The Browne Review proposed radical changes to higher education. Exeposé investigates what it all means. Special Report: News, P 6-7
Monday October 25 2010 Issue 570 www.exepose.com
Students face £4.2 billion in funding cuts
Browne Review reaffirms students’ financial concerns Hannah Sweet Senior Reporter
UNIVERSITIES throughout England are to collectively face a cut of £4.2bn in funding. The spending review is set to lead to nearly an 80% cut in the teaching grant, with a £3.2bn decrease in funds, whilst £1bn could be cut from research. Steve Smith, Head of Universities UK and Exeter University’s Vice Chancellor, said “Browne’s figures confirm our worst fears.” The Browne Review is a reassessment of England’s higher education system and Lord Browne put forward a number of radical proposals based on cuts to funding which are four times greater than expected and could force the closure of a number of universities.
“Browne’s figures confirm our worst fears”
Steve Smith, Vice Chancellor Among his suggestions is the recommendation that there should be no limit on tuition fees charged by universities; that students should start paying back their loans once they earn £21,000 rather than £15,000 (although at a higher rate of interest than at present); and that the time after which any outstanding debts are wiped should be increased from 25 to 30 years. Lord Browne also proposed a flat-rate maintenance grant (no longer means-tested), an increase in the maxi-
Photo: Henry White
Ellie Busby & Charlie Marchant News Edtiors
mum maintenance grant, and the eligibility of part-time students for loans to cover their fees. In the coming years Exeter students could face over double the tuition fees that we currently pay. Jonnie Beddall, Guild President, told Exeposé that lifting the cap on tuition fees “will saddle students and families with massive debt, I imagine between £7,000£10,000 at Exeter based on its elite league-table and entry-tariff position.”
The RAG Safer Sex Ball sold out in just over an hour. Tickets went on sale at 9am on Friday October 22 and were sold out by 10.15am. RAG sold 2,800 tickets online and 800 at their Mosaic promo night on Monday October 18. There is still hope for those who were too late buy online, as RAG will release a small amount of tickets for resale at a later date. As there was such a high demand for tickets, the box office website was extremely slow and several students accidentally ordered more tickets than they had intended to buy. James Henderson, third year Law student, said, “It took so long to get through to the page where you actually pay and when my friend finally got there it said he was trying to buy 8 tickets for £320!” However, the Guild box-office has stated it will give a refund for excess tickets purchased. This year’s SSB theme is ‘the circus’ and the acts will be confirmed in due course.
“Exeter students are lucky to be at an elite university, as the value of our degrees will undoubtedly go up”
Jonnie Beddall, Guild President He added that the increased fees will worsen “the dire perception amongst society’s poorest that university is too expensive for them.” However, on Thursday October 21, David Willetts, Minister of Higher Education, said that the government would not implement Browne’s proposals in full. He said universities need to “respond to the perception that some students are being short-changed.” Whilst tuition fees will rise, the cap is unlikely to come off straight away. Beddall said, “Exeter students are lucky to be at an elite University as the value of our degrees will undoubtedly go up. The question is, what more do Exeter students get from the University to aid their experience here?” He further commented that, “If the University funds the ‘Exeter Experience’ in accordance with the calibre of the Exeter brand, then we can all come out of this better off, although not in the pocket.”
In the news
Devon County Council launches crack down on student parking P2
Arena disappoints students
See p 3 for story
Protests over arms companies at campus careers fair P2 Socialist students demonstrate in city centre after the Browne Review P3 Students attacked on Teignmouth beach P4
The Exeter student newspaper
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Comment P 9 David Allen, Deputy Chief Executive and Registrar, gives the University response to the Browne Review.
Features P 12 Investigates the USA’s Tea Party movement, and reports on the successful rescue of the Chilean Miners.
Explores the sexy world of food, welcomes new columnist Davina Cameron-Gale and takes a trip to Amsterdam.
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October 25 2010
Aaron Porter fights for students
Ellie Busby & Charlie Marchant - email@example.com
Clamp down on student spaces Erin McGrath
STUDENTS may be restricted from parking on streets near Streatham campus under a proposal by Devon County Council. The University of Exeter is offering £20,000 to extend the residents’ parking scheme to 20 roads surrounding the campus. This would prevent nonresident students from parking there, and restrict residents to two cars per property. Residents on streets, including Beech Avenue and Pennsylvania Road, have complained about students parking outside their homes, but previously rejected similar plans proposed by the Council. Sheila Hobden, City Councillor for Pennsylvania Ward, told Exeposé that the issue “is causing much anger among residents.” Adding that, “students bring a lot of benefits to Exeter, but they should not be bringing their cars to the city and the University should be making more provision for those that must.” Duncan Sandes, from the University Press Office, commented that, “We have been working hard to encourage students not to bring their cars to Exeter and have been promoting alternative modes of transport by investing in our commitment to sustainable travel.”
Two residents of Sylvan Avenue commented, “We are very angry about student cars preventing us from parking near our own houses.” Increased student numbers appear to be the cause for residents’ renewed anxiety. Stuart Hughes, Devon County Councillor, said, “New development around the University of Exeter is likely to put more pressure on on-street parking in the area, so we are keen to make sure that local residents, their visitors and local businesses are not disadvantaged.” However, students reliant on the roads for parking are concerned by the plans. An anonymous first year student commented that, “parking restrictions would make it really difficult when family and friends come to visit, as this would mean there will be nowhere for them to park for free.” The University are trying to find alternatives for student parking. Allan Edgcumbe, Head of Security, said, “I met with the owners of a large area of land yesterday, located less than half a mile from the campus in Mount Pleasant Road, who are prepared to allow students’ vehicles to be parked for £5 a week.” A residents’ parking scheme already operates in other parts of the city, requiring resident students and families to pay £20 for a year’s permit and extra for additional visitor permits. Similar proposals were considered at the public exhibition held on October 20 at Reed Hall, and residents have until November 5 to comment. Subject to approval, the scheme would be implemented over Summer 2011.
Photo: Henry White
Highway bosses plan to introduce more residents’ parking to Exeter streets.
Unfriendly fire: ‘no’ to Arms Companies Fresh Herd Nicholas Seymour SEVERAL societies have urged the University to reconsider its approval of three Arms Companies attending the careers fair on October 27. The societies, including the Amnesty International Society, UNICEF On Campus and Socialist Students, have formed a coalition against the presence of the arms companies: EADS DS, QinetiQ and the Thales Group, in Cornwall House. The coalition of societies stated, “The arms trade these three companies partake in is inherently destructive.” They added that they felt the University should “let them know their presence on campus is no longer welcome.” The three companies make combined military sales of over £16 billion annually, with EADS DS the world’s 7th largest arms company. The corporations
produce a range of military equipment ranging from combat aircraft through to guided missile systems.
“The cost of such jobs should not come at the deaths of innocent civilians” Coalition Spokesman
Jonnie Beddall, Guild President, has declined the offer to join the coalition’s campaign, wishing the group success but stating that it is his job to “represent the student body equally.” Consequently, Beddall believes that it would “alienate a significant number of students” citing the high numbers from service backgrounds and those interested in the Officer Training Corps.
Nick Black, a second year Politics student, said, “It’s wrong at a time when thousands are unemployed to deny them the opportunity to canvas for a job.” Megan Whiteley, a Theology student, agreed that in the current economic climate “student job opportunities should not be limited.” However she also questioned whether it was wise for “the University to be involved with controversial companies.” A spokesman for the coalition argued that, “the cost of such jobs should not come at the deaths of innocent civilians in an immoral industry that feeds off violence, war and destruction.” He also described the Guild’s position as “frustrating,” highlighting that it was “a real shame that our representatives feel unable to speak out.” Currently the attendance of the arms companies is still permitted to go ahead.
Emma Payne STUDENTS attended the Fresher’s Ball held on October 13. Due to the building works on campus the previous venue of the Great Hall was not available. Therefore the Ball was held at the industrial and agricultural Matford centre, which is the weekly location for Exeter’s cattle market. The venue does not have a proper roof and as the evening continued, the temperature dropped. There was no theme and no attempts had been made to hide the Foot and Mouth posters and the signs indicating areas used for storing sheep and prime cattle. Many attendees wanted to leave hours before the coaches had been organised. With no cash point, those who could not afford a taxi had to wait until the first coaches arrived at 11.30pm.
Exeposé Week Four Photo: Henry White
Arena overcharges students Society card deal ignored by staff at the Arena doors Caitlin Jones
The Birds and the Bees campaign hopes to increase biodiversity on Streatham campus.
BioBlitz Amy Deakin
EXETER graduate and TV naturalist Nick Baker launched the Birds and Bees campaign on campus this term. On Saturday October 9 a team of 150 student volunteers, academics, members of the public and Devon Wildlife Trust experts took part in a BioBlitz. BioBlitz is a speedy species sur-
vey. Students helped uncover many unusual finds, including the first ever Snipe sighting on campus, as well as a kingfisher. The Birds and Bees project hopes to increase biodiversity on Streatham campus, allowing students to better appreciate the wildlife on their doorsteps. However, biodiversity is on the decline. International targets to halt this trend have failed to be met, a situation Nick Baker described as “tragic.” But Baker was still proud
of students’ enthusiasm to tackle this issue, saying, “When I was a student here, there was not the same kind of interest for the protection of the natural environment. I am delighted to see that so many students have shown their support today.” Jonnie Beddall, Guild President, declared his support; “I am thrilled about the Birds and Bees campaign. It will give students extra opportunities to learn about the importance of biodiversity and develop new skills through surveying and volunteering.”
ON Thursday October 14, students were denied the £1 entry deal to Arena that their society cards entitles them to and were charged £5 entry. The Arena society cards were given out to members by a large proportion of Exeter societies, allowing students discounted or free entry throughout the week. Many students were left angry when society members were unable to reap the rewards of their Arena society cards on October 14. An anonymous student, explained, “Once we got to the front of the queue, Arena bouncers took the cards off us and crossed off Thursday. When I asked why the discount was not available anymore, they told us that the night is too popular.” A committee member of PsySoc said, “I think it’s really disappointing that Arena went back on their deal. Photo: Henry White
Potential cuts spur student protest Ellie Busby News Editor STUDENTS protested in Exeter high street against University cuts and fees. A group made up of union members, students and youth workers, who were all part of the newly formed Exeter Anti-Cuts Alliance, began their protest at 1pm on Wednesday October 20 to coincide with George Osborne’s spending review.
“I had hoped town and gown would come together against the rise in tuition fees” Rob Edwards, President of Socialist Students Society In Bedford square, approximately 20 protesters handed out leaflets and encouraged members of the public to sign a petition in an attempt to rally support for the National demonstration on November 10. They carried placards voicing their concerns about potential spending cuts and plans to raise university tuition fees. Many of the students that attended strongly opposed the proposed cuts. A student protester stated, “I’m particular-
ly angry about the student cuts. I think it is dreadful trying to charge students £10,000 a year. It’s extortionate!” The protest was publicised by the Socialist Students Society. Their members gave out flyers on the university campus and created a facebook group to create awareness of the campaign. However the majority of students who attended were from Exeter College and not the University itself. Rob Edwards, President of Socialist Students Society, told Exeposé that he felt disappointed by the poor turn-out of University students. Edwards said, “I had hoped town and gown would come together against the rise in fees.” A member of Socialist Students Society said, “We expected the protest to get more support from the Students’ Guild, however we had to organise the event independently.” Jonnie Beddall, Guild President, responded, “We only received an e-mail the day before the protest was to take place. If we had been approached earlier in the month, then we could have offered more support.” He added, “Our main focus is on the big prize; the national student demonstration. We feel our time and effort is better spent advertising for the London protest, as this will attract more media coverage.”
They should have thought about their offer before the beginning of the year instead of telling people when they got to the door.” A second year English student, remarked, “The way we were treated has put me off going to Arena on a Thursday, I’d rather go to Rococos.” It would seem that the decision to deny the £1 entry before 11pm coincided with the launch of the new club night ‘Fuzzy Logic,’ which promotes cheap drink deals such as double vodka and Red Bull costing £1.50.
“Society cards have now been re-instated on Thursday nights” Leanne Goddard, General Manager for Arena
Leanne Goddard, General Manager of Arena, told Exeposé, “The reason why the society cards were not valid last Thursday was due to a significant decrease in our drink prices during the Fuzzy Logic session.” However, she went on to stress that, “The last thing we want to do is disappoint our customers, as we have a very loyal customer base. Therefore the trial of this has ceased and society cards have now been re-instated on the Thursday nights.” Arena has confirmed that no other deals on the society cards will be affected.
Rowling: UK’s most influential woman JK ROWLING has been voted Britain’s most influential woman by a panel of magazine editors. The multimillionaire author will top a list of the 100 women who have the most influence over our lives. The list has been created to mark the 100th anniversary of the National Magazine Company. The Harry Potter author and Exeter graduate beat the Queen into third place, ahead of celebrity fashion designer Victoria Beckham.
Has he Raleigh run?
Students attended the anti-cuts protest in Bedford square.
RALEIGH ADDINGTON dropped out of the Apprentice after his brother was injured by a bomb in Afghanistan. His brother survived the attack and is recovering after 16 operations. The unfortunate event has caused Raleigh to take a job as Operations Director for a charitable organisation called Tickets For Troops. After the assertion from Raleigh, “I’m ruthless, even in monopoly,” it seems he was unable to play Lord Sugar’s game.
october 25 2010
Photo: Henry White
National Student News Queen’s Belfast student challenges degree result A GRADUATE from Queen’s University Belfast is challenging his degree result in the high court. Andrew Croskery, an electrical engineering student, graduated with a 2:2. He has taken the university to court, claiming that with better supervision he could have gained a 2:1. The university refused to allow Croskery to appeal against his grade, which he has argued impinges on his human rights. The judge, Mr Justice Treacy, will make a decision next month as to whether the legal case can continue.
Students were attacked on Teignmouth beach by local residents.
Students assaulted on beach Exeter graduate spared jail Sarah Harding 12 UNIVERSITY students were targeted on Teignmouth beach last term. The unwarranted attack left five students physically assaulted. The University students were having a BBQ at Teignmouth beach to celebrate a 25th birthday, when school leavers decided to invade the party. A girl drunkenly approached the university students to ask them for food. The students explained that it was a private party and that there was only enough food for the guests. The girl returned later to pester the students and stole food from the birthday BBQ. Moments later, approximately 20 local youths surrounded the university
students. Three students were injured when the fight broke out. A female party guest tried to verbally intervene, but a youth punched her in the eye. Another youth kicked a girl to the ground while another hit a university student in the face. A student that attended the party, said that he “didn’t think it would escalate that quickly, and it was emotional seeing my friends get hurt.” The police intervened and moved everyone off the beach, but the constable stated that he didn’t have enough staff to make any arrests. The police drove the students to a safe place, where they tried to enjoy the rest of the day. One of the students said, “It’s a birthday I’ll never forget.”
Simon Dewhurst AN EXETER UNIVERSITY graduate has escaped jail after throwing his exgirlfriend two metres across a room and breaking her wrist. Landis Bagnall, 21, was given a 24 week suspended jail sentence and ordered to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work for the assault that happened in March. The hearing at Exeter Magistrates Court also saw him ordered to pay £750 in compensation to the victim, aged 22, who was also a student at the time of the attack. The dispute stemmed from the female student telling Bagnall on Facebook that she wanted no more contact with him following their break-up in
Oxfam launch Sow The Seed campaign Flora Busby Senior Reporter ORGANISED by the Exeter Oxfam group, local activists and Exeter University students gathered at the Cathedral on Saturday morning in support of the Sow the Seed campaign. Dozens of tiny signs were planted on the Cathedral Green, each carrying a message inviting governments to sow the seeds of change and provide assistance to the world’s poorest farmers. The aim of the media stunt was to urge world leaders to pledge financial aid at the UN Climate Change Conference in Cancún this December. The event, held on World Food Day,
was part of a week of campaigns worldwide which aimed to draw attention to the severe effects caused by changes in climate on food production in the world’s poorest countries.
“The event was a success”
Hannah Glasgow, Founder of
the University’s Oxfam Group It also coincided with research produced by scientists at Exeter University, which predicted that large-scale crop failures might become more likely as a result of climate change. Students were provided with leaflets and asked people to sign cards addressed
to the UK’s Climate Change Secretary, Chris Huhne. The cards asked the government to support two initiatives: an international tax on shipping and aeroplane emissions and also the Robin Hood Tax, which is a small tax on bank transactions that would generate over £20 billion annually in the UK alone. Hannah Glasgow, a third year Geography student, who founded the Exeter University Students’ Oxfam group this year, said, “The event was a success; the stunt was visual and therefore caught not only the public’s attention but also local media and press.” She added that over 50 signatures were collected and believed that it made an impact and helped to spread the word.
November 2009. She said that their split was due to him being too “controlling and over-powering.” Bagnall ignored her requests and visited her shared student accommodation in March. After refusing to leave, the defendant’s ex-girlfriend slapped him. According to Karen Ball, the prosecutor, Bagnall then “picked her up and threw her backwards across the room.” As a result of the assault, the victim was forced to wear a cast for six weeks. Stephen Nunn, defending Bagnall, said that he “regrets bitterly” the fact that the victim was injured in the attack. One undergraduate student commented, “This story shows the dangers of splitting up over Facebook.”
Edinburgh student sentenced for possession of child porn A UNIVERSITY of Edinburgh student has been spared jail after being found to have over 1,000 images of under-age girls on his laptop. The second year Geology student was sentenced to three years probation and 200 hours of community service last Friday. When arrested last November, he claimed to have downloaded the images to “see if they were real.” The student has been put on the sex offenders register for 3 years. He is understood to still be continuing with his degree at the University. Photo: Flora Busby
Exeter Oxfam group and local campaigners urge governments to support farmers.
Exeposé October 25 2010
News Special Report
Whither Higher Education? Browne Review releases findings
Spending Review proposes cuts to Higher Education Andrew Waller Editor
On Tuesday October 12 Streatham Campus was unusually busy. Up in the Sab office a bleary eyed Jonnie Beddall took radio interviews on his phone. Sky News and the BBC prowled Devonshire House looking for opinionated students. Something big was going on in the world of Higher Education. All of a sudden, a process that started back in 2003 when top-up fees were first proposed seemed to come to a head in one busy week. The Browne Review, commissioned last November, finally reported last week. The results were much as expected: a removal of the cap and an adjustment to how students pay back their loans. But their predictability does
Jargon buster Browne Review
Headed by former BP chairman Lord Browne, the review was set up to look at the sustainability of HE funding and the direction it could take in the future.
Headed by former BP chairman Lord Browne, the review was set up to look at the sustainability of HE funding and the direction it could take in the future.
Backed by Miliband and the NUS, this is a specific, income-determined tax on Graduates. The more you earn the more you pay.
Department of Business, Innovation and Skills. Now includes the Higher Education portfolio.
Higher Education Funding Council of England, used to provide funds for students, now it is merging with other
not to take away from their importance. The Browne Review was confirmation that the UK Higher Education sector is radically changing. However, the ideological shift of the tuition fees debate has been drowned out by the din of austerity and the announcements of the Spending Review. On Wednesday 20 October we learnt that the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), is to be cut by 7%. But, given the findings of the Browne Review, and the fact that much of BIS spending is ring-fenced, areas such as teaching funding could be cut by £3.2bn, a massive 80% reduction.
“It is the abandonment of of the state’s role in funding higher education that sets the context for Browne’s Proposals” Steve Smith
Whilst the Browne Review is still debated, the cuts have produced widespread outrage in the Higher Education sector. Steve Smith, Vice-Chancellor and President of Universities UK, is “strongly opposed…[to] these massive reductions”. He likens the pressure on universities to a “valley of death” and without accepting Browne’s proposals, there will be no way out. As Professor Smith says, “it is the abandonment of the state’s role in funding higher education that sets the context for Browne’s proposals.”
January 27 2004
First vote to introduce tuition fees. Tony Blair scrapes through House of Commons by 5 votes.
Clockwise from top: Students protest tuition fees; George Osborne delivers the Comprehensive Spending Review; Lord Browne who h Bertie Archer, VP Academic Affairs, agreed: “It is disgraceful that a
“To cut to such an extent is despicable.”
Bertie Archer, VP Accademic Affairs
Autumn 2007 Financial crisis rocks the global economy. Stock markets around the world tumble and many countries go into recession. The effects are still being felt, not least in higher education.
government would do anything but fully invest in the future generation, but to cut to such an extent is despicable.” The recession has blurred the debate over tuition fees and some argue that it being used as a pretext for the state to fully privatise higher education. It was back in 2003 when Blair first introduced the idea of top-up fees. Back then the arguments for and against were much the same: the pro-fees camp worried about the desperate state of British
November 2009 Browne Review launched to look in to the funding of higher education.
Universities; the anti-fees worried about social-mobility and creating a commodity of education. Whilst the battle is the same, the recession has changed the terrain and what was ‘economic sense’ is now argued as ‘economic necessity’. It was Labour rebels that threatened the passage of the 2003 bill that Blair won by just five votes. This time was supposed to be different. In 2009 a cross-party commission to look into Higher Education funding was set
April 6 2010 Gordon Brown visits the Queen prompting the 2010 general election. During the campaign Nick Clegg signs a pledge not to vote for any increase in tuition fees.
Exeposé Week four Even more significant, Miliband junior’s rising star in the Labour party has confused the issue even further and given a great weight to those opposed to Browne. Miliband is in favour of a graduate tax, and many, if not all, Labour politicians will now vote against the proposals outlined in Browne. The parliamentary arithmetic is very tight. If Browne does not go through the House, universities will be left with a huge black hole from public spending cuts, and no way to pay it back. Then came the spending review. A packed House of Commons bubbled with excitement through Prime Minister’s Questions. But Cameron and Miliband’s exchanges were merely the hors d’oeuvre; the real feast began when George Osborne triumphantly approached the dispatch box, cuts in hand, announcing, “Today is the day that Britain steps back from the brink.”
“We’ve seen people cheering the biggest cuts to public spending in living memeory. This is what they came into politics to do” Alan Johnson
has proposed a removal of the tuition fee cap. up, chaired by former BP boss, Lord Browne. Labour fully intended to support its findings. In what Wes Streeting, NUS President at the time, described as a “cosy consensus of silence”, both Labour and the Tories tried to keep tuition fees off the agenda during the election campaign. The NUS thought they had some success when many Lib Dems pledged not to vote for any in-
May 6 2010 General election results produce inconclusive results. After days of negotiations the Con-Lib coalition emerges.
crease in tuition fees. Clegg and Cable both signed up, happily smiling for the cameras. However, nobody anticipated the outcome of the election. The Lib Dems who initially opposed any rise in tuition fees now form part of a coalition that nominally backs most of Browne’s proposals. However, as many as 30 Lib Dem MPs say they may rebel over this issue.
October 12 2010 Browne Review on higher education funding anounces its results. Vocal Lib Dem Vince Cable accepts Browne’s findings.
Alan Johnson, shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, went on the attack claiming that the Tory’s actions were driven by ideology, not necessity. “We’ve seen people cheering the deepest cuts to public spending in living memory,” he responded. “For some members opposite, this is what they came into politics to do.” Ideological or not, if funding is cut and universities begin to make up that deficit with the higher tuition fees, it seems unlikely that anywhere near that proportion of spending will ever be seen again in higher education. The worry for many is that this is merely a pretext to permanently cut higher education funding. It is a grim irony that, perhaps without the previous rush to introduce a market to higher education, the government would have had no mandate to cut
October 20 2010 Osborne commends his spending review to the house. BIS is cut by 7% with an expected £3.2bn of teacher funding.
Special Report News
funding quite so dramatically. Late on Thursday night the saga took another unexpected turn. David Willets, the minister in charge Higher Education announced that the Government would not take cap off after all. So here is where we now stand: the party that initially proposed Browne intend to oppose its findings. The coalition, who will dramatically cut Higher Education funding, have now announced that they may not introduce Browne’s proposals in full. It has been long known that Higher Education is changing. But the past few days have confirmed that the pace of these changes is accelerating. Whether you agree with Browne or not, the Spending Review confirms that there is no turning back now.
More for your money... Teaching funding could be cut by 80%. But what could £3.2bn actually could get you? 66 Forum Projects 8,800 trapped Chilean miners 84,000,000 SSB tickets. 149,000 Harvard degrees 0.3 Olympic Games 0.25 of Barclays profits
October 21 2010 David Willets anounces that the Government may not remove the tuition fee cap afterall fearing that it would only serve to short change Oxbridge students
The future of education
Andrew Waller Editor The once docile campuses of England are alive with debate. Bearded academics awake from their intellectual slumber. Apathetic students, long shunned by the media, suddenly find themselves wheeled out on to the set of Newsnight. Change is afoot. Unfortunately it cannot be any other way. Labour left such an economic mess that even the Lib Dems are fully signed up to cutting higher education, some may even break their pledge not to increase tuition fees. Mind you, those cabinet offices are awfully nice to work in. But after this has all settled down, when big business has pushed through its agenda and the smallstate ideology is fully rooted. Once the state has finally washed its hands of higher education, what will campus life be like? The arts will, once again, be the preserve of the privileged. Those with financial security can risk doing a non-vocational degree. A new breed of dandies and dilettantes will traipse past the oiks of the Business School on their way to the Humanities department. After all, who would take out a vast loan to study Byron when Business Administration is a far more profitable route? This all seems to be another example of the increasingly professional tone that student’s life is taking. Young people now have to think about their careers earlier and stsrt filling out their premature CVs. Like tragic heroes, our youth will pour their heart and soul in to employability, only to find that, whilst lengthening their CVs they have narrowed their world-view. But what a great way to boost the economy. A bumper crop of automatons prepared for the market: they speak the jargon and despise inefficiencies of any kind. Wealth creation everywhere. Profits. Progress. Only don’t invite them round for dinner. This summer the Pope beatified John Henry Newman. For a man capable of miracles his views on education were pretty mundane. He believed that university should deliver a broad life experience. To become a saint Newman needs to be recognised for another miracle. And God knows, to reverse the tide of specialisation, it going to take divine intervention.
Comment Tristan Barclay & Andrew Waller - firstname.lastname@example.org
The Exeter Student Newspaper
Engage - this is the time for student voices Lord Browne wants universities to be able to charge limitless tuition fees. The Government is going to cut the higher education budget by perhaps 40%. There are no jobs for us when we graduate. We should be up in arms, but there’s hardly a ripple across Exeter’s campuses. Whilst Exeposé does not wish to accuse anyone of laziness, it seems that Exeter students as a group aren’t particularly politically active. We have ample reason to be protesting, marching and generally disrupting everything that moves around the city, but the Ram and Coffee Express are as full as ever, and people seem to have more important things to worry about. Of course, there are exceptions to this sweeping statement – the Labour Students and Conservative Future societies both held lively socials over the last fortnight – but we don’t have to look beyond the Students’ Guild buildings to see evidence of our apathy. It may have escaped your attention, but last week saw the Guild autumn elections to return Guild Councillors and NUS Delegates for the academic year. Finishing too late for this newspaper to report on the results, it has to be noted that there was almost no excitement around campus
over this electoral process and very few students really know anything about their purpose. If we can’t show some interest in elections within our own university, how can we expect to take on a national government? It is easy to sit back and voice an opinion on matters such as the cuts, but it’s almost worthless as a form of protest. It will be tough to force the Coalition to listen even if thousands of students march on Parliament, but that just highlights the need to give it a go in as vocal a way as possible. If you aren’t interested, then have a flick through the Browne Review and just see some of the suggestions – there is plenty in there to both agree and disagree with. For our part, Exeposé can see the logic behind many of the proposals put forward by Lord Browne, and only time will tell if George Osborne was right to cut as he has, but you just have to think – would you want your sons and daughters paying £10,000 a year for tuition at a university such as Exeter? We will graduate into a world made uncertain by the greed and blindness of the current ruling generation – we should not leave the same legacy to those who will follow us into higher education.
