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First Issue November Edition The Independent Student Newspaper

in this issue Your Student’s Union

Do you really know what’s going on? Page 4



Debunking The Myths Daniel Gallacher Over the next decade Oxford Brookes will undergo extensive building works. It’s fair to say that if you came back in 2018 you may not recognise the place at all. There’s no doubt it is an exciting prospect with improved facilitates and new buildings on the cards, but there is also worry for the longevity of our student union. Until now, exactly what’s intended was mysterious but OBscene has obtained a preview of the plan, imaginatively named ‘Phase A’. No campus will be left untouched: at Harcourt Hill the existing residential accommodation, will be replaced by new en-suite self catered rooms ; at Gypsy Lane Campus, the intention is to bring together the library and computing provision as well as the pooled teaching rooms and new social learning space. Catering, student union facilities, and a one stop shop for student services will also be encompassed. ‘Phase A’ at Wheatley involves the replacement of existing residences; provide new catering, library and IT facilities; and demolish the Tower. The view from the A40 will never be the same again. There are also plans to scale back the Helena Kennedy centre. At the recent AGM meeting Vice Chancellor Janet Beer admitted that the size of the venue, the home of ‘Pleasuredome’ and ‘Peachy’, is too large and numbers are

dwindling with competition from other club nights. Arguably the greatest conundrum, is the large empty area on the Gypsy Lane Campus where the Darcy building once stood. Oxford Brookes is a full capacity university and it does seem an unconventional plan to knock down a building and replace it with ...a space. Rumours are flying that Brookes knocked down Darcy only to be denied planning permission for a new building, or that Brookes were promised a loan for the building works but were rejected by the bank, a victim of the credit crisis. If these proved to be true it would be a truly worrying development in Oxford Brookes history, certainly an immense setback.OBscene took these rumours to Vice Chancellor Janet Beer, and Deputy Vice Chancellor Rex Knight, who insisted that “Neither of these have any basis in fact”. Knight elaborated “The timing for the demolition of Darcy was determined by the fact that we had a time-limited grant from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) to pay for the demolition cost, which we would have had to return if we had not spent it last year”. Mr Knight continued “It was always the case that the new building on the site would not be started until late 2009, for a number of reasons, including the fact that we need to demolish the Lloyd Building before the new

Interview with Shami Chakrabarti

Find out how the UKs foremost advocate for human rights and civil liberties plans to fulfil her new role as University Chancellor. Page 7

Fight the flu.

Are winter soups the key? Find out on Page 12

Bone-shaking basslines with a spell of grime Turn to page 21 to find out what Brookes’ societies have got to say to you Ever wondered about the graffitti on Cowley Road? Turn to Page 17 to read about the graffitti collective who love to doodle.


Men in Make-Up

Page 11 bares all

Emma Hyatt

Imagine knowing everything about someone before you have even met them; their financial position, which bank they’re with, their number, even the unique grooves of their fingertips before you have even shaken their hand. If you thought Facebook destroyed the element of mystery, think again. In a multi - billion pound introductory scheme, the Government has proposed that identity cards start being given to foreign Continued on page 2 Continued on page 6

R E B M E V O N H MONDAY 17T for details see page 16

The OBscene Burlesque Ball celebrate the launch of the obscene newspaper at the zodiac, carling academy

OBscene news 2


Now a faded memory, but two years ago Brookes had a student paper. To be honest it was pretty obscene! Readers would stumble on the most obvious of editorial mistakes and due to the excessive amounts of Student Union advertising, I read it with no more regard than a glorified newsletter. Consequently I was wholly sympathetic with the Student Union's decision to axe the former newspaper in 2007.

contact the team OBscene, Oxford Brookes University, Gipsy Lane, Oxford Editors

Lucy Porter James Muller

News Editors

Tom Jackman V Lawson-Cruttenden

Features Editor

Alexandra Allison

Fashion and Lifestyle Editor

Kelly Baldwin

Yet as The Times leading new University for the eighth year running, what seems more obscene is not having a student publication at all. Cue the launch of Obscene, albeit a very different paper from two years ago. The only similarity shared is the name. We are independently funded which means we have complete editorial control, with no ulterior motives. What you read is what you say. Therefore Obscene is for you by you: a place for you to have your say and express your flair and creativity. Pick it up and get involved.


Since August 2007 the world has changed, the economy is in turmoil. The question is how will the so called “credit crunch” affect students in the UK? There are many flaws in the banking system that are not widely understood, or known about. “Banks do not store money and money credited into bank accounts are instantly transferred into the ownership of the banks [to invest as they see fit]. Thus all bank customers are unsecured creditors.” (Tim Lawson-Cruttenden, co-drafter of the safety deposit current accounts bill). With the UK now having a bail out system for the economic crisis we are waiting for banks to correct their mistakes. What will happen to existing student loans and future student’s access to them? The Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) sets the interest rates for student loans in March every year, based on the Retail Price Index and the rate of inflation. Since last year interest rates have decreased to 3.8%; but, because of the economic crisis that has hit, the future is uncertain. What

Continued from front page given to foreign nationals and estimate that by 2015 90% of immigrants, those with restricted national rights, will hold a card. Next on their hit list: the humble student, the future of our counChantelle Holt Arts and try. Unfortunately for the lawmakers of the land, we’re a globally Entertainment aware bunch, and just in case you haven’t quite recovered enough Editors Aparna Thadani from the alcohol steeped antics of University life, here’s what you NEED TO KNOW. The identity card that you will be legally obligated to carry, like a tattoo, will contain ‘registerable’ facts [why yes attentive Societies Editor Shelley Kimber students, according to the English Dictionary ‘registerable’ isn’t even a word.] These will include a valid until date, your digital image, remarks about your occupation [status], your unique card Copy Editor Ross Horn number, biometrics [including a retina scan and fingerprints], the UK hologram and a machine readable barcode. Through this barPR and Marketing Lorna Henderson code, any interaction you have with a shop, a website, even a son will be recorded and stored. At the risk of sounding heretical to the principals of libGraphics Team Mike Cockin erty, some British citizens feel that identity cards aren’t a problem. Rachael Bristow Just a glorified driving license; plus identity card schemes on the Thalia Eccles continent seem to have been beneficial. But, and it is an Orwellian but, each ‘registerable’ fact that is digitally encoded in your card, Each section editor was responsible for section layout and will be centralised in what the Government has named The Nadesigns. tional Identity Register. To culminate all this information, countWant to boost your CV? Come and join our less scanners and computer terminals will be needed, making the Advertising and Marketing Team interception of personal data highly probable between organisations. Imagine hacking into someone’s Bluetooth as they walk by, and you’ve pretty much got access to that person’s information. At present, the Government has outlined fifty pieces of data it wishes to store about an individual, but this is certain to rise. The human Obscene is the student newspaper of the University of Oxford Brookes, and is both editorially and financially independent of rights organisation Liberty postulate, that eventually a DNA samboth the Union and the Unviersity. The views expressed in this ple will be included. As for security, countless government officials publication are those of each article’s writer and not necessarily and their private employees will have access to the information, as those of the editor, the Union or the University. Publication, the effort gets underway of amassing all our personal data. In the especially of comment pieces and editorials, does not represent past twelve months the Government has lost more than 25million endorsement of the views expressed. pieces of personal data, including sensitive military information, All correspondence to editoral matters arising from articles through pure negligence, such as leaving a laptop on a train. If negpublished in this newspaper should be directed to Lucy Porter, ligence was not the cause, and the information was simply ‘leaked’ away, then by imposing the ID card scheme the Government are Editor, 29 Regent Street, Oxford, OX4 1QX. Sub Editors

Ben Shallow Sacha Harrison

about the newspaper

we do know is that, unlike in the U.S.A, student loans are publicly funded and, therefore, extremely unlikely to be stopped altogether. What we cannot predict is if

interest rates will increase over the next couple of years or not, however, with rising inflation it is highly likely

Continued on Page 6

putting us all at risk. Maybe we are too saturated with Spooks-esque dramas in the entertainment industry of today, but the fact stands that even those within the Government are concerned about data handling. The Shadow Defence Secretary Liam Fox expressed that: ‘the loss of so much confidential information shows the reckless approach this government takes with our personal information’ []. No doubt he could do it better. It is incomprehensible to imagine the chaos and destruction that would occur if all of our individual, personal, and sensitive data got into the wrong hands. The Government is not preventing terrorism; they’re breeding a more accessible world for it to thrive. The mass accumulation of data and vast indexing system, herald the Database Age, and this centralisation is the fundamental problem. European schemes forbid centralisation, so why do our politicians want to keep such a close check on us? Apparently ID cards will protect us from terrorism; that’s already been disproved. The Madrid bombings of March 11th 2004, killing nearly two hundred people, were carried out by an al-Qaeda inspired terrorist cell. They were carrying the correct ID cards, possibly because their main concern was hiding their intent and not their identity. Plus a suicide bomber hardly has to live with his identity on a government black list. Apparently ID cards will help cut crime, but statistics show that in the European countries that have ID cards, crime has neither fallen or risen, confirming that ID cards are about as reliable as paper shoes during a monsoon. The active campaign group NO2ID has said that British National Identity Management Scheme is: ‘…closest to those of some Middle Eastern countries and of the People’s Republic of China…’ We must take action. The Trade’s Union Congress has already made headway, opposing ID cards for airline workers, a sensitive industry in the current hype of the world, causing a deadlock. Organisations such as Liberty, headed by Shami Chakrabarti [who incidentally is Oxford Brookes’ University Chancellor] and the specialist group NO2ID www.no2id. net, are constantly working against the government plans, spreading awareness and mustering a defence. If you want to get involved, get in touch with the opposition, and fight not just for you’re right to party, but for your right to party in private.

PLIGHT FOR PEACE Heather Armstrong

On Saturday the 4th of October, members from the Oxford Network for Justice and Peace and some of its beneficiaries gathered for a peaceful protest outside the U.S Airbase in Croughton. The march was in protest of the UK and America’s production, stockpiling and potential use of nuclear weapons. The route started around the back of the base, down the main road and ended at the entrance gate to U.S.A.F Croughton, with an entourage of policemen to oversee that this small group of protestors didn’t get too rowdy. I was surprised to find that the majority of the group were of about 50 years or older with only one member under 25. When asked how he felt about this, Paul Fitchett a recent graduate of law from Liverpool University said, “I’m actually really disappointed that there aren’t any other younger people here. It’s up to us to take an interest in this kind of thing; it’s our future we’re talking about.” He’s right, granted it wasn’t a very heavily publicised event, nonetheless, how much attention do we really give to our current political situation? I did some research into the current international situation regarding nuclear weapons before going, but still felt a little out of my depth with all the military jargon flying around from these ‘fragile’ little ladies. Jennie Chesterton, member of Farringdon Peace Group for the last twenty eight years and Hilda Joy-Jones had much to say on the matter. “We want this base closed down; having it here poses us a direct threat. We want nothing to do with America’s use of nuclear weapons. We also want the UK to pull out of NATO, to subscribe to disarmament and disband

OBscene news 3 TRIDENT.” NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) was formed in April 1949. It is a system of collective defence and therefore if any one member comes under attack from an external party, all members will form a military defence alliance. Currently NATO has twenty six members, an expansion was planned to include the Balkans and further east the Ukraine and Georgia, all former members of the Warsaw Pact (the eastern European version of NATO that has

air power and nuclear weapons. Trident is the UK’s missile based nuclear weapons programme, the Royal Navy operates fifty eight nuclear armed ballistic missiles and around two hundred nuclear war heads on four submarines just off the west coast of Scotland. These weapons are the UK’s biggest deterrent from external conflict, and are defensive weapons, yet in some cases viewed as a provocation. The U.S. has recently placed missiles in the Czech Republic, Poland, increasingly close to

now disbanded); however this decision was blocked principally by German Chancellor Angela Merkel in April at the Bucharest summit. It is seen by some that Georgia’s attempt to seize South Ossetia back by force and Russia’s subsequent invasion this year was due to this decision. Expansion though is still on the cards for NATO. Current members include the USA, Canada, Iceland and most of Europe. NATO’s aim as a collective defence system is to reduce the likelihood of conflict through deterrence and therefore global security increased, however some see the expansion as an attempt by the U.S to further its power and self interest. As the strongest member of NATO the military capabilities reflect those of the U.S, these being

Russia’s borders. Trident is under review and proposals to replace the system were passed in the House of Commons in March 2007; this would cost the UK around £5 billion of tax payer’s money. The government has been advised by US weapon specialists that these missiles will last another twenty years, and in the current economic climate can we really afford to replace something that’s not broken? Mel Harrison, member of Oxford CND (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament) and key speaker at the protest is very concerned about how much power the U.S has. “Currently in the UK there are If you’re interested in becoming a member of Oxford 11,000 U.S troops and 390,000 internationally, we are Network for Justice and Peace or for more informaon the brink of another Cold War. Unless we change tion, email

