of shopping.

Matalan £20

Topshop £42


oyfriend jeans are the best they’ve ever been, a subtle piece of clothing that can take your outfit a long


n even darker pair of jeans, which are incredibly on point, are these vintage ripped MOM jeans. The skinnier fit on the leg along with the rolled up ankles means they look particularly cool with a pair of low-top trainers, which are of course one of the main must have items of this season. Match up the eye-catching rips with a pair of New Balance or Nikes and complete the very in street look. All eyes will be on your ankles for once.


hese simpler high-waisted boyfriend jeans can be multi-purpose serving for your wardrobe this spring. They look stylish with a cute pair of heeled boots as well an oversized jacket or long wool coat, which is a very popular look at the moment from the world of fashion to budding fashionista’s on the high-street. They are also practical for a chilled day or lecture with a cropped tee. Show off your legs and let the jeans be the highlight of your outfit.

The chosen night was Feral at the Den. Fridays at Feral are pretty much always on the cards so I was aware of things not to wear, for instance: shoes that will never recover from the peculiar mud/ water combo of the dance floor and clothes that will never be the same colour again. The birthday boy, instead of choosing our usual pre-bar Mimos, picked the more alternative (to put it lightly) venue of Gotham. I did feel a tad overdressed, and not to mention slightly exposed in front of the large number of old men inside. I am a self-confessed shopaholic, my housemates are constantly complaining about the amount of parcels that they have to sign for. I know I should refrain from entering into my overdraft, it’s just the allure of Topshop is too strong to resist. Not only this, but I religiously buy both Vogue and Elle every month so I like to keep up with the trends. This month, I’m a big fan of tartan.

“These boots are my current favourite going out shoe they add a little height, so I don’t feel like a child” I fell instantly in love with this Topshop tartan dress. It’s r e ally comfortable, a slight change from my usual choice of all black, and the panels on the side are slimming. I knew I wouldn’t be able to last very long if I wore heels, but being only 5ft 4” I like having a little bit of height. These boots are my current favourite going out shoe, they give me a little more height so I don’t feel like a child all night, and are really comfortable. I feel like they add a punky edge to the outfit which fits well with the tartan. They’re leather as well which makes them easy to clean, the only downfall is that the gaps between the panels did mean I woke up with fairly dirty feet. Kathyrn Holland


The Courier

Monday 17 February 2014

Fashion Editors: Frances Stephenson, Bex Finney and Amy O’Rourke

2014: an excellent vintage Do’s and don’ts for a successful vintage fashion business Don’t be pretentious. No one likes to be told what’s cool and what’s not. That’s the whole point of being vintage, to be original and not with the flow of trends. Some vintage storesyou know who you are- are ludicrously over priced considering you probably could’ve picked the same ‘vintage’ cat printed 90s jumper up for 50p in a charity shop. Try not to take your customer for a fool, we know your tricks.

“The excuse that they’re vintage doesn’t mean that they should smell like someone died in them” Do make sure clothing is clean and wearable. Rosanna and Rachel commented on how everyone who visits their boutique tells them how clean the clothes smell, which makes the point explicit, no one wants to buy smelly clothes. The excuse that they’re ‘vintage’ doesn’t mean that they should smell like someone died in them. You pay a premium to shop in a vintage store so that clothes are washed and ready to wear, so don’t let customers down. Don’t forget to look the part. Rachel and Rosanna are clear examples of t h e need to dress to impress. If you run a vintage store, make sure you invest in some vintage clothes to look like you know what you’re talking about. You wouldn’t trust a hairdresser with bad hair would you? Plus, it gives you an excuse to go shopping.

“Shopping should be an immersive experience, especially for vintage” Do lay out your boutique in an exciting way. At The Yesterday Society, the girls had clearly put so much effort into how the store was decorated. From the old fashioned record player that blared out vinyl to the hats that snaked up the wall, entering the boutique felt like stepping back in time to a whimsical age where all that mattered was clothes and funky tunes. We all go shopping to forget the day to day mundane stuff so shopping should be an immersive experience, especially when vintage shopping.

Fashion Editor Frances Stephenson talks fashion, business and graduate prospects with Rosanna and Rachel, two grads and owners of their very own boutique The Yesterday Society, nestled in the unlikely location of Grainger Market


ecently I was browsing RAG’s vintage fair and was astonished to discover a Vintage store I had never visited, even though I though I knew the shops of Newcastle like the bottom of my edgy New Balance heel. The store in question was the Yesterday Society vintage boutique. As a pillar of Geordie life, Grainger Market is vamping up its image with the arrival of many new fashion stores setting up shop alongside the fruit and veg sellers. One of which is the Yesterday Society. Set up by Rosanna and Rachel, two recent grads from Newcastle and Northumbria respectively, the boutique is packed with hand picked vintage gear, without the pricetag you often have to compromise on with real deal vintage finds. After meeting Rachel at RAG, she invited me to take a look at the rest of the boutique and have a chat about life after uni, making it in the business world and the meaning of vintage in today’s fast moving society.

“You need to create your own job in the creative sector”

First things first - why Newcastle? RS: Rachel is from the area and I studied Fine Art at Newcastle and wanted to stay after I graduated, as there is an interesting art scene here. We both worked at the Tyneside Cinema and this created a nice safety net for us to fall back on if the project didn’t work out. We came up with the idea in July and had the store running by August. When looking for good locations, our main concern was that as a new business we didn’t want to take on lots of risk, we thought of going out of the centre but decided eventually on the small store in Grainger Market. So we applied for this little stall and were accepted. Rachel studied Human Geography at Northumbria and her dissertation was on the way in which young people create identity through vintage clothing so that was really useful when putting together the business plan and finding evidence that this business would be successful.

How have you found taking shopping from a pastime to a career?

RS: We began by developing a fun idea, we both love vintage clothing so one day we just thoughtwhy not! They’re aren’t loads and loads of jobs around in Newcastle, so as a young person you need to create your own job and forge your own

path in the creative sector if that’s the market you want to work in.

You both have very different vintage style - how would you describe your own personal look? RS: we both have very different style, Rachel is more 50s/60s and I’m more 80s/90s. Most of our stock is 70s-90s as it is easier to get hold of and therefore cheaper to sell, making the stock more affordable, which is our aim.

What does vintage clothing mean to you and how do you explain its popularity with young people today? RA: What is vintage changes all the time, as with fashion things come back and out of style eventually. Affordable vintage is our main priority and it makes the clothing we sell much more sustainable as things from the past were built to last. Vintage clothing fights against the throw away fashion of today. Fashion doesn’t change as often ‘timeless’ pieces that you can invest in with vintage gear. The Yesterday Society is also built on being an ethical brand, as by reusing and recycling clothing you are benefiting the planet.

“Affordable vintage is our main priority and it makes the clothing we sell much more sustainable as things from the past were built to last. ” RS: There is certainly a demand for vintage stores in Newcastle. Our target audience could be anyone as we mainly aim to keep it at a fair cost, rather than market our store at particular demographic. For example our Levis Denim jackets are only £28, that’s very cheap in comparison to other shops. But moreover, we appeal to the Grainger Market clientele. Older people pass and reminisce with us and

we have lovely regulars who pop in just for a chat, which is always nice.

Where do you get the clothes? RS: There are many different suppliers dotted around the UK. One of the main suppliers ships things in from America which means that there are some really different things in our shop than what you see elsewhere.

“One day we were chatting and just thought, ‘that would be a good idea, what the heck lets go for it’”

We hand-pick all of the items, and this means we have a personal affiliation to the clothes we sell. We go all over the place for stock, we even went to Amsterdam over Christmas to get some new clothes.

Talking of Christmas parties, how have you found being your own boss? RS: We love it! It is quite like being a student in terms of self motivation, but the money is the main motivation getting me out of bed. With more money we can expand the business and really make a mark in the Newcastle vintage scene.

And moving from friends to business partners - has that been a tricky transition?

RS: Not at all, we are both fairly easy going, so working together has been easy. We had both previously worked together at the Tyneside so we knew each others’ flaws!

Did you always plan to open up your own business? RS: One day we were chatting and just thoughtthat would be a good idea, and within two weeks we had secured the space, loan and business plan for The Yesterday Society. Our friends were very confused by the speed at which the business had moved as we kept it a secret until we had it finalised.

Monday 17th February 2014


The Courier

Beauty Editors: Safiya Ahmed & Amy Macauley

Back, sack and heart attack Dental student Marc Smethurst took a day off from inflicting pain on his patients in the dentists chair and settled in on the beauty bed at Aish Brow Bar in Jesmond to receive his own dose of pain - all in the name of beauty I like the hot pink waxing table. Very fetch Last time I looked I was blonde...why is this brown?

I hope my sweatshirt can absorb all my tears, the other arm is already waterlogged

Maybe if I backheel her in the face I can make a break for freedom

Can’t wait for your next root canal, you won’t be laughing then

Marc’s hands appear to have changed colour as he holds on for dear life

The experience in Marc’s own words When the Courier asked me to get either my chest or back waxed for this feature, I politely declined due to the fact that I have literally no hair on my chest or back, just a few around the good ol’ nipples. But they persisted, and I ended up agreeing to have my legs waxed. Now, my legs aren’t the hairiest of beasts, but what hair I had on them I was bloody proud of and highly protective over, since they had taken me 22 years to grow. If it wasn’t for the excruciating pain followed by the giggles of several on looking females, I imagine the experience would have actually been quite pleasurable. The only way I can describe the pain is that it’s like someone is pouring hot wax onto your legs, letting it set and then pulling it off along with every single hair that you have painstakingly grown in your entire life. I don’t know how women do it so regularly, especially in more intimate places. I mean, if somebody approached my groin with some wax, I would promptly dropkick them. Well done sisters.

‘‘I’d rather have a broken arm than do this”

‘‘Is it bleeding? It feels like it’s bleeding’’ “I feel like a chicken being plucked” “Does the hair hurt when it grows back?”

‘‘How does a woman lie on this with boobs?” ‘‘Do you have any post-op instructions?” ‘‘I’m going to have to ring my mum after this”

Aish Brow Bar 15 Acorn Road Jesmond NE2 2DJ Tel: 0191 2286389 Mobile: 07788557788

30% off facials 20% off all waxing over £10 until February 28th.

Monday 17 February 2014

The Courier

Beauty Editors: Safiya Ahmed and Amy Macauley

Celebeauty icon: Emma Watson Aditya Sharanya spreads the word about Hermione’s make-up magic.

The sun has got his MAC on

Grace Beddow gives a masterclass in how to warm up your Winter make-up and update your look for the Sun’s return to the Toon. Blusher to bronzer


lthough it is only February, it is not too early to begin to look ahead to the makeup we will be sporting in the spring and summer months. The weather may be telling us differently, but it is possible to kick the winter blues and cold weather by adding some summer to our lives- even if it is just to your makeup bag!


he woman of the modern world is liberated, intelligent and confident. Why, then, idolize women hidden behind layers of make-up and Photoshop on magazine covers? Emma Watson is a celebrity we have seen turn from a geeky girl in Harry Potter to a strong, opinionated, beautiful woman. She struggles with university, social life and awkwardness much like you and I do. In 2011 when I saw pictures of her in university garb I realized this a woman that truly symbolizes beauty in its realistic form. From then on she has worn and pulled off many unconventional looks, going make-up free on many occasions. She brings her quirkiness and personal style to the latest trends never once compromising character for fashion. This is the modern woman: who wears what she spots on catwalks but in her own way, who dresses for her confidence and character, whose make-up is time and mood-dependent, who walks out of her house everyday morning feeling confident of her inner and outer beauty. As research for this article I decided to go completely makeup free for a day. I urge you ladies to try it. Sweep your hair out of your face , comb those eyebrows, put on your favourite lip balm, concealer if you feel you must and some Vaseline on those cheekbones. Wearing your best colour and accessories helps. Stride out with confidence and feel Newcastle’s wind (or sun if you’re lucky) on your bare face and feel the freedom our female ancestors fought for. For we, the modern women are the true symbols of fashion and beauty much

A quick way to bring some sunshine into your makeup life is to replace the berry and plum toned blushers for bronzer. Because we are still in the depths of the Baltic weather up in the toon, opt for a very subtle bronzed glow where the sun would naturally hit, as this can give the skin a radiant glow without making it glaringly obvious that the tan is far from natural. A popular option is NARS Laguna bronzer, as this can give a natural look when applied as a light layer, or for a more purse friendly option try No7’s Mosaic bronzer, which is a steal with the £5 off vouchers that Boots constantly give away.

From dark lips to lighter hues Replacing the dark berry and vampy lip colours for subtle petal tones and nudes is a perfect place to start when introducing summer elements into our make-up routines. The formulation corresponding to a certain time of year is now a concept of the past, so bringing matte lipsticks along from winter is perfectly acceptable; bright matte shades are perfect for nights out, and moisturising petal shades, like Estee Lauder’s ‘Crystal Pink’ look beautiful for day to day wear.

Sheer wash of shadow

Begin to replace the heavy metallics and glittery smoky eyes that are typical of winter make-up with a big look for spring and summer 2014, and simply wear a sheer wash of colour across the eyelids. This trend is good news for those of us who don’t possess the time (or energy) to spend hours buffing different shades together, as it allows us to ditch the copious blending in favour of just one swipe of colour across the lids. For the spring months, sheer copper and rose hues are a pretty choice, and these can be replaced with pastel lavender and ol-

Highlighter A classic summer make-up trend that can be introduced in preparation for the warmer season is to invest in a highlighter to use on the top of the cheekbones and bridge of the nose. This simple and quick fix will seemingly never get old, as it is donned on the catwalks every SS, adding light to the faces of the already radiant models. We are spoilt for choice with the amount of highlighters on the market, but a favourite of mine is Benefit’s ‘High Beam’, with a much cheaper dupe being Me Me Me’s ‘Beat the Blues’ for just £5.50. These highlighters are both liquid formulations, which are perfect for the slightly colder months approaching summer, as they don’t emphasise any dry skin areas.

ive hues for the summer months.

Lighter foundation Opting for a lighter coverage foundation is a popular step to take when the weather begins to change, as it is the perfect way to kid ourselves that summer has begun. Wearing a more sheer foundation or BB cream makes the skin feel fresher and less weighed down, meaning an instantly more natural and carefree feel. A good option for oily skins is the Garnier BB Miracle Oil Free Skin Perfector, or for dryer skins, the Dr Jart BB creams give sheer, but buildable coverage and are very long lasting. A more dewy complexion will also complement the other summer make-up trends, like bronzing and pastel shades on the eyes and lips.

like Emma Watson.

“And you spray it where..?” where

From underboob deodorant to perfume with notes of blood and semen, Rachel Britton takes a look at the strangest and most controversial beauty products around.

‘Heel’ no pain

Lady Gaga ‘Fame’ Perfume

‘Swoob’ deodorant

Unusual but perhaps ingenious, Biochemistry’s ‘Heel No Pain’ is a spray designed to combat the pain caused by wearing high heels. Developed by a plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills, the product works by directly numbing the nerves that transmit pain and contains lidocaine HCI, a chemical that is most commonly used by doctors and dentists to safely deaden pain. The spray is claimed to be effective for two to three hours and is sold in ‘”handbagsized” spray bottles, so staying out all night is not an issue, at least not for your feet. Though it may be a life-saver for those of us who love wearing sky-high heels, it could be argued that pain is the body’s way of telling us that something is wrong, therefore, while the product stops us from feeling the pain, this may do more harm than good as we are unaware of our body’s natural

As everyone knows, Lady Gaga is the queen of controversy, however, when she released her first fragrance in 2012, she took it to a whole new level, by including notes of semen and blood. If that wasn’t weird enough, an additional feature of the perfume was the ‘advanced fragrance technology’, which meant that the perfume, which appeared to be a black liquid when in the bottle, became clear when sprayed into the air. As bizarre – and frankly distasteful – as ‘Fame’ sounds, it became the number one best-selling perfume at Superdrug within a week of being on sale, beating the previous records set by Madonna and Beyoncé. I can only assume that people bought the perfume out of curiosity, as surely no one in their right mind would choose to

It’s safe to say that sweaty boobs – or ‘swoobs’, as they have been named – are not an issue that the majority of women lose much sleep over. However, three different companies have recently developed products especially for keeping our lady lumps fresh and dry. Klima Health Solutions’ ‘Bust Dust’, takes the form of a lightly-scented antiperspirant powder, designed “to stop wetness from leaking through your clothes”, while ‘Boobilicious’ focuses more on odour-control, boasting a range of fragrances, including “Lickable Lemons” and “Marvelous Melons”. ‘Fresh Breasts’ promises to turn ‘swoobs’ into smiles with its “natural scentless formula”, and, in case any men were feeling left out, the same company has even created the product’s male counterpart: ‘Fresh Balls’. While there are perhaps some women for whom breast perspiration is a real problem,

warning signs.

smell like blood and semen.

these products just seem like a means of creating yet another thing for women to become insecure about, and cashing in on it by offering a solution.