Hundreds of students use Duckes Meadow every week, but it remains a poor facility for a university ranked in and around the top ten sporting institutions in the country. The improvement work to the changing rooms is welcome, but long overdue, and the quality of the playing surfaces are patchy at best. In an ideal world, there would be 1st
team pitches for both rugby and football at the Streatham Sports Park, and the changing rooms at Duckes would be transformed into a clubhouse facility, with bar and viewing area. Despite the renovations currently underway, whilst the AU continues to use Duckes as it is, sportsmen and women in Exeter will continue to be forced into cramped and dark facilities.
Duckes Meadow is not Top Ten
Thanks to all those who helped proof this issue Hannah Brewer, Sion Davies, Fiona Lally, Joanna Clifford, Amelia Nashe, Margaux Harris, Sophie Duncanm Hannah Sweet, Joshua Irwandi, James de Souza, Rachael Peers, Emily May, Immi Blake, Max Schofield, Simon Denhurst, Ellen Baker, Alex Cadby, Jack Flanagan, Caitlin Jones & members of the Exeposé editorial team
October 25 2010 Exeposé
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Higher Education is in danger
Browne recommends that the cap come off. This can only mean more debt. Jonnie Beddall Guild President
Universities, long funded by the state, are about to be ‘thrown out of the nest’. Last week we heard plans to remove the cap on tuition fees, this week, government plans to slash government funding for universities. The consequences will be profound. The Change The sector as we know it is about to change, fast. At the institutional level, we will see a market emerge in Higher Education, with universities charging different fees. At the individual level, students will become customers, with a clear set of rights and responsibilities. What is certain, this will revolutionise the student experience. But first, the Maths Lord Browne, in his independent review of university funding, has recommended lifting the current cap of £3,290 per year. This means that Universities can charge students starting in September 2012 what they want. However, universities will face an incremental levy on each £1,000 they charge above £6,000, to discourage them from charging excessively. Fees will not be paid upfront, but paid
by the graduate at 9% of earnings above £21,000, opposed to £15,000 per year at present. This change is ‘progressive’ in that you only pay back once receiving the average wage. Whilst students starting in 2010 will accrue an average debt of £25,000, when the cap comes off, this will almost double overnight. This is not progressive. State spending slashed Higher fees are meant to increase university funding. But the government is going to slash the teaching budget by around 80%. This will decimate university funding. All ‘additional’ money raised by removing the cap will merely plug the hole left by spending cuts. The result? Universities will charge fees of £67,000 just to maintain current standards. How can this possibly be a ‘good deal’ for students? The devil’s in the detail. Universities rely on generous research grants to supplement money raised by fees. George Osborne, the Chancellor, has largely protected research spending. In this new world the sector will essentially split. Only elite, research intensive, universities will be able to charge far above the £6,000 threshold. As such, the fee universities charge will be driven by the strength of their ‘brand’. It’s the student experience, stupid! ‘Brand Exeter’ is strong, very strong. The quality of the student experience will become key. Do you get enough contact
hours? Is the quality of teaching high enough? Does the library have enough core texts? Is there enough quiet working space? These questions dominate the student experience. Imagine paying more than twice as much for the same services. However, as students become ‘customers’ at the University, paying the full cost of our course provision, we have much more power to demand better quality. To compete with the best, Exeter has to be better than the rest. The Guild are fighting government cuts tooth and nail. They are selling our future down the drain for a quick buck. Make your voice heard and come to the National Demonstration in London on November 10 - get your ticket from the Guild box office, online or in the Lemmy. When the government cuts, Exeter has no alternative but to raise fees. If we value the quality of an Exeter degree –the uniqueness of the Exeter brand – we will have to pay up there with the best. But the University has never been more dependent on student satisfaction. ‘Brand Exeter’ is nothing without the student experience. This year is the most important in our recent history. We have to lead the change, to lobby the University for better support and better services. Ultimately, students at Exeter will have to pay more. But, if the University truly invests in the student experience, the return on an Exeter degree will soar.
decision. This is not idealistic or socialist. It is simply the denial that all choices can be compared to badly thought out analogies with markets. Why should the public pay for students’ tuition? Firstly, students do pay. In reality all of us pay VAT and all of us will pay through general taxation. Moreover, generations of families worked to get their children into universities. We should not deny a new generation that opportunity. Governments have a duty to provide economic opportunity. You cannot claim rights to tax and represent, and then declare yourself laissez faire on the population’s ability to earn. This doesn’t just mean encouraging businesses through tax-breaks; it means equipping a population to work. Successive governments have heralded a ‘knowledge economy’, in response to Britain’s industrial decline. However, ‘knowledge economies’ require the community to fund development of that knowledge. You cannot develop an
economy aimed at ‘knowledge’ and yet maintain that 50% of the population is too high a figure for graduates. To do so is to plan an economy aimed at benefiting the few. If government mismanages the economy to the extent that the future is in exporting knowledge rather than consumer goods, it has a duty to ensure its population is able to adapt. This matters to postgraduates because the argument is now about why the state should invest in universities and research. How long will students continue to research culturally valuable subjects which offer little potential of quickly paying off high-interest debts? How long before research scholarships become research loans? The NUS leadership jettisoned these arguments too quickly. It sensibly adopted a negotiating position. However, pragmatic negotiation only works when the other side is willing to listen. With the prospect of near-complete withdrawal of public funding from the university sector, post-graduates have to rediscover the resistance which served them well before.
Postgraduates and the Browne Review James Freeman PGU Deputy President
One year after the first cohort of top-up fee payers entered post-graduate courses, the history of student resistance has collapsed in the face of £7,000 fees and a market in education. Why? Aside from economic circumstances, students failed to argue why the community should wholly fund education. The argument against variable fees is simple. Would you choose an education the same way you choose the cheapest drink? Students cannot be consumers. Firstly, no one has tried the product before buying it. Very few will ever try different options and you have little room for complaint. Not only are we not ‘consumers’, price should not be a factor in such a
Exeposé Week Four
University on the Browne Review The romance has gone David Allen Deputy Chief Executive and Registrar The big news this week has been the government’s Spending Review which seeks to cut £81 billion off public spending. Universities will have to take their share of these cuts. Although we don’t expect the cuts to be too bad next year, we do expect to lose three quarters of our teaching grant by 2015. The Chancellor George Osborne has however said that Higher Education is a “jewel” in the UK’s economic crown. In the Spending Review, there was a commitment to maintain funding for the science budget at £4.6 billion a year and to protect Department of Health research. There is also to be investment in climate change, for example carbon capture and offshore wind power. The supporting Treasury document says cutbacks in teaching grants will be “broadly offset” by allowing universities to increase graduate contributions supported by government loans from 2012/13. The Chancellor’s statements therefore appear to support the main thrust of the Browne Review
of Higher Education funding, which was announced on October 12. Mr Osborne also announced a national scholarship fund rising to £150 million by 2014/15 to support those from disadvantaged backgrounds. The real issue for universities isn’t actually the government’s Spending Review. We know that big cuts are coming. The real issue is whether the Browne Review is enacted by Parliament. Lord Browne has recommended the cap on graduate contributions for home undergraduate students is removed, albeit universities will have to pay a levy on a sliding scale to charge graduates more than £6,000 a year. However, it is important to state that students will not have to fund fees up front and will continue to pay back their loans after they have graduated and are earning above a threshold level of earnings (raised to £21,000). The recommendations are socially progressive in that the bottom 20% of earners would pay back less than at present and only the top 40% would be expected to pay back all the costs. There will be a new finance package available for students with family incomes of less than £60,000. Ability to benefit rather than ability to pay will be the determinant of entry to university. If Browne’s recommendations are
enacted then we will end up substituting teaching income lost from government for income raised from graduates. We realise this is a difficult issue for students, but we believe that it is in nobody’s interests to have poorer quality universities in the UK. As a University we will have to adapt to this new environment. Meeting and exceeding student expectations will become even more important than it is now. We are committed to further improving the student experience and graduate employability and will work in partnership with the Students’ Guild to achieve this. We will have to maximise high quality research outputs whilst giving parity of esteem to excellent teaching. We will need to make more efficient use of resources. We will need to develop new ideas for the incoming generation. We will exist in a market in which universities set different fee levels according to the value of their brand. Although Browne and the Comprehensive Spending Review present us with challenges I believe we should face these in a spirit of optimism. Few universities are as well placed as Exeter to prosper in this new environment. If we apply the talents of our staff and students to this new situation we can continue to grow.
Stuart Scrase Reading the ‘executive summary’ of the Browne Report, I noticed it seemed a lot more like a sales pitch by the government than an ‘independent review’. What is essentially a shortened version of the full report lacks all serious detail and argument behind the proposals, and sucking up to the reader is usually a good sign of a pitch. A more serious side to this, however, is the fact that its discourse is disguising certain issues. Lord Browne’s introduction states that the review is about increasing the UK’s competitiveness in higher education, which has been challenged by advances in other nations. What we have, then, is not a spending cut at all but a report about “securing a sustainable future for higher education.” The key word here is “sustainable”. To sustain is to support or bear a burden. It implies that fundamentally, things won’t change or what will change is simply the financial structure. Of course, we all know the reality is huge cuts, but the problem runs deeper than issues of ‘how much?’ and ‘who?’ because education and what it provides will fundamentally change if these cuts are enacted. Under the category of ‘sustainability’ the report informs us that it recommends removing blanket subsi-
In defence of the Browne Review
dies on all courses “without losing vital public investment in priority courses.” Priority courses refer to those which supply, simply put, what employers need. Ultimately, this will result in our universities being run by market forces – this is what Browne’s ‘sustainability’ really means – not to support, but to fundamentally shift the way education operates. Beside the fact that it scarcely needs to be said that running everything in terms of competition and efficiency is both ethically and morally highly questionable, the report does not truly consider the question ‘what is education’s purpose?’ Lord Browne seems to assume it is to provide employment: to make the UK function successfully as a market – what did we expect from the former head of BP? We are more than simply a market - we are a society. And what makes a good society? There may be many debates over that question, but it is one the report does not even consider. I argue that it is imperative not all education is geared to market performance. We need only look at all the problems the NHS faced once efficiency was prioritised over quality and care. Furthermore, what about viewing education in terms of developing the person and understanding our society and its history? We should not ignore these fundamental issues.
It is important for students to voice their opinions - just make sure you know what you are protesting about. Joel Moktar
From the Vietnam War marches to Tiananmen Square, the history of student protest is extensive, multifarious and often violent. Perhaps I should revert to the past tense - we don’t really demonstrate anymore, do we? As a lecturer pertinently put it, ‘If they removed the cap for student fees in my day, we would have burnt down Streatham Court.’ ‘Perhaps’, he suggested, ‘all the protesting will be done on your social networks now, but I’m not convinced.’ Unfortunately, I’m no sociological soothsayer; I’ll leave problems like that to Malcolm Gladwell. Maybe I’m being a bit harsh. After all, there were a couple of articles in the last issue of Exeposé, as well as an email sent round by the Guild encouraging me to join Exeter’s ‘Campaign Army’ (army!) in protest against the governments’
cuts to higher education spending. Or was it in opposition to the Browne review’s proposed changes to the way higher education should be funded in Britain, most notably the removal of an upper limit on tuition fees? Does anybody actually understand what we are supposed to be protesting against? And, while I risk sounding like a neo-classical free-marketeer, why the reflex disdain for a market in higher education? In that great land of inequality, the United States, a market for university education has existed for years. As a league table obsessed bunch, we cannot argue with the fact that the US produces the world’s best (ranked) universities - 15 of the top 20 universities in the Times Higher Education world rankings hail from the States. Less publicised is the fact that the US actually has one of the highest university participation rates among underprivileged students, as well as one of the world’s lowest dropout rates. The consensus is that these are the results of the market system – greater choice leading to differentiation and specialisation.
There is, of course, a well known dark side – the market which has contributed to the formation of the world’s elite universities has also led to those institutions charging fees of up to $50,000 (£32,000) per year. In reality, exorbitant fees of this kind are limited to a select few establishments – there are plenty of public universities, such as Illinois, Minneapolis and Wisconsin, where an excellent education costs a fraction of the price. And let’s face it; the 42.8% of you who were privately educated are strong evidence that, even with uniform prices, the UK higher education system is elitist anyway.
of scepticism, the Browne review paints a wholly contrasting picture. In theory, the top two quintiles of earners will have to contribute more to their degree, enabling more grants etc. to be given to the bottom 20% of earners – a more progressive system. Discounting for all you hard line Tory boys and girls out there, surely this is what we should be striving for? Why should someone who studies Law at Oxbridge and has a career as a millionaire corporate lawyer pay the same amount for their education as someone who studies Social Care at a ‘lesser’ institution and earns £25,000 a year as a social worker? At any
“The history of student protest in extensive, multifarious and often violent - but we don’t really demonstrate anymore, do we?” In his article of a fortnight ago, Jonnie Beddall, Guild President, argued that those least able to pay will be the ones who miss out on higher education as a result of the fees hikes. While government papers should always be read with a certain degree
rate, I would argue that encouraging the least privileged to stay on in education is more of a psychological challenge rather than a monetary one. Degrees must be seen as worthwhile investments to those from lower income groups who tend to be more
debt-averse, and a more progressive system will only improve the issue. The more legitimate object of our wrath is the as yet unspecified cuts to university funding, which could, regrettably, be quite severe. Yet, before you work yourselves up into balls of fury, put the cuts into perspective alongside the total government debt of £893.4 billion. A point was made to me that the UK only spends 1.3% of GDP on higher education in comparison to the USA’s 3.1% - yet two thirds of that US spending is private spending. Perhaps there is another way? The positive I take from all of this is the knowledge that the student body can be mobilised in resistance. If we can unite in protest against issues that directly affect us then maybe, just maybe, we can do the same to address far more pressing issues, such as the effects of man-made climate change, or the injustices suffered by millions of people worldwide at the hands of their own governments. Nevertheless, I urge you, before you go to war with the Exeter ‘Campaign Army’, make sure you understand what you are fighting for.
British universities sinking ships? Ben Savill
Thursday August 19. Along with 250,000 other jittery students, 18 year old Benedikt Scheffer tears open an envelope containing his A level results. The letter inside reveals him to be the proud owner of a modest three A* and three A grades. Cambridge or Oxford? The answer is neither. Nor any other university, for that matter: Benedikt was rejected from all five of the institutions he applied to. The playground scrabble for university places ten years ago has evolved into a mosh pit. At a time when the body of applicants is growing at more than 10% per year, and the proportion of A Levels awarded an A grade has increased for the 28th year in a row, it is perhaps no surprise that rejection stories like Benedikt’s are becoming more and more commonplace. It is perhaps even less of a surprise that Benedikt, in light of his failure to win a single place, graduated from a private school. Whilst the government’s recently proposed social mobility agenda (that encourages universities to give more offers to students from poorer areas) is a fair and productive policy to an extent, it has now gone into overdrive; the policy has achieved its goal, but only at the expense of reversing the problem. Now it seems that, as far as the university admissions office is concerned, sporting the name of an independent school on your UCAS form is akin to having a criminal record. But this is only one amongst many examples where the government-university liaison falls short. The government currently spends 0.7% of our GDP on higher education, less than the international average of 1%, and it is planning on cutting this expenditure by perhaps 40%. And in conjunction with this policy, in order to keep British universities competitive on the global stage, the government plans to both raise the current cap on tuition fees from £3,200 per year and impose an interest rate on student loans. Aside from the personal implications all these problems create – damage to rejects’ confidence, loss of motivation to attend university, gargantuan student debts, etc. – they will, in the long run, impact on Britain’s economy. The ‘brain-drain’ day approaches when domestic students will decide to abandon the sinking ship that is the British higher education system and apply to study at the fairer, cheaper and better institutions abroad.
October 25 2010 Exeposé
The Forum: does Exeter need the project? Yes Tristan Barclay Editor Let us put an issue to bed here: the University of Exeter needs the Forum, and has done for several years. The list of reasons for this is long, and the benefits that the new centre will bring are extensive. First, I think it’s important that we address the idea that the Forum is a waste of money – money that would be better spent on alleviating Exeter students’ debt. Although the project was designed and signed off at the height of the credit crunch, funding has always been secure and the University’s management could not have predicted the severity of the cuts now facing higher education. It would be impossible to switch funding from the Forum to bursaries for students and we should be grateful that our University possesses enough wealth to embark on such major infrastructure projects at a time of such uncertainty. Whilst the issue of student finance is mind-bogglingly important, the Forum should be kept separate from the debate. As for the structure itself, it will be a truly transformational space. The main library has grown offensively cramped – the Forum will expand it. The student population in Exeter
has grown by 5,000 since 2002 – the Forum will provide space in which to teach them. The Great Hall aside, Exeter lacks a space for showpiece conferences – the new 400 seat auditorium will solve this. The piazza built on the Great Hall car park will make the walk up Stocker Road more pedestrianfriendly, and I defy you to find a new student in two years time who will think it a stupid idea that all of his or her student support services have been brought under one roof, rather than strewn across the Streatham Campus as they currently are. It is entirely wrong to think that the University management is simply lining its pockets - sucking in an ever increasing number of students without regard for their welfare. The Forum is geared towards the student experience. I don’t have the space to go on, but the Forum is a good idea. Higher education is a service, and students expect the very best when they are paying for their degrees. Competitor universities such as Sheffield, Leicester and Warwick have all built new libraries and student spaces, so without the Forum Exeter would begin to struggle to attract people, both from home and abroad. With this, the University’s league table position would fall, devaluing the degree you’re paying for at the moment. Everyone is affected by the building works at the moment, but they will be for the good of us all in the long run.
No Alicia Mietus
The Forum Project. We hear its musical rumble in lectures and in the library. We study in a giant chocolate orange of mud and fluorescent traffic cones. We walk its 30 mile diversion route every day to reach Devonshire House and Queens. But is it actually worth all the fuss? As the University so proudly signposts, the forum is costing £275 million. A worthy investment perhaps, on a campus lacking essential facilities. After all, deficiency in lecture theatres means one of my own has to be video linked....from another room....in the same building. The new “learning spaces” (actually providing only one new lecture theatre) are due to be complete midway through my final year in Exeter, so forgive me if I sound a little bitter watching cascades of concrete collapsing while my soon–to–be sky high tuition fees are poured into a project I barely have time to appreciate. This would all be fine if we actually had a choice in the matter. But were the diggers and hard hats in the prospectus? Not when I applied. I don’t wish to sound overly cynical. Technology and development has its benefits, but I wonder whether all of this high tech gadg-
etry actually makes much difference. It may look impressive to have new state of the art equipment and a big glass airy building, but it has no substance and no use without high calibre staff. Judging from the number of times my lectures are cancelled or delayed due to ‘technological difficulty’, it seems more hassle than it is worth. After all, no amount of conference calling or video linking can replace a quality lecturer. The timing of such a massive ‘development’ is also somewhat questionable. With less government funding, universities are all looking to raise tuition fees to make up the gap in finances. But surely this can’t be the only solution. If, quoting the Guild President’s figures, the University is able to raise £25 million over its whole year’s turnover of £250 million purely to fund the project, it could find ways of sustaining itself rather than exploding tuition fees threefold. The amount being pumped into the Forum could sustain the University for well over a year, and that’s without any tuition fees included. Whilst I fully appreciate the need for development to keep the University a competitive institution, surely in the face of the funding crisis the money would be better saved to subsidise student fees for a couple of years whilst longer term solutions can be introduced. Perhaps the all important “landscaped piazza” could be postponed in view of more pressing considerations.
RE: Polly put the kettle on The community campaign should not be written off - students need to get to know their neighbours Chris Hardy VP Welfare and Community Some of you may have read in the last issue about a new campaign being launched by the Students’ Guild entitled ‘Put the Kettle On’, designed to promote cohesion between Exeter students and local residents. Some 1,000 student houses in Exeter had fliers put through their doors, encouraging students to knock on their neighbours’ doors and introduce themselves, with more fliers circulated around campus. I was pleased to note that Exeposé consider the sentiment of the campaign to be correct, but rather surprised at the expressions of scepticism included about the practicalities
of it. Firstly, I disagree that most students don’t have time for a 15 minute chat and cup of tea – when viewed from the perspective of the whole academic year, I think this small investment could reap great dividends. Rory Cunningham, Community Liaison Officer for the University agrees, stating, “We have proven, time and time again, that students who get on first name terms with their neighbours are much more likely to have a more positive experience off-campus”. Another criticism was thata campaigns run by the Guild in the past, such as Zippy, were “dismissed as a bit of a gimmick”, the implication being that the same could stand true for the current ‘tea’ campaign. I think it is fair to call such campaigns ‘gimmicky’, but I wouldn’t say this in any way detracts from the message or importance of the projects. At the start of term, students are (in
some cases literally) bombarded with information through just about every medium possible – if this campaign stands out as being gimmicky, then so much the better!
“I do passionately believe that one of the best ways for residents to co-exist happily is for them get to know each other” If people think that it’s a stupid idea, then that’s their prerogative! I would never dream of “instructing” people to do anything they didn’t want to, and I apologise vehemently if anyone feels their free will to have been impinged upon. However, I do passionately believe that one of the best ways for transient and permanent residents to co-exist happily is for them to get
to know each others’ social commitments and to gauge what the mutual tolerance levels of noise are. The final point that I’d like to make is that, in actual fact, the campaign hasn’t been a failure! Many students have already been round to visit their neighbours, myself included. I discovered that we live next to a young couple with two young children. We’ve now got a standing agreement that if we’re quiet(ish) at night, then they’re quiet(ish) in the morning. I’d like to thank Exeposé for giving me the opportunity to reply to their comments, and to say that if you are reading this at home, then why not go and knock on your neighbour’s door? 15 minutes of chat and you could face no problems from your neighbours for the rest of the year.
Exeposé Week four
A Welcome Party
The Welcome Team worked hard in Welcome Week - the volunteers deserve their reward.
Earlier this month, Welcome Team volunteers (of which I was one) were given a complimentary party at the Thistle Hotel. This event, funded by the Guild, was designed as a reward for the team’s work during Welcome Week. Regardless of the cost involved, is it even right that a group of volunteers are entitled to a party effectively paid for by students?
“On average each team member volunteered for up to 90 hours during Welcome Week” Quite simply, I believe that it is. On average each team member volunteered for up to 90 hours during Welcome Week, with no tangible benefit. Furthermore, if the volunteers had been paid minimum wage it would have cost the Guild in excess of £50,000. Yet some might still argue that the team does not
deserve to be rewarded in the way that it was, but given that they saved the life of a student in 2009 and also prevented many serious incidents from occurring this year, I think a free meal was more than justified. Moreover, I don’t believe students would have begrudged us receiving pay anyway. I lost count of the number of incredulous faces I saw when I informed them that we were doing this for free. After all, we were helping and representing the Guild, most of whose representatives are paid in any case. It would, therefore, seem incredibly unjust for the Team to receive no reward at all. It might be argued that, as in previous years, the team should have been given free tickets to the Freshers’ Ball. However, given that the Ball looked to be a sell out, and that we wanted to celebrate the team’s achievements as a group, it was thought to be more prudent to have our own celebration. On the whole, I can’t imagine that many of the thousands of new students and their parents, together with the Guild, police and nightclub staff – all of whom expressed their utmost gratitude at our assistance – would complain that we were allowed let our hair down for one night. Quite frankly, I think it’s the least we deserve.
International Awareness Claudia Wang
The University of Exeter is working towards recognition as a world class university with more and more international students arriving each year. However, the number of international students who are aware of the services offered to them by the University is frustratingly low. The service that I worked for over the summer - the Student Counseling Service – has not seen anything like the rise in demand you might expect with the rapid increase in enrolments. We understand that it is down to individual services to promote what they do around campus, and for that reason the counseling service has been running an outreach programme around campus to make it more accessible to international students. Working as an intern, and bringing my own experience as a Chinese
student, I designed posters and leaflets as part of an advertising campaign to promote the service. It was my role to bring more multi-cultural awareness to the project. Counselling is a place where students both home and international can get guidance and direction from qualified professionals. It is a confidential place where no one else has to know you visit. Often, international students can find it difficult to adapt to a new country, and they might struggle with issues such as homesickness, loneliness and making friends with English students. Reasons such as these make it essential that we alert international students about the support they can receive. As the University continues to expand, so does its international population. New buildings such as the huge new INTO centre on Stocker Road and the new international halls at Duryard show us how important foreign students are to Exeter’s future, so we must make sure that people who study here know how we can help them settle in.
The state of Duckes
Improvements are being made to the facilities, but they are disrupting our matches. Kenzo Onumonu EUAFC Club Captain The thing we love most about Duckes Meadow has to be the incredible effect it has on other teams. If truth be told, they hate it. Brilliant. If it means Exeter teams are raking in the points, no one’s complaining - certainly not me. It’s a completely different story, however,
when our home begins to affect us negatively. Last week the Exeter University Football Club 4th team was halted in their preparation for a Saturday Devon and Exeter league game. The referee was not happy with the facilities at Duckes Meadows and cancelled the fixture, citing a lack of running water and shower facilities as the major reasons for the match not going ahead. The refurbishment work at Duckes, unbelievably scheduled to start toward the end of September, will certainly im-
prove things. However, we really have to ask why this work has not been carried in the summer months leading up to the start of term. It seems the once hallowed turf at Duckes has been aligned with the majority of space on the main campus. Given our inability to change anything at present, this situation, along with the Forum Project, requires patience. Although this may be an inconvenient situation right now, it is for the benefit of the Athletic Union and the University on a grander scale, let’s hope it is all worth the wait.
sufferers. While I have no problem whatsoever with this development, which I am sure will be of great benefit to the university, the way in which they have chosen to display information on the boards about this new centre seems mindless and uncalled for. The boards cover a vast stretch of wall that expands over 50ft, and it repeats over and over miserable facts about depression and suicide. In response to a board claiming ‘Depression is a serious condition,’ I heard one girl remark sarcastically, ‘Well, that’s uplifting!’ The facts and figures all over these boards convey a negative and bleak message that you don’t want to read whilst making your way up to a 9am lecture. However, my main concern lies not with my hung over state on a Friday morning, but with one of my friends, who experienced a traumatic summer. He suffered a family tragedy involving depression, and came back to university to escape what has been a difficult time at home, only to discover two weeks into term that there is a constant reminder for him plastered across these boards. I can’t imagine what he must
feel every time he has to walk up to campus and see this. As another sign informs us heartlessly, ‘30% of people have to deal with depression.’ If this is the case, then over a quarter of the students on campus are dealing with similar issues, or are themselves facing depression. This thoughtless display of statistics is for some a fact, not just a figure. It angers me that the university did not consider how this sensitive information can affect people, and could have been far more tactful in their choice of display. I would like to see these boards taken down, changed, or at least not repeated over and over to further ingrain these gloomy excerpts into our heads. The university should have been far more considerate, perhaps stating how they want to cure depression or help sufferers, not reminding those suffering and everyone else of how hopeless a situation it seems. I feel the university have made a mistake by so publicly displaying facts about something, which, to a lot of people is very very personal.