HOW GREEN IS BROOKES? Grace Elliott Are you guilty of standing and staring into the fridge whilst leaving the door wide open? Leave the tap running whilst you brush your teeth? Leave the light on when your not in the room? If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions... you haven’t won anything, you’ve lost money you could easily have saved off your bills. Read on for 10 tips on how to be more environmentally friendly and to find out how the university is ‘going green’. If you live in university owned accommodation, particularly halls, the chances are that the university’s recycling efforts are visible. You probably have a green recycling box where you put your glass bottles and a blue recycling sack to put plastic, paper and tins. In some halls, particularly the new ones such as Clive Booth and Cheney, they have lights in corridors/entrances that turn off when nobody is there as well as radiators that turn themselves off when the room reaches the optimum temperature. And halls aren’t the only place where being green is promoted. Brookes has an event called ‘Environment Week’ which has in the past been held every two years or so, but has no fixed date. The Sustainability Team hope to hold them in future along with other events that raise awareness. The next energy awareness week will be entitled ‘We’ve Got The Power’, held from 1st – 5th December. At past Environment Weeks, energy efficient light bulbs and waste minimisation

packs were distributed to staff and students whilst at another there were 4,000 native spring bulbs planted and a litter pick in the local area. Forthcoming events to be on the look out for include the previously mentioned Energy Awareness Week, an event sometime in the second semester to raise greater awareness of environment issues and ‘Fairtrade Fortnight’ in March. Brookes was the first university to be awarded ‘Fair-

our foreign policy it’s inevitable. I want to raise awareness of what’s going on, it takes two minutes to write to your MP discussing your views on nuclear weapons and the U.S occupation of our RAF bases. We also want to make it very clear that the expansion of NATO is just unacceptable.” Once outside the entrance of the base, hot soup and cakes were distributed to the cold marchers. Key speakers then took to the podium discussing the plan of action over the coming months, and detailing our current situation with Russia. From listening to the details it seems that nuclear weapons are just one problem in a dense spider web of issues currently affecting international politics. Everyone there was in a positive frame of mind, and when asked if they thought that global disarmament was really an achievable and likely goal, everyone asked replied “yes”. However one cannot help but think that these may be false hopes. Whilst unstable countries with extreme groups have access to and are developing nuclear weapons one cannot see at any point that either the U.S or the UK will disarm. One would also assume that it would be very unlikely that either country would use nuclear warheads as offensive weapons; the repercussions are almost not worth it. Chernobyl was terrible; the effects are still being felt and these same effects can be applied to the use of nuclear warheads. The point is, that the use of nuclear weapons being used is unlikely, however disarmament equally so; nuclear weapons seem to of been a very successful deterrent so far. The protest ended with all members of the march standing, holding hands and singing. The song reflected everything that they stood for. Their message was clear “We do not want our world contaminated, not by violence, hate, nor nuclear radiation.” said a man from the local area marching with his 11 year old daughter.

trade’ status and continues to promote fairtrade products, some of which are available from the Student Union shops (things such as fairtrade chocolate, bags, etc). Check the website, to catch up on all the latest news from the Sustainability Team, who have recently been awarded a silver in the Ecocampus Programme.

10 Tips on How To Be Environmentally Friendly’ and perhaps save the Planet: 1) Turn lights off when a room is not in use. 2) Do your bit when recycling; separating glass, plastic, paper etc only takes a few minutes but the effects last a long time. 3) When not using appliances, such as the kettle, TV, etc turn them off at the plug - appliances left on standby, such as TV’s, are responsible for 4m tonnes of excess carbon dioxide each year! 4) Switch to low energy light bulbs. These are available from most shops and use up to 80% less energy than normal bulbs. 5) Only boil as much water as you need. 6) Put on a jumper rather than just turning the heating up – this can also save on energy bills! 7) Use re-usable carrier bags for your shopping, available from most supermarkets for a small amount of money. 8) Don’t flush the toilets for unnecessary things. For example, flushing a tissue down the toilet on its own. Everytime you flush, your toilet uses 9 to 11 litres of water. 9) If you have a dishwasher then make sure it is fully loaded and don’t use the 65°c setting too often. 10) And finally... cut down on the amount of water you put in your bath – i.e. don’t overflow

OBscene news 4 EDITORS OPINION: YOUR STUDENT UNION V Lawson-Cruttenden Currently there are plans to “re-locate the students” union from the Headington campus to the Darcy site on the Gypsy Lane Campus.” Lina Mughal, President of the SU. This will mean a great number of changes. The Venue, which at present, holds 1200 students, (excluding Harts and Mez Bar), will only be able to house around 500 people. The University is contemplating the idea of incorporating some of the services available to students in the current Student Union building with their own. Understandably the Union is angry. These plans were the main focus of discussion at the Annual General Meeting (AGM). The meeting was to act as a forum for students to hear what the Chancellor, Shami Chakrabarti, the ViceChancellor, Janet Beer and the Executive Committee of the Union had to say about the future of the University and the Students’ Union. Despite this, the information was somewhat lacking. The Chancellor, who stated that she was “just a mascot for Brookes,” and Vice-Chancellor stayed for half an hour, answering six questions between them. During this

APATHY AT BROOKES Tom Jackman The Brookes student is a busy student, we all know that. Whether representing a sport or striving for a degree, we are always on the go. But, do we ever just pause and think, what can I give back to my University? What can I give back to my community? This is by no means a condemnation, but it seems that as a whole, we are carrying the banner for that most lacklustre spirit, that of apathy. With so much of our Universities (and our communities) future being decided in this academic year, you can’t blame anyone for failing to get involved, should anything affect you adversely as a result.

time an interesting topic was highlighted in which the Universitys Executive Team were put on the spot for �ning societies for non attendance. Their defence was that they were not �ning students, but merely penalising them as they have an obligation to represent their societys members. Semantics aside, it is true that the societies have a responsibility to their members however, why did this need to be in the form of a £100 �ne and why have they so little faith in the societies? Once the Chancellors had left and the votes were cast, the S.U wasted no time in promoting their take on the issue at hand. Orla Rodgers, Vice-President for Academic Affairs held up the document of Vision 2011 and asked a roomful of bewildered students whether they had been consulted on it. When she got no response, she made sure that all in the meeting where in no doubt of who was responsible for this, the University. This raised important questions, what are the S.U doing about informing the student body? After all they are elected as our representatives to protect our interests. If these interests are being overlooked because documentation is failing to make its way to us, then it is the job of the S.U to enlighten us. They can not accuse the university of inadequacy in regard to notifying students on policies taking place in the future, to advance themselves as the

We currently omit to �ght and make decisions on the future of our Student Union. The �rst advertised meeting three weeks ago yielded a result of less than forty people turning up. Minus the S.U members themselves, the journalists from Obscene, friends of the delegates involved and the Brookes T.V team and you are left with less than twenty people who expressed an interest! Aside from on-campus issues, there are other things going on within the city centre, that we are neglecting to get involved in. Many charities struggle day in and day out for the little funding and volunteer work they need (See our report on the peace protest). We by no means wish to preach to you the reader but, is your time or spare change too much to give once in awhile? After-all, it is still less than most drinks cost on a night out or that weekly magazine you just bought. The question is, can we the students, strive to get

that the S.U used much

better option, whilst the University is no longer present at the meeting. When has it been acceptable for anyone to use the mistakes of others to make themselves look better and more effective? T h e meeting did nothing to inform students on proposals about Brookes future that has up until recently been nothing but vague speculation. It did however notify students that there is documentation available on the S.U website. Whilst the Chancellor has a busy schedule, it is unacceptable that the Vice-Chancellor could afford no longer than thirty minutes when she is the only person we can really keep accountable for the actions and plans going on at the University. Despite the fact

more involved? The answer has to be yes, and here is how: 1) Get in touch with your hall rep (if you have one, as some halls couldn’t even �nd a candidate to run!) 2) Read up on the Student Union website about their pledges, and what’s currently going on. 3) Join a meaningful Society (it’s not all bad, Brookes has many ful�lling societies, People and Planet are a great example.) 4) Have your say. Become a student rep, voice your concerns on the SU website or why not join the student paper! 5) Check out some of these websites, and see if they appeal to your beliefs. • • • • www.oxfordsleepout.

of the meeting to endorse themselves, what was clear was that it is our responsibility as students to stand up and make ourselves heard. If documentation is not readily available then we should �ght for it to be so. The University and S.U may not be completely ef�cient at informing the student body about plans but we can take the initiative and demand it to be so. As “students need to be at the centre of decision making,” (Lina Mughal) who is better equipped to make the decisions to improve the prospects of future students than current students? Let’s make a stand and �ght to improve the future of Brookes for others!


Contact us and

we will try and get back to you with in the next issue!

OBscene News Team

FOOD PRICES Rachel Scott The last year has seen steep rises in the cost of food and fuel, as Gordon Brown concedes that we are facing a recession we look at ways you can reduce petrol and food bills or even eradicate them altogether. There are a string of websites offering advice on how to save money when it comes to supermarket shopping but one of the most useful is According to its creator, money saving Guru Martin Lewis, the first lesson to learn is to take the “downshift challenge”. In essence, if you currently buy the leading brand (e.g. Kelloggs) or the supermarket posh stuff (taste the difference, Tesco Finest) then shifting ‘down’ to the supermarket’s own brand next time you’re shopping should save you money. If you’re already buying the supermarket’s own brand then

“downshifting” could mean buying the cheapest of the cheap (basics, value, smart price). Fear not if this concerns you. Help is at hand in the form of Delia, yes, that’s right, Delia. Her website,, offers “tasting notes, a score out of ten and health and nutrition information on each product.” The catch, if the supermarket scores below four they have the option not to appear on the website, so if it’s not included perhaps you should question whether you really want to go there. One of the most helpful solutions for establishing which supermarket is cheaper is www. This website allows you to compare prices in four of the major supermarkets according to the items you want to buy. Even if you don’t go online there are usually reductions available at the end of the day, so if you’re looking for the extra discounts you could badger staff for items they intend to bin. Time-permitting, venturing into local bakers, butchers or mar-

OBscene news 5

kets are further options in the hunt for bargains. The Covered Market in town, or the Farmer’s Market in Headington are both great places to start at. Growing your own veg’ could be another penny saver and if athleticism and the occasional run in with the law isn’t an issue, you could consider taking up freganism – a way of living involving supermarket bin-raiding! Like supermarkets there are equivalent websites and information to be had for saving money on petrol. is a must for anyone who is interested in getting daily info on the cheapest places, especially given the recent fluctuations in prices from pump to pump. According to the AA, car users can also save up to 10% on their weekly bill by driving smarter. This includes regular servicing, frequent tyre pressure checks and ensuring that you accelerate/decelerate smoothly. If this still doesn’t fit your budget then the 234 car sharing scheme, of which Brookes is a member, could be for you. Finally if you still can’t keep up with the

rise in prices it may be time to part with the car (unless you live in a remote part of the country where public transport doesn’t exist). Someone once advised me that “taking a car to university will finish you financially”. In the current environment they could be on to something. 6 Hot Tips To Save You Money: Buy supermarket’s own brand food. Go shopping at the end of the day as there are usually reductions. Badger staff for items they intend to bin. Grow your own fruit and veg. Take up freganism - a way of living involving supermarket bin-raiding. Use public transport.



DON’T BE A MUG EMMA HYATT explains your Consumer Rights I must just have one of those faces, I wander into a shop or stumble across a website and end up being easily fooled into signing myself up to things I don’t need or want. If you’re anything like me, which must be many of you [hopefully], its time to become more aware, and the best part is, it’s easier than you think. If you’re having a problem or a dispute about a communication

service, obviously the first place to go is the customer services section of that particular product. Generally though, overseas operators will charge you extortionate amounts of money to listen to a loop of the electronic version of ‘Greensleeves’. If you feel you have been ripped off or misled into buying a product that is not fit for your purpose [that is legal terminology right there], give the OFCOM website a glance: This fantastic website is easy to use and will offer you invaluable advice. It lists all the Alternative Dispute Resolution Schemes that all communication companies are represented by, and

you’ll immediately feel the weight on your shoulders being lifted. Consumer Advice Direct; is another good place to go. Not only did they listen to my issue, they also rang me back and e-mailed me all the information I needed to know and didn’t make me feel like a regular complainer. However, if this is all a bit too light for your situation and you really want to be more familiar with the ifs and buts of the law, give the Office of Fair Trading website and the Trading Standards website a good read: uk/. These websites lay down the

law as it is written and are extremely helpful, but not so case sensitive as the aforementioned places of help. Alternatively, each and every one of us will have easy access to the Citizen’s Advice Bureau where they live, where you can speak one on one with someone free of charge. The Bureau in Oxford is at 95-96 St Aldates, and their telephone number is 01865 202715. So what’s stopping you? Don’t let any of your hard earned cash be taken away by a service you don’t even require; get to grips with your consumer rights and feel empowered.

news news 6 OBscene


(written by our very own French exchange student journalist)

I passed my Political Science degree in Grenoble (French Alps), and I have come to Brookes University to study Media. I am one of forty six French students, which is the largest exchange student community at Oxford Brookes. I ask myself, can a British University be so different? And how will I cope with the home-sickness? Admittedly the French need to learn English. Walk down any street in a French city and you will find out why. Besides the accent, ‘Franglish’ should be elected as the funniest language in Continued from Front Page build starts”. The thinking behind the ‘space to think’ idea was also revealed to be nothing more than common sense: “Landscaping the area rather than just leaving up the hoardings has provided a good quality open space, which is being well used”. Phase A reveals that our new Student Centre will be built on the footprint cleared by the demolition of Darcy. The business minded reading this will be glad to hear Oxford Brookes is not a borrow happy university as Knight explained “I am happy to confirm that we do not borrow money to build academic buildings”. So Oxford Brookes did not cause

the world! Consciously or not, Asterix’s country tries hard to avoid the Englishspeaking world. Thus we physically have to go through the English Channel to improve our standard of language. This effort is made easier by the short distance – about two and a half hours from Paris to London by train and almost the same by plane from other provincial towns (e.g. Nantes, Limoges, and Grenoble). I doubt your weather would surprise the Bretons and the Northern French though, despite the stereotype. Some French voice their concerns to Obscene. Why did you choose Oxford? Oxford is near to London, known for its canals and Christ Church. Oxford is very picturesque and satisfies our sightseeing appetite. But as Coralie Clave, who studies Japanese, English and Law, says; “the reputation of Brookes is one of the main reasons” and Oxford the city has a celeb-

the credit crunch; is not on the run from loan sharks; or the victim of a planning permission rejection. The space to think area is nothing more than an ascetically pleasing stop gap between two building projects but with a tremendous amount of construction ahead watch this space (to think). If you want to see the full proposed building plans Tim Field will be unveiling the new building plans on the 14th November at the SU.

rity status in the academic world. Nevertheless, we would have never expected to have so few classes and hours per week at brookes. In France, depending on the field, you could spend between 15 hours (in History or Drama Studies for instance) to 35 hours a week (in Law or Engineering Studies e.g.). On the other hand, the amount of coursework assessments and readings demanded here are numerous compared to the very few assignments in French universities. Instead of writing essays or doing presentations, most of a modules’ marks come from only one final exam, and particularly the famous ‘dissertation’. “I’m fed up of the French system, its too academic, and only interested in your grades whereas the English education system concentrates more on your personality and hobbies”, exchange student Vanina Moracchini has decided to stay here to study Media, Communication

Continued from page 2 they will. Another question students have to ask themselves is what will happen to student overdrafts? Currently we pay no interest on what we are loaned; therefore we simply have to pay back the exact amount we borrow. According to Candice Durrett of HSBC bank “there are no in-tentions to change their policy in relation to interest free student overdrafts.” This appears to be the common view amongst other banks such as Barclays, Natwest and Lloyds, so for now we seem to be safe from even more debt.