The Courier


Monday 17 February 2014 | @Courier_Beauty

Fit or shit: controversial cosmetics

Controversial beauty looks can be hard to spot at first. We’re all culprits of spotting a trend on the likes of Cara D’elevigne and thinking ‘that’s cool, I might try that…’. And oh, how wrong we were. Whether they’re disguised as ‘now’ looks or have simply never worked, Charlotte Davies reviews the beauty trends that were just never meant to be.

Hair doughnut

Pastel hair

Bleached brows

My first example is something which has gone through the familiar journey of originally being fit and gradually going on the downward spiral to most definitely shit. The doughnut, the hair sponge, or hair ring. The style surfaced as a traditional, sophisticated updo. And now? The doughnuts have gotten higher and higher and bigger and bigger. It’s gone so far, that they could actually be confused for a tiny little UFO perched on the top of the female head. Seriously girls, is this not a little bit painful? Keep it small and classy instead of trashy!

Pastel coloured hair. No longer are such shades reserved for clothing and floral patterns, but instead they are making an increasing appearance on the locks of many ladies – a controversial look indeed. Surprisingly however, I’m not wholly against it. I think that the look can be unique and fun (on the right type of person). Though if I tried it, I’d resemble a human/marshmallow, for some it can really work. Whether its candyfloss pink or tale blue the look adds a bit of fun into the world of mainstream beauty. The downside? The trend can have seriously bad long term effects on your hair with all the bleaching required to maintain it. So, the look can be great for a short period of time for a little experiment, but I’d say after a while its better to go back to playing it safe. Otherwise you’ll be left with seriously depressed locks that are much more shit, than fit.

Bleached brows. Agreed, brows are a tough one to crack. Too thick, too dark, not matching. It’s hard to achieve the perfect arches to say the least. However, the atrociousness of this new bleached brow trend is up for no debate. The look has been experimented with by the likes of Miley Cyrus and Lady Gaga. Need I say anymore? I’m not advocating the black scouse brow here, but I’d say the bleached brow tops this in terms of offensiveness to the world of beauty. Though this ‘no eyebrows’ trend hasn’t been adopted by the mainstream just yet, it’s vital that it’s nipped in the bud and put well and truly to rest. There is nothing fit about an invisible brow, keep your arches a natural but emphasised colour for a flattering look. Lets all vouch to stay far away from the bleach in order to avoid this disturbingly, alien-esque trend.

Verdict: Shit

Verdict: More fit than shit

Verdict: Shit

Nude lips

Wet look hair

Next, the nude lip. This trend has been around for quite some time now. And, cue ultimate cliché, you really do either love or hate it. Though I can’t deny there have been some disastrous cases of the nude lip, I’d say we should not all be too quick in judging this look. When used in the correct way it can work really well. The key in avoiding the shit rather than fit label is to not go overboard. Applying even a touch too much can give you the invisible lips which blend into your skintone look – never hot. So avoid the heavy hand and go for a trustworthy brand such as Mac’s Myth to keep the look flattering. Once you’ve cracked it this lippy will become your must have, staple product.

Wet look hair. Something which has NEVER been acceptable. It simply baffles me why girls would like to make it look as if an entire bottle of mousse has been wasted on this atrocious look. The hair sticks tightly to the head and blurs the line between wet look and just greasy. It does not work in the every day world unfortunately ladies. If you want effortless, stick to the messy bun or loose waves. The drenched look locks is not the way forward. Verdict: Shit

Verdict: Fit

Blokey beauty: What men really think of make-up Resident male beauty guru Tom Tibble takes a more serious tone this week as he addresses a sensitive topic and shares his opinions the motivations for makeovers.


nything I have ever written for the Blokey Beauty section has been ridiculously uninformative, sarcastic tripe that is ultimately only of any value because that tripe is sometimes in danger of being humorous. This article might not make even that heady benchmark as this time I’m writing slightly more seriously. Unless you’re a make-up artist working on the set of Star Trek, people apply make-up with the hope that it enhances their general appearance. A misconception that some people might have of this hope, is that the make-up wearer wears make-up to impress other people. Whilst that is an element of why people wear make-up, it is, for many people, not the sole or even the main motive. People wear make-up for a number of reasons; an example being that someone might wear it to feel more confident in their appearance or to feel more confident in their self, rather than simply to put on an attractive look for someone else.

Essentially, the distinction I’m trying to make is that when a girl dolls their face up, and whilst it is other people that see that face and subsequently judge it, the dolling up of the face is not for other people. In my experience, girls wear make-up primarily for themselves. Clearly when a girl dolls up her face they want other people to think it’s a good look but they won’t make-up their face in a way that they aren’t happy with. And it is for the above reasons why it doesn’t matter that I, and many other men, might think that girls are better off without caking themselves in a mud heap of foundation, or soaking themselves in a wall of fake tan or royally funking up their eyebrows. Some make-up concoctions are truly bewildering but if that’s what the make-up wearer fancies then who is anyone to judge. What probably generally constitutes good make-up from a man’s point of view is subtlety - not going overboard - as the point of make-up is to accentuate your face, not to cover it up or completely re-invent it.

‘‘I prefer it when my girlfriend wears a small amount of make-up to accentuate her features. I am full against the orange look’’ Ian Mason ‘‘If you look like the back end of a bus then yeah you should wear make-up’’ James Simpson

“No, unless you’re a complete rotter.” Emil Franchi

‘‘Girls (and guys?) should feel free to wear what they want. I just think people look better without it, and the girls I’ve liked don’t indulge too much into it anyway.’’ Emad Ahmed Too much makeup makes them appear to be clowns and can be kind of frightening, like a Stephen King story. Adam T

Glamour crammer

The monthly trip to the Robbo can keep us all feeling a little down in the dumps. Charlotte Dickson gives us a few handy tips to keep you feeling fresh

Scented hand cream This is probably my favourite beauty product to take to the library, especially during the winter months when my skin tends to get dry. You will always find my ‘Wild Rose Hand Cream’ from the Body Shop (the 30ml tube), in my bag when I’m studying. This is because rose is my favourite scent, so it not only helps beat my stress but it keeps my skin nourished and protected as it has SPF 15 built in. Another calming scented hand cream is that with lavender extract, but I recommend going for your favourite smell to help you keep calm.

Caffeine eye roll-on Instead of hitting up the vending machines and Robinson café for caffeinated drinks, you could try something else that will help you keep your eyes open. Caffeinated eye roll-ons are supposed to help reduce bags, as well as hydrate and refresh puffy eyes, so if you find one that works, it will definitely give a motivation boost after staring at a screen or revision notes all day. A popular choice is Garnier’s Caffeine Eye Roll On, which can also come with a hint of concealer or BB cream, but it has received mixed reviews. Having tried Clinique’s All About Eyes Serum in its pot form and getting great results, I personally recommend trying its ‘De-Puffing Eye Massage’ but at £22 it’s not the cheapest of de-stressing beauty products.

Pressed powder I personally feel a bit better during deadlines when I look (or at least think I look) more acceptable in the library. Having quite an oily complexion, pressed powder is a must in my bag when I go into uni to study. My favourite powder at t h e moment is Rimmel’s Clear Complexion Clarifying Powder in Transparent, which increases the longevity of make-up as well as controlling shine and mattifying skin. As a powder that helps minimise breakouts, it can reduce the dreaded appearance of stress spots that may be caused by deadlines and or mid-term assessments.

Join SCAN, a lively student led charity which provides you with endless opportunities to share a little bit of your time and energy for the benefit of the local community. With over 200 worthwhile volunteering opportunities to pick from, there is always something that will suit you.

Want to see an advert for your company or soceity here?

Email [] and [] for more details

The Courier

Monday 17 February 2014

17-23Februarylistings.23 | @Courier_Listings

Listings Toon Times exhibition

Eton Messy Spring Tour

Newcastle United might be in a kind of footballing purgatory currently, shorn of both their best player (Yohan Cabaye) and their most reliable source of comedy (Joe ‘Yohan Kebab’ Kinnear), but this new exhibition might just be the perfect reminder as to why the team matters to the city. Telling the story of the club from 1881 to the present, it includes loads of artefacts which have never been displayed to the public before, plus a recreation of the changing room and players’ tunnel. Presumably that entails being chased around in the showers by a Frenchman with a tightly coiled towel in his hand, ready to give your cheeks a whipping. Such classic horseplay never goes out of style. Free

The Bristol-based dance label are dragging some of their protégées - including Friend Within, Henry Krinkle and Panda - round the country this week. If you like your house deep and your bass wobbly, there’ll probably be something for you in here. Tickets £10

To 5th October Discovery Museum

Fairport Convention 19th February The Sage, Gateshead

The winsome folkie legends have been together (and I’m using ‘together’ in the loosest sense here) for about 45 years now, and don’t seem to have very much interest in the old pipe and slippers route yet. Bring your best beard and practice slapping your thing in time to a fiddle riff. Tickets £22

Photos: Wikimedia Commons

20th February World Headquarters

Ready Steady Cook: Live 21st February City Hall

Fans of early afternoon TV rejoice - Ready Steady Cook is back! Back! BACK!!! Ainsley Harriot will very sadly not be involved, but instead you’ll be in the very capable hands of Lesley Waters, the first chef to cook in space. The press release promises all of the fun of the TV version, including the none-more-suggestive Quickie Bag round. The press release also suggests that the show is great for “those in need of culinary support”, which one can only assume means those of us still trying to slowly regain our confidence in the kitchen following a harrowing ordeal with a particularly stubborn beef bourgignon. Are you a green pepper or a red tomato? (The question is rhetorical, it obviously depends on which chef brings their A-game on the day.) Tickets £20

Derek Jarman Remembered: Caravaggio

20th February Tyneside Cinema

Seeing as it’s 20 years since director Derek Jarman died, Tyneside are doing a special screening of his opus about the life of the Italian Baroque master along with a Q&A session afterwards with Jarman’s former partner and collaborator Keith Collins. Tickets £10

Reverend & the Makers 23rd February Think Tank

The tallest man in Sheffield returns with his Makers to tour their fourth (!) album, Thirty Two. You might like to know that the gang’s third album was called @Reverend_Makers, after their Twitter handle. Ingenius melding of new media and old-style fan power, or tedious, pointless, cynical, boregasmic zeitgeist-humping? See if you can work it out over the course of the evening. Tickets £15

Nymphomaniac double bill plus Q&A 22nd February Tyneside Cinema

It seems like it’s been on the verge of physical release (OO-ER MISSUS) for ages and now it’s finally coming (OI OI) to our screens: Lars von Trier’s incredibly long (WOOF) Nymphomaniac, a two-hander (I SAY) which looks to showcase the director’s usual firm grasp (CHUFFIN’ ‘ECK) of narrative and characterisation. The ensemble cast includes Charlotte Gainsbourg, Jamie Bell, Shia LeBeouf (or Sean the Beef, en Anglais) and Willem Dafoe, and this special showing at Tyneside includes a live satellite Q&A with cast and crew afterwards. Tickets £10


Monday 17 February 2014 The Courier

Arts Editors: Millie Walton and Charlie Dearnley Deputy Arts Editor: Laura Wotton

Me, my Selfie and I

Lauren Stafford discusses selfies, Instagram and the increasing obsession driving iPhone culture

Nude: where’s my bra? Rebekah Crawshaw talks to Newcastle based performance artist Rebecca Farr and discusses whether nudity in art is an expression of creativity or merely legitimised pornography


he depiction of nudity in art has been embedded within our artistic language throughout the decades. Since the midn the Van Gogh museum in August it’s crazy 1800’s, the exploration of the female form has busy. There is elbowing and shoving and I’m been a prominent focus for artists in terms of their evaluation of women annoyed; not just because I’m being kicked in the ankles by someone’s obnoxious, dribbling as stereotypical ‘passive beauties’ and desensitized child but because no-one is actually looking at objects. Indeed, in my opinthe art. Everyone is looking at a phone. Charlie Brooker – snarky, self-confessed “under- ion, women in art are merely ocular pleasures, conformwhelmist” commentator and master of verbose ing to male expectations of lightning speed expressions of acerbic vitriol what it is to be ‘beautiful’ – gave Twitter the title of number 1 ‘Videogame That Changed The World’. Having the technology and ‘sexy’ these days – basically having your tits on to share our lives instantly with a mass audience show, sticking your ass out has encouraged us all to create online versions of ourselves removed from reality – we’re so anxious and pouting at the camera simultaneously. In fact, the to prove we’re having a great life to the Internet, invention of the camera was we forget to really live in the moment; now that pivotal in allowing not only ‘selfie’ has entered the OED, we’re a step closer to photographs of women in admitting that we’re a generation of narcissists, seductive poses to be readobsessed with taking banal snaps of our faces/ ily produced, but also videos food/other half with the hope that someone, to be made and mediated somewhere will ‘like’ it. through books, magazines, and the internet.


With this rise of nudity in art, videos of naked

iPhone-itis is not a phenomenon that exclusively exists in galleries of course. When Yeah Yeah Yeahs insisted that gig-goers put down their camera phones as a courtesy to the band (and to the people standing behind them) it revived a debate amongst music bloggers and journalists – what’s the point in choosing to watch a band play live only to experience it through a matchbox-sized screen? Right, now bear with me here. Walter Benjamin, in The Work Of Art In The Age Of Mechanical Reproduction, states an original piece of art has an ‘aura’ which is lost when it’s reproduced. He says ‘even the most perfect reproduction of a work of art is lacking in one element: its presence in time and space’. For Benjamin, that also means the original work depreciates in value because it is no longer unique – in other words, shaky footage of Karen O can never capture the authenticity of her performance.

men and women contribute to what is known as today’s hyper-simulating erotica – and if you ask me they are just downright crude and distasteful! Men are no longer looking to their wives for a bit of playful action, but are in open relationships with their virtual partners, who will perform all kinds of explicit acts in return of their ‘hard-earned’ payslips at the end of the month. Even the titles of these somewhat ‘creative’ performances (or rather the many inventive positions that these women

can get themselves into) include ‘Forrest Hump’, ‘Pulp Friction’ and ‘Sex-men’ – all relating to films with incredible artistic special effects. And I can only imagine the reaction if somebody was to type these originals in wrong on Google....

and foremost about death, it is difficult to focus on anything other than the fact that she is seductively strewed across a bed naked, reminiscent of Manet’s ‘Olympia’, 1863, that caused public notoriety.

“Jenny Saville’s nudes [...] look more like slabs of meat in a butchery than paintings of actual people!”

