Winter warmers: Exeposé has the best of this season’s fashion Fashion Shoot: Lifestyle P 17-25
Monday December 6 2010 Issue 573 www.exepose.com
Free Photo: Henry White
Icy grip finally reaches Devon Henry White Photography Editor ON Thursday December 2, students finally saw the arrival of snow in Exeter. Students awoke to a blanket of up to ten centimetres of snow across the City,
as well as both Streatham and St Luke’s campuses. The Met Office issued several warnings of severe weather, predicting more cold weather across the South West Region. The recent cold spell has seen temperatures regularly plunging to be-
low zero at night, with some places going down to -25˚C. The University of Exeter’s Estate Patrol reported no incidences of snowrelated vandalism, stating that Maintenance and Ground staff had been working from 6am every morning to grit-salt
paths and roads to ensure everything ran smoothly. Furthermore, many members of the Gardening Team were on alert in case the weather turned especially bad overnight. The recent cold weather that has gripped Britain for the last week has
led to travel chaos. Many places in England, Scotland and Wales have been left inaccessible with over 6,500 schools shutting. The snowfall is some of the heaviest seen in recent years and is the highest level of widespread snow in November since 1993.
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Features P 12 Explores two of your more unusual holiday destinations: Iraq and the Arctic.
Ellie Bothwell and Ben Murphie speak to The Drums on the New Yorkers’ UK tour.
Buying someone a book for Christmas? Jacob Moffatt tells you how.
Boo! Hiss! Arts takes a festive look at pantomime.
Sport speaks to Exeter student Tom Carrington-Smith about the new sports website, unisportonline.co.uk Editors Tristan Barclay & Andrew Waller email@example.com
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Advertising Stuart Smith S.C.G.Smith@exeter.ac.uk (01392) 722432 The opinions expressed in Exeposé are not necessarily those of the Exeposé Editors nor the University of Exeter Students’ Guild. While every care is taken to ensure that the information in this publication is correct and accurate, the Publisher can accept no liability for any consequential loss or damage, however caused, arising as a result of using the information printed. The Publisher cannot accept liability for any loss or damage to artwork or material submitted. The contents of this, unless stated otherwise, are copyright of the Publisher. Reproduction in any form requires the prior consent of the
Aaron Porter fights for students
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Lights out on nights out
Photo: Henry White
Charlie Marchant News Editor
EXETER city street lights are to be turned off at night to cut costs. Devon County Council claims that by switching off the lights in Exeter between 12.30am and 5.30am it can save money and lower its carbon emissions. This would involve switching off at least 10,000 of the city’s 14,000 street lights, making an annual saving of £138,000. Devon’s energy costs are set to rise from £2.2million in 2009/10 to £3.4million in 2011/12. Failure to introduce the part-night lighting programme would mean overspending the county’s energy budget. Councillor Pete Edwards, Leader of the City Council, said: “I think it is good to plan to save money, but 12.30am seems a bit early to me. What they should be looking at is better technology, planning a rolling programme of putting in lowenergy lights.” Other objections to the scheme have also been raised due to concerns about the safety of residents. A second year student commented, “This change could potentially be very dangerous for students returning from nights out. The lack of light will make students more vulnerable to crime on their walk home.” She added, “I believe the risks are far greater than the costs that will be saved.”
Exeter Council plans to switch off street lights at night to save money and energy.
Music Editors Ellie Bothwell & Ben Murphie
December 6 2010
Career mentor scheme success Ellie Busby News Editor
ON Sunday November 26, Exeter University celebrated the success of the first full pilot of their Career Mentor Scheme. 50 students, mentors and staff from the University’s Career Mentor Scheme attended a celebration lunch, which was opened by Professor Mark Overton, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for External Affairs. The Career Mentor Scheme began with only eight partnerships; due to its success a second cohort was created which consisted of 35 students who were matched to senior business mentors. The primary aim of the Scheme is to help students gain an in-depth insight into their chosen career and help them improve key employability skills. All the students’ mentors are successful senior professionals, and many are University alumni, who provide the students with useful contacts and experience. Robert McKellar, a mentee of Alex Campbell, Senior Associate at Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP, commented, “The most surprising part of the scheme was the ease and informal nature of the conversation that we had and the genuine interest that my mentor showed in my career. I genuinely believe that the contacts Alex gave me were invaluable in securing my graduate job.”
UK suburbs: more Islamaphobic
Sexeter campaign leads up to SSB
NEW research has revealed that Muslims in UK suburbs face more threats than those in large cities. Led by the University of Exeter’s European Muslim Research Centre (EMRC), the research report suggests that many unfounded accusations relating to terrorism and physical assaults are not uncommon and often go unreported. The report exposed a severe racist attack in which a woman was punched and called a ‘terrorist’ in front of her young child. Jonathon Githens Mazer, Co-Director of the EMRC, said, “Islamophobia and anti-muslim hate crime are very real problems for the British Muslims” and insists that it is an issue that desperately needs to be addressed. Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks vio-
lence and racism towards Muslims has greatly increased leaving many Muslims too petrified even to report the attacks when they have taken place. Chris Hardy, VP Welfare and Community of the Student Guild said, “Racism of any kind, be it direct or indirect is intolerable. Incidents such as the one outlined in the report are abhorrent.” He urges students experiencing problems of this kind to be reassured that they have the full support of the Student Guild. Etty Eastwood, a second year English student, suggests that because the “South West is not as culturally diverse as other parts of the country, a Muslim woman dressed in a Burka is more likely to be noticed.” However she added that “just because this is the case it is not a reason for hate crime.”
WORLD AIDs Day on December 1 saw the launch of Sexeter, Sexual Health Awareness Week, in the lead up to the Safer Sex Ball. World Aids Day aims to raise awareness to tackle HIV prejudice and help prevent its spread. Chris Hardy, VP Welfare and Community, coordinated the Sexeter campaign. He said, “The focus has moved away from one-night stands to more of a focus on relationships. The student one-night stand has become a bit of a cliché and this new focus more closely reflects the student body – so our message will hopefully be more accessible and we’ll get people thinking more about the issues in the run up to the SSB.” The RAG sexual health stall, in Devonshire House on Wednesday De-
cember 1 and St Luke’s campus on Thursday December 2, offered sexual health advice, handed out chlamydia testing kits and free condoms with the overall aim of encouraging people to be more proactive in looking after their sexual health. Eddystone Trust, the charity that benefits annually from SSB, was also at the stall. The trust provides free support for people affected by HIV and AIDs, and will receive £20,000 from the ball’s proceeds, as well as the proceeds from the red ribbons that RAG have been selling on campus all week. These ribbons aim to break down the stigma surrounding HIV. Last year alone, 6,630 people were newly diagnosed as HIV-infected in Britain. The 19th annual SSB on December 8 has sold 4,000 tickets and will wrap up the week. Any surplus profit from the night after the first £20,000 will go to RAG’s five nominated charities.
Exeposé Week ten
Photo: Alexander Croft
STOCKER ROAD will be closed from January 5 2011 until the summer. The road will be closed to both pedestrians and drivers, except for those who need to access the INTO building. This main entrance point to campus will be closed off between the Rennes Drive junction and the North Park Road junction. Access to central campus will be via Queen’s Drive, for vehicles, and via North Park Road for pedestrians. The closure will allow for Forum Project works to continue and road realignment and resurfacing to take place. Access to the library will remain unaffected.
Hannah Brewer Senior Reporter UNIVERSITY OF EXETER students have joined the nationwide student drive against the Government’s proposed increase in tuition fees. Local protests concerning higher education funding, were peacefully conducted in Exeter and were attended by college and university staff, and university and sixth form students. Students across the country are demonstrating against a proposed tripling of tuition fees coupled with a huge reduction in state funding to the sector. Jonnie Beddall, Guild President, describes the University’s profound involvement in the campaign: “We demonstrated with 52,000 students in London, we will take students to lobby Parliament before the crucial vote in two weeks, we will demonstrate in Exeter the day before and we are enabling students to petition and lobby their MPs.” On Wednesday November 24 an estimated 800 students rallied in Exeter City Centre. It was one of many sit-ins, walk-outs and demonstrations across the country organised by the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts. Students marched along Exeter High Street to Cathedral Yard chanting “We won’t pay” and singing protest songs. The protest was described as noisy but good-natured, and
Online petition against fees
Exeter University and College students marched in Exeter to protest over proposed increases to tuition fees.
there were no reported crimes or arrests. Ben Bradshaw, Exeter Labour MP, supports the demonstrations and said “Cutting investment in university teaching by 80%, raising fees to £9,000 a year and abolishing Education Maintenance Allowance are all decisions that I and the Labour Party oppose.” Tuesday November 30 was a National Day of Action, coordinated by the Nation-
al Union of Students (NUS) and supported by the University of Exeter’s Students Guild. The Guild encouraged students to write to their MPs and to participate in a follow-up protest outside Exeter College. The protest was organized by the Exeter Anti-Cuts Alliance, a federal organization that refuses to be “Con-Dem-ned to cuts.” Beddall commented, “It’s a credit to College students for peacefully protesting
in Exeter. Peaceful protest has a central role in the campaign against higher tuition fees.” He added, “To achieve success we must not alienate the student body from the general public. We must work with the University, not be afraid to tell them where we disagree but work with them when we do.”
Students’ right to rent
Uni sport online launched
Hannah Sweet Senior Reporter
Tristan Barclay Editor
THE GUILD has launched a campaign to protect Exeter students’ right to rent property in the city. This comes in response to a proposal by Exeter City Council to restrict home owners’ rights to use their property as houses of multiple occupancy (HMOs). The Council’s plans would apply to the St James Ward of Exeter - where over a quarter of the houses are currently occupied by students. The restrictions would be implemented at the end of December 2011. However, the proposal would not affect properties currently used as HMOs, already up to 80% of houses on some streets in the area. Chris Hardy, VP Welfare and Community, told Exeposé the proposal “would have huge ramifications for students, in terms of rent increases.” “We accept that there is currently a problem in certain areas of Exeter with regard to imbalanced communities, but the fact that the legislation would not be retroactive means that none of the problems that exist now would be solved. Moreover, Exeter does not currently have sufficient infrastructure to support
News Stocker Road closure
the spread of students to areas other than those they currently populate.” The Guild has set up a facebook group to raise awareness and gain support against the plans. At the time of press, the group ‘Protect Exeter Students’ Right to Rent!’ had over 1,600 members. Many current and past Exeter students, and a few local residents, have posted comments. One Exeter resident wrote, “These proposals benefit no-one! Potential landlords would also be prevented from providing much needed student accommodation. Residents in streets with a significant proportion of student accommodation would find it more difficult to sell their houses. It has everything to do with people acting on their prejudices against students, who provide a huge positive contribution to the economy of Exeter.” On the other side of the debate, a mature student commented, “Anti-social behaviour is exacerbated when you have loads of students in one area. The existing residents could easily feel outnumbered and therefore intimidated if they do have an issue with student antisocial behaviour. There are no positives to making an area a student ghetto. It [the proposal] is not a solution but it is a start.”
Exeter students launched a national student sport website in November, after securing funding from the University of Exeter’s Innovation Centre. UniSportOnline.co.uk, which aims to provide a hub for students to post match reports, sports pictures and videos, received 1,500 visitors and 7,000 individual page views on its official launch day, November 22. Traffic on the site now stands at an average of 200 visitors a day.
“It’s a cracking website. The coverage of our Varsity match was excellent” Andy Waddingham, Exeter University Football Club Captain
The website was created by Tom Carrington-Smith, a third year sports scientist and member of the Rugby Club, and Matt Brookland, a masters-level sports scientist and former Football Club Captain. Carrington-Smith said, “Setting up UniSportOnline has been an amazing ex-
perience so far. We hope that the website allows student sport to become a more connected place and gives young journalists a platform to gain exposure on a national scale.” The pair received funding from the University’s Student Start-up fund and now have access to IT and support facilities at the Innovation Centre, located on the Streatham Campus’ Rennes Drive. Joe Pearce, Business Support Manager at the Centre, said, “The Innovation Centre is delighted to have been able to support Tom and Matt in turning the idea for UniSport into a reality. We look forward to working closely with them in future and helping to create a sustainable business. Any other students who have the entrepreneurial drive and are keen to enter self-employment should visit the Employability pages of the University website.” Andy Waddingham, Exeter University Football Club Captain, said, “It’s a cracking website, making it so much easier to view BUCS fixtures and see how other universities are getting on. The coverage of our Varsity match was excellent, and the website looks so professional. It’s remarkable.” UniSportOnline initially targeted the top 15 sporting universities, but is now looking to expand. Three new members have already been added to the team.
THE Students Guild has launched a campaign to encourage students to email their MPs and ask them to vote against a rise in tuition fees. The tuition fees parliamentary vote has been moved to December 9, so the Guild is campaigning for students to respond immediately to the potential 40% cut from the Higher Education budget and the nearly three-fold rise in tuition fees. The Guild has created an electronic petition making it easier for students to contact their local MP. Students only have to give their name, email address and postcode allowing the Guild to send an email on their behalf.
Year abroad application open RECRUITMENT for the British Council’s Language Assistants programme has opened. After severe delays due to unknown funding, the applications for the programme opened in the last week of November. The deadline for students’ applications has been extended to January 14 2011.
Guild Annual General Meeting EXETER Students Guild’s Annual General Meeting will be held on Wednesday December 15 at 6.30pm in the Lemmy. The meeting will include discussion on the Annual Report and Accounts for the previous year, approval of the Guilds’ auditors and affiliations, approval for the budget for the academic year and approval of the plan for the year. All students are entitled to attend and vote at the AGM.
Drama on city streets
december 6 2010
Bankers targeted on campus
Photo: Flora Busby
EXETER UNIVERISTY drama students performed on the city streets to raise awareness of domestic abuse. On Saturday November 26, shoppers in Exeter city centre were treated to an unusual spectacle as Drama students from the University of Exeter staged a street performance in Bedford Square. A group of nine students dramatised moving representations of domestic violence, as part of Domestic Violence Awareness Week, which took place between November 22-26. It was hoped the performance would raise awareness of abusive relationships and violence at home as a part of national campaign. Laura Pringle, a second year Drama student, said “I felt that we raised awareness effectively about the shocking domestic violence rates that exist, not just nationally, but in Exeter as well. I wanted to be part of the project and use street theatre to gain the attention of people who may need to seek help. It felt good to put performace skills to use regarding a serious and current issue.” The street performance, organised by Meghan Johnston, a PhD student, was inspired by the recent launch of a local council animation project called ‘Is this love?’ The film was produced with the help of Exeter teenagers, who have experienced domestic violence first hand. It will be shown in schools across Devon. Events, including the students’ performance and the animation, are targeted at young people, to help them to recognise abusive behaviour and give them the confidence to seek advice. Devon and Cornwall Police also got involved, sending messages about domestic violence to students’ mobile phones on campus during the week.
Exeter University’s Oxfam Society achieve their target to raise awareness of the Robin Hood Tax campaign.
Flora Busby Senior Reporter STUDENTS took part in an aerial photograph to raise awareness for the Robin Hood Tax campaign. On Monday November 29 students congregated in a circle in front of Washington Singer for the photograph, holding coloured paper above their heads. The image, taken from above, was of a bull’s-eye. The University’s Oxfam Society organised the event to raise awareness of the campaign for the Robin Hood Tax, a tiny tax on banks’ profits. The target of the bull’s-eye was the Robin Hood Tax and the areas which would be supported by the tax: healthcare and education in the UK; pov-
erty abroad, and initiatives to combat climate change all represented by the three rings surrounding it. Dozens of students attended the event, however, one missing participant was Ben Bradshaw, Exeter’s Labour MP, who was invited but was unable to attend due to conflicting commitments. Henrietta Hickling, third year Geography student, who participated in the photograph, said, “I think that the government and banks need to take responsibility for the problems that they have caused.” Hickling added that it was important for students to get involved as it “creates a bigger impact” and “even through the small act of taking an aerial photograph, the Oxfam soci-
Vice-Chancellor Steve Smith returns to China Caitlin Jones STEVE SMITH, Exeter University’s Vice-Chancellor, returned to Beijing last week to promote the role of universities in the global economy. Addressing staff and students at Tsinghua University, Smith spoke about the growing importance of international links between universities. Believing that “the future growth and prosperity of both our countries will depend on research, innovation and skills,” Smith encouraged universities worldwide to develop closer research relationships in order to achieve an economically prosperous future. With Exeter and Tsinghua collaborating in research areas such as Law, English, Environmental Biology and
Water Systems, the University has recently opened an office in Beijing to strengthen links with Chinese universities, along with a pre-existing sister office located in Shanghai. Emphasising the importance of this, Smith said, “the University is investing heavily in partnership development so that staff and students benefit from engagement with some of the very best universities in the world.” Upon returning home, Smith voiced his views on the current government plans to raise university tuition fees. Presiding on Thursday, November 25 at the Universities UK Higher Education Funding Debate, Smith expressed his concerns about the recommendations made by the Browne re-
view, which proposes to lift the cap on tuition fees in England, and potentially cut student numbers. On behalf of UUK, Smith said, “Our support for the government proposals is therefore only conditional upon a long-term commitment to public investment in higher education,” with the anxiety that a rise in fees would cause “harm to social mobility.” Smith also urged the Government, who at present do not plan to publish the White Paper on educational cuts until March 2011, to reveal what they are “planning for student numbers as soon possible.” This year, over 150,000 university hopefuls were turned away even after clearing, and fears are growing that 2011 will see this figure increase.
ety were able to voice their individual opinions.” Mary McLaren, one of the organisers, said the photograph was “critical” because it demonstrates that students “do care about global issues of injustice and inequality and will not passively allow governments to do whatever they like.” McLaren further commented, “A lot of people that were involved in the event had never heard of the Robin Hood tax alliance before.” The Oxfam Society is organizing a “Poverty Week” in January, which will see all participants living on just £1 a day for a week in order to get a better understanding of what so many of the world’s population experience every day. Photo: Exeter University
VC Steve Smith discusses education cuts.
National Student News London protests 153 ARRESTS have been made at student protests in London. On November 30, the third set of mass protests against higher education cuts took place. The Metropolitan Police made arrests as students refused to leave Trafalgar Square at the end of the London demonstration. Missiles were thrown at police, who charged at protesters with batons; students stormed council buildings and stopped traffic in dozens of town centres; many said they hoped the display of feeling would reverberate in Westminster. Four thousand students dispersed across the city into separate marches, leading police in cat-and-mouse chases, after what they believed were attempts by police to pen them in. The Met denied it had intended to pen-in protesters, despite evidence of metal barriers and rows of officers waiting along Whitehall. One student said, “This is truly one of the most bizarre demonstrations I have been on but the spirit and determination of the students to march and get their point across has been pretty impressive.”
Beer mats that chat you up NEWCASTLE UNIVERSITY students have invented a beer mat with the ability to sense desirable nearby customers and project a selection of light messages. The mats are activated when a drinker’s glass is put on them - initially flashing pink for women or blue for men. The mat can be manoeuvred within 60cm of a similar one being used by anyone fancied. It then sends light messages along the bar, guided to the target mat by projectors hidden below. The initial list of random messages includes classic lines such as: “Do you come here often?”, “Is your dad a thief? Because he stole the stars and put them in your eyes” and “Are you a parking ticket? Because you’ve got ‘fine’ written all over you.” Tom Bartindale and Jack Weeden, who developed the mats, said, “Many of us feel quite self-conscious about starting a conversation with a stranger but our mat makes that first move and also provides a talking point.” Bartindale added, “The focus of our work is to use technology to encourage interaction and relationships. We want these very public text messages to break the ice and make people laugh.”
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Comment Tristan Barclay & Andrew Waller - firstname.lastname@example.org
The Exeter Student Newspaper
2010: a sad year for Higher Education
There is a big date coming up in December. It’s lucky that your chocolates last until the 25th because the big day is Thursday 9. Whilst Exeposé believes Eric Pickles would make the best Father Christmas, there can be no doubt that David Cameron will make a fitting Scrooge as he looks to win Thursday’s vote on tuition fees. After the vote, Higher Education will almost certainly have changed forever. Not only will the cost of tuition treble, but the principles behind education will never be the same again. Education is now undeniably a commodity and the value of a degree is only determined by the size of your salary. This is a sad indictment of our society. As we come to the end of a decade in which every corner of life is directed by market forces, the death knell of a liberal arts education has sounded. Cuts of the magnitude proposed
by the coalition government are not an economic necessity, but a miserly attempt at imposing an ideological agenda on a vulnerable society. With modest growth and low inflation one can halve a deficit in a matter of years. So where is the mandate to cut funding for higher education? Surely it is the most secure long-term investment one could think of for an ailing economy. This smacks of politicians atop the tree of power, pulling up the ladder to prevent us from ever joining them. Exeposé has consistently expressed its opposition to the government’s proposals. This is your last chance to do the same. Citizenship brings with it certain rights but also certain responsibilities, if you are reading this you have benefited from the right to education; ensure future generations can do the same. Put that fire extinguisher down and write to your MP.
Exeter City Council is proposing to limit the number of multipleoccupancy houses in certain areas of the City, with the objective of spreading student accommodation wider and more evenly across the town. Whilst Exeposé appreciates the concerns of local residents, it must be stressed that students are residents and
not guests in Exeter, as they are so often labelled, and many Exonians fail to recognise the extraordinary economic and cultural benefits brought to them by the University. Isn’t it ironic that a free-market in education apparently solves all the problems of allocation, yet the Council feels the need to regulate housing in the City.
Students about town
Merry Christmas As we enter what will likely be the winter of discontent for students nationwide, Exeposé would like to take a moment to remind Exeter students that there is still a lot to look forward to. With the SSB on the horizon, and the chances of a White Christmas the highest they have been for many a year,
now is perhaps the time for a dose of hedonism. Take the funding cuts seriously, but do enjoy Christmas. It has been a long term, and Exeposé would like to wish everyone a very merry Christmas (everyone, that is, except for a certain Mr Nick Clegg, who will doubtless receive a large sack of coal).
The article ‘Statutes of Liberty’ in Features Issue 572 was wrongly attributed to Catherine Bardsley. The author’s name is, in fact, Katharine Bardsley.
Thanks to all those who helped proof this issue: Fiona Lally, Cyan Turan, Sophie Duncan, Emily Leyshan, Joshua Irwandi, James de Souza, Emma Vince, Tom Nicholl and members of the Exeposé editorial team.
december 6 2010 Exeposé
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The Guild and the protests Jonnie Beddall Guild President
Now is the time to take a stand in our fight against University cuts. As students, we must show the Government that we do not accept damaging and arbitrary cuts and, as Exeter students, demonstrate that we understand the issues and will work with the University to get the quality of education we currently deserve and the added value if fees go up. The student movement faces a seminal moment. Do we take a stand on plans to raise fees or indulge in the illusive promise of free education? The last few years have seen our movement earn too much credibility to step back 30 years and revel in our comfort zone of occupations and walk-outs, acts which betray a lack of constructive engagement with universities and demonstrate all the tactical nous of a toddler throwing its toys out of the pram. We must learn the lessons of the past. First, we must act with the NUS. As a movement, that’s where our ability to negotiate lies. We must embolden their voice, not splinter off into self-interest. For all their ‘dithering’
by not endorsing recent protests, and then doing so, under Aaron Porter they have come closer than ever to securing major concessions from government. Second, don’t follow those who shout loudest. To embrace radical student groups ‘led’ by Clare Solomon damages our cause. Break now, and our cause to secure education for those most able to learn but not to pay is lost for a generation.
“We must act with the NUS. As a movement, that’s where our ability to negotiate lies” All our actions must be targeted. We were there in London on November 10, 350 strong from Exeter and Cornwall. With 52,000 students nationally we showed a movement united in opposition to draconian cuts. But for a minority of despicable violence and vandalism, the Government would most likely have stood up and listened. Yet, the actions of a few have made protests a question of government authority, a position from which no government can back down and grant concessions. All this is why the Guild did not embrace action in Exeter in recent
weeks, untargeted action which was not oganised by the NUS, rather by external political groups. But the NUS now supports action and the Parliamentary vote to increase fees has been announced for December 9. Days away from the crucial vote, we must act, and here’s how you can be heard: Monday 6: 1pm-2pm Lecture on the impact of funding cuts from the University & Colleges Union and Guild President Jonnie Beddall - Cornwall House Refectory (Lemmy) Tuesday 7: 1. Fight the Cuts series of talks, 5:30pm-7pm, Moot Room Amory Building. 2. Parliamentary Lobby targeting specific Liberal Democrat MPs whose vote might make the difference. Wednesday 8: Exeter Day of Action. Rally on Campus and March into town - See website/e-mail, fliers for more info Thursday 9: Parliamentary vote Friday 10: Steve Smith (Vice Chancellor University of Exeter and President UUK) vs. Aaron Porter (NUS President) debate - 5pm-6:30pm XFI Lecture Theatre - “The Future of Higher Education” Now is the time to act, now is the time to recognise what makes our message right. But above all, now is the time for us to take the lead for the majority of reasonable, passionate students and staff everywhere.
We should support all protests George Ayres On November 24 and 30, from Edinburgh to Truro, tens of thousands of students, sixth-formers and school children walked out of classes and lectures to protest against the education cuts and planned rises in tuition fees. In Exeter over 800 people made their voices peacefully, clearly and loudly heard by marching through the city on both occasions and even briefly occupying Exeter College on November 30. The events went so well that the Police even congratulated attendants on their good behaviour. Despite all this, the Guild did nothing to support action on November 24 and only on the night before,
half-heartedly, advertised the second protest. Too scared to be involved in any direct action, the Guild has let down University students by not doing all they can to save our future and our education. Due to this lack of publicity the vast majority of protestors present at both events were college students; passionate, determined and adamant not to let tuition fees rise. Perhaps the Guild could learn a thing or two from them. The Guild has firstly argued peaceful protesting will only be overshadowed by violent acts; surely this is giving in to both violent acts and to the planned education cuts. And secondly, that they need to be inside the negotiating room, not outside looking like ‘morons’. It doesn’t seem moronic to me to be peacefully exercising our right to criticise the trebled increase in fees, but if the Guild must stay inside negotiating then so be it. It’s only that
I wish they were inside negotiating for no fee rise instead of discussing what extras and perks students can get out of £9,000 year fees. Education is a right, not a privilege. Try telling a 17 year-old college student that if they leave University with debts of nearly £40,000 it will be worth it because instead of five hours of contact time a week they now get ten. Somehow I don’t think it’s going to wash. Poorer, disadvantaged students will always be put off by £9,000 a year fees, no matter how great you promise the ‘student experience’ to be. If we can’t count on the Guild to organise resistance then it’s time we organised ourselves. There is a student movement sweeping the country which is questioning the very meaning and role of education - let’s make sure we don’t miss out on it. We only have a matter of days to act.
