Monday March 7 2011 Issue 577 www.exepose.com
Photo: Henry White
•Exeter first outside Russell Group to announce £9,000 fees •Graduates to repay fees when earning over £21,000 •Guild pledges to ensure rise will benefit students
Charlie Marchant News Editor EXETER UNIVERSITY has announced plans to charge students the maximum tuition fee of £9,000 a year. Exeter is the first university which is not part of the Russell Group to declare its fees plan, consequently causing concerns over how many universities
will opt for the highest tuition fee. The Government had claimed that fees of £9,000 would be charged only in exceptional circumstances. Ministers warned that if average tuition fees rose above £7,500 it would mean unaffordably high costs in loans to students, and subsequent pressure on funding could mean a cut in university places. Exeter University is, however, the
first of the research-intensive 1994 Group to set its fee, which it plans to introduce in time for the 2012 year of entry for all undergraduate courses. This is despite assertions from David Willetts, Universities Minister, that costs of Arts and Humanities courses could be covered by £6,000 per year and £7,000 for laboratory-based and medical courses. David Allen, Registrar and Deputy
Chief Executive, wrote in an e-mail to Exeter students: “We felt that it was important to signal Exeter’s intent to charge £9,000 as early as possible so that we could begin planning for 2012 with certainty. I am sure you will share our confidence that Exeter should seek to be in the same fee bracket as universities such as Oxford, Cambridge and Imperial, which have already signalled their
intent to charge the full amount.” He added, “Future students will repay the fee only when they have graduated and are earning more than £21,000 a year. Above this amount, repayment will be at 9 per cent of income and debt will be forgiven after 30 years. It is estimated that only 30 per cent nationally will repay the whole fee.” Continued on page 3
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Aaron Porter fights for students
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Students campaign to keep street lights Ben Tyson
march 7 2011
DEVON County Council’s plans to switch off much of Exeter’s city street lighting late at night in a new cost and energy-cutting drive which has met significant opposition from students and local communities. The Council has proposed that up to 10,000 of the city’s 14,000 street lights are turned off between the hours of 12.30am and 5.30am every night, in an effort to save 4,000 tonnes of CO2 and an estimated £400,000, if the full system is implemented across Devon. However, the Students’ Guild, through its Campaign Army, has opposed these plans and set up an online petition and campaign in an attempt to make the student voices heard on this matter. Chris Hardy, VP Welfare and Community, commented, “Whilst any efforts to reduce carbon emissions should be regarded as admirable, the absence
of street lighting could serve to put students’ welfare in serious jeopardy, which would be an unacceptable cost.” The online petition opposing this motion already has over 200 signatures, whilst a Facebook group has almost 500 members, indicating a relatively strong level of student interest in the matter, given that the campaign is still at an early stage. James Eales, Guild Campaigns Officer, has stated the aim of the petition, saying, “If we can ensure that all street lighting is kept on, full stop, that would be great, but we would be happier knowing that the Council have listened to student concerns and ensured that key access routes in and out of student areas keep a high percentage of their street lighting.” Rory Cunningham, Community Liason Officer, stated, “We are awaiting further information on the streetlighting issue and understand that it will be discussed at the next public PACT meeting in St James.”
Photo: Henry White
Students are campaigning against Council proposals to turn off street lights.
Demo Hub goes online
Wanted: Exeter Graduates
Tristan Barclay Editor
DEMOCRACY in the Students’ Guild has moved online as the Democracy Hub’s Beta version was officially launched on the Guild’s website last week. The Hub replaces the General Meeting as the main forum for Guild policy making, allowing students to submit and vote on motions remotely. It is hoped that the Hub will encourage students to engage with Guild issues as General Meetings have traditionally suffered from poor attendance. The last meeting, held in January, lasted just half an hour and attracted only 30 attendees. Any student can submit petitions, motions and referenda on the Hub. One referendum has already been held, giving students the chance to decide on whether or not the Guild should support the University College Union’s proposals for
strike action on March 21. The result of the referendum was not acted upon, however, as only 23 voted on the issue. Guild referenda need a 5 per cent turnout to be binding. The Guild emphasises that it is the proposer’s responsibility to publicise a referendum. Both the proposer and opposer for a referendum receive a £10 budget for publicity. James Eales, Guild Campaigns Officer and VP-elect Academic Affairs, said, “The democracy hub moves the Guild policy decision making process into the 21st century, making it more accessible for the student body and hopefully increasing student engagement.” The news comes after Exeter’s 38 per cent turnout in the 2011 Sabbatical Elections set a national record for student elections. Find the hub on www.exeterguild.org/ haveyoursay/democracyhub/
EXETER students have been ranked in the Top 20 most desired for graduate recruitment for the first time. The study was conducted by High Fliers Research, specialists in student research. Over 16,000 final year students from 30 leading universities, which accounted for 15,563 jobs in 2010, were surveyed. A list of the Top 100 graduate employers was drawn from the results. The list included jobs from a wide variety of sectors ranging from banking to the media. Amongst them were also familiar brands such as Vodafone, the NHS and the BBC. This achievement follows closely behind the University’s most successful Autumn Careers and Placement Fair to date. Paul Blackmore, Head of Employability & Graduate Development, said,
“Myself and the rest of the team have been completely focused on improving the employability of our students in preparation for when they leave university.” “I’m delighted to say we’ve made fantastic progress in both these areas and our appearance in this ranking is a testament to our success so far.” Considering only 25 per cent of Arts and Humanities students are expected to land a graduate position, the news of Exeter ranking so highly has been well received. Dominic McInerney, a second-year History and Ancient History student, commented, “It is great to see the value of the Exeter brand increasing. I had no doubts about the academic quality of Exeter, but I had my doubts about employability. To hear that Exeter is now so highly thought of in the working world is excellent news.”
Exeposé Week Twenty
Exeter students sleeping rough
Photo: Thomas Page
A SLEEPOUT organised by Exeter University Amnesty International Society (EUAI), which was attended by Exeter MP Ben Bradshaw, has been branded a success. On Thursday February 24, the event was held to raise awareness of poor and destitute asylum seekers who are refused entry to the UK. The Exeter event was part of a wider movement
Charlotte Mathysse, EUAI President
by the organisation which encouraged students across the country to stand up for refugees’ rights. On campus, around 30 students
MyExeter on way up Ellie Busby News Editor
LUKE APPLETON, Exeter student and creator of the MyExeterisdown website, met with University Management on February 25 to discuss plans to improve Exeter’s IT services. After his open letter to the departmernt appeared in the Week 18 Exeposé, Appleton spoke with members of the IT department, including Deborah Welland, Head of IT Operations to discus plans for switching to a new interface, ensuring Wifi availability all over campus and giving more support to lecturers using IT facilities. Luke Appleton told Exeposé that “they were very positive and keen to increase student interaction with the IT Department.” He encouraged students to “be more vocal and keep pushing to improve the facilities.” Appleton plans to add complaint boxes to MyExeterisdown.co.uk to allow students to contact the IT department directly.
M&S closure after arson
A Marks & Spencer employee has been accused of setting fire to the Exeter store, which was substantially damaged in the blaze on Saturday February 26. Robin Woodard, of Beacon Lane, Exeter, who appeared at Exeter Magistrates’ Court last week, has been accused of arson and criminal damage to the shop. In the early hours of Saturday February 26, Woodard is alleged to have used a key to gain access to the Marks & Spencer store and then set fire to garments in the lingerie department on the first floor. Damage is also alleged to have been caused to goods in the store when the sprinkler system came on, causing flooding, which also affected the adjacent store, H Samuel. The store remains closed while staff assess the damage to the contents of the building. Around 260 workers have been transferred to other M&S outlets during the closure. John Harvey, City Centre manager, said, “Most people will still visit Exeter over the coming weeks. Although clearly it is a loss, it is not a loss that is going to completely decimate our trading performance.”
“The event was a great success. We presented 300 signatures to Ben Bradshaw and played our part in a national week of sleepouts”
30 Exeter students sleep outside on Streatham campus to raise awareness of asylum seekers who are refused entry to the UK.
slept outside Streatham Court, with music and games keeping them entertained for the evening. EUAI also collected 300 signatures, calling on the government to allow asylum seekers the right to work if they have been waiting for their cases to be concluded for over six months. It was argued that this would enhance refugees’ human rights
whilst allowing them to contribute to the economy. Ben Bradshaw attended the event and said that he “was very impressed that such a big group of students was prepared to sleep out on a cold winter’s night to draw attention to an issue that affects some of the most vulnerable people in society.” He also promised to take up their concerns
with the government and his front bench Labour colleagues. Charlotte Mathysse, EUAI President, said, “The event was a great success. We presented 300 signatures to Ben Bradshaw and played our part in a national week of sleepouts in which hundreds of students have been raising awareness for destitute asylum seekers.”
Continued from page 1
at the actual figure. It’s been expected that the top institutions would go to £9,000.” Whilst the Guild still opposes the principle of tuition fees, Archer added, “The fees have got to be worth it, so the guild has been working hard to ensure that the university makes sure students get the education they deserve for such a large fee.” The guild has set up a budget scrutiny group that will meet with the University to prioritise day-to-day spending for students, and is currently pressing for smaller class sizes and more contact hours with lecturers. However, students have expressed their concerns over the affects the new tuition fees will have on the university. Harry Smith, a third year Business student, said, “The fee increase will no doubt essentially privatise education at Exeter; there is already an almost 50:50 split between private school and comphrensive school students, but this will start to outprice those from middle class backgrounds that don’t qualify for the grants but also can’t afford the new fee price.”
Aaron Porter, NUS President, commented on the fees situation saying, “The government made promises to get the tuition fees through the vote - but I don’t believe they can deliver. They said that £9,000 would only be charged in excep-
Uni ups fees to £9,000 The University, along with Imperial College, is awaiting approval from the Office of Fair Access. Exeter has also promised it will introduce a new package of fee waivers and bursaries to encourage more applications from less well off students. Allen said, “This will better enable us to direct resources at widening participation, fair access and improving the student experience. It is important that students can come and study at Exeter
“Universities believe that the price they set will be a sign of quality - and they will charge whatever they can” Aaron Porter, NUS President
whatever their family background. We are already working with our Students’ Guild to identify priorities for investing in the student experience.” Bertie Archer, VP Academic Affairs, commented, “There’s not much surprise
“The cuts in funding mean we have to replace these lost revenues or face a decline in the standards of Higher Education”
David Allen, Registrar, to Exeposé tional circumstances, but I suspect that 50, 60 or 70 per cent are going to charge £9,000.” He continued, “From the conversations I’ve had behind the scenes, universities believe that the price they set will be a sign of quality - and they will charge whatever they can get away with.” Read David Allen, Jonnie Beddall and student comment on pages 8-9
Bill Douglas Open Day
The Bill Douglas Centre of the History of Cinema and Popular Culture held an open day for families. The centre, located on the Streatham Campus, has one of the largest collections of film-related material, tracking the development of the moving image. Families had the opportunity to create shadow shows, make flick-books and zoetropes. Phil Wickham, Museum Curator, said, “Visitors had the chance to take part in fun activities based on the ideas in our collection as well as to discover what an amazing resource they have on their doorstep.” He added, “There is nowhere else with this depth and breadth of material on the moving image in this country and events like this give people the opportunity to experience the museum.”
7 Research Experts
SEVEN Exeter University professors have been chosen as expert panel members for the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF). The announcement was made by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) on Monday February 21. The REF assesses the quality of research in UK higher education institutions, and has replaced the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE). The last RAE, in 2008, placed Exeter amongst the country’s leading researchintensive universities, with nearly 90 per cent of its research recognised internationally.
National Student News
Porter won’t stand again
AARON PORTER, NUS President, will not seek re-election next month. Porter plans to stand down in April, after facing hostility from within the student protest movement. The NUS leader has been at the centre of the tuition fees protest throughout his term in office. He saw an unprecedented upsurge in student activism, with campus occupations and protests. Porter believes that the campaign over fees is “moving into a different landscape” and therefore a “fresh start” is needed for leading the union. He says he can step down with a sense of pride after the impact of the NUS tuition fees pledge campaign. He said, “We’ve kick started a wave of student action, brought the coalition to its knees, and we’ve shaped the public debate on education in an unprecedented fashion.”
Sharp rise in uni applicants Record numbers of university applications have been made by young people attempting to gain university places before fees increase. The rise in fees has caused many sixth-form students to opt to cancel their gap years, making applications even more competitive. To date more than 600,000 people have applied through the University and College Admissions Service, however, places on offer have been restricted to 487,000. In 2010, 17 per cent of applicants who achieved the right qualifications for their place, failed to secure their university spot (a 60 per cent rise from 2009). It is expected this number will increase again in 2011.
TV in the oven
TWO Sheffield University students put a TV in the oven and set fire to a chair in their halls. The pair received custodial sentences after covering heat detectors and smoke alarms with plastic bags and running out when toxic fumes billowed from the oven, leaving their other seven flatmates asleep inside. The students pleaded guilty to causing criminal damage and recklessly endangering life. As a result, Daniel Gyi, 21, was jailed and Joshua Hart, 20, sent to a young offenders institution - both for two years. Elisabeth Martin, the prosecutor, said Gyi had told police: “We just fancied burning it for no reason.”
march 7 2011
Reed Pond is renovated Hannah Sweet Senior Reporter
AQUATIC species have been returned to Reed Pond following its renovation. The pond, located near the junction between Queen’s Drive and Streatham Drive, was drained to clear algae and weeds, which were both restricting oxygen to fish and blocking the fountain pipe work. Prior to the renovation, a student volunteer project was undertaken to assess wildlife in the pond. A number of different aquatic organisms were found, including a colony of freshwater mussels. All of the aquatic plants and animals present were removed to a temporary location over winter whilst the work was carried out. The project also led to suggestions of new habitats that could be introduced to increase biodiversity, including shallows and inverted pipes, which were added ahead of the refill. During work on the pond, the island in the centre was cleared of overgrown brambles and weeds, and planting was renovated both on the island and around the pond. Species for replanting were chosen to be inkeeping with the range of plants that would have been available for the original creation of the pond. To avoid future problems with the pumps, a new ‘sump’ and landscape feature was created outside the pond to house the submersible pumps and their workings. Iain Park, Director of Grounds at
THE fourth annual Adventure Ball took place on Saturday February 19 and was attended by 376 students. The event was organised by the Exeter University Canoe Club and made a profit of £2,500, which will fund the purchase of new support and safety equipment. The Adventure Ball was located at Crealy Theme Park. Upon arrival, the secret ride was revealed as the Maximus Rollercoaster. The indoor Adventure Zone was complete with drop slides, rope swings, climbing nets and ball pits. A hog roast and bar provided refreshment. Lynne Medlock, Ball committee member, spoke to Exeposé: “It’s a small ball compared to some, but it’s all about quality, not quantity. I’m really chuffed with how the night went, Crealy is the perfect venue for this ball and it all ran smoothly. Everyone seemed to have a great time so bring on next year - it can only keep getting better.” Josh Cleall, a third year Geography
Photo: Hannah Walker
Reed Pond has been renovated after a student volunteer project assessed wildlife in the pond.
the University, said, “The pond has already had an influx of breeding am-
phibians such as frogs and we hope the refurbishment will be a significant im-
Canoe club make £2.5k Emily May
student, remarked, “It makes me laugh how so many people can have so much fun in a kid’s Adventure Zone.” Marie, a first year Human Bio-science student, said, “Brilliant value for money and I immensely enjoyed spend-
ing the evening with friends acting like a big kid! I would definitely recommend it as a must-do before you leave University.” XTV filmed throughout the evening and a short video will soon be released. Photo: Sammie Buzzard
Exeter Canoe Club made a profit of £2,500 at their annual Adventure Ball in February.
provement for both wildlife and landscape on campus.”
Oxfam Soc live on a £1 a day
Flora Busby Senior Reporter
ON the week beginning February 14, Exeter Oxfam Society undertook personal challenges in order to raise awareness for those living in poverty. During ‘Poverty Week,’ members of the society chose to alter the way they lived for five days. Challenges included living in a tent, giving up technology or living on one pound a day. Recording each day on the Oxfam Society’s blog, those who took part wrote how they felt and how it related to the third world. As the UK government has just announced proposed cuts to international aid, the point was to show that this is unacceptable. The Oxfam society encouraged Ben Bradshaw, local MP, to read and find out about Poverty Week in the hopes that he will take this issue to government.
The Exeter Award is an achievement award for undergraduate and taught postgraduate students. The Award is designed to enhance the employability of students by providing official recognition and evidence of extra-curricular activities and achievements. If you are a volunteer, or have undertaken paid work experience, The Exeter Award will help you get ahead of the 300,000 other graduates entering the job market each year.
The Exeter Award is sponsored by
march 7 2011
University construction works on sch Photo: Henry White
The Forum construction site, pictured above and below, is well underway, with the main ‘street’ clearly visible by the Library, which is well over halfway through its renovation and extension works. Photo: Henry White
Forum • 163,710 - The total number of man hours spent on the Forum. • 30,906 - The total number of man hours in February alone. • 17 - Average number of deliveries per day. • 60 - Hours a week of crane activity. • 35080 - Tonnage of waste recovered offsite. • 89 - Percentage of waste diverted from landfill.
Exeposé Week twenty
edule as buildings open to students Photo: Henry White
Photo: Henry White
Business School & INTO Centre
• The New Business School opened on Saturday February 5 with Chinese New Year festivities. • The Building is one of the most environmentally friendly on Campus. It has full climate control, ranging from light sensitive lights, that dim acording to natural light levels, to The INTO Centre, above, The New Business School, top right, and the new Duryard Music School called Kay House, below, have all been handed over to the university.
Duryard • £2.3m - The amount invested in the new facilities. • 2,000 - The number of active musicians at the University. • A recital hall, a soundproofed practice room, a cabaret space etc. • A chamber music room, jazz bar and a sound studio that can record events taking place around the building.
Photo: Henry White
windows that open and close according to the room temperature. • The new INTO Centre is a central campus hub for all international students. • It has teaching facilities for over 600 students including a lecture theatre and state-of-the-art IT facilities throughout. • It features numeorus learning spaces and academic facilities, including PC clusters and teaching spaces.
March 7 2011 Exeposé
Comment Tristan Barclay & Andrew Waller - email@example.com
The Exeter Student Newspaper
Are we worth it? The University’s announcement that it will charge students £9,000 for a year’s tuition from 2012 onwards should not come as a surprise to anyone. It is clear that, to make up for the shortfall in Government funding, universities are going to have to charge at least £6,000 a year. However, when the cap on fees was raised in 2004, the few universities that didn’t raise their prices to the full amount soon regretted the decision. Exeter’s charge to the top bracket this time around was inevitable. What may come as a surprise is the timing of this announcement. The fact that Exeter is the first university outside the Golden Triangle of Oxbridge and London to make plans for the top fee should be seen as a PR coup for the University management, rather than any confirmation of Exeter’s reputation as a posh institution. Exeter isn’t even part of the Russell Group of supposedly leading institutions. The Government promised the £9,000 fee would only be charged in ‘exceptional circumstances’ and, whilst Exeter certainly is a credible academic institution, one must realise that a comparable level of education can be found elsewhere. This decision is Exeter staking its claim at the top. Any other institutions
that announce the £9,000 charge (which they certainly will) are now playing catch up with Exeter; they won’t dare charge any less for fear of seeming inferior Exeter has shown considerable business acumen in recent years, but one can’t help but feel that universities’ advocacy of a rise in tuition fees in the first place somehow legitimises the Government’s cuts to HE funding. Universities UK doesn’t want a cap on fees and so it seems no one in the higher echelons of university leadership wants you to have a free education. The Government is only going to see this as a mandate to cut funding, safe in the knowledge that students will pick up the bill. As Jonnie Beddall points out in this week’s issue, for the University to make up for the cuts, it has to charge future students around £7,000 a year. If fees were to go to this level, students would only be entitled to expect the same standard of education that current students receive. By going to the full amount, the University must understand that it owes students real improvements. Exeposé continues to be opposed to paying for higher education, but if we have lost the battle on fees, we cannot afford to lose the battle on value for money.
It has been a tough year to be NUS President. Funding cuts and tuition fees have divided opinion throughout the Higher Education world, and the NUS has been floundering in the past few months as even those supposedly on the same side of the debate have fallen out with one another. Porter’s decision not to stand for re-election at the NUS’s AGM comes as his voice has been drowned out by more militant students. What one can say is that Porter has been very public on the issue of HE funding. He convinced students early on that this was a cause worth fighting for and mobilised thousands to march in London last year. He has brought the debate into the mainstream for students who will graduate before the hike in fees comes
in. Initially, he presented a sensible and visible face for the student argument. However, recently things have been falling apart for the NUS. Many of its flagship initiatives have been entirely ignored by the Government. Don’t forget that the NUS made a great show of getting Lib Dems to sign a pledge against tuition fees, and that the Union’s idea for a graduate tax has fallen on deaf ears. It seems Porter has been the victim of the dishonesty of politicians and the anger that students directed at the Government during the march on Millbank has now turned, somewhat unfairly, on the NUS President. Students certainly aren’t apathetic on this issue anymore, but they seem to have forgotten who the real enemy is.
So long Mr Porter
Thanks to all those who helped proof this issue:
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University justifies £9,000 David Allen Deputy Chief Executive and Registrar
It is important to remember that the new arrangements do not affect current students, only new Home/EU undergraduate students starting courses in 2012. Under the new arrangements there will be no upfront cost for students who repay the fee only when they have graduated and are earning more than £21,000 a year. Above this amount repayment will be at 9 per cent of income and debt will be forgiven after 30 years. The Government will lend any eligible student (including part-time students for the first time) the money to pay tuition costs irrespective
of family income. Maintenance grants of up to £3,250 will be available to students with family incomes of less than £25,000. It is estimated that only 30 per cent nationally will repay the whole fee, partly because of the increased threshold for repayment. Clearly, the whole issue of higher fees attracts strong views on both sides of the argument. In an ideal world most staff and students would probably prefer the status quo whereby the taxpayer continues to provide a high level of subsidy towards tuition fees. The current fee for home students of £3,300 only covers half the cost of a classroom based course and less than a third of a laboratory based one. However, the dire financial position of this country has forced the government into some quite drastic decisions, one of which is to remove nearly all of the state subsidy for
teaching. The cuts in government funding therefore mean we have to replace these lost revenues or face a decline in the standards of Higher Education. We believe a fee of £9,000 is necessary to enable us to replace lost income and to be able to invest in the future. A higher fee enables us to do much more to support students from poorer backgrounds. It also enables us to recruit more lecturers and increase contact hours. We are already working with the Students’ Guild to identify priorities for investing in the student experience and have set up a new budget scrutiny committee by which they will be able to work with us to establish priorities for investment. The proposal to charge £9,000 is subject to the approval of fair access and widening participation arrangements by the Office for Fair Access (OFFA).
at least about £7,200. So by charging £9,000, we need to be bold and outspoken in how we guide where that money is spent. Whilst fighting these changes, as a Guild we have to make sure future students don’t lose any further. That is why we’ve just set up a budget scrutiny group with the ViceChancellor, to fight for investment in the areas that we need. But now, we need to ask every single Exeter student in our University-wide student consultation. In many ways, the debate starts here. Since the autumn we’ve consistently fought against Government university cuts and higher fees, a position Exeter students voted for us to take. 350 students from Exeter and Cornwall protested in London in November and the same number demonstrated locally in Exeter. Our lobbying campaign saw thousands of letters written to our Members of Parliament and students with Lib Dem MPs personally lobbying them in Parliament. As Guild President I’m just sorry that we’ve got to this point. The new fees will be paid back at 9 per cent of annual earnings above £21,000 (basically the average wage) and after 30 years, any outstanding debt will be wiped out. It’s not a straightforward system so it’s necessary to learn the details. But there comes a point where I just can’t move past the basic injustice of these changes. My personal politics aren’t governed by ideologies but by a sense of pragmatism, what’s right and
what’s not. Surely, after all we’ve been through in recent times we’ve arrived at a point where we can offer all young people an education based on their ability to learn, not to pay. Whatever your views, left or right, education really can be the passport to a better life. This country is too often divided by class, religion, race and politics. 60 years ago we lay the foundations of a state supposedly blind to these divisions, to afford each citizen the same access to services regardless of their status in society. To further entrench these divisions at a time when family budgets are starting to buckle under a combination of inflated living costs and widespread cuts to public services, is nothing short of criminal. On a final political point, to say that cuts to universities are necessary to reduce a grossly inflated national budget is simply wrong. At under 2 per cent of national expenditure and a key driver to the kind of knowledge economy crucial to British success in coming decades, to suggest that university spending ever contributed to our national debt carries no weight at all. Above all, I’m proud to be a part of our community. Whether an acute awareness of the issues, mature response to often volatile events or a level of intelligent debate that I’ve never seen at University, I think we can all hold our heads high. In short, thank you for being Exeter, but our fight becomes harder and our mission more important.
