New Year, New You? e2
Three cheers for the Jets page 34
Britain’s big issue page 12 Issue 252
Monday 21st January 2013 www.epigram.org.uk 25 Years of Epigram Bristol University’s Independent Student Newspaper
Organ donation campaigner Will Pope has NYE heart transplant
A Bristol student’s wait for a new heart has finally ended after receiving a transplant on New Year’s Eve. Will Pope, 20, whose story has captured the attention of the nation after featuring in an ITV ‘Tonight’ documentary in November, had been on the urgent transplant list since early September. Until the operation his health had been deteriorating with doctors saying that, without a transplant, he would have just weeks to live. According to Will Pope’s mother, Rosie Pope, he is ‘taking steps in the right direction’. The situation remains positive, despite several setbacks and nervous moments for his family and friends since the operation. Will suffered a cardiac arrest on 5th January. On a blog set up to raise awareness for organ donation, Rosie Pope wrote that ‘Will had to be defibrillated and his heart massaged for half an hour. They pulled him back and put him on bypass.’ Will gradually took steps in the right direction and on 10th January he awoke to find he was the beneficiary of a new heart. His mother wrote that ‘Will has been through much. There is one certainty, which is that the transplant is just the beginning. He has been lucky enough to be given this chance. There will be battles ahead but we intend to hold on. We have the utmost confidence in the doctors, nurses, surgeons and all supporting staff at Harefield [Hospital]. And in Will.’ Will first started experiencing heart problems in 2009, but doctors were not able to identify the cause, though it is thought to have been caused by a virus. He was fitted with a Left Ventricle Assist Device (LVAD) which, combined with drug therapy, enabled his heart to rest and sufficiently recover for the device to be removed later in the year. However, upon returning from a trip to Mongolia this summer - after participating in the Mongol Rally - Will’s health began to worsen and he returned to hospital for crucial heart surgery. From September to December, he had a series of operations to fit devices to support his heart, and he was becoming increasingly weak, lacking the energy to even read a book.
Alex Bradbrook Senior News Reporter
Will Pope’s wait for a new heart prompted his family to start the WillPower campaign, to raise awareness about the shortage of organ donors in the UK.
Since Will returned to hospital, the Pope family have been keeping well-wishers up to date via Twitter (@PopePower), Facebook and the Will Pope website (www.willpope.co.uk). They have also set up the WillPower campaign to raise awareness about the shortage of organ donors in this country. Will’s university friends have been highly praised by the Pope family for their role in publicising the campaign, with Rosie Pope, Will’s mother, describing them as ‘amazing’. The students have used a variety of initiatives to encourage more students to sign up to the Organ Donor Register, including setting up a Facebook group, which now has over 5000 members, publicising the cause via student media and setting up the WillPower Tree in the ASS Library in December. They have also
managed to get high-profile figures - such as Steven Fry and ITV journalist Alastair Stewart - to tweet information about the campaign to their thousands of followers, in order to publicise the cause nationally. Though it will take a long time for Will to adjust to having a donor heart, he still hopes to be well enough to come back to Bristol this autumn to continue his studies, starting his second year in Classics. The WillPower campaign is continuing to gain momentum and has been very successful in spreading much-needed awareness amongst the student body about organ donation. Currently, one in five people awaiting heart transplants die due to the shortage of organ donors in the UK. To sign up to the Organ Donor Register, and to help people like Will Pope, log onto www.organdonation.nhs.uk.
Epigram meets the sound of 2013: HAIM page 25
Editor: Jemma Buckley
Deputy Editor: Zaki Dogliani
Deputy Editor: Josephine McConville
Editorial team Editor
Deputy Style Editor
Deputy Arts Editor
Deputy News Editors
Editorial ‘Spotted’ page is truly tasteless The ‘Spotted in the Ass’ Facebook phenomenon
peers. Although I am sure those who both partake
should be a source of great shame for the
and like the various inanities that are posted in the
students of Bristol University. It is a webpage set
group are in the minority, this teenage Facebook
up for students to post comments about their
group should serve as a strong reminder for the
Deputy Music Editor
library peers anonymously. It has and continues
need to remain respectful and pleasant to one
to engender a thoroughly unpleasant culture
another. Those who will inevitably respond with
of snide and cowardly bullying, within which
exculpating lines such as ‘calm down’ should
FIlm & TV Editor
students demonstrate a range of thoroughly
think again. It isn’t clever. People have come to
repugnant qualities; misogyny, an obsession
Bristol primarily to learn, not to be ridiculed in
Deputy Film & TV Editor
with status and popularity and a profound
the name of facebook likes. Students should
Deputy Features Editor
concern with image. The crude, base humour that
not feel inhibited from using this fundamental
characterizes the Facebook page runs counter
resource; the ‘Spotted in the Gym’ Facebook page
Science & Technology Editor
to Bristol’s reputation as a dignified, friendly
has been shut down after an abusive comment
institution; it offers students an opportunity to
was posted about a person’s weight; it is now time
seriously offend and hurt the feelings of their
for ‘Spotted in the ASS’ to meet a similar fate.
Science & Technology Editor
Deputy Comment Editor
Nat Meyers email@example.com Letters Editor Lucy De Greeff firstname.lastname@example.org Living Editor Imogen Hope Carter email@example.com Deputy Living Editor Josephine Franks firstname.lastname@example.org
The White Bear, 1pm, Jan 22nd
Comment: The White Bear, 1.30 pm, Jan 24th
Deputy Sport Editor Laura Lambert email@example.com Proof Readers: Rachel Farmer Rosie Goodhart Sam Fishwick Cass Horowitz
Science & The White Bear, 1.15pm, Tech: Jan 22nd
The Refectory, 1.15pm, Jan 25th
The White Bear, 1.15pm, Jan 23rd
The Hawthorns, 1.30pm, Jan 29th
The Highbury Vaults, 8pm, 29th Jan
Film & TV:
The White Bear, 1.15pm, Jan 29th
The Refectory, 5.30pm, Jan 22nd
Mona Tabbara firstname.lastname@example.org Travel Editor Alicia Queiro email@example.com Deputy Travel Editor Alex Bradbrook firstname.lastname@example.org
Advertise with Epigram? To enquire about advertising, please contact Leanne Melbourne - email@example.com Epigram is the independent student newspaper of the University of Bristol. The views expressed in this publication are not those of the University or the Students’ Union. The design, text and photographs are copyright of Epigram and its individual contributors and may not be reproduced without permission.
The White Bear, 1.15pm,Jan 29th
Bristol Vice-Chancellor in pay dispute Bristol University Press Office
The University claims that a perceived rise in salary is due to a technically concerning Professor Thomas’ pension plan.
YouTube sensation quits Bristol uni Matthew Field News Reporter A former student - whose YouTube video of his room in Hiatt Baker gained 1.6m hits - has left the University of Bristol to start up his own media company. Jack Harries, better known by his YouTube pseudonym ‘JacksGap’, left his residency at Hiatt Baker Hall after just one term. The Hall features in Harries’ most recent clip, ‘My Uni Room’,
1.6 million The number of hits the Hiatt Baker clip has gained where he takes his viewers on a video tour of his room- it currently has over 1.6m hits on YouTube. With over 890, 000 YouTube subscribers, the former 1st year Drama student became a well-known face in Hiatt Baker. Harries is also well known for his twin brother, Finn, who often appears in his videos. The fact that Harries has decided to leave Bristol and his £9,000-a-year degree shows the potential profitability of online media to those who are willing to risk their time, and occasionally dignity - Harries own ‘naked bungee jumping’
video suggests this - to such an enterprise. YouTube has an estimated 30,000 ‘partners’ who make revenue from their channels with its top 100 partners making over $100,000 annually. The Harries twins used their earnings to help fund their gap year. Harries popularity has skyrocketed from a few thousand subscribers in early 2012 to over 890,000 currently. His success mirrors that of similar YouTubers who often specialise in blogs and video diaries such as Sam Pepper (OfficialSamPepper) and Charlie McDonnell (charlieissocoollike). According to friends at Hiatt Baker Harries was ‘a big part of our floor’ but much of his time at university was spent working with other YouTubers and bloggers. ‘He had to spend a lot of his time in London, he was juggling work and his degree,’ one friend told Epigram. Jack spoke to Epigram about his decision to leave University, ‘I had a lot of fun at Bristol, but my work commitments and a full time degree was too much’. Jack stated his current plan was to take up his media career by setting up a media company with his brother Finn, who himself left Leeds University. He described the venture as ‘a leap of faith’ that had been made as a joint decision with his brother.
Jemma Buckley News Editor A Times Higher Education analysis of 20 of the Russell Group universities has revealed that the average remuneration paid to vice-chancellors increased by over £10,000 in 2011-12. The average salary now stands at £277,000. The Times Higher Education analysis stated that 13 vice chancellors – who hold the top job at universities – received a basic pay rise last academic year. Three had their pay frozen and four took a pay cut. The University of Bristol’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Eric Thomas, was cited as an example of a Russell Group vice chancellor who had received a large pay rise last year. Professor Thomas – who is also president of Universities UK – was said to have received a pay boost of £28,000 last academic year, an 11% increase taking his salary to £282, 000. The Times Higher Education analysis compared this to the flat £150 national pay increase that was awarded to university
staff in the same period. The claims made about Professor Thomas’ pay have been disputed by the University, who claim that the perceived pay increase is down to a technicality relating to the Vice-Chancellor’s pension arrangements. David Alder, Director of Marketing and Communications
A Times Higher “Education analysis
claims Professor Eric Thomas has received a £28,000 pay boost. The University denies these claims .
at the University of Bristol, told Epigram that ‘it is really important that our students and colleagues are aware that he has not had as a rise as reported’. According to Alder, during the financial year 2011/12 Professor Thomas reached the lifetime pension allowance limit and from that point onwards was no longer able to accrue further
pension benefits. His pension contributions had been paid under a ‘salary sacrifice’ arrangement – meaning that the money paid into his pension scheme came directly out of his salary – and since the limit was reached last year, payments into the pension plan have ceased and now appear as part of his overall salary. Alder also pointed out that the Vice-Chancellor was awarded a salary increase by the Chair of Council - the University’s governing body- in 2009 which he chose not to accept until 2011/12. He also explained that the Times Higher Education analysis took only part of the salary package into consideration. The complete package figure stands at £320,000 for 2011-12, marking a 1.1% change per year over the last three years. Alder told Epigram that some of this can be explained by employer pension costs, which also rose during this period The Vice-Chancellor has requested that he receive no increase in his remuneration for 2012/2013.
Antarctic mission is aborted
The project entered difficulties when two boreholes failed to connect at a cavity 300m below the surface.
Alex Bradbrook Senior News Reporter An ambitious project to explore the subglacial Lake Ellsworth in Antarctica, led by University of Bristol scientists from the School of Geographical Sciences, has been unsuccessful. The team of researchers had travelled to Antarctica in early December with the aim of drilling through the 3km ice
sheet to obtain sediment and water samples from the lake, which has been undisturbed for thousands of years. These samples were then to be analysed in Bristol, and other institutions, to determine whether there were any life forms present in such an extreme environment. They were also expected to contain key information which would have allowed scientists to get an even more accurate picture of
the past climate of the Earth. The project entered into difficulties when two boreholes, drilled using a hot water drill, failed to connect at a cavity 300m below the ice surface. This part of the scheme was crucial in order to re-circulate drilling water and to balance pressure in the boreholes once the subglacial lake had been breached. After 20 hours of trying to make the connection, fuel
stocks had been severely depleted to the point that there would not have been enough to complete the remainder of the drilling to the lake surface, thus rendering the rest of the operation unviable. This chain of events culminated in the eventual abandonment of the project on Christmas Eve, much to the disappointment of scientists and commentators around the globe. In a statement released onto the Lake Ellsworth Consortium website, Professor Martin Siegert thanked the ‘huge efforts’ of the team working in Antarctica for their dedication, and remained steadfast in the future viability of the plan to explore the subglacial lake, stating that the trip had been far from a complete failure and that some scientific progress had been made. Upon leaving Antarctica, Siegert tweeted that he was ‘sad to leave, but keen for the programme to come back soon’. A full report on the expedition will be compiled in order to identify what went wrong, with the aim of returning to the field site within the next four to five years, according to Siegert. The expedition was the culmination of sixteen years of ground-breaking research by academics from several universities, funded by a £10 million grant from the National Environment Research Council.
Engineers finish 24-hour marathon Ved Uttamchandani News Reporter Some of the most innovative ideas are born when a group of engineers get together to face a challenge. To support and enhance the problemsolving abilities all engineers are expected to have, Bristol University, through its Computer Science Society, hosted the ARM on-Campus Engineering Challenge on Saturday December 8th 2012. The challenge was open to all students from the Faculty of Engineering. Participants were given an mbed micro-controller and asked to engineer something that demonstrated good use of the resource (robots, quadcopters, proximity sensors etc.) from scratch in 24 hours. 66 candidates in 15 teams took part, representing several departments. Following an opening brief from the lead event organiser Varun Sarwal the event kicked off at midday. Teams made their way into the upper and lower atriums of the Merchant Venturers Building where they were allocated workspaces. Over the next 24 hours, these desks turned into laboratories, cluttered with the engineers’ ingenuity, emotions and tools,
Priory Road plan responds to student numbers rise Zaki Dogliani Deputy News Editor Plans were recently put on display in Senate House outlining the planned development of Priory Road. Planning permission for the building work, aimed at providing more teaching space for the Faculty of Social Sciences and Law, will be sought in the spring. Patrick Finch, Bursar and Director of Estates, explained ‘As part of its three year growth plan the University is proposing to improve and extend teaching and administration space in the Priory Road/Tyndalls Park Road area for use by the faculties of Arts and Social Sciences and
as they frantically tried to demonstrate their engineering prowess and superiority. Much of the determination from the night before returned the next morning as the major engineering effort reached the conclusion. The panel of judges – which included Dr. Daniel Page, Dr. Mike Barton, Dr. Guido Herrmann and Mr. Crispin Semmens – arrived and, at noon on Sunday, teams were asked to stop engineering and start demonstrating their designs to the judges. Designs included a remote controlled car that surveys and
maps the area, a quadcopter capable of lifting weight, a robot inspired by WALL-E and a robotic car. After a long discussion, judges awarded the prize to “Charlie’s Angels”, a group of five aerospace engineers who built an electronic etcha-sketch that could be used to play video games. Other teams receiving a special mention from the judges included ARM-agloveon for a pair of gloves which interface with computer systems, Minotaur for a maze solving machine and gEEKs for an obstacle dodging robot.
Law. ‘A project team is currently drawing up proposals to refurbish the current Language Centre at 30-32 Tyndall’s Park Road and is also designing a new 450–500 seat lecture theatre, to serve the whole University, which would be built in the garden to the rear of 30 – 32 Tyndall’s Park Road and connect through to the Priory Road complex. ‘A planning application for this work will be submitted in February. Subject to planning approval the refurbishment of the Language Centre is due to be finished for September 2013 and for the new lecture theatre to be ready by September 2014, though these timescales may change.’
The 500-seat lecture is understood to be linked to the rise in student numbers. The exhibition stated ‘Looking forward, the University has identified a need for a large capacity lecture theatre to accommodate growing student numbers.’ The consultancy is being run by Avril Baker Consultancy (ABC), also in charge of the Hiatt Baker Hall extension, another result of the growth in student numbers. According to the latest update, work on the new site entrance of the Stoke Bishop hall will start in late January. Staff and students were able to make comments and suggestions to ABC while the exhibition was up from 7 to 20 December.
The planned 500-seat lecture theatre on Priory Road/Tyndalls Park
Uni partnership sets world record Josephine McConville Deputy News Editor
Professor Eric Thomas, Vice-Chancellor, with Professor Hiroshi Matsumoto, President of Kyoto University
A record-breaking collaboration between the University of Bristol and a leading Japanese university has been launched to tackle some of the biggest challenges facing the planet such as predicting natural disasters, developing robotics and improving medical treatment. From the 9th – 11th January 90 academics delegates from Kyoto University travelled across the world to Bristol to discuss and share latest research and technology that could address these major international issues. The twoday Symposium was believed to be the largest one ever to have taken place in the UK, demonstrated the increasing importance of international collaborations to face huge global challenges. Professor Guy Orpen, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise at the University of Bristol, said; ‘The partnership with Kyoto University is extremely exciting because it brings together each country’s foremost thinkers to tackle issues which have a very real impact on societies around the world.’
Kyoto University ranks 20th in the Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings and – like Bristol university – is one of the top global research universities highly-regarded for its academic excellence. The symposium marked the opportunity for world-leading specialists to share knowledge of how best to protect the world
The number of academics who flew to Bristol from earthquakes, flooding and other natural disasters. Other join research projects included the development of ‘translational medicine’; Kyoto scientists have developed a new healing system based on artificial skin and titanium implants which could have revolutionary results for medicine. Professor Lars Sundstrom, Director of the Severnside Alliance for Translational Research at Bristol University, said ‘We hope to develop these for use in Europe as new treatments through our clinical academic research groups. This also brings us in direct contact
with Japanese companies that work with Kyoto University, thus extending our reach and building privileged links with the Japanese medical device industry which we could never do on our own.’ It is hoped the collaboration between Bristol and Kyoto will lead to external investment and opportunities for academic and student exchanges. Amongst those who attended the symposium were His Excellency Keiichi Hayashi, the Japanese Ambassador to the UK, and Bristol Mayor George Ferguson. Ferguson told Epigram ‘The partnership between Kyoto and Bristol University is excellent and healthy. I was invited to a dinner by the Vice Chancellor on the SS Great Britain with 90 of the Kyoto professors and staff. I was impressed by the raring enthusiasm to make this link with Bristol. I’m hoping that when I visit China in the Spring that I might find time to visit Japan. Both of those countries are extremely valuable to us. In terms of inward investment, research and exports. I have absolutely no doubt that strengthening these ties is really valuable. I intend to work very closely with the University of Bristol on aspects of that sort.’
Bristol to hold the first ever student led law conference Katy Barney Senior News Reporter The first student-led law conference to take place in Bristol is to be held on March 8th in the Great Hall of the Wills Memorial Building. The event, entitled ‘Law and the Media’, will see students and legal experts discussing a wide range of legal issues, with a topical focus on the media. The event has attracted high-profile speakers such as Baroness Hale, Chancellor of the University of Bristol and the only female Law Lord in the UK, Gillian Phillips, director of editorial legal services at The Guardian, and Lord Hunt, Chair of the Press Complaints
Commission, will also speak at the event. A question and answer session will follow the speeches. The topic of ‘Law and the
High-profile speakers have been attracted to the event Media’ allows for the discussion of a broad range of highly relevant subjects, such as the Abu Qatada case, the Leveson enquiry, super-injunctions
and more. In addition to the speakers, several large Bristol and London legal firms have sponsored the event. Final year Law students, Steven Hunter and Ross Burrell, are running the event with support from the Law faculty, which is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year. The idea for the event came to Hunter and Burrell about a year ago, as Hunter says ‘I had been to a few finance related conferences run by students and wondered why there was nothing similar for Law students.’ Panel and discussion events have been organised by other universities, but this is the first fully-fledged conference
Wills Memorial Building, where the event will be held on March 8th
to be put on by students at a Russell Group university, and its founders hope that the conference will become an annual event. ‘We have opened up tickets to Bristol based students
Groups clash over future of the Whiteladies cinema Zaki Dogliani Deputy News Editor A public inquiry into Bristol City Council’s refusal of proposals to turn a derelict cinema on Whiteladies Road into flats and a gym took place recently. The four day inquiry was held after Medinbrand, developers who own the building, appealed the decision of the council’s planning committee. The grade II listed building, built in 1920, was a cinema up until 2001, when it was sold by Odeon, who placed a covenant on the building preventing it
from being used as a cinema. Campaigners - who had the covenant waived once they persuaded Odeon chiefs that their plans were not a threat to its other business interests in Bristol - would like to see it turned into an arts centre. David Fells, Director of Whiteladies Picture House Campaign, told Epigram that it would consist of a theatre, cinema, function room and roof terrace, while the top floor has uses such as retail or offices to generate additional income. ‘We have been working on
securing the funds to first purchase the building from the current owner and then renovate it. Currently our business manager is working on the first phase of the feasibility study that will prove the financial viability and long term community benefit that our plans will have. Our biggest difficultly has been that while we have been trying to secure funding for our project the current owner [Medinbrand] has continued to submit planning applications to convert the building into flats and a gym. Flickr: PGD
Supporters hope to reopen Whiteladies Picture House as an arts centre including cinema
‘With all the information that has come to light during the inquiry and the increased level of public interest (our facebook page for example has gained 90 new likes in the last 4 days) I am even more optimistic that the Picture House could reopen as an arts centre in the near future. But Gary Gibbons, representing Medinbrand, said that turning the building back into a cinema is not a viable option, claiming that the needs of film fans across the city were met by the 77 screens that exist in Bristol presently. George Ferguson, Mayor of Bristol and a UBU Trustee, expressed support for the campaign. In an exclusive interview with Epigram, he said, ‘It has been a great loss to Bristol that we don’t have the cinema there any more, a cinema in a beautiful, historic and listed building. It would be a dire shame if it were to be prevented from becoming a cinema again. There are options on the table but it would be a travesty to carve it up into apartments. I’ve made that very clear to the Inspector at the Planning Inquiry. Whatever comes out of the Planning Inquiry, I don’t support its change of use’ Signatories to petitions advocating the use of the building as a cinema have included supporting the former cinema included Nick Park, creator of Wallace and Gromit, produced by Bristolbased animation studio Aardman.
to begin with and will be extending invitations to other universities across the country in the next few weeks,’ Hunter told Epigram, emphasising that demand for the tickets - which are free of charge - is high.
