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Celebrating 25 years 1989 - 2014

Number 153

Number 156

Bristol University’s Independent Student Newspaper

FREE sausage roll for ever reader ! coupon page 8

Monday 3 November 2003

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Bristol University’s Independent Student Newspaper

Monday 19 January 2004

FREE COFFEE for every reader

Four Students Diagnosed – Antibiotics Distributed to all First Year Students

Alice Prendeville

Monday 2 February 2004 Bristol University’s Independent Student Newspaper

Bristol University’s Independent Student Newspaper

Monday 26 April 2004


ANY sandwich, baguette or roll. See page 22

Spice up Valentine’s Day Four Lovers’ Guide videos and DVDs up for grabs in our sexy competition Head for page 10 to enter

Bristol University’s Independent Student Newspaper

azing Am



THE number of student robberies and muggings has "soared" since the beginning of term according to the police.

Last week there were 13 robberies and muggings against students in the Redland sector alone.

BRISTOL STUDENTS are bracing themselves for yet another addition to their debt problems as hall fees are set to rise by 9.9 per cent in time for the 2004/2005 academic year. Students’ Union representatives were powerless to prevent the hike which means that hall fees have increased by 25 per cent over the last two years. TURN TO PAGE 2

Photos: Jeremy Harper

Decoration inspiration Revision poster

in The Mix

Bristol University’s independent student newspaper

Film review: “Sherlock Holmes greets us like a donner kebab after a heavy night out.”

Bristol students frolic in the snow in Brandon Hill, but exams will still go on as planned - page 4

Burglaries claim new victims at Wills Hall

BUCA comittee showdown sees three resign Conflict sees Conservative Future intervene in BUCA HANNAH STUBBS News Reporter In-fighting and subversion have plagued the Bristol University Conservative Association (BUCA)

since the summer when controversy erupted over a proposed conference idea from a committee member. BUCA claims one of its objectives to be representing Conservative University of Bristol students as well as promoting the Conservative Party in Bristol. However three committee members have resigned with their positions still vacant and Vice-Chairman, Aaron Hugh Ellis, resigned, it has been revealed, before this academic year had

even started. With a scaled down committee, the effectiveness of the society and whether or not there will be a functioning Conservative Association at all by the end of the year has been called into question by dissenting members. Conflict broke out during the summer after a showdown between the Chairman Simon Iles, Vice Chairman Ellis, and South West Regional Chairman of Conservative Future (the

Film, p.31

Conservative Party’s youth wing) James Morton. Disagreement over Ellis’ suggestion of a conference on conservatism was so lengthy and ferocious that it led to firstly, “advice” from Morton to suspend discussing the conference and another planned event, an election briefing, until term started again. Lack of resolution to the conflict meant Ellis continued to organise Continued



LUKE BURNS Deputy News Editor Two violent break-ins at Stoke Bishop halls have resulted in the loss of hundreds of pounds of electrical equipment. Student residents at Wills Hall have become victim to burglary as the windows of their rooms were smashed open and their valuable


belongings, including laptops, mobile phones and iPods were stolen. The criminals responsible for the most recent burglaries are still at large. Jonna Williamson, one of the residents who had his ground floor room in Wills Hall broken into, told Epigram, “I had my Mac [laptop computer] stolen. I thought I was pretty careful, I always locked my door and window. Even the smallest

thing will let them in: it was the little top window they smashed to get into my room.” When asked how the University of Bristol Security Services responded to the burglary, Williamson was positive. “They were really good. They arrived within ten minutes and rang the police. I was really happy with that.” University students have been particularly vulnerable to burglaries this year, with an average of four

reported every month. Including the two recent break-ins, there have been nearly as many burglaries in the past six months as in the entire 2008-2009 academic period. The Security Service claim that several of the offences may have been committed by the same group of offenders as the burglaries tend to follow a similar pattern. They rank Badock and Hiatt Baker Hall, both

The best of the rom-coms: As Valentine’s approaches, Epigram selects the best cheese from the DVD shelf

Monday 10th October 2011

Bristol fails to meet fair access targets Alice Young News Editor

Bristol University’s Independent Student Newspaper

UCAS applications for 2012 fall by 9%

Revolution on the streets of Bristol


Mood turns against College Green occupiers

News Reporter

Issue 245


Monday 7th November 2011

Ann Widdecombe visits Bristol

See Page 4

The Students’ Union has opened its new hub on campus. The Information Overall university applications for 2012 Point takes the place of the old haveNatwest dropped by 9% in the lead up to the building next to the Arts tuition and Social fee rise. According to official figures, Sciences Library. It aims tothe make the number of UK-born students applying Union’s services easier to for access for university places has fallen by 11.9%, students. Staff in the centre with will be able 52,321 student applications for 2012 to give advice on accommodation and received by 15th October, compared to welfare as well as sports and societies.

Former Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe visited Bristol University at the end of last month for an event organised by the Politics Society. In an exclusive interview with Epigram, she answered questions on topics ranging from the coalition to Strictly Come Dancing before addressing the public conference.

59,413 recieved by the same date in 2011.

The statistics, Page 3 provided by the Universities

and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), reveal the number of applications received by universities by the deadline for Oxbridge

Record number applications. of Figures in the south-west show the biggest applications fall in applications in over 30 years, with a

Page 3

decrease ofof11.3% in comparison with last There were a record number year. Sarah Thwaites, Deputy Chief Executive applications for places at Bristol for the of 2011. FSP (Financial Skills Partnership) shared academic year beginning in In her view fees on the situation. light of the threefold rise in tuition people in the south west may see from 2012 many students did‘Young not take gap years in order to beat theapprenticeships mounting as an attractive option due to rising university costs. They can be seen cost of a degree. Bristol retained its as part of the place as one of the most applied forsolution to bridge the so called “skills gap” identified by George Osborne.’ UK universities with an average of 14 The figures have given rise to allegations applicants per place.

Undergraduates received bursaries and scholarships in 2009-10

1000 votes cast in officer elections The election race for part-time Union Officers has come to a close after just 1000 student votes were cast in the week-long poll. The successful candidates for Union Officers, Senate Representatives and Student Trustees were announced following the following the first annual Students’ Conference.

that would-be students are being deterred Page 6 from applying for further education by the threat of debt. However, others

have commented that part of the fall in £300,000 awarded for this year compensates for the applications AIDS research rise in applications for places for 2011, when

Page 4

UCAS saw 6.6% more applications than for

FILM & TV: page 28 The Social Network


Government needs to quickly take their falling away from education for good. (continued on page two)

Using your erotic capital Should women flirt their way to the top? An interview with Catherine Hakim

Features 10

Lakota has once again had its licence suspended, following a fatality earlier this year. The club, which first opened in 1989, has been the subject of much controversy this year since the death of 16-yearold Joe Simons on 30th April.

Page 7

Keep Calm and Curry On Epigram talk to Bombay Bicycle Club - page 23

Monday 23rd January 2012

the water polo team and the Girls’ rowing squad

Stem cell therapy suceeds for Bristol student Science Page 16-17

Br s o s Mayor

cuts, otherwise known as ‘The Occupiers’, marked the “end of the first chapter of demonstrations” through the dis-occupation of

F**k Buttons album reviewed

Fire service arrive on the scene as smoke billows from the Union on Tuesday morning

ASSIYA KHAN Deputy News Editor

Numbers soon increased and started their supposedly peaceful march, following a specific route. The streets of Bristol were soon awash with masked and hooded protestors armed with whistles, foam pies and posters bearing slogans such as “Bankers, politicians, fat cats. We won’t pay for their Crisis”. Having met at the Hippodrome on St Augustine’s Parade, the group marched on to King Street with their posters and enormous Monopoly-

style cheques. Passers-by and employees watched helplessly as numerous police arrived on horseback, in their vans and around 20 to 30 officers on foot, only to be met by passionate protestors. Shouting “Where’s your money gone?” and throwing foam pies and pellets against the windows of Barclays, across the Square, they then moved on to their next target, The Royal Bank of Scotland on

Music, p30

‘The episodes of torture are flung in almost as an afterthought.’ Inglourious Basterds reviewed

Foam pies pelted at bank in Bristol protest Six arrested as social protestors clash with police

further support in the struggle against such drastic financial cuts. One member of ‘Bristol against education

A student protests against the increase in tuition fees proposed by the coalition

Russell Kane reviewedbehind closed doors”, thereby preventing students and lecturers from having their Epigram delivers our say in the decisions. In protest against this, verdict on his stand up students hosted a panel event, ‘Reimaging the University! Higher Education, Funding & performance the State’, followed by a “free discussion on

SPORT: page 29-32 Bristol’s successes

Our sporting talent is excelling, from football to skateboarding

Death of the jelly baby and other fun experiments Science Page 14

what the cuts will mean for us”. Several other debates, workshops and lectures will take place throughout the week in order to allow students to have their say. The final method emphasized by ‘Bristol against education cuts’ is “Participating in the wider struggle against public sector cuts”. Students have therefore protested against taxdodging by greedy corporations. [Continued on page 2]

Epigram talks to famous designer label PPQ Fashion E2 Page 9

The President of the National Union of Students, Aaron Porter, has announced he will not be standing again come the next election. The announcement comes after a tough few months for Can the media make a Porter, who has been heavily criticised difference to the thousands ofby some students for his failure to act other disappearance cases justduring the student protests at the end like that of Joanna Yeates? of last year. Speaking to the NUS, Porter said that after “considerable soul searching”, he believed the NUS needed “invigorating” in order to continue its fight against what he James Ashton-Bell responds called the “damaging marketization in education”. to criticism of the union’s contrasts with the message he response to tuition fee rises. hadThis for students shortly after taking office in June 2010. Having won 65% of the vote, Porter said at the time: “I am delighted to be leading NUS into what will be a crucial year for further Epigram talks to Mike Benton,and higher education, with a general election, fees review and cuts on the the scientist who told us whathorizon. It is more vital now than colour dinosaurs were. ever that we come together to put our issues at the top of the agenda with a credible, representative student voice shaping the outcomes of these pivotal debates”. By the end of the year, however, Epigram’s resident agony Porter was forced to admit to “spineless aunt gives her best advice for dithering” on the part of the NUS singletons on Valentines’ day following their refusal to back some of the largest student demonstrations for a generation. Criticism has ranged from Facebook campaigns, such as “We the undersigned believe that Aaron Porter Was it right to sack Andy Gray should be removed as NUS National President as he is unable to lead the and accept Richard Key’s student movement”, to comment in resignation over sexist remarks? [Continued on page 2]

Film, p.31

Baldwin Street, where a protestor glued himself to the doors. Banks across the centre of Bristol instantly became a security priority as passion soon turned into anger. Security tightened as police officers began to guard buildings from both inside and out. Barclays on Union Street locked its doors as police watched from inside the building as protestors shouted Continued on page three

‘Free education’ week involves nine events focused on spending cuts to education

Epigram explores the wonderful world of puppetry

The Arts and Social Sciences Library is due for further work on its upper two floors, to be completed by mid-2011

FEATURES: page 6 The meat issue

Epigram examines how meat eating is having devastating effects on the environment, and how you can help

Issue 238

NEWS: page 3 £9,000 fees for Bristol It has been confirmed that the Univeristy of Bristol will charge students three times the current fees from 2012.