Students must scrutinise Jonnie Beddall Guild President Exeter will join Cambridge, Oxford and Imperial by charging new students £9,000 a year from 2012. Let me be clear: as a Guild we have always, do and will always continue to oppose university cuts and higher tuition fees. This is the position you voted for and we will continue to fight for this position locally and nationally. We’ve been edging nearer this point for months now and ever since the Government first announced plans to gut universities of state funding, this day has loomed ever closer on the horizon. This is a seismic change in the way students access a university education, and the implications for the university experience will be wide-ranging and profound. The situation we’re in couldn’t be much worse. Starting with the latter, we have two tasks: to ensure that access to Exeter for poorer students improves through a comprehensive package of bursaries, outreach work and the use of contextual data in admissions and, secondly, for every penny of additional revenue to be spent on improving the quality of education and experience we will be paying so much more for. For this University to cover money loss in government cuts, it had to charge
Exeposé Week twenty
Fees are up, are students down? Your views Rob Edwards Exeter Anti-Cuts Alliance & Exeter Occupation Uncut David Allen, in his article published in the 08.12.10 issue of The Express & Echo on behalf of Exeter University executive in support of raising the cap on tuition fees, claims the “battle to maintain public funding [for education in its present form] is lost.” The seismic movement of students nationwide and their supporters in the broader trade union and anti-cuts movement tells otherwise; that the battle against attacks to education spending, and cuts of all kinds, is only just beginning. The head of Universities UK, Exeter University Vice Chancellor Steve Smith, and the mandateless Coalition government wish to carry out an ideological move to privatise large swathes of the education sector. One only need look at the degenerating effect of Private Finance Initiatives in the National Health Service, the cost and poor quality of private rail firms, among many examples of the negative effects of introducing market forces into vital public services. Allen believes if these market forces are “properly informed, [they] will determine over time where quality and value [of services] lies.” The belief that private companies can
pick up the slack left by spending cuts is short sighted, and driven by a fetish for markets; the very instability of which brought about the economic recession. Through their support of demonstrations, the nine day occupation of Newman A and the holding of public meetings in the city, Exeter Anti-Cuts Alliance and Exeter Occupation Uncut argue that not only will the cutting of state spending and the introduction of a private business model deliver a poorer standard of education, particularly for the outrageous price charged, but will create a two tier system. Such a two tier system will result in poorer students (despite Allan’s assurances of favourable loan conditions and bursaries) attending second rate institutions, in a competitive bracket of their own, while the well off enjoy the first rate and therefore more expensive institutions. The Coalition says that cuts are needed, that we need to “tighten our belts”. They claim Sovereign Debt has meant they have no alternative. However, young people did not cause this crisis, so why must they be forced to pay for it? Getting the education sector to pay for it is exactly what Cameron, Clegg, and VC Steve Smith are doing – in massive cuts to budgets, privatisation, fees, academy schools and cutting EMA. There is no doubt that Britain is a country in deficit. But what about the
£120 billion gap from tax evasion by the super rich? What about the ongoing claiming of bonuses by bankers? The Exeter Anti-Cuts Alliance and its sister organizations around Devon and the UK are building a broad united fight back to defend education as well as jobs, pensions, services and the public sector as a whole. Even Allan claims, “Without such severe cuts in teaching grant in England it would have been politically impossible to envisage the higher [fees] cap.” Every axe fall must be challenged. Alternatives to cuts exist, among them a Robin Hood Tax of the bankers, those who caused the crisis. Cuts to education, jobs, pay, and benefits including EMA will undermine spending power essential to economic recovery. Rather than cutting we should invest in education and public services that have long suffered chronic under funding. The money saved by cutting will be piecemeal and ultimately unnecessary – serving only to attack the most vulnerable in society. Through investment in much needed housing, public transport, renewable energy and the welfare state we could create jobs – this would build the economy. The neglect of these alternatives by this cabinet of millionaires and the Vice Chancellor’s caucus is a sure sign of their commitment to the free hand of the market in determining the opportunities and standard of living of a generation – a hand that will asset strip, sell, and scrap the youth.
demanding university in the UK, it has a clear commitment to a high standard of teaching and research. Members of the University have told the BBC that charging £9,000 a year is a statement of confidence; it signals that the government cut backs on university spending will not inhibit us from the pursuit of excellence. Some universities will slip down the league table as costs increase, but not us, Exeter claims. Our other £9,000 ‘buddies’ are Cambridge, Oxford and Imperial; looks impressive, we are swimming with the big fish now. A fairly shrewd move from Exeter; through the use of the issue of finance, the management have placed us at the top table. So when people think of ‘the best’ they will now think of us, they have created an even more prestigious academic image for us. But creating an image of success is not what university education should be purely about. This University does not have a huge amount of social and ethnic diversity as it is. In this day of a widening social gap, the University should be focused on helping bright students from poor backgrounds to gain a quality higher education. Now there
is of course the Office for Fair Access who will impose a rule on Exeter that means bursaries and fee waivers must be given to those who are less well off. However, a mountain of debt at £9k a year is enough to put those from a low income background off higher education; it may act as a financial deterrent. If this is the case we may witness the social gap in the UK widening further. Added to this, if Exeter, as a non member of the Oxbridge or Russell Group raises fees, will others follow? Others may feel that they have to show their commitment to excellence, this could lead to a situation where the majority of highly ranked universities charge extortionate prices. Exeter may have started a domino effect that could squeeze those who are less well off out of higher education. There is no clear answer as to what will happen, I do not have a crystal ball and even though the government sometimes acts like it does, it certainly has no idea as to how this issue will pan out. Just think yourself lucky that you do not have to take out a small mortgage to fund your University life and we are certainly fortunate that we can sing: “We can get our education!”
The widening social gap Matt Palutikof
Pink Floyd once sang “We don’t need no education!” Today’s announcement that Exeter University will raise their undergraduate fees to £9,000 may mean young aspiring students across the country have to sing a slightly different version; “We can’t get no education!” It is no overstatement that the issue of university fees has been the chink in the Government’s armour. Having seen a new upper limit, a small group of English universities have made it clear they intend to go all the way. And our own leafy green campus university is now a member of this gang. It will not affect us but I cannot help but feel for those students in a few years time that will rack up £27,000 worth of debt on academic fees on Exeter. Now I knew Exeter was good, but is this fair? The answer is not a straightforward one; yes and no. It is fair because Exeter is currently the 11th most academically
Ellie Bothwell Music Editor
Exeter University’s decision to charge the maximum tuition fees of £9,000 is hardly a surprise - following in the footsteps of Oxbridge and Imperial it is likely that rather than being an “exceptional circumstance” most if not all of the top universities will decide to charge the maximum amount. Ever since Tony Blair decided that more people should go to University there has been a downward spiral - the more people who go the more worthless getting a degree becomes and the less the Government can afford to fund it. However, although I certainly don’t condone the rise in tuition fees, this isn’t the issue that should be discussed - we need to look to the
In a very strangely worded email sent to all students, the University execs seemed almost proud of their announcement to raise the fees of some courses at Exeter to £9,000, stating that they are “sure” we will share in the idea that we should be in the same fee bracket as the other universities. I am “sure” that we won’t. It seems a moronic excuse to say that
future. Exeter University now desperately needs to justify what it will do to make studying here worth it. I think the Forum Project is a step in the right direction to improving the quality of student experience, but it’s not enough. As a second year English student the number of contact hours I have are few and far between (now the equivalent of an Exeter student in 2012 paying £300 a week) but I don’t want a rise in contact hours to make £9,000 a year worth it. I want a better library, and that doesn’t just mean a bit more study space and a few more computers - I want more books and better quality resources. I also want better teaching - I want a lower student-staff ratio and I want to know that I am being taught by some of the most knowledgeable people in their field doing the most up to date research. If Exeter University are going to start charging £9,000 a year is that really too much to ask?
the reason for increasing fees is so Exeter can be seen as equal to Oxbridge and Imperial. Why should we follow their lead? Is it out of insecurities over our league table performance? Or do the Chancellors really trust in their “extensive market research”, which must obviously be suggesting to them that students enjoy paying more and are really very desperate to say to their friends from other universities that they’re going to a university which charges the same as Oxbridge ‘darling’. The problem now is that I’m not convinced that as great as my course really is, whether it really is worth £27,000 worth of debt.
Playing the Devil’s Advocate Stephen O’Nion Video Games Editor
Neither the rise in Exeter’s tuition fees nor the reaction to it has been entirely surprising, and yet the fee increase is likely to positively affect current Exeter students and recent alumni whilst better preparing the university for the evermore rigorous demands of future students. Most obviously, the instant benefit is the increased potential to weather the greater financial demands felt by universities across the country. These institutions are businesses, and though the ethics of that can be debated, a successful university must fulfil its primary purpose in order to survive: education. The only way to ensure competitiveness in this area is
to advance. With ventures like the Forum Project, Exeter has already shown the ambition to do so; higher fees will grant the capacity to continue. Such ploughed-back finances can only increase the prestige of the university, and the funding will come from those fully able to pay their way in the first place. The demands in place for full fee charging mean that significant help will be, as it currently is, in place for those with financial difficulties, giving everyone qualified the chance to come here. Charging the most does not equal quality. Instead Exeter must now ensure it justifies the fee raise and appeals to prospective students in an ever more competitive market; it’s an inevitable transition for universities, and for Exeter to have stated its intentions already shows its intent to capitalise on both the greater educational freedom, and the increased demand for higher quality education.
march 7 2011 Exeposé
Bye bye to the Powderham Ball Antonia Hawken The fiercely large, imposing, red “CANCELLED” which covered the wonderfully symbolic, sun-setting front page of Exeposé last week hardly brought shock or mass disappointment, probably due to the fact that most of us hadn’t put forward £60 of our hard earned monies to purchase a ticket. I absolutely loved the idea of the ball itself, and I’m sure most of the female population of Exeter would agree that the concept sounded promising. Who doesn’t like an excuse to dress up and frolic about the grounds of a castle in a fancy dress?
However, I resisted the temptation, and although I’m all for supporting charity in one way or another, the Powderham Ball presented problems. Firstly, timing. As glorious as Exeter is, the weather is highly temperamental, a fact proven by the ever changing hot – cold – warm – windy – wet – icy forecast we’ve experienced over the last few weeks. Having an outdoor ball in March pronounced potential difficulties. No one wants to be in a field or marquee suffering from the elements. The Grad Ball at Powderham in 2007 was cancelled due to bad weather; warnings circulated campus that there would be no refunds should the same happen again. Clearly not all publicity is good, though I must congratulate the committee for their imaginative attempts. Secondly, being a student, money
is saved, scraped and delegated. With most of us attending this year’s SSB feeling slightly shortchanged by the event, it’s no surprise that Powderham failed to entice. If £38 for half naked girls brought grumbles, £60 for the fully clothed versions certainly wasn’t going to bring in the numbers. Having been in Birks last year and been rewarded for resilience towards ongoing building works, I’ve already been to Powderham for a far cheaper price through subsidisation, as have the other 460 who attended. I’d have loved for the ball to commence this year, to hear tales of a fantastic night and how I’d missed out, to maybe make me bite the bullet for 2012. Residing amongst rubble and cranes creates need for frivolity, and it’s a shame Powderham was denied an opportunity to deliver.
The biggest social event of the year? It’s back? Perhaps not. As a member of the Powderham committee I struggle to put into words how disheartening it was to learn that our efforts over the past months had all gone to waste. Granted, the controversial price of the tickets had simply proved to be too much. A champagne reception in the rose garden of a medieval castle does not come cheap. “Apparently we only get six free drinks?” was the first question I was faced with on our launch night. Unsurprisingly it became obvious that alcohol was the clincher. After heated meetings
with the Guild we learned that alcohol sponsors were out of the question, dispelling any hopes we’d had of an open bar. We bartered the prices of drinks, haggled with the portaloo man and made a great deal with the snazzy marquee company. This is what goes on behind the scenes. The ticket prices were as such because this is simply what it costs to make an event function. Despite the cancellation, it was a fantastic experience to organise the Ball. I wonder if the concept will ever be successfully re-launched, or if there is just not the market for it here anymore. £60 seems high, but it would have bought you so much more than at any other Exeter event. These events must start small and grow popular. We ran before we could walk, and we know this now. I want to thank everyone who bought tickets. Please do remember that essentially the aim was to raise money for Cancer Research UK, amongst others.
I can’t be the only one who was left distinctly underwhelmed by the news that the University of Exeter is the 62nd fastest-growing business in Europe. Our current investment programme is one that only a small number of companies could ever hope to devise, made
all the more unattainable by random injections of cash donated by generous alumni. But does this mean that we occupy a fair place among these rankings? I would say no. The rankings are based on, among other things, employment growth and investment, both things which will cease to remain at their current level once the Forum Project is over here in Exeter. The current level of growth is one that cannot be sustained and for that reason, we should not be sitting alongside companies such as EuroAtlantic Airways, Dreams plc and Data Connection Ltd. These firms occupy a fair position because they will continue to invest and won’t be looking to make everyone involved in their growth redundant by the end of their current investment
programme; their growth has something ours does not: longevity. We are set to fall drastically from this plinth of economic prestige and we must be aware of the fact that were are an anomalous statistic, set for decline when the cuts make their move and the money runs out. In addition, given our unfortunate stance as the ‘lost generation’ of Exeter students, we can safely say that, during our time here, the University has ingratiated itself as a business far more than it has as an institution for learning. Maybe we’re the unlucky ones, but seeing corporate suits grinning their way to the top of the wrong kind of league table makes me feel like we’ve been sorely misled in our view of what a university should be, and what, in reality, we’ve been provided with.
Something is definitely amiss when a university is proud of climbing the ‘fastest-growing business’ rankings, whilst quietly hushing up the fact that our employability and staff/student ratio levels are ensuring our decline in the higher education league tables. I don’t wish to purport a luddite-esque stance of ‘change is bad’, but I do bemoan the fact that our time spent here at Exeter has been marred by a severe lack of balance. What these statistics show is that the fine line between investing in the future and protecting the sanctity of learning has not been struck. Hopefully this trend will experience a dramatic reversal when the Forum Project has finished, for the sake of the University’s future students and the worth of our degrees.
more day to day scale, this ‘right to decide’ is becoming detrimental to the education we are receiving. Consider this situation that occurred a few weeks ago on my own course. In a maths lecture, our lecturer told us that we were to have a midterm test this semester instead of the usual coursework assignments. Essentially, this was due to students just copying each other’s coursework and everyone getting 90% plus – rendering the coursework useless in determining what grade each student deserves. There was a small debate at this point but it was generally accepted that this was a reasonable thing to do, and a date was then set. Next lecture: here is where the farce begins. The lecturer came out and announced that a few students had approached him and asked him to move the test to a different date. The reason? They were going on holiday. If this were
right at the end of term it would appear a fair request, however this was in week six of the course. In the middle of term. This proceeded to become a 20 minute debate on whether or not the test suited everyone, only to conclude the test should be set on the original date, effectively wasting half of the lecture. As it turned out it was a measly 4 students who had tried to get the date changed in a lecture group of approaching 100! What gives these ignorant few the right to disrupt the education of the vast majority, change how the course is run and inconvenience a senior professor just to run off and frolic in the sun? A select few students need to realise that they have signed up to learn on this course and have to adhere to the rules. Just because they are slightly put out does not mean they should have the audacity to attempt to rework the entire assessment for the course. Jon Parkins
Exeter’s unsustainable growth Cyan Turan
Rosie Mann Powderham Committee
Letters to the Editors - Send your letters to firstname.lastname@example.org RE: An open letter to Exeter’s IT Department Exeposé We are always very pleased to get student feedback about our service and we recently met with Luke Appleton, author of the article that appeared in Exeposé Week 18. He had many constructive and helpful comments to make. Resilient, reliable systems are quite rightly exactly what we all demand and expect, and it is for this reason that all of Exeter’s IT systems are constantly monitored, tuned and developed. Despite that, there will be occasional downtimes but all such major incidents are critically reviewed and action taken to minimize a reoccurrence. MyExeter portal is an example of where we’ve had downtime recently. Following this incident we undertook a review, prioritised the technical work to improve performance and reliability, and we
are now working through each of these developments, this is as well as liaising with Colleges to more smoothly manage high usage times. In addition, we have started the process to explore the next generation of portal software to meet the needs of our students. We recognise the importance of ResNet to students and this is another area which we are exploring to see how we can improve reliability and resilience. We will shortly be releasing more detailed information, but to let you know about some recent good news on IT provision, as part of the University’s investment in IT, pervasive WiFi will be installed in Queens and Amory over the period July – September 2011. This will be in addition to the installation of WiFi hotspots in six other buildings, including Hatherly, Physics and Geoffrey Pope. We have listened to student concerns about pc availability and have installed
over the Christmas break an additional 140 PCs into clusters across the Exeter campuses. This takes our centrally managed student cluster PCs up to 943. We welcome feedback from students and the new merged service of Exeter IT will be meeting regularly with the Guild and student focus groups to better understand student requirements and hot issues. In the meantime, any student who wants to raise issues or provide feedback can do so by emailing email@example.com Deborah Welland Head of IT Operations Student power Exeposé With all the protesting over the student fee rises, it is clear to all but the most unobservant that students are taking the initiative in attempting to control their own education. However, on a much
nominate: 7 â€“ 17 march 2011 get your favourite lecturer recognised
march 7 2011 Exeposé
Features Columba Achilleos-Sarll & Anna-Marie Linnell - firstname.lastname@example.org
Love thy neighbour?
Samuel Lambert poses the question: is English society really out of the homophobic closet? FLYERS recently appeared near Shoreditch, East London, outside a school and on a High Street. They carried the message “Arise and warn. Gay free zone. Verily Allah is severe in punishment.” To take this statement at its face value would be a mistake, there is no evidence that any particular religious group is behind this, and the deliberate inclusion of “Allah” does little to qualify this. Furthermore, tensions in the East London community are not restricted to religion and other motivations should not be overlooked. We must attempt as a society to understand and prevent the cause of such ill-feeling en masse. To focus too closely on the tension between homosexuality and religion would be neither productive nor successful and ignorant of the real worry here. What is the motivation of such strong hatred and how can society work with the necessary authorities to prevent it taking hold? The decision to flyer outside a school bears strong significance. During school years an individual will be at their most susceptible to influence; the information they are given can potentially ingrain beliefs that will follow them through life. It is often assumed that younger generations are becoming more accepting, but society should not become complacent and rest on its laurels. To do so could lead to generations
where a significant number of people are led into a way of thinking that is derived more from propaganda than individual judgment. The recent BBC3 documentary ‘The World’s Worst Place to be Gay?’, presented by Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills, was an exposé of rising homophobic attitudes in Uganda. Much of the content was shocking, as could be expected. The most sobering part of the programme, though, was Mills’ interview with a group of youths. The young Ugandans were entirely against homosexuality in their country and saw it as a by-product of Western influence, and therefore outside their own culture. In pushing members of their own society into a different ‘culture’ they distance themselves from them and avoid any sense of guilt in the hatred in which they participate. Making the discriminated part of an ‘other’ grouping unifies the suppressors and is a method that was evident in other sociological divides, recent and past. When asked to justify their views, the young Ugandans did not hide their influence, from the people they look up to, such as parents, teachers and the church. They were vague when identifying exactly what tells them homosexuality is wrong, a somewhat ironic uncertainty from a crowd which is so fixated on one line of argument.
These young Ugandan people have been taught to believe views so strong they do not even question their source. If this interview could have been reasoned as an insight into the future, it is little wonder that Mills was left frustrated and disappointed as a result of the interview. It shows exactly the complacency and expectation we must not have in the upcoming generations. In the London community affected by the flyers, eight friends set out to either destroy or deface them. They instead left the messages “love” or “help yourself to love” and have little interest in pointing the blame to any particular religious group. Their choice to
Short and all too sweet
ignore the obvious direction from the message is exactly the attitude which prevents the hatred intended; they realise they are unlikely to locate the people responsible and do not make broad assumptions of the groups responsible. While their blameless attitude prevents the sort of hatred these messages try to ensure, their decision to retaliate is not ideal. There are the necessary bodies within the police, such as Gay Liaison Officers, who communicate with the community. The police should be trusted to find those responsible and deal with situations such as this flyer posting. However, such a relationship
works only with mutual respect and the community should, in turn, expect the police to make clear how they are dealing with incidents. Sufficient channels of communication exist today, with multi-media platforms, which are essential to inform societies and build trust between departments of authority and the populace. Once suspects are identified, work can begin to understand their motivation and, in turn, move towards the prevention of future incidents. Only then will we be able to continue progress towards a stronger, more unified society.
James Crouch discusses the life, and death, of Aaron Porter’s leadership of the National Union of Students. SUFFERING abuse and criticism from all sides, leader of the National Union of Students, Aaron Porter is standing down from his position. He will leave behind a legacy of controversy, along with one simple question: was his leadership really the failure that many now will assume it has been? The reaction of many NUS members, if not the vocal ones, to his departure seems to be “good riddance.” Once the fee increases were signed, it appears, so was Aaron Porter’s death warrant. Many now heckle him on sight. In their eyes, he failed. Full stop. Although I admit that Porter appears to be greasier than one well-known metaphoric pole, let’s not consign him to the dustbin of political history yet. There’s actually much to be said for him. For a start, Porter was key to getting
the Liberal Democrats to sign a promise to not raise tuition fees (back when Clegg was still every student’s political pin up). Yes, I know, what good did that do anyone? But every single shout of “traitors” and “back-stabbers” now thrown at the Lib Dems relies on this piece of paper for justification. The written promise has been an effective and deadly sledgehammer to knock the Coalition sideways ever since the fees issue was raised. You could argue that Porter found the rush of activism overwhelming and that he became a backseat driver once the large-scale campaign got under way. But much of this criticism has more of a basis in understandably frustration than in truth. Some parts of the student protests were, to say the least, unedifying, to say the worst: horrifying. The violence and vandalism were rightly condemned by the NUS lead-
er. Yet for the minority of students who seemed to think that the ends of the protest justified any means, Porter’s reluctance to support violence was seen as a betrayal or a lack of support for the cause. In short, some of his critics appear to be trained in the “you’re-either-with-us-or-against-us” school of thought. If Porter had suggested “Fine, let’s smash up the Treasury building... the NUS can deal with that later?” the whole student campaign could have been written off by the Government as organised by law breakers and vandals. The campaign would not just have lost ‘the fight’, as it has done, it would have lost the moral high ground too! Instead, Porter did not let the NUS become inextricably linked with violence and so it remained a legitimate organization in many peoples’ eyes. Nevertheless, once the initial ‘fight’
was lost, and the fees increase was passed through Parliament, the knives were truly out. Porter is vilified now for the simple fact he couldn’t stop the Government from getting its legislation through. According to some people, the Government’s success was due to a lacklustre campaign by Porter. But, short of invading the chamber and marching the MPs down the right lobby, what more could he have done? His job was to mobilise public opinion and that’s what he did. I think the NUS is now taking the right steps by admitting that there is a new phase in this fight – the fees might be here, but universities have yet to deliver their side of the bargain. I’m somewhat ambivalent to the fees rise itself, as it won’t really affect me. But, now this has been put in place, I care that universities don’t just carry on as normal while their students’ debt tri-
ples. Being proactive and doing what they actually can to deliver better services for students is a far more sensible option than just banging on about the fees rise that will now come, whether we like it or not. This appears to be Aaron Porter’s view too, though he’ll take stick for it. One thing is for certain: a new stage has come for Higher Education and, to Porter’s credit, he has recognised it. Despite my defence of his actions, I’m not about to beg him to stay. The past few months have been internally traumatic for the NUS, and Porter will always be linked with that. Hopefully the anger and resentment within the student body towards its own leadership will go with him. Because this new fight for higher standards will be lost as well if the boil is not lanced and the National Union of Students cannot get past this exciting, if challenging, episode in its history.
Exeposé week twenty
Media and the Middle East
Social networking tools have played a vital part in the political uprisings in the Middle East, Rob Sturgeon analyses its success and its limits. Iran’s 2009 election protests will be remembered for one reason. Political cartoons of the time portrayed the weapons of war, the guns of violent revolution and bloodshed, replaced with the relatively recent inventions of mobile phones, social networking and blogs. When Iran’s leadership denied journalists access to the country, Twitter brought a flood of images from actual Iranian citizens. The voices of the people were not silenced. In fact they could speak more than ever. We saw protesters draped in that certain shade of green, the symbol of freedom and democracy that spread through the crowds and rallied the people against the established theocracy. This was a ‘Twitter Revolution’, perhaps one of the world’s first, where the power of technology could no longer be ignored. The full term for Facebook, Twitter and other such sites is really that of ‘social networking tools’. This is perhaps the most important way to recognise their influence. When violence erupted in Bahrain, I was able to witness the atrocities on YouTube. I watched in horror as a humble march against the military was halted in a few seconds of gunfire. When Mubarak’s ‘security’ forces ran through a crowd at 50mph without slowing down, I was able to see the human cost of democracy. Through the tools of the social network, we can gather information from ground level, before the propaganda of corrupt governments misleads us. That is the power of technology today; it can change our whole worldview. Of course, it is easy to get carried away. Social networking tools can distort events, such as when a protest was estimated at 700,000 strong on Twit-
ter, a number which later turned out to be 7,000. But unlike mainstream news organisations, the facts cannot always be checked. When foreign journalists are forbidden, Twitter can be our only source. Where tyranny has all but extinguished the free speech of its citizens, blogs can be a solitary candle in the dark. As the Middle East now bursts into a far more widespread protest movement, one which threatens to redefine the po-
litical landscape of the future, people power is at the heart of the internet news cycle. Though countless newsreaders and correspondents now tweet in varying levels of formality, the real insight still comes from that raw imagery. Perhaps the most potent example to my mind is the images from Egypt, where Christian protesters protected Muslims during their prayers. How much more can we reflect the good na-
ture of these people than their mobilisation for unity? These powerful images symbolise democracy from the ground up, a mob that looks after its own without overall authority. They come not from journalists but from normal people. The Egyptian people were the true heroes of those protests, and the people of Iran, Tunisia, Bahrain, Yemen, Egypt and Libya are the true heroes of today. These protests would never have
got off the ground without the power of real-life activism. Without people taking to the streets, rebelling against the problems they saw, there never would have been protests at all. This is why it is important to study not just what technology is being used but how it is being used, what it is being used to convey, and the human stories that drive it. Though a Western blogger, I make it the purpose of my blog to further the voices of these people. Western bloggers are obliged to raise awareness, donate to relief funds and pledge their support. They are not, however, obliged to centre the discussion on themselves or their technology. I cannot know what it was like in Benghazi, the day when 35 people were killed in a hail of government bullets. I can draw upon the troubled emotions that it stirs in me and the trusted sources of journalists and Middle East experts, but I cannot speak for the people themselves. Now that they can speak, it is vital that we listen. It is not social networking that will win the battle for greater democratic representation in Arab nations. Only action, protest and global pressure can bring down a government. However, these tools can provide insights into the experiences of victims, the way these differ from their dictators’ frankly laughable cover stories. Before the days of ‘Twitter Revolutions’, we might have believed Colonel Gaddafi’s insistence that his people were united. The challenge is getting the right balance. We in the West can tweet our support, but until we’re raising money to help radicals on the frontline, we are but spectators. If we truly care we can do more than tweet, we can mobilise.
