Cheeting evolution page 50
Arts Introducing page 39
Women in Sport page 28-29
Issue 269 Monday 9th December 2013 www.epigram.org.uk University of BristolIndependent Independent Student Newspaper University of Bristol Student Newspaper
Sexism at Bristol 45%
of Bristol students have experienced sexism
Permanent home for ‘Bark at Ee’
Students and lecturers battle it out in BBC quiz show, page 4
Epigram investigation reveals sexism is alive at Bristol, page 3
News Editorial Inside Epigram Features 9 Social media special
13 Do politicians have the right to a private life? Given their prominent position in public life, Comment’s Big Debate asks whether politicans are entitled to a life out of the limelight.
25 Christmas market bonanza
Travel brings you the go-to guide to the best Christmas markets in the south west.
Deputy Editor: Alex Bradbrook
Editorial Assistant: Anna Fleck
A note from the editor On Thursday 5th December 2013, Nelson Mandela died. No doubt by the time you read this, this news will be anything but. The bank of articles stored up by papers and press agencies in recent months will have been methodically dripfed into the mouths and hearts of the public, the event will be inching its way toward the history books and the moment at which the news was received will be forgotten. If you ask most people how they heard the news of Princess Diana’s death, their answers will be many and varied – from neighbours, papers, the radio, or as I remember, from the rude interruption of a thin red banner across the bottom of the Saturday morning cartoons. It is interesting that the variety of modes of communication appears to have shrunk in the last 16 years; while we believe ourselves to be privileged by a near-infinite range of communication possibilities, the truth is that we’re so saturated by sources that we cease to know what the true genesis of our knowledge is. While the population of 1997 may have been able to pinpoint the exact source of their information, the answer from the generation of today would need only one word: the internet. While I would have been unsurprised to count myself among those who answer the same, I was privileged to hear the news word-of-mouth. I say this with no superiority, seeing as the event took place in the Wetherspoon’s on the Triangle, but the compulsion of one man to stand up to a bar and announce the passing of the one of history’s great leaders struck me almost as much as the news itself. This act was much the same as the service that we attempt to provide to our readers. While we attempt to encapsulate the immediacy of the news, we also aim to create something worthy of preservation. I would be the first to praise the immediacy of online news; stories travel across the globe faster than a hurried game of Chinese whispers. At the same time, however, this constant need to keep things fresh means that news stales very quickly and the web has no time for yesterday’s stories. Although articles may remain online indefinitely, newer news will immediately trample them down the list of search engine priorities as their keywords
flickr: Festival Karsh Ottawa
Features focuses on the role, power and influence of social media on society.
Editor: Josephine Franks
are no longer buzzwords and their angle no longer quite fits the bill. While the internet caters to the desire to tweet moments away, tripping over yourself in the effort to keep up with frantic pace of news and life, print media allows you to revel in the moment rather than forget it in favour of the next. People are always asking how print media can keep up with the online world, but sometimes the answer is that although it cannot, it should not. A lot of what will be written about Mandela in the coming weeks will be about his legacy; his influence extends well beyond the 95 years he spent on this earth. We should look for importance not always in that which can be constantly updated, but in that which is preserved and remains as a reflection of our time. Josephine Franks
Flickr: Gertrud K
Writers’ meetings Every fortnight, our editors hold meetings for anyone who wants to write for Epigram. If you’d like to get involved, or simply want to find out more information, come along to any one of the following meetings or contact the relevant editor via their email address below. It’s never too late to get involved - we look forward to meeting you! Living
Film & TV
Science & Tech
Tuesday 10th Dec at 12pm Hawthorns
Thursday 12th Dec at 1.15pm ASS Library Café
The Centre Spread
Tuesday 10th Dec at 1pm HIghbury Vaults
Thursday 12h Dec at 12.15pm Tuesday 10th Dec at 6pm The Refectory Highbury Vaults
28-29 Women in sport
Sport takes over the centre spread to focus on the trials and tribulations of women in sport.
Music 47 2013’s best
Music lists the musical highlights of this year.
Science & Tech 51 Invisibility cloaks: perhaps not so impossible? Science & Tech reveals why, scientifically, invisibility cloaks may not be such an unfeasible concept.
Tuesday 10h Dec at 12.30pm The Refectory
Friday 13th Dec at 12.30pm ASS Library Café
Tuesday 10th Dec at 1.15pm The White Harte
Editor Josephine Franks firstname.lastname@example.org
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Tuesday 10th Dec at 1pm The Refectory
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Thursday 12th Dec at 1pm The White Bear
Comment Online Editor Jessica McKay firstname.lastname@example.org
What’s On Editor Josie Benge email@example.com
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SPECIAL REPORT: Sexism Olivia Lace-Evans News Reporter
one student gave an example of being surrounded by a group of men ‘who told me they were going to “make my ass bleed” and that I “was asking for it”’. Other students reported having their drinks spiked at clubs, being forced to perform oral sex in a taxi and being the victim of sexual assault and rape. A number of statements illustrated that although a large portion of the student body experience sexism, it often appears that those instigating the offensive behaviour do not believe that it is unacceptable. One anonymous commenter wrote, ‘A group of guys joked about threatening to rape me. I hear rape jokes from guys on a daily basis. A guy in a seminar on gender said that girls’ brains are just wired differently and so they’re naturally worse at maths and science. During discussions about feminism guys seem to be more interested in misandry and refuses to believe it’s that bad’. An overwhelming number of people identified that they found the biggest problem to be groping and sexual harassment in clubs. Furthermore, when asked if people had witnessed sexism or sexual harassment and tried to stop it, the majority of answers described moments in bars, clubs or pubs where they have had to step in to curb unwanted comments or touching of friends. A different area of the survey
asked whether students felt they had experienced sexism or sexual harassment from faculty, professors or tutors during their time at Bristol. Only 4% of responses answered yes to the given question. And yet, the comments exposed some disconcerting experiences from within the University. Student responses included: ‘When given translations of job applications, the male students received an application for a manager; the female students received an application for a secretary’.
Some men stated that they felt clubs treated women differently...and that dressing differently as a man also attracts negative attention
‘A female friend doing PhD was told, along with other female PhD students, that they should look after all the children of the lab members while the male PhD students attended a conference’. And, ‘In a recent careers lecture the (female) speaker said “and since women are such poor negotiators, girls you are going to earn on average 30% less
Online Editor: Stephanie Rihon email@example.com
rife at Bristol
than your male counterparts.” I found it a little worrying that she should lay the blame for the imbalance of wages at the feet of the women’. However, when the survey asked students how often they felt they had experienced sexism or sexual harassment, 38% answered that they had never experienced it. Of the other responses 45% answered sometimes, 10% weekly, 6% daily and 1% answered other. The survey was created to explore whether sexism is an active problem at Bristol, and if so, to what extent. Epigram’s survey also discovered that 51% feel they are treated differently due to their gender and 47% feel they have been sexually objectified at Bristol. Although the majority of the comments were directed towards women experiencing misogyny, men also reported experiencing sexual harassment. Some men stated that they felt clubs treat women differently, admitting men only if they have female friends accompanying, and that dressing differently as a man also attracts negative attention. Alice Phillips, Women’s Officer at UBU, expressed her concern at the results. ‘That 45% of students have experienced sexism or sexual harassment whilst at the University of Bristol is very concerning and illustrates how important it is as a union that we work together to fight sexism. At UBU we have
45% of students have experienced sexism or sexual harassment from fellow students during their time at the University of Bristol, an anonymous survey conducted by Epigram has discovered. The survey also revealed 42% of participants to have experienced sexism or sexual harassment from the public or members of the Bristol community. The most common experiences included receiving sexist comments, unwanted groping or touching and being subject to verbal abuse on the street. Online misogyny also featured highly, notably on Facebook groups such as ‘UniLad’ or ‘Lad Bible’ and those that rate the attractiveness of unsuspecting people from their profiles. Other experiences included being told that women had certain jobs or roles that excluded certain vocations, having university courses or modules belittled on the basis of gender stereotypes and frequently hearing rape jokes and general sexist ‘banter’. More alarming examples involved stalking, being taken advantage of when drunk and being offered money by strangers in exchange for sexual acts. The worrying frequency of threats of rape was also brought to light by the survey;
The study revealed that high percentages of students at Bristol felt that they experienced sexism
implemented a zero tolerance policy to sexual harassment and we have joined the No Excuse campaign in Bristol, which challenges rape myths.’ The Facebook page ‘Spotted: Sexism at Bristol’ was created by Alice Phillips to raise awareness of the issue. ‘The page has been collecting instances of sexism and harassment from Bristol students and this will help us to target areas of concern. Given the evidence we have collected so far and the results of the Epigram survey we’d particularly like to look further at what can be done to tackle sexual harassment at clubs.’ Sexism has become an increasingly severe issue at a number of universities around the UK. The Guardian recently
reported ‘Female students face a wave of misogyny in British Universities’, exposing a University of Stirling sports group through a video showing them chanting jokes about racism, rape and miscarriages. Similarly a club night in Leeds, titled ‘Freshers Violation’, came under fire in the press in October of this year after posting a video promoting rape culture. Girlguiding UK also found that sexism is a daily reality for girls. In light of the recent sexual assaults of two Bristol students, Bristol has increased the number of high profile rape campaigns tackling rape culture and incorrect preconceptions of what constitutes rape. See page 4 for a report on the MythBusters campaign.
Ferguson brings famous red trousers to Wills Memorial George Clarke News Reporter
George Ferguson speaks about his first year in office www.epigram.org. uk/news
Bristol’s first elected mayor George Ferguson took questions from the people of Bristol on Tuesday evening in Wills Memorial Building’s Great Hall. The mayoral question time, hosted by the University of Bristol, was attended by hundreds of local citizens. The Mayor, who makes an effort to always see and hear as many views as he can, opened the floor toquestions from the audience. A wide range of issues were covered from the closure of public lavatories to Bristol’s proposed arena. However the topic of transport dominated the hour. There was a student focus with one Bristol resident who has lived near Brandon Hill for over 30 years bringing up the topic of living in a hugely student dominated area and the loss of diversity. She criticised the loss of children from the area and the fact that all property is being bought by developers for student accommodation. Ferguson replied that ‘most students are lovely’ before adding ‘how could I say anything different
in this hall’. But, he went on to say that there was a need to ‘reduce the monoculture’ of students in some areas and thanked her for bringing the issue to his attention. Indeed, every question for the first half of the session focused on Bristol’s long known transport woes. A Montpelier resident raised the issue of inadequate parking space in the area. He described the problem as a knock on effect of the Mayor’s resident parking scheme. He went as far to say that soon it won’t be possible to own a car if you live in Montpelier. The Mayor replied by pointing toward other European cities where people have taken to using other forms of transport or buying smaller cars. He George Ferguson takes questions from the audience in Wills Memorial Building finished by saying that ‘It will be a suck it and see’ and the outside, of some of our that he would ‘take an intense magnificent buildings.’ interest’. The session was a part of the ‘This event follows on council’s budget consultation from our recent hosting of that aims to talk to citizens about the mayor’s annual address.’ the Mayor’s budget proposals, said David Alder, who chaired which include a £90 million cut the event. ‘It’s great that to Bristol City Council’s budget the university could host and a 2% rise in council tax. this event. It’s all about the People can have their say about people of Bristol and it’s great the Mayor’s proposals until the to give them the chance to 30th December. No decisions see the inside, and not just have been made yet and the
Mythbusters: fighting myths about rape Snehal Shah News Reporter
Stephanie Rihon Online News Editor
Spencer Turner Deputy News Editor The University of Bristol Green Society hosted an evening entitled ‘Alternatives to Austerity’ on Monday 2nd December. The event was presented in a panel debate format where four distinguished speakers were given five minutes to pitch their alternative to austerity, after which the floor was opened for questions from attendees. The panel at the event consisted of: Molly Scott Cato, the Green No 1 MEP Candidate, Ciaran Mundy who is Director of Bristol Pound, Professor Ruth Levitas of the University of Bristol’s Sociology Department and Dr Razvan Constantinescu who is the Chair of EuroMove Bristol & Bath. The panel
boasted a wealth of knowledge and creativity when it came to suggesting alternatives to austerity, with significant focus placed on galvanizing small and local business and encouraging a more coherent dialogue between the public and the Local Authorities. The event comes shortly after the conclusion of the Bristol Festival of Economics, where the public were informed and encouraged to discuss the state of our economy. The Green Society event provided further thought provoking and engaging questions about the state of our economy, relevant to students both today and in the future, irrespective of political allegiances. The University of Bristol Green Society can be found on Facebook with further events throughout the year.
Ciaran Mundy, Director of the Bristol Pound, speaks at the event
European Parliament approves Erasmus funding increase Joe Quinlan Deputy News Editor
The European Parliament has approved an increase in funding for a more comprehensive Erasmus programme, aiming to boost skills and employability across the continent. Erasmus+ combines the European Union’s current schemes for education, training, youth and sport into one package. Set to begin in January 2014, the seven-year programme has been granted a budget of € 14.7 billion - an increase of 40 per cent on current levels. It will ensure more than 4 million people receive support to study, train, work or volunteer abroad and provide Master’s degree students with a new loan guarantee scheme. Sir Graham Watson, MEP
for South West England and budget for the European President of the European Union,’ Watson said. ‘So what Liberal Democrat and Reform we’re doing is putting more Party, has championed the and more of what is left Erasmus programme for the towards Erasmus than we have opportunities it has offered to done in the past.’ students. ‘What we try to do is cut ‘It has allowed young people the budget in total but at the from different member states same time to direct what we to get to understand the are spending towards growth differences and the similarities and competitiveness. And one The south-west USA provides a Mars-like landscape between European countries’, of the things that is helping us he told Epigram. ‘It has not become more competitive and only been widely taken up by to become more successful in UK students wishing to spend terms of generating economic time studying abroad, but growth is by expanding also by students from other education and giving European countries wishing people wider experiences in to come to the UK or go education.’ elsewhere.’ Since 2007, over 90,000 Controversially, the increase UK students have used the in funding for Erasmus+ comes Erasmus scheme, yet this at a time of austerity for many number remains considerably EU member states. lower than other EU countries ‘You’ve got to remember with comparable populations, that we are cutting the overall such as France and Italy. For
Bharat Kunwar Madeleine Harrison
More news stories at www.epigram.org.uk/news
Green Society: Alternatives to austerity
Benjamin Goddard Photography
Bristol has been the first city in the southwest to be awarded ‘White Ribbon’ status for its commitment to ending violence against women. The International White Ribbon campaign was launched by a group of Canadian men in 1991. After over 20 years, it has become a worldwide movement with separate branches continuing their work in most countries. Most significantly, however, is its male-led management as the charity’s motto is to show the dedication of certain men to never condoning any form of abuse, be it domestic or sexual. The honour was presented to the Lord Mayor, Councillor Frank Choudhury, on 19th November during a ceremony on College Green. Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens proudly said that this means ‘men and women are standing up to domestic violence, pledging to never commit, condone or remain silent about this terrible crime’. She continued to state that this form of violence ‘remains one of [their] priorities’ as ‘domestic violence is never the victim’s fault’.
The week of events culminated in a candle lit procession on National Eliminate Violence against Women Day on 25th November. The procession went from NextLink – a community centre helping abused women – to College Green. Here, two candles were lit at 5pm, followed by a minute’s silence, to symbolise the two women who die each week due to domestic abuse in this country. Among those marching in the procession was Constable Louise Rolfe who said that ‘we all have a responsibility to challenge attitudes and focus our efforts on giving victims all the support and help they need’. A further aim of these commemorations is to raise awareness for Operation Bluestone. The initiative was launched by the police four years ago and is dedicated to investigating rape and sexual assault. Rolfe continues to reiterate that their aim is to ‘put the victim at the heart of every investigation’. Recent statistics show that 1 in 4 Bristolian women could be victims of domestic violence or abuse in their lifetimes and raising awareness of such issues is most certainly a necessity. For more information visit: www. whiteribboncampaign.co.uk
Mythbusting on Tyndall Avenue
City of Bristol wins ‘White Ribbon’ status
Student feminists were out in force on Thursday 21st November on Tyndall Avenue dressed in Mythbusters gear, launching a campaign tackling rape culture and media portrayals of sexual violence. They were led by UBU Welfare officer Alessandra Berti, and supported by Women’s Officer Alice Phillips, with UBU President Rob Griffiths making an appearance. Those taking part in the campaign talked to passersby about common unspoken assumptions of sexual consent and the effects of ‘rape culture’ – everyday discourse and media images that celebrate sexual dominance and misrepresent what consent really is. Male and female students alike posed for photos to share some of the worst myths they had encountered, including
blaming the victim for what they wore and where they went, or even ‘asking for it.’ FemSoc is also trying to show that rape concerns everyone. Member Emily Stoker said, “I thought it didn’t affect me, but after becoming a victim myself last year I’ve decided to take an active stand and help others. I’m tired of just sitting and talking about it on the computer.” Organiser Alessandra Berti said,‘Students are experiencing street harassment, sexism and groping in clubs. The campaign is about debunking myths, clarifying what constitutes consent and supporting survivors.’ UBU officers are determined to see this campaign all the way through. Berti is starting a survey following Thursday’s launch and Alice Phillips will take the lead after Christmas to focus on consent.
Watson, this can be put down to two main reasons: ‘Number one, British students learn fewer languages or do less language study in school than students in other countries, with the result that they are less self-confident about going and doing a course of study abroad. And secondly, I think that there has been over more recent years an increasingly nationalist tendency building in the United Kingdom which has undoubtedly affected students as well as others. The British Council, which hosts the UK’s National Agency for the current Erasmus programme, has welcomed the news, saying that Eramus+ will ‘equip participants with the skills they need to prosper in today’s challenging economic climate.’
Students vs. lecturers in BBC quiz Edward Hooton News Reporter
between University Challenge and comedy quiz shows such as Q.I. and to strike a balance that is both a stimulating challenge, but with the feel of a pub quiz. The venue turned out a healthy audience, with the show lasting just over an hour. David and Steve made a terrific job of welcoming the audience, their enthusiasm providing delightful comic relief. The actual quiz itself saw the students take an early victory, only to have it stolen away by the impeccable lecturer team known as ‘The Dons’. The evening proved to be a thoroughly entertaining one, with the university contestants all joining in with the jokes and making a good show for the audience. In Steve’s words, unlike television shows where the audience is watching how the show is made, they got to see the show that just so happened Students take on lecturers on ‘The Third Degree’ to be being recorded.
Ever wanted to face-off against one of your lecturers to see who knows their stuff? If you’re as confident as me in your degree, or if you know how brainy your lecturers are, the answer is probably not. But during the BBC hosted show, 3rd Degree, three Bristol students did their best in competition with their superiors. The quiz show, which took place in the Wills Memorial Building’s Great Hall, pitted students from subjects in Physics, English and Theology against their respective lecturers. The quiz consisted of 5 rounds: general knowledge, specialist subjects, quick-fire questions, on-thebuzzer questions and a round where contestants had to choose between high-brow and low-brow questions on a
given topic, with their direct competitor forced to answer the alternative. All of this took place for a recording made by the BBC to be aired next year sometime as part of a series, with producer David Tyler taking the show around the country. Hosting the event was the charming comedian Steve Punt, known for his work on The Now Show on Radio 4. When asked how he got involved with the quiz, Steve responded that he had been asked to host by David who he had worked with on many other projects. Steve initially hosted the pilot and the idea then span into a whole series, with Bristol being the fourth entry so far. Steve is no stranger to sitting on panel shows such as Have I Got News For You stating that this was his first foray into hosting. The idea of the quiz was to be a middle ground
Starter for Ten: University Law Clinic to give housing tips to students Challenge auditons Oscar Cunnington News Reporter
Suzannah Lindon-Morris News Reporter University of Bristol Law Clinic is set to give presentations to students in university halls guiding them through the legal issues of housing. The Law Clinic is a pro-bono organisation that provides free legal advice to those who struggle to obtain it elsewhere. With approximately 100 members comprised of UoB students, academic staff and trainee lawyers, the Clinic is run by an executive committee of law students. Sponsored by Burges Salmon, a leading regional law firm, they are provided with valuable funding, training and support. Currently, the majority of the Clinic’s clientele are students, but there are plans to extend the reach of their advice further into the local community by approaching external organisations. Their student-based work ranges from providing information on landlord and tenant relations to those about to dive into the world of private rented
accommodation. They even offer support to students taking on legal problems. Samuel Pang, a second year law student at UoB and the publicity manager of the Law Clinic, told Epigram ‘our aim is to get students to come to us with their legal problems’. Whilst advice is largely landlord and tenant-based, the Clinic also has experience advising on other areas of law that regularly effect students, including consumer law, something which they plan to expand on in the future. Samuel gave Epigram an example of a typical case the Clinic advises on; one student had signed up for a spa package online and she did not receive what she had been promised. Samuel told Epigram that the Clinic will provide a letter of advice giving details of the student’s legal position and can even write letters of notice to the other party. Student members of the Clinic are assigned to cases and on average will spend approximately one to two hours interviewing the client, and about five hours researching Flickr: sideonecincy
240 students tried out for the chance to face Paxman on Universtiy Challenge
The Law Clinic, housed in the Wills Memorial Building, will be giving advice to students
Flickr: James F Clay
will secure an interview with them to, in the words of team captain Anastasia, ‘see if we’re interesting enough to be on TV’. If they do get past all these tests only then will they travel to Salford to film the show. When asked if he was excited Robert Beavis replied ‘As a betamale with no sporting ability, I am positively quivering with excitement at the prospect of representing the university’. There have been plans to improve this record and with the impressive turnout of students clearly ready to move on from a weekly pub quiz to the bright lights of BBC television, the organisers of the audition have set up a quiz society. The idea is that this society will run quizzes throughout the year to hone people’s knowledge and let the trial process become student led.