FEATURES: page 6 A check up down below Does our generation not take sexual health seriously enough? Features investigates the nitty gritty part of SEX.

COMMENT: page 10 The new Union team What can you expect from next year’s sabbatical team? President-elect Gus Baker puts his promises down on paper.

FASHION: E2 pages 6-9 The male edition

BE FAMOUS: page 16 The Epigram 40 is back!

Interviews, street style and the best shoes: the Fashion section does Bristol’s boys

WHAT’S ON: E2 page 12 Epigram’s new section Bristol’s best pubs, what to do on St Patrick’s Day and the best events this fortnight

The opening of a new Tesco store in the Stokes Croft area of Bristol sparked riots against police during the Easter break.

FILM & TV: page 27 Hollywood and history

SPORT: page 30 The BIG Debate

SPORT: page 30 Marathon Man

A look at the inspiration behind some of the latest blockbusters including Black Swan and Inception

Porter said that after “considerable soul searching”, he believed the NUS needed “invigorating”

A searingly honest look at the ups and downs of running a Marathon for charity.

TRISTAN MARTIN News Reporter In the small hours of Friday 29th April violence broke out on the streets of Bristol for the second time in a eight days. ‘The troubles’, as one BBC reporter referred to them, first began a week before as the opening of a new Tesco sparked the worst riots seen in Bristol since 1980. On Thursday 21st, following a tip-off that occupants of the ‘Telepathic Heights’ squat on Cheltenham Road had been constructing petrol bombs, police moved into make an


Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: Epigram’s top travel tips for the curious

arrest. At 9:15pm officers closed Cheltenham Road and forced entry into the building. Four men were arrested, and a police statement confirmed that a number of items were seized “including petrol bombs – which are currently being forensically examined”. One of the men subsequently pleaded guilty to possession of a petrol bomb, but not guilty to a second charge of threatening a Tesco employee with it. Following the highly visible arrests at Telepathic Heights, hundreds of people began to congregate in the area. Within a few hours they were joined by over 160 riot officers, many brought in from Wales.

Although the gathering began peacefully, clashes with police soon erupted and spilled out into the surrounding area. Barricades of burning bins were erected; fireworks, bricks and bottles were thrown at riot officers. Local resident Alex Slocombe saw “running battles with police all over the place.” By around 1:00am it seemed that police were no longer in control of the operation. A group of rioters managed to ransack the recently opened Tesco Express. Its windows were smashed, a sign ripped off, and “closing down sale” scrawled across its facade. [Continued on Page 2]

Who are the University of Bristol’s most noteworthy students? Nominate now.

LIFESTYLE: E2 page 2 The big student survey Try guessing which nightclub Bristol’s most promiscuous girls go to - or read the answer in E2.

TRAVEL: E2 page 10 Best foreign festivals Epigram takes a look at the best of the foreign music festivals happening this summer.

SPORT: page 32 Bristol’s hidden stars The Women’s Novice Rowing Squad tell us how they are going to annihilate UWE.

Love journalism? Want to be a part of the team that puts Epigram together? Apply now to be a section editor for the academic year 2011-12

All the information on the upcoming UBU elections. Voting takes place 14 - 18 March.

Travel E2 p. 11

Film p.28

University of Bristol’s Independent Student Newspaper Monday May 9th 2011

Violent clashes in Stokes Croft

Should Britain export weapons to countries with questionable human rights records?

LIFESTYLE: page 2-3 What would Dolores do

Black Swan, Blue Valentine and Brighton Rock: take your pick of the finest in

Arts p.18

NEWS: page 3 £1 million refurbishment

COMMENT: page 11 Arms for Africa?

SCIENCE: page 15 Jurassic Park professor

The second method is “taking matters into our own hands”, as the University administration would rather “decide a position

ARTS: page 19

Issue 236

LETTERS: page 12 President Responds

How to climb Kili cuts’ believes there are three methods of the struggle forwards”. The first is An idiot’s guide to this “taking reuniting those involved in the resistance to summer’s RAG climb ofhigher education cuts last term, who are likely to be reeling from the blow of the fee vote Mount Kilimanjaro passed in parliament.

Interview: Coco Sumner on CDs and Cheryl Cole Lifestyle E2 Page 2

Flight fears, summer camps and British beaches Travel in E2 Pages 10-11

Bristol University’s Independent Student Newspaper

am your s ave

Issue 247


Student housing plans upset locals

Comment What next for North Korea?


ghetto’ • Ice rink closed to make way for student housing amidst protests (see page 2) Jessica Wingrad News Reporter Local residents in High Kingsdown have expressed strong opposition to plans for a local pub to be converted into twelve new student flats. The pub, The Kings Arms, could potentially be reorganized to house fifty students into ‘cluster flats’ which would not require any rebuilding to take place on the site. The High Kingsdown development is an award-winning area of Bristol built in the 1970s, where local residents take pride in their vibrant, friendly community. The location is extremely desirable for University of Bristol students since it is under ten minutes’ walk from Woodland Road and other major university buildings. Residents fear that the area is becoming a ‘student ghetto’ where the peace of the neighbourhood will be disturbed by students creating ‘an uncared-for area, a mess of litter, overflowing rubbish bins and front gardens looking like tips, not to mention noise’ as Linda Ewles, of Tyndall Park Mews, put it. An anonymous resident who has been living in High Kingsdown for 25 years said ‘I think it is outrageous. ‘There are already a large number of students here, which makes it a transient population. This development, with so many more students, would swamp the place with them.’ As well as objections online from local residents, there have been concerns voiced by the Kingsdown Conservation Group, the Bristol Civic Society and

the Highbury Residents Association. Mark Wright, a Councillor for the area, has said that, ‘The surrounding area of High Kingsdown is already well over 50% students and what the area needs is more balance in its demographic rather than more transient residents.’ Concerns coming from residents are focused on anxiety over the negative atmosphere that students may bring to the area in the form of noise, rubbish and late night parties. Dr Julie Clayton said ‘We need more young families who can attend local schools – and walk to school rather than driving from a distance. ‘We need owner-occupiers who are going to care for each other and the neighbourhood and support a mixed sustainable community.’ Response from students has defended their reputation, with one student saying ‘I am saddened that students are being depicted in this negative way.’ Another has claimed that ‘It is no less discriminatory to suggest that students make bad neighbours than to say ethnic minorities or those dependent on social welfare make bad neighbours.’ Those who do not support local objections have argued that students can benefit a community and that other residents can also be held responsible for noise levels and litter. In an online comment, one resident has said ‘I appreciate the important contribution students make to the community. ‘The shops, cafes and pubs in the area would close down without them.’ Although consultations regarding the plans to convert the pub have finished, the decision will not come before the committee until next month.

Home, sweet home Interior design for the student house

Monday 20th February 2012


Bristol University’s Independent Student Newspaper Issue 248

AGM draws 75% more students

Free stuff!


The Kings Arms pub, which is due to be turned into twelve student flats

‘The Olympics suck’ Will Self finds little reason for fanfare Features 11

Monday 5th March 2012

Jessica Wingrad Senior News Reporter

Alice Young News Editor Students voted to improve access to Bristol through contextualised offers and admissions targets at the Annual General Meeting of the Students’ Union this month. The motion voted to the top of the priority ballot and thus discussed first called for stronger enforcement of contextual offers of places to students from underprivileged backgrounds. Proposer Josephine Suherman met resistance from some students who questioned whether the motion was useful, with Kyle Mulholland arguing that the motion would, ‘reduce the university’s prestige and reduce the value of your degree’. Suherman, a third year Politics student, responded to these criticisms commenting, ‘We all know the campus would look very different if this policy was enforced’. The motion passed with 68% of the vote. Adam Ludlow’s motion, controversially entitled ‘Ending Bristol’s Silent Private School Bias’, called for the University to publish figures regarding the proportion of state and private school students at the University and set targets to redress the balance.

It sparked a heated debate over the benefits of awarding places based on the type of school attended, with Sophie Mew, the UBU Widening Participation Officer, arguing that it would be better ‘not to end the private school bias but the low-income student bias’. Mulholland, a second year Economics and Politics student, took to the stage again to oppose this motion as well, claiming, ‘Applications from state schools are low in general because state schools are terrible in general’. Ludlow, a third year History student, argued this was not the point of the motion, saying, ‘I don’t agree that state schools are awful’. His motion narrowly passed with 56% approval. A series of motions were aimed at improving availability and access to

The Couture Show

existing sport facilities. The ‘Campaigning to Save the Ice Rink’ motion was passed with 70% of the vote with speeches from proposer Paul Charlton and President of Ice Soc James Lumsden.


students attended this year’s AGM, 2% of the student body

Rosemary Drummond and Hamish Hay both proposed motions to help more students use the swimming pool and gym, with Drummond arguing flexible and cheaper sports passes would make ‘sport more accessible to larger numbers of students’. Both motions were passed with over 85%

approval and Dom Oliver, UBU VicePresident for Sport and Health, had earlier announced in his annual report that the University Sports Centre would be introducing termly instalments for sports passes. In his report at the beginning of the AGM Gus Baker, UBU President, also announced that the sabbatical team will be working on a widening participation assessment to address the access figures published by Epigram in October. These figures detailed how Bristol University was one of 25 UK institutions failing to meet its own targets on widening participation. The AGM ended on a jovial note, with a motion to force UBU elected officers to wear suits every day of the week.