New Mood Centre causes unnecessary stress Lillie Revington As many of you may have noticed, the university has chosen to cover up the digging destruction sprawling across our campus, by sectioning it off with large walls of display boards. Most of these are quite harmless; some nostalgic photographs and information about the university’s history that we can all happily walk by and ignore. However, the new boards leading up to Queen’s Drive behind the Washington Singer building concerning a new ‘Mood Disorder Centre,’ shocked and, quite frankly, disgusted me for the university’s lack of tact regarding the content of the boards. The stated Mood Disorder Centre is a new development being built as part of the Forum Project. It will be a part of the psychology department on campus and will specifically look into depression and try to further understand the causes of it and how to help
Letters to the Editors - email@example.com Grumpy Librarians Exeposé, It seems a strangely common theme that librarians, who lead a services career in part, are just very grumpy. When asked about short-term loans, returning books, or even if you forget to hand over your uni card immediately, a near fury seems to be released. This, importantly, is not every single librarian - there are at least two who will always greet you with a smile as opposed to the frosty silence that is
the norm. On a faintly ridiculous note, it seems to correlate that the grumpier a librarian, the louder they seem to want to talk. Using their librarian privileges I guess. Quentin Rahley Talk No-Show Exeposé, As someone who is usually impressed with the standard of the talks and discussions held on campus, I was shocked and disappointed when I arrived in Queen’s last Wednesday for a
talk on ‘Race and Feminism’, hosted by Gender Equality Society for Black History Month. To my dismay, after waiting patiently for 15 minutes, no-one had arrived and I was left bemused as to why this widely publicised talk was not taking place. Rudely, there was no sign on the door to indicate a change of location or date, or a cancellation. As I left, with nothing but frustration over the waste of my evening, another lady me summed up the situation: ‘So feminism really is dead at the University of Exeter’. Anonymous student
october 25 2010
Columba Achilleos-Sarll & Anna-Marie Linnell - firstname.lastname@example.org
Time for tea in the USA?
Josh Cowls discusses the American midterm elections, Barack Obama and the Tea Party candidates. On November 2 Americans will head to the polls and vote in a series of congressional, state and local elections. These midterm elections are so-called because they fall half way through a President’s four year term. Therefore, one name that will definitely not be on any ballot paper is, Barack Obama. Such is the continuing media and public fascination with the man that the elections are being considered a referendum on the President’s first two years in office. I have to conclude, having spent eight weeks working on a Senate race this summer, that American elections and these ones in particular, are about so much more than the incumbent of the Oval Office. If Republicans take control of the House of Representatives (which looks likely) and the Senate (which looks possible) it will be seen as a major setback for Obama. Among former Presidents however this is not unprecedented: Clinton and Reagan, for example, both got clobbered in their first midterm before convincingly winning a second term. Instead, Democratic defeat will probably have deeper consequences for the Republicans than for the President’s party. The initial process by which parties elect their candidate for the November election threw up a number of Republican candidates, which make even George W. Bush seem remarkably liberal. These socalled ‘Tea Party’ candidates claim to be running on purely fiscal issues, arguing against the bloated state
and claiming Obama’s stimulus package, health care reform and Wall Street bailout have only worsened the deficit.
President Obama of not being born in America, being a closet Muslim, and having “deep-seated hatred of white people.”
“The initial process by which parties elect their candidates for the November election threw up a number of Republican candidates which made even George W. Bush seem remarkably liberal”
These arguments are superficially persuasive, not dissimilar to our coalition governments’, recently outlined cost cutting measures. This is particularly appealing to Americans, whose founding myth and predominant ideology continues to be a small state with low taxation and little regulation. In New Hampshire where I was based, for example, there is literally no VAT or income tax, and it is politically toxic even for Democrats to suggest there should be. Hence the Tea Party label, harking back to the night in 1773 when disgruntled colonists destroyed a shipload of overly taxed yet perfectly drinkable tea, thereby hastening revolutionary war and independence. Unfortunately, Tea Party Republicans have used this economic message as a cover for a platform of increasingly provocative, shocking and often absurd policy stands, most of which have very little to do with fiscal policy. Righteous right-wing vitriol was hurled at plans to build a mosque at Ground Zero - notwithstanding that the plan was, in fact, to construct a Muslim community centre a few blocks away. Dozens of Tea Party candidates meanwhile supported an Arizonan law that allowed policemen to arrest and question suspected immigrants purely on the basis of their skin colour, in a state where 30% of the population is Hispanic. Along the way prominent candidates and media personalities have accused
Russell Brand must feel hard done by for the copious death threats he received in 2008, merely for calling then-President Bush “that retarded cowboy fella,” in a throwaway remark at an awards show. In social issues, Tea Party candidates have also taken the whole Republican Party in a rightward lurch. Republicans no longer debate abortion rights per se but discuss whether it is legitimate in cases of rape, incest, and the potential death of the mother. The rights of gay people to enter into civil unions, adopt children and serve in the military are passionately argued against, and stem cell research is frequently opposed on religious grounds. Of course, many Tea Party candidates, and ordinary Americans can have legitimate and often heartfelt reasons for holding many of the above views. Indeed, Obama’s biggest gaffe in the presidential campaign was to describe small-town, downtrodden Americans as “clinging to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them.” Americans don’t like being talked down to and, Obama’s occasional impulse to speak like the professor he once was does not help the perception of him as an out-oftouch, liberal elitist. However, Tea Party candidates are being utterly disingenuous and hypocritical when they claim that their movement is based solely on fiscal issues, whilst using social and often racial views as wedge issues in their campaigns. This contradiction was especially apparent in New Hampshire. The state motto is ‘live free or die’, and this sentiment extends far beyond low taxation: New Hampshire residents are not required to wear seat belts or motorbike helmets, and gun ownership is common and staunchly protected. But, by the same token, the majority of the state believes in abortion rights, and was one of the first states to legally permit gay marriage. Nationally many incumbent Democrats are electorally dead and buried for supporting Obama’s expensive legislative programme. Embracing the Tea Party’s social and some-
times racial agenda however, is proving an electoral liability for Republican candidates in New Hampshire, given the state’s libertarian, live-and-let-live philosophy. Of course, a few Republicans struggling in New Hampshire this year will not be much of a national, let alone international story. As Republicans decide who among them will challenge Barack Obama for the presidency in 2012, however, it could have massive ramifications over the next two years. This process starts with a caucus in Iowa followed by the nation’s first primary election in New Hampshire. You only have to walk into a cafe or diner in the state to see the tsunami-like effect that the presidential primary leaves every four years. Photos of restauranteurs shaking hands with Gore, Bush, McCain and usually at least one of the Clintons adorn the walls. The leader of the free world seems to be chosen in the town halls, bars, and house parties of this small state which prides itself above all else on its conception and enjoyment of freedom. So it will be interesting to see how a prospective Tea Party candidate, such as Sarah Palin, can persuade enough moderate New Hampshire voters to subscribe to an agenda most consider fairly radical, and what Palin herself calls “revolutionary.” I wasn’t quite in New Hampshire long enough to witness the famous New England fall, when the leaves turn red. I certainly hope I don’t see the state’s electoral map turn a similar shade on November 2 and when, in little more than a year, the state chooses its preferred Republican candidate. I don’t honestly believe New Hampshire, or ultimately America, will yet be able to stomach the taste of tea.
Columba Achilleos-Sarll Features Editor The momentum and exposure that the Tea Party has gained ahead of the American mid-term elections is a worrying prospect for the future of American and, indeed, world politics. For the Tea Party to move from what appeared to be a political sideshow to a significantly potential political party means that once again radical politics is finding its feet with the American voter. The Tea Party candidates’ stance is to run predominately on fiscal issues just as the currently proposed British coalition cuts are supposedly designed to rescue the economy. Economic policy could therefore be considered merely a political guise for the expression of an ultra-conservative ideology. And, in the case of the Tea Party, dare I say, this could be borderline fascist. In a culture built on a capitalist system however, the ability of economic change to dictate the ebb and flow of politics is hugely concerning. Whether or not this extreme fringe style politics under a liberal American view of democracy deserves a place in the political spectrum is debatable. Thus the question remains how far the Tea Party sits comfortably with American democracy.
Exeposé week four
Heartwarming from Chile
The rescue of 33 miners from Camp Esperanza has captured the hearts of people worldwide. Exeposé looks at the drama of the moment and how it slots into the Chilean political climate.
“The atmosphere Behind the scenes of this of expectation and public spectacle fulfilled hopes was palpable from Marie Notermans reconsiders the rescue in its social and economic place. the other side of 22 hours and 37 minutes after the told Exeposé, “I would have put my the world” first Chilean miner trapped below the mortgage on the fact they would [all]
Toast, tea and terrific news
Eleanor Purves looks at the happy ending of a potential tragedy. Shortly after midnight on Wednesday October 13, Florencio Avalos emerged grinning from the depths of the San José mine in Chile. He was surrounded by a crowd of engineers, paramedics, friends, reporters and cameras, and was emotionally reunited with his young son to the joy of millions. He was the first of the thirty three miners, Los 33 as they have come to be known, to be pulled safely to the surface after an unimaginable two month incarceration 700 metres underneath the Atacama Desert. This is a rare tale of hope and joy, a fantastic saga of human survival and perseverance, which has captured the imagination of people the world over. The story contains all the right elements to seize media interest. There was the drama of a life and death limbo situation after the collapse, when the miners did not know whether they would live or die. For the first seventeen days of their imprisonment they hung on to life with a grim determination whilst living on a meagre few teaspoons of tinned tuna a day. This was then followed by signs of life, a dramatic note which proclaimed their survival was sent up the drill shaft which had discovered them, then came the long and arduous process of reaching the men from the surface. Combined with this drama is, of course, the human interest, the private lives of those who were once just miners and who are now, seemingly, some of the most interesting guys around. What you have in this story are 33 very ordinary working men who have spent much of their lives 700 metres below ground level in the Chilean desert. They are now 33 of the unlikeliest celebrities, whose dramatic rescue has ignited the world press and stirred the hearts of people everywhere. Avalos, first man out of the mine, went down in August to carry out his day job and surfaced in October to a national audience and a bear-hug from none other than the President of his country, Sebastián Piñera. Some seem born for the attention, such as the second man out, Mario Sepulveda, who
positively legged it out of the capsule and started a chant across the crowd whilst handing out stones as souvenirs for the rescuers. He grinned from ear to ear the entire time. Whilst newspapers started out by reporting the difficult feats of engineering required to restore the 33 to the surface, they then began to study what really interested the nation: the human stories which emerged from the mine. There was Ariel Ticona, whose daughter was born during his underground nightmare and romantically named “Esperanza” meaning Hope. Another, Estaban Rojas, proposed to his girlfriend during his time underground and claimed that, if he got out alive, he would marry her right away. He was one of three of the miners to propose whilst underground. One of the most interesting stories to emerge has to be that of Yonni Barrios, who has been married for 28 years. The existence of his mistress only became apparent to his wife when they realised they were praying for the same man at a vigil held at the minehead. Awkward one, that. Repeated scenes of rescue went on all of Tuesday and long into the night. Despite the seriously lengthy nature of the operation, both Sky and BBC news broadcasted live coverage of the rescue from start to finish. And regardless of the fact that a lot of the footage was, essentially, a lot of blokes in hats standing around a hole for hours, it was riveting. The atmosphere of expectation and fulfilled hopes was palpable from the other side of the world. To watch the release of the men over breakfast on a Tuesday morning felt like seeing the end of a happy movie. It was an atmosphere of great tension punctuated every fifteen minutes or so by the materialisation of another lost miner, safe and well and throwing themselves into the arms of waiting loved ones for all the world to see. Just as reconciliation has been a great emotional trigger since the invention of scripted entertainment, here we have it: 33 times over, a poignant reunion following a time of trial and ultimate success.
“To say the least, Chile has had an eventful 2010” “Riding the media sensation generated by Piñera’s “hands on” involvement in the rescue operation, he has planned a visit to David Cameron to drum up British investment”
Atacama Desert was released, the last of the 33, Iuis Urzua, stepped out of his underground prison into the first open air he had experienced for 69 days. With this, Urzua was reunited with his loved ones and the epic tale from Camp Esperanza drew to a close. On August 5, a rockfall prevented them from leaving the mine. Until August 22, when a surface probe reached the chamber that had been their home, the men had been imprisoned in sweltering, pitch-black conditions in the copper and gold mine, hearing nothing from the outside world. In the first of many poignant moments the miners were able to attach a scrawled note to the probe informing the rescue team that all were well, providing the communication breakthrough that led to their rescue seven and a half weeks later. Psychologists say that despite the miners’ signs of good physical health, as the euphoria of the return to normal life fades, the experience will be difficult for many to internalise, particularly under the scrutiny of a media who is already speculating over plans for a cinematic adaptation. Amid a flurry of recent mining disasters hitting the press with staggering fatality statistics, the San José story has received unprecedented media attention despite all the miners reaching the surface alive and well. Speaking to Exeposé, Dr Andrew Wetherelt, Senior Lecturer in Mining Engineering at the University of Exeter, gave his views on the state of mining in Chile. Dr Wetherelt said Laurence Golborne, the Chilean mining minister had conducted a “very wellorganised” rescue that had “allowed the mining and engineering community to show their ability to extradite such a disaster.” Chile has some of the “latest technology in the automation of mining” with the San José rescue team comprised of “world leaders”, said Dr Wetherelt. When asked if he thought the incident would trigger the development of better health and safety standards within the industry, Dr Wetherelt said such an event “could happen at any time” and was due to a one-off “catastrophic failure” within the mine. He went on to say that the world’s media arrived late, “the first seventeen days were critical” but following the successful fifth attempt to reach the chamber on August 22, Dr Wetherelt
get out.” To say the least, Chile has had an eventful 2010. Though festivities for the bicentenary of independence from Spain on September 18 were traditionally flamboyant, it was for many overshadowed by the memory of February’s devastating earthquake. Registering 8.8 on the Richter Scale and lasting for three minutes, the quake and ensuing tsunami caused a death toll of around 800 and left hundreds of thousands homeless with estimated costs at £20 billion.
• 69 days trapped • 61 journalists per miner • Rescue cost up to $20m As a first-hand witness to the quake I saw the damage caused even in Santiago, 300km from the epicentre, most notably perhaps to the Chilean mentality. On the cusp of economic success with their worldclass engineering prowess, yet unable to escape the poverty of a developing Latin American nation; instability of any kind is not something that sits well in a culture preoccupied with superstition. The inauguration of the new President, Sebastián Piñera occurred two weeks later, blighted by seven aftershocks. Many Chileans deemed this an omen for Chile’s first right of centre President since the Pinochet years, who as Chile’s richest businessman won the election by a small majority. Riding the media sensation generated by Piñera’s hands-on involvement in the rescue operation, he has planned a visit to David Cameron to drum up British investment in the country. However, though his popularity may have inched up a notch, I spoke to a Santiago-based Chilean teacher about her impressions of Piñera, and the management of the world’s media post-San José rescue. “Everything has served only to change [Piñera’s] own image.” “There is a large part of Chile that is still in a difficult situation. My opinion is that Piñera has used [the San Jose incident] solely to sell himself…. When the first signs of life appeared on August 22, the release of information [about the miners] to the press and the families was withheld until he arrived to give the news himself.”
October 25 2010 Exeposé
Corrupted by coppers The beautiful game, through the eyes of Robin Chu. Well, money, money, money! After last week’s takeover of Liverpool FC by John Henry’s New England Sports Ventures there seems to be a renewed optimism around the Merseyside club. New owner Henry has pledged to eradicate the £237m debt owed to the Royal Bank of Scotland. Yet Liverpool’s takeover raises the issue also seen in multiple other recent big-money ownership changes, which range from the Glazer’s control of Manchester United to Manchester City being purchased by Sheikh Mansour. Football has become too money-orientated.
“The influx of different owners and the high salary increases for players have turned football into a game of money.” Consider what made you first start watching football. Was it intrigue into club owners’ finance or players’ wage packages per week, or because you fundamentally enjoyed the game in its purest form, seeing the ball get passed around elegantly and feeling the joy of a goal being scored? Most likely, it was the latter. Secondly do you think players such as Christiano Ronaldo should be sold for fees of £80 million or whether Fernando Torres should receive £110,000 per week when there is talk of raising tuition fees to insane amounts of money? Surely, the response should be no. The influx of the different owners that have flooded into the Premier League and the high salary increases for players have turned football into a game of money. Talk of success inevitably revolves around money: it is those who pay the most that win the most,
like Chelsea, Manchester United and soon Manchester City. Football is not so much a question of which eleven players are the best, but rather which owner has the deepest pockets. For monopoly money to be spent in the Premier League has severely dampened the chances of the next generation of English footballers. Owners wish to buy the next super-star rather than develop local talent, which may have been one of the reasons the England team suffered at the World Cup. Players such as Adam Johnson are not being played regularly at club level, so the chances England will replicate the achievement of 1966 are limited. But the high levels of cash being thrown around football doesn’t just have negative implications for the sport, but for society in general. Money may just have corrupted the very idea of role models in the sport, players are no longer seen as heroes, but as villains. Consider the England team: Wayne Rooney, Ashley Cole and John Terry have all had affairs; Steven Gerrard was charged with assault; Rio Ferdinand has missed drugs tests. Heroes in the style of Bobby Moore, Bobby Charlton and Gordon Banks are no longer in the team. Now this negative image within football is surely not wholly down to money, but money does play a role. When a person, any person,
gets paid £100,000 per week they start to live in a different world. Footballers know that they can buy anything, even potentially buy themselves out of trouble. This inevitably creates a fake air of invincibility for footballers who believe they can do no wrong, a sense of recklessness. What it all boils down to in the end, though, is that money is clearly always important for football. This does not mean that measures couldn’t be taken to try and prevent money from consuming the sport. The new Premier League guidelines, designed to assess whether new owners are “fair and proper”, is a step in the right direction. Hopefully, this will halt future clubs from descending into football animosity, as may be the case for Portsmouth now. However, more checks and higher levels of accountability could be made to clamp down on money having a negative effect. Wage caps could be introduced, as are present in Rugby Union, with a system of lower salaries but higher bonuses. That way, players would have to truly earn their money. Any action designed to change the sorry state football finds itself in at present will be limited. But then perhaps FIFA and their head honcho, Sepp Blatter, can come up with a solution. He does earn more than £5 million a year, so maybe he will know what to do.
Imperial Encounters Mark Carvell profiles Exeter’s biggest pub, The Imperial.
Built in 1810 by county surveyor, James Green, Elmfield House, was never envisaged to become a public house - let alone one of the busiest pubs in the country. In 1897 The Orangery, the first bar of the house, was added by Dr William Butler Henderson; now, The Imperial Pub writhes with students most nights of the week. From 1923–1994 the Impy became a hotel, before it was bought by J.D.Wetherspoons, where it has been gradually transformed into the regular Exeter haunt. Wetherspoons is the largest chain of pubs in the UK and despite the credit crunch which has resulted in the closure of up to 40 pubs a week, the company seems to be bucking the trend by continuing to open 4 new outlets each month. They are committed to providing the very best in affordable customer experience. “We try to absorb the costs in certain more price sensitive areas”, says Jye Dixey, Imperial manager. “We are a big enough and diverse enough company to be able to do this.” The fantastic gardens at the back of the pub, although not in constant use throughout Winter, come alive in the
Summer. This is one of the main features that manager, Jye Dixey, believes sets his pub apart from the rest: “Last May we had 4,000 people in the gardens for a music festival. We had the space to open four outdoor bars in addition to the three indoors, which served over 4,000 bottles of Kopparberg and 2,000 bottles of Strongbow alone. We also had 4 BBQ’s serving burgers all day … the festival was probably the biggest event in terms of numbers of people that the pub has ever seen.” When asked if he is looking to hold another music festival again next May, Jye laughs and says “I don’t think we could afford not to!” The Impy has paid witness to more than its fair share of funny moments. “We have had the inevitable lads running through the pub naked, the weird and wonderful fancy dress costumes, for instance the Borat mankini, and one night someone decided to paint the gents toilet blue for us!” The Impy will continue to provide Exeter with many a drunken night out and, of course, the possibility of student friendly promotions, including the chance for a beer and a burger for £3.99.
The diplomacy of the council aside, year six children should be encouraged to celebrate together without the necessity of phony gestures such as posh clothes and gaudy transportation. On the brink of adolescence, 11 year olds are all the more impressionable than those at high school proms awards for the best dressed threaten to produce a fashion-show come popularity contest rather than a genuine celebration. Not only does a primary school prom detract from the idea of the high school prom as the crucial transition into adulthood, a contentious topic in itself, but it puts pressure on parents to spend money for a superfluous cause. At the same time, most girls would have willingly attended a prom aged 11. Dress-up games are a joy of childhood. If, when coming to the end of primary
school, today’s university students had been offered a shopping trip by their mothers to pick out a sparkly dress, the majority would not have said no. Therein lies the crux of the matter, at the age of 11 a school prom seems perfect and entirely appealing. It is the responsibility of parents and schools alike to acknowledge the unsuitability of ball-like parties for children of such a young age. For the time being, the end of year six is most commonly celebrated by a standard bash and it is unusual that these are formal events. Instead, some parents see it as such and indulge in pampering their children, calming any whining with the words, “You shall go to the ball.” Let’s just hope that such doings remain a rarity as the primary school prom is something that ought not to become well-established.
Pretty as a princess
Sophie Duncan discusses the primary school leavers embracing American tradition.
The Freshers’ Ball, though far from attaining legendary status, was nevertheless successful. For many, part of the enjoyment was the chance to don a dashing outfit and embrace the sense of occasion - albeit an occasion in a cattle shed. Yet, unsurprisingly, the impact of student life and a financially straining Welcome Week meant that the majority of outfits were either recycled or well sought out bargains. Rewind a few years and most will remember the Year 11 prom. Most will also recall a number of girls who, much to the displeasure and annoyance of others, spent an absurd amount of money on dresses. The Year 11 prom invariably sparks great excitement: it marks the end of compulsory education and an important stage in growing up. Transport becomes significant. The prom is a fun
opportunity to hire a Hummer, ice cream van, party ambulance or whichever novelty mode of transport takes your fancy. However, the pleasures typically associated with the high school prom have begun to infiltrate the more modest primary school disco. Limos, fancy hair-dos and showy outfits have become more common when year sixes, that is, 11 year-olds, gather to bid farewell to their primary school days. Some schools have formed resistance to these habits of an ostentatious nature. The point is made to refer to occasions such as end of year parties or discos, and the use of the word prom is banned. However, recent media attention has singled out instances of such efforts of modesty being thwarted. In July this year, the Telegraph reported on a school which organised a prom for year
six pupils. Children were encouraged to turn up for the event in ball gowns and tuxedos and a professional photographer was hired. The most popular or best dressed boy and girl received star-shaped trophies and a tiara. The sheer notion of a prom at the end of year six might seem like less of an attempt to celebrate children’s time at primary school than it does a chance to recreate the American shows by which they are so enthralled. High School Musical was, apparently, one of the inspirations of the event. One mother was disappointed not to have heard back from Peter Andre about making a guest appearance. The BBC covered a similar issue in June, when a parent was banned from sending their 11 year-old to the prom in a helicopter after the local council deemed it: “maybe just a wee bit over the top”.
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Lessons will be held 6.30pm and 9pm Cinema screening Amnesty’s weekly meeting, during German Society: Conversation and Relentless both our £2 campaignsAward in 2010 quiz fun, with money going to MARKS weekly all the term on Thursday Campus Cinema: Dr.BASH Strangelove which we plan Class SATURDAY, 27T evenings fromGrant 7pm to 8pm in Corn Exchange Film Screening and fundraising events and Plus special Long Lounge, DH charity. guests John Exeter Exeter Phoenix Club Night (0ver House. action on contemporary and JasonCoffee A great opportunity to practise MR. take SCRUFF Lytle Express, Devonshire Price: £12.00 M&D Room, CH 18’s) PricesAllare £1 for members of Arabic members 1:30pm‘N’ HumanGrove Rights issues. your spoken German with native The Lemon Club Night See (0verwww. YOUNGBLOOD BRASS BAND Doors 7.30pm. standing. Howard Marks £1.50 appearing at Price: £13.50 Genre:DRUM Society, and £2 for non-members. £3.00 non-members ExeterDoors University C exeteramnestystudents.co.uk for speakers in an informal and 18’s) Exeter Phoenix Exeter Corn Exchange, Market BASS OVER 18’S ONLY. It'd be great to see you there!" Orchestra Spring S more details. friendly atmosphere. Suitable for Price: £10.00 Price:£10.00 LLOYD COLE SMALL Street, Exeter, EX1 1BW. 10pm—4am 7.30pm University Chapel German undergraduates. Contact Mr. Scruff 7pm returns to the Lemon Please ring Phoenix direct for ENSEMBLE FRIDAYS ECU Open Mic Night Experience the joys firstname.lastname@example.org more details. Grove. Buddhist & Meditation Society: ticket availability - for 01392 667080. Exeter Phoenix thursday 4 november sunday 7 november Cross Keys, St Luke’s Chamber Orchestr Meditation Evening Price: £20.00 Relaxed informal environment, includes 7pm-7.45pm 1-2pm Queen's 4.2 All seated. Doors 8pm. MARTIN SIMPSON THE FRANK VIGNOLA TRIO Ireland’s C 30 october tuesday 26 october everyone welcome, invite your Pastorale and Moz Folk Society: Folk Music Session saturday Arabic Conversation Classes Every week we have a meditation Missing the camaraderie of being Exeter Phoenix Exeter Phoenix friends and come and hear some Concertante with s JCR, DH Seminar Room 2, IAIS session with a local speaker, JAEGGER & RELENTLESS RAG PUB QUIZ in a band, legendary singerPrice: £14.50 Price: £12.00 great music. Short talk by AU pres Jenny Rogers and C An opportunity Arabic Bar gives the background to the Lemon Grove to play traditional RAMwho Twice-winner of ‘Musician Of ONE OF THE MOST VICIOUS songwriterColloquial Lloyd Cole, now conversation Murray;hosted by ECU. - Rance. folk instruments classes. dialect, practice and leads a meditation. Jaegger and relentless / Vodka Jointunes. RAG inAllthe Lemon Grove to The Year’ at theTom BBC Radio 2 TREMOLO-PICKERS ON THE based in the USA, isMainly touringLevantine a welcome. Also see our slower incorporating some Egyptian. All sessions are free and anyone is and Relentless both £2 raise money for charity. SCENE Guitar Player Magazine clutch of new songs created with Folk Awards, Martin is widely 7.30-9.30pm 6.30pm and 9pm music session on Fridays. Contact Anyone welcome! Contact welcome at any time so do come Community Action: Take me Out Campus Cinema: P email@example.com for more details. firstname.lastname@example.org for more details. along. Contact us on jrm212@ Lemon Grove, CH Screening ex.ac.uk if you want more details of M&D Room, CH 8.30 pm- 10pm our schedule. 6pm onwards ca F WEDNESDAY, 24TH MARCH Folk Society: Folk Dancing Free Fun Friday re members ev ndy £1.50 £3.00 7:30pm - 9pm JCR, DH Ram Bar, DH er fl e non-membe 6.30-8.30pm Nooma Come and try some traditional Enjoy all the games in the Ram y os 28TH UNICEF: Student Art and Poetry vi SUNDAY, Long Lounge, DH english folk dancing with Folk Soc, for Free from 6pm, as well as sit s fo Night Exploring the relevance of Jesus one of Exeter’s longest running promotional drinks offers every o6.30pm r! r and 9pm Castle Galleries, 18 Cathedral Yard and the Bible in contemporary societies. No partner needed. No Friday! Campus Cinema: T An exhibition of student art society, looking at ‘building the experience necessary.Contact Film Screening work and poetry inspired by the foundations for a brighter future’ email@example.com for more details. 6:30pm M&D Room, CH theme of UNICEF’s global work. open to all. Folk Society: Beginners’ Folk £1.50 members Refreshements will be provided. 8:30pm Music Session 8pm onwards £3.00 non-membe Community Action: Pub Quiz Claydon (behind Knightley) Xpression FM presents Open Mic 6.30pm and 9pm Ram, DH Come along and join in with a slow MONDAY, 29TH Night Campus Cinema: A Clockwork Pub Quiz hosted by CA. Prizes informal folk music session. All Lemon Grove, CH include exciting vouchers from instruments and abilities welcome! Orange Film Screening 7.00pm A free and fun evening. All new M&D Room, CH Dominoes and the Black Horse. We also teach instruments from BodySoc’s Formal and returning acts welcome, come £1.50 members Tickets £1 per person, half of which scratch. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for Breast Cancer along at the beginning of the night £3.00 non-members is charitably donated to CA and for more details. The Royal Clarence to sign up. www.xpressionfm.com. its volunteering projects. 26Prizes and 27 October 2010, 11am-3pm A formal dinner to 7.30pm je[dg\gVWh^cXajYZÐkZ9db^cdÇh 7:30pm Cornwall House, Streatham CampusDebating Society:Friday Debate VisSpring ‘Breast Cancer Car EUSO Concert E^ooVkdjX]Zgh!ÐkZYg^c`h[gdbi]Z THURSDAYS it the f a i Restaurant Exeter Corn Exchanger to b Black Horse, a bottle of wine and a Parker Moot Room,Amory with e in Caine’s aforcour a pink champagne Join EUSO concert healthy cash sum is up for grabs. The Debating Society’s weekly 4:30pm - 6:30pm habiggest nce to of theayear: Contact email@example.com debate,each checkday. the Debsoc World Music Choir:companies Rehearsal will beshow win Pithcher and Piano n iPod New two day format. Different exhibiting shStudies Sam Richards: 4 Sea for more details. Facebook group each week for the Knightley Seminar Room uf fle! in A TUESDAY, 30TH motion. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for Glazunov: Violin Concerto Op 82 and joinvisit the World Music To view a list ofCome exhibitors www.exeter.ac.uk/employability minor, soloist Sulki Yu more details. Choir for a fun rehearsal singing TUESDAYS 7.00pm-11.00pm Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique songs from around the world Exeter’s Got Talen SUNDAYS Student tickets cost £4.50 and £2 members £4 non-members. Sponsored by Lemon Grove, CH 6:45pm - 9:45pm are available from 01392 665866. Contact worldmusicchoir@yahoo. 8pm onwards Dancesport Society: Latin and BOOK NOW! com for more details. RAG Quiz Ballroom Lessons u n i v e r s i t y o f 5pm onwards THURSDAY, 25TH MARCH Lemon Grove, CH Hope Hall Dining Room Latin and Ballroom Lessons taught Poker WEEKS 11 & 12 by a former world champion. No 8.00pm Lemon Grove, CH previous experience necessary World Music Choir: Spring Mini MONDAY, 22ND MARCH 7pm - 10pm for our beginner lessons. 6:45pm Concert Available from 8p night during Dancesport Society: Salsa Lessons -7:30pm: Beginners Latin. 7:30pm University Campus 6.30pm and 9pm Hope Hall Dining Room -8:15pm: Beginner Ballroom. A half hour break from stress and Call: 01392 275 2 Campus Cinema: Some Like it Hot 7pm - 7:50pm: Beginners class 8:15pm - 9pm: Novice and deadlines, with some fun, beautiful
careers and placement fair All students welcome
october 25 2010
Laura Le Brocq & Clare Mullins - email@example.com
This is not just food, this is S&M food Helena Fane asks, when did eating become so sexualised?