Exeposé Week ten
The Housing Debate Just how international is Exeter? Maxim Edwards Guild Councillor As a proud member of the Guild Red Tape manufacturing committee, I have of late had opportunities to see how the Guild intends to handle pressing issues on Exeter student life, such as the Council’s proposal to limit student houses in a number of areas across the city. It seems that people have generally reached a consensus that, actually, they quite like living within reasonable distance of the University and intend to enjoy doing so for the foreseeable future. An anti-student consensus in the local council has reared its ugly head, opened its mouth and out rolls a hundred-tonne boulder of idiocy which crushes everything in its path. And there’s no escape. All well and good. The area proposed by the City Council from which student residences would at best be significantly decreased, at worse ended altogether, consists more or less of the entirety of St. James’s ward, as well as large areas of Pinhoe, St David’s, and Pennsylvania. I had the chance to speak to a representative of a local letting agent, Cardens, who assured me from a professional point of view of the problems the council’s plan would create. Students would have to relocate to areas such as Stoke Hill, already far more residential than St James’s, causing yet more tension with the local community, and for many Exeter residents letting out a house in St James’s as a student property is a good investment, allowing them a good return in rent whilst they live further out from the city centre. Bright and early morning walk from beyond Polsloe Bridge to campus most mornings for a nine o’clock? Unlikely. If I was rich or incredibly lazy, or a grotesque combination of the two, I could take the train. Even less likely. Perhaps one of our many punctual bus services? Now we’re into the realms of the improbable. Nonetheless the issue is less one of transport links and more of ‘town’ and ‘gown’. In order to confront this in a pro-
ductive manner, the last thing we need to do is to go on the warpath. Local residents have legitimate concerns about student behaviour - indeed, tenancy and landlord agreements will generally include some clause obliging landlords to ‘actively respond to complaints from neighbours’ about ‘anti-social behaviour’. But what can they practically do? Evict the offenders? Give a group of 20-year-olds a talking-to? To have an answer we must step back from the comfortable belief that students are either not responsible at all or, to use a cliché, that a ‘small minority’ are. Student stereotypes usually are unfair, but very probably a majority of us (author included, I hasten to add) have caused discomfort on some scale to local residentsloud music, loud drunks- you name it, if it happens in St James it is extremely likely that students are responsible. Does this justify changing the entire demographic landscape of a district of Exeter and to add insult to injury (or injury to insult in this case) cause problems for the local housing market? Of course not. This is not simply a case of students being unjustly targeted; our living in this wonderful city is, to local residents who have lived here for ten or twenty years, transient. The majority of us are gone in three or four years; indeed, one could say that gown relies on town but town doesn’t rely on gown. Students as a social group are integral to the fabric of Exeter, but that comes with responsibilities to our local community. Those who will be affected by this proposal- I would estimate the majority of Exeter students- have every right to feel angry and betrayed. But all is needed to remedy it are simple changes. Some local residents may feel they need more than a cup of tea or a Zip It poster to feel a link with their Student neighbours. We have to meet the local community halfway if we want our efforts against this unjust proposal to look anything other than hypocritical and half-hearted. Standing in Pennsylvania Road at ridiculous o’clock in the morning singing Rugby chants is something some of us could sacrifice, for example. Until then, I may have to borrow my housemate’s megaphone to ensure a quieter Pennsylvania Road in the small hours of the morning.
international representation and decided to set up an International Student Association to lobby issues to the Guild. Two years on it has developed into an established Guild body known as the ISC (International Students Council), representing all international students at guild level, the highest level of student representation at the University. However, this does not seem to be coming across and hence the question. Whilst it is fair to say not all internationals get involved, the same could be said with regards to home students. Involvement is fundamentally an individual choice. One cannot force others to ‘get involved’; furthermore, they might argue is any of this really important? Who cares about integration and involvement, university is temporary, money doesn’t grow on trees and I came here for a degree not a pub crawl or a culture fix. We like to put people in boxes like our shoes: international and home, two distinct groups developed strongly into two distinct communities or social spheres sharing the same guild and the same university. Though all internationals may be united in their fee status and their dislike of the weather we are, in fact, a mixture of groups and individuals. It is easy to group together with people you have more in common with and internationals may find it more comfortable to be around other interna-
tionals, likewise with home students. So you end up belonging to one of these groups and everything related to this community defines your perception of ‘student life’ overlooking what else is out there. This is not to say that people and societies from either side do not attempt to cross this divide and do so very successfully. The fact is that you will find yourself asking when deciding to get involved in a particular society or group whether it will have any relevance to your university life. As a result the perceptions from either side differ: internationals may argue that they do get involved, home students may disagree, why so? because involvement individual or group is on the level of the communities of which they are a part. It is difficult to judge when we are looking at involvement from two distinct viewpoints; in the same way a home student sees a lack of involvement because international presence is limited in, say, Exeposé, internationals will find the same in the minimal presence of home students at international events or in their societies. We can’t shout out involvement and integration and see who gets there first either, but we can start opening up the question and asking home students about whether they see this lack of involvement as an issue and whether they consider getting involved in international activities.
Dotted around campus this week you are sure to have seen the lovely Stop AIDS committee in our fetching red and white T-shirts, buckets in hand, kindly asking you to donate money for World AIDS Week. The generosity of the students is not surprising, but what is surprising is the
lack of awareness that surrounds this week and, more specifically, World AIDS Day which is 1st December. The frightening reality is that there are more than 90,000 people living with HIV in the UK and new infections are continuing to increase every year. This is the year that the G8 leaders have promised to provide Universal Access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support. Yet this year alone over 400,000 children became infected with HIV. The vast majority of these children contract the virus when
they are born or when breast feeding. But deaths like this can be prevented with simple treatment and care. Student Stop AIDS Societies are uniting throughout the country and are campaigning for “Push for the Pool” which aims to stop pharmaceutical companies charging exorbitant prices for essential medical treatment without sacrificing quality. The focus of World AIDS Day 2010 is to raise awareness not only within the university, but across the country, to tackle HIV prejudice and to help stop the spread of HIV.
holders of degrees, but the society in which those educated people live. 2. That it is a continuation of the policies of marginalisation and stigmatisation of youth; first the ‘Yobs’ and ‘Chavs’ – now the student population are being cut out of Society showing a lack of belief in the agency of students – in our potential to unite, to fight, and to organise. 3. That it denies involvement at the Political as well as the Social level – that it strips (or attempts to strip) the ability
to engage and protest, and to take action against the elements of reality that are oppressive. In the majority of those universities under some form of occupation the academic staff are standing behind their student protesters: at Cambridge this week a Don was conspicuously marking scripts in full academic attire right outside the occupied room in order to dissuade heavy-handed security staff from using violent force against the students. Despite attempts to barricade the rooms, unlawful blocking of fire exits, the turning off of power and water supplies to occupied premises and the
attempt to deny food supplies coming in to the students; the occupations continue – Manchester has pensioner groups supporting them, proving that this protest against the carving up and marketisation of all of our futures is shared across all age groups and sectors of Society. I’m not directing Exeter students to occupy buildings or engage in radical action, but spare some thought for others fighting for the future – and even if we lose this fight we can remember the way that we have tried to take action with peaceful means despite our anger and hope that others can learn from that.
Yasmin Ismail ISC President There’s a question that keeps cropping up: ‘why aren’t international students more involved in student life?’ In the current climate of ‘internationalisation’ and the desire from all sides for greater integration, these questions have a sense of urgency to them. It is almost as though solving them can provide a means to integration. Yet this word is never properly defined and perhaps needs to be otherwise we are left to judge based on our perceptions. At a first attempt I would argue of course international students get involved on both a group and individual basis. The number of international societies being set up has risen and established ones, such as the International Society, can lay claim to being some of the largest on campus. Furthermore in the last few years we can point to the growth in bigger and more diverse events that aim to involve not only internationals but home students and even local residents, Chinese New Year being a case in point. On an individual level, I could argue that three years ago an international student felt there was a lack of
The Importance of Stop AIDS Alexandra MacHugh Stop Aids Fundraising Officer
Peaceful protest is the only way Gary McLachlan PGU President At the time of writing, there are more than a dozen universities undergoing some form of student occupation as direct action in protest against both the cuts and the fees increase. At Newcastle University, Dr. Peter Hopkins (Sen-
ior Lecturer, Social Geography) gave a lecture to the assembled protesters in the Fine Arts Lecture Theatre (under occupation) – combining the contradictions in the Browne Review alongside the social theory of young people three charges were made: 1. That the Browne Review is against education as a common good. The continued marketisation of education in keeping with neo-liberalist individualism removes the argument that education in and of itself benefits not just the
December 6 2010 Exeposé
The Death of Shakespeare Alex Wynick The beginning of second year, and after “How was your summer?” the first question from your fellow students is, “What modules did you get?” For second year English students, one of the most sought-after modules is Shakespeare and Renaissance Comedy, precursor to the third year module Shakespeare and Renaissance Tragedy, often attracting envious groans, “I applied, but it was full…” This is hardly surprising, being the most Shakespeare-focused module of the term, with only one other featuring the famous bard. Whilst many English Literature students have no desire to study Shakespeare, for many Britain’s most successful playwright is why they chose the subject in the first place. So, with this module rejecting applicants and filling lecture theatres, it is baffling for students to learn that the university is closing the module down, this current term being the last class for fans of Twelfth Night, Merchant of Venice and other popular comedies of the era. The reason for scrapping the module is that a first year module featuring two Shakespeare plays is making its debut next year. This means that there aren’t enough staff to cover
the extra module, so out of a choice of three modules, Shakespeare and Renaissance Comedy was chosen by vote to be dropped. The modules that were chosen to be kept are first-term module Desire and Power and secondterm Renaissance and Revolution, other modules of a similar Elizabethan – Jacobean era that do not give such a focus on Shakespearean drama.
“It is baffling to learn that the University is closing the module down” Some students who are lucky enough to be enrolled on both first-term Renaissance Comedy and Desire and Power modules argue that the content is similar, so it is not strictly necessary to have two separate modules covering a similar time period. However, competition was high enough to gain places on two similar modules, and so if the selection of first-term Renaissance modules is halved then there will be dozens of students unable to study the iconic literary figure that is Shakespeare. I wonder, with Shakespeare starting to feature less and less in English Literature courses all over the country, whether future students will welcome the diminishing appreciation of Britain’s most recognised literary hero.
Letters to the Editors - Send your letters to email@example.com Amnesty response to ‘Arms Companies on Campus’ Exeposé, I was genuinely insulted by Jack Bennett’s defence of the arms companies EADS, QinetiQ and Thales Group being represented at the careers fair, and his complete disdain of the societies which campaigned against it. His attempt to “set the record straight” was, in fact, little more than an apology for human rights abuse. I feel compelled to really set the record straight by presenting the facts, rather than Bennett’s distortion of the real issues. Firstly, Mr Bennett talks of his “basic right” to communicate with arms companies being infringed by humanitarian protestors. Nothing of the sort occurred. No students were barred or impinged in any way from reaching the arms company stalls. All that Amnesty, UNICEF, Speak and the other societies did was to raise student awareness through leafleting. Secondly, no society involved in this demonstration has ever opposed the arms trade outright. What we do object to is how these companies have made enormous profits from supporting those regimes with a heavily muddied human rights record – particularly, in light of the recent parody of democratic elections, the Burmese military dictatorship. Thirdly, Mr Bennett also seems to excuse these arms traders on the
grounds that they provide diverse services in other sectors; communications, security and surveillance. This is entirely illogical – a persistent immoral act is not justified by a series of morally neutral ones. Mr Bennett may be content, after university, to become excessively rich by sustaining oppressive regimes in the developing world, but I am confident the majority of students at this university would not. This group of societies does not seek to impose views on anyone – we are entirely committed to effect change through providing students with the full story. I just hope that the rest of XEng, unlike their president, prioritise human rights over profit. James Bartholomeusz Question degree quality Exeposé, With tuition fees the hitting the headlines and the government, for the time being, steadfast in its intention to raise the tuition fee ceiling, now is the time to move the focus of the debate. Let us not debate fees but how we can increase the quality of our education. Perhaps, when we give more to our university we will ask for more. Are we acutely aware of the how our degree is shaping or is too much time passed in a hazy drunken stupor? Be under no illusion, I love Wednesday night Timepiece. However, from the platform of an empty timetable,
my lecturer is abroad and my tutorial leader caught up at his other university so thank goodness I won’t need too much guidance on that one essay I need to write before Christmas. When you receive an email from a PhD holding academic where definitely is spelt ‘defantely’, it makes you wonder what £3290 is paying for. Regardless of where Exeter set the bar, I hope students accept that we live in austere times and use their greater vested interest to demand higher standards across the board. Don’t get me wrong, fight the cuts! A R Miller Where’s the help when you need it? Exeposé, recently I spent a month organising the fashion shoot for this issue. During this task I couldn’t help but notice those who rushed to lend a hand, and those who shied away. Exeter stores were incredibly helpful when it came to lending us clothes. Conversely, services within the University consistently were not. As one example, I was advised to turn up to that the Old Library at 7pm on Sunday as this was the ideal time to shoot in order not to disturb users. However, when I arrived, the building was shut without warning. If Exeter is going to start charging £6,000 per year and being an expensive service, it had better start acting like one. Laura Le Brocq, Lifestyle Editor
Exeposé WEEK ten
Columba Achilleos-Sarll & Anna-Marie Linnell - firstname.lastname@example.org
Let’s get festive
Mark Carvell celebrates the season to be jolly.
CHRISTMAS is coming, the geese are getting fat, it’s getting bloody freezing and the shops start selling tat. It’s that time of year again: everyone spends copious amounts of money, eats endless amounts of food and exchanges often quite useless and unwanted gifts. So what is it then about the festive season that annually gives us all that feeling of being an excited four-year-old once more? As a male, I feel quite a heavy expectation upon me to hate shopping. It is a serious loss of those valuable “man points” to stand up and say: actually guys, I think I’ll give the rugby a miss today. I’m going for some retail therapy. Don’t get me wrong - I’ve never said that! But I must confess to a slight guilty pleasure when it comes to Christmas shopping. From mid-November, every respectable shop plays some form of festive background music, whether it be a subtle bit of ‘Stay Another Day’ or the full on ‘Fairytale of New York’, which serves as a catalyst for seasonal excitement. If that isn’t enough to give you that Christmassy feeling, then the token brass band playing carols in the high street or the fake snow and decorations that appear everywhere will surely have the desired effect. Once we are enticed into the aforementioned shops, there begins the dilemma of what to buy people. No one wants a useless present, but more heart-wrenching than opening a useless present is to sit there watching someone else open the unwanted present that you bought them and seeing their face fill with false happiness in an attempt to
mask the disappointment. For this reason alone, as a man, I try to bite the bullet and invest both time and effort - and avoid the temptation to buy a different Boots gift set for everyone. I don’t know about you, but I’m more of a giver than a receiver. My girlfriend loves it. Obviously I’m talking in terms of presents here, but I would much rather give a satisfactory present than receive one. It’s true: we all get that content feeling of achievement when we genuinely make someone happy with a worthwhile gift.
At the same time, when put into contention with the traditional Christmas dinner, presents come in a clear second place. No other meal even comes close to the huge mountain of food that we all plough our way through on December 25 every year. This delicious gluttony can be summed up in no better way than with the following phrase: pigs in blankets. There is also a ‘festive smell’ that lingers from early December to late January. It is comprised of aging decorations, pine needles, turkey, mince pies,
alcohol, and some kind of unknown, undefined drug that makes us suddenly think that Brussels sprouts are acceptable to eat. It has become a phenomena throughout the UK to have unofficial neighbourhood competitions as to who will have the most extravagant decorations and Christmas lights - displayed in the windows, in the gardens, hung from the guttering and wrapped around the walls. Sometimes even splayed across the roof. These range from simple fairy lights to enormous inflatable Santas that Cartoon: Nene Fisher. ‘Christmas comes to Exeter’
are positioned next to a chimney. Despite the obvious costs to the environment, let alone to our bank balances, of these decorations, as soon as they start appearing from around late November, the countdown to the 25th begins. The mere sight of them adds to that festive tingle of excitement. The pinnacle of the big day buildup, however, occurs for me on Christmas Eve. Being the shamefully bad Christian that I am, one of the few times I attend Church every year is for the Nativity service on December 24. Locals flock to sing carols and wish the proverbial ‘Good will to all men’, seeming to remember what Christmas really is about. Of course, we cannot forget that seasonal materialistic charade did originate as a celebration of the birth of Jesus. As people gather in the church to commemorate the event on the eve of Christmas every year, it satisfies us to remember this. Ironically, it has become an annual tradition for my family to go for a session in the nearby King’s Head straight after the service, along with the majority of the congregation at our church. This is usually only ended when someone’s mum realises that they have forgotten to baste the turkey. So no matter how you celebrate Christmas this year, whether you spend it meeting family that you haven’t seen for years, whether you eat a lot and then watch your Nan get drunk and get angry over Deal or No Deal, or whether you choose to remember the true meaning of the festivities: have a fantastic time. Merry Christmas!
X marks the lot
Camilla Goodwin evaluates the difference between Xmas and Christmas in our very modern holidays.
A trip through Exeter’s town centre leaves one in no doubt that Christmas is well and truly upon us. Lights are glittering in every shop window, Costa and Starbucks are competing for the best festive hot beverage and the supermarkets are piled high with promotions on turkey, chocolates and every other type of food you could possibly need for the big day. Now I love the long build-up to Christmas as much as anyone, but could the popular term ‘Xmas’ be a more appropriate title for the holiday we celebrate every December? The politically correct festive greeting is no longer “Merry Christmas”, but
instead: “Happy Holidays”. The London Harrods now launches its Christmas stock in late August and the official Christmas period for retail begins in October. For kids, the magic of Christmas revolves around presents. For adults, Christmas is a stressful and expensive time. It seems that an entire month of excited build-up is required to prepare for one day, which is almost over before it has begun. On average, families spend £700 or more at Christmas. Every year Christmas seems to be lost in a whirlwind of consumerism where businesses pull out all the stops in order to extract as much cash as possible from each individual. Instead of Christmas, we now
have Xmas. It would be very easy to get caught up in a cynical whirlwind about Christmas, but is it really all that bad? The intention behind all the gifts, food, decorations and expense is genuine. To find the perfect present is a definite art and many people go out of their way to acquire that unique gift. An extensive amount of food is also required, as the December 25 seems the only day in the calendar when entire families will congregate together. Christmas Day is also the only day when you can walk down a high street and the majority of businesses are closed. For Christians, it is a time to celebrate the birth of Christ at
Church and the underlying meaning of Christmas still thrives. It is just hidden by endless exploitation of holiday materialism. There are many who can’t afford an extravagant Christmas – and Christmas hype makes life very hard for those who have no one to spend the special day with. For students, Christmas appears to adopt a whole new meaning. The prospect of returning home and seeing friends and family is welcomed: Christmas is genuinely more about the people and surroundings than the gifts that may or may not be received. With most of us on an extremely tight student budget, alternatives to glamorous gifts also have
to be found. In many ways the spirit of Christmas is rekindled when you go to university. So should we scrap the term “Christmas” and refer to the holiday period as “Xmas”? Xmas suitably fits a holiday that is filled with money, food, gifts and special offers. However, Christmas still means far more to the majority of people. Presents are bought to bring joy to those close to you, huge meals are prepared to fill the many mouths of a large family and money is spent with the intention of making that one day special and memorable. Surely we can’t be cynical about that.
DECEMBER 6 2010 Exeposé
Matthieu Perry discusses the political developments that have affected Korea throughout 2010. 2010 has been a turbulent year for Korea, with the sinking of the South Korean Cheonan corvette during a skirmish with the North, and the continuation of North Korea’s nuclear programme. But it was the events of November 23 that nearly sent the two sides spiralling into war. North Korea, angered by plans of the US and South Korea to conduct a joint military training exercise near its border launched an artillery attack on the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong, killing two marines and flattening civilian houses. The attack itself did not deter America and the South from conducting their training exercise, but it did highlight the fragility of the border between the two nations. Military training exercises happen regularly between the South and the US, with each occasion attracting condemnation from the North. But, Pyongyang has never seemed to use violent attacks in opposition to these exercises. The decision by the Korean People’s Army to shell the South has confused analysts of the region. So, why did they really launch an attack? The North likes to present themselves to both the outside world and their citizens as a strong, autocratic, powerful nation, but evidence is emerging to suggest the contrary. One issue which North Korea has had to deal with is the failing health of its president, Kim Jong-Il, who in recent photographs
is seen as frail. It was no surprise that he named his successor, his third son, Kim Jong-Un in October. This is clearly a move to ensure that the Kim dynasty stays in power for another generation. This official decision was most likely used to reassert Kim Jong-Il’s authority over the country, as well as assuring the military generals and political elite that he does have a successor to avoid power struggles near to or immediately after his death.
“The decision by the Korean People’s Army to shell the South has confused analysts of the region”
Going from already bad to worse is the increasing economic difficulty that the North is facing. The state ideology of the Juche, enforcing national self-reliance, does not seem to be reaping any benefits. On November 29, the BBC released an online video of a whistleblower in North Korea which showed the population’s desperate need for food. The Government’s attempt to create a successful autarky seems to have failed. The video additionally showed a woman arguing with a police officer, something rarely seen in the North, a country with an au-
The other Iraq
thoritarian regime where anyone criticising the Government is immediately imprisoned. This evidence could explain why Pyongyang is making provocative decisions, such as the attack on Yeonpyeong. This attack could be viewed as a propaganda coup by the North designed to reassert the Government’s supposed strength and power. It seems that for the immediate future, a war between the two Koreas seems possible, but not likely. Emergency six-party talks have been arranged between the North and South, along with Russia, China and Japan to discuss the incidents that occurred throughout 2010. Perhaps then, the nations opposing the North may gain some insight as to why these events took place. Even after these talks, what does the future of North Korea actually hold? Any decisions made will be greatly influenced by China’s stance on the issue. Until late November, China had appeared to be quietly aiding North Korea, up to a point, providing them with some aid. However, leaked diplomatic cables suggest that Beijing prepared to abandon North Korea amidst claims that they have become the ‘spoilt child’ of the
alliance, using the artillery attack to gain attention from the ‘parent’ (China). China has also revealed that the North’s nuclear programme, is contributing to regional instability. The Chinese are hinting that they are willing to sacrifice their North Korean allies in return for an enhanced
chance for peace with the South and the US and stability in the area. It does seem that the North Korean regime is on its last legs, but ideologically, Pyongyang does not want to give up its attempts to be seen as a strong nation and they would not be willing to cede to the South without a fight. This is evidently seen in their large standing army. The weakness in their armed forces, however, lie in the use of outdated Cold War equipment and lack of industrial capacity. If the South and the US, with two modern armed forces, were to go to war against North Korea, it seems likely that they would win - with the North trying to put up a fight. Pyongyang does have one deterrent remaining up its sleeve. Its nuclear weapons programme is a major reason why the South would not want to risk a war. For the time being, it seems that Korea will remain divided, but fortunately a fullscale war has been avoided. As the economic hardships continue, North Korea might be forced to either make compromises with the South, or create more border skirmishes to gain quick propaganda victories. An air of instability however always remains in the region.
As an Exeter undergraduate studying in Iraq, Craig Browne discusses a different side to the country.
THERE was nothing to suggest that I was entering one of the most devastated countries of recent times when I traversed the border between Turkey and Iraq. Perhaps the only real reminder came from a surprised and inquisitive taxi driver, who looked at me and asked: “Are you going to Baghdad?” As an English student studying in Damascus, Iraq, I’m getting the chance to see first-hand the country behind the news reports – and understand some of its differences. The Kurdish region in Northeastern Iraq could almost be a
Craig Browne in the mountains.
different country from the one we hear about in England: a status many Kurds would love. Stunning mountain scenery dominates the landscape in this area of Iraq, which has enjoyed some form of autonomy since 1970. Kurdistan has its own regional government, its own flag, different languages which come under the umbrella of Kurdish and its own army – the Peshmerga, meaning ‘those who face death.’ Kurdish history is peppered with incidences of persecution. This violence reached its nadir under the
Presidency of Saddam Hussein, who terrorised the Kurds for more than a decade before the first Gulf war. Nowhere is this clearer than in the small town of Halabja, situated in the south of Kurdistan. On March 16 1988 over 5,000 people were killed in just a few hours when chemical weapons were dropped over the town. The systematic persecution of the Kurds was a task placed in the hands of Saddam’s cousin, Ali Hassan al-Majid, who became known as ‘Chemical Ali’. Nowadays the once thriving town sits solemnly in the hills with a museum and a controversial monument in place as a memorial to those who died. The region suffered further damage during a power struggle between the two main Kurdish parties, the KDP and the PUK, which ebbed and flowed throughout the 1990s. With such a catalogue of catastrophic recent events, it would be natural to expect to find devastated settlements sprawled across the countryside. Yet cities such as Sulaymaniyah and Erbil are booming, with cranes visible wherever you care to look. The former, in particular, is littered with American-style shopping malls and children as young as 10 dressed to the nines. Considering the precarious position of Kurdistan on the border of Iraq proper, the upward trend in its quality of life could be surprising. Cities which have featured prominently on
the news since the 2003 invasion can be reached within minutes. The nearby Mosul still has the reputation of being one of the most dangerous cities in the world due to its links with terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda. Passing close by felt slightly uncomfortable.
“With such a catalogue of catastrophic recent events, it would be natural to expect to find devastated settlements sprawled across the countryside. Yet cities such as Sulaymaniyah and Erbil are booming” Separation from Iraq is high up in the Kurdish political agenda. Surrounded by vast oil fields and with a predominantly Kurdish population, the city of Kirkuk is central to this plan. The Kurdish Government has been trying to annexe the city for some time. With Kirkuk as its capital and the revenue gained from the oil fields, Kurdistan would really be able to take off and put its tragic past behind it. This desire has led to major humanitarian issues, with accusations of ethnic cleansing targeted at the Kurdish Government.
