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Monday 5 December 2011 • Issue 587 • www.exepose.com • Twitter: @Exepose
Media storm over SSB mag Hannah Brewer Senior Reporter
THE UNIVERSITY OF EXETER has been criticised by national press for allowing a joke about sexual violence to be published in the Safer Sex Ball promotional magazine. The joke, which estimated the number of calories which could be burnt taking a girl’s clothes off without her consent, sparked media controversy following its allusions to sexual violence.
“It is unfortunate that such a fantastic charitable event has been marred by a misguided and distasteful comment” Nick Davis, Guild President
The original magazine was issued on Monday 21 November and was met with complaints. After being pulled immediately, a second edition was printed and distributed by Friday 25, leaving out the offending page. A public apology was made by the Students’ Guild. Nick Davis, Guild President told Exeposé: “It is unfortunate that such a fantastic charitable event has been marred by a misguided and distasteful comment. “I have been involved with RAG throughout my time at the University of Exeter and I am confident that there was no malice intended with the comment, but we need to be clear that comments like this have no place in the Students’ Guild or in wider society.” The organisers of the event, charitable organisation RAG, also issued a statement. A spokesperson for RAG said: “We would like to apologise unreservedly for the publication of the com-
Photo: Josh Irwandi
Staff go on strike Joe Johnston News Editor
ment. We have done so publicly, have retracted, destroyed and reprinted all the magazines, and made personal apologies to the few people who made formal complaints. “Obviously, we regret that this situation has occurred, and also regret that it has found its way into the national press, particularly as we attempted to handle the situation discretely and appropriately in order to prevent any disrepute for the University. “There was a proofing team which included some RAG committee members and Guild staff. As a result of this error, we are currently reviewing our proof reading methods to ensure nothing like this happens again.” Students have previously raised concerns that the SSB promotes promiscuity, but organisers have insisted that it raises the importance of safe sex, and continues to be the largest World Aids Day event in the UK. This year, organisers say the annual fundraising is well on its way to breaking the £100,000 mark.
“We would like to apologise unreservedly for the publication of the comment” RAG spokesperson
A third year Law student commented: “I think the whole thing has been blown totally out of proportion. RAG cannot seriously be accused of condoning sexual violence. It was obviously meant as a joke – it even included the word ‘joke’ in it!” Student Trustee, George Paige, thinks lessons will be learnt: “It is a very unfortunate situation, which nevertheless has highlighted that a line must be drawn when individuals are offended and the University’s reputation is implicated.”
Exeter’s Centurion See page 3 for full story
University staff participated in day of industrial action on Wednesday 30 November over a dispute with the Government’s proposed public sector pensions reforms. The strike was limited to members of the University and College Union (UCU) which represents academic staff and senior administrative staff. Pensions at the University will be left unaffected by the Government’s proposals because Exeter staff are not members of the Teachers’ Pension Scheme or Local Government Pension Scheme. Despite this, the UCU called upon its members to strike in support of their colleagues employed at pre-92 universities who are members of a public sector pension scheme. Stephen Cooper, Director of Human Resources, said: “At this stage we are still trying to gather information about the number of staff who actually took part in the action – best estimates put the number in the ranges of 25-40. “To date, I have only heard of three classes that had to be cancelled as a result of the action.” Only two picketing positions were allotted by the University, with a maximum of six people at each, with one on Stocker Road and the other on Queen’s Drive. Dr. Bryce Lease, Lecturer in Drama, who went on strike but did not participate in the picket line due to these restrictions, said: “I decided to strike to show solidarity with union members, to show my more general unease with the Conservative Government’s austerity measures and recent changes to the university system [to be] more businessoriented.” Continued on page 2
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News reveal the most recent update on the Capital Development Programme P 9-10
Students respond to the recent controversy surrounding the SSB magazine
5 december 2011
Aaron Porter fights for students Photo: Hannah Walker
The strikes took place in solidarity with members of a public sector pension scheme
Continued from page 1
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“And, of course, over changes to our pension plans. Students have been extremely supportive, and wished me luck with the strike.” Staff intending to go on strike did not have any legal obligation to provide the University with advance notification, and the UCU specifically advised its members against giving prior warning. A University spokeperson has stated: “We are aware that a small number of staff, including some academic and some professional services staff, took part in the Industrial Action and that some staff had to take the day off because they had to look after their chil-
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Advertising Stuart Smith S.C.G.Smith@exeter.ac.uk (01392) 722432 The opinions expressed in Exeposé are not necessarily those of the Exeposé Editors nor the University of Exeter Students’ Guild. While every care is taken to ensure that the information in this publication is correct and accurate, the Publisher can accept no liability for any consequential loss or damage, however caused, arising as a result of using the information printed. The Publisher cannot accept liability for any loss or damage to artwork or material submitted. The contents of this, unless stated otherwise, are copyright of the Publisher. Reproduction in any form requires the prior consent of the Publisher.
dren as schools were closed. Disruption to the operation of our campuses was minimal.” The strike on campus was part of Britain’s biggest one-day strike for 30 years, which saw 60 per cent of schools in England close and 6,000 NHS operations cancelled. Professor Philip Schwyzer, Head of English, stated: “At this stage, my impression is that both the University administration and most students have understood the local UCU action within a national context. “It is worth noting, of course, that the strike took place on a Wednesday, a relatively light teaching day, and this will have tended to mitigate its impact on students.”
to end food poverty Sophie Lock A GROUP of Exeter undergraduates have formed a campaign to combat food poverty in Exeter. The self named ‘Team v’ will be collecting non-perishable food items and donating them to Exeter Food Bank. Team v is part of a national network of 50 young volunteers in communities across the UK, all seeking to alleviate food poverty which affects one in four families.
“I’m really enjoying getting involved in Team v; it’s a great chance to volunteer, as well as enhancing my CV”
Jess Hart, second year Business student Rosie Cotgreave, a second year Geography student, with a team of volunteers, will be collecting 500 items from local businesses, supermarkets, schools and the general public. Ben Bradshaw, Exeter’s local MP, is supporting the campaign. He said: “Team v is a wonderful opportunity for young people to get involved in the local community. I am very excited to see the benefits of this first campaign.”
Jess Hart, second year Business student, has stated: “I am really enjoying getting involved in Team v; it is a great chance to volunteer, as well as enhancing my CV and increasing my employability.”
“I am very excited to see the benefits of this first campaign” Ben Bradshaw, labour MP for Exeter
Team v has gained the support of local businesses and supermarkets. On Sunday 11 December at 19 00, the Team will be holding a pub quiz at The Imperial, where the entry price will be one non perishable food item. The Co-Operative Food outlet on Sidwell Street has also installed a collection box for members of the public to donate foodstuffs. The campaign arrives in the light of recent research released by the Business School that states high food prices are driving overall inflation in the UK and hitting the poorest in the country hardest over the Christmas period. The study found the cost of an average supermarket shopping trip is 5 per cent higher now than at the same time a year ago; the average cost of a Christmas dinner for six people this year will be approximately £74, £3.70 higher than last year.
Fantasy novel launched by Exeter student
Arts Editors Zoe Bulaitis & Laura Stevens
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Staff strike on campus Cooking up a campaign
Sport interview Ben Nash about being the first Exeter University football centurion
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Video Games explore the role and absence of homosexuality in games
SECOND Year English student, James Bartholomeusz, will launch his first novel The White Fox at the University on Wednesday 7 December. The fantasy novel, aimed at 12-18 year olds, is the first of a trilogy which depicts an average teenager’s life being transformed by the arrival of a cult of sorcerers in his hometown. Bartholomeusz said: “I wrote it as something I’d like to read at that age – and I certainly felt in a much better position to write fiction for young adults, rather than adults.” Undergraduate Bartholomeusz is currently working on the second novel of his trilogy, which is set for release in 2012. He follows a number of other Ex-
eter students whose creative writing has been published in recent years, including Tirzah Goldenberg whose poetry was published in several journals during her degree, and Creative Writing Masters student Lucy Wood who has a two-book contract with a major publisher.
“Perhaps we’ve found the next JK Rowling!” Zosia Jasnikowska, third year Classics student
Zosia Jasnikowska, a third year Classics student, said: “I think it’s really great that someone so young is being published, perhaps we have found the next JK Rowling!” Senior Lecturer in English Dr. Jo Gill has voiced support to other stu-
dents like Bartholomeusz considering extra-curricular writing during their studies. She said: “We encourage undergraduates to explore creative writing during term time.” The novel will be available for purchase from the Blackwell’s campus bookshop, who have said they are “delighted” to stock the work of a University student. The launch of The White Fox will take place at 18:30 on Wednesday 7 December in Queen’s Café, with a dress code of black tie. Tickets are £3.50 and include wine and nibbles. Any additional proceeds from this price will go to the South-West children’s charity Hop, Skip and Jump. Those wishing to attend are advised to reserve a ticket by emailing Doniya Soni: ds320@exeter. ac.uk.
Photo: Medallion Press. Illinois
James is now working on his second novel
Exeposé WEEK ten
Baroness condemns University Exeter undergrad
scores a century
Rachel Bayne Sports Editor
BEN NASH has rewritten the record books by being the first ever footballer at Exeter University to score 100 goals. The striker, who plays for the Men’s first team, scored his 100th goal for EUAFC on Wednesday 23 November, in the first half of their 1-1 draw against Cardiff. Baroness Dench is a crossbench Peer in the House of Lords, and a trustee of the Jewish National Fund
Henry White Editor THE recent controversy surrounding RAG’s Safer Sex Ball Magazine, and the visit by speaker Gilad Atzmon to the University, became the focus of a blog published on the House of Lords’ official blog-site last week. Baroness Deech, a crossbench Peer in the House of Lords, discussed the legal position of the University of Exeter and its Students’ Guild, in relation to Freedom of Speech legislation, in a blog entitled “Brainless Students.” The Baroness, a former BBC Governor and Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education, questioned the ethics of the University and Guild after controversial speaker Gilad Atzmon was allowed to visit the University and RAG promoted the SSB “with a rape joke.”
She argued: “Exeter could learn from Manchester and Birmingham Universities which have brought their guidelines on speakers up to date and have good policies” and that “the University of Exeter is clearly not a welcoming place for Jews, or women, let alone Jewish women.”
“The University of Exeter is clearly not a welcoming place for Jews, or women, let alone Jewish women” Baroness Deech
The Students’ Guild responded to the blog, saying: “Baroness Deech’s blog is missing a number of key factors - most importantly the context in which Atzmon said the things she is quoting him saying.
“As such we are very disappointed about the misrepresentation of the Guild as a whole and her referring to Exeter students as being “brainless”. We will be contacting Baroness Deech in due course to outline our concerns and push for her to retract the inaccurate elements of her blog.” A University spokesperson said: “The Guild is dealing with the complaints about the Gilad Atzmon lecture and the offensive joke in an appropriate way. The other comments are old news and inaccurate in their claims.” One comment posted in response read: “You support free speech for the things you agree with, and not free speech for people who hold other views.” At the time of going to press, Baroness Deech had not yet responded to the Guild regarding her comments made on her blog.
Hannah Sweet News Editor
Helen Carrington and Hannah Sweet
THE University is investigating an issue with laboratory freezers in the Biosciences department. The issue has resulted in the loss of research materials and has affected both students and academic staff. Professor Ken Haynes told Exeposé: “We are cataloguing losses at present, so it is impossible to give an accurate inventory of both the reagents lost and the time that will be needed to replace them. “14 third year students have had some interruption to their projects, but this has not resulted in the loss of a term’s work. They have been granted a two-week extension to their projects.” Prof. Haynes added: “The facts of the matter have not yet been conclusively determined, so it is impossible to say with certainty how the situation arose.” The College of Life and Environmental Sciences commented: “We are taking this very seriously and are investigating the incident. The College aims to take all possible steps to ensure individuals and their research is not detrimentally affected by this.”
A TOTAL of 19 burglaries have taken place at student residences in Exeter so far this term, figures released by Devon and Cornwall Police reveal. Information provided by PC Ian Lugg shows 17 offences were carried out at shared houses or flats, whilst two occurred on campus. The majority of break-ins were via insecure front and rear doors, however, ground floor windows were also targeted on a number of occasions and a key was used during one incident. Eight of the offences were committed in the hours of daylight, whilst five were carried out during hours of darkness and three were committed overnight. Emma Payne, VP Community and Welfare, said: “During the first term of University we always see a rise in burglaries, especially in off-campus student accommodation.” According to figures released by the Home Office, young people aged 16 to 24 are three times more likely to be vic-
tims of burglary than people in other age groups. Hannah Porter, Student Community Warden, was burgled in her home on Pennsylvania Road on 28 November last year. She said: “I’m now doubly careful to keep all my expensive possessions either on me or locked in my room. It’s just not worth the risk.”
“During the first term of University we always see a rise in burglaries” Emma Payne, VP Community and Welfare
The main property targeted in the recent burglaries includes laptops, iPods, TVs, digital cameras, PCs, mobile phones, cash, jewellery and cycle parts. Emma Payne continued: “We advise all students to property mark everything valuable, with UV pens, which the police will happily provide, and not to leave laptops in clear view when leaving properties.”