Joshua Hughes looks at the importance of Al Jazeera and the changing face of reporting in the Middle East. THE protests in the Middle East are turning out to be significant for the Al Jazeera news network. Although it played a crucial role in reporting the crises to Arabic populations when the state-run networks failed to recognise any discontent, more significantly Al Jazeera gained global recognition for reporting their interpretation of events. The Al Jazeera news channel, meaning ‘the island’, was founded in 1996 by the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa, in order to provide a reputable source of news for Arabic speakers that originated from the Middle East. The channel proved highly influential in the region because it was willing to discuss issues that other state-run outlets or global networks would not consider running. As an organisation, it prides itself on covering both sides of an event, which is encompassed in its motto, “Opinion... and the other opinion”. And yet some states considered Al Jazeera to be a threat to their own national security. Following the terrorist attacks of September 11 2001 people in the West
became aware of Al Jazeera. For some, Al Jazeera was a manifestation of the anti-Western sentiment felt in the Middle East. They could not understand why this channel was giving airtime to an organisation orchestrating mass murder. However, Al Jazeera argued that having been given these recordings, they would help the public understand the aims of Al Qaeda and thus provide clarity. Western sentiment felt against Al Jazeera reached its peak during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. The reporting of events and, in particular, the broadcasting of images of dead British and American soldiers shocked western governments wary of negative public opinion. Their reporting went beyond the established norms which attracted comment from other media outlets. Fox News, on organisation not noted for its editorial impartiality, was highly critical, and accused Al Jazeera of paying for attacks on servicemen in order to provide coverage. Such scorn was not forgotten. The expansion of the network culminated in the establishment of an English
service, which began broadcasting in November 2006. Having an English channel allowed them to re-define their image in the West by providing high quality coverage of international affairs, and by scrutinising the very Western media outlets that scrutinised them. One show in particular, The Listening Post analyses the Western media agenda and is highly critical of Fox’s coverage of foreign affairs, a battle which is constantly evolving. Within the last week, Fox commentator Bill O’Reilly accused Al Jazeera of both creating anger within the Middle East and making a living by blaming most problems in the Middle East on the United States of America and Israel. Anger among the Middle Eastern public has probably been fuelled by Al Jazeera, but what O’Reilly’s criticisms ignore is that Al Jazeera has fuelled anger because it was the only news organisation to comprehensively cover the protests from the offset in Tunisia. Other news organisations failed to understand the significance of the protests in light of the
media repression, unemployment and a lack of political freedoms that aggravated the young populations. The omnipresence of a reputable Arabic news broadcaster throughout the protests is highly significant and something that hasn’t been acknowledged by Western media outlets. The increased use of social media is of course important, but does not help explain why Western governments are standing at the periphery of events. The presence of Al Jazeera meant that Arab dictators could not blame outside Western influences when their own publics were watching a Qatari-funded news channel. President Mubarak realised the importance of the network and accused Qatar of trying to influence his country. Colonel Gaddafi, however, has been unable to find an explanation for protestors. Initially he blamed ‘foreign dogs’, but has since blamed Al Qaeda for feeding narcotics to protestors. Al Jazeera has matured as an organisation because it has not only discussed changes in the Middle East, but has become part of them.
Equally, Western audiences have come to rely upon Al Jazeera for coverage of the crises and in the process have lost their views of the network conceived after September 11 2001. But with an increasing influence in global affairs, the network is bound to come under greater scrutiny. Recent reports into torture in West Papua and over-zealous legal punishments in Saudi Arabia have been removed after pressure from the Indonesian and Saudi Arabian governments. Al Jazeera insists they have editorial control but according to a leaked US diplomatic cable from July 2009, the network still relies on funding from the Qatari government. Al Jazeera is allowed to be free and open, however, it can prove to be a useful diplomatic tool for Qatar, which poses a dilemma for the Qatari leadership. If protests do spread to Qatar, will the Government prevent Al Jazeera covering events, and therefore lose the integrity and diplomatic leverage that Al Jazeera provides the Qatari Government?
march 7 2011
Devastation strikes Christchurch, what next? Emily Lunn discusses the New Zealand Government’s shortcomings in dealing with the earthquake. IT was only two months ago that I was sitting in the sunshine outside a cafe in Christchurch, talking to the waitress about the regular aftershocks from the September earthquake. She joked that they had become a tourist attraction. While some tourists cancelled their trips to Christchurch, others were eager to experience a (small) aftershock. I must admit that despite the
“New Zealand is not nicknamed ‘the shaky isles’ for nothing. The country lies at the Southern end of the ‘Pacific Ring of Fire’, and volcanic cones feature in the scenery of the North Island” waitress’ jokes, I felt slightly uneasy. The aftershocks, the scaffolding around several unstable buildings,
and the damaged Cathedral window, made me wonder if I would have an unwanted holiday experience. New Zealand is not nicknamed ‘the Shakey Isles’ for nothing. The country lies at the Southern end of the Pacific ‘Ring of Fire,’ and volcanic cones feature in the scenery of the North Island. The islands also lie above the collision of two tectonic plates, the Pacific and the Indo-Australian. As the relaxed attitude of the waitress suggested, small aftershocks are common. There are more than 14,000 quakes a year, yet only about 20 have a magnitude greater than 5.0 and most are not even felt. Before the September earthquake, the council were considering a proposal that would make all older buildings fully earthquake proof in 30 years time, and if they weren’t, the building would face closure. This was priced at NZ$500 million, and consequently was unpopular. However, it seems small compared to the huge costs the country
now faces in order to pay for both quakes. The Government has to now decide how to rebuild the city as safely and affordably as possible. Even with safety precautions, however, it seems inevitable that the seismic activity that provides a lot of New Zealand’s beauty must also cause destruction. It is clear that a sense of vulnerability has returned to the residents of Christchurch. How best to protect New Zealanders from future earthquakes is a complicated decision that the authorities will now have to face. Christchurch has featured regularly in the news since the earthquake on September 4, which had a magnitude of 7.0, and an epicentre 55km northwest of Christchurch. Although it caused widespread damage to buildings and roads, there were no fatalities and the city was in the process of stabilising and demolishing damaged buildings. Further damage was caused by an aftershock of 4.9
which rattled the city on Boxing Day, smashing window displays and calling a halt to the post- Christmas sales. This was much closer to the city than the September earthquake, within 5km of Christchurch and causing $3 billion worth of damage. The earthquake, however, that struck on February 22 was comparatively shallow. It was only 5km deep, and 10km from Christchurch. It had a magnitude of 6.3, with the current death toll reaching 148, with around 50 people still missing. The City Mayor, Bob Parker, claims that the spirits of the rescue workers are “remarkably good,” despite the aftershocks and deteriorating weather that threatens their efforts. Rescue workers from eight different nations continue to work, although the likelihood of anyone being found alive seems increasingly remote. The city is now beginning to bury its dead. The first service was held on Monday 28 for five-month-old
Do something funny for money
Baxtor Gowland, the youngest victim so far. However, amongst the devastation, there are stories of resilience. I was particularly touched by the story of a young woman who was rescued from her collapsed office block in time to hobble up the aisle three days later. New Zealanders appear to be resilient people with a history of rebuilding. When a powerful earthquake obliterated the city of Napier in 1931, the entire city was rebuilt. It now attracts many tourists as an embodiment of the Art Deco movement. It has been estimated that a third of the buildings at the centre of Christchurch need demolishing. As New Zealanders begin to mourn their dead, there is no doubt that the recovery of this city will be a long and difficult process. Although the Cathedral Spire lies crumbled in the square, I have faith that Christchurch, like Napier, will rise again.
Sophie Duncan discusses the celebrity-charity relationship that exists within the saga of Comic Relief. THE celebrity-charity relationship is admired by some, detested by others. The Haitian earthquake is a key example of this; the immediate aftermath saw A-listers ‘doing their bit’ for those hit hardest. This, many would argue, was nothing but a publicity stunt, where attention-seeking celebrities adopted an appearance of concern, while thinking nothing of the long term effects. These often are: indefinite homelessness; a shortage of resources and families torn apart and left in disrepair. While the surge of air-brushed compassion died down in a matter of months, what about the consequences that, over a year after the earthquake struck, continue to define life for Haitian citizens? March 18 is Red Nose Day. Every other year, if we choose, we tune in to an array of comic sketches and performances. Those who have ever done so will be familiar with the temptation, when the comedy is interrupted by sincerity in the form of
a short film about the people in need of Comic Relief’s help, to nip to the loo or put the kettle on. With this comes the oh-so-simple text to the ‘number on the screen’ in order to be able to say, without guilt, “I’ve donated.” This is due less to our lack of benevolence as individuals than the fact that we have become desensitised to images of poverty and struggle. Televised appeals of the ‘This is [insert name here]’ nature blend into one, and instinct tells us that it is enough to donate. It’s alright, the money goes towards a good cause even if we do pay minimal attention to the story placed in front of us - is our general mind set. Comic Relief was launched from a refugee camp in Sudan on Christmas Day, 1985, live on BBC One. At the time, there was a devastating famine in Ethiopia. The idea was to bring together much-loved British comedians to raise money through making the public laugh. Since then,
12 Red Nose Days have raised more than £400 million, which has been used to tackle the broader needs of the poor and disadvantaged at home and abroad through immediate aid, as well as sustained education about HIV and AIDS. Sport Relief was launched in December 2001. Yet has the emphasis of Red Nose Day shifted from charity to celebrity?
“The Comic Relief website states, ‘Our mission is to drive positive change through the power of entertainment’ ”
The Comic Relief website states, “Our mission is to drive positive change through the power of entertainment.” Past Red Nose Days have indeed produced some comic gems, not least Peter Kay’s reproduction of ‘Is this the way to Amarillo?’ In 2009, the bar was raised by the successful climbing
of Mount Kilimanjaro by celebrities including Gary Barlow, Fearne Cotton and Chris Moyles. This year, Lorraine Kelly and Dermot O’Leary were part of a group to complete a desert trek of 100km in Kenya. The public were able to follow the physical and emotional strain the celebrities were put underentertainment not unlike that of an ‘I’m a Celebrity’-esque reality show. However, credit where credit is due as, when spoken to live on Radio One as they came to the end of their journey, talk focused on the half a million pounds the celebrity trekkers had raised. Comic Relief, therefore, positions charitable motives at the forefront of what is an entertainmentorientated event, and admirably so. While some celebrities’ dedication is short-lived and limited to voiceovers or one-off singles, there are those whose commitment is unrelenting, discrete and worthy. Elton John’s tireless work through the Elton John
AIDS Foundation is a prime example of devotion to a cause away from the public eye. Meanwhile, although Comic Relief may have employed methods akin to those of the most popular reality TV shows, certain elements render these two forms of the entertainment world apart. Insect for breakfast becomes far more appealing when assigned an attractive wage. No such payment exists for the celebrities who commit to Comic Relief’s challenges. Moreover, to climb Kilimanjaro or to walk 100km across the desert requires perseverance, self-motivation and strength of mind. While modern culture has led to charity, like so many other things, revolving around celebrities, you cannot argue with its effectiveness, nor can you question- as far as Comic Relief is concerned - the fact that stars are stimulated by a desire to make a difference to other people’s lives as opposed to their own.
Exeposé week twenty
Much ado about nothing or a right royal treat?
Etty Eastwood on why Kate and Will are set for crowning glory and Natasha Gilborson on why it might all be a right Royal let down.
WHEN thousands of people gathered to watch Prince William and Kate Middleton return to the University of St. Andrews last Friday, it was obvious that Royal Wedding fever had wholeheartedly gripped the nation. With the wedding only two months away, the media hype surrounding the couple is increasing, as more details are released. Rumours are circulating about the design of Kate’s dress, which celebrities have been invited and where the couple will honeymoon. Whatever the outcome, I will definitely be amongst one of those who will go all out to celebrate. Royal Wedding street party anyone? Yes please! Of course, it’s not just the glitz and glamour that makes this such a momentous event. The Royal Wedding is something of which we, as a country, should be proud. The British monarchy originated in the ninth century and is part of our national identity. As Prince William is second in line to the throne, Kate is potentially going to become a future Queen, making this marriage an important development in the history of the Royal Family. And, without doubt, the Royal couple are better role models than some current celebrities. For many, when the ceremony is held at Westminster Abbey, it will bring back memories of Princess Diana and
FOR the past few weeks, Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding has been on everyone’s minds. The Roald Dahl style ‘Golden Tickets,’ which will invite 100 randomly chosen individuals to the couple’s special day, have even got the nation checking their post every morning. Yet the reams of magazine articles, radio references and TV news updates are starting to drive me slightly crazy. The date has become so deeply engrained in my mind that all of my upcoming deadlines have begun to all blur into one big date: April 29. My tutors may well get a shock if I hand my essays in six weeks late, or turn up to sit my exams quite so early! The wedding, which David Cameron has claimed will be a “happy and momentous occasion for all,” will ironically be like all other celebrity weddings and certainly isn’t the ‘event of the year’ for me. I think that the couple’s day should be
all she achieved for the country. All around the world, people will be watching Britain on April 29. The wedding is a way of proving that Britain isn’t just about underage drinking, sunburnt tourists and processed junk food. We need to preserve our nation’s reputation and confirm that the monarchy is still a significant part of our culture. Prince William’s Private Secretary, Mr. Lowther-Pinkerton, has described the upcoming occasion as, “a classic example of what Britain does best.” So even though the wedding will cost the taxpayer money, isn’t it worth it? Surveys from VisitBritain have shown that the event will vastly increase the number of tourists visiting Britain this year, which will somewhat boost the economy. Either way, if the excitement is simply a bit much for you, just ignore the papers and don’t complain. After all, who doesn’t want an extra bank holiday? ETTY EASTWOOD
Can’t cut this
Maxim Edwards reflects on the massive library cuts soon to sweep across Britain. IT would be a pity, a great irony, even a source of future regret were students not to be at the forefront of an emerging onslaught to protect that muchmaligned and often ignored of public institutions - the library. Over the past two weeks library cuts in Somerset and Gloucestershire have been announced, whilst further afield the Isle of Wight stands to lose nine of its 11 public libraries. So far, little has been heard from Exeter’s press about possible library closures, but at this point to expect the worst is probably more realistic than cynical. “Higher education is a right, not a privilege.” This was one of the most common slogans in the anti-cuts protests, but I remain to be convinced that students will be equally vocal when it comes to defending education at a grassroots level. The Coalition has recently been forced to make a humiliating policy Uturn, after the public rallied to defend the Forestry Commission from changes. Equal pressure was probably exerted, though, by Dave’s chums from the Countryside Alliance around the dinner party table. I fear that those who influence the Coalition will not have quite the same emotional attachment to those libraries in deprived areas of cities, such as London or Birmingham. The motivation for library closures cannot be wholly financial. Those who
stand to profit financially from what is essentially a large scale commercialisation of access to literature should, in theory, be rubbing their hands together in a pantomime of greed. So when even former director of Waterstones, Tim Coates, has opposed library closures, you know the outrage is genuine. In the mind of that vindictive gnome of a man, Eric Pickles, it appears that public libraries are more of a financial drain than the millions of pounds enjoyed in tax breaks for the super-wealthy, like Arcadia Group magnate Philip Green. But a smaller state with smaller services will not necessarily lead to a ‘bigger society’. In order to replace one of the largest public services in the country, thousands of volunteers with no other commitment, no work and no financial burdens are going to be needed to invest hours of their lives. But where exactly are these legions of volunteers going to come from? As the author Philip Pullman wrote in his passionate polemic on the subject: “the Big Society [...] must be big to contain so many volunteers.” Not only is the assumption that new volunteers will be able to do this deeply insulting for the supposedly easy-to-replace librarians, but it also fundamentally misses the point of the societal value of libraries. Libraries are often found in deprived areas of cities with pronounced financial and social prob-
lems, where poorer families will never be able to buy all the books they need to satisfy an avid young reader. They also serve to help recent immigrants attain proficiency in English. Yet a third of London’s libraries are threatened with closure. Libraries are where funding is needed more than ever, so that experienced professionals can work to help those unfortunates who are left out of Britain’s ‘immense’ society. Cameron’s description of a “broken Britain” will become a self-fulfilling prophecy if the dismal message of library closures tells those in deprived areas that the state has ceased to care about their communities. Interestingly, the scale of planned major library cuts in Cameron’s constituency of Witney is fairly modest, as once again you guessed it - we’re all in this together! The best way to defend libraries is to use them, to show that they do have a revered place and prove that the job of a librarian is more than simply a volunteer’s hob-
by. When students took to the streets last year against tuition fee rises it was a perfect example of a genuine big society, with people caring about the fate of higher education in England. This issue is above cheap political point scoring. If university students such as us remain indifferent in our luminous orange library and have nothing to say on an issue like this, then these are sad times indeed. Register for
private and meaningful, but instead it seems to have been consumed by colloquial and meaningless chatter about who will be attending and who will wear what. There is doubt in my mind whether this ‘spectacular wedding’ really will be as great as its build up. The idea of British-ness is no longer a sturdy concept for most people. Our society seems to be far more driven by pluralism and celebrity culture now than by the monarchy. It makes me wonder: should I even be interested at all? Both parents will be sharing the main costs but it is the taxpayer who will pay the estimated £20 million security price tag. It seems unfair that it is the ordinary citizen who will pick up this bill. Others argue that such an extravagant ceremony should not take place in such hard economic times at all; surely having 1,900 guests is a little extreme? Who knows, perhaps I am just jealous - I would quite like 1,900 people to turn up to a wedding of mine. Either way, whether we’re for or against the Royal Wedding, we all know that we’ll keep the date free and flick on our television sets. If a golden ticket actually arrived through my door, I’m not saying I wouldn’t go along. NATASHA GILBORSON
a Devon library card and show that, contrary to public opinion, students don’t drop their placards and banners when the issues stop affecting universities. Gown does care about town. At the very least, to defend access to libraries could help the next generation of young readers spell the word ‘apathy’ in the future. They might well need it when they look back at 2011 in ten or twenty years’ time.
march 7 2011
Laura Le Brocq & Clare Mullins - email@example.com
After a fashion - or decades of it
Alice Gibson casts an eye over the trends that are once more making a comeback this Spring/Summer. AS I write, London Fashion Week is already looking forward to next winter, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves, it is only March and right now fashion is having a decidedly nostalgic moment. Spring/ Summer 2011 brings with it a celebration of trends that are synonymous with the 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond. It’s time for us to choose a decade… Flirty 50s A mixture of Audrey Hepburn elegance with an offbeat preppy twist makes the 50s trend a hard one to beat. Go for nipped in dresses, chintzy print blouses teamed with wide legged trousers and preppy blazers. Update your bag collection with a portfolio bag trimmed in a popping colour.
For guys, a distinct nod to heritage designs will act as a gentleman’s response to a ladylike trend. Try Jack Wills for preppy blazers and shirts to wear with navy cotton chinos.
Swinging 60s Embrace the 60s vibe with bright, bold colours. Try Topshop’s ‘Bright Spark’ range for a wonderful collection of stand out from the crowd designs. The ‘It’ colour right now is what the fashionistas are calling ‘tangerine’… basically, orange. At risk of resembling a citrus fruit I would suggest using this as an accent colour perhaps with a bag or pair of shoes. Try using other eye popping colours like hot pink or turquoise to create a colour explosion as we head towards brighter days. If you dare,
update your make-up bag with bright lipstick and brash eye shadows… guaranteed to get you noticed. Boys can embrace the brights too. Head to H&M and Topman for a colour fix that will rival the girls. Spirited 70s It’s time to embrace your inner hippy with this trend. Mix crisp whites and blues with broderie anglaise swing tops, cute pinafores and floppy straw hats. Remember with this era that floral is your friend and you won’t go wrong. To take the 70s look to the next level think gypsy rocker (not gypsy bride) and wear crocheted hot pants, fringing and ponchos…perhaps not all at once though! Guys should imagine crawl-
ing out of a tent at an old style festival. Throw on mismatched checks, distressed denim and this season’s essential desert boots. Looking on trend has never been so easy. And Beyond If looking back isn’t your thing then opt for futuristic simplicity; what Vogue is calling ‘clinical elegance’. Sports inspired finishes and luxe high tech fabrics make for a look that is stark, stylish and precise. For the boys there is a new denim innovation; the strangely named carrot fit
jeans. Available in Topman they are loose on the hips and thighs but narrow on the ankle. Not only are these the perfect way to stay ahead style wise but they’re also much more flattering and easier to pull off than the standard skinny jeans.
From left: ASOS flower print dress, £52. Topshop blue suede sandals, £75. Topshop terracotta sports style holdall, £40. River Island beige desert boots, £29.99. Topshop fringed top, £20.
LOOK! High fashion on the High Street
Stephanie Marston reviews The Look Fashion Show as it forecasts the summer trends.
WHERE would you find Marina Diamandis, Olivia Palermo, and Shayne Ward in the same room? At the LOOK fashion show, of course! Whilst many fashionistas were preparing for the designer shows of the ever hectic London Fashion Week, LOOK magazine unofficially kicked off the week with a celebrity filled fashion show dedicated entirely to high-street spring/summer fashion. The morning of Friday February 18 saw me boarding an early train to London in order to make my way over to Bloomsbury Square for the show. This is only the third LOOK show after it began last year, but it has become incredibly popular and tickets are notoriously hard to get hold of because they are only
distributed via competitions and giveaways. It is easy to see why the show attracts so many; guests are greeted with an unlimited supply of complimentary champagne and canapés (from Marks and Spencer) and can mingle amongst both celebrities and industry professionals. There is also a photo booth where you can dress up (always a bonus) and have a snap taken for free. The show opened its doors at 4pm for guests to take their seats and inspect their goody bags. The contents included a bag from H&M, sunglasses from Marks and Spencer, hair products from Label M, a scarf from New Look, and countless beauty products. I could
have gone home a very happy lady at this point, but the day was only just getting started. The catwalk was about to host collections from Dorothy Perkins, French Connection, H&M, Mango, Marks and Spencer, Monsoon, New Look, River Island, Uniqlo, and Warehouse. New Look started the show with a collection concentrating on vibrant colour blocking, a key trend for spring/ summer 2011. There was an special focus on hot pinks, oranges, and cerise which also cropped up in the River Island and H&M collections Dorothy Perkins was next up with a collection heavily influenced by bright floral prints and dainty summer dresses
which are always popular in spring. River Island also took this as inspiration but created more vintage looking pieces. After a couple of uninspiring collections from Uniqlo and Monsoon, Marks and Spencer had a surprisingly wearable collection dominated by a minimalist nude, coffee, and cream colour palette which was also to be seen in the FCUK collection; this minimalism is an ideal alternative to the bright colour blocking trend if it’s not your thing. Next up was H&M whose collection was dominated by pastel colours which are always synonymous with spring. Blouses were the next key feature in the following collections by Mango and Next which are ideal transitional pieces
and another big trend this season. The final brands to showcase their collections were Warehouse, River Island, and FCUK who all included the jumpsuit as the final key trend for this spring/summer 2011. It is the blue jumpsuit in particular. There was time for a post-catwalk bash after the show with complimentary mojitos and wine being offered at the bar, giving guests the opportunity to discuss the collections. The LOOK show was great for showing the biggest trends this season bright colour blocking, florals, blouses, and jumpsuits - and what is best is that not only are these collections more affordable for student budgets, but they are ready to buy in stores now.
Hot Pink at the New Look show.
Colour Blocking at River Island.
Vintage inspired River Island.
Summer blouses at Mango.
French Connection’s jumpsuit.
Exeposé week twenty
“This week I’ve been stressing about...”
Lifestyle’s columnist, Zoe Dickens, writes about work experience placements and the difficult art of the interview.