A dessert featured in the M&S Simply Food Campaign; Kim Kardashian advertising grilled chicken salad for American chain Carl’s Jr; a photograph from Lawson’s cookbook ‘Nigella Bites’. FOOD: the source of our being, a necessity without which we wouldn’t exist. So basic and yet so vital. How then has the sex-obsessed society in which we live today allowed food to become something so seductive, so pornographic? The reason is, of course, that ‘sex sells,’ so why not use it to promote food? Take, for example, Dervia Kirwan’s voiceover for the M&S Simply Food advertising campaign. Unable to describe the dishes like a normal human, she drawls away, bathing in unbelievable detail, whispering in a voice of ecstasy that “this is not just food; this is M&S food.” So her audience is therefore forced to associate each individual ingredient, delicately filmed in slow-motion, with orgasm. The food is given a voice, a slow, sexual
voice, and it therefore seems to cry out “take me” to its salivating audience. And we fall for it. We watch the dribble of cream, the butter slowly sliding across the vegetables, leaving behind it a trail of melt, and we fall for it. The problem is it’s not the food that’s screaming “take me,” but rather her, and when you consider that, the “Linconshire red cabbage, with apple and cranberries, slow braised in red wine and Tawny port sauce” no longer seems quite so innocent. It becomes sinful to watch. Food begins to be associated with sin, with being naughty. We’re watching x-rated food pornography; and we enjoy it. “Ah! I want that chocolate cake so badly!” we think as we sit in front of the television watching the food lying so exposed
on its plate. But it’s not frowned upon pornography so, once it’s over, we can openly head out to the shops and buy the raw ingredients of that meal. M&S have watched an incredible rise in their sales since the broadcasting of these adverts, because there’s just no shame in food porn. Yet it’s not only the ingredients that ooze sexiness; it’s the actual cooking. Look at Nigella, Queen of Food Pornographisation. Onto centre stage she struts, cleavage boldly taking the spotlight, and she revels in it; the people at home revel in it. Can she cook? God knows! No one else has ever been given the privilege of trying her food – that is instead reserved for her, because eating it slowly and seductively, allowing cream to trickle
down her chin and be licked off with a giggle, is part of the act. “This one is my breast soufflé...I mean my best soufflé – try it, it’s very naughty but it’s just so good”. Nigella isn’t alone in this ‘cooking = sex’ field. We have Jamie ‘Naked Chef’ Oliver, Gordon ‘I’m f*&!$#%* feisty’ Ramsey, Gary ‘the quiff’ Rhodes, and numerous others, all of whom appeal directly to sexiness in order to woo their audience. The thing is, it works, because it’s unanimously agreed that someone who can deliver in the kitchen is sexy, regardless of what they’re delivering. Moreover, the tender way these chefs hold their ingredients, the passion they pour into their chopping and stirring, leaks into their finished dish. It becomes their baby, conceived by the purest ingre-
The iPad: an owner’s lament
dients. It is the product of their love and affection, and we want it. But is using sex as a sauce for our food such a crime? If it’s making everything taste more delicious, more satisfying, then surely it’s worth it? Then again, does everything taste more delicious having been marinated in sex? Arguably not. Our “Linconshire red cabbage, with apple and cranberries, slow braised in red wine and Tawny port sauce” is never going to be quite as orgasmic as Dervia’s, and our soufflés are never going to look as good as Nigella’s. Before we’ve even begun to cook it we know it’s doomed; it will never live up to our expectations because it never could. The meal is set up as an impossible ideal which no mortal can reach, and we will inevitably curdle the sauce.
Alexander Boni, Apple aficionado, questions how the computer giant could get it so badly wrong.
THE share price of Apple broke the $300 mark on Wednesday, October 13 2010. This was perceived to be a major psychological landmark more than anything else, but one that has sent financial analysts and tech geeks from the Silicon Valley to Wall Street barmy. Just a day later it emerged that Apple’s share of the desktop computer market broke the 10% barrier in the USA, another landmark that the company had been aiming to break for some time. Earlier this year the technological giant surpassed Wal-Mart for market capitalisation and then just months later their arch-rival, Microsoft. Currently, they are the second largest firm in the USA, behind oil giant ExxonMobil, with a company value estimated to be over $250 billion. That’s quite a turnaround for a firm that was almost bought out by Microsoft
in the mid-1990s and was just hours from filing for bankruptcy in 1997. What a difference Steve Jobs and the iPod made not only to the company, but to the world. I see these figures and I am truly astounded by the company’s performance, then I turn to my iPad and I wonder to myself: “but how?” You see, when the device first hit our shores back at the end of May I was one of the lucky blighters to receive mine a day before public release, right here in Exeter. Over time though my impressions of the device have faltered and I have reached a point whereby I actually loathe the gorgeous little thing. So much so that it is currently on eBay. Apple market the iPad to us all as “magical,” and this has raised quite a few brows and even furrowed mine. Whilst the iPad is good for a few things, it excels at none of them and frankly, is downright rubbish at everything else. Harsh
criticisms you may think, especially from somebody who has had everything from Mac Minis to iMacs, Macbooks to iPods and is glued to their iPhone 4 throughout the day. This year I will write two separate dissertations for my course and doing so on my iPad would have been torturous – not only is the on-screen keyboard a bizarre experience but it is also counterproductive. It takes up half of the screen in Apple’s flagship ‘Pages’ word processing app and you’ll find that your fingers are constantly in the way. Even with the keyboard dock that the firm markets as making things easier the situation is barely better. Whilst you have a full-size keyboard to type on, the word processor’s selection of formatting options is laughable at best and synchronising documents between your iPad and computer is unwieldy and feels like a total fudge-job.
But what about as an Internet tablet? Whilst the Safari browser is actually really good for a mobile browser, it lacks many features that a netbook or laptop provides and whilst I’m happier than anybody to deplore Adobe Flash, not being able to use it can be a total pain. More fundamental than this, however, is simply the problem of holding the iPad as you browse. It’s awkward and uncomfortable. Either you rest it on your lap or desk and soon develop neck ache from constantly looking down or you spend forever typing with your free hand. Not to mention that it is still atrocious at maintaining a Wi-Fi connection. Things don’t improve when you look at the iPad as a portable gaming platform either, trying to hold it with one hand and play with the other makes everything unnecessarily difficult and even with games like the infamous Doodle Jump, wob-
bling the iPad around feels too much like hard work. I’ll happily admit there are a boatload of nifty apps out there on the App Store, but the reality is that the iPhone runs the vast majority of them better. Not only is the iPhone 4’s hardware better, but the size of the device makes everything much easier. With rumours of a new iPad on the horizon for launch around Christmas already, it seems that even Apple are somewhat disappointed with their own efforts. So they should be. A few people have asked me whether to take the bait of a lower price tag and buy an iPad instead of a laptop, so let this be the definitive answer to everybody now. Don’t believe the hype; Apple make a lot of winning products, but the iPad is decidedly not one of them.
Exeposé week four
University myth no 1:
In the first of a series of articles, Lifestyle’s columnist Davina Cameron-Gale debunks the myths that surround university, studenthood and life on campus.
Banana cake Apple stew
“It’s where you’ll find the love of your life”
BEFORE I came to university I had a nonexistent love life. And when I say nonexistent I mean the tumbleweedblowing-across-the-chaste-desert-thatis-my-life kind of nonexistent. I was, however, swiftly assured by a number of friends who had gone to university before me, various family friends and even my own mother that this would change once I embarked upon higher education. “Exeter eh?” someone remarked, “Mmmm...Devon, there’ll be lots of rolling in haystacks, won’t there?” Cue copious amounts of suggestive snorting. This was only the beginning; comments ranged from the embarrassing to the sentimental, one person emailed me an article entitled “50% of students meet their future spouses at university,” accompanied by a smiling picture of Bristol alumni ’89, Barry and Julia, “still blissfully in love, twenty years on!” A common theme emerged, a sign of one of the many urban myths that have developed about undergraduate life – the idea that you meet the love of your life at university. With this in mind I arrived at Exeter with certain expectations, and I soon realised I wasn’t alone. Conversations that began with friends in first year were optimistic, littered with phrases like “He must be out there... it’s really just a matter of time.” The reality was somewhat different, tragic errors of judgement were made in a tequila soaked haze and I frequently ran into romantic interests in the Co-op, only to discover that in broad daylight they bore
Campus Style OUR roving photographer and Lifestyle team bring you the best style on campus! This week it’s all about keeping warm in woolly hats and leather jackets. [Left] Name: Laura Cook Studying: Arabic, 3rd year [Centre] Name: Emma Hottinger Studying: Biological Medicinal Chemistry, year What she’s 1st wearing: Name: Gabdush Abdullin Studying: Economics, 2nd year [Right] Name: Kristina Kolotova Studying: International Relations, 1st year
an uncanny resemblance to the Elephant Man. Not quite the perfect undergraduate romantic comedy just yet then. Our generation is conditioned to expect that we are entitled to a soulmate, and encouraged to believe that university is the perfect time to find them. And why not? It’s the one time in your life that you meet an endless array of similarly minded, similarly aged people, and you’re all in one big bubble together. What’s more is that the majority of us have nothing better to do with the time in between Jeremy Kyle and getting ready to go out, so why not fill it with romantic walks, dinner dates and clandestine trysts in the Odeon? This, coupled with the knowledge that some people do meet ‘The One’ at university, inspires hope (though where exactly are these people? Can we round them up and interrogate them?) However, the reality can be somewhat more difficult to navigate; there is no such thing as a straightforward happy ending. Life is not one big Richard Curtis film. Exeter has limited offerings in the way of romantic venues; Pizza Express is probably the pinnacle of all the potential hotspots. And if you do go there, it’s almost guaranteed that someone you know will be sitting at the next table for the entire duration of your date, constantly raising their eyebrows suggestively. If a date goes badly, or a relationship goes wrong, chances are you will see the other person on a regular basis for the rest of your university life, whether you like it or not.
Exeter has a micro-climate of its own; it’s a kind of parallel universe where pretty much anything goes and normal boundaries are non-existent. This is perhaps why it’s not the best time to believe that you’re going to meet your life partner. The other day a friend at Durham told me about a friend of hers, whose boyfriend saved up his student loan to buy her an engagement ring, and then proposed on graduation day. Maybe they do things differently up there. The one thing to take from this is that everyone’s situation is different; some navigate the undergraduate emotional minefield with admirable valour (and success) and others will remain celibate for what feels like an eternity. You just have to hope that in the midst of the disasters, humiliation and the fatal power of beer goggles you find someone nice. Try and look past the man with the dubious pastel coloured tank tops and dodgy taste in music and see the hunk within. But it is only three years of your life; if you meet someone, great, and if they’re the love of your life, even better, but don’t beat yourself up if it just doesn’t happen. It’s best to see it all as training for the real world; university is the warm up, the dress rehearsal, the longest speed dating event of your life. Now is the time to learn and absorb all the wisdom that you possibly can. And get to know the Exeter branch of Pizza Express intimately.
Recipes to make the most of Autumn’s fruits.
Got some not-so-fresh bananas that are just too brown to eat? This recipe is an ideal way to waste not want not. 4 oz sugar 4 oz butter 2-3 mashed bananas 6 oz self-raising flour, sieved 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda 2 eggs 1. Set the oven to 180C and butter a cake tin, or line it with greaseproof paper. 2. Mix all the ingredients together. 3. Spoon into a loaf tin, a normal cake tin, or even muffin cases. 4. Bake for about 40 minutes at 180C, until you can stick a knife in and it comes out clean, or until it is obvious the ingredients inside are all cooked. 5. Eat it! Immediately, or for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Nothing is more typical of the English Autumn than the apple. At this time of year apples are cheap, ripe and delicious. Here’s a simple stew that can be used as a savoury accompaniment, as a sweet delight or just eaten on its own. As many apples as you like! Water Sprinkling of sugar Ground cinnamon 1. Cover the bottom of a saucepan with a thin layer of water, just enough to stop it from dry boiling, but do not heat yet. 2. Peel and chop as many apples as you desire, either in chunks if you want a lumpy stew or in thin slices if you prefer it smooth. 3. Add them to the saucepan and simmer on a low heat for a while, adding a little sugar depending on how sweet you want it, and water as you see fit. Make sure to stir. 4. Simmer until the apples are slightly fluffy, taking care that you don’t overheat them into a paste. 5. Serve hot, or decant into receptacles for freezer storage once cooled.
october 25 2010 Exeposé
Working 9 to 5: get the most from your internship Hannah Dale recounts her experience this summer and offers some dos and don’ts for the future. AS most of you will be aware the student summer is particularly long. We have around 14 weeks to soak up the sun and relax. However, this summer, as I found myself sat on the sofa watching yet another episode of Friends, I decided it was about time to do something useful and get myself a work placement. My placement was working for BBC Radio Lincolnshire, working in the newsroom. I’d had a tiny bit of experience, producing adverts for Xpression FM which I had really enjoyed, and was interested to see where this might lead. My placement taught me so many valuable lessons about taking the initiative, not being afraid to try new things, and it got me thinking about some of the DO’s and DON’TS for a work placement: • DO be proactive! It took me four weeks before I mustered up the energy to actually go to my computer and write out a CV to hand around. It took me
about half an hour once I’d actually put my mind to it, and it was well worth the effort. It’s also important to chase places up. I forgot to call back a local paper I’d applied to, so I guess I’ll never know if they were interested in my CV, or simply buried it at the bottom of a great pile and had forgotten about it. The workplace is a busy place and people often forget. A harmless phone call just to remind them about your CV is all that it takes, and you’d be amazed at how many places get back to you straight away! • DO venture a little out of your comfort zone. As an English student, I spend a long time looking into various local papers I could write for and applied to all the obvious placements. It was only after some thought that I remembered how much I had enjoyed working for Xpression FM, the campus Radio, and building upon this, I decided to apply for BBC Radio Lincolnshire to see what kind of experience I could get. When
Gym’ll fix it!
applying for work placements, make sure you don’t restrict yourself too much in the places you apply. Perhaps you want to work with children when you finish your degree – in that case, don’t simply apply to schools as a teaching assistant. Think outside the box, maybe try applying to a youth centre or to a toddlers group? • DO research your work placement before you go. This was something I failed to do, which was actually pretty embarrassing! When I arrived, I was questioned about my knowledge of the station and their target audience, and I couldn’t answer! They also asked if I’d listened to their morning show (which, admittedly started at 6:30!), and, again, I had to answer no! Whatever you do, make sure you research the place you wish to work for, before going there. This not only shows that you came prepared, but it shows that you’re serious about your placement and want to get the
most out of it. • DON’T be afraid to try new challenges and never be put off by things that aren’t characteristically ‘you’. On my second day working with the newsroom, I was asked to find someone from Lincoln University who would be willing to come in and speak about their experience of not being able to get a job after graduating. This task meant I had to phone five different people I didn’t know and I had to do it all in half an hour, so there was no room for time wasting. Although, there are friends I can happily speak to for hours, I HATE talking to total strangers on the phone. I never know what to say and normally end up stumbling over my words. However, by the time I was calling the third person, the words came freely and I felt like I’d been a secretary all my life. Never be afraid to try things you normally hate! Whatever the task thrown at you, grab it with both hands and don’t be afraid to try
something new! • DON’T be put off by horrible work colleagues. During my placement, one of the female bosses was particularly harsh with me. To her, I was a puny work experience student and she really didn’t seem to have any time for me. I came home after the first day and I was nearly in tears. But I didn’t let it put me off and when I returned for my second day of work, I made sure that I did all I could to show her that I wasn’t just some run-of-the-mill student who didn’t care about the job. I don’t know if a career in radio is necessarily for me, but I’m so glad I worked for BBC Radio Lincolnshire. It taught me to be proactive, to try new things, to face my fears and to never let anything get in the way of my goals. For those who haven’t yet thought about trying a placement, try it; it’ll be brilliant!
Nathan McNamara discusses an obsession with the gym that verged on extreme. “GET ripped in four weeks! CLICK HERE to find out how.” “Bigger arms in just two WEEKS!” “No time to hit the gym? NEW abs exercises that can be done at home or the office!” And so it continues. The relentless cacophony of the internet and magazines promoting how to achieve the ‘perfect you’. As image and looks in society have become even more prominent, so the gym-fuelled advertising screams at us from all angles. For me, the gym entered my life in the Sixth Form. I won’t say I didn’t care up until that point, I was keeping fit by playing basketball, but the gym called to me as it did to many of my friends. So, after a few preliminary sessions in
Year 12, about five to ten of us started seriously in February of Year 13. Why this sudden change? I can’t explain it. Was it the testosterone-fuelled environment of an all-boys school? The constant pressures of society telling us we had to ‘get hench’? Or simply that as young adolescent boys, we wanted to look after ourselves and look good in the process? I put it down to the last option, but you, reader, can make your own judgements. It had started. For the first two weeks, I went to the gym 11 times. At the time, I felt like I was getting my money’s worth. Looking back, perhaps it was a bit excessive. Unhealthy? Surely not! I was keeping fit at the gym, I did
not see it as an obsession in the slightest. I admit, I didn’t use the running machines, the cross trainers, rowing machines or the bikes. For my friends and I, it was purely weights. Soon it became clear that we had all developed a slight obsession. OK, I won’t lie, it was the only thing we spoke about. “Gym tonight?” “So I was in the gym the other day and I saw this guy...” “How funny was it when we were in the gym and...” We started to sound like the incessant commercials we swore had no influence over our lives. Soon after my friend showed me one of YouTube’s finest videos: Arnold Schwarzenegger, ‘The Pump’. For those of you who have seen this video,
you know exactly what I’m talking about when I say it’s the most hilarious, steroidal display of weightlifting on the internet. For those who haven’t, I recommend watching it, even if you have no interest in the gym. Some of Arnie’s quotes include: “It feels amazing. It feels fantastic.” This video became our mantra. Then, it was the research. Those adverts I mentioned earlier? They were everywhere. Searching the internet for new exercises, techniques and tips on how to be better at the gym. ‘Better’ at the gym. Sounds stupid doesn’t it? But that’s what happened. And the obsession continued... So far, it does sound like the gym
had a negative impact on my life, but it didn’t. When I came to Exeter last year I still went to the gym but I wasn’t playing a sport. I influenced a few of my friends here and they go regularly now. I think my relationship with the gym has its peaks and troughs. Over the summer I was going every other day, but now I’m back into uni life as a second year I haven’t had the chance to go as much. That’s not a problem in my mind. There’s always a balance in life between having a healthy lifestyle, but not letting the obsession become unhealthy and almost addictive. This sounds horribly clichéd, but going to the gym has made me feel more confident within myself. It keeps me fit and I do enjoy it.
Apart from the obvious downsides that come from having no physical contact, an unexpected side effect has occurred: all men suddenly seem a lot more attractive. I’m not talking university boys here (well, I am), but more disturbingly, I’m finding myself drawn to old lecturers and leery builders in vans; even the tracksuit wearing chavs that hang around the dodgy end of town (Poundland, Iceland- you know where I mean) are suddenly seeming a lot more appealing. I’m hoping it’s just a phase, and like the initial phases of gagging at public displays of affections and throwing the remote at the television whenever a sex scene comes on, it will pass.
Of course, there are a few perks. I’m saving money on the train fare and I’m saving money on contraception. Brilliant. It’s been hard and it’ll no doubt get harder. I know it’s probably a lot harder for him as a testosterone fuelled boy (And yes, I am trying to think of some kind of pun on the word ‘hard’ to lower the taste of the lifestyle section a little bit, but I’ll refrain). So if, geographically, you’re in a less long distance relationship, and are actually having sex every other weekend, then I hope reading this has made you feel better about it. Go on, have a smug grin.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder But has some unexpected side effects, Emma Vince discovers.
YOU hear a lot about long-distance relationships at university. Several people come with them, some start them and quite a few fall apart over the years. It’s understandable, as there’s a lot of uncertainty. How often will you see each other? More importantly, how fit are your new housemates? And just how are you going to repel the tide of randy freshers in Arena? I thought my first two years of long distance were bad enough with a five hour cross-country trip. However the 200 odd mile journey seems a piece of cake compared with 6000 miles, now that my boyfriend has moved to East Asia for the year.
Some of you will perhaps be in a similar boat and have partners or friends who have gone away on an Erasmus year abroad. France, Germany or Italy I could have handled. I mean, Europe’s not that far away. Weekend visits are definitely feasible, and let’s face it, a return flight on sleazyjet is probably cheaper than travelling with national rail anyway. So how is it working? Well, at the time of writing this, I haven’t seen my boyfriend in two months, one week and six days. I do not have a single text from him on my new phone, we haven’t actually spoken over the phone, and I’m effectively in a relationship with instant messaging software. As I’m not a creepy
old man, facially malformed or in year seven, it wouldn’t be my social medium of choice. To put it politely, the whole situation is very frustrating. Even the odd raunchy skype chat is off the cards, as my boyfriend shares a small room with an even smaller, bespectacled boy. Whenever we’ve actually managed to get a video call set up, his roommate has always been hard at work just inches away, occasionally swivelling in his chair at a parallel desk to give me a friendly wave. I doubt he’d appreciate witnessing a blurry webcam strip-tease live from Devon in the middle of the day (because of the time difference you see).
Exeposé week four
Amsterdam gets the green light
Stephanie Marston explores the home of Heineken, history and hash.
IT might be for the diamonds. It might be for the tulips. Or it might be for a cheeky sex toy and a legal spliff. Whatever you might visit for, Amsterdam has an abundance of culture, nightlife, and history to offer, and what makes it even better is that it can be done on a student budget. One of the images most readily associated with Amsterdam is The Red Light District and it is definitely worth a visit if you go. You can walk along the streets of red windows where prostitutes (including rows of mature, obese, and transvestite prostitutes) attempt to entice the punters in. Surprisingly, the ‘city of sin’ feels pretty safe, as there are strict rules forbidding the public to take pictures or harass the prostitutes and many elder tourists wandering amongst the stag parties. There are also the infamous sex shops, sex shows (cassa Rosso is apparently the least dingy at €30),
and ‘creative’ condomeries, although these can be expensive so be sure to save extra money if you are planning to visit. The canal streets in this district are also lined with numerous coffee shops where marijuana and hash cakes can be bought from the bar menu, these bars are signalled by green lights or green signs in the windows to distinguish them from a standard cafe. There are many different types and strengths of hash and marijuana for customers to select from, though the cheapest/weakest pre-rolled joint is generally around €3. Funnily enough, the new smoking ban in Amsterdam means that it is only marijuana that can be smoked indoors, and those that prefer tobacco will need to smoke outside. Sorry smokers. For those that are looking for a more cultured experience, Amsterdam has one of the most museums per square
metre, with many located on the handily named Museumplein. The famous ones are the Van Gogh gallery and Rembrandt Museum, costing around €20 per entry. For history there is the Anne Frank Haus which costs around €8, though the permanent queue means its best to get there first thing or later on in the evening. This museum is fairly small but does give you a sense of the claustrophobia of the two Jewish families who had to go into hiding from the Nazis during the Second World War. Though it is not as culturally refined, arguably the best value for money is the Sex Museum which costs a mere 4 Euros entry and contains a collection of candid waxworks, explicit photos, and giant genitalia. Oh, and it is interactive. As well as this seedy element of the city, Amsterdam is also incredibly beautiful and a simple wander around is both free and rewarding. The Vondelpark is a large park towards the south of the area and is an ideal place to have lunch in the sun. If you do not want to walk or want to go further afield, then there is also a massive bike culture in the city which means that you can hire one easily toget around. Most tourists rent distinct red bikes from the company MacBike for between €9-14. And of course a boat tour along the canals is a great way to see the city. The prominent boat companies can charge up to €25 a day for this, but there is also the lesser known St. Nicholas Boat club that seats up to ten per boat and offers canal rides for a voluntary donation to help them preserve historic Dutch boats. Sign up is at the Boom Chicago restaurant in the party area of Leidesplein and the trip allows food, drink, and any joints, although be warned that the boat is open air; when we went both our spirits and our bodies were dampened when a storm began half way through. For even cheaper cultural sights, there is the Beginjhof former nunnery and a free ferry that leaves behind
central station and allows you to walk around North Holland and its markets. There is the cheap Waterlooplein market that sells anything from fruit and veg, to jewellery, clothing, and animals, as well as the flower market which sits next to many vintage shops. In fact, it is food and drink that can become the most expensive part of the trip, as meals tend to cost from €9. However, if you spend enough time searching out for deals and buying from supermarkets then this will help keep the cost down, for example the club and bar area of Leidesplein is quite dear, yet we managed to find an Italian restaurant down a back street that offered all meals for €5. International flights and accommodation abroad are possibly the costliest areas to consider when travelling, however they can also be where students can save the most money. Booking in advance and with low-cost airlines can yield great benefits, as our group managed to get a return flight from Birmingham to Amsterdam with BMI Baby for £55 including all taxes and charges. Look out for airline sales, such as BMI Baby’s £1 summer sale, as this can also massively reduce the cost of travel. There are many hostels in the Holland capital that can suit a range of budgets, though generally staying midweek and out of season will be slightly cheaper than stopping over a summer weekend. We stayed at Meetingpoint Youth Hostel which cost us €45 for our
three nights in the 18 bed dorm and can be secured for a small 10% deposit. The hostel was fantastic; there was a reasonably priced bar area with pool tables, a television, and computers downstairs, with four floors of dorms, of which some were 8 beds and others 18. Whilst I was initially concerned about sharing with 14 strangers, the hostel had such a good atmosphere and felt so safe that we did not even bother with the safes they can offer you for a mere €2. The hostel, along with many others, was located in
the Red Light District and next to plenty of supermarkets and newsagents. Having racked up three years of student debt, I was understandably worried that I would not be able to enjoy the full experience of visiting the capital city of Holland for a three night stay this summer. However, there are so many ways in which a savvy student can make savings in Amsterdam that it can be one of the best European cities to visit on a smaller budget. The drawback? It will make you want to go back for longer.
october 25 2010 Exeposé
Ellie Bothwell & Ben Murphie - firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo: Like Music
25/10 – Forever Never + Grave Desecrator + Sworn to Oath, Cavern Club
Kick-starting 2010’s Exeter Autumn Festival (October 29 November 16), Like Music promises to showcase the very latest in breakout indie, electro, dubstep and funk performances. A brand new music event for Exeter, a single ticket will provide entry to see 15 bands playing at four venues across the city: Cavern Club, Timepiece, Mama Stone’s and Exeter Phoenix. Expect to see the likes of punk dilettante, Don Letts, set to bring his own brand of sub-zero cool to a DJ set at the Exeter Phoenix and orginal member of The Specials and Fun Boy Three, Neville Staple. Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster will thrash their way through a punk-rock set, whilst Ellie Williams works to chill things out with her highly individual mix of acoustic stylings. Local up-and-coming talent will come from Devon based Cut-Ups, Exeter four-piece Kosmo Kings, and The Quails, fresh from their support slot for Muse at their recent celebrated Teignmouth gig. Tickets cost just £10 for students and are exchanged for a wristband and itinerary on the night, which will get you into all four music venues.