Bristol students turned out in huge numbers to audition for a chance to represent the university on the prestigious quiz show University Challenge. There were over 240 applicants, all of whom were required to sit an exam comprising of thirty questions across an eclectic mix of topics. The thirty questions ranged from the flag of Barbados to geographic knowledge of rock formations. The trials were helped by Bristol’s very own quizmaster George Fercozo of the Religion and Theology department who just recorded the quiz radio show, 3rd Degree and has previously won Mastermind. To qualify one had to answer twenty one questions correctly and the
top five finishers were then put through to another quiz in order to certify that they were genuine and not simply lucky with questions on the first exam. Ben Moon, Lewis Rendell, Miles Coleman along with Anastasia Reynolds as team captain and Robert Beavis as reserve were the five selected and will represent Bristol for the competition. However this was only their first step. Imogen Palmer, who organised the selection process, said that their training will involve them doing ‘a load of pub quizzes’ to prepare them for Paxman’s combination of tough questions and terrible jokes. The group was also asked to complete another written exam for the producers of the show which if passed
the legal issue and preparing advice. Coming up, the Clinic are giving a presentation, available to all UoB students, on Tuesday December 3rd at Hiatt Baker and Badock Halls; a timely event as it comes just as students begin their search for accommodation for the next academic year. Epigram spoke to Abigail Twist and Kamil Butt, both third year law students and members of the Law Clinic about their experiences giving presentations for the Clinic. Abigail commented that ‘the information is really relevant to students. Topics such as deposits and landlord’s obligations are very useful and something students wouldn’t otherwise know about’. Abigail also commented on the ‘helpful’ timing of the presentations. Kamil noted the improved location of the presentations, which were previously held in the Student’s Union, commenting that ‘the ones given in Stoke Bishop had a mass of people attending; they were definitely a success’.
SOME DAYS I FEEL…
However you’re feeling right now, we’d like you to Speak Your Mind at www.tinyurl.com/UBUspeakyourmind Some emotions are easier to read than others and your state of mind could be affected by one or several triggers. We want to help you deal with those triggers but we need your input to make sure we address the right issues.
Wills Memorial Building voted new doghouse for Gromit Amber Roberts News Reporter
iconic “WillsTheMemorial Building received 3,567 votes
Flurry included many different Bristol expressions into the intricate design. When the decision was announced, the creator Flurry commented: ‘I couldn’t be happier that the University helped raise the money for such a great charity, kept the Gromit local, and is housing him at the Wills Memorial Building…He certainly puts a smile on people’s faces!’ Tower tours are currently being run allowing the general public to view both the prestigious Wills Memorial Tower and Gromit himself. These have raised over £13,000 pounds for the Wallace and Gromit Grand Appeal, which helps support both Bristol’s Children’s Hospital and the Neonatal Intensive Care unit at St Michael’s Hospital.
Over 5,000 staff and students have voted for the permanent home of the University of Bristol’s Gromit, with the Wills Memorial Building chosen as the permanent home for ‘Bark at Ee’, our very own red and white patterned pooch. The iconic Wills Memorial Building received 3,567 votes, whilst the Richmond building received 876 and Senate House only 396. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bristol, Professor David Clarke, won the Gromit in the auction earlier in the year which managed to raise £2.3 million for Wallace and Gromit’s Grand Appeal, which has gone towards helping the patients of Bristol Children’s Hospital and their families. University of Bristol student, Anna, commented: ‘Personally I love dogs, but the fact that such a funky piece of artwork can do so much for the community is really amazing and I am looking forward to seeing it every day.’ Local illustrator Leigh Flurry designed ‘Bark at Ee’, specialising in character design and pop up.
Dave Skelhorne, Gary Nott. Professor David Clarke, Leigh Flurry and Amy Ryder pose with Gromit in his new home
Source Caf�� é������� opens ������ its ���� doors ������ University of Bristol students help feed local community Josie Finlay News Reporter
Students can look forward to taking advantage of a revamped Source Café in Stoke Bishop. The renovated café is conveniently situated by the newly rebuilt area around the Hiatt Baker Hall bus stop, making it easy to access for students living in Stoke Bishop.
It replaces the old Source Café, which closed last year for refurbishment, and enjoys a more open-plan, lighter space, as well as an area for outdoor seating.. The new Source stocks similar products to its other branches around the University campus, including sandwiches, salads, pasties, hot drinks and snacks. A shop in the café offers a range
Margot Tudor News Reporter
Katie Goldsmith, a volunteer and Community Manager, told Epigram, ‘It was our aim to clear the garden to get ready for planting some herbs and vegetables for use in the community meal, as well as engaging the local community and fostering a sense of community ownership over the space which has gone into disrepair in recent years.’ Reversing the trend of vandalism in the area is also a major hope for the charity.
It’s always a “ great feeling
when we fill about 40 bellies entirely from food that would have been wasted
There is a definite focus on the local community in all ofFoodCycle’s actions and, with the help of Matt Harcourt from Avon Wildlife Trust, the volunteers were finally able to rejuvenate the community garden after struggling last year. The aim of clearing the garden is yet to be fully determined but that doesn’t mean FoodCycle isn’t brimming with ideas of
how to fill the space, ‘We would like to use it to host local events such as sessions on building bird boxes and bug hotels, fetes, garden work days and education sessions on growing own food.’ FoodCycle has already caught the attention of the press as BBC3 will be filming one of their community meals as part of a wider documentary about Christmas for people on benefits. The charity normally services low income families, homeless people and older people but through this fun event they not only hope to fundraise for charity but also show the wider community how delicious meals can be made from surplus food in order to promote awareness of food waste, ‘We hope that this will be a valuable learning experience for the community and for volunteers.’ For more information visit the FoodCycle blog: www.foodcycle. org.uk
Students at Bristol University have begun work with FoodCycle, a charity that works against food poverty and waste within communities, in the construction of a Pop Up Restaurant. The vegetarian three-course meal will be supplied through collecting surplus food from local stores and supermarkets and proceeds made from the event will go towards providing weekly meals at Easton Community Centre. Nell Benney, a Cooking Manager at the Community Centre said, ‘Managing the kitchen at Easton is always completely unpredictable and exciting… and it’s always a great feeling when we fill about 40 bellies entirely from food that would have been wasted!’ The next Pop Up Restaurant event will be on Wednesday 11th December at Coexist and will be Christmas themed with live music, local art work and inspirational speakers. FoodCycle have not stopped at creating the Pop Up Restaurant and have recently taken steps towards building a community garden. The team of ten volunteers managed to clear the Easton Community Centre’s garden of all rubbish and weeds, filling over fifteen bags and taking three hours. Josie Finlay
The renovated café is situated near to the new Hiatt-Baker bus stop
of essential groceries, such as bread, milk and frozen ready meals. The café is open from 8am until 6pm on weekdays and from 11am until 6pm on weekends. Source is employing Bristol students to staff the café and shop. The new Source Café branch opened on Monday 2nd December.
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An interview with Stephen Williams MP Jon Manning interviews the Liberal Democrat MP for Bristol West, Stephen Williams, on drugs policy, tuition fees and broken promises
Stephen Williams has come a long way from the Mountain Ash Comprehensive he attended in Abercynon; a small Welsh village in the Cynon Valley from which he received free school meals. Just before the initial scheduling of this interview, Williams learnt that he was to become a government minister in the Department for Local Government and Communities - a huge achievement for an MP. A ministerial role must have seemed like an impossible dream for Bristol’s Liberal Democrat MP entering the House of Commons back in 2005. The Liberal Democrats were formed in 1988 by the merger of the Liberal Party and the Social Democratic Party who were a break-away group from the Labour Party. When asked which wing of the party he feels most affinity to, Williams challenged the premise that the party has two wings. However, many have noted the noticeable divide between the so-called ‘orange-book’ liberals, who are strongly committed to neo-liberal economics and currently dominate the leadership of the party, and the more social democratic and socially liberal nature of the party rank-and-file. Williams stated, “I would describe myself as a free market liberal, but I also think I am a social democrat as well”. This implies that he views himself at the centre of the party. However, given his rapid rise during Nick Clegg’s leadership, it is probably accurate to say that he is more neo-liberal economically than most of the party. Many hoped that the Liberal Democrat presence in the coalition government would lead to a move towards evidence-based policy-making in relation to drug policy. Unfortunately, Theresa May’s recent decision to ban Khat (an African plant that is chewed), against the advice from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), demonstrates that this has not been the case. “I thought the decision to ban Khat was wrong…The evidence in that report was quite clear…there is no case on medical grounds for making it a controlled substance…There was no particular evidence that the sale of the
Jon Manning Features Writer
Stephen Williams, Liberal Democrat MP for Bristol West
drug was financing criminal activity in this country, or indeed terrorist activity elsewhere”. Refreshingly frank for a serving government minister, Williams summed up, that “It was, I would say, a political decision”. Given the huge success of the decriminalisation of all illegal drugs in Portugal, which allows for possession of up to 10 days’ worth for personal use, the logical action is to stop treating drugs as a criminal matter and start dealing with it as a medical matter. Williams has been arguing for this position since 1999, and although he noted that he
was ‘somewhat constrained’ in what he could say as a government minister he did hint at an expectation for some change in this area: “One of my colleagues Norman Baker, who is now a Home Office minister, has long taken a good liberal approach to this area. We’ll see whether he is able to inject a little bit more common sense into the Home Office”. While this may seem promising, what is really required is a radical change in our approach to dealing with the drug problem. With Theresa May as Home Secretary, it is highly unlikely we will see any of these much-needed reforms. Being a student newspaper and as Mr. Williams’ constituency includes the
Khat, a plant that is chewed to induce a mild high, has recently been banned by Theresa May
I thought the decision to ban khat was wrong... the evidence in that report was quite clear...there is no case on medical grounds for making it a controlled substance... it was, I would say, a political decision .
University of Bristol, inevitably the issue of the Liberal Democrats u-turn on the pledge to scrap tuition fees had to be addressed. At this point the minister became a little prickly; “The pledge which the NUS refer to in 2011, when all of this was controversial, was actually from 2009. It wasn’t in the manifesto. It was before the general election, which is why I am telling you what we said at the time of the election”. Later, Williams remade the point that the commitment was not in the 2010 manifesto. Noting that he was the Higher Education and Skills spokesman for the Liberal Democrats in the last parliament he commented, “That’s why I am quite strict with not being told by people what was in our manifesto, because I wrote the relevant bits.” However, on this point he is wrong. On page 39, paragraph 2 of the 2010 Liberal Democrat manifesto it states, “We will scrap unfair university tuition fees for all students taking their ﬁrst degree, including those studying part-time, saving them over £10,000 each. We have a ﬁnancially responsible plan to phase fees out over six years, so that the change is affordable even in these difﬁcult economic times, and without cutting university income. We will immediately scrap fees for ﬁnal year students.” On the question of whether this broken promise would damage the party’s, and his personal, election prospects he said that a mistake journalists and the NUS make is to
assume that students are a subset who will vote based on narrow issues that benefit them. But I would argue the point is a broader one about trust. If you can so dramatically abandon a key policy pledge that was separated out from the manifesto by individual MPs publicly signing it, then how can anyone in the public trust the commitments the Liberal Democrats make at the next election. When this interview took place David Cameron was attending the Commonwealth Summit in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Figures including the Labour leader, have called for Sri Lanka to be stripped of the two-year chairmanship of the Commonwealth, due to the horrific war crimes that have been documented, and not yet addressed. “Personally, I’m rather surprised that given what went on at the end of that civil war that Sri Lanka was not expelled from the Commonwealth, or if that didn’t happen why this summit has actually been agreed to happen in Sri Lanka…I think it is far too early to rehabilitate that regime in the eyes of the international community in terms of undoubted atrocities.” Williams kept his cards close to his chest on the question of which party he would personally prefer to be in coalition with after the next election. He would only say, “If Labour gets the most seats at the next election… I fully expect Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband to enter into immediate coalition negotiations”. Make of that what you will.
A “not-so-social” social media special Have Facebook and Twitter completely taken over our lives? Can we survive without them? Will our grandchildren be looking at embarrassing photos of us online in years to come? To find out more Caitlin Waddell went to a debate about the power of Social Media, organised as part of the Young People’s Festival of Ideas in Bristol. Caitlin Waddell Features Writer
despite the ability to develop an internet ‘voice’, which may not otherwise be heard, no thought is now unrecorded. The inevitable ‘pubes’ tweet from a disinterested attendee in the back row halfway through proceedings seemed to ratify these views, to general amusement from the largely mature congregation. When the aforementioned projector’s bulb blew halfway through the event, the increase in the audience’s concentration on the panellists discussion, rather than the Twitter feed, was obvious. Jacob Matthews, a panellist and member of Young Arnolfini, argued that social media can reduce the extent to which people can concentrate and form opinions:, stating “it’s important to read and learn from people who are experienced. Social media leads to ill informed and ignorant ‘knowledge.’”, and questioned the ‘extent to which we can be emotive’ online. ‘Social media will have repercussions for the real life community when the amount of attention span for conversation and learning is diminished.’ I am a sometimes Twitter
control.’ The spectre of unknown data storage by companies such as Snapchat, whose basis, the fleeting existence and deletion of photos upon receipt, is worrying when investigations have shown that images are stored in their servers and are not then guaranteed to be removed. Our footprints online are not invisible, and humans by their nature are not infallible; our digital lives and mistakes may be laid bare, whether by a mere ‘Facebook stalk’ or the NSA. A slightly jarring point was the discussion of employers and the increasing prevalence of use of social media profiles when considering job applicants. The Institute for Employment Studies found that 45% of Human Resources departments use social media in the hiring process. Common sense tells us that an extensive catalogue of drunken photos and statuses would not be conducive to
recruitment, but would an absence of a social media profile, and an inability to be ‘vetoed’ cause a candidate to be placed behind others? I entered the auditorium a skeptic, and left still not entirely enthralled by the wonder and possibilities of social media. If technology is making us less human, then will our definition of ‘human’ adapt to include our polished and screened online self? Is my resistance of social media going to make me less human?
flikr: Mark Pannell
Taking a seat in the auditorium of the Arnolfini on the Bristol Harbourside, I instinctively switched off my phone, pulled out my notepad, and settled down for what was to be a fascinating debate on the power of social media, organised as part of the Young People’s Festival of Ideas. Within minutes, I was to feel out of touch and bizarrely antiquated at the ripe old age of nineteen, as the audience was directed to tweet questions to the panel, where they would appear instantly on a projector screen. Whereas the two older gentlemen sitting either side of me tweeted furiously - I was bewildered. The idea of hosting a debate to which informed panellists had made the effort to attend, only to communicate with them via the ‘Twittersphere’ seemed to answer one of the main points of the debate. Is social media making us less human, and less capable of human interaction? The opening speeches of the panel revealed the expected range of devotion to social
media, from tweeting at the traffic lights to deep skepticism. David Schneider, self professed ‘politically engaged nutter’ and serial tweeter argued that ‘being on your phone is still human interaction. Sometimes you’ve just got to embrace that you can be better, funnier and more interesting online.’ He described the ‘onion layers of self’ which present themselves in your online persona with dependence on your audience. Research by California State University has shown that a neutral space for teens to learn to interact can be beneficial to those who are shyer, and can encourage development of empathetic tendencies. With international Facebook users numbering just under three times the population of the United States, social media certainly offers the opportunity for global friendship, rapport and collaboration which can give young people today a much better understanding of their world’s environment, economy and issues in a way that just was not feasible even 20 years ago. Interestingly, an audience member raised the point, to spontaneous applause, that
user, but the reason that I abandoned Facebook long ago was an inherent dislike of the destruction of personality that Mark Zuckerberg and his ilk have created by putting a screen, binary and algorithms between yourself and your ‘friends’. You can become your own perception of the best version of yourself, which culminates in a timeline of selfies - ‘selfie’ being the Oxford Dictionary’s ‘Word of the Year’, involving corporate ‘likes’ and if misused, somewhat of a personal safety concern. The huge amount of personal information stored by companies such as Google, with details as trivial as your preference for a particular chocolate bar may allow for tailoring of content displayed to you, but as Schneider pointed out, ‘in the future, the most precious commodity will be data, not oil. Once companies know your ‘likes’, they have
Oliver Grant Features Writer Social media is a well- established part of our daily lives, yet our obsession with it remains a novel phenomenon which we are only just getting to grips with. It forms part of our modern-day fixation with technology; we live in an age in which we text while we’re at the dinner table and feel like a part of us is missing if we do not have our phones on us at all times. Twitter, Snapchat, Vine and YouTube all play a part in this, but none of these things have dominated our lives to quite the same extent as Facebook. Facebook not only reflects our desire to not miss out on what others are doing, it also reflects our need to let others know that we are not missing out on the good times ourselves. A recent study titled ‘Why do people use
Facebook?’ from researchers at Boston University hits the nail on the head, claiming that we use Facebook for two main reasons: our need to belong and our need for self-presentation. But has this gone too far? Around 28% of us check Facebook on our phones before getting out of bed. With a spoon in one hand and our news feed in the other, we like, share and comment whilst eating breakfast. We comment on photos on our way to lectures and we spend the rest of the day liking witty posts from our friends, who are also perpetually logged in to Facebook. We place enormous importance on staying connected with friends and family, on remaining in the loop 24/7. It has got to the point where you will spend ten or fifteen minutes scrolling through the news feed, only to wonder at the end of it all,
‘what have I just learnt?’ It seems we live in an increasingly narcissistic society, our constant connection to Facebook being fuelled by our need to project an idealised image of ourselves onto this virtual platform. We feel the need to share our every experience with our ‘friends’ online, a desire for recognition, acceptance, and constant feedback on our lives from the online community. Over 140 billion photos have already been uploaded to Facebook and the 2012 Cisco Connected World Technology Report found that 41% of 18-30 year olds update their Facebook at least once a day. We upload pictures and present them as trophies, to constantly inform others of our whereabouts and emotions, to prove our attendance at sporting events or gigs; to say ‘I was there’. Facebook has become a
flikr: Christopher Aigner
A generation of guinea pigs in the Facebook experiment “
It seems we live in an increasingly narcissistic society, our constant connection to Facebook being fuelled by our need to project an idealised image of ourselves
platform for projecting an online identity, as have the likes of Twitter and Instagram. It doesn’t matter if the image that we put forward is not an accurate reflection of our life or our personality, it just has to reflect the person we would like other people to see us as. It all forms part of our ongoing
search for social approval. Whilst researching the topic, I stumbled upon a WikiHow page dedicated to giving advice on ‘How to get a lot of Facebook likes’ and various websites from which you can buy ‘likes’. Getting that extra ‘like’ and having more ‘friends’ than others seem to mean everything to some of our generation, who use it as a self-esteem boosting method. We have reached new levels of vanity but what is so worrying is that this vanity often conceals deep-rooted insecurities. Facebook is just a part of the world we live in, and for all the faults that it highlights, it is tempting to say ‘what’s the harm?’ Many argue that this creation of virtual friendships comes at the expense of our social skills, whilst others believe that it enhances them; to be
honest, no one really knows. Nevertheless, how we approach this issue as we grow up will be of genuine importance. We are the Facebook generation and so we are the guinea pigs in this experiment. Are our children going to be able to look us up online and find pictures of their parents vomiting at parties and hooking up at nightclubs? For the sake of all of us, I really hope they will not. I will leave you with the wise words of Baroness Greenfield, former director of the Royal Institution, ‘Think of the implications for society if people worry more about what other people think about them than what they think about themselves.’ Something to mull over next time you are sat at the table, spoon in one hand and news feed in the other.