Yet this will be an important issue over the next few decades. While Kurdistan has blossomed in recent years, Iraq has plunged further into chaos. International flights regularly land in Erbil and Sulaymaniyah, albeit with a ‘corkscrew’ landing for security reasons, while an extremely elusive Visa and a very good reason are required to enter Arab Iraqi cities like Baghdad, Basra and Tikrit. The Kurds want their own country, but at the same time seem resigned to an economic connection with the Republic of Iraq. The Kurds are settled in an area encompassing parts of Syria, Turkey, Iraq and Iran, so it is highly improbable that they will achieve the goal of having their own state: for the time being at least. However, the different and open attitude towards the West is notable in the Kurdish region. It was the ‘no-fly zone’ established over Kurdistan in 1991 by Britain and the United States that really helped to free the Kurds from the shackles of Saddam’s regime. As a Westerner, you cannot walk far without being stopped for a photo or without seeing a football shirt, usually in Barcelona colours. This is a subtly different attitude to the one I receive in Damascus. My recent conversation with the taxi driver ended with him stating, in broken English: “Tony Blair...not good.”
Exeposé week TEN
A dramatic reality
Robin Chu turns an eye to the virtues of reality television.
THE BBC’s mission statement claims that its programmes are designed to “inform, educate and entertain.” So which one is it? Talk of ‘trashy telly’, ‘mindless media’ and ‘relaxing rubbish’ is always regular, but is this actually the case for those who watch television programmes now? Start with popular entertainment. Shows like America’s Next Top Model and I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here! don’t seem to provide much educational value (well, maybe some psychological information), but they do have an audience and are, mostly, entertaining. For those lucky few who watched the new series of I’m a Celebrity, to see politician Lembit Opik attempt to row a boat, or former X Factor gal Stacy Solomon sky-dive (or any task Gillian McKeith took part in) was undoubtedly funny. If we consider the most popular shows on television at present and the shows we will be faced with during our Christmas break, the priorities of television become clearer. The Apprentice, as the BBC’s flagship reality show, is highly regarded. It centres on businessmen and women who compete for the chance to get a real job for Lord Alan Sugar, but even this has taken rounds of criticism recently. With only half an hour dedicated to the tasks competitors complete, and half the show given to the boardroom scene,
there is less substance to the show. Rather than summing up the affairs of the boardroom, which was the case during its BBC Two days, the show now focuses on the squabbles, drama and bickering of the contestants rather than what supposedly determines a good businessperson. Then look at ITV’s most popular reality show: The X Factor. Until recent evictions, there was a very real possibility that
a certain Wagner Carrilho could win the show. The X Factor courts drama and controversy on a regular basis, through emotional – scripted – scenes and even the instance of the sacking of Louis Walsh… only for him to be soon reinstated. This aspect forms part of The X Factor’s appeal. Whilst Wagner was kept in by the public vote, he also had to get selected from the initial auditions, bootcamp and the judges’ houses round as well as the live shows. Who co-ordinated and ensured all this,
The X Factor production team! In a sense it’s ironic: through an attempt to cash in on publicity and create another Chico, the team has potentially ruined the show’s reputation. Musical talents like Aiden and Paije have been thrown to the wayside for a Mister Carrilho. Such a constant fixation on drama, controversy and publicity has led to drops in television quality. Being informative and educational has seemingly become less important and entertainment figures are increasingly needed to make such programmes
The papal seal
appealing: Andrew Marr did a documentary on John F. Kennedy and the birth of modern politics, whilst the Radio One DJ Scott Mills has just filmed a documentary about homosexuality in Uganda. Undoubtedly informative broadcasting still plays a role in modern television, but its ratings and audience levels are minute compared to more mainstream shows. The X Factors, The Apprentices and the I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here!s dominate primetime television and have become heavily based on style over substance. Yet viewings for some reality shows have declined because of low ratings. The eleventh series of the illustrious Big Brother was declared the last earlier this year, after the show’s popularity hit the rocks. Perhaps the solution to this conundrum of television is to strike a balance. The X Factor can go and find funny auditions in the initial stages, just make sure they don’t reach the live shows. Ensure that the premise of unearthing a ‘recording artist’ is kept to. The show that arguably gets it right is Top Gear. It does court controversy, but maintains its premise: it tests cars which no-one can afford, but also reviews them and so is informative. Before The Apprentice is actually focused on business, or The X Factor on music, there is undoubtedly room for improvement.
Jessica Leung assesses changes to the Pope’s strategy on sexual protection.
IN April this year, the foreign office accidently leaked a fake document which claimed that the Pope would be launching a line of ‘Benedict’ condoms. Cue several sniggers down at the pub. Fastforward a few months and the story is quite different: Pope Benedict XVI has apparently condoned the use of condoms. Only earlier this year Pope Benedict XVI stated that the “cruel epidemic” of HIV/AIDS in Africa should be tackled by abstinence instead of condoms, and that contraception is responsible for the “breakdown of sexual morality.” When 22 million people in Africa are affected with the virus and a fifth of Africans are Roman Catholics, it makes me question whether this is the responsible stance to take. He even said that handing out condoms could make the virus spread quicker as it would promote promiscuity. From life experience, I have found that people are naturally inclined to want sex. Surely then condom use should be encouraged? Catholic law bans contraception as it prevents the potential for life. As a theologian and at the risk of sounding dull and boring, I will stop myself giving you a lecture on how this law came to be. The important thing to note is
that Catholic laws about contraception predate the discovery of HIV/AIDS. However, what the Church has failed to realise is that society is rapidly changing. Nowadays, recreational sex is all over the media. Even the Protestant Church has long acknowledged that sex could simply be an expression of love between married couples. This by no means suggests that we are a society of sin but, rather, a society quickly adapting to the modern day and the morals it brings. For the sake of their followers worldwide, the Catholic Church, as an influential body of morality, should take the discovery of HIV into account and reconsider their laws on contraception. Using condoms for the sake of preventing HIV is different from using condoms to prevent offspring production. In my opinion, these two stand in very different moral orders and should be considered separately. The condom itself should not be the sin. In a recently published book, Light of the World: The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times, the Pope made the revolutionary remark that perhaps condoms are actually justified in exceptional cases. This is big news as these comments were merely expressions of
the Pope’s own opinions and shows he is aware of the problems that banning contraception could create. The Pope addresses his worry of the banalisation of sexuality and how sex is “no longer an expression of love”; he believes that condoning the use of condoms in certain cases is an “awareness that not everything is allowed and that one cannot do whatever one wants.” It is good to see that the Pope has finally acknowledged that there is an underlying health problem and that perhaps c o n doms are a necessary solution. It is interesting to see what he means by exceptional
cases; perhaps people suffering from HIV in Africa could be one. No, surprisingly the Pope cites the example of male prostitutes as an exceptional case. This further sparks controversy as to whether the Pope accepts homosexuality and prostitution. I feel he will need to clarify his meaning behind such a radical statement. Regardless of the limits of this “condom-allowed” category, at least the Papacy’s acknowledgement of the problem is a positive step towards the prevention of the HIV virus. The public’s opinion is definitely divided. A f t e r all, what would such a controversial topic be without a bit of dispute from the masses? UNAIDS, the United Na-
tions’ programme on AIDS prevention applauded the Pope and believes that this is the push that many Catholics in Africa need to prevent the spread of HIV.
“The Papacy’s acknowledgement of the problem is a positive step towards the prevention of the HIV virus” Many Catholics also agree with what the Pope has said and believe that condoms are necessary in this situation. Many Catholics questioned in Africa however felt differently. One said that he was not afraid of sickness but feared the law of God more. Regardless of the Pope’s opinions, people are willing to sacrifice their lives to adhere to God’s law. Therefore, was it a mistake by the Pope to condemn the use of condoms so vigorously in the past? Perhaps. However, the Pope’s opinion on this matter is an encouraging step for AIDS awareness and is the change that many need to realise the urgency of preventing HIV/ AIDS.
December 6 2010
The Polar Express
Joe Jones tells a tale of the Arctic unknown.
It is not a case of feeling in the middle of nowhere; it’s more a case of feeling on the edge of something. Only few of the great writers about the Arctic seem capable of narrowness or parochialism. Perhaps there will never be a portrayal that depicts the true beauty in its entirety; the frozen fjords, the never-ending ice flows, its sweeping glaciers and its intimidating mountains. Svalbard is an archipelago owned by Norway that lays only 800km from the magnetic north pole, well inside the Arctic Circle. Its polar bear population exceeds double that of the human population, and instead of road signs warning of hidden dips or 30mph speed zones you are greeted with signs bearing warning to these great mammals. With 24 hours darkness in the winter and 24 hours daylight in summer, it is a unique environment. can Temperatures plummet to -40°C, and with only a light wind it can drop down to around -60°C. It truly is one of the most hostile places on earth, where only the toughest can survive. As our plane touched down on the heated runway, it dawned on me that for the time being, from inside a tent, this would be the place
I’d call home, with no form of contact with the outside world and certainly none of its luxuries. Three months without a shower would take its toll. Bravo (current location) – Bottom of Knorringbreen. Foxtrot (today’s aims) – Summiting Mt. Kneusen. Reaching the peak of Kneusen was the culmination of three weeks mountaineering around the Adventdalen valley. Amongst glaciological and ecological research, mountaineering was high up on the trips
agenda. Learning the requirements to climb on snow and ice at cold temperatures, and sometimespoor visibility and high winds, takes time. The use of crampons and ice axes, the different knots and rope work needed and navigation in the mountains takes years of hard work to perfect. But we were obviously eager to put our preparation into practice. Stepping over the trip flares, surrounding our camp to hopefully warn off any potential inquisitive bears, we left camp excited about the day ahead. The hike to the base of the mountain
was around 10km. These long periods were spent reflecting, pondering life and coming up with new ways to entertain ourselves. Sometimes you’ll amaze yourself about how the same song can remain entertaining in your head for hours on end, or sometimes we would amaze ourselves at our outrageous attempts to try and guess what the headlines of the day would be. Either way the time always seemed to go fast, and soon Kneusen was casting its shadow over us. Reaching the base of Kneusen was awesome. The weather had closed in and the wind had picked up, anticipation was high. However, after a bag of peanuts and a snickers there was nothing stopping us getting on our way. We headed up from the North, and stuck closely to the ridgeline as the visibility was continually deteriorating. Although making it slower and colder, the weather did give us a sense of what the Arctic can throw at you, and undoubtedly made it more exciting. After a few hours we stopped to check the
altimeter and concluded that we were only a few hundred metres from the summit. We quickly grabbed a bite to eat, for me a flapjack and another 500 calories down, not even half way to the daily 5500 total! We buried our rucksacks to make us more stable on our feet, as the ridge looked as if it was getting significantly steeper up to the summit; onwards and upwards. If I was to pick highlights from the expedition this push for the summit would certainly be a contender, rivalled only by others such as sleeping in an 8 man snow hole or climbing and skiing a 5km glacier, to give just a couple of examples. The gradient of the icy wall ascending in front of us forced us down to hands and knees, using our axes to cut steps upwards. Exhausting work for whoever is leading at the time, however, a welcomed rest when not leading to see a perfectly cut
ladder being cut above you. Roped up, we made slow but steady progress to the top. Taking 40 minutes to ascend the last few hundred metres, we eventually reached the summit and were elated to be there. We had climbed up and out of the clouds and were greeted by the suns rays shimmering off the ice at the top. Standing in silence, we listened to the wind howling through our ears and watched the mesmerising spindrift gushing around energetically as the wind blew it up and over the ridgeline. The clouds beneath had sunk deep into the valleys and were so extensive that they covered all but the significant peaks, sticking out to remind us that we hadn’t reached heaven. However, a famous French mountaineer once said, “I’d rather be in the mountains thinking about God, than in Church thinking about the mountains.” This certainly rang true in my head.
Thunder, lightning and all things frightening Sophie Duncan looks back on 2010 as a year of natural disasters.
THE word ‘disaster’ is not one that most would like to associate with the year 2010. Yet it is a word that has consistently dominated headlines. Over the past 12 months, countries and climates the world over have fallen victim to the powers of nature. Not two weeks into the year and the world was struck by images of the devastating aftermath of the Haitian earthquake. The USA, Britain and France were among many developed nations that vowed to mobilise immediate aid, while celebrities such as Shakira made public visits to quake victims. Despite global recognition of Haiti’s desperation, spread of disease amongst those left homeless proved too much to contain and cholera was confirmed in the capital, Port-au-Prince. In February the Earth shook again, this time beneath Chile. With a magnitude of 8.8 on the Richter scale, the quake was significantly stronger than that of the previous month in Haiti,
which measured 7.0. However, focus of the Chilean earthquake was 21 miles underground, off-shore and 70 miles from the nearest major city, Concepción. In Haiti, meanwhile, the epicentre was just eight miles underground and located right on the edge of Port-auPrince. Haiti also suffered to a greater extent as Chile is the more developed of the two nations and introduced a seismic design code for new buildings following a previous earthquake in the 1960s, which has made them more resistant to disasters. But there was more to come for Chile. On August 5, 700,000 tons of rock caved in and left 33 men trapped in a copper mine under the Atacama Desert. The saga that ensued was followed by millions as rescue workers toiled to find and retrieve the miners. When at last they emerged on October 13, they were welcomed as heroes and met with the relief of a country burdened with more than its fair share of natural disaster this year.
August was filled not only with coverage of the Chilean miners’ story, but the suffering of another nation halfway across the world. Relentless flooding in Pakistan reduced millions to homelessness. Just as Haitians are still battling against a cholera epidemic, so too Pakistanis are desperately seeking to rebuild their lives - not least in certain areas that aid has still failed to reach. There has since been little respite as far as natural disasters are concerned and some have occurred in fast succession. On Monday October 18 the Philippines declared a state of calamity after ‘supertyphoon’ Megi destroyed buildings and killed at least ten people, with winds in excess of 155 mph. In the same week, 100,000 were driven from their homes by heavy rain on the Chinese island of Hainan and flash floods hit Thailand and Vietnam. Just the following Monday, an earthquake in Indonesia triggered a ten foot tsunami that killed at least 272 people. At least 30 more people were
killed by a volcanic eruption hours later. Scientists have said the volcanic eruption was almost certainly not triggered by the earthquake. Seismologist Brian Baptie asserts: “Indonesia is one of the most seismically active places on Earth, so there’s always going to be a chance of a volcano erupting around the same time as an earthquake.”
“There has been little respite as far as natural disasters are concerned and some have occured in fast succession” Such disasters have not only been witnessed by the West through television campaigns: one particular event brought western life as we know it close to standstill. From April 14 to mid-May, the Icelandic ash cloud sparked a controversially extensive flight ban and the largest transportation crisis in modern-day Europe.
As 2010 draws to a close, the year threatens to end in a strikingly similar manner to its beginnings for Britain. Early January saw a severe, prolonged spell of cold weather. Focus fell on lack of roadside grit, working days lost and UCAS even went so far as to extend the deadline for university applications by a week. Likewise, over the past fortnight the UK has received the earliest widespread snowfall for 17 years. To use the term ‘disaster’ for England does not really fit and the consequences of the Haitian earthquake and the flooding in Pakistan are far more disastrous than British blizzards and the disruption caused by the ash cloud to otherwise safe and healthy people. Nevertheless, 2010 has seen unprecedented environmental destruction. Anomalous destruction, perhaps, but this has certainly been a year in which nature has made herself known.
STUDENTS URGED NOT TO LET A BIG NIGHT OUT HAVE A NEGATIVE IMPACT ON THEIR FUTURE
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You are one, two or three years into your Uni course, everything is going well and your thoughts seldom stray further than when and where you and your mates will be going next for a big night out. So, if you thought that night on the razzle could have a significant effect on your future prospects, you would be daft not to think about how you behaved during it – wouldn’t you? Planning isn’t big in most students minds but if you ask what the future holds you can bet a large proportion will have travelling or earning money high on their wish lists. But every year many students put their long-term future into jeopardy by falling foul of the law during their shortterm quest for fun. This can have a massive impact on your ability to broaden geographic horizons or get your foot onto the employment ladder further down the line. Some types of behaviour that can lead you into trouble with the law are: • • • • •
Violence Disorderly behaviour and urinating in a public place Vandalism and littering Theft of road sign and traffic cones Drinking in a public place
Devon and Cornwall Police is urging all students to think about the ramifications that picking up a criminal record can have when it comes to applying for travel visas or jobs. “It is important for students to understand what it can mean for them if they get a criminal record,” said Bob Bunney, Force Crime Reduction Advisor. “It is really easy for someone to get mixed up in what seems like high-jinks on a big night out and get involved in something they wouldn’t dream of doing in the cold light of day.” “But one person’s high-jinks are another’s anti-social behaviour and that can easily bring a person of previously unblemished character to the attention of the police.” “Fighting, vandalism, being disorderly, drinking or urinating in a public place and theft of road signs or cones are all behaviours likely to result in a written warning, caution, fixed penalty or court appearance.” Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA are just four of the countries who may turn down a visa application if an individual has any of the above next to their name. “A criminal record can severely restrict an individual’s ability to travel but it’s not just that, more and more employers are insisting on CRB checks for future employees and it would be a great shame for someone’s whole career to fall at the first hurdle due to one night of indiscretion” said Bob Bunney.
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December 6 2010
Laura Le Brocq & Clare Mullins - email@example.com
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Samantha Brook cooks up some festive biscuits to celebrate St Nicholas Day, Michaela Tye gives some inspiration for the 12 gifts of Christmas on a budget, and Lifestyle gives you a rundown of some handy Christmas present websites. WITH everyone concentrating on the upcoming Christmas festivities, December 5 and 6 often go by without much notice, unless of course you hail from one of the numerous countries around the world which enthusiastically celebrate St Nicholas Day. That said, we English are certainly starting to get into the spirit of things; Canterbury Cathedral set up a festival in 2001 and many Churches named after Saint Nicholas participate in some sort of annual revelling. Exposed to the cultural delights of the occasion by German and Dutch friends, December 5 and 6 have always been exciting days in my calendar. For those not aware, the celebrations on December 5 and 6 occur to mark the life of Saint Nicholas, Bishop of Myra in South Turkey, who took Christianity to heart and spent his inheritance on those in need showing a particular love for children. Modern day St Nicholas festivities are all about fun, goodwill, present sharing and biscuits. Traditions differ but in many countries children put out their shoes on the night of the 5th and if they’ve been good in the morning they will be filled with nuts, fruits and sweeties, but if they’ve been naughty they will just find a lump of coal or potato. Often someone dressed as Saint Nicholas will question the children about their behav-
iour and if they have done well they will get a present. So whether you celebrate Saint Nicholas Day every year or not, what about baking a biscuit and giving a thought to the original Turkish Santa Claus who died around 345AD on December 6. Without him, Winter for many of us wouldn’t be half as merry and magical.
BUYING presents at Christmas is always difficult, but being a student, it’s twice as hard. Not only do you have the worry of finding the perfect gift, but you also have to think about the perfect price. Not everyone has a budget like Father Christmas. If you’re in search of a budget-conscious but meaningful present then here are some suggestions.
1. Make DIY coupons: this could be breakfast in bed, a promise to do their laundry, or even something naughtier!
Ingredients: - 250g flour - 100g butter - 50g sugar - 50g soft dark brown sugar - 1 tsp baking powder - ½ tsp bicarbonate soda - 2 to 3 tbsps milk - 3 tsps spice mixture (1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon, ½ tsp ground cloves, 1/3 tsp nutmeg, ¼ tsp ground white pepper, ½ tsp aniseed powder, ¼ tsp ginger) - Pinch of salt 1. Preheat oven to 175°C or gas mark 4. 2. Mix all ingredients in a bowl to make a ball of dough. 3. Roll out and cut with a biscuit cutter. 4. Put on greased baking tray. 5. Bake for about 15-20 minutes. 6. Allow to cool a little, then eat!
other box of chocolates.
6. Scavenger hunt: use post-its with clues on them to have your friend searching all over the house and lead them to the sofa with their favourite film and a big bowl of popcorn. 7. Make ornaments using salt dough (2 cups of flour, 1 cup of salt, 1 cup of water, 1 tbsp veg oil). These could be action figures of the people you are making them for, or just sentimental ornaments.
2. Get Creative: write them a poem or draw them a picture. It doesn’t have to be amazing, and whether it’s funny or sentimental, just make it meaningful. If you’re not the best artist in the world, you can just say it was a collaborative effort with a younger sibling.
8. Learn to knit. Last year my friend gave me a pair of hand-knitted socks. They were my favourite gift.
3. Get baking: everyone would love cake, or cookies, or fudge, or brownies, or biscuits, or gingerbread.
10. Lend your skills. Are you a good cook? Can you sew? Offer these skills to a friend at a time of their choosing!
4. Create a scrapbook: put together photos and memories of your relationship with the person, and give it to them.
11. Create a playlist of meaningful or hilarious songs and present them in a handmade CD case. It doesn’t have to be an embarrassing teenage mix tape.
5. Decorate a plant pot with a bulb planted inside, and present it along with handwritten instructions of how to look after it. Your present will last longer than an-
9. Wrap a bow around yourself. Present yourself to your chosen recipient. They’ll be lucky to have you.
12. If you’re really short on cash, just give them a big hug or kiss, and hope they appreciate that it’s the thought that counts.
GET clicky! These websites are a useful tool in the Christmas present hunt. www.notonthehighstreet.com An ideal start to the hunt. Plenty of pretty things for female relatives, and quirky gifts. We love the dunk mug with a shelf to store your biscuit. www.iwantoneofthose.com The go-to place for gadgets with a twist. Their lightsaber or Twilight stars light-up umbrellas will keep your housemate dry and light their way home through the Devon winter. www.presentsformen.com This website provides hundreds of alternatives to getting your Dad his annual pair of socks. There’s everything from awesome golf balls to crap joke toilet roll. www.firebox.com A collection of objects that includes Baconnaise - ‘if bacon came in a jar’ - can be found here. What more could your brother need? Perhaps a ‘Le Whif chocolate inhaler’ ? www.totally-funky.co.uk For your sister, the mini ‘blow monkey’ nail dryer, or the ‘hamster bedwarmer’ are ideal.
Living la vida loca in South America
Take a trip and escape the cold British winter with Emma Sorrell’s mini guide to travelling South America.
WHEN it comes to travelling you probably want to see and experience as much as you can for as little money and hassle as possible. Travelling South America is a crash course for the intrepid tourist: if there were pitfalls, we found them; if there were direct routes, we failed to notice them. As our travelling mistakes and ill-advised 48-hour bus journeys became simply bad memories we emerged as more experienced and wiser travellers. For some seriously useful travelling tips, wherever you’re headed, read on.
1. Budget - This may sound obvious but the novelty of everything being a fraction of the price it is in the UK can lead to deranged shopping trip attacks; symptoms include the desire to buy 20 pairs of traveller pants, a wall hanging of a llama and ten knitted scarves, just because they are so cheap! Whilst it might be lovely to have all this in a chilly mountain market village, when you’re back at sea level and it’s 35 degrees, having all that knitwear isn’t so fun. Nor is trying to persuade the lovely man at the airport that he should let you on the plane even though your
baggage allowance is 6kg over. Souvenir sensibly.
2. Vary your trip – Try and mix up the destinations. Spending two months in a rainforest lodge may be amazing, but if you can fit in a trip to a city and some rural villages your overall experience of the country/continent will feel much more complete. 3. Follow the festivals! – In many South American countries boring bank holidays are replaced with fiestas specific to local towns. In Ecuador almost every village, town and city has its own “Fiesta” celebrating when it was founded or gained independence from Spain. The main fiesta of the year is Carnival in February, celebrated across most of South America. In Brazil there’s the famous samba parade, an amazing spectacle, although be prepared to pay as room prices rocket over Carnival week. In other countries the fiesta means a giant water fight where you are never safe from water bombs or little kids with silly string. It feels like everyone gets involved and the
parades are fantastic! If travelling during a fiesta, especially Carnival, make sure you book ahead otherwise you might get ripped off or be left trawling the streets with a backpack at 10 at night and missing out on the fun.
4. Travel at night – To avoid wasting time when travelling long distances, do it at night. With buses, make sure you use a recommended company and make sure it doesn’t stop at more than one place on the way. Having people hop on and off all through the night with crying babies, sacks of rice and the odd animal may seem like part of the experience for the first half an hour, but when you get bored of seeing people coming and going and want to sleep you will not appreciate it! 5. Plan your connections in advance – Although be prepared for the unexpected. It’s great to be flexible in where you’re going, so if you meet cool people or find a place where there’s lots to do you can stay a bit longer or detour. However, when you do feel it’s time to move on, try and find out bus times a day in advance. You
don’t want to get to a bus station in the middle of nowhere to change buses and find out there’s not another one for a day - a lot of time to spend in a backwater village with one shop, a church and nowhere to leave your luggage.
6. Take lots of photos. And keep a diary. If successful, memories of your travels will be with you the rest of your life, but it’s great to be able to look back through photos and remember the name of the places you went to.
Exeposé week TEN
Wouldn’t it be great if...
‘Simon Cowell didn’t control Christmas’ Lifestyle’s new columnist, Cyan Turan, hypothesises on one of life’s many great what ifs...
NOW in its seventh year, The X Factor has once more taken over our TV screens in the ubiquitous Christmas countdown. It’s difficult to avoid this whirlwind of pseudo-celebrity hysteria as Cowell and co. march into our lives every year, bringing with them a stream of cyclical carnage from which I often wonder if I’ll ever be free. I could probably manage if The X Factor was just an innocent TV programme. But it isn’t. I can’t talk to my family on weekend evenings anymore and facebook is a no-go zone, particularly if there is a ‘shock’ elimination, Cheryl has adopted Minnie Mouse’s ears or Louis has had another binge on the Just For Men. Not to mention the poor old genuine recording artists who struggle to reach No. 24 in the charts at Christmas, thanks to Cowell and his merry band of generic wannabes. And woe betide me if I want to eat breakfast without Jedward gazing out of the window of a sad, sorry advent calendar. I bet Cowell is elated that we already managed to abbreviate Christmas to ‘Xmas’ ourselves; that’s one X-Factor related prefix that needs no further attention. Perhaps we’re all subconscious suckers to the corporate machine - especially here at EXeter University. Of course I only intend to use The X Factor as a symbolic metaphor for all that is wrong with Christmas in the glittering spectacle that is the 21st century. I’m not a raging Scrooge - in fact I love Christmas. From around Decem-
Campus Style OUR roving photographer and Lifestyle team bring you the best style on campus! The snow has finally arrived and brought out those toasty outfits. Whether it’s a onesie (“I’m only wearing it for a bet!”) a woolly hat or a fur coat, these students know how to stay stylish in the snow. [Centre] Name: [Left] Studying: Name: Wednesday Darling. What she’s wearing: Studying: English, 1st year. [Centre] Names: Megumi Kubota and Sachie Tsuda. Studying: English INTO. [Right] Name: Zoe Wolstenholme. Studying: English, 1st year.
ber 20 to January 5, I am happy as a 12-year-old girl in the front row of a Justin Bieber concert. However, given that decorations start to appear in shops in early September and the ‘January’ sales continue well into March, it pretty much occupies half the year. I think that Christmas needs stripping back, not to its religious beginnings, but to what makes it special, year after year.
