Bearpit Centre Spread page 28-29
CHVCHES interview page 47
Tommy Robinson quits EDL page 14
Issue 266 Monday 28th October 2013 www.epigram.org.uk
Drug taking rife amongst Bristol freshers
Laura Louise & her naughty disease A 23 year old Bristol graduate diagnosed with breast cancer has been blogging about her experience with the disease, and been recognised by the Cosmopolitan Magazine Blog Awards. Laura Cannon was diagnosed in 2012 and set up her blog, ‘Laura Louise and her Naughty Disease’ to share her experiences with others and raise awareness, keeping her followers updated with her progress and on how to rock ‘chemo chic’. Speaking about why she began blogging she told Epigram, ‘My Mum suggested I start a blog. I didn’t think there was much out there for younger cancer patients to read and thought I could help.’ The blog has certainly been a success, with over 154,000 page views and leading Laura to be awarded ‘Best Newcomer’ at the Cosmopolitan Magazine Blog Awards, which received much celebrity support. ‘It was amazing to win the Best Newcomer Award at the Cosmopolitan Magazine Blog Awards and the celebrity support has been incredible. I must admit I did a mini dance when Gary Barlow tweeted me.
continued on page 3
a Domino’s pizza night for your halls!
Margot Tudor News Reporter An anonymous survey of first years at the University of Bristol discovered that a shocking figure of 51.8% witnessed drugs being taken during week zero. An online survey by Epigram discovered that almost 60% of students have taken drugs before university - a large majority of whom claimed to have taken them of their own volition rather than as a consequence of pressure from a friend or acquaintance. Peer pressure would often be assumed to be the most obvious motivation for drug taking but the figures show that 90% of students have not felt pressured during freshers’ week whilst at Bristol University. One student responded saying, ‘I’ve never taken drugs because of peer pressure; it’s just something everyone wants to try. It’s not that I didn’t want to be left out, I just wanted to see if it was as good as everyone said it was.’
Some have suggested that freshers’ week has become far too focused on drinking and clubbing, with little care given to induction events during the day, a trend that was observed in the number of absences to introductory lectures in the first week. Rob Griffiths, President of the Students’ Union, recently wrote an article published in the Telegraph in which he argued that ‘[universities] should shift the focus from evening activities and remove any obligations to drink excessively.’ For freshers away from home for the first time, the temptation to behave recklessly can be overwhelming, especially when getting caught seems unlikely. A first year student living in Stoke Bishop commented,‘the fact that so many people are taking drugs during freshers’ week and getting away with it seems surprising.’ Some responses suggested that this could be due to a lack of police presence, especially around Unite accomodation; however, those who wish to experiment do not necessarily see this as a
Figures show over half of freshers saw illegal drug taking during their first week
bad thing, arguing that university is a place for independence and that all students should be seen innocent until proven guilty. Despite the high number of students indicated to be taking drugs, there have been suggestions that this number could in fact be lower than in previous years due to a current ‘drought’ in the drugs market. Students are finding it harder or more expensive to source drugs at university and are resorting to experimenting with legal highs and looking further afield. There have also been suggestions that the amount of drugs being taken this year is far lower than previous years due to a current ‘drought’ in drugs supply. Students are finding it harder or more expensive to source drugs at university and are resorting to either experimenting with legal highs or looking further afield. Despite this there is still a high number of student in the current first year who have managed to buy, and continue to use, illegal drugs at University.
Noisiest student area: Redland Since late September, Bristol City Council, in partnership with the University of Bristol and the University of West England, have been attempting to give students lessons on how to be good neighbours. The initiative includes a ‘welcome door knock’ where a police community support officer inform students about anti-social behaviour, dealing with their rubbish appropriately and avoid creating disturbances. Clifton, Cabot, Cotham, Redland, Horfield, Bishopston and the Trendlewood estate in Frenchay will be the areas targeted first, as according to the Council, they have produced the most complaints. There are approximately 40,000 students living in rented accommodation across the city.
continued on page 3
News Editorial Inside Epigram
10 A land of inequality Features exposes the side of Saudi Arabia far removed from the country’s oil fortunes
Comment investages the hypersexualisation of the music industry and explores the reasons behind it
Living 23 Pumpkin pleasure
Living reveals 5 varied, fun and stimulating activities you can get up to this Halloween
Deputy Editor: Alex Bradbrook
Editorial Assistant: Anna Fleck
Epigram is all about giving students a voice, a platform on which to air their views, share their news, embrace what they love, rant about what they hate and generally celebrate the fantastic experience of being a student at Bristol. We want the paper to be about exploring limits, leaping over boundaries and giving the unexpected a chance. That’s why, in addition to our regular 13 sections, we’ve introduced the Centre Spread this year – two pages that offer scope for experimentation away from the expectations that often accompany print media, and created each issue by the editorial team from a different section. University should be about trying new things, seizing opportunities, taking risks and playing by your own rules and we want Epigram to reflect that to the greatest extent possible. In this issue’s Centre Spread, the Features team celebrate the Bearpit, that quirky underpasscum-marketplace-cumbusking arena that perfectly encapsulates the Bristolian spirit of going beyond the norm and pulling beauty out
A note from the editor
14 Sex sells music
Editor: Josephine Franks
of brickwork. What in other cities would remain merely a thoroughfare has been transformed by the Bristolian community into a destination in its own right, boasting pingpong tables, a fruit and veg stall and art exhibitions, never mind its own micro-community. Hugh Davies and Nick Lindo caught up with some of the Bearpit family to find out how far it’s come and where it’s heading – turn to page 28-29 to find out more. So, we celebrate the Bearpit and
Bristol’s unparalleled ability to bring forth the unique from the generic; at the same time we celebrate the power of students to live beyond the stereotypes, to experiment, innovate and create. The city and University are both hubs of talent and creativity that make Bristol such an exciting and vibrant place to be; I merely hope that at Epigram we can provide some kind of forum to celebrate this. It deserves it. Josephine Franks
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25 Ukraine’s abandoned towns
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Tavel discovers the towns of Pripyat and Chernobyl, arguably the world’s most haunted settlements
Film & TV 44 London Film Festival Film & TV visit London to check out this year’s offerings at the London Film Festival
Music 49 Still justified in 2013? Music asks whether Justin Timberlake is still worthy of the accolade of an ‘international pop god’
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Laura Louise and her naughty disease Laura Jacklin Deputy News Editor Continued from page 1
Try to laugh as much as possible, see the funny side of things. It makes the hard times so much easier
During chemotherapy treatment
Now in remission, collecting her award
Cannon studied Biology at Bristol and graduated in 2011: ‘I have so many happy memories from my time at Bristol but I think one of the best moments was turning up hungover to a tutorial in first year and under prepared for a presentation I was meant to give, when I walked in to find my tutor group drinking bubbles and eating cake. It was Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday and my presentation
Before her treatment
was cancelled for another week. I nearly fainted with relief and I have loved Charles Darwin ever since, I owe him one.’ After treatment including chemotherapy, Cannon is now in remission and having radiotherapy and continues to blog as she spreads awareness of the signs of breast cancer, reminding women to ‘check your boobies’ and showing how to stay strong in the face of adversity. Asked about plans for the future, she told Epigram that she wants to write a book and launch a career as a writer. October 2013 is also Breast Cancer Awareness month which has seen people wearing pink at home and to work and school for ‘Pink Fridays’, sponsored runs and Breast Cancer Care fashion shows, where 44 men and women diagnosed with breast cancer take to the stage. Find out more about raising awareness atwww.breastcancercare.org. uk and visit Laura’s blog www. lauralouiseandher naughtydisease.blogspot.com
‘I was in hospital at the time and I’m pretty sure I woke up some other patients with my squeal of delight.’ Naming her now ‘ex-lump’ Kenneth and giving beauty tips for those having chemotherapy, Cannon shows through blogging that she is just like any other 23 year old woman, who refuses to be set back by her breast cancer. The blog really does manage to take away some of the threat and fear surrounding the disease, and has truly made the best out of a bad situation, as Cannon told Epigram, ‘I have always been a positive person but I think I worry less now and try to live everyday as it comes.’ As well as blogging about her battle with breast cancer, Cannon also offers advice to other cancer patients: ‘My best piece of advice is to drink LOADS of water the day before, the day
of, and the day after chemo- it really makes such a difference. I’m talking 3 litres. Also try to laugh as much as possible, see the funny side of things. It makes the hard times so much easier’.
Student mental health: where next? Josie Finlay News Reporter
Worst student area Spencer Turner Deputy News Editor Continued from page 1 The whole of Bristol produces up to 200 complaints a week. According to information received from the accommodation office at Bristol University, there have been 37 complaints since term began against University of Bristol students. Many of these complaints were in response to students who were being noisy in the early hours of the morning. The statistics Epigram has seen for the 2013-2014 year already has a clear pattern. The most significant area to receive complaints is in the BS6 postcode, which suggests that
students living in Redland and Montpelier are the worst culprits for generating complaints. This is partly because Redland is one of the most popular locations for second year students to live.
Redland is one of the most popular locations for second year students to live
While residents are annoyed about noise and mess that both Bristol and UWE students are making, the University of Bristol is making significant steps towards satisfying residents. The Accommodation Office hosts a twice yearly forum ‘for the discussion of issues related to students and the community’. Minutes from the last meeting
showed that of 33 complaints received against University of Bristol students, ‘One case was referred to disciplinary hearing and in three cases the University Police Officer visited the properties after which there were no further complaints.’ Whilst the issue of rubbish is an issue, Pru Lawrence-Archer, Head of Accommodation Services and City Centre Warden, explains, ‘Given the number of students living in private rented accommodation there are actually not that many complaints especially bearing in mind the enormous benefits the university and its students bring to the city.’ For more information on how to keep your street tidy, http:// www.bristol.gov.uk/nav/binsrecycling-and-street-cleaning
It’s so important to educate young people to understand that there is no sitgma in mental health problems...people need to talk about the problem
Kevan Jones, MP for Durham North, told of his battle with depression. Breaking the taboo around the issue of mental
Flickr: Patrick Hoesly
Flickr: Cleaner Croydon
Mess and noise: the BS6 postcode has received most complaints
The National Union of Students (NUS) had their first Student Mental Health conference to encourage students to talk about mental health. New research by the NUS shows 13% of students have experienced suicidal thoughts and 20% consider themselves to have a mental health problem, while as many as 92% identify as having feelings of mental distress. In light of this research, it is becoming apparent that students should feel braver in speaking out about mental health. The conference hosted by the NUS was supported by the Royal College of Nursing and Mind, a mental health charity, to mark World Mental Health Day on 10 October. The event brought together representatives from student services, mental health agencies and students to discuss student mental health and the role of education.
The conference enouraged students to speak out about mental healh
health is vital in helping sufferers, he said, ‘I know from my own experience how important it is to talk about mental health… much more needs to be done to educate people to improve the support available’. A recent study revealing that one in four people believe that mental illness sufferers should not have roles in parliament shows how important it is to fight the stigma surrounding the issue. The conference also featured a keynote speech from actress Naomi Bentley (Extras, Miranda). Voicing her own struggles with borderline personality disorder and clinical depression, Naomi said, ‘It’s so important to educate young people to understand that there is no stigma in mental health problems…people need to talk about the problem.’ Contributors called for the government to improve its mental health policy. It should give the issue more priority and change the further education system, making it easier for students finding it difficult to
handle the demands and stress of a full time course to switch to a part time course. However, remaining in education was also found to be helpful to the improvement of mental health in some sufferers: one contributor, a former farmer suffering from depression, spoke about how the structure of a college course routine helped her recovery. Student unions discussed ways to improve their peer support services. These included more efficient waiting lists and working with local community groups as 2 important starting points. Hannah Paterson, NUS Disabled Students’ Officer, said: ‘Student Unions want to help but don’t know how…we need to provide them with the tools to create lasting, action-focused change and remove stigma so people aren’t scared of talking about mental health’. Bristol University has its own counselling service, available for any student. For more information, visit www.bristol. ac.uk/student-counselling
Living cost crisis: students need more financial support Alex Saad News Reporter
Average shortfall of over £7,600 per year between the yearly costs of living and the financial support available
To make things worse, grant and loan rates are frozen, and will only rise by 1% next year, in contrast to the ever-growing outgoing rates for student living such as rent and travel prices. The NUS believe this is a problem that has reached crisis point and aim to tackle it next year. Bristol is now the joint most expensive city to live in as a student, along with Cambridge, according to a
study by independent estate agent Haart. The research covered 24 Russell Group universities and based results on average weekly accommodation prices, which are rising above the rate of inflation. Bristol students have an average £96 weekly rent, compared to the country’s average of £75.25. The University of Bristol offers a range of bursaries to support students from lower income households, which include a tuition fee waiver of up to £3,500 and a £2,000 cash bursary, which goes some way to making up the deficit. Jamie Burton, a second year student, spoke to Epigram about the bursaries. ‘Without the bursary I wouldn’t be able to pay for essential things; I would only have £200 for the rest of the term. ‘With it I’ve got an extra £666 until Christmas. ‘There are a lot of people who are just above the household income limit for the bursary and so don’t get it, and they’re much worse off than I am.’
Living cost requirements for students are much higher than available financial support, says NUS President Tony Pearce. According to a recent NUS study, there is an average shortfall of over £7,600 per year between the yearly costs of living and the financial support available from the government for students. The study estimated that, outside of London, a student would pay an average of £21,440 in tuition fees, educational costs, living expenses and social activities. To fund this they have a £9,000 tuition loan plus a variable maintenance loan and any grants or bursaries offered to students needing extra support, amounting to a maximum potential income of £13,747. This leaves a shortage of £7,693. Pearce is worried that students are resorting to other means in order to make up for their costs.
‘Those who do not have the rare luxury of resorting to the “bank of mum and dad” are increasingly being driven to work full-time alongside study where jobs can be found, or worse still, into the arms of predatory pay day lenders just to make ends meet.’
An education in prostitution Cheaper to study abroad Amber Roberts News Reporter
Many pubs and bars offer long hours which are very difficult to manage alongside the workload of a degree, whereas sex work offers more amenable timings and better pay. Prostitution is not the only work students are turning to. Two students, Robin and Josh from the University of Bristol have even considered busking, in order to round up a few spare pennies for their degree. The NUS has reported that students are also gambling and involving themselves in medical experiments to fund their studies. Rhian, a student from Swansea University flew to Mexico last year in order to earn £1,000 from a medical drugs test to put towards her degree. Channel 4 recently showed a documentary called ‘My Phone-Sex Secrets’ which featured Rosa, a student who after a week of unsuccessful job hunting, decided to try phone sex for the first time to pay for her degree.
Comphfight: Drinks machine
More students turn to lap fancing, phone sex and even prostitution to fund degrees.
Fenella Maxwell News Reporter UK students are increasingly considering the prospects of studying abroad. In 2011 it was estimated that 1.7% of the entire UK student population studied abroad, with high percentages in the US, France and Germany. However, with some UK Universities ranking in the top 50 best Institutions in the world, why are so many choosing to study abroad? Since the rise of UK University tuition fees in 2012 to £9000 per year, it has been largely debated as to whether studying abroad could become the cheaper option. An HSBC survey revealed last October that it was £100 more expensive to study in Canada than in the UK, taking into account the return flights home. Moreover, the report stated that some European countries other than the UK appeared to be even more appealing, due to low cost of their tuition fees. In Germany, institutions have been climbing the league tables and with an annual studying costs averaging just over £4,200 per year, UK students could be receiving better value for money abroad. With the latest news about Oxford University wanting to increase the fixed cost tuition limit of £9000 to £16000 per year, due to their £70million funding gap, the UK could see a potentially large rise in the number of students going abroad to study in the future, particularly the UK’s ‘highest achieving students’. Furthermore, studying internationally in countries
Rise of tuition fees has encouraged more students to study abroad
like the US has become even more appealing due to their well-funded variety of courses, standard of pastoral care, the number of contact hours and the cost of their tuition fees in comparison to the UK. Anthony Seldon, head of Wellington College in Berkshire told the BBC that within four years, a quarter of sixth formers at his leading UK independent school would be heading for universities in the United States due to such reasons. It seems then that UK students could be paying more fees for less ‘perks’. The prospect of studying away from home in the UK can be very daunting, so studying abroad could be even more so, especially being so far away from family and friends for the first time. However, in
The English Collective of Prostitutes claim that calls from university students had more than doubled in number since the government announced the rise in tuition fees. Reports have shown that more and more students are turning lap dancing, phone-sex and even prostitution in order to fund their degrees. The current economic environment and lack of jobs has resulted with some students choosing sex-work over debt after university. Reports like this have come from universities all over the country, from Leeds to Cambridge. There is an online website which specialises in escort services from Oxbridge and Ivy League universities which claims to have almost 350 current or former Cambridge
students on its books. Research from the University of Leeds has shown that more than a quarter of lap dancers have degrees. Similarly, University of Kingston research found that 25% of students knew someone who worked as an escort to help pay for their studies. With tuition fees reaching as much as £11,000 in London, many students are trading ordinary bar-work for the quick-fix and fast cash of the sex industry. Some escorts can earn up to £1,400 per night, for example Donna Asutaits who made more than £300,000 working as a high-class escort to pay for her master’s degree at the University of Westminster. Monica, a student at the University of Bristol spoke to Epigram, ‘It makes me wonder why I’m spending hours slaving away in a pub when I could do a quarter of the hours and earn four times as much or more.’
today’s globalised world of advancing technology, social networking has become ever easier, making more people interconnected across the globe with apps such as Skype, Twitter and Facebook, which could change some peoples’ minds. UK students studying abroad could also be gaining vital skills demanded by future employers, such as learning a new language and in doing so become more employable in the current tough UK job market. A recent survey conducted by the British Council, found that the under-25s are most likely to feel they have missed out on studying abroad. 54% have said their lack of international experience has held them back when applying for competitive graduate job schemes.
Sophia wins Kindle Fire in Epigram’s photo competition Joe Quinlan Web Editor
Sophia Voicehovsky was the lucky winner of Epigram’s ‘tag the photo’ competition, walking away with an Amazon Kindle Fire, courtesy of sponsors PricewaterhouseCoopers. The competition involved tagging a photo of yourself with Ellie the Elephant, Epigram’s mammalian mascot, on the newspaper’s Facebook page. The photos were taken at the Freshers’ Fair on Thursday 26 September as students took the opportunity to pose alongside Ellie, with the winner later being drawn at random. Sophia said ‘I want to thank Epigram and PwC for the Kindle, I was very surprised and happy when I found out I had won.’ The prize was provided by Epigram sponsors PricewaterhouseCoopers,the multinational professional services firm. Alex Spaven is West and Wales Student Recruitment Manager for the company. ‘Epigram is a widely ready newspaper at the University of Bristol and we’re always looking for
ways in which we can build on the great relationship we have with the University’, he told this paper. ‘Supporting Epigram’s Kindle prize giveaway was an opportunity for us to be involved with Epigram’s Freshers’ Fair campaign and show our encouragement for students to get involved in extra-curricular activities. Contributing to a publication like Epigram is just one of many ways that students can improve their employability by developing skills outside of their academic studies - something we’re always keen to see.’ Managing Director of Epigram, Ollie Yorke, said that ‘It’s been a pleasure to work with PwC and we’re extremely pleased that they kindly sponsored our Kindle competition. Without their support, this competition would not have been possible. It’s also an extremely good way of promoting Epigram, and getting our name out there to the student population.’ Yorke added his congratulations to Sophia and insisted ‘we will definitely be looking to run more competitions like this in the near future’.
Sophia Voicehovsky recieves her kindle from Alex Spaven at PriceWaterhouseCoopers offices in Bristol
New Lettings Agency in Printer problems persist Bristol’s Student Union Adam Bushnell News Reporter
UBU Lettings: Bristol’s Student Union is to open a new lettings service.
University printers saturated with cash as student wallets run out of paper Students have been complaining that printing credit is yet another hidden cost of studying at university, which are not transparent upon application or included in the yearly £9,000 tuition fees. The new academic year has seen another year group grappling with the fee increase, amidst Oxford vicechancellor bleakly claiming that more academically advanced institutions should charge closer to £16,000. The implications of the fee hike have already generated higher expectations among students regarding overall educational quality. One student told Epigram that, ‘The fee hike is accompanied by a greater demand for high standardsuniversities are competitive and businesses would offer more for customer money’. However, the fee reform involved the government reducing their HEFCE teaching grant and so it is the students personally paying the excess, with universities receiving the same amount of funding. This has not prevented students complaining about extra hidden costs such as printing, with this cost rising at Bristol this year as students have to print out course guides and similar documents which are only available online. Whilst the university provided students with some money to cover
Printer in the Arts and Social Sciences Library
these printing costs, the amount provided was not enough to print all of the required documentation needed by students for their course. A politics student commented, ‘We were provided with £10 worth of printer credit but this did not even allow me to print half of the readings I am expected to read. I understand the University’s desire to go electronic but this means you always have to be on your computer to work – it was easier and cheaper when they provided a printed set of key readings.’ This issue forms a larger problem which the National Union of Students (NUS) has set about tackling, by launching its ‘Come Clean’ campaign to ensure that student rights are upheld. This culminates with a
view, Griffiths said that the UBU lettings service is also going to fulfil the role of making UBU more financially stable. He told Epigram, ‘If commercially successful, the lettings agency will keep money, which students would only be spending with private landlords anyway, within the student body’. He suggested that this will be a great thing for all UOB students, as ‘like all of UBU’s operations (bars, cafés , merchandise), all the surplus from the agency will go straight back into our budget to spend on student priorities’ including grants, staff, equipment, projects and campaigns, which Mr Griffiths believes is ‘awesome!’
The University of Bristol Student’s Union (UBU) will be opening a new residential lettings service onn the 18th November. The service, called ‘UBU Lettings’ will establish a foothold in an area of student life that UBU has had relatively little involvement with in the past. The service comes following UBU President Rob Griffiths’ and Vice President for Community Ellie Williams’ manifestos that included plans to raise living standards for Bristol students. Williams told Epigram that the plan has been in the pipeline for some time, following student feedback suggesting accommodation providers and landlords have been giving students a less than adequate deal. Instances of more traditional corporate lettings agencies charging extortionate fees are rife along with poor service, such as slow responses to repair requests, shabby living conditions, and poor communications from landlords to tenants. Landlords holding on to security deposits for illegitimate or poor reasons is also another thing that UBU Lettings wishes to stamp out. Williams went further to say that the newly elected
Mayor of Bristol, George Ferguson, is campaigning to raise living standards and also to heighten the profile of well practising landlords, and that the UBU Lettings service will reward good behaviour on their part. ‘A good home is fundamental to good health’ and general well-being. By setting the standard, UBU lettings hopes to ensure that every student has the worry of substandard housing removed from their lives,’ Williams explained. The service is going to be run by Vicky Thomas, who has over ten years’experience in the lettings market and managed a similar project for the students of Cardiff. UBU Lettings aims to directly finance itself through income from landlords. From a financial point of
Ryan Maguire News Reporter
national student walkout and lobby of parliament in spring 2014. Hidden costs are central to the campaign as research showed that almost a third of student unions reported that their universities do not cover additional costs such as printing, studio fees, field trips, travel to work placements and course books. NUS president, Liam Burns, claims that additional costs create financial pressure and stated that ‘It cannot be fair that academic success is dictated by how much disposable cash you have.’ Perhaps university is not the utopia which some students may have imagined and the financial reality of choosing education over full-time employment under economic inertia is taking its toll.
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Why I Like Putin: Peter Hitchens speaks to students Flickr: Hausenstein centre
Holly Jones News Reporter A deliberately provocative title ensured Peter Hitchens’ talk, Why I Like Vladimir Putin, packed out a lecture theatre in the Queens building on Tuesday 15th October. The event, organised by Bristol’s International Affairs society, had one of their best turn outs and they described it as ‘an utterly enthralling evening’.
Moscow: a filthy slum of shortages and misery and corruption
Peter Hitchen’s talk to Bristol Students sees organised by Bristol International Affairs Society sees huge turn out.