“Ben is now our goal scoring centurion” Beth Hampson, AU President
He then went on to score two more goals in a league match on Saturday 26, taking his total to 102 goals in two and half years at the University. Nash, a third year student, commented that he was very pleased with his achievement: “It was good to take the lead into half-time against Cardiff. I acknowledged the goal and all my team-mates did, but we weren’t going to get carried away, and we drew 1-1, so if there’d been a massive celebration, it would have all got a bit silly and it would have felt wrong.” Beth Hampson, AU President, congratulated Nash on his goal tally: “We have never had a player who has hit the back of the goal as many times as Ben. He is now our goal scoring centurion.” This unprecedented total is not only
a first since the current EUAFC was formed in 1978, but is also a rare occurrence in university football nationally. Another striker to reach this total was Kevin Ryan, who from 2005-2008 scored 144 goals in his 117 games for Leeds Metropolitan University. However, apart from this, there are few records of any other players who have reached this milestone. In professional football, since the Premier League’s formation in 2002, only 20 players have managed to score 100 goals. Alan Shearer was the first player to reach this total and the only player to have scored 100 goals for two clubs – Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United. Exeter City Football Club, which was founded in 1904, have had three players make it to the 100 goal mark in their 107 year history.
“Our club and the University are truly proud of his success” Tom Clifton-Moore, EUAFC Club Captain
Tom Clifton-Moore, EUAFC Club Captain, said: “Ben’s commitment and dedication to the club has been admirable. This, combined with his undoubted talent, has lead to this great achievement. It is safe to say our club and the University are truly proud of his success.”
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SSB final act revealed THE artist Chipmunk has been announced as the final act of the SSB. He will perform for the 4,100 attendees at Westpoint Arena on Thursday 8 December. Gemma Webb, a student on the SSB committee, told Exeposé: “I’m really excited about the final act for SSB. He’s a talented artist who’s had several chart hits and this year has, again, been nominated for the MOBO Awards.”
Class of 2012 legacy chosen A PERSONALISED mosaic will be the legacy left by the Class of 2012 following a vote by final year students. The mosaic, which won 46 per cent of the vote, will be housed within the Forum Project. 570 students cast their votes, choosing the mosaic over an artistic sculpture and an outside study space. This is the second year that the ‘Class of’ project has been run. Last year the Class of 2011 raised £1,000 to provide seating in a quiet area for students to enjoy the campus.
Applications down 13% UNIVERSITY applications nationally are down 13 per cent from last year. Almost 158,387 students have applied for places so far, 23,427 fewer than last year. NUS president Liam Burns commented: “Ministers must stop tinkering around the edges of their shambolic reforms, listen to students, teachers and universities and completely overhaul their white paper before temporary chaos turns into permanent damage to our education system.”
Graduate killed in action AN EXETER graduate has been killed in an explosion whilst on patrol in Afghanistan. Lieutenant David Alexander Grant Boyce studied International Relations at the University of Exeter before taking a gap year. He was serving with the Formation Reconnaissance Squadron on a patrol providing security in the Yakchal region of Nahr-e-Saraj, in Central Helmand, when the armoured vehicle he was travelling in hit an Improvised Explosive Device.
5 december 2011
New charitable society profits locals
Photo: Rishit Radia
Chloë Riddle A NEW society, Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE), is making headway in helping Exeter’s local community. This student-led team is currently working on five projects that aim to create sustainable economic opportunity for people in Exeter. SIFE is an international, non-profit organisation that operates in 39 countries and has 57,000 active student members. SIFE’s motto is ‘A head for business. A heart for the world’, summing up its aim to create a better, more sustainable world through the positive power of business.
“SIFE benefits community relations and can hopefully have a positive impact economically” James Fox, VP Participation and Campuses
Through the application of business concepts, these students are setting up outreach projects that have the potential to change the lives of those in their community. The planned projects include teaching IT skills to the elderly, helping the homeless and ex-convicts to improve
Students part of SIFE University of Exeter plan to apply business concepts to community projects
their employability, supporting children with special needs, and also providing a consultancy service to local businesses. Jessica Drew, Co-President of SIFE at Exeter, commented on the benefits of taking part in SIFE: “You can make a positive, long-lasting impact in your local community and at the same time improve your own skill set and career prospects.” SIFE also offers its students the chance to participate in annual competitions. The organisation provides a platform for students to present projects
they have been working on, and be judged based on the impact they have had in their community. Rishit Radia, Co-President of the SIFE at Exeter, attended a national competition in April. He said: “Trust me; those two days at the National Competition were a couple of the most inspiring moments of my life. I had never witnessed or even thought of the potential students could achieve by working together as a team with one goal in mind: making a positive impact.”
James Fox, VP Participation and Campuses, commented: “The work that SIFE do provides a great opportunity for students to harness enterprising ideas and run with projects that combine enterprise and community volunteering, which benefits community relations and can hopefully have a positive impact economically as well. There are also great opportunities for them to work with other societies such as Exeter Entrepreneurs and Community Action.”
Rehab for boozy students A spanner in The Works Mike Stanton ALCOHOL awareness classes are being run for students following anti-social behaviour. The scheme was piloted last year and is now fully up and running. The programme runs compulsory alcohol awareness workshops every month for students who have committed anti-social behaviour due to alcohol. The workshops are run in conjunction with local charity Addiction, and are also supported by the University and Devon and Cornwall Police. They
aim to help students to address their alcohol use and associated behaviour. The University now runs the workshops on campus, facilitated by both University and Students’ Guild staff. Liz Murphy, Head of Student Support at the University, said: “This scheme is a great way for us to deal with the small number of students who are involved with such incidents in a really positive way.” The workshops cover a large range of topics including the chemistry of alcohol and its effect on the body, as well as giving attendees an opportunity to share experiences. Photo: Henry White
Awareness classes are now compulsory for students guilty of anti-social behaviour
Sam Lambert Features Editor THE Students’ Guild’s part-time job advertising and training service, The Works, is to officially close after six years, with the current service being absorbed into the new Career Zone. The move will signify the end to what has been a successful partnership between the University and the Students’ Guild. The current manager of The Works, Michelle Jagger, said that this partnership “paved the way for other working partnerships such as the Exeter Award.” The integration of The Works into the new Career Zone will take the service from Guild to University control, though many elements will remain unchanged from a student perspective. The creator of The Works and its former manager, Leanne Fennell, took on the post of Career Zone Manager last year and will over-see the creation and implementation of the new service. Leanne said the change will be “a great way to continue improving employability among Exeter students, both in the short and long term.” Student staff will also front the Career Zone, as they do today with The
Works. The Career Zone will integrate The Works with services from the Careers and Graduate Development Service, which already offers support on career plans, research, interview skills and volunteering opportunities, among other activities.
“It will be a great way to continue improving employability among Exeter students” Leanne Fennell, Career Zone Manager
As a result of this amalgamation, students will be able to simultaneously gain the advice that today would involve two separate locations. The position of the Career Zone in the Forum will be close to other services, such as the International Office, meaning cross-referrals, that today involve visiting numerous buildings across campus, will be easier. The transfer is effective from 1 January, and students will be able to access the new Career Zone at Reed Mews from 3 January.
JCR GUILD AGM
The Annual General Meeting of the Students’ Guild will
8 DEC 2011
be held in the Junior Common Room (ﬁrst ﬂoor,
Devonshire House) on Thursday 8 December 2011 at 12pm until 2pm. The AGM is required
– it’s an opportunity to have your say on the management of the Guild. To get involved you can either attend in by law for person (go students to to the url approve the above) or sign Guild annual your proxy accounts, vote over afﬁliations to another and reports student.
5 december 2011
University unveils new Forum interior as p Exeposé goes behind the boards to deliver an exclusive preview The Capital Development Programme on Streatham Campus is now heading towards completion. In the centre of campus, the £48m centrepiece features a range of facilities and amenities. As the central hub, it hosts an extended and refurbished library, a new Student Service Centre, landscaped piazza and the new University Reception, which is now open. The Forum also forms a bridge be-
tween existing buildings, and was designed to integrate functional services with recreational spaces. Flexible spaces such as the seminar block allow for teaching, exams or study space as required. Exhibitions and events will also take place in the central atrium of the Forum known as The Street. The recently opened Great Hall Piazza is the first example of flexible space, acting as both a reception as well as a venue and exhibition space. A more secluded outdoor space will be The Terrace Café balcony, due to open with the main Forum in the Spring, while the adjoining restaurant’s outside
seating will provide panoramic views across the Campus and further down the river Exe towards Exmouth.
Library One of the main hubs on the Streatham Campus, the University’s main Library, has undergone a significant refurbishment as part of the Forum Project. The new design provides a wide range of learning and study environments and will offer 700 seats. Flexible use of space will provide the library with up to a further 150 seats on a seasonal basis when required.
“The £48m centrepiece features a range of facilities and amenities such as a Student Service Centre and landscaped piazza” From January, the majority of the Library refurbishment will be completed, as level 0 re-opens. Overall, the Library will then offer 90 PCs and a mix of individual, group and silent study areas, with wifi throughout. There will also be three rooms dedicated for the use of those with accessibility needs and equipped with specialist IT software. The book collections will be arranged in numerical sequence with printed copies of journals available in user-friendly mobile shelving on level -1. The final areas of the refurbishment, which relate to some adjoining new library areas, will be completed at the end of the Forum Project. Martin Myhill, the Forum Project Director for the Library, said: “The original design brief was to provide an extended and fully refurbished library fit for the 21st century research
and teaching environment with a mix of study spaces, intuitive wayfinding and digitally-enabled, linking into the student-centred heart of Campus.
“The Forum acts as a bridge between existing buildings and integrates functional services with recreational spaces”
“Shelf space for print collections will have increased from 19.5km to 24.5km in the Forum Library and research-orientated collections have benefitted from the Forum Project through transformation of the Old Library into the Research Commons which has also increased its shelf capacity by 5km.” For a full list of extra revision spaces at Streatham whilst the work is still ongoing, visit http://as.exeter.ac.uk/library/ or ask a member of library staff to help you.
Exeposé WEEK TEN
roject enters the final stages of construction
All phtos credited to University Press Office
port services will be available from the Student Services Centre. These include Student Finance services, Accommodation services, the Career Zone, IT Helpdesk, Uni Card issue and replacement, Health and Wellbeing services, Immigration and Visa services, Multi-faith Chaplaincy, Study Support, Student Status Letters, Student Record changes and queries, and Exams and Graduation. In order to help students consider their career development, the Career Zone will include specialist advisors. An Information Desk system will enable staff to resolve any enquiries from students or refer them to a specific service provider if necessary, as well as manage cases and book appointments. Students will also be able to access the system online, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to consult a Knowledgebase with FAQs, log enquiries, track the progress of their enquiry and request appointments.
Student Service Centre The new Student Service Centre will integrate more than a dozen existing student services that are currently spread out across campus.
This integrated facility at the heart of Campus will be one of the most ambitious projects for student service provision nationwide. It will provide a ‘one-stop’ shop, open 9:00–20:00, Monday to Friday, and 10:00–15:00 on Saturdays, for practical, administrative and pastoral support for students on campus. A wide range of non-academic sup-
“This integrated facility will be one of the most ambitious projects for student service provision nationwide” Self-access PCs will be located in
and around the centre so students can access any online information, without having to wait for an advisor, at busy times.
Market Place The new Market Place supermarket will provide fresh produce, as well as hot and cold takeaway options. It will support Fairtrade and ethically sourced goods and also champion local suppliers. A Royal Mail parcel service, an online book ordering facility, coffee shop and dry cleaning service will also be available here. The Market Place will be open weekdays 8:00–22:00, and weekends. The new Terrace Restaurant is already open, via Devonshire House, serving a varied multicultural menu. With the opening of the Forum it will host live cookery theatre, and feature an outside “rooftop” dining terrace with views as far as Exmouth. The Market Place will also feature an upgraded Terrace Café with additional outdoor seating available from the spring. There will also be a first floor café and coffee shop opposite the new auditorium, with its own external seating
area, while the Natwest Bank will move into new branch premises on the ground floor of the Forum, with four self-service cash machines available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Guild Print Shop will also move into a new location near to the Student Services Centre. Monthly farmers’ markets are already being held on the Great Hall Piazza selling local produce, and this monthly market will be expanded once the main Forum Project is complete.
“It will support Fairtrade and ethically sources goods and also champion local suppliers, while keeping its focus on quality, freshness and value for money” Phil Rees-Jones, Assistant Director of Campus Services Retail, said: “We are delighted that so many new catering and retail outlets are being developed. We are working closely with the Guild to ensure services complement one another and offer the variety which is needed. The Market Place is an especially exciting part of this fabulous new building.”