“From around December 20 to January 5, I am happy as a 12-yearold girl in the front row of a Justin Bieber concert.” ‘X-Factorisation’ as it shall henceforth be known, takes Christmas away from family, food, community and the exchanging of gifts and turns it into an unrelenting commercial juggernaut. I don’t want to see the world turned into an apocalyptic vision of red, green and gold, but I do want to make mince pies and drink mulled wine. There is a difference. A certain air of joie de vivre pervades around this time of year, but the moans of ‘Tesco had tinsel up in August this year! August, would you believe it!’ mar what otherwise would be an intrinsically warm and fuzzy feeling. We don’t need the excess and we defi-
nitely don’t need Terry’s to bring out four different flavours of Chocolate Orange, when Milk is always going to be the best anyway. I don’t want an überdeluxe cracker containing a bejewelled crown and a full size chess board and I would rather buy my little sister something more tasteful than a JLS album. Christmas is a brilliant excuse for catching up with family, visiting friends that have been unintentionally neglected and spending time on things that really matter. Simon Cowell wouldn’t have it this way. He wants you all to eschew Saturday and Sunday night invitations and stampede around HMV buying thousands of copies of The X Factor winner’s Christmas single, which will undoubtedly reach No. 1 unless a global campaign blights chart domination. There’s also a sense of ‘togetherness’ that is forgotten through X-Factorisation. Those of us without bottomless wallets can still enjoy Christmas to the maximum because it shouldn’t be about the biggest or most expensive present. It’s about enjoying what you’ve got with the people that you have. This year in particular, the spending cuts have ensured that extravagancy is no longer relevant. If you expend vast amounts on the products of X-Factorisation then redundancy will not a merry Christmas make. More so than ever, we need to ignore the bells and whistles of Simon Cowell’s monotonous, materialistic venture in order to find that satisfaction is gained whilst beating tipsy relatives at Trivial Pursuit.
Powderham Ball Alex Hargreaves on next year’s big event.
SET in the magnificent splendour of Devonshire’s countryside, Powderham Castle exudes a magical quality that makes it an ideal setting to stage a ball. Having previously been the ‘must attend’ event of the Spring term, the Powderham Ball has lain dormant for the last two years. But finally this sleeping beauty of an event has been given the kiss of life and has been reawoken; set to be more splendid than ever before. Coming to Exeter in March 2011, the Powderham committee is busy behind the scenes creating an event that will bring the Ball back in style. This year Powderham Ball will take the form of a crazy carnival-themed evening. Just to whet your appetite we have fairground rides, stilt walkers, caricaturists and a chill-out teepee tent; it certainly beats your average night in Arena. With acts to be revealed you will be taken to the floor to dance the night away – all of this at a venue that none of Exeter’s other annual balls can boast. So aside from a night of mystery carnival-themed fun why else should you leave the confines of Exeter and come to a night at Powderham Castle? For the committee the main goal of the
Ball is not only to provide a night you’ll never forget but also to raise a large sum of money through RAG for charity. We feel this is a unique fundraising opportunity and therefore have decided to split the charity proceeds three ways so as to reach out to as many people as possible. We have decided to give money to a local, national and international charity. These are: Headway Devon - a brain injury support unit that provides care to victims and their families after extreme trauma, Cancer Research UK and Amantani UK - a charity that strives to provide education to Peru’s indigenous children struggling to negotiate with Peru’s westernised society. With drinks, dining and dancing and the chance to raise money for three special charities there’s no excuse to miss out on the fun. “When?” I hear you ask, “can I get my hands on a ticket?!” Following a week of exam stress you can let your hair down during a whole week of Powderham themed events to promote the release of the tickets on January 28. So without further ado, the Powderham committee invites you to brace yourself for an unforgettable evening.
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Exeposé week ten
Fashion Shoot 2010 Lifestyle
Exeposé Winter Fashion Shoot 2010
DeCEMBER 6 2010 Exeposé
Lifestyle Fashion Shoot 2010
Lewis wears: Norton shirt, £79. Bedford trousers, £85.
Ella wears: Luz dress, £245.
Zoe and Alex: as before. Amy wears: Casper jacket, £195. Carrie leggings, £79. Patricia scarf, £89, and Alena hat, £59. All clothes from Reiss.
Alex wears: Arthur trousers, £95. Aston jumper, £95. Ernst jacket, £110. Adam wears: Plain view shirt, £79. Gibson cardigan, £89. Shooter gilet, £155. Jeans, £79.
Zoe wears: Pipin knit, £110. Kitty shorts, £89. Previous page: Alice wears: Ziggy jeans, £89. Randal dress, £159. Hat, £55. Louise wears: Courtney dress, £169.
Exeposé week ten
Fashion Shoot 2010 Lifestyle
Clockwise from bottom left: Adam: FCUK tracksuit bottoms, £55. Hoody, £65. Ben Sherman t-shirt, £32. Lewis: coat, £195. Jeans, £98. T-shirt, £42. Belt £42, all by Full Circle. Scarf, £30, Eco Lab. Cardigan, £70, French Connection. Amy: Great Plains floral dress, £60. Zoe: French Connection top, £82. Bohemia layered skirts, £45 each. Alice: French Connection dress, £146. Alex: shirt, £50 and trousers, £50, both Cotton Field. Ella: tunic, £81, The Masai Clothing Company. Louise: blouse, £64, and suede waistcoat, £89, both Sandwich. All clothes available from Mounts Bay Trading Co.
Clockwise from bottom left: Adam: shirt, £39.50. Ella: top, £29.50. Louise: jumper, £39.50. Lewis: jumper, £35. Alice: blouse, £39.50, vest top underneath, £8. Alex: shirt, £32.50. Amy: top, £10. Zoe: t-shirt, £25. Jeans from £35.95 All clothes by Gap.
december 6 2010 Exeposé
Lifestyle Fashion Shoot 2010
Louise wears: Allensmore velvet blazer, £229. Rampton Tee, £29. Brooklet skirt, £59. Runfold footless tights, £19. Alex wears: Cobham quilted jacket, £98. Widmoor cable knit, £89. Cashmoor skinny leg jean, £69. Ledborough Fair Isle scarf, £39.
Amy wears: Cottingham cardigan, £98. Northey shorts, £59. Tee, tights and scarf, as before. Kilkerran socks, £19.
Exeposé week ten
Fashion Shoot 2010 Lifestyle
Ella wears: Hawkstow cardigan, £98. Henlow skinny jean, £69. Dormington tweed blazer, £229.Alice wears: Flockton faux fur gilet, £98. Hampden shrunken boyfit shirt, £49. Henlow skinny jean, £69.
Adam wears: Torfrey velvet blazer, £249. Ottringham shirt, £59. Foxfield Tee, £34. Cashmoor skinny leg jean, £69. Westburn wool tie, £29.
Lewis wears: Cranleigh peacoat, £398. Fawley flannel shirt, £69. Foxfield Tee, £34. Irwell skinny cord, £69.
Zoe wears: Ellenthorpe dress, £98. Allensmore velvet blazer, £229. Falstone leggings, £24. All clothes from Jack Wills.
Lifestyle Fashion Shoot 2010
December 6 2010 Exeposé
Boys’ suits throughout: Adam and Lewis, available through Moss Bros hire. Alex: model’s own.
Zoe wears: Elita maxi dress, £150, Coast.
Amy wears: Gabriella party dress, £150, Coast.
Alice wears: Acapella dip-dye maxi dress, £175, Coast.
Exeposé week ten Louise wears: Nula jacquard dress, £145, Coast.
From left: Amy: Anna cardigan, £99. Sophie top, £35. Tilsden skirt, £119. Nicole bag, £189. Blaise courts, £139. Ella: Dulverton dress, £229. Mariele bag, £179. Aldych leopard wedges, £129. Zoe: Beaumont sweater, £99. Gosport belt, £59. Besom bag, £169. Loren Chelsea boots, £229. Alice: Sophia dress, £149. Elisa bag, £199. Purple Blaise courts, £139. Louise: Chambers dress, £99. Tilly hat, £49. Iva bag, £199. Audley ankle boots, £159. All clothes from Hobbs.
Fashion Shoot 2010 Lifestyle Alice wears: dress as before. Ella wears: Anna feather dress, £150, Coast.
december 6 2010 Exeposé
Lifestyle Fashion Shoot 2010
Clockwise from left: Zoe: Lavand sweater dress, £49. Adam: Loreak Mendian jumper, £75. Desigual jeans, £99. Alice: Friday on my Mind coat, £99. Eucalyptus dress, £75. Lewis: cardigan, £49.99 and shirt, £39.99, both by Vacant. Ella: Eucalyptus dress, £95. Amy: G heaven dress, £28. Louise: Eucalyptus dress, £95. New Look blazer, £39.99. Alex: Vacant shirt, £45. Clothes featured available from Off the Hook.
Merry Christmas and a great big thank you to: Sam and the team at Reiss.
Mel, Danielle and the team at Jack Wills for their extensive help and enthusiasm on the day. A particular thanks to Mel for bringing her shoes!
An extra special thanks to Sue and the team at Hobbs for their help and generosity.
Kevin, John and the team at Mounts Bay Trading Co. for all their help and styling advice.
Lucia and the team at Gap. Get 10% off in store upon presentation of your student card.
Hannah at Coast. Get 10% off in store upon presentation of your student card.
Tim, Andy and John at Moss Bros hire. The UK’s leading suit hire specialist is offering an exclusive 25% student discount on hire with the presentation of your student card, They are also offering a free shirt and tie with retail purchases over £129.
Ella’s make-up by Emma at Clarins, House of Fraser.
Amy’s make-up by Anna at Lancome, House of Fraser.
Zoe’s make-up by Laura at Clinique, House of Fraser. Martyne and Selwyn at Off the Hook.
Jo and the team at the Real McCoy.
Louise’s make-up by Lucy at Estee Lauder, House of Fraser. Alice’s make-up by Cathy at Estee Lauder, Debenhams.
Models Adam Brunt, Alex Bennett, Alice Gibson, Amy Dicketts, Ella Janes, Lewis Irani, Louise Barrett, Zoe Dickens. Stylists Cyan Turan, Ellie Bothwell, Emily Gray, Frida Jonsdottir, Lucy Burton, Natalie Hammond, Tom Jenkinson. Assistants Andy Skipper, Charlotte Micklewright, Ellie Steafel, Harry Clegg. Rachel Bayne, Tim Peek, Tom Yardley, Tristan Barclay. Photography Assistants Fiona Lally, Hannah Walker. Photographer Henry White. Directors Laura Le Brocq, Clare Mullins.
Exeposé Week ten
Fashion Shoot 2010 Lifestyle
Behind the scenes: lights, camera, pout!
Lifestyle gives you a snapshot of behind the scenes at the fashion shoot. Photographs by Hannah Walker.
Top row, from left: Frida and Ellie help Alice into her dress for the Coast shots; Ellie makes Lewis up ready for the day, it’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it; Ellie Bothwell styles outfits for the Hobbs photograph. Below, right to left: Clare and Ella make their way through the cold to the Arabic and Islamic Institute for the Reiss shots; Lewis takes time out from modelling to eat an entire packet of chocolate fingers and have a cheeky nap; Henry setting up a shot on location in Lopes library. Left and middle: Amy plays hide and seek in a giant Jack Wills bag; here come the girls as Ella, Clare, Amy, Alice, Zoe and Louise return from a few practice photographs in Devonshire House; Tom, stylist, pitches in blowing up balloons in preparation for the Jack Wills balloon party.
December 6 2010 Exeposé
Ellie Bothwell & Ben Murphie - firstname.lastname@example.org
7/12 – The Swellers, Cavern Club 8/12 – Trembling Bells, Exeter Phoenix 8/12 – Richard James, Mama Stone’s
8/12 – Frank Turner, Lemon Grove 9/12 – Crazy Arm + Apologies I Have None, Cavern Club 10/12 – Louis and the Iguanas, Mama Stone’s 11/12 – Christian Brewer, Exeter Phoenix
11/12 – The Hamsters play Jimi Hendrix, Exeter Phoenix 12/12 – Johnny Flynn, Exeter Phoenix 13/12 – Cedar Music Benefit, Mama Stone’s
13/12 – Bastions, Brace for A Fall, We The Divide, Rash Decision, Cavern Club 15/12 – The Quails plus Shooting Fish, Mama Stone’s
16/12 – Gentlemen’s Dub Club, Cavern Club
Book Now 30/01 - I am Kloot, Lemon Grove 31/01 - Smoke Fairies, Exeter Phoenix
Snared by The Drums Ellie Bothwell and Ben Murphie, Music Editors, chat to New York’s finest ahead of their show in Bristol.
Jonathan Pierce’s mother would be proud: not only does her son and the rest of his band greet us with earnest handshakes and offers of drinks, but tonight they are continuing their successful UK tour after a summer of dancing their way across the covers of all the right music magazines. “It feels like every night’s a better and better show,” Pierce tells us. This being their debut headlining tour, the band are excited to be able to step out of support act shadows and sashay into the limelight: “We get to play all the songs we want to play and headline just how we want to be,” drummer Connor Hanwick remarks. “I guess in a way it’s the first time we can actually 100% deliver the world of The Drums how we see it.” They first came across the pond back in January as part of the Shockwaves NME tour, along with The Maccabees, Bombay Bicycle Club and The Big Pink, to win hearts and minds. “It was terrifying,” Pierce admits, but at the same time “obviously very exciting” Hanwick continues. “We felt very lucky to be asked, especially being from America. It’s pretty rare that a band that isn’t from the UK is on that specific tour.” Pierce wistfully remembers, “It was sad to leave everyone. It felt like the last day of school.” You get the sense that everything he says must be taken with a pinch of salt, and it’s difficult to know how to take him. On supporting Florence + The Machine: “I haven’t met anyone like her. She’s a very specific type of person” he says before catching himself and adding, “Very sweet.” Not one for excessive self-promotion he continues by saying, “She’s a bit odd as a person, and I think we’re all a bit odd too. Weird people recognise each other, and we all just kind of realised we’re all losers in this together.” Losers who, over the summer, played to a crowd of 70,000 when supporting Kings of Leon, an opportunity that came about after the band “met those guys at a bar in New York and they said they liked our music.” A far
cry from the band’s initial expectations, Hanwick humbly adds, “That’s like even more rare than a once in a lifetime opportunity… We didn’t know that we’d be reaching more than 20 people in a small venue.” The show that they played tonight, however, was packed wall to wall with fans decked in abstract knitted jumpers and thick-framed glasses. The Drums minced energetically across the stage, showcasing their trademark quirky juddering and surf-inspired pop. Support came from fellow New Yorkers, Violens, who have always “had like a darker side of that synth-guitar hybrid music that sort of came to prominence in the ‘80s and ‘70s”, the original purveyors of which came from the famed Glasgow Academy of ‘80s Scotland, in the form of Orange Juice and Aztec Camera. Guitarist Jacob Graham, having remained stoic up until now, lights up: “It always seems strange and amazing to me how ballsy it was, that they were that pop-orientated. It was basically a bunch of kids in their garage starting bands and deciding to be like pop stars.”
“We didn’t know that we’d be reaching more than 20 people in a small venue” Earlier in the year, The Drums teamed up with their long time hero, Edwyn Collins, Orange Juice frontman, to produce ‘In Your Eyes’ for his new album Losing Sleep. “Gorgeous”, says Pierce immediately, when asked what the experience was like. “Edwyn and Orange Juice are legends in our eyes, and so of course to be asked to record on his album was a really surreal thing.” Ever grateful for the opportunities his position affords him, Pierce relates, “I mean I’m sure there’s room for more incredible things to happen but that’ll be something for sure that will always be at the top of our lists, you know special moments for the band.” Graham interjects enthusiastically, “we were all just like, ‘that was so inspiring!’”, “And we never say things like that!” Pierce adds. “It was that amazing we were led to saying how inspired we were. And that’s not normal.” Part of his inspiration comes from the fact Collins suffered a stroke prior to recording his album, diligently fighting through to keep recording music. “It does make you feel sort of foolish when you think back to times
that we’ve complained about anything” Pierce admits. We ask them what they are listening to at the moment, and they cite both IO Echo and Manchester based Wu Lyf. However, Pierce as the principle songwriter “tends to turn a blind eye a little bit to what’s going on now, just because that lends itself to working on your own music.” “Since this morning, I’ve only been listening to Christmas music”, Graham adds. “As soon as Thanksgiving ends, that’s the rule.”
“We’re all losers in this together” Towards the end of our chat, we inquire as to the whereabouts of original guitarist, Adam Kessler, whose sudden departure from the band in September is still a fresh wound. Pierce responds acerbically, “He died”, before adding, “He’s at home in the arms of his mother where he’s been dying to be since we started this band.” “They have a thing going on!” Hanwick quips. On a more
serious note, Pierce admonishes, “It’s difficult to have someone in your band who doesn’t really want to be there… It’ll influence the next record in a bad way, it’ll influence the live shows in a bad way, so you just have to kind of let those things go.” And their live show certainly didn’t fail to deliver. Set in a room that looked like a ‘50s high school gym, and largely showcasing music from their selftitled debut album, The Drums crashed their way through a barnstorming set at Bristol’s Anson Rooms. Even the interruption of a fire alarm, leaving the audience out in the snow for half an hour, didn’t put a damper on things. They returned to the stage to perform hit single ‘Best Friend’ again, but at twice the speed. “That was a punk version of ‘Best Friend’. This show has just got so much better!” Having played over 200 shows already this year, The Drums cement their reputation as New York’s hardest working and hardest dancing band. Never mind about their mothers, indie guitar music has just found its new poster boys.
Exeposé week ten
INTERVIEW Amy Weller and Hannah Fullard talk Travelodges, tigers and happiness with Frightened Rabbit. Scott Hutchinson, lead singer and songwriter for Frightened Rabbit, certainly seems to have had enough emotional upheaval to last him a lifetime. Listening to the first couple of angsty, urgent folk/rock songs from The Midnight Organ Fight including the lethargic and harrowing ‘Floating Down the Forth’, it seems one has stumbled upon a man at breaking point. Grant Hutchinson, his brother, agrees. “Scott wrote most of those songs in my tiny bedroom after a messy breakup” he nods. “He was in a bad place. The Midnight Organ Fight was very much a break up album – The Winter of Mixed Drinks [their latest album], not so much.” But that certainly doesn’t make this one ‘happy’. Scott took himself back up to a remote village in his native Scotland to isolate himself and write the album, and the band agree that Frightened Rabbit simply wouldn’t be Frightened Rabbit if they were cheerful. Even their name is a reference to anxiety and loneliness; it was a nickname given to Scott as a child
by his parents, acknowledging his lack of social confidence from a very young age. If not cheerful in lyrics, the band themselves are positive in person, and very relaxed about the idea of success. “It just means that we don’t have to stay in Travelodges anymore,” Grant smiles. “And that people actually turn up to our gigs. That’s nice. And the whiskey...” which, true to their integral Scottish character, Scott casually works his way through during their performance.
“It turned into a scenario out of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”
band are putting on their playlists now. Grant enthusiastically recommends The Phantom Band (fellow Scots, evocative of Radiohead’s The Bends) and their support act of the current tour, Admiral Fallow (we should take this opportunity to thoroughly recommend them too). “It’s really nice to tour with a band who you get on with and whose music you identify with,” Andy professes. Grant adds, “We played Ibiza once, supporting The Kooks.” Frightened Rabbit does Ibiza? “Yes, by the end of it, it had turned into a scenario out of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. We just wanted to get the f*** out.” Lingering on the island theme, we take a nod to the desert island disc tradition with a hint of morbidity and quiz
Andy and Grant on which band member would survive longest if marooned. “Definitely one of us. Or Gordy.” (Gordon Skeene, the band’s newest member) “Billy wouldn’t stand a chance without regular showers. Are there tigers?!” Yes, there are tigers. “Well, I’m a pretty fast runner,” boasts Andy, “so I’d be OK.” He gives Grant a smug look, to which Grant replies – “well I have more meat on me, so I can fend them off.” This is undeniable. Andy is left looking somewhat crestfallen. Following this, the band certainly delivered, with an energetic and intimate performance covering songs from all three of their studio albums. Admiral Fallow set up the occasion admirably with their wide assortment of instruments cre-
ating a rich, earthy, folk vibe reminiscent of a quieter Arcade Fire. Scott performed incredibly and charismatically despite illness, jokingly sharing with the audience the fact that he’d had steroids injected into his backside earlier in the day. Having recently announced their move from Brighton-based Fat Cat Records to the record giant Atlantic, it seems appropriate to ask if this marks a change. They are eager to affirm that the style of music will remain, but that they will just be a little more “looked after”. “Fat Cat were amazing, but this is the next step.” Frightened Rabbit certainly have the capability and talent to remain a stirring and important band. Watch this space.
unnoticed. The song then comes to life and the audience are more than happy to join in. Normally a live set consists of a variety of tracks from the band’s backcatalogue, with a fair amount of singles interspersed throughout. However, with the recent release of Singles 01-10, the
setlist for this show is comprised almost entirely of singles. The crowd in attendance have plenty of familiar choruses to lend their voices to, but probably most of all when the band play a song taken from their unique debut album Vehicles and Animals, which really caters to live audiences. During ‘Westside’ the band let the audience’s anticipation build to perhaps its highest peak of the entire evening, before shouting “CHORUS” and allowing everyone to burst into, well, the chorus!
refrain whenever there was a pause for the remainder of the show. Although it is exciting to hear one single after another, there are very few surprises in this set. ‘Out Of Nowhere’ lives up to its name quite aptly, as the only non-single in the main set. Soon after comes ‘The Outsiders’, which, despite a lack of commercial success, earned the band Radiohead comparisons, especially for its experimental outro, which is dramatically highlighted in the live performance with the band-members appearing as silhouettes against a backdrop of coloured lights. The set concludes with ‘Wires’, which upon ending sees the band exit the stage leaving the lead singer alone once again, much like the way the show began. He tells the audience to “put away their iPhones and just enjoy the moment” before repeating the chorus to the band’s biggest hit. The audience cheer for an encore, and some even reprise the refrain from ‘Back Track’, by now firmly cemented in their heads. The band returns to the stage to play the remaining singles the set would not be complete without: ‘The Getaway’ followed by ‘Half Light’. The show then closes with ‘Chances’, a non-single, but very much a fan favourite.