flickr: ANdrew Havis flickr:x1klima flickr:Jose Goulao
flickr: harrypope flickr: Craig Sunter *Click-64* flickr:Martainn
flickr: Steven’s Transport flickr: ell brown flickr: kenjonbro
flickr: Alex Drennan
There are some things the government does run; for everything else there’s Serco Spencer Turner Deputy News Editor Boris Bikes, the Docklands Light Railway, the National Physics Laboratory and the Manchester Aquatics Centre may seem disconnected. They do however, have one commonality; they are all owned by Serco. The amount of British industry that is operated by the company is staggering; they have interests in transport, leisure, defence, detention, aviation, health and
education. The list could go on. With over 100,000 employees and an annual revenue of almost £5 billion in 2012, why is the name ‘Serco’ still unfamiliar to so many Britons? The contracts that Serco hold with the UK government have a standing which is known as ‘commercial confidentiality’, which makes details of such contracts notoriously difficult to attain. Serco’s status as a private company also makes it invulnerable to Freedom
of Information requests. For a company that is involved with so much of the day-to-day running of the UK, it is peculiar that Serco is not a household name. If so little is known by large swathes of the public about this company, how can we trust it? How can we be sure that the contracts given to it by our government will be honoured? And just how much of Britain’s future will be in the hands of Serco? The NHS is thought to be
Serco’s next target. However, accusations of mismanagement, lying and charging for nonexistent work have recently brought it under the spotlight. In May of this year Thameside prison, a private jail run by Serco, had a significant gang culture problem and, according to an inspection report, was forced to begin one of the most restrictive prison regimes that inspectors had ever seen.. There has also been a report published by the House of Commons,
condemning the management and very nature of Serco by describing the out of hours GP service it ran in Cornwall as ‘substandard’. The company was accused of falsifying figures, which was only revealed to the public via whistleblowers within the company. Complaints, accusations of mismanagement and a culture of untrustworthiness are criticisms levelled against Serco on aregular basis. For a company which is so heavily involved in governmental management, how is it justifiable that the actions of Serco cannot be open to greater scrutiny? The role Serco is playing in the NHS is beginning to increase under the policy of ‘outsourcing’ that our coalition government has introduced. Last autumn Serco took on a £140million contract to run health services in Suffolk, but its failure to meet key targets has meant that the company may face fines. It’s worth noting that the £140million offered by Serco was £10millon less than the former NHS trust’s best price. Further to its Suffolk contract, Serco is also in the running for the biggest contract ever awarded in the history of the NHS. Of nine potential providers, it is one of the companies with a chance of being awarded the £800 million contract to provide services in Cambridgeshire. The influence of Serco doesn’t end in Britain.The company has a significant portfolio of contracts elsewhere around the world including, Huenfield Prison in Germany, air traffic control in the United Arab Emirates, parking regulation in Chicago and a $1,25 billion contract has been awarded to Serco in the US by the Department of Health. For a company which is
awarded such massive contracts, that have potential to greatly impact millions of lives, such unfamiliarity with the company is alarming, especially when the ethics and management of Serco have been called into question. Can we trust this company to run our health service? Should the government be outsourcing to a company which is relatively unknown amongst the British public and whose practise has been called into question? Perhaps this is unfair on Serco, for all of the criticisms levelled against them,they still hold a vast number of contracts which are honoured, and high standards are delivered. The real problem here is the lack of transparency that is involved in the contracts. ‘Commercial confidentiality’ makes it impossible for the public to understand exactly what is going on when the government awards contracts when it is ‘outsourcing’. Commercial confidentially widens the gap between politics and people, which means that when things do go wrong, both the government and the company involved face stinging criticisms.. The profile of Serco is increasing, largely thanks to its blundering and mismanagement of government contracts. Given the financial position of the UK, outsourcing is likely to be a significant part of monetary policy for the foreseeable future and companies such as Serco will be play an ever increasing role in our day to day lives, whether we are aware of it or not. Our greatest hope is that the government increases transparency and accountability, and allows the public to be privy to its dealing with private companies.
An Osteopath and a Corporate Marketing Director may seem like an unlikely pair in any situation, but when they’re planning to build one of the world’s first inland surfing lakes their backgrounds play second fiddle to what is an unusual and ambitious vision. Nick Hounsfield, the Osteopath and Tobin Coles, the director, are spearheading a plan that could see an inland surfing lake built just outside Bristol. This will surely be music to the ears of the surfer community in the city, with Tobin stating, ‘the wave itself has huge potential as a training tool for pro surfers and the UK’s next generation of professional surfers.’ However, Nick and Tobin don’t want the lake to be only for seasoned surfers. When asked about what uses the lake will have, Tobin said, ‘the beginner areas are the perfect, safe place to learn how to surf – particularly for children and disabled visitors. We have made
connections with a number of charities and are looking at ways we can work with them to support the great work they are doing. Nick added, ‘As well as the wave, the project also includes amazing gardens, such as healing, activity and kitchen gardens. These offer the potential to teach people about nature and the environment in a hands-on way, as well as scope for us to work with apprentices to manage them.’ Nick also pointed out that that the lake has the potential to help those in need in the area, ‘Bristol also offers an opportunity to tap into other areas that are important to us, such as getting more city based children into the water and making a positive change to the lives of those from some of the city’s most deprived areas.’ He went on to mention Bristol’s place at the cutting edge of culture helping the decision, as ‘Culturally Bristol has always been a leader from Brunel to Banksy – The Wave could build on this burgeoning reputation.’ Its reputation for technology also helped; ‘The city has strong links to ground-breaking
Max Miller Features writer
Surfers wave goodbye to coastal commute engineering. From Brunel and the SS Great Britain, to Concorde and Aerospace there is a long tradition of engineering firsts – the cutting edge Wavegarden technology seems to have a natural fit with the city.’ The Wavegarden technology is what is at the heart of the project. Based in the Basque region of Spain, Wavegarden have created state of the art wave generation technology with rave reviews from professional and amateur surfers. They are also involved in the creation of a surfing lake in Wales, near Snowdonia, which has been approved and should be completed in 2014. The technology is designed to generate 120 waves per hour, with two identical waves being created every minute. They break simultaneously left and right, and their size varies as they go around the lake, allowing both pros and learners to use them. During the planning stage of the lake, Nick and Tobin have welcomed ideas from the public, with some of them being put in to the plans. Nick said of their interaction with the public, ‘We have held two
consultation events, which have given people a chance to feed in their thoughts and suggestions to the project. We have also had a huge amount of input from those following us on Twitter, Facebook and via our website. We will be using many of the ideas as part of our plans – for example local people mentioned that there was no swimming pool provision in the immediate area, and as a result we made the decision to include a separate fresh water swimming pool on the site.’ This surfing lake would appear to be a very exciting addition to the attractions that are already sprinkled across the Bristol area, and should appeal not only to those who already surf, but also to those who have yet to start. The plans have recently been submitted and an answer on them should be heard soon, with building to start shortly after that if they’re approved. If the plans pass, students in Bristol will soon be able to surf and maybe the surf club won’t have to travel all the way to Cornwall anymore!
Feed Bristol - a growing community This food growing initiative put down roots 19 months ago just outside of Bristol’s city centre. Sophie Padgett pays a visit to the project which has been flourishing ever since.
Sophie Padgett Deputy Features Editor Looking at pictures of an overgrown, muddy field, it is hard to believe that in just 19 short months this project has become what it is today. Arriving at the Feed Bristol site you get the impression that the project has been around for years, it has all the signs of a well-established project, the whole site is well developed and bustling with people and it’s easy to see what has drawn them here. It was a project that started with the aim to give the local community more confidence in food growing, but it has evolved into something much bigger. The initiative engages with marginalised and disadvantaged people who wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to get outside.
Feed Bristol is all about getting people involved with nature, getting them outside and under the sky.
Barbara Evripidou flickr: raplhhogaboomww
” Feed Bristol is a food growing project run by the Avon Wildlife Trust. Since its conception, the project has made contact with more than 13,000 people, including school children, people with mental health problems, learning difficulties and local elderly people. The project has managed to get an astounding amount of people out in the open air and engaging with nature. ‘Part of the experience of coming here is getting people to use their senses; touching, smelling, feeling, tasting’, Matt Cracknell, one of the main Feed Bristol project workers, tells me as he bounces around the site, proudly showing off all it has to offer. ‘This project is all about getting people involved with nature, getting them outside and under the sky.’ As I’m shown round the different plots we walk past groups of school children collecting apples and pressing
them for apple juice, there are others huddled round eating a freshly cooked lunch, it is easy to see why the project has attracted so many people. There is a real sense of community here, which is something that is not all that easy to come by. From the moment I walked through the gates I was welcomed with enthusiastic faces and fed with an array of tasty things made from produce grown on site. There are no individual plots of land here, all the growing space is communal. None of the food grown on site is sold for profit, people volunteer in exchange for a veg share and any surplus goes across the road to the local residential home or gets given away to charities. The project works by training up ‘grow leaders’ who can then help the other more experienced volunteers manage the site. Volunteers are given the opportunity to have some real responsibility and hands on experience with food growing. The site is by no means immaculate, and nor should it be. As the project is run by the Avon Wildlife Trust they have tried to keep as much of the site as natural as possible. Matt goes on to tell me, ‘we have many sections of the plot where wild flowers and plants grow, the orchard is over grown and we leave it because it encourages bugs; the dead branches are good for birds and bats, we leave all the old ivy for them as well.’ Funding for the project stops at the end of 2014 but Matt tells me that that this will not be the end of the road for the project, ‘I am hoping to establish the project as a hub for work experience and training resources, we really try to emphasise how valuable the volunteer experience is. We also have links with the University of Bristol, who are currently using the site for a pollination project, so we’re hoping to continue and build on these links, not only with the university, but also any
other research body that may be interested in using the site.’ When asked what element of the project he was most proud of, Matt told me, after gesticulating wildly at the whole project for a second or two!), ‘we have had so many people engage with the project, so many people have given their time to it, this is what I am most proud of.’
The project engages with marginalised and disadvantaged people who wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to get outside.
Feed Bristol not only reaches out to those who would otherwise not have the opportunity to get out in the open air, it reminds us all how much we can benefit from doing so. As we sit behind desks in artificially lit rooms we could all do with the breath of fresh air which Feed Bristol offers. Yet in the midst of our busy lives we seem to undervalue nature. The State of Nature report that was compiled by 25 leading conservation groups and released in May of this year, found that more than half of Britain’s plant and animal species are dying out. Couple this with the ever growing rise in unsustainable farming and food wastage and it’s clear that something needs to change. There needs to be a shift in attitudes, an increased value placed on our British wildlife and produce; it is projects like Feed Bristol that contribute to doing just that.
Interesting in getting involved? Contact Feed Bristol at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Should politicians lead lives of privacy? It’s a fact that no stone is left unturned when it
comes to a politician’s private life, but do they actually deserve privacy away from their work?
By making the private lives of our leaders fair game to mass scrutiny we undermine ourselves
You cannot expect to get away with buying illegal drugs
“ Scrutiny simply makes politics an act of concealment and spin
We can disapprove of an action as much as we like, but we should not let this disapproval cloud our judgement. Criticising the actions of someone is all well and good but it does not actually achieve anything. It is time we realised that invading the private lives of politicians is not just hypocritical but harmful. It’s harmful to them, harmful to progress and harmful to our society. Our leaders should be judged on how they guide society and not by what they do in their spare time. So it is time that we stopped looking into past mistakes and the lives of our public servants and look instead to their policies and job performances.
“ Whatever we think of a politician as a person is irrelevant. We should not care about how much someone does or does not drink if they are performing their job well and representing the views of the people who voted for them. It should be the idea and not the thinker that is questioned. Like all of us, politicians are obliged to follow the law, and if they do not break the law then we do not need to know what happens in their private lives. It is worrying that such blatant invasions of privacy are accepted. If we want rights to have meaning then they need to apply to everyone. By making the private lives of our leaders fair game to mass scrutiny we undermine ourselves. So even if you do think the actions of some individuals are wrong you have to face the fact that it’s hypocritical to tear apart the lives of others and expect ours to go untouched. Intense scrutiny does not mean that the ‘best’ people will stay in politics; scrutiny simply makes modern politics an act in concealment and spin. So instead of getting the person who would best improve healthcare or education we get someone who is less qualified. How is that an effective way to improve a country? We need to accept the fact that politicians are not perfect. They have made mistakes in the past and will
This is not really a question of whether or not politicians should have private lives, it is rather a question of whether they should expect to retain the right to privacy when they have chosen to lead life in the public eye. It is simply inevitable that any public figure sacrifices their privacy, as by agreeing to represent the public and act on their behalf, a politician is also implicitly agreeing to act as deemed appropriate by the very people who elect them into power. A politician’s role is unique in that it allows thousands of people to have a voice through one representative and in some ways this means a politician becomes defined by the people they represent. While it is easy to say that politicians are regular people who are ultimately just doing a job and should be left alone out of hours, it is simply not the case that a politician stops being a politician outside of parliamentary premises.
continue to do so in the future. We need to accept this. And until we do, politicians will continue to spin their lives to impress us instead of focusing on what should be their ultimate task. The task of improving society for their constituents and the population as a whole. We can see how the focus on a politician’s private life seriously detracts from the level of legislative debate a country can have. During the tenure of Bill Clinton’s presidency he was impeached by Congress. This process of impeachment involved multiple hearings and votes that completely consumed both the time and focus of the USA’s legislative body. Whatever you think of Clinton’s actions with Monica Lewinsky, surely it can be seen that Congress was wasting its potential to do good. How dragging the personal life of someone through the mud benefits people is beyond me. A personal attack does not feed the hungry and it does not give jobs to the unemployed, it simply shows us that when entire political systems become obsessed with the life of an individual no real good appears to come from it and no progress is made.
We’re told everyone has a right to privacy. But for some reason people believe that our politicians and leaders waive this right. We hold on to the belief that our leaders should embody a perfect life and then look down on them when they fail to do so. Any imperfection is scrutinised, any mistake analysed by the nation’s media. But we need to remember their lives do not belong to the public. Their private lives are exactly that: private.
As part of their role, politicians lay down what should be a certain standard of behaviour and codes of conduct for the public, although it is unreasonable to expect them to lead completely blemish free lives, we expect at the very least that they do not actually break the law. Granted, people make mistakes; perhaps, in the case of Rob Ford, the Mayor of Toronto, who admitted to smoking crack cocaine and buying illegal drugs while in office, this was just a moment of human weakness, a mistake. However, the appropriate thing to do now would be to acknowledge this mistake, apologise for it, and resign from his role. After all, he is no longer the person that his voters elected to represent them, and he can no longer claim to uphold the laws he is campaigning for. Instead, Ford is arrogantly and stubbornly insisting he will continue to do his job, going even so far as to insist he is a ‘positive role model for kids’. This seems to be utter hypocrisy: why should anyone trust a politician who campaigns for one thing and does another? That politicians
should follow the laws which they themselves set and enforce goes without saying; the words ‘practise what you preach’ spring to mind in a case such as this.
The words ‘practise what you preach’ spring to mind
Although Ford, like everyone else, has the right to a private life, people should be aware of events in his personal life which may affect his ability to fulfil his role as a politician and campaign for their welfare. Even when politicians do not themselves disclose details about their private lives, they should deal with the consequences when their actions do become public and, if necessary, should resign from politics. The right to vote is an important one for many people and it could be argued that politicians who do not disclose all relevant details of their lives are obstructing voters from making an informed decision. As well as this, they may be depriving someone who can better represent their voters of a place in parliament. Most voters choose someone they believe is capable of the job and it is unfair for a politician to hold on to a role which they have become incapable of fulfilling, or to claim they can still represent their voters after being exposed as someone very different to the character they pretend to be in public. Although we cannot stop anyone from making their own decisions, and we cannot control what anyone does behind closed doors, politicians should expect that their private actions may very quickly become public. Politicians run the risk of losing the trust of those who put them into power if they act in a way which is not what is expected of them. It is naïve to argue that politicians are human beings and therefore have a right to privacy, as their role is almost like no other. One politician embodies all their voters, and so one mistake becomes very much magnified. When so many people put so much trust in you, you cannot expect to get away with buying illegal drugs on the grounds that you have the right to a private life.
There is no place for ‘his and hers’ in charity fundraising
Movember has recently come to an end; handlebars and horseshoes have been shaved off and thousands of pounds raised for prostate cancer. While any and all charity is professedly a good thing, one must ask why, in 2013, our causes seem to be so strikingly, exclusively gendered. Since the Race for Life started in 1994, six million participants have raised £493 million for Breast Cancer Research: all of those participants were women. Race for Life openly defines itself as a ‘womenspecific event’, and claims that its runs have ‘a strong sense of sisterhood, uniting all women with a common goal’. Many people in support of the event may argue that because breast cancer is an issue that only, ostensibly, affects women, it should be women who play a defining role in raising money to tackle it. Indeed, at the events, men are only allowed a peripheral role, volunteering as marshals or logistics managers. Another argument in favour of the events is that they simply wouldn’t work if men were involved: women would feel self-conscious, question their ability to perform, and, moreover there would not be the same sense of community that makes the races so special. While valid, these arguments
have essential flaws. In a time where gender-issues are so prominent, how can we support the gendering of our charities? Indeed, breast cancer largely only directly affects women and prostate cancer largely only directly affects men. But what of cancer’s wider-reaching emotional and psychological repercussions; can one truly say husbands, fathers, sons, wives, mothers and daughters are unaffected by the illnesses of their loved ones? If a man wanted to complete the Race for Life in memory of his late wife who had died of breast cancer, he would be given the unsatisfactory alternative of being a marshal. Meanwhile, if a woman wished to take part in Movember to raise money to defeat the prostate cancer that killed her father, could she? Of course not: impressive moustaches are notoriously hard to cultivate, especially when you naturally lack the necessary testosterone. The Movember website says that a ‘Mo Sista’ can contribute by helping her significant other to ‘navigate the month of November’; how - by trimming his whiskers? Or encouraging men to take part because, and I quote, ‘women are traditionally more comfortable talking about these matters’. This is patently not the same as getting sponsorship of one’s own accord. Arguably raising money for cancer research, into all varieties of the disease, including those affecting just one sex, is important regardless of whether one has a family member who has suffered. Wanting to raise money for prostate cancer if you are a woman should be actively encouraged, not delimited. Of
course, there is the obvious argument that women or men should find other events to participate in that are open to them. While many such events exist, these two are the most focal, prominent, and accessible. With this in mind, it is much more deplorable that they are gendered; will our little girls and boys grow up not only thinking that pink is for one and blue for the other, but that they can only raise money for certain charities if they have the correct sexual organs?
A corollary point here is that men can get breast cancer and 350-400 men in the UK do every year. This is an embarrassing and traumatic enough experience, without feeling as if you are ostracised from the very charity established to help defeat your affliction, by the cerise balloons, fairy wings and terms and conditions. Imagine, for one moment, being excluded from a thing you never wanted a part of in in the first place: quarantined from your own disease. Further, if they could,
#h#a#s#h#t#a#g#s Comment On...
#sorrynotsorry. Have you ever heard of anything more sarcastic, disingenuous and nonsensical? However, this 13 charactered hashtag continually gets up to forty thousand uses a day. This leads me to ask, what is the alluring charm of the hashtag, so irresistible that it has transcended the virtual world into reality, and when does it become plain irritating? Like any club worth joining, you have to be a member to really understand and appreciate hashtags. From the outside looking in it’s just a world of keyboard-warriors hiding behind their smartphones sending indirect tweets. No one is less of a member to this not-so-elusive club than Ed Miliband. We expect the tangofaced half-naked Northerners of Geordie Shore to commit the ultimate crime of verbalising hashtags but for Miliband to respond to the Budget in the House of Commons with “hashtag downgraded Chancellor” is most definitely a step too far. It seems that it’s not only marketing campaigns that now adopt the hashtag as if it was one of their own, such as Nike’s #makeitcount and Diet Coke with #showyourheart, but politicians’ attempts to hashtag worryingly demonstrates the power of today’s social media. Hashtagging might be a great way to unify groups of people, share that hilarious cat video or even become an amateur reporter. But it should never, under any circumstances be spoken aloud. #sorrynotsorry Ed.