The Exeter Student Newspaper
The right to freely express yourself THE Government’s drive to cut the country’s budget deficit is now in full swing, with cuts and decreases in funding affecting every sector of society. Everything from education to health care has seen its budget slashed and the resulting squeeze culminated in a mass strike by public sector workers last Wednesday. This level of industrial action, estimated at 2 million workers staging walk-out protests, has not been seen since the ‘Winter of Discontent’ in 1978. A large majority of Wednesday’s strikers work in education, as either teachers, lecturers, assistants or researchers. All were protesting about changes to pension schemes, wage packets and further potential cuts to education funding. Whilst the effectiveness of striking has been a topic of debate since, the message was clear enough: the public sector will simply not accept cuts of such a magnitude without making a stand. It may have been disruptive for a day, but it is important to remember the services that those who work in the public sector provide our nation with. It is imperative we keep the public sector appealing and enticing to the very best teachers, academics, engineers and doctors, amongst many other careers. If we don’t offer decent pay and decent career prospects, then we will simply lose their services overseas or to private industry. The ‘brain-drain’ is a situation this country really cannot afford to sustain and will cost us dear, far more than the current cuts are, and for a considerably longer time. If all of our best and brightest are bought up by big businesses or drawn to other countries which offer better prospects, then we will have a weak and poorly equipped public sector. It will be a sector left struggling to maintain everything from our schools
to our hospitals and transport system; simply, there won’t be enough skilled people to run the country. In the short term, it may disrupt us and be a slight nuisance if a lecture is cancelled or rescheduled, but ultimately, this dispute is about the future of our country and goes to the heart of the issues surrounding how Britain operates. It raises an important issue which we need to think very seriously about. What will the long term cost to our society be if we allow those who are skilled and talented to be consumed by private industries, rather than sharing their valuable skills with all of us via the public sector? The protests last week were a clear example of Britain’s democratic society, one that allows freedom of speech and expression. Baroness Deech’s blog has raised questions about the University of Exeter’s own attitude toward freedom of expression in light of Gilad Atzmon’s visit, and the “joke” published in the Safer Sex Ball magazine. Her comments were misinformed at the very least, and highlight the importance of fully understanding and analysing events carefully before commenting on them. We all have a responsibility to ensure that, should we express an opinion, it is informed and accurate. Based upon this, the “joke” that was published by RAG was wholly unacceptable and should not have been printed. However, RAG and the Students’ Guild dealt with the situation very swiftly, maturely and have resolved the issues in the best way possible. As students we should all be able to see the effort and care that RAG and the Guild have taken to address the issue and should feel proud to be part of a University that takes its students’ needs so seriously.
Thanks to all those who helped proof this issue:
James Crouch, Imogen Crookes, Fiona Lally, Imogen Watson, Esther Privett, Rebecca Lodder, Amelia Jenkinson, Callum Mclean, Thomas Ling, William O’Rourke, Elli Christie, Tom Bond, Joshua Irwandi, Maddie Sopper, Rachel Bulcock, Ciara Long, Sofy Bevan, Alex Tindall, Chloë Riddle, Lucy Cryle, Jessamy Queree, Joanna Clifford, Peter File, Ben Stupples, Sam Longden, Calum Baker, Tom Nicoll, and members of the Exeposé Editorial team
5 DECEMBER 2011 Exeposé
Editors: Ellie Busby & Henry White Deputy Editors: Ellie Bothwell & Rosie Scudder email@example.com
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Silent strikes and silenced grief
Teaching Fellow, Department of English I NEED to say right from the start that I can’t speak for anyone else, particularly any member of staff, with regards to the strike action, or any action. But I’ll say where it sits for me because what’s going on at the moment seems too important, and too interesting, not to talk about.
“I suspect that those who strike are often seen as a very particular kind of annoyance, and maybe as having a particular kind of sickness”
of annoyance, and maybe as having a particular kind of sickness; you hear a lot of people being diagnosed as radical socialists at the moment (a soundbite I naively thought would remain a quirk of American politics). This is an accusation which doesn’t name a stance, or start an argument, its sole aim is to shut down debate, its something there’s no coming back from in the eyes of self-professed realists, liberals, conservatives, and centrists, in the eyes of those who want to be taken seriously, or want to be seen wanting. There doesn’t really seem to be much radicalism about though, which to me is a surprise in itself. But I guess radicalism implies a position. What
we see instead are these silence-able or ignorable outpourings of frustration and grief: what do we do? #OCCUPY! #nov30 #generalstrike #twitterhashtag. The Occupy movement in particular is questioned for its lack of motivation, for its wooly-ness, for its idealism. But if I was on strike with anyone I was on strike with them, and with those who’ve started to ask their same questions. You can’t sympathise with their goals, as yet they have none. You can’t sympathise with their situation, they’re the multitude. But my sympathies, my political thoughts, my direct actions (such as they are) lie with their still silenced grief: What do we do? What do we do? Photo: Hannah Walker
That’s the first thing you notice about these actions though, I think, maybe particularly in cities and campuses like Exeter, but all over: the potential for them to be silent. I actually had to come to campus in the afternoon of Wednesday, and you wouldn’t have been able to tell that a section of the workforce was protesting against anything much. It seems strange to me to turn protest into an annoyance to be dealt with, a sick day, but I suspect that those who strike are often seen as a very particular kind
Public sector strikes: justified but ineffective Mae Dalgarno Wednesday’s strike didn’t achieve quite the effect it was aiming for; it was reminiscent of neither the Miner’s Strike or the Winter of Discontent. There were no queues at immigration and the majority of people managed to continue their lives as usual. It was, however, a start: an attempt to stand up for the rights of workers and a demonstration of mass dissatisfaction. Was the strike justified? Yes, I think it was. If the proposed changes get through Parliament unchanged it will see the public sector working for longer, paying more contributions and receiving less. The current system offers public sector workers a final salary scheme, meaning the pension they receive is based on their job at the end of a long career, instead, the proposal offers workers a scheme based on an average salary, meaning that
most people’s pensions will be worth significantly less, given that in the normal state of affairs people tend to earn more through the course of their lives. In addition the public sector will be expected to contribute more and to work for longer; instead of reaching retirement at 60, the pension will not be available until 66.
“Yes, the public sector has a better pension scheme, but they also work long hours in low paid, dangerous and strenuous jobs” Will the strike have an effect? Probably not. In order for a strike to be effective you need not only the strike to be supported within the pub-
lic sector and by all the employees, you also need the support of the public. At the moment, the support of the British public is severely lacking. One comment on the BBC’s website suggests that it is “pure greed driving the strike” whilst another tells the public sector to “get real!” Many people in the private sector do not have a solid pension scheme and to see people striking over the suggested changes is merely rubbing salt in the wounds. Yes, the public sector has a better pension scheme, but they also work long hours in low paid, dangerous and strenuous jobs. The pension scheme is one of the benefits of working in a sector where it is much harder to earn large sums of money and where the jobs are often difficult. Private sector pensions may be poor but is that any reason to worsen the public sector pensions?
Exeposé WEEK TEN
SSB magazine “joke”: a step too far?
Photos: Henry White
The joke is inexcusable Rob Sturgeon The SSB rape joke was reported everywhere from the Huffington Post to BBC News. It joked that taking off a girl’s clothes burnt more calories without consent, otherwise known as sexual assault. For an event that contributes to sexual health charities it is beyond inexcusable. The night itself ends in casual sex for many attendees, and blurring the lines between consent and sexual assault adds to the very real danger of such encounters.
“Rapists are not cartoon villains but real people with delusions of entitlement” “Humour can be a wonderful therapy,” says Gender Equality Representative Alexa Sage, “and as Jean Japrisot put it, ‘the ultimate defiance of suffering’. But humour is always said within a context, which in this case is a rape culture where 1 in 5 of the total population report being sexu-
ally assaulted. RAG’s rape joke only served to reinforce a legitimate fear.” No joke exists in isolation. We must question masculine attitudes that sex is something men do to women. We must understand that consent is not a contract but a constantly changing consensus that can be withdrawn at any time. If men, who make up the vast majority of rapists, knew how important the issue of female bodily autonomy is in a world they control, they would never commit such a joke to paper. If they knew the irreparable damage rape does to victims, they would think twice before actually crossing the line for their own satisfaction. Women are five times more likely to be extremely worried about being raped, while victims are six times more likely to be diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Longer lasting than the colloquial shell shock, this severe anxiety disorder can lead to flashbacks, nightmares, insomnia and hyper-vigilance. Victims are hyper-vigilant, in fact, about the possibility of reliving their trauma, and words (includ-
ing ‘jokes’) trigger these flashback symptoms. Men can prevent rape with two simple words: don’t rape. Rapists are not cartoon villains but real people with delusions of entitlement. Men are owed nothing in this world, in fact they owe victims to take their experiences seriously and challenge rape culture. Rape is never the responsibility of the victim, no matter how they are dressed, and men must understand consent or they could traumatise someone forever.
“Blurring the lines between consent and sexual assault adds to the very real danger of such encounters” If you or your friends find yourself wondering whether PTSD is a punchline, whether sexual assault is laughable or whether there’s humour in routine abuse, head for IsRapeFunny.com. You will find the answer there.
SSB slip-up undermines the event Sophie Odgers-Roe Guild Racial Equality Representative
When I first heard about the SSB magazine’s sexual violence joke I was horrified. But not surprised. After all, we live in a culture where if someone writes something silly as our Facebook status it is called ‘frape’. The reality behind rape, and specifically rape on our campuses is a very real and current problem. 1 in 6 women on our campuses in the UK have been raped or sexually or violently assaulted, called up by the Hidden Marks report last year by the NUS women’s campaign. Sexual violence is something the Feminist movement are still fighting against. It is one of our biggest prerogatives. Before people jump the gun, I’m not interested in simply slandering the people that wrote the offending piece.
The Guild currently lack adequate structures that support organisations such as RAG, to check over work before it is published. Standard university students do not understand the implications of jokes made about sexual violence. We’re not educated that way – and this is where the issues lie. I do have concerns about the Safer Sex Ball, and the accompanying sense of peer pressure to dress a certain way, drink a certain way, act a certain way. But I am not the fun police and it is someone’s prerogative to dress and act how they like (FYI that is a prerogative in third wave feminism for those scared of the F word). What I’m trying to say is: lets have our fun and games, but keep them based on dare I say it… mutual respect and a consent. SSB makes this very hard, the booklet is considered ‘daring’ when I call it down right offensive in parts (when I say in parts, I mean most of it). No one is disputing how much money SSB raises. I would argue that promoting rape culture should not have a place in SSB for it to still be a success and an asset to the Exeter experience.
The charitable legacy of the SSB has been shamefully overlooked Calum Baker BREAKING NEWS: half a handful of students have cocked up. Cocked up, no less, by telling a distasteful sex joke. An unprecedented scandal, of course; can we really deny the story such widespread national attention? As it happens, phrases such as the Mirror’s ‘sex ball’ – or This Is Exeter’s ‘raunchy ball’ - seem to have overlooked a crucial part of the story: the Safer Sex Ball itself. It is easy to forget amongst all the wild outrage exactly what the SSB’s message is
and where all that ticket money goes. The largest World AIDS Day event in Europe is, no matter what comments appear in its wake, still the largest World AIDS Day event in Europe. Can anyone, or even the positive effects of the SSB, condone the joke in question, and its nature? Of course not. Phrases along the lines of ‘incredibly insensitive’ and ‘beyond ugly’ are entirely justified, as is the general outrage of anyone with any opposition to rape (hopefully everyone). The campaign referred to on these pages, to have every Guildaffiliated publication more stringently vetoed and proofed to avoid further insensitivity, is entirely right. But, and here’s the crux: why should it have become a national concern? Who
on earth allowed this to explode? Who, outside the Uni, does this story benefit?
“The largest World AIDS Day event in Europe is, no matter what comments appear in its wake, still the largest World AIDS Day event in Europe” I’d wager that the only lasting legacy this odd little case will enjoy is the occasional citation in the occasional blog. Maybe, at a stretch, some academic paper on rape jokes
(there must be a psychologist who specialises in this). Other than that, the story is of concern to nobody who is not directly related to the Guild and RAG, who will of course continue to weather the fallout until the whole situation’s been cleared up. The BBC, the tabloids, The Huffington Post and even the vast national body of nonExeter students need have nothing to do with this humiliating issue. The issue of distasteful jokes is, of course, a sore one. But in many ways – I repeat, in many ways – the ‘joke’ at hand is no more alarming than many overheard around any student population… shocking, yes, but true. Kudos to Baroness Deech for exacerbating the issue in her blog, highlighting the joke itself but
without any SSB-related context (only a fleeting ‘shag mag’ namecheck) and no mention of the Guild’s swift response. Things, it seems, have been rather underrepresented in certain sectors. It is comforting to us at the Uni to know that the matter has been dealt with so seriously, and that moves are being made to prevent recurrences, but it seems that the moment the story broke the more long-lasting charitable legacy of the SSB, RAG, the organisers and even the magazine were shamefully overlooked. Frankly, this is a University of Exeter issue; the only thing the nationals should be concentrating on is what our ‘sex ball’ actually represents.