When asked about their views on Exeter, the band seemed regretful that, due to their heavy touring schedule, they didn’t get to see much of any city they visited. “I woke up in the tour van a few hours ago,” Andy admits, adorned in indulgently indie knitwear. “I made it as far as Fopp,” Grant adds, and reveals his new purchases – the pinnacle albums of Fleetwood Mac and Neil Young – interesting choices and seemingly influential on their sound. So who else influences them? “Led Zeppelin,” Grants replies without hesitation. “As a drummer, I would say John Bonham is the greatest man in the world.” Andy remains a little more pensive. “I listen to a bit of everything really. Earlier it was Unkle. They’re really cool.” This moves the conversation towards what the
LIVE REVIEW Athlete, November 26 @ Bristol 02 Academy
Joel Pott steps out onto the Academy stage at the start of the show, unaccompanied by his band-mates, carrying an old-fashioned boombox in one hand and an acoustic guitar in the other. He
then invites everyone to sing along as he opens the set with ‘You Got The Style,’ one of the band’s earliest releases. The rest of the band emerges, as the stage is swallowed up by a strobe-lighting display. When it clears, the twinkling intro to more recent single ‘Superhuman Touch’ has already begun, almost
“There are very few surprises in this set” Other singles such as ‘El Salvador’ and ‘Beautiful’ are equally well received, which bodes well for the newest single ‘Back Track’. Although newly released, it is actually a song that dates back to the days of the band’s debut, but it never made the cut. Now included as part of the group’s first compilation, it becomes an instant favourite amongst the live audience. An impossibly simple, yet impossibly catchy vocal refrain provides the backdrop for the song, and the crowd would continue singing that
december 6 2010
CLASSIC ALBUM REVIEW Pink Moon Nick Drake Released February 25 1972
The name Nick Drake may not mean much to some of you, but I am convinced that without him modern music would not look the same today. He died 36 years ago on November 24, and today his floating guitar along with his hushed voice still provides the perfect melancholic soundtrack, especially when the days are getting shorter and the air is getting colder. Like many musicians, he wasn’t at all recognised during his lifetime, only gaining rightly deserved attention posthumously. This is a great injustice given the brilliance of his songwriting and the power of his voice, but it is through this lack of attention that we gain the archetypal striving artist figure of Drake, a man who struggled with mental health issues and was almost completely withdrawn from society, refusing to do interviews and largely refusing to play live. His last album, Pink Moon, is my favourite and perhaps his most powerful. Unlike his previous album, Bryter Layter, Drake strips back his sound to just his haunting voice and his acoustic guitar. The sounds within the album float
and change together with his moods and it offers insight into the artist’s mind. I couldn’t recommend this album enough, especially if you want to see the roots of much of what we see in today’s modern vaguely-folkish revival, in the vein of Frank Turner et al. His story is a tragic one, and so is the sound in the album (especially in ‘Parasite’ and ‘Place To Be’), but you can find solace in the beautiful harmony Drake creates with just the sound of his guitar and the tone of his voice. Released in 1972, it marked an important point in his artistic and creative life. It was the last time he had anything released by his record label Island Records, and a final push by Drake to build on the extremely limited success that he had gained with Bryter Layter. The album opens with ‘Pink Moon’, from which the album takes its name, a psychedelic but touching opener with the album’s only musical addition - a light piano which follows Drake’s guitar playing. The album continues with ‘Place To Be’, giving us insight into the struggle within himself: “Now I’m darker than the deepest sea... Now I’m weaker than the palest blue.” Elsewhere ‘Road’ has all the energy and craft behind it that an early Bob Dylan track does, and ‘Know’ exhibits perfectly the moods he could create with just his voice and a single
ALBUM REVIEWS My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy Kanye West You know about Kanye West the man before you know about Kanye West the music. Propelled to the height of infamy in recent years due to his highprofile clashes with George Bush and Taylor Swift, even his most ardent fans can find it hard to defend his actions. But they don’t need to; his music does that for him. Now on his fifth album as a rapper and with countless successful producing jobs behind him, this was the record that would make or break his career. Would he rise from the wreckage of his public image or stay buried, certain to fade into obscurity? From the first track, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy never leaves you in any doubt about what the man himself thinks. After a fairy-tale intro from Nicki Minaj, ‘Dark Fantasy’ begins with a vocal roar of “can we get much higher?” West already clearly thinks he is at the top of the game, and as the tracks roll by the evidence in his favour continues to build. The album defies easy categorisation with abrupt contrasts between sparse minimalism and ostentatious anthems but brilliantly, both styles are done with equal accomplishment from West. The contrast continues in the lyrics with soulsearching lines casually thrown in amongst West’s constant witticisms. It is this schizophrenic switching between heartbreaking laments for lost loves and arrogant swaggering
that defines the album. If nothing else, Kanye West has always been truthful, often painfully so, in life and on record. The album reaches musical and lyrical peaks that make you feel invincible, moments of soaring beauty that break through the glass ceiling and then almost perversely drags you down into the depths of despair. The highlights are the emphatic exclamations of anthemic joy that are ‘Lost in the World’ and ‘All of the Lights’, juxtaposed with the bare beauty of ‘Runaway’ and ‘Blame Game’. The latter, led by John Legend’s brilliant piano and vocal work details the destruction of one of West’s relationships. The raw emotion seeps through in the lyrics and is heightened by the brilliant use of vocal effects to truly portray West’s fragmented self. In the end though, the song is almost hijacked by a potentially polarising but in my opinion hilarious and heartbreaking interlude from the comedian Chris Rock. Needless to say you won’t think of the word “re-upholstered” in the same way again. In his best album yet, West ploughs the depths of his depression without ever feeling sorry for himself, instead turning the pain into a “road to redemption” that sends him soaring above his contemporaries. West has made it his lifetime goal to “become the best rapper of all time”. On this evidence, why limit himself to “best rapper”?
chord pattern, with Drake’s humming at the start drawing the listener into his simple lyrics. The album is remarkably short, with all 11 songs on the album reaching just over 28 minutes. That’s all you need though; it gives you just a short glimpse into the man that wrote and played the songs. I don’t think, given his record of drawing himself away from society, that he ever wanted to give anyone more of an insight into himself and so it suits me just fine. It’s by far the best way to explore who Nick Drake really was, given especially that he disliked Bryter Layter for being too complicated and “too elaborate.” I therefore encourage you all to listen and appreciate the mood set by every track on Pink Moon. You will never resent the adverts on Spotify more than when listening to it. DAVID WOOD
1972 in music February 10 - David Bowie begins his Ziggy and the Spiders tour, at Toby Jug pub in Tolworth February 14 – Neil Young releases his fourth solo album, Harvest. December 8 - Lou Reed releases Transformer, his second solo album
Danger Days My Chemical Romance Just quickly before we get underway – is it socially acceptable to publicly admit liking My Chemical Romance yet? No? OK, erm, just ignore the rest of this review. May Gerard Way drown in his own vat of record company-approved hair dye. etc. Back officially covered. It’s been four long years since the band’s last release, the phenomenally successful (though apparently universally derided) Black Parade, and it’s hardly a stretch to regard the current chapter in their career as something of a ‘rough patch’ – the loss of yet another drummer, an 11th-hour scrappage of their first at-
tempt at a follow-up, the Daily Heil’s bizarre ‘suicide cult’ denunciation... you’d be forgiven for being somewhat wary of this latest effort. Fear not. As it happens, with Danger Days, they’ve actually somehow managed to cough up what is undoubtedly their best record so far. No longer are My Chemical Romance shuffling emo depressives wearing monochrome military outfits and pretending to have cancer. Oh no. These days, dayglo biker leathers, plastic ray guns and weirdly successful forays into electro are order of the day, and the band are much, much the better for it. Primarily, this is because Danger Days is a considerably different album to absolutely anything else they’ve done before. There’s still the usual crap overarching concept, of course (something
about futuristic outlaws running around the desert fighting evil) but, crucially, in terms of actual songs we’re a million miles away from ‘I’m Not Okay’. There’s a palpable glam rock influence here (‘Vampire Money’ even namechecks both Bowie and Bolan), and the album is at least 60% fast-paced, bouncy rock ‘n’ roll, broken up with the occasional mid-tempo ballad such as the excellent ‘Kids From Yesterday’. Even the most overt nod to the MCR of old, ‘Save Yourself I’ll Hold Them Back’, despite eyebrow-raising references to black hair dye and making your friends cry, is different enough musically to fit right in here, and actually forms one of the album’s highlights. Of course, that’s not to say Danger Days is flawless. I maintain that lead single ‘Na Na Na’ is one of the most irritating things ever to infiltrate the Radio 1 playlist, and horrific forays into experimentation ‘S/C/A/R/E/C/R/O/W’ and ‘DESTROYA’ are positively genocideinducing. Similarly, as ever with this band, lyrical quality remains jarringly inconsistent – they tend to lurch violently from the passably insightful (“ladies and gentlemen / fame is now injectable”) to the totally baffling (“my velocity starts to make you sweat”, anyone?), making it somewhat difficult to form an overall opinion. Ultimately, Danger Days is in fact a ‘generally good rock album.’ Misjudged experimental trainwrecks aside, there’s a lot to enjoy here, if you’re willing to look beyond any past affinity with eyeliner/angsty 14 year olds. Overall, My Chemical Romance? On the basis of this, definitely worth giving them the benefit of the doubt. LIZZY QUINLAN
Exeposé WEEK 10
Screen Calum Baker & David Brake - email@example.com
ON November 28, the sad news came through that comic icon Leslie Nielsen had passed away aged 84. He was a man who made us laugh more times than we care to remember and the overflow of thoughts and prayers to him across the internet shows the deep affection people have for this great man. The past week also saw the passing of Irvin Kershner, the director who restrained George Lucas’ insane vision and directed the triumphant The Empire Strikes Back. The hosts of the 2011 Academy Awards have been announced as James Franco and Anne Hathaway. The youthful pairing are a good choice as they will breathe some much-needed energy into the ceremony following the stoic (read: unfunny) performance of Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin last year. But what happens if Franco wins for 127 Hours? “And the winner is... me!” Finally, Pixar have released a series of posters appealing to the Academy to make Toy Story 3 a serious contender in the Best Picture category. Not sure if it is Best Picture worthy but, like Up last year, it rightfully deserves a place on the shortlist.
AS always, we are offering THREE PAIRS of tickets for any film at any time that you fancy, at ODEON. To enter, just drop us an email with the subject line “I LOVE CHRISTMAS”, and you’ll get entered into the draw. It’s easy. All entries should be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org Deadline is Monday December 13.
Stranger than fiction Calum Baker, Screen Editor, tries and fails to live in a film.
I HAVE recently started trying to work out which film I am living in. This is a cautionary tale for all that would do the same. The first thing that came to mind for me was High Fidelity, Stephen Frears’ pop music-themed romcom (adapted from a Nick Hornby novel) about a man whose girlfriend moves out partly because of his obnoxious obsessions with music, films and lists about them. The film opens with John Cusack’s Rob listing his ‘top five breakups of all time’. We move throughout the piece as he tries to rationalise his issues, jumping to erroneous conclusions whilst constantly relating his life back to his all-time top records, frequently making his situation and state of mind even worse. Watching it again, though, I wondered: am I really that depressed? Have I ever been quite so pessimistic?… well, upon some Rob-style self-reflection, I concluded that we are, in fact, one and the same, no matter how vehemently I try to deny that I’m similar to such a
Don’t tell anyone...
Joe Johnston infiltrates Secret Cinema.
THE date is November 19 2010 and the location is the Princess Louise Hospital, London. Hundreds of people from across the country are gathering outside the hospital gates on a cold winter’s evening in silent anticipation. All are wearing dressing gowns and slippers, speaking in hushed tones, until suddenly - a light turns on inside the hospital, the front door opens, and a nurse wearing a starched, peaked cap leads an entourage of hospital officials out into the courtyard. The gate is unlocked and the evening’s entertainment begins. This is Secret Cinema. Since 2007 the underground movement has had the simple aim of making
our cinematic experience as immersive, sensory and interactive as possible. At each event an entire venue is transformed into the set of the chosen film, featuring hundreds of performers that together create an interactive environment that simulates the secret movie being screened. Information about the chosen film is withheld until you arrive, but with previous screenings including the likes of cult classics such as Blade Runner, Bugsy Malone and Lawrence of Arabia, you know you are in pretty safe hands. By signing up to the latest offering created by Secret Cinema (in the true spirit of the event I am going to let the reader decipher the identity of the secret film, if you haven’t already guessed), I find myself amongst the crowd being
Photos: Henry White
difficult, downcast character. And deny I did: I moved onto (500) Days of Summer. Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Tom Hansen, a Smiths-loving indie-ish architect grad, goes through many of the same problems as Rob, reacting in the same way throughout. Why did I move onto this after deciding I didn’t want to be in High Fidelity? Because Tom does everything with a handsome cool that I hoped would suit me well. He thought he’d fallen in love. He finds himself depressed and drinking, and disillusioned with the world. He gets justifiably, yet perhaps overly, angry at little things, little gestures, that his beloved Summer does as he realises it has all been going wrong recently. Then it breaks down completely. I realised, during all this film-inflected self-analysis, that I was getting angry at myself and other third parties – which is when I started comparing myself to Michel Poiccard, of Jean-luc Godard’s Á bout de souffle. An even worse idea. Michel, like myself (in my own head – now inviting comparisons with Youth in Revolt), is a carefree petty criminal and car thief who, after accidentally killing a cop, has to go on the
run to Rome. Whilst about to leave Paris, he meets Patricia, a woman he once had a fling with and who he decides is the first woman he’s really cared about – so he spends the next hour trying to persuade her to come with him. As the cynical Michel slowly becomes enamoured, the more romantic and wistful Patricia starts questioning if she really does ‘love’ Michel. In a dark twist, she decides to conduct an experiment that tests her feelings for him: handing him over to the police. That she manages this act tells her that she doesn’t love him. In the end, the police arrive and shoot Michel in the back; as he bleeds to death in the street, he does some little mouth actions to Patricia - previously a playful sign of their connection – before calling her a louse and falling unconscious. Traitorous bitch. I soon realised this was a dangerous comparison and that I was beginning to reflect the more negative aspects of certain characters in making such malicious analogies. I needed a positive role model. Jason Schwartzman in Rushmore? Too driven and weird. Ben Affleck in Chasing Amy? Too pathetic and emotionally conservative. Woody Allen in Annie Hall? Perhaps, actually – it’s
possible that I’m just as neurotic. Think about it: this whole thing is a somewhat solipsistic exercise in working through my own neuroses. Try it yourself and see what happens. There are few characters you can see yourself as that will let you come out sparkling clean. I tried Joseph Cotten’s character in The Third Man, thinking nothing could go wrong: he has strong morals, even discovering the perfect middle ground between handing his profiteering best friend over to the police and acting for the good of society. He’s a writer; cool and witty; he dresses well and has a sometimes-non-reciprocating love interest who, in the final shot, walks deliberately past him without acknowledging his presence. What differs him from my self-image? He’s an alcoholic. The moral here is: be careful if you want to be a film character, no matter how much you think you identify with them. It is an odd realisation when you notice that films can’t actually solve your problems. I could try being the verbose and despondent Withnail, but that would end badly. Maybe we should stick to song lyrics instead. All together now: ‘If a double-decker bus crashes into us…’
ushered into the hospital. After I’m issued with my patient gown, I take to walking down the clinical white corridors busied by nurses and an exceptionally tall American Indian sweeping the floor, before entering what appears to be a psychiatric ward signposted ‘The Day Room’.
figure – R.P. McMurphy. “How ‘bout a shot of Jack’s for my Irish pal over there?!...” McMurphy belts out across the overcrowded room, whilst lining up shots of Jack Daniel’s along the nurse’s medication counter. He’s talking to me of course because I’m the only one with Celtic ginger hair. “Come on,” he smirks, “I’m buyin’!” This was the first time I’d been offered a drink by a film character; needless to say I obliged. The sensory experience doesn’t end with taste. Musical talent is showcased on Nurse Ratched’s ward, art installations take the form of psychiatric patients’ rooms, and one can even take part in a one-to-one psychoanalysis with a ‘doctor’. What is most striking about this immersive experience is the attention to detail; the event manages
to capture the spirit of the film, and indeed most of the original novel. As the evening progresses, a stuttering Billy Bibbit directs me and my friend to the screening room for the final event: “Gg-g-g-gee, you need to go up to Disturbed, th-th-that’s where it is.” The key to the success of Secret Cinema lies in its promise to offer an alternative to the static, sanitised, and hackneyed ordinary multiplex cinema. As Fabien Riggall, the founder of Secret Cinema, states, “We want to promote filmgoing in a communal, social space as well as blur the lines between audience and performer.” With the latest event selling out its 15,000 tickets within a few days, the legions following Secret Cinema are steadily growing. The secret is out. Tell everyone.
‘“How ‘bout a shot of Jack’s for my pal over there?!...” ... He’s talking to me of course’ In here the main protagonists of the film sit alongside members of the public, and all are taking part in a group therapy meeting that is rudely interrupted by the entrance of a larger than life
Dir: Tom McGrath Cast: Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Jonah Hill, Brad Pitt (PG) 95mins THE film opens with our anti-hero Megamind plummeting to his doom on the street below. As he falls, he decides to tell us his life story. Instead of wondering how he could possibly tell us a story that lasts 80 minutes of the film’s running time, he shows to us his cosmic beginnings and his quickly-formed rivalry with another otherworldly being, which develops through their (very) different upbringings and antagonistic relationship in school. One grows up to be the hero of Metro City, Metroman (Pitt). The other becomes his arch rival, Megamind (Ferrell). Now dressed like a Kiss groupie, the fully grown Megamind (with a disproportionate head) continuously battles the spandexed saviour without success, whose victories are covered by newscaster Roxanne Ritchi (Fey), and her hapless cameraman Hal (Jonah Hill). However, after two superbeings unexpectedly become one, Megamind finds himself in search of another arch rival as he feels, well, pointless without one. The joys of this film are found in the basics. A well-constructed, if not entirely original, plotline serves its various devices and revelations well. Visually the film is stellar, justifying its $120 million
december 6 2010
budget, particularly with the setpieces. The film looks best when our hero flees from a toppling skyscraper, or treats us to another one of his light shows (again with some deference to a Kiss concert). It is indeed Megamind that makes or breaks the whole thing, and Will Ferrell creates a lovable rogue. Whether it’s the classic Ferrellian dialogue, the penchant for mispronunciation, or his interesting costume decisions (he changes midway through the film to an outfit called The Black Mamba, which is more a camp Dracula) the blue-bodied hero/villain succeeds. Ultimately however, Megamind adds up to slightly less than the sum of its parts. To have a voice cast consisting of the king and queen of American comedy, America’s biggest superstar, as well as Jonah Hill and David Cross (princes of comedy?) should add up to some sort of superlative. A bonanza? A winner? Not exactly, but what a thoroughly enjoyable and humorous ride it is.
UNSTOPPABLE is a ridiculous film. However, this is Scott’s forté and here he excels where his last film, The Taking of Pelham 123, failed. Washington, in his fifth collaboration wtih Scott, is calm and strong as usual, but greatly supported by the energetic support of Pine. Their chemistry holds the film together and is a necessity when the plot strays into the ropey and contrived. However, the simplicity of the story, an unstoppable train needs to be stopped, actually aids the film as it requires no effort at all. Harking back to the disaster films of the ‘70s, it is true popcorn fodder and is simple enjoyable fun. If one wishes for anything deeper, look elsewhere. Scott’s frenetic camerawork and Harry Gregson-Williams’ pumping score keep the film tense and fun throughout.
WITH an untested director, a largely unknown cast, and an unusually small budget given the subject matter, Monsters is nothing if not ambitious when positioned at the budget end of an alien invasion genre that counts Cloverfield and District 9 amongst the most recent successes. Yet with a budget of around £500,000, director Gareth Edwards has created an understated and believable take on the premise of what happens after invasion. Unburdened either by explosive set pieces or a complex plot, Monsters sees McNairy’s Andrew escorting his employer ’s daughter, Samantha
Dir: Tony Scott Cast: Denzel Washington, Chris Pine (12A) 98mins
Dir: Gareth Edwards Cast: Whitney Able, Kevon Kane, Scoot McNairy (12A) 94mins
DAVID BRAKE SCREEN EDITOR
COULD you picture a man swinging out a window holding on to nothing else than human entrails? Well, if you can’t then you must see Machete, where men are tough and women sexy; death is painful and brutal; heads are literally exploding and blood just runs down the screen. Machete is an expansion of a fake trailer that was released together with Rodriguez and Tarantino’s joint production, Grindhouse (2006). Surprisingly, the audience approved of it and Rodriguez decided to turn it into a feature-length movie which even had a special screening at the Venice Film Festival. Other trailers were The Werewolf Women of the SS, Don’t, and Hobo with a Shotgun, which aimed at reproducing the atmosphere of exploitation movies of the ‘60s to ‘80s.
The plot of Machete is quite simple. Machete (Trejo) is a federale from Mexico who turns renegade after a conflict with drug lord Torrez (Seagal). He then illegally emigrates to the US and becomes a street worker. There, he is hired by Michael Booth, a businessman working for Senator McLaughlin (De Niro) to do a hatchet job. Booth offers Machete $150K for killing McLaughlin - but just as Machete is about to take the shot, he notices someone aiming at him and realises that he’s been set up. He barely survives the sniper’s bullet and is soon out for revenge on his former employers. The violence in Machete is so near that it almost seems unreal, and remains cartoon-like, it’s more a parody than a brutal depiction. The result of this can be catego-
Classic Films #9: The Seven Year Itch (1955) Dir: Billy Wilder Cast: Marilyn Monroe, Tom Ewell (PG) 105mins
WITH the nights drawing in fast and a mounting temptation to put the heating on, what better way to escape the bitter weather than curling up with a steamy, summery feel-good film? The Seven Year Itch is a Silver Screen classic in the true sense of the word: Billy Wilder’s simple, intelligent direction perfectly frames the sauciest of scripts whilst allowing the onscreen chemistry between leads Ewell and Monroe freedom to blossom. Essentially a take on the old adage ‘while the cat’s away, the mice will play’, the narrative transpires during the summer holiday season, when the wives and children of New York City go upcountry to
experience the healthy, rustic joys of rural living and the men, left alone in the city as ‘summer bachelors’, indulge to varying extents in the carnal delights it appears Manhattan Island so bountifully bestows. Richard Sherman (Ewell), family man and a seeming archetype of middleaged respectability, rapidly descends into addiction-crazed mania and intense neurosis in what is his seventh year of marriage, all fuelled by his rapacious imagination. He fantasises about a series of amorous and melodramatic encounters with his secretary, his nurse and his wife’s best friend, all of whom throw themselves unrestrainedly upon him to his great dismay. He informs a translucent vision of his wife that “acres and acres” of women have been throwing themselves at him for years. Aside from the wonderfully tongue-in-cheek dialogue, in many ways the film is years ahead of its time. The
(Able) back to America through the infected zone of the American south and Mexican north that hosts the titular monsters. The result is a road movie that puts the creatures in the background, and instead focuses on the characters and the development of their relationship. Though the infrequent political commentary falls flat; the scares are light, and McNairy and Able’s characters’ onscreen chemistry is lacking for much of the film (despite their real life marriage), the flaws of Andrew and Samantha, whether together or individually, ensure they are always believable and consistently hold the interest and humanity of the film. Monsters isn’t going to attract huge audiences with its style and plot. But it will attract completely justified interest in both its director and its two leads, and when set to such a brilliantly restrained score from Jon Hopkins, it adds up to fulfil the promise of an indie perspective on the alien invasion. STEPHEN O’NION VIDEO GAMES EDITOR
Dir: Robert Rodriguez Cast: Danny Trejo, Robert De Niro, Steven Seagal (18) 105mins
overlaying of one shot upon another, to illustrate Sherman imagining something, is seamless and demonstrative of Hollywood’s technological sophistication at this time. Furthermore, the extent of American domestic luxury in the ‘50s is quite astounding; the viewer is shown the colour TV, the space-age refrigerator and chrome air-conditioning, things that must have captivated audiences in the midst of post-war austerity.
“Hey, did you ever try dunking a potato chip into champagne?”
For all this, Monroe ultimately steals the show. An effortless sex icon, she exudes seductive yet innocent charm from first to last, in what is surely her definitive movie appearance. A touching but innocuous romance develops between
rised as occasionally tasteless but intelligent insanity. Chaotic violence, dirty sex, weird humour and a grotesque depiction of America’s immigration problems comes through unconventional cinematography that helps the film refrain from being too serious. Machete is big, rough entertainment with radical political claims as Rodriguez skilfully points out political difficulties, xenophobic tendencies and the problem of exclusion and exploitation of the immigrants, without being moral or naïve. Machete enriches and refreshes the B-movie. For those who enjoyed the film very much, a more violent director’s cut version will be released for home media. One only hopes that Rodriguez will keep his promise that “Machete will return in Machete Kills and Machete Kills Again.” ANITA JAROS
the two absurdly mismatched neighbours; one suspends disbelief as Monroe informs Ewell that his piano recital makes her “goosepimply all over” and she evokes the most heartfelt of sympathies when she declaims “I keep my undies in the icebox” to escape the heat. In fact, it seems she spends almost the entire film sans underwear; Monroe is just looking for somewhere to cool her ankles, which incidentally results in that iconic billowing dress scene over the subway, and Ewell merely wants to wile away the monotony of being home alone. The result is a witty, racy yet inescapably innocent romantic comedy. At a time when the genre so often slips into tawdry anonymity, this is a true classic from the era of Hollywood’s Golden Age.
Exeposé week ten
Anyone for Swede? Mia Nashe examines a rising national industry.
IF you’d asked me a few years ago if the Swedish film industry looked set to produce box office hits, I probably would have replied “what Swedish film industry?” The days of the great Ingmar Bergman, are after all, a thing of the past. However, with quiet modesty, Sweden is fast becoming the most promising up-and-coming country of the filmic moment. With two big box-office hits in the past three years (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl who Played with Fire grossing $100m and $60m respectively worldwide), Sweden is now firmly on the map. Their rise in the industry began two years ago, when they broke Scandinavian box office records with Let the Right One In, since remade in the US as Let Me In. Indeed, the US seems to be settling
about them that is extremely appealing. It could be something to do with their (until now) little-known place in the industry; it could come from the kind of commitment that would make Rapace spend three years of her life essentially living in the character of Lisbeth Salander, having voluntarily made drastic changes to her appearance for that time period (all because she “[doesn’t] like to pretend” or “fake things”). It’s not just Rapace who speaks for the Swedes in the domain of acting either - not by a long shot. Alexander Skarsgård, one of the leads in the popular vampire series True Blood, is talented and versatile; his roles range from the aforementioned cool Viking vampire Eric Northman, to a Sergeant in the seriously demanding miniseries about Iraq, Generation Kill. Critically acclaimed, Skarsgård and Rapace are certainly ones to watch. Nor is it just the film industry that Sweden seems to be injecting its magic into. The 2005 TV adaptation of Henning Mankell’s popular book series,
Wallander, is a crime series with a difference. The lovable DCI Wallander has been compared favourably with Morse, yet the dynamic of the series is far more team-oriented, focusing on the in-depth realisations of the less experienced members of the police station, with the intricate and subtle relationships between the characters enriching the seriously edgy crime plotlines. The BBC
help her build a case that is strong enough to stand up in court. Once I relaxed about the subplots that were missing here and there, I found myself watching 148 minutes of gripping drama, made all the more enjoyable by the incredible build-up of suspense. How did they manage to make an extensive hospital stay and a lengthy court case, which count for the majority of Lisbeth’s appearances, so absolutely thrilling? My answer would have to be the sheer simplicity of the directing; no ridiculous budget for fancy pyrotechnics, just an astoundingly well-chosen cast. Every character both looked the part and acted it: old, bureaucratic men lining up to conspire in cosy offices, and evergood women, all lawyers, police and judges. As much as it is about a wide conspiracy, the story is about a handful of significant characters and their intense relationships, playing out against a back-
drop of murder and assassination attempts. The conclusion is a satisfying, but not happy one. The lack of romantic subplots could displease the viewer who is more accustomed to Hollywood tales, though personally I think the ending is rather fitting. Do go and see it, just so long as you promise to read the books first!
UNI-VERSE is the second sitcom released by XTV this year, with the story looking at two guys and their awkward journey through university. Indeed, it is nice to see Uni-Verse finally hitting the internet as it has been dwelling within development hell for two and a half years due to various complications. Now, with Dan Orton behind the project, the five-part series is finally being released. In the preview screening, we saw Episode One which is your standard opener, introducing us to new characters and their various situations. Christopher Preston, who also directs and stars, writes the dialogue well with the plot flowing easily, scenes never dragging. Although some lines do cause the occasional cringeworthy moment, it’s due more to their nature of the scenes rather than due to Preston’s script. Preston also performs well, taking clear influences from Ricky Gervais’ Andy Milman, playing an unfairlytreated and downtrodden student deal-
ing with the seminar group from hell. He gets good support from George Ferrier and Toby Holland as his housemates providing humour and interest, which will hopefully develop over the series. Acting was uniformly good, with the seminar scenes standing out. Funny, relevant and interesting, Uni-Verse acts as a good example of XTV’s possibilities and as an advert for both the series and station. If this had any major flaws it’s that it lacked the development of a female character which could be a necessity as the testosterone may overwhelm viewers come future episodes. However, we are only one episode in, so there may be some to come. Otherwise, only some inconsistency in lighting and shots mar this new series. Overall, it is a well-made piece of student comedy and it will be good to see how it develops over the next few episodes. DAVID BRAKE
Dir: Brian Henson Cast: Michael Caine, Frank Oz (U) 85mins
Cratchit, Miss Piggy as Emily Cratchit, The Great Gonzo as Dickens himself, alongside (naturally) his trusty sidekick Rizzo the Rat, as well as Michael Caine as Ebenezer Scrooge, adding thespian gravitas to the whole proceedings. The film follows Scrooge, who, known for his ‘humbugginess’, is visited by his dead work colleagues, Jacob and Robert Marley (inspired casting of Waldorf and Statler, the usual hecklers from the show). They warn him in the song ‘Marley and Marley’, alongside much chain-rattling and moaning, that he is to expect visits throughout Christmas Eve from the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present (a dead ringer for Hagrid) and Future, and that he must change his miserly ways or suffer the same fate as they - damned as a ghost bound in shackles for all eternity. Obviously, as a Christmas story and
film, it’s not all doom and gloom. There is musical merriment in the form of such songs as ‘It Feels Like Christmas’ and the opening ‘Scrooge’, displaying inspired rhymes such as “Don’t ask him for a favour ‘cause his nastiness increases/ No crust of bread for those in need/No cheeses for us meeces.” As always with the Muppets, it is the detail and humour that truly impress. Kermit and Miss Piggy’s Tiny Tim is able to look even more tiddly next to his literal pigs of sisters; Bean Bunny pops up duly to be abused by Scrooge as a lone carol singer; and there are smaller roles for Muppet stalwarts Sam the American Eagle as Scrooge’s pompous old headteacher and perennial favourite Fozzie Bear, simply as ‘Fozziewig’. Special mention must of course go to Michael Caine, giving a solid and, sensibly, conventional per-
formance, allowing the rest of the cast to shine through.