More information about the day and how to get tickets can be found on the Bristol Law Conference website: www.bristollawconference.com
Study on cyber abuse amongst teenagers Phuong Tran News Reporter The role of modern technology when used as an abusive tool amongst teenage relationships will be studied as part of a new project headed by researchers at the University of Bristol. ‘Safeguarding Teenage Intimate Relationships: Connecting online and offline contexts and risks’ (STIR) is a study led by Christine Barter, alongside Marsha Wood and Nadia Aghtaie from the university’s School for Policy Studies recent work focuses on young people’s experiences of peer violence. The project will examine the nature and experiences of both online and offline violence in young people’s relationships to understand which effects are associated with cyber-bullying. Cyber--bullying is when an individual uses the internet or related technologies to abuse others. With the rapid growth of internet and the rise of social networks – such as Facebook and Twitter - online abuse has become accessible within just a few clicks and have provided a platform for bullying in relationships. High profile tragedies include the suicide of 15 year old Amanda Todd in 2012- who uploaded a YouTube clip prior to her death explaining how she had battled online harassment and threats. In a 2009 report by the University of Bristol and the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) 3 in 4 girls
and 1 in 2 boys admitted to have been through emotional violence. Another US study in 2010 stated 20% of students who participated in the research experienced cyberbullying, 13.7% came from ‘mean or hurtful comments’ while 12.9% were from having ‘rumours spread’. Aims of the STIR include discovering ways to prevent cyber-bullying – for example – by integrating protective software into web-based
We hope to “ raise awareness of this underresearched form of intimate violence
chatroom gateways and social applications. The two-year study also aims to raise awareness of the potential impact of online abuse amongst teenager relationships ‘We hope to raise awareness of this under-researched form of intimate violence by enabling young people’s experiences and views to inform policy and practice and enhancing the development of appropriate prevention and intervention programmes across Europe.’ Said Barter. The €675,000 EU-funded project will span across 5 EU countries (England, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Italy and Norway) and is set to begin from January 2013.
P U D STAN L O T S I R B FEATURING…
28 January Romesh Ranganathan
ll ffe Ru zi Su OR YL FIN TA
7.30pm • BAR 100
Joseph Quinlan News Reporter An anarchist group has ‘started 2013 as [they] mean to carry on’ by vandalising the front entrance to Bristol Zoo Gardens. The incident, thought by police to have taken place at around 4.30am on New Years’ Day, saw the defacement of the zoo’s entrance on Guthrie Road. The front doors and windows were smashed and the ‘Bristol Zoo’ lettering was attacked with paint bombs and ‘liberate’ sprayed across the building. Posting on the Bristol Indymedia website later that same day, the anarchists claimed responsibility for the damage in a note entitled ‘Call of the wild or CONTROL of the wild?’ At the heart of the activists’ actions was a need to ‘draw a line in the sand between us and the dominator of every creature including ourselves’. The zoo, which works
very closely with its sister organisation, the Bristol Conservation and Science Foundation, and engages in many conservation projects around the world, is remaining unmoved on its beliefs. A spokesperson for Bristol Zoo Gardens, was steadfast in her assurances that ‘our conservation work is a pivotal part of what we do and we feel there is no need to go head to head with whoever did this’. Bristol Police are carrying out ‘a thorough investigation’. In the meantime, the zoo has remained open and is keen to stress that it provides a safe environment for all visitors. Police, however, are even more aware of the potential for similar attacks by such groups, particularly after the perpetrators’ reluctance to compromise on their beliefs. Indeed, the anonymous anarchist group insisted that ‘we will keep hitting them where and when they don’t expect it’.
Tickets for FUZE 2012 go on sale FUZE PR
Bristol Zoo is the target of animal rights vandalism
Melissa Sykes News Reporter Tickets are now on sale for the 10th annual FUZE Charity Dance and Fashion Show which will bring top-class fashion and outstanding performing arts to Bristol on Friday 15th and Saturday 16th February. From its debut in 2003, the show has flourished into one of the most eagerly anticipated events in the Bristol student calendar. 30 dancers, 24 models and 15 committee members have been working hard to maintain the high standard displayed in previous years. As well as a highly entertaining stage show, the catwalk will feature brands such as Beulah and Derek Lawlor and ticket holders can enjoy capturing the moment in the PwC photo booth whilst sampling FUZE’s own selection of cocktails. The team is headed by Managing Directors Ellen Shaw, Yasmin-Marie Macé and Toby Findlay who are inspired by the commitment of all those involved. ‘Without our team devoting their free time to the running of
Tickets can be purchased at www. fuze-bristol.com
the show, FUZE would not be able to impress year on year’ Findlay told Epigram. This year FUZE is giving all profits to Unseen, a Bristol based charity which gives “safety, hope and choice” to victims of human trafficking. This charity supports the most vulnerable within the local community, enabling students
to give back to an area which provides so much. Macé is particularly impressed with how the charity has embraced FUZE. ‘Unseen has been fully involved from the outset, providing us with guidance and represents a truly worthwhile cause’, she told Epigram. Preparations are well
underway for this year’s show. With the committee organising a successful launch night at Dorma last term which included a flash mob from the dance team and a modelling preview, the full show is now eagerly anticipated. Tickets start at £10 and can be purchased from www.fuzebristol.com
Have you been ‘spotted’ in the ASS? Jemma Buckley News Editor
UoB Press Office
The Facebook group offers a different kind of distraction for the ASS library users.
A Facebook group set up by University of Bristol students has attracted well over 2000 ‘likes’ since it was established at the beginning of the Christmas holiday. ‘Spotted in the ASS Library’ encourages students in the library to procrastinate from revision and essay writing by submitting anonymous messages about other library goers to the social networking page. The page promises to be ‘updated every hour or so during term time’ and its popularity demonstrates that students have found it a welcome distraction in the lead up to exams. The majority of messages submitted to the page are from guys and girls anonymously commenting on each other’s attractiveness, often with some kind of innuendo. ‘To the saucy minx on the top floor in a maroon dress and black tights playing backgammon on her iPad,
how about you come play with my dice instead?’ wrote one (presumably) male student. Others have forgone the use of innuendo and have instead used the site to try and get themselves a date. ‘To the insanely pretty vet I ran into this morning by the white boards studying for her finals, would love the chance to say hi when more sober sometime, and good luck in the exams,’ wrote one loved-up student. Thanks to a numbered messaging system, those who have had messages submitted about them can reply via the page – anonymously if they wish. Not all messages submitted to the page are in good spirits. Some people have jumped at the opportunity to publicly shame those who are making a nuisance of themselves in the library. ‘To the slightly short, posh looking wannabe ‘rugby lad’ in the maroon jumper. Please stop saying chemical formulas out loud. I’m pleased you are revising, but the rest of us have to do work too,’ wrote one
Interested in journalism? Want to write for Epigram News? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or join our Facebook group www.facebook.com/groups/epigramnews
irritated student. Another used the page to ask a guy to stop taking photos of her on his iPhone. ‘Stop it. You’re really not being very sly. Ps. I know you are [taking photos] because my friend is behind you watching and laughing,’ she wrote. The page’s rules explain that messages which harass people or are offensive, grossly indecent or ‘would bring the university into disrepute’ will not be posted. The page’s admin told Epigram that the site was simply set up for a bit of fun. ‘Things like FitFinder have done well in the past, why not do it for Bristol?’ Five students are all responsible for updating the page throughout the day. They have admitted that since ‘Spotted in the ASS Library’ has grown in popularity, they are all checking their Facebook pages more often. ‘The idea was that it would get popular, so all ASS Library users can get involved. But we have no idea how it keeps on expanding like this,’ one admin admitted.
Editor: Editor: Tristan Martin Nahema Marchal email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor: Deputy Andrew White HelenaEditor: Blackstone
Gay marriage? There’s nothing queer to it ! Jessica McKay Features Reporter
Meanwhile, in France President Francois Hollande has said he would enact his ‘marriage for everyone’ plan within his first presidential year - which means that same-sex marriage is likely to be legal across the channel by May 2013.
The issue of same-sex marriage has received wide coverage in the global media in recent weeks. In December 2012 plans were unveiled to allow gay marriage in England and Wales, although the government was quick to emphasise that no religious body would be forced to perform the service. The move was met with a mixed response, with many religious figures blasting the proposal. Speaking to the BBC, Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster, labelled the project ‘shambolic’, urging Catholics to protest against it. His outrage was equalled by that of
“C4m: ‘trying to ram
through this policy in a desperate bid to appear trendy is not fooling anyone’ Photo: Camille Hamet
“A far healthier, godly
and realistic vision of the human family
Pope Benedict XVI, who underscored his opposition in a pre-Christmas address, claiming same-sex marriage was damaging the very ‘essence of the human creature’. Pope Benedict’s argument hinges on the belief that same-sex marriage is detrimental to the traditional family structure of mother, father and children. The original and sacred purpose of marriage is, traditionalists argue, to procreate. However, in our age of technological advancement, this argument seems irrelevant. There are now numerous ways that a same-sex couple can have children and can provide those c h i l d r e n with an equally loving
Two students show their support for the legalisation of same-sex marriage at a demonstration held in Paris in December.
and supportive home environment. A coalition of four U.S. Catholic organisations representing gay, lesbian and transgender people said that church communities inclusive of LGBT people represent ‘a far healthier, godly and realistic vision of the human family than the one offered by the Pope’. The traditionalist idea of who or what constitutes a ‘family’ requires some reevaluation. The idea that the marital institution must in some way be kept ‘pure’ and undefiled stands on little stead given the drastic changes made to marriage by the church over the past
The world is ending, ancient institutions crumble to dust, and fire spits from the skies…nope, nothing to do with any Mayans. It’s just one idea rocking the UK: same-sex marriage. Tom Denbigh looks at some of the questions surrounding equal marriage. From a totally unbiased non-liberal viewpoint, of course.
The sensible “Civil partnership exists, why do we need equal marriage?” This is probably the most asked question by all sorts of people; “as far as legal stuff goes, the two things are the same, so why do you need the term marriage?” The best way to look at this is probably through other types of discrimination: If you were allowed to go to school, but you had to go to a different one as all the green-eyed kids, would that still be equality? This question also touches upon the idea for civil partnership for straight people, just as some lgbt+ people want gay marriage, some people don’t. There is a strong voice for a civil partnership for everyone as well – so anyone can choose either.
100 years. Over time, the custodians of marriage have sanctioned its dilution in a series of ways. Ceremonies are now conducted in a multitude of locations, not necessarily in the traditional church venue. Furthermore, vows, the basis of the marriage ceremony, have significantly altered; they now tend to reflect growing appreciation of the equality of men and women, with many couples choosing to cutout phrases which imply subservience and a marital hierarchy, such as ‘love, honour, and obey’. A global watershed, which began to gather pace last year, has seen
numerous countries beginning to recognise that governments cannot claim to provide homosexual people equal rights without giving them access to the benefits of security, legality and the signification of a loving, monogamous union that marriage provides - benefits that heterosexual couples have always enjoyed. Following November’s election, same-sex couples in Washington, Maine and Maryland have been tying the knot. Slowly but surely, the US is beginning to accept same-sex marriage, with couples able to marry in nine states - totalling 14 percent of the US population.
“Will churches be forced to marry same-sex couples?” “No. The proposals drawn up by the coalition are incredibly clear about this and not only do churches have to opt in to samesex marriage, but modifications to the equalities act are proposed to stop churches and religious teachers from being sued under current discrimination law. One oddity of the legislation is that it will be illegal for the Church of England to conduct equal marriages. Not that they necessarily would’ve opted in, but now the law will prevent them from making a decision - in the same way forcing them to marry same-sex couples would have done. “Aren’t there better things to be worrying about? This is a waste of government time.” There are better things to be debating, like mass starvation, or the environment - and there are also less important things, like, arguably, plebgate. However, not only is this important to a lot of people and still pretty important as a matter of equality, but despite it seemingly flooding parliament, there are ministers in charge of Equalities – and they have to have something to do after all.
The borderline “Same-sex couples can’t have kids so surely they shouldn’t be allowed to marry?” Firstly, many couples are childless, through choice or not. Secondly, marriage is older than civilization; there is nothing to show it is just for procreation. Finally, same-sex couples can have kids (not always with each other, but still) and can adopt. Unless adoption doesn’t count?
The spotlight now falls on the UK and change is uncertain. Colin Hart, campaign director of Coalition for Marriage (C4M), which opposes the change, has stated that Mr. Cameron should be wary that ‘trying to ram through this policy in a desperate bid to appear trendy is not fooling anyone’. While the bid looks likely to pass in the Commons, notwithstanding the 130 conservative MPs expected to rebel against it, we cannot accurately predict the outcome of the Lords vote, with a recent poll from Comres showing that 6 out of 10 members wanted to halt the plans. Either way, judgement is imminent. If the government and Church cannot reach an amicable agreement, then arguably the way forward would be to follow the US; although we do not have the public platform of a presidential election to gauge public views on samesex marriage, Cameron could call a referendum, which would decide once and for all whether Britain is ready for this change.
“If marriage is redefined, what is to stop it being redefined as polygamy?” For starters, this is not the first time marriage has been redefined – originally marriage was really only for one person and their new possession, aka a wife. Equal marriage is still for two people - they just won’t always be the same sex. If you have a problem with polygamy, talk to a Utah Mormon, but a slippery slope argument doesn’t really apply here. As for whether polygamy should be legal? That’s a whole other debate! “If marriage is redefined those who believe in traditional marriage will be sidelined!” How? They can still have their ‘traditional’ marriage and they will still be in the majority. As to the idea of ‘traditional’ marriage–see: ‘rape in marriage used to be legal’ and ‘women as property’ for more info.
The bonkers Finally, the best question about equal marriage: “Will it lead to people having sex with ducks?” (Yes this is real, just google ‘sex with ducks’... er, trust me) I wasn’t originally going to dignify this with a response, but I guess ultimately, all things considered… no. If people want to have sex with ducks though, get consent first. Visit c4em.org.uk for more information or c4m.org.uk for the other side of the debate
‘No I’m not a spy’: inside Student Nightline I meet another member of the organisation at the secret location, a quarter of an hour before the shift begins. We switch on the computer to check if there have been any emails, and turn the two telephones from the voicemail setting to ringer. I mark our fake names down in the logbook, noting the date of the shift. Neither my family nor friends know where I am tonight. No, I’m not a spy, an undercover detective or Carrie Mathison in series one of Homeland. I am a Nightline member, volunteering to corun the free listening service this particular evening. For those unfamiliar with Nightline, it is an entirely studentrun organisation, offering emotional support to all University of Bristol (and, last year, UWE) students from 8pm to 8am, seven days a week. All calls are strictly confidential; they are never recorded, and callers do not
need to provide their name or any details about themselves. It is forbidden for Nightline volunteers to discuss a call with someone who is not a fellow member, along with revealing the address of the secret location where the shifts are held.
I’m not Carrie Mathison in series one of Homeland... I am a Nightline volunteer
Photo: Andres Van Der Stouwe
K. Anonymous Reporter
Unfortunately, the organisation is currently undergoing some changes so is out of action at the moment, but we hope to have it up and running again by September at the latest. While working a shift, Nightline volunteers can receive a huge range of calls, from students wondering what the number for the Dominos on Cotham Hill is, to wanting to discuss their homesickness during freshers’ week. Nightline
is there to listen, and provide information: from the email address of the University Careers Office to the opening times of Wills Memorial Library. It can be quite annoying when we’ve finally started to relax after a long and difficult call, only to be startled at 4am by a drunken student calling to ask us to order them a taxi home from Motion! (NB: we cannot order taxis for our callers, only provide them with a number to call themselves). Nightline is not an advice service. It can be frustrating for volunteers to restrain themselves from providing callers with advice, especially when we receive such questions as ‘should I talk to my boyfriend/ girlfriend about this?’, ‘am I going to be okay?’ or ‘do you think this is a common problem?’, and when the answer is almost always a definite ‘yes’. However, the aim of the service is for students to be there to listen to their fellow students, providing them with emotional support rather than concrete advice. Instead of advising students
Photo: Janka Man
An anonymous member of the free listening service tells Epigram about the highs and lows of her experience as a volunteer with bold statements like ‘I think you should speak to someone about this’, we try to ask our callers less resolute questions, such as ‘have you thought about speaking to anyone about this?’. If asked what it is like to be a Nightline volunteer, I would say that it is a remarkably rewarding experience. Certainly, the shifts are long and exhausting, and it can often feel like thankless work. However, knowing that you are helping students who really appreciate and feel the benefits of the service makes it all worthwhile, especially when a caller concludes with an earnest ‘thank you for listening’ before hanging up. And when asked how exactly we manage to stay awake all that time? Well, that’s one more secret Nightline volunteers will never tell… For any information regarding Nightline, including how to become a Nightline volunteer, please contact nightline@bristol. ac.uk or @BristolNL.
Please note that Bristol Nightline is currently not operating but hopes to be up and running again by September at the latest. While Bristol Nightline is not operating, students may call the Bristol Samaritans for emotional support. The Samaritans are open 24 hours a day and are available to call or text on 0117 983 1000, or email at email@example.com.
Understanding America’s debate on guns Rosslyn McNair Features Reporter The recent Sandy Hook massacre marks a turning point in America’s relationship with weapons. After tragedies like Columbine and Virginia Tech, it would seem that the last straw was the murder of small children who cannot defend themselves. America now finds itself having to make a decision between constitutional freedom and uncontrollable crime statistics. To a European, the decision must seem easy but it would be a mistake on this side of the Atlantic’s behalf to flippantly disregard the backbone of American freedom. The Second Amendment states that the ‘right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed’. The levity of this idea in American thought can be seen in the fact that this is second only to the Amendment ratifying freedom of speech. Consequently, banning or strictly controlling personal weapons in America might be considered by some to be as serious as widespread media censorship in Britain, for
example. As of 2010, the United States of America has 307 million citizens. Estimates for the number of firearms owned by Americans varies from between 200 million to 300 million. 67% of gun owners say that they own a weapon for self defence, and on average just under a million civilians use a gun to protect themselves every year. Within 48 hours of the Sandy Hook
killings, Colorado experienced a record-breaking number of requests for firearm checks, as citizens flocked to buy weapons in order to counteract the perceived threat. The National Rifle Association (NRA) represents the pro-gun movement. It has four million members and was described by The Independent as one of the most polished lobbying groups in Congress. They argue
that the ‘only way to stop a bad guy with a gun, is a good guy with a gun’ and are advocate for placement of armed policemen in schools. The NRA believes that an individualist approach will protect American citizens and would rather place responsibility in physical changes such as a greater visibility of legal weapons, rather than ideological ones like changes to legislation. In a
recent interview Piers Morgan called the spokesman for the NRA, Larry Pratt, ‘a dangerous man espousing dangerous nonsense’. A petition claiming that Morgan should be deported for ‘attacking the rights of American citizens’ has reached over 65,000 signatures. Under American legislation, a petition requires only 25,000 signatures in order to receive a response from government. The opposing side are called the Brady campaign after Jim Brady, a former White House Press secretary who was shot and wounded at the side of Ronald Reagan. A couple of days after the incident Sarah Brady found their six year old son playing with a fully loaded handgun he had found in the back of a neighbour’s pickup truck and decided to act. The Brady campaign argues that the sale of guns should be more strictly controlled through regulations such as criminal background checks on all gun sales, banning military assault weapons and trying to curtail the illegal gun market. They do not advocate banning firearms entirely and believe fully in the Second Amendment.
These are the views of America. For them the right to own a weapon is tied up with their Constitution and as a result has become a part of their national identity. It is possible that no amount of gun control can tame America’s ingrained culture of violence. This is a country where masculine aggression is glorified - often through films and videogames - as the solution to all problems, offensive warfare is used to control America’s international interests and execution is a valued part of the justice system. Last year 8 people were killed in Britain because of gun violence; in Israel, where guns are a visible part of everyday life, 42 people were killed. In America that figure is just over 10,000, and yet the NRA argues that the solution to gun violence is more guns. As Obama struggles to create a black and white solution out of options that are at best a muddy shade of grey, one is reminded of the Nietzsche quote: ‘Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster.’ Let us hope that a sensible conclusion can be reached.
The Life and Death of the Pearl Roundabout Jake Leyland takes us through the politcal turmoil of the last few decades in the tiny Middle Eastern nation of Bahrain
Lulu was a 29-year-old Bahraini who spent all her time basking in the unrelenting Arabian sun. She was born on a sunny winter morning in 1982 to six parents, all of whom loved her dearly, not least of all because she was the physical representation of something that the newly created Gulf Corporation Council so earnestly sought: solidarity amongst its six member states. Lulu’s parents were Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, the UAE, Oman and Bahrain, her country of birth. Lulu was no ordinary child. She was a monolithic erection of white stone that rose hundreds of feet into the air, comprising of seven separate sections. Six ‘sails’ that symbolized those of the dhows traditional Arabian sailing boats - used by Bahraini fishermen supported a giant pearl at their summit. The Pearl Roundabout (Dawwar al-lu’lu in Arabic) was to become an iconic monument in Bahrain over its years of relative flourishing following emancipation from Iran in the early 1970s. The tiny nation, measuring roughly fifteen miles in width and thirty miles in length, developed into one of the Gulf’s more progressive
PULL The seed for revolution had long since been planted
states thanks to the establishment of Parliamentary elections and newly formed economic relations with the outside world. Despite the country’s
organized via social media, marched on The Pearl Roundabout, demanding political and constitutional reform. The ensuing month saw increasing tension between protesters and government troops, who had to somehow control the increasing revolutionary fervency of what, on some days, had reached one hundred and fifty thousand Bahraini citizens. It was not until midway through March that violence changed the nature of the protests, helping to instigate Lulu’s demise. In the space of forty-eight hours between March 16th and March 18th, deaths, beatings, arrests, tanks, helicopters, resignations and general chaos reigned. All of this was morbidly crowned by the government sanctioned destruction of the Pearl Roundabout on the morning of March 18th; a stark symbol of a darker phase evolving in Bahrain.
Photo: Flickr/ Hassan Ammar
Jake Leyland Features Reporter
“Sheikh Khalifa bin
Bahraini protesters chant slogans at the Pearl roundabout soon after the military and police pulled out in Manama, Saturday, Feb. 19, 2011.
murky human rights track record from the 1970s to the 1990s and the turn of the millennium which saw the succession of Hamad Al Khalifa to the throne. He implemented widespread rights reforms that included - perhaps most importantly - female suffrage, along with important developments in infrastructure. These changes helped to transform Bahrain into an economic and cultural haven; typified by the construction of the F1 circuit, which opened for business in April 2004. So Lulu was beginning to sense the excitement of geographical and financial development around her. At the midway point between the commercial Seef District and the
capital’s financial harbour, she sat right on top of one of the country’s busiest commuter routes, none other than the Sheikh Khalifa Bin Salman Highway. There is a poignant and somewhat ironic significance in this highway’s namesake. Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman is, to this day, the world’s longest serving [unelected] Prime Minister. He has held power since his appointment in 1971 by his cousin, the then King of Bahrain. I won’t try to delve into the complexities of Islamic factionalism here, but what is important in Bahrain is that the ruling Khalifa family is Sunni, whilst the majority of the Muslim population is Shi’a (in what is roughly a 30-70 split amongst the Muslim
community). It was the ruling family’s nepotistic practices, perpetuated by Royal appointments, that so long beleaguered the mass Shi’a conscience and this led to the foundation of the Haq movement in 2005 – a political party established in opposition to the archaic and familial constitutional dominance of the Khalifas. Thus, the seed for revolution in Bahrain had long since been planted when the 2011 Arab Spring blossomed in Tunisia and Egypt. On February 4th 2011, protesters peacefully marched outside the Egyptian embassy, in a show of solidarity for the Egyptian cause. Ten days later, thousands of Bahrainis,
Salman is the world’s longest serving unelected Prime Minister
“Why inform us about passé MiddleEastern issues at the beginning of a new year; a time when good intentions and will power are almost comically tangible; a time when people reassess and adapt?” You might ask. Well, the ongoing plight of the Bahrainis in their fight for democratic change can serve as a healthy reminder that those values which we take for granted are the very foundations upon which we are able to build our optimistic plans for the future: a privilege that is denied to many, many people around the world.