The Mail on Sunday columnist delivered a short speech on what it is about Putin which impresses him so – chiefly, his respect for the principle of national sovereignty, as illustrated
by the Russians’ diplomatic prowess in preventing a Western war in Syria. The seizure of Syria’s chemical weaponry serves, says Hitchens, as a badge of honour in international relations, and has been praised far and wide – not least by the British Labour peer Lord Truscott, who went as far as to nominate Putin for a Nobel Peace Prize. The former foreign correspondent based in Soviet Moscow, which he described as ‘a filthy slum of shortages and misery and corruption’, withstood a barrage difficult questions. He replied with the characteristic selfassurance Question Time audiences will have become accustomed to, providing his outlook on Russia’s armed forces: ‘absolutely savage and horrible’ and the recently enacted homophobic laws, ‘I don’t really believe in boycotting the games…I don’t believe it achieves
anything’. Hitchen’s also discussed foreign affairs more generally, from the Rose and Orange revolutions in Tbilisi and Kiev to the contested post-Cold War border-making in eastern Europe, dropping in wry additions to facts, ‘The Treaty of Westphalia 1648…which of course you’ll all be familiar with’ as dry-humoured digs at his audience of Bristol students. This and his curious use of Tony Blair’s full name - ‘Anthony’ – creates a sense of contrarianism not many other political commentators can command. Many a gasp went around at the words: ‘The principle of leaving people to get on with their own affairs inside their sovereign borders is so important that you might have sometimes to stand by and let horrible things happen’. It seems Bristol’s students value political conscience over absolutist
selfish motives are the only ones you can rely on
Despite this, the ‘Hated’ Peter Hitchens, a self-styled caricature, presided over a civil hour and a half. His talk of living in the same building as high-ranking Kremlin officials and having tanks rolling up outside his door shed a little light what made the man sick of the repeated ‘hypocrisy’ of ‘selfless’ nations: ‘selfish motives are the only ones you can rely on’. It will take more than Peter Hitchens to persuade international actors that noninterventionism is the path to undertake, but this is why he likes Putin so much.
Bristol Student set to row Atlantic Zombie invasion Alex Cawthron News Reporter
‘Having known her for many years and having known Luke for most of my life, it was the obvious charity to choose.’ However, this is not all that Sparks hopes to achieve, adding that, ‘I’m doing this for many reasons, asides from the charitable aspect. When the big man on judgement day asks me what I’m most proud of doing in my life, hopefully by February, I’ll have an answer.’ Currently fewer people have rowed the Atlantic than have travelled into space or climbed Mount Everest. When asked about being criticised as foolhardy, Sparks admitted that, ‘we are’, adding that, ‘however, one of the things that defines Luke and I is our passion for jumping in at the deep end and dealing with
what gets thrown at us.’ With the race looming, Sparks told Epigram that, ‘I’m just so relieved that the challenge is just 4 weeks away now. When you plan something for so long, over a year in this case, it can get a little frustrating waiting for the start to approach.’ ‘Other than relief, Luke and I are both tremendously excited,’ Sparks added. Despite the dangerous nature of the race, the two of them are fully committed to it. When asked if he had any advice for fellow aspiring students, Sparks told Epigram, ‘If you want something bad enough and you’re willing to sacrifice, in our case comfort and safety (and a year of university), then stop at nothing to achieve your goal.’
Jamie Sparks Jamie Sparks
Luke Birch and Jamie Sparks
People flock to take part in Bristol’s Zombie Evacuation Race
Billie Turner News Reporter Last Sunday hundreds of people flocked to Bristol’s outskirts to be a part of the increasingly popular Zombie Evacuation Race. People from the surrounding area and further afield made their way to Over Court Farm, Almondsbury to be scared witless, taking part in an event like no other. The Zombie Evacuation Race requires skill and stamina as participants navigate their way through flat terrain and forestry, tackling a series of obstacles, whilst being chased by zombies! Participants sign up as either civilians or zombies to take part in this adrenalin fuelled race. Dragon’s Den success Physicool supplied flagging and injured contestants with their cooling bandages to keep them fit to fight the walking dead, with all proceeds going to local cancer charity, Penny Brohn. Once completed, the participants are awarded a badge of honour and welcome to celebrate making it through the five kilometre run alive, with the celebrations featuring zombie inspired games, a
A 21 year old student currently studying at the University of Bristol is embarking on a challenge to row the Atlantic in 50 days. Jamie Sparks, studying anthropology in his 3rd year, is attempting the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge along with his best friend of 15 years, Luke Birch. ‘I remember writing him (Birch) a couple hundred word text explaining why it would be great for us etc,’ Sparks told Epigram. ‘He just replied “I’m in”, and the rest is history.’ The pair have been planning the expedition for over a year. On November 16th they will set off to La Gomera, one of Spain’s Canary Islands for
two weeks to complete their final preparations. At La Gomera, they plan to leave the harbour for the last time before reaching Antigua a predicted six to nine weeks later. When asked about the details of the race, Sparks explained that there are strict regulations that the rowers must adhere to, such as ‘carrying 150kg of emergency water at all times’. ‘If we dip into this, we will incur a time penalty’, Sparks explained. The two students have undertaken the challenge to raise money and awareness for Breast Cancer Care. ‘In my case, my rowing partner’s grandmother died from the disease, and his mother has been fighting it over the last year,’ said Sparks.
Zombie Target Practice range and delicious feast. Chris O’Neill, Zombie Evacuation Race Manager, spoke to Epigram about what really goes on in a Zombie Race, ‘Normally we get between 2-3000 racers per event. People turn up to race and they get three lives, and if they get to the end with a life intact they get a survivors medal. We sometimes have individuals racing whereas others are very crafty and work as teams.’ Taking around an hour to complete the course, the event really is like no other. ‘It’s more of a theatrical race, something to get the public off their couches, so we like it to be a fun event” O’Neill told Epigram, who also helps builds the course. ‘You register as a racer or a zombie, or you can just turn up on the day and our makeup team are on hand to transform you into a member of the living dead, anybody can get involved! It’s a great event, there are those who really enjoy our races and others who are completely terrified’. If you would like to know more about the Zombie Evacuation Race’s future events go to www. zombieevacuation.com
Editor: Hugh Davies
Deputy Editor: Sophie Padgett
Online Editor: Michael Coombs
Battling ‘rape culture’ amongst students Controversial ‘violate a fresher’ promotional club video sparks outrage in Leeds. Emily McMullin investigates.
Last week, the Leeds Student newspaper published a shocking article exposing an event called ‘Freshers Violation’. They managed to get hold of an uncut audio of the original video clip advertising the student club night Tequila. The clip featured a man asking partygoers how they were going to ‘violate a fresher’, encouraging responses from male students such as, ‘I’m going to fist her so hard she won’t know what’s happening’ and claims that a girl was going to ‘get raped’. Unsurprisingly, the video was quickly removed from Tequila UK’s YouTube account after outrage was expressed on social media websites, with the clip being described as ‘disgusting’ and evidence of ‘the abhorrent state of rape culture in the student world’. Coinciding with this, a sexual assault in Clifton was reported in the early hours of the morning on Thursday 10th of October. A young woman was walking home alone at around 1am when she was attacked by an unknown man. The police
were called and the victim was later taken to the Bridge, a dedicated centre to support victims of rape and sexual assault. Having lived in halls next to the Downs last year, an area that is notorious for violent attacks, news of this latest assault didn’t come as a huge surprise. What is astonishing however is the way in which this kind of behaviour is being encouraged, particularly within the student population.
“Virgins and those in relationships are mocked
When starting university as a fresher, there is a lot of pressure to be a wild party animal, along with the expectation, particularly for boys, to ‘pull’. Whether it be a kiss and a grope in the club or going back to someone’s flat to seal the deal; a big part of being a fresher, and a university student in general, is about sex. Virgins and those in relationships are mocked, whereas boys getting laid every week are congratulated and
seen as a ‘lad’. Girls that sleep around however are labelled ‘sluts’ and thought of as ‘easy’, despite the fact that they are always being approached by boys who feel pressurised to get them into bed. As if this kind of sexual attitude amongst students wasn’t harmful enough, this predatory and aggressive behaviour is now being taken advantage of and promoted by clubs to entice students to their events. This targeting of young people through sexual means is also seen abroad, especially on the infamous party islands such as Zante and Magaluf, also known as ‘shagaluf’ – which says it all really. Again, the goal of these holidays for many is to wreak drunken havoc away from their parents and either lose their virginity or add a notch to their bed post. BBC3’s documentary ‘Sun, Sex and Suspicious Parents’ has showcased many examples of this, with the boys’ conversations and behaviour being dominated by the girls they have, or will, conquer. Many of the parents have also been shocked by the kind of games that are undertaken on the popular booze cruises, where girls are told to give random
men ‘pretend’ blowjobs, and get into various sexual positions. This is also common in the clubs, with girls lying on the bar under someone’s crotch having alcohol poured into their mouths. This rise in rape culture is becoming more apparent and attempts at combatting it are increasing. Robin Thicke’s song
‘Blurred Lines’ has been banned from several student unions across the country due to its ambiguous lyrics which seem to promote sexually aggressive behaviour, such as ‘I’ll give you something big enough to tear your ass in two’. It encourages the absurd idea that women provoke sexual assaults in the way they dress or behave, and
Alice Phillips, Bristol’s women’s officer
Emily McMullin Features Writer
therefore are ‘asking to be raped’. Our women’s officer at Bristol, Alice Phillips, is also taking a strong stand against this, and is raising an ‘End Rape Culture’ motion at the Student Council on Tuesday 29th October. This will include resolutions to prevent known rape apologists such as George Galloway being given a platform, to campaign against myths about rape and to educate students about consent. When asked if she thought we had a problem with rape culture in Bristol, Alice told Epigram that, ‘A recent submission to the “Spotted: Sexism at Bristol” page which I run with the Bristol Feminist Society read ‘on Friday night at Syndicate a young female fresher passed out about 1am. Nobody moved to help her get up but four boys crowded around taking photos up her skirt’. The objectification of women’s bodies is typical of rape culture, which normalises violence against women.’ Alice also told Epigram that ‘at UBU we are implementing a zero-tolerance to sexual harassment policy’, which, in the light of the ‘violation’ scandal in Leeds, is reassuring to hear.
Pay day lenders: unregulated and out of control Advertised as being a quick, flexible, fuss free way of making ends meet, pay day loans are thriving in the current economic times. It’s a simple equation, the less money people have, the more they will borrow. Their speedy service is frequently used as the main selling point of many of these companies. They carefully smooth over the fact that they can have money in your account on the same day of your application because they do not thoroughly assess the suitability of the person they are lending to. They certainly don’t consider if charging that person extremely high interest rates, allowing them to take out multiple loans at once and ‘roll over’ their debt several times, will have an adverse effect on their financial situation. These companies can issue loans with the potential to land the customer in thousands of pounds worth of debt yet they are not yet subject to any stringent regulations. Not only are pay day lenders free to charge whatever rate of interest
they like, they can only access a compiled credit history on a customer if that person has given them permission to view it. This means that, even if these companies did want to invest the time, money and effort it would take to properly assess the suitability of their customers, they don’t really have the resources to do so. Debt Advice Foundation, one of the main UK based charities who help people struggling with debt, warn people on their website that, ‘A loan company doesn’t listen to you and work out if you are credit worthy. They don’t start with you at all; they begin with a business model.’
“ They don’t start
with you at all; they begin with a business model
A spokesperson from Debt Advice Foundation told Epigram, ‘Taking out credit is a serious business, with long term implications. It is not the warm, cuddly affair that ad campaigns
with cartoons and happy shiny families living the good life would have you believe. These companies are businesses looking to make a profit.’ It’s very easy to find yourself in a vicious cycle with pay day lenders, the spokesperson from Debt Advice Foundation went on to tell us that, ‘we almost never get calls from people who only have one payday loan amongst their debts. Invariably they have taken out one, found they couldn’t pay it off on time and then (often once the calls and texts start arriving from the first lender about the debt) they have taken out a second, larger loan from another payday company to pay off the first debt. This carries on until they finally call for help – sometimes with a list of payday loans in double figures.’ We asked Debt Advice Foundation if any regulations were in place to control who pay day lenders can lend to and they told us, ‘new regulations due to introduced by the Financial Conduct Authority next year will limit the number of times that a payday loan can be “rolled over”, and will impose new standards to ensure that the loan company will “assess the
potential for a loan to adversely affect the customer’s financial situation”. I’m afraid we are not convinced this is going to be particularly useful.’ They have cause to be concerned. Pay day lenders will still not have access to all the information they would need to make a truly informed decision. They may be subject to more risks and penalties for lending to the ‘wrong’ people, but it’s hard to see these threats striking much fear into the hearts of companies that make tens of millions of pounds in profit a year. The use of pay day loans is increasing year on year. Step Change, a debt advice charity, helped 36, 413 people with pay day loan debts in 2012, almost 20,000 more than in 2011. Of these people, 74% had a net annual income of under £20,000. Despite these facts, John Lamidey, CEO of the Consumer Finance Association, denied allegations that pay day lenders were little more than legal loan sharks, telling the BBC in January of last year that, ‘Our demographic- our customers- isn’t people on low incomes, it’s not people on benefits.’
It’s no surprise that people are having to increasingly turn to pay day loans, with the Welfare State being continually chipped away at and wages competing in a ‘race to the bottom’, pay day lenders are seeing their profits increase by irresponsibly lending to the poorest in our society. While
some of the blame for pay day loan debt has to inevitably fall with the people who take these loans in the first place, we have to acknowledge that, in the words of QuickQuid themselves, ‘ it doesn’t matter how careful you are with money, sometimes your pay just won’t stretch far enough.’
Sophie Padgett Deputy Features Editor
Clock is ticking on climate change problem Acclaimed author and US activist, Bill McKibbon, headlines a tour to promote the new Fossil Free UK Campaign Bill McKibbon Guest Writer The world has two choices in dealing with climate change. One is to decide it’s a problem like any other, which can be dealt with slowly and over time. The other is to recognise it as a crisis, perhaps the unique crisis in human history, which will take rapid, urgent action to overcome. Science is in the second, scared campn — that’s the meaning of the IPCC report issued last month, which showed that our planet is already undergoing climatic shifts far greater than any experienced in human civilization, with far worse to come. And those of us urging divestment from fossil fuel stocks are in the second camp too — we recognise that business as usual is quite simply impossible. In fact, the most important feature of the IPCC report is probably that it adopted the analysis put forward by the Carbon Tracker analysts in the UK and divestment activists who started their campaign a year ago in the U.S.: the scientists report quite explicitly said that most of the coal and oil and gas that the fossil fuel industry
has identified and plans to mine or drill must remain in the ground to avoid climate catastrophe. That in turn is why the fossil fuel industry, when it isn’t in outright denial about climate change, falls into the first camp: slow, measured change would be nice. Because then we could pump up all the carbon we’ve told our shareholders and our banks we will. Because then our stock prices will stay nice and high. Because then we won’t have to confront reality —otherwise known as physics — for a while longer. The gulf between these two camps poses a huge question for those who might think of themselves on the sidelines. Those, say, who own shares in the fossil fuel industry. In the U.S., a number of colleges, churches, and universities have begun to divest those stocks, arguing that they can’t both simultaneously decry the wreckage of the climate and try to profit from it for a few more years. The mayor of Seattle explained that his city was already spending millions building seawalls — what sense did it make to invest in the companies making that work necessary? The trustees of San Francisco State University recognised
that it made no sense to have, on the one hand, a physics department understanding climate change and on the other hand an endowment full of oil and gas stocks. The United Church of Christ, which traces its roots back to the Pilgrims, decided it couldn’t pay the pastor by investing in companies that are running Genesis backwards. This same opportunity is becoming part of a worldwide debate. From Africa come some of the loudest voices
demanding divestment: Desmond Tutu, who watched the effectiveness of the movement a generation ago when it was stock in apartheid‐tainted companies that was at issue, has asked us to take up the same tool. “If you could see the drought and famine in Africa, you would understand why,” he says. And it’s not just North America responding. The Uniting Church in Australia, Anglican dioceses in New Zealand, and now the
UK’s Operation Noah have launched Bright Now – a church divestment campaign. Also, UK university students are increasingly engaged as evidenced by the work undertaken by People & Planet. To date there are 19 active divestment campaigns across the UK including universities with the largest endowments: Cambridge, Oxford and Edinburgh. Later this month a report produced by People
& Planet, Platform and 350. org entitled Knowledge and Power: Fossil Fuel Universities will expose in detail the ties between UK universities and the fossil fuel industry serving as the most authoritative assessment to date thus catapulting the fossil fuel divestment campaign to a new level. We’ll be looking to grow the campaign this October with the Fossil Free Europe tour, a divestment road show which will stop at universities and Edinburgh and Birmingham, and culminate in London for the start of Shared Planet, the UK’s largest student conference on global issues. Everyone involved in this campaign understands that divestment won’t in fact bankrupt Exxon or BP or Shell, but they also understand how important it is to politically bankrupt them. These are now rogue industries, committed to burning more carbon than any government on earth thinks would be safe to burn. Their irresponsibility belongs to their executives and boards of directors—but it also belongs to anyone who holds their shares. If you think that climate change is a true crisis, then the time has come to sever your ties.
Out in the cold: Arctic 30 still being held in Russia For over a month now, 30 people, including 28 Greenpeace activists and two journalists, have been in a Russian jail, after their peaceful protest against oil drilling in the Arctic was clamped down on by Russian authorities. The arrests have sparked international outrage against Russia, with the victim’s families being joined by Angela Merkel, Jude Law, and eleven Nobel Peace Prize winners in calling for their release. This has been a dangerous encroachment on the protestors’ rights, made all the worse by the overblown charges of piracy being levelled against them. Such a charge could carry a sentence of as much as 15 years in jail. The protestors were arrested after attempting to board an oil rig in the Arctic Circle in order to demonstrate against oil drilling in the area. The Russian coastguard responded with fire hoses, as well as a few real gunshots, with the two activists who attempted to climb aboard being arrested immediately. Little did they know that they would have more company just a day later, when the Russian military stormed their boat, the ‘Arctic Sunrise’ and arrested all on board. Russian diplomats claim that apparently the group were guilty of ‘aggressive and provocative’ actions, which Greenpeace disputes, with Arctic campaigner Ben Ayliffe telling the Guardian, ‘We have a right to be there. This was an entirely peaceful protest.’ The executive director of Greenpeace International, Kumi Naidoo, has written to Vladimir Putin offering himself as security, were the activists to be let out on bail. This letter would appear to have been ignored by Putin and Russia, with not one of the detainees being released on bail as of yet. In
his letter, Naidoo offered to meet Putin ‘anywhere in the world, in a place of your choosing’. He continued by saying that the activists are ‘willing to face the consequences of what they did’ as long as they are within the nation’s criminal code. Peaceful protests are obviously not in Russia’s criminal code. There has been widespread international support for these activists. Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor,according to her spokesperson ‘has expressed her concern to Putin over the arrest of the crew of the Greenpeace boat’. She has since been joined by eleven Nobel peace Prize winners, including Desmond Tutu, who wrote to Putin saying the piracy charges should be ‘dropped, and that any charges that are brought are within international and Russian law.’ The Dutch Foreign Minister, Frans Timmermans has also offered his
Max Miller Features Writer
support, saying he will file a lawsuit to get the boat back, and he will also be using diplomatic channels to gain the release of the activists. There has even been celebrity support, with Jude Law and Damon Albarn present at a protest that was held outside the Russian embassy in London on the 5th October. This was held as part of a global ‘Day of Solidarity’, with protests going on worldwide. Wilf Mound,Bristol’s Greenpeace representative, said of the situation, ‘the whole thing has come as a surprise, and is a gross overreaction. We will be fighting to set them free.’ Mound is part of the same local group as Anthony Perrett, one of the arrested activists. A protest has already been held in Bristol over the arrests, with Greenpeace asking people to sign ‘doves of peace’ cards in solidarity. The cards were sent to the arrested activists in Murmansk, where they are currently being held. Mound is now urging people to send an email to the Russian Ambassador protesting the situation, which you can do via the Greenpeace website. At the time of writing, over 1.4 million emails had been sent, although that number is rising every day. If you have any other way you want to help, you can get in touch with Mound at wilfman@ btinternet.com. This all displays the overwhelming support for these activists, and makes it even more confusing why they have not been allowed out even on bail. It would appear that almost everyone except the Russian authorities can see that they are not pirates. Even the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, has said that ‘it’s completely obvious that of course they are not pirates’, but he did go on to say they broke the law by trying to board the rig. Despite the mass protests, and international leaders’ pressure against the Russian authorities’
actions, their stance has not changed, and so the protests will continue. In all likelihood, the activists will be set free eventually, there is too much international outrage for them not to be, but how long will it be until then? And why should they have to suffer for peacefully protesting? This entire episode is yet another example of Russia’s increasingly autocratic rule and worrying denial of human rights. Hopefully the case of the Arctic 30 will force the rest of the world to take action.
Saudi Arabia: a country of extreme contrasts Chris Giles Features writer
flickr: Zunhair Ahmad
In spring 2011 a tsunami of people protest flooded the Arab world. While a wave of democracy channelled the desert, the absolute monarchy that rules Saudi Arabia as an Islamic theocracy silenced any utterance of freedom. Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and Libya witnessed the strangled hold of dictatorship relinquish its grip. In Saudi Arabia, it tightened. Despite being blessed - or perhaps burdened - with the second largest oil reserve in the world, it isn’t just freedom and liberty which is in short supply. The latest figures show the country’s population is being plunged into poverty. The Princes of the royal family enjoy a state funded monthly allowance of thousands of dollars while the people of Saudi Arabia lack basic living necessities and
increasingly have their human rights ignored. It is estimated that a quarter of the population are living below the poverty line. It is also estimated King Abdullah has a personal wealth of $18bn. The country has a stark imbalance in its distribution of wealth. Since 1970, the population has soared from 6million to 28million. You would think the wells of black gold would enrich the nation, but reliance on a single industry never nurtures a healthy economy. As a result, unemployment is on the rise, of which three quarters of the unemployed are in their 20s. When people don’t have jobs, especially young people, it is only a matter of time before serious civil unrest breaks out. Meanwhile, the Princes of Saudi Arabia, renowned for their mansions in Kensington and fast cars, reap the rewards from the West’s insatiable appetite for Saudi oil. The secretive nature of the regime makes it difficult to find out exactly how the royal family fund their lavish lifestyle, but an insightful document (leaked by Wikileaks) from the American Embassy in 1996 explains what goes on. It reveals how members of the House of Saud receive up to $270,000 per month from the state in an annual budget of $2bn devoted to these hand-outs. Although the document is from the 90s, more recent reports reveal the House of Saud’s pallet for decadence has only become more refined. A Saudi Prince even launched a lawsuit against Forbes magazine for underestimating his wealth. It is a modern day aristocracy where the poorest in society do not get the media attention they deserve. In October 2010, the US State Department declared it had agreed the biggest arms deal in their history. Saudi Arabia had purchased an estimated $60.5bn in arms. America, the beacon of liberal democracy and moralism, has openly supported the authoritarian regime in Saudi Arabia for quite some time. G.W.Bush became the first president to visit a foreign country twice in four months when he did so in 2008 to Saudi Arabia. The relationship is more than cosy, and definitely questionable. Against all the odds, the people suffering in Saudi Arabia are finding ways to speak out. The social media sites, Facebook and Twitter, are providing an alternative route to public protest. In September, a hashtag translated from Arabic as ‘the salary does not meet my needs’, burst into the cosmos of the World Wide Web. It reached 17 million tweets. Campaigners also tweeted pictures of poverty. Behind the lavish shopping malls in Riyadh, images of poverty that are not often seen reached millions of people. The Tweeter @Mujtahidd, which translates as studious in Arabic, is an anonymous tweeter who has been dubbed the
King Abdullah’s fortune stands at $18bn whilst a quarter of the population live below the poverty line. Chris Giles investigates.