‘Nu Sur La Plage’ by John William Godward

“Women in art are merely ocular pleasures, conforming to male expectations of what it is to be ‘beautiful’ and ‘sexy’ these days” This raises the question, then, as to what extent we can call performance ‘Art’ at all? In an interview with Rebecca Farr – a student of Newcastle’s School of Arts and Culture – I discovered my answer. For Rebecca, performance is the greatest artistic expression, speaking louder than methods or techniques that we would deem traditional or ‘fine art’ today, such as painting or sculpture. In her introduction to her project Der Kamera (f), Rebecca highlights that: ‘Whilst the history and ideology surrounding the female nude within art and media suggests that [of] the voyeuristic male gaze’, there is a more ‘unconscious transfer of desires or emotions’ that are embedded beneath the surface on representing nudity in art. Through a series of installations; performance and projection, Rebecca uses the exposure of her own body as a ‘power tool…creating a space in which it is possible to transcend male objectivity’. Combining fact and fiction in the form of a live, nude installation, she speaks of her ten weeks work in Vietnam as a Buddhist chaplain in many hospitals. Despite the depth Rebecca goes into about her experience

‘Liebesszene’ by Max Liebermann

As a female viewer, I do not feel enticed watching her, however I can undoubtedly see how her male audience could feel otherwise… Additionally, in Der Kamera – which evidently states ‘ACCESS FOR MEN ONLY’ – Rebecca superimposes indecent images from the Internet across her body, even getting into the positions that the projections depict; again exploring the effects of her ‘prolonged exposure’ on her audience. Although nudity in art has changed over the years (for the worse, in my opinion, taking into account Jenny Saville’s nudes who look more like slabs of meat in a butchery than paintings of actual people!) we have no one to blame but our ancestors and society. Rebekah Crawshaw

Desert island books

We asked 3rd Year English Lit Student Harriet Sale which five books she would choose to keep her company on a deserted island. Here’s what she came up with... The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald

Times Arrow Martin Amis

his i s the classic on my list. I love it as much as I hate it because it quite literally tares me up every time: ruthless and brutal as much as it is romantic. What makes the novel quite so great is the beautifully understated language.

h i s novel i s quite incredible. Not giving too much away, it is written backwards. It is totally mindboggling at first but I love the challenge of it and the satisfaction of unravelling what’s really going on. Perspective commands everything, making you see in a whole new light.


Although I don’t really have the word count in this short column, there is another argument to be explored. Documenting is a form of curating and by instantly uploading blurry photos of The Starry Night to Instagram, maybe we’re actually turning art into art and that is like so totally “meta”, or whatever. But, personally, I think taking photos inhibits rather than adds to an experience and for the sake of being truly immersed in an event without distraction, all smartphones should be ditched at door.


The Murder of Roger Ackroyd Agatha Christie here is n ot h i n g like the adrena line that Agatha Christie can conjure in a ‘whodunit?’ Who knows what? When? And why? It would keep me entertained for hours as rereading detective fiction does not seem to formulate the same repetitiveness as other genres; ideal if I am going to be there for a while.


The Notebook Nicholas Sparks


o a h is just an absolute dream, which is good enough for me. This would also be my counter to the tragic portrayal of love in Gatsby. Whilst it is a massive tearjerker, it defines the power of true love and would give me faith, in life as well as in love.

The Selby Todd Selby


would h av e to take one picture book. This is a collection of fascinating photographs by Todd Selby of the most weird and wonderful people in their pretty darn cool and quirky homes. Very creative and inspiring, I would want that on my desert island.

The Courier


Monday 17 February 2014 | @courier_arts

Pic of the Week #nclarts


ach week we choose the best arty instagram pic to feature in the paper. Whether its 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! This week’s winning pic is ‘Morning Run’ by Instagram user...


Creativity & Coffee This week Kirat Sagoo settles down for coffee and a toastie in Keith’s Cafe

Poetry Corner

Promoting the creativity and talent of Newcastle students This week, Charlotte Maxwell shares some interesting ideas in her wonderfully punchy poem, ‘The Consultation’ and Holly Suttle imagines the most peculiar of drug-dealings in her poem ‘No ThankYou Dear’.

‘No Thank-You Dear’

Nice, little tea shop. Our favourite too. Our place to relax, recline back and chill. This café is our second home, so through Hangovers we recover, staying still And I share my hot chocolate with you. Now, this strange day becomes stranger until Kind words from a stranger turn the air blue… You stare at me – we guess that woman’s thrill, Only we don’t want any of her glue. Under her coat she hides fags and a pill, Doing her business, it’s nothing new – Each time she turns another student ill. And taking drugs from a hag seems so queer, Really, we decline – no, thank you my dear.


Unpretentious and homely


You’ve been advertising lovers’ liberty in Facebook’s fish bowl Cascading alphabetical anarchy Yet acting as if you’ve spent your evenings typing on egg shells You exchanged a heterosexual package for a hangover Guilty? You know, there’s more value in the handful than the heap; the proportions are better You stayed on the coach because outside it got wetter You wanted insight; spent an hour at the base You looked at a surname, tasted a face You’ve a vague memory of getting smashed Did you forget batteries weren’t included? Ah well, at least your tonsils got thrashed My advice? Ride a Shetland pony down the M6 Rub sugar granules on your tired out lips Then come back next week We’ll see if we can get that red outta your cheek.


Drinks Art

‘The Consultation’

ollow the buzz of voices to Keith’s café and you’ll wish you’d known about it earlier. Located on the third floor of the Hatton gallery, Keith’s has been run for years by art students to fund their Final Degree Show. The cafe is affectionately named after the late Keith (of the Pink Lane ‘Jazz Café’) who often promoted the business, and for good reason. The ‘living room’ is unpretentious; the atmosphere is relaxed and informal with tables and chairs set up for socialising. The breakfast bar/ counter is decorated by a choice of food, good old-fashioned household favourites. With coffee and a freshly made toastie coming in at £1.60 it’s a winner. The colourful, quirky drawings on the walls and the decorative sprinkling of lights make for a relaxed, cosy atmosphere. Keith’s makes you feel at home and that’s what makes it campus’s best kept secret.

‘Poetry Corner’ is a new running feature in our Arts Section this semester encouraging the hidden poets amongst you to show off your talents to the student body! If you too would like to contribute to this section, don’t hesitate in emailing with your submissions. Whatever the content, length or style, we look forward to reading them!

reviews MUST SEE!!



The People’s Theatre 21 - 22 February

ater this month ‘The Wardrobe’, a new play written by Sam Holcroft, will debut at The People’s Theatre in Heaton. Spanning from Tudor Britain to the modern-day, the play is based around a single wardrobe, which becomes central to the lives of small groups of children. Over five centuries the same wardrobe acts as a place of refuge for young people, experiencing heartbreak, violence, and war. Holcroft depicts the struggles endured throughout the most pivotal stages of British history, ultimately marking the loss of innocence of these young people. Holcroft wrote the play as a part of the National Theatre’s nationwide Connections project to create new plays for young people to perform. The cast performing at The People’s Theatre includes members aged from 13 to 20, who are set to demonstrate the extraordinary amount of energy young people bring to live theatre, as well as showcasing the expertise of young people in the local area. Whether or not you’re a regular theatre-goer, the broad-ranging nature of this play means that there’s something in it for everyone. Fact or fiction, past or present... it is all in there, so make sure to get your tickets – it’s definitely worth a watch! Jade Holroyd

The School

Death Dwarf in Paradise


Vane Gallery 20 February - 29 March

eath Dwarf in Paradise is a new series of works on paper by German artist Jorn Ebner. Set in the context of the history of image-making they seek to illustrate and interrogate the effects of the immaterial, digital world of today through the dissolution of the figurative form and the death figure. Taking inspiration from Hans Holbein (14971543) Jorn Ebner transforms the substantiality and permanence of Holbein’s wood cut prints into line drawings that are made up of dissolving sketches and strokes appropriate to the immateriality of the digital age. Ebner transports the skeletal figure from Holbein’s prints into a digital context and perfectly balances the old, and indeed deathly, with a technologically realisation. The various juxtapositions form a harmony informed by multiple artistic influences and Ebner’s combination of traditional drawing and computer based art forms to create a new, balanced aesthetic that is essential to Ebner’s Paradise. Jorn Ebner has exhibited multiple times in the North East in addition to his native Germany, the Americas and Japan. This free exhibit is an exciting opportunity to come face to face with this artist of international renown. Miranda Eedle


Thomas Bayrle: All-in-One

The Stand 18 February

tars of BBC 3’s ‘Live at the Electric’ and Radio 4’s ‘Sketchorama’, sketch outfit WitTank take to the stage of Newcastle’s Stand Comedy Club with the critically acclaimed sketch ‘The School’. Based on the trials and tribulations of boarding school, their newest comedy tour has been widely praised as an impressively sharp take on the traditional archaisms of boarding life, riddled with only the best of its recognisable stereotypes. Kieran Boyd, Mark Cooper-Jones and Naz Osmanoglu take on a dizzying host of eccentric characters who are largely incompatible, charmingly theatrical and, as confirmed by the Independent, ‘resolutely daft’. The plot follows a series of often uncomfortable, but unremittingly hilarious scenarios that make for a frenzied hour of rowing team entertainment. A perfect combination of quirkiness and satirical humour, ‘The School’ is a unique subversion of the conventional repertoire of boarding school antics, the sinister headmaster epitomising the upside-down world of this deranged institution. So tie up your shoelaces, don your best blazer and head down to The Stand on the 18th of this month for an A grade evening of public school banter. Laura Wotton


The Baltic 29 November - 23 February

erspective is the key to understanding Bayrle’s work as the viewing experience is dramatically altered by where you stand. This is particularly the case with the larger compositions or his ‘super-images’, which appear from a distance to recall the pop-art tradition through cartoon-like faces and bright colour, yet as you approach the work the figure becomes increasingly distorted and broken down into tiny identical patterns. The strangely realistic, ‘3D faces’ that line the walls create a disturbing sensation of constantly being watched, which is intensified by the noises omitted from the two televisions playing images of bizarre futuristic figures on loop. The walls of the furthest upstairs space are covered with aggressively bright wallpaper fitting with the explicit nature of the images of figures involved in sexual acts. However, looking at mass of widespread legs and twisted limbs, one cannot help, but feel Bayrle is encouraging humour. Entering into Bayrle’s graphic imagination is a bewildering experience, but behind the chaotic assault on the senses, is some fiercely intelligent work, highlighting the tensions of the modern wo rld. Millie Walton Rebekah Crawshaw


Monday 17 February 2014

The Courier

Film Editors: Muneeb Hafiz and Jacob Crompton-Schreiber

Editor’s Word A Master


he death of Philip Seymour Hoffman feels premature, shocking, and ultimately, a true shame. Widely regarded as one of the finest actors of his generation, every single one of his performances had something special within it, some nuance that Hoffman made completely his own. No matter the size of the character he portrayed, be it the lead, the supporting act, or even a minor role, his presence was always felt. Yes, Hollywood has a proclivity for bestowing sainthood with one breath and condemnation with another, yet, the loss of SeymourHoffman merits such praise and tribute. Rarely, if ever, do we know the real celebrity behind the celebrity. But compared to some of the actors and actresses of his calibre and fame, Hoffman’s life off-set hardly graced the glossy pages of entertainment magazines, nor was it hot material for breaking entertainment news. In the wake of his death, however, there has been an uncovering of a dark history of drug addiction, and more recently, a love triangle as confessed in the pages of his secret, personal journals. Nevertheless, the overwhelming narrative has been of tribute, praise and, most importantly, regret in the lost riches that would surely have come in the future from Hoffman. Here is an actor’s actor, who had the remarkable capacity to engage, enthral, allure, and unnerve, all in an instant. Arguably, the greatest character of his career was that of Lancaster Dodd. A leader, friend, mentor, educator, yet you could sense murmurs of darkness and vulnerability beneath the seemingly impenetrable aura of the character. He had the kind of intensity and intimidating magnetism that, if you were in a room with him, you didn’t want him to strike up a conversation with you, yet you kind of really did. Like Hoffman, you couldn’t help but eagerly await every one of his words, or stare without a blink at each expression. Quite appropriately, Dodd was the Master and in the passing of Philip Seymour Hoffman, we have truly lost one.

From The Master (2012)

John More: I belong to no club, and if you’re unwilling to allow any discussion... Lancaster Dodd: No, this isn’t a discussion, it’s a grilling! There’s nothing I can do for you, if your mind has been made up. You seem to know the answers to your questions, why do you ask? John More: I’m sorry you’re unwilling to defend your beliefs in any kind of rational... Lancaster Dodd: If, if you already know the answers to your questions, then why ask PIG FUCK? We are not helpless. And we are on a journey that risks the dark. If you don’t mind, a good night to you. Muneeb Hafiz

McConaissance man From rom-com runt to Oscar nominee, Jamie Shepherd talks Matthew McConaughey


hat’s what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age”, a statement sleazily declared by McConaughey’s stoner character in the 1993 cult, slacker flick Dazed and Confused.. Personally, I feel like saying to him “what I love about Matthew McConaughey is that the older he gets, the better the roles”. With 2014 seeing the release of The Wolf of Wall Street and Dallas Buyer’s Club, films that have received widespread critical and commercial success, it seems that McConaughey has finally returned to credibility after years of trawling the Hollywood wilderness of really shit films - anyone remember Sahara? It is the great frequency of big budget atrocities that has made me forget that he can actually be a half decent actor, so when I saw the cast for Wolf of Wall Street I couldn’t help but ask myself “WHAT WAS SCORSESE THINKING?” but then I remembered, Matthew McC onaughey has actually done some pretty decent films in between the really really shit ones so I feel like it might be best for everyone’s benefit to do a quick run through of the history of Matthew McConaughey to get an idea of how far he’s come along. This recent resurgence of interest that the press has dubbed the “McConaissance” started in 2011 with his appearance in The Lincoln Lawyer and Killer Joe. Both were acclaimed by film critics and Rotten Tomatoes. This preceded more success with

“What I love about Matthew McConaughey is that the older he gets, the better the roles”

roles as diverse as the cocky, strip-bar owner in Magic Mike and as troubled ne’er do well in Mud during 2012 and 2013, it is now that his career seems to be at some sort of zeitgeist. While it may seem that McConaughey’s roles have increased, I would argue it isn’t a case of a higher quantity, but in reality, a case of significantly higher quality. McConaughey has always been a prolific actor and he’s never had a dry patch of work, however, his indiscriminate choice of roles

had cemented him away from the serious side of the acting industry. In his earlier roles as the steely-eyed, leading dream boat of the romantic comedy genre, such as How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days and Fool’s Gold, McConaughey managed to secure big selling and frequent work. In the early

“This sheer ‘Pecs Appeal’ of the previous decade, is what I would consider a wise career move” to mid noughties it was incredibly rare to find a film without his perfectly toned torso on show in one form or another; in fact, you might have seen an article that Empire did over the last few years where they did a chart of Matthew McConaughey’s total screen time without a shirt on in a nice graph with flowcharts. This sheer ‘Pecs Appeal’ of the previous decade is what I would consider a wise career move in that he now has the cash to be a more discerning actor. If he hadn’t pimped out his beautiful body and rugged southern looks then he wouldn’t be able to

take up the roles he’s getting on now. While McConaughey has certainly appeared in a plethora of popcorn movies, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was actually aware of this. If you can remember his guest appearance in Sex in the City, playing a sex-crazed and hyper stylised version of himself in pursuit of Carrie, I feel that this shows a self-awareness of the swaggering characters he became known for portraying. His violent chanting and hollering in Wolf of Wall Street has become as iconic a moment as De Niro’s gun posturing in Taxi Driver, but this is nothing we wouldn’t expect from McConaughey. In fact, I’d go as far as saying that I doubt we will be hearing that slight southern drawl holler “Alright” any time soon.