Fighting for women’s rights, will India take a step back?
a state of affairs rather meagerly resisted by the simple partitioning off of women. However, a horrendous event at the end of 2012 has brought the subject of sexual harassment and female safety in India into the international public eye. On 16th December a woman in Delhi was violently beaten and raped in a moving bus by six men, before being left for dead below an overpass at the mercy of disinterested passersby. On 29th December she died in a hospital in Singapore, due to her injuries. The incident
has sparked widespread outrage and the entire country has been out in force to protest for women’s rights, determined that the victim’s death would not be in vain, encouraging India to stand up and make the changes necessary for a safe and fair society. It is promising to see such an overwhelming reaction, from both men and women, lighting the spark for a much needed shift in attitude and awareness. However, many people have vehemently demanded the death penalty for the
men involved in the attack. The Indian judicial system has been blamed for the rising number of sexual offences over the last few years, because of a lack of follow-through on punishment. Legally, murder is punishable by execution in India, though this has only been enforced three times since 1995. Following the death of the 23 year-old victim, protests across the country have demanded that the death penalty be imposed for crimes of violent sexual harassment. Nevertheless, the global progression towards abolishing capital punishment is a movement that demonstrates a great deal of development, combatting a serious human rights issue and leaving behind outdated methods of punishment, which are particularly dangerous in countries where arrest and conviction is far from transparent. Instead of going backwards, we can hope that something better will come out of the incident that has stirred such anger. The court in India has a large backlog of sexual harassment and rape cases, and the lack of urgency over these matters causes the entire system to appear trivialised and ineffective, thus failing to dissuade criminals out of their actions. If the outrage over this particular case is able to act as a force for change, we might hope that it will encourage the reform of an opaque justice system, ensuring that the law is made clear, future convictions are followed through, and effort is put into recovering a backlog of crimes. Photo: Anne Magic
The train was bustling and bursting at its seams with passengers, none of whom seemed to mind the chaos. Young men swung from the open doors, whilst women travelling alone made their way to the more spacious surroundings of the Ladies Carriage, myself included. As I made myself comfortable, the woman opposite me sprang into conversation and began to translate my every word for the lady next to her. They both seemed to find this hilarious, giggling into their breakfasts, which they rather forcefully shared with one another, and me. Despite being warned to take great care of my personal safety whilst travelling in India, I found that, at least in Maharashtra, I felt at ease. The provision of a ladies carriage on almost every train I witnessed was a reassurance; women can keep themselves safe. Yet an underlying question crept up on me: why is this necessary? Are women unsafe in the company of men? A number of countries provide women-only carriages on trains, including Japan, Brazil, Indonesia and Tanzania, all to combat the rising problem of public sexual harassment as more and more women choose to travel alone. This reflects the fact that gender equality is far from accepted, and seems to say that men are not tobe trusted in the company of a lone woman,
Photo: Flickr/ AJstream
Lydia Greenaway Features Reporter
Editor: Joe Kavanagh
Deputy Editor: Nat Meyers
Single to Bristol: Price of train tickets is going off the rails
Same story, different day. Whilst Network Rail insists that six years of price inflation on rail travel tickets is essential for the biggest improvement to Britain’s infrastructural sphere since the Victorian era, it does little to help eradicate the incompetence that continues to grow in the government today. As well as numerous counterpoints already being raised against the scheme, highlighted by various rail passenger groups, matters are only being made worse by rail minister Simon Burns, who, it was recently revealed, commutes to work by car and not train. It’s always a comfort for Britain’s voters to know that the man responsible for introducing an annual price hike of, on average, 4.2% for season tickets will be able to feel the strain himself, albeit from the plush seat of his chaufferdriven Toyota Avensis. Whilst I am hardly one to comment on the mechanics of PR, it doesn’t seem to be the shrewdest action to take when trying to appease a rather peeved general public. All it shows, to be frank, is the already transparent divide in priorities between the government and the people it serves. In response to severe condemnation from Labour members and constituents, Burns squeaked that ‘I have decided to adjust my working
advanced ticket schemes, but this confirms the self-interest that these companies display in preferring people to buy tickets to suit the needs of the railways themselves. Considering that most people have to travel during peak
“ It’s always a comfort to know that the man responsible for a price hike of 4.2% will be able to feel the strain himself, alebeit from the plush seat of his chauffer-driven Toyota Avensis.
practices and, as a result how I travel to and from work… my previous arrangements were made in good faith and were not intended as a snub to hard-pressed rail travellers’. How thoughtful. If a man running his own department can’t even bring himself to use the services that he provides, then we can rest assured that something’s not quite right in Whitehall. So, we’re left with a dubious minister, creating dubious schemes. It’s in print too; The Association of Train Operating Companies has raised numerous concerns about the rise in fares that strongly suggest higher prices do not necessarily deliver higher quality services delivered by rail organizations. Network Rail, as a state- owned company, can administer unregulated fares which could rise up to 12%. Simultaneously, petrol tax remains unchanged, as does the price of driving, which undermines the argument that supports choosing more ecofriendly rail travel over road. Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson highlighted this issue, asking ‘How does this help persuade people out of their cars and ease congestion? Where is the green policy?’ Clearly, any such plans are at the bottom of the in-tray. When considering how much of this money is returned to the government anyway, under the guise of fuel and corporation tax, Network Rail’s bold vision of a brighter future looks even more tenuous; passengers cannot be confident in their hard-earned money going towards funding improvements. Of course, Network Rail argues that it has many discounted
times again reveals the purely economic motivations of train operators and the government. Simultaneously, the legislation created in the nineties to regulate off-peak fares and season tickets was supposed to protect passengers from private companies exploiting their position. At first, fares weren’t permitted to rise above -1% of the inflation rate, in order to promote rail travel, but in 2003, this was reversed to +1%, so the initial principle is now defunct anyway. As shadow minister for transport Angela Eagle succinctly puts it: ‘People are paying more for a worse service’. Britain has the most expensive rail travel in Europe, but this does not mean that it’s the best, by any stretch of the imagination. And if the Coalition plans to emulate the efficiency of Sweden, Switzerland, Germany or Austria, then it makes no sense
to ward off possible customers with such astronomically high prices. This is the tenth year in a row where above- inflation prices have been introduced, so with another six guaranteed, the future, in many respects appears bleak. The programme, estimated to cost £37.5 billion, will only marginally improve punctuality for a start, where Network Rail boasts an improvement of 92.5% of trains running on time as opposed to 91.6%. I can hear the crowds singing in exaltation outside. In other news, the journey time between Manchester and Leeds is to be cut by ten whole minutes. Bring on the trumpets! In fairness, it’s not possible to refute all of the aims outlined by Network Rail. It is a rather inconvenient truth that the number of rail passengers is aggressively rising every year and the system is feeling the strain. Matthew Hancock,
a minister in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, admitted that ‘the UK infrastructure is poor… there’s been an historic under- spend’. By 2019, we are promised to witness 225 million more passengers per year travelling and 355,000 more trains in service, which would be the highest numbers ever, as well as the rebuilding of Reading’s station, an extremely important junction linking London to the west and beyond. Nonetheless, considering that £8bn of taxpayers’ money is already being used to fund the programme, such improvements still do little to justify such a radical rise in fares. All in all, whilst these price rises will certainly hit a great number of people hard, it is with a grudging acceptance that we must understand that this is what the Coalition is all about. Everything’s more expensive these days, from season tickets to a Freddo bar. Unfortunately we live in an era of near unprecedented bureaucracy and greed that no politician, businessman or representative is going to act in anyone else’s interests other than his or her own. Sure, fare hikes will bring about some improvements and renovations, but at such an unjust cost to the taxpayer. If so much money is already being taken from passengers in the form of tax, then it’s a very cynical move to swipe more cash from our pockets by charging outrageous amounts for a ticket. The next time you get on board a Paddingtonbound train during rush hour, take note. You’re better off by Megabus, or a Toyota Avensis.
One month free of booze won’t change much Rosslyn McNair ‘Right, I’ve decided I’m giving up alcohol for January, I’m going to be a Dryathlete’. These were the words my mother uttered as she entered the house on New Year’s Day, hungover and looking a distinctive shade of grim. ‘And John darling, you are going to join me, since you could afford to lose the weight’. My father looked up from his work with the sharpness of a clockwork meerkat and turned a distinctive shade of marriage. This January marks the first national campaign to raise money for cancer research by encouraging people to
abstain from alcohol for the whole month. The campaign is run by Cancer Research UK and has been called ‘the Dryathlon’. Its website has a particularly scaremongering scale where you can work out per month how much money you spend on alcohol and how many calories you consume as a result. My modest twenty glasses of wine came to £80 and 2,600 calories in total. Whilst the first figure probably isn’t calculated on the basis of the Wetherspoons’ house wine, the second figure does rather put to bed my suggestion that the grape content counts towards my five-a-day. I contemplated joining in my mother’s valiant efforts but in the end was discouraged on account of two reasons. Firstly,
my birthday is in January, the day after my exams finish. Enough said. Secondly, drinking at university is a necessary part of making friends and then holding onto those friends. ‘Do you want to go to the Juice Bar?’ just doesn’t have quite the same ring as ‘Pub’. You don’t even need a question mark, that’s how certain you are that acquiescence will follow suit. Whether you consider it a pathetic indictment ofstudent living or a good way to lubricate conversation, alcohol has become an important part of being a student. To illustrate this: an engineering friend was recently asked by his personal tutor how much alcohol he consumed per week. Upon his reply he was swiftly referred to the Student
Health Service on the grounds his tutor considered him to be showing signs of severe alcoholism. Despite this I strongly suspect that his weekly consumption is outdone by many of the more aggressive sports teams. I once had the pleasure of watching a group of fifty rugby players suddenly appear on Whiteladies, all of them looking terribly sheepish and simultaneously pulling up their trousers from around their ankles. I refuse to believe that this was conducted whilst observing the governmental guidelines regarding alcohol. In response to the Dryathlon campaign, health experts have suggested that a short sharp shock to the system isn’t the best way to detox. Dr Mark Wright of Southampton
General Hospital commented that medically ‘it makes about as much sense as maxing out your credit cards and overdraft all year, then thinking you can fix it by just eating toast in January’. But I’m not certain that this campaign has caught the nation’s attention on account of its health benefits. I suspect that, more importantly, going dry for a whole month will cause a lot of people to seriously re-evaluate their relationship with alcohol. My friend often remarks as we sit over several bottles of
wine: ‘We’ll tone it down when we graduate’ or ‘We’ll never drink this much when we’re employed’. It seems that cutting down on alcohol is forever something that future Rosslyn will deal with. But University is where social drinking becomes an accepted part of your lifestyle. It’s not the binge drinking that we need to worry about. It’s the casual drinking, the mental associating of alcohol with relaxation and socialising with friends that will ultimately cause health problems in the future.
New ‘Foundation Year’ is a ‘I have one A-level’ great move by Bristol Bristol University is introducing a new scheme in October 2013 that will allow entry into an undergraduate course without the need for any previous qualifications. The ‘Foundation Year in Arts and Humanities’ aims to help young people prepare for the challenge of achieving a degree at a top university and thereby widen access for young people to higher education. According to the Bristol University website, the course will cover a wide variety of topics rather than focusing on one or two in particular, like a typical single or joint honours degree. The likely intention is
The scheme will open up prospects for those who may have been handicapped in the past in terms of educational opportunities: although they had the desire to work hard, they were never in the right environment.
to prepare applicants for any arts or humanities course they wish to undertake after their foundation year is complete. Although this variety is a positive and necessary part of a scheme when students have no previous idea of what their chosen subject will be, it is possible to see how some may disagree: it might breed a directionless group of young adults. Students may enter into the course with no sense of which subject is for them and leave equally as confused. Furthermore, for those who have already decided upon which subject they want to choose but have not achieved the qualifications, this wideranging course may not cater to the specific skills they wish to achieve. Yet those who harbor this opinion have neglected to look at the tremendous success of the International Baccalaureate scheme, which is far broader than the traditional A-Level process. I see this new scheme as an admirable move by the university. It opens up prospects for those who may have been handicapped in the past in terms of educational opportunities: though they had the desire to work hard, they never had the right environment or situation in which to nurture this. The Bristol website even states that
hopeful applicants, though without formal qualifications, must show “commit[ment] to learning and…potential to succeed at university level’’. However, not all students are this enthusiastic. Simon Harris, a first year English student, completed his ALevels in the summer of 2012, meaning the hardship is not such a distant memory. He said: “It was very difficult to secure a place at Bristol and I believe the foundation scheme is, essentially, an easy option. I don’t think it is fair on those of us who worked so hard for two years to achieve the same degree as those who did not”. There is a high chance that Simon will not be the only student with this opinion, and a ripple of resentment could spread across campus. In October 2013 the scheme looks to take on just 30 pupils. This is unlikely to have a huge impact on competition for undergraduate places because of the flexibility that exists due to offered places sometimes not actually being taken up. The foundation year students will be able to slip in through these margins. However, the program looks to expand in the coming years and conflict could arise if numbers become too large. Although the scheme has positive intentions, it is
hard to ignore the fact that spaces available in halls and on courses at Bristol are already limited, and undergraduates applying for a spot are likely to feel indignant towards competition from people who have not achieved the formal qualifications they worked so hard to attain. The belief that the foundation year undermines an ethos of long-term commitment to personal development through hard work is justifiable but, also, closed-minded. It will be an introduction to this ethos for those who have not grown up in an environment where it is the norm. The foundation year has the potential to push people to university level and therefore may be the required stimulus for many young people to focus on self-advancement. This scheme is beginning to be introduced in universities across the country, meaning we could see a complete change in the attitude of young adults that will ultimately benefit our social and economic situation. I think we should give the scheme a chance. The positive impact it will have throughout society may outweigh the short-term negative ones we experience as Bristol students. Those with determination to achieve should be given a platform on which to do so.
Anastasia Reynolds I have one A level and was seventeen when I left school. So I’m a slight anomaly among Bristol students. Actually, when I was applying to university, I had four flat rejections before receiving an offer from Bristol (including one hilarious letter telling me ‘Unfortunately, your application was unsuccessful because your application was unsuccessful,’ – possibly a good thing I didn’t go there after all). Clearly there are other universities which are not keen on anomalies. Bristol, however, turned out to be an anomaly itself. It sent me an unconditional offer – which I took, obviously – before I got the results of my A level, and that was that. I didn’t think about it much at the time; I was more concerned with the fact that I could stop being paranoid about having a future as a career receptionist. Now I’ve reflected on it for two and a half years, though, it strikes me as really rather liberal and special. It is true that my course is not in high demand. In fact, I’m the only one in my year doing my exact degree. Nevertheless, Bristol had no compulsion or
Bristol is interested in its students as people, not just as degree machines.
pressure to offer me a place, so the fact that they did hints at their attitude to students and learning. My experience suggests that the university took the time to look at my personal statement to find out what they could about me, my motives for studying my subject, my attitude to learning. It suggests that Bristol is interested in its students as people, not just as degree machines. I also think that their decision to accept me shows that the university is genuinely committed to learning for its own sake: putting on courses for only a couple of students costs time and money, but means that interesting knowledge can be passed on and new ideas bounced around. This puts Bristol in a rather good light, at least as far as I am concerned. They chose to take on a risky academic prospect (me), for a very niche course. Of course this is what higher education should be about – but it’s still pleasantly surprising when you find that it actually is.
A Cereal issue: Banning Frosties won’t curb UK obesity Jevon Whitby
obesity is solely the result of ‘hidden’ additives exploiting our ignorance? It is comforting to think so certainly, yet it is now possible to buy a Bounty ‘Trio’ bar (since the ‘Duo’ wasn’t obscene enough.) This is not corporate ‘trickery’; 50% more chocolate is quite clearly worse for our health. Hopefully then, Labour’s idea will prompt a wide-ranging look into food and personal attitudes, rather than a breakfast soundbite competition akin to the so-called ‘pasty tax’. At worst, expect Nick Clegg to endorse the merits of marmalade on BBC Radio 4 and Nigel Farage to be smeared with the scandalous revelation that he once ate an all-butter croissant and secretly enjoyed it. Whilst consumers are sometimes misled about ingredients, there is little to excuse our more blatantly unhealthy choices, made by otherwise sensible people, to eat excessively until illness results. The UK has a serious obesity problem, and we are not blameless in that. We are
fortunate that this is one crisis which we as individuals have a definite capacity to lessen without extensive government assistance: by eating smaller, healthier portions and leading a more active lifestyle by personal choice. Guilt is, at this time of year, a superb motivator when keeping to a New Year’s resolution. This proposal perhaps exists then more for its emotive, protective appeal, than for its content: whilst the Coalition are talking about budget deficits or the technicalities of European Union membership, the Labour party are milking a more ‘down-to-earth’ narrative as a ‘kitchen-table’ party that any parent who buys cereal can relate to. Regulating sugary cereals is little more than a clever extension of Ed Miliband’s regular ‘out of touch’ attack, a cliché now so common during Prime Minister’s Questions that it can form the basis of drinking games. Please enjoy responsibly.
Last week, Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham announced that Labour would place new restrictions on sugar, salt and fat content in foods, highlighting cereal as a main target in the war on obesity. Cue a classic showdown between the rival ‘good government’ and ‘nanny state’ brigades; this argument was essentially about whether or not you believe we should be reasonably free to eat, drink or smoke the wrong thing if we choose. I’ll defer to your judgement on the moral question. I trust (most) of you to make a sensible choice. However, aside from the intellectual debate about individual responsibility, this policy clearly has some problems. Most obviously for instance, there is nothing but proper parenting to prevent a child adding sugar to their own cereal. There is nothing to stop an adult either, aside from a responsible attitude.
Was it productive to single out children’s cereal for such demonisation? Perhaps more worryingly, the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found in a 2010 study that 32% of UK children aged 10-16 do not eat breakfast at all, with many preferring to buy junk food during the day; an intolerable statistic that suggests the need for parenting classes or school breakfast clubs. To place sugary cereal in perspective, a 30 gram serving of (for the sake of impartiality) supermarket ownbrand ‘Frosties’ contains 11.1g of sugar. By contrast a 240ml ‘three serving’ can of Monster energy drink includes over 27 grams of sugar. The drink is unquestionably marketed towards young people, who happily consume a can as if it were one serving. Government is of course capable of pursuing multiple initiatives at once, but sweetened cereal is clearly less damaging than an irregular, shop bought diet. It deserves to be prioritised for regulation accordingly. Can we really claim that
13 13 13
#popeproblems: he can tweet all he Shock tactics in wants but the Pope’s teachings are NHS smoking ads are justified still hopelessly outdated
The Pope’s first tweet was a little disappointing for those of us looking forward to something along the lines of “The Popemobile’s got a flat tyre again #popeproblems” or “Got mud on my red shoes #fml” or even “Jesus has LOL for you all”. The Vatican, however, stuck to its aim to use the Twitter feed to impart spiritual messages to people all over the world, and, with a hesitant jab at a tablet, Pope Benedict XVI sent a sensibly composed 140-character tweet to over a million followers, thanking and blessing them all. For someone more accustomed to making long speeches to the crowds which gather in Saint Peter’s Square every Sunday, condensing the teachings of the Catholic Church down into 140 characters will be
To really connect with followers - both spiritual and virtual - the Catholic Church needs to address serious issues.
no easy feat. So far though, with help from officials, the Pope’s doing well, offering succinct answers to questions posted by followers, including “How can we celebrate the Year of Faith better in our daily lives?” and “How can faith in Jesus be lived in a world without hope?” More recently, the Pope tweeted about “promoting freedom and respect for all”, provoking a follower to reply, “Including the LBGT community, I presume?” Despite the fact that Twitter is a modern method of communication, the Catholic Church is not modernising the message it is sending. With Pope Benedict’s recent antigay marriage comments, his attempts to cool the scandal over Catholic cover-ups of child abuse by paedophile priests, and increasing secularisation in Europe, the Catholic Church is facing difficulties, and many have argued that a Twitter feed can’t modernise an institution so out of touch with reality. The Pope’s aim in joining
Twitter was to keep Catholicism relevant in the 21st century – after all, part of his job description is to spread the word, and with over 500 million registered users, Twitter seems like a good way to reach people. However, having so far been dominated by a celebrity presence rather than a religious one, perhaps Twitter isn’t really the right outlet for the Head of the Catholic Church – his tweets could one day be trending alongside Justin Bieber’s, and nobody wants to read a teenage pop icon’s overexcited messages to his fans when all they’re looking for is religious guidance. This raises the question of whether there are better ways to modernise the Church. Admittedly, the Pope has probably inspired 85-yearolds the world over to take advantage of the technology; and that’s not all – for someone presumably more familiar with tablets carved from stone than with iPads, this was probably
something of a personal breakthrough. However, there are deeper issues at hand, and a Twitter feed has only scratched the surface of what it means for the Catholic Church to truly bring about a new era of modernisation. In setting up a Twitter feed, the Church has indeed succeeded in using modern technology in order to reach a younger, increasingly secular generation, but only on a surface level; values and norms in the 21st century are drastically different to those in the Catholic Bible. To really connect with followers – both spiritual and virtual – it needs to address serious issues by standing up for the rights of women, giving them equality in the Catholic hierarchy as well as the right to make decisions about contraception and abortion, and accepting that gay people have a right to dignity – and this is not something it can do in 140 characters.
Poll: Piers Morgan back in the UK? We asked Epigram readers: 22% Yes 78%
‘Over 100,000 Americans have signed a petition askinfg for Piers Morgan to be deported from the USA. If it was up to you, would you have him back in the UK?’ This is how you responded.