Chris Ruff, Vice-President for Activities, then proposed an amendment to limit the dress code to Fridays only, arguing that it ‘retains the hilarity of the motion but doesn’t require me to buy another suit.’ Both Ruff’s speech and the passing of the motion were met by roaring applause, with 64% of the AGM in agreement that UBU officers should be forced to wear suits on Fridays. The AGM is held every February to decide on the policies that UBU will pursue over the coming year. Motions are either voted through to become policy or voted out. This year’s AGM attracted 414 students, the highest turnout since 2001 and a 74.6% increase on last year, despite representing just over 2% of the total student body.

Nicola Roberts

Getting to grips with the c-word this season

Looking at the world through Cinderella’s Eyes

e2 Fashion

Music 23

The University of Bristol Senate has approved plans to completely restructure the academic year, shortening Christmas and Easter holidays to three weeks to make way for a designated ‘assessment period’ in January. The original proposal included plans to reduce Freshers’ Week from one week to three days in an effort to undermine the excessive drinking culture which the University argues it encourages. However, after strong student opposition these plans were shelved indefinitely and for the time being Freshers’ will remain five days long. A minority of students had supported the proposed shortening of Freshers’ Week because the clubbing and drinking which takes up much of the time arguably does not reflect the interests of many of students. However, this was countered by a huge backlash from the student body at large which led to the launch of a campaign to maintain the traditional full five days of Freshers’ events. Students determined to save Freshers’ Week gathered support in an online petition set up by UBU Vice-President Education Josh Alford. The petition claims that, ‘Freshers’ is not perfect and more structure and support could certainly be put in place for new students during the opening week. ‘However cutting Freshers’ Week will limit students’ opportunities, potentially hinder bonding and certainly will not stop the “irresponsible drinking culture” that the University believes many students partake in. Comments attached to the signatures argue that a three-day Freshers’ Week would hold back new students from settling into university life, as well as arguing that new students would only enforce an unofficial five-day Freshers’ Week themselves. More than three hundred students signed the petition which has now closed after the

See page 16 for details

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O gan dona on campa gne W Pope has NYE hea ansp an


Bristol University’s Independent Student Newspaper Issue 249

Monday 19th March 2012


Charlton elected UBU President

Fashion The secret agents of style

Which fairy tale character are you?

H a Baker res den s demand ee reduc on o compensa e or work

Jenny Awford Deputy News Editor

decision at Senate on Monday 27th February to maintain the week long series of events. A survey of nearly 2000 students last year revealed that the plans to restructure the academic year in general were favoured, but that the shortening of Freshers’ Week was less well-liked, with 57% of those surveyed opposing it outright. After the Senate meeting, Alford commented, ‘At Senate today the paper passed with the amendment that Freshers’ would not be shortened so we think we’ve managed to negotiate the best deal for students’. A spokesman for the University of Bristol, David Alder, defended the University’s position, maintaining that the proposals were not aimed at spoiling students’ fun. He said, ‘Students need to be inducted over a much longer period than a week,

After a highly competitive fortnight of campaigning and controversies, Paul Charlton has emerged victorious in the battle for UBU President. The eagerly anticipated student election results were announced on Friday 16 March to the captivated crowds in Bar 100. Charlton’s effective ‘Why Gamble?’ campaign made him a visible presence on campus. His election manifesto also stressed his desire that, ‘The Union should be there to help you, not something to battle against’. The new President-Elect emphasised the importance of clarity between University of Bristol students and their Union, saying that ‘everyone deserves to know what is happening at their Union’. In what was seemed to be a surprising turn of events, Presidential candidate Josephine Suherman, was the first to exit the race. Suherman was removed from the running in the second round after only scoring 784 votes. Charlton eventually won with 1,736 votes, compared to Georgina Bavetta’s 1,333 when second and third preferences were also included. Charlton expressed surprise at his victory, saying that he had ‘entertained no expectations’. Immediately after winning, Charlton thanked his fellow Presidential candidates and his dedicated campaign team. The new six member full-time sabbatical team includes four female Vice-Presidents, reversing the usual trend of a male-dominated group. There was as least one female candidate for every full-time UBU position. The new VP for Welfare and Equality, Alessandra Berti, commented that she

Number of signatures on the online petition against downsizing Freshers’ Week

this is absolutely not to do with trying to curtail enjoyment or drinking. It’s to do with the rhythm of the academic year’. Although the motion to shorten Freshers’ Week has been abandoned at this stage, it has not been permanently quashed and the University could attempt to cut Freshers’ Week again in the future. Under the new academic structure which was accepted at Senate, exams at ‘non-standard’ times will be cut back with a view to them being eradicated. This will affect students who currently have exams in the Easter holidays, or during the second semester. The Christmas and Easter holidays will also be shortened by a week to three weeks, in order to make space for an assessment period in January, which the University hopes will ease the pressure of the summer exam period.

Long live Lucian Visiting London’s deathly exhibitions Culture 21

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Freshers’ Week campaign success

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• After fierce abortion debate, pro-choice stance remains > page 2 • Sabbatical team announce return of bursaries > page 3 • Editorial - A long way to go for student politics > page 16

• High Kingsdown locals call the area a ‘student

e2 Lifestyle

Less than half of students satisfied with Union

TRAVEL: E2 page 10

FEATURES: page 7 Accomodation crunch

Julia May

develop the community

Lakota loses licence

Page concerns8 on board or else risk those people

“ Personal development is all very well, but there is

Continued on page four

Comment, p17

Takotsubo tragedy Octopus pots and broken hearts? Science 30

would have liked to have an all female team. Berti continued saying, ‘I hope this year’s example will encourage more females to follow suit next year’. The most hotly contested fulltime position was Vice-President for Activ

Tanya Moulson

Fresh or Mess?

The University of Bristol 2010. has been Maturethe students in particular represented awarded a £300,000 grant to study development of the AIDSa significant alongsidedrop in applications – there has been a decline the University of Cambridge and the of 22.7% in applicants aged 30 and 39, and applicants aged University of Wisconsin. Itbetween is hoped that researchers will be able40 toand findover outhave seen a decrease of 27.8%. The NUS Vice President, Toni Pearce, said why the disease only developed in the ‘The present significant reduction in applications 1970s even though it had been from mature students is a warning sign and in the human population for decades.

equally a moral responsibility to help

question whether the Lib Dems will go back on their pledge not to increase fees. Williams defended these accusations, “The pledge claims that we should work towards a fairer system, and that’s exactly what I signed up for’’. Williams also claimed, “The Browne report is far better than it would have been now that the Liberal Democrats are in office, it offers a much more progressive payment system than we have, but it’s only a starting point. I feel we can do better than Browne has done already’’. Williams, along with other prospective MPs signed the NUS pledge pre-election stating, “We will vote against any increase in fees in the next parliament, and we will put pressure on the Government to introduce a fairer alternative to variable top-up fees”. Bristol students are outraged that the Liberal Democrat party position may change in light of the coalition agreement, and have created an online petition in order to convince Williams to “hold firm to the pledge upon which he was elected”. When asked if the Lib Dems would be making a U-turn on their pledge Williams answered, “I am in weekly contact with Vince Cabell, Secretary of State, and David Willets, Minister for Higher Education, on how the coalition can enable.. [Continued on Page 2]

SPORT: page 32 Watersports focus Epigram catches up with

Julia May

new look e2

‘require institutions to set themselves at least one target around broadening their entrant pool (up to now it has been possible for institutions to restrict their targets to broadening their applicant pool)’. Concerningly, the results of the report revealed that 60% of institutions agreed they could foresee difficulties with meeting widening participation targets in the future.

LAURA WALTERS News Reporter A serious fire caused the evacuation of the Union and the indefinite closure of the University swimming pool days before the beginning of term. The cause of the blaze, which began on the morning of Tuesday 15 September, was unknown at the time of Epigram going to press. The Union building was on lockdown following the fire, which

The Lockerbie debate

University of Bristol’s Independent Student Newspaper

NUS President says change is needed

Ex-MP Lembit Opik spoke to the Politics society about Coalition, a run at Mayor of London, and his love life.

COMMENT: page 11 Missing persons

Senate room, Senate House. They emphasised Hooters causes concern the “extraordinary level of support” from The editor responds to the University, including seven University departments and “countless individuals”. our letter of the fortnight The week of free education will hope to gain

Epigram picks out the film based on facebook legend Mark Zuckerberg in our Film Listings

Yisan Cheong

to widen access to our University. The issue is financial accessibility. If students from ordinary backgrounds can’t afford to live in Bristol then these figures will not get better’. OFFA has responded to the figures by asserting that in future, more emphasis will be placed on the ability of universities to meet these set targets. They claimed that from 2012-13 they will

Flickr: spartacusxx

the University of the West of England. The study also showed that Bristol has decreased its spending on widening participation – 20.2% of additional fee income was spent on bursaries, scholarships and outreach activities in the academic year 200910 – a 3.2% drop from 2006-7. Dr Wendy Piatt, head of the elite Russell Group of universities, rejected the claim that universities were wholly to blame for the inability to reach targets. ‘Misinformation, lack of confidence and misunderstandings about the costs and benefits of university education contribute to the under-representation of students from lower-income backgrounds’. However Students’ Union President Gus Baker reflected the issue back to university policy. ‘These figures show Bristol is struggling

EDITORIAL: page 13

Jamie Corbin


Issue 242

Union evacuates as canoe equipment is left to be damaged

required the evacuation of all staff and an immediate five-day closure. Avon Fire and Rescue told Epigram that a call had been received at 9.07 that morning to report ‘thick black smoke’ which was pouring from the building. Eyewitnesses reported that the blaze was ‘pretty terrifying’, and the heat caused glass panels at the front of the building to shatter. An open day which was due to occur on the 18th had to be rearranged at the last minute to keep 11,000 potential students and their families out of the building for safety purposes. Indie band Jet were also due to play in the building’s Anson Rooms on the evening of the fire, and instead had to appear at the O2 academy in the city centre. In addition, the fire caused disruption to morning traffic, as a stretch of Queens Road was closed to accommodate the fire vehicles.