25/10 – Youngblood Brass Band, Exeter Phoenix
25/10 – Alex Hart, Mama Stone’s 26/10 – Goodknives, Cavern Club 27/10 – Magazine Gap + Hot Dub Bikini Party, Mama Stone’s 28/10 – Attack Attack + Guests, Cavern Club 29/10 – Like Music Eighties Matchbox, Egyptian Hip Hop, Bass Clef, Cavern Club James Cleaver Quintet, The Quails, The Beacons, the Cut Ups, Kosmo Kings, Ono Palindromes, Neville Staple, Exeter Phoenix iLIKETRAINS, The Strange Death of Liberal England, Timepiece The Simmertones, Finlay Quaye, Ellie Williams, Don Letts, Mama Stone’s 29/10 – Mr. Scruff, Lemon Grove 30/10 – Easy Star All-Stars, Exeter Phoenix 31/10 – Halloween Party with Midgar + Guests, Cavern Club 31/10 – Pete Canters Jazz performance, Exeter Phoenix 31/10 – Midlake, Lemon Grove 1/11 – French Soler + Guests, Cavern Club 4/11 – Martin Simpson, Exeter Phoenix 5/11 – 3 Daft Monkeys, Exeter Phoenix 7/11 – Bound By Exile, Cavern Club 7/11 – Frank Vignola, Exeter Phoenix 8/11 – Voodoo Six + Guests, Cavern Club
LIVE REVIEW Diagram of the Heart, Fresher’s Ball, October 13 Looking back it’s hard to understand why I hadn’t heard of Diagram of the Heart sooner. The band, which consists of two front men, Kye Sones and Anthony Gorry, formed three years ago when they met on MySpace and were signed by Deconstruction Records in 2009 (a label that Sony has recently re-launched and has names such as Kylie Minogue and M People associated with it). Despite the band having only performed at gigs since April, they have already built up quite a reputation with their unique sound and have played at Ibiza Rocks with Calvin Harris and at the iTunes Festival in the summer. Having previously been compared to bands such as Tears For Fears, DOTH continues to show that it has the edge, image and sound to give music fans exactly what they need and want in today’s times - something euphorically intoxicating. Certainly they did not fail to deliver when they performed at the Fresher’s Ball on October 13. Although the Fresher’s Ball was set to be a good night, with the fairground rides and Jo Whiley lined up to DJ, for
Like Music, October 29
me and certainly many of the others there, it was DOTH that made the night. As soon as Kye and Anthony stepped onto the stage it was clear that this band had an edge, with their cool, rock staresque image pretty much in the bag, Kye, the lead singer, had no problem in invigorating the crowd. I was pleasantly surprised when I met the two front men before their gig, to be greeted by really nice down-to-earth guys, who were actually surprised that I knew who they were. When asked about their aspirations, Kye mentioned wanting to collaborate with Daft Punk and to play on the main stage at Glastonbury, whereas Anthony said he wanted the band to “open and close the Brits” and “to work with Plan B.” Talking about today’s music industry, I asked them how they felt about the new series of the X Factor and whether the music ethos behind the show, i.e. singing to a backing track, could really cut it in today’s music scene. Surprisingly, Anthony responded by saying that he loved the show, but they both agreed it has a karaoke feel and can never beat real instruments. On the subject of their name, Kye explained that they wanted to relate the titles of their songs, album (Vital Signs) and band name to the theme of vitality and life. Anthony also added, “there is a strong beat throughout our music which we wanted the name of the band to relate to.” With their inimitable sound and
“‘With their fiery and beatdriven core, juxtaposed with Kye’s iridescent voice, their songs literally compel you to dance ”
album being created and produced in Anthony’s own bedroom in London, and their need to always keep writing new material and producing because they “just can’t keep still”, they have managed
to tear down the boundaries between music genres. Combining Kye’s love of rock and Anthony’s love of the beats in pop and club music, they create music that sets your heart alight. With their fiery and beat-driven core, juxtaposed with Kye’s iridescent voice, their songs literally compel you to dance. I certainly believe this band is one to watch out for, with two of their tracks from their future album, ‘Dead Famous’ and ‘Did I?’, and a couple of the live versions of their songs already out on iTunes. With an album coming out next March, these guys can go nowhere but up. JESS GAY
Exeposé week four
LIVE REVIEW Fyfe Dangerfield, Exeter Phoenix, September 20
Part of me wants to keep Exeter Phoenix a secret. Like an obscure song that seems even better because no one else knows it. The better, less irrational, part of me, however, feels the need to spread the word. Tucked away at the end of Gandy Street, the impressively large arts centre is often overlooked by students looking for live music. This may be in part to the impressive range of events the centre puts on, ranging from theatre and film screenings to comedy and music. The list even includes the wonderful sounding ‘live art’. Its status as one of Exeter’s primary gig venues may seem diluted when it offers so much else. It is, however, as a live music venue that I visited the Phoenix in mid-September. The occasion? To see Fyfe Dangerfield and The Boy Who Trapped The Sun. Fyfe, full name Fyfe Antony Dangerfield Hutchins, released his debut album Down the Yellow Road at the start of 2010. Exeter marked the fourth stop on his 12 show tour, and the crowd was a sizeable one. The standing room being
plentiful, the scattered dispersion of the crowd, including a surprising amount of couples, implied that the acts wouldn’t be sparking any adolescent mosh-pits. That’s not to say the evening wasn’t entertaining. The show opened with The Boy Who Trapped The Sun, a charming singer-songwriter from the Isle of Lewis in north Scotland’s Hebrides. Joined on stage by cellist, Stacey Sievwright, the duo securely gained the crowd’s affection with their universal sense of humour and stripped-down versions of songs from his debut album, Fireplace. Making a crowd dance is one thing, but getting a whole room of strangers to stand in silence with well composed music is at the other spellbinding end of the spectrum. This, combined with the personal, retrospective lyrics, gave the whole set an enjoyable intimacy. The performance was a pleasant surprise, and therefore the more memorable of the acts. After a brief break to catch some air and muse over the signed merchandise, the crowd returned to the hall. Shortly after, Fyfe took to the stage. Alone except for his guitar, he broke into song and the crowd again shifted into a noticeable silence. The aforementioned intimacy had returned. After a few songs, including a version of the single ‘Faster than the Setting Sun’, the rest
of the band came on, including a violin and a viola. Fyfe also switched between guitar and piano throughout the set, keeping his stage presence animated. Once his full ensemble had been established, the intimate mood made way for Fyfe’s energetic ballads and heartfelt doses of pop-as-indie-rock, including singles including, ‘She Needs Me’ and ‘When You Walk in the Room’. There was even time to play a song from
Crossfire Brandon Flowers
Double Fantasy Stripped Down John Lennon and Yoko Ono
“‘Kiss Kiss Kiss’ sounds creepily contemporary with its catchy chorus and spoken Japanese”
Often it sounds as if they were working on two different albums, Lennon’s songs drenched in rockabilly sentiment contrast heavily with her new wave and disco inspired contributions. Reportedly unhappy with the original mix of the tracks, Ono consented to a 2010 remix of Double Fantasy, and with this the album takes on new
up-tempo version of ‘Faster than the Setting Sun’, thus leaving the crowd on an anthemic note. However, as both acts had proven, it was the moments of quiet and audience-silence that had the lasting impact. Much like the Phoenix itself, something doesn’t have to be shouted about to make an impact, only shared. PAUL WILLIAMS
If it hadn’t have been for a certain disillusioned armed fan in New York 30 years ago, John Lennon would have been celebrating his 70th birthday on October 9. Released three weeks before his death after a five-year househusband hiatus, the album Double Fantasy received some less than complimentary reviews, although many of these were retracted after his death. Part of the problem with the record was that with his new found happiness, his writing strayed away from his usual sociopolitical, edgy stances and towards songs written about his children and marital problems. Giving half of his album to his caterwauling and widely unpopular other half, Yoko Ono, didn’t help.
his other band, Guillemots. The set did start to drag towards the end, but this feeling was dispelled by the encore. In a repeat of the start of the show, Fyfe reappeared onstage alone, this time at the piano, to play through his popular cover of Billy Joel’s ‘She’s Always A Woman’. Again, the crowd had the patience to stay silent. And again, he was joined by his full band to close with a filled out, slightly
importance. Lennon’s vocals are crisper, unnecessary additional layers to the production have been removed and have instead been replaced with clips of his good natured jostling in the studio. ‘Yes, I’m Your Angel’ is a surprisingly soft contribution of Ono’s, sounding more suited to a Disney film with its twee whistling and “tra-la-la’s” than a rock and roll album, and ‘Kiss Kiss Kiss’ sounds creepily contemporary with its catchy chorus and spoken Japanese. In the remixed version, for some unexplained reason, the production team have gone backwards, replacing the quirky reggae beat of ‘Every Man Has A Woman That Loves Him’ with whirring synth, giving the impression that in any moment a beat will drop and it will become a club classic. Instead, the harmonies blur into echoes and swim in no direction; the song is stolen of any climactic moment and sounds like it belongs on a new age album with squawking dolphins and the rush of waterfalls. ‘Dear Yoko’
has a refreshingly earthy quality with the English concertina, despite once again professing his undying love for his wife, there is a horribly sad irony in the lyrics “I’ll never ever ever ever ever gonna let you go.” Reviewing this album with the nostalgia that 30 years have given us, it has to be remembered that despite their warbling insistence of normality, Lennon and Ono, with their pop art installations, joint screaming albums about primal therapy and the addition of worldwide fame, were never going to be the blueprint of your average married couple. If they wanted to spend five years away from the industry and return with an album about each other that spanned several genres, they would. Whether the album made triple platinum because of his murder or not, Double Fantasy will forever hold historical musical importance and huge significance to Lennon fans. GEORGIA RAE GOODYER
After the announcement in January that the Killers were on a “hiatus”, taking a break from touring and writing for the time being, front man Brandon Flowers reveals new solo single ‘Crossfire’. As the first single off forthcoming album Flamingo, the track barely manages to detach itself from the Killers’ signature sound and would really have fit comfortably on previous album Sam’s Town. Listeners might even wonder why Mr Flowers chose to ditch his posse on this one and go it alone in the first place. Nevertheless, everything we love about the Killers’ brand of effortless pop/rock is right here and fans will not be disappointed with yet another flawless offering, despite the fact that it is labelled a solo career.
The anthemic chorus is better suited to the arena stage, complete with epic and provoking lyrics, “We’re caught in the crossfire between Heaven and Hell, and we’re looking for shelter.” If the Killers have taught us one thing, it is that they know how to use a bit of religious imagery and the effect is just as powerful in Flowers’ new track. The front man certainly doesn’t do things by halves and although the sound isn’t all that unique, even coming off sounding rather U2 in places, ‘Crossfire’ is a brooding and explosive start to his solo campaign. The rest of Flowers’ new album will doubtlessly be equally intriguing. ‘Crossfire’ is out now on Island Records.
october 25 2010 Exeposé
ALBUM REVIEWs Man Alive Everything Everything When a band say they have ‘experimented’ on their new album, more often than not that means they’ve stuck with their old sound and produced one song with a lo-fi, pop, or any other genre imaginable influence. With Everything Everything though, they mean it. Right from the outset it’s clear that Man Alive isn’t going to be an album with a traditional indie feel; opener ‘My Kz, Yr Bf’ is a stormer, but not a conventional one. Convention isn’t a word Everything Everything seem to believe in, but the album still bears similarities to those by bands such as The Futureheads, in the juddering vocal delivery and pop edge of many of the songs, and with Vampire Weekend in terms of baffling lyrics in need of a good unpicking. What Everything Everything have managed however, is to produce an album that doesn’t rely on one influence or sound, instead choosing to rely on just about every influence they could
find. This album is a prime example of a band throwing everything at the wall in the hope that some of it sticks. Luckily for them, most of it does. Seemingly simple songs have that extra something that elevate them into something more, such as a mellow but dramatic middle eight in ‘Qwerty Finger’, or that clashing noise in the chorus of ‘Schoolin’. All of this means that the album never becomes boring, but neither is it ever an easy listen. The baffling lyrics (does anyone know what “So how will they remember us whole when we turn into salt / And it’s mine, the fault, mine the dream, and the vein, home of whale-flesh, make soap out of it!” actually means?), the divisive falsetto vocal style of frontman Jonathan Higgs and the changes of tempo and even genre
“Seemingly simple songs have that extra something that elevate them into something more”
within songs make Man Alive a challenging listen. The album is 12 tracks long, like most others, but feels like much more. I’m not sure whether I’m supposed to be really impressed or just really tired after listening to the entirety of it. With a couple of the tracks taken off, and perhaps a slight change in the running order, Man Alive would feel much tighter as an album, but it would also have lost a lot of its charm. It is that feeling of not knowing what could possibly come next that makes this album exciting and fresh. One song feels R&B, the next feels electro, the one after that seems pure pop, but most importantly none let the experimentation stand in the way of a good tune. After listening to Man Alive it’s hard to see its sound becoming the new mainstream because I’m not sure many bands would know how to replicate it, but let’s just hope it paves the way for more bands to actually ‘experiment’.
SINGLE REVIEW It’s OK [dweeb]
[dweeb]’s one track single, ‘It’s OK’, starts without warning, leaving listeners a tad bewildered at what they are listening to. Initially it sounds messy and unorganised, and then you realise that is probably the general idea and are left confused about why the band did it. This four-piece pop-punk band has attempted to infuse synthesisers into their sound to present an electro-pop style, but when listening to this single, it’s hard to tell if the new approach has actually paid off. The inclusion of some electro underlying the verse and chorus
sounds simplistic and timid, as though the band were afraid to overuse it. Regrettably, it seems the guitar rhythms were sacrificed, leaving parts of the song sounding empty, thus ‘It’s OK’ relies solely on the drum beat to sew together the individual parts. Yet, in a weird way, it all works quite nicely. The verse staggers along competently into a chanting pre-chorus, before erupting into an irritatingly catchy chorus. The lyrics, as you may expect, will not be winning any originality awards, following a generic pattern of rhymes and lines heard hundreds of times before. However, stick this song in front of a couple of thousand teen rockers
“Perhaps the best way of describing this song is with the song title itself: It’s OK”
wanting to scream along and the lyrics are perfect. Perhaps the best way of describing this song is with the song title itself: It’s OK. Just don’t expect anything more than that. MATT KNIGHT
Losing Sleep Edwyn Collins After suffering two strokes in 2005, as well as a case of MRSA, Edwyn Collins cements his return to the music industry by creating a successful seventh solo album. His popularity and influence upon today’s artists after all, his band Orange Juice are considered to be one of the founding fathers of Indie - is demonstrated by their willingness to collaborate with him. The LP features support from The Cribs, Franz Ferdinand, Johnny Marr and Ian Curtis’ apparent impersonator (to any of those who have been unfortunate enough to see them live), Jonathan Pierce from The Drums. Unsurprisingly, the record features a deep exploration into the emotional impact of his illness, as exemplified in the title track when Collins appears to brush aside his “losing sleep and losing dignity”, by vowing to “retrieve the things that I know.” Indeed, this theme is masterfully continued when Collins and Ryan Jarman of The Cribs, as many of us have done on numerous occasions, question their role in life in the simple, yet effective, ‘What Is My Role?’ Alex Kapranos, of Franz Ferdinand, impacts upon the record by inviting Collins to reach out to the
music world, and indeed his inner self, to effectively encourage him to realise that he can “do it again.” This defiant theme continues with the upbeat ‘Come Tomorrow, Come Today’, in which Collins convincingly and, with a manner of authority, asserts that there will be “no more tears.” The Edinburgh born musician demonstrates that an “old dog” can be “taught new tricks” by showing his openness to musical variety in ‘In Your Eyes’, where the musical background very much reflects the increasingly popular lo-fi, new wave pop sound that has recently gripped the music scene. The final two songs of the album allow Collins to slow the tempo of the record down remarkably with the singer philosophically crooning that “we’ll get there in the end” - a thoughtful conclusion to a very thoughtful album. Despite the influence of different artists, it is clear that each song is led by Collins, and that his vibrant sound remains imprinted upon the record. Upon completing the album, it is possible that the Scottish singer has figured out his role in life, and that is to create likeable, intelligent guitar pop music for a universal audience who have always appreciated his creative talents. ALEC KOTAKIS
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until 4pmfor friday 29 octobertype to stand an election, http://www.exeterguild.org/elections/stand/22
october 25 2010
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MEL GIBSON’s latest career move, a cameo role in the new Hangover 2, has been halted in its tracks. Seemingly green lighted on all fronts, many cast and crew rejected his inclusion. Following on-going court cases about his private life, it’s a sad state of affairs for Mr. Gibson. Talking of stars praying for the heydays to return, Bruce Willis has announced his plan for possible Die Hards 5 and 6. The prospect of an even older John McClane bouncing off CGI flying tanks and censored from saying his own catchphrase is not one that causes us to salivate wildly. Finally, the plot has been revealed for Transformers 3. Its proper title is Transformers: The Dark of the Moon and we’re sad to report the absence of a Pink Floyd soundtrack. Indeed, it looks set to be another OTT explosions bonanza.
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, roll up, roll up! We have THREE pairs of FREE Odeon tickets (for any screening) to give to YOU. All you need to do is email us with the subject line ‘I LOVE FILM’ and you get entered into the draw. Entries will go into a random draw. Deadline is Fri Nov 5.
All entries should be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
When recession saves the day Dan Orton looks at how filmmaking reacts to economic downturn
THE Great Depression: a time of high unemployment, severe poverty and lots of monsters. Thanks a great deal to this period of worldwide unrest a high level of fantasy and horror films were produced to allow the general public to indulge in a little escapism. Indeed, some of the few good things to come out of the 1930s were the films. Cleopatra, King Kong and Dracula (the Béla Lugosi one) are just some of the groundbreaking, depression-busting movies of that time. This was also a period in film history when the studios were at the height of their powers - there was a strong bond between creative teams and studios that led to what some could argue as a very formulaic method of moviemaking (some directors making all their films with the same studio). This did mean though, sadly, that there were a lot of similar-looking films out there (you’ve seen one Gene Kelly film, you’ve seen ‘em all). Thank goodness then for World War Two! Now, I know that’s an awful thing to say because people died in their millions and it showed everyone why fascist vegetarians shouldn’t be put in charge of anything...but those dreadful six years left Europe in a state of economic and social despair. OK, so that’s not good either, but it did lead to some important
developments in how films were made and what films were made. Let us take Italy for example: the Second World War had left the country broken, its economy in tatters. However, as with the USA in the early ‘30s, filmmakers leapt on this and a whole new style in filmmaking was born: Neorealism. This style was defined by its use of amateur actors (many were members of the public) and its unflinching portrayal of life amongst the working class of Italy living in poverty. If you’re at all interested, a good one to watch would be Ladri di biciclette (The Bicycle Thieves). So realistic were these movies that one Italian politician was compelled to describe them as “dirty laundry that shouldn’t be washed and hung to dry in the open.” However, as it drifted into the ‘50s, Italy began to re-emerge from the ashes of econo-social desolation and Neorealism as a result wasn’t so much lauded for its despairing view of a demoralised country, rather viewed as demoralising a country by lauding despair. That’s not to say Italian Neorealism did not have any positive impact; it has left a legacy of filmmaking. British films such as This is England, The Full Monty and even Brassed Off all show touches of Neorealism - they are archetypal ‘kitchen sink dramas’ inspired by a movement started in Europe some 50 years before. Before influencing current British filmmakers though, Italian Neorealism had a profound effect on French cinema. The Nouvelle Vague is seen by many in the film world as the most important pe-
riod in cinema: a group of French filmmakers decided to dispense with the rules and make films however the hell they wanted! Long tracking shots? Yes please. Jump cuts? Oh go on then. This was the end of conventional cinema and people loved it. It’s important, however, to look at this in the context of the French economy. Like her neighbour Italy, France had its own post-war economic woes and, as such these experimental filmmakers had to work on very low budgets. Their radical new method of filming can be seen, then, as half vision and half “well there’s no other way”. Shoestring budget? These guys didn’t even have a shoestring. In the wake of the Nouvelle Vague, which saw Hollywood losing audiences and money, big-screen musicals just weren’t cutting it anymore and in an attempt to entice their audiences back, the studios enlisted men such as Spielberg, Coppola and the late, great Dennis Hop-
per - you may have heard of them. Taking their inspiration from European films, these guys made sure cinema has never been the same. The Nouvelle Vague is very much evident in 21st Century films too; just watch anything with Tarantino’s name on it. In short, the USA’s post-war economic success saw a change in American filmmaking, influenced by styles that originated in countries which suffered post-war economic disaster. Funny that. One final note though: today we are still gripped by economic disaster, and a quick glance at the top ten grossing films of the past year shows it to be dominated by fantasy: Alice in Wonderland, Clash of the Titans and another of the comainducing Twilight films are all there. So we’ve come full circle: from Béla Lugosi in the Depression to Robert Pattinson in the Recession. A bit of escapism (or RPattz’s moody glare) is all we need to get us through.
more or less what you would see in a cinema, right? Wrong. A small deduction in audio-visual quality has a huge impact on the overall experience. It is the fine details that make up a whole piece of art, and film is art. Imagine seeing the Mona Lisa for the first time on a piece of crumpled, torn paper which has been rained on and is fading at the edges. Wouldn’t make much of an impact, would it?
eye? What is Up without the crisp, vibrant colours lovingly selected from the Pixar palette? How can you enjoy Lawrence of Arabia without being able to hear every piece of Maurice Jarre’s stunning and mesmerising overture? The combined loss of these minute and almost imperceptible details can add up to the ruining of a great film. One Megavideo user commented on the pirated version of Inception: “[The] quality is like watching a child’s painting.” I couldn’t put it better myself. What, then, shall be done? Go to any of the high street cinemas and pay upwards of £6? Unless it’s the film of the year then it’s a simple no. Here’s a suggestion: get one ticket for free with Orange Wednesdays. Even better, our very own Campus Cinema offers tickets at an extremely competitive £3.00, and better: only £1.50 for members. Still not enough? Then rent your chosen film from the extensive collection of DVDs in the Main Library for free. Yes, completely free. As long as you remember to take it back on time. If money is the issue here, then
quite frankly, there is no excuse. A quick mention of the insanely cheap, beautifully easy, and what’s more, substantially-stocked film outlet – LoveFilm.com. There are three options open to customers: firstly, create your own list of your favourite DVD titles and they are posted direct to your door in order of preference. You keep them for as long as you like, and send them back free of charge. Secondly, if you’re a little bit impatient, you can watch them on demand with the LoveFilmPlayer online. Thirdly, a recent deal between LoveFilm.com and Sony means you will soon be able to stream movies directly through your Playstation 3 console. Oh, and did I mention that you can have a 14 day free trial? The emphasis of all Video on Demand services is customer choice: put that choice to good effect and put quality first. Watch film how it was supposed to be watched. Sorry, you have reached your viewing limit.
That’s it, I’m switching over
Joe Johnston searches for the perfect Video on Demand service.
BBC IPLAYER, 4 on Demand, Sky Player: these are all household names for any student. The Video on Demand service has become an integral part of most people’s lives. Gone are the days when we would only watch “whatever’s on.” The UK Film Council stated in its 2009 review that “there are now 32 internet and television-based VoD film services available to UK consumers, a five-fold increase in two years.” Unlimited choice, whenever, wherever, for you. Unfortunately the picture isn’t quite that clear-cut. Most of my friends enjoy catching up on the latest episode of The Inbetweeners on 4oD, or seeing Louis Theroux’s latest exploits on BBC iPlayer in glorious high definition. This is all fine and good. When I am asked if I’d like to watch James Cameron’s record-destroying colossus that is Avatar - a film that had taken 15 years to complete, the first
film to be shot with a 3D camera and screened in IMAX 3D, and so intensely laboured over that each frame (1/24 of a second) of the CGI scenes took an average of 47 man hours to complete - and watch this on Megavideo...I politely decline. My argument is not with the profilesharing crowd. Nor am I about to reel off facts and figures telling you how the illegal filesharing habit is slowly killing our film industry. On the contrary, the UK film industry has proven to be surprisingly robust during the recession with 2009 being the secondhighest year for cinema admissions since 1971. Leaving ethics aside, my concern is with aesthetics. A film of any genre cannot be enjoyed on Megavideo as it was originally intended to be: the picture quality simply cannot support the picture content. What is being lost here apart from a few pixels? Isn’t it essentially the same film? Yes, it may shake around at times and yes, the film might be interrupted at 72 minutes for an unwanted and prolonged break, but what we’re getting is
These small details that are missed can alter a film entirely and leave it flat and uninspired. What would The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly be without the slight glint in Clint Eastwood’s
Exeposé week four
Dir: Robert Schwentke Cast: Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren (12A) 111mins
CAN a film with a cast as big as the likes of Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Bruce Willis and John Malkovich fail? No, but they don’t necessarily succeed either. Whilst the cast is stellar it is definitely Willis’ film. He leads the ensemble cast well as Frank Moses, the youngest of the team who we meet stuck in a bland house living a bland life. His only escape is through his handler Sarah (Mary Louise Parker), the love interest of the film. Parker plays her role well, bringing real development to her character as she goes from the stereotypical bored office worker to a free spirit just as giddily mad as the rest of the assassins.
The controlled insanity with which the assassins carry out their work is the key source of humour and often saves a dry scene from dying completely. The film improves dramatically as it progresses. The initial exchanges between Willis and Parker are highly entertaining but the action scenes in the opening half often fall flat. The lack of jeopardy in the action makes it all feel a bit emotionless and over-stylised; that and the consistently awful soundtrack that ruins any drama established in the fights. Red is a film with an identity crisis. It is stuck between genres, between audiences, between aspirations. It flits erratically between action, romance and comedy without ever really pinning its colours to any one in particular. The film is saved by the premise and the cast and just about achieves enough in each genre to still make it very watchable and fun.