Oh my God! That man is unaware that his cigarette is growing a menacingly pulsating tumour as he takes a drag! Quit you fool, and throw that deathstick to the ground! At least that was my reaction when I turned on the T.V., bleary-eyed, on New Year’s Day to catch the already infamous NHS anti-smoking advert. I then proceeded to roll myself one, comforted by my friend who assured me that it is very rare indeed for cigarettes to grow tumours. Shock tactics in advertising campaigns are great. They enrage, divide and help make your morning’s commute more memorable, even if it is because you threw-up all over the man opposite you after seeing some grotesque poster plastered onto the inside of a Tube carriage. Let us not forget that, although these adverts sometimes seem like an excuse to shock people senseless, they are actually meant to serve a purpose. But how successful is the ‘shock’ factor, and is it worth scarring minds around the nation for what you get from them? The NHS has a vibrant and successful back-catalogue in this department, with such hits as the ‘fatty cigarette’ video, in which cigarettes around the country can be seen to ooze and drip a grey, blubbery substance, and their threat of impotence aimed at male smokers. Their most recent campaign is in keeping with this tradition. Obviously, it is difficult to criticise the NHS for going to such extremes. However visually offensive their videos may be, it cannot be denied that they have moral and financial carte blanche when it comes to trying to stop people from killing themselves. Not only that, but smoking costs the NHS £5bn per annum – funds which could obviously be better spent elsewhere. One genuine criticism which could be made is that such adverts aren’t that successful. The adverts, after all, are designed for mass conversion rather than an individual’s coercion. More often than not the foul facts, inflammatory figures and vile videos just don’t hit home. They seem impersonal and intellectually
disengaged, similar to the gore of a budget horror film. Rather than causing interaction, they simply bombard. However forcefully the evils of cigarettes are pushed down our throats, it takes genuine determination to quit, something which cannot be secreted slowly and consistently throughout the day by a nicotine patch. Last year the University of Bristol had its pavements dirtied by abort67 campaigners, who also employed shock tactics. Superficially, it could be argued that the NHS and the sordid pseudo-saints of abort67 both use controversial campaigns to save human lives. However, some key distinctions must be drawn between the two. Firstly, and most importantly, abort67’s justifications for displaying pictures of aborted foetuses are, in my opinion, fundamentally flawed. I fully agree that abortion should not be used as a form of contraception, but to potentially scare young, vulnerable and helpless women into becoming unhappy, inadequate mothers would be damaging to both them and their baby. abort67’s website argues that, in the case of children conceived through rape, ‘just because a person’s father was a rapist does not devalue them as a human being’. Obviously this is true. But isn’t convincing the victim to care for a child they never had any intention of having is surely devaluing the mother as a human being? The right to abortion will never be a black-and-white issue, and to make it one would be disastrous. Luckily, abortion clinics appreciate this as they vet and analyse applicants before making a final decision. Whilst the NHS campaigns may fail for being impersonal, those of abort67 undoubtedly flop for verging on totalitarianism. Secondly, the NHS employs such techniques to promote what is recognised by many as a positive cause. However revolted you may feel, you should also appreciate that the campaign was conceived to benefit society in an immediate and noticeable way. abort67, however, is a niche organisation: ‘Niche’ because by no means can we say that this militant off-shoot of the respectable pro-life movement holds mass support. Shock tactics should be used by those who can employ them with genuine political and social support, in a way that clearly and undoubtedly benefits the targets; otherwise they will inevitably appear as intrusive, intimidating and ignoble.
Science & Tech
Editor: Mary Melville
Deputy Editor: Erik Müürsepp
Worth risking ritalin for instant brains? Jenny Henshaw looks at how more students are turning to drugs to help with studying when their own focus is not enough. neurotransmitter affected by Ritalin is dopamine, which at increased levels in nerve synapses leads to increased firing of CNS neurones, hence the enhanced brain activity explained above. As with all drugs, Ritalin has its side effects. These include
“10% of UK students have admitted to taking cognitive performanceenhancing drugs” increased blood pressure and heart rate, loss of appetite, sleeping trouble, headaches, stomach aches and mood swings. Whilst these side effects disappear once you stop taking Ritalin, they are considered to be detrimental enough to your health for Ritalin to remain illegal. However, some people argue that if Ritalin is safe to give to children who suffer from ADHD, then healthy adults should not be prevented from using it – they can judge for themselves whether the benefits they get from taking it outweigh the possible side
effects. Statistics show that 10% of UK students have admitted to taking cognitive performanceenhancing drugs, which makes for a somewhat unfair advantage over students who don’t take them. It is comparable to athletes using steroids to enhance their physical performance, of which Lance Armstrong is a prime example. Across sport, performance-enhancing drugs are deemed to create an unfair playing field, and this approach should continue into academia. Is it really plausible though for random drugs testing to take place in every university? Or is it enough for students who do not take performanceenhancing drugs to know that they did their work without drugs, and not care what others do? Maybe we should take the approach that performanceenhancing drugs represent an unmissable opportunity for the human race to excel beyond its current cognitive ability. Students have been taking Ritalin use to a new level though; ADHD sufferers only have to go to their GP to ask for a prescription for Ritalin. At maximum, they pay £7.65 for their prescription, which they
Among others, Ritalin - also known as methylphenidate is a commonly used cognitive enhancer, probably due to how easy it is to get hold of. Ritalin is best known for its use in treating people who suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), to whom it is prescribed after examination by a GP. Not on prescription, Ritalin is a Class B drug, which means it comes with a hefty five-year prison sentence just for possession and a 14-year sentence for dealing. When used for ADHD treatment, Ritalin is a very effective method of boosting concentration and focus. It acts by increasing brain activity in the pre-frontal cortex and parts of the parietal cortex, and it is these parts of the brain where ADHD sufferers’ brains appear to have a deficit in activity when compared to those of nonADHD sufferers. Stimulation of these brain regions causes enhanced mental focus in both ADHD sufferers and non-ADHD sufferers. The pharmacology of Ritalin, put very simply, is to prolong neurotransmitter presence in the central nervous system (CNS) by blocking the re-uptake of neurotransmitter into nerve terminals. The main
can make back and more by selling the drug for a hiked up price – appealing to students who have no money. However, for the students who purchase these drugs, they are a very costly - and illegal - way of
getting through their degree. However tempting it may be to use drugs such as Ritalin to improve concentration and focus, there are easier, cheaper and legal ways of making sure you complete your work on
time. The best advice we are all given numerous times throughout our education – don’t leave everything to the last minute.
If cancer is involved, who can you trust? Anastasia Skamarauskas Science Reporter Cancer is a scare word in today’s culture, with good reason. In the UK in 2010, around 157,000 people died of cancer according to Cancer
Research UK. This means that when we are told GM maize has been linked to cancer we take it very seriously. However, it has recently emerged that groups opposed to GM maize had actually led the study that found the link between GM maize and cancer. Not only that, but it was criticised by
the scientific community for being allowed to be published. Recently a list was compiled of Daily Mail articles about things that can cause cancer. It was around 130 articles long and included bacon, metal and the contraceptive pill. Take the contraceptive pill: it does increase the risk
“Many of the articles across the media about cancer are based on one study ”
of breast and cervical cancer, but reduces risk of ovarian, womb and bowel cancer. The list included things known to cause cancer like asbestos and radioactivity, but being a man and being a woman were both included. While gender may increase susceptibility to some cancers, it isn’t the cause and is obviously unavoidable and not a choice. Harvard Medical School did a study looking at media articles that suggest links between a familiar ingredient and cancer. They found little or no statistical evidence in most of the studies. Many of the articles across the media about cancer are based on one study and are speculation. Since a link between mobiles and cancer was suggested, many large scale studies have been done showing no conclusive link, and
yet articles suggesting links are still being published. There are things we can do to reduce a very real risk of cancer, being a healthy non-smoker for example. But our fear of cancer cannot be abused by the media, telling us that drinking wine will give us cancer, but next week will reduce the risk instead. Cancer Research UK published a large conclusive study of the biggest causes of cancer in the UK. They included tobacco, alcohol consumption, sunlight, sunbeds and radiation. These
are things known to increase your chances of developing cancer. For now, at least, you are safe to use your mobile and butter your toast.
Bristol Research in the news Researchers from Bristol University’s computer science department found that women spend more time looking at women than men. Eye movements were monitored during two films, and it was discovered that women spent 61% of the time looking at female actors compared to men’s 53%. Women were also more likely to ‘roam over
the whole figure’ than men. Felix Mercer Moss, a PhD student who led the project, said ‘The study represents the most compelling evidence yet that, despite occupying the same world, the viewpoints of men and women can, at times, be very different.’ This research has recieved attention across many of the major national newspapers.
Six foul things you unknowingly eat Edith Penty Geraets Online Editor
1. LUBE in your SALAD Propylene Glycol (C3H8O2) is a clear, odorlous viscous compound and used in foods due to its hygroscopic properties, meaning that it promotes the retention of moisture. Since it is also non-toxic to humans, some producers of bagged salad use it to keep leaves fresh and crispy. It also an ingredient found in sexual lubricants and anti-freeze. But by no means do we want to put you off getting your 5-a-day - in fact, crude as it may sound, with a lifestyle involving a bit more salad and lube, chances are yo u’ l l be fit a n d healthy in no time!
2. RODENTS in your CHOCOLATE
3.PETROLEUM in your PICK ’n’ MIX
4. DOG in your WINE
5.BEETLES in your STARBUCKS
6. ANUS in your ICE-CREAM
You’re probably thinking ‘What…?’ Bits of rodent in a chocolate bar would never be allowed…oh but it is. The FDA (US Food and Drug Administration), who work closely with the EFSA (European Food Standards Authority), are responsible for the regulation of food safety. They officially allow one rodent hair and up to 60 insect fragments per 100 g of chocolate! The limits are published in the ‘Defect Levels Handbook: The Food Defect Action. Levels of natural or unavoidable defects in food that present no health hazards to humans’. Some of the figures are shocking. Take a look for yourself: www.fda. gov.
Have you ever wondered what makes sweets and candies look so vibrant and appealing? They contain artificial colourings, the majority of which are made with petroleum, which is a derivative of petrochemicals and coal tar. These are highly toxic to humans and many links h av e b een found to all kinds of diseases a n d disorders in humans, for example hyperactivity and even cancer. There was a reason blue smarties disappeared for a while! The synthetic colouring has now been replaced with natural colouring. Which will be the next to go?
Methylparaben (aka E218) is a preservative and antifungal agent found in several wines and juices. Be warned if you wish to read on, because as well as a food additive, methylparaben is also a potent pheromone that originates from the vagina of a female dog that is currently on heat.
Cochineal bugs are a type of beetle used to produce the red food colouring called carmine. Until recently, this could be found in your favourite Strawberry Frappuccino as well as in Skittles and some lemonades. However after much controversy from the vegan population, Starbucks has done away with this natural food dye and pledged a transition to using artificial or natural alternatives such a lycopene, a tomato-based extract, to colour their strawberry sauce. But this is not the only place you will find carmine. Look out for synonyms: ‘Crimson Lake’ ‘Natural Red 4’, ‘C.I 75470’ or ‘E120’.
Last year Jamie Oliver announced on the David Letterman show, an American talk show, that vanilla ice cream contains a compound called castoreum o r i g i n at i n g from the anal gland of a beaver. You will find castoreum disguised on the ingredient list of cheap raspberry and vanilla flavourings as ‘natural flavouring’. Although it has been classified ‘safe’ for consumption by the FDA, the thought of anus really does leave you feeling extremely nauseous. There is still much debate over this ingredient and most producers of vanilla flavouring will deny any connection to beaver anus in their products.
Delightful! But it’s not all bad. The chemial compound can also be found inoffensively in plants such as blueberries. And what’s present in your wine glass will have almost definitely have been produced artificially. That’s a relief.
Badgers: A countryside friend or foe? adopted a vaccination process whereby badgers are trapped and vaccinated, with a long term goal of reducing levels of TB in the badger population. Although welfare wise there does not appear to be any competition, the cost and
Matt Phillips Veterinary reporter
The facts • In 2011 alone, 3741 new cases of TB were discovered on previously TB-free farms • 26000 cattle were slaughtered in the control of TB in 2011 • If the problem persists at the current rate, the government has estimated that the TB crisis will cost the British tax payer £1 billion over the next decade
“the trial revealed a 24% increase in TB outside the controlled cull area” Fred Dawson
The UK’s dairy and beef farming industries are under increasing pressure from all angles, it seems. With milk prices being driven lower and lower by consumer demand and supermarkets’ buying power, farmers are struggling to make a living as we see our British farm numbers dwindle. The milk price problem is just one of the issues facing the farming industry with a second, perhaps less well known, issue of bovine tuberculosis or TB. Bovine tuberculosis is an infectious disease which is caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium bovis. It causes infection when ingested and can be transmitted in faeces, urine, exhaled air and milk. Contact with infected material
is sufficient to cause disease manifestation, so direct contact with the infected animal is not required. It infects a wide range of animals including cows, pigs, deer, goats and badgers, to name but a few. Humans can also contract the disease, but the risk is negligible thanks to the practice of pasteurising milk before consumption. Inexplicably, the number of cases of TB within the British cattle population has shown a sharp increase over the past five years. There must be an explanation, I hear you ask. Climate? Transport? Contaminated feed? But no, and quite the contrary. The UK has a strict TB testing regime which sees whole herds of
cattle over the age of six weeks being tested on a regular basis depending on the infection status of the area. Any infected animals are culled and the herd is tested again a month later. After infection, a herd must pass three tests, returning no infected animals each time, to be declared TB free. The infection statistics are so alarming that we cannot just simply turn a blind eye; something clearly needs to be done, but that something is not as easy as it sounds. Here we meet our potential villain, in the loveable countryside regular, the badger. Badger numbers have hugely increased since The Protection of Badgers Act in 1992, making any killing
or injuring of a badger or even tampering with the set illegal. Badgers have been known carriers of TB for over 30 years; however, research proving their involvement in the spread of TB is only just beginning to surface. Infected badgers can pass TB onto cattle via all the vectors listed above, with one of the biggest problems being feedstore contamination. As a result of the link between badgers, cattle and TB, a series of trials were set up to test whether removing badgers from an area will decrease levels. Culling badgers, however, presents many problems and the benefit and overall effectiveness of culling these animals has been heavily
questioned. The trial culls, it must be said, were not set up to determine the effect on TB levels, but more to determine whether a cull was a viable option. In the trial areas, TB levels did decrease, though, prompting estimate reductions in TB for proposed culls of approximately 16% in the cattle population over a nine-year period. Sounds good; however, when you probe deeper, the trial revealed a 24% increase in TB outside the controlled cull area, and bear in mind, the badger population is cut by 70%. There is, nonetheless, an alternative, but once again it comes with a large amount of baggage and speculation. The Welsh government has
timescale need to be assessed to get the full picture. Vaccination is much more costly and is a very long term plan; the TB problem is happening now and is getting rapidly worse. Is this really the way to go? It is here that I pass over to you as the reader to make your own conclusions. I would hope that we all agree that the current programme is not working and change needs to be made, but is the badger cull the answer? The UK government as it stands has passed the motion to go ahead with trial culls in West Somerset and West Gloucestershire. These were planned to take place imminently, however the trial hit a stumbling block when the badger populations in the two areas were severely underestimated. The revised plan is to proceed with the culls using licensed marksmen in 2013.
Editor: Lucy de Greeff firstname.lastname@example.org
Disruptive students need to grow up I received an email from the University accommodation office prior to the start of term, and read it with interest and a degree of surprise. Outlining the ‘importance of keeping quiet late at night and avoiding disturbance to your neighbours’, the email noted examples of what residents usually complain about. It all seemed like a bunch of common sense to me. Aren’t all students aware of how to behave in residential areas? Don’t we all know how to be polite, courteous
neighbours? The accommodation office did comment that ‘the majority are considerate’ – but why is there a minority that is not? I’m aware that there were some issues towards the start of term in Cotham, where some streets were sent complaint letters… Were these groups of newly released freshers from halls, who had no idea what to do with the ‘freedom’ of living in their own house? Or were these the sort of people who have absolutely n o
regard for their neighbours? If Bristol students want to be taken seriously, and treated with respect within their communities, the minority need to grow up and act sensibly. Contact from the accommodation office of this sort should be unnecessary, with students acting like decent neighbours a given.
Get in touch and share your views:
@9GAG I got 99 problems and they’re all due Monday. 9 GAG
@bristoldrama Going to wear my plainest clothes tomorrow and keep my head down to avoid being ‘Spotted in the ASS library’ Bristol Dramsoc
@TFLN (760): Tequila pump. I’m ecstatic your engineering degree has real world application. Texts From Last Night
Follow us: @EpigramPaper/ @EpigramLetters
Tweets of the fortnight
‘Play the Diet Game and Win!’, ‘New Year, New You, New Diet’, ‘Lose the Pudding Podge!’ Sound familiar? That’s because every paper and magazine is crammed full of faddy diets and detox delusions. As mince pies are a tradition at Christmas, so is the predictability that we all need to diet straight after the festive period. One cannot move for newspapers, magazines and TV programmes promoting the latest celebrity diet endorsement or saturating our lives with ways to cut the calories. End of aisle promotions that are usually stocked with towers of Quality Street are now replaced with Weight Watchers products. The annoying part of this is the predictability of the cycle. Year after year we see the same equation: Christmas equals gluttony, and postChristmas equals pauper diet. The ridiculous part is that magazines and newspapers have written these fitness and diet editions pre-Christmas - in December, ready to be published straight after the festive feasting. The nation follows this predictable pattern of gorging on food, until January 1st when they announce their new fitness regime and rabbit food diet. The only thing worse than being a January dieter, is hearing about other people’s January diets. Regular Facebook updates about new gym membership or inspirational pictures for dieting aims, all amounts to an overall headache surrounding this issue, which is thrust in our faces every year. Another concern with the New Year is ‘the New Year diet’. Food faddism includes the Cabbage Soup Diet, the Grapefruit Diet and the Cambridge diet. Each year, more people jump on the fad diet bandwagon blathering on about their quick fix: you can eat anything you want providing that you eat it whilst standing on your hands. One may recall Little Britain’s Marjorie Dawes, leader of weight loss support group Fatfighters, proclaiming that
eating dust can shed the pounds. Such a claim could almost be counted amongst the other ridiculous diets some people follow. It is refreshing to hear that MP Jo Swinson has written to magazine editors asking them not to promote post-Christmas miracle diets. Swinson wrote: ‘I am sure that you want to promote a healthy lifestyle for your readers but at this time of year in particular far too much of magazine coverage tends to focus on irresponsible, short-term solutions and encourages readers to jump on fad diet bandwagons.’ I couldn’t agree more with this call for sanity from Swinson. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s not admirable for people wanting to reform their diets and to become healthier in their outlook, but buying into ‘the New Year diet’ as the only time of the year to do so is ridiculous. The best time and only time is always – a diet is not just for postChristmas, it’s a continuous effort. The media seems to have developed a bipolar culture that encourages us to stuff ourselves with food one week, then to deprive ourselves the next. January has come to be seen as a month in which we must all be forced to analyse our diets, which means weeks of being bombarded by diet commercials and weight-loss stories. Another side effect of this repetitive resolution is gym numbers. The gym was barely filled in December with a few lonesome weight-lifters but will now be bursting at the seams, with every treadmill and exercise bike taken up by those who have dismissed the gym for the last 11 months! Though we have the media to blame for thrusting supposed miracle diets in our faces every day after January 1st, perhaps we can help banish the detox and diet delusions of New Year by refusing to succumb to the pressure of marketing hype.
There ain’t no hilarity in charity Dear Readers, Allow me to share with you a story I deem to be of immense personal and socio-cultural importance. They say the devil comes in many forms. They – being maniacal evangelicals in the main – might actually have a point. If one of the forms is the sugary sweet innocence of an eyelash fluttering charity worker, that is. I was livid. Walking through the USC campus, a bumbling, awkward Englishman,estranged in this foreign land of sunkissed beauties and drooling, feral – but unbelievably well built – ‘frat bros,’ I was already feeling slightly out of place. In doing my best to try and avoid contact of any kind with anything of any kind, I found to my horror that I stumbled right into the devil’s lair. There she was. On the other side of the plaza. Standing, clipboard at the ready, pressed into her
tight, perfectly turgid stomach, smiling a row of teeth which sparkled and shimmered in the Californian sun. Oh, how looks deceive. I was already walking right towards her. I couldn’t stop, my legs propelling me ever closer to my doom at a steady pace. She smiled. I forced one back. The sweat was rolling down my brow now. Shit – fuck – fuck - I thought. An explosion of internal Torettes. ‘Hey there.’ And so my fate was sealed. I offered the meek excuse of ‘I’m meeting a friend over there in 30 seconds. Really sorry.’ Rather than reading between the lines of my blatant lie, she rolled with it. A seasoned professional in the art of holding people under moral duress. She wasn’t giving this one up, especially not with such a pathetic, dying excuse as the one I lamely offered, frantically pointing at an empty, dust-ridden car park, as though that were my meeting point. ‘I’ll walk with you,’ she said.