‘What is the real purpose of our justice system?’

continued on page five

Have Slow Club found Paradise?

Union establishes Sarah Lawson presence on precinct

The University of Bristol has been named in an OFFA (Office for Fair Access) report as one of 23 English universities that are failing to meet set targets for widening participation. The group, which includes the Universities of Cambridge, Durham and Warwick, failed to meet self-set statistical targets regarding the number of applicants coming from disadvantaged backgrounds in 2009-10. Institutions were asked to report on their targets regarding under-represented students, defined by OFFA as students from low socio-economic groups, low income backgrounds, some ethnic groups, and disabled students. OFFA has not revealed the universities’ individual targets, however the percentage of Bristol undergraduate students receiving bursaries and scholarships in 2009-10 stood at 17.4% of the fee-paying student population, in contrast to 12.9% at Cambridge, and 37.8% at

will be starting their working lives with a debt of over £20,000. This is unacceptable and unsustainable”. However, just six months later it has been implied that Williams may now vote in

Bristol University’s Independent Student Newspaper


Disruption ensues as cause of fire is still unknown

Issue 234 Monday March 7th 2011

NEWS: page 5 Opik Checks in

Why do Bristol students rush to sort houses so early in the THOM LOYD year- and is it self-induced, orSenior News Reporter even non-important?

LUCY WOODS News Reporter

Bristol University students are setting up a Monopoly on the media week of free education events which began on Murdoch’s Sky takeoverFriday 28th January and are taking place all across the campus. The events are intended as should be blocked on further protest against government cuts to the higher education budget. grounds of plurality In December 2010, protesters against the

We pick the best sets from this year’s festivals

University of Bristol’s Independent Student Newspaper Issue 240

Medical experiments Should students take part in clinical trials?

COMMENT: page 10After regaining his Bristol West seat in the May

MUSIC: page 25 Festival highlights

The new UCard system already up and running around the University precinct

FEATURES: page 7

COMMENT: page 10

favour Will Deathtrap be able toof an increase in tuition fees. The 12th October saw the publication of Lord compete with the London Browne’s review, discussing the removal of a cap on tuition fees. This has led the public to musical scene?

Interview: Fearne Cotton talks to Epigram Lifestyle E2 page 3

Film, p.32

Students host free education week

Goldney JCR and Manor Hall Warden give their HANNAH CASLIN views on Fresher’s Week News Reporter

ARTS: page 18 West End Thriller

Bristol band features: Epigram Music looks at Bristol bands, Zun Zun Egui and Fitness Club Fiasco

KissMob takes place on Woodland Road in the run-up to Sexploration Week - page three

Issue 216 Monday 28 September 2009

Photo : Tristan Martin


is encouraging the furry visitors. The mice were discovered Comment, p.14 approximately two weeks ago and are believed to have been attracted by food and drink taken to the first and second floors by students. Caroline Clancy, University press officer, told Epigram that the University immediately contacted pest control firm Rentokil who are dealing with the problem and insist

FEATURES: page 7 Perspectives

University of Bristol’s Independent Student Newspaper

Issue 230 Monday February 7th 2011

NEWS: page 2

Panache to close The popular venue faces closure due to allegations of violence and drugs

Photo : ©keith morris


Election run-up:HANNAH STUBBS “A televised debateHead News Reporter will favour theA rodent infestation in the Arts and candidate that isSocial Sciences Library has been rmed and students are being better airbrushed.”confi warned that eating whilst studying

that cleaning staff are “ensuring that all surfaces such as keyboards and desks are continually cleaned and that any traces of food or drink are removed quickly.” The University does appear to be taking hygiene issues more seriously as hand sanitizer has since appeared next to some of the computer terminals in the library “to ensure extra cleanliness” but students are still right to be concerned. As the leaflets informing students of the pest problem that appeared in the ASS library on Monday 1 February point out, “this is a serious matter as mice are responsible for the spread of many diseases including Salmonellosis and Gastroenteritis, and hosts to mites, ticks, tapeworm and fleas.” Katie Bitten, first year history student and library user, commented that the idea of mice in the library was “disgusting, especially as they sell food just downstairs”. continued on page six

Future graduates could leave university with debts of over £80,000

Photo : Tom Wills Photo: Tristan Martin


perform. Features,Despite p.10 vast university cut backs in other areas, £800,000 has been spent on the introduction of the UCard. Jerry Woods, Head of Security, is confident that this is a good investment, stating that “[The new system] will pay for itself in around five years and thereafter will save the University money year-on-year,” although he admits that it does sound like a lot of money. The cost and scope of subsequent phases, however, is still uncertain as it is subject to the University’s approvement of funds. The current variety of access devices that are installed across the precinct make it impossible for building access to be monitored from the 24-hour control room. The UCard will increase campus security by unifying access systems, making it easier for the Security Services to supervise. Installation of exit readers means that cards will also be required to leave buildings – dealing with theft resulting from criminals tailgating someone into the building and then simply walking back out with stolen property. The UCard is also designed to increase efficiency for students and staff. The student Music, p.26, andp.28 staff databases, building access, Library and Sports systems are integrated, and the new photo upload facility reduces time and paperwork for both students and staff. The next phase in the project will look at extending the functions of the UCard into areas like lecture attendance record keeping, printing, exams authentication, cashless vending/catering, parking and bus transport. There is potential for it to be used to facilitate e-voting, which may boost turnout for the Student Elections.

Music, p.26-27

University of Bristol’s Independent Student Newspaper

Bristol MP set to break fees pledge

NEWS: page 2 £10,000 tuition fees

Ground Zero Conflict2010 General election, on a platform opposing in university fees, Stephen Williams Is a ‘mosque’ blocks increases MP is set to renege on his promise. away from Ground ZeroIn his campaign Williams argued, “I believe that a student’s potential should not be just too close? limited by their ability to pay. Many students

Photo: Tristan Martin


Rodent infestation in ASS

Food banned from study areas as pest control informed about library’s rodent infestation

£800,000 spent on new UCards


Upcoming bands: Epigram Music give their alternative tips for 2010

Bristol University’s independent student newspaper

Poolside fire causes chaos

The streets of central Bristol were the focal point of a clash between protesters and the police on Friday, 18 September.

University of Bristol’s Independent Student Newspaper Monday November 8th 2010 Issue 228

One yearNews on: Reporter What By do the end of October 2010, all staff and students will have a new university ID card students think – the UCard. Replacing current ID cards with of last year’s the UCard is the first phase of a 5 year project designed to increase security and efficiency ASS library across the university by unifying access systems developments? and widening the functions that ID cards can

Photo: Megan Stodel

Four University of Bristol students were arrested, and one detained, on Sunday 13 December at the United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. Among those arrested from the University of Bristol were Kester Reid, Giacomo Ciriello and Nikolas Kouloglou. As part of the same incident, another student, Jon Wiltshire, was detained by police as well as friend and University of York student, Daphne Barkshire, also arrested with the group.

inside The Mix


Issue 223 Monday 8 February 2010

Issue 221 Monday 11 January 2010



Photo: Jonathan Taphouse


Page 18

last month and that “figures have soared since last year. Tom Wey, a third year computer science student was robbed in Cotham last Monday at midday. He was walking up Cotham Brow into University when he was hassled by two boys of about 17 or 18 years old. Both boys were riding BMX bikes and wearing big coats and hats and started shouting at him. Tom said: "The two boys started pushing me. I basically did what they said because I didn't know if they had a knife and I didn't know if they were going to beat me up. I couldn't get away anyway as they had cornered me with their bikes." The boys asked him if he had a mobile phone, and when he denied that he owned one, they searched his pockets. When they asked where his wallet was, they took his bag, which held his wallet, CDs and headphones, a folder with university work and a book. Of the 13 students mugged last week, 9 were male and in the majority of cases, it was wallets and mobile phones that were stolen. The attacks have all been concentrated in student residential areas; in Redland area Cotham and Clifton. PC Taylor says usually Tuesday nights are a peak time for attacks because this is when many clubs hold student nights. Sheila Docherty, Welfare Officer said, "Guys think that they are invincible and that they have to look after girls. But more men are likely to be mugged. "Robberies are not just taking place at night. They are also occurring during the day. Students must be careful all the time.”

Monday October 11 2010


in the Mix

The arrested students were held by the Danish police for eight hours, with little or no access to water, food or a toilet. The police used systematic violence, pepper spray and, in some cases, cavity searches to subdue approximately three hundred detained protesters. All those arrested were released without charge or justified explanation for their arrest. All six students’ full personal details, however, were retained by the Danish police. December’s UN Conference on Climate Change was pitted to formalize a global response to the now broadly recognized reality of devastating man-made climate change. The aim of the Conference was to extend and expand 1997’s Kyoto Protocol, its aims being to construct a deal that recognises the ‘ecological debt’ the West owes the

Page 13



Valentine’s recipes to woo Storm Model Competition Renee’s Valentine’s advice

Fashion tip-offs for 2010

By Katherine Hyde

Crime prevention officer PC Martin Taylor says that there has been a "massive growth" in incidents against students in the

� Victim: Tom Wey at the scene of the attack

Epigram takesin a lookthe at the Mix: real story behind homelessness in Bristol — Features, page 25

in the Mix:

University of Bristol students held by Danish police without food or water



in The Mix: Freshers’ fashion Society lowdown Dear Renée

Photo: Chloë Banks


Students brutalised in Copenhagen



• The truth behind first-year’s virginity auction media scam • Friends and lover provided ideas for publicity

Bristol University’s independent student newspaper


Number 137

Shortlisted for The Guardian and The Independent Media Awards 2001

Epigram investigates facts behind international story Students left facing even more debt trouble as hall fees go...