Bijan Ebrahimi Sid Sagar
The murder of Bijan Ebrahimi has unearthed a very troubling notion. What drives two grown men to beat a disabled man unconscious and burn him to death? Cue the soul-searching: was Ebrahimi killed on account of his disability? His race? Or because his neighbours believed he was a paedophile? It could have been all, or none, of these factors. What has struck me, as a student living in the same city where this atrocity took place, is the apparent lack of solid measures to prevent a similar crime. Of course, Avon and Somerset Constabulary must ask themselves why Ebrahimi was arrested, released without charge and left to die at the hands of a savage mob, but this case exposes a much darker dimension to our national conscience: that there is something profoundly wrong at the core of our society. The solution is uncertain. Perhaps by encouraging communities to embrace, and not fear, change and difference, we can make a small but vital step towards purging the plague that ended the life of an innocent man.
would such sufferers want to be a part of events so clearly gendered; disease unbalances one’s relationship to their own identity, emasculation is just a further, unnecessary blow. Cancer is a problem which affects all of humanity and the human race contains more than one gender. Automatically excluding around half of the UK population from the outset seems not only offensive, but illogical and un-mercurial. The core aim of Cancer Research charities is, one
hopes, raising as much money as possible to fund research and eradicate a devastating disease from our planet. With this in mind, I say, bring on the events which include us all: watch participation soar, and sponsorship sky-rocket, then tell me only either women or men should contribute. Call it idealistic, but, arguably, the image of women and men crossing a finishing line together, united in a single cause, is a far finer, richer one than our current gendered alternatives.
Hull, City of Culture Adam Beckett In 2008, Liverpool was awarded European City of Culture in a watershed moment for British cities; the benefits to Liverpool were clearly enormous and a boom was registered in tourism for the city. In lieu of this the Department of Culture, Media and Sport decided to create the UK City of Culture award in order to promote cities that were perhaps not known as cultural hubs. The first of these was Derry-Londonderry this year, and recently the next city was announced, Hull. Kingston-upon-Hull, to give it its proper title, was voted the worst place to live in 2003, yet now it’s been chosen as the 2017 city of culture. Huge benefits will hopefully be seen as attention turns to a much ignored city; there will be all kinds of cultural and social events as Hull attempts to promote its image. The award attempts to promote those cities that aren’t cultural hubs such as London, Bristol, Manchester and Leeds. Industrial cities such as Hull are looking for ways to transform their appearance, to shake off its ‘crap town’ moniker. Now people can experience Hull without prejudice, find out about the city beyond the Humber Bridge; appreciate it for being the birthplace of Andrew Marvell and Phillip Larkin; visit its many museums and architecturally brilliant buildings. As Hull fans chanted to Crystal Palace fans: ‘You’re only here for the culture’.
Flickr: D H White
13 13 15
There was no fission, just fusion at Iranian nuclear talks
Flickr: World Economic Forum
The new atmosphere of cooperation will go some way to resolving the Syria crisis
Recent talks in Geneva have led to a historic breakthrough on the Iranian Nuclear issue. Iran and the P5+1 group (US, UK, France, Russia and China and Germany) have come to an agreement that would see the development of Iran’s controversial nuclear programme halted for the first time in 10 years in return for limited sanctions relief. The agreement was announced in a tweet in the early hours of Sunday, 24 November. The deal is designed to last for six months, during which both sides will attempt to reach a permanent and potentially game-changing agreement on Iran’s nuclear programme. The deal in Geneva is a sign of a wider change in Iran-Western
treated Rouhani’s conciliatory gestures with suspicion, while leaders cautiously pursued negotiations with Iran. Talks earlier last month failed to produce a resolution, but were said to have ‘bridged important gaps’. There was greater significance to these meetings, as it marked the highest level talks between Iran and the US in nearly 35 years. Both talks saw key foreign ministers, including Britain’s William Hague and John Kerry, arrive at the last minute in order to secure a deal. Iran’s controversial nuclear programme has been at the heart of tensions with Britain and the US for the past 10 years. Determined to push forward on its nuclear programme, Iran says it seeks to create a clean energy source for a country that recognises that oil won’t last forever. However, this has left many countries worried that it is secretly pursuing nuclear weapons. Under the agreement Iran will be unable to install any new centrifuges, and would only produce 5% enriched Uranium or less, a level suitable for power generation but
not use as a weapon. It will also have to stop work on the controversial reactor at Arak, a sticking point in the last round of talks. In return countries will ease a limited number of their sanctions against Iran amounting to $4bn, £2.5bn, and stop any new nuclear-related sanctions on the country.
There was greater significance to these meetings, as it marked the highest level talks between Iran and the US in nearly 35 years
relations following the election of western-educated moderate Hassan Rouhani, who has an M.Phil. in Law from Glasgow Caledonian, as President of Iran in June of this year. So far President Rouhani’s term has been marked by several major landmarks, including an historic phone conversation with U.S. president Barack Obama, the highest level diplomatic contact since Iran’s Islamic Revolution of 1979. Additionally, President Rouhani’s foreign minister Mohammad Zarif met with US Secretary of State John Kerry in this year’s UN General Assembly in a forerunner of the talks in Geneva. Many Western commentators had
Of significant importance to Iran is the recognition by the international community of its right to enrich Uranium. Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Zarif left Geneva convinced that ‘the current agreement… has a very clear reference to the
fact that Iranian enrichment programme… will be a part of any agreement, now and in the future’. However, talking to ABC John Kerry said ‘We do not recognize a right to enrich’. The issue of Iran’s right to enrich uranium could prove to be a snag in any future negotiations. The deal is seen as a major coup for both Presidents. At home Rouhani will be seen fulfilling one of his key electoral pledges just beyond his first 100 days in office. Rouhani’s diplomacy may bring economic recovery through sanctions relief but importantly not at the expense of its nuclear programme.Meanwhile Obama will see his first major diplomatic victory in the region since his 2009 Cairo speech. The new atmosphere of cooperation will also go some way to resolving the Syria crisis. Peace talks between the government and opposition forces have been scheduled to be held in Geneva in January. It is thought that both Iran and America can prove to be very influential in the outcome of those talks. The deal has been welcomed by most in the international
community. However Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has condemned the deal as ‘an historic mistake’. Meanwhile regional rival Saudi Arabia has been a less vocal opponent to the deal. Forces within the signatory states may yet derail the process. America’s Congress in Washington says it will continue to consider imposing new sanctions on Iran, an act that would breach the terms of the agreement. This would continue the trend of Congress hampering Obama’s major initiatives, such as gun control, immigration reform and Obamacare. Likewise, hard-line factions within Iran could evoke deep rooted distrust of America; although so far there has been no open opposition to the deal in Iran. The importance of this development now rests on the permanent deal that will be negotiated in the coming months. If successful, this agreement could mark a turning point in Iran’s relationship with the West and would be a big step towards a wider peace in the Middle East.
Editor: Emma Leedham firstname.lastname@example.org
Let’s stop droning on This letter is in response to Comment’s piece entitled ‘We still love Napalm in the morning’ from the last issue. The article in question argues against the drone program in the War on Terror, claiming that it is a “murder weapon” wielded as the newest plaything of the Western world against the innocent of the Middle East. It appears incredulous that one might issue such a radical vilification of the greatest means we have to fight mass murderers. The present reality is that these drones, or unmanned combat air vehicles (UCAVs), are in fact the most effective and accurate weapons ever built for the singular purpose of destroying terrorist organizations and their leaders. Murder involves the premeditated and illegal killing of civilians in a time of peace. This is the very definition of what occurred on September 11, 2001. That day of infamy came with no declaration of war, no warning, and no offer of discussion. It sparked the beginning of a global War on Terror that began with the actions of radical religious fanatics known as Al-Qaeda, and not, as suggested in the article, ‘the Islamic world’. It is not only justifiable for us to kill these terrorists; it is our responsibility to protect the peaceful citizens of this world, of whatever nation, from those who would harm us for our freedoms. A drone holds no prejudice against the peaceful teachings of Islam; it simply targets terrorist leaders, of any creed, with deadly accuracy. Far from being a ‘tragedy’ of ‘slow-but-steady mass murder’, the military revolution that is the UCAV program is precisely what
Nabil Virji and Alexander Chau
Want to have your say? Email email@example.com
As this is the final issue of Epigram before Christmas it seems appropriate to have a grump about the festivities. On a personal level this seems highly counterintuitive because ultimately Christmas is my favourite time of year. There is mulled wine, advent calendars, carols, a smell of pine on the floor, a general happier feel to the world in which we live and more food than anyone could ever eat. Most importantly there is just enough alcohol to finish dinner, sleep through both dessert and Toy Story 3 on the telly, and wake up just as someone dies in the Eastenders special. As is probably evident from my personal highlights of Christmas, I am not religious. Instead, Christmas is an opportunity to give thanks to my family. A thanksgiving, if you will. There is however, the other side of it. As much as we all love Christmas, there are very few times where six people crammed into a house for a few days doesn’t elicit some kind of argument. In my household two words strike fear into the bones of my relations – Christmas Monopoly. As is probably the tradition for many of you, my family insist on playing a board game every Christmas. Some choose Scrabble, others Cluedo, but being the traditionalists that we are, we always plump for Monopoly. Every year this tradition begins with a black and white mental image of each of us jovially enjoying the festivities through the process of buying and selling a series of woefully
undervalued London properties. As the hours blissfully fly by and someone eventually emerges a victor of modern capitalism, we are all thankful for the time spent in each other’s company. Yet amongst these frivolities, there is always one person who seeks to ruin the fun. In my case it was my grandpa. With the accumulated experience of 77 previous Christmases, Grandpa was in 2012 what many would describe as a ‘hardened Chistmaser’. He was the kind of hardened Christmaser who was always the first to pull the crackers and the last to remove his hat, no matter how much it hurt his ears. He had by this point eaten enough turkey and seen enough games of Monopoly to know that the tide of merriment needed shifting. For too many years he had played along with the customs and norms of family fun. Now it was time for a change. As Monopoly was getting into full swing it soon became apparent that my grandpa was not playing to the rules. Instead of allowing the game to take its usual course, he sought to acquire one of each kind of property, thus preventing any progress for everyone else in the game. Even when offered Park Lane to give him a full set on Park Lane and Mayfair (the hallowed territory of any game of Monopoly), he declined so as to continue the impasse. Having completed his task he sat back in his chair and basked in the joy of the carnage that he had created. With each moment that passed, the despair became
increasingly etched onto the faces of my family. The cacophony of joy that traditionally epitomises Christmas Day had slowly faded away. Perhaps, after two decades of getting little more than socks for Christmas, Grandpa had decided that he would make a stand. The good news for this Epigrump is that there was a happy ending. In this case it occurred on Boxing Day. Having made all future games of Monopoly synonymous with questions concerning the futility of our own existence, the error of his ways was recognised. In compensation for his misdemeanours of the previous day, he proceeded to build every Christmas present that my younger brother had received. For the most part, this involved what seemed to be a mega city of Lego. With the construction of this metropolis of buildings, vehicles and Star Wars jet fighters, the Christmas order returned. So this is a warning to all those who find themselves coerced into a family Christmas board game – beware of vengeful relatives. If the hardened Christmasers in your family seem to have a menacing look in their eye, be wary of what they may do. Otherwise, you may become embroiled in a neverending Monopoly abyss like I did. If this is the case, Christmas 2013 may be slightly less merry than you were expecting. Alex Longley
keeps casualties to a minimum. This new generation of weapons has delivered to us the lowest number of civilian deaths in exchange for decimating the leadership ranks of terrorist organizations like AlShabaab and Al-Qaeda. This is the true definition of success in a post-9/11 world where terrorists are often hard, if not impossible, to distinguish from civilians in the fog of war. Whilst the article in question supposes that drones are simply the Western manifestation of ‘rage and fear - but in a more ‘systematic’ way than the terrorists have managed - we believe that terrorists do not care about the systems of the free world. Indeed, they have no respect for democracy, liberty, or the rule of law. These are the very organizations that murder to take away the rights of young Afghan girls to attend school. Furthermore, the author claims that the War on Terror is a ‘war’ that bears no merit, for it seeks out the unknown terrorist rather than any particular nation state. Surely by this logic it is preferable to see American forces invading Pakistan and Yemen à la Iraq? This is the alarming preference of armchair strategists who want, above all, a ‘legitimate’ war of their own social principles in ignorance of new realities. The truth is that drones continue to save the lives of both civilians and of our own service men and women. The fact is that despite the 67 civilian deaths caused by UCAV strikes, 2,160 terrorists have been killed in the past six years and drones have a running accuracy rate of over 90%. In contrast, the war in Iraq averaged 28 civilian casualties for each insurgent killed, involved $815 billion and killed 600,000 civilians over eight years. Overall, we have found it difficult to come up with another plan that has the same rate of success, accuracy, and reliability as drone strikes. If anyone wishes to do so, they might consider sending in their own alternatives to: NATO Headquarters, Brussels, Belgium. Otherwise, we conclude by reiterating the fact that this is the real world, and it demands real-world solutions.
9 10 11
19 21 23 22 24
Across 1) Called (4) 3) Drivel (8) 6) Not doing anything (6) 7) Quirky (9) 10) Defence mechanism (6) 11) Country within South Africa (7) 14) Snack for a monkey (6) 16) The sun, in sunny side up (4) 18) Meat skewer (4) 19) Forbidden (5) 21) Desert of Mongolia (4) 23) Eye cover (3) 24) Best bits (10)
Brought to you by Emma Leedham and Sam Tomes
epAnagram It’s Christmaaaas! Can you unscramble these festive words?
Down 1) Donner and Dancer for e.g. (8) 2) Synthetic Fabric (8) 3) Disgraced TV Chef (7,6) 4) Well-groomed (4) 5) Keepsake container (6) 8) Narcissist’s problem (3) 9) England goalscorer (6) 12) Perfect for basketballers (4) 13) Do as asked (6) 15) Opposed (4) 17) Eucalyptus lover (5) 18) Leaves port (5) 20) Fails to include (5) 22) Schoolyard game (3)
Last week’s answers: Across: 2) Igloo 5) Age 6) Area 8) Storm 11) Dirty 12) Ten 14) Cromwell 15) Polo 16) Coronation Tap 18) Burma 21) Ukelele 22) Joust 23) Omega 25) Nero Down: 1) Movember 3) Facetime 4) Wager 7) Diwali 8) See 9) Alleviate 10) Pseudonym 11) Demotion 13) Yule 15) Pop Idol 17) Zilch 19) Alaska 20) Amen 24) Glue 26) Orca
Last week’s answers: Galaxy, Comet, Planets, Universe, Nebulae, Telescope, Stars
Quick Christmassy quiz 1) What is the longest number of consecutive years that an X-Factor winner
has clinched the Christmas No.1? 2) Which British comedy starring David Jason, which first aired in 1976, is returning to the BBC this festive season?
3) Which Christmas carol includes the lyrics ‘...To save
4 8 3
us all from Satan’s power, when we were gone astray..’? 4) In Charles Dickens’ novel A Christmas Carol, who was Scrooge’s dead business partner? 5) Before turkey, what was the traditional Christmas meal in England? Last week’s answers Qs 1-5: Star Wars, Typhoon Haiyan, Scorpion, smoked a joint of cannabis, Blackadder
News and opinion from the University of Bristol Students' Union www.ubu.org.uk
2013 IN PICTURES
OFFICER IN THE SPOTLIGHT
UBU highlights of the year
UBU events this fortnight
ELECTED OFFICER ROLE REVIEW
Your current Elected Officers
our President, Rob Griffiths is leading a review
the officers represent the student body more
Our ‘vision’ of University of Bristol students creating
of the officer roles and would like your help in
accurately.You can help inform the discussion by
a world class student life for themselves cannot
filling in the short questionnaire online
be achieved without solid rep structures involving
officers, course reps, executives (societies, sports
shaping it. UBU is led by Full and Part-Time Elected Officers -
etc) and Student Council. We need to constantly
to represent the student body on a wide number of
review how these are working to be able to keep
activities, interests and developments. The officers
“I want to make sure our work is about tackling
the organisation relevant with the constant pace of
also represent students to university management
the issues, and heading in the direction that you’re
- to bring about changes to improve the university
not just happy with, but that you’ve had active
involvement in developing with us. This is so you can
Rob will present proposals to students at the Annual
feel confident your union supports students in every
Members Meeting in February. Have your say at
aspect of university life.
Rob is leading a review of the officer roles, to help
FRESHERS FAIR Our biggest ever, the one day event took over the Harbourside and introduced thousands of new students to UBU sports clubs and societies.
BACK WITH A BANG The Anson Rooms re-opened in 2013 with a string of sell out gigs including London Grammar and Chvrches. See the What's On for more.
SPEED DATING UBU Volunteering hosted a packed event in AR2 with 80 people looking for love and having fun.
SELL OUT SCORE 1400 people crammed into Motion to witness one of the best sports nights in the city. International DJ Charlie Hedges kept the crowd on their feet.
TAKING PRIDE IN SPORT Championing the sporting lives of LGBT+ students at Bristol; Take Pride launched with Lou Englefield (Pride Sports) delivering a talk to Club Captains.
GETTING GREEN UBU Get Green launched with an interesting night of ideas and discussion. The initiative will run a series of sustainability projects across the University.
UBU GET GREEN
the Student Switch Off campaign which encourages students to save energy
Last week marked the official launch of a brand new sustainability project, UBU
encourages even more sustainable behaviour such as volunteering and recycling.
Get Green. UBU was one of 25 students’ unions to win funding from the National
Both schemes seek to engage students through fun, campaigning, prizes and
Union of Students (NUS) Green Fund in the summer, which is now being used for
and student-led initiative, 20 Steps, in collaboration with Bristol Hub, which
a two year project to foster a community of sustainable behaviours and actions at Bristol.
Where students learn explores both the formal and informal curriculum, with an ethos that sustainability can be embedded in everyday learning.
The launch event was attended by 35 motivated students from a wide variety of backgrounds, including international students, postgraduates, and more. Students
Students were really engaged with discussions exploring ways to incorporate
were asked, ‘What does UBU Get Green mean to you’ which garnered very
sustainability into UBU sports teams, through competitive elements such as cycling
positive responses including; ‘UBU Get Green means student led change for a
powered smoothie machines. There is also scope to lobby the University to print
less lecture notes and ensure that the right infrastructures are in place to make sustainability possible at the University of Bristol.
UBU Get Green focuses on two areas; Where students live and Where students learn.
As a volunteer with the UBU Get Green team, you will be able to play a key role
SOME DAYS I FEEL…
in ensuring that sustainability is a core part of student life. There are a variety of
Where students live explores students living in private accommodation and their
opportunities to get involved with UBU Get Green and we are looking forward to
interactions with the local community. UBU Get Green will be championing
having everyone take part in building a greener world!
OFFICER IN THE SPOTLIGHT:
SPEAK YOUR MIND
peak Your Mind is a survey designed to identify your experiences of well-
Hey there. I am the Vice President for Sport and Health at UBU. This my second
being at university. However you’re feeling, right now, we’d like you to Speak Your Mind
year in the role - I just couldn’t get enough!
emotions are easier to readthe than others andAfter your state of mindMate campaign, which looked Back inSome February, UBU ran Look Your
I work alongside two groups of committed and passionate students; the sports
at how with students support each through the challenges of mental health those triggers but we do need yourother input to make sure we address
exec and club captains. These groups support my role by providing evidence on
could be affected by one or several triggers. We want to help you deal the right issues.
problems. The campaign highlighted the need for clear evidence of students’
what issues are important to students and helping to coordinate the fun bits
experiences of well-being, concerns and possible support. Speak Your Mind
of the job such as SCORE and the Varsity series against UWE (who we always
has been designed to address the gaps we uncovered and identify the actions
destroy). I also work closely with Sport, Exercise and Health which varies from
we can take to improve your well-being.
developing a sports strategy to deciding the future of the sports facilities.
The results of the survey will be considered by the University’s Student
I have pushed for the construction of a free outdoor gym at Stoke Bishop,
Experience Committee and the Students’ Union to look at what we can do to
reintroduced Pay As You Go at certain facilities and also had the first female DJ
encourage environments which further mental well-being.
play at SCORE, who was also a Kiss FM and Ibiza headliner!