& Culture. To bring both the different scholar systems back together, Coralie suggests “English teachers could spend more time on a part of their course to slowly explain key concepts, and on the other side French universities should reduce the number of hours and let us learn to think and learn by ourselves more.” As a Media student, I’m amazed to learn so much practical stuff that in France I could never do, even as a postgraduate. Nevertheless, does leaving the continent really not bring with it any problems? As all international students will, the French students all mention their need for family affection, and home cooked French food! Renouncing the real baguette, croissants, camembert, ‘fondue’, good red wine and summer sausage isn’t easy for everybody!

According to a Guardian Article on the 11th August of this year, students have and will continue to be hit hard by rent increases due to the credit crunch. This applies to living expenses, such as market goods. Natasha Gilbert reported that, “Students are paying almost 20% more rent than they did four years ago.” Simon Thompson, director of Accommodation for Students stated that, “the student accommodation situation has been worsened by the credit crunch. Not only are costs going up but availability has been reduced as many former student landlords are now renting to

young professions who can no longer afford to get on the property ladder.” Can we be safe in the knowledge that students will always have their loans and therefore can afford their rent? Should we then be sympathising with those who have graduated this year with the future state of the country’s economy unknown? In times of recession, unemployment is high; will companies want to take on inexperienced graduates when their own situation is unstable? How will this affect our job prospects upon graduating?


should go.

Last academic year saw the SU deliberating on whether to ban plastic bags in the SU shops. The idea ran around the rumour mill but never saw the light of day. So Oxford Brookes People and Planet society wanted to do something about it. What are their reasons? “Plastic bags have a huge impact on the environment and wildlife; contaminating soil; waterways; oceans and the food chain. Thrown-out plastic bags are oftenmistaken by marine animals for food, with pain ful and often fatal consequences.” said James, a member of the society. Plastic bags have become the recent point of contention in the fight to get everyone recycling and some high street stores are now charging for plas-

On Friday you may have seen them handing out leaflets with their banner held high at the various SU shops on the Gipsy Lane and Headington campuses: “Our action today highlighted the devastating impact plastic bags can have and this is why we want the SU to pass a motion banning plastic bags from their shops.” They are currently in the process of putting together a new motion that will be presented to the council in December. We will keep you updated with the outcome. tic bags or ensuring customers reuse old ones. It has now become quite fashionable to have slogan emblazed cotton or net shopping bags. OB People & Planet strongly feel this is the way the SU

Want to get involved? Contact obsu.people for more information.

OBfeatures 7 As our new Chancellor, Shami Chakrabarti is stepping into some extremely large shoes. Alexandra Allison and Angus Brooke find out how she measures up. What did it feel like to follow Jon Snow into the role of Chancellor at Brookes?

So do you still have faith in British democracy? Well I’ve seen it work. I think there are some conventions and ethics that sometimes go out of the window. I think people remember that parliament needs to stand up to the government. Sometimes what you need is a good honest argument, not extreme left or extreme right politics, but people setting out their stall and saying what they believe so the public have clear choices before them. I don’t think politics is completely broken. It’s very fashionable to say everything is broken. I still think we’ve got real hope, we are democracy, and if it is broken then we should get stuck in!

It was Jon Snow who called me to say that Brookes would be writing to me and I thought he might be joking. To even think that I would even be able to �ll that extremely long gown and extremely large shoes: it’s what they call a very daunting privilege. What does the role of Chancellor mean to you and what would you like to achieve at your time at Brookes? The Chancellor is a basically a mascot, a bit of a cheerleader, who has hopefully been chosen because the student body and the university feel they broadly represents their values and aspirations. Ultimately you don’t have any powers let’s not pretend it’s anything like that. You turn up on high days and holidays, slap everybody on the back and that’s not a bad thing: it’s an absolute joy to be part of the celebration of success on graduations or going to chat to the student’s union.

What you are hoping to achieve with the Common Values campaign? Ironically we won the argument on 42 days but a lot of those who supported it, including those on the centre right, shared our values on detention and privacy yet hate the human rights act. We have a really tough job on our hands and we have to explain to people why human rights matters. It’s not political correctness gone mad and if they didn’t have them they’d jolly well miss them. Human rights have to be the core values that are the heart of the way we do things rather than just an expensive luxury that we forget about.

What makes Brookes stand out from other universities? I have done a lot of speaking at many campuses doing all over the country and it’s always an exciting experience but Brookes amongst all of those is special because of this none ivory tower attitude. At Brookes it’s not just let’s have a conversation about human rights but let’s have a human rights �lm festival. It does not just mean let’s be brilliant architects but let’s design a wonderful day centre for children in the community. That’s the x-factor that makes Brookes particularly special. Who have been your inspirations and role models? There have been lots of them: inspirational teachers both at school and college; people I’ve met where I’ve worked. I can remember as an undergraduate, Helena Kennedy the �rst Brookes Chancellor, speaking at the LSE and there was talk about the common aim being to make money in the city, but she said no we need people with good hearts and strong values to come into the law, a simple message that has stuck with me for twenty years. Obviously people like Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and Eleanor Roosevelt who were great human rights heroes. Also �ctional people: Atticus Finch, the hero in To kill a mockingbird, is a role model to generations of lawyers. I’m the kind of person that �nds role models everywhere. What do see as your biggest achievement in terms of your career at Liberty? My achievements as Director of Liberty are all shared with my colleagues because we work as a team. We put together a great campaign for Charge and Release on the 42 days suspected terrorist detention. It wasn’t just that the issue was so important or that people all over the world were looking to see what Britain did as one of the oldest democracies in the world. It was how we built a really strong coalition across society for a sustained period of �fteen months. Liberty was the catalyst for that campaign.

“Human rights have to be the core values that are the heart of the way we do things” Do you ever feel pressure to compromise your beliefs because what you do comes up against so much opposition? Sometimes everyone gets dispirited but you feel very privileged to be doing this work and there are times when you win. The best aspect is when you realise just how common these values are. I don’t subscribe to the view that human rights are a minority belief. I actually think that when you really take the time to sit down and talk to people, whether they are taxi drivers or shop assistants or human rights lawyers, the basic core values: no torture; free speech; fair trial, are really universal. To fi nd out more or join Liberty for student membership of £1/month go to:

Students are often seen to be apathetic. How do you think students can become more involved in politics and current affairs? Well I don’t think the majority of students are apathetic. As an activist in conventional sense I remember being a student and I wasn’t in the union because they are a certain type of person who might want to get into politics one day. But there are other things that people can do for something they care about, like saving a library of campaigning for the environment. The internet opens up real possibilities for a particular type of popular activism that doesn’t need students to be giving up all those evenings in smelly rooms above pubs. Like using Facebook to hook up with people all over the world who share your interests and your values. Politicians need to be more inspirational and honest about the real dif�culties facing them. When people see genuine values, philosophy and passion, they are not apathetic anymore. Do you think there will be changes as our generation grows up? Well I think we can see that’s already happening because apart from anything else your generation has got some massive challenges. My generation has got a lot to answer for in terms of crunching the credit and wrecking the planet and all the rest of it. Being something like a Chancellor of a university, where you have constant access to students, you realise that not only is the torch is being passed on to the next generation but that the next generation is going to be better. I’m pretty optimistic.

OBfeatures 8

Xchange Factor Megan Saunders

were quickly found and those �rst few nerve-racking days felt like a lifetime ago. Many of the exchange and

Three years hiding from the grim British weather

international students developed close friendships

or sunning yourself on the beach whilst studying

and continued to socialise in these groups throughout

for your degree? I certainly knew which decision

their stay. As you might have guessed plenty of time

to make upon commencing my course at Oxford

was spent at the beach and the sun was (almost) always


The QUT campus

shining. By choosing to study away I gained an international perspective of my course and had the chance to study areas not offered at Brookes. Semesters are divided in two by mid-term exams which is great for taking the pressure off at the end of term. Lectures are much the same as here but I had more seminar time and

A new friend

group work which was a chance to meet new friends within my modules. However the 8am lectures were not such a welcome change.

After months of preparation and nervous

The only problems I encountered were

excitement I departed for ‘down under’ on a semester

mosquitoes (enough said), sun burn (red head + fair

exchange in February 2008. Sandwiched between the

skin + strong sun = bad sun burn) and distractions

Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast of east Australia,

from my work: when offers of a weekend at the beach

Brisbane was to be my home for one semester. I arrived

are laid on the table you do not turn them down. As an

to thirty degree sunshine and despite being in a new

international student you don’t always get to meet many

city, knowing no one and without a permanent place

Australian students even if you speak the same language

to live, I was surprisingly calm. The long list of things

as them. In Australia domestic students mostly live at

to organise was a distraction from any home-sickness

home, work any spare hours they have and socialise

I may have felt. Within three days of touch-down on

with old school friends. However living with other

Aussie tarmac I had acquired a local mobile number,

international students I never found myself lonely and

a bank account and was well on the way to signing

there was always someone to explore the country with

housing contracts. It really was that easy.

on weekends and public holidays; a frequent occurrence

Queensland University of Technology is, like

in the Australian calendar.

organisation, maybe it’s the unwillingness to push the comfort boundaries of leaving behind all things familiar or perhaps just pure ignorance to the services available. All I can say is take up this amazing opportunity and go now. To get involved you can visit the ‘Study Abroad and Exchange’ team on the Gipsy Lane campus who are always willing to provide answers and assist you in organising your trip : send them an email to with any enquiries you may have. It is a good idea to inquire now if you are contemplating going in the next academic year. Brookes is af�liated with various universities in America, Canada and Europe and offers students the chance to participate in an overseas exchange programme for either a semester or a year. Some programmes offer bursaries which are very helpful for travelling expenses. An exchange offers great opportunities to discover new people, places and cultures as well as

you forever and the skills you gain: the ability to cope

glistening and full of new technology which is de�nitely

in unknown situations, a willingness to travel and

an improvement on the building site currently faced by

independence, are plus points that anyone would

students at Brookes every day.

want to add to their CV. It enhanced my experience of

The initial week of ‘welcoming’ talks and the

meeting place for those in similar situations. Friends

thought of the paperwork associated with the pre-

institution’s perspective. The experience stays with

The lecture theatres, computer and science labs were

trying to �nd a place to live turned out to be a great

this valuable opportunity? Maybe it’s the off-putting

learning about your chosen subject from another

Brookes, a modern university but just a little shinier.

hours spent in the accommodation of�ce desperately

So why do so few people opt to partake in

higher education and I recommend it to anyone who


The city of Brisban

enjoys an adventure. So please, when deciding your future at Brookes, consider studying abroad!