• Government plans dramatic fee hike • Union calls for emergency demo

Four University of Bristol students have been admitted to hospital over the past two weeks for treatment of bacterial meningitis. The University confirmed the infection as having reached outbreak status on Monday 27 October. Antibiotics were administered to over 3000 students and members of the University within

Monday 11 February 2002

book giveaw ay


    

At the time of going to press it seems that the recent meningitis outbreak has been kept under control, largely thanks to the fast reaction from the university and the responsible actions taken by students. With no new cases reported for four days, and antibiotics having been distributed to those at most risk, it is fingers crossed that there will be no further spread of the infection.

SYMPTOMS: Information cards were handed out

Number 160

Number 156


Photo: Craig Woodhouse


turn to page 8

The pains of campaigns Behind the scenes of student politics Features 10

Battle of the botox Which reality soap makes the grade? Film & TV 29

An unAMM cab e even ng


n n fi

L e on Mars

Epigram’s 25th anniversary commemorative supplement UBU bans Blurred Lines

NASA ands a UoB

University of Bristol Independent Student Newspaper


James Landale was Epigram’s founding editor. Here he looks back at his first editorial for Epigram, written in 1989 and reproduced below.

Epic - Gram?

James Landale at Freshers’ Fair 1989 Most student politicians are on power trips. That is to be the first comment of this newspaper. Epigram is not for such people, but for students themselves. It does not represent the news, the 3rd floor of the Union, or any specific group of students. In fact, it represents no-one. Its aim is to interest, inform, amuse and stimulate the student body of Bristol University as well as provide a forum for their own views to be expressed. That is, of course, if they have a view to express. Bristol University has a reputation of general apathy and indifference, buoyed up by middle class affluence that excludes concern about grants, loans and the Poll Tax – the sort of issues close to home that a student normally worries about. Epigram does not want to bridge the divide between a self-important Union and an apathetic student body. It merely wishes to engender amongst the student body a knowledge of what it is to be a student. It is not just doing a certain course. It is not just living in London, dashing down to Bristol for a couple of mid-week lectures. It is not just the next stage after A Levels. University is a specific way of life, a communal existence that joins together some very different people, like it or not, by their very student status. Many have lost sight of this. Epigram aims to chage [sic] this, because it believes that students will profit from knowing more about what is going on in the University. A further aim is to act as a watchdog on the Union and University hierarchy. This doesn’t mean endless critical editorials. It means that you, the student, have a letters page in which to voice your opinions, to praise as well as to deflate a few egos. Some student politicians may be on power trips, but that doesn’t mean they cannot further student interest. The Union has a wide range of services (on the whole, very well run) that help and bring together students in an invaluable way. Epigram has set its sights high. It will be a challenge, not only for those who organise it and contribute to it, but also for you, the student. It’s your paper. Read it, write for it and eat your fish and chips out of it. Remember, the editor is on a power trip too. Whether he can also produce a good newspaper depends on you.

25 years on Epigram was born in a different age. Margaret Thatcher was prime minister, the Berlin wall still stood and twitter was something that birds did in trees. The entire newspaper was produced on a single Apple Macintosh computer. There was no email, no internet, no Google. Most contributors wrote up their pieces on university computers and then arrived at the office proudly bearing a floppy disc.. Others wrote their pieces longhand and then laboriously typed them directly into the Epigram computer. We blagged some desk-top publishing software from somewhere and invented Epigram’s style by shamelessly copying from other newspapers. We went out and bought every paper we could find and cut out the headlines, fonts and lines we liked. Our biggest influence was the Independent, the newest paper on the national block and in those days revolutionary in its design. Once the edition was complete, it was saved onto a single computer disc which I would take to our printers somewhere in the south west of Bristol. Reverently I would hand over the envelope containing all our labours and they would casually chuck it onto their to-do pile somewhere between the advertising free-sheets and the smutty magazines. But a few days later we would pick up several hundred bound copies and distribute them joyously but slowly round the halls of residence from the back of a car. Epigram was a child of internal student union politics. There had been a single news magazine called Bacus that served all student bodies in Bristol - the uni, the poly, the technical colleges and so on. But it was hardly a riveting read; it published, for example, minutes of NUS meetings. There was a row over cash and the university union decided to withdraw its funding and set up its own newspaper instead. The first editions were unapologetically strewn with my own caprice and self-interest. The humour is too arch, the copy in need of subbing, and the pictures

The first issue of Epigram came out on 5th October 1989

pretty ropey. But there are some good stories, the listings are comprehensive and the sum is greater than the parts. And it says something that even then the splash was an early suggestion by the then vice chancellor, Sir John Kingman, that universities needed to think about charging students tuition fees. And that was 1989. How things change... The introductory leader column introducing Epigram to its readers is a touch self-important. The arrogance of my youth is undeniable. And the typo stares out at me like an open wound. But the essential point was a good one and one that I think still stands today. And that is that university should be more than just the next stage of life after A Levels, more than just three years spent cramming for the next set of exams. University should be savoured as a rare moment when one can live a communal life of unrestricted intellectual discovery, unencumbered by the responsibilities of family, mortgage and job. As a student, one should be able to go down the pub and talk pompously about truth, beauty and justice; because if you do not do that at university, you won’t do it anywhere else.

Students should be able to go down the pub and talk pompously about truth, beauty and justice

At Bristol, I had just that opportunity. The politics department invited visiting speakers to explore issues that ranged far beyond the core syllabus. Seminars would segue into a discussion over drinks that would, in turn, become a pub crawl. It was an opportunity to unleash the mind in a way that wouldn’t have been possible on a more rigid course. The task I set Epigram was to reflect that ambition of university life: to interest and inform the student body about itself; to make students aware of what else they could find and do at Bristol outside of the library. I am not sure we entirely succeeded. There were still many undergraduates who nipped down to Bristol for a few midweek lectures before returning to London for the weekend. And there were some who rarely stirred from their books or Neighbours. But I hope that Epigram can keep working at the same task today, lifting the eyes of students above the horizon to see what else is on offer at Bristol. Just as newspapers play an important role in society, they can do the same within a university.



University of Bristol Independent Student Newspaper

Fast forward twenty five years and Epigram has gone from strength to strength. The editorial team now comprises over 50 members and this year has also seen the introduction of a 13-strong business team. Editor Josephine Franks reflects on the paper in 2014.

Jamie Corbin

Throughout its history, Epigram has stood as a publication by students, for students. Along the way, it has brought stories into the national limelight, weathered the storm of potential closure, provoked changes in University policy, and entertained and informed countless readers. From humble beginnings, Epigram has grown to a 56-page publication with a print run of 5,000 and a readership of over 12,000. Over 50 editors and countless writers dedicate hundreds of hours to each issue; over the paper’s history it seems to be a recurring theme that the only ones who really understand how much work goes into it are those at its heart. Shut away in the depths of the union, working unsocaible hours and letting degress slip away into the distance, it can occasionally feel like a thankless task. This feeling disappears, however, at the sight of people leafing through copies on lunch breaks and the sound of heated debates generated by its content. University is a time for trying out new things, and Epigram is no exception to this. Its 50-strong team of writers and editors changes each year, so the paper is continually evolving and relevant to students’ concerns. It also means that writers can experiment knowing that failure will be temporary and success can be consolidated, a vital experience for those who go on to a career in journalism. One major change since 1989 is the shift towards online media. We launched a new website last year to bring the quality of our virtual output in line with the print publication and offer enhanced content. Of course, our competitors also seize the opportunities presented by online media, which challenges us to seek

out new angles and ways of engaging readers. But I believe Epigram’s future will be defined by the print publication - at least for a while yet. The prestige of getting one’s name into print has if anything increased as a result of the ease of online publication. Readers may be drawn elsewhere for one-stop entertainment and updates, but Epigram carries an assurance of quality journalism with the authority of a 25-year history.

Epigram’s future will be defined by the print publication

Our core values have remained constant. We are committed to providing a platform for students to discuss issues they feel passionate about. Epigram’s strength comes in part from its independence, and it seeks to uphold James Landale’s vision of the paper as a medium through which students discover what is really going on at the University. That’s not to say that we expect our readers to agree with everything we publish; on the contrary, we encourage them to engage online and by penning their own responses. While Epigram will no doubt have to continue to adapt to the changing world of journalism, I feel confident that its integrity will prevail. Here’s to a future of inspirational writers, engaged readers and the power of the student voice.

The changing face of Epigram Each editorial team has left their mark on the paper in their own way - while some have left a legacy of political concerns or editorial standards, others have left a more physical reminder of their tenure. The annual arrival of a new editorial tema means that over the years Epigram as been subject to numerous redeisgns. This has taken the paper from broadsheet to tabloid and back again, seen emphasis placed on arts over news and introduced e2, the tongue-in-cheek antidote to Epigram’s serious side. Despite these internal changes, Epigram’s masthead remained relatively unchanged until 2010, when the image of Will’s Memorial Building appeared to stand proudly at the top of the page. In 2012, the paper was re-branded in burgundy, a colour which has since become synonymous on campus with Epigram. This year, we decided to take the branding one step further. While Will’s stands for the university, we want Epigram to go beyond this, to engage with the local community and represent not only the university but the city. And what more iconic image of Bristol than Clifton Suspension Bridge? Bristol is an amazing university, but the student experience goes far beyond lecture theatres and seminar rooms - it is also formed from the unique experience of living and studying in this rich, diverse and exciting place we call home. We wanted Epigram to encapsulate this and are proud to have the Suspension Bridge standing above our name, illustrating that the relationship between town and gown need not be circumscribed to misunderstandings and warfare. It can and should be one of mutual appreciation, respect and growth.