Crimes and Misdemeanours Is it possible to separate the man from the magic? Lauren Hickin discusses A fter he was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Golden Globes last month, Woody Allen’s ex-wife, Mia Farrow, and her son, Ronan, took to twitter to express their disgust. Not with the artistic merit of his films – although the quantity far outweighs the quality in this area – but with an ugly episode Hollywood has seemed content to brush under the carpet. Namely, Allen’s alleged sexual abuse of his then seven-year-old step-daughter, Dylan, first brought to public attention more than twenty years ago during his acrimonious separation from Farrow in 1992. In the weeks following the Golden Globes, Dylan Farrow published an open letter in the New York Times detailing the abuse. This was then followed by a statement from Allen expressing his shock and protesting his innocence. There are many out there who support Allen without question, painting Dylan as a mentally unstable woman manipulated by her mother, another mentally unstable woman. How could anyone remember things from when they were seven? Or, If she was really abused, why can she not give more detailed evidence? How can she bear to speak about these things publicly if she was traumatised? Or, Surely a real victim would have come forward sooner? All these examples are arguments I have seen genuinely put forward in the comment section under Farrow’s letter and Allen’s subsequent statement. Such is the logic of apologists. Whether Allen is innocent or not, this kind of skeleton in the closet is an all-too-familiar Hollywood narrative. Roman Polanski, who admitted to sexually assaulting a thirteen-year-old, continues to be lauded critically for his films, despite being unable to travel to America to accept his awards for fear of arrest. In this case, despite Polanski’s confession, many in Hollywood continue to support his films and condone his actions. Whoopi Goldberg caused outcry in 2009 with the deeply insensitive statement, “I just know it wasn’t rape-rape”. It’s easy

to react to such moral bankruptcy with anger – but the fact that in Hollywood, people are willing not only to work with child-molesters, but to apologise for them, should give us food for thought. Dylan Farrow’s letter began and ended with the question: what is your favourite Woody Allen film? Before the Golden Globes, I probably would have answered, Midnight in Paris. Now my answer would most likely be an uncomfortable silence. Because the original accusations took place before I was born, I had previously thought of Allen only as a director who occasionally made good films, often

casting himself as an unconvincing romantic lead. But having read Dylan’s story, and found the logic of Allen’s apologists to be flawed at best, misogynistic and victim-blaming at worst, I cannot see myself ever being able to enjoy his films again, just as my discovery of Polanski’s crimes made me feel a bit sick watching his 15-year-old leading lady in Tess. Perhaps other people are more readily able to separate a director’s personal life from their work, but in cases such as these I find it hard to do so. In supporting their output, I would feel like I was ultimately being hypocritical.

The Courier


Monday 17 February 2014 | @Courier_Film

“Dead or alive, you’re coming with me!” RoboCop (1987)

Dallas Buyers Club (15)


Phillip Seymour Hoffman


allas Buyers Club stars Matthew McConnaughey and tells the story of a Southern man fighting alone against a corrupt system. So far, so A Time To Kill. But, as befits the so-called McConaissance, this is a far more complex affair. He’s been making far better choices of late and this may be the best yet. Our ‘hero’ is Ronald Woodroof, an unpleasant, homophobic Texas electrician who catches HIV in 1985. Shunned by his redneck friends, he smuggles unapproved treatments into the country, only to find himself being blocked by the big pharma -sponsored FDA. McConnaughey’s Oscar for this performance is bordering on assured. There is, of course, the weight loss, but, as the real life Ron’s sister Sharon put it, it’s ‘the way he is doing his eyes’. Everything, from the initial disbelieving anger to understated acceptance, from a frustrated existence warped by disease to glimmers of hope and charm, remains at all times utterly believable. From one transformation to another, Jared Leto’s performance as Ron’s transsexual business partner Rayon is also terrific. A fellow AIDS sufferer, she provides much of the film’s comic relief, and yet also finds herself in its most touching sequences. Leto disappears into the part emotionally and physically; one of his best

roles, as far as I’m concerned. The film also deserves great credit for refusing to unduly heroize Ron – his homophobia is dealt with, not conveniently forgotten, and as a result we have a character that truly grows, as opposed to the usual montage-length transformation oft employed. It’s also worth mentioning, however, that the film is sometimes over-structured – it often feels like every single light hearted moment is instantly followed by tragedy, and vice versa – and the anti-establishment theme does on occasion border on simplistic. For the most part, the directing is subtly subdued, employing the odd close up for effect, but rarely intruding so far as to be felt. Given the refusal to glorify the lead, this unflashy style feels rather apt. However, director Jean-Marc

Vallée does allow himself one brief flutter (Aha!) with a scene involving a room full of moths with Woodroof at its centre, surrounded by life in the flickering light. It’s undeniably beautiful, but it does strike a slightly discordant tone with the rest of the film’s solidly realist style. Dallas Buyers Club is an excellent and a deeply touching recreation of the human impact HIV had in its lethal early days. It was that unexpected glimpse into human suffering and strength that had me crying on the walk home. Highly recommended.

Mr. Peabody & Sherman (U)

RoboCop (12A)

The Armstrong Lie (15)


he trailer promises yet another fun, animation film for everyone. However, Mr. Peabody & Sherman leaves you disappointed. The story follows a bespectacled dog, Mr. Peabody, who adopts the human baby, Sherman. In order to teach him all about the world and its history he invents the WABAC, a time machine, taking him to meet famous people such as Tutankhamun, Da Vinci and Marie Antoinette. On his first day at school, Sherman gets into a fight with a girl named Penny. To prevent the adoption agency from taking Sherman away from him, Mr. Peabody invites Penny and her parents for dinner. Sherman, in an attempt to prove to Penny he is not a liar, uses the WABAC but loses her in Ancient Egypt which kickstarts an entire series of mishaps. While the storyline sounds fun, the film lacks jokes that an older audience can laugh at. Way too many plot holes and illogical storylines leave the viewer frustrated. Small children can have a good laugh watching the film, but the rest might want the film to reach its conclusion and the pain to end. This in itself is so badly thought through, to cater solely to young audiences, that it’s even more frustrating for the older viewer. The not-so-underlying meanings in the film are clear to see and the viewer feels like they are being beaten with morals and values. Though morals and values are, of course, important, other animated films have managed to deliver them in a far better and more fun way for audiences of all ages. Even though animations are often work for every age group this film is clearly aimed at the youngest viewers, and lacks mature humour the older ages groups can enjoy without it raising the age rating. Overall, a nice film if you’re out with kids but not really worth seeing otherwise. More like this: Meet the Robinsons (2007) Tanya Nies


he original RoboCop is widely held as one of the premier action movies of the 80’s, offering both a high octane action flick, and also a surprisingly deep look at American policing and morals. The performances in the film are a mixed bag, Gary Oldman and Samuel L. Jackson stand out in particular, providing their fair share of laughs and drama. On the other hand, Joel Kinnaman plays a disappointingly robotic Robocop; the human element of RoboCop is something that needs to be delicately balanced. Here Kinnaman simply plays an uninteresting and unrelatable RoboCop whose personality is actually less robotic when he dons the suit. Another disappointing aspect of this remake is the dilution of certain themes to fit the 12A certificate. With this reduced age rating, RoboCop simply cannot explore the darkness of American attitude towards crime and punishment in the same depth. The menace of the sinister mega-corporation OMNICORP is significantly reduced in this remake, rather than satirizing the bite and viciousness of the 80’s yuppy culture, it simply resorts to a boring portrayal of a slightly angrier Apple. This is the problem with RoboCop, there are many great ideas present in the film, but some are poorly executed with an excess of tedious padding. The opening 15 minutes and anything with the brilliant Samuel L. Jackson show the films satirical side fantastically, perfectly purveying the sinister side of OMNICORP which is disappointingly absent later in the film. This remake does not launch RoboCop back into the spotlight, but the film shows potential. With increased editing, tighter ideas and execution a sequel could return RoboCop to his former glory. More like this: Dredd (2012)

More like this: Philadelphia (1993) George Severs


n typical Alex Gibney fashion, The Armstrong Lie is captivating, methodical, entertaining, and funny. But unfortunately, not often enough. Gibney’s character study of the fallen demigod Lance Armstrong, from sporting megalith, to a global icon of cronyism, is at its most arresting when it examines the remarkable ego of Armstrong. It is almost no surprise that millions of people ‘chose’, this being the operative word here, to tune in for the Armstrong Show throughout his years at the top. He is an enigma, and even in disrepute this is brilliantly captured by Gibney’s camera and frame. Loss is parallel to death in the Agfrmstrong Psyche, and in many ways perhaps this rationalised his mantra of cheat and deceit. Gibney’s trademark veracity feels somewhat diluted and confused in his latest work, caught between fandom and interrogation, but perhaps that was the point. Originally made as a documentary to cover Armstrong’s Tour De France comeback in 2009, the discovery of his history of doping dictated the film be reformulated to uncover the lie that upheld Armstrong’s empire. An element of fate here, perhaps. Nevertheless, there is a consistent underplaying of Armstrong’s betrayal of millions after years of staunch, calm, arrogant defiance. What Gibney has long mastered is a cross-examination of networks and their importance in creating truth. A figure like Armstrong, while the protagonist, writer and director of his show, is never alone in his deception. A good documentary that, while working with intrigue and impressive access, does not exploit its remarkable position in stripping away the layers of Armstrong’s decade long method performance. Enjoyable but frustrating. More like this: Tyson (2008)

John Cairns


ith the recent tragic loss of Philip Seymour Hoffman to a suspected heroin overdose, it would be a gag in poor taste (akin to making a dead baby joke in an abortion clinic) to write anything even remotely hateful about such a talented actor. The sadistic side of me that was motivated to a find fault in the New York Times’ claim of “perhaps the most ambitious and widely admired American actor of his generation” was viciously silenced after not a shred of writing was uncovered that even suggested there was a darker side to the man-sized baby features he possessed. All the side-effects of drug and alcohol afflictions he suffered from were done in plain sight, self-acknowledged; impressive considering genuine hardship appears to be a rarity in Hollywood without the publicity stunt limbo in close pursuit.

Muneeb Hafiz

After being so used to traditional, character archetypes; hero, villain, sidekick, it took me a long time to realise that Hoffman never succumbed to these petty labels but embodied his own category – human. I started looking back through his filmography and seeing where he intersected with my own viewing habits. The man was everywhere. He’d managed to slip into the dress of a drag queen slash singing instructor in Flawless, donned the snarl of a sleazy (and gruesomely dispatched) reporter in Red Dragon and even adopted the slacks of the uptight personal assistant to the Dude in The Big Lebowski. These were minor characters but nevertheless memorable within the astonishing range of roles he already had under his belt.

“The man was everywhere” However, the acting in his Oscar-winning centrepiece Capote made me realise there was so much more to Hoffman. It was in the seemingly effortless way he managed to portray the awkward and waspish Truman Capote with such emotional and physical skill that you’d think you were watching a documentary of the actual person, rather than a character in a biopic. It’s hard to pin down exactly what it means to add humanity to a film but when you watch Philip Seymour Hoffman act; ultimately you are watching just that in action. Rosanna Bellini


Monday 17 February 2014

The Courier

TV Editor: Beth Durant Deputy TV Editor: Helen Daly


Kids shows weren’t always so innocent. Al Bell takes a look at our CITV favourite Tracy Beaker and Blue Peter may have split opinion, but Jungle Run (1999-2006) was a show that everyone could love. It had the winning formula (albeit the exact same formula that The Crystal Maze used a decade earlier): a team of kids roam around a very convincing – but not overtly threatening – wilderness, accompanied by a guide (played by somehow-famous-man Michael Underwood). They completed a range of physical and mental challenges in a quest to collect sacred relics from the Temple of the Jungle King. Sort of like Indiana Jones, only with monkeys instead of Nazis. Oh, and the relics were redeemable for games consoles.

unfolding of our loveable characters, it made it only more difficult to accept that we would have to wave goodbye to two of them during this season – boo hoo.

h, Parks and Recreation. No, it’s not a laborious town planning module or a BBC documentary aired at 3am, but instead a comedy programme that will bring sweet, satirical laughter to your telly-viewing sessions. At is its heart Parks is the story of a big, dysfunctional family of potentially annoying characters (who prove to be anything but) in a workplace mockumentary set in the fictional town of Pawnee. Criticism arose before the first episode, with critics accusing the writing staff of producing a carbon copy of The Office with the female-lead Leslie Knope (Amy Poeher) being too similar Michael Scott (Steve Carrell) in a skirt, and yet Parks has managed to blossom into its own after a rocky first season. Stick with Parks after season one - I can’t stress this advice enough. The next five seasons are your glorious rewards.

Season 2 onwards sees Leslie have her clueless, happy-go-lucky and clown-like tendencies reigned in, forming her into a confident, self-aware individual who throws herself into every trivial task that comes her way with admirable optimism and determination. Although her primary goal is to turn an ugly pit into a vibrant community park, throughout the series we see her hold a sex-education class for the elderly after a STD outbreak, marry a pair of gay penguins, and host a horrific annual diabetes telethon with complimentary tshirts containing the slogan “Diabetes. Let’s DiaBeat-This”. However, what really lets Parks shine is its new found focus on secondary characters with special mentions to the now legendary, highly quotable Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman), Leslie’s moustached, libertarian, government-hating boss; apathetic intern April Ludgate (Aubrey Plaza) and the sarcastic and lecherous Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari) who mocks Leslie’s enthusiasm despite being completely useless at his government position and any of his dubious entrepreneurial projects (a gourmet alcoholic yogurt anyone?). So after all this beautiful development we now arrive at the current season 6. Thanks to the delicate

Nurse Jackie



Parks and Recreation BBC Four, Tuesday 10:30pm


Each puzzle was attempted by a delegated player, who had to try their hardest to pick up monkey statues while being hollered at by their teammates and hassled by Sid and Elvis, the Jungle King’s resident child-bothering, monkey-servants. In a cruel twist of fate, kids who couldn’t complete the task in time were ‘locked in’, and could be freed only at the discretion of the rest of the team. Liberating a loser teammate incurred a penalty on those hard-earned monkey statues, which were worth ten seconds of bonus time in the final round. Or, you could simply abandon those suckers and move on. I bet some of the journeys home from filming were pretty intense.

At its peak, Jungle Run was massive business: they even did Coronation Street and Emmerdale specials back in 2004. Weirdly enough, the set was also used for Channel 5’s short-lived 2000 series Naked Jungle, which was basically the same show attempted by adult naturists and presented by a nude Keith Chegwin. I’m not even making that up.