‘Oh, ok Great. Let’s talk planned parenthood then,’ I replied, intonating my words with the nauseating enthusiasm that seems to have become endemic in this well-wishing land of the free. I certainly didn’t feel free. In fact, I felt a far cry from Martin Luther King or Phyllis Schlafly. I felt like a black gay woman living in Alabama in the 1920s: trapped, oppressed, at the mercy of an unassailable power. I grimaced, looking at her stupid t-shirt and her lovely bosoms. As she exemplified a profound garrulity on matters of family principles, I started hating her even more. In fact, I hated myself. This doesn’t happen to everyone, I thought. Some people have the mental wherewithal to fend off the devil, to shun it, to kill it, to hack it down with an easy going smile and a simple dismissal; fun, cheeky and honest. What’s more this would never happen to anyone with
a genuine purpose or sense of direction would it? Take assassins for example. Imagine - apologies for the preemptive pun here -John Lennon’s killer, on his way to finish the beloved Beatle, suddenly accosted by a sweet looking geriatric arguing against abortion. Revolver in hand, he simply gives her his card details, agreeing that fetuses are more than simply globules of strawberry milkshake, before punching an inch of metal into the head of a legend of his generation. No! It’s people like me, people who are aimless, nomadic and awkward. We are the victims of these terrifying militants. As she went on and on, pummeling my sun burnt ears with facts about contraception or the lack thereof, the dreaded moment was fast approaching. The nadir of the exchange; the zenith of my peril. The moment that I was asked to pay. The words spilled out of
my mouth: ‘So how do I get involved?’ Praying for a man’s only ally in this situation – the online option – she continued with a fierce pace: ‘You can give me your card details now, put an amount in the box that you want to pay per month or you can go online.’ ‘Online,’ I said, snatching at the word like an amphetamine-crazed tiger. ‘Ok,’ she said, fully aware of the game I was playing: ‘Well, then you can offer us an up front payment of whatever you like and then we can go right ahead and set you up online…Can I get your card details?’ NO. NO YOU CAN’T. JUST LEAVE ME THE FUCK ALONE. I felt like a child resisting some sort of seedy abduction. ‘I’m sorry’ I said, flustered, confused, dazed and distraught, ‘I’ll do it online’. She gritted her brilliant teeth together, hissing at me like a serpent. I’d won. I’d escaped. I walked off hurriedly, without looking back. I felt like going
Want to create puzzles for Epigram? Email email@example.com
back to warn people but that place felt more threatening than Helmand – ‘It’s just not worth it,’ I thought. I think that this is a problem not just for me but for society. Why should honest, bumbling Neanderthals be subjected to this evil discrimination? I am not a bad person but – in refusing the devil her wants – I was made to feel like the lovechild of Adolf Hitler and Lady MacBeth. This is a form of moral subjugation, a guilt terrorism if you will, designed to make good people feel bad, to make ungenerous people feel ungenerous and it is a violation of my civil rights. Please support my cause by donating $20 a month…Joking. I don’t want any of your money or your soul. I want to live and let live. Thank you. All the very best, Patrick Baker
WITH 1 TOPPING
ÂŁ4.99 Collection until 4pm
Classic and thin crusts as priced, premium bases and crusts will be charged as extra. Not valid with any other offer. Please mention offer when ordering.
119 Whiteladies Road, Clifton BS8 2PL Opening hours: 10am â€“ 5am 7 days a week. Collection Sun â€“ Thurs 1am, Fri & Sat 2am
Tel: (0117) 97 33 400
*ORXFHVWHU5RDG+RUĂ€HOG%67= Opening hours: 10am â€“ Late, 7 days a week
Tel: (0117) 951 2777
Worried about your results?
Not sure where to start?
Been accused of cheating or plagiarism?
If youâ€™re doing exams and youâ€™re feeling stressed or things arenâ€™t going according to plan, UBU can help. The -XVW$VNDGYLVHUVRIIHUIUHHLPSDUWLDODQGFRQĂ€GHQWLDO advice. Go to www.ubu.org.uk/revise Contact an adviser firstname.lastname@example.org or ring 0117 331 3511 'URSLQDWWKHDGYLFHRIĂ€FHIRXUWKĂ RRURIWKH Richmond Building
Arts Pick of the Fortnight Slapstick Festival Venues across Bristol 24th - 27th January www.slapstick.org.uk
Marcus Brigstocke, Barry Cryer, all three Goodies, Ian Victoria Wood, Lucy Porter, and June Whitfield are among the stars who will take part in the Bristol’s ninth annual salute to silent and vintage comedy: Slapstick.
Music Pick of the Fortnight Indians The Louisiana Thursday 31st January £5 www.thelouisiana.net
Film Pick of the Fortnight DjangoUnchained Out now
Tarantino’s latest might not be getting any Oscar nods, but his violent take The man dubbed ‘Denmark’s Bon Iver’ heads to Bristol this month on the western tradition on his first UK tour. Expect dense, dreamy and slightly psychedelic isn’t there to please soundscapes that bend the genre of folk into new directions. people. Jamie Foxx takes the lead role as a slave trying to free his wife. Expect riotous, gory fun in the most politically incorrect form possible.
Editor: Rosemary Wagg
Deputy Editor: Rachel Schraer
@EpigramArts A. Reynolds
Perfect Exhibition for Magpies Rosemary Wagg espies some especially sparkly objects in Shine at Bristol’s Theatre Collection
Bristol Theatre Collection
allowing the viewer to imagine how meticulous the creator must have been in putting together the rich, metallic pictures. My immediate thought was how it reminded me of several childhood hobbies of my own: sticker-collecting, clothing paper dolls, painting-by-numbers or covering the world in glitter making Christmas cards; tinsel prints certainly seem like a mid19th Century parallel pastime. Thinking like this also draws attention to how special these penny prints must have been, or at least how much pleasure they must have given to the owner, as the level of care put into creating them suggests these were more than throw away additions to the house. Another contemporary parallel which can be drawn is between the tinsel prints’ subjects and our current obsession with celebrities and, in particular, their images. This has not been lost on the group of Bristolian print makers asked to create their own tinsel prints. Indeed, included in the responses are pictures of Queen Elizabeth II, Lady Gaga and a particularly striking representation of the iconic Audrey Hepburn. The tinsel prints on display are part of the Raymond Mander and Joe Mitchenson collection, now contained within the Theatre Collection’s own archive, after being donated to them in 2011. At present relatively little is known about the collection. However, as Liz Bird, the Emeritus Dean of Arts who works at the Theatre Collection, explained this makes them ripe for further
Arabella Noortman calls for a new Futurist Manifesto
research. Perhaps someone in the coming years will produce a very shiny PhD. Above all, the exhibition presents a neat balance between old and new by taking what may seem like a cultural flash in the pan and creating new images, by developing those themes pertinent to both Victorian and contemporary society. 27th November 2012 – 28th February 2013
It’s Not Burgess’s Clockwork Orange, It’s Mine which is successful. For, whilst remaining in many ways faithful to the original, the added dimension of the all male cast and homosexual theme – which at times leans towards the comedic and superficial – serves to highlight the brutality of testosterone-fuelled, macho-masculine violence. One major problem though is that the play relies too heavily upon an understanding of the original text. A Clockwork Orange in its unaltered form has, arguably, latent homosexual and homoerotic themes itself. Being unaware of this would prevent the viewer from understanding more subtle ideas and themes present in and about this new stage version. With a topsy-turvy A Clockwork Orange in mind, are bold and modern versions of old texts the future of the theatre? An adaptation of an original work can present a fresh approach to theatre. One that slim-lines an overdone production and hauls it into the twenty-first century. Arguably, when a play is reborn it becomes a play in its own right and should therefore evade being over-shadowed by the original piece. Working from the perspective that it resists comparison to a previous production and the original work, one could decide to judge all new works in isolation and avoid making comments such as “Well, it wasn’t as good as the
There is something peculiarly dynamic about the start of the calendar year, despite it ultimately being the same, regular, monotonous passing from one day to the next. It is a nostalgic reminder of life’s inevitable temporal progression, as well as a potent, optimistic emblem of the future. We live in the age of technology and it is an exciting time of rapid change. And yet our culture is so saturated with technological advancement, that the incessant progression seems to have cultivated a climate of insouciance. We live amongst technology that develops and improves at an exponential rate, so that each new invention is by-the-by. We are so dependent on technology and it is so engrained in our existence that it is practically passé. The notion of the future doesn’t seem to capture our imagination in the way it did a century ago – such a status quo is in sharp juxtaposition to the Futurist movement, which celebrated all things fast, powerful, mechanic, inventive, energetic, and futuristic. Futurism was founded in the early twentieth century by Fillipo Tommaso Marinetti, and was predominantly an Italian movement, although it also expanded to Russia. It manifested in every artistic medium – cinema, painting, textiles, literature, industrial design “The notion of the future doesn’t seem to capture our imagination in the way it did a century ago.”
Modern Moloko: does the future of theatre lie in distorting old favourites? Currently showing at the Soho Theatre, London, Alexandra Spencer-Jones’s version of A Clockwork Orange is a bold adaptation in which all the characters are reimagined as homosexual. The rape scenes and sexual abuse, which made the book and Stanley Kubrick’s filmic version notorious, have been removed, but the principal violence is maintained. The dramatically choreographed and brutal fight scenes are, however, interspersed with the camp hallmarks of effeminate hand gestures and general flamboyance. Despite sounding strange, this is one reworking of a classic
Arabella on Art
As the famous monochrome brid will tell you, there are few things in life better than those with the label ‘all very shiny’. And so it was that the Bristol University T h e a t r e Co l l e c t i o n’s current exhibition, Shine, first came to my attention. Housed in the Theatre Collection’s main building down on Park Row – a comfortable walk on a cold afternoon – Shine contains an assortment of 19th Century tinsel prints alongside contemporary print makers’ versions of the genre. The original tinsel prints were small, colourful pictures of famous actors on the – usually London – stage sold for around a penny. The purchasers were then also able to buy a selection of delicate, foil shapes to adorn the pictures with, giving the image its final ‘tinsel’ look. One thing that is immediately apparent is the delicacy of the shiny adornments and the devotion which must have gone into decorating the image. Crafty metal tools used for attaching particular pieces are also available to be seen,
book”. Whether this theory works outside of the classroom is harder to reconcile. SpencerJones’s A Clockwork Orange required a previous understanding of the text. This is a frequently present danger for adaptations which want to provide a radical reworking of a narrative without making audiences aware of what exactly it is radical in comparison to. To avoid such failure, it seems one foot must remain overtly rooted to the past work, with the other left to wander free. Get this right and British theatre could find itself with a very exciting future. Leah Goldkorn Flikr:Patrick Hoesly
– and glorified originality, dismissing the artistic and political traditions of the past. Futurism is characterised by its admiration of youth, movement, urban environments and, crucially, flux. Futurist painting appropriated Cubist and Divisionist techniques to convey motion and simultaneity, breaking down the boundaries between the actual experience of reality, and the reality artistically represented. Boccioni’s spirited and vigorous painting The City Rises (1910) uses bold, broken brushstrokes to convey industrial scenes of labour and construction. The predominant use of the colour red creates an almost aggressive quality, but the overwhelming feeling is one of excitement at the threshold of human enterprise. Considering the vast changes seen by the twentieth century in society and technology, surely the twenty first century has some even greater things in the store? But where is the cultural zeitgeist that encapsulates this excitement? David Hockney’s iPad paintings are apt and playful expressions of the artist’s position in a world of burgeoning technology, but it doesn’t compare to an entire movement. I want an artistic movement! Frankly I think we could all do with one. Hopefully one that refrains from gimmicky provocation; carries artistic integrity, beauty, and usefulness; and reflects these exciting first few decades of the new millennium.
Sound and Fury of Victor Lewis-Smith
Alicia Queiro reviews a set of reviews and gets aquainted with the c-word these are frequently dedicated to people he doesn’t like looking stupid and, as he helpfully informs us, can be accessed with a simple click if reading from a PC download. There are certainly some deserving recipients of Victor’s vicious pen: the politically opportunistic coverage of Saddam Hussein’s hanging, for example, comes under justified annihilation. Many of those that Lewis-Smith loves to hate are universally detestable: Jeremy Clarkson, homophobic evangelists, Gillian McKeith and The X Factor in its entirety. Esther Rantzen comes under particular fire, whose autobiography ‘reeks of score-settling’. Harsh words indeed from Lewis-Smith, whose own retrospective introductions to reviews degenerate all too often into an ‘I told you so’, and who directed a ‘What goes around comes around’ to the - admittedly unpleasant - Andy Coulson, who apparently once wrote a nasty article about Lewis-Smith. Other hate figures include Bob Geldof, Alan Titchmarsh and Ricky Gervais - who all fall victim to the author’s enthusiasm for the C word – along with David Attenborough (‘the Whispering Attenbore’) and Terry Wogan (‘a lazy and self-satisfied broadcaster’). The reviews are undeniably amusing, but almost always negative, which Lewis-Smith explains by saying ‘It is easier for me to be funny about a programme I hate than about something I love’. True this may be, but the fundamental problem with dishing out generously sized portions of vitriol is that it means you are more susceptible to it yourself. He lathers criticism on television providers for their lack of originality, which seems a bit unfair seeing as he admits that his own book is riddled with repeated jokes. I suspect that, disillusioned by years of
bad programming, he views most television through shit-tinted glasses, which probably led to his terrible review of The Office. Now, I love this programme, but time and space prevent me from a full-blown defense against LewisSmith’s criticisms. I will say, however, that I was surprised by such a seasoned critic’s apparent misunderstanding of the David Brent premise, whose ‘weakly suggestive one-liners’ are the whole point. It also must have hurt Ricky Gervais to be accused of ‘lewd gags’ by a man who has littered his reviews with Vanessa-Feltz-is-fat jokes.
“It must have hurt to be accused of ‘lewd gags’ by a man who littered his reviews with Vanessa-Feltz-is-fat jokes.” It’s not all negative, however. Praise is heaped on Keith Floyd, Delia Smith and Nigella Lawson (‘a delightful and universally-adored goddess’, for whose breasts Lewis-Smith seems to nurse a particular soft spot). Amongst various namedrops of angry celebrities and the Groucho Club, there are flickers of modesty in the form favoured by all cynics – self-deprecation. While the embedded links raise interesting questions about the future of journalism, they often seem a bit superfluous, as I imagine many would enjoy the reviews in small instalments rather than as something to devour at your PC or on your iPad. It seems to be one of the more hurried and less successful experiments with modernising print journalism, as though years of TV reviews (which often date back to the 1990s) have been dragged, kicking and screaming, into the digital age.
Social Media and Skyrim: It’s Not Just A Game
“The wise scholar will make it her business to understand all aspects of this new technology.”
to further particular ends has great relevance for our own society. Placing games like Skyrim within a critical discourse of dissent that includes literary, musical, or figurative forms is near enough unheard of, yet this is essential before gaming can establish any aesthetic cultural purchase. In academic contexts we could, if we cared to, insist on invoking examples and illustrations from this new artform as a self-conscious attempt to forward wider understanding. I came to listen to Mozart’s Don Giovanni and read Virgil’s Aeneid precisely because examples from both cluttered the historical texts I encountered. The types of knowledge of which it remains acceptable to be ignorant of is astounding. Any number of academic staff or students will almost proudly boast of an inability to handle
i.e. specialist magazines, and increasingly prominent sections of newspapers. The typical review will treat a game in a similar way to a standard review of a car; the specifications and experience of playing is described but not analysed, and seldom placed into a wider cultural context. The fantasy novel is widely perceived by even inexperienced readers of the genre to pose comment on real life by employing parallel, metaphorical situations or outright satire. For the past year I have played The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim on the Xbox 360. The experience of playing in the fantastical and open-ended world of Skyrim could provoke any number of questions but the very basic story of political dissent and the choices an individual can make
Dispatches From Russia Anastasia Reynolds feels sympathy for God as Juno turns teenage bride At the beginning of December I had the opportunity to see Juno and Avos, a landmark Russian rock-opera. This, apparently, means heavy guitar solos from men in tights, the Virgin Mary randomly appearing and screeching at the top of her lungs, and occasional interjections from God (an operatic baritone, natch). I didn’t know it was a landmark at the time – it was only after I’d seen it that I looked it up – but I can now say with authority that it was indeed the Kremlin of musicals. It was also unexplainably weird, probably the closest I’ll ever get to hallucinogenic drugs whilst staying the right side of the law. The basic plot is boy-meets-girl, boy-gets-stabbedby-girl’s-disgruntled-fiancé, girl-tops-herself… then just as you’re waiting for the next act, it stops. Bizarrely, it is based on History. Boy in question is a bloke (read: Count), Avos, who has an existential crisis in a church in the first act,
“Uh-oh. He’s 45 and she has a nice arranged marriage to a local nob all lined up. .”
Lucian Waugh argues that it’s time we stop playing around and take gaming seriously It goes without saying that developments in technology have had a profound influence in shaping the arts and our experience of them. As the invention of moving images created a new artistic platform in cinema, it also had a ripple effect on early twentieth-century painting. Along with this, the coincidence of cataclysmic war in mainland Europe and its resulting demographic revolutions paved the way for a mindset out of which Modernism, and particularly Futurism could emerge. Our own century is similarly touched by an enormous game-changing aesthetic shock, one which remains shrouded in snobbery, myth, and not a little fear: gaming. The technological distance travelled between Megadrives or Commodore Amigas, and the Xbox 360 or Playstation 3 is so monumentally vast that our understanding and discussion of gaming as a cultural or aesthetic experience is unsurprisingly half-baked. When gaming does penetrate into wider public consciousness, it does so primarily as an uneasy influence behind real-life acts of violence. Such paranoia is fatuous for obvious reasons – that the young Adolph Hitler’s ideological consciousness was susceptible to the effects of mythicnationalism in Austro-German symphonic music, and particularly opera, is no argument for sheltering schoolchildren from Parsifal. The difference is that opera has an established cultural significance and public understanding that transcends the consequences of any particular production or an individual viewer’s response. Gaming culture is still sufficiently alien to enough people that understanding it in terms of childhood risk is entirely reasonable. Part of the responsibility for making our engagement with gaming more sophisticated lies in those self-appointed individuals who have begun to establish a critical discourse of gaming
I don’t think I’m alone in watching some television programmes just to get that masochistic shiver of annoyance that, say, the dulcet tones of Spencer from Made In Chelsea can elicit with such success. Victor Lewis-Smith is the spokesperson for those irritated by bad TV and all who are responsible for it (and a few who just get caught in the crossfire) as evidenced by his new book, a compilation of his reviews for the Evening Standard. It’s all very 21st century, with links to relevant footage provided in Lewis-Smith’s notes before the articles. Characteristic of the book,
all but the most basic forms of computing, the implication being that IT proficiency is entirely secondary to modern scholarship. Increasingly this attitude will not just become out of date but professionally dangerous. Nobody could ever expect to work in a higher education institution if they were illiterate. Within a decade, an inability to engage with computing will be seen as similarly deadly. So the wise scholar will make it her business to understand all aspects of this new technology. Social networking is rapidly becoming essential as part of the academic skillset (see for instance Bristol’s own Suzi Gage). I believe knowledge of gaming will soon become prerequisite for any academic study of current arts and culture. The sheer numbers of players and the hours they commit demand not just sociological comment but also thorough integration into a wider critical discourse. The imperative to contextualize and interpret modern culture will not exclude gaming and the earlier we collectively respond to this new artform, the richer and fuller our understanding of ourselves will be.
gets made Russian ambassador to California in the second (California was a Spanish colony in 1806, when the thing is set), where he meets the enchanting, teenaged Juno. Uh-oh. He’s 45 and she has a nice arranged marriage to a local nob all lined up. So they run away to sea, after a risqué ravishment scene, during which Avos impresses on us several times the unsuitability of their affair, even as he removes Juno’s clothes. Hypocrite. But what’s this?! Juno’s young man is on board the boat too! And all the sailors are drunk! And the priest! (Where did he come from?) Avos left to defend himself against a lithe, hot-blooded Spaniard! Stabbed in the ribs! (Luckily he manages to chuck fiancé overboard). Takes an unbelieeeeeevably long time to die in true operatic tradition! Juno, now without either lover, stabs herself - always a very nasty way to go. Her death is quite funny because just as she droops over Avos’s corpse, God joins in, pointing out that they’re both very lucky the Spanish Catholic and Russian Orthodox Gods are one and the same, otherwise they’d be pretty screwed. Not that anyone listens to him. I feel God gets a bit of a raw deal in all this, because nobody ever does listen to him and he hasn’t got any good solos. Or even a body. Now imagine all that taking place on a bucking set, with red and white strobe lights, smoke, people in pyjamas running around with masks on, Symbolism with a capital S, and random switches between rock and opera music. In Russian. With some bits in Spanishaccented Russian. Exactly. I told you it was weird.
Bright Future of Bristol Arts Week’s Stars Anna Godfrey previews the future Success Stories on Show at Bristol Arts Week 2013 often using light-hearted subject matter to create poems such as, ‘Dinosaur Love’ and ‘The A Team Dessert’. And then there’s the music. In association with Helicon, UOB’s creative arts magazine, we will see an evening of live student music. The acts will range from loop-pedalling Kate Kelley, to the acoustic power of Jake Leyland. One act which has received wide support are Tidy Street who are renowned for their quirky covers of pop songs including ‘Toxic’ and ‘Sweet Escape’, as well as original works such as ‘Mary-Jane’. The soft voice of Georgie
“A central aim of Bristol Arts Week is to exhibit artwork regardless of the student’s university background.” Dale floating above the raw, jaunty sounds of Gabriel Churchill makes this unexpected partnership one which definitely succeeds. The week promises to be a smorgasbord of creative activity, finally providing the students of Bristol with a long-craved outlet for their creativity. The week will run from the 4th-9th February at The Parlour Showrooms (bottom of Park Street, opposite College Green). ‘Like’ us on Facebook, or contact us at email@example.com for more information, or if you’d like to get involved.
February 2013 will see the second ever Bristol Arts Week. The week, run by a group of third year University of Bristol students, will not only be an exhibition of student artwork, but will also incorporate a number of talks and events celebrating the untapped creativity of Bristol students and artists. The talent - whether artistic, musical, poetic, or dramatic - is in abundance. A central aim of Bristol Arts Week is to exhibit artwork regardless of the student’s university background. Meggie Wood, a UWE student currently completing her MA in printmaking, will be exhibiting a number of her prints. Her current work of CMYK screen prints are based on her own photographs of the sea. Each image of the tempestuous water is framed in a sharp shape, a man-made set of lines attempting to contain the natural chaos of the ocean. Another print-maker worth looking out for is Emily Thomas, a History of Art student at UOB, with whose intricate collagraphs we look forward to lining our gallery walls. Poetry, as well as art, is an integral part of the week. Not only will the poetry of Ruth Hartnoll, Peter Naumann, and Joshua Adcock cascade down our walls, but the week will host a night of live, performance poetry. Despite our best efforts at getting Scroobius Pip on board, we have the next best(ival-performing) thing: Harry Baker. Harry, currently a second-year at UOB, has performed his poetry nation-wide. His quick rhymes and endearing performance style has somewhat revived poetry for our generation,
Housed in the Parlour Showrooms, Bristol Arts Week 2013 will showcase work from the likes of Joshua Adcock, Meggie Wood and Harry Baker.
Tapping into Theatre’s New Talent Tash Dummelow and Miriam Battye tell Nat Mayne what’s next for Tap Tap Theatre, Bristol’s new theatrical collective. was beginning to bear fruit, Tap Tap launched straight into their first project, a production called ‘Men’. Written by Miriam Battye and directed by Theo Scholefield, it was put on at the Little Black Box last November and hailed by Bristol Theatre Review as a show that was “witty, intelligent and chillingly dark at points, and showcased a remarkable amount of talent”.