Epigram team 2013-14

Phil Bruland

University of Bristol Independent Student Newspaper


University of Bristol Independent Student Newspaper

Fresh fruit

I meandered around the Fresh Fair only marginally disappointed it didn’t quite mirror the scene from Chariots of Fire. The Society for Putting Things on Top of Other Things was a must, but where else? I didn’t know a soul, wasn’t in hall (at the time being 21 years old meant one was hilariously and oxymoronically categorised as a “mature student” and thereby excluded from sharing accommodation with the balance of the student body) and so wandered wondering if the sense of never fitting in wasn’t just a yoke of adolescence but rather my destiny. It was then my eye fell upon the monochromed majesty of Epigram. A newspaper? I had no idea. Memories of Julia Sawalha in Press Gang merged with Redford and Hoffman meeting “Deep Throat” in the parking lot at the crescendo of “All the President’s Men”. But how to impress? Well, it turned out that what they really needed was copy and quickly. So I returned to my bedsit and wrote my first piece. I knew nothing about news, sport, music or arts, so fell back on that of which I have never been short; opinion. The article was published on 18th October 1991, about the role of Neil Kinnock in the Labour party. The reaction of my peers was sufficiently ego-massaging that I began hanging around the Epigram office, at the time part of the Gen Sec’s room on the 3rd floor. I loitered, hovered, buzzed about and eventually out of pity more than anything I was gifted the title of “Deputy Features Editor”, an honorific that required no work and less input into the paper. However, a few weeks later “differences of style” led to a resignation of the Features Editor proper and there I was, ready and willing to step into her shoes and pretend I had a clue as to what I was doing. In that first year the editor was Joe Samaurez Smith, a brilliant and charming man who has gone onto journalistic, business and poker success. He tolerated my conviction about anything and everything and then made whatever decision he wanted to make without rancour or hubris. On news was Tom Chesshyre, for years now a constant presence in the travel pages of all the broadsheets and many glossies. On sports, Dan McCausland, whose tolerance for Guinness no doubt assisted his later progress in journalism in New England and, more recently, investment management in London. And Arts? Well, that would be Richard T Kelly. He was to be my best man, twice, write Sean Penn’s biography and become a widely-praised novelist and writer. Back then he was simply the most talented wordsmith who exercised his métier by adopting different personae when reviewing film and theatre. One alter ego, Katie Varish, was sufficiently provocative so as to receive various billets-doux from infatuated suitors. Thus began my own love affair with Epigram and being in the right place at the right time, when applications were opened for the Editorship for the following year I was the only staffer of the right generation in a position to apply. So I did.

Michael Gomulka Criminal defence and media crime barrister, 5RB

A good year for the roses

Freshers week: 1992 style as seen on front cover of issue 34

Et cetera

It was of course not all about the paper but the people. So it was that my news editor, Wanda Marshall, and Joe SS ended up together and remain so. After publishing some awful poetry of mine a final year student, a stunning Irish American redhead, took pity on me for months and months. So concerned was I that the only guy standing for Treasurer the year after my Editorship was planning to eviscerate Epigram’s funding and give it all to SCA that I stood, successfully, to protect the paper. In doing so I met and eventually married not one but two Presidents of the Students’ Union (sequentially not simultaneously). Epigram was far from the only thing I did at Bristol, but it was, for two years at least, the most important to me. Whenever I see Jim reporting, or Pete reflecting on his years as the PM’s speechwriter, or the bylines of those who came before and went after I am proud to have been part of the same ridiculous tradition. I was called back into the editorial seat a couple of times later on as various hiccups knocked Epigram off course. Which were great fun, but it was someone else’s turn by then, as it should be. On leaving Bristol I went to the City. It was not a happy choice, albeit a materially rewarding one. One fine morning, five years in, my boss opened the magic bonus envelope to reveal they were paying me enough to leave. So it was I funded a conversion year, Bar school and 18 months of pupilage to fulfill my childhood ambition and become a criminal defence barrister. Over the years, whether it’s murder at the Old Bailey or some speeding case at Crawley Mags, when I sit down to consider what to write, I am grateful for my time at Epigram; the puns; the headlines; the paring down; the beefing up; the message.

My tenure began with a production engineered by the beating heart of such matters in the form of James ‘it has never been done before but it might just work’ Deveson. A new print deal, new computers and his ridiculous combination of talent and effort meant we could go colour, go fortnightly and more than double the number of pages, thereby enhancing our advertising revenues. The year itself was a whirl. We lost an issue the day before print and had to reconstruct the same overnight. A student had been wrongly identified as earning money from entertaining men, but although she was happy for us to report it, her father’s lawyers took a different view, no doubt because it would lessen the damages she would otherwise receive. Joe Saumaurez Smith secured the first postconflict interview with Sir Peter de la Billiere, commander of British forces in the Gulf War of 1991, who suggested that if Saddam had stuck to Northern Kuwait the ensuing conflict would probably have been averted. Hundreds of students contributed to the production of the newspaper, many writing published pieces for the first time and many going on to stellar success. Gideon Lichfield was with the Economist for 17 years, until last year. Adam Speker is a leading media and defamation lawyer. Kirsty Walker, who became Epigram editor herself, fulfilled her Fleet Street ambitions and became a leading political journalist. Barney Wyld, my deputy editor, became first a speechwriter and then highly sought after communications director in both the private and public sector. Tom Morton and James Moody, a fine, fine double act, are now sat atop brand management and advertising either side of the Atlantic. But of course that’s not it. We had no idea what would become of any of us. Some had hopes and dreams, others’ plans were more concrete, but for most it was just fun to be able to contribute, to photograph, kern, design, layout, write and see the product of all of those combined efforts emerge in a 3,000 print run every fortnight. It were gert lush.

1992: shortly after the first Gulf War



University of Bristol Independent Student Newspaper

Andy Dangerfield (BSc 1998), Development Manager, British Heart Foundation

I arrived in Bristol as a raw 19-year-old with ambitions to change the world, and started writing for Epigram immediately. I became Features Editor because my main interest was political debate, and I wanted to encourage students to write challenging articles for the paper.

Epigram 2nd October 1997

1998 was also the year that saw the introduction of top-up fees. Protests swept the university and country as students defended their right to free higher education.

Interviewing Goldie was nuts... he gave me the best copy I could’ve hoped for Interviewing Goldie was nuts. We both grew up on council estates in Birmingham, yet here he was, a mega-star dating Björk.

I asked him for his political opinions and he gave me the best copy I could have hoped for. I’d lightened up a touch by the time I became editor, but I still wanted to shake things up. We did ‘radical’ things with the layout, like leading with the arts section rather than news. We even tried a Japanese-style magazine, where you could flip the paper over and read it backwards but, when it came back from the printers, all the adverts were upside down On the whole, I was supportive of the Students’ Union. I believed you needed to use it or lose it. But I wrote an editorial on how an independent student newspaper should be free to ask any questions, and publish anything it wants.

An independent student newspaper should be free to ask any questions, and publish anything it wants. Naz Sarkar of the Union told me I couldn’t publish. I threw him out of the Epigram office. He called security while the Epigram team piled in, and we refused to leave until the Union guaranteed we could go to press unchanged. The deal was that I would resign. I wrote one final editorial outlining my reasons – uncensored, of course – and left.


Michael Shaw (BA 1999) Director, TES Michael Shaw was News editor at the time of Andy’s departure and stepped up to take the position of Editor. Here he gives his version of events. I became editor of Epigram under weird circumstances. Basically, the previous editor had punched the publisher, had a fracas with a porter, and barricaded himself in the newspaper office where he painted “F**K THE UNION” in large letters on the wall. At the time I was news editor, so I clambered in through the balcony to try to calm him down, and also to get the issue finished before the union cut the power and telephone line. The editor had got himself worked up over an argument about censorship that was, daftly, hypothetical. It was the punch-up itself that actually led to a threat to Epigram’s future, with union officials warning they might shut it down or – worse – turn it into a union newsletter. On the night of the disciplinary committee, a handful of us gave evidence while the other journalists waited gloomily in the Epi bar for news. Luckily, the committee agreed that the incident should not affect Epigram itself, and let the editor stay on at the university. It probably felt like a closer call than it was, but the team of us who rebuilt Epigram afterwards were mightily relieved we managed to retain the newspaper’s independence. At the union’s request we did repaint the office wall – but only after we added more graffiti to it for a feature inspired by a mystery new local artist called Banksy.

Michael reflects on the rest of his time at Epigram and life afterwards.

Epigram 30th October 1998

An editor once told me that a journalist’s past articles are never anywhere as good, or as bad, as they remember them. I look back at the pieces we ran in Epigram with a mixture of fist-in-mouth embarrassment and happy surprise that we managed to get a newspaper out at all. We certainly attempted serious journalism, on topics such as the introduction of tuition fees. Our reporting on suicides on the Clifton Suspension Bridge played a part in the campaign to add the safety barriers, if only a small one, and a piece by a student who visited his father in a jail in Rio was reprinted by The Guardian. But it was the silly stuff that sticks in the memory. Such as the night we spent in Leigh Woods entirely failing to find the group of Satan-worshippers who supposed to meet there every Wednesday. Or our story about a student who ‘overdosed’ on pesto, a tale quickly picked up by the tabloids.


One of my worst experiences on Epigram was being news editor when all three of the big stories the reporters had been investigating fell through on the afternoon we went to press. Left without a front page, I desperately rehashed a story about the palaeontology department. At the time I was mortified, but, looking back now, ‘One Of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing’ was one of more memorable covers that year.

A journalist’s past articles are never anywhere as good, or as bad, as they remember them.