Julian Assange of Saudi Arabia. He or she tweets about the corruption within the government and injustice. @Mujtiahidd’s has over a million followers and has sparked a trend of dissent against the regime. While other Arab countries have taken to the streets, Saudi Arabia has started its own quiet revolution. The unknown person tweeted the following to the brother of the King, “do you deny that the total land that you own within the country amounts to tens of millions of square meters and most of it is in the major cities?”. Saudi Arabia is a country of contrasts. The Royal family of Saudi Arabia live luxurious lives in foreign countries. The people, which they govern, are facing a rise in poverty as a result of inadequate government expenditure. Saudi Arabia is the only nation in the world which prohibits women from driving and ranks fifth from bottom on the Democracy Index. We assume with wealth comes freedom and prosperity. It appears to some degree, the opposite is now happening.
Is the political divide tearing Greece in half ? Over the last few years, the Greek population has been plunged into a climate of fear. Following a dubious political agenda, cuts in pensions and wages and Europe’s charitable bailouts, the country has been left in a state of chaos. Since 2010, Athens has witnessed continual protests, culminating in the 2012 street riots. The Greek capital is all too familiar with the sight of citizens running in fear, surrounded by tear gas and flames. According to Roman Gerodimos, founder and convenor of the GPSG (Greek Politics Specialist Group), Greece’s dependency on IMF bailouts and its clearcut pro-Eurozone foreign policy has created a divided political landscape. A gap is forming between the ‘pro-Euro camp’, which extends from the ‘reformist left to the liberal right’ (including the three partners of the current coalition government), while the latter camp attracts both radical leftist parties (such as Syriza and the Communist Party) as well as the nationalist and xenophobic right (including Independent Greeks and the infamous Golden Dawn).’ The rise of Golden Dawn, a fascist neo-Nazi rightist party which boasts a repertory of ‘cleansing’ activity as well as misogyny, corruption, insidious propaganda and political subversion is feeding on and taking advantage of the Greek citizens’ fragile state of mind. There is no ambiguity surrounding this group; it has blamed the crisis on jobs being given to ‘immigrants’ and has its regular, obtuse discourse televised nation-wide. The slapping on public television of a female leftwing politician by a Golden Dawn spokesman provides the Greek nation with a backdrop as to what extremism is really about. The relevance of the GD with its seemingly ‘funny’ unabashed racist rhetoric, quickly becomes of significance
in a country where national xenophobia is on the rise. The instances of extremely violent ‘personal justice’ inflicted by groups of GD activists on non-native Greek civilians are widespread and the close relationship the GD has with the Greek police force is unsubtly reminiscent of the Nazi occupation period in Greece from 1941 to 1944. The austerity measures which have resulted in wage cuts and job losses, as well as the neglect of educational and civil reform weigh heavily on the mind of the average Greek citizen. The nature of the current crisis is linked to Greece’s history of political division and oppression. The nation’s liberation from the Axis Power rule following its 4-year Nazi Occupation in 1944 plunged the country into a polarizing Civil War where communists and anti-communists waged a subversive
battle with devastating social and economic consequences. This initiated a 7-year rightwing military junta dictatorship commonly referred to as the ‘Regime of the Colonels’, which collapsed in 1974. Historically,Greecehassufferedmistreatment and abuse under right-wing governments, which has left a stain in the memories of generations of Greeks. Paradoxically, following the restoration of democracy in 1974, the prolific corruption and abuse of the Greek citizen under the veil of egalitarianism has further injured the psyche of Greek society. The line is blurred between contribution and retribution as Greece struggles to forget its long history of oppression and its political legacy of immorality whilst waving the birth certificate of democracy. Greece’s battle with its public and economic
flickr: Brad Watson Media
Isidora Provatos Features writer
sector inefficienciencies, as well as the right/left cleavage occurring between the Liberalist pro-Euro group and the radical right-wing nationalists is costing Greek citizens their lives. This, coupled with its history of extremism, has resulted in a resurfacing mistrust of the government, and to a certain extent the subconscious emergence of intolerant extremist ideology. Terrorism, extortion, physical and verbal abuse as well as prolific hate crimes are a symptom of Greece’s historical backlash. Its relationship with oppressive right-wing governments is deeply rooted in anti-institutionalism, resulting in a refusal of society, as it is, thus the systematic destruction of it. The scars are extensive and profound; the Greek citizen believes that he cannot rely on the state anymore so has to rely on himself. This is creating a mobilized group of like-minded civilians in search of retribution and revenge. This highly politicised, organised group mentality and the destructive nature of extremism is synonymous with the destructive nature of the Greek who is familiar with themes of persecution and tyranny. The fearful Greek citizen is panicking at the current state of affairs and looking for someone to blame or someone to follow, which under the current circumstances of severe poverty, desperation and apprehension is not justifiable but completely understandable. This begs the question - what would you do if the world came crumbling down around you? The need for fundamental change is being expressed through fundamental extremism. However when a group collectively takes on the responsibility of a country’s ‘problems’ by publicly beating its civilians, arming its young men and drowning the voices of justice and freedom with the all too familiar dribble of fanaticism, the ‘civilised’ world should lay in fear of things to come.
‘I’d rather sell my body than my mind’
“landlords The police are urging to prosecute
these ‘immoral acts’ and throw professional prostitutes out onto the streets.
In the past week six women have been evicted from a series of flats, known as ‘walk ups’, in Soho’s Romilly Street. Westminster Council and the police are working together to ‘tackle crime’ in the area in a bid to start a new commercial development with Walker’s Court. The police are urging landlords to challenge these ‘immoral acts’and throw professional prostitutes out onto the streets.
flickr: Beeches Photography
In the 18th century, Samuel Johnson said ‘by seeing London, I have seen as much of life as the world can show’. His words hold great resonance about a city that knows no limits and is one of the central points of the world. Just a few miles away from Mayfair’s exclusive clubs, restaurants and hotels where London’s elite rub elbows, lies the capital city’s underworld: Soho. Known for its string of sex shops, gentlemen’s clubs and prostitutes that work the streets and manage ‘flats’, London’s red light district could face a major change in the coming months. However, sex workers are taking a stand against this. Prostitution is widespread in Soho and there is even cause to argue that it forms part of the area’s character, but the legalities of the trade are somewhat unclear. According to the law, it is deemed illegal to run a brothel in the UK where there are more than two prostitutes working from the same flat. Yet, individual prostitution is legally allowed. This can be extended to include one ‘maid’ or ‘receptionist’ who cleans the property and also acts as a source of extra security for the workers. In response to these evictions, activists and sex workers staged a protest outside the Soho Estates building. Niki Adam, leader of the English Collective of Prostitutes (ECP), said ‘Soho has always been one of the safest places in the country for women to work’. The ECP donned pink mini skirts and feather boas to attract attention with
signs that read, ‘I’d rather sell my body in Soho than sell my mind to a corporation’. As we strip away the resources which make it safer for sex workers, we not only endanger many people but completely disregard that the sex industry is something that some people have consciously chosen to work in. Nevertheless, the issue sparks controversy. Traditionalists would argue that hindering police action in this case would be morally wrong as it condones prostitution. They see these ‘flats’ as being responsible for preying on the shaky morals of those who cross the streets of W1. It may well be an age-old profession, something that has been part of our history for as long as we can remember, but many believe it should not be upheld in any way in this era. However, it would be naïve to turn a blind eye to prostitution and claim that any ban on the act would inhibit punters from seeking
such services. Indeed, closing these flats and making it an even greater taboo could attract more clients. Most importantly, the current system of working in ‘flats’ protects sex workers and allows prostitution to occur in a safe environment, something which is vitally important for those who work in the sex industry. On the 9th October, Paula, a 21-year-old Romanian sex worker, told The Guardian that she recalled several occasions where ‘everything was nice’ but then she would ‘end up with a punch in [her] face for no reason’. She said that if ‘you scream [the maid] is the first one to walk into the bedroom and save you’. On the streets, there are no ‘receptionists’ to come and save sex workers from a violent client. Moreover, several of these women
have only ever known prostitution and the loss of these ‘flats’ would cause them to live in squalor. Tracey, a ‘receptionist’ on Romilly Street, recently told Time Out that, ‘we will all lose our livelihoods’ and defended sex workers saying, ‘we are not criminals. We are mothers and grandmothers supporting families’. The ethics of sex workers will always spark controversial discussions. Yet, it is clear that these women would be much safer in their current positions. Building a 4,600 square metre development would damage livelihoods and place many sex workers in danger. It has to be questioned if these new measures are being put in place to ‘clean up Soho’ or simply represent an attempt to profit from a commercial development.
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Are degrees no longer for the academic? As more people choose to apply to university
intellectual curiosity, or
Lewis Savagery Whilst the world looks in awe at inspirational Sakarov Prize winner Malala Yousafzai’s worldwide tour this week, we in the UK are subjected to the tripe that comes from the Ministry of Education. To add to their recent achievement of replacing the GCSE with an archaic guillotine that strips children of any creative thinking, in a private letter Michael Gove’s adviser Dominic Cummings stated that he felt billions of pounds had been wasted on university courses of ‘questionable value’ and that students ‘should be required to spend more of their time studying’. Essentially, behind his veil of political correctness, Gove implied that what we’re doing is a waste of time and we’re all lazy. Quite frankly, I agree with the general sentiment that education is in a rut. However, not because of ‘Mickey Mouse’ degrees, nor because students prefer to take Epicurean values to heart, or because ‘mediocrity is ubiquitous’. Rather, it’s because people have turned education from an institution of learning to an institution that operates on a meritocratic delusion: work hard and the riches will fall in your lap (oh yeah, but make sure you’re doing a ‘proper degree’).
Education is in a rut
these paths are stereotyped as drop-outs and underachievers, so it’s no wonder that students are so eager to go and get their degree. Recent reforms now allow universities to create additional places on courses for students with grades of ABB, which 110,000 achieved in 2013. So while they mosey into their dream universities, this opens up their vacancies at other universities to other students, and so on and so forth. This is, in fact, laced with a degree of cynicism. Students are investments for universities; not only do we give them those dazzling statistics, but our tuition fees go straight into their pockets. I’m not accusing them of being money hungry pigs, but one can’t be naïve enough to deny that they’ll be eager to admit more students because of the revenue. This also means that more and more students will be graduating in future years, and even though High Flyers report a 0.8% increase in graduate vacancies, this slight growth cannot be enough to sustain the rising numbers of students being admitted to higher education. It’s not wrong that people go to university to improve their employability prospects, but it is wrong when it is pushed as the only reason. The implementation of a meritocracy means that we must treat all students equally, and while this seems a fair system, it heavily suppresses the diversity of human nature. Not all students can sit in an exam hall and write for two hours about whether or not the Nazi regime was an oligarchical nanny state or an autocratic dictatorship, and not all can absorb vectors like Gove absorbs infernal criticism. The curriculum tests students across such a narrow spectrum of achievement that it leaves many in the smoke, disillusioned and disinterested. And if they don’t care, how could they possibly want to learn for the sake of learning? This is why degrees have become devalued. It no longer says that this person loves physics or philosophy. Rather, they’re promised queue jumps to the high life, but unfortunately the club is full, and all you’re left with is £50,000 worth of debt at the expense of three years of your life. But hey, at least some us will say that we had fun. Will you be able to say that?
No Gjeta Gjyshinca Despite the fact that more and more students insist on embarking upon courses like David Beckham Studies, run by Staffordshire University, or Golf Management, run by the University of Birmingham, a degree still holds value. There is no way to experience the challenge and fulfilment of studying a subject in such depth that you are able to answer specialised questions on it under exam conditions, or to understand concepts which seem mind-bogglingly incomprehensible to the majority of the population, other than to commit three, or more, years of your life, as well as a large sum of your money, to university.
It is not true in the least
that having a degree is like having A-Levels
You can’t blame people for feeling that way. When tuition fees went up to £9,000 per annum in 2011, students were likely to be gripped with paranoia at the prospect of leaving university with £50,000 of debt looming over their head like the Sword of Damocles, and no guaranteed job. This, combined with preconceived prejudices towards arts degrees and non-Russell Group universities made many students cave to their parents’ cries of ‘well what are you going to do with that then?’ This capitalist culture present in education at the moment is rotting its core values, and as a result, graduates are suffering. Particular symptoms of this culture include the doctrine that you should go to university. Such a big fuss is made about universities that the alternative options like apprenticeships or simply working straight out of compulsory education are often overshadowed. Teens who take
year, are degrees still chosen out of
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Employers, for the most part, are not stupid. A First Class degree in Mathematics from Cambridge is not the same as a First in Accounting and Movement Studies from the University of Derby, no matter how many students choose to do their bookkeeping while executing a perfect pirouette. What you gain from a degree is, of course, dependent on the course itself – many students gain a variety of skills on top of the advanced technical knowledge of their subject, such as the ability to think critically and to analyse and present evidence logically. It is these skills that are crucial in a job market where the ability to pick up new concepts quickly and apply them correctly is key. A degree does not lose its value just because there exist so-called ‘Mickey Mouse’ degrees. The real scandal is that both courses cost the student the same, and therefore, in a monetary sense, all degrees are worth the same. However, even some of the courses that we serious students doing serious degrees look down on, might have benefits for some. Disney has revenues of 33 billion dollars a year, so a ‘Mickey Mouse’ degree may actually have some value. Similarly, Media Studies graduates actually have very high rates of employment and remuneration. Increasing numbers of
students are applying to university: 637,500 applications up from 611,000, were made to universities for courses starting this year. While basic economic theory tells us that an increase in supply will depress value, it is naïve to assume that the same holds for a degree. Granted, more students are going to university and completing degrees. But this does not mean that completing a degree has suddenly become easier, or that students are learning less, it simply means that there is more appeal, or more accessibility to university for a greater number of students. This might be because so many universities are offering such a huge variety of degrees that there is something for everyone, and there is a growing focus on a small number of ‘jobs-based’ degrees – huge numbers of students are able to find and apply for a degree they think is worth the time, effort and money. It might also be because of so many schemes aimed at encouraging students to progress to higher education, or enabling those who could not afford to go to university to do just that. This is ultimately a good thing as in a time when groups like the Taliban still exist, who would shoot a 15-year-old girl in the head for going to school, the value of education cannot be underestimated. In the words of Malala Yousafzai herself, ‘one child, one teacher, one book, and one pen can change the world’. It is not true in the least that having a degree is just like having A-Levels – though it may be possible for a naturally intelligent person to get three A grades at A-Level without too much effort, it certainly isn’t possible to get through university with intelligence alone. This is only 10% of a degree. The other 90% is hard work: the hours in the library, the nights spent hunched over the glow of a laptop screen, fuelled by caffeine, and the initiative to get the most out of tutorials, lectures, seminars, labs, and all other resources available to us to ensure we come out of university not only experts in our field, but also experts in the art (or science?) of studying. The true value of a degree, therefore, lies in its reflection of our ability to commit to hard work and study. Nothing else, certainly not just A-Levels alone, can show this dedication to academic achievement.
Tommy Robinson might be gone but the EDL limps on
The EDL was a flash of racist hot-headedness that is ultimately going to end in disappointment for its supporters
It seems like the English Defence League is finally dying. The resignations of Tommy Robinson and Kevin Carroll can be seen as a surrender from some of the leaders of the far right, or at least as acceptance that their methods of mob violence and catchy slogans such as ‘no more mosques’ simply don’t work. But this decline of the fascist groups of the right is not a new phenomenon. The National Front fell in the 70s and the BNP has been in decline for years now, so it could be argued that, like its forebearers, the EDL was a flash of racist hotheadedness that is ultimately going to end in disappointment for its supporters. So is Tommy Robinson’s resignation the final nail in the coffin of the extremist far right of British politics?
people will turn to them, just as many people turned away from the National Front in the 1970s once Thatcher pushed the Tories back to the right. Secondly, the leaders of these groups are never the most politically viable of people. The zenith of the BNP’s public life came with Nick Griffin’s appearance on Question Time in 2009, where he came across as a misguided, misinformed fool. He was mocked by other panellists and audience members and did not do anything to promote his cause. It’s not to say that the membership of these groups comprise of people who listen clearly to both sides of the argument, then make an
informed unbiased judgement. I imagine the vast majority of people in the EDL have already made their minds up and join a likeminded group who push for change through violence and intimidation rather than through the polling booths. These groups might be dying, but they are certainly trying to take some people down with them on their way out. Following the departure of Tommy Robinson, an article on his former movement’s website stated ‘the EDL will go on. We will not surrender’. I imagine this will be the case. They will not silently stop their actions and move onto more democratically motivated courses of action.
They may have lost a leader but they have not lost their ‘hearts and souls’ - it is more likely that they will continue to protest and attempt to intimidate minorities. Across the world the far right political movements are having varying amounts of success, in France the ‘Front National’ are growing in protest against François Hollande, in Greece ‘Golden Dawn’ are being cracked down upon by the police and here in the UK the EDL and BNP are slipping further into obscurity. When Mr Robinson recognises that a change in tactics is necessary it’s clear to see why the EDL are losing their potency. So yes, the final nail might be in the coffin
of the far right. But that won’t stop them banging on the lid.
“ Following the departure of Tommy Robinson an article on his former movements website stated ‘The EDL will go on. We will not surrender’
Or like Monty Python’s Black Knight will they continue to fight despite a complete loss of hope? This year’s local elections saw the BNP put up 99 candidates. They failed to win a single seat; they also lost the only county council seat they had previously held. But despite this humiliating defeat Nick Griffin still tried to rally his troops, calling for white British couples to try and have more children in order to ‘do our bit for Britain and our race’. So maybe extremist groups like the British National Party and the EDL just don’t know when to give up? Ever since the failure to gain a single parliamentary seat in the 2010 election, the BNP has seen its time in the public spotlight diminishing. The hype surrounding Griffin’s appearance on Question Time a few years ago seems like a distant memory (if you don’t remember, there was a large protest against the idea of Griffin being given time on a prominent political programme) and his party seems to spend its time as a political sideshow rather than the credible threat they were once feared to be. Sure, there are and always will be the vocal minority calling out for people to ‘engage in making babies’ in order to preserve the white race and of course the very ideals they stand for are dangerous and can spark violence. But let’s be honest with ourselves: politically speaking, these groups are slowly but surely dying. We can put the fall of groups like the EDL and the BNP down to a number of things. Firstly, the rise of UKIP has meant that there is a mainstream alternative to the far right movements that continue to crop up. Now UKIP has turned itself into a perfectly plausible political force, many
The fancy dress phantom that haunts every Halloween
As the 31st of October approaches, so does the grim spectre of the traditional getup for the supposedly spooky night when the ghouls come out to play. Casting my gaze back into my own history, I see a young, eight-year-old me venturing out with my next door neighbour knocking on the doors of a rather well-todo area, accompanied by the presence of her father in the least convincing ghost outfit I have seen to this day, a large sheet with holes and arms. Come to think of it, looking back on it now his attire reminds me rather disturbingly of the KKK (it doesn’t help that
Fast forward to 2013 and my will to dress up in various costumes has all but been diminished. After all, I’m a student with limited funding after a variety of purchases of highly dubious value. Do I really want to traipse around shops looking for something I can cobble together? I could go the whole hog and wear an outrageously expensive and equally ludicrous costume (multiple likes on Facebook photo of the rollerblading Grim-BananaReaper, here I come). In many
he was American). I, of course, had put in much more effort, and to everyone that told me that my vampire fangs – only 49p back then, fake blood and bin-liner cape weren’t scary
enough, I simply pointed them in the direction of the boy wearing the rather ill-fitting Banana Man costume. Rumours of bananaphobia were rife for the coming days, I assure you.
ways, I resent not being female on Halloween, but then again, maybe I should just challenge gender-perception and borrow the ideas of Mean Girls’ The Plastics; maybe I too could look great in a short dress, kitten heels and a pair of animal ears to match. I’m sure that would scare quite a few people too, actually. It being Halloween, there’s an added bonus: no-one can call me a slut for an entire evening. Yet, whilst the removal of such a constant critique of how I dress myself is vastly appealing, I don’t think I’m quite ready to embarrass myself by showing off my inability to walk in heels. By the way, if anyone knows of anywhere local that sells heels in mens size 11 that can still make my legs look great and magically make my cankles disappear, do let me know. So what are the options left open to me? The past two years I’ve seen some brilliant, and not so brilliant ideas. One of my friends painted his entire
torso green and was a fairly convincing hulk, though I’m not sure that Bristol is ready for my chiselled physique, although I can roar and smash things at least half-convincingly. Note to self, buy gym membership. Alternatively, I could skimp on the money front and be teen wolf on campus; given that my face comes pre-covered with three months worth of beard, all I’ll really need is a crazed look in my eyes, some fangs and a borrowed varsity jacket. In all honesty, I think so long as I steer clear of the fascist dictator, swastika on arm-patch I might just about cope. Maybe I could just go to Lounge three nights in a row without sleeping and see what terrifying effects that has on both me and the general public. To shower, or not to shower? That is the question. Or maybe, just maybe, I could stay in. I’m still undecided. A word to the wise: if you do see a fruity Grim Reaper rollerblading, watch out. He’s not very good.
13 13 15
Is money the root of all our regrets?
Sex sells music, but brands pay for it
Miley Cyrus naked on a wrecking ball, Britney Spears in a corset, a shuddering bottom in Jason Derulo’s face. The music industry thrives on sex, and the selling potential of sex. The lyrics, the sentiments and most importantly the videos of modern, mainstream music ooze with innuendo. But the current debate over whether this innuendo has now begun to border on pornography
“ The consumer’s ability to be shocked has been deadened by the relentless sexual oneupmanship of the music industry
suggests that perhaps the market is more conservative than music executives have banked on. Annie Lennox has recently come out to suggest that music videos should be rated in the same way that films are. Her point is valid. In a society where
“ The only reason music videos even exist any more is because these brands fund them
our internet is potentially to be censored of pornography, how is Rihanna simulating sex in her latest video ‘Pour it Up’ appropriate in gyms, bars and restaurants? It seems that within mainstream pop music there has a been a noticeable shift in the content of music videos, from a glamorous projection of a life beyond the means of many, as in Duran Duran’s Rio, to overt sexual imagery. Watching Madonna’s Erotica video from 1992 now, which was utterly scandalous at the time it came out, indicates that the consumer’s ability to be shocked has been deadened by the relentless sexual oneupmanship of the music industry. If anything the success of Madonna has pushed young artists, arguably both male and female, to be more provocative and sensationalist, spiralling downwards into bad taste. The content of many of these videos is unsuitable for the public, unregulated mediums on which they are broadcast on and there is a sense that the eroticism is often just gratuitous. Miley Cyrus swinging naked on a wrecking ball in an incredible act of sexual confidence, is completely at odds with the vulnerability of the sentiment that the song projects. If she really had just broken up with her partner then she would be at home, in her jim jams eating her body weight in chocolate and pie. The sexual overtones are clearly to generate publicity as they add nothing of inherent value to the song as a whole. However, in conjunction with the attention that overt sexuality gains there is another
crucial reason why Rihanna, Miley Cyrus and Lady Gaga, even if it is thinly disguised as performance art, are hypersexualising their videos. When gawping at their videos, it’s not the graphic close ups of Rihanna’s vagina or a dancer’s bum that you should take notice of, it’s the embarrassingly obvious product placement for phones, watches and alcohol that should upset you. The only reason music videos even exist anymore is because these brands fund them and in order to get their investment back that artist needs to generate as many hits on YouTube as possible. The shock at Robin Thicke’s infamous Blurred Lines video, which no doubt lead people to watch it many times, would have hugely increased the advertising potential for Remy Martin, the cognac brand that Thicke at several points in the video pours from a bottle of. These brands are deliberately riding on the wave of your curiosity and repulsion in a cynical exploitation of the boundaries of taste. This isn’t a debate about art or pornography or the blurring of the two. This is cold, hard capitalism that unfortunately
we are helping to promote with our clicks firmly on the repeat button. In Sinead O’Connor’s open letter to Miley Cyrus, the line that was, for me, the most potent was her assertion that somewhere, a white, middleaged man is buying diamonds for his mistress off his yacht in Antigua on the back of Cyrus exposing herself. Cyrus’ new found nudity is absolutely not about a young woman growing up and expressing herself, it absolutely is about making as much money as possible. This means that the videos need to stay the right side of middle-of-the-road. They can raise eyebrows but not enough that the imagery won’t alienate too much of the market. So although the constant gyrating is salacious, the subtexts of these videos are depressingly mainstream. There is nothing controversial about depicting men as powerful and women as impossibly sexual. There is nothing controversial about songs that glamorise drinking, drugs and impossibly casual sex. Actual lyrical and visual controversy shouldn’t shock your audience, it should challenge them. But challenging your market is a risk the likes of the brands that finance music videos won’t take lest it backfires and sales drop. Consequently, popular music videos are stuck in this stagnating circle of repetitive ideology and stale visuals. So if you want to stop the hypersexualisation of music videos, the simple way to do this is to stop watching them. If the market is no longer listening then the unyielding pelvic thrusting will cease.