5 DECEmber 2011 Exeposé
Sexual abuse is no joke Maddie Soper
Guild Equality and Diversity Officer The SSB is supposed to push boundaries and create a bit of a stir, but in one respect this year that went much too far. This year’s RAG-Mag saw a shameful and unacceptable “joke” concealed within an otherwise amusing and well put-together publication. It is never acceptable to joke about abuse or sexual assault in any capacity – it was disgraceful and incredibly offensive to make light of such a serious issue. It not only makes a mockery of those who have been victims themselves, or those who may know others who have suffered abuse, but also of
how fundamentally wrong the act is in itself. A “joke” about how many calories it burns to remove a girl’s clothes “with” and “without consent” is offensive not only to women, but to those of all gender identities who have been victims of rape or sexual assault. What probably began as pub banter evolved into something far more sinister, and if anything the roots of this controversy illustrate a deeper problem. This incident is symptomatic of a wider issue: that sexual abuse is not taken seriously enough in our society. With rape conviction rates staggeringly low at 11 per cent, and expressions like “facebook rape” commonplace, the seriousness of the issue is reduced to mere banter and amusement for some. For this “joke” to have marred an event whose main focus is the promotion of safe sex and support for sexual-health charities, seems beyond
belief. It should never have been written, let alone got past an editorial stage, and those responsible must be aware of how wrong their actions were.
“A shameful and unacceptable ‘joke’ was concealed within an otherwise well put-together publication”
However, the quick and focused response from the Guild was excellent and entirely appropriate. The current edition of the magazine has been withdrawn and a formal apology was swiftly delivered. An internal investigation is already underway, and I cannot find fault with the way the situation was handled. It was the fact that such a response was needed which remains the issue.
We need a new ball Rachel Bulcock The SSB hasn’t exactly got off to the greatest start, the headline act cancelled, the palaver with tickets and then problems with their promotional magazine. Added to that the controversial nature of the event and the hefty cost, I begin to wonder if it’s worth it. However, it remains an intrinsic event of the Exeter social calendar; for many, the Exeter ball of the year. As a fringe event I have no problem with the SSB. However, it has risen to become perhaps the University ball and personally I’m not keen on it being representative of us all. In addition many of us just want
More contact hours: a saving grace?
Imogen Watson The recent announcement from the Guild that the University is promising at least ten hours of contact time a week to the first year undergraduates of 2012-13 is, considering the increase in price, somewhat welcome.
However, ten hours a week in exchange for £9,000 isn’t really that much. If you want to look at it like this, it’s about £45 a class. I’m not convinced that ten hours – which is the maximum I ever have per week for a degree of one humanities subject and one social science – is great value for money even for what we pay now. My housemate, studying at both Streatham and St Luke’s campuses, receives no regular, timetabled seminars or tutorials, and is forced to get
all her teaching en masse in lectures and labs.
“Why is the guarantee of more contact hours next year limited to first years?” Why is this guarantee limited to first years? Surely it only creates a two-tier system between the current
students and incoming ones, and (almost) everybody at this University is still trying to get good results in their degree and indebting themselves whilst doing so. Moreover, first year counts for nothing in terms of your final degree classification, so perhaps instead of giving all the attention to the freshers, more contact time ought also to be devoted to the second, third and final years for them to get the best out of their work. Let’s hope that the building works will be finished by
the chance to go to a ball, reasonably priced, with a decent headliner, without the problems encountered by SSB. I’m sure most of us know at least one person whose partner was less than happy to learn of their intentions to partake in the SSB – even if just to be sociable. Yet despite all of this, tickets still sell out within a day. I believe this is an indication of a gap in the fabric of Exeter’s social events, perhaps more prominent now due to the sad death of the Powderham ball. However at £60 a ticket it was an event only the rich could afford. Of course, there are many brilliant society balls, yet nothing that has quite the unifying nature that the SSB has. So please Exeter, we need a new ball where I’m not left without money for a dress or forced to bare all to have a good time.
then too, or there will be no space for these new classes either. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to see that fees increased to ridiculous levels are at least in turn seeing some increased value. However, I believe it should have already been the case, and now that it is, it should be applied to those who are already here and still paying a substantial amount of money.
Letters to the Editors
Send your letters to firstname.lastname@example.org Re: ‘Exeter 12th in Drinking League’ (News, p3, Issue 586) Exeposé,
Cartoon by Sammy Brook
I write concerning a matter of great disgrace to this institution which sickens me all the way to my liver. When I applied I was promised that I would be attending a Top Ten University. According to the article in question, I have been duped. The results of the wholly worthwhile and accurate drinking survey are extremely troubling: the University of Exeter is a mere 12th (of 68) in the drinking league. How on earth can the student body be expected to withstand such a morale shattering blow to its image? When I see the multitude of signs proclaiming that we are “building a world-class university together,” I can do naught but weep; surely there is no better way to increase campus camaraderie than by making sure
every day everyone downs a few more ales? The Students’ Guild President provided us with the rhetorical equivalent of an alcohol-free lager in response to this embarrassing failure, stating some guff about “safe drinking.” The Guild should subsidise the popular students’ public house, The RAM, to a greater percentage; students currently pay almost double what others do at similar universities for the age-old privilege to bin pints. Perhaps then, this University will be back on form, wiping away the sick from its mouth, taking a few paracetamol for the headache, and standing tall, swaying slightly, with inebriated pride. Yours, William O’Rourke.
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5 december 2011 Exeposé
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Newspaper self-regulation has failed
What is the Leveson Inquiry, asks Tom Nicoll, and where does the British press go from here? Photos: BBC
Speaking at the Inquiry: Steve Coogan, Hugh Grant, JK Rowling, Alistair Campbell.
AFTER each core participant gives their testimony, the Lord Justice Leveson asks them the same questions: What outcome would you hope for from this inquiry? What kind of reforms would you like to see happen in journalistic practice? Kate and Gerry McCann, parents of Madeline, called for a censoring of certain journalistic methods for obtaining information. Lord Justice Leveson, leaning in slightly, told them that the boundaries between freedom of speech and certain journalistic practices are indistinguishable, and so it would be incredibly difficult to legislate on an area that could be seen to take away basic human rights. If this is the case then, what can be the outcome of The Leveson Inquiry? The Leveson Inquiry is a public investigation into the failure of the Press Complaints Committee (PCC) to regulate the press effectively, the malpractice of the newspapers under ownership of News International and British papers in general, and the pursuit of a solution in light of the evidence and testimony given. The inquiry is structured around the written and spoken testimonies of 52 ‘core participants’, ranging from politicians to journalists to celebrities, who give evidence in court under questioning from Lord Justice Leveson and Inquiry Counsels. Their evidence relates to different aspects of the journalism industry, covering those victims of illegal information gathering, those who perpetrated it, and anything in between. One of the core participants, The Guardian journalist and author of the journalistic exposé Flat Earth News Nick Davies, told the court an old newspaper maxim: “News is what someone somewhere doesn’t want you to know,” distinguishing between the methods, noble and ignoble, of gaining information: the information requests from Scotland Yard as opposed to the hacking of phones, as an example. The stream of witnesses attesting to these illegal practices is extensive and without anomaly. Hugh Grant shared his theory that hacks broke into his house to find information about his failing relationship with Jemima Khan; Anne Diamond told of how a journalist dressed up as a doctor to get closer to her and her new born child; Kate McCann was outraged that the now closed News Of The World published portions
of her diary without her consent. The list goes on, with other victims, including Steve Coogan, Tessa Jowell, and JK Rowling all sharing tales of dark methods used to obtain information. The breadth of accounts illustrate a climate in which these procedures are, rather than a shady seldom occurrence, the normal operating routine. Another charge leveled is of the publishing of plainly false headlines. Richard Peppiatt, a former Daily Star reporter, admitted openly to making up stories, saying that speculation on a given person would be added into an article that needed ‘filling out’. Furthermore, he outlined the process undertaken to turn conjecture into a seemingly bona fide story, whereby speculation is presented as fact to a public figure, who then supplies a quotation on the matter, thus corroborating the story’s ‘validity’. It would be easy to point to the tabloids as the principal offenders, but to do so would be wrong. Davies’s Flat Earth News points to The Observer’s deliberate publishing of false stories. Recently, The Guardian had to apologise to The Sun for wrongly claiming that one of their reporters doorstepped a barrister involved in the Leveson Inquiry, a weak attempt to dig a heel into one of the fallen tabloids.
“News is what someone somewhere doesn’t want you to know” Nick Davies, Journalist
I think what is necessary to indicate here is the different motivations behind such falsities and the illegal procedures which arise from the much discussed phrase: ‘in the public interest’. The tabloid papers aim for sensational news stories, as, in the heavily competitive market of tabloid papers, the more interesting stories will sell. Exaggeration is part of the nature of the beast. These stories, often dealing with the private lives of celebrities, are said to not be a part of ‘public interest’. The broadsheets, however, pull the moral high ground, suggesting that the ‘public interest’ is at the heart of their stories, true or otherwise. Although it is right to suggest a differing ethical position of the two newspaper schools (generally speaking), it
is questionable whether the ethical is really something that can be considered in this case because, ultimately, how can you legislate as to differentiate ‘good’ and ‘bad’? A practical solution must be made on the actual practice of journalism, not on supposed moral imperatives.
“It would be easy to point to the tabloids as the principal offenders, but to do so would be wrong” A word that is frequently coming up in regard to the witness testimonies is ‘inference’. The great problem of this investigation is in its structuring. Witness accounts are not enough ipso facto to find News International guilty of breaching privacy laws. Hard evidence is required, which is notably absent in this inquiry. The pure number of witnesses willing to testify, however, must suggest an apparent truth. Indeed, it isn’t the aim of the Leveson Inquiry to legislate on individual cases, but to reform the press in general. So, to come back to the original question: How can the press be reformed as a result of this inquiry? I think it is apparent, and in fact implicit, that the papers are unable to regulate themselves, because it is paradoxical that the ‘freedom of the press’ can be regulated. It would be wrong to put in place rules against investigation that could block journalists from uncovering stories that are ‘in the public interest’ i.e. valuable stories. Yet it is clear something should be done. The birth of a regulatory body would be a good idea, except that the much maligned PCC is such a body and has been shown to be ineffectual. Ethical positions must be taken into account yet cannot be legislated, on account of the mercurial nature of morality, and thus are incompatible to being bound by stringent laws. I don’t believe that merely increasing the penalties suffered by a given paper after losing a libel case is an adequate solution. The complexities of this case are many, and the implications of the jury’s verdict may well be incredibly significant to the future of journalism in the UK. I look forward to what Lord Justice Leveson has to say.
Exeposé WEEK TEN
The state sector should stand strong
Photo: Matt Cardy
We can’t treat the public sector as private, argues Kate Holvey IN the face of the UK’s current financial situation the Coalition have continued to develop plans to drastically change retirement and pension schemes for public sector jobs. The proposals include raising the age of retirement, and increasing the percentage of earnings that employees pay into their retirement fund. They also intend to replace current pension schemes, which pay an amount based on final salaries, with a system based on career averages. This comes after the pay freeze imposed on many in the public sector which, at a time of inflation, essentially constitutes a wage decrease.
“The problems of treating public serving institutions as if they were private businesses are manifold”
A vast number of the population, and indeed the media, see this as a necessary measure in times of economic hardship. Indeed, one discerns an attitude that the public sector is ‘getting what they deserve’ after years of job benefits and cushy terms of service. The government, and right wing media, are quick to roll out statistics which tell us that the average salary in the public sector is higher than the average salary Photo: Preston
in the private. A predictable righteous indignation follows; the accepted understanding of the public-private divide is that the public sector settle for lower wages in exchange for job stability and a superior pension scheme. If this is no longer true then it hardly seems fair. However, among the cat-calls and the hissing it is easy to forget that this statistic blurs the reality – the public sector may earn more on average but not for equivalent jobs. Those who push these figures seem more than content to perpetuate this falsehood, suggesting that this move is more about punishing the public sector than a crucial cost-cutting action. Splitting an angry, tired nation across this arbitrary boundary is a useful tool for the government; pitting ‘sector’ against ‘sector’ immediately ensures the staunch approval of one half of the population. With such extreme vitriol emanating from a significant number, the reforms become reasonable, moderate in comparison. Public is being partitioned from private by a misled population, who are blindly dividing a diverse assortment of professions into two groups whose only similarity is whether or not they share an overruling employer. The job of an NHS surgeon and a waste collector are no more alike for being categorised in this way. The fundamental problem with the pension reforms is that they lump all public sector employees into one group, irrespective of the differences of their jobs. It is foolish to suggest that there be one single retirement age for every career – in certain roles you are simply unable to maintain your efficiency past a certain point. Take, for example, teachers. Huge numbers of teachers suffer from stress, with polls regularly naming it as one of the top three most taxing jobs. In fact, an HSE survey finds it to be the single most stressful profession. With this in
mind, is a teacher’s need to retire truly comparable to that of a librarian’s? Furthermore, to what extent are we willing to sacrifice standards? While it is not to say that every teacher’s level of competency and commitment has deteriorated by the proposed retirement age, I feel it reasonable to suppose that the best ones will be. The dedication required to navigate a system in which their role is forever shifting, working with a syllabus that is constantly changing, coupled with a student body who, as a collective, have no respect for their educators, is gruelling. This would exhaust anyone. Yes, money needs to be saved but in reality no one wants a 65 year-old teacher, disillusioned and burned out, responsible for their child’s tuition. The plight of the new graduate is also worth considering. With the increase of each older employee’s tenure, a young job seeker is denied a position. This is because the majority of these organisations do not work in the same way as a business, as much as the Conservative mindset would like to believe they do.