Without giving too much away for late arrivals and for fear of having knives brandished in my direction, I’m going to have be regretfully vague. Expect hilarities, pregnancies, surprise marriage proposals, rivalries, break-ups, make-ups and scandals with a sprinkling of light teasing and painful awkwardness all perfectly executed by the parks department of Pawnee. Consistently strengthened by insightful character development and admirable optimism, Parks and Recreation still remains a charming, feel-good and funny half hour to spend with Leslie Knope and co. Rosanna Bellini

Sky Atlantic, Friday 10pm

More4, Thursday 10pm

Watch, Wednesday 9pm

f you’re like me, many of you will find your Valentine’s Day evening to be unlike any other, and I’ve found a pretty decent way to pass the time. The American medical dramedy Nurse Jackie will return February 14th for its fifth season to Sky Atlantic. Grouping a show under the umbrella of ‘dramedy’ seems to be a colloquial way of explaining that this is not the slapstick humour you would associate with other medical comedies such as Scrubs. With a black comedic spin, Nurse Jackie follows the fictional life of Jackie Peyton (Edie Falco), a nurse at All Saint’s Hospital in New York. Created by Lix Brixius, Linda Wallem and Evan Dunsky, the show details Jackie’s highly stressful and hectic life as she juggles working in an urban hospital with a difficult personal life. It’s further explained throughout the series that poor Jackie harbours a prescription drug addiction. Gaining high ratings and general critical praise, Nurse Jackie is a smart and witty show which manages to maintain a low burning seriousness and sentimentality alongside some moments of comedy, making it widely popular in the US. Flying the flag for Brits is Eve Best, who plays Jackie’s best friend Dr. Eleanor O’Hara, whom some may recognise from the Oscar nominated film the King’s Speech. Littered with Emmy and Golden Globe nominations, Nurse Jackie is a pleasing divergence for our TV screens and there are certainly worse ways to spend your evening.

he second series of country music drama Nashville has returned. It stars Hayden Panettiere as young ambitious country starlet Juliette Barnes and Connie Briton as Rayna Jaymes, an old legend struggling to keep her career alive. The first series saw them at each other’s throats, mostly over desirable guitarist Deacon Claybourne. Imagine it like Taylor Swift and Shania Twain fighting over Ronnie Wood and then being forced to perform together. Not quite the same, but you get the idea. However, the tension between these two isn’t the only thing to keep us interested. Rayna’s family is extremely influential and her father appears to be head of a kind of Tennessee Gestapo. Other storylines revolve around the trials and tribulations of working with big record labels and the struggle to success for wannabe country stars. Series one ended on quite the dramatic cliffhanger with Rayna in a horrific car crash with Deacon. The promo for season two shows Rayna fighting for her life in a coma, but fear not, she’ll pull through and her career will pick up as a result of this near death experience. Of course this leaves Juliette furious so expect the old rivalry to be back on form. However things aren’t so great with poor old Deacon who feels responsible for Rayna’s accident, but the good news is there’s even a guest slot for Kelly Clarkson. The new series looks set to be explosive so if you have a taste for country music and can’t resist a good drama this is definitely worth a watch.

rimm returns for a third series on Watch, finally following up on the massive cliffhanger from series two. Based in Portland, the show follows Detective Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli) and his partner Hank Griffin (Russell Hornsby) chasing down criminals. Only that these stem directly out the Bothers Grimm’s fairy tales and are not at all friendly. Together with his Wesen friends Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell) and Rosalee (Bree Turner), as well as his girlfriend, Juliette (Bitsie Tulloch) Nick fulfils his duty as a Grimm, comparable to a guardian, to protect the regular humans from these dangerous creatures. At times being torn between his responsibilities as a detective and as a Grimm. Last season ended with a fight about Adalin’s unborn baby whose father belongs to the royal family. Eric Renard, bother to Nick’s Captain, teams up with Baron Samedi to capture and eliminate Nick for good. After Nick is in an about-to-turn-zombie-state in a coffin, his friends are left fighting an army of zombies. Here is where the last season left us and the new one picks up straightaway. Unlike the regular Wesen vs Nick storyline which we normally get to see, which is great entertainment, Nick himself now becomes the thing he fights leading to a promising season opening. The entire season appears to be filled with interesting story arcs, from Adalind to Monroe & Rosalee all the way to Nick & Juliette. Nevertheless, there should still be plenty of action and Wesen-fighting. Overall, the new season seems just as entertaining as the previous and definitely a must-see.

Lewis Ancrum

Georgia Bygate

Tanya Nies

I The final challenge saw our intrepid explorers invading the Jungle King’s mystical, fibreglass temple, to complete one more set of challenges for awesome prizes like ‘commando-style watches’. With a tight time limit, you could sense the disappointment when teams realised they should’ve just left fat Chris back at the Dark Swamp.

“Stick with Parks after season one. The next five seasons are your glorious rewards.”



The Courier


Monday 17 | @courier_tv

Bowled over

Deputy TV Editor Helen Daly Bridget Bunton and Rebecca Dooley cast their eyes over the best of the Super Bowl adverts ever

Whose one-liner is it anyway? BADverRon tisement Swanson Each week we pick a quotable character that delivers us perfect one-liners. This week we take a look at Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation. “There’s only one thing I hate more than lying: skim milk. Which is water that’s lying about being milk.”

It’s good to be bad

Jaguar have posed an important question with their recent blockbuster advert: why are the villains in American films almost always British? They’ve also provided the answer in what I consider to be the slickest Super Bowl advert ever. Let’s start with the cast which is composed of three icons of recent cinema, Mark Strong, Ben Kingsley and Tom Hiddleston. Strong comments ‘maybe we just sound right’ in an attempt to answer the question of the advert; of course, all three do sound right. Even when Mark Strong says ‘thank you, Mary’, the smooth and sultry tone of his voice leaves you waiting for his next villainous move. Director, Tom Hooper gives a sense of scale to the whole advert, yet still keeping the British at the forefront; there’s a helicopter which is chauffeuring Tom Hiddleston around London, all while he sips on his tea from his finest china. Likewise, Ben Kingsley’s ‘lair’ isn’t anywhere sinister; it’s a country house with fancy gardens. So what does this say about British villains? That they like their tea as much as any fellow countryman? It says more than just that; it says that we do it well, and it is indeed good to be bad.

The next big thing

At the Super Bowl 2013, Samsung briefly diverted viewers from the tension of the game with their amusing commercial during the fourth quarter. Samsung shrewdly mock the increasing popularity of celebrity endorsements in advertising by featuring Paul Rudd, Seth Rogan and Bob Odenkirk. The commercial opens with Rudd and Rogan arguing over being ‘#TheNextBigThing’ and being the star of the Samsung Super Bowl Advert. Each throw some droll and funny jibes at one another; with Rudd sarcastically mocking Rogan’s weight problems, whilst Rogan teases Rudd about his age. Rogan uses the phone to retouch an image of Rudd to make him appear younger; cleverly advertising Samsung devices whilst appeasing viewers with a dose of dry humour. The addition of Bob Odenkirk, who is in charge of the advert, results in some hilariously hair-brained ideas being pitched by Rudd and Rogan in order to win the star role in the commercial for the Super Bowl- before they’re trumped in their efforts by Le Bron James. After all, world-renowned basketball star James beats two comedy actors by yards.


Imagine a tiny Chihuahua wandering past your window. Now imagine that the small body of that dog has a Doberman’s head on it. Thus presenting Audi’s Frankenstein-ian creation, the ‘Doberhuahua’. Suitably terrified? Good, so was I. The advert begins with the Doberhuahua partaking in the normal day-to-day activities of a toy dog; walking down the street, competing in a Crufts competition, being carried around in a handbag (okay, maybe the last two aren’t typical of a normal dog’s life, but the iconography is there at least). Suddenly, the mood changes, and the viewer is left to witness what terrors would happen if someone actually found a way of making a Doberhuahua. Children are left screaming, Crufts is left in tatters and a town is ruined all because of this little dog. The humour of the advert is really quite special; it shows just how a very simple idea can transform into a piece of farce. Not only does the advert deliver a message on compromise, it also comments on the danger of an idea going too far. Even if this advert doesn’t make you want to buy an Audi, at least you won’t want to make a Doberhuahua after it.

“When people get a little too chummy with me I like to call them by the wrong name to let them know I don’t really care about them.” “Just give me all the bacon and eggs you have. Wait, I worry what you just heard was: give me a lot of bacon and eggs. What I said was: give me all the bacon and eggs you have. Do you understand?” “Fishing relaxes me. It’s like yoga, except I still get to kill something.” "I'm a simple man, I like pretty darkhaired women and breakfast foods." "I call this turf 'n' turf. It's a 16-ounce T-bone and a 24-ounce porterhouse. Also, whisky and a cigar. I am going to consume all of this at once because I am a free American." “Crying: acceptable at funerals and the Grand Canyon.” “Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing.” “The government is a greedy piglet that suckles on a taxpayer’s teat until they have sore, chapped nipples.”


The ‘Frogs’ advert by Budweiser debuted at the 2005 Super Bowl, and placed against the big, blockbuster-style adverts we have become accustomed to in recent years, this short and relatively small advert must have certainly been a risk. The advert, set during the late hours of the night shows three frogs doing what frogs do best, croaking. Of course, that would make quite a dull advert, but the intrigue comes from the special powers of the frogs. Alone, these frogs appear normal, but together, they form a symphony. Destiny, in the image of the 2005 Super Bowl brought these three unsuspecting frogs together to form the Budweiser advert. Conveniently, one frog’s croak sounds like ‘bud’, another’s sounds like ‘wei’ and the final’s sounds like ‘ser’. Who would have thought that frogs could be so clever? Back to reality though, and this advert is so simplistic in its deliverance that it is not only recognized by viewers of the Super Bowl, but it can be recognized anywhere. With no fancy sets, no breath-taking backdrops and no fancy dialogue, the Budweiser ‘Frogs’ advert just goes to prove the old cliché: less is more.

Puppy love

What sells beer better than puppies? Budweiser is notorious for epic Super Bowl commercials. Just look to ones from the past – last year’s ad actually brought me to tears. Granted, I’m quite easily moved to tears, but putting Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide” and the bond between man and horse together, it is guaranteed to make people feel things. Budweiser advertisements almost always include Clydesdales and an extremely fitting song to boot. They definitely resonate with me because they are so patriotic without being obnoxiously so. In this years, note the country farm, trucks, blue jeans and baseball caps; all of these are so inherently American. That puppy runs to see his #BestBud rain or shine makes my heart melt. It makes me want to go grab a Budweiser with my best bud, and this advert got people talking even before the game; they released the video online a few days before the big day. Budweiser has done it again. Their advertising team knows how to play with peoples’ emotions and honestly, I’m not mad about that because their Super Bowl advertisements are like little works of art - works of art that sell some serious beer.

The force

Volkswagon’s 2011 Super Bowl effort is every bit as cinematic as the movie of the song it uses. The main character is a young boy (perhaps a reference to the youth in Luke Skywalker) dressed as Darth Vader. This poor boy just doesn’t have The Force and is ultimately left sitting in the kitchen feeling sorry for himself. What makes this advert special is the effort exuded from the young boy. Instead of giving up his quest for The Force, he keeps trying. Volkswagon seem to be presenting a message for us all here; don’t give up, keep on going, and you never know, maybe the next attempt will work. For the young Darth Vader in the advert, he has another go at mastering The Force; and to his surprise, it works. Of course, this is a case of the audience knowing more than the character; yes, his father does press a magical button, and yes, the little boy truly believes he has The Force, but does this matter? Not in the slightest. This is a case of excellent parenting; the father realises a way he can please his child and takes the opportunity. Hardly a crime is it? After all, maybe it is the father who really has The Force, but maybe not the type we were expecting.

“The less I know about other people’s affairs, the happier I am. I’m not interested in caring about people. I once worked with a guy for three years and never learned his name. Best friend I ever had. We still never talk sometimes.” “Capitalism: God’s way of determining who is smart and who is poor.”

Check us out at to watch the full adverts.

Monday 17 February 2014

The Courier

Music Editors: Kate Bennett and Ian Mason


against the


Jamie Shepherd hates Queen, and wonders why no one else shares his militant republicanism


here’s 3 people who seem to appear at every large-scale British public event. The first one is Annie Lennox, despite the fact that nobody seems to remember what she’s done musically since Eurythmics. The second is Paul McCartney, who everyone remembers from the Beatles, but hopes that he won’t play anything by Wings or that godawful ‘Dance Tonight’ song. The third is Brian May, who everyone just accepts as a shit substitute for the deceased Freddie Mercury. When Brian’s buoyant bouffant bobs up and down as he plucks his electric guitar on top of Buckingham Palace or straddling one of the Lions in Trafalgar Square, part of me cringes. In fact, a large part of me cringes, as while Brian May’s guitar playing may require a great deal of technical skill to perfect per se, the tinny sound of it in the guitar solos of classics such as ‘It’s a Kind of Magic’ and ‘I Want to Break Free’ are enough to get my fillings tingling and send me into extreme and violent convulsions. In case you haven’t figured it out by now, I’ve got a pathological dislike of Queen and I generally seem to be alone in suffering.

“Songs like ‘Fat Bottomed Girls’ and ‘Bicycle Race’ surely shouldn’t be part of the great rock canon”

They’re one of the biggest selling artists in history, but I just don’t see what the fuss is all about. Maybe I’m ‘missing something’, but in comparison to other people making music of a similar ilk in the 70s, like Roxy Music and David Bowie, I would say Queen pale in comparison - in terms of sheer innovation. I’d even go as far to claim that they were a novelty band, as songs like ‘Fat Bottomed Girls’ and ‘Bicycle Race’ surely shouldn’t be part of the great rock canon. As for ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, did Freddie and co. leave the guidebook on how to actually construct a song at home when they wrote this song? In fact, I would go as far as say that if it wasn’t for ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and its lack of coherence, we wouldn’t have such ‘iconic’ songs to listen to such as LMFAO’s ‘Party Rock Anthem’ and Cher Lloyd’s ‘Swagger Jagger.’ If I wanted to see or listen to an overly dramatic man shouting “hey” in an aggressive and camp manner to an audience, I’d just record myself on a night out - as let’s face it, I’m the only Queen on campus people should be listening to.

Little Red Katy B K

aty ‘B’ Brien’s first album On a Mission painted Brien as a clubber very much in love with booming bass bins and sticky floors. She sang from the centre of the dancefloor, arms aloft and jaw askew, whereas on Little Red she is rather more circumspect. It’s about what happens when the lights come on and you start to sober up. Little Red sounds like it’s built for Ibiza, but Brien is already fretting about where exactly she’s going to print off her boarding pass for the flight home. Like the best dance music, and indeed pop in general, it all comes served with an undercurrent of melancholy: musically, Little Red nods toward Massive Attack and the twinklier end of Hot Chip as well as Brien’s Rinse FM beginnings. “I need some loving like Valium… I need somebody to knock me out” she sings on ‘5am’, a song about looking desperately around the warehouse for somebody to help take the edge off her comedown. It’s less hedonism, more head-in-hands.

“‘The music matches Brien’s restrained anxiety: both airy and propulsive, spacious and needlingly danceable”

‘Tumbling Down’ is the album in a nutshell: the music matches Brien’s restrained anxiety neatly, both airy and propulsive, spacious and needlingly danceable. It’s to Brien’s immense credit that Little Red repeats On A Mission’s achievement of sounding like a particularly good night on a south London pirate radio station. That said, though, the Latin disco-infused ‘Crying For No Reason’ does

cast a rather fond glance in the direction of Radio 2, even if Brien does the decent thing and refuses to go the full Jessie J with it. Sampha, lately a pal to Jessie Ware, SBTRKT and Drake, helps provide the high point of the album on ‘Play’. It’s a tripping, sparkling piece, and though the duet never really fires on all cylinders, in the context of the album it just adds to the mood of disaffection. “Pull out a melody in me”, Brien sings, her tone implying a following ‘I bloody dare you, mate’. Little Red’s strength is in its gestures towards alienation on a dancefloor, all the while wrapping the sentiment in the warm, lush arrangements and quietly urgent rhythms. By and large it doesn’t Skream and shout for attention – though ‘All My Lovin’’, in particular, makes falling in love sound like pretty much the scariest, most disorientating event one could encounter, dubby whumps and swooshes knocking the listener giddy – and the dextrous and subtle manipulation of the ‘woo I’m having a nice time, oh crikey now I’m openly weeping’ axis is deeply seductive. This isn’t to say that Brien is wholly dextrous and subtle in her lyricism: the phrase “that beat so sick, that tune so ill” might have worked in 1990, and perhaps there will come a time when it won’t sound stupid again, but alas, it is not this time. It’s tempting to describe Little Red as the work of a clearly more emotionally mature artist, but it feels like more than that: Brien’s still on the dancefloor, but she’s edging away from its centre and toward the fire exit. Recommended download: ‘Play’

Tom Nicholson

Held In Splendor

Full Frequency Sean Paul

If you like this, try ... VV Brown Samson and Delilah


f you like your dance-pop melancholic, VV Brown’s 2013 album is for you. Brooding, swampy electro which feels very much like Annie Lennox soundtracking a quiet walk home from a breakup.