Epigram ended up taking much more time than my degree, but it was worth it, not just as a chaotic introduction to journalism but because it was where I

met several of the people who remain my closest friends. After graduating, I became a trainee reporter on the Bristol Evening Post. I’d run an article in Epigram insulting the Post while I was a student, but this had amused the features editor who invited me first to be a columnist, then to work there. This meant I got to spend two extra years in Bristol, seeing a very different side to the city, before I moved to London to write for The Times Educational Supplement (TES). I’ve been with the TES since then, eventually becoming deputy editor. I still see a face from my time at Epigram every day. In the years after university I only rarely saw the student who chaired the disciplinary committee and who also wrote a few music interview pieces. But a decade after we first met she invited me to her birthday party. We got married in 2010.

Number 156 Bristol University’s Independent Student Newspaper

University of Bristol Independent Student Newspaper


Monday 2 February 2004

  Bristol University’s Independent Student Newspaper   Monday 2 February 2004  Spice up Valentine’s Day

    

Spice up Valentine’s Day Four Lovers’ Guide videos and DVDs up for grabs in our sexy competition Head for page 10 to enter

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Craig Woodhouse (BSc 2004) Political Correspondent, The Sun on Sunday Epigram investigates facts behind international story Bristol was thrown into the eye of an international media storm during my time as editor when headlines screamed that an 18-year-old science student named Rosie Reid was selling her virginity on the internet to cover her debts. Interest was peaked further by the fact Rosie was a lesbian, and she was quickly appearing on TV shows. As editor I had chosen to take Epigram in a very tabloid direction (a sign of things to come, as it turns out – I’m now political correspondent at The Sun on Sunday) so this was a perfect story for us. We managed to get a meeting with Rosie and her partner, Jess Cameron, who told us the whole thing had been dreamed up as a story to sell, rather than a serious ploy for Rosie to sell her body. We splashed the story as an expose – though Rosie did later claim that she had actually sold her virginity to a 44-year-old man for £8,400. Whether that was just another part of the story to sell to the papers, I guess we’ll never know. But it was certainly the most memorable tale that crossed my desk as editor. A little closer to home, we also uncovered plans to move the Students’ Union from its much-maligned home. That eventually fell by the wayside and 10 years later it’s still in the same place – though I understand debate still rages as to how suitable it is. The general view of Epigram changed during my time at Bristol, not least because of the direction took during my editorship. I took it from being a Guardian/Independent style to a full-blown tabloid in terms of design – mainly so eyecatching headlines would encourage more people to pick it up. On the whole, I think it worked – though I wish I’d know then just a little bit of what I know now, particularly about story-getting. Being involved with Epigram helped my career no-end, not least in getting on to my post-graduate course at Cardiff. It’s vital to show you’ve been interested in a journalistic career and have done something about it, and having Epigram on my CV was a great boost. It also gave me the confidence to manage a team and put together a paper which has stayed with me ever since.

Past Editors 1989-90: James Landale 1990-91: Peter Hyman & Dan Mitchell // Susanna Reid 1991-92: Joe Saumaurez Smith 1992-93: Michael Gomulka 1993-94: Andrew Davis 1994-95: Rachel Kerr & Kirsty Walker 1995-96: Ben Lyttleton 1996-97: Timothy Lewis 1997-98: Andy Dangerfield // Mike Shaw 1998-99: Mike Shaw // Jack Malvern 1999-00: Katherine Freeman 2000-01: Guy Newey 2001-02: Anna Farley 2002-03: Murray Garrard 2003-04: Craig Woodhouse 2004-05: Georgia Howe 2005-06: Katie Quilton 2006-07: Alan Tang 2007-08: Joshua Burrows 2008-09: William Irwin 2009-2010: William Miles 2010-2011: Ellen Lister 2011-12: Tom Flynn 2012-13: Pippa Shawley 2013-14: Josephine Franks

REVEALED Epigram can exclusively reveal that the affair is nothing more than a stunt gone out of control

• The truth behind first-year’s virginity auction media scam • Friends and lover providedbehind ideas The truth for publicity

2004 • /05 first-year’s virginity

Georgia Norton (nee Howe) (BA 2004) Strategic Director, adam&eveDDB


auction media scam • Friends and lover provided ideas for publicity

Upon my appointment as editor, my deputy Chris and I set about re-designing the layout of the paper. We’d cajoled a contact at the Daily Mirror into sending us the assets to create that dramatic ‘rip’ graphic asset (that we overused immensely on our front cover that year) and some exciting new typefaces that transformed the paper to looking more professional and eye-catching, if rather Epigram 17th November 2003 tabloid. Thinking back, there were some excellent headlines - ‘Clifton Pillage’THE about local burglaries, ‘Monster Manch’ about READ ALL ABOUT IT: FOR THE FACTS BEHIND FICTION, SEE FULL STORY PAGE 3 the merging of the universities, and other fun… The most talked-about of our stories was undoubtedly the student who sold her virginity on eBay. It was really provocative because she used the £11k raised for her studies and because she was gay. We’d made approaches for an interview when we first heard rumours but it was deputy editor Chris Colvin spotting her playing pool in the union bar that was the moment we got the story, in person. The Daily Mail picked it up and there was a tailwind when she went through with the prostitution with a man in a hotel in Kings Cross.

“ “

Epigram 27th September 2004

Nothing was better than having students grab the paper just as you put the bundle down and see them leaf through it

My heart was pounding making some overblown speech about freedom of the press in a democracy

Another success involved securing the independence of the paper from the Union. Previously, editorial approval was held by the communications office and we regularly felt that we had been censored or restricted for, shall we say, ‘political’ reasons. I was able to retain a relationship with the Chancellor without going via the Students’ Union following the AGM in 2005 where my motion was passed successfully. My heart was pounding making some overblown speech about freedom of the press in a democracy. There was a good awareness and affection for Epigram I think. Nothing was better than having students grab the paper just as you put the bundle down in a drop-off spot and see them leaf through it. Everyone I talked to knew what it was but I felt that no-one really appreciated how much work went into it unless they were on the paper’s staff.



Ellen Lister (BA 2011) Lawyer, Linklaters LLP

There are so many stories that have stayed with me. One of the first to spring to mind though is a long editorial piece I wrote in response to the leader of Bristol’s FemSoc trying to get me sacked! Every week we ran a ‘debate’ in the paper’s Comment section - something which was close to my heart as I was Comment Editor for a year before becoming overall Editor. In October 2010 the famous ‘Hooters’ restaurant opened a branch on Bristol’s harbourside. We ran a two-sided piece commenting on whether this was, broadly, a good or a bad thing. I thought this was a fairly harmless piece of journalism, to be honest. However, FemSoc were extremely angry that I had allowed any debate on this subject to be published at all, and I seem to remember them starting a really long petition to get me removed. They said I was anti-women and, I think, compared my publication of the article to supporting terrorism! My response obviously flagged that it was a ‘comment’ piece and that we were in no way supporting the opening of Hooters! It was quite a funny episode in my run as Editor and I enjoyed writing the response. I was pleased actually that something in the paper had made such an impact. I am also particularly proud of all the coverage we did on the University fee increases, around November 2010. The coalition government had just proposed an 80% cut to teaching and research funds and an increase in tuition fees to £9,000 a year. I remember the protests in Bristol on the 24 November when 2,000 student protestors marched from Senate House down Park Street. Epigram covered it all. I also remember our Comment Editor, Luke Denne, being interviewed on Sky TV at the national protests in London. Then there were the violent riots in Stokes Croft in April 2011 that we covered - the worst riots Bristol had seen since 1980. This was, of course, picked up by the national press as well. Not entirely a ‘student’ issue, this was an interesting one for us where we became more engaged with the local community in Bristol.

“ I was always concerned that Epigram was only read by the Englishy boho students inhabiting Woodland Road

Josh Barrows (BA 2008) Sports Writer and Editor, The Times

I will almost certainly never enjoy journalism as much as I did for the two years I was involved at Bristol

I edited the sport section of Epigram in my second year and went on to edit the paper in my third year. Stupidly, I felt I could combine this with captaining the cricket club 1st XI and completing my Classics degree. Of the three, Epigram came first and the other two suffered as a result. The general opinion of the paper certainly wasn’t negative, but was often Cocaine discovered in university apathetic and, in many cases, agnostic. Large numbers of Bristol students buildings (News, issue 203) showed no interest in the Union or Georgia Graham - now working as a political student politics - in stark contrast with correspondent with The Telegraph - bought similar Universities. I didn’t mind this the testing equipment and carried out the especially but I felt that a large part of research. She was cagey about revealing that my task was to demonstrate that there the women’s toilets at Senate House, which are was much more to the paper than the used mainly be staff, were contaminated so the news section. story ran under a pseudonym. Epigram taught me more about producing newspaper than anything I Societies slut awards (E2, issue 203) have done since. I have never learnt so Harry Byford won the Guardian’s Student much so quickly - from newsgathering, Columnist of the Year award for his ‘insights’ to man-management, to page design. into student societies. In the final issue of the I will almost certainly never enjoy year, he recounted his favourites. ‘What did journalism as much as I did for the two I get for my efforts?’ he wrote, ‘Hundreds of years I was involved at Bristol. I still find offensive comments, calls for my “sacking”, myself coming across situations and and countless awkward conversations with realising that I encountered them first people who I’d been mildly rude about.’ - and occasionally tackled them with a reasonable degree of professionalism Revealed: Senior University staff - on Epigram. plot to seize Students’ Union I never regarded working for the independence (News, issue 198) paper as vocational, however. The Looking back, this feels like the single biggest socials - sometimes starting several story we covered. Although Epigram never hours before the print deadline - were felt particularly affectionateUniversity toward the the best I experienced at university of Bristol’s Independent Student Newspaper Union, the idea that the University allegedly and the friends I made are some of my Monday November 22nd 2010 Issue 231 planned to try and take it over to run it as closest.

Top stories of 2007/08

Bristol students join fees march

another department was unpalatable and unprecedented in the UK.