Brand new collective, the Tap Tap Theatre Company consists of three current Bristol students, one recent graduate and a plan to produce “bold, imaginative new writing, through collaboration with local artists and venues”. Tash Dummelow and Miriam Battye along with Theo Scholefield and Guy Sanders recently launched the company to resounding excitement, in an event that not only showcased some of Bristol’s best talent in music, poetry and stand-up, but also involved party hats. Because “everything’s better with party hats”. Battye, who has already received writing acclaim as a Royal Court Young Writer and has been shortlisted for the Bruntwood Prize for Playwrighting, described the process of hard work and innovation that went into coming up with the idea. “I think we were in Pizza Express?” “There was definitely garlic dip involved” Dummelow has no lack of stripes herself, having directed and produced shows for seven different theatres in Bristol and won the award for ‘Best Show’ at the Society and Media Awards. The company’s name came from a drama game, ‘Tap Tap Face’, she explained, in which you tap twice on your knees, and then pull a big energetic face. “It’s meant to be a big BOOM, and we liked the BOOM- ness” “We felt the name reflected the energy that we want to bring to our productions” New writing being their firm focus, the collective managed to secure O2 Think Big Funding to power projects which are completely fresh and original. “We are so lucky- we couldn’t have done it without them so it’s lovely that they trusted us enough to invest in us.” Once the seed had been planted and their idea
Tap Tap won’t be sitting on their laurels for long. The company is bringing a double-header of new writing, ‘Hornets’, to The Wardrobe from the 25th February, a dark comedy developed with the Bristol Old Vic Studioscripts scheme, followed by Ben Behren’s ‘Captain Morgan and the Sands of Time’ from February 28th. The year ahead for Tap Tap will be just as ambitious as their beginnings, as they plan to take three shows to this year’s Edinburgh Festival, amongst other projects that they are keeping under wraps for now. And as for the future? “We hope that we have laid the groundwork for what will be a respected and imaginative company – in five years, who knows...” Check out www.taptaptheatre.com for more details. Like them at www.facebook.com/TapTapTheatre Follow them on www.twitter.com/TapTapTheatre words by Rachel Schraer
Editor: Eliot Brammer
Deputy Editor: Phil Gwyn
Forever trying to make it right The ascendant HAIM chat to Phil Gwyn about their fifteen year overnight success, pop music and winning the BBC Sound Of poll.
HAIM are definitely from LA. As I wander into their backstage area I’m instantly accosted by hummus, chopped raw vegetables and other food that isn’t really food unless you’re dieting and from LA. I quickly learn that everything is either ‘sooo crazy’, ‘sooo weird’, or ‘sooo awesome’. No other adjectives are necessary. It’s hard to argue with their sentiment, though, because everything has been pretty crazy for them during the past year. Last January, the three sisters who make up HAIM were plying their nostalgic, melodyheavy pop music around a mostly disinterested LA. The general consensus, as oldest sister Este remembers, was ‘oh, HAIM’s playing, again.’ Following some well-received demos online, though, HAIM released their Forever EP in July on Polydor, and quickly found that the studio-polished R&B stylings of lead track ‘Forever’ had won over most of the UK’s music media within four minutes of unashamed pop. By December they’d signed to Columbia in the US, toured with Florence & The Machine, and been announced on the BBC Sound Of longlist, which they eventually won. In perspective though, this is far from overnight success, as all three sisters grew up playing in Rockinhaim, a classic rock covers band formed by their parents, which Este claims they were in “for almost 15 years,” and led to their living in a warped reality. ‘We thought that every family was in a band,’ continues Este, ‘when
I got older I was like, “oh, wait, not every family has a band with their parents.” That seemed weird to us.’ As odd a gestation period as that was, it has contributed to the almost mechanical tightness of the band, and also the much under-rated quality of actually being able to play your instruments well. This is never more obvious than later onstage when Danielle unveils guitar solos with enough confidence to make most men in the room feel slightly emasculated. Their closeness as sisters is credited by Danielle as the source of the success that they’ve had writing songs together. ‘We have absolutely no problem telling each other exactly what we think. Fortunately, it also means that we have a lot of the same instincts, because we grew up listening to the same music.’ Alana’s perception that ‘people are into us in the States but not as much as they are in the UK,’ seems vindicated not just by the fact that they were signed in the UK before they were in their native USA, but by emerging as winners of this year’s BBC Sound Of poll. The significance of the poll is that it acts as something of a selffulfilling prophecy. Rather than the music industry experts who vote on the poll being gifted with prophetic powers, it is instead natural that the industry itself will exert some time and money proving their own predictions right in the coming year. Despite the troublingly cynical edge of the award, when past winners
come in the shapes of Adele, Jessie J and Ellie Goulding, it’s far from insignificant. Yet some caution is also advisable, as it is notable that HAIM are the first band to win since the Bravery in 2005; an outfit whose career trajectory it would not be wise to follow. However, HAIM’s typically laid-back approach will help them deal with the rush of media attention; instead of feeling any pressure, Alana says, ‘we’re just having a good time. It’s just exciting that people are already singing our lyrics back to us over here.’ When it comes to descriptions of their sound, the carefree mood changes and Danielle despondently admits that ‘I don’t want to be branded as this 80’s thing.’ The other description often levelled against them is that they’re an R&B band, but HAIM fairly reject this idea as well. When I suggest that the heart of their music is just simple, instantly appealing pop music, they couldn’t be more enthusiastic in their agreement. Because although HAIM do have some rhythmic similarities with 90’s R&B, the core of HAIM remains the uncomplicated joy of honest, unpretentious pop music. Considering the massive scale of commercialism which today governs most pop, the mix of HAIM’s obvious charm and their songwriting integrity is something regrettably rare. To some, their regressive musical stance won’t sit well with them being declared the future of music, but music doesn’t
always have to be science-like in its striving for progress, and it can be OK to stand still and admire it for its timeless beauty. Even their choice of rehearsal space mirrors their reluctance to move forwards, as they still practice in their parents’ front room, despite being signed to two of the biggest labels on the planet. ‘I don’t think we’ll ever move on from our living room,’ claims Danielle, ‘we still rehearse there to this day.’ By their own admission, their forthcoming album is unlikely to be too far removed from their previous material either, as they guardedly admit that ‘there will be some elements from the Forever EP...’
“It still feels like a family, but the label is just like your annoying cousin” The girls’ love of pop music is obvious both from their personalities, and from their hook-saturated music. At different stages during the interview, we’re treated to impromptu renditions of Eiffel 65, the Vengaboys, and Shania Twain, the mere mention of whom drives Alana to explode. ‘OH MY GOD, I love Shania Twain! We heard Shania Twain on the bus and we totally freaked out.’ The beauty of this enthusiasm that runs through
all three sisters lies in the fact that it is completely un-ironic; they are genuinely passionate in their love of pop and their desire to save it from itself. ‘Nowadays there’s definitely a formula,’ outlines Este, ‘which there always was, but now I feel like people are getting kinda lazy.’ They’re right, of course, to draw the distinction that ‘there’s good pop, and there’s not so good pop,’ and it’s their energetic and honest love of it that ensures that theirs is undoubtedly the former rather than the latter. So if they admire popular music, what ambitions do they have for their own debut album? Danielle at this point becomes serious, and admits with excruciatingly cautious honesty that, ‘I think about it every second of the day. I want it to be era-less... Obviously, everyone wants to make a classic album...’ she trails off, almost embarrassed at her own lofty expectations. But at least their ambition is directed at the right targets; musical brilliance rather than attempting to outsell One Direction. With these sorts of expectations, it makes perfect sense that they’d sign to the major labels that they have done, but they admit that it has come as a culture shock. ‘It has definitely been an adjustment,’ comes the blunt summation from Este. ‘Before, I heard horror stories and was like, “well why don’t you tell them no?” But now I realise that you have to pick your battles. It still feels like a family, but the label is just like your annoying
cousin.’ Specifically, it seems like HAIM have found their label particularly annoying in attempting to get them to finish their album. Este continues with not-at-all-concealed frustration that ‘I just want to get the fucking record finished,’ to vocal agreement from Danielle and Alana. Nevertheless, because of both their potential for huge appeal and their ambition, HAIM are ideally suited to their labels. Their admiration of pop music has stripped them of that aversion to success that selfconscious British indie bands are racked with; you get the feeling that they wouldn’t feel the smallest bit guilty about selling millions of records, and it doesn’t look wise to bet against them doing so. As Este philosophically puts it, ‘so far, so fucking good.’
‘Don’t Save Me’ is out now on Polydor. Their debut album is due in 2013.
Meet Drew Lustman, electronic mastermind New York’s Drew Lustman, known to many as Falty DL, was once a Sushi Chef, but as a producer his unique recipe combining elements as far and wide as UK garage, dubstep, jungle, soul and afrobeat has won him fans from Kode9 and Loefah to tastemakers Mary Anne Hobbs and Benji B. Ahead of the release of his third album Hardcourage on Ninja Tune, Burst Radio’s Aidan Kelly caught up with him to talk about bread and prostitutes. Hi there Falty DL, a belated Happy New Year from us – how did you see in 2013? I was working on that night actually, in a bakery - I spent 3 weeks in Spain just working in a bakery making bread, didn’t do any music whatsoever.
but one of the b-sides to an early 12”. Then I did Rinse FM with him and he asked me what the deal was with that track, and I said “Oh well if you like it you can release it”. I sent him this other stuff and it was so different, I think that he described it as being “the comma in Swamp 81” - I’m this other sort of thing that he does with that label. There’s a third part that’ll come out hopefully this year or maybe next, maybe something after that, but really he’s such a great guy.
I’ve been making music for a long time, as Falty DL for about 8 years. I have no idea how to describe it, it’s not something I’m interested in doing to be honest it’s up to you guys I guess. It’s all electronic music basically, but then I guess all music is sort of electronic in some way...it all passes through electronic things at some point.
Do you have any advice to up-and-comers? Some wise words from Falty DL?
I’ve been listening to mostly rock, hip-hop, back to that in a way…I don’t listen to much dance music, I think I’ll stop making dance music after this album, just more ambient stuff. Last year you put out one of the most interesting and stand-out records of 2012 – Mean Streets pt. 2 on Loefah’s Swamp 81 label. How did that collaboration come about? Yeah well I’ve known Loefah for a couple years and a mutual friend of ours sent him some of my music that he really liked, not even ‘Mean Streets’
A match made in heaven?
George Moxey considers the commercial and cultural relationship between the basketball and hip-hop industries that has developed across the past two decades.
2012 was an exciting year for music. The first 1,000,000,000 view YouTube video put the technological advances of the preceding 30 years into context while fresh names and genres bustled their way into the ever expanding music industry. But no piece of wtiting could ever do justice to the seemingly endless ream of heartstopping sporting moments that unravelled in front of our fortunate selves in 2012, from Wiggins to Wimbledon to “AGUEROOOOO!!” it was as spectacular as it gets for us Brits. The Olympics were alright, too.
From listening to your music, there seems to be a real UK musical influence - what kind of stuff were you listening to growing up, and how did you get into all the UK stuff like garage and jungle?
And so what are you listening to now?
So after this album, what’s next for Falty DL? I’ve actually just finished another album, that I think I’m going to do under my own name, Drew Lustman, so I’m shopping that around, talking to a few different labels, maybe Ninja Tune I’m not sure where, but yeah I think I’ll be moving out to getting into a new studio, hopefully making more music.
Oh wow. Well, can you give us a little introduction of yourself – who is Falty DL?
I listened to mostly just like rock’n’roll or whatever was on the radio, and then a lot of hiphop. I hadn’t really listened to electronic music until I was about 18 or 19, when a friend of mine gave me an early Aphex Twin album. Then I just started checking out everything that Warp had, and that’s how I got into it around 2000, 2001.
thought it was ok, but I don’t think I‘m going to do an album like that again to be honest.
And what’s the meanest street you’ve ever been on? Ha, well The Herbert Strauss in Hamburg – it’s like this red light district that’s just lined with prostitutes on both sides and they don’t allow women to go down the street. It’s a really dark sort of scary street … probably the darkest place on Earth I would say. You’re about to release your third album, Hardcourage– listening to it, you’ve slowed things down for a more house-based sound. What influenced you to go in a different direction from your previous releases? It’s just what Ninja Tune thought an album should sound like, I mean like this morning I started a jungle tune, and I started a sort of afrobeat one too, so I don’t actually say I’m going to make an album of any certain type, any BPM or style of music. That selection of tracks is just that what made Hardcourage, it’s just Ninja Tune’s idea of me trying to do a big album that’s a little more accessible. To be honest I don’t know if that’s going to be good or bad in the long run for the album, they put their foot down pretty hard on the tracklisting which pissed me off a lot at the beginning but in the end I Do these industries actively drive one another though? One particular relationship stateside seems to suggest so. Searching for ‘basketball references in rap’ generated 88,200,000 results on Google. When NBC pumped $1.35 billion dollars into the NBA from 1989-1997 it provided a catapult into national stardom for the league and its players. And with the introduction to the world of The Notorious B.I.G (a.k.a Biggie Smalls, real name Christopher Wallace) in the 1990’s, it was clear that the idolisation of sporting heroes was not just for the rest of the ‘normal’ population. Blessed with what seemed like an innate ability for track narration, Brooklynborn Biggie germinated and cared for the seeds of a prospering relationship with the NBA with sheer brilliant song writing, vocal delivery and an ability on a mic that is still almost unparalleled the world over. ‘I Got a Story to Tell’ is a prime example of his ability with a pen and the Shaquille O’Neale line in ‘Gimme the Loot’ is one of the most brilliantly simple and subsequently famous mentions of the game in his work.
As such a noticeably high proportion of the league’s players were black it was arguably the ‘rags to riches’ story of the 80’s and 90’s era that Smalls could relate to so well (and possibly a story that the rest of America used to relate the two). His accelerated route to wealth and its lavish consequences weren’t a 3 pointer away from the experiences many breakthrough ‘ballers of the period were having. Smalls rapped ‘Because the streets is a short stop/Either you’re slinging crack rock or you got a wicked jump shot’ on ‘Things Done Changed’; a harrowing reality of available career choices if you weren’t any good from the free throw line. When Smalls was tragically shot dead in March 1997, a certain 27year-old Jay-Z wasn’t going to allow the seeds to go unattended. He grew a forest. Almost every other player in the league has been ticked off on Hova’s bedside table but there are enough Michael Jordan references to fill these here pages for the next 10 years. The self-proclaimed “Mike Jordan of rap”, now the co-owner of Brookyln Jets and an executive producer of computer game NBA 2K13, slowly portrayed the culture of both worlds to the masses through music that almost grew up like he did, like the industries did,
Ha, not that wise. I mean all I can say is try and make as much music as you can, don’t be happy with what you’ve done, always try and make more and more and better and better, and I don’t stress enough it’s ok to listen to other people’s music and be influenced by it - I mean it’s impossible not to, but really just really try to develop your own sound and it’ll happen naturally. But don’t try and overtly copy someone else because that’s very transparent and won’t really get you anywhere that you’ll be happy with in the end. Just make tonnes of music! And then be very aggressive and get it signed to a label. Finally, when can people next catch you in the UK? Well the albums out in a couple weeks, and I believe I’m over towards the end of February, not exactly sure yet but definitely in the first couple months of this year I’ll be over, and hope to come back out to Bristol as well.
Hardcourage comes out on Ninja Tune on 21st January.
slowly but ever so surely; all in the public eye. The two worlds would begin to converge more than ever. But what was the result? Personal jibes and supportive snippets have been included in many an album since the early 2000’s. Barely a Game verse goes by in which the Compton rapper doesn’t cut away to his beloved L.A. Lakers. It wasn’t just Jay-Z and Biggie though. Media outlets and their technological capabilities had been white kids trying to play ball, always one step behind, until now. Coverage of all sports was beginning to take off and it led to the national stardom of high profile MVPs (like O’Neale) coinciding with the exploding success of the hiphop industry around the turn of the century. A multitude of now multi-platinum albums were released from 1994 to early 2000’s, with 2001, Ready to Die and All Eyez On Me by Dr. Dre, Biggie and Tupac Shakur, respectively, arguably the most prominent. The common factor of the relationship debatably began to shift from the ‘getting a break’ viewpoint to that of gigantic bank balances for the players of both games. 2011 brought Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Watch The Throne. Two of the most renowned artists in the world teamed up to produce what could well be seen as a late 30th anniversary present to both basketball and the hip hop industry. A painting of wealth and fame laced with that classic reminder of their brilliant rise to the top through artistic flair, fluent flow and awe-inspiring performance. Sounds familiar, that. The forest is still growing.
Reviews ARC Everything Everything RCA 14th January 2013
2010’s Man Alive was a chaotic album encompassing more genres in its 12 songs than most bands attempt in their whole career. Synth-pop romps, crooning ballads, and falsetto-flecked rock may not sound like the ingredients for a classic album but somehow it all came together thanks to great tracks like ‘My Kz, Ur Bf ’ and ‘Final Form’. The follow-up to a debut of such messy brilliance was always going to be difficult but Everything Everything have stepped up to the task admirably. The intervening two and a half years have clearly precipitated a focussing of artistic vision because in Arc the Manchester-based band seem to have found their sound. Sure, Jonathon Higgs’ falsetto still very much takes centre stage, as does their penchant for indecipherable lyrics (‘Hi-O Silver away / So fast hence take an arrow from your quiver or we’re, past-tense - what’s / A trilobite to anyone?’ etc.), but this time around it feels like much more care has been taken in crafting a cohesive album, rather than just jumbling a bunch of great songs together and hoping for the best. The rhythm section sounds a lot tighter than on Man Alive and the
ANYTHING IN RETURN Toro Y Moi Carpark 22nd January
Along with Washed Out, Neon Indian, Ariel Pink and others, Toro Y Moi, alias of Chaz Bundick, was one of the pioneers of the ‘chillwave’ genre that took the blogosphere by storm in the summer of 2010. A blanket term that covers many musical styles, still Bundick’s debut Causers of This seemed to be something of a landmark chillwave record, falling somewhere vaguely in between dream pop and witch house. Anything In Return is the third full-length from a prolific artist not content with such a restrictive genre label, and showcases Bundick’s talent of finding the happy medium between singer-producer pop and textured electro hip-hop. The sparingly used ‘uh’s and ‘yeah’s fit effortlessly into the landscape of warbling reverbaddled synths and varied percussion. Stand-out track ‘Say That’ highlights these careful overlaps, with a vocal refrain that seems more futuristic with every listen - seemingly showcasing the direction that many songwriter-producers will head towards in the near future. Certainly an album that warrants and rewards repeated listens, Anything In Return represents an impressive shift in focus for Bundick, and his continued ability to shine brightly in amongst his talented and fast-moving peers. Gareth Davies
LONG.LIVE.A$AP A$AP Rocky RCA 14th January 2013
band as a whole seem to have exercised more restraint in the composition of these songs. This pays dividends on songs like ‘Hands For Feet’ and latest single ‘Kemosabe’, which are taut, controlled affairs while still displaying the band’s knack for a catchy chorus. In fact, catchy choruses abound on Arc. The skittering drums and guitar flourishes of ‘Armourland’ open out into a chorus of epic proportions with singer Jonathan Higgs serenading his lover in terms that would make Barry White blush. Their attempts at slower, more down-tempo songs produce mixed results. ‘This House Is Dust’ is low-key and beautifully atmospheric while ‘Duet’, with its chugging violins, is lamentably cheesy. Album closer ‘Don’t Try’ strays a little closer to Panic! At The Disco than should be advisable for any band worth their salt and is a disappointing end to a largely impressive album. But following the success of Alt-J and Django Django in 2012, Arc should see Everything Everything propelled to the front of the flourishing pack of intelligent British indie artists. Ant Adeane
ELEMENTS OF LIGHT Pantha Du Prince & The Bell Laboratory Rough Trade 14th January Hendrik Weber, better known as Pantha du Prince, makes dance music that inverts dance music. Having started his career as a techno producer, with each new album he has developed his sound to incorporate light and experimental melodic structures over a dance music backbone. The result is what Weber has termed ‘sonic house’, and proves more suitable for home listening than the club. For this album Weber has collaborated with the aptly named Norwegian peal enthusiasts The Bell Laboratory, and the culmination is 45 minutes of muffled drums and otherworldly synth noises underlying constantly mutating bell and chime melodies. Its two 10 minute-plus cuts, ‘Particle’ and ‘Spectral Split’, progress in a constant state of flux which makes the experience of listening at times uneasy, at others exciting and adventurous. It is only on the lead track ‘Photon’ that a traditional electronic song structure is evident, with beefy chimes sparring with a playful marimba. Despite the meandering nature of the longer tracks, it is clear that Weber has put a lot of work into putting every chime, toll, tinkle and drum clap into its rightful place. An impressive addition to his excellent catalogue. Dan Faber
After quite a wait Long.Live.A$AP is finally here. It’s not quite Detox in terms of continual delay and postponement, but there’s only so long a fledgling artist can sustain the attention Harlem’s A$AP Rocky has received without a full release proper. There’s good reason as to why Long.Live. A$AP has been so hotly anticipated, with 2011 mixtape Live.Love.A$AP setting a high standard; immersing the listener into a world of spaced-out slowed vocals and Clams Casino produced hazy beats over which Rocky’s not-so-sweet nothings concerning drugs, sex and money were stylishly delivered, paving the way to a multi-million dollar record deal. Expectations were raised further still when the list of collaborators on Long.Live.A$AP was released. Not only had Rocky managed to unite the best of hip-hop’s ‘new school’ with features from Drake, Joey Bada$$ and Kendrick Lamar amongst others, but he’d also made concerted attempts at mainstream crossover with ‘Wild For The Night’ being produced by Skrillex and ‘I Come Apart’ featuring Florence Welch. In the end, it feels a little like A$AP Rocky was trying to do too much at once and lost sight of what brought
LYSANDRE Christopher Owens PIAS 14th January
In the grand tradition of the tragic American rock idols (read here K. Cobain and E. Smith), Mr Owens decided in July 2012 to break apart his critically successful band Girls and embark on a solo career. In Lysandre, he desperately tries to move away from his previous work, with an effort at democratising his music. To the Girls fan, it will appear at first as an overdose of love-related refrains with an absence of the rebellious, fudgethe-world energy so successful in his previous work. Sadly, gone are the amazingly texturised guitar solos which lifted you from the sadness of the lyrics. His ode to never running from yourself and not caring what others think, ‘Love Is in the Ear of the Listener’, is riddled with introspective self-justification that then drowns in a pool of self-adoration. No, the true strength of the album is the musical installation. From soft trumpets and flutes brilliantly complementing Owens’ voice (‘New York City’, ‘Riviera Rock’) to pleasing choir voices (‘Here we go again’), Lysandre proves melodically slow and utterly enjoyable. Christopher Owens successfully manages to reference his predecessors without falling into cliché-land. Give it a chance and it quickly feels fragile and gracious, personal and sincere. Alwin Luchmaya
him success initially. Clams Casino produced ‘LVL’ stands as an early highlight, providing a luscious reverb-drenched beat for Rocky to glide over. The problem really is that there isn’t enough of Clams Casino on this record, because as a whole it lacks the cohesion his beats lent to Live.Love.A$AP. Instead of a Clams-produced paradise, we’re subjected to an absolute abomination of a beat on ‘Wild For The Night’, with Skrillex providing a Street Fighter button-mashing combination of shrill beeps and bleeps that has no place on this record, or anywhere for that matter. Same goes for ‘Fashion Killa’. Sandwiched between these tracks however is Hitboy-produced ‘1Train’, on which A$AP Rocky commands the mic alongside pretty much every notable rising rapper and isn’t outshined. There’s very strong single material in ‘Goldie’ and ‘Fucking Problems’, but that alone can’t propel the record from good to great. Frustratingly we’re left with a fragmented record which expends too much energy on courting the commercial and cementing A$AP Rocky’s personal brand, as opposed to providing a platform to display his full potential as a rapper. Rishi Modha
HUMMINGBIRD Local Natives Infectious 29th January
There’s a thin line between awe-inspiring drama and cringe-inducing melodrama, and LA artrockers Local Natives prove to be proficiently skilled in making this distinction on their sophomore effort Hummingbird. One criticism that could be made of their debut, Gorilla Manor, was of its eagerness to appear understated. This is no longer the case, with the sonic serenity of Hummingbird soaring high above their previous effort and setting the bar high for this year’s acts. Whether it’s the new bassist, new studio or simply a new level of musical maturity, they seem to have ironed out the wrinkles. The arrangements are orchestral and atmospheric. ‘Ceilings’, with its entrancing evolution and unwavering layering, comes close to what I imagine a stop-motion video of an orchid blossoming might sound like. New pinnacles of the term ‘epic’ are reached with ‘Mt. Washington’, a National-esque weaving of melancholy melody with hopeful harmony, sending shivers down the spine. Don’t let the Americana sounding opening chords of ‘You & I’ or the jarring clang of the album’s single, ‘Breakers’, put you off. This is a force to be reckoned with. George Robb
The Multifaith Chaplaincy Every Thursday during term 9:30 - 11am Studying at University while raising a family can be a challenge, but youâ€™re not alone. UBU runs a morning for students where you can meet other parents and bring your children. ubu.org.uk/studentparents
Film & TV
Editor: Jasper Jolly
Deputy Editor: Kate Samuelson
Matthew Field: blaming violence on Hollywood is misleading and pointless What might be surprising is that between the United States and the United Kingdom homicide rates are in fact about the same. The UK has a homicide rate per 100,000 of 1.38 with the USA at 1.55. Gun violence in America however far outstrips its UK counterpart. We are fortunate enough to live in one of the most gun-free countries in the world; this ironic exchange in Hot Fuzz sums it up well: Andy 1: Everybody and their Mums is packing round here. Sgt Angel: Like who? Andy 2: Farmers. Sgt Angel: Who else? Andy 1: Farmers’ mums… As it goes the UK gets off pretty lightly when it comes to any real threat of guns or gun-related violence. It honestly seems shocking to even
walk into an airport and see armed police on patrol. For us as a culture weapons are seen as threatening and a sign of crime and danger. There are few people who honestly feel weapons are something to keep us safe. And yet here we are for the most part exposed to the same kind of culture, cinema, media and video games as those in the USA. Yet since the 1996 Dunblane massacre, which led to restrictions on handgun ownership, there have been very few ‘killing sprees’ with firearms in the UK. Hollywood has often been targeted in the American media for promoting gun violence. After the 2012 Aurora Cinema shooting in Colorado (where
Banksy’s take on Tarantino’s violently fun Pulp Fiction.