The Jezebels


The Brink




Recommended download: ‘Other Side of Love’

Recommended download: ‘Tie Up The Tides’

Recommended download: ‘The End’

o me, Sean Paul is the granddad of R’n’B. I still love grooves like ‘Get Busy’ and ‘Temperature’ playing on a Tup Tup Saturday night. Maybe the early ‘00s is where his legacy should remain, though. Full Frequency intends to revive Sean Paul’s overripened persona, hoping to provide that fresh excellence we haven’t experienced since 2005’s The Trinity. However, pressing play on opening track ‘Riot’, there’s plenty of frequency but little talent. ‘Riot’ is a mishmash of electronica, rap, and reggae, packed with indecipherable lyrics except the odd “colder than cold saw” (!?!). From then on, the higher the expectation, the bigger the disappointment. ‘Entertainment 2.0’ promises musical flair with collaborations from Nicki Minaj, Juicy J and 2 Chainz, but results in tediously repetitive lyrics and disjointed chaos. Monotonous lyrical predictability habitually surfaces throughout, especially in ‘Hey Baby’ and ‘Legacy’. True, a modest handful of repetition creates addictive tracks; but Sean Paul’s overload produces no originality or musical finesse. Saying this, ‘It’s Your Life’ has a unruffled rhythm, perfect for head bopping and hip swaying without being too convoluted, whilst ‘Other Side of Love’ plays a unpretentious dance beat that has potential to be featured in nightclubs. What was so remarkable about Sean Paul was his soulful voice and upbeat, well-groomed rhythms. Whilst it’s admirable to incorporate collaborations, they don’t do anything for Full Frequency. He seems to have done a complete musical U-turn, with the final concoction tasting all too sharp and seasoned with incompatible genres.

Alexandra Gibbs

his album may just take you to another place. With their delicate harmonies, intricate guitar melodies and dreamy vocals, Quilt have built a record on your constructed nostalgia for 1960s America. Inspired by The Beatles, the Boston three-piece exist in the familiarity of a genre that has sprung to life of late. The heavier sounds of ‘Mary Mountain’ and ‘A Mirror’ would not be out of place on Tame Impala’s Lonerism, but unlike Impala, Quilt are more subtly epic. ‘Talking Trains’, with its melancholic yet memorable hook, is a return to the band’s folk roots, whereas their polished diversity is best exhibited in ‘Secondary Swan’, with soaring violin and Anna Fox Rochinski’s mystical vocals combined. Throughout, Rochinski echoes and reverberates; resonating class far beyond her experience and their intimate level. Her outstanding contribution defines each song, none more so than in the track of the album, ‘Tie up the Tides’. With much less restraint and a trippier drumbeat, Quilt have generated the essence of folk-rock; the warped, metallic sounding guitar combines well with Rochinski’s warmth. Yet it is difficult to see Quilt penetrating the culturally different U.K. market to the same extent as Django Django on the back of this album. The opening track ‘Arctic Shark’ better encapsulates and defines its energy and appeal. They are mood songs, dreamy and summery - to be absorbed in the long grass. The psychedelic trio have produced a well-patterned, organic album that paints a picture at every moment. Held in Splendour is niche and quintessentially American, but nonetheless a work of discreet genius.

Joe Tetlow

ith a name like The Jezabels, this Australian four piece conjures the idea of something edgy, something with punch, something outside of the constraints of society’s rules? At least something a little bit different? No? Well, that’s not really what’s delivered. Instead, The Jezabels’ second album leaves a lot to be desired, a mishmash of country and western iconography, disco beats and distorted indie guitars which combined together start to sound a bit like a Lana Del Rey side project. This comparison is perhaps not as farfetched as it sounds due to the album having been produced by Dan Grech-Marguerat, who has previously worked with Del Rey, as well as other big successes such as The Vaccines and Hurts. However, despite the promise of the band’s punchy name and production credits, The Brink is a disappointment. Its redeeming feature could be said to be lead vocalist Haley Mary’s expressive, gravely tones, which create a great contrast to her piercing falsetto: as closing song ‘All You Need’ states, Mary’s vocal will “pick you up when you’re feeling down”. Her voice brings the album to life, drawing the dark sentiments in songs like ‘Angels of Fire’ to the surface - themes which are then juxtaposed nicely with more up tempo rhythms. The Brink stands as a fairly simplistic sounding album with soothing synths and moments of enjoyable disco vibes, especially in stand out track, ‘The End’; a song with a catchy hook and a real classic pop feel. Ultimately it appears that The Jezabels were on ‘the brink’ of something good here, but just missed it.

Dominique Daly

The Courier


Monday 17 February 2014 | @courier_music

SceNE: Venues Each week we take a closer look


at a different spot in Newcastle’s music scene. This week: The Central Bar

Jamie Shepherd (1st year Media, Communications & Culture Studies) swapped albums with Gareth Longstaff, lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies; here’s how they got on


y early memories of this bar are of a decrepit, old relic that was run down and affectionately nicknamed ‘the coffin’. Fast forward to the present and the Central Bar is simply unrecognisable. After undergoing wholesale renovation to bring it into the modern day, Central Bar is now a popular establishment; it is certainly a more attractive prospect than it was in the grim days of its past. The renovation saw the upstairs transformed into two function rooms which can be booked for private parties, events and most importantly live music. Though not as much of a local music hub as some of the other venues around the North East,

Gareth on Nicolas Jaar’s Space Is The Only Noise If You Can Hear (2011): Had you heard the album before? I’d heard of him, but I hadn’t actually heard anything by him.

the venue offers something slightly different on occasions such as the Bara Burlesque night, held over the weekend. The upstairs also offers a roof terrace which is ideal for sipping your pint in the sunshine (if we ever get any). The bar has a wide range of real ales on offer and the usual assortment of draught lagers and spirits you would associate with a traditional bar. Unfortunately, the Central isn’t particularly interested in attracting the student population of the North East so save up for anything more than a quick pint. With a maze-like feel similar to the Union Rooms, the bar is separated into a number of rooms which gives it quite a cosy feel. Now part of the Head of Steam family of bars, Central Bar has come a long way from when it was built in 1856 and is now a

perfectly viable option for local bands just starting and for less mainstream acts to perform. Directions. Walking – It’s pretty easy to find; walking across the High Level Bridge or Tyne Bridge would bring you really close to it Metro – Take the Metro to Gateshead station and turn left on to West Street. Follow it downhill towards the river, The Central will be on the right after about 2 minutes’ walk Bus – A number of buses will drop you just outside the Central at the back, just take a bus that crosses the Tyne Bridge and it will be the first stop on the Gateshead side. Lewis Ancrum

First impressions: It was a very melancholic and gratifying album to listen to. It’s definitely an album you have to concentrate on rather than just have on for the sake of having on. I’d definitely say there was something patient and smooth about it in that each track didn’t really stand out. It was almost like a concept album in the way that it was framed. When I was 16-17 I listened to a lot of trip-hop and I certainly felt that there was elements of trip hop in it. A lot of it reminded me of Tricky’s album Maxinquaye and Portishead’s Dummy but also had elements of a comedown album in the same vein of introspection as Screamadelica. Marks out of 5: It was good but I wouldn’t go further than 4

Jamie on Nick Drake’s Bryter Later (1970):

Tom Nicholson provides a list of things to keep an eye out for during Britain’s second-glitziest awards do. First person to get all nine wins a lifelong exclusion from ever having to watch it again Burial wanders down the red carpet wearing a t-shirt bearing the legend ‘I AM BURIAL’ and loudly telling anyone who’ll listen that he is definitely Burial

Eminem repeatedly mis- Katy Perry arrives takes James Corden for a in the golden Prism promotional representapromo lorry and tive of Stay Puft marsh sashays down the red mallows carpet leaving a trail of empty Ginsters pasty packets in her wake

Desperate for attention, Burial crashes During his Katy Perry’s perforperformance, mance by careering Pharrell removes extraonstage driving the golden Prism promo voluminous hat to reveal David Bowie is sat inside lorry

Join us at thecourieronline. on Wednesday 19th February for a BRITs liveblog!

Kanye is found holding his own awards ceremony in a back room; he wins a record 14 Yeezies, including Best Musician of All Time OF ALL TIME

Lorde announces next album will feature Cascada and DJ Tiesto; refuses to answer to anything except Lorde of the Dance

Kendrick Lamar stews quietly in Passenger win Best the corner British Single; music making catty industry decides to remarks take sabbatical in orabout der to sort its head out Drake’s shoes

Had you heard the album before? I hadn’t heard this album before, but I’ve got Nick Drake’s Five Leaves Left and was already a fan. I did recognise the track ‘Fly’ from The Royal Tenenbaums. First impressions: The production values of this were a lot more developed than that of Five Leaves Left and I’d go as far to say the arrangements were incredibly lush and filling. I got vibes that were more akin to baroque pop rather than the folky arrangements of his previous album and it made me think of something by Scott Walker. Myself and Gareth both agreed that there were comparisons between Jaar and Drake in that they were both young men making reflective music that defied their ages and it was only the genre and technology that has changed. This is similar to the way in which a lot of young men have ditched the guitar for the turntables when brooding in the bedroom. Marks out of 5: A fantastic album, wonderful to listen to - I’d say around 4.5.

For gig reviews, interviews and more web features, visit us online at

Monday 17 February 2014

The Courier

Science Editor: Elizabeth Hampson Deputy Science Editors: Emad Ahmed and Peter Style

Peanuts envy


Laura Staniforth goes nuts uncovering the science behind the nut allergy, which turns out to be a bit of a sensitive issue, though a cure may not be so far away after promising results of a new clinical trial


ut allergies are seriously annoying. I’ve spent far too much time carefully scrutinising the back of food packets, or looking on mournfully as my friends extoll the virtues of Nutella, and my reactions haven’t been classified as severe. It must be horrifying to be allergic to traces of some foods, they could actually kill you. Understandably, a great deal of money has been thrown at finding some sort of cure. The latest of which is to combat peanut allergies, and has surprisingly seen some success. Allergies are often poorly understood. I’ve been accused of lying to get attention by anyone from teachers to friends. But a quick Google search produces scary stories of children dying thanks to grandparents who thought they ‘knew better’, or restaurant staff who were too


lazy to use a clean prep station. The truth is that they are real hypersensitive reactions of the immune system, and the effect can range from uncomfortable to life-threatening. Itchiness, temporary blindness and a lowered capacity to breathe are all results of an allergy attack, as is the more terrifying anaphylaxis. Peanut allergies are the third most common allergy in children, and the fourth most in adults. Currently the only safeguards against it are simple avoidance, or carrying around Epi-pens if the worst does happen, but breathing easy is a small price to pay for constantly having to wonder what’s so great about a Snickers bar. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) estimate that peanuts are one of the most common causes of death due to food allergies, as they often persist throughout life, cause violent reactions to the smallest of exposures, and can also provoke reactions to tree nuts like walnuts. However, there is medical opinion that reactions to the peanut allergies are melodramatic and overblown. Media sensationalism has led to banning of peanut related products in some schools entirely despite there being no real evidence to support

this blanket ban. Indeed 20% of children grow out of their peanut allergy, and in 2003 Sicherer et al. carried out a placebo led, blindfolded study where it was found that airborne particles were not severe enough to produce anaphylaxis, negating situations like the banning of nuts on aeroplane flights, which is still common practise. It is thought that some reactions can be psychogenic in nature, rather than a true chemical reaction. Despite all this, a cure (or even just a way to get a less severe reaction) would be a blessing, and that is just what a clinical trial at Addenbrooke’s Hospital has set out to do. Out of 99 children, aged 7-16, 84% could consume the equivalent of five peanuts, after completing a six month programme where they were exposed to escalating amounts of peanut protein. This has great implications for minor sufferers, who would have immunity to trace concentrations, of which they were not previously aware. However, there is a long way to go before a cure to severe reactions can be found.

“You look on mournfully as friends consume Nutella, knowing it could actually kill you”

The amphibian housing market drying up due to climate change

Frogs looking for new home in times of climate change is spawning new research into saving the species from extinction. Jack Marley and Irina Oliveira dissect the efforts to keep them all from croaking.


or many of us, the first time we will have become acquainted with frogs is through happy discovery in the murky recesses of a pond, or by almost stepping on one whilst jumping from puddle to puddle in the bustle of a rainy day. Perhaps even earlier than that we learned of the noble prince that waits patiently behind the eyes of every unassuming, green pond-dweller; but each time we meet we’re likely to have found vivid faces of fairy tale imagining staring back at us, almost knowingly. It will be no comfort to flooded residents further south, but as water returns to reed beds new homes are made for the families of native amphibians. From the dispersal of frogspawn to the emergence of sharp-eyed and nimble-footed flycatchers comes the ancient story of transformation that no doubt has inspired their place in child r e n’s

stories the world over. Indeed, it seems that few creatures embody magic quite so well as the humble frog. Sadly, it’s inevitable that in our modern world frogs face an uncertain future. Often described as sentinels of environmental health, the current state of amphibians is bleak, with 31% of all species classified as endangered or nearing extinction. The wetlands on which they rely are dried by climate change or drained by us for the purposes of development. Decades of chemical abuse to our atmosphere have rendered frogs lethal recipients of ultraviolet radiation, and their thin skin has made them particularly susceptible to pesticides used on crops. When we aren’t making frogs homeless or poisoning them, we’re eating them out of existence too at a rate of 4,000 tonnes per year. And that’s just France. It’s of little surprise then that amphibians are the most endangered of all animal groups. In living at the verge of our world and the aquatic, they occupy a twilit space where they represent in cultures from all over the world a strange magic of boundless potential, and miraculous ability. We’re driving the last vestiges of this magic to the yellowing pages of fairy tales and history with every new chemically-

tamed crop and planet-warming power plant. In this process of modifying our world it is clear that we are continuing down a path which frogs and countless other wonders of nature will be unable to follow. It’s uncommon to be able to counter any modern story from the natural world with a flicker of hope, but the ominously-named Lazarus Project achieved this with its first success last year: the return to life of the previously extinct Gastric-Brooding Frog. Researchers responsible from the University Of Newcastle (Australia, unfortunately) are cautious to declare this as anything other than an “insurance policy”, and not the “get-out-of-jail-free-card” that many had hoped for. De-extinction technology is a step in the right direction but it may not be enough for us to continue writing new chapters in the history of humans and wildlife. There is always the potential for us to conserve nature but it will take a special effort in this case to ensure our children will have more to experience of these wondrous animals than caricatures in dust-laden storybooks.

Images by Brian.gratwicke

“Amphibians are the most endangered of all animal groups”

The Courier


Monday 17 February 2014 | @courier_science

Diluting scientific evidence

In a time of harsh cuts to the NHS, Cinthu Vivehananthan gives her opinion on the continuing use of homeopathy as a trusted form of treatment


lorified bottles of water promising to be the cure for a variety of diseases are currently being sold in your local chemist at extortionate rates. Billions of pounds spent on medical research and who knew that the cure for heart disease, allergies and dyslexia lied within water? Homeopathy is exactly that, an alternative treatment that is essentially water. It ‘works’ on the principle that whatever causes the symptoms also cure the symptoms e.g. insomnia treated with caffeine. As if this was not ludicrous enough, the caffeine molecule would then be subsequently diluted, a lot. It would be a dilution of 1 in of 1,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,00 0,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000 – that’s 60 zeroes. Despite the extent of this dilution it is claimed that water has ‘memory’, thus is able to remember the initial molecule. So with homeopathy costing the NHS 3-4 million pounds per year, you would assume that there would be a plethora of evidence behind it. Nope. There is no credible science behind homeopathy,

no double blinded randomised clinical trials have produced any reliable evidence backing it. Yes, there are rare cases where it appears that certain individuals have benefited from homeopathy but either the trial itself is flawed or the placebo effect has led to this result. The fact that homeopathy is no more effective than a placebo is demonstrated by a meta-analysis of 110 studies of homeopathy and 110 studies of matched conventional medicine, which found no evidence that it outperformed the placebo or conventional treatment. Due to it not being any more effective than a placebo, a popular argument is that there is thus no harm. However, the harm is more indirect, the greatest being the replacement of conventional medicine by homeopathy. The consequences are real as demonstrated in the case of Sally Roberts who was so opposed to her son receiving radiotherapy treatment for a brain tumour, she ran away with him in belief that alternative treatments such as homeopathy would be better for him. This is despite the fact that doctors argued that her son wold die within three month if he did not receive the treatment. Homeopathy is exploiting those vulnerable and those less well informed about medicine, and is taken to whole new disgusting level by the ‘charity’, Homeopathy Without Borders, and its mission to provide ‘humanitarian aid’ to third world countries by claiming to ‘treat’ disease s

You know what this is all about. You either love the bird or hate it. Michael Hicks explains why he’s a hater, just as Flappy Bird meets an abrupt end.

kaibara87 such as malaria and cholera with water. In a world were pseudoscience permeates our culture, it isn’t surprising that homeopathy is becoming increasingly popular, demonstrating more than ever education about healthcare is vital in the UK and abroad. These are deadly illnesses that needs proper treatment, however false hope is given in the form of homeopathy. Homeopathy is pure quackery, funded by the NHS. In a time when cuts are made in the NHS with significant consequences as demonstrated by the Mid Staffordshire scandal when more expensive, experienced staff were replaced by cheaper and less qualified ones, this is quite frankly disgraceful. Funding needs to be stopped along with an increase in awareness of the pitfalls of homeopathy to prevent further exploitation of the vulnerable, but when the health secretary Jeremy Hunt is a keen advocate of this magic water, we really have no hope.