DESPICABLE ME signifies Universal’s first meaningful dabble into the animation market and based on the US box office totals, it can be seen as a resounding success and has even toppled The Social Network on these shores. The film surrounds Gru (Steve Carrell) in his attempt to become the number one criminal in the world and sets in motion his great plan to capture the moon. In turn, he finds himself adopting a trio of orphan girls to acheive his goal, with the story turning into a moralistic tale of love and family. This is not a highly original idea and shows Universal were not confident enough to try something truly different. It has nowhere near the depth or subtlety of humour as its rivals such as Pixar’s
Dir: Jason Friedberg, Aaron Setzer Cast: Diedrich Bader (12A) 82mins
FOR those of us who watched the Twilight films in stunned disgust, Vampires Suck is a reassuring parody, pointing out the (admittedly obvious) absurdities of the former. While the film does have its fair share of tasteless jokes typical of spoofs, the odd OTT gory scene and one particularly cringeworthy moment where they fail to get some cheap laughs by incorporating all three of the Twilight films’ titles in the space of three lines. THere are some genuinely clever jibes at the saga here. VS happily pokes fun at many of the unrealistic ‘too cool for school’ stereotypes that the Twilight films have indulged in, sometimes through the use of aptly placed props, other times
Despicable Me Dir: Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud Cast: Steve Carell, Russell Brand (U) 95mins
Toy Story 3 or Sony’s charming Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. However, for a first time feature, they make a good stab at proceedings and the result is an entertaining hour and a half of 3D enfused madness. As seen with many new animated releases, Despicable Me relies upon 3D technology for many of its key scenes. In fairness, it’s done very well and feels genuine and not like a post-production tag-on to increase profits. The film’s key market is obviously young children and hence the army of minions at Gru’s disposal is a perfect way of mixing cute with funny. The little slapstick moments and their own individual language does raise laughs but at times, their constant hyperactivity and OTT cuteness may wear down the average person. Nevertheless, the large amount of energy that flows from this film will keep older generations entertained throughout. The
voice acting is good too with Julie Andrews standing out for sounding completely unlike her usual herself as Gru’s mum. Overall, it is a completely harmless and enjoyable experience for all.
DAVID BRAKE SCREEN EDITOR
Classic Films #6: Bubba Ho-tep (2002) Dir: Don Coscarelli Cast: Bruce Campbell, Ossie Davis (15) 92mins
AT first glance, Bubba Ho-tep seems like a cheap, ‘80s-style B-movie. And you’d be right! The effects are poor and production values low. But, like the best B-movies, it has charm and character, and unlike other B-movies, it contains poignant themes and messages. Another similarity with the best Bmovies is its lead actor, Bruce Campbell. The epitome of machismo, action ‘star’ Bruce ‘the chin’ Campbell made his career in B-movies like Evil Dead and... erm... Evil Dead 2. It is my firm belief that any film that contains Campbell and his magnificent, manly chin is
a better film. Yes, even Spider-Man 3. In Bubba Ho-tep, Campbell plays an elderly Elvis Presley, who has landed in a nursing home because no one believes he’s the real deal. Elvis teams up with another resident, John F. Kennedy, who survived 1963 by having his brain transplanted into a black Ossie Davis in order to fight an ancient Egyptian mummy that is feeding on the souls of the residents. If that ridiculously bizarreyet-awesome synopsis hasn’t piqued your interest, then you’re probably dead inside. Obviously you need more convincing. Beyond the amazing acting from the two leads and some darkly comic sequences, much of the story is focused on ruminations upon certain themes. Campbell, doing his best Elvis impersonation, narrates the movie, describing
through the sharp vocalisation of acidic comments all Twilight haters will have thought at some point. Purely as an impressions show of the Twilight movies, it succeeds; Jenn Proske’s imitation of Kristen Stewart’s wooden acting ‘skills’ is perfectly accurate, even down to the minutest speechless goldfish mouth-gaping and shake of the head. Matt Lanter’s Edward may not be quite up to par, but the panoramic cinematography, Jasper Conran-esque costume design and music should strike a familiar vampire teen angst chord. However, with barely a nod to any other ludicrous vampire film, and the plot a direct mash-up of the first two Twilight films, the lack of originality and variety was extremely disappointing; there remains fertile vampire spoof ground here. Final verdict: If you’ve despaired at the Twilight films, this should provide you with some fairly good entertainment. If not, you may feel a lot of jokes whooshing over your head. MIA NASHE
Paranormal Activity 2 Dir: Tod Williams Cast: Katie Featherston (15) 91mins
A BABY, dragged slowly across and up the side of its crib, so it’s dangling against the bars. Is it just me or is that not frightening at all, but actually pretty funny? Indeed, much of this film is comical. We are presented with a family typical of supernatural horrors. A logical, practical male who doesn’t accept the paranormal nature of events until the end, when he is inevitably the only one strong enough to deal with it. The females, believers, right in their suspicions but repressed for being shrill and irritating. My initial impressions were not positive, though I quite enjoyed being amused. The smooth and quiet introduction of a questionable background and the presence of a sister you know prefigures a negative end, all seemed fairly typical. However, it is usual with films
his disappointment with how his life has ended up. The film explores these themes of loneliness, discontent and anger. Various sequences show how the elderly are abused and disrespected by
“Get old, you can’t even cuss someone and have it bother ‘em. Everything you do is either worthless or sadly amusing. ”
which early on let you know something like ‘It wants the baby!’, that they become all too serious and morbid, but the mocking atmosphere developed through the amusing occurrences, worked in the end to contrast the sudden introduction of violence. It was the brute force with which the first film was thrust back at us, Katie’s possession and her murder of Micah that finally threw the power of this demonic presence into play. Instead of dancing around the severity and reality of this evil force, a neck is broken, another is thrown against a camera, and a baby taken. No time was spared with the rapid close to this film. If you have seen the first film, prepare to feel like an insider, to see the humour then the horror. If you haven’t, the fact that it’s a prequel will be lost on you, but perhaps you will wish you’d brought some popcorn to bury your face in a little more. HATTIE BARFORD
the youth of society, summarised by the metaphor of the mummy leeching away their very lives. However, as the film reaches its climax, it is demonstrated that, even in our twilight years, happiness and self-respect can be achieved through friendship and overcoming adversity. These are themes that should resonate with everyone. Much more terrifying than a mummy is the fear of being alone, growing old and feeling impotent; but the ability of the characters to surmount these fears provides the viewer with hope and are reasons I find the film to be an absolute classic. Along with this, the action sequences are surprisingly well-done and exciting. Check it out.
october 11 2010 Exeposé
Fear & Loathing at the BFI’s
Calum Baker and David Brake, Screen Editors, report on the biggest event on the British film
Left to right: George Clooney quietly dazzles in The American; Jim Broadbent and Ruth Sheen in Mike Leigh’s Another Year; Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley and an impressive Andrew Garfield in Never Let Me Go; SOME of the year’s biggest and best films are screened at London’s annual BFI-organised Film Festival, and this year... well, don’t let’s gush quite yet. We’re talking major premieres, from Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours to The King’s Speech starring Colin Firth, as well as the best from 2010’s festival circuit, including the Palme d’Or-winning Uncle Boonmee Recalls His Past Lives. Here, in Exeposé’s two-part guide to the Festival (continued next issue), we digest some of the exciting new films soon to be hitting our shores, and maybe sweeping our awards. Sit back, relax, and dip in and out of Part One of Exeposé’s LFF Guide.
The Big Players A GREAT deal of movies showing are by familiar names; one of the more low-key pictures on this past week has been Jan Svankmajer’s Surviving Life (Theory and Practice), a brand-new Surrealist ramble from the legendary Czech director/animator. Elsewhere, Oscar-nominated Julian Schnabel (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) quietly returns with Miral, featuring Slumdog Millionaire’s Freida Pinto. Miral offers a political, humanist story set within Israel’s Dar Al-Tifel orphanage; Surviving Life provides some typical Svankmajer existentialism. While both directors are acclaimed cult figures, the new films are unfortunately unlikely to break out – unlike another returning cult hero: Anton Corbijn. Corbijn’s previous effort, Control, told the story of Joy Division’s Ian Curtis. One of the most acclaimed films of 2007, it proved that the former rock photographer, known since the ‘80s for his gloomy Manchester imagery and
occasional music video dabbling, was a truly gifted film director. Corbijn certainly set himself a high standard. Does his new film The American live up to the hype? That’s a tough one. It depends on your mood. The cinematography is undoubtedly beautiful, with Swedish and Italian scenery alternately labyrinthine claustrophobia and wide, alienating spaces. It gives the perfect backdrop to George Clooney’s awardworthy performance – muted, gritty, complex and extremely enigmatic. The thing is: this is Corbijn’s take on the conventional thriller. The plot sees Clooney’s hitman Jack hiding out in rural Castelvecchio from some rival assassins, while a woman (Thekla Reuten) hires him to construct a gun for her own job. While an interesting genre deconstruction, the most interesting moments are actually the thriller parts – you know, the action and sex. The rest of the film seems a little too slow in comparison, and while the film has hit number one in the US box office, its misleading marketing has left many anticipating The A-Team and getting A Single Man-with-guns. Even if you understand the film as a non-thriller though, while there’s something mind-blowingly impressive about proceedings, it seems unclear what it is. Another fairly established director is Mark Romanek, who like Corbijn, is known for his music videos, returns. His last film, 2002’s One Hour Photo, featured an effective sympathetic badguy turn from Robin Williams, who dispensed with the hairy arms to play a lonely supermarket photo developer who obsesses over a ‘perfect’ family’s life as documented in their pics. Romanek’s adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel Never Let Me Go opened the Fes-
tival this year. NLMG’s a powerful film, haunting the audience long after the final credits. The film boasts the cream of British talent with Carey Mulligan and Andrew Garfield again justifying their fast ascents to the top of the A-list. Keira Knightley comes off worst here with her role as Ruth lacking the humanity and depth needed for the audience to truly connect with her. Nevertheless, the soundtrack is quite frankly one of the most beautiful of the last five years - just close your eyes and fully experience the exquisite violins and cellos. It is an ambitious and moving project but lacks that something that would cause it to bother award judges or even, arguably, the box office. It appears, then, that there are no really big films-most-likely-to this year, even amongst what would be the bigger cinematic players. This may change with the premiere of Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours on Thursday 28 (reviewed next issue), but for now most films have been worthy, though less than iconic. Similar, really, to this year’s Cannes, notoriously described as the most boring year in the festival’s history. Indeed, the Palme d’Or winner this year, the exceedingly odd Uncle Boonmee Recalls His Past Lives, is still failing to make waves over here. Arguably, of course, if an oblique avant-garde pic can’t make it in France, it won’t fare much better in the UK (on a side note, Jean-luc Godard’s new film Film Socialisme is showing). It should be said, though, that none of the ‘bigger’ films so far – The American, Never Let Me Go, Miral, Uncle Boonmee (recipient of the most prestigious goddamn film award out there!) look set to explode. Then again, these are all arguably
rather leftfield - indie slow-burners that suit a niche festival audience but aren’t likely to blow up. What has Hollywood brought to the table then? Nothing too inspiring, unfortunately. Last year we had the fantastic Fantastic Mr. Fox, this year we have Conviction. Taking its cue from the condescending and simplified Sandra Bullock Oscar-weepie The Blind Side more than anything else, Hilary Swank gives an Oscar-baiting performance as a woman who must earn a diploma and three degrees in order to defend her brother (Sam Rockwell) in court for a crime he didn’t commit. Of course the performances are great. It’s double Oscar-winner Swank. It’s critics’ favourite Rockwell. It’s just bloody perfect. It’s the most groansome flick released this year, and it’s all down to bland direction and a hyperbolically ‘inspiring’ story worthy of a Thursday afternoon TV movie. Frankly, if Corbijn and Romanek disappointed slightly, this film proves forever that established talent does not necessarily mean ‘Good’.
British Invasion So with Hollywood vomiting up little inspiration, maybe the British finally are coming, then? As always, there’s an interesting selection of new talent making films under our noses. If Conviction is an American Oscar-baiter, Londoner Tom Hooper is offering The King’s Speech, a story starring Colin Firth about King George VI’s rise to the throne and his personal struggle to overcome his stammer. With the trailer revealing the complete plot, The King’s Speech is not a film of much surprise and does not detour from its expected path. The film has the feel of a buddy comedy with a
traditional sentimentality and is an utter pleasure to watch. The King’s speech is shot well and efficiently enough. However, it is the acting that truly shines with each actor revelling in their individual roles. Geoffrey Rush shines brightest exuding charm and humour in every shot and we greatly expect a high number of Best Supporting Actor nominations come award season. Firth performs well as per usual but there is little for him to fully stretch himself. Further praise must go to Guy Pearce, Timothy Spall and Derek Jacobi who all ensure the film remains constantly enjoyable. This film fully deserve its acclaim and is definitely one to watch upon its release in January. Our up-and-comers are equally exciting – Richard “Moss from The IT Crowd” Ayoade is premiering his debut Submarine, a Film 4-produced dark comedy set in a Swansea secondary school. Ayoade, like so many directors this year, has moved into feature films from music videos, directing a string of Arctic Monkeys promos and their gig film Live at the Apollo. Meanwhile, Peter Mullan is offering us another coming-of-age tale in his native Glasgow, entitled Neds. Still practically unknown despite strong 2002 drama The Magdalene Sisters, Mullan has been working hard to become a well-known filmmaker in his own right - could he match up to Danny Boyle though, who directed him in Trainspotting and returns later this week? Boyle, with Shallow Grave, Trainspotting, 28 Days Later and Slumdog Millionaire, has usually been the man prompting overexcited journos to proclaim ‘the British are coming!’ and this year the country’s output does seem genuinely exciting.
Exeposé week four
54th London Film Festival
calendar and review the latest releases heading to a cinema near you in the next few months.
Chloe Moretz growing up in Let Me In. For now, we can anticipate Boyle’s return by comparing him to that other Brit film vet, Mike Leigh, who is promoting Another Year. It is Leigh’s most natural piece yet, in an oeuvre of semi-improvised, free-flowing films including Happy-Go-Lucky. Here the “plot” focuses on a year in the life of happily married couple Tom and Gerri (Jim Broadbent and Ruth Sheen). The main problem with this film is the extremely loose “plot” and lack of point. The film needed something approaching a purpose as such and, at times, it comes across as Leigh being rather selfindulgent. Then again, in normal everyday life, how often does one find closure? Do all the little questions really get answered? Leigh’s film is a good snapshot of middle class Britain with all the sly one-liners included. The central reason for watching this film is the acting and Broadbent and co. do not disappoint, seamlessly bouncing off one another with ease; you forget who they are and fully believe they are a family unit. It is a brilliant performance film, with older actors showing the young ones how it should be done. On a side note, it also has one of the most tragically sad final shots.
Where’s the blockbuster? Another Year is indicative of a trend we’ve noticed at this year’s Festival we seem to be seeing slower, more subtle character studies more than anything else. Let Me In, for instance, may be from the same corner of Hollywood that spat out Conviction, but it succumbs in its own way to the precedent set with NLMG, American and Another Year.
A moody and dark romantic horror (or horrific romance) which is brought to life by the brilliant acting on show; Kodi Smit-McPhee and Chloe Moretz have a stunning chemistry, one that was sorely lacking at times in NLMG, despite the fact that they only have the combined age of 27. If nothing else, Let Me In is a stunning showcase for these future hot talents. Elias Koteas and Richard Jenkins bring a necessary humanity and experience to the film adding a greater subtlety and humanity to proceedings. The problem is that Let Me In is exactly the same as Let The Right One In, the acclaimed breakout Swedish original from last year. There are so many similarities between them it becomes laughable – almost like watching the two versions of Funny Games. It’s strange, as when director Matt Reeves, of Cloverfield fame, actually attempts unique shots of his own, they work; such as the shot where we follow a car as it crashes and rolls down a hill. This is brilliant and highlights Reeves’ potential as a future player in the directing game. However, the script is so closely linked to the Swedish version, originality is a hard factor to infuse this project with. This is not to say that Let Me In is bad at all, it is just a pointless yet very good remake of a very good film. The point is, Let Me In may have popular talent and popular source material but it remains, like many other films this year, decidedly low-key. Again, due to its style, it is hard to say how popular it’s going to be. Maybe this is just an underwhelming festival this year. Maybe. Similarly, we’ve had Will Ferrellstarring Everything Must Go. Ferrell’s always been an effective actor but this, based on a Raymond Carver short story, will never be seen by even half of those
who bought the Anchorman DVD in their millions. Africa United, meanwhile, shows the journey taken by five African children as they travel over 3000 miles to reach the opening ceremony of the World Cup in South Africa. It sniffs of Stand by Me and Slumdog Millionaire but does not match either in terms of depth, style or acting. In fact, it is the acting of the adults that ruins sections of this film as they perform poorly and seem too self-conscious. On the other hand, the children bring an overwhelming amount of energy to the screen with debutant Eriya Ndayambaje who plays Dudu, shining brightest and bringing a smile to your face every moment he is on screen. His opening speech about condoms, Barack Obama and football is brilliant and sets the film up nicely. The film aims high but does fall short; its heart, though, is admirable, which is clear in every shot of this tiny 88-minute film. The inventive method of telling Dudu’s continuing story and the nice variety of shots highlight a part of Africa rarely seen before. Nowhere near the best film of the year, but certainly one of the happiest, Africa United is another weird anomaly - it had some fairly high-key buzz but... well, when you compare it to Slumdog which famously broke out during LFF ‘08. It hardly matches it.
How’s the first half faring? Think awards buzz. What do the respective institutions usually lap up? Inspiration, redemption, romance and tragic comedy. Like the murders in Scream, ‘There’s a formula to it! A very simple formula!’. So far, a few movies look likely to hit the BAFTAs and Oscars
rATINGs Africa United Dir: Debs GardnerPaterson Cast: Emmanuel Jal (12A) 87mins Out now
Let Me In Dir: Matt Reeves Cast: Chloe Moretz, Kodi Smit-McPhee (15) 116mins Released Nov 5
The American Dir: Anton Corbijn Cast: George Clooney (15) 105mins Released Nov 26
Never Let Me Go Dir: Mark Romanek Cast: Andrew Garfield, Keira Knightley (12A) 103mins Released Jan 21
Another Year Dir: Mike Leigh Cast: Jim Broadbent (12A) 129mins Released Nov 5 Conviction Dir: Tony Goldwyn Cast: Hilary Swank, Sam Rockwell (tbc) 107mins Release date tbc hard, particularly The King’s Speech. Maybe there’ll be some successes. Most of these movies, though, are just rather stock festival stuff - exciting and very good movies, but... where’s the explosion? Where’s the frothing critical hyperbole? A possible answer lies in The Social Network which came out on Friday 15 but had nothing to do with LFF. Has it taken away the hype? 127 Hours may change this...
The King’s Speech Dir: Tom Hooper Cast: Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter (tbc) 111mins Released Jan 7
Till next time, then, when we’ll be looking at Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan, a ballet drama starring Natalie Portman. The director’s last movie, The Wrestler, became massive and apparently he’s found Mickey Rourkematching star turns in, of all places, Natalie ‘wooden’ Portman and Mila ‘extra wooden’ Kunis. We’ll also have Festival closer 127 Hours and, as always, much, much more...
october 25 2010
James Henderson & Jacob Moffatt - email@example.com
A very novel November
ISBN: 0340896965 David Nicholls’ novel isn’t a typical love story although it is a story of love. Emma and Dexter become friends in 1988, they have just passed their A-levels and they are about to plunge headfirst into the real life. It’s July 15, St Swithin’s Day, and they spend some hours together and then depart from each other’s lives. Dexter goes on a trip to India, Emma tries to find a job. That is how the story of a lifelong friendship between Emma and Dexter begins. Nicholls allows the reader to peek into the lives of Emma and Dexter on that special day only, on their ‘anniversary’.
“Nicholls has written a
simple, moving, poetic tours de temps novel”
Alice Scoble-Rees, Video Games Editor, commits herself to the challenge of writing a novel in the next month and urges you to do the same.
Now, we’re all friends here guys, so I’m just going to come out and say it. My name is Alice, I’m an English student, and I secretly do creative writing. Wow, you know I do kind of feel better already, though I always suspected I was in good company. Most English students have unfinished bits-of-parts-of-chapters of novels that will undoubtedly change the world and become bestsellers hidden on their hard drives, even if many of us don’t like to admit it and wouldn’t think about showing anyone else just yet. Point of fact, I’m doing a Creative Writing module next term as an outlet – and to discover once and for all if I’m actually any good. There are, however, other outlets, and a particularly impressive one is coming up very soon. NaNoWriMo, an abbreviation of ‘National Novel Writing Month’ that’s fun to read and to say, takes place every November, and since humble beginnings in 1999 (when only around 20 people participated) it’s only getting bigger – last year’s event saw 170 000 people sign up, writing an estimated 2.4 billion words between them. But I’m getting ahead of myself. NaNoWriMo is completely free to join, not-for-profit competition – main-
ly with yourself – to write a novel. In a month. And you don’t win anything, save a sweet, sweet sense of pride. Sold yet? I’ll outline some more of the rules. You have from midnight on November 1 ‘til 11:59:59 on November 30 to write 50 000 words, be they a full self-contained novel or part of a larger work. These words can be on any subject, any theme of any genre, even fan fiction if your tastes run that way; as the FAQ on the official website states: “If you believe you’re writ-
“It’s only getting bigger
- Last year’s event saw 170 000 people sign up, writing an estimated 2.4 billion words between them”
ing a novel, we believe you’re writing a novel too.” You can plan, but not actually write any of, your novel beforehand or you can wing it like a total pro. It’s very much down to you. Your novel can be in any language, and can be as imperfect as a novel written in 30 days should. NaNoWriMo is about proving to yourself that, yes, it can be done! Those half-finished bits of prose you have knocking about can become a full piece of work that, whilst being far from perfect, can at least be edited until it is. I’m pretty sure Shakespeare, Tolkien et al. went through more than just the one draft. Hell, Stephanie Meyer managed to knock something up in three months and I think we all
know we can do better than that. Admit it; you’re at least intrigued now. Still need more huh? NaNoWriMo is a worldwide event that has a great sense of community. If you ever get a bit of the notorious Writer’s Block you can log on to the forums, where there is already a lively debate underway generating a host of ideas and general merriment about the month to come. When you join you also get the option to affiliate yourself with a local area – ours being Devon/Cornwall – and launch parties are being planned, so you get to socialise in real life rather than just be a strange literary shut in with delusions of grandeur. I myself watched NaNoWriMo from afar for many a year, watched as friends and acquaintances were sucked in. I was nervous about signing up to it, as if the very act would be acknowledging something profoundly pretentious about my character. Then I decided that, damn it all, it might be pretentious, but I don’t care. I want to know that I have it in me to write 50 000 continuous words of narrative. That if I really put my mind to it I could produce a book, even if it ends up as one of those paperbacks you seen in airports with bright orange covers. This year I’m dipping my toe in the sea of words, if you’ll forgive the hackneyed metaphor. I’m just warming up baby, but there’s plenty of time for the rest of you to join me. C’mon, “let’s write laughably awful yet lengthy prose together.” My name is Alice. I’m an English student, I do creative writing and this year I won’t be ashamed.
Surprisingly enough, it affects neither the structure of the narration nor the credibility of the story. It does not matter that there is a gap year. Nicholls chose his characters to be ordinary people. The effect is that they experience the weight of the everyday life on their shoulders. The book is mesmerizing because of this ordinariness caught by Nicholls’ in his poetic style.
We Need To TalkAbout Kevin Lionel Shriver ISBN: 1852428899 Dark, intense and compelling; Lionel Shrivers’ 2003 novel We Need to Talk about Kevin skillfully addresses vital issues concerning parenthood, family, morality and our human desperation to find meaning in every event. Set in modern day America, the story is narrated by Eva Khatchadourian, who is reflecting, in a series of letters to her husband Franklin, on their life together leading up to the day, which she refers to as Thursday, where their son Kevin carries out a massacre in his high school. This horrific event shatters not only the lives of their victims, but Eva’s life as well. From the beginning you are aware that the story is leading up to the massacre, this creates a tension within the text that may not have been there otherwise. It is clear that Kevin is not a normal child from the beginning; Eva describes him as being different, closed off and deviously intelligent. The nature versus nurture debate is engaged fiercely in this novel, as Eva unashamedly admits to disliking Kevin from the start and it is her almost distasteful honesty which makes her an intriguing character to get to know. Although she is extremely flawed, judgmental, and hypocritical, it cannot be certain
Dexter and Emma experience years of hope and failure, they fall in and out of friendships and love relationships and there are births, marriages and deaths that have to be somehow dealt with. Throughout 19 years the characters change hugely as they try to make sense of their lives, the world and reality in general. Nicholls has written a simple, moving and poetic tour de temps novel in which he displays his fascination with human life and experience where joy and sorrow are woven into its structure. Furthermore, the novel focuses in parts on changes in British society where the altering of the habits takes place, new fads and new modes of thinking are being acquired and then thrown away. Among that, the significance of this ‘one day’ is lyricly overwhelming for it is wrapped with a sense of finality; just as Dexter and Emma have a limited number of St Swithin’s Days, so do we. Human life is bound to end and we have literally no control over this fact. Nonetheless, Nicholls compells the readers so that they almost hold their collective breath in waiting for the moment when Emma and Dexter will finally admit their feelings. As the time passes and the pages are being turned the reader is bound to ask: will they ever find each other? Remember, this isn’t an old- fashioned love story. ANITA JAROS how reliable her description of the events are. It is tempting, and entirely plausible to blame Eva for Kevin’s actions; her narrative will make you feel at times infuriated, she is a bad mother, yet at other times you will feel great sympathy and sorrow for her. With this novel Shriver is insisting that you look deeper into what causes people to do things which society views as evil, and if the way which society deals with these issues is right, wrong or useful.
“The books promises a lot but and does not fail to deliver, it has the makings of a modern classic” It is not surprising that We Need to Talk About Kevin won the 2005 Orange Prize. Shriver beautifully and skillfully addresses many issues and questions facing our modern day society, such as why people decide to have children, and whether is it right or wrong to blame parents for all the mistakes of their offspring. It delves even deeper by asking what, if anything at all, causes people to do unspeakable evil? We Need to Talk about Kevin slowly builds up to an explosive, haunting and unforgettably shocking conclusion. The book promises a lot and does not fail to deliver: it has the makings of a modern classic. ALICE GREENWOOD
Exeposé week four The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
tion that allows for frankly hilarious passages (detective Hercule Poirot is introduced threatening to murder a vegetable marrow), and one genuinely surprising solution. At the end, not only are we made to kick ourselves for not having noticed the, retrospectively obvious, clues, but we also reconsider the whole way in which we have read the novel. Surely, this is what James Joyce and Virginia Woolf make us do. Although Christie is no neglected modernist, this is one book that does not deserve to be snubbed. The story itself is formulaic: characters are introduced, one of them dies, alibis are explored, secrets are exposed, the solution is revealed, and everyone is miraculously happy again. Still, the literary seeds that change everything are here sewn. It is books like The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, attacking the murder mystery conventions from thoroughly within, that open the doors to more adventurous takes on the genre, like Ian Rankin’s Rebus series and the evocative work of Barbara Vine. Nearly 85 years on, can we still take anything from this book? It is cer-
Agatha Christie ISBN: 0425173895
The tradition in universities is to sniff at Agatha Christie. Surely, her books are not the stuff of serious intellectual merit, so why should we pay them any attention? Nonetheless, very few novels have changed the face of English literature so forcibly as The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. First published in 1926, it tore open the ‘whodunnit’ genre, its unorthodox conclusion forcing readers to apply a hermeneutic of suspicion, in every respect, to mystery fiction.