IT seems that, after racking up nine weeks’ worth of work experience at local and national businesses, newspapers, magazines and PR companies I finally qualify for that level of work experience placement that requires an interview. After sending out a batch of CVs in January (if you’re after anything creative/media related the University of the Arts website is a godsend), I, much to my surprise, received an unprecedented amount of interview offers. Of course, many of these I couldn’t attend because, although I am expected to have ‘communication and writing skills to a very high standard’, it seems that my potential employers were unable to read the part of my email which clearly stated I was only available during the Easter and Summer periods. Such is life. Finally, two weeks ago, I was offered an interview with a fashion publishing company that I could actually attend. However, as the initial excitement wore off, it dawned on me what this actually meant. An interview. I don’t do interviews. In fact, I don’t do any form of communication that doesn’t involve a keyboard. Calling my own grandmother scares me. I have a severe phobia of awkward silences and usually get myself so flustered that my sentences become one tangled mess of word vomit. Whilst working at a PR company I was forced to call (a lot of) journalists to try and sell them stories – I emerged from the office that day a nervous, gibbering wreck and that was only mak-
Campus Style OUR roving photographer and Lifestyle team bring you the best style on campus! [Left] Name: Anande Hytmiah Studying: Law, 2nd year. What do you think of the University charging £9,000 a year? “I don’t mind that much as it won’t affect me, but my brother will be going to university soon so I’m [Centre] still worried for him.” Name: Studying: [Centre, left] What wearing: Name:she’s Luisa West Studying: Spanish and Film Studies, 4th year. Do you think your degree is worth £9,000? “I don’t think anything’s worth £9,000.”
ing phone calls. I can only take solace in the fact that, as the frequent debate that rages in my house over whose turn it is to call Domino’s this time tells me, I am not the only one. I have had relatively little experience with interviews and perhaps this is where my fear comes from – not so much fear of interviews as fear of the unknown. This is also possibly the reason why I have no trouble answering the phone but hate making phone calls, especially to strangers.
“I don’t do interviews. In fact, I don’t do any form of communication that doesn’t involve a keyboard. Calling my own grandmother scares me ” In my entire life I have only been to four interviews. The first three - one for a job I didn’t want, one for a job that, on arriving, it seemed the manager had already decided to give me and one with my secondary school head teacher where we were quite helpfully given the questions beforehand – I don’t think really count. The fourth one was a ‘mock university interview’ (not that I ever went on to have a real one) with two teachers from my secondary school. I gave them my CV and told them I wanted to be a journalist at which point they
promptly started laughing. They then swung between telling me I wasn’t aiming high enough (‘You should be an editor not a journalist!’) and telling me I would never make it in life. So in a proactive attempt to, if not master interviews then at least try and prevent myself from breaking out in cold sweats at the thought of them, I went to one of the Interview Experience sessions run by the University’s Employability team. The first hour was lovely. I sat back and watched a video of four graduate interviews. I learnt all the dos and don’ts, the importance of corporate and industry knowledge and began to think maybe it wasn’t so hard after all. Then it got hard. We were split into groups and taken into rooms with an interviewer and an Employability officer where we were interviewed – in front of each other. To release the pressure a bit we were all given bits of paper on which to write down what was good and what was bad about our peers’ interview techniques. There really is nothing I like better than being judged by a group of strangers on something that I didn’t want to be doing in the first place. In all honesty, it wasn’t that bad and I did learn a lot. I’m still scared of interviews but at least I know I can do them when forced and I would definitely recommend it to, well, anyone. As for the interview with the fashion publishing company? I got the internship – they want me to interview people for their blog. Brilliant.
Top class cuisine
Jess Leung eats lunch at Michael Caines’. FINE dining can be a daunting experience at times. After making sure your skirt’s not tucked into your greying pants and that your shoes are dry after the last time you had to drink from them, you begin to ask whether all of the preparation is worth a pretentious, albeit brilliant, meal. The triple figure bill at the end is never well received either. Having said that, everyone likes to be pampered once in a while and, trust me, Michael Caines’s restaurant is definitely worth ironing your shirt for. Michael Caines at Abode Exeter, is a two Michelin star chef from Exeter who has been voted UK’s Top Restauranteur by The Sunday Times. Set in the lobby of the Royal Clarence Hotel, the beautiful exterior confirmed that perfection is exactly what I would be experiencing. We chose to have lunch there as it was my birthday and I planned to spend the evening in a less classy fashion. Upon entering the restaurant, the server quickly offered to take our coats before showing us to our table – how sophisticated! Set in the stunning Cathedral green, the restaurant itself is not overly ‘posh.’ The clean decor and simple wooden flooring made the place elegant without being pretentious, which relieved my worries about whether I was dressed appropriately for such a place. Michael Caines offers an à la carte menu with mains starting at £23.50 but luckily for us, we discovered the “Amazing Graze Lunch” menu. It offers three whole courses for £13.50, with additional courses priced at £4.50 each. There is also the option to have a specially matched 100ml glass of wine with each course, an offer I simply could not refuse. The Graze Lunch menu, which
changes approximately every fortnight, has a wide selection of starters, mains and desserts. As the menu is designed for those wanting a light lunch, each dish is actually a miniature version of something from the à la carte menu. As the saying goes, good things come in small packages – Michael Caines is no exception. I chose wild mushroom risotto to start and it came in a cute espresso cup, adorned with a parmesan crisp. This was matched with a dry white wine – definitely worth the money considering the whole bottle would have been around £80. Next I chose to have a pork tenderloin which was served with a sweet jus and a potato cake. The presentation of the dish was exceptional and it looked almost too good to eat. The pork was perfectly cooked and the sauce complimented it well. To be honest though, it was the potato cake that made my dish – it was truly delicious. This course was matched with a smooth red wine which worked with the dish. We settled for only three courses, though it was very tempting to order everything after perusing the dessert section. I went for a lemon cheesecake with lemon sorbet. This was a nice refreshing end to the meal and the exceptional presentation transformed this simple dish into a work of art. Overall, it was a wonderful meal which was just the right size for a light lunch. The ‘Amazing Graze Lunch’ is definitely worth a try. It gets quite busy at times so I advise you to book beforehand. Although it may feel like an intimidating, wallet-emptying place, the set menu is a good way to sample beautiful dishes at a more student friendly price.
[Centre] Name: Jess Fowler Studying: Politics and Philosophy, 3rd year. What do you think of the University charging £9,000 a year? “I think it’s pretty funny that they sent us an email this morning to keep us in the know, when we’d all seen it on the BBC website last night.” [Right] Name: Gabrielle Allfrey Studying: International Relations [Centre] and Spanish, 2nd year. Name: Studying: Do you your degree is What she’sthink wearing: worth £9,000? “After the building works are finished it might be. I suppose it depends how good they are. I mean, they might be phenomenal. I guess we’ll see. According to The Guardian, we’re only in the Top 20. That isn’t worth £9,000.”
march 7 2011 Exeposé
The greatest show on Earth Ginny Kingsley-Jones attends The Jeremy Kyle Show filming.
AS a regular and accomplished procrastinator, I am also a frequent viewer of The Jeremy Kyle Show, and was overjoyed to be given the opportunity to watch two episodes being filmed. I almost exploded with excitement when I discovered that I was to travel to the enigmatic and exotic North, to Manchester, where the show is filmed in ITV’s Granada Studios. I am sure there will be many readers who dislike the show, or who have never seen it, and it is precisely for this reason - we are not the target audience. The Jeremy Kyle Show is broadcast during the day, when most of us will be working or on campus. It’s intended to reach out to those people who are at home during the daytime, whether out of choice or not, and offer them a solution. They may be able to relate to the guests in a way that I know I certainly can’t, I who have been lucky enough to have been born into a family who did everything they could to make sure that I was provided for and nurtured and safe. Or they may see the show as a way of getting help they were unable to find elsewhere. But do not think me naive, whilst sitting in the audience you are, of course, acutely aware that this particular aspect of the show is designed as a spectacle to be viewed and to entertain. Initially, this made me decidedly uneasy due to the proximity of the stage, not because of fear, but because I felt uncomfortably judgemental towards these very real people, with their very real problems. However, as the show progressed, I started to notice my unease changing to genuine emotion and empathy for the hardships that many of the guests were experiencing, in a way that doesn’t quite permeate the cameras
to your sitting room at home. However bright and showbiz the atmosphere may have been, the guests were fundamentally humans asking for help, sometimes as a last resort. There is a reason that the show receives in excess of 300 calls per day from potential guests, and that is because of the aftercare that the show provides once the filming has been completed. You get the impression that the show itself is only the tip of the iceberg, and regardless of whether Jeremy himself sees the individual guests again afterwards, it must be remembered that this is the only talk-show that provides counselling and an attempt at a genuine solution to the problems that are encountered. I’m sure that there will have been many occasions when the assistance has not worked, and that may have been for any number of reasons. But from talking to Jeremy himself, you get the impression that he feels that if he’s helped even one person
get their lives back on track, then that is an achievement. The host, Jeremy Kyle, is quite a character. He is certainly a great entertainer, amusing the audience before the cameras roll with jovial banter and making them feel at ease. His controversial and straight talking style of hosting has earned him plenty of criticism, and he seems deeply aware of this; constantly reinforcing the fact that he is no psychiatrist, and he has made many of his own mistakes. This article is not intended to be a starstruck eulogy of The Jeremy Kyle Show, nor of the man himself, but an explanation for my own personal change of heart in regards to a show that has received rather a bad press at times. Purely because there is precious little else to watch on television during the day, I used to watch the show for entertainment and I am embarrassed to say, often in a derisive manner. Having seen the show live though, this initial derision has made me feel utterly ashamed of myself, as I began to realise that some people need the opportunities the show offers in a way that perhaps I’m too snobbish to understand. So for those of you who watch the show and regard it as exploitative and shameless, I would say that perhaps it is not the show itself but us, the viewers, who deserve to be reprimanded for ulterior motives.
SEX-ON-THE-EXE An Exeter student finds herself red faced. THERE are lots of urban myths and sex horror stories around of bloody bad experiences. Some of Exeter’s most banterous boys brag about putting ketchup on their chips, bloodying their swords and what is probably the most foul “delving into the red sea. Win.” Now before you start to panic, and wonder where on earth I’m going with this, and if that bowl of Tesco value tomato soup in the microwave is still going to be appealing after reading this article, worry ye not. My gory story has nothing to do with any of that. Well, not really anyway. After a few too many drinks last week, I found myself stumbling back with someone along one of Exeter’s student streets at some ridiculous hour. Now, in terms of my expectations, what happened next was certainly not something I would have ever imagined. Certainly not something I had come prepared for.
“Whether it was an accidental knocking of noses or pure bad luck, I’ll never know” As a child, I have vivid memories of bags of frozen peas being shoved in my face, having tampons stuck up my nostrils, or spending hours with my head over the sink. Attractive, I know. One holiday in Italy saw me empty an entire swimming pool as a German boy hummed the theme tune of Jaws as I tried desperately to block the flow of blood gushing out of my nose. I thought that nosebleeds were a distant memory, an excuse for me not to
The gigantic gender gift divide
play mixed lacrosse or get involved in too many pillow fights. Little did I know at the age of 20 they would still be giving me grief. We’ve all had that moment where someone gets a little over excited in the bedroom, whether it be short lived passion (seven seconds was one poor boy’s personal best) or the over excited jungle roar that sent the concierge running up to my flat, broom in hand ready to take on whatever creature she believed was attacking me - I thought I’d pretty much had my fair share of over excited partners and “don’t worry, it can happen to anyone.” This was about to be a new first. Whether it was an accidental knocking of noses, uncontrollable excitement in the heat of the moment or pure bad luck, I’ll never know. One thing was for certain; I’m not the only one who suffers from a sensitive septum. And that swimming pool in Italy was by no means embarrassing compared to this. I’m not sure who it must have been more of a shock for; me, lying there, looking up at his gushing nose or him, looking down at my blood splattered face as I tried to wriggle out of the way. Suffice to say it served as a bit of a mood killer, even less of a turn on when he then proceeded to dab at my face with one hand whilst holding a wad of tissue against his over excited nose. Not exactly my idea of “top banter” all the same. But I guess it was endearing, and the laughter that ensued turned the whole thing from awfully awkward to hysterically hilarious. Top marks all round for how he dealt with it. But my god, what a bloody mess.
Lizzie Annett is in the midst of a panic about buying her boyfriend the perfect birthday present.
MY boyfriend and I have been seeing each other for around six months now. We made it through Christmas, Valentine’s Day and my birthday all unscathed. Yet this month brings one of the most terrifying days in any girlfriend calendar: the boyfriend’s birthday. Now, I like to consider myself a reasonable present buyer. However, this may be because the only people I really end up buying presents for are my family. My mum is always happy with some bubble bath, give my dad a toblerone and he’ll forget all about the previous bad sock birthdays. As for my brothers, well, it’s an Xbox game or a CD and you’re laughing. So maybe I’m not a reasonable present buyer, I just know my family and they know me. They’re the best brothers in the world as long as there is a Topshop voucher or a chick flick underneath that pink wrapping paper. 20 years and I have finally learnt how to please my family at Christmas and birth-
days. The problem is that I’ve only known my boyfriend for six months. Christmas was easy; he asked for a new bag, he got a new bag. Then it got more difficult when he got me an unbelievably thoughtful birthday present. It was a leather bound writing journal and a parker pen to encourage me in my writing career. I loved it. It is the pressure to live up to this amazingly thoughtful and romantic present that has landed me slap bang in the middle of girlfriend freak out zone. I am jealous of boys. When they don’t know what to buy they can resort to the classics: chocolates, flowers or jewellery. I don’t want to conform entirely to stereotype, but my friends and I went gooey eyed when my housemate’s boyfriend sent her a bunch of roses on Valentine’s Day. It’s cheesy, it’s obvious and it’s conventional, but we loved it. Yet if I resort to sending my boyfriend a bunch of roses on his birthday, I am sure he would be humiliated, emasculated and blame me for hav-
ing to endure a whole year’s worth of male banter. So what are girlfriends to do? In the depths of despair I begged him for some ideas. The only thing I got back was a request for some comfortable headphones. Practical, technological and being inserted into his ear aren’t really the things I want my boyfriend to associate me with. I don’t think I can think of a less thoughtful or romantic present, unless I resort to buying him socks. So I am back to racking my brain to find even the slightest hint of what he might like for a present. I remember on our second date him saying that he really liked the pictures of Jimi Hendrix that were up in Amber Rooms. So I trawl the Internet for hours trying to find this infamous poster without success. But then a thought hits me; does a twenty-four year old male really want a big picture of an ageing rock star hanging on his wall? I just don’t know! So I’m back to
square one and begin to seriously start considering my housemate’s suggestion for a voucher for an hours worth of Lizzie love. Aftershave, a new shirt, some new shoes, a DVD are all ideas swimming around in my head. Yet his aftershave is fifty quid and, well, I’m a student. He knows I hate his shoes, if I buy him new ones I’m insulting his fashion sense and his manhood by attempting to change him. A DVD, although a nice, cheap and easy to wrap present, really doesn’t say “I love you.” The best present I can think of would be an hours flying, he wants to be a pilot and rarely gets opportunities to get up in the sky, so I know this would make him happy. Unfortunately I don’t have four hundred quid lying around. That fifty quid aftershave really doesn’t sound so bad anymore. Talking to my boyfriend, and a few other male friends, it seems that men just don’t place as much emphasise on gifts as
women do. Women want presents to show we’ve made the right choice in the boyfriend department, to give us some boasting power and, most of all, (although we probably don’t like to admit it), to make our friends green with envy. But men don’t want the fuss. My birthday was at the end of January and I had been planning what we were going to do since Boxing Day. My boyfriend’s birthday is tomorrow and I’ve only just found out his plans: go down the pub for a few beers and eat pizza. I think that as long as you’re there on his birthday, with some form of present in hand then (if he loves you) he’s always going to lie and say he loves the present anyway. It’s at this point, when I’ve basically given up anyway, that the idea comes to me. A remote control plane. It’s funny, affordable and thoughtful. Coupled with a nice little card stating that he can now go flying whenever he wants, I think I will be earning myself some definite girlfriend brownie points.
Exeposé week twenty
Ellie Bothwell & Ben Murphie - firstname.lastname@example.org
Upcoming INTERVIEW 7/3 – Beat Roots Acoustic, Mama Stone’s
9/3 – Sound of the Sirens + Morning Rush, Mama Stone’s
The Mark of Kane
Ellie Bothwell and Ben Murphie, Music Editors, chat to Miles Kane about Lennon, Bond and Rock ‘n’ Roll.
9/3 – The Deep End Submotion Orchestra, Cavern Club 9/3 – Caitlin Rose, Exeter Phoenix
10/3 – Devil’s Brigade + Smoke ‘em Out, Cavern Club 11/3 – Carnaval, Exeter Phoenix 12/3 – The Believers, Exeter Phoenix 12/3 – Ellie Williams, Exeter Phoenix 17/3 – Glamour of the Kill, Cavern Club 18/3 – Aeon Party with Halsall & Singh, Cavern Club 19/3 – Analogue to Digital Music Expo, Exeter Phoenix 19/3 – The Unthanks, Exeter Phoenix 20/3 – Courtney Pine, Exeter Phoenix 20/3 – Break Da Funk, Exeter Phoenix
Book Now 25/3 – Example, Lemon Grove 28/3 - Jesca Hoop, Exeter Phoenix 29/3 - John Grant, Exeter Phoenix 1/4 - Sub Focus DJ Set, Lemon Grove
The wide-eyed indie hopeful who fronted The Little Flames back in 2004 is a far cry away from the swaggering rock star that meets us today at The Fleece in Bristol. Sauntering into the venue after a quick stroll around the city, Miles Kane casually offers us his hand. From the hem of his grey overcoat to the Gallagher-esque crop of his hair, Kane oozes Mod cool like it’s going out of fashion. After The Little Flames flickered and died, Kane enjoyed brief, if limited, success with the Rascals, going on to leave the band in 2009. However, it’s The Last Shadow Puppets, a project with Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys, that brought him to the fore of everyone’s minds, with their album The Age of the Understatement going straight to #1 in the UK. “We’ll do another record”, Kane confirms, “It will happen when it happens but it will be great when it does.” Yet it’s in his capacity as a solo artist that we meet him today in the middle of his first UK tour. “I’m buzzing really and just glad to be working”, Kane admits modestly. Having been constructing his forthcoming album Colour of the Trap for the past year it will finally see the light of day in April. “I’m a massive fan of Lennon, Lee Hazlewood, Gainsbourg, you know, T-Rex, things like
that,” Kane tells us in his lilting Liverpudlian brogue. “What I wanted to create was all my favourite artists or bands. I wanted to create a record that had all those different sides and I think I’ve achieved that.” “I love all that style”, he continues. “There’s this guy I’ve got into recently called Jacques Dutronc who is blowing my mind. He’s late ’60s and is like Gainsbourg but Mod! I don’t think there’s enough of it around at the minute.” Notably influenced by ’60s culture – music, film, fashion – Kane says of the album title, “It reminds me of a Bond film. You could see it on a poster with a girl and a gun.” This aesthetic approach is also reflected in the song’s lyrics, ‘the colour of the trap turned from black to blue’ - “I don’t really know what it means but I just loved those words together.” In a similar vein, much of his album is cinematic in tone: “There’s a couple that are almost like a Tarantino film, like heavy surf guitar”, Kane tells us, “one called ‘Telepathy’ and one called ‘The King Crawler’.” Citing The Beatles as one of his major influences, both in style and sound, Kane admits he had to safeguard the originality of his work. “It was going very Lennon at one point – I did have to de-Lennon a bit, I’m not gonna lie.” Yet, Dan Carey’s mod-
ern production helped maintain a balance between old and new, typified most by forthcoming single ‘Rearrange’. “It has got this great guitar riff and a great chorus… You know, Rock ‘n’ Roll.” Kane sought to approach the record open-mindedly, experimenting with different sounds and textures. New single ‘Come Closer’ was originally demo-ed as a glam rock song “because I’d been to see Kasabian in Liverpool... but it just sounded like a bit of Gary Glitter”, and instead the song turned into something a lot more simple. “On this first Lennon record Plastic Ono Band was a tune called ‘I Found Out’ and I basically robbed a beat off that which was dead simple,” Kane reveals. “It just made it a lot cooler rather than trying too hard.” When it comes to performing live, Kane prefers to keep things in the family. “I’ve known Jay for a few years, I’ve known Eugene for a couple, and my old flatmate went to school with Phil, the bass player, so he’d been round to the house playing Fifa, and he knew Ben the keyboard player.” It’s this close connection that stop the pressures of the road from getting too much and makes for such tight performances. “I love being a solo artist, I love doing the press and chatting and I love doing the photos and the videos, but
when that’s taken away I need my mates and need people around, otherwise you can get lonely.” Having been in several bands, Kane has experienced touring at its least glamorous: “You’re in a f***ing splitter van! You know, I’d rather look at their ugly faces than strangers’ ugly faces!”, he quips. From the shoulders he’s been rubbing in anticipation of his forthcoming album, things may be more glamorous than they appear. Parisian beauty Clémence Poésy’s dulcet tones are featured on ‘Happenstance’ and ‘elder statesman’ of British Rock ‘n’ Roll Noel Gallagher provides backing vocals on ‘My Fantasy’. Kane describes the experience as “Quite surreal for me. I’m very honoured.” With his tour now finished, Kane looks forward to supporting Arctic Monkeys, alongside hyped indie hipsters The Vaccines, in June. “They’re doing well aren’t they?”, Kane remarks. Of their selfproclaimed brand of Rock ‘n’ Roll Kane agrees confidently, “Rock ‘n’ Roll man, I’d go along with that. I’m Rock ‘n’ Roll!” The Colour of the Trap is out on April 25. ‘Come Closer’ is now available for purchase and download on Columbia. Records.
March 7 2011
The Witching Hour
Andrew Henley gets spooky with Esben and the Witch.
The Louisiana, the Bristol venue for tonight’s performance, is a very strange place. As you walk in, booked to interview a cutting-edge and rapidly rising band like Esben and the Witch, you ask yourself whether Google Maps has played some kind of electronic trick on you – the place looks like a carvery. The band themselves are to be found tucking into some pub grub, very relaxed and looking for all the world like a couple of students branching out from their local Wetherspoons for once. Comprising of Rachel on vocals,
with Dan and Thomas providing various space-sounds through guitars or bass, Esben and the Witch – recently featured on the BBC’s Sound of 2011 poll – are clearly a very bright bunch, inspired as much by literature as music. Their name is drawn from a German fairy tale, and compliments the unsettling, spooky nature of their music fantastically. A bit of a quiet bunch at first, the band soon begin to converse freely, particularly Dan, who sports an impressive castaway-style beard. I ask them what their favourite musical ex-
perience to date has been, and they cite their tour of the US with minimalist indie heroes Foals as being key in their development; the band are obviously huge Foals fans and clearly enjoyed sharing the stage with such an acclaimed outfit. Esben and the Witch are most readily identifiable by the looming, multilayered textures which Dan and Thomas conjure, while a reverb-drenched Rachel coldly prophesies over the top. Such studio-created atmospheres, with a plethora of disconcerting sound effects, can be difficult to recreate in a live environment, but the band don’t necessarily see this as a problem. “I wouldn’t personally enjoy it if a band playing live sounded exactly as they do on record,” says Thomas. “We enjoy the challenge of not replicating, but re-imagining tracks on stage.” Dan agrees: “in the studio you can afford to focus on the artistry of a song, but live you need that aggression to get people excited about it. It’s also nice for us to play these songs live because it refreshes them for us. It’s easy to get accustomed or desensitized to a recorded version, and playing it live can help to reconnect with the heart of the track.” I ask them what would be their dream venue to play, expecting a fairly
regulation “Wembley” or “the O2” answer. Instead the band fall into a coy silence, grinning to one another. “We have an idea,” smiles Dan. “but it’s a secret. If it becomes obvious we won’t make it, we’ll start telling everybody. But until then, it’s a secret.” Intrigued, I thank the band and let them go off to start their pre-gig rituals. By now the Louisiana is positively heaving with Bristol’s indie elite, who begin to flock upstairs to the gigging room itself. Looking around, I began to notice some of the names who have played here before, immortalized with wallmounted plaques. The list is, quite frankly, ridiculous: The Strokes, Stereophonics, Coldplay, Kings of Leon, The White Stripes and Muse have all played here before at an early stage in their careers. Clearly there is more to this place than meets the eye.
“I am left shaken, disconcerted and thoroughly impressed” I find myself in a compact but fantastically cool room, surrounded by about 70 people who look like they
have been cut out of NME. Esben and the Witch take the stage, devoid of any of the polite smiliness earlier. They take their places among a bewildering mess of wires and pedals and launch into a thoroughly chilling version of previous single ‘Marching Song’. The combination of the venue’s gloom, illuminated only by a series of coldly smouldering blue lamps on the stage, and the unsettling, ethereal music, complete with fantastically macabre lyrics (“Your veins are my trenches / My gun is my own”) create an amazing, otherworldly atmosphere inside the room. A simplistic way to describe the sound would be to say the band sounds akin to an evil, nightmarish version of Florence and the Machine, but there are few catchy choruses in this gig. As the set draws to a close with Dan, Thomas and Rachel smashing away at a drum in the middle of the stage while multi-layered musical mayhem rolls like a lightning storm around them I am left shaken, disconcerted and thoroughly impressed. An amazing show by an incredibly talented trio, it is not difficult to see them breaking through to wider audiences on the strength of live shows like this. Just be sure you don’t go alone.
ONE TO WATCH
Children of the Revolution (Per Minute)
Imogen Blake injects some interest into First Aid Kit.