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest
Dir: Daniel Alfredson Cast: Noomi Rapace, Michael Nyqvist (15) 147mins
CONSIDERED in its own right, I would have to say that this film was utterly brilliant. However, having read the novels, and seen the other two films in the Millennium trilogy, I find it difficult to separate them all. Sadly there seemed to be a lot of the original plot that had become lost in translation, not just in terms of Swedish to English but from book to screen. I felt I would have struggled to follow the plot had I not known the story. We follow our anti-heroine, Lisbeth Salander (Rapace), in her final battle against years of abuse and dismissal from the Swedish authorities. Lisbeth is awkward to say the least, and the film would be uncomfortable to watch if it wasn’t for the charming Mikael Blomkvist (Nyqvist) getting into all sorts of trouble in order to
ish version of the series was recently repeated on BBC4, indicating that, despite having seen the British programme that was adapted specifically for them, the British public preferred the Swedish version, complete with subtitles. The difference between the two programmes lies in the distinctly undramatic, ensemble-like way in which the actors simply allow the story to play out, without feeling the need to add any extra angst to Mankell’s already highly gritty works of great psychological depth. Any crime thriller made in rural Sweden is going to benefit from its eerie, desolate beauty, and perhaps it is for this reason that writers out there seem to have a particular penchant for the darkly psychological. Or perhaps it is simply part of their culture. Either way, stories with that layer of complex dark psychology to them, acted in a genuine ‘no frills and no stars’ style, in a country at times drained of light, makes for a winning formula. I know that I, for one, will be keeping an eye on those Swedes.
into the habit of copying Sweden’s hits recently, what with the planned reproduction of the clearly successful aforementioned Millenium franchise. However, Hollywood’s ‘if it ain’t broken, fix it anyway’ attitude will not wash this time; Sweden is just beginning to recognise its own capabilities, Niels Arden Oplev (director of Dragon Tattoo) protesting with pride in a recent interview that the heroine Lisbeth Salander is actress Noomi Rapace’s “legacy in a way [he] can’t see anyone competing with.” And, just from glancing at the figures, we can see that he may well have a point. Watching the films themselves is a breath of fresh air from the recent tendency to add as much action as possible and pick up the pace until we’re practically in fast-forward mode. While I’ll admit that last is a generalisation, Sweden is not just strong where more mainstream industries are weak. Their recent films, and indeed their TV programmes, have a particular quality of humble, understated realism
LAURA LE BROCQ LIFESTYLE EDITOR
“Hollywood’s ‘if it ain’t broken, fix it anyway’ attitude will not wash this time” recently made the interesting decision to reproduce their own version of Wallander in English. On the one hand, you can’t easily get more illustrious than a BBC1 primetime TV programme with Kenneth Branagh leading the cast, but on the other, this is another example of fixing something that isn’t broken. In fact, due to popular demand, the Swed-
Uni-Verse (online now)
Classic Films #10: The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
IN most households around this time of year, there is obligatory Christmas viewing, be it The Snowman, Bing Crosby dreaming of a ‘White Christmas’ in... er... White Christmas, or the charming James Stewart in It’s A Wonderful Life. Alongside Jimmy this year, however, I’ll be cracking out my other mandatory viewing: The Muppet Christmas Carol. A traditional retelling of the classic novella by Charles Dickens, this adaptation is given extra verve with its ‘muppetational’ twist. It features the biggest and brightest creations of Jim Henson, including Kermit the Frog as Bob
“Light the lamp, not the rat!, light the lamp, not the rat!”
Despite the humour, there are the usual moments of earnestness and education - this is Disney and Dickens after all. The story is faithfully followed, even to the level of including lines from the original work, but this is certainly the way to be introduced to Dickens, and if you are tired of the numerous and stale rehashes of A Christmas Carol, this, as the best Muppet film outing, is definitely worth a try! Besides, with Michael Caine and singing vegetables, this film has all you could possibly want for a festive treat.
December 6 2010
James Henderson & Jacob Moffatt - email@example.com
Although Exeter seems to have escaped the worst of the snow, the Christmas season is fast approaching. However, since you’re all going to be bombarded to breaking point with festive cheer in the next 19 days, we’ve limited the amount of yuletide content this issue (no doubt to the disappointment of our Editor, Andrew Waller.) In terms of Christmas content we have a short guide on some of the most common mistakes made when buying books as presents and how to avoid them. After all, it’s the thought that counts and the thought shouldn’t be that it’s three for two in Waterstones! As well as that, Laura Le Brocq, Lifestyle Editor, has furnished us with a couple of reviews, including a real Christmas gem from her past. Benjamin Savill has contributed the first of what will be a series of Bestseller reviws, starting with Ken Follet’s Fall of Giants, which has been an everpresent in the paperback charts over the last few weeks. To round off the issue we have two fantastic reviews of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and Italo Calvino’s Cosmicomics. Hope you all enjoy enjoy the rest of the term. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Fall of Giants
Benjamin Savill kicks off the bestseller reviews with a look at Fall of Giants, a rip-roaring ride through the First World War’s numerous effects on society. It is a daunting thing selecting from the Waterstones’ Bestsellers shelf a book that is almost as wide as your head. And it is even more daunting when, turning over the last page four days later, you realise that since its purchase you
Nineteen ‘mares Before Christmas Jake Moffatt, Books Editor, shows how books can be so much more than that forgotten present at the bottom of the pile.
A lot of us buy books as last minute Christmas presents, or for relatives we don’t see too often, but with a little bit of thought, books can make a fantastic and long lasting gift. That’s if you avoid some of the more common pitfalls… Do ask Unless you know someone very well indeed, it can be quite hard to select a book that they will genuinely enjoy. What’s more, since a single novel can demand a significant portion of time for a more casual reader, you’re prospective recipient may have a few books lined up to read. That said there is an easy way to bypass this festive minefield. It might take away some of the mystique but sometimes just asking someone what they’d like can be the best policy and avoid a rush to the returns desk on boxhave hardly slept, eaten or started the essay that is due for two hours’ time. As the culmination of a 32 year career, Fall of Giants is Follett’s most ambitious and best work since The Pillars of the Earth. Set amidst the pivotal changes and conflicts of the First World War, the plot brims with cloak-and-dagger espionage, sexual digression, smoking-barrel heroics, calculating, brazen politics, murder, greed and defiant rebellion, making this new Bestseller a better bedfellow than Mischa Barton.
“Never before has the past been so interesting; Fall of Giants is the most pleasurable history lesson you’ll ever take.” Follett is a master of depicting ‘life’ and human nature, with all its desires, conflicts, surprises and imperfections. His works stand out because the narrative is never restricted to a single protagonist, and Fall of Giants offers glimpses into the world-apart lives of the working class and nobility across England, Germany, Wales, Russia and the United States. The body of characters presents a vast and rich mix of conflicting social stations, attitudes and moralities, and the characters themselves are as convincing and engaging as they are numerous. The way that
Boys like football, not books about football To avoid flagrant sexism, I’ll say that I can’t think of an equivalent for girls; answers on a postcard, please. The point is, a person’s interest in books is separate from their other interests, and as such they like certain types of literature not books about their other interests and hobbies. So unless someone specifically asks for the latest Wisden, it’s fair to assume that they don’t really want 800 pages of exhaustive statistics. Don’t worry if they haven’t read it by New Year The quality of the time you can devote to a book is going to vastly effect how much you enjoy it, so with Christmas being fairly hectic it’s fair to say your gift may be left aside whilst there they interact both in the political and personal arenas, and how the unfolding events of the War impact their lives in ways that are so tremendously different, makes for an endlessly enjoyable read: Gus Dewar is a quick-minded but unlucky-in-love young American who lands a surprising job at Woodrow Wilson’s White House… 13-year-old Billy Williams faces his first day down the hazardous, life-swallowing pits of his small Welsh-town mine… married man and English Earl Fitzherbert finds fascination with his young, newlyemployed beauty of a housekeeper… his sister, Maud, struggles against patriarchal rule in Britain for the woman’s vote… peasant Grigori fuels the Revolution in Russia while his brother, Lev, crosses the globe to seek his fortune in America… and German aristocrat and spy
are turkey and toys about. So don’t let that discourage you from buying books as gifts, if you’ve made a good choice they’ll get to reading it sooner rather than later. Avoid ‘Christmas’ books - like Annuals and books from Comedians
Whilst these looking appealing at first glance, for a real reading enthusiast, they offer fairly short lived amusement and are more designed for people who don’t really like reading. This being the case, you should buy proper books for people who like reading and something else for people that don’t! After all Christmas books tend to be fairly gimmicky and if you really enjoy them you can pick them up for 75 percent off in January. Don’t buy vouchers Aside from the work’s Secret Santa, Walter von Ulrich is separated from his British wife in the midst of wartime confusion. It is has always been Follett’s style to fuse historical events and periods with fiction, and Fall of Giants is no different. He moves from the medieval world of his first two epics to the decade spanning the First World War, the movement for women’s equality and the Russian Revolution – hitherto meaning (for most) a crackly blackand-white reel of film you were made to watch at school, a scribbly-annotated chapter in a textbook or the odd, superfluous reflection made in the past by someone very old (“In my day…”) – and blows it up in full Technicolor, imbuing it with life, relatablecharacters, passions, motives, rivalries. Never before has the past been so interest-
book vouchers tend to be fairly inappropriate and ungratefully received presents. If it is the thought that counts then the thought behind vouchers probably doesn’t bare thinking about, so instead we suggest you refer to our first bit of advice, and ask; it’ll probably be cheaper and better received! Hopefully this will inspire you to consider buying books as genuinely interesting festive gift this year, rather than an easy way out when you can’t think of anything better. If
y o u keep these five things in mind then we think it’ll dramatically increase your gift’s chance of avoiding the big box in the attic. ing; Fall of Giants is the most pleasurable history lesson you’ll ever take. You are transported in a matter of seconds between the chandelier-bejewelled corridors of a Russian palace, the midst of a packed, smoky, glass-clinking drawing room in an English country estate, the cratered, bullet-scored French trenches in the heat of battle, and the dark, dirty and dangerous shaft of a Welsh mine. In a nutshell: Fall of Giants is an enthralling (and educational) leviathan of a book, but one to be read in the essay-free holidays. And when you’re done reading, it makes a great doorstop.
Exeposé week ten
Laura Le Brocq, Lifestyle Editor, reviews Paul Torday’s The Girl on the Landing and Jostein Gaarder’s The Christmas Mystery
This novel, published last year, was quite a departure from Torday’s previously critically acclaimed Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. Where Salmon Fishing was an unusual and dry comedy, rather like a diluted Nick Hornby, The Girl on the Landing is far darker. I have mixed feelings about this novel. The story at first seems to be little more than a two-sided description of a safe but dull marriage, quickly taking a turn in a completely different direction. The atmosphere and plot building certainly felt a little laboured; there were constant reminders of how ‘out of sorts’ the main character, Michael, was feeling, and this was stated rather than created. I noticed several repeats in terms of sentence structure and vocabulary, particularly during descriptions of surroundings. These were repeated throughout the novel and were also reminiscent of Salmon Fishing. There was also somewhat of a plot crossover with the theme of loveless marriage, though to Torday’s credit each novel took this theme down an opposite route, and each came up with equally brilliant results. The story is complicated to explain without giving the entire plot away, but let me just say that what begins as a fairly routine depiction of married life evolves into an intense whirlwind of passion,
Brave New World Aldous Huxley
It may be easy to mistake a world fuelled by drugs, consumerism and recreational sex as a hedonist’s utopia. Instead, quite the contrary is true as Aldous Huxley invites readers to take this shocking, and often disturbing tour of his Brave New World where behind this seemingly perfect ‘World State’ is a society quickly declining into a state of dystopia. Brave New World describes a world in which people willingly sacrifice knowledge, passion and life experiences for a more comfortable state that is free from hatred, poverty, disease and pain. Huxley paints a picture of a future where humanity is driven by a universal goal of happiness - a happiness that is trivial, simple and often conditioned into the citizens. At the expense of happiness, this
suspicion and intrigue. It is this which makes the novel ‘clever and gripping.’ Throughout reading you are constantly wrestling with yourself on various themes, both trying to figure out what exactly has happened, what you believe and whether you can forgive. You may find, as I did, that your sympathies lie with the guilty party, because the innocent party is just too obnoxious.
“It is certainly a novel that stays with you”
Another outstanding detail of this novel is the characterisation. The characters all feel quite realistic and you can see them in your mind’s eye, acting out the story as you turn each page. This was definitely an improvement from Salmon Fishing, where I often felt that certain characters stayed flat on the page, too clichéd and stereotypical to be believed. It is clear that Torday knows not only his characters, but also his scenery, and he paints vivid images of Scotland with his pen, a clever contrast with the gritty grey streets of London.
“A routine description of married life evolves into an intense whirlwind of passion, suspicion and intrigue”
It is certainly a novel that stays with you and has you thinking and questioning long after you have finished, as well as checking your doors and windows are tightly shut at night… Some questions are left unanswered, but this is in no way unsatisfying, it is more that you are left to make up your own mind, still trying to figure it all out and visualise all the pieces of the puzzle at the same time. The idea that ‘you never really know someone’ and ‘you never really know yourself’ are perturbing themes throughout the novel, and an added supernatural twist adds an extra layer and leaves you feeling deeply unsettled. Common-place scenes and action become frightening when bathed in the light of the Scottish world is bland and devoid of human personality. The education and appreciation of art, science and religion are banned and are instead replaced by technology, consumerism and physical desires. “Controllers,” who eliminate all human freedom and wipe all traditional human values, uphold this World State. The novel takes a turn when a Savage from an uncontrolled area of the world comes to London, where the novel is set. Questioning the World State, he is left with a simple choice: conformity or death.
“The pursuit of pleasure, such a seemingly harmless thing, ultimately shatters society” If you haven’t read Brave New World then I highly recommend it as one of the cult classics you have to read before you die. However, I think that Huxley could have executed the novel better as the plot
winter dusk. It does seem that a couple of loose ends have been left, in the sense that the threads were woven in the beginning and in the middle, but at the end they don’t quite match up; there is a scene where you are expecting a particular aspect to be neatly sealed, only the needle to sew the threads has been misplaced and Torday seems to have lost track just a little. I have to say that overall The Girl on the Landing was extremely enjoyable; I read it all in one sitting and it easily held my attention for that amount of time. It has an unusual edge on your run-of-themill thriller, and it is difficult to make any final judgements about who is really the victim and who is the guilty party. Part love-story, part anti-traditionalism and establishment, part grisly, gripping thriller, this is a novel that manages to cleverly interweave all these themes and does it very well indeed. Perhaps an ideal read for anyone who can’t make up their mind which genre they prefer?
The Christmas Mystery
Jostein Gaarder ISBN: 0753808668
EVERY year Christmas comes and I regret that I am too old to believe in Father Christmas, or to appreciate the ‘magic’ or the ‘spirit’ of Christmas as anything more than a commercial opportunity. It is an opportunity that I cannot be involved in as anything more than a lowly consumer, but this year I remembered this book, and actually it’s something I would like to consume once more alongside a mince pie slathered with brandy butter. This novel is probably meant for children, or at least, for that awkward pre-adolescent stage, post-Harry Potter and pre-Twilight. But I am not ashamed; because Christmas always makes you regress a little. I may not believe in Father Christmas, but I still get excited about a stocking being by the fire on Christmas morning, so weighty that Father Christmas had to leave it on the rug rather than hanging it from the mantelpiece, and what better to ease you into that excitement than a Christmassy book? The Christmas Mystery is like a readable advent calendar, only far more sathad so much potential to flourish. Nevertheless, the book is gripping and terrifying as it addresses so many flaws in our society today and one man’s bravery to stand up against the social norm. Often paralleled with Orwell’s 1984, I feel that Brave New World is no comparison – the disintegration here is subtly masked by the perfect utopian state, which makes it all the more shocking. It is very clever how Huxley shows that the pursuit of pleasure, such a seemingly harmless thing, ultimately shatters society. I would advise not picking this up until after Christmas - it is a truly depressing read! First published in 1932, the very liberal attitudes towards sex and drugs in Brave New World were certainly anachronistic and caused the novel to be frequently banned. Perhaps it is a shame this book was unavailable for so long as it truly is a brilliant piece of work. Jessica Leung
isfying and enduring than a cheap stale chocolate. Each chapter is a day in December, though I remember struggling to keep myself from reading ahead, in the same way that I sometimes stay up until midnight to have tomorrow’s chocolate… The story is double layered, and follows Joachim, a boy who this year chose an intricate handmade calendar instead of the usual chocolate delight. Upon opening the first door, a small piece of paper falls out, and Joachim and his parents discover that each piece of paper tells the next instalment of a story, namely ‘The Christmas Mystery’ about a little girl who disappears and travels back in time to Bethlehem. Sounds fantastic? It is. This is a pure, quaint, heart-warming
Italo Calvino ISBN: 0141189681
Italo Calvino’s Cosmicomics creates a literary world quite unlike any other, except for the fact that it is set on Earth. The book was re-released as a Penguin Modern Classic last year. Spanning the reaches of time and space, Calvino’s eccentric narrator ‘qfwfq’ performs before the reader an utterly astounding exploration of imaginative power. Calvino takes the notion of ‘sciencefiction’ literally in Cosmicomics, giving our ever-increasing age of reason and rationality, our reification of science as the new gospel truth, a fantastic and phantasmal reproof. As delighted in the realm of imagination and possibility as Shakespeare’s upset lovers in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the novel investigates scientific ‘truths’, translating the rigid order of science into scenarios of human creativity and ingenuity. Cosmicomics consists of many interlinked short-stories. Each story begins with a scientific ‘fact’ that serves as the basis for the tale. In ‘The Distance of the Moon’, the first story, the statement that “one time, according to Sir George H. Darwin, the moon was very close to the earth…” leads to qfwfq’s hilarious and thorough description of “moon climbing”, which involves scrambling up a ladder onto the moon from boats, moving around in a weaker field of gravity, and jumping back down. Eventually, perhaps inevitably, the moon moves further off, taking with it the apple of his adolescent eye and his cousin to the outer-atmosphere of the earth. Calvino encourages his readers to take nothing for granted. The satirical overtone of the ‘autobiographical’ voice, with his solemn seriousness and profound belief in the importance of every event of his life, lampoons an age that reveres a scientific world constantly undermined by comic U-turns. Indeed, the comic lightness of the novel, with the
Christmas story, that will make you want to be like Joachim and have the book read to you by your overexcited parents squashed at the end of your bed in their daft Christmas pyjamas; your flatmates just won’t do. There are some great characters hidden behind those tiny doors; I recall the three kings, an angel and a Roman or two to say the least. The story isn’t uncomfortably religious either; it is an embellished reworking of the Bible story with a dash of modern mystery thrown in. If you feel too old to read it, find a small child to read it to, not least because it will give you a warm, fuzzy, post-turkey dinner feeling throughout what looks to be a chilly advent.
supposed seriousness of the narrator’s tone, creates an almost psychedelic feel to the spaces qfwfq encounters. From a cave in the mountainside, to ancestral fables and experiences about the great shift from water-dwellers to land-dwellers, incestuous uncles, and born-again dinosaurs, the reader is wrapped in the wild tales of a world that seems at once real and preposterously unreal.
“Translating the rigid order of science into scenarios of human creativity and ingenuity”
Qfwfq is an almost ubiquitous, eternal narrator who has equal experience and apparent expertise on modern-day Florence and life before the Big Bang, when he and his family were mere particles, not moving, just drifting through space. Yet from such non-existence is spun the most stirring and amusing anecdotes and monologues. Because of the literal centrality of a seemingly immortal qfwfq, directly present at every major scientific event, he is presented as Everyman, Adam, the archetypal, original human, at the same time as he is quirky, self-obsessed and humourless. As he evolves, so the world evolves. From parodies of conventional love stories, which often filter into the grand narrative of the Universe’s history, to the minutiae of planets appearing for the first time, argumentative, amphibious relatives and cork sailing ships, Calvino threads them all to a staggering achievement of dazzling magical realism. Cosmicomics is mythology for the age of technology. With its more-thanbiblical scope and subtle satire, and the endearing earnestness of a pompous narrator, you feel sorry to close up a world so bright, brilliant and believable, until you realise it is Calvino’s reflection of Mother Earth – our Mother Earth. Callan Davies
December 6 2010 Exeposé
Rosie Scudder & Ellie Steafel - firstname.lastname@example.org
Pantomime season? Oh yes it is! Rosie Scudder and Ellie Steafel, Arts Editors, discuss that very British tradition of the Christmas Pantomime.
FOR those of you who, like us, will be mourning the loss of sequins on a Saturday night when Strictly Come Dancing leaves our screens, the panto season provides the perfect substitute. Most of us will have fond memories of hurling foam sponges at a fat man in drag, waving a flashing wand and screaming that immortal line, “It’s behind you!” But why should these memories be confined to the past? This Christmas we’re donning
our party dresses, stocking up on the Maltesers and heading to our nearest theatre for some good oldfashioned panto magic.
Mousie (Theatre With Teeth) @ The XCentre November 27
COMBINING a new piece of student writing with a fairly unknown venue does not sound like a recipe for success; but adventuring to see Mousie was an extremely pleasant surprise. As I walked down to the Quay, braving the freezing conditions and knowing I was missing the XFactor, I was curious not only about where on earth the XCentre was but if this experience was going to be worth it. As a third year Drama student I have sat through the good, the bad and the exceptionally ugly during my many trips to the theatre. New student writing can be genius but on the other hand it can also be unoriginal, dull and pretentious. I am happy to say that Mousie was none of these things.
Martha Ferguson (playwright and director) has created a fascinating insight to the lives of the elderly with the central character of Esme (Abbi Davey). The old woman is very stereotypical, forever drinking tea and not being able to make it to the toilet in time, but portrayed in a way that makes you empathise not only with the character but with the whole generation. There was a clever use of ambiguity in the script, especially concerning the male character (Harry Boyd) and his relationship to Esme. A disembodied voice (Jo Childs) could also be heard throughout which unnerved not only the old woman but the audience as well, speaking of death
“The use of multimedia in the piece worked exceptionally well”
The quintessentially British tradition of Christmas Pantomime has its sparkly roots in the middle ages. Incorporating many theatrical customs including the Italian “Commedia dell’ Arte” Theatre, pantomime is a visual feast of crossdressing, slapstick and winning one-liners. To this day, the genius of pantomime is its ability to make both children and adults guffaw with laughter, with much of the humour centering on sexual suggestion and popular culture. What went straight over your head when
and laughing at Esme’s suffering. The use of multi-media in the piece worked exceptionally well, creating a television screen at the back of the acting space that the old woman and the audience were constantly watching. At times it could be a bit distracting having Deal or No Deal in the background, but overall there was a lovely mixture of film snippets and music that added to the ambience of the piece, making you feel you really were in an old woman’s flat. The space helped this along tremendously and the XCentre is a multi-functional venue I hope Drama students will continue to use now discovered. It is a bit out of the way down by the Quay, but is a decent sized space that manages to produce a sense of intimacy. All in all, Mousie was a delight and I hope there is more to come from Martha Ferguson. AMEY HODSON
you were seven will now provide you with a sneaky sense of satisfaction.
suade you to indulge in panto over this Christmas period, there are plenty of opportunities local to Exeter. The Theatre Royal, Plymouth is presenting Sleeping Beauty from December 17 – January 22. Billed as “The pantomime of your dreams” and starring Joe Pasquale, the show is set to dazzle. Excitingly, if any of you are bound for the North, Exeter’s very own Drama graduate Nick Cassen is taking to the stage in Mother Goose at the Georgian Theatre Royal in Richmond, North Yorkshire.
“There is also something intrinsically entertaining about a pantomime dame, with her towering pink wig and volumous dress reeking of high-octane glamour providing a multitude “For those of you who of puns” will be mourning the With the cost of presenting a modern pantomime ranging anywhere be- loss of sequins on a tween £150,000 and over half a million Saturday night when pounds, the visual spectacle is always Strictly Come Dancing impressive. This extensive budget is almost entirely thrown into the aes- leaves our screens, the thetic aspects of the show, with sparkly panto season provides sets and outrageous costumes transporting the audience to the worlds of the perfect substitute”
Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty alike. There is also something intrinsically entertaining about a pantomime dame, with her towering pink wig and volumous dress reeking of high-octane glamour and providing the scope for a multitude of puns. So, if we have managed to per-
Undeniably a guilty pleasure, the Christmas holidays provide the perfect opportunity to indulge. Pantomime (thankfully) only comes around once a year, so warm up your voices and prepare to boo, hiss and laugh your way through two hours of festive joy!
Exeposé Week 10
art review Medieval Art in Exeter @ Exeter Cathedral December 2010 EXETER Cathedral is undoubtedly an icon of the city, but one that is frequently observed only from the outside by students. However, I am advocating popping inside this cold December and taking a look at the beautiful examples of religious art, from the medieval to modern day, which are truly more breathtaking than is possible to describe. Built around 1170, the Cathedral has stood in its original form for hundreds of years and indeed each epoch has left its mark on the building. The earliest imprint of creative work upon
the Cathedral is the medieval miserichords. These are wooden ‘mercy seats’ designed to provide comfort in periods of long prayer. They also have an aesthetic value, which is more interesting perhaps to the visiting student.