“Homeopathy is pure quackery”


Light up with a bang

An old theory with a big twist. Penny Polson takes a look at the ever changing scientific theories unravelling the mystery moments just after the big bang


Origionalwana he dream of being an evil overlord of a universe created by ourselves is the secret goal of most scientists. Last September, scientists in Chicago came one step closer to achieving that dream, by taking a collection of atoms down to absolute zero (the equivalent of minus 273.15˚C). The atoms then displayed characteristics close to what is believed to have happened immediately following the almighty ‘Big Bang’, which brought our universe into existence. Professor Hung at the University of Chicago noted that in extremely cold temperatures, atoms get collectively excited, and behave like sound waves travelling through air. It is believed that this is the same sound-wave–esque excitation which happened with atoms at the very beginning of the Big Bang. Here’s where it gets a bit Treky: the relatively fast inflation of the universe in this beginning period is said to have created ripples in space-time. Professor Chin, who worked with Professor Hung in Chicago, suggested that in simplified terms, “the Big Bang was the explosion that generated sound.” The sound waves began to interact and interfere with each other, and this may have led to the universe of complex radiation seen by cosmologists today. It is understood that these interactions (called Sakharov acoustic oscillations) occurred in the first 380, 000 years of the universe, immediately

following the Big Bang. In Chicago laboratory settings, this was reduced to under ten milliseconds, and to a size of 70 microns – which is around the diameter of a human hair (which is still pretty massive in physics terms). The results are still valid to apply to our much larger Big Bang, as long as there is the same ratio in matter and radiation as found in the Big Bang. Thus, their own tiny, short universe was formed. Evil scientist objective complete. Their studies suggested that extremely cold temperatures following the Big Bang may have led to the interaction of atoms, and begun the creation of the universe into a medium which we are more familiar with today. This method of cooling atoms and studying Sakhoarov oscillations may help explain other space head-scratchers, such as the formation of galaxies, or more topically black holes, which Stephen Hawkings recently suggested had a structure different to what is currently popularly believed. However, it still does Origionalwana not explain the ever eva-

Flappy Bird: The latest virus in the gaming world

sive singularity event of the Big Bang, which mathematics has so far failed in describing. There are still many unknowns in this popular theory, but with this research, we are gaining further understanding. Never-the-less, now that we have outlined the theory, stay tuned for next week’s follow on article, where we give a step-by-step instruction on how to make your very own universe, using the flat freezer and a common atoms/radiation which can be easily found around any student accommodation. The evil scientist in all of us will finally achieve our dream. Let the evil over-lording commence.



he public have spoken. At current time of writing, the infamously-difficult game, Flappy Bird was sitting at the coveted number one spot on both the iOS and Google Play app stores after a huge wave of viral promotion, despite being several months old. The premise is simple: you control the eponymous Flappy Bird, touching the screen results in the aforementioned Flappy Bird flapping his wings and moving in an arc pattern. The goal is to manoeuvre Flappy Bird between pipes, and successfully doing so scores you a point. Touching either a pipe or the ground results in failure. The iOS version has an aggregate score of four stars, so that means it’s good, right? Well, sadly no. I’ll look at the (few) positives first. Flappy Bird is what all great portable games are: addictive. Due to the game’s crippling difficulty, an average play session lasts around ten seconds. But the great thing is that leaping back into the action is simply one tap away, making it perfect for bus rides. It’s also a breath of fresh air to see a smartphone game not include any sort of micro-transactions or other ‘pay-to-win’ features. In this regard, Flappy Bird is a better game than most offerings from major companies such as EA. Flappy Bird does feature advertisements, but they are hardly intrusive. Now, on to the many negatives. I’ll start with the obvious. From a graphical standpoint, Flappy Bird is not only appalling but lazy to boot. Flappy Bird himself is a weird yellow blob with giant, red fish-like lips and one huge eye which makes him look like some kind of anime-styled Cyclops. And to top it off, he has a grand total of three frames of animation. The pipes are stolen from Super Mario Bros, the font is taken from Grand Theft Auto, and the bland cityscape in the static background appears to be made of clip art circa 2004. The game is also insanely hard, with a difficulty curve so steep it has an overhang; a fact beautifully coupled with more bugs than a bush-tucker trial. To summarise, the game is monotonous, visually ugly, horribly difficult and a technically broken piece of crap. During the time of writing, the developer of Flappy Bird has announced that he will be pulling the game from smartphone app stores for personal reasons. Since legal action is not one of the reasons on the cards here, many have speculated that this may simply be a PR stunt in order to boost downloads before the hype dissipates. Despite the fact that the developer was making a minimum of $50,000 a day from Flappy Bird, he stated the reason for the game’s removal was ‘It ruins my simple life. So now I hate it’. Well, I can safely say that makes two of us.

The high score of Lucas Fitzsimmons, age 7

The Courier


Monday 17 February 2014

Puzzles There’s no quizness like show quizness, like no quizness I know. Hand in your answers at The Courier office to have a chance of winning drinks at MensBar

Crossword 1




Win a MensBar voucher

Grandma’s Pictionary

I sat down with Grandma for a game of pictionary, but she’s just not very good, bless her. Can you help me figure out which common phrase she’s trying to draw?



6 8 10

Puzzles Editors: Tom Nicholson and Sam Summers






4 7 1 9








1 A team of dinosaur-themed superheroes who are wont to morph, mightily (5, 7) 6 The dumpy cousin of the apple (4) 7 Middle Eastern nation one spot below the UK in the Global Peace Index. Chumps! (5) 9 What your mam’s underwear is made of (4) 10 A name you might use if you don’t want anyone to realise you’re J.K. Rowling (9) 13 Sweet smelling, like a duck, or a woman’s face (8) 14 George Osborne, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband. Keep it clean... (2) 16 A war, a horse, and a brand of condom (6) 19 Diminutive actor known for playing both Arnold Schwarzenegger’s twin brother and his gynaecologist (5, 6)

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 Small, brown biscuits with creamy white innards (5) 3 A popular men’s fragrance, without which your chances of punani are slim (6) 4 Geordie slang for ‘go’ (3) 5 Seminal ‘90s sports movie starring Bugs Bunny and Michael Jordan (5, 3) 8 ‘80s singer and amateur highwayman whose hits include ‘Prince Charming’(3) 10 Clothes you might wear for bed, especially if you’re a banana (7) 11 Furry red muppet with a penchant for being tickled (4) 12 A bird, or anything pertaining to birds (5) 15 Second rate doctor who monsters with mouths resembling uncooked mince (3) 17 Harry Potter’s thick ginger mate (3) 13 The noise a cow makes (3)

My Mum got me an abacus in the shape of a castle for my birthday.

5 2


6 1 2

1 2 9 8 3 1 4 6 8 1 3 9 54 3 6 7


Oh, Smiggsy!

I suppose it’s the fort that counts!


Monday 17 February 2014

The Courier

We’re picking ’em This week, The Courier looks at the rising stars starting to turn

Jules Plisson France and Stade Francais fly-half

The French have made a good start to their Six Nations campaign, and alongside Ireland, look like one of the teams to beat in this year’s competition. They have always been renowned for their attacking flair, and Wesley Fofana and Yoann Huget showed just how devastating the side can be in the first two games against England and Italy. Whilst it is the men on the outside who grab the headlines and score the tries, France have entrusted a 22 year old with the enormous responsibility of the number 10 jersey. Jules Plisson has won his first two caps for his country at fly half, and has

Plissono hands off an English threat Photography: Getty Images

looked remarkably assured in doing so. A native of the swanky Neuilly-surSeine, a western suburb of Paris, Plisson has been on the books of the capital’s premier club Stade Français since 2010, but has made just 18 first team appearances in that time. Given his relative lack of experience Plisson has made a remarkable start to his international career. In the first 40 minutes of their opening encounter France utterly dominated an admittedly sub standard England side. Much of this was England’s own doing as they failed to really show up until the second half, but Plisson controlled the

game beautifully. He avoided the temptation of flinging the ball wide to his vastly more experienced teammates, but shouldered much of the responsibility himself with his mature kicking game, forcing England backwards and into mistakes. Unusually for a fly half, he doesn’t have the added responsibility of goal kicking which is undoubtedly a benefit to his overall game - taking added pressure off him. Judging by his opening performances however, it looks as though he is prepared to handle anything the game throws at him, and is certainly a player with a big future in the French setup. Will Crane

Jack Nowell England and Exeter Chiefs fullback Since graduating from the Academy structure at the Exeter Chiefs, the former Under 20’s World Champion has gone from strength to strength. Adept at both fullback and on the wing, his illusive running style and ability both with and without the ball has granted the Redruth flyer with many an accolade during his first year in professional rugby. It was therefore unsurprising to must rugby followers that he was named in Stuart Lancaster’s Elite Squad for this year’s RBS Six Nations. His performances in this year’s AVIVA Premiership have been outstanding; he has played with a level of maturity and assuredness far beyond his meagre years. In a Chief ’s set-up where there is an abundance of young English talent,

Nowell has managed stand out and is fast becoming a player of genuine prominence. His first two international caps however would easily be classed as a baptism of fire; a narrow and heartbreaking defeat in Paris last week followed by an attritional victory at Murrayfield on Saturday made for a compelling introduction to rugby at the top level. Despite an early mistake against France, Nowell has seemed to improve with every minute he has spent on the pitch, a clear sign that he thrives from this level of competition. With the World Cup fast approaching, one would hope that he is able to build on this promising start and truly fulfil his potential at international level.

Nowell makes a charge against Scotland’s back line Photography: Getty Images

Jonty Mawer

Dave Kearney Ireland and Leinster winger

Kearney runs through the Welsh defence Photography: Getty Images

When the name ‘Kearney’ is heard from the commentary box most people turn their attention to Rob, the Irish and Leinster full back who won his 50th cap on his opening match of the 2014 Six Nations campaign. This year however, the attention is progressively being turned towards his brother, David. Despite being called up to the Senior Irish Squad for the 2012 Six Nations, he didn’t make his first international appearance until the 2013 end of year tests, where he come on as a substitute against Somoa for his first senior cap and impressively scored two tries. Already in this year’s competition

Kearney has put on turbulent performances against Scotland and Wales. Recognised as being the ‘softly spoken brother,’ Dave is much louder on the field. Built like a powerhouse, renowned for the head down, tearing forward approach, as he pushes through opponents’ back lines, Dave is the less understated, the less anticipated Kearney. Silent but deadly, he does his job, frequently surpassing the crowd’s expectations and drawing comparisons to Irish rugby greats, and of course, to his brother.Notably in their Scotland game, D.K was dominant in the ruck, and made plenty of ground into Scotland’s back line.

Two minutes into extra time, Kearney was unlucky not to be awarded a try after some impressive acrobatics to keep the ball in touch and plant it behind the try line, but the video referee wasn’t persuaded and blew the final whistle to end the match 28-6. Despite not being awarded a try in Ireland’s demolition of Wales, Kearney did make two breaks which both resulted in Wales taking illegal stabs to stop him. With an away fixture against England drawing closer, Dave will be hoping to secure a performance for his place in all future competitions with Ireland and be on his way to contesting his older brother’s half-century tally of caps for the men in green. Fran Fitzsimmons

The Courier


Monday 17 February 2014

for Twickenham

heads with next year’s World Cup in England on the horizon

Luther Burrell

England and Northampton outside centre Luther has made an impressive start to his international career with England in the current Six Nations, with tries in games against France and Scotland. He has pushed the backline to get over the gain line regularly, and filled the role of Manu Tuilagi’s in his injury absence. His centre partnership with Billy Twelvetrees has blossomed with the finesse and subtlety of Twelvetrees, and the brutal power of Burrell’s 109kg, 6ft 3 frame. His performance against France was particularly impressive as he made many outstanding support lines throughout the game especially off Owen Farrell. Burrell offers a lot to the

Burrell touches down for a try against Scotland Photography: Getty Images

English backline as his directness commits opposition defenders and will create space for England’s young, exciting and quick back three. Burrell has a rugby league background from training with Leeds Rhino’s for four years, leading to the power and pace of his running game. Burrell moved to his current premiership club, Northampton, in the summer of 2012 from Sale Sharks. He impressed a lot and after a strong first season for the club was selected for England’s South America tour the following summer after injuries to Joel Tomkins and Alex Goode. Burrell has been the form centre this

season and has merited his selection. He has looked a lot more comfortable playing in the white jersey than Joel Tomkins who looked out of his depth wearing the number thirteen shirt in the Autumn Internationals. It is likely Manu Tuilagi will remain England’s first choice outside centre when he is fit again but looking forward to the World Cup next year, Burrell could challenge Tuilagi for the starting spot creating internal competition, which will benefit both players. Luther Burrell will make a big impact coming off the bench if he doesn’t make the starting line-up and could be a key member of the squad that is needed to win a World Cup. Patrick Castleden

Billy Vunipola England and Sarcacens number 8 Remembered for scoring a last minute try on his debut against Argentina in the summer, Billy has left his U20 days behind him and is keen to make his mark on his first Six Nations tournament. With a huge contest against Ireland looming at Twickenham, Billy Vunipola hopes his fresh legs will bring the English squad a change of fortune. Vunipola says he ‘relishes’ the challenges of playing against the experience of the Irish backs. Despite facing a powerhouse in Paul O’Connell and O’Driscoll, Vunipola recognizes that a solid performance against two of rugby’s greats will increase his chances of a spot on Schmidt’s squad for the rest of the tournament. In January of last year, Billy found his professional rugby career taking a step in the right direction after signing

a contract with the Saracens, following a stint at the London Wasps Academy. His hard work started to pay off after Billy was selected to go to South America with the England squad, and wow-ed coaches by scoring a hat-trick. Having made it to training with the Six Nations’ Squad of 2013 but not making it onto the pitch, Vunipola will be determined to impress during the pitch time he is given, and contest Ben Morgan for the permanent number 8 jersey. After already displaying the willingness to rattle the cages of more established international players, Billy will run onto Twickenham on Saturday with a point to prove, and with the hope of turning around England’s rather unconvincing start to their Six Nations campaign. Fran Fitzsimmons

Vunipola hands off a French defender Photography: Getty Images Vunipola battles to break a French tackle Photography: Getty Images

Michele Campagnaro Italy and Beneton Treviso fullback

Campagnaro is known for his prolific place kicking Photography: Getty Images

For many, an unknown entity in the run up to this year’s RBS Six Nations, Michele Campganaro has been somewhat of a revelation for Italian Rugby. A graduate of Italy’s Under 20’s side, the Beneton Treviso Outside Centre has been one of the stand-out players so far in the Championship and seems destined to play a sizeable role in Italy’s campaign. A skilful Seven’s player, Campagnaro has impressed coaches and pundits alike with his skills in defence and attack throughout this season. His performance against Wales in Cardiff last week exemplified his level of

ability with the debutant coming away with a brace of tries from a game, which thoroughly tested the defending champions in their own back yard - by no means an easy feat to achieve. Like other young players, a swift realization of the level demanded at the top flight was just around the corner for Campagnaro. Italy’s 30 point drubbing by the French in Paris on Saturday was an irrevocably harsh blow. A game where possession came at a premium for the away side, Canpagnaro experienced the turmoil of trying to play International Rugby without the ball, an undoubtedly draining and at

the same time infuriating encounter yet one that is crucial to the development of every aspiring international. Rugby Legend Jonny Wilkinson, for example, still references the notorious “Tour of Hell” and England’s 76-0 hammering by the Australians in Brisbane as one of the most formative experiences of his rugby career. Italy has certainly suffered from a dearth of young talent over the past few years however with players like Campagnaro in the squad, things would suggest that Italy’s youth development is beginning to make headway. Italy are fast becoming a side capable of giving anyone a game on their day. Jonty Mawer


Monday 17 February 2014

The Courier

Newcastle slay blunt Blades Women’s Fencing

Newcastle’s female fencers proceeded easily to the quarterfinals of the Trophy race after charging past University of Sheffield 1st 131-90 (45-26, 45-19, 4145). The ladies gave a hard time to their opponents and produced an impressive performance, only giving away the third set of the match.