Thomas Surr explores the vinyl revival. There is a new music phenomenon emerging in the UK. Or rather, an old one is coming full circle. Vinyl records have stormed back into fashion with a new generation of music fans. Following the digital music revolution, it was predicted that vinyl records would become obsolete and record stores would close down in their masses. CDs and MP3s are generally cheaper and more compact than records. Yet, as Jaimie of Exeter’s Rooster Records says, there has been “a huge increase in the demand for vinyl over the past five years.” Vinyl has been welcomed as an alternative to the modernisation that supposedly threatened it. What is it about vinyl that means it can hold its own in the digital age? For a start, vinyl simply sounds better. Most analogue vinyl LPs and EPs are recorded continuously which produces a truer sound, augmented by the lovely authenticity of the needle pops and crackles as a record plays. Digital files are compressed so they take up less memory, but this weakens their audio quality considerably. Records feel and look better too. There is something inexplicably gratifying about the physical act of holding and playing a record. The artwork on the covers and records gives joy before a note has been played and the thought that time
and effort have gone into making each individual record and that each is unique through its little imperfections is charming. Compare this to the rows of homogenous CD cases in HMV and you will hopefully begin to see what I’m talking about. With downloaded music too, “all you have are digits in your iPod; convenient but not very exciting compared with vinyl,” Jaimie believes.
“Records offer a completely different way of listening to music” Records are far more durable than any digital alternative and can last for years or even decades, depending on how well they’re looked after. Digital music players rarely survive a fraction of this time. Music files can also be corrupted or lost all too easily on a computer. Furthermore, records can be viewed as an investment since they tend to keep or even increase in value over time, especially rare and limited edition ones. Moving beyond aesthetics and retro charm, records offer a completely different way of listening to music. When was the last time you listened to an al-
bum from start to finish? I rarely have the time or patience for this now that I can cherry pick all my favourite tracks from my iPod. But allowing a record to play from start to finish and, more importantly, allowing oneself the time to listen to it from start to finish, is hugely enjoyable and relaxing. You are also doing the artist and their music justice in this respect by listening to the tracks as the artist intended them to be heard (musicians put more consideration than you might think into deciding the tracklisting order of an album). This may even add a little something to your enjoyment of the music and appreciation for the artist that you didn’t have before. I’d be lying if I said I’m boycotting digital music altogether, but I am giving vinyl a fair shot. I have started my own fledgling record collection and have set up a record player in our front room. And yes, I am starting to see what all the hype is about. Interested? Exeter has some choice record stores. For a wide selection of genres, try Rooster Records and Martian Records. For dubstep, dnb and breaks, head to Reform Records. For cheaper odds and ends, look in any charity shop.
ARMED with only an acoustic guitar, their own exquisite voices and a handheld camera, sister duo First Aid Kit recorded their cover of Fleet Foxes’ ‘Tiger Mountain Peasant Song’ surrounded by pine trees in the summer of 2008. Swedish sisters Klara and Johanna have mature and soulful voices, as well as an ability to harmonise perfectly with one another. These would be qualities celebrated regardless of age but First Aid Kit become something remarkable when you consider they recorded their cover version of the Fleet Foxes’ song when Johanna was 18 and Klara only 15. It was not until early 2009, with the UK release of the folk duo’s first EP, Drunken Trees, that they gained any recognition in Britain. The EP is a strange mix of unoriginal, insipid lyrics and mature themes of adultery, mundane domestic life, and tired marriages. Despite its inconsistency, Klara and Johanna’s hauntingly beautiful harmonies more than make up for the uneven tone of Drunken Trees. A more sophisticated and focused offering arrived in the form of their 2010 debut album, The Big Black and the Blue. The 11-track disc opens with acappella harmonies that are so carefully synchronised that the cliché of sending shivers down your spine becomes a reality. The
duo’s vocals are never overshadowed by instrumentation and remain centre stage for the entirety of the album, best exemplified by standout track, ‘Ghost Town’, which was released as a single in September 2010. Despite releasing an internationally acclaimed album, First Aid Kit are still relatively unknown to mainstream UK audiences, although they have gained a large following in folk circles. After admiring First Aid Kit’s music for over a year, I was lucky enough to see them play at Latitude festival in the summer of 2010. Live, the duo often improvised which added a light-hearted touch that was missing from the album. The harmonies were flawless and as the band made its way through song after song, the sisters didn’t compromise on quality and gave a stunning live performance. If the band can fine-tune their songwriting skills, First Aid Kit will no doubt match the successes of Fleet Foxes, Mumford and Sons and Band of Horses a few years down the line. After all, folk is trendy at the moment. First Aid Kit’s cover versions of ‘Universal Soldier’ and ‘It Hurts Me Too’, recorded as part of Third Man Records’ Blues Series, are now available on 7” vinyl.
Exeposé week twenty
King of Limbs Radiohead Radiohead fans awoke on February 18 to avid internet chat concerning the early release of the long awaited newest addition to Radiohead’s already quite extensive back catalogue, King of Limbs. Announced earlier in the week, the eight-track album is the follow up to the critically acclaimed In Rainbows, and the second since the band’s less than civil break with their previous label EMI. Early impressions are that the band could never have got away with this sort of sound with record executives and representatives breathing down their necks. I started off worried that eight tracks might not be enough, that it would feel rushed or incomplete as a result, but the opposite is true, the only odd thing about its length is that it doesn’t actually feel too short at all. The sound throughout is progressive and stuttered, and gives the
“The beauty of it is found in the way that it intrigues you and pushes you to explore its various landscapes of sound” illusion of electronic compositions even though it’s not. The band lean heavily on layered percussion throughout the early tracks, specifically ‘Bloom’ and ‘Little by Little’, which marks a break of direction and can at first be interpreted as somewhat disjointed and disorientating. However, it is an album which invites you to listen on, and to attempt to interpret the sounds and layers as you wish. A parallel can be drawn here with Radiohead’s previous experimental albums, Kid A and Amnesiac, albums which re-
main available to admire and wonder at, but exist a million miles away from the older guitar sound in Pablo Honey and The Bends. Put roughly, if that is the sort of Radiohead you like, then avoid this album. The album moves on from the early layered percussion into a more familiar sound with the incredibly epic and heavily bass driven anthem ‘Lotus Flower’, a song which is perhaps the album’s only clear radio-friendly single. It is a lesson for the modern generations of hyped alternative singer/songwriters, such as James Blake, in how to properly compose a song. From here on, the album changes and a new sound develops which would be familiar to those lucky enough to see Thom Yorke’s live show, which is as slow, melancholic and piano driven as much of his solo material. The two slow ballads (for use of a better description) ‘Codex’ and ‘Give up the Ghost’, are instances where the band seems to take a back seat, with Thom’s vocals taking full prominence. I would put my money on these two songs becoming the standout tracks over time. Overall King of Limbs is strange, disorientating and perhaps at first an off-putting album. But the beauty of it is found in the way that it intrigues you and pushes you to explore its various landscapes of sound. This is where Radiohead have resoundingly succeeded, in maturely and successfully illustrating how you can make an experimental album without completely removing any intrigue from it or alienating your followers. It is a fantastic achievement, and will only get better with time as more of its corners and layers are revealed and explored by listeners.
Smart Flesh The Low Anthem
The Low Anthem are a novel ensemble. Their live performances feature, among other things, the use of interference from mobile phones during an instrumental as well as the musical saw. This facet is evident in the production process behind Smart Flesh. Artists choosing to record their albums in locations other than studios is increasingly common; Erland & the Carnival recorded Nightingale at the bottom of a ship and both Beach House’s Teen Dream and Arcade Fire’s Neon Bible were recorded in churches. The Low Anthem opted for a cold abandoned pasta sauce factory in Rhode Island. Their previous album, Oh My God, Charlie Darwin was the album that put them on the map, so to speak. Filled with tales of woe, mortality and Charles Darwin, it was an impressive feat. The question is, have the band managed to continue creating music in the wonderful manner for which they reached acclaim? With time, yes. Smart Flesh is an album which requires repeat listening and patience as initially many of the songs sound very similar. From the outset, the advantages of recording in their chosen location can be heard. The slow opening track ‘Ghost Woman Blues’ is won-
derfully atmospheric, however, there are strong resemblances between this and some of the later tracks. Ben Knox Miller and Jocie Adam’s beautiful harmonies resonate around the room, complimented by a simple piano and bass accompaniment. Jocie Adam’s clarinet solo toward the end of the song binds it together and recaptures the listener, preventing the track from continuing as simply more of the same. Adam’s impressive prowess is fully illustrated by the instrumental track, ‘Wire’.
“The lyrical quality of Smart Flesh is sublime” The album takes an energetic turn with ‘Boeing 737’. The upbeat electric guitar, flugelhorn, drums and electric bass make this one of the closest things The Low Anthem have to an anthem. The lyrical quality of Smart Flesh is sublime; time should be taken to savour such lyrics as the somber, ‘Knowing in the end you’ll be alone for death does lonely death does creep / So hire yourself a chimney maid and smoke yourself to sleep’ in the album’s title track. The term ‘folk’ describes Smart Flesh with respect to more than it’s genre. Many of the tracks on the album invoke stories told around a campfire. This is something that is enhanced by the somewhat timeless lyrics which, when paired with Miller’s voice and the band’s music - which often sounds like the perfect accompaniment to American Folklore bring to mind an era which has past. Smart Flesh is an impressive feat and is arguably the finest release to date from this talented band. SAPPHIRE MASON-BROWN
SINGLE REVIEWS Rope Foo Fighters
WHY does it start out sounding a little like Kings of Leon? Why does it turn into a jittery, nervy hard rock version of a game show theme? Why is there nothing remotely memorable about the verse melody? Because it’s always like that with a new Foos track, or at least for me. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed a Foo Fighters comeback single during the first few listens, and this instantly mediocre offering is no different – it even includes a breakdown where eve-
rything becomes even more stop-start than before. Chris Shiflett is back on shredding form guitar-wise, while Taylor Hawkins’ drums are as skillfully chaotic as usual. The only worry is Dave Grohl’s voice, which doesn’t sound particularly impassioned these days. Vocals aside, this spectacularly mundane track means only one thing to me: the next album will be incredible. I hated ‘The Pretender’ and ‘Best of You’ the first ten times I heard them, but I grew to love them and considered the albums that followed them absolute classics. Not all of you will have the same opinion - I know so many that consider this a fantastic return - but I like to think that, for anyone as disappointed as myself, ‘Rope’ can only precede some great work from what is still just about the biggest rock group in the world. It’s hard to call, but on this evidence the next Foos record could be better than ever. CALUM BAKER, SCREEN EDITOR
Under Cover of Darkness The Strokes
Harking back to the glory days of Is This It on their latest single, ‘Under Cover of Darkness’, The Strokes have effortlessly returned to what made them originally so good. After countless solo projects and alleged disharmony, one of indie rock’s most celebrated bands of the last decade has re-emerged from its hiatus with a majestic effort. This energetic track delivers with standard raspy vocals from Ju-
lian Casablancas, furious pop hooks and high-tempo, funky drum beats. Bouncy guitar interplay between Albert Hammond Jr. and Nick Valensi is delightfully familiar, as is the former’s crunching solo. It appears The Strokes are having fun again with the same old song, but polished for a new decade.
“The-energetic track delivers with standard raspy vocals from Julian Casablancas, furious pop hooks and high tempo, funky drum beats” The sense of disinterested cool that marked Is This It is evident as
Casablancas jokingly observes, “I’ve been all around this town and everybody’s singing the same sound for ten years.” Perhaps a nod to their scores of imitators, it’s also a confident address to critics who’ve questioned the band’s relevance after 2006’s disappointment, First Impressions of Earth. The number, utilising the lofi production of Is This It, points to a return to form, epitomised by two ridiculously catchy choruses. The anthem shows how Casablancas and co. have risen again and are in no rush to slow down: ‘Get dressed, jump out of bed, and do it best.’ Although there’s nothing experimental in the sound, ‘Under Cover of Darkness’ is a nostalgic reminder of how good The Strokes used to be, and it appears they’re poised to reclaim their position as indie rock’s darlings.
march 7 2011
Calum Baker & David Brake - email@example.com
WHERE to start this week? The past seven days have seen the greatest Hollywood meltdown since Mel Gibson - and Charlie Sheen’s inadvertent, mildly antisemitic slips seem even funnier because we know he doesn’t mean them. After a spectacularly drugged-up TV interview, Sheen became something of an internet meme, joined Twitter and amassed 940,000+ followers within about 24 hours. Now THERE’S a story to watch! We’ve got the biggest story of the Oscars covered opposite, but equally important were the Golden Raspberry Awards for 2010’s worst films. The Last Airbender and M. Night Shyamalan led with 5 wins including Worst Film, Director, Screenplay, Supporting Actor and Eye-Gouging Mis-Use of 3D. Sarah Jessica Parker, meanwhile, became the first actress to scoop two awards for the same role in the same film: Worst Actress and Worst Ensemble for Sex and the City 2. Finally, we are lamenting the passing of silver screen icon/sexpot Jane Russell, who died February 28 aged 89. RIP.
THIS week, we are again offering THREE PAIRS of tickets for any film at any time that you fancy at ODEON. All you need to do is email us with the subject line “I LOVE MACHETE”, and you’ll get entered into the draw. It’s easy, know what I mean? All entries should be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org Deadline is March 18.
Danny Trey-ho kay! Calum Baker and David Brake, Screen Editors, chat to Hollywood A-lister Danny Trejo.
BEFORE conducting this interview, we were setting out the very pages you read now. To fill space, we stuck in a fake account of our fictional meeting with Danny Trejo (we actually spoke to him over the phone), indulging ourselves with our, and the public’s, image of the man. Phrases such as ‘he leaps across the table, foaming at the mouth’, were bandied about to general amusement, playing up to Trejo’s typecast role as a hardcore killer. How wrong we were. Trejo, one of the consummate ‘faces-without-names’ of Hollywood, cropping up occasionally to eviscerate people and whatnot, has steadily carved a profitable career in some 85 films over 20 years, but 2011 is his biggest year yet. Following his first starring role, in the entertaining Grindhouse spinoff Machete, Trejo has become the name behind the face - and that’s quite a face to live up to - and found himself in more flicks than ever. “I’ve just finished The Muppets. The Muppets!” he says, a little bewilderedly, before launching into a loud rendition of the iconic ‘Phenomenon’ song amidst genuinely crazed giggles. “I can’t get that damn song out of my head! I have a beautiful Range Rover, got 26 inch tyres, and lowered, and all scaried up. It’s got a huge sound system, and I’ve been running around town bumping the Muppets song!” Is this the Danny Trejo we’ve grown accustomed to? Singing along to childhood cacophonies? Well, for-
get what’s on his stereo and look again at how he describes his vehicle. “It doesn’t even look like a Range Rover!” possibly sums it up. No matter how many puppets he stars with, this man is a true action nut. “If you’re going to watch a drama don’t invite me, ‘cos I’ll bother everybody.’ Action, I love action movies, action characters who kill eight people in the first five minutes and blow up two buildings.” He could be describing his own films. ‘You know like a lot of actors will say no, you know, I don’t watch myself [onscreen] - Hell YEAH! ... My only problem is I ruin it for everybody: “OH watch, look at it!’’’ In essence, this is Danny Trejo’s entire ethos: he knows what he likes and will rarely make anything different. Quite the artist-spectator. “I’m an action movie fan, and people like Robert Rodriguez - so is he. We’re big action movie fans, so you know, it’s just like ‘let’s do what we like’, and what the public like too, because they’re fans,” says Trejo. Being a man’s man with little pretension has clearly worked, now bringing him up to $2 million per film. Trejo’s attitude towards other
actors is telling in this respect; his heroes include Charles Bronson, and he’s “been watching Clint Eastwood since he was in Rawhide [late ‘50s TV series]... those guys just bring a... a certain... realism, you know what I mean? Because I’m sorry, but it’s really hard for me to watch, like... Leonardo di Caprio and George Clooney and Johnny Depp play bad guys - you know, like, they’re beautiful! It’s hard for me to say ‘I’d be scared of that guy!’ It seems all Trejo wants to do is create films to be watched, rather than think pieces. Remember: “Dialogue sucks!” It is perhaps, with attitudes such as these, quite easy to label Trejo as some sort of meathead, an action nut with no real substance. But there’s something about his friendliness and love for people that’s infectious and proves to us that, rather than anything else, he just wants to keep us entertained. He describes Clooney et al. as “great actors,” but points out: “I love people who go to a movie called Ma-CHETe, and they say ‘there’s a lot of blood!’, you know, that’s like going to the desert and saying ‘it’s hot!’’ A man who only wants to keep us excited in the cinema is simply... well, if we applied the following word to an actor like Clooney it seems indulgent, but here it seems apt: Trejo is generous.
Classic Films #16: Throne of Blood (1957) Dir: Akira Kurosawa Cast: Toshirô Mifune, Minoru Chiaki (PG) 110mins
AKIRA KUROSAWA is undoubtedly one of history’s greatest film directors. Not only are his works masterpieces in their own right, but without them, western cinema would be missing so many of its own classics. George Lucas found inspiration for Star Wars in The Hidden Fortress, The Usual Suspects drew from Rashomon, and without Kurosawa’s The Seven Samurai and Yojimbo we wouldn’t have The Magnificent Seven or A Fistful of Dollars. However, one of my favourite films by this legendary Japanese auteur is his 1957 work Throne of Blood. This film, rather than inspiring another, took its sto-
ry from one of western cultures most famous plays – Macbeth. Kurosawa twice adapted Shakespeare into historical Japanese settings: Ran and a re-imagining of King Lear being the other. Although the magnificence of Shakespeare’s language is lost in translation and adaptation, his stories are nonetheless timeless classics. However, the joy of Kurosawa’s interpretations lies in his direction – artistic, theatrical and atmospheric – and the wonder of seeing the well-loved dramas come alive in the Japanese settings, complete with castles and palaces, and populated by samurai, slaves, and geishas. Toshiro Mifune, a frequent Kurosawa-collaborator, is incredible as the katana-wielding samurai Macbeth, Washizu. As ever, he is a commanding on-screen presence, bringing his usual mix of ferocity and humour to the role, while perfectly portraying the moral
and mental disintegration the character undergoes. His performance is complimented, too, by Isuzu Yamada as the scheming, kimono-clad, Lady Washizu. The true star of the film, though, remains Kurosawa’s visuals.
“Ambition is false fame and will fall, death will reign, man falls in vain” Macbeth has never been more nightmarish; much of the action takes place in ‘Spider Web Castle’ (the Japanese title of the film), a sombre and haunting building on the slopes of Mount Fuji, that is revealed to us through swirling mist and
This generosity, the need to give something back to people, extends further than Trejo’s average audience however. Having been a teenage crack addict, and spending 11 years in and out of penitentiaries for various petty crimes, the 66-year-old has devoted a great deal of his life to drug counselling and youth programmes. “When I got into this I was a drug counsellor.” This comes as a surprise to us, having asked if he would have done counselling at all if he hadn’t moved into movies. Perhaps the question should be whether fame has diminished Trejo’s sense of community? Listen: “I’m still a drug counsellor, and I still go to juvenile halls, and penitentiaries... this thing that the movies have done for me is when I walk into a juvenile hall, a prison, anything, I have everybody’s attention - already!’ If anything, then, fame has made the man of the people even more humble, even more willing to preach his admirable message: ‘My lesson is ‘stay away from drugs’, and ‘education is the key to anything you wanna do.’ ’’ This is incredibly refreshing amongst all the Clooney-types, whose humanitarian work seems suspiciously well-publicised and perhaps self-serving. For Trejo, it appears, the most important thing about working in Hollywood is to keep the entertainment side of your life as entertainment - good, fun, spectacle - and to make any charity and community work really count. Trejo actually goes out, making a difference, and it is arguably this, above all, that defeats his knuckleheaded tough guy persona. Ultimately, make what you will of a person, but look up George Clooney’s wonderfully self-congratulatory Oscar acceptance speech and ask: who’s the better man? The Star or the Bad Ass?
fog. However, when Washizu visits the three ‘witches’, he enters a classically creepy forest, similarly filled with thick fog that funnels the character into a small clearing where, amidst piles of skulls and swords, three ghost-samurai appear to taunt him with prophetic riddles. Washizu’s demise, too, is wonderfully erratic and visually arresting, involving hundreds of (mainly real) arrows impaling themselves in and around the frenzied protagonist. An oft-forgotten gem, Throne of Blood is fascinating and superb for fans of history, Shakespeare, Japanese culture, and film-fans in general. It is a timeless story retold in a refreshingly different setting, with wonderfully creepy visuals, exciting action, and complete with mesmerising performances.
Exeposé week twenty
Should The King’s Speech have won Best Picture? Maddie Soper asks: just why not?
PROBABLY the last thing anyone was expecting was a crowned prince who can’t get his words out, an Australian with more nerve than Birmingham City football club, and a de-cloaked, defrizzed Helena Bonham Carter to create such a recipe for success as The King’s Speech has turned out to be. But after establishing itself as the greatest thing to emerge from British cinema since… well, name something, clean up at the Oscars you would expect The King’s Speech to do, and indeed, clean up it did. But the extent to which the floor was wiped is surely quite the surprise – not least since its contenders were of such high calibre in themselves.
“They did manage to at least get the Best Picture one right this year”
Don’t get me wrong, I am utterly delighted The King’s Speech won Best Picture and feel it was most deserved. The acting was sublime; Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush gave the performances of their careers, which ensure they will not forever be remembered as “that bloke in the wet shirt and that one what wasn’t Johnny Depp,” and Helena Bonham Carter was a pillar of strength in the impossibly-supportive-loving-wife role. The cinematography captured the tone and style of inter-war London perfectly,
Esther Privett defends the British triumph over America. BEING British, The King’s Speech Best Picture win could not be anything but brilliant. It’s very hard to tell whether it deserved to win; taste in film is such a personal thing it seems almost silly to say which is best, but I’m glad the voters came to that conclusion. There wasn’t a single moment in the film where they lost me, excluding when Firth first appeared and that’s only because I’m passionately in love with him. The whole production was one seamless spectacle of exquisiteness. Each actor performed extraordinarily well. It shows a good film when the likes of Jennifer Ehle (Pride and Prejudice) and Adrian Scarborough (Gavin and Stacy) are on screen for no more than four minutes. Even Lionel Logue’s sons, who barely had three lines between them, were complete characters.
“There wasn’t a single moment in the film where they lost me” But the real stars were Firth, Bonham Carter, and Rush. The chemistry between the three central performers was astonishing. One could believe that ‘Bertie’ had befriended his speech therapist without any trouble at all. The love
feeling pleasantly artistic, and yet never fake. In short, the film was utterly believable throughout, with a moving finale, but also remaining acutely aware of its slightly romanticised angle - which is a very hard balance to achieve in any fictional reimagining of real events. But I remain more than slightly irritated that The King’s Speech also claimed the other most coveted award at the expense of another cinematic triumph that now feels overlooked. David Fincher’s social commentary The Social Network surely deserved to win Best Director. Fincher’s unique and provocative style translated beautifully to the content, and he now appears, quite frankly, robbed. Any other year, The Social Network would have triumphed in practically every area it graced, but in the same year as The King’s Speech it wasn’t to get a look in besides Adapted Screenplay and Score, and consequentially lost the enormous amount of recognition it deserved. Yet the long and short of it is (despite what the Academy may like to think) the Oscars are not the be-all and end-all of the cinema experience. If you think another film deserved that award, then just because Oscar failed to give them that golden statue that’s probably made out of chocolate these days anyways, it doesn’t detract from the triumph that you think it was. Too much official recognition all over the place can get tedious after a while anyway (See Titanic: all right, you think it’s a classic, we get it). Even if they did manage to at least get the Best Picture one right this year.
between husband and wife was there, but not overtly. The nerves of the Queen as she listened to her husband’s final speech mirrored the nerves felt by the audience. By the end of the film I had completely invested all my emotional capacity into the outcome of that final speech. To be able to evoke that much emotion clearly signals a good film. Seeing as all three central actors were nominated for an Oscar it does not seem unreasonable that the film should win Best Picture. Great performances rarely come out of a shoddy production; they need a good film to nourish them. The costumes, the scenery, the set were all perfect. The film had the complete package. Tom Hooper’s Best Director win sealed this. People have said it was undeserved, but this simply raises the question of what they think a director actually does. Good actors don’t become great actors without direction. It wasn’t a coincidence that all three leading actors got a nomination; they were being instructed by Hooper. Yes, other films in the Best Picture category were also good but they didn’t have the same appeal. The King’s Speech had spectacular actors, a brilliant director, and the necessary bit of je ne sais quoi that made it that little bit better than the rest.
Christopher Preston asks us to look closer at Speech’s reputation.