the gunman dressed as ‘The Joker’ during a screening of The Dark Knight Rises) and the tragic 30th November Sandy Hook school shooting in Connecticut, many politicians have found it convenient to blame violent media and Hollywood for the violence committed by a very small minority of mentally unstable individuals. One Connecticut town is even conducting a ritual burning of violent DVDs and games which it views as desensitising children to acts of violence. However, this is in many ways the easiest route for morally obsessed farright US politicos to take in blaming the left-leaning Hollywood media so often engaged in battles over censorship in the USA (such as in the recent case ‘Brown vs. EMA’). Wayne La Pierre, head of America’s
largest pressure group, the four million strong National Rifle Association (NRA), declared in a press conference in response to the Sandy Hook massacre, in which 20 school children were killed, that the only way ‘to stop a bad guy with a gun, is a good guy with a gun’. He then went on to blame violent media for encouraging violence, although his description of a safer society (‘a good guy with a gun’) sounds like the plot to almost every action thriller to date. He blamed violent games and films, such as the excellent American Psycho for desensitising individuals to violence rather than at any point acknowledging that gun ownership
itself could ever be the issue. Is Hollywood too violent? The films of Quentin Tarantino (see the dark yet hilarious Inglourious Basterds for a great example) offer the kind of violence that many on the American Right despise and see as morally degenerative, with the upcoming Django Unchained coming in for criticism. However, largely what they fail to see is the normal human capacity for separating fantasy from reality. Normal adults, even back to the traditions of Ancient Greek theatre, can see the cathartic qualities of violence with Tarantino stating, ‘Violence is one of the most fun things to watch’. Artistically do guns help make better cinema? Certainly I feel violence in cinema, both serious and for comic effect can have artistic merit. It can however, also be utterly pointless such as in Michael Bay’s Transformers films which revel in their destruction while proving to have no artistic merit save how many explosions can be fitted in any single shot. In a study on psychology and the media professor Christopher J. Ferguson notes that the influence of media and video games on youth violence is ‘more minimal than previously thought’. He even suggests that many in the right-wing press ignore the possible positives of many violent films and games which promote heroism, team work and good over evil. While this constant media war over Hollywood violence versus gun ownership rages many of us in the UK remain perplexed as to why you would even want to own a gun in the first place. I am reminded of the scene in Shaun of the Dead where the perplexed hero is left holding a Winchester rifle in the face of a hoard of zombies. Personally I am thankful we can avoid this whole debate due to our firm gun controls and while the American politicians trade insults the British can, in the words of Shaun, sit at home ‘with a cup of tea, and wait for all this to blow over’.
Film is no smoking gun
Hugh Jackman steals the show as Jean Valjean in Tom Hooper’s film
Les Misérables: hear the people sing its praise Natasha Hyman: the epic film version keeps all of the energy and tragedy of the original musical Following Tom Hooper’s towering success with The King’s Speech, which won seven BAFTAs and four Academy Awards in 2011, his latest venture – a cinematic rendition of Les Misérables – has been greatly anticipated, and deservedly so. This hugely popular musical, based on the novel by Victor Hugo, is set in 19th century revolutionary France and spans seventeen years, ending with the 1832 anti-monarchist uprising Paris. It interweaves the stories of characters from many different walks of life, joined together with the cat-and-mouse chase between Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) an escaped convict fleeing from police officer Javert (Russell Crowe). Hooper has done this musical immense justice, and the finished product is detailed, moving and epic. The film opens with the spectacular image of hundreds of convicts pulling a ship-wreck out of the sea; Hugh Jackman is unrecognisable from his wasted face as he sings ‘Look Down’ with the other convicts. The first half of the film is set in dingy alleys and dark hospital rooms, but it transforms itself in the second half with a sudden influx of light when we are shifted to the heart of revolutionary Paris. It ends with the cast members atop a vast barricade, belting, ‘Do you hear the people sing?’ You can’t help but be moved by the sheer scale of this film, something
which cannot be achieved to the same extent on stage. Much of the film’s success is down to the performances. It boasts an impressive array of household names, but they all absolutely fit their roles. Eddie Redmayne as Marius is the biggest surprise vocally, and his rendition of ‘Empty Chairs’ is deeply moving. Anne Hathaway (above) is terrifyingly good as Fantine, and by sacrificing
vocal precision she truthfully conveys Fantine’s despair. Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen as the Thénardiers are, of course, a wickedly funny duo; ‘Master of the House’ is played over a clever montage of the their little tricks to foil their customers, including the chopping off of a cat’s tail to add to a meat-mincer. However Hugh Jackman stole the show as Jean Valjean, the character which goes on the longest journey – from convict to mayor and father figure. He made the most from the live singing approach; this is a relatively new undertaking, in which the actors
You can’t help but be moved by the sheer scale of this film
sing live on set, with headpieces playing the piano accompaniment back to them. Jackman skilfully deployed this, varying his tempo and making us actually listen to the lyrics, he sings to us ‘he told me that I have a soul, how does he know?’ with clarity and truth. Stylistically, Hooper has done Les Mis justice. Every detail, from the revolutionary costumes and rosettes to the ‘lovely ladies’ who emerge out of doorways with smudged white painted faces and pink cheeks – it’s all there. He has also brought a refreshing intimacy to a musical which is viscerally human. The price of this is that some moments can become frustratingly contained, for example Eponine’s ‘On My Own’, which usually reaches a belting climax, on screen feels a bit half-lived. However the film was for the most part just as hard-hitting as the stage production. The only alteration I would make is the addition of an interval – nearly three hours of people singing about how miserable they are is emotionally draining!
Les Misérables Released 11th January, Dir. Tom Hooper, 157 mins
The beautiful Life of Pi
Michelle Chamroo: Ang Lee’s visually stunning work captures the nuances of the human condition collect stamps, ending up with an interesting compendium. His search appears to feed a need to know God, and this theme pervades the film with Pi asking for help from God when he is faced with some seemingly insurmountable challenges. His faith is strong even when it seems like things are going from bad to worse. It could be suggested that his strength to keep going is derived from his faith (and also his fear of, well, a very menacing tiger). In such a secular time, it is difficult to see this element being particularly appealing or particularly popular. The scene in which Pi meets Richard Parker (the tiger) is somewhat brutal, as his father tries to convey the true nature of a wild animal, highlighting that the relationship between Pi and his father to be that of mutual misunderstanding.
The digital effects are exceptional
This is the highlight of the film for me. The digital effects are exceptional and I nearly left my seat to get a closer look (although generally this is frowned upon in polite society). My eager (certainly not expert) eye could not detect a fault with the effects. The way Parker moves, his angry mouth and the change in his body due to lack of food are depicted brilliantly and he is a joy to watch. Lee’s opulent palette of colours and
Life of Pi has secured 9 BAFTA nominations and 11 Oscar nominations
plush golden skies are reminiscent of Adam Pynacker golden skies and are truly mesmerising, as are the sea scenes. In fact there were times when I felt a little seasick. Lee’s vision of the magical element of the sea is awe inspiring. However, the cynic in me is trying to suppress the magic, which is difficult whilst the delicate light dances on the sea. One would imagine being ship wrecked for 227 days is a heinous experience with sharks circling and a man eating tiger on board the lifeboat only adds to this feeling of despair. Moreover whilst Pi being shipwrecked is the crux of the story I do feel like it is slightly laboured and actually hinders the pace of the film. All three actors who play Pi are truly exceptional: Ayush Tandon plays the 11-year-old, Suraj Sharma plays the 16-year-old shipwrecked Pi, and Irrfan Khan plays adult Pi. With awards season just around the corner the potential is great here. Sharma has the bulk of
the film and is incredibly watchable; his eyes convey his deep sadness and anger convincingly and even brings a misanthropist like me to the brink of crying (although I’d never admit that to anyone so keep it to yourself). Lee’s work manages to capture the nuances of the human condition and he has a wonderful cast who fulfills his requirements well. Life of Pi is worth going to see, if only for the wonderful digital effects. Perhaps it is just me (and this is entirely possible) but the religious element felt like it was laboured without much success and I didn’t feel a sense of enlightenment as I left the cinema. It may be because I’m dead inside; I’ll let you decide if it works for you.
Life of Pi Released 20th December 2012 Dir. Ang Lee, 127 mins
An expectedly long and rambling journey After nine years, the return to the Shire has been long overdue. The opening sequence, featuring dear old Bilbo and Frodo brings us straight back to the warm familiarity of The Lord of the Rings, almost like long-lost family. The Hobbit, however, is different in many ways from its masterful predecessor: a new filming technique has changed the nature of the film along with a very long running time. Nevertheless it is still definitely worth the watch.
The problem with this movie would have to be the length
not as beset by these financial worries, with a budget of $400m, a quarter more than The Lord of the Rings. It is often hard to tell which story the film is trying to convey. There is a constant wrestling between the originality and colour of The Hobbit and the simple strength and familiarity of The Lord of the Rings. The presence of ‘the ring’ draws attention away from the story, as it plays on the memory of the Lord of the Rings franchise in order to draw us in. When Golem finally graces the screen, with another extraordinary performance from Andy Serkis, the mood completely changes; the pace picks up and the suspense is fuelled more by the characters rather than the effects of CGI. Martin Freeman (above right) falls into the role easily. As surreal as it is to see the former Office star in the Shire, he is well cast as a sensible stay-at-home type drawn into the adventure by the unmissable nature of the opportunity. The thirteen dwarves are comprised of a menagerie of mostly Kiwi actors; for the beer-bellied Stephen Hunter (left), an actor in commercials, playing the portly Bombur was his first time in a motion picture. The dwarves are barely recognizable onering.net
The problem with this movie would have to be the length. The Hobbit has been distributed between three, threehour films. An Unexpected Journey could have easily lost about 45 minutes. It included the appendices from the book - little explanations of how some things come to be. In an almost Family Guy or Lost style, a story or memory would be recalled, at length, whether or not it was relevant to the plot. At first glance The Hobbit franchise seems to have spread itself too thinly across three movies instead of at most, two. I spent the film eagerly awaiting the appearance of Benedict Cumberbatch playing Smaug, to find out that it will probably be another five hours until we get to see his performance. A shorter,
more intense version of the film would have been preferable to the rambling version shown in cinemas. The film is shot at 48 frames per second, twice the speed of regular films. This gave the movie an effect of incredibly high definition; seen in 3D you can see the every detail of the action. However, this extremely personal view of the film has the added effect of throwing the doors open for the observation little flaws that give the story away, making it less as though you are in Middle Earth, instead on the actual movie set itself. The highdefinition aspect of the film also steals some of the character of the movie. There is less space for the imagination to fill in and the resulting footage is oddly peeled away and impersonal. The effect is still staggering; the film’s CGI does stand up to the added scrutiny and opening scene is quite breathtaking. An apparent lack of personality displayed by the film may have been due to its increased budget; The Lord of the Rings was famous not only for its success in cinemas but also due to the fact that they were relatively lower-budget films: $290 million for the trilogy. The Hobbit on the other hand was
Phoebe Dale Sky One
Life of Pi is a little like looking at a Salvador Dali painting, the colours are vivid and there’s much to observe, but essentially you have no idea what is going on. Ang Lee offers a smorgasbord of sumptuous stimulation for the senses. Lee’s direction of David Magee’s screenplay based on Yann Martel’s novel of the same name creates an illustrious picture of a shipwrecked boy and a menagerie of wild animals. We first meet Pi as an adult recounting his adventure to a writer (Rafe Spall) who has been informed by Pi’s uncle that Pi has an compelling story worthy of being made into a phenomenal book. This is certainly the case. It is a useful, but unimaginative tool to get the story started. As adult Pi reveals the struggle he had with his name, we are introduced to Pi the boy who is bullied because of his unfortunate full name, Piscine Molitor, after a swimming pool in France. Unfortunately his name sounds a lot like ‘pissing’ and this sticks. In order to stop this ridicule Pi introduces himself in the new school year as Pi the mathematical symbol. He even manages to fill several blackboards with the incredible number, which is impressive, but might as well be in Latin, for all I can understand. As the possessor of a rather unusual surname, I didn’t find this particularly interesting, and yet it was amusing. As an inquisitive child, Pi discovers God in many different places and begins collecting religions like others
Full of Glee
beneath the heaps of makeup and prosthetics; in consequence the acting takes a decidedly pantomime-like turn, as emotions conveyed easily on the face must be exaggerated to show up beneath several layers of rubber. On the other hand, the gruff exuberance actually suits the ruddyfaced creatures. Overall, the film is hugely entertaining, great attention to detail in both CGI and set design, and the massive cast really making it a film you can lose yourself in. I definitely recommend paying the extra couple of bucks to see it in 3D, as then you can expect to be truly blown away.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Released 13th December 2012 Dir. Peter Jackson, 169 mins
Have you ever been in the situation when someone that you like is just being so irritating that you want to slap them round the face and shout “Do you hear yourself, get it together, god!”? Glee is that for me. I’ve seen every episode and I look forward to it but, man, is it inconsistent and terrible. Season four, which in the States is ten episodes in and started in the UK on January 1st , is no exception. The weaknesses that have plagued the earlier seasons are still woefully present but so are its strengths.The attempts to shoehorn every popular song into the narrative are still ridiculous at times - I’m looking at you “Call Me Maybe”, and the less said about “Gangnam
This series is more consistent than the last
Style” the better. But on occasion they’re great; Fun’s “Some Nights” was a return to oldschool Glee, and the stripped down version of “Teenage Dream” didn’t make me want rip my ears off in the way that I thought it would. Glee still aims to moralise, yet it’s not half as inclusive and representative of the underdog as it thinks it is. At the end of the day, it’s a show on a major network, playing to the view that no one wants to watch ugly poor people sing chart hits and classic karaoke staples. All that said, although I would never even begin to say that its treatment of the issues it tackles is often successful, (Beiste’s domestic violence storyline in season three was sorely misjudged), some are well-addressed, and its positive that certain issues are receiving more air time, even if their message is somewhat heavy handed. More than anything, I have fun watching Glee, even when it borders on the ridiculous. It does have enough great moments to keep me watching, and I enjoy marvelling at its lows. Not everything needs to be Mad Men or Parks and Recreation (which is finally scheduled to be shown on BBC 4 at some point this year so watch out for that, it’s glorious). Glee hasn’t changed what makes it the Glee I love. Season four has dealt with half the cast graduating high school pretty well and I might even go so far as to say that this series is more consistent than the last. But then again, perhaps my standards have slipped, or I’ve been worn-down in a haze of Adele mash-ups.
Glee: season four Sky 2, Tuesdays at 7pm
Each thirtyminute episode demonstrates true comic silliness
Miranda, as her boyfriend watches her make a complete fool of herself again. The show starts with the familiar, ‘Well hello to you’, as Miranda addresses the camera directly with a small update about her recent life happenings. I turned on episode one of series three with great anticipation and it proved to be light relief after an extremely intense family Christmas dinner. One criticism might be that the
humour is very middle class and may not appeal to a universal audience. Many of Miranda’s jokes could easily have originated in a boarding school dorm. Season three is expected to be more successful than the previous two series after being merited and moved to BBC One. I would agree with Miranda that the first two episodes of the season lacked the spark of previous episodes, but as she suggests, I’m sticking with it and fingers crossed it will move away from the continual marriage and singleness jokes. Despite comedy being a very personal thing each thirty-minute episode demonstrates true comic silliness and promises to leave you laughing like an unselfconscious 10year-old.