“The pension reforms amass public sector employees into one group, irrespective of the differences of their jobs” They do not expand indefinitely if they are prosperous, offering endless opportunities for new intakes and promotions. Since public sector jobs are meant to serve the public, without a marked increase in population levels (which is not desirable) it is unlikely that a large and sustained expansion
A student at Wednesday 30 November’s protest against the changes to pensions in Bristol
will be necessary within the time frame. So, it is unavoidable; in keeping on older workers, the younger lose out. It would be extremely foolish, considering current levels of unemployment, to pull the rug out from under the feet of graduates who have trained for a career in an area, such as teaching, lauded to be one of the most secure in the workplace. The problems of treating public serving institutions as if they were private businesses are manifold. The consequences of doing so are far reaching. They could affect the population at large
The trouble turning the Scots views to blue?
as the professions become clogged with persons operating at substandard level. However, one must not forget the most fundamental of criticisms of these reforms – that those workers set to retire in the next decade are concluding their working lives on completely different terms of service to that on which they began. Whether it is ‘fair’ or not, it is not the job they signed up for. Those new to public sector professions will have time to prepare for their retirement or even re-evaluate their career choice, but for those over 50 it is quite simply too late.
James Crouch discusses the new Scots Tory Leader and her status as a departure from the past Photo: Neil Hanna
“She needs to show independence from the English party. In an era of animosity between the Scots and English, the biggest albatross around her neck is that she leads the ‘English party’”
TO be a Conservative in Scotland must be a lonely experience. There is one Scots Tory Member of Parliament, and the Tory vote share has been in continual decline in the Scottish Parliament since the first devolved elections started in 1999. What is there to be done? Without being melodramatic, soon it will become terminally apparent that the Scottish Conservatives are a spent force. Now handed the gargantuan challenge to turn the party’s fortunes around is 32-year-old Ruth Davidson. And instead of looking at the more obvious and yet important features, most media outlets in Britain have all decided to summarise her with two epithets: a lesbian and a kick boxer. Now the fact that she’s a lesbian and got elected for the ‘nasty’, ‘anti-gay’ party is not as surprising as it should seem. Tory horizons are far broader than even five years ago, and change, or at least new growth, is now desirable in some form. Once again, the Tories
trail-blaze with its leaders in Scotland: the first female leader and now the first homosexual. Aside from this relatively superficial way to depict her, her CV already reads impressively for someone who’s leading students in age by barely ten years or so. She has attended two universities, before going on to work as a Sunday school teacher, a journalist with the BBC and even doing a three year stint in the Territorial Army before an injury forced her out. Not only does she have a life outside of politics, it’s been a full one and in its own way demonstrates an important quality which may help the Scottish Tories – being proactive. From her appearances on TV, she definitely seems gung-ho. But that’s not all she needs. She needs to show independence from the English party. In an era of animosity between the Scots and English, the biggest albatross around her neck is that she leads the ‘English party’. It may look like a gaffe in our eyes
when she explains that she’ll give David Cameron a “tap on the shoulder” if he needs it, but what she’s doing is trying to get Scots to assess the Scottish Conservatives in their own right, not through the lens of the Westminster party. As simple as it sounds, this seems to be the only sensible explanation for their continually poor showing at the polls. Millions of Scots are small ‘c’ conservatives in their values, so there seems little ideological reason for a near absence of Tory support in that sense. Now, areas that once elected Tories have SNP representatives, suggesting many of these conservative Scots also resent English domination, and so the Anglo-centrism of the Conservative Party. What would probably surprise most people is that she only became an MSP a year ago – and what is most remarkable is Ruth Davidson’s age. She was elected by default when the original top candidate resigned. To go from effectively stumbling into the Scottish Parliament
to successfully campaigning for party leader is impressive. Will she be able to handle the pressure and deal with the challenges ahead of her? Probably. She doesn’t appear to do things half-heartedly, and she managed to fend off the vastly more experienced front-runner. So it seems fair to say that she definitely has a chance at restoring Tory fortunes north of the border. The only word of warning for those true-blue Scots is this: don’t be deluded that a new leader will resolve all the problems you have. Former leader Annabel Goldie was second in popularity only to Alex Salmond, and she led the party to an all-time low. They will only perform better when the Scottish Conservative brand is associated with caring for Scottish needs and concerns. As with her UK-wide counterpart, the party’s fortunes will only pick up once the party is thought to have changed, along with its leader.
5 DECember 2011 Exeposé
A revolution betrayed?
Has Egypt’s revolution taken a wrong turn, asks Usman Butt
LAST week, Tahrir square saw the country’s largest protests since the ousting of the countries former president Hosni Mubarak. In February earlier this year, after Mubarak was deposed, there was a rush of hope in Egypt that things would get better. This optimism has not been able to last. One demonstrator, Ali, a 24-year-old unemployed graduate, said of Egypt’s new leadership: “We cut the head off the snake only to find that the body grew a
new head!” Another protestor, Fatima, a 22-year-old fashion student, said: “We, the Egyptian people, got rid of Mubarak. We, the Egyptian people, are now awake and we, the Egyptian people, will not stop. We will remove this regime ‘Beit Beit, Dar Dar, Zenga Zenga.’” (Home by Home, House by House, Street by Street.) When Mubarak stepped down, he placed the country under the control of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces who, like Mubarak, were not chosen by the people. The situation since then has deteriorated and law and order has broken down completely in some areas. The police no longer intervene and, outside the wealthy districts and governmental areas, they are often nowhere to be seen. The security forces continue to use excessive force and arbitrary arrests against protestors, journalists and bloggers. Those detained often complain of Photo: Tara Todras-Whitehill
A woman tries to dismantle new barriers errected by the Egyptian Army in Tahrir Square
torture and rape at the hands of the security forces. On top of this, there is an increasing threat of sectarian clashes. Some of the country’s Coptic Christian minority have come under attack from Islamic extremists. At the time of Mubarak’s fall, all of Egypt’s political, religious and social factions were united behind the banner “A Shab Yureed Yasqaat al-Nidaam” (The People want the regime to fall). The removal of Mubarak was only the first step, the hope was that the whole regime would go. So far, this has not happened and Egypt is still a military dictatorship. The country has been a dictatorship since its independence from the British. It started off under the monarchy of King Farouk; he was overthrown by the military in 1952 and was replaced with a republican dictator, Muhammad Naguib. He in turn was replaced by the populist dictator Gamal Abdul Nasser in 1956. Nasser, the populist dictator, died in 1970 and he was replaced by his right hand man, Anwar Sadat. Sadat was unpopular for many reasons, but in 1977 he did the unthinkable for an Arab leader and went to Israel and addressed the Knesset (Israeli Parliament). This was followed by a peace agreement between the two countries in 1978 called the Camp David accords. In 1981, as a result of this, he was assassinated by extremists and replaced by his right hand man Hosni Mubarak. The country was under emergency rule for 30 years until Mubarak fell. What the people of Egypt want now is democracy - something they have never had but are fighting for. This is not only a political revolution, it is a generational revolution. In 1952 at the time of the military coup the population was 19 million. Today, with soaring birth rates, the population stands at 81
A young protestor stands on another’s shoulders at a protest in Cairo on Sunday 27 November
million. Most of the population is young; the Arab world in general has one of the largest young populations per capita in the world. In places like Syria, 50 per cent of the population is below the age of 19 and in Egypt the number of people going to university has increased by a million per year. The biggest problem facing these young people is that on graduation there are limited jobs available. In Cairo, you can find people with PhDs driving taxis. Corruption is still rife, citizens constantly have to pay bribes to police and officials, and the country is suffering economic depression. Most young people have little money and struggle to buy
Time to re-address racism in Britain
meat and food. On top of this, the economic situation is causing a huge array of social problems. Egyptian society is still very conservative and relations between boys and girls outside marriage are considered unthinkable. Financially, young Egyptians are finding it difficult to establish themselves and this means that marriage is often impossible. With the older generation out of touch with these realities, the young rose up. With stories of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s biggest oppositional party, doing deals with the military council and a rise in sectarian violence, it is fair to ask: ‘Has the revolution been betrayed?’
In response to the viral YouTube video, Rohan Venkatraman looks at tolerance in our society HITTING nearly six million views on YouTube, a video featuring a racist torrent of abuse that spewed out of the mouth of a woman travelling on a London tram, has left people across the world horrified. Documented and uploaded to YouTube as ‘My Tram Experience’, the video has received over six million views so far. The woman, later named Emma West, was subsequently arrested and charged with racial harassment and creating a public disturbance, after the video came to the attention of the British Transport Police. On Monday, Twitter saw the hashtag #mytramexperience trending, with the majority of people shocked that such racism could still exist. The video, though deplorable, wasn’t itself all that horrifying; it was the comments below that scared me. I say scared, and not disgusted or worried, because a lot of the comments seemed to echo the words of the lady featured. There seems to be a bubbling resentment that the British people have against the immigrant communities, be it African, Asian or European. While there were comments condemning her
to various hells and questioning her mental sanity, a comment would pop up every so often defending her, saying that she was brave and that she had finally vocalised what millions were thinking. I know that this is not an isolated incident, nor is it going to be the last of its kind. That is what scares me.
“Do the native British really resent the fact that people from across the world come to the UK in the hope of a better life?”
The video itself, however, made me wonder. Is this really what the native British populace feel? Do they really resent the fact that people from across the world come to the UK in the hope of a better life? Is immigration really a vice so great that everyone who isn’t ‘naturally’ British needs to be attacked and reprimanded just for the sake of it? Could the recession be a poten-
tial cause? The not-so-recent but still potent recession that we’re facing across the globe is causing people to lose jobs, forcing governments to cut social and welfare programs and remove subsidies that made life easier. Couple this with the fact that companies are increasingly aiming to reduce costs by outsourcing valuable jobs to countries with lower wage rates, and it’s glaringly obvious why people might be inclined to vent their frustrations on people of different ethnic groups. They create a scapegoat in an attempt to preserve not only pride but their very identity, which for many is defined by their job or lack thereof. But then the question arises. Is targeting a person’s race the way forward? Is blaming the problems of the world and the economy on where someone originates fair? You might argue that I am biased, being Indian but I am only commenting on what I have seen. Furthermore, a large number of British people share my opinion – that this is wrong, plain and simple. Kate Mellor, Environment and Ethics officer for the Students’ Guild,
said: “What she’s saying may indeed be representative of a popular opinion, but most people with even a shred of common sense would see that this opinion is wrong.” Granted, the incident may be an extreme form of racism that may not necessarily represent the day to day experiences of Britain’s minority groups and the populace in general. It does, however, highlight the fact that we are yet to overcome racism and thus, the
core issues of what creates such intolerance must be readdressed. There has never been a time when a racial utopia has existed and I doubt such a thing could ever exist, but we are losing sight of what makes the UK a racially tolerant and welcoming society. It is time for us to bring the discussion of race relations back to the forefront and ask the much needed question – where do we go from here?
A screen capture from the YouTube video ‘My Tram Experience’
Exeposé WEEK TEN
Can the ANC move on from Mandela? Tom Jeffery on the challenges facing freedom of speech in a country still bound by loyalty
Photo: Nic Bothma
People protesting against ‘The Protection of State Information Act’ in Cape Town, South Africa; Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa; a woman protests outside the Parliament building.
UNLESS you’ve gone horribly wrong somewhere on your Gap Year, you don’t expect to be sleeping in a South African prison cell for four and half months. I found myself in this situation, not because of some unfortunate incident with customs or local police but because I was working with Project Gateway, a charity based inside an old apartheid-era prison in Pietermaritzburg. Now being used to do amazing work in the city’s poorest communities, the prison holds many dark reminders of the brutality and fear that encompassed much of, and is thankfully confined to, South Africa’s history. Yet in recent weeks part of that darkness has been creeping back over the country’s democracy in the form of a new ‘Protection of State Information’ bill which was recently passed by the country’s lower House of Parliament. The African National Congress (ANC) majority in parliament made sure that the law, which prohibits
Name: Tom Jeffery
anyone making ‘state secrets’ public, passed with 229 votes to 107. According to the ANC, the purpose of the bill is to stop individual whistleblowers releasing information that could be damaging to South African national security. Yet in reality, since the state can now classify practically anything as a secret, the bill has been branded by many as simply a way to clamp down on any journalists exposing information about the corruption that is rife in the government. This has been met with a huge amount of criticism both from those in South Africa and internationally, with over 1000 people demonstrating outside the parliament building in Cape Town on the day the bill was passed. The protest, dubbed ‘Black Tuesday’, drew on memories of ‘Black Wednesday’, the name given to 19 October 1987, when the apartheid regime banned two newspapers and 19 Black Consciousness Movements.
them the ability to imprison journalists who expose information about government corruption, the ANC is on the path to reinstating a form of oppression that their movement fought so hard to destroy.