VP Welfare and Equality, Alessandra Berti says:
It’s hard to put into words the extraordinary position which elected officers are
“This research seeks to set the scene for the work we will do to support
in. We are catapulted into leading the Students’ Union and on a weekly basis, are
students in having a great university experience and being able to cope with
sitting alongside the University’s most powerful members of staff really being
the stressors of university life. This is an opportunity for students to influence
what the University and UBU can do about mental health and well-being.” I am currently developing a more flexible sports pass for students on placement So, however you’re feeling right now, go on and Speak Your Mind at
years, monthly sports pass payment options and a new equality initiative ‘Take
Pride in UBU Sport’. Follow me on Twitter @HannahPollak1.
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The beauty, the beast and the burlesque
a journey nonetheless’, Julie explains. The journey does feel a little too quick, I would personally have liked to see more of Beauty’s ‘coming of age’ transition which is mostly tackled by the donning of a red dress. Some parts of Beauty and the Beast’s saga are more referenced than performed, but if you know the ‘story as old as time,’ this is enough. The transitions are not totally seamless, but the gothic, rustic, make-shift style is a spectacle in itself. From the gorgeous child-friendly puppets at the start, to the final graphic honeymoon via frank storytelling, the overall progression is a satisfying one. Full of adult magic, the story is still evolving. Muz tells me how the process is ever changing. The ‘story stays the same but we tweak the fiction’ she says, in an open creative environment. The feeling of pseudo-family is clear on stage, and all four seem genuinely fond of each other, not just Matt and Julie. The intertwining of myth and truth is consolidated by this sense of collaboration. When it comes down to it, fairytales are about love conquering all, and even if this isn’t necessarily the exact message they are trying to spread, it certainly comes across. We are left feeling warm and fuzzy with massive grins on our faces. ‘It’s a great date night!’ Julie excitedly exclaims, and I agree.
Another River-ting show at the Wardrobe Theatre A man, two women and a dead trout make up the cast of The River, directed by Max Kirk at the intimate Wardrobe Theatre every night this week. Jez Butterworth’s play is an interesting choice for student theatre; grown up and understated it explores the characters’ relationships with each other – predominantly through their respective relationships with fishing. The Man, played by Ben Schroder, is enigmatic in more than his lack of name. On stage for the entire play, Schroder performs with a powerful grasp of his many lines and retains a necessary sense of mystery throughout. Even when alone, his careful actions remain mesmerising. Playing opposite him are Letty Thomas and Robyn Wilson, credited as The Woman and The Other Woman. Both very different performances and characters, they bring a certain light into the cabin. Thomas plays sympathetic romantic uncertainty with perfect naturalism, staring into
Dublin-born author and philosopher. Her father came from a line of sheep farmers, whilst her mother was a singer. Murdoch was a near-genius, studying at
a sunset at the beginning and gently mocking her partner’s taste in poetry. Meanwhile The Other Woman is self-assured and teasingly flirty. This is portrayed by Wilson with a fitting manic glint in her eye, and a sense of potential danger matching Schroder’s clenched fists. There is something both realistic and purposefully unnatural about the drama. Many of the conversations revolve around repeating off stage events, sometimes several times, with differing levels of honesty. This interesting device produces some of the most successful points of the play, the actors responding to each other with mature and convincing emotion. Other moments seem less relaxed as occasionally the transitions between dialogue and monologue feel a little more forced. The characters’ movements also seem sometimes slightly stilted around the elaborate set, complete with camping stove, wooden furniture and a shelf of holiday reads. Although not completely polished, the beautiful, metaphorical language and an engaging story makes The River an impressive directorial debut from Kirk. As the smell of the sea fills the theatre, repeated references to the lack of moon and the thrill of the chase create a tense, sexy and surprising play that is about a lot more than just fish.
WHO Iris Murdoch Philosopher and author (1919-1999)
Beauty and the Beast is running until the 18th December in Liverpool and Warwick www.improbable.co.uk/work/ beauty-and-beast
Oxford and Cambridge after going to school right here in Bristol. Ever true to her academic roots, her ashes were scattered in a garden in Oxford.
H i g h l y influenced by Plato, Murdoch published m u l t i p l e philosophical papers on all things good, evil, and against Sartre. One famous parable centred on a mother
and daughter inlaw relationship, perhaps telling of her own tempestuous life with husband and fellow novelist,John Bayley. Novels, poems and screen adaptations of her work all followed.
She in impossibly glittery lipstick and black leotard, he in jeans and a t-shirt, the couple introduce themselves simply as Matt and Julie. Amidst the smoke-filled set adorned with a lattice of painted roses, gold mirrors and lush velvet throws there is something wonderfully ordinary about this welcome. This is Beauty and the Beast by performance artists Julie Atlas Muz, a ‘definer of burlesque’; and Matt Fraser, ‘arguably Britain’s most famous disabled actor’. Fraser’s paraplegia was an effect of the Thalidomide prescribed to his mother for morning sickness. In our interview before the show, I ask Muz: why fairy-tales? ‘They have been usurped and sanitised by Disney, but the originals are actually really scary! We wanted to bring Beauty and the Beast into a modern and (very) adult world.’ Describing its ‘lush aesthetic’, Muz also points out the sense of naivety and innocence beneath the glitz. A stunning and imaginative shadow puppet show using an overhead projector starts the fairy-tale in a manner reminiscent of both Disney and Cocteau’s 1945 La Belle et la Bête, but unmistakeably made their own and executed perfectly by ‘puppet slaves’ Jonny Dixon and Jess Mabel Jones. The well-known fairy-tale is then interspersed with the central couple’s own tale of how they fell in love. Through respective childhood idiosyncrasies, burlesque grind shows, first dates and transatlantic married life, the tales they tell as themselves to the audience are funny, touching and warm. Like so many fairy-tales, Beauty and the Beast is a coming of age story about a girl growing up with only a father. ‘You get evil stepmothers and witches but rarely actual mothers.’ Is it a feminist piece? ‘I guess there is a current of feminist activism and disability activism through everything Matt and I do, over-coming prejudice, learning self-acceptance and acceptance of others. That’s who we are.’ As Miss Coney Island and Miss Exotic World, Muz muses; ‘I live in a subculture so this doesn’t feel radical for me, but I suppose it is.’ There is nothing cute about the admittedly radical nakedness and simulated sex, but it is also far from frightening. The comfortableness of the performers makes the show intimate, at points hilarious and surprisingly moving. ‘You could take a child to the first third, but the journey progresses quickly. It is a quick journey but
A punnet of japes and gags - Tash Drax
speaks to Revunions about climbing the comedy ladder Reeling out roaring comedy since the 1950s, the award winning Bristol Revunions brought their talent to the Wardrobe Theatre for one night only on Wednesday 13th November. Now we hear about the who, the what, the where and their next highly anticipated upcoming show. Over 60 years ago, Revunions existed as one of the only performing arts societies in Bristol. Since then they’ve gone on to entertain the thousands, with an impressive claim of performing the world premiere of Tom Stoppard’s Albert’s Bridge at the Edinburgh Fringe in the 1960s.
– resurrecting it to join the underground comedy sketch elite. Their first time performing back at the Fringe in 2009 could not have been more of a success. They had a sell out run and, on top of this, they won the Best Student Sketch Show in the National Student Newspaper. Now they traditionally perform two shows at the Fringe every year, and are an official society of the University. Led by President Pete Simpson and Vice-President Hugh Stanley, Revunions has experienced an enormous growth spurt in recent years. The t ro u p e has
“ The treasurer took off to Paraguay, taking with him their entire finances ” But Revunions hold an exotic history, one that reaches far further afield than Edinburgh. Legend goes that Revunions faced bankruptcy in the 1980s when, without warning, their not-so-trusted treasurer took off to Paraguay, taking with him their entire finances. One joke too far for this comedy club. Despite this knock to Revunion morale and comedy creating, the troupe was resurrected by ex-member Charlie Perkins
on the cusp of comedy brilliance. Not dissimilar to their alumni: Ellie White and Jamie Demetriou are just some examples of upcoming actors who owe their current status to their commitment to Bristol Revunions. The Independent Newspaper even called Demetriou ‘the next Steve Coogan’. Revunions’ most recent show, Bare Funny, is a perfect example of what they can do. My first time in the Wardrobe Theatre, I was packed in with 60 other eager viewers, only to find myself crammed in a corner on a backless bench,
lurched from 10 members in 2009 to an astonishing current 50 paying members. Revunions are filled with promise and large ambitions, placing them
barely able to remove my jacket without elbowing or head-butting my neighbour. Trust me, to keep an audience entertained here is no mean feat.
But Revunions, alongside Improv, threw punch after punch line. The short but sweet sketches were both well written and performed. Will Block’s dragon and James Alexander’s caterpillar impersonations were hilariously realistic, or perhaps realistically hilarious. Only a few didn’t quite draw out the bursts of laughter the others achieved. After my first Revunions experience, hopefully you cleared your diaries for the 46th December and got yourself down to the Little Black Box Theatre. The Sketch artists performed the biggest show they’ve ever done, a solo Revunions performance entirely different from anything they’ve done before. Titled Bristol Revunions Present: Presents. The story goes that human kind has been sold out to excessive consumerism and vice. Sketch comedy, by extension of the fact it will never make anyone any money, is the last bastion of virtue. 2 guys and 2 girls are preparing to save the world.
Arts Introducing: Maya Dudok De Wit “ I tend to prefer working in
black and white, doing mostly ink drawings or mono-prints. I like the old-fashioned feel you can get from printing, and the irregular line of a calligraphy pen. I sometimes draw on pages of books or the back of postcards found in second hand shops as this adds to the nostalgic effect. ”
Left: Rabbit skeleton (calligraphy pen and ink, drawn on the page of an old book.) Right: Interior (white pencil on black paper) Above: Butterflies (calligraphy pen and ink) mayadudok.tumblr.com
Murdoch met Wittgenstein at Cambridge in the mid20th century, but their relationship was clearly frosty as the majority of her philosophy went towards criticising him. Her novels came later in the ‘60s, exploring a variety of styles and inspirations from Tolstoy to Proust to Gothicism.
Murdoch pretty well dominated the Oxford and Cambridge scene for a long time. Things could have been different however, as in 1946 she was accepted to Vassar College in the US – only to be denied entry for her Communist Party membership. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1990 she commented that her membership revealed ‘how strong and how awful communism is in its organized form’.
The countless awards are a giveaway: the James Tait Black Memorial Prize in 1973, the Booker Prize in 1978, and the Gold PEN for ‘a Lifetime’s Distinguished Service to Literature’. Both Judi Dench and Kate Winslet played the onscreen Iris in the 2001 biopic of her life. This woman was a force to be reckoned with. Claudia Knowles
Under the sea and out of the ordinary
The Little Mermaid is a very well-known story for adults and young children alike - did any previous adaptations affect your own, and were any aspects of the story challenging for you? When you talk to people about The Little Mermaid, most people tend to burst into a dodgy accent and sing at least a bit of ‘Under the Sea’, so other adaptations certainly affected this one. But in order to get excited about adapting something I have to search for something new and personal in the story; what it means to me, here, now, and the world as I see it. And that’s when the story grows challenging. The original is a contentious piece of work. Essentially, a female protagonist defines herself by a man, pursues him, fails to get him so commits suicide. I do find that challenging but equally, that’s where I find myself personally engaging in the work. How can I expand on what this means? What is it about this story that is truly timeless and universal? And, of course, how can I make this a family show? It’s the challenges that earn the adaptation. The original tale of The Little Mermaid is much darker than is usually portrayed - have you retained any of the gruesome aspects of Hans Christian Anderson’s story, or have you decided to keep your production strictly family-friendly? Well, the safe answer is ‘some of them’. I don’t want to give the game away but in Hans Christian Andersen’s stories the suffering of his protagonists is far darker and more unjust than the gruesome stuff. I would argue that tongues getting cut out, dancing in burning shoes, and such other things aren’t as gruesome to most readers as the situation that drives the protagonists to volunteer to suffer outwardly as opposed to inwardly – unrequited love, injustice, powerlessness…
How have you found working within the space of the Bristol Old Vic, in comparison to theatres such as the West Yorkshire Playhouse or Hammersmith’s Lyric Theatre, where you’ve worked in the past? In my opinion, the Bristol Old Vic is one of the most beautiful theatres in t h e world. Not only is its
architecture wonderfully challenging to storytellers i n terms of its depth, shape and the images it asks you to create, but it is an honour to work in a room that has held audiences for hundreds of years. The sense of community isn’t only in the walls around you it’s in the city surrounding the building. The Bristol Old Vic has reopened a great many times and this is a tribute to its audiences. You can sense the sheer weight of generosity and communal desire to watch and create theatre of the highest quality. So to work within its walls, with all that around you, really does feel like engaging in something much bigger and infinitely more beautiful than just making a play. You’ve mentioned before that contemporary dance has shaped the way you work - how has this been the case, if at all, with The Little Mermaid? As anyone who knows the story will tell you, The Little Mermaid wants a pair of legs. But when she walks on dry land she feels unbearable pain. She moves from an environment in which she can
© Simon Annand
move easily to one in which movement is searingly difficult and she must come to terms with this. So yes, the story instantly spoke to me of dance. As well as our incredibly versatile cast we have been lucky enough to work with both Toby Sedgwick (War Horse, 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony) and Laïla
Dialo (Hold Everything Dear), so the piece is full of movement even if it’s not always easily recognisable as dance.
before long those anxieties form themes within the work: Family, community, responsibility, forgiveness…
Not only have you adapted other traditional stories for performance, you have also written many award-winning plays such as Mikey the Pikey and Food. Do you find that you work differently when approaching existing material rather than writing your own?
Finally, do you have any plans for new plays next year, or is The Little Mermaid your only priority for now?
I’m part of an ensemble based at The Lyric, Hammersmith in London called Secret Theatre. We are investigating how we can interact with our audiences in different ways Yes. Adapting something always to challenge, surprise, and provoke them. feels like a direct communication One of the ways in which we are attempting to with the author of the original do this is by not revealing the title or author work. When I’m adapting something I of the work that you book to see. Of course, like to read and re-read the original before in the days of the interweb it’s easy for you to I start work. Once I’ve got somewhere find out the existing titles of what we refer to I can start to look at other people’s as Show 1 or Show 2 for example, but we are adaptations and read around the subject trying to offer audiences the option to not and / or author(s). Then I begin to hone in know what they are about to see. For example, on the themes of the work that resonate with Show 1 was a radical reinterpretation of an me personally and I can begin to write my existing classical text whereas Show 3 was a version of the original. It’s not so much a new play. We hope that this means you can process of trying to replace or identically come to the theatre without preconceptions, recreate the original – it’s theatre this time, expecting surprise and prepared to respond to whatever the experience is that we’ve so it’s already a different context created for you, as – it’s a process of making it my opposed to your own before restructuring idea of what and interpreting it in that experience its new form. When I should have work on something been. The for myself it normally problem involves a lot more with all this frustrated walking, secrecy kicking things and means paranoia. that I c a n ’ t With Cinderella and really tell Dick Whittington you much preceding it this m o r e isn’t your first a b o u t ‘festive’ adaptation. what I’m How does creating d o i n g a play for the run-up there! I to Christmas impact can just the final production? urge you to take a chance It was absolutely with us if you fascinating to try to learn find yourself in from pantomime traditions familyconsumersciences.com London next year or when investigating how to if we manage to get the adapt this, how to deploy comedy, shows on the roads. villains, transformations within a very different framework. But to answer The Little Mermaid is on at the Bristol Old your question, I like to think of myself as Vic from 28th November - 18th January an artist with a process and a narrative of development; in reality, you get a www.bristololdvic.org.uk/mermaid.html commission to write a Christmas show and all you feel is responsibility. You think of the age ranges, the families who might make their only theatre outing at Christmas. You think of the community spirit A Chrysanthemum Undying - Shaunagh Duncan in the air at that time of year and
Green Party councillor for Ashley, Bristol
“ I moved to Bristol five years ago Claudia Knowles - pen/pencil on paper
Elinor Lower speaks to scriptwriter Joel Horwood on adapting Hans Christien Anderson’s classic, The Little Mermaid
to live with friends in a community house. I mainly work with students who are on the autistic spectrum (ASD) and really enjoy it. No two days are the same.
Too soon to sense a new beginning When I’m blue as a sky that’s always growing. A tear, newfound, but never lost: A predestined melt from bitter frost. Dwindled hope is not some desert glowing But a wind eloped from a breath blowing Onwards and on To an even lighter sight: A flash, a flicker, A play on light. I fear and feel the worst, For it is the worst that keeps me Blessing. Not for you I pine and lust but for the past And its tortured lesson. Unto my fate I realise A starling finally flying: Orbs reopened blue And true To see a chrysanthemum undying.
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Film & TV
@epigramfilm Deputy Editor: Matthew Field
Online Editor: Alejandro Palekar
Editor: Gareth Downs
Fresh from the revealing of a new trailer for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, it is fair to ask: are we experiencing a case of fatigue when it comes to big budget movies with seemingly unending sequels? The answer to this question is a resounding yes. The question of whether or not this is a problem is the one that prompts the ensuing discussion. The offending trailer debuted before its sister film Thor: The Dark World. Thor has been met with disappointing reviews, averaging around the 6/10 stars rating, and the new trailer for Captain America appeared to be equally uninspiring to anyone not drenched in the movie lore. This is surprising considering the strength of films in the series that have come before it, such as Avengers Assemble in 2012, and earlier this year with the hit Iron Man 3. So what is happening to this franchise, and for most other franchises in the movie industry? “Sequelitis” as it is commonly termed is an illness plaguing Hollywood and limiting writers from creating new and original films in order to churn out a follow up to what was successful last year, in the last five years, and, in Star Wars’ case, over the last 30 years. There are jokes to be made that when a franchise reaches its 5th or 6th edition, it has become a laughing stock. Rocky 5 was absolutely panned when it was released, a reaction which was only partly resolved by its finale. Fans of the Paranormal Activity series are now getting bored and less frightened. And amazingly The Fast and Furious franchise was almost set to wrap up its 7th film just as the 6th one was arriving
in cinemas earlier this summer! Yet with all that said, viewing numbers for these films are still at the very least satisfactory. If you consider statistics from films that iterate time and again, the numbers dip, yet they still remain substantial enough for the production house to break even. New and original films, however, struggle a lot more. Typically, a film needs to return at least twice its budget in movie sales just to break even, so when films like R.I.P.D. are making less than half of its budget in gross sales, its understandable why Hollywood tends to shy away from these types of movies. However, returning to the Marvel series, what is the symptom of their sequelitis in light of apparently average reviews for Thor: The Dark World? For those not well versed in the “Marvel Studios Plan”, characters from the Avengers series – Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and Hulk – are set to appear in stand alone movies before and in between the scheduled Avengers 2: Age of Ultron and Avengers 3. Iron Man has recently concluded its trilogy, while Thor and Captain America both have two under their belts.
Sequelitis...is an illness plaguing Hollywood, and limiting writers
But are there too many of these films planned before the eventual release of Avengers 3? Should Marvel and Disney just make the Avengers films and forget about the individual releases? In my opinion, I was less impressed by the standalone character movies as compared to the triumph that was the Avengers. That said, a lot
of what made Avengers so great were the films building a foundation for that movie. What I consider important though is that the movies in between are not stop-gaps while the Avengers movies are produced. I fear that the main reason Marvel are making the standalone movies is so that the Avengers films - that undoubtedly take longer to make - don’t fall out of the public’s consciousness while they’re being made behind the scenes. Who am I to say that these standalone movies aren’t worthwhile? Typically, viewers of movies don’t pay huge attention to review scores, and, even if they do, tend to ignore them if the movie they’re going to see “looks fun”. How many times have you gone to see an obviously terrible movie just because it had your favourite actor in it, or because your friend said it would be a laugh? It’s not that all movies have to score 5 out of 5 for artistic marvels (excuse the pun) to be successful or worth our time and money, I just fear that with such a multitude of sequels of films both new (Marvel) and old (Star Wars) being made, that the material will be exhausted and become bland. Last year, the Dark Knight trilogy came to a fantastic end and I was deeply satisfied with the result. Yet not a year later, Batman is set to return in a new incarnation. Perhaps a longer break between sequels would suffice. It is not that these films have to pick up where the last ones left off; Star Wars is set to return with entirely new characters, and James Bond films always indulge in new characters, story lines, actors and directors. If the material is allowed to be creative and new without being repetitive and derivative, then sequels and franchises can be sustained.