Miranda: season three BBC One, Mondays at 9pm
The spark of Misfits is missing Hugo Mathers: the absence of major cast members has affected series four
As soon as the promo shots of the new episodes of Misfits were released, it was clear the fourth series would mark a different direction for the show. Viewers were sad to see charismatic fan-favourite Nathan (Robert Sheehan, left) bow out of the programme after series two but, from the original ‘ASBO 5’, only Curtis (Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, below right) remains in the new line-up. So then, introducing Jess (Karla Crome), a moody but attractive girl with x-ray vision; Finn (Nathan McMullen), a naïve, anxious young man with a seemingly feeble telekinetic power and an undying crush on Jess; and Abbey (Natasha O’Keeffe), a deadpan amnesia sufferer, who arrives later in the series. Together with Rudy (Joseph Gilgun), the new cast has a similar
appeal to the original: light-hearted class-clowns combined with cynical sulks, the innocent corrupted by the mischievous; misguided youths with no direction. Change in personnel is matched by a change of emphasis in this series, with the superpowers – which began
Change in personnel is matched by change of emphasis in this series
Misfits is still worth watching
Misfits: season four Channel 4, catch up on 4oD
Rose Bonsier: BBC One’s new drama impresses
Ripper Street’s villains - grittier than most in period drama
Think of the award winning Sherlock, but set in the heart of the East End in the middle of the nineteenth century, and you’ve got a pretty good idea of the format of BBC One’s new Sunday night drama Ripper Street. Beginning the first episode with the murder of a prostitute in Whitechapel, as it is obliged to really, the drama is set up to look like it will document the deeds of Jack himself and follow the desperate efforts of the police inspectors who try to catch him. However, as the episode progresses, it becomes apparent that the murder is not the work of the infamous Ripper, but designed to appear that way as a cover up for somebody else’s crime. The days of the Ripper it would seem, as explained by wise and reasoned lead Inspector Reid (Matthew McFayden, below right), have already passed, and so the series looks to be based around the team’s investigation into other common crimes of the era. Whilst at first this may seem like a bit of a cop out, or just a disappointing spinoff of actual history, the backdrop is integral to the rest of the plot, which provides an interesting and reasonably accurate portrayal of the dynamics of East End culture and society at the time. Public fear is palpable as ‘Ripper Mania’ still grips the local community; groups of vigilantes are roaming the streets and taking the law into their own hands, demanding Reid do more to find the elusive Ripper and bring him to justice alongside other suspected criminals whom they’ve lynched. The first two episodes focused heavily on London’s thriving criminal underworld, which in Whitechapel dominates the streets without much fear of punishment. Episode one delves, perhaps a little too indulgently, into the illicit but actually rather interesting world of early pornography, or ‘smut’ as it is disdainfully referred to (it would appear that s t ra i g h t f o r w a r d prostitution is, to some, a more socially acceptable alternative). The second episode saw an investigation into the murder of a toymaker and a young boy sentenced to execution for the deed. I personally found it
the more harrowing of the two, with its disheartening emphasis on child street gangs and the near impossibility of escaping from them. Gorier and grittier than your usual sugar-coated Sunday evening period drama, this eight-part series is a rather risqué choice for its slot. It has been given some harsh criticism (especially from an outraged Daily Mail writer), but seems to have been well received by the viewing public. While it undoubtedly deserves such a primetime slot, I can’t help but feel that the BBC may have misjudged its target audience a little. It’s not really in the same bracket as Countryfile or the Antiques Roadshow, which were broadcast directly before episode one, and maybe it would have received more of the praise it deserves by being broadcast later on a weekday evening. The acting is sterling - McFayden provides a strong and brooding lead who’s clever and quick at seeing situations for what they really are, while Sergeant Drake (Jerome Flynn) is your typical no nonsense East End geezer and Captain Jackson (Adam Rothenburg) the American Playboy who’s brilliant at his job but doesn’t take it too seriously. MyAnna Buring is spectacular as Jackson’s partner, the cold but protective Madame ‘Long Susan’, and Charlene McKenna brilliant as prostitute Rose, who gets into trouble in the first episode. Equally talented, although so far we’ve seen less of her, is Amanda Hale who plays Reid’s quiet and devoutly religious wife Emily. The characters are a bit too typecast for my liking but the actors pull them off remarkably, and Richard Warlow’s writing is something to be marveled at. Beyond this, each of the characters has a difficult past that’s been hinted at but is still waiting to be revealed; Jackson and Susan are on the run from something involving them with America, Reid is still holding out hope in finding his lost daughter, and whatever Drake has experienced in the Army has left him disturbed and suffering from insomnia. While it doesn’t have quite the same quirky genius as Sherlock, the plot is faultlessly woven to create a well layered story that is set to unravel compellingly over the coming weeks. BBC One
riding ninjas – classic Misfits. Other episodes see Curtis become a zombie, Finn’s search for his real father, and the introduction of Rudy’s sinister, psychopathic triplet. Overall, this is a decent series, and Misfits is still worth watching. After star-man Sheehan left the show, Misfits has failed to live up to the dizzy heights of the first two seasons, and it is unfortunate that other main cast members have since felt the need to move on too. This series very much represents a transitional phase for the show, introducing new characters and finding a new group dynamic, which (hopefully) means that the recently commissioned fifth series will once again combine the a l w ay s ingenious a n d imaginative plotlines, w i t h characters t h a t have been developed and familiarised, the latter of which this series has sadly lacked.
as the central theme of the programme – taking a backseat role in the new storylines. In the final episode, Finn remarks: ‘We should really use them more often’, encapsulating the way in which their superpowers have drifted to the plots’ periphery. If Misfits can be faulted for its (forced) lack of character development and continuity, the writers must be applauded for their capability to conjure up consistently inventive narratives. New plots involve a barman’s search for his penis, a killer rabbit golfer, a racist, telepathic guide dog, and a nun’s
escape from the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, who take the form of BMX-
Riveting Ripper Street
BBC/ Tiger Aspect
Miranda made a welcome return to our screens on Boxing day with her Christmas special episode. The sitcom that rejoices in a childlike comedy has been one of my favourite evening viewings since it first aired in 2009. In the company of one of the lonely 48 that I follow on Twitter, Miranda Hart is remarkable for her unguarded honesty. Referring to her new series, Miranda wrote, “Series 3 starts tonight. First 2 episodes slightly slower establishing, than before. So bear with and stick with! Paranoid- me? @mermhart.” Much of the show’s humour s t e m s f r o m Miranda making a joke of herself - how
glaringly single, overweight and damn right ridiculous she can be. There is something endearing about Hart’s candid acknowledgment of her flaws.. The character of Miranda is drawn partially from reality and is essentially that of a big kid. One of Hart’s strengths is her genius timing and brilliant use of physical comedy. There is almost a pantomime element to some episodes; I’m almost expecting to hear my Mum (who is a big fan) yell, ‘He’s behind you’, to
Well hello, Miranda!
Ripper Street BBC 1, Sundays at 9pm
? N O S AT’
WH Dates for y
Bristol Flea Market
If you’re only encounter with flea markets thus far was watching the Friends episode where Rachel tries to convinve Phoebe that her she found her new coffee table at a local flea market, head down to Ashton Gate next week. This monthly market is home to 150 stalls selling a range of treasures from vintage clothing to antiques and collectables.
World-renowned pinhole photographer Justin Quinnell will deliver a gu est lecture at the Union this m onth on this fasc inating area of photography and give demon strations of his own techniques . Justin will show how pinhole photography can be used to take ph ot the strangest of places from inside ographs in a wheelie bin to the inside of your mouth (see Culture front page). The talk will rais e funds for St Pe ter’s Hospice . Thursday 24th Ja
nuary 7pm UBU, Queen’ Donations on ths Road e door www. www.pinhol ephotography.org Justin Quinnell
Sunday 27th January 9am - 3.30pm Ashton Gate Stadium Entry £2 www.bristolfleamarket.co.uk
Martin Thom as
The Tempest given you If the snow hasn’t talk about enough reasons to DramSoc’s the weather recently, peare’s The production of Shakes get tongues Tempest is sure to Prospero’s wagging. Centred on rk arts, the unworldly tie to the da il are drawn extremes of good and ev as the everfrom the characters s overhead. building storm brew
23rd-25th January 7.30pm , UBU tre ea Th The Winston £4-£7 =56 rod ?p hp n.p oductio www.ubutheatre.com/pr
A Night of N
Bristol Impro format ever: v’s most ambitious e noir, (potenti an hour long, un-scriptexciting detectives, feally) complete with hard d film mme fatales b and dirty lowoiled -life gangsters. There is no wa y be which makof telling what the outcom e es for an intr iguing evenin will 23rd-25th Jan g. uar Lady Windsor
y Theatre (MR5C 8pm ), UBU £3-5
Views from the Dugout... The (very) worst of the web This was sent into us over the Christmas holidays and is an example of how sometimes even the best newspapers run out of things to say. The article concerns the Liverpool player Jonjo Shelvey revealing on twitter that he’s buying a hoover in the sales. How this warrants a several hundred word piece we’ll never know.
And you thought your Christmas present was bad... Spare a thought for whichever poor soul designed the official Portsmouth FC 2013 Calendar. Less than a month into the new year, 9 out of the 12 featured footballers had left the club, with financially strapped Pompey being forced to either sell or release them. Whilst you might say the designer wasn’t to know, our favourite is the one who left the club before 2012 had even ended...
Epigram Sport’s tweets of the fortnight Ever wondered whether people in the Lake District tweet about Aston Villa or Sunderland more? Here’s your chance
See below, a great new High Performace mural is in the SEH Centre
Footballers are so often in the press for the wrong reasons, so nice to see the opposite
New High Performance Squad ready Epigram’s pundits for a succesful year ahead try sports tipping David Stone Sport Editor Bristol University has always had a great history of sporting excellence and this year proves to be no different, with the 2012/13 High Performace Squad mural now in place indicating yet another fantastic group of student athletes. For many years now the mural has been in a place of prominence in the Sport, Exercise and Health centre, showing off Bristol’s pride for
it’s sportsmen and women and also the desire to maintain itself as one of the best sporting Universities in the UK. Recent success of the High Performance Squad setup were at the London Olympics, in which several former students excelled, including Lawrence Clarke and Georgie Twigg. The full line up for the 2012/13 Squad is as follows: A.Welsh Field Hockey A.Jordon Hammer A. Carpenter Sailing C.Douglas Sailing
D.Bailey Gymnastics E.Crowe Tennis G.Brown Athletics G.Barrington Pentathlon G. Swinglehurst Dressage G.France Modern Pentathlon G.Bentley Rugby I. Proctor Kick Boxing J.Lavery Sailing J.Leigh Hockey J. Bailey Hockey J.Grant Sailing J.Peters Sailing J.Roberts Surf Kayaking J.Barkes Lacrosse J.Ashcroft Athletics J.Walker Rugby
J.Kyme Ultimate Frisbee K.Parrish Rowing M.Vaez-Olivera Squash M.Webber Rugby M.Baeza Fencing M.Beard Cricket R.Groh Athletics/Long Jump R.Telfer Judo S.Butterfield Sailing S.Jones Rugby S.Addison Hockey V.Patel Table Tennis W.Hartley Athletics W.Fotherby Fencing We’ll be keeping an eye on how these athletes are doing.
Ali Maxwell, of the blog The Makelele Role, is known among his friends for being a football oficianado, and he likes a cheeky flutter every now and then. Laura Lambert, on the other hand, follows horse racing and tennis religiously. Her obsession with Andy Murray will undoubtedly be influencing her bets. As their degrees take an increasingly back-seat role, this column sees them each put £5 into the betting pot. They then choose any combination of bets, to make a total of £5, for sporting events over the fortnight beginning 21st January, and publicly state them here. The names have been chosen by them and must not be considered factual, they merely reflect their love for alliteration:
Liverpool to beat Arsenal at Anfield on 30th January: £2.50 at 12/5, return: £8.50 Lambert’s Lucky Lots (Bookmakers: Paddy Power) These bets are all for the Australian Open tennis. To make it easier, the names of the bets are as they appear on the PaddyPower website. My first two are easy bets with quite short odds: Outright winner: Andy Murray £2 @ 13/5 return: £7:20 Stage of elimination: Novak Djokovic - Runner Up £1.50 at 7/2 return: £6.75 This is definitely a long shot, especially as it relies on an early exit by Roger Federer:
Maxwell’s Money Makers (Bookmakers: Ladbrokes) My first bet is a treble, and involves my team, Chelsea:
Quarter 4 Winner: Milos Raonic £1.50 @ 14/1 return: £22.50 (inc stake)
Norwich, Chelsea and Swansea to all win on the January 29th: £2.50 at odds of 15.88*, return: £39.72 (including stake)
*All odds were correct at time of writing
Whilst they are risky, I favour the longer odds of trebles. My second bet is a single on:
Epigram accepts no responsibility for students losing money on these bets, this is an informal column intended for fun, not business.
A cheery Christmas for the Bristol Jets as they excel in national competition Eleanor Gribbon Sports Reporter The Bristol Jets Cheerleading Squad competed at the Future Cheer Winter Wonderland Competition at Crystal Palace in December. A capacity crowd was at the venue nice and early to cheer on the Pom Squad who were the first to compete, with a routine based on several Broadway and West End Musicals.
A fantastic performance was enthusiastically acclaimed by their Coach, Harriet Brookes, who said: ‘I’m so proud of the Pom girls, it was the best I’ve seen them do the routine and all their hard work has definitely paid off!’ Despite competing against teams which had been training together for several years, Bristol managed to come Third place, taking home both a big trophy and the pride of a job well done.
The two group stunt teams were competing head to head in the Level 2 Stunt Groups, both of them performed very well with impressive routines and amazing choreography. The rest of the day continued with the All Girl team competing and, though they were not only able to hit every stunt, their faultless routine resulted in their coach, Rosalin Craven, ending up in tears of happiness. Next was the co-ed team; they performed
some fantastic ‘Tumbling’ skills from Gregg Dennis, Alex Walmsley, Sophie Aston, Nicole Hinds, Jenni Steadman, Hayley Todd and Olivia Buah. An array of awards met the Bristol Jets at the end of the day. The All Girl team won the Open All Girl Level 2 Seniors, the co-ed won and Open coed Level 3 Seniors and Sophie
Aston’s Stunt group won CoEd Level 2 Stunt Group. Hayley Todd’s Stunt group came third, along with the Pom Squad earlier that day. This was all due to a great effort from every squad and the training from their Coaches Harriet Brooks, Rosalin Craven and Hayley Todd who were in charge of the Pom Squad, All-Girl team and co-ed
groups respectively. Beth Yates, the president, also deserves a special mention. The Bristol Jets are now preparing for the National competition in March with all teams competing with hopes of more Trophies.
Robins winter of woe sees them turn to Sean O’Driscoll Recent seasons at Bristol City have seen constant relegation battles and managers come and go. Can they finally stop the rot? George Starkey-Midha Sports Reporter
City are six points adrift of safety, have conceded 54 goals in just 26 games and are the only club in the Football League yet to keep a clean sheet this season. Add to that a record-equalling 7-game losing run earlier in the season, and
it becomes clear to see that the case against McInnes is a strong one. When you consider that Bristol City have a goal difference of -16, it is not difficult to understand the source of the team’s problems this year. Senior figures in defence such as goalkeeper Dean Gerken and centre back Liam Fontaine have consistently underperformed, and there is real lack of leadership in the back line, not helped by age and poor form in leaving club captain Louis Carey in and out of the team. In attack, the influence of Nicky Maynard has been sorely missed since his departure last January, despite forward Sam Baldock’s impressive attempts to replace him. However poor City have been under McInnes, it would be wrong to place the blame solely at his feet. The club has toiled since losing to Hull in 2008’s play-off final, and the Championship side have debts of £41 million, largely thanks to a recruitment policy during Gary Johnson’s reign and
Steve Coppell’s ill-fated four month spell, which consisted of multiple poor signings and long-term contracts – a damaging mix. Disillusion amongst the fans is rife, and attendances have been affected, which is yet another blow to the club’s finances. Attempts from Millen and McInnes to rebuild and rejuvenate the squad were severely restricted by this lack of financial resources, an issue which has had a significant influence on the decision to appoint former Doncaster and Nottingham Forest boss Sean O’Driscoll, as the club’s new manager. Managing director of football, Jon Lansdown, indicated that O’Driscoll’s man-management skills were the key factor behind his appointment, with the Irishman expected to work mostly with the players he already has at his disposal and make use of the club’s youth system, which has been one of the few positives for fans in recent years. O’Driscoll is not one to shy away from a challenge however, and has
already stated his willingness to play academy prospects such as the exciting striker Wes Burns, and the brilliantly named midfielder Bobby Armani Reid. Reid is a success story of the City Academy’s sports scholarship programme and City fans were frustrated not to see more of him under McInnes. There are certainly enough games left for the new manager to turn Bristol City’s season around and stave off relegation,
and despite a limited budget the club hope to sign Crawley centre-back Kyle McFadzean, a key figure in their rise from the Conference National to League 1, who may shore up City’s shaky defence. O’Driscoll’s successful reign at Doncaster, on a similarly tight budget, will give the fans hope that he is the man who can revive the fortunes of the ailing side and restore some pride to the the Cider Army.
McInnes has failed to lift City out of its current troubles
The average Bristol University student probably has plenty of complaints about the way their football club is run. Be it the manager, transfer policy, style of play or ticket prices, every supporter has a gripe about the direction of their club. But before you vent your frustration to your friends over a few beers in Roo Bar, spare a thought for the fans of the top club in your adopted hometown. When Derek McInnes replaced Keith Millen as Bristol City manager in October 2011, the club were bottom of the Championship and fighting for their lives. Despite keeping them up, ‘The Robins’ have continued to struggle under McInnes and 15 months after his arrival, the club have come full circle. An embarrassing 40 defeat at home to Leicester City has once again left the club bottom of the league and the abject performance was the final straw for the board, with
McInnes sacked shortly after the final whistle. In the modern game, owners can be ruthless and managers are often not given enough time to build a successful team. However, a brief look at the statistics goes some way to justifying the club’s decision. In his time in charge, McInnes has overseen a side that has played 63 games, winning just 17, drawing 14 and losing 32.
2013 Preview: The big questions answered The year ahead is shaping up to be yet another cracking one for sport, the editorial team and guests give their predictions 2012 was arguably one of the greatest years of sport this country has ever seen, and may never be repeated. Whilst 2013 may not quite live up to the Olympic gold standard that we have become accustomed to, it will still be what can only be described as a cracker. The Epigram Sport team and special guests preview the year ahead by answering the big questions on every sports fan’s lips. The line up is as follows:
1) Which sporting event in 2013 are you most looking forward to? David Stone (DS): For me it has to be the Championship Play-Off Final at Wembley. Described as ‘football’s most valuable match’, on account of the riches that being in the Premier League brings, it’s always a cracking game of football. And if it all goes to plan this year Watford should be competing in it! Ali Maxwell (AM): Where to start?! The Superbowl and the NBA Finals are always up there for me. There’s nothing like the reward of staying up till 5am and being treated to incredible occasions which are invariably tense and exciting. Rupert Hill (RH): It’s very tough to decide but I’d probably go with The Masters at Augusta. Such a magical event and I would love to see an Englishman win it.
2) Who do you think will win the RBS Six Nations this year? Hannah Pollak (HP): Fresh off the back of their win with New Zealand I’m backing England, although in the Student Union offices there are a few Wales supporters who won’t like that! LL:Looking beyond the strong favourites France, I would probably go with Ireland at the moment. They seem to have the most strength in depth, with so many different players scoring tries during the Autumn Internationals. England also have a chance, especially if they play like they did against the All Blacks. RH: England. Not only is it about time they won it, but should do so with the current management and players. DS: I’m going out there and saying Wales again. Despite the atrocious Autumn Internationals, the Six Nations is a very different kettle of fish, one which Wales’ play is very suited to.
3) Will the England cricket team succeed in retaining The Ashes? HP: For Mr Simon Hinks (Director of Sport at Bristol), sure they will. RH: Has to be England for sure, with the final Test score being 3-1. AM: Yes, I think so. Despite some dressing room tension in the last 12 months or so, the historic test series win against India seems to have brought them back together and, on a basic level, England have a significantly stronger team than Australia in almost every aspect.
4) Which football team will win the Champions League this season? AM: Barcelona will win the Champions League this year. No team is close to them, and unless Didier Drogba signs for Juventus for the second half of the season, they can play without fear of their kryptonite! Real Madrid are all over the place at the moment, Manchester United don’t have a midfield, and it’s hard to see Bayern beating Barcelona. I hope that Borussia Dortmund get as far as possible, because they are incredible to watch, but no-one compares to Barcelona at the moment.
David Stone : Sport Editor Laura Lambert : Deputy Editor Rupert Hill : Online Editor Ali Maxwell : Sports blogger and BURST radio presenter Hannah Pollak: VP Sport & Health
Laura Lambert (LL): This year cricket fans have the rare treat of two Ashes series in the space of six months. I’m particularly looking forward to our home series, starting on 10th July, as our men in white will be fighting to keep hold of the urn they’ve had since 2009.
The editor predicts Wales to win again, just how wrong will he be?
Barca, however I expect Borussia Dortmund to give them a close game in the final. RH: I’m going for the obvious favourite: Barcelona. However, fancy I Dortmund to go far too.
AM: The final of the UBU Cup Competition, which is the Wednesday afternoon Downs League. My team, A.B.C.D.E FC, are top of the Premiership at the moment and surely favourites to lift the cup in our inaugural season.
5) Is this the year that Andy Murray will finally win Wimbledon? LL: Tough question. I don’t expect him to last long at Roland Garros, as clay is his worst surface, so that would give him more preparation time on grass. If he does reach the Wimbledon final, I think his Olympic memories of Centre Court will give him the confidence to take it, but I think we’ll have to wait another year. AM: No. Novak Djokovic is a phenomenon. RH: No. I think Murray will win another slam this year but I can’t see it being Wimbledon.
DS: Yet again it would have be
HP: Considering he is just so miserable, Murray has to win Wimbledon, and my Scottish dad is certainly hoping so!
6) Can Bradley Wiggins win the Tour de France for a second year running? HP: If Wiggins keeps the sideburns going he’ll come first for sure
Will this be another succesful year for ‘Le Gentleman’?
him, it’s impossible to deny he’s the one to beat. He cemented his domination of road race cycling at the Olympics, and if he can reach the same physical peak he did in 2012, there is no reason why he shouldn’t win
England fans will be hoping for another succesful Ashes
the Tour de France again. He definitely thinks he can successfully defend the title! However, it’s a different course, with more climbing and less of his main strength, time trials. In light of these changes, Dave Brailsford suggested that Wiggins might be aimed at the Tour of Italy, and his teammate Chris Froome, who specialises in climbing, the Tour de France. Andy Schleck is also a contender.
AM: I think if Contador is involved, he can and should beat Wiggins, but that’s all very up in the air at the moment.
7) Which Bristol University sporting event would you pick as your highlight for the upcoming year?
RH: It’s a very difficult ask, I think he’s right there with a chance though. I’ll say yes but expect Cadel Evans to be closer this year.
DS: The Varsity Football match. Always a top game played out in front of a large and partisan crowd, which helps create a great atmosphere. The one last season had plenty of goals and a pitch invasion, so hoping for a repeat of that!
LL: Bradley, “Le Gentleman” (as the French press called him), Sir, Wiggo, whatever you want to call
LL: The Varsity rugby match against UWE in the summer term, because the team have had a great season so far and it’s always a really good atmosphere at the Bristol Rovers football stadium. HP: Too many, but my next highlight is the Men’s Lacrosse match against Exeter in the BUCS South Premiership on the 30th January. Played at Coombe Dingle, it’s going to be a very big match and they need all the support they can get! RH: Going to try and attend both the Football and Rugby Varsity this year, so probably one of them.
Editor: David Stone
Deputy Editor: Laura Lambert
Swimming Pool upgrades finally complete after several months of delays
2013 Preview: Will it be another succesful season for Andy Murray? Who will win the Six Nations? How about the Champions League? All of 2013’s big sporting questions answered here as we look ahead to the new year Bristol City Football Club turn to a new manager to save them after yet another crisis
David Stone Sport Editor The upgrades to tbe Bristol University Swimming pool are finally complete after several months of delay. Orignally meant to be completed at the end of October last year, the University then annouced that ‘due to ongoing works and delays associated with the main building’, the reception,
changing rooms and showers were not to be completed until January. Several students have expressed their dissapointment to Epigram Sport with proceedings, arguing that the temporary facilities on offer were not acceptable for the price they pay. One commented on how ‘when the swimming pool was closed we had to use Clifton College, and then when it finally opened there weren’t any real changing facilites. The
whole thing was a shambles’. However, it is also clear that the majority of students Epigram spoke to were willing to bear the inconvinience as the refurbishment would be done well. The general consensus being that ‘whilst the wait was not good the new facilities will be worth it’. Hannah Pollak, the VP for Sport and Health, expressed her frustration with the delays but also pointed out that, despite
them, the pool was open last term, albeit with limited access. ‘It’s good that a proper job has been done, and now many future years of students will be able to enjoy it’ . She also added that the swimming pool wil now have a better presence on campus, with several big tournaments and events already planned to take place in the months ahead.
Last month saw the Bristol Jets Cheerleading Squad compete at the Future Cheer Winter Wonderland national competition in London. Going into the event fairly confidently, the Jets surpassed all expectations when they ended up bringing home an array of trophies
PLUS: From The Dugout, and our new fortnightly sports betting feature