OBfeatures 9


in t t le t n e d u t s r fo s t in h l Helpfu

ion fast apents and exam revis nm sig as rk wo se ur ntracts, for co , renewing current co , with the deadlines let ar to ye e ty th er of op e pr nt tim de ng It’s a demandi me of the ce of �nding a stu dent letting to take so e added inconvenien stu th to e’s er e” th id gu en s th nt g; hi l in proach e is our “helpfu deposit paying. Her contract signing and estations. Lande: out of the experienc houses with vermin inf n in e sio liv en ts eh en pr ud ap St d an UK str ucture of strain ing out repairs to the udents claims that 16% rry St ca r of fo e ion ibl Un ns al po on res ati The N • h and safety and are incidents. nsible for tenants’ healt po res y all leg the agents of any such be ll or wi em e to camth y lords tif no u yo ust ensure uirements, e.g. bus rout m u req yo ur , yo se ts ur ee co m f it O if ty. k of the proper that is suitable. Chec ‘social’ status. us, but �nd a property vio ob ds un nient area just for the so ve It on inc , then all y • tel ple m co a to live in not supply a guarantor es ing do ree t ag an in ten e int on po if no – pus. There’s authentic guarantor ls to pay the rent. tenants can provide an yment if that person fai all pa ll at fu th r re fo su e ibl En ns po res • if not, this is r that property will be Gas Safety Certi�cate; fo te s da or nt to ara up gu an d an ide ts ov to pr at least other tenan checked and assessed e acting agent are able th be or ld rd ou sh dlo s lan ion e lat th tal at Ensure th • ibilities. The gas ins ediately and take report any faults imm ch of landlord respons , ea ain br a Ag d r. an ee ce gin fen en of d l a crimina , by a Corgi registere tion with your tenancy ec nn co in ar ye a ce on �rst instance, . there is a gas problem pecially relevant in the if es is res is su Th ea m ts. y en fet ym sa pa te y appropria making an d with a receipt when You should be provide • ite goods), ene tenancy ter ms (e.g. wh sit on the property. th po of de rt ng pa ldi as ho ty a er g op cin pr be liable, the when pla ue for which they will item that is provided in iss y an fet th sa wi d y an er h qu alt a he is a If there • agent, as it may be the landlord or acting th wi d se rai is is th at ere sure th of an acting agent – th er. ion ez iat fre ed m or e e th dg s fri as -p ing by on e.g. malfuncti Deposit Scheme, efa landlord who tries to ed. The new Tenancy ry when dealing with olv wa inv ely t m en tre ag ex ty ar Be -p third tion service, • e with a dispute resolu payment if there is no m sit he po sc de ed of as f -b oo ce pr an le ur would be litt ent. w held under an ins a professional letting ag means deposits are no h , ug 07 ro 20 th ril ng Ap ali m de fro en e or 11). Be ly wh fectiv ggle’ this down to 10 stodial scheme, but on ‘ha cu to n ow ble t’s ssi en po es nm m er eti ov or via the G the property you are 12 months (it is som may not be residing in will be a �xed ter m of u ts yo rac gh nt ou co th t os en M ev d, • mmer perio r the duration of the su prepared to pay rent fo utilities. Ensure that tenants. and also usually water as ic, t ctr rac ele nt d co an r s de ga un e ll lik sti ls rwise you may ponsible for paying bil en you move out, othe res wh ld d he an be rs, ll be wi m s nt nu r na Te ete e meter • ove in, as well as the m of new tenants and th m u em yo th y re tif fo be no to en in tak e meter readings are panies when you mov . Phone the utility com ies ilit ut r fo ed arg ch s/agencies be overted (e.g, some landlord sta ise rw he ot s les un ty reading. its contents, paymaintaining the proper used to the property or ca is o held responsible for e als ag m are da s nt or na d, Te ne • f�ciently maintai the property is not su provide gardeners). If to go to the house the deposits. the inventory. Organize m h fro ug d ro cte th du go de to t be ll en es wi ’t been pr ment ch as damage that hasn ensure two of you are s su , gin os be ot t ph rac e nt tak co en ur ev yo d an e for. When • ditions that you see �t you are not responsibl ad at y th s an e lem ak m ob n pr ca y u tif yo rec r the ‘�re recannot be used to before the agents, so y regulations (check fo is ensures your deposit fet Th sa re. re � itu th rn wi fu ply tra m ex d co ld crimirecorded an as beds and sofas shou replace them, or face to ch su ble re lia itu is rn rd fu dlo of s lan m Any soft ite • h and safety, and the breach of tenant healt a is is th t, no If ). els maintardant’ lab oid any dispute, try to av to d an d, ne ur ret may be nal prosecution. d before deposits are to inspection or there ior operty will be inspecte pr pr it e an th at cle th d r an be u yo em m to Re items • ich it was initially rented bbish and not to leave wh ru in ss ce ard ex nd of sta se e po th to dis tain the property ember to clear and ing services. Also, rem an cle l na sio es of pr r month. charges fo by a few pounds each to deal with. t ly en on ag lly or ua rd us , dlo on lan ati e abandoned for th e with national in� an annual increase in lin to d cte bje su are s nt Re t person. t property. • iately with the relevan ntract on your presen ed co m a im ing em ew th ren se rai en s, wh or Remember this lty locks on external do y security issues, e.g. fau an an easy target! are ere th If a break-in. • ties as they are usually er op pr nt de goods in the event of stu ur in yo nt rd pa ua ram feg y sa tel to na ce rtu Crime is unfo don’t leave your rsonal contents insuran ndows are locked, and wi od idea to take out pe d go an a s is or it , do lly all na at Fi th • k religiously od is, however, to chec t criminal! The most effective meth the nearest opportunis or by rs sse pa of w vie laptop or iPod in full

Amy Kilpin

OBfeatures 10

The crisis of sustainability Ash Hiden

‘Development that meets the needs Deaths triggered by air pollution of the present without compromising the ability of future generations The issue of sustainability is needless to say a to meet their own needs.’ dif�cult one. Eastern countries such as India The above de�nition of sustainable development was put forth in a 1987 paper called Our Common Future, more commonly known as the Bruntland Report. This brought the issue of sustainability to the attention of the world’s politicians. But it was the release of Silent Spring by Rachael Carson that is widely acknowledged to have made the biggest early impression back in 1962. International development In the subsequent years after its release groups such as the Environmental Defence Fund and Friends of the Earth formed and a report by the Commission on International Development became the �rst to consider new approaches to development. The following decades saw the establishment of Greenpeace and the Natural Resources Defence council. The 1980s brought the dangers of nuclear energy to the attention of mass media with the Chernobyl disaster of ’86. The 90s brought about more groups concerned with sustainability like the International Institute for Sustainable Development along side other in�uential events such as the Kyoto Protocol and the launch of the �rst global sustainability index. In this current decade it was recognized that almost half of the Earth’s population live in cities that take up less than 2% of the world’s surface but drain 75% of resources. The year 2000 also saw the UN put forward its millennium development goals. Lack of action Generally there is much confusion as to what is to be done as regards to the preservation of our planet and the way all nations can exercise their right to develop. In their declaration to the G8 summit of 9th July 2008, world leaders promised: ‘we...commit to combat climate change in accordance with our common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities and confront the interlinked challenges of sustainable development’. So are the leaders of the world’s major economies singing from the same hymn sheet?

and China are currently going through unprecedented stages of economic growth and it is the widely accepted view of the political left that allowances need to be made by industrialized nations to accommodate for this. According to the National Geographic of May 2008 more of Chinese population are getting behind the wheel than ever before (with 11,500,000 privately owned cars in the whole country, and) 1,000 additional cars on the road every day in Beijing alone! The journal also states that China “is expected to overtake the U.S as the world’s largest economy in ten years.” While these points are evidence of a blossoming country in some respects there are other more worrying aspects. China is reported to have the world’s highest number of annual deaths triggered by air pollution. This terrible statement is the concern of us all but primarily the responsibility must lie with the Chinese government. An article on BBC News online says that the World Bank is alleged to have cut facts and �gures from their ‘Cost of Pollution in China’ report due to pressure from Beijing. The omitted research is reported to be that 760,000 people die prematurely every year as the result of air and water pollution. Weakest are hit hardest Yet it seems that the least responsible are the ones that will pay the biggest price. Africa, with their minimal carbon emissions are set to be hit the hardest in the battle with climate change, with severe weather conditions increasing both in frequency and intensity. This is already in motion with rainfall in the Sahel decreasing 25% since the 1970’s. Wulf Killmann, head of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation’s working group on climate change, says: “People who are already vulnerable are likely to be the �rst affected. Agriculture-based livelihood systems that are already vulnerable to food insecurity face immediate risk of increased crop failure, new patterns of pests and diseases, lack of appropriate seeds and planting material, and loss of livestock.” Leaders in league with car manufacturers So it is reasonable to think that such in�uential actors on the world stage as the UK would be

doing everything in their power to do their bit to offset their own emissions, or is it? A recent article in The Guardian reports of leaked documents containing evidence that the government is lobbying key members of European parliament to weaken new European laws to force car manufacturers to build cleaner vehicles. This brie�ng supposedly shows support from France and Germany, and if this is the case then there will be little opposition when it comes before the council of ministers with the in�uence of the three nations and the large proportion of votes they control. Climate change is getting worse Since the millennium development goals were set eight years ago it seems like very little has been accomplished in regard to any actual action. Numerous reports and assessments of previous reports have been published and by 2009 world leaders have pledged to negotiate a new global climate deal. But the fact is climate change has not slowed down since the Bruntland report 21 years ago it is in fact getting worse. Governments sacri�cing human lives One cannot help but feel that the leaders of the industrialized world are sacri�cing environmental stability and human lives for the furtherance of their own interests or that they are of a generation not capable of change. After all as the paperback version of Our Common Future bluntly put it: “Most of today’s decision makers will be dead before the planet suffers the full consequences of acid rain, global warming, ozone depletion, widespread deserti�cation, and species loss.” That was over two decades ago the new breed of ‘decision makers’ need to take responsibility and take action now. Time is not on our side. For more information: pdf


From Ancient Egyptian Pharaohs to Green Day front-man Bille Joe, man’s hedonistic experimentation with his appearance spans over 6000 years. And when I say ‘man’, that’s precisely what I mean. The history of makeup is not dominated by women. Whilst the women of ancient Rome slapped mercury onto their eyes and the Renaissance royalty caked on ceruse (white lead), the men did exactly the same and with just as much pride. Unfortunately, their experimental nature backfired when they reached for highly poisonous lead instead of our safe, modern kohl eyeliner. Looking back, it’s hard to relate those men to our current Oxford Brookes jocks. The hoody wearing, sport watching, pint drinking lads, we see so carefully fashioning their ‘look’ from Jack Wills trackies, Crewe polo shirts and Ralph Lauren sweaters are an odd paradox: they care as much, if not more about their appearance than their historical predecessors but ironically seem the most abhorred by the thought of wearing makeup out of the context of ‘fancy dress’. Oddly, we’re one of the first generations to embrace this sentiment. Even throughout the 20th century we saw men



in make-up in various settings. The flower powered, pot smoking, freedom fighting hippies of the 60’s widely accepted the idea of men in make up, believing it to be part of ‘expressing your inner vibe, man’. Then the camp, flamboyant glam rock era of the 70’s and 80’s saw David Bowie’s as alter ego Ziggy Stardust complete with red and blue lightening bolt, whilst artists like Kiss and Alice Cooper used make-up to create their iconic images. Nowadays we’re left with Pete Doherty and Jack Sparrow… This survey shows the need for experimentation because there is nothing duller than conforming to a consensus about what you (as an individual) should be wearing. Think of make-up as a tool to create your own personality! Will make up become as acceptable as GHDs in a man’s grooming regime? Well, Rome wasn’t built in a day but you know they were looking fabulous when it was. So to all you male readers who have survived the first four paragraphs of this article: Stop raiding your girlfriend’s make-up and stock up on your own!

Adam Ashworth, 21, Studying History We went for a grungy look with smudged black eyes and dark lipstick. Do you think the make-up changed thew ay you felt about yourself ?

Yeah I felt more attractive.

Would you wear make-up again?

No, because I naturally have feminine features so I don’t think I need make-up to enhance that.

George Jerram, 21, Studying Real Estate Management We wanted someone quite neutral to see if subtlety was effective.

Tim Fitzgerald, 22, Politics & Real Estate Management

Have you ever put make-up on before? No Do you think the make-up changed the way you felt about yourself ?

Do you think the makeup changed the way you felt about yourself?

Yes. I felt more self conscious and I felt more insecure because no one else was wearing make up.

I wasn’t really that bothered about it, I’m quite a confident guy

Did anyone comment on how you looked?

My friends said I looked weird and some people said I looked pretty. My girlfriend fancied me more which was odd.

Would you wear make-up again?

No, because I think it’s better left to girls!

Would you wear make-up again?

Ben Shallow, 20, Studying English Literature

We went for a camp Jack Sparrow.

Do you think the make-up changed the way you felt about yourself?

I definitely, felt more self-conscious, this was the first time I’d worn make-up with my normal clothes rather than part of a costume.

Did anyone comment on how you looked? Yeah, 3 girls really liked it, 1 girl asked me if I was gay.

Would you wear make-up again?

Yeah definitely, the girls seem to like it and I liked that attention. I think, in the right environment it can work really well.

No. because I feel it doesn’t suit my personality and it’s a waste of time. It’s not considered normal for the hetero sexual man. Men are meant to look more masculine and it makes the 2 sexes look far too similar.

Richard Sedgley, 21, Studying History We wanted something a bit more fun, creative and camp. Do you think the make-up changed the way you felt about yourself? Not really, but I found it quite entertaining to play around with peoples’ minds ‘cos people aren’t used to it.