‘Regrets, I’ve had a few,’ goes the Sinatra song, ‘but then again, too few to mention’. A palliative care nurse recorded the regrets of her patients for twelve years, and it seems that they feature prominently when we get to a stage of life where we can do little about it. Nurse Bonnie Ware believed that individuals gained a great sense of perspective at the end of their lives, and that we may learn from their selfidentified mistakes, the most common being that the individual focused too much on work over family. We can learn much from this wisdom, and it begins with finding our own perspective on life. An overarching goal that the majority of us share, and if you’re reading this as a student, I’m sure it includes you, is the aspiration to be rich. The arguable problem with university is that, rather than seeking knowledge for its own sake, we are here to pursue a career which pays us a great deal of money, essentially a socially constructed goal. Wealth can be defined as possessing a great deal of anything, but our shared aspiration for monetary wealth goes beyond any other wealth we could possess, be it knowledge or inherent goodness. Chris Brown, who I’m sure has a few more obvious regrets, but let’s leave that debate there, recently said in a Guardian interview that he did not want to be rich, but rather, wanted to be wealthy. ‘I’m rich, but not in the $200m mark,’ he said. This highlights the fundamental problem. Whatever and wherever we get, it will never be enough. The goals societies aspire
to vary greatly when we look through history. Alain de Botton outlines that different goals included being a soldier, living religiously or being a member of the aristocracy. Nowadays, making money is considered the high point. Unlike the others, however, this goal doesn’t actually end, it simply stretches further into the distance, akin to a race where once we reach the finish line, it jumps back a mile. Collectively, we only chase the goals we are told we want to achieve. The reason for an ‘end’ at all, one might believe, is that without it, there would be no reason to rush ourselves towards our dreams. As we fulfil them, new ones develop, and eventually our lives end before they can all be achieved. Qualifications are of importance to get to a position in life where dreams, such as travel for example, become reality. Of course, if we don’t have much money, we can’t travel anywhere. There is always a perfect balance, and being happy with whatever monetary wealth you have is a perfect start. To end a life with regret is almost inevitable, but do take note of what those who came before us say. When we spend more time chasing money rather than with friends or relatives, a feeling of dissatisfaction is increasingly inevitable. Simply put, be clear in your goals, and keep in mind regrets of others. Society may claim that to be happy, you need more possessions, but define what ‘wealth’ to you as an individual actually means. There is no secret, self-help style answer to having a life of no regret, but it can certainly be accepted that it is possible to live a life with it being significantly reduced. After all, if our final sentence is ‘I regret not seeing the Northern Lights’ rather than ‘I wish I spent more time with my children’, the ‘end’ will be more akin to the ending of a book, instead of halting abruptly at a chapter in the middle.
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Wildely epigrammatic This month saw the birthday of Oscar Wilde. Born 16th October, 1854, Wilde’s literary writings harbour a degree of enchantment that makes him one of the most quoted writers to date. His use of wit and, importantly, the epigram, allowed him to see beyond the veneer of human nature, skilfully and satirically uncovering the nuances. An epigram is, in its simplest form: a brief, clever and memorable statement. Those with literary or philosophical sensibilities will have encountered Wilde’s novel The Picture of Dorian Gray’s potent epigram, located in the preface, stating that ‘all art is quite useless’. This phrase led to Wilde’s philosophy of hedonism, and demonstrates how the epigram is a critical literary and rhetorical device. Other writers too have used the epigram effectively; let us consider Shakespeare and how phrases such as ‘All’s well that ends well’ have entered popular culture. But what place does the epigram have in journalism, and would its use create a hybrid of literature and journalism? Both forms make use of rhetorical language but journalism is founded upon objectivity, whereas fiction explores the realm of fantasy. Gonzo is a form of journalism which has practiced a type of hybrid between journalism and fiction. Hunter S. Thompson, another literary figure who strayed from convention, developed this type of journalism; it is characterised by a loss of objectivity, and the highly experimental notion of the journalist being a character in their own story. This differs from the traditional, more passive approach to journalism, in which one simply waits for events in the world to unfold and then records them by means of facts and figures, and often from a biased standpoint. It is said that the aim of all journalism is truth, as no matter what degree of sensationalism is deployed – even in tabloid newspapers – truth can be extracted from amidst the gossip. It is through this aspect that journalism
is similar to the literary epigram: the epigram inherently contains a truth. Journalism, subjectivity and the epigram are all spawned by a common aspiration, so can they be effectively used in conjunction with one another, in a newspaper article, without losing journalistic integrity? The title of Bristol University’s student newspaper is charged with metaphoricity, which is another literary device. The epigram is not literally used in this publication, but the title of Epigram is a metaphor for the truth that the paper explores. 16th October will likely see a recirculation of Wilde’s epigrams among his admirers and beyond. Ironically, it is with mortality that a great author usually achieves immortality, through the eternal potential of their words. Wilde epigrammatically described death’s beauty, stating ‘to have no yesterday, and no tomorrow. To forget time, to forgive life, to be at peace’. We, who remain living, must continue to engage with life. Any disquiet that this induces can be sublimated by writing, creating and attempting to be original. Ultimately, the existence of a newspaper with a literary title, but the absence of any consistent literary rhetoric, highlights the incompatibility between common literary technique and traditional journalism based on factualism. Despite this conclusion, can aspiring journalists attempt to draw from this hybrid potential to explore the potential of journalism? Surely the inclusion of the epigram in Bristol’s publication would be deemed acceptable as long as it is used frequently. A student publication should possess the inalienable right for experimentation as a means of progress, in accordance with Candide’s epigram that ‘we must cultivate our garden.’ There are no bounds for experimentation, as long as the ways of convention remain unassailed. Ryan Maguire English MA postgraduate
compass in the first place to either spit on someone or cheat on your pregnant wife. Certainly not the kind of moral compass that is a source of national pride. The players are fallible human beings, but that does not render them sources of national pride. The second reason for a lack of pride is the fact that no one will really accept that the England national football team is actually a bit rubbish these days. To qualify for the World Cup, England, ranked 17th in the world, beat Poland, a team ranked 65th in the world. To offer a little perspective, at the time of writing Fulham are ranked 17th in English football, whilst Tranmere are ranked 65th. In spite of the clear gulf between the two teams the English media branded the result a great night in English football. Fulham beat Tranmere. Stop the press. Perhaps even more infuriating is the subsequent turn to discussions about the likelihood of England winning the tournament. Quite simply, there is no likelihood. Chile, Switzerland and the USA are currently amongst the footballing giants nestled above England in the world rankings, hardly the position of a team likely to challenge for football’s biggest trophy. But according to the media, if we pretend not to talk about winning the World Cup, we might just win it. I would be more than happy if someone
could explain this logic to me. It is fair to say that such tactics did not work for Honduras or North Korea last time round. Most World Cups tend to be won with footballing ability rather than social silence. The media is, nonetheless entitled to its opinion – no matter how desperate an attempt to grab headlines that may be. The problem occurs when the players adopt this overinflated view of their own abilities. Such constant pressure leads, at least in part, to the misdemeanours outlined above. It also leads to Joe Hart looking like a complete fool as he focuses on pulling funny faces at the players taking penalties, rather than actually saving them. So there. It has been said. We’re not going to win the World Cup. We’re not even going to come close. But we can still have fun watching it. Ultimately, what would make the nation proud is a whole-hearted performance in every game. A performance that shows that each and every player can justify pulling on that shirt. What would also help is a prolonged period of the players acting like real human beings and not blaming misdemeanours on being ‘young’. I’m young Wayne but you wont find me paying a prostitute for sex. Maybe the nation should be proud of me?
Flickr: Mark Heard
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With a narrow victory over those stalwarts of international football, Poland, the England national side booked its place at next summer’s World Cup in Brazil. In a few months’ time, advertising and PR agencies will abound with posters of how ‘Stevie G’ and the boys will ‘do the nation proud’. This raises an interesting question. Can you name an England team that made the nation proud in the last decade? I can’t. The media seems to forget that pride comes from what the people who wear the shirt do, both on and off the pitch, and not once since David Beckham’s free kick against Greece have I found myself with a true feeling of pride for our national side. The reasons for this are twofold. Firstly, too many England players no longer undertake the actions of true role models in society. Of the England players who played against Poland two weeks ago, Wayne Rooney paid for sex with a prostitute whilst his wife was five months pregnant, Steven Gerrard faced a court case for an affray in a night club (although was cleared) and Jack Wilshere has a police caution for spitting at a member of the public. Of those not playing, Ashley Cole also deserves a mention for his well-documented infidelity. Furthermore, skewed morals have permeated the England team for the last decade. Surely we must be the only nation whose left-back retired from international football because the captain slept with his wife? It would be unfair to label the entire England squad in this manner – many of the players undertake charity work in their spare time and some of those named above may be reformed characters. But does any of this really matter? The simple fact is that you have to have a fairly skewed moral
Brought to you by Emma Leedham
Fortnightly news quiz
Can you unscramble the names of these baked treats?
How much do you know about the events of this fortnight?
1) Which Premier League football club replaced their head of recruitment with a 23 year old Kazakh, whose only previous experience at the club was painting the walls of the stadium? 2) Whose album ‘Bangerz’ topped the UK album chart? 3) Hans Riegel passed away aged 90. Which well loved confectionary company did he own? 4) What was the name of the Gromit Unleashed statue bought by the University of Bristol?
Last week’s answers: Foxtrot, Rumba, American Smooth, Salsa, Quickstep, Waltz, Samba
5) Which two players scored the winning goals for England in their World Cup qualifying match against Poland?
A R P
6) Which American megastar was banned from a chain of U.S cinemas after she was caught repeatedly texting during a film? 7) The stuntman of which Hollywood actor was stabbed on the set of the upcoming film Fury? 8) US scientists have revealed that diamonds could be raining down on which two planets in our Solar System? 9) The ‘plebgate row’ resurfaced in the news recently. Which former Conservative MP sparked the row after calling policemen ‘plebs’ in September of last year? 10) Which American rapper stunned fans by travelling to his own concert at London’s O2 arena on the Tube?
Last week’s answers Qs 1-10: Eastenders, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Ed Milliband, 10 weeks, Labour, Ben Ainslie, Tom Clancy,
Sinead O’Connor, Godfrey Bloom, France
Picture quiz: Footballer faces
Last week’s answers Left-Right: Harry Styles, Matt Cardle, Leona Lewis
Can you work out who these England footballers (past and present) are?
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WHAT'S ON OCTOBER MONDAY 28 RAG Gorilla Trek Talk, Richmond Building, 6pm - 7pm UBU Volunteering Speed Dating, The Anson Rooms, 7:30pm - 10pm
STUDENT COUNCIL The first Student Council this year will be held on 29 October 2013 from 6.30 - 8pm in the Anson Rooms. Student Council is one of the main representative forums of UBU. It gives
TUESDAY 29 Student Council, The Anson Rooms, 6:30pm - 8pm
NOVEMBER SATURDAY 2 UBU Active Dodgeball, Kingsdown Sports Centre UBU Active Touch Rugby, The Downs UBU Active Volleyball, Indoor Sports Centre Suspension Student Club Night, The Anson Rooms, 9pm til Late
students an opportunity to discuss issues directly affecting their experience at Bristol and directs the elected officers to focus on particular issues and campaigns. All students are welcome to attend as the proposals being discussed will shape your time at university. Student leaders and representatives are entitled to attend and vote. Come along, take part in the discussions and keep up with the decisions being made on your behalf. Any student can submit a motion or make a proposal to form the agenda. The agenda for this meeting includes: •
Introduction to elected student representatives and how the meeting works
Discussion and voting on motions including ending rape culture at Bristol, supporting our lecturers' strike and new University admissions
UBU Active Badminton Indoor Sports Centre Stand Up Bristol Comedy Night, Anson Rooms, 8pm - 11pm
Voting on changes to the UBU Byelaws (one of our governing documents).
THURSDAY 7 Frightened Rabbit, Anson Rooms, 7pm - 11pm
Election of the Democratic and Engagement Committee
If you have any questions or suggestions about Student Council, or if you have any access needs for the meeting, please email
SATURDAY 9 UBU Active Dodgeball, Kingsdown Sports Centre UBU Active Touch Rugby, The Downs UBU Active Volleyball, Indoor Sports Centre Suspension Student Club Night, The Anson Rooms, 9pm til Late
email@example.com.You can also find out more information on shaping your time at university at ubu.org.uk/about/democracy
Contact UBU University of Bristol Students’ Union
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Richmond Building 105 Queens Road Bristol BS8 1LN www.ubu.org.uk
Karnivool, Anson Rooms, 7pm - 11pm /BristolSU
FOR FULL LISTINGS VISIT WWW.UBU.ORG.UK/EVENTS
News and opinion from the University of Bristol Students' Union www.ubu.org.uk
A WHEELIE GOOD TIME
Like Your Bike Week 2013
Your chance to be heard
UBU events this fortnight
COURSE REP ELECTION RESULTS
hank you to those who voted in the Course
They undergo training and development to equip
Rep elections – you have taken valuable
them with the necessary information and skills to
steps to shape your education at the
carry out their responsibilities effectively.
University of Bristol.
themselves, democratically. "With the new system, we’ll have an even better idea of what’s happening, what students really
Course Reps provide a vital link between the
want and where we can be most effective. I am so
Over 2,500 of you participated by choosing who
Students' Union and the student body. By providing
excited about the coming year.”
you wanted to represent you on your course.
a direct link to the opinions and feedback of
We’ve counted all the votes and can now announce
students, Course Reps make a huge difference to
See overleaf to find your Course Rep or visit the
the winning candidates.
quality of education at Bristol.
These students will represent you this academic
Tom Flynn,Vice President of Education at UBU said:
Some courses are not currently listed due to
year by ensuring you are happy with the teaching
"It’s incredibly important that students are able
local level elections. These will be announced in
and the support on your course. Where there are
to make their views known, and that they are
the coming weeks. For more information, please
issues or areas for improvement, it is their role to
listened to. For the first time, we’ve ensured that
make sure that these concerns are voiced.
students are entitled to pick their representatives
Your Course Reps 2013/14
Faculty of Arts Archaeology & Anthropology Year 1 - Alexander Cocker & Max Lyons Year 2 - Khadija Ali & Jack Fuller Year 3 - Katie Greig & Catherine Old PT(DIP 1) - Julie Bassett & Wendy Russ PT (DIP 2) - Hannah Raines PT (DIP 3) - Mark Calrissian
Classics Year 2 - Nikesh Sandal
Drama Year 1 - Lucy Mann & Lucy Pope Year 2 - Nicki Perrett & Jake Mckeown Year 3 & 4 - Antonia Tootill
English Year 1 - Gerard Hornby Year 2 - Harriet Perks Year 3 - Amber Segal Year 6 - Susie Panesar
Arts & Humanities Foundation Vadim Evseev
Year 1 - Alice Bibbings, Louise Roche & Rebecca Wilson Year 2 - Adele Jay, Hannah Pearch & Kate Reiners Year 4 - Jules O'Dwyer & Mike Davis
German Year 1 - Alice Bibbings, Hannah Korn & Louise Roche Year 2 - Adele Jay, Hannah Pearch & Harley Hodges
PGT Translation Polly Worthington
HIPLA Year 2 - Tom Bassett Year 4 - Maddy Ilsley & Sabrina Hummel
History, Classics & Ancient Joint Honours - Eloise Cresswell
History Of Art Year 2 - Olivia Webb Year 3 - Alice Hoad MA - Jocelyne Johnson
History Year 1 - Ben Whitman Year 2 - Max Austin Year 3 - Laura Tilley PGT - Amy Collis
Ancient History Year 1 - Michael Hallifax Year 2 - Jamie Bottamley
Modern Languages - Italian Year 1 - Amelia McWhirter, Capucine de Henin, Laura Minogue & Lottie Baring Year 2 - Alex Hyman, Gabriella West & Toni Ehrnreich Year 4 - Chris Lynch, Cat Tyack, Ed Seymour & Emilia Morano-Williams
Year 2 - Laura Nouriel
Year 1 - Molly Gregory Year 2 - Abuzar Arjomandnia & Sazz Barrett
Year 1 - Calum Smith, Isobel Mitchell & Molly Rose Fish Year 2 - George Kirby Year 3 & 4 - Tabitha Taylor
Year 1 - Alex Ogilvie Year 2 - Ali Richomme Year 3 - Simon Webber Year 4 - David Mills
Russian Year 2 - Katie Mellor
Theology & Religious Studies Year 1 - Molly Andrews Year 3 - Antonia Warr
Faculty of Engineering Aerospace Engineering Year 1 - Leanne McCumiskey & Yinglun Huang Year 2 - Justin Tsang Year 3 - Chris Szczyglowski Year 4 - Emily Owen & Emmanuel Abaya
Faculty of Medice & Dentisty Dentistry Year 1 - Alexander Gormley, Dona Jayawardena & Vishal Davda Year 2 - Mary Thompson, Salisha Amin & Sally Masters Year 3 - Sahar Hassan & Shailly Mehta Year 4 - Ashwynn Dhar & Danielle Bailey Year 5 - Alexandra Jeffreys, John Murphy & Melissa Lutterodt
Faculty of Medical & Veterinary Science
Year 1 - Rohan Joshi & Vesela Dobreva Year 2 - Anna Tiri & Fred Fougner Year 3 - Sophie Farrow & Brittany Harris Year 4 - Harriet Cheaney & James Lord
MSc Water & Environment
PGT Global Wildlife
Computer Science Year 1 - Grzegorz Pawelczak Year 2 - Ben Elgar Year 3 - James Pedlingham PGT - Andreas Yiannakou
Computer Science & Electronics Year 2 - Selina Johnson
Computer Science & Maths Year 2 - Adam Lyth
PGT Advanced Computing Abhishek Mitra
PGT Microelectronic Systems Kamran Ghazi Azami
Electrical & Electronic Engineering Year 1 - James Hart Year 2 - Jou Lin Ng Year 3 - Shreya Tandon Year 4 - Sam Walder
PGT Optical Communications Alexander Pang
Year 2 - Abuzar Arjomandnia Year 3 - Samuel Carroll Francesca Santoni
Biochemistry Year 1 - Amadeus Xu, Beth Savagar & Lavanya Mane Year 2 - Thomas Sharrock Year 3 - Joanne Haney, Katherine Nahajski & Sophie Myott
Year 1 - Josh Arbon Year 2 - Gertie Goddard
Chemistry Year 1 - David Mccormick Year 2 - Laura Powell & Lauren McCarthy Year 3 - Aidan Ingham & Ryan McMullen Year 4 - Peter Crowther
Geology, Biology, Palaeontology and Evolution Joint Honours Benjamin Clarke
Environmental Science Year 1 - Gabriella Nizam Year 3 - Molly Hawes
Geology Year 1 - Jacob Powell Year 2 - Mathilde Braddock Year 3 - Maral Bayaraa
PGT Palaeobiology Nidia Alvarez Armada
PGT Volcanology Kerry Reid
PGR Experimental Psychology Michael Dalili & Olivia Matthews Year 1 - Emily Haggard & Rohan Cadney-Moon Year 2 - Joanna Davies, Rachel Cunningham & Lauren Roberts Year 3 - Christopher Dias, Jessica SwinburneCloke & Ruth Khaw Year 4 - Alan Kennedy, Bethany Fox & Sam Buxton
CMM Medical Intercalator Saniya Srivastava
CMM Veterinary Intercalator Richard Sparrow
Neuroscience Year 1 - Kasumi Kishi Year 2 - Genevieve Simpson
Physiology Year 3 - Liz Kelly Year 1 - Leah Coopey Year 3 - Alice Morrell
Year 1 - Daniel Posada & Sam Belknap Year 2 - Jack Sharpe & Omar Zorob Year 3 - Chenying Li & Jessica Fuellenkemper Year 4 - Matthew Lunn & Pietro Carnelli
Year 2 - Rebecca Goncalves, Thien Ho & Sarah Penn Year 3 - Camilla Miles & Noriane Simon
Year 1 - Charlotte Martin & Kara Ponsford Year 2 - Georgia Emes, Joss Hancock & Saskia Neville Year 3 - Aayah Nouna, Lolo Thomas-Jones & Stephanie Soyombo
Animal Behaviour & Welfare
Year 1 - Dmitro Khroma Year 2 - Mark Libby Year 3 - Peter Collen Year 4 - Max Kramer Year 5 - Dom Winter & James Minty
Cellular & Molecular Medicine
PGT Wireless Communications Engineering Design
Faculty of Science
Veterinary Nursing & Bioveterinary Sciences Year 3 - Nimisha Patel
Veterinary Science Year 1 - Els De Vrijer & Shelby Pontin Year 2 - Lizzie Munro-Lott & Rupert Sheppard Year 3 - Craig Fairbairn & Tony Lewis Year 4 - Gemma Stead & Jenny Routh Year 5 - Emily Rainbow
Mathematics Year 1 - Nico Burns Year 2 - Luke Williams, Mincan Huang & Thomas Walker Year 3 - Parit Mehta & Patricia Tejada Year 4 - Grant Wray & Oliver O'Neill
Economics & Mathematics Year 1 - Santiago Bello
Mathematics & Computer Science Year 1 - Erasmo Tani & Karan Soni Year 2 - Adam Lyth
Mathematics & Philosophy Year 1 - Isabella Aston Year 2 - Daniel Wernberg Year 3 - Scott Piczenik
Mathematics & Physics Year 3 - Katie Farrell
Physics Year 1 - Kamran Lamb & Lisa Bennett Year 2 - Olly Cotton Year 4 - James Watkins
GSE Educational Research
Year 1 - Judith Kaiser & Olivia Winton Year 2 - Connie Holmes, Julie Lee & Robyn Dean Year 3 - Camille Koenig, Ciara Maloney, Lucy Benson & Shirley Chiu
Faculty of Social Sciences & Law Audiology Year 4 - Hannah Burke & Rob Brunton
Economics, Finance & Management Year 1 - Bryony Baker, Rhys Dawes & Diego Lara Year 2 - Matt Sarre, Max Albou & Mozan Chung Year 3 - Gill Geng & Xiaoxue Zhu
PGT Accounting, Finance & Management Klara Naibova
GSE Neuroscience & Education Lara Kalaidjian
GSE Teaching English Hiroshi Shirane & Mengxiao Hang
GSE Psychology of Education BPS Julia Peter, Libby Ford, Magali Guillaume, Rosa Mowles-Van der Gaag & Tim Cox
MSc Socio-Legal Studies Ben Hudson
MSc Nutrition, Physical Activity & Public Health Nadia Rodriguez Ceron
MSc Policy Research Adam Whitty
LIKE YOUR BIKE WEEK
tudents were demonstrating their love for cycling last week with ‘Like Your Bike Week’, a new campaign created by Ellie Williams,Vice President of
Community at UBU.
MSc Public Policy Frances Molesworth
The campaign celebrated cycling as a fun, flexible, sustainable and economical
MSc Social Work
mode of travel for students with a jam packed week of events in collaboration
PGT Economics & Finance
Year 1 - Rowena Wilkinson & Sophie Hall
with Bristol Bike Project and Roll for the Soul Café. The campaign coincided with
George Ferguson. Events were a mixture of informative and fun with the bike
Year 1 - Lantz White & Robert Charman Year 2 - Ania Khan Year 3 - Clementine Stafford
maintenance classes and rave themed spinning classes proving very popular.