The hosts got their well-known rhythm in the early stages, as Madlen’s sister Elena pushed her side ahead 158. The twins continued to ask all the questions on Wednesday afternoon, earning a 14 point lead in the middle of the round. Team captain Molly Jowsey wasn’t quite convincing in the first two personal clashes but raised her game immediately afterwards to display a repertoire of superior fencing skills. Newcastle ended it at 45-26 with the best yet to come. The second set saw the home side

The contest was opened with an epée battle in which Madlen Ivanova drew the first blood against Lizzie of Sheffield. Newcastle 1st had so far cruised to seven consecutive victories in all competitions and intended to prolong their dominative period.

slaughtering Sheffield’s fencers who were absolutely outplayed from its beginning. Molly grabbed two clean 5:0 sweeps in combination with an outstanding Maddie-Ellie teamplay, as the sisters put their rivals to the foil for a crucial 25-3 gap. Last in line, Jowsey

sealed the deal at 45-19. Though not a decider, the sabre fight offered some tremendously competitive duels. The visitors weren’t likely to reach the peak of their game any time soon but managed to find an extra gear and sur-

prise Newcastle. The rage of Sheffield’s Lizzie and Ingrid resulted in a 11-15 lead, taking advantage of a slight concentration loss from their opponents. Through the superb Ellie and Maddie, the hosts edged back in front 25-14 but it wasn’t all over for the Ladies. Shef-

field’s second major outburst gave them the confidence to push even harder, thus eventually winning the set 41-45. The victory sends Newcastle into the Last 8 against St. Andrews 1st in a tough challenge for a place in the semifinals.

Intramural Football

tle. The dire state of the playing surface in addition to peak wind strength around the game’s kickoff time made for an incredibly scrappy start to the match as both sides struggled to cope with the horrendous playing conditions. Thankfully after about 20 minutes in the wind strength began to partially subside which finally enabled some watchable football to be played. Subsequently it was the high-flying Medics who ultimately settled into the contest the better, as they began to carve out the large majority of the first period’s best openings. Calum Reaich saw a long-range speculative effort drift wide, prior to the lively Batham volleying his first attempt on goal narrowly past the same post. Whilst the Medics continued to enjoy the lion’s share of possession, as Larrakins grew tentatively into the game they began to pose a slight threat to Medic backline on the break. This outlet arrived as a result of the willingness of their two forwards, particularly James Knowles, to run the channels and provide their more defensive players with an out ball as a means of relieving the pressure. On the stroke of the interval, it was through this pathway that they fashioned their best opportunity of the half. Knowles showed great enterprise to momentarily escape the clutches of his marker to create a one-on-one situation with Andy Conley in the Medics’ goal. However as the forward struggled to get the ball out of his feet, the retreating Chris Mysko was subsequently able to put in a last ditch challenge that put off the striker, and ultimately enabled Conley to gather the consequential regrettably tame effort with relative ease. This let off appeared to act as real wake-up call for the Medics as, whilst up to this point they had largely been

dominating proceedings, they could perhaps be accused of complacency in terms of failing to show a killer instinct and truly make their dominance count. However, the same could not be said for their second half performance, as they out all guns blazing after the restart to all but end the game as a contest with barely an hour played. The re-galvanised Medics at last notched the games opening goal with 47 minutes gone; Elliot Welch stroked a neat slide rule pass into the path of Batham who duly slotted the ball home. Soon after the same duo combined once again to make it two. This time a tidy move down the left-hand side culminated in Welch cutting the ball back into the path of Batham who proceeded

to produce a sumptuous first time volley to double his side’s advantage. Liquid football. The buoyant Medics showed no signs of letting up, continuing to play with poise and menace to which Larrakins simply had no response. It came as little surprise therefore when the Medics made it three just after the hour mark. Another neat move culminated in Batham producing a calm left-footed finish to complete a quick-fire hat-trick. With the third goal all but putting paid to the encounter as a contest, Larrakins came close to netting a surprise instantaneous response however. Following the restart, Conley had to be alive to tip a speculative effort from the halfway line narrowly over his crossbar and

maintain his side’s three-goal advantage. With seemingly no way back into the game, Larrakins’ heads began to drop all over the pitch. The unrelenting Medics could, and should, have added a fair few more to their tally as the Larrakins backline continued to struggle with the fluidity of the Medics attack. In the game’s closing stages, the Medics at last added at fourth goal. On this occasion, it was a ball across goal from winger Luke Spray, that was tucked neatly home by Alex Rhodes to complete the rout for the Medic second team – undeniably the ‘little horse’, to quote a certain Mr Mourinho, in the Division One title race.

By Peter Georgiev in Newcastle

The second set saw the home slaughtering Sheffield’s fencers who were absolutely outplayed from its beginning

Luckless Larrakins blown away by Batham’s brilliance Medics 1sts




Batham 47 53 61, Rhodes 88

By Nick Gabriel in Longbenton

Conley Mysko



Kirk Reaich

Dalton (c) Welch


Rhodes Batham




Hollis Bexon






Coles (c)

The peerless Josh Batham netted an astounding 15 minute second-half hattrick last Wednesday, as the Medic two’s ran out comfortable 4-0 winners over bottom of the league Larrakins at an obscenely wet and windy Longbenton. The result sees the Medics move within 8 points of the Medics first team with a game in hand to keep alive their slim hopes of retaining the Division One ti-

Medics’ Elliot Welch flights a troublesome setpiece into the melting pot Photography: Nick Gabriel

The Courier


Monday 17 February 2014

Rare loss for NUNC NUWRC Netball

By Sassa Hamilton in Newcastle

NUNC 1sts Brunel 1sts

31 36

NUNC 1sts set off on a short trip down south to Brunel for a Championship game after a solid training session on Tuesday night. Not having gone all that way for nothing the 1sts started strong, putting solid defensive pressure on Brunel and they were justly rewarded with a two goal lead in the 1st quarter. Brunel bit back in the 2nd quarter, stepping their game up a level; taking advantage of Newcastle errors. Turnovers were made by Newcastle but they struggled to make it all the way to goal. Brunel’s ‘big friendly giants’ of

GA and GS were slotting the ball home, and Newcastle began to hesitate. Centre Alice Hagyard was getting bullied by her opposite player but battled on valiantly. In the final quarter, changes were made and Newcastle rekindled their fire. Skating down court like Sochi athletes the team supported each other to goal with player of the match Emily Whiteside finishing it off in style. Sadly Brunel had made too much of an impact in the middle half of the game and made it through to the next round with a win of 36-31.

NUNC 2nds Edinburgh University 2nds

40 23

NUNC 2nds headed up to snowy Scotland to take on the bonny lasses in the last 16 of the Trophy. Arriving at possibly the nicest sports

centre in the world, they were determined to take account of the mistakes made in the last match and play sensible netball. This they managed to do, taking control of the game in the first minutes, and were up by five by the end of first quarter. Edinburgh felt the pressure down court and threw away silly balls and allowed countless interceptions by player of the match Sassa Hamilton and Tess Richardson. As Edinburgh lost their heads, Newcastle struggled to play sensibly, and on more than one occasion got carried away with speed down the court. By the end of the 3rd quarter they knew the game was in their hands, and only theirs to lose. They kept their heads, and along with some insane shooting from Steph Blain, they took the victory to break Scottish hearts.

NUCCC run rings around opposition Cross Country Club By Rebecca Rigby in Durham The onset of frosty conditions was no hindrance for the female cross country team on 12th January in Durham, with the A team comfortably taking first place at the annual Durham cathedral relays in their first race of 2014. The team consisting of Rebecca Metin, Amelia Pettitt and Rebecca Rigby each completed a 3.2km lap of the course to win in a time of 35 minutes 15. Their win comes despite being newcomers to the race this year, well ahead of local team rivals Durham Harriers

and Jarrow and Hebburn (2nd and 3rd), and Morpeth Harriers who have dominated the race in previous years. Metin, getting a good start in the first leg of the relay, held off competitors to ensure a top 10 place before handing over to Pettitt. Amelia, fresh from a second place victory in the under 20s race at the Cheshire County Championships the week before, ran a storming second lap, picking off 4 other teams and pulling Newcastle Uni into 3rd place, behind Durham, who had been leading from the outset, and North Shields Poly. Rigby took on the third and final lap, easily overtaking the North Shields Poly and Durham runners despite an initially

large lead by the other two teams, putting a 17 second gap between her and the Durham runner to cross the line in first place. A great win for the girls, who are definitely ones to watch over the rest of the season. Women’s cross country captain Laurie Dugdale also put in a strong performance completing her lap in 12 minutes 30 despite lacking two other team members, as did the men’s team. Although missing some of the usual front-runners on this occasion, Tim Davies, Kris Delaney and Ash Mathur tenaciously crossed the line in a cumulative time of 33 minutes 30 amidst strong competition, landing the men’s team in position 25 out of 67 in total.

march on

Women’s Rugby USW 1sts


Newcastle 1sts


By Megan Lines in South Wales Newcastle Women’s rugby first team have made it through to the BUCS championship quarter finals, after beating University of South Wales 10-0. With icy rain lashing the players and the pitch covered in grit salt after a very snowy and icy evening, the Newcastle team kicked to South Wales.

raced to put it down resulting in the first of the tries for Newcastle. The score stood at 5-0 after an unsuccessful conversion. Despite the near-freezing conditions, both teams were eager to fight towards the place in the quarter finals. South Wales kicked towards Newcastle, and it was caught safely by Captain Katie “Magic” McEvoy. The ball steadily made its way up the pitch with strong carries from forward Catherine Sanderson. Unfortunately the ball was knocked on, resulting in a scrum for South Wales. This did not bother forward of the match Cassie Jordan, as she easily stole the ball with impressive hooking skills. Quick thinking from no 8 Sarah Driver resulted in gaining metres against the unaware South Wales side. Henson

This did not bother forward of the match Cassie Jordan, as she easily stole the ball with impressive hooking skills The ball was well caught by the opposition, however after a couple of phases of intense Newcastle defence by the forwards the ball was turned over. Newcastle gained metres from “pounding the rock”, when forwards pick the ball and go directly into the opposing defence. After wearing down their defensive line, the ball was swiftly passed out to the backs. Winger Lauren Wallace was close to the try line, but was caught short by South Wales’ no 14’s quick tackle. Player of the match Rosie Neal then kicked the ball over South Wales’ defensive line. Lucy Henson was the first at the ball, kicked it past the try line and

again got the ball and found a gap in the rival’s line and again scored a try. The score stood at 10-0. The rest of the match was spent mainly in South Wales’ half, showing how dominant Newcastle were in attack and defence. Henson narrowly missed out on a hat-trick after managing to get to the try line but knocking on the ball. As the whistle blew, Newcastle first team were extremely pleased both to have won a place in the quarter finals in the championship but also to escape the freezing rain. The first team will play Cardiff Met away on the 26th February in the BUCS Championship quarter finals.

The University go-kart team experienced biblical conditions as the BUKC got underway down at Buckmore Park in Kent - Photography by Kieran Lucas

Sport Monday 17 February 2014 Issue 1285 Free

Sports Editors: Nick Gabriel, Freddie Caldwell and Fran Fitzsimmons | @Courier_Sport

Stan Calvert storm

UNI TRIUMPH IN TROPHY TEST Rugby girls through to next round p.39 FENCERS INTO CUP QUARTERS

Uni too hot to handle for Sheffield p.38 Gateshead International Stadium is at the heart of the disagreement between Newcastle and Northumbria Photography: Getty Images

Universities at odds over varsity competition format

By Freddie Caldwell Sports Editor With the Stan Calvert varsity clash just a few weeks away differences have emerged between Newcastle and Northumbria University over how the competition should be run. To those who witnessed last year’s contest, this may not be hugely surprising, after a year when several sports were cancelled and many venues were changed. As reported in The Courier, many sports clubs were unhappy with the changes made to last year’s event, and will have been hoping to see a return to the previous format that included more sports and more neutral venues. Some further changes have been made to the competition this time around, but it is unlikely that they will go very far to satisfy those sports clubs who were unhappy last year. One significant difference to proceedings is the return of Gateshead International Stadium as the venue for the rugby union men’s 1st game, the blue riband event of the competition. Last year the game had to be moved to Kingston Park due to an issue with the Gateshead pitch which proved controversial due to Northumbria’s involvement with the venue unlike Gateshead,

Officials forced to reach compromise over venues and sports to be included

which is considered neutral. However, the only other sports that will be played at Gateshead will be badminton and athletics, despite the fact that the venue has the capacity to hold many more. Two years ago the venue was the central point of the competition but now the different fixtures will be spread out around the city with venues including Coach Lane, Longbenton, Bullocksteads and Cochrane Park.

Several events, including all four netball fixtures will be held at Northumbria’s £30 million Sport Central, which is certainly one of the premier sports venues in the city. However, Kennedy feels that the spirit of the competition is better served by playing more fixtures at neutral venues. It is certainly true that having a balanced crowd, as is usually the case with the rugby, creates a particularly intense

Many sports clubs look set to miss out on what promises to be the closest Stan Calvert competition in recent memory

Speaking to The Courier, Newcastle’s performance sport manager Fraser Kennedy spoke of the desire to keep as many sports as possible at neutral venues. His argument is that having a large number of sports at Gateshead creates a ‘festival of sport’, which cannot be achieved to the same extent if the sports are more spread out. The team at Northumbria evidently does not agree with this approach, but this is perhaps not surprising given what Kennedy describes as “top level facilities” that they have at their disposal.

atmosphere; this is probably harder to achieve in a non-neutral venue. Another issue that remains from last year is the absence of certain sports such as clay pigeon shooting and cycling that have previously been involved. This means that many sports clubs will not be involved in the biggest university sporting event of the year. This has lead to separate varsity games being arranged such as in the case of ice hockey who will play their match a few weeks after the main competition. These issues stem from Northum-

bria’s insistence that only sports which feature in BUCS should be included in Stan Calvert. This focus has certainly helped the level of performance in these sports as Northumbria have moved up into the top 10 of the BUCS rankings this season. However, this success has come at the expense of some of the less mainstream sports such as gymnastics, another of the sports excluded from Stan Calvert. Kennedy acknowledges that the format of this year’s competition has been a compromise between the two universities which has resulted in a “scaleddown event’, and that the approach to future Stan Calvert events will need to be reviewed. Despite the obvious differences in opinion between the two universities, we are still left with the exciting prospect of many of the University’s top athletes going head-to-head with their local rivals in some of the best venues that Newcastle has to offer. Bring on March 2nd.

Keep up to date with all the latest information in the run-up to this year’s Stan Calvert on The Courier online

THE JOY OF SIX Stars of the Six Nations so far p.36-7

Photography: Getty

MEDIC 2’S STAY IN HUNT Title ‘little horse’ thrash Larrakins to close gap on rivals p.38

The Courier 1285