“The ceiling is an exquisite display of arches and ribs of stone that extend further than the eye can see. ” These seats are survivors from a time long passed, and are not only rich in religious images but medieval folklore and mythology. The carvings are
intricate and astounding examples of craftsmanship from the Middle Ages. They are to be found in the stalls at the rear of the choir. The carvings on these seats are among the earliest of their kind in England and are certainly the oldest complete set. To move on from a small detail to something far more grandiose, one need only look up. The ceiling is an exquisite display of arches and ribs Photo: Henry White
Editors’ Top 10 1. The Night
Play December 6-11 Bikeshed Theatre
Play Dec 10-Jan 15 Comedy Theatre, Ldn
of stone that extend further than the eye can see. A guide to the Cathedral describes accurately how “the [...] journey is not over yet, that the heart of the building is beyond, at the end of the avenue of tree-like arches over your head.” The roof is a guide through the Cathedral, daring you to immerse yourself deeper in the magic of the architectural grace of the building. Medieval imagery is all around you within the building, from a clock originally powered not by electricity but by the movement of water, to the Green Men who peep out at you from corners of chapels. The clock arrived in Exeter Cathedral around 1484 and features a set of dials in which the earth is at the centre of the supposed universe, with the sun and the moon in orbit (Copernicus was only 10 when the clock was installed and had some way to go before working out the order of things). It is a beautiful shade of blue and a fantastic piece of historical engineering. The Green Men are far less epic but perhaps more alluring. They are a popular regional feature in churches in the West Country, small carvings of a man’s face emerging from foliage. The religious meaning of these men is no longer relevant, rendering them nothing but slightly sinister onlookers tp the congregation and visitors to the church. They, like the carvings on the miserichords, are a trace from the medieval past. Their meaning has been lost but remains as a piece of art. I was surprised to learn that in Exeter Cathedral far more images of the Green Man exist than images of Jesus Christ, and I challenge any visitor to find them hidden amongst the ornate, decorative architecture. There are many more medieval masterpieces to be discovered in Exeter Cathedral, which I cannot begin to list here. From the tombs to the tapestries, traces of history and creativity ooze from the Cathedral. It would be a terrible thing to miss a trip to this remarkable building whilst living in this medieval city. ZOE BULAITIS
Musical December 7-11 Theatre Royal, Plymouth
4. Mother Goose
Pantomime December 8-31 Georgian Theatre Royal, North Yorkshire
5. Word of Mouth Spoken Word December 9 Bristol Old Vic
6. The Little Prince Play Dec 14-Jan 8 Bikeshed Theatre
Exhibition December 16-18 Bristol Old Vic
8. Sleeping Beauty Pantomime Dec 17-Jan 22 Theatre Royal, Plymouth
9. Death and the
Play Jan 11-15 Drum Theatre, Plymouth
10. The Diary of
Anne Frank Play January 18-22 Drum Theatre, Plymouth
December 6 2010 Exeposé
theatre review The Madness of George III @ Northcott Theatre November 27
MY knowledge of the Regency crisis is fairly limited, so I found myself unconsciously expecting the Northcott production of The Madness of George III to resemble an episode of Blackadder. But from the opening chime of bells and a slightly off-key rendition of ‘God Save the King’ to a wonderfully melodramatic close, the production screamed patriotism. Even the humour was beautifully British, particularly due to the ludicrous ideas of medicine: “Your obsession with stool, Dr Baker, has been the most tedious feature of this disease.” The costumes were excellent, with the wigs initially resembling a mound of shaving foam and becoming increasingly more ridiculous until eventually the physician entered wearing what appeared to be a large black cat on his head. The physicians were entertaining in their absurdity. Their attempts to cure the king by blistering, shaving and sweating him were summed up well by the line, “Apply all the cures. One of us will probably be right.” Rather as an invalid tends to laze around in their pyjamas, George (Si-
mon Ward) spent the majority of the play lying on the floor in an elaborate dressing gown, his initial “signs of illness” about as convincing as a truanting schoolboy. His gradual mental deterioration was chilling, although his insanity tended to take the form of Just a Minute in a continuous stream of random nonsense, considerably longer than 60 seconds. However, the Queen’s distress was beautifully portrayed, and a touching scene between the King and his favourite page brought some pathos to the production. PM William Pitt served as the cold voice of reason in the absurdity of the situation and the power struggle between him and Fox was intense, punctuated well by the King’s idiotic statements, “It never rains, I control the weather with my mental powers.”
cal disasters of the last few years were based on Alan Bennett’s play, and this allowed for some wonderfully direct comparisons which never ceased to amuse the audience. Pitt’s lament that with five more years in power he could have restored the country was shame-
lessly plagiarised by Gordon Brown, and frustration over the MP expenditures was clear in the line “Popular government’s nothing to do with thrift,” to which a politician quipped, “and not much to do with popularity either.”
Despite a happy ending, the overall theme of the play was one of political decay. The corruption of Fox was excellently portrayed, leaving me facing the sad truth that “Office makes Tories of us all.” HELEN CARRINGTON
“The political disasters of the last few years were based on Alan Bennett’s play, and this allowed for some wonderfully direct comparisons.” It almost seemed as if the politi-
Creative Writing Corner Were I in Love with Snow Jack Flanagan
Were I in love with snow Whose touch was cold And that crumbled under force Withered and wet upon my palm. No glory he’d pay to sun, From whose shimmering glimmer could be gazed A warmth unknown from this winter A spring, I’d forgotten with age. He, who froze the land beneath it And chocked the seedlings. Here: Were I in love with snow A coldness would upon me creep Until all tears of mine were froze, And no longer could I weep. Were I in Love With Snow, With that, it might be true, I’d forget the Summer I’d been And a Winter: all I knew.
comedy review Ardal O’Hanlon @ Northcott Theatre October 31 ARDAL O’Hanlon, star of My Hero and Father Ted, presented his new stand-up at the Northcott Theatre on October 31 2010. During the show, he laughed at the UK’s mounting misfortunes, such as the recession, bad weather and an inevitable doom, and then focused on day-to-day things, such as surviving relationships and raising children. With one-liners such as, “Fun and run should never be in the same sentence, that’s like saying, look at my humour tumour”, and a mix of comical stories, this show was full of variety and catered for everybody’s needs. O’Hanlon took to the stage in a smart suit and an open-necked shirt, which reflected the prestigious but casual atmosphere at the event. O’Hanlon certainly came across as a down-to-earth comedian, despite his celebrity status. Even before he came on stage, he showed his human side by joking that this was the first time he had played at the Northcott Theatre, and so he’d rather stay and do the show from behind the curtains. The audience was still tittering at his opening quips as he took to the stage, and it was a good start to the night. It was evident from the handpicked anecdotes that were chosen for the
show that O’Hanlon based his material on his adult years. One particularly funny story describes the time when his wife was in labour. He heard the midwife say “push!” and wanted to push the baby’s head back in again! These stories are not only immensely funny, but also reflect real life and engage the audience. O’Hanlon related well to students, weaving in studying jokes, and even directly ask-
ing a foreign student, “So do you work or study?” to which the student replied “I’m a graduate student”. Ardal then joked, “So you do neither, then,” and the audience fell into laughter. Oneliners like these, along with his stories, kept the show moving and interesting. This particular interaction also demonstrated O’Hanlon’s awareness of a particular audience and his fantastic ability to come up with spontaneous unprepared quips, which made the show seem very tailored to the Exeter audience. Nevertheless, there were still a few surprises. When O‘Hanlon was joking about his wife, one audience member called out, “So why aren‘t you wearing a ring?” This question stumped O’Hanlon, and certainly tested his improvisation skills. He recovered quickly by pretending to call his wife and then just told the truth – that he left it in his dressing room and the cleaner hoovered it up adding jokily, “Is that okay for you?” Only someone who had been on the comedy circuit for a number of years could have pulled off this sort of improvised recovery. All in all, with a mixture of stories, self-mockery, audience interaction and one-liners, O’Hanlon left the Northcott Theatre to a grand applause. SARAH HARDING
Exeposé week ten
Stephen O’Nion & Alice Scoble-Rees - email@example.com
Motion control gaming: Kinect, Wii and Move the history of motion control gaming Stephen Though the Wii may have debuted in late 2006 with all the pomp and fanfare that affords the latest Nintendovation ©, motion control in games has been around, at least in primitive forms, since long before. From the light guns of Shooting Gallery and Duck Hunt to more ... let’s say ambitious projects such as the Nintendo Power Glove, the Sega Activator and the Sony EyeToy, each fresh assault did nothing but reiterate the inadequacy of the technology on offer. Yet it was with the Wii in 2006
that motion control gaming came into its own, offering huge commercial appeal and the promise of games tailored for the new technology. The units shifted by Nintendo sounded the clarion call that made rivals sit up and take notice. Now we’re leaving 2010 and the two big hitters of Sony and Microsoft have removed their masks to get in on the fun, with the offerings of Sony’s PSMove and Microsoft’s Kinect ensuring that motion control gaming is no mere fad. Rather, whether we like it
or not, the market will likely increase in prominence and impact. John Riccitello, EA’s CEO has gone so far as to state ‘motion controllers [will] end up with half the market’ in the near future. Whether or not his prediction comes true, only time will tell. But what of the now? What of the effects so far of motion control gaming? Just how good is this new frontier? Our two most attractive reporters, David Brake, Screen Editor, and Stephen O’Nion, VG editor, debate this most prominent of issues...
recession achieving a record box office of £944m and a large factor in that was Avatar’s popularity and high-ticket prices. Granted motion control will not have such a large appeal but the increased costs of Kinect will help boost the industry, as console and accessory sales have fallen
Pictured left: What you think you are, pioneer Pictured right: What you are, ponce
reality. Indeed, this evolution of motion control gaming does open the door to brand new opportunities. Heavy Rain: Move Edition has received great early reviews as the motion control adds an extra layer to the game, as one flick of the
controller can lead to a complete change in narrative. It mimics our real life mistakes adding to the experiences and immersing the player even further into the game. This highlights the advancement of motion control gaming and shows why this has a future. Money is an object but the greatest necessities are time and effort, and with the combination of all three things motion gaming will be a success in both gaming and financial terms One must realise that Sony and Microsoft have decided to cash in on this due to the success of the Wii. By 2009/2010, 70.93 million units had been sold, and one of its key selling points is its simplicity and accessibility for non-gamers. Indeed, professional reviewers malign shooters on the Wii so much for the same reason casual gamers enjoy them: point, shoot and that’s it. With Kinect and PSMove, this is the advancement of this technology allowing the embrace of ‘die-hard’ gamers and casual gamers without the fear of alienation. Indeed the PS3’s fantastic graphics and 360’s variety of games will provide motion control gaming what it has been lacking, meaning motion control is now a better accessory as a whole and able to provide to what people want instead of only a small target market. It’s time to ignore all the haters and embrace the simplicity and potential brilliance of this new wave of motion control games. This is no gimmick, it really is the next step to gaming and I can’t wait to get involved.
SOMETIMES, whilst playing a video game, you become oddly self-conscious. You die once, you laugh it off; you die twice, you start worrying about your own abilities and it suddenly gets progressively worse. Playing with an Eyetoy instantly gave you the level of embarrassed selfawareness that usually only comes after that 50th loss.
Before explaining myself, I’d like to give a special mention to the haphazard technology: the ‘photo-recognition’ software, the attempts at ‘voice-recognition’ and, of course, the motion sensing itself. This is where it gets embarrassing. Everything only worked in halves as it was, but when it came to playing the actual games the hardware’s largest failing became horrifyingly apparent and your humiliation chillingly visible to all present. The point
of most games, of course – including the ‘iconic’ ‘window-cleaning’ game on Eyetoy Play – was to wildly slap the air in order to dispatch your on-screen obstacles. Ridiculous-looking enough on its own – at least the Wii gives you a cool nunchuk – as you passionately batter nothing, when the Eyetoy failed to recognise your movements and you lost yet another point, you realised this godawful game just wasn’t worth the humiliation.
IS motion control gaming the future? Yes. Does its arrival mark the death of controller gaming? Absolutely not. It is a fantastic, new option ready to breathe fresh ideas and money into the industry. The new systems of PSMove and Kinect are expensive models with costs of Kinect starting at the wallet-emptying figure of £140. This is a weighty figure for anyone, and excessive for an Eyetoy 2.0. Every gaming control/technology has an expensive starting cost with companies capitalising on fanboys’ desperation to get the latest technology – it’s not right but it’s business. However, prices
do decline and soon Kinect and PSMove will be available to the masses. Furthermore, motion control is to the gaming industry what 3D is to the movie industry. In 2009, the film industry bucked the
3 5 % from 2003. Why would people want it though? I recently saw a trailer for the Xbox Kinect version of the latest Harry Potter game and went “wow!” As a child, this is what I thought gaming would evolve to. I could now be the character, the ultimate suspension of
Back in my hazy, rose-tinted childhood I used to live near a place where any selfrespecting whippersnapper would hold his or her birthday party; featuring bowling, mini-golf, ball pits, air-hockey and Jean Michel Jarre on a constant loop, it was called Planet Kids. The best part, though, were the games that offered escapist entertainment for the discerning six year old: Time Crisis, House of the Dead, some random penalty-taking game with a kickable ball! Motion control gaming wasn’t advanced and it wasn’t ubiquitous, but it was sure of its limitations, it was fun, and, with the amount of coins I funnelled into it, it was expensive. Some things, like the expense, have only grown. MotionPlus, Move, and Kinect cost hundreds of pounds to fully experience, indicative of the confidence held by the three major players in motion control gaming. But behind all the bluster of greater realism and immersion, motion controls instead mean an expensive, lazy, and pointless new market.
IGN.com recently compared ratings of the Kinect [averaging 6/10] and Move [averaging 5/10] launch titles, demonstrating how the latest rush to saturate and dominate the market has meant low scoring, poor quality ports and unimaginative sports-sim games. Kinect may promise ‘you are the controller’ but what it doesn’t recognise is that, at the moment, there’s no reason to want to be the controller. Yes, the thing for which humans deliberately evolved opposable thumbs, the standard controller, is increasingly neglected in this search for immersion. The recent PS3 and Wii offering Lord of the Rings: Aragorn’s Quest portends to match controller swings with in-game swordplay. Though there is also the option to use the standard controller, the game is so focused on the realism of making a 145g, 20 cm long controller react like a sword, it ends up dull, repetitive and significantly worse than, for example, the similarly plotted game from seven years earlier, LOTR: Return of Let’s not forget the awful attempts at integrating Eyetoy technology into other games: otherwise normal experiences interrupted by occasionally having to sigh, drop the controller and start flicking your despondent wrists in the air while the health bar dropped along with your faith in Sony. To come out with the revolutionary PS2 and sidestep to this supposed ‘innovation’ – half-developed at best – was simply foolish.
the King. Motion controls aren’t the future in this respect, they’re actively taking a backwards step to satisfy the latest innovation. The key argument for Move and Kinect is that it’s very early days, and just like the Wii made do with dodgy shooters like Red Steel  and Call of Duty 3 , it will progress to those offerings like Red Steel 2  and Call of Duty: World at War  (Metacritic scores in brackets). If a game wants to apply motion control it has to either go all the way and alienate those gamers who just want to sit and relax with it, or try and appeal to both audiences, requiring a huge workforce and/or a huge time limit. Ultimately that is all too rarely achieved, something emphasised when even a game with as large a budget as Fable III withdraws from using Kinect after initial work.
Motion controls may one day be something special and immerse gamers like never before, but that’s not today. Instead the market is using us as guinea pigs until the next generation, for a high price. If half the market does soon devote itself to motion controls, then I’m just glad I’ve got Return of the King on Gamecube. It’s either that or a replacement for the now, sadly closed, Planet Kids. Just remember: frustrating keepy-uppy games; boxing games actually bested by Nintendo who, at the time of Eyetoy, were still lagging with the unfortunate Gamecube; and of course Dancemat games without a Dancemat. All quickly maligned even when it was the only one of its kind on the market. The only enjoyment I got out of Eyetoy was laughing at Calum Baker its own foolishness. screen Editor
Now, despite not quite functioning as a fully individual instalment in the franchise (acting more as a halfway point in the franchise), Brotherhood is considerably more than just a glorified expansion pack. The graphics have undergone some fairly significant tweaking, with characters now looking noticeably less like gormless burns victims, and the new setting – a monstrously enormous Rome – has clearly been painstakingly recreated, complete with hordes of obese cardinals lumbering around the Vatican and a climbable Colosseum. The game’s story mode is
satisfyingly meaty and there’s about ten years worth of sidequests, all rounded off (in a series first) with a mental online multiplayer option. Life honestly does not get better than this, readers. Most importantly of course, there’s also plenty of entertaining new ways to murder people. Personally, my favourite addition is the kill-streak function – keep spamming the attack button during an execution manoeuvre and Ezio will merrily spin from enemy to enemy, blood and limbs splattering everywhere in a beautiful orgy of carnage, gore and one-hit kills. It brings a tear to the eye, honestly. Elsewhere, those bastard fat enemies from the last game have become embarrassingly easy to slaughter thanks to the ‘kick’ skill. Yep, when it comes to combat, we’ve now hit Chuck Norris-esque levels of invincibility. In fact, you could actually accuse this of being a weakness – it feels almost too easy, with Ezio beginning to resemble a bloodthirsty lovechild of Spiderman and the Terminator, leaping across rooftops and indiscriminately massacring everything in his path with ridiculous ease. Experienced players are unlikely to be challenged much here, particularly as he’s also damn near impossible to kill. Fallen off a massive exploding tower, dismembered 19 footsoldiers, been shot in the leg, impaled on a pike then trampled by a heavily armoured
Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood; Ubisoft Montreal: Ubisoft; PS3/360 November 19
Friday November 19 2010. A glorious day for any self-respecting nerd. Not only did we get a new Harry Potter movie, but also the latest chapter in the outstanding Assassin’s Creed ‘trilogy’. Take that, social life, take that.
“During an execution manoeuvre Ezio will merrily spin from enemy to enemy.”
Stop playing everything now! Billy Bob Thornton has determined that video game culture leads to a bad movie industry. Speaking to The Telegraph, Bob Thornton stated that the industry is currently churning out ‘the worst movies in history.’ Put down your terribly plotted Bioshocks and Uncharteds, and take up your copies of Mr Woodcock and Bad News Bears. For the industry! Some news unlikely to help the cause; Mark Wahlberg has been cast as Drake in the upcoming Uncharted film. Judging from the success of ‘Marky’ Mark in ‘Maxy’ Max Payne, we’re in for a treat. Prove us wrong fella! Continuing with video game anger, Northern Spain has seen a new video game released as part of an election campaign. The game sees players bombing immigrants and its success saw its website crash, making us wonder whether it may soon be adapted to a British market. Might we soon be given the chance to leave Stoke in an even more dillapidated state?! Don’t get offended, s’only a joke, s’ony a joke, SONY. Sony have decided that after PSMove, more newntendo ideas must be used; filing patents for a touchscreen possibly for the next PSP. Bring on the PSDSPGO.
December 6 2010
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1: EA; PC/PS3/360/ Wii/DS November 19
Readers, a confession. The last time I played any form of Harry Potter game was in the heady days of the Chamber of Secrets, involving lots of weirdly named spells, comically high-pitched voices and a final boss level that was strangely similar to that of the first game. Suffice to say, with all the hype surrounding the film release, I was expecting great things from this latest gaming instalment – an upgrade from the PC graphics, the removal of the tedious process of collecting chocolate frog cards, and some kind of emphasis on fighting whilst retaining the charms of the platformers of days gone by – that is, not running around aimlessly cursing everything that moved.
warhorse? Not a problem, neck some medicine and you’ll be enjoying a lengthy sex scene with returning love interest Caterina Sforza within seconds. I digress. The principal novelty here is the shiny new assassin recruitment system. Antagonists the Borgia, being evil, like to oppress their subjects when they’re not shouting at Ezio for climbing on buildings, and subsequently any rescued victims can now be inducted into the Assassin’s Guild. Freshly recruited minions then become yours to command, to be ordered around Europe at your discretion to complete such thrilling tasks as
‘dousing fires’ or ‘spreading rumours’. Oh, and you can also summon them to help you out during fights. Or make them jump off buildings and stab anyone who looks at you funny in the face. Delegation’s never been this fun. And to add to the general joy, it’s also possible (as male housemates have gleefully noted) to solely
Well. At least they got the first bit right. Whilst the graphics are certainly far more advanced – granted, Harry doesn’t move much when he casts a spell, and the most animated part of his body is his hood, but Ron’s gormless expression is certainly realistic enough – and the voices are admittedly not quite so juvenile – from the outset it was clear that this was a departure from the norm. Essentially, what the makers have done is take a game from an adventure/platform genre, and turned it into a thirdperson shooter. The initial levels, which bear more than a passing resemblance to a Halo game set in Chernobyl, are utterly meaningless. Whilst Ron and Hermione stake out the following levels, Harry runs around increasingly random locations, unnecessarily rescuing muggles and
recruit women into the Guild, leading to an amusing ‘Ezio’s Bitches’ type scenario. Amazing.
So yes. U l t i m a t e l y, Brotherhood is far, far better than it has any right to be, considering its pre-release accepted status as a half-baked cash-in spin-off money-grabbing... thing. I’d actually even argue that it surpasses its excellent predecessor. Yeah, OK, some of the freerunning sequences are totally ludicrous. Yeah, the enemies drop like asthmatic flies. Yeah, the plot is hideously convoluted (it involves the usual elaborate bull-hickey about ‘pieces of Eden’ from the previous titles, an epic struggle between Templars and Assassins and possibly also something about demi-gods and the sun exploding).
But to be quite honest, who cares? It’s all essentially negligible in the face of what is otherwise a truly brilliant game. A masterpiece, in fact, if you’re feeling melodramatic. Which I am. Now, Ubisoft, hurry the hell up with Assassins Creed 3. Lizzy Quinlan 8.5/10
“When it comes to combat, we’ve now hit Chuck Norrisesque levels of invincibility.”
escaping dragons, simultaneously stunning everything in sight with gay abandon. The controls are not the easiest to get to grips with. The wand aiming system is incredibly sensitive, but if you want to actually hit anything, you must compensate with a reaction speeds of a medium-sized boulder. You can lock on to targets, but if they move even a millimetre, you have to readjust your aim. However, even if you manage this tricky manoeuvre, the developers appear to have cunningly made it quite arbitrary as to if your spells do anything at all. When they do actually work, Harry’s loyal but basically useless friends Ron and Hermione will inevitably get in the way, taking the hits for your enemies. The rest of the game plays through quite repetitively, with Harry mercilessly cutting down swathes of identical-looking henchmen, with the action seemingly taking place in three places alone: generic woodland, generic footpath, and generic wasteland. In addition, the variety is painfully limited. In a nutshell, you will take cover and shoot like you’re in a James Bond game. You will walk
Pictured: Ezio’s daily commute
around pointlessly for ages, and gain very little. You will be attacked by the most relentless doxies you will ever encounter. You will see dementors everywhere you go, and, most importantly, you will realise that the most enjoyment you can get from this game is by appreciating how comically bad it is.
Pictured: Perilous sexual tension
David rees 3/10
Exeposé week ten
Microsoft’s Kinect sensor is the latest attempt to break into the rapidly expanding market of motion-controlled gaming. But is Kinect really as innovative as the adverts would have us believe, or is it just a half-hearted attempt to match the Wii’s success and keep up with Sony? Retailing at £129.99, Kinect is definitely on the expensive side (especially when considered alongside the cost of an Xbox 360 and additional games). The fact that it only costs Microsoft around £34 to make means that Kinect needs to impress in order to justify its high price.
“The novelty of being able to command technology to do your every bidding is a welcome one”
In terms of technology, Kinect is definitely cutting edge and is a step up from the hardware used by both the Wii and Sony’s Playstation Move. The most striking difference is that Kinect does not require any controllers - Microsoft’s mantra of “you are the controller” holds true. By using a variety of sensors, Kinect tracks the user’s entire body and projects real-time movements into the game. This means players will have to do far more than just wave their arms about – many of Kinect’s games require you to duck, jump and hold a variety of silly poses. A simple “swipe” of the hand enables users to navigate between menus on the dashboard – a feature
As was recently pointed out to me by my housemates, I was one of those people that went out and bought PSMove as soon as I could… and then didn’t play it. We ran through the unexciting game demos on the startup disc pretty quickly, and by that point it turned out that the expense of buying Move had wiped out my expendable income. I couldn’t afford to actually buy any games. I had succumbed to the hype and quickly became disillusioned with the reality.
“I had succumbed to the hype and quickly became disillusioned with the reality”
Games aside, the hardware is appropriately well designed and sleek, though the Motion Controller itself perhaps too much so, by which I mean my housemate still occasionally slips it into his front pocket and walks around saying “woah! Am I pleased to see you or…” The back of the packaging describes at legth its easy to use buttons and vibrate fucntions, and it’s certainly comfortable to grab hold of. But I digress. What marks Sony’s offering apart from the Wii is the
which will appeal to anyone who has seen Minority Report. Kinect also features voice recognition, which can be used to navigate menus, play/pause DVDs and Skype people via Xbox live. As with the motiontracking, the technology is impressive, and the novelty of being able to command technology to do your every bidding is a welcome one. However, the use of voice commands is fairly limited, and Kinect sometimes fails to respond, especially in a noisy environment. The set-up process is relatively easy despite being time consuming. It’s possible to set up a ‘Kinect ID’ which is linked to your gamertag. This means that Kinect keeps a record of your facial features and automatically signs you in when you step in front of the sensor. This is a useful feature which is sadly marred by the fact that it takes so long to set up – the process needs to be completed three times in different light conditions before Kinect can reliably recognise someone. In terms of aesthetics, Kinect’s sleek black exterior is visually appealing. However, it is rather bulky and can be awkward to position in front of the television. Additionally, Kinect requires a large playing space free from obstructions. The user must be at least 6ft away from the sensor with plenty of space around them for movement. Even more space is needed for multiplayer. This makes it difficult for people with limited space to enjoy Kinect to its full potential. Eye Camera, which, through filming you in your own living room, has the potential to put you in the game [insert awed gasps]! Whilst this did allow my friend to draw himself a crude stick figure girlfriend on
There is no denying that the technology behind Kinect is impressive - such developed voice and motion control has never been available to gamers before. However, the novelty of these features for menu navigation soon fades as it’s simpler to pick up a controller. Kinect definitely marks a serious attempt by Microsoft to break into the family market and this is reflected by the variety of games available. In these games the motion controls really shine and make Kinect stand above its competitors. alex hawksworth-brooks and jessica leung
the xmas themed three way motion control showdown!
the demo for Beat Sketcher, there seem to be few other practical applications for the Eye Camera in game. It’s as if Sony has rushed their tech out with no idea what they’re going to do with it… but that doesn’t sound possible, surely? In any case, tired of looking at the Motion Controller, lying dormant and vaguely seedy looking on the sofa, I bought Lord of the Rings: Aragorn’s Quest and patched the masterpiece that is Heavy Rain so I could actually take Move for a serious road test. The results were, at best, mixed. Aragorn’s Quest was ported to the PS3 and evidently without much care, as it handles so sluggishly that you half suspect yourself of drinking beforehand, as you flail wildly to overcompensate whilst yelling “but I blocked, dammit!” at the screen. It’s like the Wii, but if it was really, really bad. Heavy Rain, however – the game, remember, that wasn’t specifically designed to use motion control gaming – uses Move beautifully. It’s responsive and intelligent, and genuinely adds a new layer to the game. In short, Move will only ever be as good as how well it’s taken advantage of, and whilst games like Aragorn’s Quest convince me that it wasn’t worth my money, Heavy Rain gives me hope that one day it might be. Alice Scoble-Rees Video Games Editor
When Nintendo first announced MotionPlus back in 2008, it was a move greeted enthusiastically. The tuning fork gyroscope in MotionPlus coupled with the accelerometer in the Wii Remote allowed the capture of much more complex movements than was possible before. The potential of this new peripheral was demonstrated brilliantly by the software it was bundled with. Wii Sports Resort was a much improved sequel. Not only were there more activities to choose from, but each had more variety and more depth. The best games, such as Air Sports and Sword Fighting, were the ones which fully utilised the new capabilities of MotionPlus. However, in essence it was still a tech demo. What veteran gamers wanted to see was how this new device would be incorporated into software more squarely aimed at them.