“The state can now classify practically anything as a secret”
The passing of the bill is a devastating blow to what is still a fledgling democracy and arguably represents a step backwards for South Africa as a nation. By passing a law which, in theory, gives
The strength of feeling in the country is obvious. The South African opposition leader, Lindiwe Mazibuk asked the members of the ANC who voted for the bill: “What will you tell your grandchildren one day? I know you will tell them that you fought for freedom. But will you also tell them you helped to destroy it?” It is important to remember that many of those in the government did play a pivotal role in bringing down the apartheid regime. Yet this doesn’t give them the right to treat South Africans as if they owe the ANC some sort of debt, as if they should just put up with countless cases of high level corruption or overlook measures which curtail their freedoms. Unfortunately, many South Africans do view themselves as owing a debt to the government; they still gained 65 per cent of the votes in the last election. Why? A sense of loyalty. When I was in South Africa, I arrived during the build-up to the local municipality elections. Whilst the majority of
How did you come to spend time in South Africa? I was sent there by a charity in the UK called Oasis who have different projects and partnerships all over the world.
as if you were in the middle of London and then literally a five minute drive later you can be in the sort of abject poverty that people often associate with Africa. That sort of contrast was extremely challenging.
How was living in South Africa compared to England? In some ways very similar and in others completely different. One of the strangest things about South Africa is how absolutely huge the rich/ poor divide is. You can be shopping in an air-conditioned mall and feel
Would you like to go back? Absolutely. When you’re living somewhere for nearly five months you make friends and relationships and to see the people I worked with again would be brilliant. I’m not sure when I’ll go back but I definitely will!
“Many South Africans do view themselves as owing a debt to the government”
white South Africans voted DA, the vast majority of black South Africans who, although by no means exclusively, make up the poverty stricken of the country, either continued to vote ANC or didn’t vote at all. Many of the people I talked to still viewed themselves as being honour bound to the party that removed the apartheid regime. To actively vote for someone else, they argued, would be to turn their backs on those who fought and died for their freedom. One of the people I was working with told me that although he was completely disillusioned with what the political situation had become, and with the way that he and his family were being ignored by the government, he and countless others like him would decide not to vote rather than vote against the ANC. You can understand why. The ANC’s rise to power was truly liberating: Nelson Mandela led a movement which stood up against the power of the apartheid regime and fought for the freedom of all those who were being oppressed because of the colour of their skin. He managed to end the apartheid and for that he does deserve the eternal gratitude, not only of South Africans, but of anyone who values equality and freedom. Yet this ANC is not Mandela’s ANC, and it hasn’t been for a long time. While no one is suggesting the current government has dropped its belief in racial equality, nor implying What was the best part of your time in South Africa? One of my jobs was teaching drama to three groups of 12 year olds and the culmination of their work was to put on a play to the rest of the school. They’d been working on it for weeks and after a lot of panicking and emergency rehearsals they got up and performed brilliantly. They were all so proud of themselves and so was I!
that its crimes are at all on par with the nationalist government, it has strayed from many of the values that it embodied when Mandela was at the helm. To use their role as former liberators to keep power through a sense of popular duty rather than popular trust and support is wrong. That they use it to create a law which will inhibit South Africa’s freedom is reprehensible. Sadly, at the moment this seems the reality of South African politics.
“This ANC is not Mandela’s ANC, and it hasn’t been for a long time”
Despite the increasing influence of the DA, Jacob Zuma’s ANC seems as powerful as ever. However, this doesn’t mean that ‘The Protection of State Information Act’ has to go forward. All those ‘Black Tuesday’ protestors, and all those who support them, are hoping and praying that when the bill comes before the upper House, they will remember what was set out in South Africa’s historic freedom charter: “All shall enjoy equal human rights…their right to speak, to organise, to meet together, to publish.” As a friend of mine told me: if they truly believe that, then it’s their duty, not only as elected representatives but as South Africans, to tear up that law and throw it away. Has your experience in South Africa changed your political views generally? It didn’t change any of my views but it certainly made me think about the way that we take freedom and equality for granted in the west, and our shortcomings. People in South Africa are so passionate about freedom and equality, hence the reactions to the information bill, and it’s very difficult for that passion not to affect the way you think!
5 DECember 2011 Exeposé
The King James Bible: more than a symbol of religion It is a work of literature that informed our history, argues Jessica Leung, Video Games Editor ON Friday 20 November, Michael Gove used his power as Education Secretary to donate a special book to all schools in England. After all, it is his job to provide all students with a breadth of knowledge and open their eyes to a world of literary classics. It is impossible to argue against a decision to give every school a book – surely everyone should be overjoyed that young people are encouraged to read widely? The only problem is
that the book that Gove is planning to send happens to be the 400th Anniversary Edition of the King James’ Bible. Cue uproar. In 1604, King James I was persuaded that a new translation of the Bible was necessary and he ordered
work to begin. Over 40 esteemed scholars from the Church of England helped with the project translating the Old Testament directly from Hebrew and the New Testament from the original Greek. In 1611, The King James Bible (KJV) was completed and it reflected the ecclesiology of the early 17th Century. The King James Bible has had a remarkable impact both in England and around the world. Beyond being a sacred religious text, this translation is also beautifully written and is one of the most in-
fluential texts in English literature. British sailors would take the KJV with
them on their travels and this is one of the main reasons why English is a world language today. The translation is also responsible for over 250 idioms in the English language which is more than any other single source, including Shakespeare. It surprises me that Shakespeare could be so well received in modern society whilst the KJV is rejected simply because it is a religious text.
“The King James Bible has had a remarkable impact both in England and around the world” This year is the 400th Anniversary of the King James Bible and it has been brought back to print, whilst also including biblical artworks from the last four centuries, to mark this special occasion; it seems like the perfect way to introduce such a great work of literature to young people today. Michael Gove will also be writing a foreword in the editions being sent to the schools. However, with anything that has religious significance, there will always be criticisms. The National Secular Society believes that the schools are full
of Bibles in the first place and that Gove should send out copies of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species instead. Frankly, to protest against this would be ignorant as the KJV is such an important text it would be similar to suggesting that Chaucer should not be studied as his works are rife with sexuality and religious undertones. The King James Bible has helped to shape society today along with many other respected works of literature. The translation of the King James Bible was a revolutionary movement which moved doctrine away from the strict grasps of the Catholic church and into the hands of ordinary people, thus transforming the world as we know it today. Regardless of the fact it is a religious book, students should not be denied access to certain texts. To do this would be to deny students an opportunity to grasp and explore one of the most eloquently written books in history. It is possible to read the Bible without believing what is written. It should be respected and studied as a work of beauty and an historical text in its own right. Students should be able to read The King James Bible to appreciate it for what it is, just as it is possible to study The Communist Manifesto, without themselves choosing to be communists; or reading Mein Kampf for inter-
est rather than to become Nazis. The uproar against Christianity and the secular movement has gone too far to suggest that Michael Gove should not send copies of this text to schools in England. Gove is giving the gift of the English language to all schools so that every child, regardless of their religion, can choose freely to embrace this historical and important piece of literature.
“It should be respected and studied as a work of beauty and an historical text in its own right” Perhaps the person who best sums up the importance of this book is former poet laureate, Andrew Motion, who suggests that: “The King James Bible is a cornerstone of our culture and our language. Whatever our faith, whatever we believe, we have to recognise that the rhetorical power of this book, and in particular its power to fuse history with poetry, connects at the most fundamental level with our own history and poetry.” I personally could not agree more.
Photo: Still image from Beyonce’s ‘Single Ladies’ music video
Ellie Busby, Editor, on single as a choice IN modern society, it cannot be denied that women have increasingly more freedom in choosing when to settle down than only a few decades ago. Many women opt to marry at a later age than before, as the security which marriage used to guarantee is no longer necessary now that we have become financially independent. However, the root of the problem is that society still expects women to eventually find a partner and settle down. Women who choose independence and solitude over coupling are still negatively viewed as being ‘left on the shelf’ and leading a ‘lonely’ life. Men also face pressure to couple up but the connotations of ‘singledom’ for women are considerably more negative. The loaded difference between ‘bachelor’ and ‘spinster’ is immediately apparent. ‘Singledom’ is popularly regarded as a mere temporary lapse from the norm, yet it needs to be acknowledged and accepted as a positive choice made by some women, instead of as an undesirable fate that they could not avoid. Choosing to remain single at a young age, early 20s to early 30s, over settling down is a popular second-wave feminist idea. Being single for a period is viewed as an important process to take in selfdevelopment. However, pressure from society to couple off and start a family still sets in past a certain age, where being single is no longer portrayed as desirable. This can be seen in popular culture’s negative representations of single life at an older age. For example, Bridget
Jones’s Diary highlights the struggle for women to be single in their 30s. Bridget is the outsider amongst her coupled-off friends, who cannot understand why so many women remain single in their 30s. They remind Bridget that time is ticking by if she wants to settle down soon. Their assumption that she must eventually ‘tie the knot’ reflects the pressure on women to find a partner before they get too old. Bridget tries to treat single life as a liberating and positive period. For example, she makes the most of her new job in TV and buys books about how to be happy without men. And yet, her main aim throughout the film is to ultimately find a partner, which she does when she gets together with Mr Darcy, putting her turbulent time as a single woman to rest.
“Society assumes that these women are only single because they were unsuccessful in the courting process” The majority of romantic comedies, like Bridget Jones’s Diary and films like 27 Dresses, infer that marriage or longterm commitment to a partner is the only way to true happiness and that a single life should only be temporary. The marriage myth, which suggests that the only route to happiness is to find a life-partner, and the lonely spinster stereotype of single women, remain dominant in modern
society. In popular culture, there are very few portrayals of women who have chosen to be single and remain satisfied and fulfilled in this life-choice. However, in Kate Bolik’s recent article ‘Why marriage is a declining option for women’, published in The Observer, a real-life example is given of women who taken the decision to live without a partner. Bolik visits Amsterdam to learn about an iconic medieval bastion of single-sex living: The Begijnhof. To be accepted into this society, an applicant must be female and between the ages of 30 and 65, and commit to living alone. Bolik meets a woman called Ellen who has lived in this bastion for 12 years and appears happy in her solitude. This example shows that marriage and relationships do not have to be the only answer to happiness, and that single life can also be a constant state, not only a transitional period, where women can gain full lives and satisfaction in their solitude. Although Bolik’s article emits a positive message that women are able
to live an independent life and be happy, the response to the article on the website deeply shocked me. The majority of comments were negative, crass, dismissive and some were condescending. Many commentators felt the article was an unnecessary rant: “Good for you, madam, if you’re not marrying. It isn’t compulsory, even for women. Now enjoy yourself, and shut up already.” The angry and dismissive comments suggest that these feminist ideas are not widely accepted as people want her to “shut up”. Another commentator stated: “Go on, fool yourself into thinking it’s fun being single at 40. The reality is that everyone around you has settled down and you’re left with the scraps from the table.” This commentator disregards the idea that being single may lead to happiness, and sees her as merely fooling herself into thinking this because there are few men around for her to choose. The autonomous decision of some women to remain single and not marry is overwhelmed by society’s assumption, and
misconception, that these women are only single because they were unsuccessful in the courting process. In 2005, social psychologist Bella DePaulo coined the word ‘Singlism’ in the Psychological Inquiry, she says it is “the stigmatising of adults who are single [and] includes negative stereotyping of singles and discrimination against singles.” She intended a parallel with terms like sexism and racism. It is evident from the negative stereotypes that still exist in popular culture and the overwhelmingly negative response to Bolik’s article that those who choose a single life are not entirely accepted by society. The modern woman should be allowed to choose her own path in life, her ‘singledom’, without discrimination. Although times are changing for the better, society still carries on with the old prejudice that women need a romantic union to be happy. This assumption needs to be readdressed whilst the choice to remain single should be accepted whole-heartedly if we want to progress further.
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Exeposé week ten
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Vintage: improving with age
In homage to our sustainable fashion shoot, Charlotte Dallin, makes vintage fashion work for everyday life VINTAGE: just a trendy and glamourised word for old, pre-owned items of clothing and accessories? Or a strain of fashion that allows you to dress in a completely unique way by wearing one-off items? Many people would argue that shopping vintage is an expensive habit as ‘vintage’ is just an excuse to add some noughts to the price tag but, as I have found, this is not necessarily the case. Who says that a bargain found at a charity shop or jumble sale can’t be a vintage treasure? The first item I ever bought in a charity shop was a skinny white leather plaited belt, and I can safely say I have got my £1.50’s
worth of wear out of it. It has become the best friend to my high-waisted shorts and I love that if anyone asks where I bought it, I can say, “It’s vintage” with a smug grin on my face.