“Although Christie is no neglected modernist, this is one book that does not deserve to be snubbed” All the hallmarks of Christie at her best are in this book: an engaging plot, suitably two-dimensional characterisa-
Atomised Michel Houellebecq ISBN: 0099283360
Atomised, the winner of the 2002 International IMPACT Dublin literary award, is a bleak and potentially prophetic novel by the French born writer Michel Houellebecq. Following the fictional lives of two distant half brothers Bruno and Michel as examples of modern alienation, Houellebecq argues that humans in our current age have completely lost the ability to interact successfully with others or even to be at peace with themselves.
“Houellebecq has set out to make the reader feel genuine pain and grief for western humanity as a whole, not specifically Bruno and Michel” Highlighting the plastic, aesthetically and individually centred nature of the late 20th century, the brothers’ parents are groundless and unreliable products of the 1960’s sexual revolution, who set the scene for the their sons’ social and personal failures. In turn Bruno himself is equal in his failure at being a father, leaving his wife and child out of boredom and finding himself unable to connect with his growing son. Instead he is sex obsessed, emotionally lazy and ultimately, as he concludes himself, largely useless to society. Correspondingly the reader may feel more in common with Bruno’s brother Michel, the closest thing the novel has to a hero, who, as an asexual scientific genius, is involved in developing a new scientific theory of human evolution. However, Michel is a character who is emotionally drained throughout, as if all his passions have been spent on a previous life that
The Lovely Bones Alice Sebold
reflects back hauntingly in the novel’s finale with Michel’s scientific conclusions. With such sombre characters repeatedly suffering emotional failures of epic proportions it could come as a surprise that Atomised still manages to be throughout intensely funny, thought provoking and addictive. What makes it so is Houellebecq’s mastery of surreal story telling which brings the bizarre effortlessly to light without forcing the reader to plunge fully into the murkiest waters that his characters frequent. Having been described as the “prophet of pessimism” it is most likely for the best that Houellebecq has not attached the reader too emotionally to his characters, but instead left his novel with a quasi comic-tragedy edge. Any closer connection with Bruno and Michel’s lives could have thrown the reader on a dramatic emotional rollercoaster and would have distracted attention away from the analogy Houellebecq attempts to create. Instead viewing Houellebecq characters as fictionally useful vehicles allows the reader to rationally examine the author’s arguments, theories and opinions. After all, Houellebecq has set out to make the reader feel genuine pain and grief for western humanity as a whole, not specifically Bruno and Michel. In this way, through the portrayal of the two brothers’ life stories, the novel can be described as an attempt to shine a comprehensive critical mirror on postwar western society and in many ways Houellebecq is successful in this; consumerism, popular culture, sex, wealth and power are all examined and effectively critiqued to various extents. Despite these successful critiques, within the dark worlds that his characters inhibit, worlds of male middle-aged depression, sexual frustration and ponderings on the futility of life, Houellebecq may have reflected the mirror more strongly on himself and his ilk than the society he hoped to examine as a whole.
Alice Sebold’s novel The Lovely Bones is, hands down, one of the best books I have ever read. The way Sebold writes takes an easy readable approach, making it accessible to anyone. It is written like a novel intended for a teenage market but covers such deep and serious issues, that it becomes an interesting combination of styles, definitely aimed for a more mature audience. Although the novel is written in a basic, everyday style, it brings in fantastical qualities with the idea that Susie is in limbo between earth and heaven. This is where she observes the lives of her family and clings on to their world. It combines a harsh, seemingly real situation with something fantasy based, giving the audience almost a sense of relief from the intense plot. In a way, this also gives you a sense of hope that the afterlife allows your loved ones to still watch and communicate with you. It portrays a very beautiful interpretation of something unknown. Through Susie’s observation and Sebold’s descriptions of relationships, I found myself incredibly attached to the relationship Susie has with her father. Sebold portrays perfectly the love a father has for his daughter. Numerous times, when reading about what the father goes through and what he does for his daughter, I found myself crying; even now it evokes some of the same emotion. She truly captures a family’s love. As cheesey as it sounds, The Lovely Bones is one of those books that make such an impact on you, especially your perception of family and loss. I didn’t want the book to end. I definitely want to read Sebold’s other novels, albeit now with high expectations. Although having a grim underbelly and not exactly a typical happy ending, The Lovely Bones is one of those books you have to read.
The Last Testament of Oscar Wilde Peter Ackroyd ISBN: 0349100594
The LAST TESTAMENT OF OSCAR WILDE is a fantastic amble through the life of one of the most idiosyncratic men in history: a man whose wit entertained thousands of his contemporaries and whose personal life shocked many more, from those who applauded his dramas, to those outside on the streets. A high order to make then: to recreate Wilde in a novel and as said, I thought it did!
“A hard task to keep a man, who is supposed to hate himself, appealing to a reader” Ackroyd, himself a gay author enthralled with London, writes the novel in the form of a diary kept during Wilde’s final years in exile, living in the Parisian suburbs. The tone is kept discursive and infrequently emotive, as the playwright records his life in France interspersed with discussion of his old life. It charts his family background and childhood, his education and rise to prominence, finally ending with his
tainly dated: no Harlan Coban thriller would allow a character to say “the calls on my purse have been so frequent of late” without appearing inconspicuous. But Christie’s lucidity serves her well, allowing her to timelessly dupe the reader, the murderer admitting that “I ascertained that life was extinct” early on, and to deliver one-liners that never go out of style. Add to that the downright beauty of the form and you have a fairly convincing argument. The ending is genuinely haunting, as the relationship between the detective, the criminal, the victim, the author and the reader is called into question through one simple gesture of symmetry. The New Yorker famously asked, “Who Cares Who Killed Roger Ackroyd?” The fact that this novel has never been out of print since publication, and the fact that numerous critical volumes and dissertations have been written about it, suggest that people do care. Roger Ackroyd was killed by Agatha Christie with her typewriter in 1926; if she had never done it, who knows where popular fiction would be? JAMIE BERNTHAL
descent, as he, Ackroyd, has it, into his darker lifestyle. Ackroyd bolsters the sense of reading from Wilde’s actual diary by the creation of anecdotes and stories (I’m not sure whether they were true), and not only are they in the tone of the man, but also display the supreme ability of Ackroyd. For instance, his use of paradox is masterful, and again very much in keeping with Wilde, and his fey, often self-deprecating descriptions of people are of that very likable, humble style, keeping you sympathetic with the character. A person who, throughout the novel, has to admit to licentiousness and manipulation; a hard task to keep a man, who is supposed to hate himself, appealing to a reader. Throughout the novel are various outstanding passages as well: the description of his time in Reading, and the writing of the Ballad (often considered his Magnum Opus) are done fantastically. The very real sense of despair and self-loathing means Wilde is painted as someone who looks back with huge regret. Constance, Wilde’s wife, is featured throughout and described in huge sympathy and regret…again (not a happy man); as well as in a well-shaped love, especially as he recounts the affairs that she, even in knowledge (as the novel has it), ignores, and the visits to him after his conviction. Halfway through lies a very lucid discussion of homosexuality: defiantly the more personal of the entries, with an apt exploration of, what Ackroyd calls, “symmetrical love”. All in all, a fantastic, erudite but breezy read: it is a sort of hybrid between prose and a book on philosophy and I love it for that. It very faithfully portrays a brilliant man in possibly his worst years, and easily sweeps the reader in with all the stories of a charmed life, and (I guess) then a cursed one. It isn’t hugely gripping but is so well worth a read, and hey: looks good on the bookshelf. JACK FLANAGAN
october 25 2010
Rosie Scudder & Ellie Steafel - firstname.lastname@example.org
Stand up and see Counted Rosie Scudder & Ellie Steafel, Arts Editors, interview Mimi Poskitt, Artistic Director of Look Left Look Right Theatre Company, about their current show, Counted.
ON paper, a documentary play about British democracy sounds like it could make for a potentially dry night at the theatre. However, after speaking to Mimi Poskitt about the theatre company’s most recent in a string of critically acclaimed shows, we were soon persuaded otherwise. Despite the media frenzy surrounding this year’s elections, the voter turnout came in at a relatively poor 65.1%, only 4% up on 2005. It seems not even the TV debates, with all their promise of excitement and drama, could rouse apathetic voters. It was this lack of involvement that prompted Look Left Look Right Theatre Company to create a piece of verbatim theatre about the British public’s relationship with democracy. Collaborating with Professor Stephen Coleman, a leading political scientist concerned with methods of political engagement, the company combined Coleman’s research with their own to create Counted. Both Coleman and the company interviewed a wide array of people, from a group of 70 year-old pensioners to Alastair Campbell and the head of ITV, creating their play from these real
people’s words. When asked what effect these interviews had on the show, Poskitt describes them as “a very real, transparent way of representing someone.” As a company concerned with creating documentary theatre, Look Left Look Right stuck closely to the interviews, transcribing them to form a script from which their play evolved. Poskitt was keen to overthrow the pre-conceived ideas that people may have about a politically based play: “We want to engage people in a light-hearted way. Counted isn’t a political drama, it isn’t dry and boring. It’s a funny, entertaining take on the British public’s true relationship with voting.”
“Counted isn’t a political drama. It’s a funny, entertaining take on the British public’s true relationship with voting.” For Poskitt and the company, the process of researching, creating and performing Counted has shed light on the public’s attitude towards voting. Poskitt assured us that “the solution isn’t just to go and vote, the issue is why aren’t they going to the ballot box in the first place? It’s not just apathy, people are engaged, they just don’t feel represented in Westminster.” Counted is playing at the Drum Theatre, Plymouth October 26-30.
theatre review Told by the Wind @ The Phoenix Centre October 12 2010 TOLD by the Wind, presented by the Llanarth Group at the Phoenix Arts Centre, takes a post-dramatic approach in demonstrating a form of psychophysical theatre. Phillip Zarrilli, actor, director, actor-trainer and lecturer of Drama at the University, performs alongside Jo Shapland in a piece based on his Asian teaching methods. The performance created what seemed at first to be ‘nothing’. Little movement and almost no dialogue meant a silent and slow-paced spectacle
was in order for the audience. However, despite the fact there seemed to be no clear narrative to the piece, I found it extremely engaging. In Western culture, theatre tends to tell a story, using dialogue and structured narrative to do so. The fact that this piece is based on Japanese theatre styles means it offers us something completely unrecognisable in our society. The stillness engaged me completely, the lack of physicality creating an aura in the room. Every time small movements were made I was engrossed by the control and focus the actors had over themselves and the audience. As there was no set narrative, the performance was very open to audience interpretation. The two characters
“In Western culture theatre tends to tell a story, using dialogue and structured narrative to do so. The fact that this piece is based on Japanese theatre styles means it offers us something completely unrecognisable in our society.”
seemed distanced from each other. Zarrilli as a writer who occasionally broke from his writing and spoke, and Shapland who performed purely through movement (though often static), seemingly unaware of the other character. I interpreted this as her being a figment of the writer’s imagination. He is writing a story or poem and we physically see his thoughts of this woman. I also felt that perhaps she could be a ghost, as there was something haunting about
her character, along with the fact that the ghost figure is typical of Japanese Noh Theatre. The audience were able to formulate their own view on what the piece represented, which created a unique experience for each individual. Despite the unclear intentions of the performance, it offered its audience a form of euphoric minimalism. It definitely succeeded in capturing my attention, causing me to anticipate what, if anything, would happen next. After see-
ing this performance I feel I can now appreciate different cultures when observing theatre. Rather than viewing it as a possibly pretentious piece of work making a statement by breaking the Western norm, I think it demonstrates how theatre is a language in itself. The language of theatre does not rely on dialogue to convey meaning, instead, it creates its own. SARAH YEOMAN
Exeposé week four
Sculpture Trail @ Streatham Campus
WHILE the Forum Project may be cluttering the University skylines, and the scenes of academic paradise are currently somewhat jaded by cranes, construction vehicles and diversions, it
is important to find space on the campus to find beauty in our environment. The Guided Sculpture Walk is the ideal way to reflect and experience some fantastic artwork. The sculptures are largely unaffected by the building work, and stand as a reminder of what was, and what will be again on
theatre review Twelfth Night @ The Northcott Theatre October 5 2010
“IF music be the food of love, play on.” A powerful echo engulfed the theatre as every person in the room repeatedly chanted these famous words. No, I had not joined a cult, it was simply Filter Theatre’s production of Twelfth Night. A modern take on the Shakespearean classic, this lively and often anarchic version saw the well loved play descend into an alcohol-fuelled party. Sobriety amongst the cast was scarce by the end and tequila was even offered to the audience. We were also invited to throw sponge balls at Sir Andrew Aguecheek (Jonathan Broadbent). This caused many laughs, but felt unnecessary After all, Twelfth Night is a great comedy in itself (though perhaps I am bitter as I had no sponge ball). Music did indeed “play on” in a whole cast jam session that punctuated the play. This meaningless addition was a bit too lengthy for my liking, though the conga line that weaved amongst the stalls amused young and old alike. The interaction between the cast and the audience was intimate. Viola (Poppy Miller) even asked a member of the audience for a coat to complete her transformation into Sebastian. Discarded litter scattered the undecorated stage along with a cluster of electronic equipment and even a member of the production team at the back. It felt like I had intruded into a rehearsal, making the play feel incomplete rather than intimate.
Unlike other productions of Twelfth Night, the small cast meant a lot of character doubling - a clever idea but also somewhat confusing to those without a solid knowledge of the play. The acting was average, though commendations go to Sir Toby Belch (Oliver Dimsdale) as the only one in Jacobean costume. His flamboyant stage presence was introduced as, with skull in hand, he bellowed a Hamlet soliloquy - an in-
campus. You may have already seen some of the sculptures around campus without realising they are in fact works of art. For example, the striking yellow and green geometric gateway by Devonshire House is a piece by Robert Leigh that goes unappreciated on a daily basis by busy students. The white metallic sundial by Amory is also easily overlooked if you are in a rush to get to tutorials. Actually completing the sculpture walk is about taking time to slow down, and look more carefully at the beautiful things around us. It may sound idealistic, but following the trail leads you to locations that you otherwise may not ever visit, allowing you to view the campus in a new light. Highlights include the stunning Barbara Hepworth piece on the grass near Queens Building, which is often passed and overlooked. For those who want an informative rather than a reflective journey there is a fantastic service where you can hire iPods with details of the work that guides you on a walk past the sculptures. Gina Cox, curator of fine art, comments that “when wandering
around a gallery or looking at sculptures in an outdoor space you sometimes spend more time reading the description notes than actually looking at the art. The iPod audio explanation will free you of this restriction by enabling you to focus on the sculpture and its setting.”
“Completing the sculpture walk is about taking time to slow down, and look more carefully at the beautiful things around us.” The most exciting prospect of the sculpture walk is the possible return of Henry Moore as part of the Forum Project. This will complete the 24 strong sculpture collection and it will be lovely to have ‘Reclining Connected Forms’ back in the walk.
Editors’ Top 10 1. Pieces
Xpession FM Radio Play October 25
2. Krapp’s Last
Play by Samuel Beckett October 26-30 Bikeshed Theatre
3. Punk Rock
Play October 26-30 Theatre Royal, Plymouth
4. English Touring spired addition that emphasised his comical, and in most parts inebriated, character. The madness of Malvolio (Ferdy Roberts) was also brilliantly portrayed and, although humorous, was so intense it was almost chilling. The energy in such an experimental production was certainly entertaining. However, it did require a prior understanding of the play. The beauty of romance, the grief-stricken Illyria and the tongue-in-cheek
spoonerisms were lost in this heavily abridged and often confusing version. Instead, these were replaced by blasts of techno music, synthesisers and beer drinking cast members. Ultimately, I felt that the eloquence of the original was not fully captured in this modern twist and that Twelfth Night was blemished rather than revitalised. JESSICA LEUNG
Opera: Double Bill October 29-30 Northcott Theatre
5. Ardal O’Hanlon Comedy October 31 Northcott Theatre
6. Last Orders
Play October 31 Bikeshed Theatre
Dance November 2-3 Northcott Theatre
8. Rogues and
Play by SourDough November 2-4 Bikeshed Theatre
9. Frankenstein -
Play November 5-6 Bikeshed Theatre
10. Josie Long: Be
Comedy November 7 The Phoenix Centre
october 25 2010 Exeposé
opera review The Magic Flute @ The Bikeshed Theatre October 15 2010 EVEN on paper I was expecting something different. Mozart with a 1920’s jazz club twist? The poster shows the eighteenth century gen-
ius behind a drum kit. Intriguing. The Bike Shed Theatre, only having opened in February this year, has already made a huge impact on the Exeter theatre scene with its quirky and intimate performances. The stage is in fact a relaxed lounge bar with brick walls, book shelves and the audience sipping wine in various
squishy armchairs. The bike hanging off the wall does not look out of place in this eccentric basement. In fact, it is worth going to see a show here just to see the toilets - you are encouraged to write all over the walls in chalk. Lights dim and the music begins. Not an orchestra, but a jazz quartet, elegant in 1920s attire. Cat
“The stage is in fact a relaxed lounge bar with brick walls, bookshelves and the audience sipping wine in various squishy armchairs. The bike hanging off the wall does not look out of place in this eccentric basement.” Hardy’s saxophone (which replaces the flute) is simply beautiful and the band seems never to miss a beat. The Magic Flute is based on a traditional love quest with Tamino (Simon Pontin) searching for the captive Pamina (Stephanie Green) held by the evil Sarasto (Ben Wills) who is in this version an owner of a burlesque club. They are fine actors, but it is the lesser characters that make the most impact. The Queen of the Night (Paloma Bruce) stuns with her powerful and perfectly controlled voice.
“The production showcases talent from the University, with its Musical Director Katherine Brooks, Ben Wills and Andy Kelly all recent graduates. ” Her enormous white wig commands attention. The character of hapless Papageno provides many comical moments, although I spent most of the time thinking he would soon twist
his ankle tottering around in those heels. His antics make the audience self-aware and therefore the often absurd nature of the plot is as relaxed as the setting and always entertaining. The production showcases a lot of talent from the University, with its Musical Director Katherine Brooks, Ben Wills (Sarastro) and Andy Kelly (Papageno) all recent graduates. Lucy Glasscoe and Dan North, both third years and members of the University’s Soul Choir, join Katherine to create an admirable chorus that really captures the audience’s imagination. They also managed some speedy costume changes: going from gangster to flapper in about 30 seconds. I am, however, unsure whether they got the balance right between music and theatre. Any Mozart enthusiast would find it hard to recognise the melody in places. Have The Bike Shed taken music out of the opera? Or have they made it more accessible for the cynical modern audience? Have they in fact, been true to the composer in its daring? Go and see for yourself.
comedy review Alexei Sayle @ The Phoenix Centre October 14 2010
ALEXEI SAYLE, an undisputed comedy legend, is described by Stewart Lee as having (with a small group of his contemporaries) “destroyed the British hegemony of Upper-class Oxbridge Satirical Songs and Working Class Bow Tie-Sporting Racism” and then, with those “smashed idols”, replaced it with “egalitarian” sanctuaries such as the The Comedy Store and The Comic Strip. Sayle takes to the stage in casual, dress-down attire and from the off, the mood is as relaxed as the writer’s choice of clothes, the audience confident in giving Sayle the encouragement and laughter he commands. Much of this must be down to his awareness of this particular audience. Sayle points out early on that he has played this venue more than any other in the country, then humorously reassures us that he doesn’t just say this to every city to deviously earn their appreciation. It was evident from the handpicked anecdotes chosen for the show that the book is littered with hilarious incidents
from the early years of a boy raised in a communist household not far from Anfield. One particularly funny and polarizing story describes his parents forbidding the young Alexei from seeing the “capitalist propaganda” that was Bambi and instead taking him to see Sergei Eisenstein’s Alexander Nevsky. What sets the reflections on his communist upbringing apart from musings about hotel comment books and his mother’s foul mouth, is that they are
“One of Sayle’s key strengths comes from his ability to puncture any illusions of pomposity, referring to certain pretentious arts magazines simply as ‘twats’ ” not only intensely funny but also subtly moving. This is presumably because we are permitted to see Sayle as the outsider: a child who ventured beyond the Iron Curtain on family holidays, as opposed to Mallorca or Blackpool.
“With a keen sense of self-awareness he mocks both himself and his media image by describing himself as ‘petty bourgeois’ and a ‘serious, proper’ writer.”
The one mild hindrance to the evening was the format in which it was delivered. The first half was dedicated to a medley of excerpts from the book and pre-prepared anecdotes to give them context, and the second was reserved for Q&A. It was in the second half that the show began to suffer with a mixture of tame questions and audience members attempting to make their questions as funny as Sayle’s responses. But this is the nature of the beast and no criticism of Sayle of course, who did all he could with what he was given, demonstrating not only modest sincerity in his answers but honed improvisational skills that could only have been acquired as a regular on the comedy circuit for years. One of Sayle’s key strengths comes from his ability to puncture any illusions of pomposity, referring to certain pretentious arts magazines simply as “twats”. This fits in well with the style of the performance. In past interviews Sayle has modestly explained that he
viewed himself as the prototype of the Alternative Comedian, shouting and berating his audiences into submission with bolshy vitriol, until the more refined and quieter Frank Skinner came along to takeover. With a keen sense of self-awareness he mocks both himself and his media image by describing himself as “petty bourgeois” and
a “serious”, “proper” writer. The joke of course works because everyone can gauge from his manner and delivery that he is still very much the same man who broke the top twenty with the screeching “Ullo John! Gotta New Motor?” Sayle might now vaguely resemble ‘Santa’ (as the woman sat next to me observed) but it’s not difficult to envisage him even now, shouting into the camera in a high-pitched Liverpudlian accent with a suit that’s obviously one size too small. MATTHEW HIGHMORE
law careers fair 3 and 4 November 2010, 1.30-4.30pm Cornwall House, Streatham Campus
Visit th e fair to be in with a chanc e of winning an iPod shuffle!
All students welcome New two day format. Different companies will be exhibiting each day. To view a list of exhibitors visit www.exeter.ac.uk/employability Sponsored by
october 25 2010
Stephen O’Nion & Alice Scoble-Rees - email@example.com
Firstly the news that singlehandedly damns the video games industry; a Stanford University of Medicine experiment involving 1000 children reports how playing video games for more than two hours a day puts the player at greater risk of pyschological problems. Having gamed, the children, aged 10-11 were then expected to report their psychological well-being. And if we can’t trust tweens to rate psychological effects, who can we trust? However, to all of those who are of legal age, Cosmopolitan has better news. The latest issue claims that women who go to a video games arcade (they still exist?) or play Wii with their partner get more sex. Though the evidence is a three year old survey, it’s a much happier story than the one above.Hurray for gaming. With director David O. Russell attached to the upcoming film adaptation of Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, now Nathan Fillion has began a Twitter campaign to support his claim to the role. And this video games section has decided to throw its considerable influence behind the campaign. Get Malcolm Reynolds to El Dorado! In more serious news, ASDA has decided to start buying and selling second-hand games in the majority of it nationwide locations in a move that is sure to cause problems for shops like Gamestation and Game. Tesco, too, has been trialling a similar scheme and will be looking to roll it out to Tesco Extra stores within a matter of weeks. For new games it seems Steam’s popularity is soaring as they recently announced 30 million registered users. Furthermore, Valve has reported 200% sales growth in the trialing 12 months, and I, for one, welcome our new Valve overlords.
Super Smash Bros: Melee: HAL; Nintendo, Gamecube. 2001
Falcon...Punch! You all know what I mean when I say that Super Smash Bros is possibly the craziest fighting game ever made. This is no mean feat when you consider that the genre contains fireball throwing karate champions, Wolverineclawed gimps and the most ridiculous ‘jigglephysics’ known to man. Oh, and Wolverine fighting Chris Redfield. Amongst all this madness stands Super Smash Bros: Melee, a brain blowing, screen destroying,
Tweaker’s Paradise Alexander Boni writes how the overclocker’s toolkit is the best piece of kit any gamer could buy.
The personal computer was, is and always will be the king of gaming platforms. There, I said it. QQ all you want about it, but it’s true. I’ve owned XBoxes, Playstations and even, as ashamed as I am to admit it, a Wii. Heck, even my svelte life-enhancing device that I am told is called an iPhone 4 is considered a gaming platform now. So why is it with this ever more competitive arena for game developers to flourish their latest masterpieces and ‘mares is it that the oldest competitor of them all is still at the top? You could ask any real gamer the same question and they’d give you a different answer. A great deal of my love for the ubiquitous platform stems from its inherent and extensive ability to tweak. It’s difficult to describe how rewarding it feels to squeeze 4 gigahertz out of a low budget processor that is rated to run at a meagre 3.2 gigahertz. Not only have you gotten an incred-
ible performance boost at a cost of zero to yourself, but you’ve also immediately enhanced your gaming framerates and allowed your computer to handle more graphically complex and technologically challenging games. I have managed to eke the fabled 4GHz out of my computer’s AMD quad core processor and have also managed to bump the speeds of my graphics card up to those of a model that cost a paltry £70 more. Admittedly, I am at the mid-range of the tweaker spectrum. There are people who get off on suicide runs – literally freezing a processor with liquid nitrogen or liquid helium to temperatures as low as -100 C to post insane speeds touching a mind-boggling 8GHz. There are those who build and design their own water cooling loops or who incorporate refrigerators’ compressors to achieve sub-zero temperatures. At the opposite end of the spectrum, you have modders, people whose tools of choice are a Dremel and a pencil, creating computers that are truly unique in their aesthetics. Internet forums are choc-full of enthusiasts showing off their latest and greatest achievements to the envious eyes of their peers and this has been a mainstay of the computing industry since the 1980s. Microprocessor giants AMD and Intel have, for years, retailed their manufacturing batches with the highest overclockability, much higher to cater to and extort the enthusiast community (although this is somewhat counter to the original tenets of overclocking, i.e. buying cheaper hardware to push further). But how does this all relate to the gamer? Simple, really. As impoverished students we are all inclined to scrimp
button mashing monstrosity where Pikachu is a Thunder God and swords can beat power armour. Smash Bros has possibly the most diverse character lists of any game...ever. What other game has futuristic bounty hunters, destiny driven swordsmen, monstrous apes and super powered creatures fighting a small, fat plumber... and losing. The gameplay in Smash Bros is ludicrous but amazing. It adds platforming and sidescrolling elements to the standard 2D fighter, and throws pokéballs and lightsabers in the mix for a bit of fun. If, when playing, you do not at some point scream at the screen in frustration that someone beat you to the hammer, or that Pikachu’s Down-B is overpowered, then you aren’t play-
ing it right. Smash Bros is a buttonsmasher like no other, with every move resulting in utter confusion and the occasional blinding explosion. The only downside from all the madness is that it can get a tad confusing and you may lose where your particular character is on the screen, usually to spot them just before they fall to their death. It is definitely the variety of characters that makes Smash Bros such a fantastic game. I’ve only owned a copy since two weeks before term started, and have already found a couple of favourites, as have my housemates. This is what makes it a great game; the easiness with which it can be picked up and the attachment people form to the characters. While I’m aware that people play Smash Bros at a professional level (like all fighters) I can’t help but feel that its place is in the living room, with four very inexpert people bellow-
ing at the screen, gloating at each minor victory, and staying up ‘til 1am to unlock every last character. The Smash Bros series are brilliant games, maybe not in the same way that Ocarina of Time or Half Life are brilliant, but great in its own, fairly imperfect way. Its brilliance is its ability to get four people who don’t really game to sit down and spend most of the evening smashing controllers into powder. James Smith
and save wherever possible to make that measly maintenance loan go as far as it possibly can. Overclocking is an art form that originated from savers and, despite being perpetuated mainly by those with a desire to score kudos from their fellow tweakers, at its core is still the digital art of the financial Jedi. I know that I will want to play Crysis 2 when it hits the shelves in March next year. I also know that, like its prequel, it will ravage even the most sophisticated gaming systems out there. Thanks to some savvy overclocking I feel comfortable knowing I won’t have to drop £350 for a new graphics card when it is released because my existing hardware has kept up. Whilst Xbox owners are stuck playing in 720p and Playstation 3 owners can praise whomever for their few and far between 1080p games, I rest comfortably knowing that my overclocked rig lets me play far beyond the realms of 1080p. Whether I’m racking up a killing spree in Counter Strike: Source or dominating in the next season of World of Warcraft’s Arena Tournament, I’m already well acquainted with what the next generation of next-gen consoles from Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo will be aspiring too. Every self-aware gamer out there knows that performance is everything in the gaming world. A framerate stutter is the difference between frag or be fragged, fastest lap or not close enough and “all your base are belong to us”. With the simple toolkit of the overclocker, i.e. a basic knowledge of multiplication and a keyboard, you can break free of product lifecycles and focus on the important stuff – being l33t. Three Nintendo Characters who should have been playable in 1. Conker - The hungover, gun-toting, badmouthed squirrel from Rare may not fit the more child friendly image of SSB, but look at Ganondorf, the guy’s a dictator, whilst Kirby’s a cannibal. Now tell me Conker wouldn’t fit. 2. Banjo-Kazooie - The best bird and bear combo bar none. If B/K and DK had teamed up then no one could stand before such a bundle of fur and feathers. Oh Rare, why did you ever leave Nintyland? 3. Tingle - Yeah I’m kidding, screw Tingle.