"My aims were to get students feeling safe cycling and demonstrating that it's an
PGT Economics, Accounting & Finance Yiran Zhang
PGT Economics, Finance & Management Chris Charles
PGT Management Yu Wang
PGT Finance & Investment Ruby Tran
PGCE Citizenship Katie Payne & Lisa Donaldson
PGCE English Jonathan Chatwin & Katie Roberts
PGCE Geography Eric Morgan & Will Clark
PGCE History Charlie Jacks, Natasha Spicer & Shannon Adams
PGCE Mathematics Amy Bergstrom & Elliot Malkin
PGCE Modern Foreign Languages Claire Fisher, Edward Houghton & Katie Spicer
Year 2 - Denise Ruijgrok & Katie Mills Year 3 - Isla Stewart & Jessica Gummer
Social Policy & Politics Year 1 - Savannah Simons Year 2 - Adrienne Paul-Hus Year 3 - Abraham Diallo
Social Policy & Sociology Year 2 - Molly Jane Sutcliffe
Ellie Williams said: affordable activity through a variety of events. I hope more students will take up cycling as a result of this campaign because the benefits are endless!”
OFFICER IN THE SPOTLIGHT:
Social Policy, Civil Engineering
i, I'm Imogen and I love the spotlight.
Year 3 - Brittany Harris
Kidding, I am your elected officer
for Activities which means I represent
Christopher Kearney, Frank Sondors Iggy Thommesson, Jie Yan, Jing Li & Victoria Jones
Politics Single Honours Year 1 - Flora Fraser, Rory Cunningham & Tancrede Girard Year 2 - Emma Fine Year 3 - Ben Marshall
Politics Joint Honours
Year 2 - Corey Sutch, George Kirby & Lauren Atherton
PGCE Religous Education
Sociology Single Honours
Chris Stone & Shauna Pippard
the last Make Sunday Special of 2013 and received backing from Bristol Mayor,
societies, support Media Products, RAG and volunteering. I work with the Societies’ Executive, chair the Performing Arts Forum, attend the Media Products and Multifaith Socieies’ Forum and sit on University Committees like the Student Experience Committee. I’ve spent the first few months ensuring student events are promoted better, in conversations with the university about co-ordinated space provision during the refurbishment and planning a student activities showcase festival in February, which will be a chance for students to show off what they do. I love my job but this year has been a tough one so far, especially with delays to
Nancy Jessiman, Rebecca Bossom & Tom Hodgson
Year 1 - Christina Nikiforou, Mayble Pitt & Teodora Gheorghiu Year 2 - Naomi Mckay Year 3 - Romy Hobson & Siobhan Veale
GSE Counselling In Education
Sociology Joint Honours
Freshers’ Fair at the Harbourside was amazing this year. Watch this space but
GSE Educational Leadership Aye Aye Nyein
Year 1 - Alice Toms, Sarah Uncles & Jasmin Burnage Year 2 - Corey Sutch & Lauren Atherton Year 3 - Reuben Shapland
the building work and some teething problems with the new spaces. However, the new activity space looks amazing and I hope students will see how worth the wait it was and how lucky we are to have this brand new building for activities. we’re hoping it will take place there next year too... You can get in touch with me @impogen or firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark ĂŠ ta Brabcova
Editor: Claudia Knowles
Deputy Editor: Rose Bonsier
Online Editor: Erin Fox
The Evolution of Poetry
Shakespeare knew all about a little Bump n’ Grind... Jude A’Bear finds out why
It is fair to say that poetry has certainly evolved since the great Shakespeare himself. Nowadays, it manifests itself more in terms of spoken word or rap – but has it really changed all that much? One could argue that Eminem and the bard actually do have more in common than meets the eye. This is not to say that all rap and other popular music is on a par with the sonnets and elegies of the 16th century. In a modern age where instant gratification is expected and irritating and degrading songs are churned out by the dozen to slap us round the face. Often we have to dig through the drivel to find something of note. Nevertheless, one cannot dispute the fact that both Shakespeare and Eminem know their stuff, and know that they know their stuff. Take Sonnet 135; various forms of the word ‘Will’ are used fourteen times, a significant amount considering that’s
the same number of lines in the poem. The speaker is trying to persuade a woman to sleep with him, but the use of a pun on
“An appreciation of beauty is common... from Shakespeare to Sir Mix-A-Lot’s penchant for big butts” Shakespeare’s own name clearly highlights who he deems the most important subject in his verse. This arrogance can be seen in Eminem’s Without Me; the refrain ‘guess who’s back’ leaves doubt for perhaps 4 milliseconds at most as to who he’s referring to (himself if you didn’t get that). The song My Name Is has
that exhortation repeated a mere forty-eight times. The only way these artists can get away with this abundance of self-assurance? Because they have swag. In the same sonnet Shakespeare also seems to be bringing sexy back. ‘So thou being rich in Will add to thy Will / One will of mine to make thy large Will no more’, (nb. the word ‘will’ can also apply to genitalia), is Shakespeare’s persuasion of a girl that she should give in to her sexual appetite and add him to her list of conquests – the main argument being, of course, that ‘I don’t see nothing wrong with a little bump and grind’. R Kelly has no qualms in assuming on behalf of his lady her requirements (‘see I know just what you want and I know just what you need girl’) while Shakespeare argues that his minuscule request of sleeping with his suitor will satisfy all of her sexual needs. Both artists use monosyllables, perhaps
to persuade the girl of the simplicity and blatancy of their pearls of wisdom – all the while exuding confidence. An appreciation of beauty is a common theme, from Shakespeare’s Sonnet 17, ‘If I could write the beauty of your eyes’ to Sir MixA-Lot’s penchant for big butts. And the person to whom the Bard compares a summer’s day – I think it’s safe to assume that he would have no misgivings in telling her to shake it like a polaroid (if, of course, that wasn’t an anachronism). The use of rhythm is skilfully employed in both cases; while Shakespeare is famous for his iambic pentameter, Outkast and Sir Mix-A-Lot ensure the emphasis is placed on all words of the short statements in a wild show of… enthusiasm, shall we say. So, whatever Shakespeare’s problems, be there as many as 99, his beat and his poetry did not seem to be one.
Former Bishop Peter Firth graduated from Cambridge in History and French before joining the BBC as a producer of religious programmes. He seemed very at home in Bristol Cathedral where we met, which is not surprising considering he spent 16 years of his life living in the city. This calmness and ease can be seen to manifest itself in his
“fellow editors were none other than Thom Gunn and Ted Hughes” poetry; soon he is handing over the first poem he wrote at University entitled Seasons. A short and understated piece of work, it is clearly a personal piece on which he offered no expansion. His most recent work, As Far as I Can See, is an anthology built half on general matters, one quarter religious, and the last devoted to personal issues. The conversation starts with Firth explaining
how he wrote his first ever poem at the age of 10 about the merchant navy. When asked how he began writing properly Firth airily waved his hand and explained he had ‘drifted in’ to the university’s poetry magazine. However, after a few minutes of recollecting the names it turns out that his fellow editors for this particular pastime were none other than Thom Gunn and Ted Hughes, although Firth’s offhand manner suggests that there is nothing extraordinary about this. Swiftly he then clarifies that he wrote half of the poems in the anthology during his time at university and the other half around 40 years later, after an encounter with the poetry section at Winchcombe Festival. Firth recounted his horror at being asked to write poetry when he was expecting to be read to, but afterwards realised that this had triggered something within himself and from there continued to write poetry. ‘We were told to write about something we knew about’, he explained, ‘and so that’s what I did. I still meet up with the people I met on that day every month to discuss poetry.’ Despite the obvious enthusiasm for poetry, Firth did not seem too optimistic about its future. When it was suggested that poetry is no longer widely read, Firth agreed and indicated that this is why his anthology has been privately published. He seemed to think that it is distant from normal people and only bought by ‘complete converts’ – that is, people who study poetry. But the lifelong Manchester United fan has connected all aspects of his life and thoughts into an engaging anthology full of seemingly arbitrary events to personal windows into his childhood, such as Just The One, which records the admiration and curiosity for a father. It seems the anthology builds a steady character of the man who wrote them.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)
English poet, literary critic and philosopher. Also opium addict and alleged Flickr: cloudfront
Harry Baker is undoubtedly one of the biggest current names in spoken word poetry. As well as winning the Poetry Slam World Cup last year, Harry has just had a five star show on at the Edinburgh Fringe this summer. He has performed his poetry around the world, in cities as far as Paris, Hebron and Warsaw. Studying Maths and German at Bristol, he is currently on his year abroad in Hanover. You’ve written poems about prime numbers and dinosaur love, how do you choose the topics that you write about? It always starts with one or two lines. Usually some kind of wordplay or image that sticks (like ‘paper people’) and then I just go to town on it and it begins to write itself. I don’t really have the whole poem planned out when I start; it’s about discovering it as I go as well. I think Dinosaur Love came about because I was sick of hearing very obvious love poetry with ridiculous comparisons to made up stuff, and I loved the idea of dinosaurs being completely boss but also like a real thing. That was a more exciting theme for a poem for me. Check out My Love by Josh Idehen, he gets it spot on. In your DON’T FLOP battles with Soweto Kinch and Double L you have proved yourself to be a worthy rapper. What do you think the relationship is between rap and poetry? I used to rap before I got into poetry, and for me it was a natural evolution. I still love to use a lot of rhyming in my work. Someone once told me rap stood for ‘Rhythm And Poetry’ and I’ve kind of told that to people ever since without really checking it so for me the link is obvious. In its purest form poetry is about connecting with people and I think especially the early hip hop has exactly the same heart and message.
Poets Peter Firth and Harry Baker discuss the demise and rise of popular poetry
Are there any names on the UK poetry scene that Epigram readers should keep an eye out for? Always - hopefully people have heard of Kate Tempest, Scroobius Pip, Polarbear and David J by now. These were the ones that inspired me when I started. Vanessa Kisuule is a Bristol legend, and everyone should go to Byron Vincent’s Blahblahblah events at the Old Vic because he genuinely gets the best people in the country. Rob Auton just won best joke of the fringe and he’s a part of Bang Said The Gun who have got a wicked anthology out. Otherwise Hammer and Tongue do exciting things in Bristol too. Definitely go to a live event because it’s the best way to fall in love with it. Read the full interviews with Harry Baker and Peter Firth on the Epigram website.
WHAT manic depressive. Highly influential literary critic of Shakespeare in particular. While at Cambridge he founded a utopian society called Pantisocracy. One of the most important poets in English history for both his verse and philosophical theories of poetry.
Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Kubla Kahn are his most famous works. He coined the phrase ‘suspension of disbelief’, which is unsurprising considering the trippy nature of the poetry. The rhythmic Kubla
Kahn explores the fantasy world of Xanadu, while the Ancient Mariner has been sung by Iron Maiden.
‘Twas Brillig in the Tobacco Factory Theatre The absurdity and irrationality of existence portrayed in the original text of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is taken to incomprehensible extremes in Volcano’s production. However, that makes it all the more fun. Paul Davies has turned Lewis Carroll’s novel into an explosive theatrical farmyard experience (the set was comprised entirely of hay). Straightforward story telling and normal character differentiation was nowhere to be found, but who wants to see a production that sounds so boring and uninventive? Volcano’s style has been described as ‘brave, stupid and beautiful’ and those three adjectives rang true
Man Booker Prize 2013 winner: Eleanor Catton for
Catton is the youngest winner of the prestigious literature award, also triumphing with the longest novel to have been honoured.
as I watched stunning and bold performances from the all-female cast, particularly Mairi Philips; her drunken Queen of Hearts was hilarious. My only substantial criticism would be that if people thought that by going to see this production they would know Carroll’s novel, then they would be sadly mistaken… hence the old couple shuffling angrily out the door when the actresses broke the fourth wall. A medley of puns, spoonerisms and general word and number play, Davies certainly focusses on Carroll’s interest in the nonsensical. Open to whimsical fun and laughter, I thoroughly enjoyed the play. www.volcanotheatre.co.uk
Sokar Uno: From Berlin to Bristol The Upfest star on Childhood Dreams Over 250 ground-breaking graffiti artists from over 50 different countries flocked to Bristol earlier this year to take part in Upfest, Europe’s largest live street art festival, and it comes as no surprise that the German sensation, Sokar Uno, is the latest graffiti artist to get involved with the Upfest cause. Sokar Uno’s exhibition is called Childhood Dreams and as we grapple to put grown-up meanings on the mystical portraits and elusive illustrations it soon becomes apparent that this isn’t just the name of the exhibition it’s a way of thinking. ‘As the world gets more and more f*cked up’, Sokar told me, ‘I want to take my audience back to a simpler way of thinking and remind them that these simple things are the most important things that people have in life.’ Uno’s artwork is, however, anything but simple. Taking some of his inspiration from the wonderfully weird world of Tim Burton, Uno blurs the boundary between the real and the imaginary - a world where humans and animals merge, and mirrors project reflections of the viewer onto abstract characters. ‘I’ve used the mirrors so that my visitors can reflect on themselves and think about their standing in this world.’ As you first enter the exhibition, a birdcage
hangs stiffly from the ceiling, shortly followed by Uno’s favourite piece of his collection, a half-human half-bird like character portrait titled simply Follow Me. Uno takes us on a voyage from captivity through to freedom: ‘Children are the freest people in this world and we have to save that.’ And what better way to display freedom of expression than through his fairytale-like characters and distorted imagery. ‘As long as I feel free this is the most important thing so that my art can turn into whatever it wants to be, I don’t have sketches before or think to myself that I have to make this look a certain way or I have to paint this part on this wall and this on another, I don’t have any kind of restrictions, it’s just freestyle.’ The final piece, an antique mirror with painted broken bars around it entitled Mirror, mirror on the wall, completes our escape from captivity. Bristol has been dubbed the ‘capital of street art’, so I was interested in how its
A founder of Romanticism in the late 18th century, and a friend of William Wordsworth – together writing Lyrical Ballads (1798). Romanticism was a reaction against the Industrial Revolution and the rationalism of the Enlightenment. Importance was instead placed on emotion, imagination and originality.
Born in Devonshire and settled in the Lake District after travel around Europe and a stint in Highgate. Legend has it
diverse street art scene compared to some of the other cities Uno has worked in. ‘I prefer Bristol because it’s more family based and more natural than a lot of places I’ve worked in. In terms of street art London is a great city as well, but in Germany you only really find Berlin. I wasn’t born there but I live there now but I don’t take much of my inspiration from Berlin as I find it’s is too hectic and too try-hard because different people like to be labelled as things like ‘hipster’ or ‘cool’. I’m most inspired by the nature and the freedom and when you feel the nature you are taken back to your roots and that is when great art is produced.’ Uno left me with some inspiring advice to any new artists, ‘Just be yourself and be free with what you are doing. Don’t do it because of the money or because you have someone telling you to do it, you should love your art and in order to do this you have to be free when you’re making it.’
Fr ey er
“...a world where humans and animals merge...”
Uno looking into Mirror, mirror on the wall
Childhood Dreams is being exhibited in the Upfest Gallery, North Street, until the 24th of October 2013. For more Upfest info check out www.upfest.co.uk Follow Sokar Uno on Instagram at sokaruno_graffitiart
WHY Coleridge was interrupted by ‘a person from Porlock’ whilst recording the neverfinished dream sequence which became Kubla Kahn. Whether this person was real or fictional, the Somerset village has gone down in literary history.
Unknown to some, Coleridge’s poems include the first skincrawling drug withdrawal ballad: The Pains of Sleep and lesbian-vampire-thriller Christabel. Beautifully dark, weird and full of hallucinations, Coleridge’s verses wouldn’t be out of place at a Halloween party in Redland. Amber Segal
‘I believe love to be, Ebbing and flowing As the sea.’ She said, swirling her tea into a whirlpool. Each day too soon, Each night too oft The moon does chase the sun.
They sailed across seas, in search of new climates, Arrived at an island, awe-struck and silenced, A distant land between Ireland and Thailand. The tale of how a civilized world became violent.
You’re time waiting, Our times spent wasting.
Hotter than expected but the real heat followed, What they assumed as empty was far from hollow, It was hallowed. And the people weren’t shallow, They embraced with open arms and a strange form of hello. ‘Maybe we can share this land, and try to learn their ways’, So they stayed for many days, learned their trades and were amazed. But some said they’re a threat, and thought we should enslave them, Make them do our labour but we should never pay them. See, they were physically bigger, Potentially much smarter, the structures they could configure; Formed a word so malicious we could never get rid’a, Said it’s our terms now and this is your term - nigger.
They subtracted it, adapted it, and finally they captured it; Adopted it, softened it, played with it and mocked with it. The rappers and comedians who used the word freely, Removed its old meaning and used it ideally. Through translation they claimed it was good, Through transition it became the name for aims of the hood. But, see, it’s just as bad, and it’s just as racist, A word of segregation which only provokes hatred. From the white man’s vigour to the black man’s rigour It became associated with the sound of a trigger. A violent culture, chains and a walk with a wither, They said it’s our terms now and this is our term - nigger.
Then centuries later, they saw it was corrupted, Their hearts became stronger, behaviour more disruptive; For many years they tried to stop this word and destruct it, But then they really loved it, and found it quite seductive.
Leading on? Letting down? A day? A month? A year?
He pulls his attention from his phone Patiently, isn’t she endearing? She continues, Swirling faster, creating a storm. ‘Yes, love is the sea. It etches away at crumbling walls, Seeping in through cracks Unguarded. Unnoticed.’
‘Dont wait for me’ Time waits for none. None have time to wait!
Her spoon clinks the mug, ‘And before you know it, You’re in deep! That’s how it is! Because it creeps, you know, it sneaks!’
When my eyes close your eyes open. Each sweaty hand Holds each sweaty person.
He nods politely to show he is listening. His wry smile does not stop her: ‘But sometimes, the sea, It leaves off sneaking. Sometimes,
It leaps! It destroys those walls With one beautiful arch of its body And overwhelms, but you do not sink, You cannot sink.’
Night ends. Birds begin Their mourning song. No right for wrong.
The incessant iambic beat pulses. That Song, rhythms of regret, Reminders. Our Flanders field, my failures.
She breathes and adds a sugar, Watching as it is swallowed by the froth. He places his phone down, checking it once more Before shaking his head, ‘No, no, love, Love is like a plant. Any kind. Sometimes a simple shrub. Sometimes an exotic flower.
Birds sat upon a falling tree. Collapses. Not with a bang but with a whimper? It fell. A patter of excuses, A long drawn out Why? A leafless tree, dead, not wilted But bare. Bare. Bare. Bare. It fell. Swept beneath the wave Of your goodbye.
For, you see, a seed is planted, An inkling that you might thrive. And from there it grows. It grows and it survives.’ Satisfied, he returns to his phone. Dissatisfied, she sips her tea To find it cold. His definition too fragile, Unassuming. Hers too overbearing, And far too uncontrolled. -Erin Fox
Send us your poems for the chance to be featured online or in print
Humans of New York
For those of you who don’t know the viral photoblog, (seriously, where have you been?!), Humans of New York is quite simply awesome. With over a million online followers, Brandon Stanton is injecting honesty and empathy into facebook feeds everywhere. His unique style of street photography pairs visually arresting portraits with the disarmingly deep anecdotes of strangers. Humans of New York provides the perfect antidote to stage managed social media, bringing us refreshing stories of the hardships and little victories in the lives of everyday New Yorkers. The site has sparked spinoffs all the over the globe, from Oslo to New Delhi. So just why is it that people everywhere have taken to the streets with cameras in hand, to start conversations with strangers? We can all admit that at times we walk around Bristol with our
gaze fixed on the pavement, giving little thought to the lives behind the faces in the crowd. Marching down Park Street with headphones in, just trying to get from A to B. But in this culture of us vs. them, what would happen if you stopped, looked around, and took a minute to notice the people in your path? This city is a melting pot of character, creativity and soul. Forget what your mum told you about not talking to strangers. According to Stanton, people are more likely to open up to a stranger with a camera than even their best friend. For every three people he approaches for a street portrait, two say yes. This dialogue of startling honesty is just what society needs. Getting involved in your city is exciting, rewarding, and has the power to change how we all interact with each other for the better. Inspired by this, Epigram
is launching our own version – Humans of Bristol – to encourage you to do just that. Grab your camera, hit the street, and send us a picture and an anecdote from someone who lives in Bristol. All entries will be published online, and we will print one in each issue. You don’t have to be a great photographer or writer to get involved. All you need is a friendly smile, and an eager eye for people watching. -Myla Lloyd Send all HoB and poetry entries and mailing list requests to email@example.com or post them on our facebook page Epigram Arts In need of inspiration? Atop bestseller lists Stanton’s first book, Humans of New York, is available now. Alternatively check out HONY online at www.humansofnewyork.co.uk
Through UBU, students are represented in every aspect of the University experience. Part-Time Officers are elected to address specific needs and raise awareness of issues affecting four student groups across campus. Referred to as Liberation Groups, these are:
Black and Minority Ethnic students Your BME officer is Hafsa Ameen
Your Disabled Students officer is Emma Ronayne
Your LGBT+ officer is Nicola Willis
Your Women’s officer is Alice Phillips
Each group holds a forum each term, which all self-defining students are welcome to attend, to observe, discuss or raise issues that matter to them. You can also find out more information and get in touch with the officers at any time via www.ubu.org.uk/ptofficers
Women's Forum The Students' Union will host the first Women's Forum of the year which all self-defining women students are welcome to attend. The forum will include information and discussion about UK Feminista Summer School; Sexism during Freshers’ week and students' experience here at Bristol; The NUS 'That's What She Said' report; And any other issues that students would like to raise.
Date: 31 October 2013 Location: Activity room on the 2nd floor of the Richmond Building on Queens Road Time: 12 to 1.30pm
COURSE REPS 2013/2014
THANK YOU FOR VOTING Results available online at www.ubu.org.uk and in this week’s UBU News
@epigramfilm Editor: Gareth Downs
Deputy Editor: Matthew Field
Online Editor: Alejandro Palekar
The Fifth Estate doesn’t quite hack it online world of hacking, these are not completely awful, but are decidedly overdramatic. Another way in which the film makers have attempted to make the film more accessible is by pencilling in a secondary love story between Daniel and his girlfriend Anke Domscheit (Alicia Vokander) which is not necessary or particularly well done.
Cumerbatch’s performance is magnificent
Overall the film is interesting and informative, though if that’s what you’re looking for surely the Alex Gibney’s We Steal Secrets: The story of WikiLeaks documentary is a far better option. The problem for this film is that, although the events during Assange’s rise are incredible, they are not very cinematic. Another problem is that the story hasn’t come to a conclusive end, Assange is still in London now and in an ending that drags on a bit, the final words are from Assange himself urging us to seek out the truth ourselves, a nice sentiment? Yes. But a suitable end to a film? I’m not too sure.
The Fifth Estate is in cinemas now Dir. Bill Condon, 128 mins
Turn over for Epigram at the 57th Annual BFI London Film Festival
A fond farewell for Monteith Ben Marshall To describe Glee as sentimental is to show a remarkable lack of imagination in your use of adjectives. The tribute episode to Cory Monteith, who died back in July, was exactly this though. Awkward, uncomfortable but overall very moving the show managed not to preach but say goodbye and honour its original star. Titled ‘The Quarterback’ the episode paid homage to the character rather than the actor. The style left a rather confused feeling. The plot line of Glee could never reflect the drug overdose that led to the demise of Monteith. Instead it immediately addressed the fact it was not going to address the issue, “Everyone wants to know about how he died, but who cares? One moment in his own life. I care more about how he lived” was thought spoken by Kurt. Each reaction of each character/actor seemed halfway genuine- halfway self consciously forced. The grief of character Rachel was truly difficult to watch. Actor Lea Michelle had been dating Monteith off camera and every tear and word she uttered in the episode seemed truly felt. Watching such honest emotion was strangely perverse but it was mirrored in her performance to create something difficult to watch but simultaneously beautiful. Notable by her absence was Dianna Agron or Quinn to those familiar with the show. Despite having an incredibly closely linked storyline with Monteith she did not return. Reportedly she was uninvited due to her difficult relationship with fellow cast members
and show creators. Missing her was a loss to the episode and undoubtedly damaged potential story lines. It was recently announced by show creator Ryan Murphy that this would be the final series of Glee. A true TV juggernaut, money making machine, watched by millions live, on television, DVD and with multiple number one hits in the US and the UK its end will undoubtedly be a disappointment to many at FOX. This episode would certainly have been a fitting end but there are at least a dozen left to air. A quote, expressed under a headshot and attributed Monteith depicted this better than the entire episode ‘The show must go... all over the place... or something’. This will be a long goodbye for many a Gleek.