Look At Me! By Ben Shallow

OBfashion&life 12

For those of you that have ever been to a summer festival, you’ll understand what I mean when I say that everyone you meet is a new friend. The true essence of a festival is one fuelled, not only by sex, drugs and rock and roll, but by a sense of freedom, unity and disregard for stifling social conventions. ‘Peacocking’, a concept only recently introduced to me, applies the same logic to a night out, a not too unreasonable concept given that the setting is fairly similar, i.e. a group of young, often intoxicated people looking to shake off their inhibitions and have a good time. Now, the point of the exercise isn’t to attract a mate for life, although that may be a potential result and it doesn’t require you to strut around with an enormous fan of feathers behind you. The basic premise is to wear an item of clothing or take some sort of accessory, which will make you noticeable (hence the term ‘peacocking’). This can be anything you fancy although I’d recommend something cheap and cheerful! The first time I tried the concept out for myself I wore red skinny jeans (not that radical but I was a little sceptical) but it worked exactly as planned! By making yourself stand out you give people a reason to talk to you; it cuts out the awkwardness of breaking the ice with a clichéd one liner. Not only that, but Peacocking is a bit of a double edged sword; by wearing something highly conspicuous you’ve pushed yourself out of a comfort zone and this, for some strange but brilliant reason, elicits a burst of confidence from within. The combination of your head-turning attire and new found self-confidence will not only allow you to make new friends easily, but make you irresistible to the opposite (maybe even same) sex! It’s worth giving a go, even if you’re a sceptic like me! So the moral of my tell me! Next time you hit, Parkend, Bridge, whatevver floats your boat, why not give peacocking a try? wear something OBSCENE, paint your hair, paint your face, anything! then some take pictures and tell us about it at our Newspaper Meetings. The long dark winter nights have slowly crept in, and unfortunately we have entered that delightful season where flu is rife, and head colds affect even the most resilient FIGHT the FLU! Megan Saunders of us. Despite this rather depressing fact, there is one area of our daily routine where we can inject colour to brighten up our lives – our dinner plate!! That’s right, it really is that easy! By simply incorporating a variety of Perfect for a warming winter soup or stew! To get you coloured fruit and veggies into your diet every day, you could help reduce the risk started, why not try out the quick 5-step easy recipe sugof developing one of the many nasty bugs and viruses circulating campus. gestion below. By varying the number of different colours on your plate, you increase your vitamin intake, and therefore help your body to maintain a stronger immune system. The 5-a-day message has been around long enough now; no excuses, you Carrot and Coriander Soup know it refers to that vital daily five portions of fruit and vegetables we are meant Serves 3-4 to consume. But how many of us actually do? The old saying ‘An apple a day keeps 1 Tbsp Olive Oil the doctor away’ may not be scientifically correct, but by eating an apple every day 1 onion, finely diced it could certainly help you to stay healthy. Packed full of fibre, vital for the digestive 2 cloves Garlic, peeled and crushed system to remove all those nasty toxins and with a high water content to help keep you hydrated. They’re a cheap easy snack to munch on the go, with multiple 1 large potato, peeled and finely diced benefits compared to that packet of crisps or chocolate bar so many of us find 1kg bag carrots, peeled and sliced ourselves reaching for when hunger strikes. This is just one easy way to increase 1L Stock your daily fruit and Veg intake. Why not sprinkle a handful of frozen berries onto 2 Tbsp fresh coriander chopped cereal, or add some peppers and spinach to that tomato pasta sauce?! All these Season to taste suggestions are high in vitamin C, so help to decrease the severity of any Coldy symptoms. Don’t discount frozen vegetables and fruits – they can be just as, if not more, 1. Heat oil in a large saucepan or stock pot. Add onion full of all those important vitamins and antioxidants. Supermarket fresh fruit and and garlic and lightly fry for 3 mins, or until translucent Veg can have a long transit time from picking to plate, thus causing them to loose and soft. some of the vitamin content, and us to loose out on the benefits! Buying frozen is 2. Add carrots and potato and cook for 5 mins. also a cheaper option for those of us more budget conscious students among us. Another option to save some cash is for you and some mates to club together 3. Pour over stock, bring to boil, cover and simmer for and bulk buy, and have a social evening cooking together at the end of it! Guys, 30-45mins, until carrot and potato is tender. you get to show off those cooking skills to the girls for some bonus points, or if 4. Add coriander, season to taste and leave you can’t currently create more than burnt toast, watch and learn from those that to cool for 10mins are more gifted in the gastronome department. 5. Using a hand blender, blend I’m sure most of you already know the above, but it’s the doing that always seems to be the problem. Well this time, don’t just read and ignore, rather than being it all together until smooth. aware and not making a change, act on it! Next time you go to a supermarket, Extra liquid can be added grab a variety of colourful delights from the fruit and Veg section to brighten to thin soup as up the blue and white stripes of a certain homebrand basket... So simple, yet desired. so effective!

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Joelle Hardimann, Lucie Stitch and Holly Logan This year’s London Fashion Weekend blurred the boundaries between high end and high street to present a stunning ensemble of trends with a sinister side. Channelling key looks from the international catwalks, it delivered a dark and dominant fantasy of fashion for Autumn/Winter 2008. London Fashion Weekend moved out of untouchable realms that are de rigueur for catwalks, translating into accessible fashion whilst still maintaining an edgy undertone of impossible glamour. The catwalk showcased this season’s looks, exposing four distinct trends that came together to fabricate a twisted fairy tale. Each scene told a story, reminiscent of the playfulness and theatricality of fashion. The Pretty Girl in Print: Russian folklore inspired this trend with its whimsical floaty dresses in intricate floral patterns. The Pretty Girl in Print embraces fur, creating a vision of earthy beauty. Get The Look: Don’t make a fashion ‘fur’ pas; dramatise romantic folksy pieces with a faux fur wrap.

A Gothic Romance: A Gothic Romance takes eveningwear to a new dimension. The show came to a breathtaking climax with the Lacroix inspired finale of a gothic bride. Lace, ornate detailing and gauzy fabrics epitomise this trend. Get The Look: Think sheer lace blouses and leather with decadent costume jewellery.

Plaid Princess: Plaid Princess is a seemingly virtuous country character. She juxtaposes classic demure prints with a modern vibe to convey her wild side. Get The Look: Think checked pencil skirts contrasted with a bowler hat.

Black Magic Woman: The Black Magic Woman oozes sexuality. She dresses for herself in chic, sculptured tailoring leaving an air of seduction wherever she goes. Get The Look: Toughen up your LBDs with dominatrix-esque patent heels.


OBfashion&life 14

Rhian Major and Ben Shallow

The past few years has seen a massive growth in recycling, from small-scale compost heaps in back gardens, and having to drive to bottle banks, to councils collecting all kinds of recyclable materials from our own front gardens. You’ll probably be familiar with the green and blue recycling boxes but recycling doesn’t necessarily end here…

The Freecycle Network (or TFN) sprang up in 2005 to provide a ‘waste-not want-not’ forum where any one can contribute unwanted items or pick up something second hand for free - a sort of virtual ‘bring-and-buy sale’ or should I say ‘bring-and-take’? There’s an Oxford based group which is perfect for students leaving Oxford who don’t want to take their stuff with them and students moving into the area who want to kit out their new place. And if that’s not all, as a non-profit organisation it’s totally free to join and participate! Just go to and reduce, reuse, recycle. If you like the idea of Freecycle, you could also check out the Headington based swap shop Orinoco ( where you act like the ultimate recyclers, the Wombles! It’s a much more intimate, face-to-face place, which provides basically the same service. How can you resist checking out a charity that states its commitment to “banishing boredom and saving the world”? So if you think about it, recycling isn’t just about passing on stuff you don’t want anymore to other people (councils, charity shops) who take it off your hands and you never see it again. Recycling is exactly what it says on the tin, a cycle. Reusing stuff that’s been used before doesn’t have to mean hunting through old people’s clothes in charity shops. Recycling is a brilliant opportunity for everyone to think creatively about how to use things in different ways to keep it out of landfills and to stop new products being produced and raw materials being used when there’s perfectly good stuff out there already. What are you waiting for?


My weekly danger routine usually plays out a little something like this; Monday night I run across the motorway with my eyes closed…. Wednesday night I walk into a burning building… Friday night I jump off the magdalen bridge…. And Saturday night, well I save the best for last……. I stumble across Southpark at 3am, completely off my face, no friends, no phone, no form of defense, just me. Just me and the potential attacker lurking in the bushes.

So do I ever actually run across motorways, eyes open or closed for that matter? Of course not. Would I ever jump into the Thames on a freezing cold Wednesday night? No way, would you? I very highly doubt it. So why is it that time and time again we all at some point or another choose to walk around oxford, namely Cowley road on our own, in the pitch black, whether intoxicated by one means or another? This thought really didn’t hit home until last week when myself and

my friends witnessed an altercation which left me feeling sick to the stomach, angry as hell, and frankly, scared shitless. We finished the end of a film, argued over whether I should walk home or not, I won of course, attempting not to put anyone out, and began my midnight walk. I didn’t make it any farther than the top of her road, when I realised an innocent girl, stumbling home from Fuzzy’s, was seconds away from a fate we all have has our worst nightmare. To cut a long story short, she was in the wrong place at the wrong time, but luckily for her, I was in the right place at the right time. So it ended as well as could be, but she was just one of the lucky ones. It shook me into total vulnerability. I experienced an immediate sense of where and when am I actually safe? No where? There’s always been that unwritten rule; as soon as you hit your own road, your own turf, you have to be safe, right? WRONG. The Fuzzy’s girl was on her own road, she wasn’t safe. How does a predator distinguish between a dark quiet spot and a dark quiet spot 20 meters along from your own front door. They don’t is the answer. Is it the comfort that people we know will hear our screams? Definitely not something to rely upon. So why is it we choose to put ourselves in these vulnerable positions daily? I’ll often pick up the phone to my nicknamed ‘crazy magnet’ friend, who will roll out the story of the day… how she has been approached in Tesco’s by the one eyed woman, how the bright red hedgehog lady has screamed at her from across the road, or my personal favourite, the voodoo man has tried to put a spell on her! We all get a good laugh out of it in the light of day when the fear of danger is non-existent. But it won’t seem quite so funny when one of them is chasing you through Oxford in the early hours of the morning. I personally love Cowley Road

for what it is, a cosmopolitan stretch of road with every type of person imaginable. We all thrive off the buzz it creates when all the students are around searching for fun one way or another. But we need a reality check, There is a much more sinister side to it, and we all need to start being a little more sensible. In the past year Cowley has been a breading ground for crime; dead bodies in the toilets, rapes outside the Co-op, druggies shooting up on the curb side. But I guess none of this will ever happen to you? WRONG AGAIN. We are all just as vulnerable as each other, and we’re choosing to put ourselves in the firing line time and again. It makes me laugh when I leave a friends house at 2am, and they suggest I text them when I get home, just so they know I’m alive. Or leaving a club at 3am, with the classic, “stay on the phone to me, then you’ll definitely be safe”. How are any of these forms of protection? Okay, so if I don’t text you when I get home because I’ve already been dragged around a corner, it’s too late for you to do anything anyway. Or how are you going to protect me just because you’re on the other end of the phone, if a mugger (or worse), comes up behind me? You can’t is the answer. If you’re alone, you’re alone, and that’s all an attacker cares about. So don’t choose to be the next unfortunate victim. Yes oxford is great and we all love it, but it has so many hidden dangers, and lets face it, us Brookes students are far too special to come up against any of them. Be sensible, be kind, be admiral….. LOOK AFTER YOUR FRIENDS! Even if it does mean putting yourself out for half an hour, or leaving a club before the lights come on, it’s a better option than being the next unfortunate victim. So girls bring back the pepper spray and rape alarms, and guys put on your sword and shield! I can still sense sceptism in your minds. But get real; it doesn’t matter who you are, what you look like, or where you come from, everyone looks the same in the eyes of someone out for blood, trust me.

OBfashion&life 15 ME, MYSELF AND MY ROOM How to Make the Most of Your Student Space

Ben Shallow It would seem that the severing of parental ties on coming to university goes hand-inhand with the majority of students recreating a Tracey Emin installation in their rooms! Your room at university acts as both a home away from home and a projection or reflection of yourself. Here are a few simple steps to help you make the most of the space you have.


We’ll start with books, something every student should have at least one or two of! Whether you’re studying English Literature or Motor Sport Engineering, you’ll probably come to a point where you’ll need to refer to a text book – we might have come a long way technologically but not everything is available on the internet! My advice would be the following steps: • Put all your books in one, easily accessible place. • Divide books up by module • If you find you’ve got multiple books per module, order by author. • Make some cash on the side by sell ing your old books (Amazon/Face book Marketplace/eBay/ Blacwell’s…) It sounds anal but there’s nothing more annoying than finding you need a vital quotation hours before your deadline and wasting time rifling through cardboard boxes under your bed for the book you need!


A perpetual cause of mess and general destructiveness in the organized Zen you have just nurtured is the wardrobe. If you care about your appearance, you should care about your clothes. That means giving them the respect they deserve for keeping you warm and looking smart all day. Here’s my foolproof guide: • Group together T-shirts, trousers, hoodies, jumpers etc.


• Divide up hanging items e.g. Shirts, smart trousers, dresses The next area to look at is the desk, the heart of any dedicated student room (if only because it’s your access point to Facebook!) If you’re like me you’ll find your desk normally gets covered in module guides, handouts, flyers and post by the end of week 2. Here’s my advice to keep your papers in order: • Invest in a filing box (under £10 in Staples) • Split into university admin. papers, bills, insurance documents etc. You can also use this for filing work from previous semesters. • Current uni work is best kept in smaller files, one per module. This way you can grab the right one if you’re in a rush. • File this in week order so you can look things up easily • Keep any handy vouchers on a pin/ magnetic board • Recycle any leaflets / junk mail which are useless. Remember to shred anything with personal details on.

• Separate trousers, shorts and skirts (you could separate jeans and normal trousers as well) • Sort t-shirts into piles of similar colours (whites, blues, blacks, reds, browns etc.) • Keep your underwear and pyjamas separately. Keep pairs of socks together by rolling together at the top • Put hats, scarves and gloves in either accessible boxes or in a wardrobe organizer • Keep your shoes together on a shoe rack. Ones that you wear less often can be kept in shoe boxes to stop them from aging too. • Tip: Storing clothes in collapsible crates or clear boxes is a good idea – you can store them easily and see what you’ve got at the same time.


• While you’re doing this, I’d recommend investing in 2 bins – 1 for wastepaper and anything which can be recycled, 1 for any general, non recyclable waste like crisp packets and apple cores You can apply the same logic to your DVD’s • Split into TV series and Film • Alphabetize each section • Invest in a DVD wallet and save yourself the shelf space that all those DVD cases were taking up.

Tip: Keep your desk area relatively clear, most people find that, psychologically, this makes work feel less stressful – a clear workspace leads to a clear head! You should find that work becomes a lot easier once you’ve eliminated the hours you’d normally spend searching for the assignment brief!

It may sound like a lot of effort but it’s all about being pro-active, a few minutes spent putting your clothes away will save you hours when your decide what you’re going to wear out because you’ve got everything in front of you. Remember, just because your room’s tidy doesn’t mean it has to be a show room, it’s about personalising and finding a medium that suits you. You don’t have to be an expert feng shui to find a system that works for you!