The wait would be a long one. Nintendo’s first priority was to get MotionPlus into as many homes as possible, and in this regard they were extremely successful. To date, Wii Sports Resort has sold over 19m copies, a user base surely large enough to attract some serious support. Unfortunately, just like Wii Speak, MotionPlus has been almost completely ignored both by Nintendo and third parties. To this day the vast majority of games that utilise the device are sports games and minigame collections. Not to say that these were all bad: EA’s Tiger Woods golf series has been particularly well received since MotionPlus functionality was added. But they lacked variety and suffered from not being built from the ground up for the peripheral. In fact, 12 months after its launch the only game to have required MotionPlus was Red Steel 2, and the lack of any Star Wars lightsaber game built around MotionPlus is particularly baffling. However, not all hope is lost. In early November, Nintendo launched Flingsmash, a new franchise which can only be played with MotionPlus. Nintendo has also announced that a new Wii Remote that has MotionPlus built in will be bundled with every new system sold. Such moves clearly indicate that Nintendo is developing multiple MotionPlus games, but how many and of what type is unknown. Perhaps the most important news is that the latest entry in the Zelda series, Skyward Sword, will fully incorporate the device into every aspect, from combat to puzzles to new items. Yet even though the game will most likely be of the highest quality, I still wonder if it will be enough to redeem MotionPlus from what it has been so far, an abysmal failure. Adam koziol
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Exeposé week ten
Swansea stump Exeter with last gasp draw Football
Alan Horsefield Exeter University Football Club EXETER UNIVERSITY suffered another blow to their hopes of promotion to the top tier of the BUCS Championship on Wednesday, surrendering a two goal lead, and with it two points to Swansea. Although Exeter have struggled away from home this season, they started the game at an intensity, catching Swansea by surprise. The Swansea midfield were forced to surrender possession on a regular basis, and when they had the ball Exeter moved it quickly and with purpose, often finding the feet of striker Ben Nash. It was not long until they were rewarded for their efforts, the midfield once again winning the ball off Swansea and catching the home team off guard. Nash was sent through by a long ball from the back and he outran the Swansea defence to coolly slot home. At the other end, Swansea proved unable to get much change out of the Exeter defence. Nick Peare and Josh
James were more than up to the task of dealing with the physical threat of the Swansea No. Nine, limiting him to one half-chance for the entire first period, a header which keeper Tom Vinten dealt with easily. There was a welcome return for Adam Rogers at left-back, and he
was able to shut down Swansea’s tricky right winger almost entirely. There were however a few warning signs of what was to come, with Exeter failing to clear their lines properly on more than one occasion. Nonetheless, the away team continued to dominate and create chances. A lovely flick from Simon Blaxall sent Exeter away down the right and captain Tom Watson was put through on goal. A good save from the Swansea keeper resulted in a goal mouth scramble, the defence just able to get the ball to safety. But Exeter would
Sailors exceed expectations Sailing
Tim Saxton Exeter University Sailing Club THIS weekend saw the first events for the University’s racing teams. The First Team were competing at The ‘London 6 pack’ in Wembley. The team was Tim Saxton sailing with Lucy De Boltz, Ben Muskett sailing with Milli Parkin and Hugh Shone sailing with Cicely Robinson. Hugh, the captain of the seconds, and Cicely were replacing usual pairing Matt Rainback and Jodie Green who were unavailable. In tricky, light wind conditions, a full round robin was completed. Exeter came out of this with a record of 11 wins to three losses. The team only lost to two non-university teams (the eventual finalists) and in a very poor race against Bath. However, Exeter did
beat first teams from many universities including Bristol, Cambridge, London, Durham and Southampton. This record qualified them for the top league; of 5, for the next round robin. A 3-1 record resulted in Exeter missing out on top spot on a tie break, but they qualified for the semi-finals nonetheless. London University then came through the playoff as winners of the silver league to also qualify for the semis-finals. In the semi-finals Exeter was paired to race a non-university team from Spinnaker. This included Tom Mallindine, an Exeter graduate, long time first team member and former captain. A poor start led to a loss in the first of a best of three series, but the team combined well to gain a convincing victory in the second race to take the contest to a decider. However, good work by the opposition and a critical call by the umpires led to a loss in the
decider. London University were also knocked out convincingly at this stage. The spinnaker team went on to win the final in straight races before Exeter began their third-place play-off, which also decided the top university team honours. The Exeter team showed its superiority in taking the best of three contest with two very convincing victories, which left no doubt as to who was third and the top university team. Overall, this was a very good performance which exceeded expectations. The third team also competed this weekend in Birmingham. With strong competition coming from many other university first teams (Leeds, Swanswea UWE and more) they won all their races on Saturday but found the going tougher on Sunday. Overall they came sixth out of 21 narrowly missing out on qualifying for the next round.
cheerleaders themselves who went on to enter a team into the event last-minute. Right from the start, Rugby League and Union dominated in the track relays, gaining massive team points. Meanwhile on the field, the hosting Athletics team put the Rugby teams’ domination into question, with Sam Harris, the ‘planking legend’, and Mike Hawkins, a ‘tricep dipping master.’ Massive excitement came with the pursuit relay heats and final, that left the Athletics and Rugby League chasing for the ultimate gold position. Before the unveiling of the Olympic rankings, the event was rounded off with a performance from the dance society accompanied with refreshments provided by the Oxfam society. And what you’re all eager to know... who really are top of the Uni? Netball
came in first for the Girls with 68 points, winning themselves what us girls all enjoy several bottles of wine! Joint second place was Cheerleading and Girls Football with 39 points. On the boys side, earning themselves a crate of beer to celebrate, Rugby League dominated with 157 points, very closely challenged by Rugby Union, 151 points. Hockey brought in the Bronze for the men with 139 points. The Mixed team gold was snapped up by the hosts’ themselves Athletics - who, true to form, knocked up 149 points, followed by extremely close competition between Canoe 99 points and Lacrosse 98 points. Overall Olympic Champions however were undoubtedly Rugby League for Gold, Rugby Union with the Silver medal and Athletics for the all important Bronze.
Rugby League AU Olympic Success Athletics
Lucy Rogers Athletics Publicity Officer Friday November 29 saw the debut of what can only be described as the start of an epic Exeter sporting tradition: the AU Olympics. 17 top University teams competed in the ‘survival of the fittest’, covering contemporary and somewhat entertaining events such as the ‘spin and sprint’ and ‘obstacle relay’, to the customary gruelling wall squat that now holds an Olympic record of over 30 minutes! The prize-winning event started with a fantastic performance from the Exeter cheerleaders to get the teams fired up and ready, including the
manage to get their second, another rapid counter-attack down the right resulting in a corner. Swansea could clear it only as far as Andrew Waddingham on the edge of the box, and his sweetly struck strike took a deflection and hit the back of the net. A few minutes later Waddingham would unleash a similar effort, this time however it crashed against the bar and Exeter went in at half-time 2-0 up. Swansea began the second half in a much brighter fashion and Exeter were unable to dominate the game as they had in the first. The home team managed to get some support to their strikers, and were able to compete with the Exeter midfield, forcing them to give the ball away and rush their passes. Exeter continued to make chances though, Nick Peare having a header turned on to the bar. Countless crosses flashed across the face of the Swansea goal, but Exeter were unable to take advantage. It was clear that Swansea were coming back into the game and Exeter began to drop deeper, starting
to give away silly free kicks, which invited even more pressure. With about fifteen minutes to go, Swansea began their comeback. Exeter failed to clear a free kick properly, and when the second ball came into the box, Swansea’s centre back was left on his own to slam the ball home. There was more than a hint of offside about the goal, but with the referee insisting it was only he who could give offside decisions, the defence should have perhaps been more vigilant. Exeter had one more chance to seal the game, but Nash was unable to put away a cross from the left, and with two minutes to go Swansea managed to get a second. Another needless free kick was given away by the Exeter midfield, and from the edge of the box a Swansea midfielder hit and shot an exquisite strike into the right hand corner. It was a cruel blow for Exeter, who on balance undoubtedly deserved three points. But they now face a mountain of a task to gain promotion and need a result fast, if they are to avoid being mired in a scrap at the other end of the table.
Badminton bonanza Badminton
Araminta Gilders Exeter University Badminton Club THE ladies 1st badminton team had a strong win against UWIC this week, with all players winning at least one game. UWIC started off on a back foot, short of one player, immediately putting Exeter in the lead by two games. Kat Thornton started off in the singles, dominating against her UWIC opponent, winning 21-1, 21-3. The doubles’ games were a much closer match. Unfortunately the top UWIC doubles pair was stronger than both of Exeter’s pairings. Both of Exeter’s doubles pairs outperformed UWIC’s second doubles pair, putting the score at 5-2. A final strong performance in the singles put the final score at 6-2 to Exeter, an excellent win for the girls. A special mention should go to Emma Lawes who, despite falling over on an apple prior to the match, played exceptionally well. With this strong performance the women’s 1st badminton team have given themselves a good opportunity to finish in the top three of the Premier South division. From November, 19-21, the badminton squad took their top five men and women to compete at BUCS Individuals in Nottingham. With over 400 players from 60 Universities, the weekend was an excellent opportunity to see some world class badminton and compete against some of the country’s and world’s leading players. The atmosphere was incredible, with each University providing support for their players. Tom Fenner made it comfortably through the first round of singles, but unfortunately faced the number one seed, Lim Kenn of Leeds Met. University, a top Malaysian player, in the second round. Fenner played
exceptionally well, and went out of the singles to the eventual winner. Andy Muir performed well in the singles, making the most of his powerful smash to get through to the third round. Ladies singles players had a tough draw. Minty Gilders made it through the first round, but unfortunately her performance was not strong enough to beat England player, Munn-Tzin Bong of Leeds Met. University, in the second round. At the end of the first day Exeter had two mixed pairs through to the Saturday and the doubles still to go. Saturday morning started off well with Kat Thornton and Georgie Stapleton making it through to the second round. Beth Hunter and Gilders had a close first game, losing the first end, but with determination, excellent support and teamwork, they clawed it back to make it through to the second round. Their second round match against a pair of top seeds was incredibly close, but they unfortunately lost 21-16, 21-16. In the mixed doubles, Exeter got two pairs through to the second round, with a close game won in three by Mike Harcus and Stapleton. Fenner’s defence and Emma Lawes net domination was a winning combination for their first round game. Although both pairs put on an excellent performance they both went out in the second round. Men’s doubles pair Patrick Baldwin and Muir put on an excellent performance against a seeded pair in their first round, and despite losing, won a commendable amount of points against the strong pair. All in all, despite having no players through to the final day, it was a fnatastic weekend. The Exeter team were nominated for the ‘Spirit of Badminton Award’, which acknowledged their excellent supporting throughout the tournament, with the ‘BOOM, PING AND STOPDROP’ banners.
December 6 2010
Taking uni sport and running with it Alexander Cook, Sports Editor, speaks to Exeter student Tom Carrington Smith about the new website - unisportonline.co.uk
the idea. They were understandably impressed, particularly by the unique selling point of the website, and explained to Tom the opportunities available to students for funding. It was at this stage that the magnitude of the undertaking struck Tom and he therefore decided to invite on board Matt Brookland, another Exeter student, to share the workload – a step that Tom is keen to stress as very important. The two then met with Joe Pearce and Robin Jackson on several further occasions to really nail down the business plan and its financing, so that it was in a suitable shape to be put forward for funding. Eventually, Matt and Tom ‘entered the Dragons Den’ and went in front of a panel at the Innovation Centre. Tom describes this session as “gruelling, but a really good experience” as the panel “drill down into the business plan” dissecting the profit forecasts. The business plan nevertheless stood up to scrutiny, and the funding was secured. It was then down to Tom and Matt to set up formal meetings with web companies around Exeter to discuss the execution of the idea. They got lots of quotes for the design of the website, but ultimately decided to go with the company ‘1010media’, run by Andy Chapman, because they “got on the best with him and he understood the idea the best”. Tom notes that “[Andy]’s been brilliant for us”. When Tom and Matt originally sat down with him to discuss the time-scale of the website, they said they wanted to get it up and running this term; Andy did it in a month “which was amazing” considering both the quality of the product and the constraints on the budget. Whilst the website was being designed, Tom and Matt set up meetings with the AU Presidents and Editors of university newspapers, targeting the top fifteen sporting universities in the BUCS league. They visited them personally and pitched them the idea. Tom admits “it was quite hard at first because you’re pitching them something that doesn’t exist”. He also modestly notes that they were very lucky that a few top sports universities - Bath, Birmingham and Loughborough - got on board really early. Once they had them, they could mention this in meetings with other universities keen to stay in contention with their rivals. They then set up agreements with the respective university newspapers from
TOM CARRINGTON-SMITH, a third year Sports Science undergraduate, has recently launched unisportonline.co.uk, ‘the students’ voice for British University Sport’. Exeposé caught up with him to unearth the story behind what promises to be the next web phenomenon. The initial spark of inspiration for the website originated from Tom’s experiences playing Rugby and Cricket for Exeter. He always “liked being nerdy”, reading up on how teams he was about to play against had performed in recent weeks. It therefore surprised and frustrated him that there was no single ‘platform’ where you could easily access articles on the internet about university sport in general, even though there was excellent coverage of sport within university newspapers. From this frustration, the website was born. After having no luck applying for the conventional internships for the summer holiday, Tom then realised he had a block of time free in which he could develop the idea. After jotting an outline of the business plan down on paper, he met up for a pint at the local pub with a family friend who is a web designer and who also runs his own business. From there, a template of a business began to take shape. Tom then spent a lot of time researching the various methods of making money online, such as through online advertising and affiliation schemes. He then approached a series of web designers in his home town and was offered £500 by a local company with which they would have developed the website. Tom admits that he flirted with this offer, knowing that “it would have been enough to put something on the web, but it wouldn’t have looked that good.” At the same time, he bought the domain name; ‘UniSportOnline.co.uk’, and approached a friend who was a graphic designer to see if he could get a logo designed for the website. He quickly realised though, that “it’s not just a logo is it? You’ve got to understand branding.” This led Tom to read up all about the marketing and branding side of running businesses. So, having created a business plan - that has now developed into a 40 page document, which Tom truthfully admits is “probably more than I’ve ever done for my degree” – Tom knew he wanted to make a go of the business and wondered what support the university had to offer. After emailing the Careers Department, he was put in touch with Joe Pearce, the Business Support Manager at the Innovation Centre. Upon his return to university, Tom met with Joe Pearce and Robin Jackson (CEO of the Innovation Centre) to discuss Tom (front right) and the UniSportOnline team
which the content for the website is largely sourced; the articles are forwarded to them after the paper is published. This is “really good, works really well and we have some amazing writers”. Thus UniSportOnline is rapidly developing into the “platform” for student sport and journalism, which Tom had conceived over a year ago. The website was launched on Monday November 22, and had over 7,000 hits on that day from around 1,500 different people. This figure is now down to about 1,000-2,000 page hits a day, which may not seem many compared with the launch day, but their data shows that those who do go on the website visit at least five pages. This implies that those who know about the website use it and more importantly like it. Tom has therefore highlighted marketing and publicising the website as the next big challenge for the venture. When discussing the future of the website, Tom said honestly and interestingly that they’re not really sure about what it will turn into. At the moment, it’s a news website with articles, photos and videos on it. It could stay as an article based website, or it could become more video based, focusing on the highlights from footage filmed of matches. It could become more like Twitter, where people watching university sport give live updates on matches so people can check the scores live. Or, it could even go down the iPhone App route. This uncertainty is exciting for the project, the potential seemingly limitless. Tom then considered a more overarching goal for the site, by drawing an intriguing comparison with College Sport in America, which boasts an incredibly high profile. He noted how the quality of university sport is always getting better in the UK, becoming more professional, with universities now employing nutritionists, physiotherapists and offering more scholarships to talented athletes. UniSportOnline can help therefore help to develop the media side of university sport which has to some extent lagged behind these other areas of development, certainly in comparison with the American example. Tom then stressed that university has been an excellent time to start a business. “If people do have a good idea, university is the perfect time to pursue it because everything is at your fingertips. Advice from the university staff is all free and they are so willing to help young people.” He wanted to mention Joe Pearce in particular for his invaluable help and guidance in getting the project off the ground and also Ian Osborne, the Work Placement Officer, who has also been a great help acting as a mentor to Tom and Matt. Tom’s initiative is remarkable, particularly in the light of the highly competitive graduate recruitment market, where it is easy to complain about the scarce opportunities available to students. His policy of ‘learning through doing’ is truly admirable and sets an excellent example to other budding entrepreneurs at Exeter.
Jenny Manby Exeter Windsurfing Club On November, 27-28, whilst the rest of the country froze to a standstill, windsurfers from around the country flocked to the south west to do the obvious thing; head into the sea, neoprene clad for the first in the SWA Wave Series, Exeter Wave X. Saturday morning brought many a flask of tea, soup, windsurf equipment and competitors bundled into vans, heading to the southern shores of Devon. With many of the Cornwall beaches made unaccessible due to snow, a promising north-easterly forecast brought the competition to the local spot of Teignmouth. They
arrived to high tide and little wind, but that did not stop the eager (and seemingly fearless) wave sailors rigging their kit and heading on to the water for the first heat. As the tide began to ebb, the submerged sandbank provided the perfect ramp for waves and the competition began.
“Southampton’s Steve Jarvis wowed the near hypothermic crowds”
The first two heats ran in quick succession and featured some impressive wave riding from Bristol’s James Goss and Pete Wood which secured their places in the final. Southampton’s Steve ‘SJ’ Jarvis wowed the near hypothermic crowds with a front loop off an unsuspecting
Exeposé week ten
Series: Exeter Wave X
Photo: Jenny Manby
1. Blasé (10) 6. Marvel (3) 7. Several (8) 10. Delight (4) 11. Method of determining the concentration of a reactant (9) 13. 2009 Pixar film (2) 14. Instruct (5) 16. A little (1-3) 18. A dated intensifier; anag. Best Lad (7) 19. Federation situated in the South East of the Arabian Peninsula (3) 21. Fit together perfectly (10)
No. 15 by Alexander Cook
1. An unimportant person or thing (9) 2. ___ Guevara (3) 3. Extol the virtues of (4) 4. Put something on hold (5) 5. Wife of Odysseus (8) 8. A commonly repeated word or phrase (6) 9. Prestigious acting school (4) 12. Round object (3) 15. Without refinement (5) 16. Breast Cancer Charity - Copp (1,4) 17. Grey-brown colour 18. As busy as a ___ (3) 19. A helper of Father Christmas (3)
Solutions to Crossword No. 14. Across:1. Pneumatic, 6.Up, 8.Orifice, 9.Fire, 10.Fountain, 12.Eta, 13.Emerson, 16.Veni, 18.Lazy, 19.Era, 20.Irene, 21.Hero, 22.Geronimo. Down:1. Proofreading, 2.Epicure, 3.Moist, 4.Tee, 5.Café, 7.Prevaricator, 11.Ago, 12.Ebenezer, 14. Spleen, 15.Nazism, 17.Deer.
wave, gaining him a first class ticket to the final. UWE’s Alex Arnold was the next to qualify with some notable freestyle among the waves. The final brought some crowd
“It was SJ that stole the show with a back loop right at the end, warranting him a well-deserved win”
pleasing wave freestyle from the new boy on the block Alex Arnold, and some lengthy wave riding from the late comer’s James and Pete. But it was SJ who stole the show with a back loop right at the end, warranting him a well-deserved win.
The final results were announced, with first place going to Southampton’s Steve Jarvis who took away a rather snazzy watch thanks to one of the events sponsors SILTe, second place was taken by UWE’s Alex Arnold who went away with a Sparton Sail Bag, also courtesy of one of the event’s organisers. Third place went to Bristol’s James Goss. Wave X had seen some phenomenal windsurfing, some extreme partying, and so with our magic done for another year, we bid farewell to the convoy of cars as they made their way back to snowier climes with prizes and the memories of an awesome weekend in tow. Thanks must go to all the SWA sponsors for their continuing support: Boardseeker, Boardwise, Club Vass,
“As the tide began to ebb, the submerged sandbank provided the perfect ramp for waves and the competition began”
Ezzy, Fanatic, Gaastra, Naish, Plasma, RRD, Severne, Spartan, Starboard, Tabou, Turfdog and Tushingham, and in particular K3-d who sponsor the trilogy of SWA wave events. It was a remarkable weekend which went against all weather warnings and Exeter now have to thaw-out their wetsuit boots ready for the next event in Liverpool.
December 6 2010
Alexander Cook & Andy Williams - firstname.lastname@example.org
Exeter golfers Kings of Greens
Photo: James Wallace
James Wallace Golf Publicity Officer
FOLLOWING the postponement of their home match against Plymouth last week, the Exeter 1st team jumped at the chance to play Bournemouth over their own course. Bournemouth’s strong performances in 2010 saw them lose narrowly in the BUCS team finals and Exeter 1st team were keen to show they were back pushing for a top table seat. Chris Young led the team off as usual. But his best form deserted him on the day, and he struggled on the greens. A flurry of birdies from his opponent ended the game quickly. Laurie Potter then brought the match to 1-1 with a fine victory. He was two down after nine holes but a fine fight back with a couple of birdies gave a comfortable win from a solid performance. Chris Davies was back in 1st team action following some fine form at Trevose and in the OOM competitions. This form continued with him rushing to three up after nine holes over an opponent who was unbeaten all year. Two birdies and a par though from the former English Ladies Amateur Champion squared the match at the 12th. Chris had a quiet word with himself before a three birdie finish secured a great win. In match four, Tom Thornhill kept his 100% record going this year with a fine performance to earn Exeter’s third point. Solid golf all day combined with some ‘Northern’ grit gave him a one-hole win. Team Captain Bizzle Brown played some great golf but just got on the wrong end of a birdie-fest, losing 2&1. Four birdies in a row from Brown couldn’t match his opponent’s deadly short game. So the last match was crucial and the pressure was back on Phil Steen, Exeter’s final man. Two down early in the match he fought back brilliantly to square the match with one hole to go with a great birdie. A huge drive and an immaculate two-iron to 15ft on the 18th gave him two putts for victory. Steen was ‘player of the day’ but Exeter showed class in every match. This is the first time Bournemouth have lost at home for over five years, rumours have been said that they were seen wiping away tears on the 18th green when Steeno won his match. The Exeter 2nd team travelled to Bournemouth for the second time this term to play the Bournemouth 3rd team. Bournemouth fielded a strong team of low handicap golfers, with Exeter looking to maintain their unbeaten start to the season. Reece Miller topped the order and
Demons dominate Gladiators American Football
Will Budge American Football Vice-President SUNDAY 21, saw the Demons triumph over Gloucester 32-8 in their first home game of the season to stay tied atop the BUAFL’s South Western Atlantic Conference (SWAC). The crowd turnout was pleasing, bettering that of most home games last year, and hopefully this trend will continue. Exeter’s running game was on form again with Aaron Shorter chasing in two touchdowns. Other scores were added by Toby Burgess-Smith and Fin Brown. Shorter’s hard running in week one was replicated purposefully on Sunday, both by Shorter, and backup running back Cody Yellowless-Bound. Although Shorter’s two early scores; both with the addition two point conversions, gave Exeter an early 16-0 lead, momentum stalled for the rest of the first half. Despite the Demons moving the ball nicely, they failed to score due to a brace of untimely turnovers.
“The defence physically dominated their opponents.”
Exeter’s Laurie Potter strokes another down the fairway after a sluggish start fought back to take the match down the 18th. On the 18th the ‘three putt’ curse struck again where two putts would have given him a half. Danny Vallis kept his unbeaten run going with another big win. He was always in control and took down his opponent early. James Wallace showed a return to form early in his game and was one up with three holes to play. He would have gone two
up with two to play but a confusion over a conceded putt and a disgusting display of sportsmanship from the Bournemouth man meant the match went all square. Wally lost this tight match down the last when his opponent made par. In the fourth game, James Lamburn, Team Captain had an average day at the office by his standards. But, an immaculate short game performance
gave him another good win. Alistair Scott was next up and started well in a good position. A few wayward shots on the back nine let his opponent seal the match. The match was still in the balance and Chris Hayter was at the tail. Again, Hayter was one up with two holes to play but lost the last two holes, undoing some of the great golf in the 16 holes previous. Overall this was a very tight match and a result that will be revenged in March around the Warren.
The team got back on track in the second half when Brown span away from several defenders on a quarterback scramble and eventually stretched over the line, pulling two Gladiators with him. This was closely followed by rookie quarterback Mark Cohen, who found a wide open Burgess-Smith in the middle of the end zone to complete the rout. Exeter’s defence was on fine form once again. They allowed Gloucester nothing in the first half, and when they were required to step up in the second half with the Gladiators looking threatening and only a converted score down, they did. The defence again physically dominated their opponents, and they were only undone twice by the electric pace of a Gladiator’s wide receiver. Harry Tomes earned defensive MVP for a powerful performance including several hits that the recipients would not forget. The Demons will face their hardest test yet on December 5 in their next home game, coming up against a UWE Bullets side that has dominated the SWAC for several years.
Published on Dec 6, 2010