BEFORE you read this, you should know that I am a huge fan of The King’s Speech. I pre-booked an advance screening to see it, and then waxed lyrical about its content to every man and his dog. I made claims, bold claims; about how Firth’s performance had actually surpassed sliced bread, and how this film had managed to rejuvenate a feeling of national pride within me, despite The Jeremy Kyle Show almost robbing me of it just months before. But, even after all these, none of my claims were as bold as giving The King’s Speech the muchcoveted Best Picture award at the Oscars. Did this movie really deserve the highest honour film can bestow? The answer is, of course, no. Don’t get me wrong, the film is charming, the script is wonderful, and the acting cast is stellar (kudos to the criminally underrated Geoffrey Rush.) I’ll even say that Tom Hooper handles his direction well, and certainly translates the material warmly onto the silver screen (although certainly didn’t do enough to earn his Best Director award. We all feel your pain, Mr Fincher). However, just for a moment, let’s step away from the media hype. Let’s divorce ourselves from the overwhelming urge to fanboy Firth’s star turn. For heaven’s sake, let’s forget, just for one moment, that we are all British and this is a British film and stop applying the
Tori Brazier questions the legacy of this year’s Best Picture. THE 2011 Oscar ceremony proved to be pretty predictable. Natalie Portman ‘swanned’ off as Best Actress and Colin Firth also completed his sweep of the board by winning Best Actor. The Best Picture winner, however, did prove a slight surprise as The King’s Speech prevailed in the face of stiff competition, particularly amongst ten nominees - surely a sign of the abundance of quality pictures this year. The King’s Speech is a good film, crowd-pleasing in every aspect - but is it perhaps a little... well, safe? The plot trundles along pleasantly and the acting is, with a cast of this calibre, naturally admirable. With composer Alexandre Desplat on board, the music was Oscar nom’d too. Everything falls into place for this solid four star film, but this is also its downfall. There is nothing unexpected in The King’s Speech, nothing that seems ground-breaking, and it is this quality that should perhaps feature in a Best Picture; it is this which arguably makes a movie five stars and allows words such as ‘outstanding’ and in years to come - dare I say it? -‘master-
archaic, football-hooligan’s logic of ‘it’s from our country, so we’ll support it despite everything’ and just watch the film. Yes, it’s wonderful but was I really the only one who saw it for what it was? The King’s Speech was merely a Hollywood take on a BBC drama. As much as I enjoyed the story, and I really can’t state enough that I did, I found myself thinking of how well it would fit into the Beeb’s Sunday night schedule – just after Songs of Praise. Because of this, it doesn’t quite boast the cinematic cojones to have won Best Picture. The piece was a warm, woolly jumper of a film – something that was comfortable and nice, rather than breathtaking, original or innovative.
“Let’s step away from the media hype”
Something that was all three of these things, and more, was the sublime The Social Network – a film that, through a wonderful story, and equally brilliant script and acting performances, is a cinematic checklist of what Best Picture should be. It should have romped home with the gold – and taken Best Director for good measure. If the award had been given to the right film, this year’s ceremony might have been a bit more memorable. The ‘jumping-on-the-bandwagon’ aftertaste, however, merely consigns it to the ‘meh’ pile in history, and makes us hope for a more impressive, and dare I say controversial, year next year. Roll on February 2012 (but well done Firth, you DID deserve it…!) piece’. It may be too much to realistically ask of filmmakers year on year; I’m probably being idealistic and naïve in hoping for a sensational clean-sweep of the awards à la Ben-Hur; it would certainly be more exciting. Looking at the other films nominated, there were the early favourites Inception and 127 Hours and the even earlier critics’ darling Winter’s Bone. There was Toy Story 3 (also nominated for Best Animated Feature and a deserved winner there), The Kids Are Alright (but when has the Academy ever liked such “light-hearted” fare?), and quieter but no less laudable latecomers The Fighter and True Grit who could have snatched it away from likely winner, and the other Film of 2010, The Social Network (but would the Academy want to deify a film about Facebook? It might look a bit daft in 10 years time). Then there was the phenomenon of Black Swan, the film everyone talked about but no one granted rewards (except to Portman). My choice for the Oscar - it is original, different, and a full-on visual experience. It is not, however, perfect - there are uncomfortable moments and Vincent Cassel’s character is hardly well-rounded. Choosing the recipient of 2011’s award is in fact pretty tricky. The King’s Speech is a beautifully British film, and its win is bittersweet after the abolition of the UKFC. As it’s a struggle to find the ‘perfect’ choice amongst the other nominees, I guess for the glory of Britain I can let it slide.
Dir: Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman Cast: James Franco, Jon Hamm (15) 84mins
HOWL is one of those films that is, simply put, made for the fans of the subject itself, and no one else. Whilst Franco’s portrayal of a young (still hair on the head) Ginsberg is nothing short of brilliant, an average audience can find the same breadth of his acting ability in the far more accessible 127 Hours. However it is not between a very literal rock and a hard place that Franco finds himself here, but around the obscenity trial of 1957 that almost saw the eponymous American classic lost forever to the starry dynamo in the machinery of the night. Sketched across four vignettes like the poem itself, the film
Dir: Patrick Lussier Cast: Nicolas Cage, Amber Heard, William Fichtner (18) 104mins NICOLAS CAGE has been in some pretty awful movies of late and Drive Angry is no exception. The man is nothing if not consistent I suppose. This latest offering follows Milton (Cage) who breaks out of Hell (yes, Hell! And there’s no explanation of how he did this either… adding to the mystery of the character or simply just lazy writing, you decide) so as to avenge the murder of his daughter and save his granddaughter from the clutches of loony Devil worshipper and murderer Jonah King. King (played with indifference by fan of alliteration Billy Burke) wants to sacrifice Milton’s granddaughter to the Devil and bring about the apocalypse. Along the way he meets Piper
march 7 2011
bounces between a bright-eyed Ginsberg writing and performing the poem for the first time in the company of the beat-father Jack Kerouac and the secret hero of these poems Neal Cassady, the courtroom itself, and an
IS it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s another Matt Damon film! Over the past 12 months he’s been busier than an Italian Prime Minister at a “bunga-bunga” party, and he’s gracing our silver screens once again with the action thriller The Adjustment Bureau. Admittedly they probably didn’t go for the snappiest title ever, as it does sound like a state department currently suffering from a budget cut of £14,000, but rest assured, the film includes violence, swearing and plenty of lovely running. It tells the tale of David Norris (Damon), an edgy politician running for the post of Senator of New York, and how he unwittingly unearths a secret about every decision we make in life.
“I saw the best minds of my generation... ” To those not familiar with the poet or the literature being produced in 1950s America, this procession of poetry and censorship-based politics may be confusing and at some points as incomprehensible as Howl itself. It is, for those who are familiar, a triumphant journey along the first steps towards recognition, experienced by one of America’s most cherished poets. By no means perfect, the film tells its story in a breathtakingly beautiful array of verse and imagery.
By coming into contact with a woman he was never “supposed” to meet, his perception of reality is shattered and he reveals a secretive and powerful organisation who have the power to control the fate of us all. Praise has to be given for the boldness of the idea this film is discussing, one which tries to explain everything from why we make menial decisions to the evolution of society over the centuries. Ultimately, while the concept is completely alien to us, there is a serious lack of detail and explanation surrounding it, making it seem like a halfbaked idea thought up on a 20-minute car journey from Woking to Guildford. Instead of allowing the viewer to fill in bits of the film with their own thoughts, it leaves gaping holes and expects them to be understood and accepted. In some ways it almost seems like a conspiracy theory rather than an alternative reality.
Animal Kingdom Dir: David Michôd Cast: James Frecheville, Guy Pearce, Jacki Weaver (15) 113mins
WINNER of 2010’s Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize, Animal Kingdom is a brilliant, stark, brutal beast of a film that charts the decline of the Codys, a notorious crime family from Melbourne, Australia. After the death of his mother, Joshua ‘J’ Cody (James Frecheville in a stunning debut performance) gets involved with his crooked family and their exploits.
“The fact that you’re talking to me, the fact that you’ve been left to deal with us... is all the proof that you need” With the Armed Robbery Squad already closing in, the family’s previously secure fortune disintegrates, as does the resolve of each character in differing ways. Like the children
pathetic when needed, he is responsible for catching escaped prisoners. That’s another thing; the idea of Hell as a vast prison where the Devil is simply the warden, a quiet man who hates the idea that people sacrifice babies to him is actually fairly original. Heard also is a highlight simply because amongst the grizzly Cage, gaunt Fichtner and podgy cameo David Morse, she provides some much needed eye-candy. Overall though she and Fichtner can’t save the film from the stupid mess it becomes. They say you can judge a film by how many people go and see it. In this case, there were five people in the theatre. Says it all really.
(Heard) who decides to join him on his quest for no apparent reason whatsoever and is relentlessly pursued by The Accountant (Fichtner) who is tasked with bringing Milton back to Hell. What follows is an orgy of car chases, explosions, people dying and people being naked (and in fact there is indeed a scene where Milton simultaneously shags and shoots). And all this is in 3D; a pointless gimmick which serves only to give the viewer a headache - it is without doubt the worse use of 3D I’ve seen in a movie since Clash of the Titans. Some have tried to defend this film by saying its beauty lies in how bad it is; a bit like the recent Machete. Except the latter was funny and was so because it knew it was silly; Drive Angry seems to take itself too seriously. The film is not without its good bits though; Fichtner clearly relishes the role of Lucifer’s right hand man, both psychotic and em-
The Adjustment Bureau Dir: George Nolfi Cast: Matt Damon, Emily Blunt (15) 124mins
interview conducted with Ginsberg after the whole sordid affair. The scenes are tied together by haunting animated sequences that portray an often very literal, dream-like perception of the imagery found within Howl which are at their best reminiscent of those found in Pink Floyd The Wall.
Whilst similar to Inception in some areas, Christopher Nolan spent 20 years coming up with his idea, streamlining it and writing a script, part of the reason why it is such an enjoyable film, because he has incorporated his concept into real life so seamlessly that it feels incredibly real - sadly this film doesn’t. The film can be credited with some slick cinematography, Damon and Blunt (listen for her questionable accent at the beginning) give solid performances and it builds and flows nicely even if it does culminate with a fairly anti-climatic e n d i n g . Overall a perfectly entertaining film at first sight, but at a second glance it doesn’t quite cut it.
of King Lear, or indeed those of Don Corleone, each son of the Cody family has his own tragic flaw that undoes him. Ben Mendelsohn deserves special mention, terrifying as the increasingly unhinged Andrew ‘Pope’ Cody. Trying to stop the inevitable selfdestruction is their mother, Janine ‘Smurf’ Cody (the Academy Awardnominated Weaver), a woman of uncanny resolve. She attempts to keep her boys calm in times of worry, with hugs, soothing words, and kisses that last a second too long. The crew is hunted by Detective Nathan Leckie (Pearce), who midway through the film tells J about their Animal Kingdom. He tells him that the weak only survive by being protected by the strong. J is weak, and those protecting him aren’t strong anymore. He must adapt quickly if he wishes to survive and thrive in his environment. Replete with stellar performances, a superb script and heart-wrenching set pieces, Animal Kingdom rises above the tag of ‘Great Australian Film’ to be a great film in its own right.
No Strings Attached
Dir: Ivan Reitman Cast: Natalie Portman, Ashton Kutcher (15) 108mins AFTER starring in Zach Braff’s Garden State, N.S.A. sees Portman slip into his scrubs as a medical resident with no time or desire for a proper relationship. A chance encounter sees her reunited with old acquaintance Kutcher and before long, the two attempt to be friends-withbenefits without falling for each other. Sounds interesting... sigh. Maybe Portman felt she needed a break after her gruelling exploits in Black Swan; a bizarre contrast reminiscent of how Sandra Bullock came out with The Blind Side and All About Steve around this time a year ago. N.S.A represents no radical change of pace for Kutcher, in fact no change at all. Simply blank his characters’ names and you could describe all his films as one painfully long series, with the exception of The Butterfly Effect. Thankfully Portman’s scenes are enough to hold the film together. Nevertheless, as expected, a generic formula emerges in the eagerly awaited closing stages - think James Franco in 127 Hours levels of desperation. The storming crescendo of Black Swan now followed with the predictable splurging of clichés as they inevitably start to feel something more. Whereas Aronofsky laughs at the concept of a ‘Hollywood Ending,’ this film conforms to it with sickening obedience; funny at times and stifling at others, N.S.A fails to distinguish itself within its limited genre; at least the no-strings policy means you can simply get up and leave without guilt.
exeterguild.com/forumreps nominations open until friday 1 1 march 4pm voting opens saturday 12 march 9am voting closes friday 1 8 march 4pm Ca m p a i gn s O f f i ce r E n v i r o n m e n t a n d E t h i cs O f f i ce R E q u a l i t y a n d D i v e r s i t y O f f i ce r I n t e r n a t i o n a l O f f i ce r P o s t g r a d u a t e O f f i ce r St. Luke’s OfficeR Di s a b l e d S t u d e n t s ’ R e p Ge n d e r E q u a l i t y R e p Mature Students’ Rep Mental Health Rep R a ci a l E q u a l i t y R e p Student Parent Rep Students’ Abroad Rep Gu i l d Co u n c i l l o r I n t e r n a t i o n a l Co u n c i l l o r P o s t g r a d u a t e Co u n c i l l o r S a t e l l i t e Ca m p u s e s Co u n c i l l o r S t . L u k e ’ s C o u n ci l l o r Arts Rep S o c i e t i e s O f f i ce r Student Trustee S e n i o r E l e ct i o n s O f f i ce r U n d e r gr a du a t e F a cu l t y R e p r e s e n t a t i v e PG Research Faculty Representative P o s t g r a d u a t e Co m m s R e p P o s t g r a d u a t e I n t e gr a t i o n R e p
March 7 2011
James Henderson & Jacob Moffatt - email@example.com
The very best series you ever Red-wall
Stephen O’Nion , Video Games Editor, remembers the work of Brian Jacques, the author who sadly passed away earlier this year.
2011’s Destruction of childhood progresses with each month. Not only has Dick King-Smith recently passed away, but on February 5 of this year so too did Brian Jacques, author of the Redwall series. All I need now is for R.L. Stine and K.A. Applegate to shuffle off this mortal coil and I’ll declare this year cursed. The death of James Brian Jacques at the age of 71 is something that prompted me to reconsider his fiction with my rose-tinted glasses firmly in place. As a sprightly 11 year old I was enraptured by stories about the animals of Redwall Abbey and the surrounding Mossflower Woods. Disney films and The Animals of Farthing Wood may be the mainstays of anthropomorphic based adventures, but the Redwall series managed to take it further, and lend a sense of originality to stories that carried the essence of another time. Like many others, I started with the first of Jacques’ offerings, Redwall. Under attack from Cluny the Scourge, a oneeyed rat warlord, the residents of Redwall
Abbey turn to a young mouse named Matthias to take up arms and organise defence of their small community. It was fresh, it was cavalier, and it had battles with inspiring speeches and heroic last stands in equal measure. In short, it was designed for my demographic and I loved it for that. Whilst Redwall lacked the focus of his following books, containing the only references to humans and horses in the entire series and a number of songs that didn’t really interest me, it mattered little. I was hooked. Yet whilst he sold 20 million books worldwide, I’ve found Jacques doesn’t command the same nostalgia that some of his contemporaries do. His stories, for all the larger-than-life characters and regular use of a female protagonist, carry the feel of a boys’ own tale from Imperial Britain. Valiant warriors, noble sacrifices, and an adventurous troupe often forced to defend a place of worship all combined to form tales that could easily be serialized in a scouting book at the beginning of the 20th century. Yet it is partly because of this that Jacques’ tales did appeal to my childhood so much. I would regularly finish the books only to pass them onto my father and friends knowing that what for me was a ripping yarn full of swash and buckle was also some great escapist fare that didn’t patronise the range of young readers devouring the descriptive prose within. From Redwall it was possible to turn
to nearly any other offering, as although the series was bound in its own chronology over the course of 21 books, each had a unique flavour and shared mythology. None of the books were content with a simple plot of A to B, instead weaving plots throughout and often, as in the case of The Legend of Luke, justifying a third of the book. Just as Jacques’ imagination was given free rein, so too was mine. Much like King-Smith, Jacques only found his true vocation later in life. However being published at the age of 47 gave impetus to provide a voice for the ideas he had picked up in life. For example, his trademark descriptive style had been formed through writing for children at a school for the blind whilst many of his most memorable characters were based on those he knew in life. Struck by this, in the course of a few months I went about reading everything that he had had published up until 2002, often several times. From Redwall’s publication, Jacques produced a book nearly every year, turning in such brilliant instalments as Marlfox, The Long Patrol
and Lord Brocktree. I savoured them all. It was in these books that I was taught hares spoke like upper-class Victorians whilst moles had westcountry accents; that foxes
could fight mice and still lose; that it was perfectly possible for otters to operate slingshots and longbows. Yet above all, what Redwall did was what reading should do at that age: entertain and engage. The quality of the series as a whole stands above its minor blemishes, and so whilst Jacques also came to publish Castaways of the Flying Dutchman and Seven Strange and Ghostly Tales, it is Redwall for which I, and countless others, will remember him. The final book in the series, The Rogue Crew, is scheduled for release May 3 of this year, and much like the first title, way back in 1986, it will focus on a battle for Redwall Abbey. It’s a fitting way to round off the series, and even though I’m almost twice the age that I was upon first thumbing through book number one, I’ll read book number 22 cover to cover, songs and all. Eulalia!
Exeposé week twenty
Thomas Payne discusses the experimental style and varied forms of James Baldwin, preacher turned writer.
He was a seventeen year old AfricanAmerican preacher, a closeted homosexual, growing up in the oppressive confines of New York’s Harlem district, emerging into a world of fervent prejudice against every aspect of his identity. He was also one of the biggest literary heavyweights of the mid-twentieth century, a time steeped in violence and outrage, a period governed by the past, fixed in the present and uncertain of its future. It’s time to rediscover James Baldwin. But first, let us put things into perspective. Right now, a song about as camp as a row of tents is breaking records across the globe. It’s called ‘Born This Way’, and in it, a decidedly overwrought chorus preaches the need for sexual, social and racial equality. Its success is testament to the sheer degree of tolerance exercised in our contemporary British society. The recent resurgence of literature from more obscure corners of the globe, the writings of Amy Tan and V.S. Naipaul for instance, tells a different story. Their prominence on the con-
temporary literary scene only serves to affirm my belief that some of the best fiction comes from extreme social and psychological tensions, by giving a ‘voice’ to those who have fallen victim to oppressive social structures. But the best literature is also the hardest to understand. Baldwin’s second novel, Giovanni’s Room, was published in 1953 where it was met with stinging controversy surrounding its homoerotic content. It is in fact decidedly hard, even for the most empathetic of readers, to interpret and understand Baldwin’s language and his message, without being driven off course by our own inner prejudices, however slight. There’s even a concern that Baldwin himself never really found the words to express his angst. He dithered between prose, poem and play writing, perhaps never really finding the best vehicle for artistic expression. His later works, the novels Another Country and Tell Me How Long the Train’s Been
a wide spectrum of diverse characterisation. They were written in his early years of exile in Paris, whilst Baldwin was still trying to come to terms with his sexual ambivalence, just starting to find a voice that was not “merely that of a Negro; or, even, merely a Negro writer”.
“Its success is testament to the sheer degree of tolerance exercised in our contemporary British society”
The Mermaids Singing
Val McDermid ISBN: 0006493580
in the Blood, named after McDermid’s second novel revolving around criminal psychologist Dr Tony Hill (played by Robson Green) and D.I. Carol Jordan (Hermione Norris). Tony is presented as a sexually inefficient, bumbling but charming man who has the mind of a genius. His thought processes are as clinical and precise as Sherlock Holmes but are swayed by a modern twist; the criminals Tony Hill deals with are not just disturbed but deeply twisted and perverse. The horrifically mutilated bodies of four men dumped in areas popular with Bradfield’s gay community are just another case for Doctor Hill. But when he is forced from behind the scenes where he safely instructs the police in their search for the killer, Tony’s life also becomes at risk. Through his heart-warming relationship with D.I. Jordan, we follow Tony as he struggles to come to terms not only with his personal life but that of the murderer whose mind he must infiltrate. McDermid’s psychological knowledge is limitless to the effect that the reader is left reeling as to whether they are reading fact or fiction. Winner of the Gold Dagger Award for the best crime novel of the year 1994, The Mermaids Singing is a fantastically shocking thriller that will leave the reader in a state of such mental upheaval that they will never go out at night again. Rebecca Lodder
Gone, were highly experimental, featuring an ensemble of black and white characters with a mixture of sexualities. Notably, his earlier novels didn’t feature
Baldwin succeeded in bringing to the public’s consciousness a strand of cultural discourse, not acutely associated with issues of race, but more broadly concerned with identity, the search for a voice amid myriads of prejudice. Tragically, his later works failed to reflect the kind of social progression we’d expect. His works in the ‘70s and ‘80s were scuppered by the assassinations of black leaders and further homophobic attacks. He returned to southern France at the end of his life, where he died in the winter of 1987. Baldwin’s last retreat was, in many respects, a crushing blow to the progression of the Civil Rights movements. But it was also a move that stressed the pertinence of his earlier works, a sure sign that his writing, although at times unsure of itself, remains relevant so long as prejudice exists somewhere in the world.
‘You always remember the first time. Isn’t that what they say about sex? How much more true it is of murder...’ This chilling line immediately stirs a morbid excitement that only increases as you read this macabre page-turner. To most, the title of this book may be unfamiliar, unless you are up to date on your T.S. Eliot poetry. But the author Val McDermid is surely not. The Mermaids Singing is the first book instalment of the series that inspired the hit TV show Wire
Sarah Byrne, takes a look back at the lasting legacy of Douglas Copeland’s 1991 debut novel Generation X
their economically waning society, and indifferent to ‘yuppie’ attempts to save it. 20 years down the line Coupland’s novel has gained new resonance. With many of the issues discussed in the book re-occurring in today’s society Generation X could be experiencing a rebirth. Framed by the mundane lives of the three main characters, Andy, Dag and Claire, Coupland’s novel personalises the hopes and fears of a generation that came of age in the late 1980s. The characters’ fierce suspicions about popular culture and insecurities about their futures leads each of them to find themselves living somewhat communally in the bubble of a Californian desert town. Underemployed but overeducated the characters discover they have too much
time on their hands and so fill the hours of their self-inflicted humdrum lives by telling each other stories. Episodic in structure, the seemingly pointless storytelling becomes the centralising element of the narrative whereby each character narrates a reputedly random story whilst the others listen and often fall asleep before its denouement. The tales tend to deal with the personal politics of love, friendship, and family life and therefore it is through the stories the characters tell each other, rather than the narrative of the novel itself, that we uncover their histories and secrets. Chapter headings such as “Shopping is not creating”, “Purchased experiences don’t count” and “Why am I poor?” set up a premise that tells the reader a lot
about the attitude the characters have towards the world. The episodic nature of the narrative doesn’t seem to lead to any real conclusion and could be described as unsatisfying, but in its unsatisfying nature Coupland is emulating the attitude of the characters in the reader, namely, that life is mediocre and there is nothing we can do about it. The most interesting part of the text is the snippets that are not part of the text at all. Coupland litters the novel with intermittent text-bites that appear at the bottom of almost every page. It is through concepts such as “Conversational Slumming” and “Voter’s Block” and statements such as “You might not count in the new order” and “Reinvent the middle class” that Coupland truly
spelled out his definition of the concerns of a generation. So popular were the terms he coined that many of them were used by the press to describe the generation depicted. What originally started out as a nonfiction handbook to the post-baby boomer generation evolved into a compelling dissection of the lives and attitudes of middle-class, American twenty-somethings in the early 1990s. Coupland’s exploration of the characters’ contemplations on issues such as economic and political instability, pollution, and unemployment will certainly resonate with today’s readers of a similar age and causes us to ask, has Coupland’s vision of Generation X come full circle?
Clare Mullins, Lifestyle Editor, discusses Roald Dahl’s idiosyncratically dark and humorous foray into adult short story writing.
you’re reading, you can tell. It was with a memory of this slightly disturbing discussion that I approached Switch Bitch, a collection of Roald Dahl’s short stories, that a friend had picked up for me on a trip to Topsham’s second hand bookshop. Dahl’s stories, even his children’s classics, have always had a dark edge and for a young reader, the macabre undertones and sick twists of his stories form part of their appeal. With just enough sinister to excite, just enough detail to titillate, Switch Bitch shows that Dahl didn’t just dabble in the perverse; he was a master of it. The short stories are in equal parts hilarious and disturbing with Dahl’s unique style evident all the way through. Still cheeky and irreverent, each story in Switch Bitch is a maliciously funny take on the erotic. Every story is dark and twisted and oozing with fantastic possibilities. As with Roald Dahl’s children’s stories, nothing is ever quite as simple as it appears and you know that, with the
turn of the page, the entire tale could be flipped on its back. The four stories included in the collection feature a range of activities from the beastly to the bestial and a host of characters with the ability to make your toes curl and your balls shrivel back into your body. Switch Bitch features a large cast of sexual miscreants: an aging Uncle Oswald, whose numerous sexual adventures would put Casanova to shame; a bed swapping pair of husbands who lay a dastardly plot to sleep with each others wives; and a mad scientist bent on reconnecting man with his animal ancestry - and that’s just the men. Sexually reawakened wives, a mother and daughter team of temptresses and as many ‘nympho-birds’ and ‘juicy females’ as Dahl can conjure up. If this all sounds a little bit sickening then don’t panic, it’s served up with a delicious slice of humour and Dahl’s tongue is firmly in his cheek. Within a few pages, the reader is once again caught up in the rich
and marvellous world of Roald Dahl and his ability to switch between the mundane and the extraordinary is in full force in Switch Bitch. He transports the reader into his own bizarre universe where the shaming of the US president in a scent-induced, television-broadcast, sexual rampage makes total sense. In the grip of Dahl’s narrative, the reader barely has time to question the leaps of logic and imagination and, frankly, why would one want to? I would love to live in a world where eccentric millionaires have romantic liaisons on the top of pyramids (practical because, unless 4 assailants try to catch you at it, you always have one side of the pyramid to escape down) or, if not live in one, at least be entertained by the possibilities. Wickedly funny and astute, Dahl litters his stories with observational tips for the would-be seducer. Did you know, for example, that spotting a nymphomaniac is simply a matter of body language? A curved posture
is clearly, in Dahl’s mind, a sign of frequent embraces. If it’s an insight into a person’s sexual indulgences you’re after, then play close attention to their bottom lip. Eyes can lie but an inadvertent lick of the lips, a nibble, a pouting trembler; these can provide the suitor with a much more reliable source of information. If you’re prepared to disturb any future re-readings of old favourites then pick up a copy and indulge. You’ll never be able to read The Twits again without wondering what they got up to in the bedroom (with Dahl involved you can be sure it involved the beard, the stick and something grisly) and you’ll wonder exactly what kind of kicks the BFG was getting peering through windows - don’t even get me started on Willy Wonker. Switch Bitch leaves you with no doubt about whether Roald Dahl would be good in the sack. A man with such a wicked imagination could never be anything but ‘marvellous’.