JENNY AWFORD ALICE YOUNG News Reporters Bristol students travelled to Westminster on the 10th of November to join the largest education demonstration in over a decade, in response to the proposed 80% Newspaper cuts and increased tuition University of Bristol’s Independent Student

Monday May 9th 2011

Violent clashes in Stokes Croft

fees introduced by the coalition government. Issue 238 The protest was organised jointly by the NUS and the University and College Union and was NEWS: page50,000 3 students from across attended by over £9,000 fees for Bristol the country. The march initially started in an It has and beenpeaceful confirmed energetic way,that however, a minority the Univeristy of Bristol will attention by of protesters attracted media chargeand students three times storming besieging the Conservative Party the currentHouse. fees from 2012. HQ at Millbank Aaron Porter the NUS President described the pageon6 two levels. Firstly, day FEATURES: as “unprecedented” check up down below the A sheer number of students who attended Does our generation not expected by the more the doubled the number seriouslyan atmosphere NUStake and sexual police health force, creating enough? Features investigates of student protest reminiscent of the Thatcher days.the nitty gritty part of SEX. Secondly he referred to the unparalleled 10 cuts to teaching rise COMMENT: in tuition fees page and 80% and The research proposed newfunds Union team by the Browne Review oncan theyou 12th October. Alan Whittaker, What expect from next UCUyear’s President, expressed his anger at the, sabbatical team? Presi“enormous burden transferred dent-elect Gus Baker puts hisfrom the state ontopromises the students’ shoulders”. The protest, down on paper. dubbed ‘demo2010’ was organised to highlight BE FAMOUS: page 16 of the NUS, “ opposition and in the words The Epigram 40 is back!in favour of to build a counter-consensus Who are in thethe University of emphasising the investment sectors, Bristol’scontribution most noteworthy important education makes to students? Nominate now.role it can play in society, and the important any future economic recovery”. LIFESTYLE: page 2 took a coach The University ofE2 Bristol Union big student of 75The students to join thesurvey protest. Luke Denne, Try guessing nightclub a Bristol studentwhich protester, commented, “it is Bristol’sthat mostBristol promiscuous girls sent so few a disgrace University go to - or march, read theand answer in E2. people to the disappointing that the Union did not do more to mobilize students” . TRAVEL: E2 page 10 on Page 2] [Continued

TRISTAN MARTIN News Reporter In the small hours of Friday 29th April violence broke out on the streets of Bristol for the second time in a eight days. ‘The troubles’, as one BBC reporter referred to them, first began a week before as the opening of a new Tesco sparked the worst riots seen in Bristol since 1980. On Thursday 21st, following a tip-off that occupants of the ‘Telepathic Heights’ squat on Cheltenham Road had been constructing petrol bombs, police moved into make an

arrest. At 9:15pm officers closed Cheltenham Road and forced entry into the building. Four men were arrested, and a police statement confirmed that a number of items were seized “including petrol bombs – which are currently being forensically examined”. One of the men subsequently pleaded guilty to possession of a petrol bomb, but not guilty to a second charge of threatening a Tesco employee with it. Following the highly visible arrests at Telepathic Heights, hundreds of people began to congregate in the area. Within a few hours they were joined by over 160 riot officers, many brought in from Wales.

Although the gathering began peacefully, clashes with police soon erupted and spilled out into the surrounding area. Barricades of burning bins were erected; fireworks, bricks and bottles were thrown at riot officers. Local resident Alex Slocombe saw “running battles with police all over the place.” By around 1:00am it seemed that police were no longer in control of the operation. A group of rioters managed to ransack the recently opened Tesco Express. Its windows were smashed, a sign ripped off, and “closing down sale” scrawled across its facade. [Continued on Page 2]

Best foreign festivals

Epigram takes a look at the best of the foreign music festivals happening this summer.

SPORT: page 32 Bristol’s hidden stars The Women’s Novice Rowing Squad tell us how they are going to annihilate UWE.

Love journalism? Want to be a part of the team that puts Epigram together? Apply now to be a section editor for the academic year 2011-12 See page 16 for details

Epigram May 9th 2011

NEWS: page 5 New science buildings Maths and biology to spend a combined £87 million by 2013

FEATURES: page 9 Arts vs. Sciences

Which students fare Stop better? Epigram re-visits the ultimate debate education cuts: COMMENT: page 11 Student demo turns ugly the 2010 Anarchy or peaceful protest: were students protests right to break the law?

SCIENCE: page 15

Fossils at Cabot Circus How our team found science at House of Fraser

LIFESTYLE: E2 page 5 Ask Dolores Our regular agony aunt answers questions on unmentionables

FILM & TV: page 27

Photo : Alice Young

The opening of a new Tesco store in the Stokes Croft area of Bristol sparked riots against police during the Easter break.

Photo : Tristan Martin


University of Bristol Independent Student Newspaper

Photo: Jonathan Taphouse

As an arts student, I was always slightly concerned that Epigram was only read by the Englishy boho students inhabiting Woodland Road. We introduced a Science section which always had a really interesting variety of articles. We also expanded the music section hugely - Bristol being, as every fresher knows, ‘the home of drum‘n’bass’. We ran some great interviews too, including Fearne Cotton, Julian Fellowes and Major General Chris Wilson (ex Head of Defence in Afghanistan). I also loved our Sports section, which had some really funny regular features - like a quote from ‘Ian Holloway - everybody’s favourite Bristolian’, which we featured in every issue. I think people thought the paper was good - I hope they did. One of the challenges for us was getting more people to read it and to get the website up and running, something which I know the team who came after us did even more on. We did start using Twitter though, which I’m pleased to see is still going on.


Many Bristol students joined the march through central London on 10th November

Keeping it on the Downton Epigram reviews the past fortnight’s television

SPORT: page 29

Gauging wages Can the amount of pay footballers’ take back to their mansions be justified?

On 24 November 2010, 2000 students turned out to protest againstThe the proposed increase inWinning Interview: hills are Foals tuition fees. Epigram was alive: Epigram there to report on it. photos guitarist Jimmy Smith talks to Epigram Music p.23

reviews the Hippodrome’s ‘Sound of Music’ Arts p. 18

from the Year Abroad Photography Competition Travel E2 p. 10

University of Bristol Independent Student Newspaper

made editor. Epigram was a place where you could try anything. You had licence to wind everyone up, from the self-important pomposities who ran the Union to the University authorities. We made endless mistakes, knew nothing about news values or layout or getting good photographs (most of our pictures were taken with the office Polaroid camera and then scanned in) and worked ludicrously long hours as unpaid volunteers. But screaming round Bristol in a minibus delivering the paper you had scrambled together in the late hours of a Tuesday night and then seeing people pick it up and read it was the most wonderful feeling. And it changed my life.


Guy Newey (BA 2001) Head of Environment & Energy, Policy Exchange The story I remember most strongly from Epigram was about a man who kept coming into the Law Library, sitting himself opposite female students and then, er, pleasuring himself. It highlighted the lax security on some of Bristol’s buildings, but it is fair to say we were not the most sensitive in our reporting. We printed the story on the front page with the word ‘Pervert’ in enormous letters (it was something like 180-point font). We got complaints (we usually did). That said, I think security was tightened up. We also campaigned on trying to make Bristol take seriously its woeful record in attracting (or accepting) state school pupils. Again, we received a few letters, mainly from public school educated twits, moaning that they resented being made to feel guilty. The University, to be fair, was starting to take this issue more seriously (and employed some new staff to try and help attract a more diverse set of applicants). It was a small part of a wider national focus on this issue, which has led to some sensible rules being introduced about improving access. Plucking up the courage to step through the door to that poky office and pitch a story was the most important thing I did at Bristol. Within a few months, I was editing the features section and then in my final year I was

“ I must have spent more time on the paper than on my degree

Epigram 8th December 2000


Alan Tang (MSc 2007) Edit Assisant, Splice TV

Seeing people pick it up and read it was the most wonderful changed my life

It is fair to say that we were not the most sensitive in our reporting

After I left Bristol, I got a traineeship at the Birmingham Mail. I then became a foreign correspondent in Hong Kong, and got to report on the remarkable story that is China, including the 2008 Olympics. I now work in Westminster, critiquing the government’s environment and energy policy and blogging and writing op-eds for any outlet that will take my opinions. I have got to meet world leaders, billionaires and superstars. I have highlighted wrongdoing, asked awkward questions and pointed out when people are wrong. It has been the most wonderful privilege and it is unlikely any of it would have happened if I had not knocked on that grubby door at the end of that corridor all those years ago.

Top stories of 2006-07

• Number of state school students at Bristol fall dramatically. • Epigram exposes the total income from hall fess as £10,329,093. • Masterplan to redevelop Stoke Bishop halls into a student village revealed

I started as Film Editor on Epigram, as I always wanted to work in film and was heavily involved in UBFS, the filmmaking society. Then, all of a sudden, everyone left and the paper needed an editor, so I decided to take it on. Working on Epigram was great fun. In fact, I think I must have spent more time on the paper than on my degree. At first, it felt a little like ITV’s Press Gang, although we did try to maintain a level of professionalism in the office. We all aspired to write well, and design to a high standard. Before us, the paper had taken a tabloid direction, but I was keen to include more features and arts coverage. We started using the centre spread in a more creative way – like including pull-outs for students to pin on their walls – publishing “themed” issues. I didn’t have a political agenda when I started as editor, though I know many of my predecessors were heavily involved in the Students’ Union, and with Students’ Council. We did end up fighting with the Sabbatical Officers though. We’d run some stories that were critical of the Students’ Union, like the reduced shuttle bus service to Stoke Bishop. They tabled a motion at Student Council asking for the right to have the last paragraph in any story concerning the Union. I was livid. I remember giving a speech about freedom of the press, and explaining how Epigram was more than a mouthpiece for the Union. Fortunately, the motion was rejected, and we ended up reaching a compromise by simply extending the coverage we gave them in other places. Students on campus were always very supportive – it was great to see them walking around, with copies of Epigram under their arm or sticking out of their bags.

Epigram 23rd October 2006

Epigram was more than a mouthpiece for the Union

Epigram’s history is testament to the power of the student voice. It has existed to entertain and illuminate the student body and has proved integral to student life here at Bristol. Here’s to another 25 years! #celebrating25years University of Bristol Independent Student Newspaper

Epigram's 25th anniversary commemorative supplement