Julian Assange wrote Benedict Cumberbatch a one-thousand word letter appealing to him not to take part in the making of The Fifth Estate on the grounds that it would damage his organisation’s mission. But he needn’t have bothered. The film’s director Bill Condon makes a purposeful effort to give equal say to both sides in his portrayal of the rise and fall of WikiLeaks. In fact the worst, and most bizarre, suggestion the film makes about Assange’s person is that he dyes his hair! One cannot help but think that if Condon had spent less time worrying about being even handed, and more time worrying about making an entertaining film it would have been a rather better movie than the basically meaningless one that we end up with. There are big speeches about
the media and transparency and what is right and wrong but in the end this all comes off as slightly pretentious. On a more positive note Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance is magnificent, but would we expect anything less? His voice so perfectly matches the real Assange that it is hard to distinguish the copy from the original. The best bits of the film come when he and Daniel Berg (Daniel Brühl) are on screen together and the relationship between the two men, with its patriarchal overtones, is interesting, if not your typical bromance. However these are the highlights. The film makers understandably, but inevitably mistakenly, attempt to add more excitement to a movie that is essentially about journalism. They do this with abrupt bursts of drum and bass and sudden scene changes. There are also visualisations of the
Film & TV
Glee, Season 4 on Sky 1 now Seasons 1-3 available on DVD
Epigram discusses the Editor, Gareth Downs, visits London for what has to 2013 Award Winners are as follows: BEST FILM: IDA, directed by Pawel Pawlikowski BEST BRITISH NEWCOMER: Jonathan Asser – screenwriter STARRED UP
FIRST FEATURE COMPETITION - The Sutherland Award: Anthony Chen, director of ILO ILO
Review: Captain Phillips Paul Greengrass could face a number of lawsuits following widespread viewing of Captain Phillips, for it is sure to induce heart palpitations. This panic inducing film is a sweaty, distressing and overwrought affair. However, far from being negative, this is actually a testament to Greengrass’ immense talent because Captain Phillips is simply majestic cinema. Richard Phillips’ harrowing story wasn’t given the same media coverage on our side of the pond as it was in America but most will be aware, at least, of its premise. Somali pirates seized Phillips’ Maersk Alabama freighter as they rounded the Horn of Africa, and the pirates proceeded to take Phillips (Hanks) hostage in lieu of the money they had hoped to find on board. Greengrass sets out at a fast pace, ushering Hanks out of his front door and aboard the ship, and then doesn’t stop for breath. He flits between Phillips’ fated journey and that of the Somalis being forced into piracy by a local warlord, upping the tempo of the film as their meeting draws closer. Foreshadowing is Greengrass’ best friend in the first half hour as Phillips instructs his first mate to ensure all the pirate cages are locked, without any whiff of a threat. Once the pirates have boarded,
we are subjected to an incredible level of tension and kudos must be given to Greengrass for the fear we experience on behalf of the unarmed crew. Captain Phillips was shot at sea, on a real freighter, and this realism has certainly paid off on screen, as it also has inside the insufferably claustrophobic lifeboat in the final third. It is the acting, however, that lingers with the audience long after the film has finished. Barkhad Abdi and his crew of pirates make their acting debuts in Captain Phillips, and they are nothing short of breathtaking. They perform with a confidence and intensity that belies their absent experience. From the moment they burst through the cabin door, armed with AK-47s, their unpredictable aggression aids Greengrass in his mission to create unhealthy levels of tension. Greengrass actually kept the Somali actors separate from the Alabama crew until the moment, with cameras rolling they explode into that cabin room. This realism is more than portrayed on screen, as Hanks and his crew look terrified by the ‘scariest, skinniest’ men Hanks had ever seen – in his own words. However, it is not only their frighteningly confident presence that impresses. Abdi, in particular, portrays a real confliction as Muse, the fisherman who fears for his own
life. His oft repeated mantra of ‘It’s just business’ is an attempt at some internal justification for what he knows to be morally terrible, as well as illegal. Those performances, all the more impressive for the actors’ inexperience, could only have been outweighed by Hanks. Selfishly, then, he goes on to give arguably his finest performance to date. He is perfectly understated as a man who is nothing more than good at his job, whilst being a doting family man. It is clear that Richard Phillips’ handling of the situation was heroic as well as professional, and Hanks pays him every tribute here. However, it is in the final scenes that we see Hanks at his heavyweight best. It is a performance that moves like no other, guiding the audience through a whirlwind of empathy. flickr.com/hollywoodjunket
Captain Phillips is in cinemas now Dir. Paul Greengrass, 87 mins
DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION - THE GRIERSON AWARD: MY FATHERS, MY MOTHER AND ME, directed by PaulJulien Robert Courtesy of BFI
Controversial Of Good Report achieves decent grades Matthew Field’s thoughts on this South African thriller, which has been banned in its home country Of Good Report comes to the London Film Festival from South Africa, after being banned on its home turf. It presents us with the story of an obsessive school teacher and his tragic relationship with a young female pupil, Nolitha (Petronella Tshuma). Mothusi Magano gives a striking performance as the shy yet enigmatic teacher, Parker Sithole. The film is steeped in violence, beginning with the bloodied Mr Sithole stumbling from the wilderness, pulling pieces of broken teeth from his battered skull. The film is full of literary allusions – Nolitha’s name is strikingly similar to Vladamir Nabokov’s famous child victim ‘Lolita’ and the film contains many references to the film. Mr Sithole writes Othello quotes on his classroom blackboard - ‘I am not what I am’, quotes from a play of deception and ultimately the uxoricide of Othello’s young wife Desdemona. Like Othello and Lolita, Of Good Report is a film which holds jealousy as a central theme and amidst the brutal violence there is a vein of the darkly comic. Mr Sithole is said to be ‘of good report’ by the head teacher of his new school, with a good degree and a record of military service. He is a shy yet sexually
voracious and aggressive character who we never hear speak once during the film. At times this can seem a hindrance as there is no way for him to attempt to justify his actions, yet simultaneously we as the audience are put in his place, often with shots from Sithole’s first person viewpoint. The film contrasts shocking violence with its film noir style and dream-like sequences. While one cannot condone its censorship, it is unsurprising that the film was opposed by the South African Film and Publications Board given the sexual violence, scenes of graphic abortion and the sexual exploitation of a young student by a teacher. It was for me, however, the strangeness of the film that was most difficult to bear. The unspeaking Sithole, the mad dream sequences and the utterly terrifying sound-track (think constant grating nails down a chalk board with distorted atonal trumpets…) made the film seem almost too bizarre to follow.
Of Good Report Dir. Jahmil X. T. Qubeka, 101 mins
57th BFI London Film Festival
Jasper Jolly Blackwood is director Adam Wimpenny’s first full-length feature in a career of mostly TV and short films. The jump to the longer format leaves a lot more room for error, and the inexperience shows in this well made but predictable horror of haunted houses, masked children, and a suitably dark wood. Ed Stoppard plays Ben Marshall, an ex-Oxford don who has declined since having a breakdown. He tries to jump-start his career and his family life by taking a ‘step down’ to a suitably relaxed academic backwater (Bristol) and moving into a large house in the country with his wife and son. Pretty soon - the first night in fact
- things go bump in the night, and Ben starts to question his sanity, and then tries to uncover the obligatory secrets of the house. He discovers that the wife and child of the local weirdo (played by an underused Russell Tovey of The History Boys fame) have disappeared, leading to an obsession which threatens to drive his wife into the arms of his friend and rival, Dominic (Greg Wise). This all sounds fairly promising, and indeed it is, but Blackwood is let down by its derivative plot and its reliance on conventional tropes without any of the kind of experimentation or weirdness of Kill List or Don’t Look Now - comparisons which the film invites but cannot live up to. Blackwood stays firmly generic until the final act while
Blackwood fails to shock
also revealing too much too early, by which point even a decent twist cannot revive interest. The real weakness in Blackwood though, is in its human relationships, both in the script and the acting. Ed Stoppard as the protagonist is wooden at points and unnecessarily overzealous at others, clearly out of his comfort zone as the loving father. He isn’t helped by dialogue which verges on parody and which, frankly, makes him out as pretty unpleasant, undermining any attempt to care about the central character. This is all a huge shame, because Blackwood is outstandingly well made visually, especially for a debut feature. Director Wimpenny builds tension well (only for it to be dispersed by a dud line) and cinematographer Dale McCready, who worked on The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, provides some spectacular shots shrouded in forest mists. But despite its undeniable style and beautifully atmospheric landscapes, Blackwood is crippled by its predictability and its lack of daring - it adds nothing new to the oversubscribed haunted house set-up.
Blackwood is out soon Dir. Adam Wimpenny, 100 mins
Gareth Downs Another fresh, moving and witty coming-of-age drama has been produced in America. The Spectacular Now is continuing the genre’s strong revival, after films such as The Perks of Being A Wallflower and The Kings of Summer were so well received. The film follows class clown, Sutter Keely (Miles Teller), as he drunkenly stumbles towards high school graduation, monogrammed hip flask in hand. He is a teenager at his most comfortable in high school, where responsibility is non-existent and everything comes easy. Opening on Sutter choosing not to fill out a simple college application form correctly, the film continues to subtly portray Sutter’s downward spiral without making it too obvious that he is destined for a fall. When he wakes up on the front lawn of a house he doesn’t know, confronted by sweet Aimee Finicky (Shaileene Woodley), we watch
a young love blossom. Aimee hadn’t featured on Sutter’s narrow-minded radar until she woke him from his boozey slumber but as they spend more time together, he realises how she makes him a better person. Teller and Woodley are both excellent in their representation of very real American teenagers, as well as their portrayal of the relationship that forms between them. They have onscreen chemistry in abundance, which benefits the film immeasurably. Kyle Chandler’s performance as Sutter’s father, who is both absent and a waster, is fantastic and goes a long way towards explaining why Sutter has such flippancy regarding responsibility. One issue with the film is the facetiousness with which it deals with Sutter’s apparent drinking problem. His dependence on his hipflask isn’t something that should be undervalued, especially as he appears to pass on his addiction to Aimee, corrupting her sweet naivety.
The Spectacular Now is spectacularly poignant
This plot line seems to vanish, unexplained, as the film draws towards its conclusion, which leaves an audience concerned. The inanity of this plot point is something that stands out further because Ponsoldt had been so perfect in his direction prior to this. He tastefully delivers on scenes of realisation of love; of losing your virginity; of realising your father is not the man you elevated him to be. It is a shame, then, that this fledgling layer regarding Sutter’s possible alcoholism was not explored further. That aside, James Ponsoldt has created a moving, affectionate film. It carries a subtle poignancy, shrouded but not lost in the comedy, and The Spectacular Now is fully deserving of all its plaudits.
The Spectacular Now is is out soon Dir. James Ponsoldt, 95 mins
go down as Tom Hanks’ Festival, with two show-stealing performances
Thompson Saves Mr Hancock Gareth Downs watches Saving Mr Banks at the 2013 BFI London Film Festival closing gala
The 57th Annual BFI London Film are the picture’s big hitters but the Festival drew to a close in the sublime supporting cast should same manner as it started: Tom not be forgotten, for Colin Farrell Hanks walking the red carpet of as her alcoholic father supplies Leicester Square. His second film an outstanding performance to of the festival, Saving Mr. Banks, is Hancock’s cause. a triumph for all those involved, The sequences involving Farrell, particularly Emma Thompson, which run parallel to the ‘current’ whose beautiful performance story, are haunting. Farrell’s intense creates true empathy throughout battle with his addiction, striving the audience. not to disappoint his princess, Saving Mr. Banks is the previously ‘Ginty’ Goff, is compellingly untold story of Walt Disney’s tussle performed and shot. with P.L Travers over the rights to The cast are helped enormously make her novel about Mary Poppins by a sharp script, courtesy of into a movie. Disney (Hanks) had debutant Kelly Marcel, carrying an been trying for 20 years to get emotional weight as well as some Travers (Thompson) to foregoDeaddecent one liners, particularly from Man Down her misgivings about the Disney the 3rd abrasive Released May 2013 Travers. BJ Novak studios and grant him the chance and Jason Schwartzman, both well Dir. Niels Arden Oplev, 118 mins to fulfil the promise he made to his established in the comedic circles daughters; to make Mary Poppins of America, also offer up a subtle come to life. Disney’s ignorance double act that provides laughs as to the reasons behind Travers’ throughout. It is thanks to Marcel, stubbornness is representative of in fact, that Saving Mr. Banks does most of Saving Mr. Banks’ audience, not fall into the trap of becoming the majority of whom will not too self-rewarding – easy to do, one know this story. It becomes imagines, for it is a Disney film apparent that Travers carries far depicting the making of a Disney more emotional involvement in film. the story of Mary Poppins than The film itself isn’t incredibly she is initially willing to share. We remarkable; it comfortably all know how the story is destined meanders through Travers’ story, to end but this does not mean the delivering without taking any risks. film isn’t in any way engaging. However, it is a touching piece of Much the same as his previous cinema and Hancock owes that to film, The Blind Side, John Lee his cast. They do their best to really Hancock has breathed life into a knock this one out of the park, and true story that deserved telling. it is Thompson, ultimately, that Hancock is obviously talented and does so. Saving Mr. Banks is his finest work to date. His direction is intelligent, creating a palpable sorrow that clings to Travers for as long as her past does. Hancock has also been Saving Mr Banks opens Nov. 29th clever in his managing of Hanks Dir. John Lee Hankcok, 126 mins and Thompson, for they are in fine form. Hanks and Thompson
Editor: Mike Hegarty
Deputy Editor: Danny Riley
Online Editor: Dan Faber
Things Fall Apart
the morning of the festival they sadly joined a raft of acts, including DJ Rashad and Apparat, in pulling out. I took this as an opportunity to check out the other venue, a complex called The Island, which housed six performance spaces including police cells, a courtroom and the fire station. Unsurprisingly, this was the space where most of the dance music was
housed, with the most intense DJs like DjRum and Motor City Drum Ensemble turning the courtroom into a forest of breakbeats and coloured strobe lights. The fire station played host to a number of very different electronic acts from Jazzy Jeff’s joyous hip hop odyssey to King Midas Sound’s frankly terrifying set which The Bug himself described as ‘seriously raw, with frequencies set to assault’. Once you’d experienced the intensity of the acts at The Island, tamer acts like These New Puritans and The Field’s lukewarm techno seemed fairly uninspiring. Pantha du Prince’s late Colston Hall chime extravaganza was the perfect enabler for the crowd to exchange their light festival mood for a party mood, and what seemed like most of the festival then took a collective ten-minute pilgrimage over to The Island to see Mercury Prize-nominee Jon Hopkins. After sauntering in and lapping up the attentions of an adoring crowd, Hopkins eased us in with album highlight Breathe This Air before explosions of synth crashed in from every angle and we were treated to an hour of hyper-acidic rave music. It wasn’t all that easy to dance, but a crowd that was by now more drug than human didn’t care as he buzzed gracefully around his hardware. Having been at the festival for 12 hours by this point, I confess that I didn’t really have it in me to properly get into techno deity Ostgut Ton or
Marcel Dettman, but I appreciated the crowd’s swelling and lurching all together in a sickly but ecstatic mess from my vantage point outside the venue. My only real regret upon leaving was that I’d missed out on Nicolas Jaar due to overcrowding problems. Being shunted into queues became an increasingly regular occurrence and in the midst of one particularly hefty hour-long crawl in the rain to get into The Island, a bouncer told me that they’d sold 3000 tickets for a venue with a capacity of 1800. While the music as a whole was good enough for this kind of lacklustre planning to be mostly ignored, it was hard not to wonder how improved the festival might have been had they taken more time to organise it and not tried to sell so many tickets that it detracted from the experience for some. On Twitter afterwards The Bug described the people who ran the festival as ‘reptilian incompetents’ who gave his group no time to soundcheck, and it was this kind of fundamental issue that stopped the festival from being really outstanding. They pulled together an incredible roster of artists, the majority of whom performed to the peak of their abilities, but it was hard not to think how wonderful the festival could have been had those who arranged it taken more time and care over the simple things. Flickr: Nudevinyl
arrivers wandered around its openplan whirl of staircases and bars. I stopped in at the foyer to catch Lady Lamb’s bitesized set and was hugely impressed with the stage presence such a small person managed to command, armed only with an outstanding voice and electric guitar. This was doubly impressive considering the constant trickle of shamefaced festival-goers scurrying covertly past the stage to get to the toilets. Her early finish gave me time to drop in on the end of Darkstar in the main Colston Hall, but I was disappointed to find the trio firmly entrenched in a rut of eyes-on-theirshoes-but-not-quite-shoegaze gloomrock. They at least perked up for the set closer, which saw the familiar shaggy hair of Bristolian gig stalwart Big Jeff, at the front of the crowd, whip itself up into a frenzy. Next up was meant to be electrojazz outfit Portico Quartet, but on
Flickr: Incubate Festival
Finally Bestival has a serious contender for the most ironically named music festival around. From the emotionally complex strains of singer/songwriter Lady Lamb the Beekeeper at 2pm in the Colston Hall Foyer to Marcel Dettman’s minimalist techno armageddon in an abandoned fire station 15 hours later, there was nothing simple about Simple Things. The festival organisers’ idea to bring together ‘the most diverse lineup of anything in the UK’ promised to be both exciting and dizzying, and perhaps predictably it ended up being a hotchpotch of spectacular highs and frustrating lows, caused by chaotic organisation and venue mismanagement. For the first time in its fledgling history, Simple Things took over the whole of Colston Hall, using every performance space, including its small foyer, to create a lovely atmosphere of musical harmoniousness as the early
This year’s Simple Things boasted a stellar lineup of electronic innovators and forward-thinking rock. Poor planning however made sure it fell just short of transcendental. Dan Faber was there to experience the frustration and the elation.
2/11 - Livity Sound @ The Island at Bridewell Bristol bass stalwarts Peverelist, Kowton and Assusu spin their concoction of Techno, Grime and Dub that might just turn you to jelly.
19/11 - Big Deal @ Start the Bus This photogenic boy/girl duo strum gorgeous, fuzzedout songs of intimacy and understatement that are more Dino Jr than Beach House (honest).
8/11 - Trap/Idle Hands/Donuts @ Motion One of the best nights of this term’s In:Motion series - from the eclectic Pearson Sound to dark and dirty Boddika, this is just all kinds of ace.
26/11 - Metz + others @ Start the Bus As renowned for their ferocious live act as their ferocious tunes, Metz join Wytches and London slack-rockers Cheatahs for a late night set.
11/11 - Mount Kimbie @ The Fleece Having moved somewhat away from the intricate, textured sound that made their debut so beloved, Kimbie are straying back along the coast.
29/11 - The Dismemberment Plan @ Thekla The reunited D.C. prog-emo legends are touring again in support of new album The Uncanney Valley, their first since 2001’s Change.
Editor’s Gig Picks: November
Songs of Praise: CHVRCHES interviewed CHVRCHES have blown up with their refreshing take on futurist pop. In the wake of their massively successful debut and in the midst of a UK tour, Juliette Motamed spoke to the Glaswegian trio about success and what it means to be a pop band in the age of irony.
A year ago, Epigram interviewed CHVRCHES at the precipice of what was a make-or-break year for them. A slot supporting Two Door Cinema Club, a tour of America, and a debut album that critics and electro-pop fans had been patiently waiting on all loomed around the corner. A year on, and CHVRCHES have clearly taken the plunge. In the midst of preparations for their highly anticipated European tour, hectic promotions for their critically praised debut album The Bones of What You Believe, and fire alarms being set off by their smoke machines at the Anson Rooms, I finally sit down with Martin Doherty of CHVRCHES to catch up and discuss what has obviously been an exciting year for the band. ‘There’s been a few changes since last year,’ exhales Martin, ‘We haven’t stopped touring since then.’ Having
toured around various continents with bands such as Two Door Cinema Club and Passion Pit so early on in their career, the formative influences of these tours have clearly had a role in shaping CHVRCHES’ live performances. ‘Those guys were so good to us,’ Martin humbly reflects. ‘It wasn’t the typical support situation you can get where the band can be stand-offish - they were amazing. There was a lot of learning done on those early tours for us, just through trying to take the project out of the studio and into the live world. Last year has been about getting more comfortable, and learning what makes a good live band, certainly a good electronic live band because that was new terrain for a lot of us.’ CHVRCHES certainly have been breaking new ground, graduating swiftly from a support act to headlining sell-out
substantial, it goes away as quickly as it arrives.’ Despite CHVRCHES’ futuristic, synth-driven music, I get the sense that they are struggling between the older, traditional ways of breaking a band, and the high speed Internetfuelled consumption of music that is so common in our day-to-day lives. ‘It would have been impossible for us to come as far as we have in such a short space of time without passing music around from one blog to another. Things spread a lot faster than they used to…’ Martin considers.
gigs across the UK and announcing a European tour for March 2014. Martin assures me that the changes between supporting and headlining slots have been a definite improvement for CHVRCHES. ‘[There’s] more time to sound check,’ he laughs. ‘I guess the key differences are that everything’s a lot more relaxed, and when you stand on stage you’re not standing up in front of anyone else’s crowd, which makes things a lot easier.’ Despite only just having released their debut album The Bones of What You Believe, CHVRCHES seem much more at ease with their agenda as a band, as the release of a full length record has allowed them to expand creatively: ‘There was going to be more depth on the record, a bit more exploration in terms of the sounds and ideas, stuff that you can’t necessarily get away
with on singles.’ The development of CHVRCHES’ music is apparent on their record as through songs such as ‘Tether’ and ‘Lies’ they sail away from their more poppy singles such as ‘Gun’ and ‘Mother We Share’, into unchartered territory. ‘There was stuff that had to satisfy radio and singles, but over the course of a full-length you get to play around a lot more, and just get to weirder places and have more fun,’ Martin explains. ‘The whole thing was kind of an ongoing process. We were doing it on a song-by-song basis, just following our noses in terms of what was exciting. I think we ended up with a body of work that is satisfactory to us in terms of creativity, but at the same time that still has a level of accessibility, which is important if you want to succeed.’ And succeed they have, not only with their singles but with their unreleased songs, such as ‘We Sink’ which was featured on the FIFA ’14 soundtrack. ‘It’s in the manager mode when you’re cycling through the menu.’ Martin smiles ‘It keeps coming on… It’s pretty cool.’ He cites this as his favourite song on the album, describing it as ‘more aggressive, it’s got that kind of marriage between aggression and melody which I think is one of our main strengths.’ With such a highly anticipated album comes soaring levels of hype, and as soon as I ask about whether or not they pay attention to it, Martin’s exasperated sigh immediately tells me otherwise. ‘Thankfully now that our album is out people have the impression of us that we always wanted them to have. We feel that people should be judged over the course of a full album, but it’s difficult, especially when a band breaks online, the way ours did. People listen to one song, and to them that’s everything there is to know about the band, and then they listen to two, and they piece it together song by song rather than in the old way,’ Martin answers. However, despite the tiresome connotations of being a ‘hype band’, CHVRCHES still recognise its significance. ‘It’s an important thing to an extent, because it gets people talking about you early on… But if you don’t satisfy that quickly with something more
past. He tweeted after the incident, ‘I don’t care if I get kicked out of every rich kid club on the planet. I will never sacrifice my integrity as a DJ.’ With this in mind, the crowd at Motion was unlikely to hear much from his highly influential 1996 album ‘Endtroducing…’ or his collaborative work with Mo’Wax label mate UNKLE. But by the end of the night it was clear that Josh Davies did not need to play the hits in order to satisfy the crowd. He drew from genres such as jungle, breakbeat, techno and hip-hop. The
skill with which he mixed was striking, coordinating breakdowns between songs using a midi controller and a set of drumsticks. Scratching is still a major element in his sets, more so than for many of his contemporaries, and it adds another element of variety to his performance. The light show and Motion’s bass-heavy sound system did nothing but enhance the performance as he played tracks that demonstrate why he still remains relevant. Of course, the crowd lost it for ‘Organ Donor (Extended Overhaul)’ which, taken
from his seminal debut, still packs a punch today. Despite all of the above, I couldn’t help thinking that Saturday’s performance would have been better suited to a more intimate setting: the more down-tempo tracks were swallowed by the hustle and bustle of the club’s atmosphere. Despite this, the night proved that DJ Shadow can still comfortably dominate a line-up of promising new DJs and that his almost obsessive knowledge of hip-hop only grows with his age.