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Sophie Evans

TheBurlesque Show fashion&life

Going along to a Burlesque class was not quite what I expected: no velvet walls, dim lighting or, disappointingly, nipple tassels. Instead I found myself in a community playgroup centre “loving my boa” and “hating my boa”. My boa


being my woolly scarf. There seems to be a lot of loving and hating your boa in burlesque: wrapping it around you and shimmying is love and throwing it over your shoulder is hate. It took a while to get over the initial hilarity.

the orange wall in front of me. It was fantastic to learn the routine and try to appear sexy whilst doing it. I got the feeling I was a particular challenge to the teacher: I think it was those windmill legs, I almost fell off my chair every time! Eventually with much help and much violation of my scarf I mastered the routine.


The second move I learnt was to slap my bottom in time to the music. However within minutes I was pouting and, embracing my scarf, trying to seduce

Burlesque seems to me to be about grace and being sexy which is harder than it sounds especially when a chair is involved. Yet if you are prepared

to start a love-hate relationship with a scarf and windmill hard enough you can definitely achieve a lot. I may have started out a novice but I left feeling that I was ever so slightly closer to being Dita Von Teese.


To see some Burlesque action (and possibly some nipple tassels) come to the Obscene Launch Party, 17th November at the Carling Academy.

scene news OB OBarts&ents Language Matters: Notes on Brookes’ New Postgraduate Course in Creative Writing Once condemned as “a vulgar hybrid,” the subject of Creative Writing has clawed its way to tenuous repute in Britain, starting at East Anglia in the 1970s. Now it has arrived at Oxford Brookes: the Creative Writing program. The subject has never been a simple thing to implement, and at the heart of the debate are two questions: “can you teach creative writing?” And “What is creative writing, anyway?” At Brookes, the first required module for creative writing postgraduates is one called “Creativity, Writing and Textuality: Concepts and Practice,” which leads

students through a maze of metathoughts: How are we influenced, as writers? To what extent does this influence diminish or enhance our creativity? Exploring these questions shapes the Brookes course and allows it to transcend a hackneyed notion of creative writing: that “creative writing” is rife with selfobsessed navel-gazing, an art practiced by pale-faced, nail-biting neurotics who chew each others’ words up, bleeding poetry dry. As someone who comes from an academic background in politics, for years I tended to side

with critics of the discipline. I have always been a writer, but what I write is primarily non-fiction, often dangerously close to journalism or essay, and it has been easy to convince myself that I would not fit into a creative writing atmosphere. But because of Brookes’ commitment to the academic aspects of creative writing—the exploration of creativity itself—poets, novelists, essayists, dramatists, and everyone in between can sit for hours in a room at the top of the Tonge Building on a Thursday night and practice their craft. Distinctions in genre or philosophy are unimpor-

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tant as the human inclination to create eclipses these borders.


In Reading Like a Writer, Francine Prose writes: “Can creative writing be taught? If what people mean is: Can the love of language be taught? Can a gift for storytelling be taught? Then the answer is no.” She may be right: no academic undertaking can supplant a natural love of language. But this is not to say that there is nothing still to be learned if you already read and write voraciously. So here’s what I have learned: creative writing is intensely personal, and just not in the way that you may think. It isn’t about exploring every inch of our own heads, about penning for therapy; it is about creation for whatever sake we deem, in our passion and our curiosity, important. For me, it has always been about the political, and I find increasingly that the political and the creative are already twined. It is, as Peter Carey points out in a recent Independent article “these activities—dreaming up a better future for the nation and creating new works of art that can stand within and outside it—proceed from similar impulses.” Or as Siri Hustvedt writes in The Observer, “Every political moment has a particular rhetorical climate. Language matters, not only because it articulates the dominant ideas of a period but because it shapes our perceptions of the world.” Ultimately, it comes down to this: language matters. Creativity matters for whatever end you wish to achieve. And if these first few weeks of Brookes’ MA in Creative Writing are any indication, the University has a firm grasp of this idea.

Miranda Ward

OBscenenews OBarts&ents 17



An art collective taking the worlds favourite form of procrastintion and making it their lives

You’re sitting in one of Brookes’ identical teaching rooms, struggling to stay awake as the lecturer takes the best part of an hour to explain a five-minute concept. Perhaps he’s gone off at a tangent about space and time in a class on Oxford’s traffic congestion crisis. With the best will in the world at some point your concentration lapses away from the topic, towards your notepad; a blank canvas for endless scribblings of whatever random crap flows out of your head. We’ve all been there. We’ve also all been down the Cowley Road and the majority will, at some point, have admired the graffiti murals there, the most prominent being above the shops stretching from the Deli Off-licence to the end of that block… know it? Meet DoodleDubz; scribblers extraordinaire. So do they write essays when they get bored of doodling?! No, the fact is, they just don’t get bored of doodling. Consisting of between two and eleven artists “depending on who can be arsed getting out of bed”, DoodleDubz are, in essence, a group of mates having a great time travelling the country “promoting art and graffiti to the max” i.e. doing what they love.



They’re that and a lot more. They’re a self-sufficient business and support good causes, working with underprivileged kids and youth offenders on projects around the country. In the words of the collective’s main man, “by teaching kids how to stencil and use a spray can in a legal and controlled place, we’re helping to reduce the amount of illegal tagging on the streets. Once they’ve created something they’re really proud of… they’ve got all the angst out of their system and are less likely to go and cover walls in ugly graffiti”.

Well dressed and well mannered, the fivepiece from the shores of East Anglia wander onto the stage at the Bullingdon Arms. The expectant crowd respond with a hesitant round of applause as Charlie (Lead singer/ guitarist) picks up his guitar and then turns his back to the crowd. The rest of the band follow suit and members of the audience begin to look slightly concerned. Is it a protest of some sort? Are they all delirious due to a lack of sleep

E d

One Doodledubber, after spending some time living in Spain, expressed how she favoured the more progressive attitude that European society has towards street art. “There you can knock on someone’s door in the morning, be met with a flattered Spaniard and have a masterpiece completed by the end of the day. People there are glad to be asked. Police will walk past and admire the art being created, not question it”. Perhaps us Brits should take a leaf out of our continental cousins’ book.

M o o r e s

Doodledubz are their own bosses. They have no timetable to adhere to. They can go where they want, when they want, and do what they want there. They sustain themselves with the money they earn and ask nothing of anyone else except to paint a big blank wall. And they do it all with a sense of humour.

OBscenenews OBarts&ents

Check out their blog at doodledubz. It’s updated regularly and is the best way to get the full story of the collective. If you get in contact they’d be delighted to paint Doodledubz ‘protest against injustice anything from a wall to a spaceship (if and the corrupt western government’. you’ve got one). People who speak out and go against the grain are what our society needs. Without them, it would begin to smell Pictures cour tesy of DoodleDubz like a proverbial sewage works.


Unfortunately, conservative British society may not agree. It may argue that street art equals crime; that by teaching potential trouble-makers how to commit offences, illegal vandalism will only increase. Perhaps they miss Doodledubz’ pinnacle argument: graffiti is only a crime in a society that labels it as such. If embraced as a part of modern culture, the criminal element is eliminated. Obviously, vandalizing other people’s property in any circumstance is unacceptable, but if permission was given more aptly our cities would bloom with vibrant art similar to that on Cowley Road. The grey, drab architecture of the sixties and seventies that dominates our towns would blossom into a continually transforming canvas.



Tongu e Cheeky Cheeky and the Nosebleeds at The Bullingdon Arms 15th October 2008



following the first leg of an intense U.K tour? Or are they just being alternative, going one step further than the Foals who insist on playing to the audience side on? Our queries are answered as Rory (singer) pirouettes like a drunk Billy Elliot to face the audience. He proceeds to hysterically scream into his microphone as his fellow band members begin the fast-paced debut single ‘Before We Sleep.’ This upbeat pop number fuels the beginning of a fun and frantic set with most of the songs following the same template of fast-paced verses with light-hearted lyrics. ‘Give Me Your Hand’ and ‘Right Stuff’ soon turn the Bullingdon into a safety hazard as

Ch eek the excitable crowd imitate Rory’s on-stage erratic dancing. However, on presenting their newest track ‘I Can’t Tell You,’ a much slower-paced, intimate track, it becomes apparent that this band has what it takes to become a household name. The beautiful guitar riffs in the chorus are accompanied by harmonised vocals from Rory and Charlie that bring back fond memories of the BritPop years of Blur and Pulp. The more peaceful atmosphere inside the Bullingdon is only temporary as, once again, band and crowd work themselves up into a frenzy. Ironically it is the mesmerising dancing of singer Rory that cuts short the penultimate track ‘Boy’ as he tangles himself up in a cable from one of the amps,

unplugging it. As the problem is rectified, silence ensues, provoking lead singer Charlie to entertain the audience in a rather bashful manner. “What’s up Reading?”, “I have yet to confront my fear of engaging with an audience so lets keep this short,” he adds. Luckily for the lead singer, the problem is soon corrected and the band can finish the set with ‘Slow Kids’ igniting one last riot within the crowd that singer Rory hastily joins for the last chorus. It’s a fitting finale for an eventful hour, summarised perfectly by Charlie as he collapses in a heap at the drop of the last chord. Exhausting!

Tom Fitzgerald


OBarts&ents 18

Rosie Belcurrell

Picture This...

T he D i a mond i n t he R ou g h on C ow ley


The Ultimate Picture Palace on Jeune Street (just off Cowley Road) is like stepping into 1930s America. The friendly manager who also acts as ticket salesman provides us with a couple of raffle tickets from the window of his outdoor booth. However, it’s not only the raffle tickets that are a cinema-going novelty but also the price; at £4.50 there’s no excuse not to leave the house even during these economically challenging times. The days when the Odeon was that cheap are long gone.

emas these days, the UPP, which prides itself on showing unconventional films, provides ample room for stretching of the legs. In fact, the whole experience is not entirely dissimilar from having a group of friends in your parents’ garage watching a slightly dodgy copy of a film on an equally questionable projection screen. The old fashioned and relatively crackly speakers dotted around the walls of the room, have an unnerving amount of wires sprouting from them.

Built in 1911, the Ultimate Picture Palace, or the UPP as it is informally known, is one of the oldest cinemas in Europe. True, the ramshackle exterior could do with a lick of paint, but having recently been refurbished with the help of the Owner’s wife, who went as far as individually sewing the seat covers, it all adds to the charm. Rather than wearing your knees up near your ears like you have to in most c o m m e rcial cin-

It is undoubtedly the perfect student hang out. Customers quite freely crack open a


an of larger or even produce a chilled bottle of wine accompanied with a corkscrew and plastic cups from their handbag before sitting back to enjoy the film. If you can ignore the scratchy film in places, the slight background echo, and the creaky seats, then you could be in for a truly royal evening at the picture palace.


On The Hunt for Good Comedy In the back room of the Bullingdon Arms Reginald D. Hunter is swaying under the effects of alcohol and telling the audience he doesn’t like comedy at the moment. It’s an odd announcement to make considering the name of the night is Kill for a Seat Comedy, a monthly night of stand-up hosted by musical and comic genius Silky. So why is Silky’s guest, who’s appeared on such shows as Mock the Week and Have I Got News For You, so sullen and disillusioned with the craft that made him famous? Through slurred words, he explains that he feels like this about once a year, and instead of going for the jugular tonight he is going to keep his material clean, happy and inoffensive. He pauses for breath, “Jews…” and so starts a rib achingly funny set that covers everything from the dubious morals of the new Batman film (“Batman is the rightwings wet dream), and toilet politics (“If I’m in the ladies toilet because the men’s is out of toilet paper and

a women walks in I’m not gonna panic and rape her!”). Unlikesome Black American comedians Hunter doesn’t base his act solely on race issues, which can get stale. But instead he uses his ethnicity, and everyone else’s, as back-up to the bulk of his set, which he unleashes at select moments with well times execution (“Just because I’m black doesn’t mean I have to support every black person on TV. If I did I would have to support people like Robert Mugabee and Trisha”). Another thing that separates Hunter from his contemporaries is his personal and often intimate nature. Unlike many of his contemporaries, scripted to the last breath, Hunter seems like he’s just throwing thoughts from the top of his head. He often stutters and re-starts, pauses and scratches his head and even once, after a few double vodkas, asks the audience what he was ranting about before he got sidetracked. It makes him seem more real, more human. And this

helps when he starts to bringhis set to a close.

his shows are usually like and next time he’ll come armed with “jokes about dicks and white people.” ...he is going to keep his material However with a show as clean, happy and inoffensive. He captivating as this you can’t pauses for breath, “Jews…” help but think that would be a Here his tone changes. He’s not step back. Reginald D. Hunter may playing for laughs anymore and the not like his comedy at the moment alcohol seems to have taken over but you would be unlikely to find him. He peers at his audience and anyone leaving the show who would takes a few deep breaths and starts agree. to talk about the problems of the western world, our soft lifestyles, Reginald D. Hunter was performing our media created fears, our as part of Kill For A Seat Comedy prejudices and our unwillingness to at The Bullingdon Arms on Cowley take responsibility for ourselves. Road. Kill For A Seat is a monthly stand-up night that has featured But his words aren’t aggressive or such acts as Ross Noble, Alan Carr, angry. Instead they are melancholic Jimmy Carr . Taking place on the first and regretful, and everyone one Sunday of each month, next month in the room is just as gripped with sees JohnBishop, the Liverpudlian this display as they were when comic who has won several stand he had them rolling in their seats up awards, on 7th December. with laughter. After his speech he acknowledges that this was not what

Liam Jack

OBscenenews OBarts&ents 19

Addicted 2 Ink OBfashion&life Join me on my

journey as an apprentice tattoo artist.

I am b a s e d at the brand spanking new tattoo shop situated on Holloway Road, Addicted 2 Ink. And indeed I am. The journey begins with body modification. Since the age of man, body modification has been sacred. Native traditions reveal that the first settlers wore charcoal upon their faces marked ready for battle, the line patterns identifying tribesmen to their tribes. In 1769 Captain Cook described the tradition of ‘amoco’, the practice of carving the face and body with dyed incisions as practiced by the Maori.