Review: Parkland leblogducinema.comcom
Josie Kemp The stellar cast and the infamous assassination of John F Kennedy sets Parkland up to be a box office winner. Released on the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s death, it sets out to explore this event through the bystanders who were dragged into the spot light on that fateful day. Parkland is director Peter Landesman’s first film, yet this historical drama seems more apt for the silver screen than the big one. Landesman’s past as a reporter, his use of contemporary news reports, and Bugliosi’s study of those ‘four days in November’ shine through, making the film appear more of a docudrama than probably intended. The film takes its name from the hospital in which JFK was treated and pronounced dead shortly after being shot, thus making sense for Parkland hospital to be at the heart of the film. Zac Efron thankfully manages to take another step away from his High School Musical roots. His portrayal of the young doctor Charles ‘Jim’ Carrico’s futile attempts to save the president is
excellent, whilst Jackie Kennedy (Kat Steffens) over-dramatically stumbles around clutching fragments of her dead husband’s skull. The failure to build up tension, here, can probably be attributed to the knowledge of what is to come. Unfortunately, after this dramatic scene, the film is rather anticlimactic. Not only does the drama go downhill after this, so does the film’s fluidity. Landesman’s attempt to pull so many storylines together at times ends up creating a jumble of different ones, leaving the viewer playing a who’s who guessing game in a valiant attempt to keep up. This fast pace also prevents you emotionally engaging with the action, not helped by the two dimensional nature of some of the characters. Jacki Weaver’s comic relief, in particular, seems unnecessary, given the script’s sincerity in the remainder. Well worth a watch if you’re into historical films, though probably not worth the price of a cinema ticket. Parkland is in cinemas now Dir. Peter Landesman, 93 mins
The Day of the Doctor
Tennant, Hurt and Smith shine in Doctor Who Special
Over the last few months, The Day of the Doctor has been built up immensely, and, with it finally airing, opinions have been varied. Some believed it left much to be desired, and some considered it a perfect celebration of the franchise. Personally, I find myself leaning heavily towards the positive, while conceding that it included several imperfections.
The special’s sub-plot felt too prominent. The Zygons are an underwhelming threat for the Doctor to face after 50 years, as their one-off appearance 38 years ago hardly makes them iconic, and their appearance is too comical to be credible. To the episode’s credit, it did a respectable job updating them, making their transformation sequences surprisingly horrifying. This alone would have made for a laudable episode, but this was the 50th anniversary – something more memorable and impactful was required to justify the sub-plot’s considerable presence throughout the special. The special’s best feature, however, was the primary storyline revolving around Gallifrey and John Hurt’s Doctor. All three actors playing the lead Doctors worked brilliantly together, sharing delightfully entertaining chemistry. But whereas Smith and Tennant were always going to be fantastic, as they’ve more than proved their worth over the years, Hurt’s new War Doctor came off as an inspired idea, captured through a fully
realised performance. This new version of the Doctor enabled the special to analyse all aspects of the character, something that wouldn’t be possible without bringing in every Doctor. This aspect of the special felt suitably self-reflective of the character and demonstrated what he has represented over the decades. The Day of the Doctor was a thoroughly enjoyable celebration of the franchise, filled with call-backs, references, and the silliness you expect from Doctor Who anniversary specials, and featured a satisfyingly dramatic analysis of the character.
An epic love story and cinematic masterpiece
upside down. The film chronicles their relationship, serving as a realistic portrayal of the happiness and heartache that comes with a first love. Director Kechiche, along with his vibrant leading ladies Adèle Exarchopoulos (right) and Léa Seydoux (left), succeeds in creating a blunt-yet-refreshing presentation of reality. Every aspect of Adèle’s life is documented - to the point of tediousness - and usually through the use of invasive close-ups: everything from sloppily eating spaghetti Bolognese with her family to a slightly uncomfortable yet erotically convincing 10-minute sex scene with Emma. This non-romanticised depiction of life and love lets you think their thoughts and feel through their skin: it is through this medium that the film gains its ability to inspire. Despite lasting a whopping 3 hours, the film perfectly balances gorgeous cinematography with explosive scenes of dialogue, leaving the audience feeling as if only an hour has passed.
The most refreshing aspect of the film was that it wasn’t made with the sole purpose of being a lesbian love story, but rather a relatable love story. The politics surrounding same-sex attraction, such as coming out, public backlash and gay pride, are present in the film but take a backseat to the politics surrounding relationships in general. The way the film highlights the normalities of their relationship while also managing to portray it as one of depth and passion can make any audience member leave the cinema saying: “I wish I were a lesbian!”. Whether you’re looking for a heart-breaking Georges Biard
Young love, betrayal, and explicit lesbian sex are amongst the many attractions for Abdellatif Kechiche’s modern French masterpiece, Blue is the Warmest Colour. Focusing primarily on the physical, this Palme d’Or winner takes the topic of same-sex relationships and reduces it to its essence: a story of attraction, dissatisfaction, and combustion. We meet Adèle, a 15 year old college student trapped in the cycle of friends, gossip, and boys: a cycle she is never fully involved in yet never fully able to escape. She briefly dates Thomas, but can’t escape the feeling that her love for him is missing something. Along comes Emma, a blue-haired beauty with a certain lesbian swagger that turns Adèle’s perceptions of love and attraction
‘Blue’ burns warmest, Lauren Smith reviews Abellatif Kechiche’s stunning piece of French cinema
love story or a compelling cinematographic experience you’ve come to the right place. Just remember to stretch your legs beforehand.
Blue is the Warmest Colour is in cinemas now Dir. Abellatif Kechiche, 179 mins
Who’s laughing now?
Seth MacFarlane kills off Brian Griffin On the 24th November, 2013, Brian Griffin passed on aged 8. America’s best loved dog, a white Labrador of the Griffin household, Quahog, Rhode Island, died from injuries sustained after being hit by a car in Sunday’s episode of Family Guy, ‘The Life of Brian’. From the biggest fans to the casual viewers it is hard to deny Brian is one of the show’s best loved, and certainly the most original, character. What’s not to love about a talking, sarcastic, anthropomorphic dog? Brian has left us with some fond memories and some of the Family Guy’s finest moments. All fans of the show will surely remember ‘Peanut Butter Jelly Time’, from season four in ‘The
Courtship of Stewie’s Father’. Another favourite is when Brian is interviewed by Bill Maher in the episode ‘Brian Writes Bestseller’ which featured a crossover of live action with animation. The ‘Bag of Weed’ song remains a favourite in the episode ‘420’ of season seven. So where does Family Guy go from here? Brian was without doubt the show’s most intelligent and engaging character. He provided a crucial double act for Stewie and was, throughout the series, the straight man to the mad clowning of Peter. Seth MacFarlane has stated that Brian is by far his favourite character and is the only character in the show for which he uses his own natural voice. Brian provided a clear persona for MacFarlane’s personal and political views. What has left many fans so despondent about Brian’s death is the seeming insensitivity of his demise. He was killed off as quickly and as gruesomely as Kenny in an early bill of South Park. Only Stewie seemed to give a damn about Brian’s inglorious death and his reaction was much like the reaction of many of the show’s fans: shock and disbelief. Will Brian return? Already the internet is rife with rumours of the character’s resurrection. Over 50,000 have signed a petition on www.change.org for the character’s return with the petition poster stating ‘they have killed the dog who has lived in our homes for the last 15 years. They killed America’s dog.’ Over 750,000 have liked the Facebook page, R.I.P. Brian Griffin from Family Guy. South Park brought back Kenny after he was absent for a season, maybe MacFarlane will do the same, or maybe these are the just the death throes of a show he wanted to finish years ago? flikr.com/thomashawk
Brace yourselves for the creative tidal wave that is The Jump Cut Film Festival! The Jump Cut team has recently been refurbished with a fresh creative team, and is excited to announce that once again there will be a spring festival happening in 2014. Not only have we been endowed with a fabulous team but we are also about to undergo an online makeover, so look out for a stunning new website very soon. The festival is supported by UBFS (University of Bristol Filmmaking Society), Studiospace Film and UBTV, and last year’s festival drew a lot of attention from Bristol-based production companies and film groups. Jump Cut focuses on following all things cinematic around Bristol and responding with a fresh perspective. To help fan the flames of interest and keep the creative juices flowing before the festival, there will be reminders, contests, and an official blog updated throughout the year to keep budding film makers and veterans alike up to date with this year’s event. We also co-operate with independent film makers around Bristol and want to work with various clubs within and outside Bristol University in order to gather as many like-minded people as possible. With that in mind, we will be reaching out to UWE, Bath Spa, and University of Gloucestershire to cooperate on future projects, so we can grow as a company. For those who are interested in entering the festival there are a few basic guidelines to keep in mind: - Film makers must be between 18 – 30 years old - The films must be between 2 and 10 minutes long - The films can be shot using any equipment available and the content is entirely up to the individual film maker! Check out our lovely website: http://www.jumpcutfestival.co.uk/ for more details, and don’t forget to keep an eye on our blog at: http://www.jumpcutfestival.co.uk/#!blog/c1ixi Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter: www.facebook.com/jumpcutshortfilmfestival @jumpcutfestival See you at the festival! All the Very Best - The Jump Cut Team
Editor: Mike Hegarty
Deputy Editor: Danny Riley
Online Editor: Dan Faber
Flickr - mrshawnliu
The Dismemberment Plan
Cult indie rock heroes ‘The Plan’ are back after a decade apart, and their lives have calmed even if their live show hasn’t. Jonny Hunter met up to talk new records, mannequin torsos and why indie crowds won’t bloody dance. “Have you ever been to a Dismemberment Plan gig before? It’s a very interactive experience. Sometimes the crowd will call a request and end up shouting the band down until they play it.” The tour manager’s giving me the sales pitch after walking over to inspect the interview. Presumably the sporadic bursts of laughter and my obvious student music journalist charm had him worried the band were going to give away something they shouldn’t. He needn’t have bothered - in the 10 years The Dismemberment Plan were inactive its members went and got themselves sensible, stable lives completely contradicting their notoriously energetic live shows and emo-informed ‘dance-punk’ style. Travis (vocals/ guitar) is now a committed member of a church choir and Joe (drums) designs robotic arm software for NASA. Throughout our interview, Jason (guitar) enquires about coffee and tries to charge his
phone. It’s all distinctly un-rock and roll, but it’s clear the band have had an absolute blast touring for their first album in 12 years, Uncanney Valley. I sat down with Eric (bass) and Jason to talk about creating music again, indierock audiences and voraciousness.
Jason: “Writing for the new record started around that time, more-or-less, so we’ve been at it steadily since then.”
How’re you guys finding England?
J: “Pretty organic. I was more curious to see if the writing process would be rekindled from playing together and horsing around to working on different people’s ideas.” E: “I guess at the beginning it was all for fun, and I wouldn’t say it was conscious but there was definitely expectations. We’d just noodle, and if it didn’t turn into a song we’d get to hang out together and have fun. If it did, that’s cool, and after a couple of songs we realised it was kind of a thing.”
Eric: “I guess our only hang-up is that its been a busy tour so we haven’t had a chance to really see the country. It’s been get up, have breakfast, go, soundcheck, play and crash. The first day we went to see a football match, but otherwise it’s been busy but good.” Obviously you’ve just got back together, how’s it been? E: “Well we did a tour in 2011 for the reissue (of Emergency & I). So at that point we’d been practicing since 2010 and then played 12 shows in the states and 5 in Japan.”
Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde at Motion 20th November saw Motion hold arguably one of the best nights I’ve been to in Bristol, which is rather saying something considering it was all over by 12.30. It felt strange arriving at Motion so early in contrast their usual late nights, but things quickly got going all the same. The difference in audience was impossible not to notice, a refreshing change in dynamic from the usual crop-top and leggings brigade. For once, everyone in attendance was there purely for the music, creating an atmosphere that was truly something special. Stig of the Dump and DJ Babu warmed up the crowd for the night with a great mix of classic hip-hop tracks like Definition by Blackstar (Mos Def and Talib Kweli). Lords of the Underground gave a solid performance of their catalogue of hits, crowd-pleasers being ‘Chief Rocka’, ‘Never Faded’ and ‘Tic Toc’. Lastly were The Pharcyde. Their energy and insanely fun bangers left me and my friends with aching faces from smiling so much throughout the night. ‘Soul Flower (remix)’, ‘Passin Me By’ and ‘Runnin’ were all outstanding. The Pharcyde also played some top quality material by other artists; there was a block of time where they’d play snippets of songs everyone would go mad for – loads of A Tribe Called Quest
- Besatree Flickr Flickr - Collapse The Light
and O.P.P by Naughty by Nature were particular highlights. The fun continued with a breakdancing competition on stage with random people from the crowd which was pretty hilarious. Surprisingly most of them could actually breakdance, apart from a group of girls who stood awkwardly bopping and hidden at the back. The huge success of this night was undoubtedly due to the awesome quality of music on show and the fact all who were there, quite simply, absolutely loved it. Louise Kelly
Was it a conscious decision to start writing a new record or was it more organic?
I think you can definitely tell you had a lot of fun making the record. J: “Yeah we did. It was a hectic process that went pretty quickly because we all had to take time off work and be at the same place at the same time for the core. Well, we weren’t really in the same place at the same time. The rhythm tracks got cut and then Travis came in after that but it was a bit of a revolving door there for a minute. But it all worked out and we had a good time doing it.” You once wrote a song about indie crowds reluctance to dance, so now you’ve been touring for a while have you noticed an improvement or is it still a problem? J: If people are excited in the audience I count that as dancing whether they’re just jumping up and down or whatever. I don’t know if I pay enough attention to see if there’s any moves going on. E: There was a time in the late 90s where there was actually dancing at shows but then the crowds got bigger
and it stopped happening so much: it was more just excited. J: Someone actually stage dived in Brighton, which was pretty remarkable because this was a pretty thin crowd. You do realise you misspelled Uncanney Valley right? E: We did? J: Yeah we did it on purpose. Travis misspelled it and it stuck. It makes a nice symmetry with Valley. Is that Travis on the art with a torso on his head? E: Yeah, we did a show in a music store near where we went to college. We were trying out some new songs and before the encore Jason pulled out this well hung, muscular mannequin
from backstage. It didn’t take long for Travis to tackle it and start dancing and grinding on it. It broke in half and while the legs were crowd surfing Travis put the top half on his head and started dancing around. Any favourite tracks on the new album? Phil (tour manager): *cough* White Collar White Trash *cough* E: I like them all - some more than others - but one that’s got a lot of traction when we play live is Invisible. Daddy’s a Real Good Dancer, too. We play them pretty much every night. J: We don’t really get into habits of what we play - it’s just how we feel on the night. E: Every set list gets created on the same day... fresh out of the oven.
Albums of the Year Okkervil River The Silver Gymnasium
Iceage You’re Nothing
Just as it looked like this band might be beginning to slip, The Silver Gymnasium comes along to show Okkervil River hasn’t quite dried up yet. It sees a return to the fan-favourite Black Sheep Boy era of expressive folk-rock songs neatly tied together with the band’s legendary musicianship and singer Will Sheff’s narrative lyrics. For their 8th LP the band turn their gaze to childhood: drawing out a fantastical map of Sheff’s small New Hampshire hometown with landmarks like “the lake of the strangled crane” and “the creepy physical plant”. (Those who purchase the physical album actually get a copy of said map. Sweet deal.) It’s an album about the wonders of childhood and what it’s like to look back on a path as one’s innocence continues to decrease. Though most of all, it’s just really, really pretty.
Copenhagen hardcore punk’s foremost exponents are still young kids, touring the world with their violent output of raw, uncompromising shards of guitar-glass. You’re Nothing is frenzied catharsis, anarchically sabotaging the fine melodies and sound song structures that underpin their work with ear-shredding tribalism. Elias Rønnenfelt’s blitzy howl is ugly and ferocious yet curiously compelling, the ideal counter-balance to sickly sweet music production. In purist terms he can’t really sing, but that minor detail doesn’t matter when Rønnenfelt exhibits the iconoclastic charisma that he does, willing and able to smash the boundaries of conventionality. How can anyone fail to tap into the pure head-banging energy of the “Pressure! Pressure! Oh God no, pressure!” refrain on opening track ‘Ecstasy’. This album is relentless and urgent, masquerading as nothing but the destructive force of nature that it is.
It’s that time of the year again - LIST SEASON. Epigram music writers give their thoughts a few of our favourites from an awesome year. Chance The Rapper Acid Rap
John Hopkins Immunity
Although Hip Hop now holds nothing of the market dominance it enjoyed at its sales peak in the early 00s, it feels like the last few years have seen a reconciliation of its previously divergent and entrenched underground and, erm, overground elements, resulting in quite a creatively fertile period. Acid Rap is one of the most rounded and purely enjoyable of this new breed. Its fantastic sound is steeped in the musical heritage of Chance’s native Chicago, a lurching, frenetic, woozy mix of soul, gospel and classic hip hop dressed in the percussive language of modern 808-driven trap. At the heart of everything though, is Chance himself - a hyperactive, irreverent, furiously talented wunderkind whose clear self-confidence and boundless energy is tempered by a complete lack of pretension. The touch of vulnerability in his adolescent yelp makes you feel like you’ve been let in on a little more than you should have been, whilst well selected guest verses from the likes of Action Bronson keep things suitably audacious. Mike Hegarty
On Immunity, John Hopkins absorbs the textures of electronic music’s rich history before contorting each sound and regurgitating it into something utterly unrecognisable. Throughout this perfectly sequenced album, Hopkins’ sinister patterns of piano and rushing percussion flirt with acidic techno, IDM, hip hop and classical composition, pitching each distinct style against each other in conflicting but still somehow entirely harmonious combinations. The first half of the album contains explosive dance floor monsters Open Eye Signal and Collider, each shivering and bursting into an overwhelming climax. At this point Hopkins mercifully alters the mood completely by exchanging the dominant influence of techno for a classical mood. The album’s softer but no less accomplished second half puts the finishing touches to an atmosphere soothing on the surface but vibrating with underlying menace. Though this is the bastard child of a proud musical lineage, Hopkins’ sound is entirely his own. Dan Faber
Savages Silence Yourself
These New Puritans Field of Reeds
Foals Holy Fire
Having spent his whole career being utterly inscrutable, Deerhunter’s chief celibate misanthrope Brandon Cox scratches out the sedative ambience of their last few records to restructure garage rock in his own image; warped, snotty and elegantly capricious. A whole new agenda is instantly fixed for the group as the fuzzed chords of opener Neon Junkyard clatter into play, dosing the Atlanta band’s sound with a strutting, swaggering ingredient that even the rawest moments of 2010’s Halcyon Digest had never quite attained. Throughout the album, knotty Strokes-esque distortion is quenched in shoegaze which Cox peppers lyrically with American archetypes, from the Florida bound divorcee in Pensacola to Blue Agent’s badge wearers. After 10 tracks in this vein, the vicious, dazing noise of the title song signals the apex of Deerhunter’s ambitions, leaving the album to taper out gracefully into a quieter mode, still confident, still hungry, still indispensable. Alex Schulte
In a year well populated with macabre records and gothic sensibilities from the likes of Editors and The National, no voyage to the dark recesses of the human psyche kept me coming back to it in the same way Silence Yourself did. Dragging the stark, abrasive aesthetics of late 70’s New York No Wave into the 21st century, Savages’ debut album proved itself to be both a visceral blast of noisy post-punk and a gut-punching antidote to the many tepid sounds that have come to dominate contemporary independent music. Musically accomplished through and through, Ayse Hassan’s and Gemma Thompson’s combined bass and guitar work excellently in tandem creating bleakly dissonant melodies, whilst lead singer Jehnny Beth proves a suitably intimidating presence; vocals seething with barely contained malice and enigmatic sexuality. Few bands ever make an album this striking. Even fewer do it first time.
There’s a lot that can be said for the disparity between TNP’s 2007 debut and the album they released this year. Conceptual threads, impenetrable lyrical material and obtuse song structures give way to understated orchestral writing and that rarest of things in 2013; heart-on-sleeves, intensely sincere song craft. Somewhere between the debut and now I had lost interest in the Essex group, the critical furor surrounding the second album Hidden warding me off. ‘Children’s choirs? Watermelon smashing? Art school gimmick-mongers, I say!’ Field of Reeds, however, belies any accusation of pretension. As drummer George Barnett told me of the album: ‘It’s closer to us, it’s more directly who we are.’ Melodies are strong, orchestral textures are masterfully employed and the result is deeply affecting. This album deserves a place in the canon of English masterworks from the likes of Robert Wyatt, Talk Talk and Burial, but is very much a thing of its own. Danny Riley
For me, my favourite album of the year has got to be Holy Fire. Foals have come a long way in the past few years, from the obscure yelping in French of their first album Antidotes to the current swampy grooves of Holy Fire. They have skyrocketed to success this year, with the deceptively catchy “My Number” being played on radio stations and adverts alike, and “Inhaler” winning the NME award for Best Track. The honesty and transparency of the lyrics shows Foals at their most vulnerable, and teamed with the funkiest rhythm section that the band have attempted to date, makes for an album both danceable and listenable. The sonic stage presence of the brawnier tracks such as Providence is also heightened by the fantastic production of legendary duo Flood and Moulder, which makes each song sound raw, fresh and vital. This album has definitely been one of the highlights of 2013.