“...at the same time the album still has a level of accessibility, which is important if you want to succeed.”
‘One thing we’ve noticed is that it’s created a situation where we feel like we have to be everywhere at once. The old method for breaking a band would be to sign in the UK, then you’d work as hard at that as possible for about six months and then you move to the US, Australia, Japan… whereas we’ve kind of grown in all those places at the one time.’ This thought suddenly cracks a smile on Martin’s face. ‘It’s a nice problem to have, not gonna be any complaints there.’ With CHVRCHES’ biggest tour fast approaching on the horizon, it’s no wonder that there’s nothing to complain about, as it looks as though they’re in for their busiest year yet.
In December, Californian-born Josh Davies, better known by the moniker DJ Shadow, had his set cut short at the Mansion club in Miami. This was a contentious move by the management seeing as, in the last 17 years, he has become one of the most respected producers and live acts in instrumental hip-hop. DJ Shadow has been at the forefront of sampling, producing some of the most genre-bending tracks of the last 2 decades and working with big names such as Thom Yorke, Mos Def and Little Dragon.
Supposedly, his Miami set wasn’t satisfying the club’s policy of purely ‘danceable’ music. This comes as no surprise to those that are acquainted with his work: Shadow’s output can vary from lounge-groove & jazz influenced soundscapes to more typical hip-hop beats. His current tour, All Basses Covered, pushes the boundaries further as he spins a mixture of his own rarities and other contemporary artists’ up-to-the-minute tracks. It’s clear that DJ Shadow refuses to bend to popular appeal or rely heavily on his
Flickr: Serjao Carvahlo
DJ Shadow recently brought his vinyl stacks to Motion. Alex Green witnessed the elder statesman of instrumental hip hop in full flow:
Reviews Wichita/Turnstile/Heart Swells
October 29th 2013
In the 2000s, Los Campesinos! were purveyors of cringingly twee indie pop, expert at churning out the kind of faddish drivel that fleetingly appears in alternative music every now and then. But unlike many of their peers the English-group-whoformed-in-Cardiff have made it to album number five. Why is this? With that question in mind I approached No Blues with extreme prejudice, all set to slam Los Campesinos! as utterly superfluous in the context of contemporary music. But remarkably, it’s not complete dross. Frontman Gareth (Campesinos!) retains that irascible habit of overly-deliberate vocal intonation, but that aside, No Blues is a respectably bouncy listen. Although lyrical subjects still revolve around teenage love trysts and first-world angst (and, strangely enough, obscure football references: names like Bela Guttmann, Antonin Panenka and Joseph-Desire Job are dropped for reasons unknown) there is far greater instrumental texturing than one would ordinarily expect from a pure pop band. No Blues is hardly ground-breaking, though: decent but not memorable and therefore, at most, it’s worth four listens. Barney Horner
Best Coast Fade Away Jewel City October 21st 2013
Four Tet Beautiful Rewind Text October 15th 2013
On his new album Four Tet continues to fuse post-rock experimentalism with an eclectic mix of electronic rhythms. All of the hallmarks of Kieran Hebden’s work are present; soulful female vocals stretched beyond coherence and cutup male voices over propulsive beats. However, Hebden’s recent work with ambient dubstep producer Burial seems to have had an impact on the album’s style. Most obviously on tracks ‘Gong’ and ‘Unicorn’ which both exhibit rumbling basslines and earthy tones such as those found on Burial’s groundbreaking self-titled debut. Mixing sun-drenched psychedelia with more unsettling beats has always been a strength of his previous releases. It’s apparent here as well, especially in ‘Aerial’: artificial tom-toms, cowbells and sampled voices create a track that could soundtrack both a dingy basement rave and a glorious beach sunset with equal success. At times it can seem as if the album lacks cohesion. There is no overarching theme that ties together what occasionally seems like a disparate collection of tracks. However, this doesn’t detract too much from what is an engaging and exciting work from a producer that finds genre hopping to be second nature.
BACK TO LAND Wooden Shjips Thrill Jockey 12th November 2013 For bands like Wooden Shjips, the idea of progression is a difficult one. With a sound so rooted in the amplification and refinement of a particular set of influences, it follows that at a certain point things must reach their logical conclusion. Their last album, the fantastic West, distilled the California-via-Cologne boogie of their core sound, achieving to near perfection those combinations of length, intensity and repetition that make for great psychedelic music. The title of their new long player is a good indicator of how the sage San Franciscans are attempting to overcome the awkwardness of building on this without resorting to empty maximalist approaches, but to varying success. The opening title track is exemplary of Wooden Shjips’ newfound laid-back, earthy approach to space rock, featuring strummed acoustic guitar and straight-up rock drumming of the kind that might appear on a Tom Petty record. Sonically it takes Loop’s MC5-on-ecstasy vibe and, whereas a younger incarnation of the band might have thrown it further into the ether, gives it a drink of water and introduces it to Creedence Clearwater Revival. The guitar tones are more muted, no longer as searing as the heavier moments on West. It will also come as a surprise to anyone familiar with Wooden Shjips to hear on occasion those rare things: the odd chord change, actual choruses and even a middle eight or two. ‘Ghouls’ is one of the album’s best tracks and also its shortest. Clocking in at a ludicrously brief four minutes, it marries a hyperactive Dinger beat to swirling Farfisa organ and commendably restrained guitar riffing. However what the Shjips
get right on this track they get wrong on the next, the turgid ‘These Shadows’. Here the creeping influence of Neil Young-ish classic rock seems to have acted as a diluting agent, its complacent plod and lazy guitar strumming wrong-footing their usual delivery of sure-fire psychedelic goodness. A similar thing happens on closer “Everybody Knows” which, although it’s not saying much, appears to be the most harmonically complex Johnson has ever penned. By looking more to the internal grooves of the songs rather than merely the pummeling guitar textures, moments on this album really progress from their earlier work, albeit rather laterally. See the inexorable gallop of ‘Other Stars’, its exploration of new rhythms providing one of the albums most interesting moments, its weighty churn combining with an exquisitely spacey guitar solo, proving that when they’re not trying to get in touch with their inner songwriter this band can still blow your head off. Wooden Shjips were always great road music (granted, of the drug-ravaged and inward-looking kind) and on Back to Land they have willfully relegated themselves to the back seat. The LP attempts to coopt some of the trappings of classic rock to add to the songwriting. The trouble is Wooden Shjips were never really about the songs; they were about hooks and repetition. This album still adheres to that, but adds elements that in some cases detract from the urgency and otherwise contemporary feel of the record. Back to Land is a necessary step for Wooden Shjips but not altogether a successful one. Danny Riley
Whilst Best Coast’s new mini-album Fade Away is full of catchy tunes and rhyming dictionary lyrics which make for easy listening, as a whole it just doesn’t seem very interesting. Lead singer Bethany Constentino has described this album as the “baby” of the band’s first two albums and the songs will please Best Coast fans with their surf-pop feel that harks back to their successful first album along with elements of their second album; however, Constentino fails to create a new sound that excites the listener, despite the undeniable toe-tapping nature of the songs. Opening track ‘This Lonely Morning’ is an excellent example of a catchy surf-pop song, whereas ‘I Wanna Know’ is much worse with a short chorus that features early on in the song and too regularly. The following tracks continue in the same style and the songs repeat themselves so much you are bored by the end of each one, with the exception of title track ‘Fade Away’ which is a refreshing change but still nothing special. The EP comes to an end with the worst track ‘I Don’t Know How’, a boring song that uses the same devices we’ve all heard 1000 times before to round off a catchy yet very disappointing minialbum. Guy Barlow
Los Campesinos! No Blues
James Ferraro NYC, HELL 3:00 AM Hippos in Tanks October 15th 2013 Equally lauded as an experimental visionary and derided as a pretentious imp, James Ferraro’s productions distil strains of modern hip-hop, washes of dark sound, and an abrasive lo-fi production style into an amateurish, Garageband collage that treads a knife-edge between pleasingly unsettling and irritatingly incoherent. Building on the thematic and atmospheric leanings of its last album April’s Cold, this album creates a nightmarish, sickly vision of Ferraro’s home city. The first hurdle for the listener is actually one of the more comparatively smooth sonic elements – the producer’s voice. Thin and tuneless, it manages to faithfully imitate modern RnB styles whilst evoking a real sense of distance from them. However, it is overused – warbling away on many of the tracks in a way that distracts and detracts more than anything else. The musical backing can be wonderful though Ferraro has a real sense for twisted, minimalist rhythms that thud under dull, processed strings and glitchy sonics. Generally speaking, these productions work better when they stray into dark ambient territory than when the hi-hats are rolling along on an outsider hip-hop bent. Either way, this is an evocative if messy work in a career that will certainly be worth following. Mike Hegarty
Is JT still Justified?: 20/20 Experience Part 2 In an age where the music itself is almost an afterthought for many in the mainstream, Joe Brandon ruminates on the latest offering from this ‘intergalactic pop god’ Justin Timberlake has been a busy bee this year. March saw the release of the eagerly anticipated The 20/20 Experience, and this month The 20/20 Experience: Part 2 of 2 was thrust in our general direction. Upon hearing about JT’s new material, part of me was salivating at the prospect of hearing those dulcet tones once more. Another part of me, however, was decidedly more apprehensive. 2013 JT is certainly not the JT that ruled over the noughties like an intergalactic pop god. Gone is the glossy production of The Neptunes
that made Justified a contender for the greatest solo male debut album ever, with Timberlake opting instead for plenty of intros, outros, extended breakdowns and general selfindulgence (the average track length on 2 of 2 is six minutes), not to mention the outdated production of Timbaland. Instead of the slick synths and guitars of ‘Rock Your Body’ et al, we have generic trap beats and crude lyrics such as those of ‘Cabaret’ (‘Girl, if sex is a contest, then you’re coming first’ – any takers? Thought not).
Opener ‘Gimme What I Don’t Know (I Want)’ feels empty and soulless, full of meaningless lyrics like ‘Why don’t you come out and play,/Let me get closer to your animal inside’ and cringe worthy, leering lines such as ‘Baby you act like a lady, don’t have to cover it up’. The overt sexuality of everything on this record is at odds with JT’s previous cutie-pie image, and it doesn’t suit him. That is not to say the album is a complete failure. Timbaland’s production, even if it does feel samey after FutureSex/ LoveSounds, provides some heavy beats and Timberlake’s voice is obviously a welcome addition to any track. ‘Murder’ is genuinely funky – and Jay-Z’s presence actually w o r k s (despite h i s
inexplicable attack on Yoko Ono) - while ‘Blindness’ is a slow jam Trey Songz would be proud of. ‘You Got It On’ allows Justin to show off his acrobatic vocals and trademark falsetto and proves satisfyingly familiar. Leading single ‘Take Back The Night’ is a certified pop banger à la Michael Jackson, but the recent lawsuit over JT’s oversight of the anti-rape group of the same name gives one the impression that the whole album was a rushed job. The haunted ‘True Blood’ would be a good song but it sounds too much like ‘SexyBack’ and at nine minutes long feels more like Mona the Vampire than Dracula. ‘TKO’ is frankly boring and the anthemic chorus of ‘I’m out for the count, yeah girl you’ve knocked me out/It’s just a TKO’ (yawn) actually makes me angry, it’s so far below JT’s capabilities. Timberlake’s attempt at whiskey blues in ‘Drink You Away’ left me embarrassed for him, like finding your uncle in a strip club, while the dreary ‘It’s Not A Bad Thing’ is, well, a bad
thing. ‘Electric Lady’ helps the album to end on something of a positive note with Justin able to bounce off Timbaland’s percussive beats, but the end of the record left me feeling relieved and with a bitter taste in my mouth. One cannot, however, escape the feeling that this whole album was somewhat hashed together, as if Timberlake just scooped up the leftover recordings from 1 of 2 and decided to put out another album for no obvious reason but for financial gain. Timberlake switches between two pop clichés on this album: sex and heartbreak, and does neither as well as he has done on previous projects. The album is poor, especially in relation to 1 of 2, which boasted enough hooks to be a passable JT record. But Justin Timberlake is that rarest of things - a true pop star in the 21st Century - and for that reason his contributions to music can never be truly worthless.
Science & Tech
Editor: Molly Hawes
Deputy Editor: Sol Milne
Online Editor: Stephanie Harris
Aussie ‘nutter’ PM torches climate change policies Sol Milne Science Writer The former Prime Minister of Australia, Paul Keating has described Tony Abbott as the ‘resident nutter’. This coming after a 2010 interview in which Keating said that ‘If Tony ever ends up as Prime Minister of Australia, you’ve got to say - God help us.’ In the cabinet reshuffle following Tony Abbott winning the Australian elections in early September, the role of Science Minister was split between the Minister for Industry and the Minister for Education in an effort to ‘limit ministerial inflation’, says the recently elected Liberal PM. There’s a minister for Sport, but not one for Science. He has also disbanded Aussie Government bodies addressing climate change; approximately 33 climate change programs are now to be scrapped and run by just two departments. Abbott referred to Australia’s Climate Commission as ‘absolute crap’, and has since disbanded
this vital government body. His top priority is to repeal Australia’s carbon tax; a tariff on pollution that will limit producers of carbon emissions to a specific quota and tax them when they go over the limit. This law is soon to be repealed in an effort to allow the highly lucrative mining industry to expand. Australian mining heiress Gina Rinehart has been accused of being one of the outrageously rich people creating a campaign of confusion around climate change, in an effort to obscure the full potential impact of changing temperatures and Australia’s role in worldwide greenhouse gas production. Repealing the carbon tax would be ideal for the mining industry; and for Abbott’s cabinet, a short term expansion and exploitation of resources that would pump in a little money for his short term in power. I say short term because in the timescale of the environment, toing and fro-ing with environmental policy is completely unsustainable. To put in place well thought out legal infrastructure, like the carbon tax,
and then to have it thrown out by the next party in power completely undermines the concept of an environmental policy. It is true that many companies will choose to pay for litigation rather than allow their growth to be restricted by a tax on the tonnes of CO2 they emit annually. In many cases, the carbon tax would simply allow the government to reap a benefit from firms large enough to afford it. However, having taxes would force it to be factored into company policy and push development in the direction of sustainability by making it prohibitively expensive to over-emit. If policies put in place to last over generations are being overturned constantly, no progress can be made with the issue. David Suzuki. a renowned Canadian environmentalist has stated that Tony Abbott and his cabinet were guilty of ‘willful blindness’ by committing the crime of ignoring climate change. Suzuki believes the marginalization of science in favour of political priorities by disbanding the climate change commission and splitting the
Priceless precipitation Molly Hawes Science Writer Here on Earth, lightning strikes 45 times a second. Channels of plasma allow electrical conduction down tails over 5km long resulting in releases of potential energy exceeding a billion volts. Opinions are divided- those watching from afar appreciate the beauty and power of a strike while those affected lose homes, possessions and even their lives. But on the gaseous giants beyond the asteroid belt, thunderstorms produce something a lot more desirable here on earth - diamonds. On Saturn, for example, 1000 tonnes of diamonds a year rain down following thunderstorms. Lightning turns methane into plain old soot- but this hardens during the first 1600km into graphite, the stuff you find in your pencils. After 7000km of free fall these crystals have rearranged their atoms into diamonds under the incredibly high pressure and temperature regimes prevalent in Saturn’s atmosphere. After this the gem has another 30,000km to fall before it plunges into a hypothesised sea of liquid carbon. These findings (yet to undergo peer review) were recently presented at the
annual planetary science meeting of the American Astronomical Society. The scientists suggest that the density of Jupiter could also lend itself to diamond production. This planet is known for its spectacular weather systems like the great red spot - a storm spotted by Galileo in 16th century
hypothesised sea of liquid carbon.
Italy and still raging today. Due to its immense gravitational filed, gases like helium fall as rain after forming droplets thousands of kilometres above the swirling hydrogen clouds. What of weather in the inner solar system? Mercury’s atmosphere is incredibly thin (14 orders of magnitude slimmer than on earth). What it does have it pulled from solar wind but the insubstantial veil of gases does not make for exciting weather. Venus, on the other hand, is in the
role of minister for science is a very dangerous move. According to Abbott, running all climate change programs from two departmental authorities will save tens of millions in the short term, a drop in the ocean compared to the tax reaped from mining in
Abbott referred to
Australia’s Climate Commission as ‘absolute crap’ and has since disbanded this vital government body
Australia, but it will cost orders of more magnitude to move communities and invest in agricultural techniques that will make it possible for the people of Australia to persist along the sidelines of the continent. Look at Australia: the middle is empty- so hot and arid that there are areas the size of Slovenia unpunctuated by a piece of shade. The livable regions of the country are along the coast, vulnerable to the onset of desertification. The country has already seen an increase in droughts, bush fires, tornadoes, floods and record breaking heat this year, a spike that has been correlated with the increase in greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. Carbon dioxide levels passed the 400 parts per million milestone just this year which has forced many climate change skeptics to reconsider their look on the quantitative effects of our CO2 output on the planet. The sad irony concerning Abbott’s complete disregard of climate change laws is that Australia is one of the first countries to feel the effects of a change in the weather patterns.
grip of a runaway greenhouse effect. Cocooned in a 250km thick layer of gas, 97% of which is carbon dioxide, the surface reaches a sweltering 467 degrees and pressures 93 times greater than on earth. The turbulent mass of caramel-coloured clouds is beautiful but deadly: many probes have met an early death as heat shields failed prematurely. Mars has a thin atmosphere with traces of methane which some astrophysicists think could be indicative of life. Dust clouds course across the equator when winds pick up, obscuring the surface for months at a time. At the other end of our solar system, what of Pluto? Little is known about this distant, discarded planet. Certainly no diamonds rain down here. On this cold rock, ices sublimate directly into gases, cooling the surface to an icy minus 230 degrees. Weather varies hugely across our tiny region of space known as the solar system. The latest technologies are capable of suggesting weather and cloud chemistry for planets orbiting other suns. Over 900 exoplanets have been discovered to date, with many more on the way. Clouds of glass particles, rain made of rock, green sunsets and 11000 mile-per-hour winds have been predicted so far.
Daisy Dunne Science Writer It’s finally happened: all our fears have been realised and we’re all going to die. Not really, but if there’s any time to claim jumping on the sofa and screeching at the sight of one of these tiny eight-legged monsters is completely rational, it is now. It’s been reported that around 10,000 “killer” false widow spiders have made their way across the South of England and are currently terrorising Bristolians and Londoners alike. The Steatoda Noblis has long been the UK’s most poisonous spider but, until recently, has remained a small and localised population in Devon. The critters were thought to have travelled to Devon from the Canary Islands on banana cargo ships back in 1807,
but our abnormally warm summer has propagated their rapid reproduction and migration to more regions in the South. The spiders can be identified by a distinctive marking on the back of their abdomen that resembles a white skull, (at least they are courteous enough to warn us of their own toxicity). They are thought to only bite us if they feel threatened; their bites most commonly lead to symptoms of localised pain and swelling. However, in rare cases bites can lead to a serious allergic reaction known as anaphylactic shock, which may lead to a sudden and certain death. To avoid these creatures, stay away from camping, ventures to your local park and your garden shed. Unfortunately, these efforts might be futile as the spider experts predict the false widows are likely to soon move into our homes to avoid the harsh cold this winter. Happy Halloween!
Flickr: Id_kin alaniz
Megabit of frustration Mission Rabies Edward Hooton Science Writer
The internet is
a joyous invention and one that we all revel in, and to an extent are
sticks could be such an alternative for the transference of media. Imagine a situation where you could go to a high street distributor like HMV, hand over your device, request the media and games you want, go away for quarter of an hour and grab a hot beverage, and return to collect your full device fully loaded with the latest releases ready to play on your computer, for example. This sort of distribution would not only combat the internet issue that many of us face, but would also reinvigorate the retail market and keep games stores in business, as well as help the local economy in general if it got people out to the shops. A notable issue with this is piracy. Having simple memory devices would open the floodgates for easy methods of copying games and media en masse. However if companies like Sony and Microsoft produced licensed memory units for use with specific retailers, then that issue may be subverted. The added cost of buying specific memory sticks may turn people off, and unfortunately I don’t have a solution for that. Not only that, but it would still require people to physically go to the store, a potential inconvenience for those who prefer simple download processes; unless Amazon or equivalent online retailers can provide a service for sending and returning devices, but that still factors in delivery costs. Do big companies need to go down an entirely an ‘internet’ based route for digital distribution? As media gets larger, use of mobile memory devices may help prolong a purely digital internet only distribution for markets with lagging (excuse the pun) bandwidth.
Jimmy Scott-Baumann Science Writer 24 people die from rabies every day in India alone and most of them are children. 99% of these people have been infected through a dog bite. The Indian government’s current policy for reducing rabies is to cull hundreds of thousands of stray dogs every year, inhumanely and indiscriminately without testing for rabies first. The World Health Organisation has stated that mass canine vaccination - of at least 70% of the canine population is the most effective way of controlling rabies in both dogs and humans. TV vet Luke Gamble, supported by his charity Worldwide Veterinary Services, set out to vaccinate 50,000 dogs across India this September. They were backed by an army of volunteers including local and international vets, vet students, local animal handlers and a huge state of the art, all-terrain mobile veterinary hospital. They met and exceeded their target,
vaccinating over 60,000 dogs across India. Tilly Ethuin, one of the three vet students funded by University of Bristol to go, said the most rewarding part of the mission was ‘being invited into peoples’ homes, being offered food and asked to treat their pet dogs’. As well as providing vaccinations, general health checks and animal birth control programmes, the mission involved educating people about the disease and how to avoid becoming infected. The mission will continue each summer for the next 3 years. With Small Pox and Rinderpest being the only two diseases in history to be wiped off the planet, could this be the start of the eradication of rabies? Bristol University Veterinary and Zoological Society (BUVZS) are holding a talk by Ethuin and the other volunteers about the mission on Tuesday November 12th. You can volunteer or simply find out more at: www.missionrabies.com
It should be no shock to anyone reading this newspaper, let alone this article, that internet quality in the United Kingdom is still in it’s infancy. While the internet is a joyous invention that we all revel in, and one that we, to an extent, are dependent on; it’s becoming a bigger and bigger issue that we in Western Europe are lagging behind other markets around the globe. According to online statistics, the UK is ranked 27th of over 200 countries with an average download speed of 3.8Mbps, which is the norm for most of us outside of London and major cities. If you compare these statistics to those from our neighbours in the United States - who aren’t in the top 10 - the issue is even more severe in terms of disparity of internet speed. While those citizens living in major cities on the East and West coasts can enjoy internet speeds that facilitate downloads of HD movies in under 30 minutes, those in more central states still use Dial-Up internet. But this article isn’t aimed to compare one region’s internet speed to another. Despite the fact that we pay similar prices to those around the country and even in other countries who achieve better services than we do, the issue lies more with the increasing capacity of ‘the internet’ and the services companies are attempting to provide. As technology progresses and we move from the Standard Definition era to the High Definition era, media files are increasing in size and will take hours and even days to download with
the current state of the internet. Let me exemplify the situation with a real life example of where the internet is headed. This coming winter brings the highly anticipated releases of the XBOX One and the Playstation 4. These connected consoles are set to change gaming for the next few years, and one way is with digital distribution of software. With suitable sized hard drives akin to the ones we have in our computers, game developers are keen for consumers to download games just as often as they would buy a physical copy in the form of a Blu-Ray disc. Yet as games get more technically impressive and advanced, so do their file sizes. News came recently that the game Killzone: Shadow Fall’s file size will be an astounding 50gb, which, to put in perspective, is about 6 HD movies, or 25 SD movies, or about 6,500 songs. But does the size of Killzone’s download have to be so disastrous? Is there not room for another form of digital distribution that doesn’t depend on a high speed internet provider? Portable storage devices like USB
Rethinking smilodons: big cat or little pussy? Steven Zhang Science Writer
Weird and wonderful
ideas have been put forward as to how a sabre cat used those formidable canines
the animal’s extraordinary bulk and musculature, in particular the powerful front limbs, scientists now agree that the sabre cat wrestled large prey to the ground, before delivering a final coup de grâce to the throat or jugular. The fragility of the sabres themselves confirm the need for an intensive physical duel with a large prey before the trademark weapons are put to use. A large number of specimens from La Brea show severe injuries that certainly led to the hunter’s demise. The need for a good meal without breaking the sabre’s enlarged canines upon contact with tough hide and bone probably drove the cats into specialising in hunting large prey, and eventually spelt their doom when the spectacular behemoths of North America died out after the end of the Last Ice Age.