A man with more incisions, almost covering his face, was considered honorable. From these ancient traditions grew the art of tattooing.

The invention of the needle and gun, first designed by Samuel O’Reilly whose machine, was based on the rotary technology of Thomas Edison’s engraving device. Modern tattoo machines however use electomagnets.The first machine based on this technology was a single coil machine patented by Thomas Riley of London just twenty days after O’Reilly filed the patent for his rotary machine. Gutted eh? Now the ancient art of tattooing has arrived in Oxford. Let’s meet the addicts. Firstly there is Lee Wilkins, shop owner and Senior Tattoo Artist, whose work is set apart by his deceptive creation of 3D forms. He applies his unique style to the current trend for tribal motifs all with immense skill and precision. Lee’s ever-faithful Yogi and apprentice, Barrie Evans is captivated by Fantasy art inking mythological subjects and women of a fantasy nature

(if you know what I mean!)

Emma Gough is also an essential part of the team. Emma has been featured in publications for not only her skills as a tattoo artist but also for her own body art. Her style is heavily influenced by Indian, Hindu art, and her canvas is all done in black ink, keeping intricate designs beautifully uniform. Her fine line work has been commended by all especially regarding her text and scriptwork. You can catch her currently on a Wednesday or Friday at the shop. Tattoos can be a spiritual experience or merely one of self indulgance. It is not for every body, but I know it is for me. Pop down to Addicted 2 Ink and we will guide you through the tattoo process from a consultation right through to the application and aftercare of your desired tattoo.



OBscenenews OBarts&ents Peace out. Ink in.

OBfashion&life Amy Mackown


Tattoo designs : courtesy of Amy Mackown, Emma Gough, Lee Wilkins, & Barry Evans.


Conceived by the founding artists of the underground galleries, Clinique Ide`al and ‘Fut’ Gallery (which means cunt in Viennese slang), the new Puder Art Gallery on Iffley Road is all colour, sex and trash. It’s not one of those pretentious contemporary ‘white-cube’ galleries where one is never quite sure of what is so impressive in the uncomfortably stark rooms. Instead upon entering the Puder Gallery you are faced with a mirage of iconic imagery, sculptures and other fascinating objects, each individually made and one-of-a-kind.


vealed in her upcoming fashion show. I was dying to adorn myself in her quirky warm hats that sit on your head with such long sides that they wrap around your neck like a scarf. The work of local artist James Puder has strong Japanese influences infused with British iconography. One of his series, “Neon is the New Bitch”, sees black, spinning, organic forms on one wall while bright neon coloured panels shout back from the other. The idea of having numerous pieces to make up a work stays

“I want to make people smile and laugh, remind people that life is fun and fascinating; we live existence’s which are more liberated than any other previous time in history…” James Puder, Gallery Founder More charming than the gallery itself were the artists and visionaries. It is a collaboration of James Puder, Ann-Kathrin Zieger and the curator Steven Otto. I was given a tour by Ann-Kathrin who moved to Oxford two weeks ago from Berlin. She transforms mundane objects such as bottle caps and cutlery into quirky pieces of jewellery alongside detailed graphic designs. Not to mention her one-off pieces which lay folded in suitcases waiting to be re-

consistent in the “Glamoure” series which best illustrates the ideas of the collective. Both Puder and Zieger have literally turned what they have touched to gold and silver. One of the most surprising of this series is the disco toilet in the gallery – a must-see or in some cases a must-use! A number of others artists from Vienna to Pakistan have exhibited their work at Puder and the gallery are currently looking for more. It’s definite-

ly worth stopping by to p e ruse or even to make a purchase. Unlike a ‘white-cube’ gallery the prices here are actually affordable. I would have indulged myself with the £35 hat-scarf but I forgot my wallet. This kind of gallery has not been seen in Oxford before. It has opened its doors to experimentation and different concepts of art. Be prepared: “Neon is the New Bitch” has landed. Up and coming shows: 22nd November, 2008 - Cauliflower Fashion show, exclusive private Rotunda viewing. First week of December - “8 ball” – Work by an up and coming artist from Vienna, Bernhardt Gnarnicing, who runs an underground gallery space there called C17. January 2009 - “Neon is the new bitch” an exhibition of Dompteur computer and the cosmic Munich

Aparna Thadani

Picture courtesy of Puder Gallery


OBarts&ents 20

At last the dust has settled and we can breathe a sigh of relief. In the last Observer Film magazine there was no mention of the name Coen, so we can now review their latest film free from the usual Coen-mania which surrounds their every film release.


ling. Frances McDormand’s surprisingly unlovable character is very convincing as is Malkovich’s slimy wife played by Tilda Swanton. The grave Richard Jenkins is also enjoyable as McDormand’s besotted boss.

Unfortunately George Clooney and Brad Pitt’s performances were less than impressive. Clooney plays a nervous adulterer with an inexplicable and irritating fixation on nice flooring, which remains just that: irritating. Brad Pitt Cards on the table: I love the Coen brothers. could have done much more with his hyperacTheir films have a wonderful sense of craft and tive air-headed gym trainer and I was secretly care, and an originality to their diligence and glad when he came to an unfortunate end. aesthetic sensitivity which is completely absent from mainstream Hollywood. Burn After Read- However these disappointments did not spoil ing happily displays these characteristics. An my enjoyment of the film. Its periodic digressions opening scene which promises a plot of global into the offices of the CIA where senior agents proportions precedes a wonderfully silly story are bemusedly trying to keep track of the plot (as based on a small number of leading characters. are the audience) made me laugh out loud every John Malkovich is brilliant as a bitter CIA man time. The film’s climax proves a bit head-scratchwhose life the rapt audience watches unravel- ing but our confusion is vindicated by a hilarious Burn After Reading has attracted the same tired “I Love Coen…I Hate Coen” dross which accompanied No Country for Old Men. The short space of time between these two films’ release led to reviewers being a little circumspect: “It’s not as good as Fargo”; “It’s a cross between Blood Simple and The Big Lebowski”. The general consensus is largely negative.

OBarts&ents OBsocieties

B U R N A F T E R R E A D I N G parting shot of the CIA who are as lost as we are. One critic mentioned that the film is “actor-driven, rather than plot-driven”; I agree but then evidently so do the Coens. This is not an ambitious film, not a coherent and engaging spy story, not a laugh-a-minute or bittersweet tragedy.The Coens have already done that and done it beautifully. This is an entertaining tongue-in-cheek black comedy which I heartily recommend as the best thing in the cinema. ALISTAIR HARDEN

GOMMORAH Gomorrah, directed by Matteo Garrone exposes the famous Neapolitan Mafia, the Camora. Based on Roberto Saviano’s non-fiction book, the film depicts, in documenatry style, the mechanics of the blood-thirsty criminal network. The title Gomorrah is taken from Sodom and Gommorah, the bibilcal city of sin. We enter this desecrated world through a kalediscope of characters in the bleak suburbs of Naples: a Camora-funded tailor who works illegaly for the Chinese, a small boy who is eager

to start drug trafficking, two youngsters who dream of being Tony Montana in Scarface, an aged money collector exhausted by the constant pressure of working for the Camora, and a young graduate learning to dump toxic waste. One element links them together; they are all victims of random acts of violence. You can never predict when someone is going to be killed.

ordered him into hiding after threats from the Camora’s infamous killer Giuseppe Setola.

Deservedly, Garrone received the Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival this year. Gommorah, however, is not a likeable movie. Unlike the glamorfication of the mafia that occurs in Scarface or Godfather, the director cuts together a gritty portrayal that leaves the audience ill The author’s own life is on the line; two years at ease. ago, after the publication of his book, the Italian interior minister granted him a body guard and MERYLS SUISSA

The Magic Between The Notes The Music of Avro Part Sitting on the edge of my bed, listening to Tabula Rasa, has changed my views about music. I never imagined such music could exist - so pure and simple, but at the same time arduous and complex expressing life in its every aspect: passion, lament, contemplation, pleasure, and ecstasy. It is as if the music itself is in a dilemma, questioning which direction to take.This dilemma creates a sense of struggle, the whole essence of the work, and as Tabula Rasa means ‘blank slate’, the struggle lies in the attempt to fill the emptiness. As a listener you find yourself captivated by this struggle.

By Kenan Kazhendar

is concerned with sound itself rather than the progression of sounds. The conventional triadic harmonies, arpeggios, and rhythmic simplicity, create a tranquil, almost sacred sonority. Having spent a good deal of his life studying sacred music, we can trace the sensibility and delicacy in Pärt’s compositions back to his initial love of plainsong and Gregorian chants. He has described his style as “…an area I sometimes wander into when I am searching for answers …. In my dark hours, I have the certain feeling that everything outside this one thing has no meaning.” Music, in his opinion, is no longer primarily sound but a Played by two violins, a string orchestra, and means of internal and spiritual self-questioning. a prepared piano, this piece is written in the style of tintinnabulation which means ‘ringing The second movement of Tabula Rasa is 14 of bells’. This style, created and developed by minutes long; a continuum of slow, systematic the renowned Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, discourse between the violins and piano that

is almost meditative. Listening to the same notes over and over again is like looking at the stars. While we are mesmerized by their size and brightness, this is not what makes them attractive. The attraction lies between the stars; it is by focusing on the gaps that we experience visual pleasure. The same goes for the music; the gaps between the notes are the magic. I urge anyone who is a music lover to listen to this piece . It comes closer to the human spirit than any other musical genre. It takes you on a journey that revitalizes your mind and soul. Maybe you will get a sense of the magic between the notes or maybe not, but either way, the purity of the music will leave a lasting impression.



Promoting the societies and passing on what they are all about has always been an important part of university life but with emails making communication obscure, this is limited. Unless you are already a member, the Freshers Fair in September and February’s Re-Freshers Fair are the only opportunities where joining is actually simple. These pages are consequently an explicit means of communication for each society to advertise their up and coming events, review some of their past meetings and in general spread the word of what they have to say. This space will also provide a place where new societies can introduce themselves and their aims, without having to rely on the Freshers Fairs to get their voice heard. The Obscene societies section is a designated area which societies can use to broadcast themselves and what they do. This will give students access to all the information they need to learn about the huge variety of societies we have here at Brookes.

ty e i c o S alism


Guest speakers, such as Ann Mroz; Editor of The Times Higher Education, Media mayhem Alexi Duggins; Time Out and Niall Couper; Press Officer Lucy Porter for Amnesty International, advised and informed Last Monday entailed an early audiences of how to sub-edit; wake up call for a select few how to be a good critic; and of the journalism societies’ how to conduct an interview. members, who pealed back The heads of each journalist their eyelids as they ventured were hunched over their into London for a day of reporter pads at seminars hard-up journalism training. which included networking The Student Media Day, run skills, how to get into in conjunction with London broadcasting and investigative Student and the National reporting, Union of Students was in the The scribbling however was London Student’s head office: impeded for the infamously a shoddy room littered with long journalist’s lunch, where countless empty wine bottles. students were presented with The day provided an array a spread of quaint triangular of workshops for budding sandwiches, juice, tea and journalists of the nation’s coffee. Students gorged student publications. themselves at the table,

Deutsche Gesellschaft Marietta Gyorffy The German Society is a cultural group involving multiple nationalities, including those of Germanic origins, as well as those taking part in studies of the language. As well as being friendly and welcoming, this society is also involved in the planning of fun events and socials, to which all persons are welcome to take part, regardless of nationality. All people are welcome, or as would be said in German “Alle sind herzlich willkommen!”. Some events that have already taken place are the first

constructing edifices of towering sandwiches and it soon became apparent that the NUS and their caterers had seriously underestimated the thrifty student’s capacity for a free meal. Obscene’s journalists all agreed that the day was both fun and insightful, confident that their newly acquired skills would positively impact their journalistic careers. The lasting memory students were left with was the advice of The Independent online editorial director, Jimmy Leach, to start a blog immediately to act as a portfolio for potential employers. The lasting memory for me however was stumbling out of a London pub and meandering the long road home to bed.

German pub crawl of the semester, to which a great number of people turned up, and the Techno/Electro Party, which was brought together by a collaboration of the German Society and Electronic Dance and Music Society. These are a couple of events that have taken place so far, however there are still more planned for the future. There will be a ball at the beginning of the next semester, which will be a collaboration of the French, German and Japanese Societies. Through the combined efforts of these societies, as well as the help and cooperation of the various cultures taking part, we will be able to bring together the multitude of cultures which are part of Oxford Brookes University.


Another social event planned for the end of the next semester is a boat party to be held on the river Thames, which was held last year as well in a collaborative effort on the parts of both the French and the German societies, and it is this tradition that we would like to continue. Overall, the German Society is a friendly, multicultural group that organizes parties, gatherings and social events. It is meant as a means to socialise, entertain, meet new and old friends and most importantly to have fun. For these reasons all people are equally welcome to take part and enjoy our upcoming events.

Post Grads Chriss Esser Oxford Brookes has approximately 5,000 postgraduates – both Taught Master’s and Research students. With the support of the SU and the University I founded the Postgraduate Students’ Society two weeks ago. The Society seeks to encourage more of a sense of community amongst Postgraduate students at Brookes. Our events are Put these dates in Your Diary


WEEK 8 WEEK 10 Thursday, 13th NOV, Thursday, 27th NOV, Mez Bar, 7 pm Mez Bar, 7 pm, University Night WEEK 12 Thursday, 11th DEC, Mez Bar, 7 pm, Christmas Party WEEK 11 Thursday, 4th DEC, Christmas Dinner & Night Club

OBsocieties 22

work ing with people with special needs. As a volunteer, no commitment is necessary, you can come along to as many sessions as you like without signing up in advance. You also don’t need any particular theatrical or sporting skills: all you need is enthusiasm and an eagerness to witness some great people reach their potential in a fun environment! KEEN also offers a support network for all volunteers – with session leaders and the co-ordinator on hand to answer any questions; information sessions throughout term; and pub trips (with free drinks for new volunteers!) after each session, giving everyone a chance to get to know one-another and have a chat about the session over a welldeserved pint!