Live Attack of the Drones: Pharmakon / Gnod at The Old Coroner’s Court Barney Horner went for a third eye examination in a morgue in Stokes Croft. It was intense.
from the multitude of twiddly knobs and touch sensitive pads that festooned their multifarious gizmo decks. Silhouetted against intense white backlighting the Salford-based group were the embodiment of what one would imagine a fashionable underground collective to look like – hooded, bearded, reticent. And their music followed in kind: though Gnod drew largely from their Chaudelande album they condensed their set into one uninterrupted paean to noise, skittering their melodies in the vortex of droney spontaneity. Those two headliners c a p p e d a cathartic evening of pure and satisfyingly excruciating noise following on from Basic House and Salope, paragons of other British avant-garde scenes. Their collective oeuvre was trapped in the decaying box room at the Old Coroner’s Court, which furnished the scene with a specific postapocalyptic tone, ideal for the wanton drone being performed: peeling plaster work, mouldy plywood that appeared structurally integral to the ceiling, grimy industrial style floor. flickr: neatephotos
Pharmakon! She doesn’t give a shit about the Brechtian fourth wall! With her blond hair flailing, she vented her elaborate angst indiscriminately over our faces, crawled on the grimy floor and confronted her spindly hipster crowd with as much non-physical menace as she could muster – which was a considerable amount; all the while adding rudimentary percussive elements to the raw electronic feedback from the laptop. The nom de plume of New York based Margaret Chardiet, Pharmakon’s aggressive body language and eyeballing comes as part of her tour in support of the 2013 album Abandon, a superb addition to the canon of industrial noise electronica. She was the hostile antithesis to main support act Gnod, who turned their creative improvisational juices inwards and lost their sentient consciousness’s in the rhythmic psyche noise emanating
The Best Christmas Songs You’ve Never Heard 10. Sammy Davis Jnr. – Christmas Time All Over the World It wouldn’t be Christmas in many households without Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jnr. and this is a lovely, sometimes forgotten song which utilises the classic Christmas device of a children’s choir to perfection. 9. Stevie Wonder – Someday at Christmas This song is from Stevie Wonder’s 1967 Christmas album of the same name and is a lovely ballad. With much of the song being sung in the higher
register of Wonder’s range it shows a different side to his voice that you may not have heard before. 8. Jethro Tull – Ring out Solstice Bells This is a very different Christmas song to ones usually heard in December but is a catchy tune and has a good build-up to the chorus. There isn’t much onelegged flute playing that is usually associated with Jethro Tull but this is still a folked-up Christmas banger if you don’t mind me saying so. 7. Barry Manilow – Christmas is Just Around the Corner
The thing about Barry Manilow is that he knows how to write a very catchy tune! With a very cheesy lyric, this is the most recent tune on the list, proving there’s life in the old crooner yet. 6. Bob Marley and the Wailers – Christmas is Here Christmas songs can suit every genre and this is proved by this reggae / ska song by Bob Marley and the Wailers. 5. Louis Armstrong – Christmas Night in Harlem Although Kanye West released ‘Christmas in Harlem’ in 2010, Louis Armstrong got there first
in 1955 and provides a gentle shuffle to tap your feet along to with a lovely trumpet solo in the instrumental. 4. Jose Feliciano and Daryl Hall – Christmas Must be Tonight Blind Puerto Rican guitarist Jose Feliciano teams up with American rock and soul singer Daryl Hall to sing this wellstructured country song that’s a great winter warmer. 3. James Brown – Let’s Unite the World at Christmas Time James Brown brings some jazz, funk and soul to the noble pantheon of Christmas songs
Guy Barlow runs us through some neglected Yuletide gems.
with this effort from his Funky Christmas album. 2. Louis Prima – What Will Santa Claus Say? (When he finds everyone swinging) This Louis Prima song however is much more upbeat and fits comfortably within the bigband swing genre. 1. Johnny Cash – We are the Shepherds
Johnny Cash unfolds the story of the nativity according to the shepherds, utilising his deep bass voice for the chorus in a simple stripped-down song with just a guitar riff for accompaniment. Along with the lyrics it is wonderfully effective. A truly modern carol.
British Sea Power From The Sea To The Land Beyond
Why not spend this summer…
Building fuel efficient stoves in Uganda Teaching English in Nepal
Building a medical clinic in Malawi
Performing research for NGOs in Rwanda Application Deadline:
20th December 2013
Wig Out At Jagbags is the esoteric title of Stephen Malkmus’ sixth post-Pavement album. Like anyone who has come from the relative success of a cult-like alternative band Malkmus has always struggled to assert his solo/Jicks work, toiled unsuccessfully to remove itself from the long, eccentric shadow cast by Pavement. Wig Out will do little to alter that bittersweet state of affairs. Unfortunately one will inevitably ask themselves halfway through, if I want to hear Malkmus why don’t I just put Slanted And Enchanted or Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain on again; because Wig Out just feels like a more prosaic incarnation of those seminal albums. But it would be fairly reductive and wholly unfair not to actually look at some of the new songs in greater detail. ‘The Janitor Revealed’ is premium slacker scuzz, with a hint of Weezer; more subversive is ‘Shibboleth’ which warps jangly guitar lines in squally effects; ‘J Smoov’ takes on a jazzier vibe, embedding a trumpet or trombone (or some brass implement) into the instrumental segments. ‘Cinnamon and Lesbians’ and ‘Surrealist Teenagers’ are quintessential Malkmus song titles but arrive without the dynamism or compelling nature of his former work. It’s all a relaxing listen. Not dreary but wanting for some excitement. Wig Out refined and melancholy; Malkmus is long removed from the unorthodox spoken word rants and abrupt screams of those Pavement years but it lacks the raw production attitude to be as effective as
they were. Although he does continue to fire off Malkmus’ trademark caustic offbeat lyrics which remain as curious and outlandish as ever – on ‘Lariat’, the refrain of ‘You’re not what you aren’t, you aren’t what you’re not’ is characteristically opaque and enigmatic; ‘Houston Hades’ brands that town’s inhabitants as ‘truck huggers, gun lovers’. I sympathise with Malkmus: it’s very hard to move on from the older more successful work because people will keep harping on about Pavement – something that this review is, admittedly, perpetuating. Maybe when it comes out in January next year Wig Out will become a modern classic, netting for Malkmus a whole new generation of listeners, ears that are yet to discover his Pavement years. And I hope that happens. But I’ve already heard Pavement and they’re better. Barney Horner
Flickr - Nathan Wind as Cochese
British Sea Power’s soundtrack album for Penny Woolcock’s BBC4 documentary of the same name, displaying reels of film about the British coastline from 1901 to the present day, is a wonderfully haunting and nostalgic tribute to Britain’s withering seaside towns and coastline. Although written to be displayed with images the album has enough artistic individuality to be singled out to listen to as a stand-alone album because it’s as great a showcase as any of the creativity that BSP possess. The title track combines sounds of the sea and modern world with nostalgic brass accompaniment and lyrics to poignant effect. BSP do well to create a wonderfully open orchestral sound in fourth track ‘Heroines of the Cliff’. The album takes a turn with the song ‘Melancholy of the Boot’ which is much more abrasive sounding before returning to the previous pattern in ‘Berth 24’. BSP rely heavily on material from old songs here, and whilst this gives their unique stamp on the music, one yearns for them to provide a few more climaxes. ‘Holiday’, for example, builds nicely and is another excellent example of BSP’s ability to combine guitar-pop with eclectic sounds, but it is an exception. Overall the album serves its purpose brilliantly and is perfect as wistful background music but sometimes lacks a killer punch.
Wig Out at Jagbags Matador January 6th 2014
Rough Trade December 2nd 2013
Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks
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Science & Tech
@EpigramSciTech Deputy Editor: Sol Milne
Editor: Molly Hawes firstname.lastname@example.org
Online Editor: Stephanie Harris
The fastest clones on the Savannah Beth Cotterel Science Writer Cheetahs are famous for their incredible speed, but at a genetic level they are far more interesting than other sprinters.
All Cheetahs alive today are as closely related as cousins and genetically they are practically clones. It is thought that a drastic event around 10,000 years ago wiped out most of their numbers, leaving only a handful alive from
which all modern cheetahs are descended. This led to severe inbreeding, leaving the cheetah with incredibly low genetic variability today. This is clear when we compare them to ourselves; in humans, 10% of our genes have more than one
functional version in different people, in cheetahs this is only 0.067%, a truly tiny variation from animal to animal. They are so genetically similar that they can even receive skin grafts from a different individual without suffering
around 10,000 years ago wiped out most of
leaving only a handful alive
Flickr: Tanbako the Jaguar
side effects; such a procedure could potentially be fatal between unrelated humans. Inbreeding can cause physical and health defects and any offspring are at a higher risk of genetic disorders, so why is the cheetah seemingly unaffected? Strangely, inbreeding can also purge a population of the recessive genes that cause these defects; as long as the recessive genes are not passed on initially they will vanish from the gene pool. The cheetah is a prime example
of this and has very few genetic illnesses. Being so genetically similar has so far proved to be useful to the cheetah, but it is a very precarious state to be in when disease strikes. If the disease overcomes one cheetah, it is highly unlikely that any others will have the necessary immune system to fight it and it has the potential to be deadly to the entire species. The story of the cheetah is a poignant one for today’s endangered animals. It is a success story, showing that a species can return from the brink of extinction and eventually become a healthy population, but with the cost of vulnerability to disease. It is also a story of luck; many other populations have dwindled and died, unable to save themselves as the cheetah has succeeded, and we should not presume that we can do the same for our own endangered species. The rhino or the tiger may not be as lucky as this army of spotted clones who stalk the savannah today.
Representation of science in the media Ben Parr Science Writer BBC’s topical debating programme Question Time has been put under pressure this week to include more scientists on its panel. A petition started by Science writer Martin Robbins titled ‘BBC: Give scientists proper representation on Question Time’ has already gained mass support. Question Time typically features a panel of five people, at least three of whom are politicians, and two other public figures often selected due to their relevance to one of the pre-selected questions asked by the audience. The petition criticises the programme for its choice on panellists, claiming that there is a serious lack of scientists on the show. The petition presents a graph illustrating how, since the last general election in May 2010,
there has been a total number of two scientists appearing on Question Time. To put this in context, the number of all scientists appearing on the panel over the three and a half year period is fewer than the number of appearances from poet Benjamin Zephaniah (three) and half the number of historian David Starkey (four). Even Nigel Farage, the leader of UKIP, a party with not a single MP, has been on the show eight times. But, perhaps most telling of all is, for a serious programme, a total of thirteen comedians on since May 2010. Upon watching the show, the lack of scientists becomes very noticeable when certain issues are discussed. Whether it be debates about drug laws, climate change or even the way the NHS is run, it seems that the arguments had by those on the panel rarely have the scientific insight into the issues they are dealing with.
science and technology select committee does. This committee exists ‘to ensure that government policy and decision-making are based on good scientific and engineering advice and evidence’. It seems a fair question to ask, therefore, why did David Tredinnick, MP and advocate of both homoeopathy and astrology, join earlier this year? Whilst it is established scientific fact that homoeopathy works no better than the placebo effect and that neither astrology or homoeopathy have any experimental results supporting them, it seems counter intuitive that Tredinnick, a man who
believes we should introduce both into the NHS, is on the committee. The petition has already gained over fifty thousand people signing it in the few weeks it has been active. Perhaps then, in the near future, a question will be asked on Question Time, perhaps about the prospect of nuclear energy, perhaps about the problem of drugs, or even about the way the NHS is run, and maybe, just maybe, there will be someone on the panel who fully comprehends the issue at hand and will have the ability to give the facts, and not just opinions.
Flickr: UK parliment
commentators on the
eighty of them. In many ways this is understandable. Politics is perhaps a more natural progression for a lawyer than a scientist. That said, many scientists have taken to playing an active part as commentators on the political landscape. With the Guardian printing articles about physicist Brian Cox’s view on the student grants and science funding, it seems that now more than ever scientists could be beneficial to politics. The further one researches the rationality of British parliament, the more disturbing it gets. If no other committee in politics needed a scientific perspective, the Commons
Flickr: Bev Sykes
have taken to playing
This is particularly apparent in one episode which had a question about the drug laws in the UK. The panel consisted of the usual three politicians, along with Columnist Melanie Phillips and Comedian Russell Brand. It quickly became obvious that the debate had fallen into a rut. The questions from the audience on the health effects of drugs such as cannabis compared to alcohol or smoking were sidestepped and left unanswered. Instead the discussion turned to citing general examples such as the laws in Amsterdam. Whilst this can be useful, it was disappointing to see an argument as important as the drug laws be passed off with a few simplistic examples and no real depth. Being able to understand the effects drugs have on the individual’s health, mentality and upon society as a whole is invaluable if one is to have an informed opinion on what should be criminalised and why. Something a scientist could have enlightened the panel on. However, all of this is hardly surprising if one looks at the representation of the sciences in the Houses of Parliament. Out of the six hundred and fifty members of the House of Commons there is only one professional scientist. Compared with another profession such as law, it is found that there are over
Tesco: brainwashing? Condom Breakthrough Tim Bodicoat Science Writer
Rachel Cole Science Writer Ever come home from the supermarket with a lot more than you intended to buy? Like most students I am a sucker for a deal and often get persuaded to spend a lot more than necessary when that bright yellow “reduced” sticker stares at me from the shelves. Researchers at Bangor University are currently using functional brain imaging techniques to investigate how shoppers respond to special offers and what triggers their purchasing decisions. Volunteers will perform a virtual grocery shopping task whilst having their brains scanned to monitor changes in blood flow within the brain. Previous research has demonstrated that the blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD)
signal, an indirect measure of activity, is increased in different areas of the brain during different stages of the shopping task. When desirable items were viewed heightened activity was evident in the Nucleus Accumbens – a structure associated with reward- seeking and addiction. When an item was priced lower than expected, medial prefrontal cortex activity – often assigned to attention - was elevated whereas item rejection increased activity in the insula - an area related to pain. Psychologists in Bangor hypothesise that after 23 minutes of shopping logical decision making will gradually cease and rash choices will be made due to a transition of dominating brain activity from logical processing regions to emotional centres. The results of these studies may lead to a better
understanding of the brain activity necessary for decision making and no doubt retailers will benefit by altering marketing strategies to increase profit, but is this research really worth the price? MRI scanners cost over a million pounds but when used for life-saving diagnosis or treatment, such as in stroke patients, this expense is more than justifiable but can the same be said for exploring shopping habits? It is an uncomfortable thought that NHS patients requiring an MRI scan for medical purposes can be on waiting lists for months when this valuable clinical tool is easily accessible for research, which will inevitability be exploited to manipulate customers into making unnecessary purchases. Don’t supermarkets control enough without adding our minds to the list?
Graphene is the predicted miracle material of the 21st century, with applications from digital crisp packets to foldable electronics. But while the idea of practising origami with your iPhone might have you camping outside the Apple shop for weeks, you’re more likely to find the wonder substance on the shelves of a family planning clinic before the local Dixons. This is following the recent news that Bill Gates has commissioned research for the use of graphene not in his latest PC or tablet, but in condoms. Graphene is made of sheets of carbon a single atom thick.
It’s this single-layer mesh of the bonds that give diamonds their strength that makes graphene both the toughest and thinnest material going. Its discovery earned Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2010, and led to the creation of the National Graphene Institute at the University of Manchester. It is here that the new contraceptive will be developed. The scientists behind it are one of 11 groups to receive funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to produce ‘a next-generation condom that significantly preserves or enhances pleasure, in order to improve uptake and regular use.’
It would take an elephant standing on a sharpened pencil to break a sheet of graphene, so the new condom is sure to stop even the most determined of sperm, while the inherent thinness of the material means enjoyment will not be compromised. The successful production of a condom that is safer and more pleasurable than those currently on the market would be a powerful weapon against unplanned pregnancy, STDs, and poverty. However, since unequalled conductivity is one of the many superlatives attached to graphene, it might be advisable to keep the condom well away from the electric play ring. Unless, of course, you’re into that sort of thing.
Invisibility: fact or fantasy? Epigram explores Suzie Brown Science Writer
for microwave frequencies. Also, many passive devices (ones which do not require electricity) have been designed which effectively hide an object in a certain range of frequencies of light, but have the opposite effect in other frequencies, actually making the object stand out more. This is because suppressing the scattering of light in one frequency increases the amount of scattering in other frequencies. Generally these devices are only effective within a very narrow band of frequencies, so if the object is viewed in a broader range of frequencies the device is ineffective. Perhaps active cloaking (using electricity to hide objects) could be more
It’s been suggested that cloak’
possible, which could theoretically events in time
promising as it could work in a broader range of frequencies and the device could therefore be much smaller. It would seem that the idea of a Harry Potter-style cloaking device for visible light is farfetched for now - but there are lots of less obvious applications for cloaking in other parts of the electromagnetic spectrum and even in different types of waves. For example, radio-frequency cloaking could improve radio transmission by masking obstacles or alternatively it could have military applications in masking stealth aircraft from radar detection. Similarly, infrared cloaking could hide objects from thermal imaging or even keep components of computers cool, and cloaking magnetic fields could have uses in security. Alternatively, sound cloaking could be used in headphones or ear defenders, or to design acoustically perfect concert halls. It has even been suggested that a ‘space-time cloak’ could be possible, which could theoretically ‘hide’ events in time. But if your invisibility needs can’t wait for the far-off ‘Harry Potter cloak’ there are a few less elegant solutions available already. In 2011, British defence company BAE demonstrated their ‘Adaptiv’ technology, which can hide a moving tank
from thermal imaging, or make it appear as a cow or car. The system uses thermal cameras to detect the heat signature of surroundings and an array of hexagonal panels which change temperature accordingly to
stop the vehicle being spotted using night scopes. This is analogous to James Bond’s invisible Aston Martin in Die Another Day, although an effective day-time equivalent has yet to be produced.
The idea of invisibility has inspired fictional characters for decades, from well-known superheroes like Marvel’s Susan Storm, created in the 1960s, who can render herself or other objects invisible by bending light around them with her mind to newer characters like Violet from Disney/Pixar’s The Incredibles (2004), who can turn fully or partially invisible at will. But a more intriguing manifestation is perhaps the ‘cloak of invisibility’ from Harry Potter. It is the idea of being able to put on a cloak which could allow you to pass undetected which has captured the imagination of the public. Perhaps because it suggests that, if the technology existed, it would be not only superheroes but also ordinary people who could have access to the power of invisibility. The question is: could this technology exist one day? The notion that ‘cloaking’ could be possible was introduced in 2006 by John Pendry and his colleagues in their paper on transformation optics -a field concerned with using materials with optical properties allowing them to bend light in specific ways. Since then many others have
embarked on research into specific areas of cloaking, and the past seven years have yielded some initial results which could eventually lead to the production of working invisibility devices. There are two main methods being investigated: the first is to cause light to bend around the object before continuing on its original path, and the second is to create a ‘photo negative’ of the object to cancel out its image. The research being carried out largely employs metamaterials, materials engineered to have properties not found in nature. For instance, several teams have created prototypes of ‘plasmonic’ cloaking devices, which work by the second method. However, the research has not proven easy: all cloaking devices produced so far suffer from limitations sufficient to stop them from being useful for real-world applications. For instance, plasmonic devices have to be tailor-made for a specific object, so that the device has the exact opposite image to the object being concealed. Another problem which has been encountered with many devices is that they only work from one angle, although in 2012 the first allangles cloak was demonstrated
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Ridisculous frisbee team set for Nationals A big collision draws some admiring glances from the sidelines
Amy Samson Sports Writer Ultimate Frisbee is one of the fastest-growing sports in the UK since the first ever game was played in just 1972. The basics of the game are similar to that of American football. Played indoors, there are five players on the pitch whose aim is to score by catching the frisbee in the opposing ‘end zone’. One of the unique aspects of the game is the way it is self-refereed, relying on players to discuss the rules between themselves when
necessary. It has been a great start to the indoor season for Bristol’s Ultimate Frisbee team, qualifying for Nationals in all three divisions: open, women’s and mixed. Their most recent success came at mixed indoor regionals, a two-day tournament held in Bristol. On day one they quickly got down to business, beating the likes of Swansea 2, Plymouth 2 and Bath 3 convincingly. Their final game of the day was against rivals Cardiff 1. As predicted it was a close fought game, but with some great team play all round, Bristol came through winning
Game of the Week Make your way down to Coombe Dingle on Wednesday afternoon (11th) to see the men’s tennis team in derby action:
Bristol 1st v UWE 1st
In a league of their own The victorious ultimate frisbee team with their trophy
7-4, ending the day with a welldeserved 4th seed. Day two came quickly and the previous day’s achievements seemed a distant memory! After stretching out some aching limbs, the team faced Bath 1 in the semi-final. Bristol excelled under pressure going 5-0 up, eventually winning 9-3 and thus securing their place in the final. All that was left in their way was Exeter 1; undefeated all season, Bristol knew they had their work cut out. The team got off to a great start going 3-0 up, but with Exeter scoring four consecutive points they were quickly on the
back foot. Showing some great resilience and strong team spirit, Bristol won the final 6-4 becoming the best mixed team in the southwest. Special mention must go to Jamie Lowe who was awarded ‘most valuable player’ and captain Josh Kyme, who with some motivational team speeches and acknowledgement of team nerves, was a key asset both on and off the pitch. With record numbers of freshers at training it looks set to be an exciting year for Bristol’s Ultimate Frisbee Club.