We’re pleased to announce that the winner of last issue’s competition is Lucy Clifford-Palmer! Congratulations Lucy, a copy of PES 2011 is on the way to you.
Exeposé week Four
Medal of Honor: EA; 360/PS3/PC October 15 2010 Medal of Honor has been brought into the world of modern warfare. A world of hi-tech weaponry, clandestine Special Forces and human triumph over adversity. The player takes the role of two Tier One Operators (a DEVGRU member and a Delta operator), as well as an Apache Gunship pilot and a US Ranger. The game takes much influence from Operation Anaconda, a major Special Forces operation that took place in the first few days of the Afghan Conflict and features both on foot and vehicle sections, involving heavily armed helicopters, quad bikes and pick up trucks with 50. cals bolted to the back.
“Tier One Operators aren’t likely to be defeated by invisible walls and three foot high ledges that are impossible to climb.”
Within the game there are three modes, single player (average), Tier One (not bad, but pretty much identical to single player) and Multiplayer (best of the three). The single player has problems; the missions are too short, but it has the occasional awesome set piece. Tier One mode is an online only single player challenge mode where the player races against the clock to record the fastest time in single player levels - essentially a slightly more intense single player game. Then there’s the multiplayer, built by DICE, the team behind Bad Company 2. It’s definitely great fun, and similar in levelling up and customisation to Modern Warfare 2. The maps a r e great; a
particular favourite is one set in the snowy-topped mountains on the Afghan/Pakistan border. The only issue is that the servers are useless with games crashing constantly or not starting at all. One standout sequence is when the player takes the role of a US Army Ranger involved in a large airborne assault on a Taliban* stronghold. After running off the back of a Chinook helicopter, the Rangers are hit with an enormous ambush, resulting in mass casualties and a chopper being shot down. The only option is to run up a dry riverbed and take the fight to the enemy. This frantic action is classic Medal of Honor, with the player desperate to find cover as the world explodes around them. However, the game degenerates into an average run and gun situation. The player must run a linear path, as Taliban run at you, meaning there’s very little to do other than keep shooting and running, which after ten minutes gets very monotonous. Tier One Operators aren’t likely to be defeated by invisible walls and three foot high ledges that are impossible to climb, but in Medal of Honor, they’re as prevalent as the bullets flying past your face. A game which promises to show the realities of modern conflict and
allows you to become a Tier One Operator, is unable to let you flank properly, let alone offer you a variety of tactical options, meaning the player is forced to do the
same thing over and over. Another grievance that has caused much anguish to many a player if the forums are to be believed, “The Invisible RPG”. In the real world, there are few things that would be as terrifying as having these skipping over your head, but in Medal of Honor, the Taliban have managed to make them totally invisible occasionally! Making them even scarier! You will be in an area you have just cleared of enemy personnel, when out of nowhere (and I mean nowhere, I wasn’t looking at the ground failing to notice the guy on the ridge with the exploding thing of molten metal death), you are blown up, with only a shout of ‘RPG!’ from your team mates, and to make it worse, it’s a glitch, there doesn’t have to be enemy around, it just happens. The game’s AI is another area that has caused much derision. There is a great emphasis on both allied and enemy AI to take cover. So much so, that your allies will often refuse to come out of cover until it’s perfectly safe for them to do so, leaving you to take on the swarms of Taliban almost singlehandedly. One moment where this problem arises is when you are tasked to take out a heavy machine gun. Your job is to suppress the enemy position with your machine gun while your squad mates sneak up to it and mark it to be bombed. However, they stoically refuse to come out of cover, supporting you with nothing but the odd round and shouting the orders that you are doing already. This went on for an hour. More like Special Needs than Special Forces.
“Set pieces are few but brilliant ... the graphics are really good ... the weaponry and detailed research into military equipment shines through”
The game definitely has its good points, but it’s let down by major flaws.My recommendation: wait until the price comes down. It’s not worth spending £35 or so. It will also give EA time to sort out their servers and get the multiplayer on its feet. More positively the set pieces are few but brilliant, and the graphics are really good (the sunrise over the mountain peaks is definitely a highlight) and the weaponry and detailed research into military equipment shines through. *(OK, so the Taliban have been renamed OPFOR but EA aren’t fooling anyone - ed.)
FIFA 11: EA; EA Sports PS3/360/PC/Wii October 1 2010
There are days I look forward to every year: Christmas, Easter, Talk like a Pirate Day, and of course, FIFA Day. That annual event when the new version of FIFA is released to the world. The hope is that it will be better than last year. This year does not disappoint. The game looks nicer than before. Animations are fresh, stadiums look prettier, and player likenesses are, well, more like real life. But in all honesty, it’s not the visuals that bring me to FIFA but the gameplay. To put it simply, crosses are now vitally important, and players can now successfully run with the ball. Dribbling has been completely revamped, and the balance between strength and pace makes for some really interesting battles. It takes a while to get used to the changes but, from what I hear, this is far tougher for those not in the hardcore contingent.
Passing has also been revamped in a positive way that feels more reliant on skill. This also takes
The Sacrifice: Valve; 360/PC October 5 2010
The Sacrifice is Valve’s second piece of DLC for both Left 4 Dead and its sequel Left 4 Dead 2, allowing owners of the former to play the new campaign, and of the latter to play that and the original L4D map, ‘No Mercy’. So far so simple. But wait! There’s more! The Sacrifice comes with the weapons and special infected normally found in L4D2, whilst transferring the original L4D characters over to the new game. L4D’s version obviously has to stick to its own engine, however, and The Sacrifice acts more as a simple expansion for the game. Oh, and it costs for 360 but not for PC users. Down to the gameplay though and there’s little added to The Sacrifice that hasn’t been seen before. The stages borrow from existing levels and, unlike with the last piece of DLC, The Passing, there are no new common uncommon and no new weapons. Instead what we get is a simple stage level with little deviation from a rather linear course of checkpointed firefights. Of course, not straying too hard from the original formula is no bad thing, L4D2’s gameplay is still fast, furious, and incredibly fun, and made all the better for the addition of a new area. What makes The Sacrifice a better game though, is the accompanying comic (http://www.l4d.com/comic/).
some getting used to but as long as you’re always playing the way you’re facing, you can still ping about passes like Barcelona. At the same time, referees have become especially cruel. This frequently slows down matches, but it does have the positive outcome of stopping cynical opponents fouling at every opportunity and escaping punishment, one personal gripe from last year. Aside from those tweaks it is mostly the same as before. There is a career mode, and the ability to play as a single member of a team, but these all feel very similar to before. Oh, and one other thing. FIFA 11 needs to be registered before you can play online, and this locks your game to just one console, and it will cost you £6 to unlock it for another console. This will probably never matter to most people, but it does mean that buying pre-owned will cost you extra to play online. I feel slightly sorry for the innocents who’ll be caught by this, so be on guard. To put it simply, you already know if you wanted to buy FIFA 11. This is a good game, better than last year’s, and that is saying something. It is the best football game ever made. But whether it is £40 better than last year is the difficult choice. Standing on single-player, which is effectively the same as last year, it doesn’t quite hold up to the price tag. But to play online or with friends, it definitely is.
Though not bundled with the game, The Sacrifice comic provides the emotional connection that the new add-on lacks. As the title of the DLC suggests, there is a pretty important conclusion to the level, though the game doesn’t really make as much of this as it could. For L4D owners, The Sacrifice might not offer enough to justify 560 MSpoints, but for L4D2 owners the chance to play ‘No Mercy’ with melée weapons and the AI 2.0 director is enough. Better advice would be to treat the new level as a bonus that allows new players to choose classic characters from the first game, and play additional content that, for PC gamers at least, is completely, deliciously free.
7/10 - 360 7.5 - PC
Video Games Editor
Exeposé week four
News from both halves of the Football Club Ladies’ Football Update
Men’s Football Update
With the sun shining and the music blaring in the changing room Exeter University Ladies Football Club began their season on Sunday with a comfortable 18-0 win over Seaton Town LFC in the first round of the Devon Womans League Cup.
Having been relegated from the premier tier of BUCS last year, the first team began their season hoping for promotion. However, their hopes were dented on Wednesday after a 2-1 loss at the hands of UWE. Exeter started brightly with Nash heading home early on, extending his goal tally to eight for the season. Joe Millyard put in a man-of-the-match performance and hung a delightful cross in the air for Nash to dispatch. The boys in the middle of the parkWatson, Taylor and Dale dominated the first half and took the pressure off of the back four. Communication was a massive issue as Henshall rightly pointed out at half time. After playing in front of a crowd of over 3000 people for varsity and 1000 vuvuzelas, the motorway gave the right back some grief throughout the 90 minutes, and perhaps that was the reason Exeter let in two goals in the second half as the home side turned the match on its head. Having lost to a very poor BUCS team, Exeter will have to pick themselves up for the upcoming cup match against Portsmouth next week. A poor start but its still early days.
“Friendlies are a great chance to scout for talent” Charlotte ‘club-captain asbo’ Poole was pleased with the result but stated that the games would only get tougher as we start our BUCS campaign in a couple of weeks. EULFC are aiming for nothing less than promotion back into the Western 1A BUCS league, a league we believe they should be playing in. With three friendlies approaching this week, it is a great chance for the captains and coach to scout for talent with the new players that have joined EULFC this year, and a chance to try out new formations and to gel as a team. Goalscorers from Sunday: Asbo: 1, Beth: 1, Lizzie: 3, Alice: 2, Crackers (C): 1, Issy M: 2, Rosie: 6, Clare: 2. Star Players: Rosie & Lizzie.
Clinical City Crush Carlisle Exeter City
Rachel Bayne Exeter City Correspondant Exeter City FC hold onto their six match unbeaten home run with a 2-1 win against Carlisle. Richard Logan scored a brace of goals to put the Grecians ahead in the first half at St James Park in front of a crowd of 5,324 supporters. The Grecians opened the game strongly with a lot of forward moves, while Carlisle seemed anxious throughout the early minutes and made two defensive errors leading up to Exeter’s goals. Logan’s first goal came in the 19th minute after a horrendous clearance from Colin, Carlisle’s keeper. Logan capitalised on the poor clearance by scooping up the ball and hitting a low, powerful strike into the bottom corner of the goal. H i s second goal came in quick
succession in the 22nd minute after another poor defensive mistake from Carlisle. Exeter capitalised on a
missed chance, with a great forward move involving Sercombe and Logan. Sercombe played a great through ball to Logan, who was running down the wing with speed, and then Logan shot a beautiful strike into the goal mouth. The game quietened down after that and in the second half, Carlisle seemed to push in desperation for an equaliser. Robson scored for Carlisle in the 71st minute
o n a free k i c k with a strong strike, but after that Carlisle were pushed to the limit by City’s attack. Logan was unlucky not to score his hat-trick after he was gifted a great cross and ample amounts of space in front of goal late on in the second
half. Carlisle also missed a chance in the last few minutes, when one strike was saved off the line by a City defender, which saved Exeter’s three points.
P a u l Tisdale, Exeter City’s Manager, told BBC Devon after the match: “I’m pleased with the way we played. It wasn’t quite as pretty as last week, but we won the game this week and we didn’t last week. I’m pleased that Richard [Logan] played so well, and he took those goals really well and he’s in fine form.” “I wouldn’t say we’re going to be promoted, but I’m certainly not going to talk as if we’re not capable of it we’re a good side and we’re getting better. It’s a wide-open league and I don’t think we have to win every game to finish in the top six, although there’s lots of sides that’ll be saying the same thing as me.” Exeter City’s next game is away at MK Dons on Saturday October 23.
Exeter Chiefs: you win some, you lose some Chiefs Rugby
Andy Williams Sports Editor Exeter Chiefs first forays into European rugby yielded a mixed bag of performances after narrowly losing to Montpellier 20-13 at home but clinching a crucial away win at Bourgoin 34-19 in the Amlin Challenge Cup. Chiefs’ first competitive European Fixture against Montpellier Hérault proved to be a tough affair. Chiefs, whose recent premiership form has dipped since they shocked the rugby world with excellent performances against Gloucester, Leicester and Newcastle, went into the match with the majority of their first XV either rested or on the bench. Chiefs started the match with great energy and took first blood with a penalty from fly half Ryan Davis. However the French side soon made it level through a penalty of their own, and from there started to assert their dominance on the game. Exeter had a further chance for a penalty however the ball went wide of the mark and just after the 16th minute a flowing French backline move led to winger Dimitri Pelo touching down for the first try. Fly half Raphael Lagarde
Chiefs Rugby duly converted and then added a second
penalty taking the score to 13-3. Chiefs responded with a further penalty and almost crossed the line themselves through centre Josh Matavesi however fierce French defended forced him into touch only inches short of the line. With five minutes to go to the break Chiefs fullback Phil Dollman was sinbinned for a shoulder charge meaning Exeter were down to 14 men with a half time score of 13-6. After the break Montpellier responded with a 43rd minute try after a clever chip kick led to another nicely worked try with Lagarde adding the conversion. The French held a tight grip on proceedings in the second half and they seemed to be heading for a comfortable victory with Exeter’s inexperience clearly showing, however tempers flared in the final quarter which saw three separate French sinbinnings. This crucial lack of discipline and the extra men allowed Exeter to sneak over through Chad Slade. Davis added the conversion making the final score 20-13 allowed Exeter to grab a valuable bonus point. The following Friday Exeter made the trip across the channel to play Bourgoin, in what proved to be a much more profitable affair with Chiefs claiming victory 34-19.
Chiefs arrived in France with a much more familiar and stronger XV. This experience really showed as they scored three tries and five penalties from the metronomic Gareth Steenson. Aggressive forward play from Exeter’s pack led to two penalties early on which Steenson coolly converted to give the visitors a 6-0 lead. However the hosts drove forward themselves and managed to expose a chink in Chiefs defensive armour and score through prop Stephane Bougherara. Exeter in turn piled on the pressure and Steenson added another penalty before beautiful backs move saw centre Bryan Rennie run in from halfway. Steenson added the two points. This dominance continued up to half time as Exeter scored another converted try via scrum half Haydn Thomas and a further Steenson penalty, making it 26-5 at halftime. Bourgoin started brightly and scored in the 42nd minute, however Exeter as they had in the first half regrouped. Steenson kicked a 5th penalty and Mark Foster completed Chiefs scoring with his fourth try of the season. With the match seemingly won Exeter slackened off and sadly conceded a third try however they had done enough to secure a vital 34-19 victory.
Photo:Exeter Chiefs RFC
October 25 2010
Meet the Club Captain...
Exeter Rugby League
Kit Muir (Bench)
Position: Favourite Food: Couple of scotchies with a dash of Colman’s.
Hobbies / Interests: Golf, rugby and James Iman. What I like about Exeter:
Small and aesthetically pleasing town. The Co-op on Pennsylvania Road.
What I dislike about Exeter: The building works on campus.
Story of the season so far: Pre-season has been tough but rewarding with morale sky high and a promising crop of freshers attending sessions. Our 1st XV have played two games - one tough defeat to Bristol and a convincing victory over Bristol UWE last Wednesday. Our 2nd XV smashed UWIC away and our 3rd XV were held to a tight draw with Plymouth Marjons and a loss to Bristol UWE 2’s.
Rugby Varsity Wednesday November 10 @ Sandy Park KO 7.30
A Fresh Perspective
Oli Rossiter, first year English student looks at joining the AU. Being the ‘new kid on the block’ at University is not always easy. It can seem a daunting task to meet new people, join various clubs and societies and become
Tickets: £6 Available on campus and from the AU
involved in the vast amount of sports clubs that the Uni offers. However, as a fresher it is clear that sport is an integral part of University life: from archery to pole dancing, badminton to surfing the opportunities are so diverse that there really is something for everyone. Venturing into the sports hall for the activities fair could have been a sport in itself: the Athletics Union had over 8000 people through the doors and it took some skill to weave in between the
Double-headerS such as this come along less frequently than doubledip recessions, so it was with a sense of anticipation that the Rugby League first and second squads made their way to Duckes last Saturday for their respective matches against Oxford University. And it was to prove a perfect day all round for Exeter, with wins for both
teams – although there was plenty of contrast between the manner of each victory. The firsts made a rather slow start to their encounter: tackling and passing was generally strong from the off, but a couple of handling errors led to an opening try for Oxford after a mere two minutes. Thankfully, the early setback was to act as a wake-up call for the hosts, who smelt the coffee and began to apply some much-needed pressure on their opponents. Chances, for now at
least, were being squandered: following a high tackle on Josh Jones near the opposition try line, Exeter failed to take advantage of the resulting penalty. The pressure had to give sometime, though, and it was no surprise when Angus Gardiner sneaked through the Oxford defence a few minutes later to draw Exeter level. This spurred the home side on further, and following some hefty tackling from Andy Auld and some jinking runs from Jones, Exeter spun the ball out wide and Steve List crossed
masses of students that swarmed to their favourite sports. But it wasn’t just the ‘bog-standard’ football and rugby clubs that seemed to entice new members, the surf club in particular caught my attention. With a weekend trip surf trip to Newquay on the horizon and the chance to stay in a hostel for two nights for an affordable £45, it seemed an opportunity that was too good to miss. Similarly, the Tennis club had a particularly large group of students
showing their interest (and it wasn’t just because of the free headband that you received when signing on.) The tennis seemed especially alluring for new students who were both seasoned professionals and those totally new to the sport. With training sessions every Friday and Saturday and free court time throughout the week, the Tennis Club seems to have got the balance between new members and those who require more competitive training spot on.
One of the great advantages of sport at Exeter is without a doubt the intramural programme. A chance to play 5-a-side on a Sunday evening with your mates or mixed hockey with others on your degree is a great opportunity to play at a less competitive level and meet new people. The German Society 5-aside team seems to have the right idea: they compete at intra-mural level all year and then finally travel to London in the summer to compete against other
Ben Foulds EURL Reporter
Exeposé week four
double up on Oxford Puzzles Photo: Ben Foulds
the line, with skipper Nico Flanaghan converting. Exeter would have been further in front had they not had a try ruled out on the stroke of half time. The second half, though a scrappy affair, was fascinating in its tension, with each side struggling to make much headway through the opposing defence. It came as a relief, then, when Exeter’s Chris Pauson broke free and fed Cormack Healy to score on the hour mark. Oxford remained dogged in their defence, however, and it was perhaps a mark of Exeter’s frustration
when Auld was shown a yellow card ten minutes from time. The resultant need to see out the game with 12 men translated to a nervy finale for the home side, but the defence held firm and Jones, sealed the win with a breakaway try at the death. Making it 22-8 at the end. The second team, meanwhile, thrashed their opponents in style – though not without making a sluggish start of their own. Having scored early through Charlie Chapman, Exeter were then pegged back as a couple of
handling errors let Oxford in to make it 6-6 with half an hour gone. The game then opened up nicely, with tries from Will Badger and a pirouetting Owain Connors. After the break, Oxford were left stunned by a relentless onslaught of attacking prowess as five Exeter tries were scored, with Ed Barker (2), Jack Parkin and Sean McNish (2) getting in on the act. Oxford scored late on but it was scant consolation as Exeter ran out 44-10 winners.
German teams which (if you are part of the German society) is definitely something worth considering. At a mere £20 per person for 18 weeks credit must go to the Athletics Union for their role in keeping the cost to a minimum. However, the same cannot be said for all sports clubs: with prices over £100 for some clubs such as Rowing and Rugby it is often difficult for some students to raise the money in a oneoff sum at the start of term. It would be
more effective if payment was staggered across the year, however overall the prices seem fair. With regard to thr gym price, many think that it is quite extortionate, especially the gold and platinum options. The most popular seems to be the standard membership, at just £37 per year. There is nothing included in the price but this is certainly the best deal if you are like me and want to hit the gym when you can.
The gym has established two different prices for both off peak (before 3pm) and peak (after 3pm) times and I would certainly recommend going at off peak times where the price is an affordable £2.10 as opposed to £3.30. Let’s be honest, who wants to go to the gym when it is full of body builders pumped on protein shakes and it takes half an hour to get a drink of water! I know I wouldn’t.
1. Dealer of buttons, zips and ribbons (12) 7. Eric the ___ of Sydney Olympics fame (3) 9. Basketball League (3) 10. Travel around (4) 11. Sing (5) 12. Anger (3) 13. Within (8) 15. Remove the insides (3) 16. Woman’s name (3) 17. Sixty-one (3) 18. To muffle an instrument (6) 20. Greek mythology: a poet and lyreplayer (7) 22. Deride (8) 25. Small orange (7) 28. Discordant sound (9) 30. Impede (6) 31. Leading music company (3) 32. Abbreviation of Ireland (3) 33. The singular to a parliament’s plural (3) 34. Something from Laos (3) 35. Egg ___ - festive drink (3) 36. Novel by Nabokov (6) 37. Place one visits frequently (5) 38. Idler (7)
No. 12 by Alexander Cook
1. Lit. One through two (8) 2. Work hard, esp. in the military (5) 3. The assembly of aerofoils of a helicopter (5) 4. Coll. Money (7) 5. Outstandingly bad (9) 6. Boat (5) 7. To issue from a source (7) 8. Relax (3,4,4,4) 14. Female member of a religious order (3) 19. Displaying close attention to detail (10) 21. Throw (a shot) (3) 23. Reproduces a document (8) 24. Study of animals (7) 26. Hero of Greek Mythology (8) 27. Ripple (8) 28. An overused phrase for example (6) 29. Jocular salutation when answering the telephone US (6)
No. 11 solution: Across: 1 banana, 4 draft, 7 deranged, 8 glass, 9 il, 10 nuclear, 11 motor, 13 order, 17 isis, 19 acing, 20 ego, 21 magenta. Down: 1 badminton, 2 nordic, 3 angular, 4 dodge, 5 assault, 6 thesaurus, 9 ie, 12 origin, 14 demon, 15 realm, 16 Tring, 18 iota.
october 25 2010
Alexander Cook & Andy Williams - firstname.lastname@example.org
EUMHC start as they mean to go on
Photo: Tom Carrington-Smith
Oxford 1st Team
Simon Hare Publicity Officer
With a new season of BUCS fixtures coming around, Exeter’s 1st XI are set to be the main scalp for opponents in the early phases of the league stage. As 2009/2010 champions last season, every opponent would be after claiming a significant win and gaining a head start over their counterparts. This certainly was the case with a well drilled, well coached and highly educated Oxford side, which travelled to the university’s sports park on a fine autumn day. The early exchanges were cagey with the Exeter team looking to assert their superior ability and tactical shrewdness. Their efforts
were thwarted however by an overeagerness to prove to be the dominant side leading to them being profligate both with possession and chances. One such missed opportunity came through some fine interplay from the Exeter forwards James Royce and Tom Carson. Gareth Davies had the ball on his reverse stick yards from a gaping net, when it seemed harder to miss than score, but some excellent scrambled defence saw a goal line save and clearance from an Oxford defender. Frustration ensued and Oxford began to gain a foothold in the game, gaining more possession in offensive areas of the pitch. An error from one of the Exeter defenders allowed Oxford their first real chance after winning a short corner from a foot inside the D. The Oxford short corner specialist dispatched the ball into the roof of the net with aplomb. This shock start to the game seemed to spark the Exeter team into life and their usually slick brand of pass and move hockey was more becoming of
Rad Result Surfing
Exeter Men’s Hockey 1st team beat Oxford as part of their campaign to retain their BUCS league title. They also beat Bath University 3-1 last Wednesday.
Exeter 1st Team
the championship winning team of last year. This led to an Exeter chance from a short corner after Rob Mugridge won a foot inside Oxford’s D. In clinical style, Carson flicked the ball low and hard past the goal-keeper’s outstretched right foot leaving the score one a-piece at half time.
BUCS Premier South 1. Exeter
2. Cardiff 4. Oxford 5. Bristol 6. Bath
1 1 1 0
The interval seemed to give Exeter a chance to put the majority of the first half behind them and continue where they had left off late in the half. The
build up play from defence to midfield was attractive and stylish leading to more Exeter chances, another dispatched by Tom Carson from a penalty corner in similar style to the first. The pattern of the game continued in this style, with Exeter dominating possession and field position. Tom Carson completed his hat-trick, whilst a superbly well worked goal down the left hand side involving Tom Woods, Mickey Franklin and captain Olly Deasey found Royce in space in the D who coolly slid the ball to the back post, for a grateful Matt Grannell to deflect into the goal making the score 4-1. The game remained 4-1 until its conclusion, and proved a good start for Exeter’s 1st XI on their campaign to retain their BUCS title, especially after the initial pressure put on by Oxford. Exeter’s next game in the BUCS league is against Cardiff on October 27 at the Sports Park.
On the weekend of October 15, 2010, Exeter University Surf Club took a team of 11 competitors to Fistral beach to compete in the BUCS Surf Championships. The Girls team put in a solid performance in difficult conditions to attain the overall team title. In the individual contest, Exeter post-grad Esther Lempriere climbed to third place putting Exeter University on the podium twice during the presentations. The first day greeted us with Baltic air temperatures, 3ft waves and fortunately low winds, which gave us the best surfing conditions of the weekend. However, with little power, which dropped throughout the day, the ocean didn’t give us much to play with. Sam Upton, Mike Duncan, Alex Renwick and Seth Coombes made it through their first heats for the boys and Esther, Georgia McCullough and Grace Brown overcame the opposition to proceed to the next day as well. Whilst the weather transformed into sunshine worthy of summer for the second day of competition, the waves deteriorated to near un-surfable slop with onshore winds. Those who had made it through thus far for the boys were eliminated by competitors surfing at an elite level. Unluckily for the three girls from Exeter still in the contest the draw placed them all in the same heat with only the top two proceeding. Georgia and Esther continued whereas Grace was unable to find the right wave in order to pip her teammates to the post. Georgia was eliminated later in the day whilst Esther triumphed in the quarters to go through to the final day of the trip. It was more of the same for the third day, with beautifully clear skies and small waves. A lack of wind tidied up the swell to allow for some truly astonishing surfing from competitors of both genders, some of whom are sponsored, professional riders. Our remaining competitor put on a fantastic performance in both the semis and the final to finish third, breaking all precedents set by recent Exeter contestants. The weekend was a great success both for Exeter and for BUCS. The diversity of surfers was astonishing; people from the top end of the sport were sharing waves with beginners throughout the weekend. It is also worth mentioning that the Newquay nightlife delivered beyond expectation. There was a feeling among our camp that as a Southwest university with a thriving surf culture, we had begun to make our presence felt amongst the surfing behemoths of Falmouth, Plymouth and Swansea - long may it continue!