Keen to help young people with special needs?

KEEN (Kids Enjoy Exercise Now) is a charity run by volunteers from Oxford and Oxford Brookes universities. Set up in 1988 by a small group of students who offered tennis coaching to children with special needs. KEEN has come a long way since, and is now one of the largest student volunteering organisations in Oxford. Today, KEEN offers three sessions throughout each week for children and young “athletes” with a huge range of special needs. Activities GrEAT is our over 18’s social club where athletes participate in drama and craft activities, as well as having three evenings out each term – to the cinema, the pub, or even a nightclub! ZigZag is a session for athletes aged under 18 who have the chance to join in drama, craft and musical activities based around a particular theme, �nishing with a performance at the end of term. AllSorts is our biggest session of the week, offering a wide variety of games, sports and skills coaching for our athletes who otherwise have very little chance to participate in these kinds of activities.

The Athletes

KEEN currently provides activities for around 200 athletes. There is no such thing as a “typical athlete” - they range in age from �ve to thirty-�ve, and in ability from mild learning dif�culties to quadriplegia, Down’s Syndrome to Autism. At KEEN, athletes gain con�dence, pride and a sense of belonging through mixing with their peers, and having the individu- For more information about KEEN, al support of our volunteer coaches, with please see our website, email Rhian (the KEEN cowhom, they are paired one-to-one. ordinator) at, or ring our of�ce on 01865 794198. The Volunteers Rhian Major More than 300 volunteers are involved in KEEN Co-ordinator 2008-09 KEEN throughout the year, of which the KEEN is a registered charity (no.299786) vast majority are University students. For and an organisation of Oxford University many, KEEN is their �rst experience of and Oxford Brookes University.

s e t a i c o s s a s s ba Bone shaking baby in a high-chair, the cast of bass lines with AA Clockwork Orange and Amy Winehouse were just a few to be a spell of spotted in the queue for the Carling Academy on Friday 31st October. grime Halloween saw the return of the Robyn Parker

With three regular sessions a week, special events - ice-skating, daytrips, and our annual Olympics - and holiday activities, KEEN offers everyone the chance to get involved. All our sessions are free for both coaches and athletes, and we provide a free coach (from the Gipsy Lane Campus) to our AllSorts sessions. There really is no excuse not to get involved in the fun and you really can have an amazing impact on someone else’s life!

infamous DJ Yoda to the Academy where he appeared as part of his Magic Audio Tour. By the stroke of midnight the venue was almost filled to its 1000 capacity with an eclectic mix of revellers bouncing to the beats of Abingdon based DJ, Mr Lager. The Dubstep DJ Mr Lager did not fail to impress the crowd of costumed ravers as he set the standard for the night with bone-shaking baselines and a truly spellbinding set. Next to appear on stage was Oxford’s own Count Skylarkin. Minus his signature garden shed, the Count provided tunes inspired by both fashion and time; fifties jive riffs

infused with modern reggae conjured up into a mix to put a tap in the toes of even the most cynical witch and soulless zombie. The tone of the night was changed as UK grime group Virus Syndicate took to the microphone. The four boys from Manchester delivered a refreshing performance of innovative tracks from their new album ‘Sick Pay’, including the banging tune ‘Wasted’ which provoked a surge of grimy excitement from the crowd. Their combination of downright dirty beats and structured ‘spits’ was a real treat for the Oxford crowd, who rarely get the opportunity to see such acts. The mood changed yet again with the arrival of the man himself, DJ Yoda. Unfortunately I can’t bring myself to say that he performed to the same high standards set by his predecessors. Not only was the headliner minus his trademark visual display, the whole set seemed to be lacking a certain passion and musical commitment. However the absence of magic was certainly not re flected in the atmosphere. Yoda obviously did enough to please the audience as the dancing was stepped up and the mischief continued. The night was completed by an appearance from Oxford’s a-list drum and bass duo DJ Fu and Jungle Drummer. The pair did what they do

best uniting drums and decks to create a high paced live fusion of drum and bass and hip-hop with vocals expertly provided by London’s MC Stamina. All in all a well rounded night of versatile musical loveliness delivered by the guys at Free Range. Halloween’s event continued the trend of Free Range nights; guaranteed quality DJs dropping quality tunes in a quality no-trouble atmosphere. I’ve yet to be disappointed by Free Range, they always manage to impress, be it with nights at the Academy or every other Wednesday at the Cellar. The 21st of November is a date that should certainly be put in your diary, when Free Range presents the Shogun Assassin Tour, bringing us big names such as Friction and Benga at The Carling Academy. I’m hoping Free Range will continue their passionate approach to promotion, making this another night not to be missed. See you there…

Bass Associates, Oxford Brookes Student’s Union Drum and Bass Society will be selling tickets for the reduced price of £13. To become a member of Bass Associates contact Benny at

OBsocieties 23

Cool Ideas to Halt Global Warming So we all know sustainability is meant to be a good thing, but do we all know what it actually means? Such is the trend for buzz words that even what is a pretty cool idea can get marred and warped to the point that we ignore it. Sustainability is many things to many people. It can simultaneously be an idea, a property of living systems, a manufacturing method, or a way of life. In his book ‘Heat: How to Stop the Planet Burning’, George Monbiot expresses very coherently that sustainability doesn’t mean you have to live in a cave. To preserve the future we need to apply creative thinking to everyday situations. There are loads of people out there now doing just that: for example, Stockholm’s central station is planning to harness the body warmth of 250,000 daily commuters to produce heating for a nearby of�ce block. The purpose of this article isn’t to say “we must recycle!” or “every time you leave a light on, the sea levels rise!” No, we’re here to introduce you to some inspiring ways in which people have taken the sustainability concept and applied it and maybe at the same time introduce you to some ways to bring a little environmental sustainability into your life. Not only does this bene�t the environment but may also provide you with some �nancial sustainability! To help you on your way, here are, some inspirational ideas for sustainability: 1) Swapping parties – We all like eBay and the cheap bargains there, but with a swap party you can get things completely free.

Rather than paying for things, you just swap that pair of shoes that have been sitting in your wardrobe for most the year for a new jacket. They’re really great as it’s just recycling with a bit of creativity. There are already swap parties going on, but if you’re feeling daring why not organise your own? uk/get_involved/campaign/activists/swapit.html 2) Bicycle libraries– pretty much what it might sound like. Rather than having to own a bike imagine being able to borrow one for a day when needed and then being able to give it back. 3) Transition towns – In places such as Totnes in Devon people have taken control to ensure they can make a difference by cutting down on their reliance on fossil fuels by preparing the town for peak oil – really vital action for sustainability! This sort of local action really proves how a community can make a difference if they want to. 4) Technology – There are so many technological advances happening in the world of sustainability its hard to narrow down to just one, so we’ve cheated and haven’t. Check out bed zed for a vision of how we might live in the future. Day to day why not consider wind up torches and radios, USB rechargeable batteries, solar showers and wind belts (this one out it’s a really cheap way of harnessing wind energy! services/link/bctid1233395616). 5) Join

people and planet

toast “For anyone who is interested in playing, watching or getting involved in anyway, with American Football, TOAST is run by the Oxford Cavaliers. Even if you don’t want to play, there are plenty of other things you can get involved with... from being a team physio, writing game reports for the league which are published every week, to controlling down markers on game days; or you can just want to come and watch. Join TOAST. For more info on the Oxford Cavaliers join the facebook group, or check out the website www. For more info on University American Football in the UK, check out,”

cardplayers concentio

Concentio is the Oxford Brookes Chamber Choir. We sing in may different styles and genres but the main aim is to have fun! There are different singers from a variety of backgrounds in the choir. We rehearse on every Tuesday evening in the Richard Hamilton Building and are still looking for more singers this semester (especially men!!). Our concert this semester is on the 13th December in St. Michael’s at the North Gate on Cornmarket street.


“Brookes Biking Society is a brand new fun and friendly society. It is aimed to bring Any persons with a passion for motorcycles together through a verity of activities and social events. Upcoming events include socials evenings, ride outs, trips to list but a few. We already number almost 40 members and are based on facebook. The society is constantly looking for new ideas from members as to ways we can improve what we do.”

“The award-winning ‘Cardplayers of Brookes’ are a collective of poker enthusiasts. Our members span the students of both Oxford Brookes and Oxford University, and we’re often joined by cheery locals. Our events cater to all skill levels; we’ll host poker schools if you want to learn the game, run free buy-in bar games, and direct tournaments and cash-games with buy-ins from £10 to £500. Search up ‘Oxford Brookes Poker Society’ on Facebook, join us, and get playing the great game we call Poker!”


On the eve of Halloween, Obscene managed to book a spot in the very busy diary of one of Brookes’ up and coming rower’s Tom Miller. Tom having previously competed for London Rowing Club, is a �rst year at Oxford Brookes studying Law and International Relations. In this interview we discussed how rowing shapes his routine here at Brookes and the sorts of opportunities he will gain from the top notch quality coaching he receives.

How many hours a week do you train? At the moment a minimum of two hours a day, over the weekend (including Friday’s) about four to �ve hours each. Already this semester we’ve been to Poland for a friendly competition, nothing too serious though.

Does training a lot affect your studies? I’d say I’d probably leave Brookes with a degree in rowing (smiling a little sheepishly). For me it does take priority, but I’d rather take that approach in my �rst year than in my second or third. It is dif�cult because when you do have time to do your work you’re generally knackered from training, having said that, apparently it gets easier.

Are you going to be involved with the 2012 Olympics in London? I don’t think I will be, but there are some that will be if they carry on. It’s quite dif�cult, you peak in rowing quite late on at about 27 or 28, so 2016 is more likely.

How does it make you feel training next to

those who may be winning gold if not in 2012 then in 2016? It’s great, I mean that’s why people come to Brookes, because you know the people you’re going to be training with are amazing. It’s like an excellent rugby player would go to a Wasps academy, rowers come to Brookes, it really is the place to go. When you’re a junior, Team Great Britain send out letters stating institutions of excellence and Brookes is absolutely top of that list. The coaches here are hand picked by Great Britain to prepare for the Olympics. And the people you train with you know are going to push you harder than anywhere else. It’s great to know that the people you’re with are the best.

Do you have any special dietary requirements suggested by your coaches? I’ve lost weight since being here. The great thing about rowing is you can eat anything. You’ve got to eat a lot and relatively healthily. Every Sunday I go to McDonalds and up my calorie intake by ordering two Big Macs, two Quarter Pounders with cheese, a large fries and a milkshake and I know I’ll still carry on losing weight. I maintain that if I didn’t do that then I’d die of starvation!

In 5 years time where do you see yourself? That’s a tough question, umm; I would love to be in a winning Henley crew in terms of rowing. I’ll take rowing as far as I can. I’d also like to have some kind of a degree!

INIATIONS Sophie Evans

Never having the af�nity with a ball myself, the thought of joining a sports team is my worst nightmare. Not because of the initiation itself but because at the end of the day someone may actually pass me the ball. Luckily it is a fear never to be actualised. For those with the ability to throw and catch, drinking vodka through a dead �sh whilst peers taunt their team mates and make them run around a hockey pitch is the norm. These rights of passage leave everyone with humorous stories of poor freshers who get strapped to lamp posts, naked and then are left there for the night.

If you couldn’t be a full time rower what would your ideal job be? A hired assassin! I’d love to do that! Um, no, I’d like to be a lawyer, or maybe I’ll go into the army, I don’t know!

What’s the local competition in Oxford like? Oxford University are really amazing for the boat race because what they do is they get lots of international people to row for them. Oxford are like Chelsea football club, they pick people once they’re amazing whereas Brookes makes people amazing. I think all year round Brookes are better than Oxford, but for that one day of the year, Oxford are pretty special.

How much time are you spending on the river at the moment? Rowing is quite heavily dependent on skill but primarily focused on �tness. We will be spending more time on the river, but at the moment winter is dedicated to getting tough and making school boys into men in the gym. When we approach Henley we’ll

Critics would argue that these sorts of practises are a cruel process, which pray on the weak and the foolish, which then rapidly spiral out of control. According to a BBC article Wes Streeting (NUS President) stated recently that they "are totally opposed to student initiations." This is because of incidents such as Gloucester University's footage where students were shown to have bags over their heads while vomiting. "They put students at serious risk and exclude students who don't want to take part in the binge-drinking culture," (BBC online) but who said anything about culture? Initiations are a single event in which sports team members drink, the result is about unity not exclusion. Initiations are there to form better team companionship and are about mutual respect and dedication. If everyone is made equal through these fun and daring nights out

spend more time on the water.

What’s the social side like? It’s good! Rowing is the ultimate team sport. You get to know the people you’re with incredibly well. Everyone goes out on the lash together. But if we’ve got a big competition coming up we usually stop. Our coaches don’t mind us going out boozing but if we then don’t turn up to training the next day, they’re not best impressed.

Keep an eye open for our rowing team and log on to their website for regular updates on any competitions.

then it creates a stronger sense of team spirit. Sports team initiations are now at risk because of government intervention. Where as before they have let these events happen whilst turning a blind eye, it now appears they will no longer do so. Who have they been talking to and how are they going to enforce this? Take the label "initiation" away and you have twenty freshers in a �eld drinking whilst only wearing their rugby socks. Nonetheless it would be naive to dismiss the fact that there have been serious consequences to some initiations, the circumstances are, however, often no different to a Wednesday night at Fuzzys. Initiations promote inclusion and equality within a team. For once you've seen team mates naked, drinking out of their own shoe, how can you not be friends for life?

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