Perfect 4 for Men’s football teams Jack Penzer Sports Writer Another huge game day saw the 1s, 2s and 3s involved in cup ties with the potential to reach the last 16; equally as important was the crunch league game as the 5s faced off against West
Ham United. An early week injury crisis meant there was movement throughout the squads, and with each team facing formidable opposition, it was certainly a tough test of the depth of the Bristol University Men’s football squad. The 1s came into a big game against a Winchester 1s
side with notable absentees including captain Ben Cole and varsity starlet Jocelino. Goals from Parsons, Fiddes x2, Murray and Palmer nevertheless ensured an easy 5-0 win against a side perhaps better off on the farming field rather than one created for the harvesting of football skills. 2s were drawn against a Plymouth 1s side sitting in second place two leagues above them. Two goals from Rubin and one from Walker, alongside a Man of the Match performance from Ben Eder, led to a tremendous 3-2 victory. Special mention to Rubin, whose second goal is an early contender for goal of the season; he now takes his recent
goals tally to a very impressive 5 in 2 games. The 3s came up against a Marjons 1st XI residing a lofty three leagues above them. Goals from Adejokun and a helping hand from Marjons saw the 3s pull off the result of the day,a real morale-booster considering the loss of key players to the 2s. On a big day for Tim Downes and his 5s, Tomes, Gordon, Williams and Avanzi bagged goals in a 4-2 win against a side placed third in the league. It was a solid performance and a good win that maintains a 100% record and cements Bristol’s place at the top. Player/Assistant Coach Gemes had this to say: ‘We were keen to get a result and we did, happy days’.
Nick Adams Sports Writer Bristol Rugby League Men’s 1st team put in an immense performance to comprehensively beat Aberystwyth University 1st team in a scintillating game of rugby league. Bristol lost to Aberystwyth in the opening fixture of the season, but certainly avenged that defeat. Bristol started strongly when, after 5 minutes, a sumptuously placed kick by Nick Dodds was gathered gracefully by Greg Hopkinson, who then proceeded to muscle his way over the line. Digby Morse turned the screw by adding the conversion as he then continued to do with regularity throughout the game, missing only one kick. Bristol’s second came soon after as the ever-outstanding Charlie Oxlade powered his way over to score. Aberystwyth were not cowed by Bristol’s opening salvo, as they camped on Bristol’s try line for the next 10 minutes, enjoying numerous repeat sets. Bristol summoned their very own Greek God Con Metcalf, the thoroughly deserved ManOf-The-Match, who channeled the divine intervention of Zeus upon Mount Olympus, repeatedly smashing back Aberystwyth to keep Bristol’s
clean sheet intact. Bristol made Aberystwyth’s profligacy hurt as they struck again through Nick Adams. Adams had the vision and speed of thought to punish Aberystwyth when they shot up on their own try line, the club captain darting through for another Bristol score. The final try of the half came from Jeremy Fitter - after the ball was swiftly put through hands, Fitter skinned the full back oneon-one to touch down. Bristol started the second half like they finished the first as they repeatedly tore into Aberystwyth with the fifth try coming soon after the break. In the best play of the game looseforward Tom Strain dinked the ball, with a deftness of touch that would make England captain Kevin Sinfield blush, for Kerr Rawden to collect and score. It did not end there for Bristol either, as they made one final journey over the Aberystwyth whitewash. After Hopkinson used soft hands, Morse was unleashed to run three-quarters of the pitch to score. For the final 20 minutes the game became a little flat as the Champagne rugby lost its fizz. Aberystwyth were finally able to break Bristol’s lines to run in two consolation tries in the last 5 minutes, although even this couldn’t take the shine off an impressive win.
As we enter the Winter Break, the University of Bristol lies 14th in the overall BUCS Points Table. Thanks in particular, to some big performance from Hockey and Lacrosse. Here’s hoping for more success in the New Year!
Women in sport: Editor’s columnn Hetty Knox Sports Editor
This issue of Epigram sees the Sports team’s special feature on women in sport, a relatively prominent feature in the recent press. I say relatively because women’s sport still only receives 5% of sports media coverage. As a national average only 41.6% of women are participating in sport compared to 55.4% in their male counterparts. A recent Daily Mail article shone a rare spotlight on women’s sport, albeit for the wrong reasons. Upon discussing the female Sports Personality Of The Year (SPOTY) nominations the author, John Shaw, gave his quite misogynistic view of the contenders. Quoting the odds ‘1-10 that one (a woman) makes the tea’. It is this type of gender stereotype and crude humour that can put many women off participating in sport. The piece by Shaw titled ‘SPOTY girls can’t shine like Amy’, also paid reference to Amy Willerton participating in ‘I’m a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!’ and how her ‘half clad’ body is outshining four time Olympic medal winner Rebecca Adlington - one of Britain’s greatest ever athletes, male or female. This type of reporting is only one branch of the issues facing women’s sport. The sport media industry is heavily weighted towards men and this is something that needs to be addressed. This is not to say there are not some fantastic female journalists. Clare Balding is now a national treasure following her engaging presenting of the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, the numerous awards and recognition she has gained since demonstrate this. The media is not the only obstacle that must be tackled in order to create a level playing field for gender in sport. For example, what of education? If I think back to primary school, I was labelled a ‘tomboy’ because at lunchtime I would join the boys on the football pitch. This wasn’t a label I particularly minded having and nor did the boys mind me playing football, because at that age gender doesn’t feel so defined. Come secondary school though things begin to change. Girls
were less willing to participate in sport because they ‘don’t want to get sweaty’ or because people might pass destructive comment about them showing any competitive spirit or being a little feisty. These are qualities that we will all possess to some degree as a student at Bristol. You don’t get in to a leading academic institution without a little bit of competitiveness to succeed. But what is it about sport that becomes so unfeminine when many young women reach secondary school? There are efforts also being made to get more women on the panel of sports’ National Governing Bodies (NGB). In 2011/12, women made up 22% of board members, and there were six publicly funded bodies that had no women on their board. The University of Bristol Sport Exercise and Health is no exception to this trend, with those managing sport at Bristol all male. Elite sportswomen sometimes get criticised because they do not possess the same skill level as their male counterparts. But many of these women have to hold down a full time job alongside their professional sporting career so that they have a means to fund their training. The sponsorship deals within women’s sport represent an average of 0.5% of total sponsorship in sport. It is no wonder men sometimes have a greater skillset; many of them can afford to give 100% of their attention to their training. Surely the women who have reached the pinnacle of their athletic careers whilst juggling another job should be given greater accolade? The science speaks for itself: men have evolved to, on the whole, be the physically stronger and faster gender. But this doesn’t mean that women can’t participate in sport. There are so many positives that can be taken from participating in sport, physically, mentally and socially. There has been so much progress made in this field but there is still gender inequality within sport. In this edition of Epigram we try to tackle some of the obstacles confronting women in sport and have some fantastic interviews and insight with those pioneering to change women’s sport for the better, both on a local level in Bristol and on a national level.
How fair is female football? Emma Frazer Sports Writer Football is a game in which women are usually seen as a secondary feature. However, with the profile of professional women’s football growing, the question is whether or not this is filtering down to a university level. At the University of Bristol, the men’s football team has nearly 80 members, while the women have around 30. This means that although the men have five teams, four of which play in BUCS, the women have only two teams. Nevertheless, last year the women’s one BUCS
team scored more BUCS points than all four men’s teams put together. This is an achievement that took years of effort to accomplish and has not been given the credit it deserves. UBWFC, the women’s team, are in the Premiership South division, which means that they are playing the best teams in the area. The implications of this are strong in women’s football where professional players tend to go to university. As a result, UBWFC this year have played against many international players, such as Jordan Nobbs and Danielle Carter, who are coached by exEngland star Kelly Smith at the
University of Hertfordshire. Most universities which are serious about sport have a professional partner club; Bath have Yeovil, UWE have Bristol Academy and Hertfordshire have Arsenal. At Bristol, the women rely solely on the support of the University. UoB and the SU are very good with UBWFC, giving the men and women’s teams equal economic support. However, despite the women being in the premiership while the men’s first team are in the ‘Western 2B’ division, the men still have priority for the first team pitch at Coombe Dingle. Furthermore, this year the men’s Varsity
match is cancelled due to riots last year, which means they have decided to play the women’s match at Bristol Academy, rather than the usual Memorial Stadium of Bristol Rovers, due to an expected shortage of spectators. Although these disparities may seem minor, when the levels of success are compared it would seem that the University has backed the wrong team. Women’s football is a growing sport and with increasing numbers each year, alongside tremendous achievements, maybe UoB should start treating UBWFC as the champions they are.
Sonny Bill Williams @SonnyBWilliams
“Heartbroken. Left nothing in the tank, Gutted I couldn’t bring it home for my brothers! Love these guys. Congratulations to the Aussie boys”
Tweets of the week The pick of the sporting Twittosphere
SBW, recently voted World Player of the Year, reflects on New Zealand’s Rugby League World Cup Final defeat to Australia at Old Trafford. A one-sided final was perhaps not a fitting end to a tournament that has been applauded as being hugely entertaining from around the world. Piers Morgan @piersmorgan
“You were brilliant today, Lazarus @aaronramsey - as you have been all season. Congrats.” Morgan continues his embarrassing climb-down after the abuse he directed at Ramsey last season, after another sterling performance against Cardiff took his goal tally for the season to 13. I, for one, stood by Aaron. Michael Vaughan @MichaelVaughan
“I am the new ‘Wally with the Brollie’.” The former England cricket captain’s role on I’m A Celebrity led to comparisons with Steve McLaren. Out of the two, we know who we’d rather have managing the England football team. And he is not called Steve.
Women standing SPOTY 2013 tall A celebration of the Corey Sutch tells us why women in sport are real, accessible role models
British sporting year
As the calendar year comes to a close it is again time to choose the definitive sporting hero of the past twelve months. The list of candidates for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award for 2013 has been released and we give the low down in the hopefuls vying to join the list of British sporting greats. Andy Murray - Odds-on favourite
He ended 77 years of British hurt by becoming the Wimbledon champion in June this year following the heartbreak of the 2012 final. The man from Dunblane won the final in straight sets to send the British public into joyous celebration. He is every bookmaker’s favourite to win the illustrious prize and it seems foolish to bet against him.
Ian Bell - Sherminator to Terminator
England’s man of the series in this summer’s ashes contest scored 3 crucial centuries to arguably win 3 tests for England and fully rid himself of the nickname ‘Sherminator’- given to him after a poor 2006/7 ashes series.
Chris Froome - King of the Mountains
Kenyan born Froome followed on from Bradley Wiggins’ victory in the 2012 Tour de France to make it back-to-back British victories. Froome completely dominated this year’s tour, winning three stages, holding the yellow jersey from Stage 8 and winning by over four minutes in the classified standings.
Leigh Halfpenny - The Lion King
Halfpenny was man of the series for the victorious Lions tour to Australia this summer with deathly accurate kicking. He racked up a new Lions record of 21 points in the decisive last test as well as being named player of the tournament for the Six Nations in the spring. He has been in the form of his life this year.
Sir Ben Ainslie - Sailing Mastermind
After being knighted in the 2012 New Year Honours list for his fourth consecutive gold medal (making himb the most decorated sailor in Olympic history) one would have forgiven Sir Ben if he had decided to take a short break. However, this summer he was recruited by the Oracle USA team for the America’s Cup who were 8-1 down to New Zealand and desperately in need of his tactical nous. He helped mastermind them to an unlikely 9-8 victory, fulfilling a lifelong dream in the process.
My experience with women in sport began a while before I considered feminist issues and their importance, so forgive a confession from my youth. It was the summer of 2012, and having applied for thirteen events in the first draw for the Olympics, I received nothing. Left feeling with a strong desire to be able to say ‘I was there’, I remember waking up at 8am for the second round to try and find something. Anything. One consistency was evidently clear: the disproportionate availability of women’s events to men’s. It is true to say I was initially disappointed with my haul of spontaneously bought synchronised swimming, women’s handball and others. Looking back, I’m disappointed in myself for ever feeling this way. The drama of the handball bronze medal match and the tense atmosphere in the arena. The solid precision of the synchronised swimming. Each of these events were unlike any experience I had ever had. I’m not the biggest sporting fan, but I have my share of memories of attending a range of events. Nothing quite rivalled the experience, so why then, do we not show more of these events after the games? Hockey, a sport in which English women excel, currently sees the country ranked eighth, which is much better than the men’s football team have been doing. Were you aware? If we ignore sporting greatness by women, we’re turning our back on people who we should be getting behind as they represent the nation. Simply Google the topic of unfair pay for women, and the gender divide is blatant. As just one example, the women’s football team Glasgow City has a manager who also works as a consultant, and spends her own money on expenses. For women such as these, sacrifices are made and their reason for participating is all for the reward of the podium. Compare this to typical male sporting heroes, who are footballers paid more in a week than most of us are in two years, and it becomes clear who we should really look up to, and that’s those on the same level as us. The heroes who have lives which we can relate to, and achieve greatness for greatness’ sake. Recently, the government invested £2.4 million into women participating in football, to aid the development of the sport. This is precisely what is needed, and with investment, women can break into previously male-dominated spheres and make a positive difference, and bring us the sporting drama that we all want to share. The display at London 2012 was entirely worth us taking note and watching, but it is saddening to consider that the sport we witnessed featuring women will not be on our screens for quite a while yet. To make up for it, I’ll be following the hockey team in Argentina, and I urge you to join me. It has all you could possibly want: a classic England v Germany match, no faking of injuries and a realistic chance of actually winning.
The good, the bad and the ugly Good... There is a packed festive football fixture list for everyone to enjoy this year over the Christmas period. So whilst the term may seem to break up incredibly late, the advantage is that the football will kick in almost as soon as you get home. Some of the television highlights include:
Justin Rose - A long shot
Mon 23: Arsenal v Chelsea - Sky Sports (ko 8pm)
Rose won his maiden golf major at the PGA Championship, making him the first Englishman to win a major since Nick Faldo in 1996. Yet he remains an outside bet for the SPOTY title this year.
Thu 26: Hull City v Manchester United - Sky Sports (ko 12.45pm) West Ham v Arsenal - BT Sport (ko 3pm) Manchester City v Liverpool - BT Sport (ko 5.30pm)
AP McCoy - The Real McCoy
Previous winner of the SPOTY title McCoy rode his 4000th winner this year and holds a lead of 1,500 over his nearest rival. He is on course to become the champion jockey for a record 18th year in a row.
Hannah Cockroft - The ‘Hurricane’
Queen of the track Cockroft followed up her Paralympic gold medal with two world titles in 2013 and is expected to win every race she enters as she reigns over her T34 category. Such is her dominance that she has previously said she would like a little more ‘competition’.
Christine Ohurougu - Captain Fantastic
Londoner Ohurougo was GB’s athletics captain for this year’s world championship and she lead by example as she ran to her second world title by the slimmest of margins. She powered through and dipped to win the 400m crown in a photo finish.
Mo Farah - ‘Mobot’
Already Britain’s greatest distance runner, Farah followed up his double Olympic victory by doing the same at this year’s World Championships. Thus becoming the holder of all four world titles in the 5000m and 10,000m. His jovial nature may win over the British public this year.
Sun 29: Chelsea v Liverpool - Sky Sports (ko 4pm) It seems that match-fixing in football has reached the UK. Previously thought to be a problem only in the areas where corruption is rife, particularly the Middle East, recent investigations have led to the arrests of 6 men, including former Premier League player Delroy Facey, on suspicion of attempting to fix games. Initial thoughts indicate that the arrests relate to Skrill Premier games, but it does pose the question: how much more is there that we simply do not know about?
...ugly Hull City owner Assam Allem told supporters of the club who disagree with his plan to rebrand the club as ‘Hull Tigers’ (i.e. all fans) that they could “die as soon as they want”. An interesting tactic to win them over, and one that will only intensify the protests. Fan group City Till We Die hit back, saying: ‘“We reiterate our advice to all City fans to continue their fine support for our fantastic team while positively expressing a preference for our current name.’
Sport A life without limits Editor: Hetty Knox
Editor: Jacob Webster
Online Editor: George Moxey
Hetty Knox Sports Editor Chrissie Wellington is the four time Ironman champion and is undefeated in the discipline. Now a Bristol resident, Wellington spoke to a captivated 850 strong audience on November 25th at the Wills Memorial Building. Ironman is the most gruelling of triathlons, encompassing a 2.4 mile swim, 112mile bike ride and a marathon. Those that undertake this most revered endurance event gain respect from athletes worldwide, because not only are these triathletes required to be physically fit but also have
enormous mental capacity. She spoke of her life journey and the factors that have made her into such a remarkable athlete. Wellington has not always been an elite athlete, however. Always a sporty child, she eventually stopped sport all together aged twenty to focus on her university studies and then to become a lawyer. She obtained a place at a London law firm, but deferred this to go travelling. It was while travelling that these words were uttered to her: ‘Look deep inside yourself and work out what your passion is’. Chrissie’s passion wasn’t law, it was international development. So she turned down her place studying law
to pursue an MA in her desired field; this is where her athletic career began. Having started running during her MA she then took a job in Nepal managing water and sanitation projects. Whilst there she began mountain biking - her bike was nicknamed ‘Prem’, the Nepalese for boyfriend. In Nepal she discovered her love of sport in its rawest from and despite on her return to the UK practically sinking due to an oversized wetsuit in her first triathlon, after a few more attempts she eventually was crowned World Age Group champion. Until this point Wellington had been juggling her triathlon training
with her work back in the UK, but she had reached a fork in the road Should she take the sensible route and carry on with her respectable, safe career or should she become a professional athlete? She chose the latter, because she didn’t want to regret not trying, or what could have been. In an unprecedented feat, Wellington went on to win in her first ever Ironman event, and even more remarkably won the Ironman world title that same year, which came as quite a shock to her rivals and herself. She went on to take three further world championship titles. The 2011 title was in her eyes the best because she ‘overcame
imperfections absolutely perfectly’. Despite it not being her best time, Wellington had the mental strength and capacity to overcome doubts and to forget about the third degree burns she had suffered some weeks before in training. The most vital message she gave to the audience was that the most powerful weapon you have is your mind, and if you can master this then you have the capacity to far surpass the limits you set yourself - if you are willing to try. Now retired, Wellington has many other ventures that occupy her time. Development issues are still one of her passions so she is part the campaign to involve more women in sport. Recently giving evidence to the parliamentary committee on women in sport she has described the current culture of a lack of physical activity in the population as a ‘deep rooted, endemic problem’. Some of her key evidence to the committee addressed the positives that sport can bring; such as physical and psychological wellbeing, softer life skills and the ability sport has to connect communities. She summarises the barriers that need to be tackled into four categories: Practical, personal-psychosocial, financial and institutional. This is such an important initiative to Wellington because she believes, like Nelson Mandela, that ‘sport has the power to change the world’. Wellington is an accomplished public speaker and uses her platform to inspire all those around her, especially women. She feels it is her job ‘to lend hope to women that anything is possible and make them realize that they can strive for more’.
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Fr the pick of the week’s sporting Twittosphere See the #Tweets of the week, page 53
SAVE THE DATE you won’t want to miss this!
Featuring an all star line up of the best comedians working in the UK today. Tickets £10.