“Who says a bargain found at a charity shop or jumble sale can’t be a vintage treasure?”
But besides the cheap price, I like to think it has a story to tell, as with all of my thrifty purchases. Who had owned it previously? Where did it originally come from? Where around the world had it been worn by its previous owner? The list
Sightseeing - surf style
of questions is endless. If only clothes could talk! You could never ask these questions about an item of clothing bought fresh from the high street. The same goes for designer items; it does not matter how renowned the designer is, or how much prestige is linked to their name, they can never offer the same story element that a vintage item can…unless you want to fork out a figure in the thousands for a vintage Chanel quilted handbag from Harvey Nicks, of course. In fact, who says vintage has to cost a single penny? Ask your parents or grandparents to rummage through their wardrobes for things they have kept from previous eras. I come from a family of self-confessed hoarders and I always enjoy seeing the latest item that my grandma has found from back-inthe-day. It was a dream come true
Luke Graham, Screen Editor, gives us his verdict on the online budget travelling phenomenon ‘Couchsurfing’ THIS summer, I travelled around Israel, Jordan and Palestine for six weeks, and only paid for accommodation on two nights. Okay, one reason is I spent three weeks volunteering at a farm (and if that interests you, check out WWOOFing and HelpX on Google), but how did I manage this for the other three weeks? I used the amazing Internet resource that is Couchsurfing. Set up in 2004 it has grown and now has 8,839,063 million users across the globe. The purpose of the social-networking site is to find and meet people around the world, and get a free place to stay. Not only is saving money great when you are travelling but it makes
getting to know locals much easier; often the people who host you will show you around the place they live, taking you to all the cool and hidden away places that you would only know about from living there. It’s a much better way to engage with a culture and its people. The great strength of Couchsurfing is that it is free to use and peerreviewed. When you stay with or host someone, afterwards you write a review about them on their profiles. If someone has lots of positive reviews then they will be great to stay with, if they have negative reviews then don’t reply to or contact them. You’re not obliged to host people either, but it’s another way to meet new and interesting people. I used Couchsurfing six times while I was travelling, and only had one bad experience (which we knew we were getting into because it was a last minute emergency and the dude had a clearly fake profile and many negative reviews. It’s since been deleted). Yet, it gave me a great story (which might be too indecent for this article) and saved me £11 on a hostel. The other five were fantastic: in Haifa, I stayed with a guy who was as big a gaming nerd as me and took me and my friends to a jazz concert. In Jordan, my host put us up for free in his friend’s hotel and spent the evenings teaching us games and smoking shee-
sha. The best experience was in Petra in Jordan where we stayed with Ghassab, a Rastafarian Bedouin who lived in a cave in the middle of the desert, who took us rock-climbing and cooked the most amazing food I’ve ever tasted. We slept out in the open under a star-filled sky, watching shooting stars every few seconds.
“We stayed with Ghassah, a Rastafarian Bedouin who lived in a cave in the middle of the desert”
Of course, whenever you are travelling, you have to be careful. Some people try and use Couchsurfing to make money or pick up girls and you should avoid them. I was travelling with three other males, but if you are travelling alone or are female you may be more at risk of unwanted attention, or worse, through no fault of your own. Getting those first reviews is difficult, but if I’ve managed to convince you of the benefits of Couchsurfing: let’s get ‘surfing’!
when I popped round to my grandma’s one day for a cup of tea and she presented me with a whole bag full of necklaces and belts from when she was in her twenties.
“I love that if anyone asks where I bought it, I can say, “It’s vintage” with a smug grin on my face”
My mum has found me some little gems too, my favourite being a navy and white polka-dot blouse, which I slightly customised with a pair of scissors and the sewing machine. Never be afraid to alter your vintage pieces to suit you and if necessary, take extreme measures. For example, if you see something in a fabric that you love but
hate the garment, chop it up and make a scarf or pretty bow out of it to wear in your hair or tie around the strap of a handbag. One of my friends is such a believer in recycling clothes that already belong to her family that her new year’s resolution for 2011 was not to buy any new clothes at all during the year, so far she has succeeded! I’m not sure I have that much will power, as I love a good shopping trip, but I definitely think I am less of a slave to the high-street than I used to be, and I love a snip from a charity shop or a freebie from my family’s closets to mix with my 21st century staples.
Amy’s American adventures
Amy Dicketts discusses her latest exploits
Before I came to America I thought I knew all about big billboards, big cars and big bellies. In reality, that would be like assuming that every Englishman eats fish and chips and calls everyone guv’nor – which is, incidentally, what most Americans believe. The best bits aren’t the big cities and bright lights, but the towering mountains, the rolling plains and the sheer diversity of the wildlife and the landscapes. Nothing has helped me to see this more than travelling around America in the last four months. Studying abroad has been about learning about a different location. At the University of New Mexico I learnt how to shoot a gun and how to hold on tight in a jeep off-roading in the desert. I learnt to play beer pong and how to avoid getting caught. I learnt how American football works and then decided rugby is better. And I learnt that an English accent in a small town in America will get you pretty much whatever you want. Then I learnt that saying yes will get you much further across the country than saying no. It took me to Denver, to Vegas, to New York, to the Grand Canyon and to Montana. It had me on the public transport offence list in Denver for dodging fares, gambling on the Vegas roulette tables at 11:11 on 11/11/11, walking through Central Park in full autumn bloom, taking a helicopter to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and going on my first hunting trip in the mountains. I have met people I would
have never expected to meet and done things I never dreamt of doing. The least important thing about studying abroad is the actual studying. The most valuable things I have learnt have been about myself, the places and the people. I found I could not only get myself to America but survive out here and love it. This has in part been thanks to the wonderful people. They taught me how to track and shoot a deer, helping me to see it as a food source rather than a Disney character. I was shown sunset over the mountains and huge red rocks that seemed to be growing out of the ground. Most of all, studying abroad taught me how much I am capable of achieving, how much can be gained from relying on the kindness of strangers and I only hope that if I run into an international student next year, I can show what there is to love about England. I’d start by brewing them a good cup of tea.
5 december 2011 Exeposé
“The unnecessary problems with...Facebook”
In his final column, Thomas Ling, examines the trappings, trivialities and treacheries of Facebook MARK Zuckerberg is a silly billy. There, I said it. It’s not because he literally has money sprouting from his armpits, or even that he keeps on refusing to admit he did indeed play the main chef in Ratatouille. Zuckerberg has put me in the lead role of my own low budget horror movie in which every time I work on an essay, I transform into a prostrating zombie that has to log on to Facebook to feast on the bloody, yet all-in-all trivial, details of people I barely know. When I finally change back into my relatively human form I gasp in horror at the crime scene on my laptop, half expecting a police raid to come crashing through my door any second.
“The group’s profile picture asks people to ‘Like’ in support of ‘Albania Independence day’”
If you’re an avid Facebook stalker you’ve probably exposed your true nature with the phrase: “Well, I tried to work, but then spent all afternoon on Facebook.” Well, what exactly were you doing ‘on Facebook’ the entire afternoon? Were you catching up with old acquaintances or were you actually checking if that guy from your Monday lecture dresses like that all the time? I bet you even did a mini celebratory hip-hip-hooray in your head when you found his privacy settings on low. You probably ‘lol-ed’ away at his string of tedious statuses before clicking on his girlfriend’s profile picture to judge how matched the couple are in appear-
ance, only to end up staring at a group picture of complete strangers, trying to work out which one she is. Don’t say you didn’t. You did. However, I think Facebook offers a lot more than casually spying on strangers. Some of the community groups you can join are downright fantastic. For example, I love that 1,315 people have joined a fan page for ‘bricks’. 1,315 people have stumbled across the page and spent a few moments questioning their previous indifference towards bricks before finally concluding that yes, bricks are an integral part of modern day architecture and thus their online presence must be supported. Recently, my faith in the brilliance of Facebook groups has been severely shaken after coming across the page ‘1+1=69... like if you get it’ (ask your parents if you don’t), which at the time of writing is being followed by 303,146 aubergine-brained members. Obviously it took me a while to stitch my limbs back on after I exploded from laughing so hard at the group’s name, but eventually I managed to examine the page. I was terrified by the amount of people that had commented ‘I don’t get it’ on the page before ‘liking’ it anyway, thereby pissing on the group’s simple criteria for joining. It’s as if they picked up logic by the ankles, bog-washed it and then divided it by zero. And okay, if those comments were meant ironically, then I’m so very sorry to question the obvious comedic highlight of the millennia just behind the discovery of the fart. After this, I really didn’t think I could find a group as appalling. How wrong I
was. I found a series of pages that seemed willing to stamp on a litter of kittens if it meant gaining popularity, the worst example being ‘Can we get 911,911 likes to show respect for the 9/11 victims’, with over 50,000 members. At a big stretch, the group may appear like an online memorial for the terrible losses of the 2001 terrorist attacks, but the entire group is designed as part of the popularity contest from hell. The page’s approval seeking status updates include, ‘How Many Like’s Can We Get For Eminem’s Birthday?’, a picture of the twin towers baring the caption ‘R.I.P.: Like....’ and a yes or no survey titled ‘Fuck Osama?’. Even the profile picture of the group is asking people to become members in order to pledge their support to ‘Albania Independence day’. The owner of the group seems incredibly desperate for approval; who knows what will happen when he discovers ratemypoo.com.
“Bricks are an integral part of modern day architecture and thus their online presence must be supported I really wanted to wrap up my last column with some festive spirit or even something remotely heart-warming, but I can’t. These Facebook groups have left me curled on the floor, eyes shut and hands on my ears, praying for a nuclear holocaust to prevent the imminent nervous breakdown of society. Merry Christmas everyone.
Your problems solved Aunty Lucy and Uncle Ian are here to help
“Dear Lifestyle, I’m a second year student studying Economics. Last week I realised that I am almost half way through my degree and still have no idea what I want to do for a career. All my friends seem to have a clear idea of what they want to do and have lots of work experience already. I’m starting to panic that I might have left it too late and I don’t know who to talk to about it. Please help! Panicked Second Year”
CHRISTMAS time in second year is prime mid-university crisis time; use this shock revelation to kick yourself into gear. Everyone I know (myself included) is emerging from the denial of freshers, “first year doesn’t count,” to face the blinding reality that we cannot be students forever. Utilise the resources that the Uni provides, get your three grand’s worth. Make an appointment with the careers advice service. Booking a week or so in advance will put the pressure on you to do your homework. Going prepared means you can use your slot for more focused discussion, such as how to gain relevant work experience. In the interim, use the career research resources in Reed Mews and visit the employability page of the Exeter Uni website for information on careers fairs and other subjectspecific events. See your personal tutor to help inform your decision. They will know in which direction you are heading grades-wise and can give you economics-focused advice. Good luck!
THERE is definitely no need to panic and rush into a decision about your career. It’s much better to take your time and find a career you really enjoy than to decide now and regret it for the rest of your life. You can go to parents, friends and tutors for advice but really no one is going to be able to decide but you. Find out about lots of career paths through the Employability Office and see if any interest you and if they do, try to arrange some work experience. If you go and find it’s not for you then you’ve not lost anything and you can cross it off your list. If you graduate and still have no idea what you want to do then make the most of the time you have. Go travelling, find yourself, rescue orphans from burning buildings or whatever people do on their gap year these days. Think about what you want to do with your life because once you start your career you’ll probably be stuck with it for the rest of your life, and that’s not something to rush in to.
Campus Style Spotter: Christmas Jumpers OUR roving photographer and style aficionado, George Connor, brings you the best style on campus! YOU may have thought on your walk onto campus this Christmas that you’d accidentally walked onto an 80’s Norwegian ski slope or a Wham video. Unfortunately, you’d be wrong. However, Fair Isle knits have made a resounding return to chilly Devon this season and make us wish we were in 1984 for all the right reasons. From leggings to hoods, to bobble hats everything has been doused in a good covering of snowflakes and festive colours. Anna-Marie’s (right) super-soft knit is a great low key version whilst Nikki’s (middle) Fair Isle and fur combo goes to show there’s no such thing as too much polar chic. EmmaLeigh’s (left) jacket does patterned knits in a more muted, warmer palate showing a crossover with the Aztec prints that are bound to be everywhere come summer. So Stylespotters, this Christmas get into the attic, dig through your Dad’s old ski gear and rescue some classic vintage knits to stave off the cold.