Although not a recent release the themes of Douglas Coupland’s debut novel are beginning to reverberate today. Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture is a text that, upon its initial release in 1991, literally helped to define a generation. Through the seemingly aimless ramblings of his three protagonists Coupland captured the spirit of a disaffected generation, unhappy with
Have you ever wondered whether Roald Dahl would be good in bed? I once had a seminar tutor who led a discussion on love sonnets with the theory that he could tell which writers would be good at sex just by reading their work. A night with Dostoevsky, he judged, would be miserable and guilt ridden, one with Dickens far too heavily plotted. A rendezvous with Shakespeare, he announced to the class, ‘now that would be a night to remember’. I don’t know whether it was to do with word choice or metre, imagery or syntax but when
“Baldwin’s last retreat was, in many respects, a crushing blow to the progression of the Civil Rights movements”
March 7 2011 Exeposé
Rosie Scudder & Ellie Steafel - firstname.lastname@example.org
Fashion draws on illustration Cyan Turan considers the art of fashion illustration.
SKETCHING has been and always will be a beautiful and essential part of the design process, something that creative minds take to naturally in order to make their ideas come to life. But illustration and its many mysteries don’t just have a part to play in the evolution of the garment. Once a dress has sashayed down the runway, the fashion illustrators come out to play. Even in our increasingly technological times, fashion illustration still has a transcendental allure that eludes many a photographer. It’s the art that has undergone numerous reinventions and portrays fashion faithfully by putting pen to paper. And it’s an art that is still very much alive. Two marvellous exhibitions have recently paid homage to the history, present and future of fashion illustration. Dior Illustrated at Somerset House and Drawing Fashion at The Design Museum have both captured the timeless qualities of drawing clothes - despite how oxymoronic a term ‘timeless fashion’ may seem. Dior Illustrated took a detailed look at the illustrator René Gruau’s relationship with the house of Dior. Christian Dior and Gruau met on the fashion desk of the French newspaper Le Figaro in 1936 and thus began one of the most fruitful partnerships in artistic history. John Galliano once said that “to be inspired by Dior is to be inspired by René Gruau”, testament to their kindred spirits and Gruau’s talent for capturing that which is elegant and youthful in both men and women. The exhibition predominantly displays Gruau’s illustrations for the Dior
parfum advertisements. The gesture and attitude in Gruau’s illustrations from the 1950s to the 1970s reflects his understanding of the spirit of the age. There is something deliciously, mischievously modern about the liberated poses of the women in his visions. The loyalty between René Gruau and Christian Dior translated into a loyalty between the artist and the house of Dior after the designer died in 1957. The 1960s rise of photography solidified the enduring relationship as Dior stayed faithful to Gruau’s work. Gruau’s focus on line and silhouette is highlighted by the exhibition in many drawings for both the Dior clothing and perfume ranges. Each woman (and indeed man) appears engaged and sophisticated; their elongated limbs convey a poise which is simultaneously graceful and assured. When, in 1966, Gruau’s drawing of a pair of hairy, male legs scaled a full page of Le Figaro, it became clear that this was a man who could not only capture essence with startling accuracy, but one who could reinvent and break with tradition whilst still retaining his creative integrity. Whilst Dior Illustrated chose to concentrate on Gruau’s influence at Dior, Drawing Fashion spans a century of fashion illustration, and casts a provocative glance into the future of the art. Georges Lepape’s Chapeau de Poiret, drawn in 1912, and his 1920s drawings and covers for Vogue began the exhibition which strikingly fused fashion and art. The Design Museum’s space was starkly lit, and led its observer around a pathway through time which impressed, if anything, the astounding amount of work that was produced by fashion illustrators in the first half of the twentieth century. One could not help but be taken aback by the sheer craftsmanship and the scale of the achievements of artists such as Romain de Tirtoff (known as Erté), Paul Iribe and Pierre Brissaud, who worked with materials including charcoal, watercolour and ink. Moving through the century,
past an extensive space devoted to Gruau, you reach the 1970s and 80s, and what can only be described as a shock of colour upon encountering the tribute to Antonio Lopez, or ‘Antonio’, as was his signature. Fashion exercised its greatest influence through magazines, as is still the norm today, but in these cases, that influence was conveyed through drawings. Even now, it is not difficult to see why the drawings of Antonio were a resounding success. His reach, as an illustrator, was prevalent and he captured the excitement of youth and the movement of the clothes through his vast array of work. Many of his pieces are resonant of Andy Warhol, and he was a master of drawing the attitude of the garments.
“Even in our increasingly technological times, fashion illustration still has a transcendental allure”
So where is fashion illustration now, and what does its future hold? Well, illustrators like Mats Gustafson, Francois Berthoud and Aurore de la Morinire refuse to be crowded out by technology. The methods have moved on, and artists are now using monotype and collage to bring couture to life. This is a serious art, which, despite its depleted influence and lessened notoriety, is still very much alive. The current fashion illustrations are clean-cut and subtle, with a return to simplicity, perhaps a mark of our austere times. They are popular among Chinese and Japanese fashion magazines, where they are admired for their edgy rawness. There is a sense of mystery that compliments the anonymous nature of ‘the drawing’ as opposed to ‘the photograph’ and to many enhances the continuing allure of this particular art. What these exhibitions capture is our desire for the real, the visceral and the ‘imperfection’ of the past. The more we immerse ourselves in technology and the more our lives become web-based, the greater our yearning for human art becomes. Retrospective glances toward what has seemingly passed make us nostalgic, because you don’t know what you’ve lost until you think it’s gone. Thankfully for us, fashion illustrators and their beautiful depictions aren’t going anywhere.
Photo: Drawing Fashion, Design Museum
Exeposé week twenty
Frankenstein @ National Theatre February 18
POIGNANT, humane and brilliantly staged, Danny Boyle’s recent directorial return to the stage with an adaptation of Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein is stage adaptation at its best. Benedict Cumberbatch (BBC’s Sherlock) and Jonny Lee Miller (Trainspotting) alternate between the roles of the Creature and Victor Frankenstein in a casting decision aimed at highlighting the connection between creator and creation. It was Cumberbatch who took the role of the Creature the night I saw the production, starting off the performance wearing nothing but intricate and grotesque body make-up (the product of four hours of make-up application) in what is one of the most striking opening sequences I have seen in modern theatre. Cumberbatch’s acting was superb, but it was Mark Tildesley’s breath-taking set that made this opening scene so iconic: a ceiling piece of 3000 light bulbs, each individually wired to allow for endless combinations of light sequences, providing a mesmerising visual display under which the Creature comes into being. The actor/character combinations used in Frankenstein have been discussed profusely by reviewers, with the general conclusion that it is the Cumberbatch/Frankenstein, Miller/Creature
combination which is better. For me, Cumberbatch’s presentation of a logical and highly intellectual Creature whose revenge on his master was more extreme than in Shelley’s original text was better than Miller’s extremely egotistical Frankenstein, swinging between fascination of his achievements and abhorrence at what his scientific abilities have led him to create. In the novel, Frankenstein becomes increasingly psychologically detached from humanity, plagued with guilt and terror, but that aspect is lost in this production and the character seems slightly under-developed as a result. However, this may be because Boyle has decided to cut Frankenstein out almost entirely from the first hour of performance in order to focus closely on the decline of the Creature’s morality. Despite this, the relationship between the two actors is brilliant, allowing for some much-needed comedy to lighten the intense atmosphere. For those not able to see the production in London themselves, there is the opportunity to see both combinations on March 17 and 24 via satellite screening at both the Vue and Picturehouse here in Exeter. For those wanting to make the trip to see Frankenstein live, tickets are hard to come by with the show having sold out in its current booking period. However, on March 10 booking re-opens and I would urge you to beg, steal or borrow a ticket to this imaginative and absorbing show. LUCY CRYLE
Editors’ Top 10
1. The Gondoliers G&S Play March 8-12 Northcott Theatre
2. Waiting for Lefty Play March 8-26 BikeShed Theatre
Comedy Roadshow March 11 Barnfield Theatre
Play March 13-15 BikeShed Theatre
5. Simply the Jest Photo: Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee-Miller, Frankenstein, National Theatre
Turning the World Upside Down @ The Serpentine Gallery, Kensington Gardens. London.
THE possibility of seeing the work of a Turner Prize winning artist against a fantastic London backdrop is rare. The Serpentine Gallery, in London’s Kensington Gardens is well worth a visit, especially to see the sculpture trail by the renowned artist Anish Kapoor. The sculptures convey a unique vision of the place that has been home to some of his most famous pieces. The large sculptures are dotted around the park making the trail a great thing to do during this fantastic spring weather we are enjoying. The sculptures are formed from curved panes of
The Gondoliers, Exeter University Gilbert and Sullivan Society @ Northcott Theatre March 8-12
Photo: Anish Kapoor Sculpture Trail, Serpentine Gallery, Kensington Gardens
EXETER University’s Gilbert and
stainless steel, which create shiny reflective surfaces mirroring images of the park. The trail itself is named Turning the World Upside Down, with the mirrored surfaces flipping the words 180 degrees. The aim is “creating new vistas in this famous and much-loved setting”. The pieces certainly succeed in challenging the perception of a renowned location. They are at once a massive contrast and a compliment to the natural environment. The placement of the four sculptures increases their impact. They reflect the sky, the water of The Round Pond and the garden’s Longwater, alongside the trees and wildlife. I saw it on a rainy day when the water obscured the views but on a bright day the perfect mirrors would be even more stunning. ZOE BULAITIS Sullivan Society are putting on their annual show at the Northcott this week. Promising to be a funny and energetic production, the plot follows two Gondoliers whose world is turned upside down after a shocking revelation and the arrival of a mysterious heiress. The society is known for its sparkling take on operetta full of singing and dancing and this show is set to be no exception.
Student Comedy March 14-15 Phoenix Centre
6. The Haunting Play March 14-19 Theatre Royal, Plymouth
7. Lilies on the
Play March 15-19 Northcott Theatre
8. Memory Lane
Musical Show March 17 Barnfield Theatre
9. Totally Tom
Comedy March 20 BikeShed Theatre
10. Journey’s End Play March 21-26 Theatre Royal, Plymouth
Video Games Stephen O’Nion & Alice Scoble-Rees - email@example.com
Calum Baker, Screen Editor, delves into the world of bargain franchises.
I’M gonna go out on a limb and state: the Robot Wars PS2 game is far more inscrutable than Joyce’s Ulysses and the entire filmography of Jean-luc Godard combined. The bargain bin to end all bargain bins, the world of the cheap video game is a beautiful wasteland of shoddy entertainment to rival a night with a poledancing leper. I ask you: why don’t more people know about classic racer Star Wars: Super Bombad Racing? A super deformed Darth Maul losing a race to Boss Nass is one of the more creative additions to a canon I’ve been finding increasingly stale. Spongebob: Lights, Camera, Pants!, meanwhile, proved prophetic: one mini-game sees you playing a rudimentary Guitar Hero with our favourite characters rockin’ out big time. Seminal games indeed. Naturally, I’d implore anyone trawling the wasteland to keep an eye out for brands they recognise – Star Wars and Spongebob are obvious franchises, but look closely and you may discover tieins approaching the calibre of Smarties Meltdown, where Smarties eat other Smarties. Or are they collecting them? Perhaps the game, far from being a disgusting indictment of our culture’s dregs, is actually an exploration of consumer culture and its comparisons with canniba- OK, it’s a game where you play as Smarties. It seems perfectly natural, though, for certain developers to cash in on already-successful ideas – think of the money they rake in with every movie tie-in. It’s just making a living, right? I remember well, in 2002, the world clamouring for an Antz game, and an Antz racing game no less (Antz Extreme Racing). God delivered. Frankly, the exploration of bargain games is a lesson in business tactics – this, kids, is exactly how to cater for a mass market. Above all, it’s wonderful to see the level of detail that’s gone into these games. For just a couple of quid you can purchase Robot Wars: Arenas of Destruction, a work nearly rivalling Proust in its meticulous density. It’s nigh on impossible to build a robot and progress onto any sort of battle, which may have turned some players off but which I see as a wonderful exercise in multi-layered intellectualism. The loving care put into the game’s complex structure is incredible considering the price it’s at now. Let this be a final… warning’s not the word… encouragement for everyone reading this to go out, grab a cheap game, and ask yourself: why isn’t this the biggest gaming franchise on Earth? Why do so few people appreciate the innovative inscrutability of these wonderful, insane titles?
Gamers! Want to get your hands on every ZeniMax/Bethesda game past, present and future? For free?! Well, all you need is one child and one complete lack of parenting ability. Simply have a child born on 11/11/11, call it Dovahkiin, and the prize is yours!
Additional loot is also promised, but we’ll have to wait for other companies to pick up on this kind of offer. I fear for children everywhere when a new Monkey Island game requires an easy promotion. On the subject of children, the Wii has again confirmed Nintendo’s reliance on the non-gamer market with We Dare. This PG-rated game features spanking, stripping and hardcore face-nuzzling action to complete its challenges, and is sure to bring a family closer together. Fortunately, a budding artist has created the technology to do just that. Hye Yeon Nam has created a new bowling game controlled by passionate French kissing. Ultimately confirming the future has arrived, gamers need only strap on a magnet and sensor, and away they go! If you thought of pirating such a game, you may soon be in luck. Ubisoft has announced plans to abandon DRM for Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood on the PC, and hints that this may be a continuing feature in releases. No longer will players have to be connected to the internet in order to play single player, and the life of amateur pirates worldwide has just been made easier. Finally, returning to our age-old tradition of trumpeting Valve, we’ve received a press release that Valve are looking to introduce a ‘big picture’ mode for a television version of Steam. With over 30 million accounts, Steam looks like it may be expanding to the console market, and destroying all who stand before it. We love you Valve. FYI.
Choice is nothing new in video games. Text-based titles such as Oregon Trail made up of many people’s fond/rage-filled memories. Yet in 2011, Dragon Age 2, L.A. Noire, and Mass Effect 3 are all set to be unleashed upon an adoring public, likely without the option of dying from dysentry. Previously, Bioware managed to make Mass Effect and Dragon Age two of the most involving games yet released, whilst Rockstar’s Red Dead defined a real sense of reputation in a virtual world. The application of specific dialoguerelated consequences was more than a simple gimmick, it became a method to relate to the world around you, and feel significant within it. With these fairly open games I often reach the point where I question what exactly my time is dedicated to. Whether it’s after spending an afternoon building the tallest possible lava-fortress in Minecraft or having spent all my bottlecaps in New Vegas in Fallout, I’ll eventually pause and question where the hours have gone. What leads me to this point in the first place, is the sheer extent of choice on offer. Whenever I’d watch friends play Knights of the Old Republic or Fallout, the destruction they gleefully left in their wake would leave me feeling slightly queasy. I’d largely play as I imagine I would in real life. Of course, most of my time in a real post-apocalyptic world would involve finding a secure building, plenty of tinned food, and likely an open-world video game to while
march 7 2011
Read this. Or don’t. The pitfalls of choice examined by Stephen O’Nion, Video Games Editor
the hours away but let’s say I was forced to track down whoever tried to kill me; it’s then I can adapt my normal actions to this new world. The avenues of choice therefore present me with a certain dilemma each time I play. I shape the world around me, and I feel the consequences. Mass Effect, Fallout, Dragon Age; these are games that respond to the decisions made within them. This is choice at its most detailed. You thieve; you’ll get bad karma, or people feeling worse towards you, and that in turn affects how you have to complete levels, how you have to navigate the rest of the game. If you do good deeds, on the other hand, you might get a reward like a house or some roasted iguana - thanks token Fallout villager! But just as there is good choice, there’s also bad choice. There’s a reason Fable 3 was as derided as it was praised; when choice is scaled back to good and bad, it is reduced to black and white, rather than the scale of grey that really engrosses. When contrasted against an offering such as Mafia 2, the highly trumpeted, and subsequently rather disappointing mob ‘em up that offered gamers a chance to engage in fierce box unloading action at the docks before choosing to toss it all in for a life of crime. This veneer of choice is nothing but a lazy add-on. Why are my choices between crime or box-based activities? My choice is to do or to not do, and this is pretty much no choice at all. The same largely applies to Fable 3 or Bioshock 2 where choices are clear-cut yes or no, or kill or spare. These games lose so much of their appeal when the player can’t submit to the world. Choice has not become a tool to engender an attachment, but instead heighten its lack of depth. It’s telling then, that by contrast, it’s completely possible
to be absorbed by a linear game, just look at the most successful franchises of all time; Mario, Zelda, Halo etc. I don’t doubt the extent to which Bioware’s and Rockstar’s offerings will absorb all manner of player, but it’s when these options are exhausted that the real problem arises. How can anyone commit to a standard, linear game when it looks like there’s a whole world out there, and people within it just waiting to be encountered? How can an open-world game keep the player involved unless choices are meaningful and relevant. A choice has to be made; is the game to be played as a story or as an adventure? In my case, games like Mass Effect 2 haven’t ruined gaming, but it’s kind of reaffirmed the point that ignorance is bliss.
Exeposé week Twenty
Bulletstorm: People Can Fly / Epic Games: EA; PS3/360/PC. February 25 2011 Referred to by Fox News as ‘the worst video game in the world’, Bulletstorm was already causing controversy before hitting the shelves, and with good reason; this is possibly one of the most crass, violent and profane games I have played in a long time. However, despite Fox’s immense outrage, such immeasurably mature content doesn’t mean that Bulletstorm is a bad game. If anything, the relentless obscenity and bravado are one of the game’s strong points – the obnoxious and often foul humour is oddly charming and gives the game plenty of character, even if that character is foul mouthed, misogynistic and armed to the teeth. Bulletstorm follows the story of Grayson Hunt, the epitome of the familiar ‘badass mercenary’ character type. After being shipwrecked on a hostile alien world, Grayson must track down his old adversary, General Sorano. Pretty standard stuff thus far; the story is good enough to provide some context to the action, but serves little purpose beyond that. The characters are nicely fleshed out but never really step beyond the realm of action movie clichés. If you were looking for a deep, meaningful story that brims with metaphor then Bulletstorm isn’t for you. However, if you’re bored with the standard thoughtless gameplay that permeates many recent shooters, it’s worth giving this game a chance, because of how it sets itself apart from other shooters.
“The obnoxious and often foul humour is oddly charming”
It does this with the idea of ‘killing with skill’: early in the game Grayson acquires a weapon called a Leash, which allows him to pull enemies and objects into the air. The Leash also evaluates the player’s combat performance, awarding skill points for specific actions: killing an enemy in a highly elaborate way results in a higher reward than simply shooting them. Points earned in combat can then be redeemed for upgrades and ammo at supply stations scattered throughout levels. Bulletstorm encourages the player to constantly try new things by revealing new combos and combat situations as the game progresses; spikes are
Lesson one of future warfare: Choreographed standing.
conveniently placed for impalements and explosive containers are liberally placed along corridors and pathways. The game’s adult humour extends to the combos, many of which are (not so subtly) laced with innuendo; some of the more PG names include ‘drilldo’, for impaling enemies with a drill-gun, and ‘ejeculated’, rewarded for ejecting opponents from an airlock. From start to finish, Bulletstorm encourages the player to think creatively and experiment with the way they play. Bulletstorm is also a very good looking game; crumbling cities and carnivorous jungles are high in detail, and give the illusion of an expansive world beyond the linear path that the player is guided down. Even more magnificent are the giant set piece moments, such as tearing through an amusement arcade with a robotic dinosaur in tow, or watching half a city tumble down. The sense of scale is impressive, giving Bulletstorm plenty of memorable moments. However, there are negatives too: despite being a paltry eight hours long, Bulletstorm began to become repetitive towards the finale, which occurred prematurely in an obvious attempt to set up a sequel. To me, this was more offensive than the entirety of the game’s violence, language and toilet humour. I was bemused by the lack of a co-op mode (especially as the player always has at least one AI character with them) and the multiplayer modes are easily forgotten. Despite these shortcomings, I couldn’t help but like Bulletstorm for its imaginative gameplay and gutsy content. So if you’re not easily offended, I would definitely
recommend that you try ‘the worst videogame in the world’ – you might just love it.
7/10 Alex HawkswortH-Brooks
Kirby’s Epic Yarn: Good-Feel/HAL, Nintendo; Wii February 18 2011 Kirby’s Epic Yarn, developed by Good-Feel and HAL Laboratory, a name which makes me think of a groping killer robot, was released in Japan and America last October, and I’ve waited months for this game. It was worth the wait. Many will recognise Kirby from the Smash Bros series, as this is his first console game in eleven years! Why isn’t Kirby used more often? He’s cuter then a dozen kittens! Anyway, Kirby, a small… blob… thing is transported by an evil sorcerer called Yin Yarn (who was hiding in some bushes like a flasher) to Patch Land, a world made entirely from string, fabric and, of course, yarn. Kirby, transformed into a ball of yarn, teams up with the local monarch, Prince Fluff, to stitch Patch Land back together! The story is effectively told. The narration sounds like someone reading a bed time story and the style and humour reminded me of kid’s shows like The Clangers and Button Moon. It leaves you with a warm, fuzzy feeling. Kirby’s Epic Yarn is a platformer, similar in design to Super Mario Bros and the recent Donkey Kong Country Returns. You collect beads and furniture to earn medals and buy more furniture, in order to decorate your flat. It’s a stupid gimmick, but the interior design mechanic is actually relaxing, and collecting all the items in each level adds challenge. Furniture also unlocks minigames that offer more replay value. This game might be hell for OCD gamers like
Devil May Cry 3: Dante’s Awakening: Capcom, Ubisoft; PS2/PC. March 24 2005 Chronologically Devil May Cry 3 serves as a prequel to the first game, returning to the main protagonist’s origins. The story revolves around Dante, and his rivalry with his twin brother Vergil as he tries to unleash hell on Earth. Understandably opposed to the idea, Dante goes to confront
myself, who need to collect everything, because there is so much to collect. The best features of the game are the music and level design. Everything is made of yarn, stitches, zips, thread, etc, and the imagination is astounding. Each level offers a new design or gameplay feature allowing you to interact with the world, such as a music level with dozens of playable instruments. Visually this game is fantastic and ridiculously cute!. At one point, you find a crying teddy bear who you help by repairing the tear in his foot. I think it’s the cutest moment of gameplay I’ve experienced all year. Each level ends with Kirby transforming into something cool in order to complete a challenge, such as a tank or, my favourite, a fire truck. The difficulty is low, as Kirby can’t die, he just loses beads whenever he’s hit and, honestly, collecting beads is unnecessary. But you won’t care because its so much fun. Two player co-op is great and simple to set up using a drop-in system, so it’s a great way to play with a partner or to introduce a reluctant house-mate to gaming. Despite how awesome the levels are, how fun the game is to play and how cool the bosses are, the game has some disturbing themes. Kirby is helping Prince Fluff take the land back from Yin-Yarn, essentially replacing one tyrant with another,
rather then introducing democracy or anything. It’s practically a metaphor for Iraq or something. Prince Fluff’s assistant, Dom Woole, is a capitalist more interested in acquiring tenants for his block of flats, which he gets you to pay for. Kirby’s mode of attack is to whip enemies Indiana Jones style, using fabric from his body. His own body. That’s like strangling someone with your own intestine. Worst is the morality behind fighting. You can’t be hurt, and enemies can be avoided and disarmed, so actually destroying enemies is unnecessary. For instance, you come across two sleeping Waddle Dees, with beads in the shape of a love heart floating above them. It’s very cute, but you have the option of hopping over them or whipping them out of existence. Either choice is without consequence. You soon realise Kirby is a remorseless killer. Despite that haunting note, the game leaves you with a smile on your face and can be summed up in two words: so cute.
his brother. The story is told through over the top cut scenes throughout the game with entertaining dialogue, gratuitous violence and a blatant disregard for the laws of physics. DMC3 is a third person hack and slash game where skill is rewarded. Players get the use of ten crazy weapons; each weapon has a number of combos to unlock for an alarming variation in possible attacks. Alongside the standard sword and pistols, you unlock more weapons as you progress through the game including a guitar that emits bats and lightning at the same time!