Flickr: Id_Dallas Krentzel
The image of a ruthless sabre-toothed cat effortlessly disembowelling its prey, in a panorama of flesh and blood, must have wreaked havoc in the imagination of any child fascinated by prehistoric animals. But is this a respectful interpretation of such an enigmatic animal’s life history? Weird and wonderful ideas have been put forward as to how a sabre -toothed cat used those formidable canines: ranging from using their fangs to hunt elephants in a vampiric manner, to simply having the cumbersome teeth as mere ornaments. Recent advancements in technology allowed palaeontologists to put things into perspective. Computer modelling by Dr Stephen Wroe based at the University of Sidney suggests the sabre cat devised a weaker bite than a lion despite being far more muscular than any big cat alive today. Isotopic biochemical analysis of some extraordinarily well-preserved remains of sabre cats found at the Rancho La Brea tar pits in Los Angeles suggest that the main victims were camels, horses and bison. Tests using animatronic models of the sabre-toothed cat’s skull structure on bison carcasses proved the sabres are ill-equipped for disembowelling, so what was going on? Reconciling
The approach of using animatronic reconstructions of the extinct predators allows scientists to delve deeper into the past. Studies by Dr Emily Rayfield of the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Bristol concluded that just like the sabre cat, the Allosaurus delivered a weaker bite than a lion; with narrow, steak-knife like teeth, it was probably a specialised flesh eater gobbling out shanks of meat. Some even propose that like modern sharks, the Allosaurus would simply bite off a sizeable chunk for snack rather than kill when encountering a large prey like Brachiosaurus, leaving their victims to live on and provide food for later. One animal whose infamous reputation survived scientific scrutiny is none other than the Tyrannosaurus. A recent study led by Dr Karl Bates at the University of Liverpool concluded that Tyrannosaurus exerted the strongest bite of any land animal, with a force of up to 60,000 newtons, easily shattering anything between its formidable jaws. It can be hard to imagine creatures like this, they fit into fiction better than our reality, to the point that some people are even dubious of their existence. Recreating models of them in action helps us to visualize the animals in real life and how they moved; a wealth of information can be derived from a set of gnashing jaws.
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Sport BUCS is back! Epigram’s online sports editor George Moxey gives us a round up of the Bristol teams involved in the first week of British University and Colleges Sport (BUCS) fixtures
The first BUCS Wednesday of the year was one of mixed emotions for Bristol’s sports clubs. The University of Bristol Rugby Club recorded a clean sweep of wins with victories for all four teams. The 1st team beat bottom club Swansea 20-6 on the way to their first win of the season. Elsewhere, the 2nds beat the same Welsh club’s second XV with a tight 15-12 win, the 3rds beat Bournemouth first team 24-5 and in the Western 3A league the 4ths beat Southampton Solent 17-7 to make it a full house of victories at Coombe Dingle for UBRFC. The hockey club endured contrasting emotions: whilst UBLHC recorded an impressive four wins out of four the men’s club lost two of their three matches. The 1sts were handed an 8-2 thrashing by Exeter and 2nds a 3-2 loss to Cardiff Met. The 4ths won, however, comfortably beating local rivals Bath Spa 7-2. The grass was greener on the ladies side; a 5-3 win for the 1sts against Cambridge a particular highlight. The 2nds won 4-2 against Cardiff 3rds, the 3rds won 5-0 away to Southampton 2nds and the 4ths edged the Royal Agricultural University in a tight 4-3 victory. The men’s 1sts lacrosse team ensured a lively drive home from Plymouth with a 16-1 away win demolition. Meanwhile, the club’s women’s 2nd team played out a 14 goal thriller at Topsham Sports Ground, home to Exeter – the Bristol outfit eventually running out 8-6 winners against their university counterparts. Meanwhile, the mens 2nds lost 8-3 at home, also against Exeter. Other results include the netball 3rds monumental 53-3 thrashing away to Southampton’s 1st team and the men’s basketball team’s 73-60 defeat of Plymouth. The women’s 1sts fencing team routed Southampton 1sts 135-96, a local grudge match saw the netball 5th team embarrassing UWE 5ths 53-14 and a 5-0 away loss for the women’s football team against Chichester University. The men’s 4th football team won 2-0 away to the Plymouth 3rd team.
Intramural football: Badgers a whisker away from defeat
Joe Olley & Andrew Bagshaw Sports Reporters Undeterred by news that the culls are to be extended, the Badgers scampered out of their sett to face AFC BOB in their first game of the 2013-14 Intramural football season. It has been a tough pre-season for the Badgers, with not only the widely-publicised culling but the lure of big money jobs in the city contributing to their dwindling numbers. Some experts had warned that badger culling on the downs may actually potentiate the spread of bovine tuberculosis (bTB), due to badger cetes spreading to fill the void left by decimated populations. These concerns were justified as a number of new – and potentially disease-ridden – Badgers stepped out to make their competitive debuts. From the start, the Badgers were on the back paw and the visitors’ unrelenting pressure resulted in an early goal. However, this was subsequently disallowed on grounds of blatant handball, which caused a series of protests and an aggressive standoff – typical of those we have all grown accustomed to in intramural football. Despite an abundance of black and white stripes, there was no referee to be seen. A tactical reshuffle of the cete, midway through the first half, swung the advantage back in favour of the Badgers, who were now spreading the ball about like TB. This spell of possession was to prove fruitful; on
Badgers players past and present the 30 minute mark, a beautifully delivered corner was fiercely met by the snout of Andy Bagshaw to leave the ball burrowed deep in the back of the net and the Badgers with a 1-0 lead. Contrary to the opinion of Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson, the Badgers had not ‘moved the goal posts’ and the goal rightly stood. The Badgers began the second half as if they’d just surfaced from a long winter hibernation, with the concession of two quick goals. Tiredness was setting in and the lack of pre-season fitness training was evident. Luckily, the same was true for AFC BOB. Soon the Badgers were digging in and beginning to pile on the pressure. With 10 minutes to go and the wind in their matted fur they looked resurgent. A searching header from the edge of the 18-yard-box was delicately flicked on over the visitor’s defence, to find Bodger (Elliot Smith) and Badger (Mark Parry) in acres of grassland. With the two wrestling for the loose ball, Bodger proved himself as the dominant boar by getting the important touch to claw the ball past AFC BOB’s goalie, who appeared to be stuck in the mud. An affectionate Badger brawl ensued. However, this was quickly disbanded with fears that government marksmen would see it as an opportune moment to add a few more to the tally. As the final whistle blew, the Badgers shook paws and returned to their sett with a point in the proverbial bag. Brave and tenacious, the Badgers eagerly anticipate their next game. However, they are fully aware that they may not all survive the season.
The University of Bristol Hockey Club
Ladies Hockey get one over on academic rivals Bristol Ladies 1st’s hockey captain Cat Melville gives a quick breakdown of her team’s victory over Cambridge Having had a great start to our season with 3 wins out of 3 on a Saturday, the UBLHC 1st XI were excited to get underway with our first BUCS match against Cambridge at the Fortress Dingle. The first 15 minutes saw Bristol take a strong 3-0 lead against Cambridge, playing some of the best hockey of the season so far. However, for the remainder of the match our game slipped, allowing Cambridge to appear far better than they actually were. After some terrible misses from DOD Steph Addison and some great saves from MOM, Martha Watson, the final score was 5-3 to Bristol. With an incredibly strong squad this season, we’re excited to be off to such a good start and look forward to playing Cardiff next week!
U ou foo
Jacob Webster Sports Editor
They’ll make your blood freeze in your veins!
Ali Haggis Sports Reporter
With Halloween just around the corner, Epigram Sport have found 10 scary sportspeople that fit in perfectly with the gerneral spooky air. So if you’re looking for inspiration for a last-minute Halloween costume, why not try giving one of these guys a go? They are certainly nothing if not frightening!
10. Amy Turner - The England women’s rugby hooker is not only undoubtedly strong physically, she also has massive mental strength, coming back from injury and changing positions. Unnerving.
Flickr Flickr: Freckled Guitar
9. Zhou Lulu - Chinese weightlifting world record holder, lifting over 300kg. Built like a tank, there’s no way anyone is winning an arm wrestle with this powerhouse. Intimidating. 6. Flickr: angela n
8. Katie Taylor - The Irish boxing champion has beaten everyone en route to the top of the world. She also looks like butter wouldn’t melt. Fearsome.
7. Franck Ribery - You only have to briefly glance at this Frenchman’s face to realise why he strikes fear into the hearts of all that survey him. Blood-curdling. 6. Caster Semenya - The fact that people didn’t even believe she was a woman shows just how good an 800m runner she is. Eerie.
5. Michael Holding - The guy’s nickname was ‘Whispering Death’. He bowled at almost 100mph. With an entirely silent run-up. Is there any scarier prospect? Spine-chilling.
Editor’s Column This week, Epigram’s Sports coeditor Hetty Knox gives her somewhat disgruntled views after her trip to Old Trafford to see Manchester United slip further behind their Premier League title rivals. Theatre of Dreams? Try Theatre of Nightmares - a far more apt description of Manchester United’s current form, both home and away, this season. On Saturday the 19th of October I made the 3-hour journey from Bristol to see my team throw away yet more precious points in this season’s Premier League as they played out a 11 draw with Southampton. I would be living in a dream world if I had expected United to emulate their successes under Sir Alex Ferguson with new manager David Moyes this season. Of course there was always going to be that ‘transition phase’ with a new manager, but I don’t think any United fan would have predicted their team to be lying in eighth place in the table after eight games. The thing that struck me most about the team’s performance against Southampton was their inability to retain possession. Passes were constantly going astray and there was a distinct lack of fluidity within the team. When the ball eventually made it to the attackers, there were occassional flashes of brilliance. Rooney, van Persie and new boy Adnan Januzaj are clearly forming an understanding that could be formindable, if they can get the service their talent deserves.
4. Fatima Whitbread - One of Britain’s greatest female athletes, whose scariness comes from her power, speed, skill and strength, and the fact she could hit you with a javelin from 70 metres. Horrifying.
Flickr: Celebxtra Flickr: Tab59
3. Buck Shelford - A slightly less well-known All Black, but nonetheless extraordinarily scary. Halfway through a match against France, his scrotum got ripped open. He got it sewn back up and was back on the pitch five minutes later. Frightening. 2. Venus and Serena Williams - We know, technically two people, but equally scary. In singles they intimidate their opponents, in doubles they devour them. Sleep-depriving.
1. Mike Tyson - This one is extremely self-explanatory. He bit someone’s ear off. He has a massive facial tattoo. Oh yeah, and here’s something he once said that could give you nightmares: ‘I think I’ll take a bath in his blood.’ Terrifying.
Bath prevail in tight Amlin clash
Jacob Webster Sports Editor
A packed house of 11,862 at the Rec were treated to an absorbing European clash as Bath overcame Newport Gwent Dragons to go to the top of Amlin Challenge Cup Pool 2 with a 26-10 triumph on Saturday 19th. Bath went into the game having picked a combination of experience and youth, with star players such as England international prop David Wilson and celebrity superstar Gavin Henson providing the backbone to a team also containing Academy products Richard Lane and Will Spencer. The Dragons picked an almost full-strength team, including Lions member Toby Faletau and Wales scrum-half Richie Rees. The first half was end-to-end, with both teams frequently deciding to run the ball back or keep kicks in-field rather than playing for any real kicking territory. The Newport back three was able to make good yards every time they picked the ball up, whilst Tom Biggs on the left wing for Bath made a succession of incisive breaks through the heart of the Dragons defence. One of these breaks led to a sweeping move out through the backs, which allowed lane to jog in at the corner. Almost immediately, Faletau responded as he ran in unopposed, after the Dragons utilised turnover ball. Both tries were converted by Jason Tovey and Tom Heathcote respectively, who both added a penalty to leave the teams going in at 10-10. A downpour meant that both teams struggled with their handling during the second half, as the ball became increasingly greasy. The Dragons struggled to reach the same standards of the first half, despite the best efforts of their fans roaring them on from the Hawthorns Terrace, and Bath were able to slowly exert a stranglehold over both possession and territory, aided by the sin-binning of Lewis Evans. Heathcote continued his good day with the boot, and the Bath win was sealed with 10 minutes to go by a pushover try from Mat Gilbert, a second half substitute. Toby Booth, Bath first-team coach, was pleased with the clinical nature of the Bath display: ‘We are very pleased with the drive and the scrum and we knew as the weather came in, it was going to be more a forward-orientated and game management afternoon, and I thought we were good for that.’
Bristol’s B&I Cup match against Aberavon
was abandoned after 69 minutes after a six-foot hole opened up on the Talbot Athletic pitch. Fire services attempted to fill the hole in, which was believed to be part of the drainage system, but it was not believed to be safe to play on. Bristol were leading 24-20 at the time, and it remains to be seen if the result will stand.
The solution though is simple: Buy, buy, buy
However, credit must be given where it is due, it was not just United’s lacklustre play that cost them- Southampton thoroughly deserved their point. With the least goals conceded so far this season, Mauricio Pochettino’s Saints are a transformed side from this stage last season and this statistic was evident in their closing down play. Muffled conversations in the football world are starting to suggest that United might be losing their ‘fear factor’. With almost an identical team to last season, barring the addition of Marouane Fellaini and Guillermo Varela, the 2012/13 champions appear to have lost their ability to close out games or to scrape a victory even when playing below par. Undoubtedly if these sub-standard performances continue, questions will begin to surface around David Moyes and whether he is the right man for the job. However, in my opinion, Moyes shouldn’t be the one under fire. He has inherited a team that punched well above it’s weight last season, with the Fergie factor responsible for pulling them through. The issue United have is that they have lost that backbone that so much of their previous success was built around. How can you compare the Jones and Evans partnership to the formidable Vidic and Ferdinand? And can you class Fellaini and Scholes in the same bracket? No. The solution though is simple: Buy, buy, buy. The number of United’s title rivals this year has increased simply due to these teams’ activites in the transfer market. Arsenal added Ozil, Spurs bought Paulinho and Soldado and Liverpool Sturridge and Coutinho. These three sides that would previously sit comfortably in the top third of the table have now made themselves into viable title contenders and if United want to do the same, they must transform their mediocre squad through the addition of world class players. Although only eight games into the season, it appears extremely unlikely that this United team will pose a real threat in this year’s title race and at this rate, they will be lucky to qualify for Champions League football. Everyone knows how difficult it is to integrate new players bought in the Janurary transfer window, so summer 2014 is the time for the Glazer family to splash some cash and transform the United squad.
Tendulkar’s last hurrah: The world bids farewell to cricket and sporting legend Sachin Tendulkar is set to retire from his glorious 24-year international career. Edward Henderson-Howat tells us why he is more than just a cricketer.
When any sporting great announces their retirement, feelings of sadness and emotion will surface, but, for Sachin Tendulkar, who will play his final game of cricket for India on the 14th November, it is different. He has become such an icon because every fan feels so close to him. When he walks out to bat he carries the hopes of a billion people. But what is it that makes us feel a connection to someone who is so far away? For 24 years he has graced the world of cricket by representing India on the highest stage and inevitably when you are performing such theatre for so long you will draw the support and attention of millions across the globe. Tendulkar was just 16 years of age when he made his international debut in 1989 and to still be playing almost a quarter of a century later is a remarkable feat of sporting endurance. When he retires after playing his 200th Test Match he will have spent almost two and a half thousand days with an Indian shirt on his chest in Tests and ODIs. In short, he draws support from so many because his career and his talent have been broadcasted to the generations who have grown up watching him on their TV screens. However, sweep away all else and the sheer genius of Tendulkar is his ability to score runs all over the world in any form of the game. The numbers speak for themselves: most runs in Test Matches and ODIs; highest number of centuries; greatest number of international matches played; world cup winner. But surely there must be something more, anyone can be good or even the best but to draw such adulation one has to touch people’s lives. The fact is that when he takes his team to victory he offers a brief moment of joy, of sheer happiness which can – if only for a second – alleviate the monotony and hardship of those who watch. But how is it that one can feel such a connection with someone we may have never spoken to or even seen in the flesh. In 2011, I was lucky enough to be metres away when he ran out to bat at the Oval against England and in June this year I walked on the Oval Maidan in Mumbai where he was said to have played as a boy but what can one take from these fleeting glimpses? He will never know my name, he will never know the names of the billions who cheer his name so can we ever claim to have a link or
association with such a figure? Perhaps, we only feel so close to him every time he goes out to bat because he is so far away. It is because he attains an almost God-like status from so many of his fans that he is so revered. In 2006 he was infamously booed at his home ground as he left the field after a run of low scores. However, it was not only the fear of losing which sparked such a reaction, there was also the fear that this disappointment represented a human failure – a human failure not befitting someone with a God-like status. For it is when he is out in the middle, scoring century after century that he rises to this higher level, and it is in those moments of perfection that we are drawn closest to him. For 24 years he has epitomised the upmost level of skill and dedication whilst offering hope for so many and that is why, when he walks out to bat for the last time this November, a billion Indians and millions of others across the world will walk with him.
Tendulkar scoring his 14, 000th test run vs Australia in 2010
Freshers’ Sport - the lowdown on football, lacrosse and volleyball Holly Smith Sports Reporter If settling into a new life at university isn’t exciting and daunting enough, having imminent sports trials at the end of introductory week could become a date to dread. It was impossible to predetermine the standard of current squad members and whether you fit into that ideal any more than anybody else. However, I believe that if you focus on enjoying your sport rather than trying to impress, the trials period is an excellent opportunity to meet other people who love your sport as much as you do. Arriving at Coombe Dingle with 50 other freshers for women’s football trials was a great experience to meet other girls in the year group who I have something in common with; namely, a love of playing football. Playing many short games and doing some technical drills quickly relieved any sense of nerves and just allowed me to enjoy playing competitively and feeling included in university sport. Afterwards, I was invited with a small group of other freshers to attend first team training, where the training was much more tactical. As a fresher I think there’s great potential for personal improvement by learning from the experience of the older players around you, which is why I particularly enjoyed the opportunity to train with the first team and analyse their style of play. I feel very humbled to have been included in this year’s first team. I am greatly looking forward to getting to know all the other girls at UBWFC whilst keeping fit and having a good time, not only playing football but at the infamous socials!
Jonny Keen Sports Reporter As new students we were all welcome to sign up to whatever we wanted at Fresh Sport, taking advantage of an opportunity at the end of the first week to run off the hangovers and experience the huge range of sports available to us here at UoB. Aptly, I chose to try something completely fresh to me: lacrosse. Now, consider this: I knew as much about how to play lacrosse as Jeremy Clarkson knows about subtlety. So to say I was a bit hesitant would be a mighty understatement. I imagined I’d have a stick shoved in my hand, a helmet plonked on my head and be left to fend for myself amongst a group of guys who had an intimate knowledge of the ins and outs of the game, and who had played together for years. Imagine my surprise, then, when what greeted me was the complete opposite. I’ve never met a more accommodating group of people. Being a less than mainstream sport, the lacrosse coaches and players alike knew exactly how to deal with a bunch of complete novices, some of whom had not even heard of the sport a week ago. The learning curve was huge, but almost immediately rewarding and a few training sessions later I felt like I’d been playing for years. Well maybe not years, but it definitely felt more natural. It’s a credit to the coaches that after only three weeks the lacrosse club is able to field a match worthy 2nd team almost completely made up of freshers. And although it’s still only early days, thanks to such a welcoming atmosphere (and weekly socials!), I now feel like a fully integrated member of the squad.
Jacob Webster Sports Editor If Fresh Sport is all about being a fresher doing fresh things, then I felt it apt to attempt something completely different. Knowing people who had previously played university volleyball, I had some inkling of the amount of fun that it provides, but the fact that I was the definition of a complete novice was certainly a point of nerves at the back of my mind. No amount of people telling me that it was only a ‘try-out session’ could prevent me from worrying about making a complete fool of myself in front of some very accomplished volleyball players. It therefore came as a pleasant surprise to discover that, not only was the entire session built around the idea of a fun introduction to the sport, but I was also quite good at it. By no means excellent, but to the extent where I did not stand out for the wrong reasons, as I had feared I might. Playing university sport is not solely about playing university sport (a logical statement). If anything, people get more excited about a social than scoring a try against UWE, scoring a goal against UWE (all manner of sports applicable here) or, slightly more relevant here, winning a match in straight sets against UWE. Volleyball did not disappoint on that front, with the initiation night leading to what can only be described as Wotsit-induced carnage. And some new carpets. I think it is a great credit to the training sessions that I have gone from a complete novice to a member of the first squad, and I am really looking forward to having as much fun as I have done so far, throughout the rest of the season.
Editor: Hetty Knox
Editor: Jacob Webster
Online Editor: George Moxey
Bristol City top Inside Sport list for football banning orders it. Cardiff City have the highest overall number of fans with bans imposed, with one-hundred and Bristol is not a city which twenty-one, so Bristol have would automatically be a long way to go before associated with football they can be considered the hooliganism and a high worst fans in the country. arrest rate at football City fans now have a total of matches. If you were to ask 56 banning orders in place your average football fan across all Football League their guess as to who had the grounds, but it is somewhat largest number of fans with surprising to find that 34 of bans from league grounds, those were put in place in their answers may vary the last year. widely, although Millwall Slightly further down the are often stereotyped as the rankings are Bristol Rovers, club with the rowdiest fans. who accrued nine banning However, over the course orders over the last year, of the last season, Bristol meaning they were the City fans have managed to joint thirteenth worst make their way up the table; club in the country. The albeit the wrong sort of record of these two teams table for their more rational could possibly have been supporters. influenced by the recent Picking up fifty-four local derby, in which ugly banning orders, which scenes were witnessed after for a team currently the final whistle, followed absorbed within League by many arrests, with One obscurity appears some still expected and excessive. Bristol City fans prosecutions continuing. have been shamed in the The game will undoubtedly latest report released by the have contributed to the FA studying behaviour at high level of banning football matches. However, orders imposed on the two the total number of banning clubâ€™s fans over the last orders (accumulated over a year but that still leaves the number of seasons due to impression that the Bristol life bans and other lengthy clubs are starting to earn bans) puts Bristol well below themselves unenviable the top, which suggests reputations: as clubs with that a tumultuous season fans who you wouldnâ€™t on the pitch, left their fans want to share a drink with feeling more aggrieved off after the game.
Halloween special - the 10 scariest sportspeople that will make you want to cover your eyes. page 55
Alistair Haggis Sports Reporter
Sachin Tendulkar: A global icon and Indian hero set for last match on home soil page 55
Our round-up of all the BUCS action returns for the first time this season. page 53
Freshers Sport - we get the accounts of those who have recently started their UoB sporting careers. page 54
And... Mark Olver
Gareth Richards 4 November 8.00pm â€˘ AR2, Anson Rooms, The Richmond Building