“The difficulty won’t allow everyone to experience the game in its entirety”
“The developers put a lot of detail into this game”
Part of what makes DMC3 such a joy to play is its large variety of distinct enemies requiring the player to think of crazy strategies just to survive the onslaught. At the end of most levels are some of the most interesting bosses to appear in video games, each requiring the player to find and exploit a weak point. There may be a lot of bosses but each one
9/10 Luke Graham A woollen Kirby tank: The cutest form of destruction imaginable
feels different to the last and there is very little repetition. When DMC3 was released it was a beautiful looking game and it still holds up today. Its eerie gothic aesthetics, juxtaposed with a modern electro pop sound track, make for a unique atmosphere. The developers put a lot of detail into every facet of this game, which makes it hard to fault, even six years after its initial release. If there is a negative it is that the difficulty won’t allow everyone to experience the game in its entirety. In my nostalgia-filled mind, Devil May Cry 3 stands at the pinnacle of gaming on the PS2, right up there with the God of War and Grand Theft Auto games.
Exeposé week Twenty
EUBC Head-ing in the right direction BUCS Squash Update Rowing
Duncan Head EUBC Exeter University Boat Club put in a strong showing at BUCS Head in Peterborough last weekend. The event saw 45 universities from all over the country compete in the pouring rain and freezing temperatures. This year saw a significant rise in the number of entries, resulting in greater competition for the Exeter boats. In the beginner’s section, Exeter was represented by two women’s eights, two men’s eights and a men’s four - beginners classified as those whom only started rowing at university. The course for beginners ran over 2500 metres on the River Nene, with the Novice women coming in 15th and
31st place. The Novice men’s eights, who medalled in this event last year, came 11th and 28th out of 42 entries. The Novice men’s coxed four put in a strong showing, coming 5th out of 38 narrowly beating Imperial, Durham and Edinburgh and only missing out on a first BUCS medal by 8.3 seconds. In the senior events on the Sunday, Exeter put in a very consistent performance, with ten top-10 finishes. The Exeter men’s first eight came in a highly respectable 10th in the Championship division, showcasing Exeter’s ability to hold their own with the best rowing Universities in the country - such as Cambridge, Imperial and Newcastle. In the smaller boats, the men’s first coxless four came 8th and the men’s lightweight coxless fours came 4th in their division, unlucky to lose
out on a medal to UWE by just half a second. The Women’s lightweight coxless fours were another highlight, with a bronze medal in their division. Overall it was a good weekend for EUBC, with results pointing to an exciting regatta season, culminating in Henley in July. EUBC are currently in the process of fund-raising in order to aid performance through improved training resources and equipment, and to ultimately achieve better results in the coming years to establish Exeter as a big name in University rowing. A highlight of this fundraising effort will be a 127 hour sponsored row in the lead up to the 2011 Boat Race, which will take place in the centre of Streatham Campus and is sure to be a great event for both the Boat Club and the University.
Holly Gotlieb Exeter University Squash Club
Last weekend, seven members of the Exeter squash team headed up the country to Birmingham to compete in the BUCS Individuals Squash Championships. First to play was Jonny “the antiflair” Machin, who won his first match nice and easy 3-1 in the banter D Division. His second match of the day was against Plymouth’s number two, Sam Barham, known for his epic flair. Unfortunately the draw showed a complete disregard for seedings, the match being worthy of a final and Machin losing 3-1 despite showcasing his best squash this season. Callum Wrench, the seed below Jonny in the team, was placed in the higher C draw and was also out by Friday night having lost his plate match during which he made a short but fiery comeback, smacking down his opponent 11-1 in one game. The result was probably not helped by the fact that Wrench had developed an addiction for the insanely good value meals at Roosters, Birmingham’s answer to battery farming. Steph Belinger put up a good fight in her plate match and managed to hold off her opponent until the fifth game.
Sophie Williams, Exeter’s number one, seeded (9/16) in the Women’s B Draw, whipped her Loughborough player 3-0 in the first round before a tough match against Manchester, which also saw her out of the competition Friday night. Simon Livett couldn’t handle the grind in his first match and went through to the plate. Considering the 5am start we had that morning, Livett was pretty livid about a 10pm match. The anger paid off and he ground his opponent into the floor. Feeling pretty fresh on Saturday morning Livett took the lead 2-0 in his next round, however due to a crippling injury he succumbed to the result of 3-2. Jo Larsson, Exeter’s token Swede, was placed in the A draw alongside the guys’ ultimate man-crush UWE’s Mohammed El Shorbagy, ranked number nine in the world. Claimed and proven. After an epic win on Friday, Larsson battled with the grind of Birmingham’s Nick Hornby and was brutally punished by the marker, eventually losing 11-9 in the 5th game after a momentous battle of the grind. Although not making the final stages of the tournament, the whole team played some outstanding squash, with a much better performance than last year.
Eddy-fying performance The Canoe Club have never done slalom, there is not a decent course in the South West to train on, and the slalom boat is older than most of the paddlers in the club. Still, when there’s a BUCS event to go to, the team makes sure that they go. EUCC were confident at first; they had a team of good paddlers, the boat actually floated and Wikipedia had told them which colour gates were downstream or upstream. But it became clear when the team turned up and found the GB Team van and lots
of shiny smart boats that they weren’t destined for the medals. Still, EUCC don’t like to give up and gave it their best shot, finishing 11th out of 24 teams. One of the K1 men made it into 21st position out of 131 paddlers, beating several ‘real’ slalom boaters who train regularly on that course, and the K1 female paddler made it to 15th place out of 39. It was a surprisingly good result considering it was EUCC’s first ever time slalom racing, in a 4m long ancient boat “with the turning circle of jupiter,” and has left EUCC wondering what they could achieve if they built a whitewater course on the Exe.
performance throughout the 100m events. Mae Dalgarno and Ilya Skiarov placed well for the 1sts in the 100 metre events. Stuart Bartlett also clocked his best time yet this season, in the longest event of the Championships, the 200 metres freestyle, whilst Rachel Laurence swam a solid race for the 2nds. After a quick recess the Championships were resumed for the 50 metre events. Highlights of the second session included a nifty 50 metres Butterfly from Parco Lau and a fantastic freestyle 50 metres from Business School student Ella Mutch. For the closing events, the Men’s Firsts (Nye Levett, Ilya Skiarov, Stuart Bartlett and Parco Lau) and Ladies’ Seconds (Ella Mutch, Daphne Li, Claire Griffiths and Megan Davis) closely fought their respective 4x50m Freestyle Relays. Other notable swims were the 100 metres IM from Danielle ‘Bridget’ Raymond, the 100 metres breaststroke from Dave Chesterman and the 100
metres freestyle from Lucy Hampson. Charlie Weaver and Matt Jones swam well for the 2nds, despite being asked to compete in events they don’t normally train for. Men’s Captain Dave Chesterman commented, “The teams were up against some tough competition in both divisions but it was good to see the guys go out there and put in some big swims to challenge the top teams.” By the end of the weekend, the Exeter 1sts held their position in the top division of the Southern Championships whilst the 2nds narrowly missed out on promotion. Although that’s it for BUCS swimming competitions this year, EUSC are now starting preparation for the annual Swimming Varsity on March 12. The event looks set to be a great day for swimmers and spectators, with Bath, Portsmouth and Southampton Universities coming to compete and the Water Polo team getting involved. All money raised will go to Diabetes UK .
Exeter University Canoe Club
Exeter’s BUCS coming along swimmingly Swimming
Claire Griffiths & Lucy Hampson
Over the past couple of weeks, the swim team have been racing their pool-shaped hearts out. When there are only two official university swimming competitions a term, apparently it makes perfect sense to put them within seven days of each other. The fortnight of racing started the weekend of February 11-13, with a seven hour coach journey to the exotic location of Ponds Forge, Sheffield. The girls were first off the podium for the 4x 100 metre women’s relay and landed a first reserve place for the B Team Final. Although the men’s team was not at full strength,
the boys put in a great effort, with Jon Congdon swimming a particularly strong race leg. Sturdy swims kept coming throughout the weekend, particularly from Ilya Skliarov in the 50 metres and 100 metres freestyle and Meg Davis in the 100 metres backstroke and freestyle events. A special mention must also go to sports scholar Becki Warner, who came back after illness for a stonking performance and landed a fifth place swim in the final of the 50 metres butterfly The final long course ended on a high with a gutsy 400 metres freestyle from ladies’ captain Kim Paginton. But the very next weekend, the swimmers were at it again for the Team Championships on February 20-21. Team Champs were
on February 6. Forgotten about by the coach company this time, it was a shaky start just getting to the BUCS Team Champs at the University of Surrey. The team arrived just minutes before the warm up, but both the first and second teams put in an impressive effort to retain their division rankings against tough (and warmed up) competition. Again it was a medley relay to kick off proceedings and both teams made a strong start to the gala. Lara Langston swam the leading backstroke leg for Exeter 2nds, whilst Kim Paignton stepped up to swim the unpopular third leg of the race for the 1sts put-out a smashing swim. Despite some delays due to problems with timing equipment, EUSC maintained their competitive
March 7 2011
EUMHC enjoy the spoils of victory EURL smash through to Hockey
Samuel Burret EUMHC Club Captain IT is in a philosophical mood and with an enormous sense of pride that I sit down to write this article. I believe I was fortunate enough to take part in one of the most unique and special sporting fixtures to occur in the confines of the University Sports Park for many years (I am aware my position in the EUMHC 2nd XI colours this view ever so slightly). To the best of my knowledge it is unprecedented that two sides from the same Club should find themselves competing against each other for a place in the final of a BUCS Championship. Yet this was the path that fate laid in front of the EUMHC 2nd and 3rd XI following their defeats of Gloucester 1st XI and Bristol 1st XI in their respective quarter finals.
“The psychological nuances of this internal encounter made for a fascinating study” The psychological nuances of this internal encounter made for fascinating study. The proud 2nds, twice defending BUCS Trophy Champions, were aiming to make it three Gold medals in a row. They unsurprisingly were the bookies’ choice! The newly promoted and highly talented 3rds had come close in their two previous pool games against the 2nds and could be quietly confident that an upset was a distinct possibility. The most intriguing aspect was undoubtedly the on and off-field relationships that came to a head when match day arrived; fellow EUMHC members stood opposite each other, friends were now foe and as both teams completed their identical warm-ups on the day, it was evident that each side would be entirely aware of the others game. It was the green and white of the 2nd XI versus the white and green of the 3rd XI. Combat commenced at 2pm on Wednesday March 2 at their neutral home venue on the summit of St. David’s Hill. Chances were sparse and although the 2nds had the lion’s share of possession they were unable
to regularly penetrate the 3rds resolute defense. Shot-corners seemed the order of the day. Charlie Rookes, the 2nds most prolific scorer, screamed his first drag-flick into the right hand roof of the net early in the second half to nullify Luke Owen’s superb first half flick that had given the 3rds the advantage. Rookes scored again from the top with twenty minutes to go and the status of the 2nds looked to be affirmed. Yet the 3rd XI revealed a belligerence and unerring self-belief that fuelled their legs and the two hundred strong crowd. A collected reverse stick finish from Tom Walter, the 3rd XI captain, deservedly returned the game to parity with time diminishing rapidly. A breathless seventy minutes of normal time finished two goals apiece. The crowd reveled in the prospect of fifteen minutes of golden goal entertainment whilst the players desperately sucked in the crisp March air and prepared their lactic-laden muscles for a final push. Form and reputation were now removed. The victors would be defined by resilience and bottle! Tom Walter spurred on the 3rds with a request for more of the same. The 2nds captain, Simon Hare, granted his players a few inspirational expletives with which to settle their minds and fire their bellies. And so it continued in much the same vein until, with seven minutes remaining on the clock, there came the chance of the game; an open goal, the 3rds all but in the Final, a floored striker, innocence proclaimed by the defence, uproar from the crowd, a penalty stroke controversy...defensive hit awarded to the 2nds by the Umpire. They had survived and undertook to reverse their fortunes. The final five minutes saw Samuel Little, the 3rds goalkeeper, and his defense repel five short corners in an act of remarkable defiance. The emotionally shattered crowd roared as the second final whistle blew signifying that this epic was to be decided by penalty flicks.
“With seven minutes remaining on the clock, there came the chance of the game... ” Five of the bravest from each side put their hands up. This was to
be a competition marked not by the errors of the stroke-takers, but by the brilliance of the goalkeepers. Samuel Little lunged low to his right early on to parry the 3rds into a winning position only to see Andrew Miller make a sharp save to his left for the 2nds the very next flick. Eighty-five minutes played, four flicks taken and not even the badges on their shirts could separate the sides. Spectators and players looked on with wide eyes and chewed nails as this momentous battle drew to a conclusion. The fifth flick for the 2nds seemed destined for all the glory of the net, but once more Samuel Little refused to be beaten and a stiff left arm halted the ball firmly mid-flight. It was fitting that Tom Walter found himself in front of the goal to endeavor to claim the spoils of victory for the 3rds. Characteristic of his leadership throughout the season the ball sailed confidently into the side netting and the 3rd XI captain, affectionately named ‘Disney’, raised his arms aloft as he absorbed the impact of fifteen extremely sweaty, but elated players.
“It is fitting that Tom Walter found himself in front of the goal to endeavour to claim the spoils of victory” It was a pleasure to witness both the magnanimity of the Exeter crowd as they fought with the unusual paradox of having to congratulate and commiserate their Exeter comrades alike, as well as the behavior of competitors themselves who in their joy and desperation, won and lost with an extremely respectful grace. Chris McInroy, Director of Hockey, was ‘delighted’ by the performance of his players. All in all this was a day in which Exeter Hockey was resoundingly victorious. The 3rd XI will now compete against Manchester 1st XI in Sheffield on Thursday March 17 for the coveted BUCS Championship Trophy. They will sadly not be joined by the 1st XI who narrowly missed an opportunity to defend their BUCS Championship Gold after a 2-1 defeat to Loughborough University.
EULFC hopeful for promotion Ladies Football
Clare March EULFC
EULFC are through to the semi-finals of their respective BUCS cup after beating Southampton Uni 1-0 in their quarter final. A great goal by Hannah “Ginger” Barton secured the win, after Rose “Crackers” Glendinning missed a penalty. Due to a waterlogged pitch, the game was moved to the rubber crumb. This changed the dynamic of the game, however, the team successfully adapted.
After the game, first team captain Toddy said, “Our squad is coming together at the crucial time of the season which is allowing us to gain the results we deserve. Hopefully, we will be able to reach the final and be rewarded for all the hard work we have put in this season.” EULFC are also doing well in their BUCS league, currently five points behind leaders Bournemouth Uni. The team remain hopeful for promotion after winning four of their last five matches. With three games to go, one being against Bournemouth, all EULFC can
do is work hard, play well and grind out the needed results to gain promotion. 1st team coach Rich said “We made hard work of the quarter final (against Southampton), but showed great character to pull through in a difficult situation. Although being promoted isn’t in our control, I feel confident that we can close the gap as I believe we have the strongest team in the league, with several players fighting to play in the 1st team. The freshers have settled in and are playing well, the future can only look bright for EULFC.” 2nd in the league and in the semi finals, things are definately looking bright for EULFC.
Exeter Rugby League cruise though to the BUCS semi finals after a comprehensive 38-8
Jennifer Manby Senior Sports Reporter THE arrival of March basked Devon in surprisingly warm sunshine, and with it came a hoard of BUCS Quarter final matches, with Exeter University Rugby League first team taking on Edge Hill University. With Edge Hill placing 3rd in the Super 8 League, the league above an obviously tense Exeter, it was set to be an exciting match. The first 10 minutes saw both teams playing hard and fast, which in many cases led to sloppy mistakes and poor ball handling. Despite this, the first try of the day came from Exeter’s Angus Gardiner settling the teams into the match and bringing the score to 4-0. A quickly paced 10 minutes later, Exeter’s Cormac Healy widened
the lead with a hard fought try, which was then converted with ease by Nico Flanaghan to bring the score to 10-0. Edge Hill were quick to retaliate to the growing lead, putting pressure on Exeter, who displayed handling errors similar to those seen at the beginning of the match, which led to a penalty given to Edge Hill. Edge Hill made the most of this advantage and scored an effortless try bumping their score up to 10-4.
“Cormac Healy widened the lead with a hard fought try”
Exeter’s Hugo Fraser regained possession from a badly placed Edge Hill kick which led to a spectacular 70m sprint past many opposition defenders along the left sideline to touch down with a dive that Chris Ashton himself would have been proud of.
Exeposé week Twenty
the Quarter Finals
1. State in which the Declaration of Independence was signed (12) 6. Chocolate bar containing hazelnuts, nougat and caramel (5) 8. Modern day Mesopotamia (4) 9. Element, atomic number 6 (6) 10. Libya’s second city (8) 12. Twenty-fourth letter of the Greek Alphabet (5) 13. Young swan (6) 16. Brother of Menelaus (9) 18. Successor to the League of Nations (2) 19. Famous for her visions of the Virgin Mary (2, 10)
Week 20 by Clare Mullins
1. Followers of a famous Greek mathematician and philosopher (12) 2. Pharrell Williams – Roman God of the Sea (7) 3. Female demon – CAUSCUB [anag] (7) 4. Home to Mr Tumnus (6) 5. A facebook friend (12) 7. Song by Alanis Morissette (6) 8. Volcanic moon of Jupiter (2) 11. … Knows Best (5) 14. What mutton likes to dress as (4) 15. A benevolent woodland creature (4) 17. Most powerful lobbying organisation in the USA (3)
Solutions to No. 18 Across - 1. Gumption; 5. Cat; 8. Racketeer; 9. Ti; 10. Reddish; 12. Bern; 14. Fox; 15. Tub; 17. Elide; 19. Tacit; 20. Sin; 21. Emma; 22. Sunny; 23. Badger. Down - 1. Gertrude; 2. Macedonia; 3. Temesis; 4. Obe; 6. After; 7. Grub; 11. Hood; 13. Enticing; 16. Beth; 18. Elegy; 19. Tata; 20. Sas.
With their growing frustration clear, Edge Hill piled the pressure on Exeter, leading them to close the first half with a try, bringing the score at half time to 14-8. Exeter came back on fighting form, which saw the second half starting just as excitingly as the first, with a try from Nico Flanaghan following rapid passes from Cormac Healy and Josh Webb. With the score at 18-8 to Exeter it was not a great time for Edge Hill’s Centre to be yellow carded and sent to the sin bin for 10 minutes after an illegally high tackle. Exeter grabbed this advantage straight away with Josh Webb touching down from a penalty to bring Exeter into an impressive lead of 22, to Edge Hill’s 8. Edge Hill’s frustration grew further as they gave away a series of penalties; Nico Flanaghan took advantage of this and crossed the line to score his second try of the day. Following an explosive tackle, play was stopped for an extensive
period of time due to one of Edge Hill’s players sustaining a nasty dislocated shoulder, which saw him leave the pitch to a resounding roar of clapping. The game restarted fuelled with the same drive and determination as before, which saw a lot of pressure from Exeter. Josh Jones scored his first try of the match after gaining the ball from a ruck 5m off Edge Hill’s try-line, which was neatly converted by Nico Flanaghan.
score to 38-8 to an elated Exeter. It was a confident win which sees the boys pull through the first round of knockouts to play Loughborough in the semi finals. Well done to both teams; it was an exciting and hard fought match, and we wish the boys the best of luck in the semi-finals next week.
Rugby League Varsity
“The game restarted
with the same drive and determination”
The game was brought to a close by Josh Jones’ second try of the match again from a ruck just off Edge Hill’s try line. This was again confidently converted by Nico Flanaghan, bringing the final
Exeter v Gloucester
Mens and Womens matches March 30 Prince of Wales Stadium Cheltenham
1. What country is known as modern day Persia?
in British history at 112 years and 296 days?
2. What was the capital of West Germany?
5. Who claimed to be Samuel Johnson’s patron?
3. What are people now using in Japan in order to combat hay fever?
6. Which controversial ice-cream flavour was recently banned?
4. What is the name of the British man officially recognised as the oldest man
7. Which Best Picture Oscar nominee for 2011 grossed the least? Answers: 1. Iran 2. Bonn 3. Pollen detecting robots 4. Henry Allingham 5. Lord Chesterfield 6. Human Breast Milk, aka ‘Baby Gaga’ 7. Winter’s Bone
victory over Edge Hill University.
March 7 2011
Alexander Cook & Andy Williams - firstname.lastname@example.org
Lacrosse Green Machine roll on Lacrosse
Tom Glover & Jamie King EULC
The Mens 1st X kicked off their season with home openers against the Universities of Bristol and Brighton, welcoming a number of new faces to a side off the back of a rigorous pre-season schedule and tuition from new North American coach Daniel Aas. The team fought hard against the old West-Country foes with the match ending 6-6 and a feeling that the game could, and should, have been won. A man of the match performance from fresher goalie Nima Barzin did however provide confidence in the ability of the side’s debutants. A 7-3 win against new opponents Brighton led to arguably the hardest fixture of the season away at Oxford University. Exeter hung in contention until the second half before a combination of a lack of defensive discipline and the talent of Oxford’s exciting North American contingent meant that Exeter began to fall behind. The match finished a disappointing 16-8 to Oxford. A week later the overnight trip to Brighton beckoned and, despite poor conditions, it provided a fantastic bonding opportunity for the team, which was highlighted in their stunning performance on the pitch. Exeter dominated the game, coming out 10-2 winners. Notable performances came from Nick Kempster, who dominated the face-off, and men of the match Tom Loake, Jamie King and Captain Tom Podd. The Bristol away match the following week was a closer affair but some scorching outside shots provided by midfielders James Please and Alex Wilby meant that Exeter ran out 7-5 winners. This meant the 1st X went into the Christmas break sitting at the top of the BUCS Southern Premiership. Not content with resting on their laurels, the team started 2011 with the Oxford return fixture. Although Oxford seemed to be lacking some of their North American talent that proved so lethal in the first game, Exeter put out a fantastic performance finishing the match 8-2 winners. The fixture also drew interest from the local BBC news crew who covered the story of Exeter’s rise, which can be seen on the BBC website. The last two fixtures in the league required Exeter to face Warwick, a side with a formidable reputation in the Premiership, who were responsible for the conclusion of Exeter’s 09/10 season. The first match was close, Exeter went into the second half 7-2 down but after some adjustments to both the attack and defence Exeter conceded no goals in the entire second half but could only put away two more of their own. It finished 7-4 to Warwick. The deciding fixture of the BUCS Southern Premiership
Exeter Demons feel Bath sting American Football
Will Budge EUAFC Publicity Officer Exeter’s trip to Bath on Sunday February 20 promised to be a tight encounter with great playoff consequences, and it very much lived up to both of these expectations. Both teams entered the game with just one
“Exeter and Bath were evenly matched with neither team able to assert themselves over the other”
Exeter Men’s Lacrosse Team have had a winning 2010/11 season, with all the team playing exceptionally throughout.
brought an enthusiastic home crowd with Exeter needing to win by four or more goals to secure the title. From the start the team looked focused and composed, going into half time 4-1 up after a solid defensive effort. As the second half progressed, confidence rose and the team scored a number of impressive goals. The game finished 7-2 with notable performances from Joe Almond, Nick Kempster and Jens Halling, who scored a superb hat-trick. Exeter were crowned Champions at their first attempt. Fresh off the back of winning the BUCS Southern Premiership title, the first team faced the University of Plymouth in the first stages of BUCS
Knockout. Plymouth travelled to Exeter with confidence and the will to win but Exeter started the game, putting away two early goals. They dominated the rest of the game and won 12-0 after some very classy goals, with Club Captain Alex Wilby scoring five. The boys went on to face Sheffield Hallam in the quarter-finals filled with confidence and keen to progress even further. Unfortunately Hallam put in a solid effort in the first half before pulling away in the second half and winning 10-2. The team were naturally devastated but proud nonetheless, having put in a good performance against a better team who now face Durham in the Final.
Frustrating cancellations due to inclement weather and opposition teams being unable to field a side means that progress in SEMLA has been slow. The freshers, having started learning Lacrosse five months ago, have progressed extremely quickly. Recently Exeter hosted, and won, a tournament for all beginners’ teams in the SouthWest. If they can continue to progress at this rate then hopes are high for next year! Nevertheless, the season isn’t quite over yet as Exeter are in a good position to win SEMLA South West 2 and the Minor Flags tournament, not to mention the mixed tour to Dublin where Exeter look to retain their crown.
defeat and subsequently the potential to make the post season. While the game’s score line shows how close the game was, the excitement factor was low due to the conditions of the Bath pitch, in some places looking more like a swimming pool than an American football pitch. The treacherous conditions underfoot made it very hard for both teams to get any purchase on the ground so progress was slow throughout the game. While both being handicapped by the pitch, Exeter and Bath were evenly matched, with neither team able to assert themselves over the other. However, Exeter did manage to drive the ball up the field on a couple of occasions, but one fumble and several penalties let them down. The stalemate was finally broken in the third quarter as Bath completed a fifteen yard pass for the touchdown. The extra point not being converted still left Exeter in the game and a long fourth quarter drive orchestrated by Fin Brown and Will Budge (offensive MVP for the second week running) gave Exeter hope but ultimately came up fruitless handing Bath the narrow victory. Entering into the last game of the season, Exeter needs to beat current SWAC leaders UWE Bullets on March 6 if they hope to advance to the post season. Regardless of whether they do or not, Exeter’s unprecedented success this season has been laudable, with much of the credit lying with a committed and talented coaching staff and the strength and determination of the whole team.