Exeposé Fashion Shoot 2011 “Dress Ethically, Shop Frugally” Edited by Zoe Dickens & Cyan Turan
This year, Exeposé’s Fashion Shoot focuses on showing students that dressing ethically and shopping frugally need not mean compromising on style. The clothes that you see in these pictures have either been made from fairtrade materials, been pre-worn and reworked or bought from charity shops. We felt that it was important for students and the wider community to recognise that ethical, frugal clothing does not deserve its less-than-glamourous reputation. Exeter has a large number of charity shops and, as we discovered, their stock is plentiful and often fashionable. Pre-worn and pre-loved vintage clothing also offers another way to shop with a clean conscience. As you will also see in this one-off insert, companies making ethical clothing are pushing themselves to produce versatile garments which exude contemporary cool. Head off the beaten High Street and you’ll be inspired by what you find. The Students’ Guild Advice Unit, based in Devonshire House, can offer help and advice on budgeting, finding alternative options and improving your spending habits on items such as clothing. We hope you enjoy the pictures and would like to thank everyone who helped make the shoot such a success. Cyan & Zoe Jess wears: Dress, £70, GoodOne. Image: Joshua Irwandi.
Jess wears: Dress, £350 Jenny wears: Dress, £364 Alex wears: Dress, £336 All Minna. Image: Hannah Walker.
(L-R) Jenny wears: Cardigan, £92, GoodOne, Leggings, £59, GoodOne. Lewis wears: Jacket, £15, 124, Shirt, £8, 124, T-shirt, £10, 124, Scarf, £10, 124, Trousers, £10, 124. Jess wears: Dress, £296, GoodOne. Greg wears: Cardigan, £20, 124, T-shirt, £10, 124, Cords, £15, 124. Alex wears: Jumper, £40, GoodOne, Pencil skirt, £52, GoodOne. Image: Joshua Irwandi..
Dress as before. Image: Hannah Walker. Outfits as before. Image: Hannah Walker.
All outfits as before. Image: Hannah Walker.
All outfits, as before. Image: Hannah Walker Cape, as before. Image: Joshua Irwandi.
Alex wears: Jacket, £15, Relevant Dress, £10, Relevant. Jenny wears: Cape, £38, Relevant T-shirt, £6, Relevant Jeans, £12, Relevant. Jess wears: Shirt, stylist’s own. Pencil skirt, £15, Relevant. Image: Hannah Walker.
All outfits, as before. Image: Joshua Irwandi.
Outfits, as before. Image: Hannah Walker.
(L-R) Jenny wears: Outfit, as before. Jess wears: Silk Dress, Oxfam, Brocade Jacket, £22, Quay Antiques. Alex wears: Shirt, Oxfam, Floral Skirt, Oxfam, Belt, Stylist’s Own. Image: Hannah Walker.
Jenny wears: Skirt, Oxfam, Shirt, Stylist’s own. Lewis wears: Jacket, £15, 124, Cardigan, Cancer Research, Shirt, £15, Motel, Jeans, Model’s own. Image: Hannah Walker.
(L-R) Alex wears: Plaid dress, £25. Jenny wears: Top, £21, Shorts, £21. Jess wears: Dress, £35. All Motel. Image: Hannah Walker
Greg wears: Jacket, Quay Antiques, Jumper, £8, 124, Check shirt, £8, 124, Jeans, Model’s own. Lewis wears: Jacket, Quay Antiques, Jumper, £8, 124, Shirt, £15, 124. Image: Hannah Walker.
Finally, we’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who helped on the shoot: Stylists: Esther Privett, Francesca de Munnich Langford, Thomas Jenkinson, Emeline Hill and Jasmina Murlaska. Models: Jenny King, Jessica Weeks, Alexandra Tindall, Lewis Irani and Gregory Hoare. Hair and Make-Up: Clare Mullins and Jessica Leung. Photographer: Hannah Walker. Photography Assistant: Joshua Irwandi. Special thanks to our sponsors: University of Exeter Sustainability Department: www.exeter.ac.uk/sustainability. Green Society, Students’ Guild Advice Unit. Quay Antiques, Topsham (01392 874006) and Matford Recycling Facility (01392 665010), Relevant (127 Fore Street, Exeter, EX4 3JS, Tel: 01392 425123), 124 (124 Fore Street, Exeter, EX4 3JQ, Tel: 01392 437794), Minna (020 7587 0887), GoodOne (020 7249 0199), Oxfam GB (01865 473727), Motel (01527 551810).
Exeposé week ten
Behind the scenes: Exeposé Fashion Shoot 2011 1 antique globe, 3 cars, 4 McMuffins, 21 outfits, 24 coffee cups and countless tin cans: This was the Exeposé Fashion Shoot 2011
Clockwise from top: The morning begins bright and early at the Matford Recycling Facility; our female models, Alex, Jess and Jenny are pictured by the duck pond near Lafrowda; Jenny and Lewis practise their Oscar speeches at Quay Antiques in Topsham; Jess gets Jenny camera-ready back at our Cornwall House base; the girls share a laugh as their heels sink further into the mud; our models attempt to grin and bear the insufferable smell of Exeter’s recyclable waste. Images: Joshua Irwandi and Hannah Walker
5 december 2011 Exeposé
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Andy Smith & Amy Weller - email@example.com
06/12 - The Saw Doctors, The Lemon Grove
Long live the King
Ellie Roberts and Bryony Cullen chat to up and coming indie-rasta King Charles
7/12 - Symphony Orchestra’s Winter Concert, Mint Methodist Church 9/12 - Cabaret Voltaire, Cavern 9/12 - University Singers Xmas Concert, St James’ Church 10/12 - Dreadzone, Exeter Phoenix 10/12 - Chamber Orchestra, University Chapel 12/12 - Seth Lakeman, The Lemon Grove 14/12 - Beats and Bass, Cavern Featured Event:
Itchy Feet Christmas Party 11/12 - Arena 10pm - 2am Tickets: £7
Itchy Feet promises to bring you a brilliant night where you can experience something completely different. You can get your jive on to unique music including Swing, Soul, Funk, Rhythm & Blues, Rock n Roll and Ska. Ticket sales are on Monday 5th, Tuesday 6th and Wednesday 7th at 6 Pennsylvania Crescent 12-2pm. Go to the Facebook event page for more details. Not a night to miss out on!
WE’RE sitting in Cavern waiting for King Charles to finish his sound check when he wanders past, sprawling out in the seat next to us and tapping the keyboard of his Mac. He’s been described as a dandy, and that’s exactly the word that springs to mind. His normally eccentric outfits may have been replaced by a t-shirt, but with his trademark moustache and dreadlocked hair he still shares more than a passing likeness to his seventeenth century namesake. He’s every bit the English decadent. We quickly get chatting and it seems being in Exeter has struck a chord with him as he starts by talking about his student life at Durham, which he cut short to pursue a career in music: “I looked in some of the windows and I did quite miss student life. I never would have expected to miss it when I was going through it.” Tonight he might be feeling nostalgic for his student days, but since leaving Durham he’s definitely established himself amongst some of the best of folk’s new artists. He first found success with band Adventure Playground, who toured with Laura Marling and Noah
and the Whale but broke up in 2008. In 2010 he supported Mumford and Sons as a solo artist and became the first and only Brit to win the International Songwriting Contest in Nashville. Now he’s touring the UK with his soon to be released debut album, featuring a handful of singles that perfectly echo his brand of folk infused pop.
“Listening to Blonde on Blonde was like my birth; it was a part of me that hadn’t been awake” “It’s glam folk,” he says when asked how he’d describe his music, but critics have called it an amalgamation of everything from psychedelic rock to pop, with some country and rock and roll thrown in for good measure. The singles ‘Bam Bam’ and ‘Love Lust’ are highlights of the new album; their infectious sound is a refreshing take on the folk scene, bringing something new to the acoustic tones of the likes of Laura
Marling. “I think Bob Dylan is the coolest person on the planet,” he says, and you can definitely hear Dylan’s stripped back vocals hidden amongst the heavier guitar riffs. Classically trained from a young age in cello and singing, it wasn’t until his 15th birthday that he first got into country music, when a friend bought him a copy of Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde. “That was like my birth; it was a part of me that hadn’t been awake.” Dylan might be his hero, but Charles isn’t one to shy away from other musical influences. He brings up Rihanna’s new music video ‘We Found Love’: “I was on the floor completely melted; I was like, I need to live my life again.” It’s not just the Dylans of music that inspire him, although he admits “no one has influenced me nearly as much.” His songs are a medley of musical genres and so is the music he listens to. Writing songs is obviously his passion, but for him music’s got its place: “I like to see music as a good accompaniment to life, rather than a focal point. I think it was the movement in the 60s that was interesting, the music was
nothing without it. That’s where it came from.” He wants to talk more about memorable times than memorable music and seems wary of putting artists on any kind of pedestal. So what advice would he give to someone trying to make it as an artist in the industry today? “Everyone on the planet is an artist,” he says. “But you’ve got to know what you’re letting yourself in for. The boundaries of glory are going to change.” Several hours later King Charles is on stage, t-shirt swapped for velvet tailcoat. His regal style gives him quite a presence and performing definitely seems to be in his blue blood. “There are always moments that remind me that I do love touring,” he says when asked about the upcoming gigs. “I have to keep telling myself that when I’m not in a particularly good mood.” His performances have received acclaim from critics, as have his singles, and he’s quickly gaining a following of loyal subjects. As a solo artist, King Charles is winning over the people; his sound is a whole new spin on the world of folk and it’s going down pretty well.
Exeposé week ten
live reviews DJ Shadow 02 Academy Bristol 28 November OPENING the final British tour of his hyper-visual show at the O2 Academy, legendary hip hop architect DJ Shadow (best known for his entirely sampleconstructed 1996 debut Endtroducing…) proved that his fervent turntablism and crate-digging aesthetic don’t mean he can’t tussle up a crowd of Bristolians like a warehouse DJ. Of course, it doesn’t hurt centering your show on a dizzyingly state-of-theart visual rig. The “Shadowsphere”, a gargantuan onstage orb acting as a 3D screen, immaculately rendered innumerable images of basketballs, death stars and chainsaws, occasionally revealing the busying puppet-master within. The overall effect is best understood by a quick visit to YouTube; impossibly detailed and multi-dimen-
Smashing Pumpkins 02 Academy Birmingham 19 November WITH a European tour currently underway, a new album on the horizon and the first of a series of album reissues due to be released this month, it’s an exciting time to be a Smashing Pumpkins fan – albeit a tense one. With such huge expectations weighing heavily on Billy Corgan’s shoulders, a man who in recent years has received harsh criticism from fans and critics alike, the question on everyone’s lips as I made my way to Birmingham for my very first Pumpkins’ concert was: “How can he possibly live up to the hype?” Nevertheless, spirits were high following Texas-based shoegaze trio Ringo Deathstarr’s opening set. The fresh-faced noise-rock revivalists’ hypnotic brand of Sonic Youth-esque aural savagery, delicately juxtaposed with the
terial and low-key numbers were given ample space to play out in comfortable synthesis. The languid melancholy of the more recent ‘Sad And Lonely’, for example, pleasingly introduced the encore without ever smothering the patchwork set’s overriding sense of fun. It was this, with its numerous
drum’n’bass tear-ups and swelling energy, rather than reliance on classic samples, which kept the O2 heaving. Fans satiated and newcomers unavoidably enticed, the only thing Shadow could have added to the show was another hour. CALLUM McLEAN
DJ Shadow, otherwise known as Josh Davis, is an outspoken antimodernist regarding the mp3, generally a bit of a limp grouch, and is best relied on to let his art do the talking. His relatively infrequent audience addresses were not painful for their vanilla mumbles, but because every moment he spent outside his spherical controlcentre was a moment lost. Inside the Shadowsphere, a beanie-sporting Wiz-
ard of Oz, his monstrous sonic mosaics and cinematic landscapes reigned true. In fact, you had to wonder whether he was just twiddling his thumbs in there. Eventually rotated, the sphere revealed Shadow to be anything but arbitrarily fiddling about. He dextrously dashed in between banks of samplers, decks and electric drums to demonstrate an uncanny aptitude for musical multitasking; one moment he would be scratching and cutting like it was still ’96, the other bashing out absurdly intricate breakbeats on synth pads, all with a boyish air of a child with his toys laid out before him. Despite this, the show was anything but frantic. Though often fastpaced and erratic, the set seamlessly wove together the disparate elements of Davis’s oeuvre, fluidly incorporating old hooks with up-tempo beats, and ghostlier pianos and strings alongside samples both fondly reminiscent and refreshingly new. Besides the inevitable inclusion of an “Organ Donor” shakedown, whole swathes of new ma-
boy/girl vocals and feed-back drenched guitars of Elliot Frazier and Alex “Galexy” Gehring left a palpable electricity among the crowd as we waited with bated breath for the headliners. As the lights faded and the band, greeted by a tumultuous roar, took to the stage and launched into the sprawling, psychedelia-tinged ‘Quasar’ – a new song from upcoming album Oceania –
it became immediately apparent that the Pumpkins are back, and in a big way. Billy’s voice is the best it’s sounded in years; commanding the crowd like a man with nothing to lose but everything to prove, he seemed to have finally regained his former vigour as he powered through Pumpkins classics with seemingly limitless energy, trademark howl and lightspeed guitar riffery 100 per
cent intact. Equally impressive are his new bandmates, drummer Mike Byrne in particular showing talent far beyond his tender years.
followed by a reimagined version of the heart-wrenchingly beautiful ‘For Martha’, which closed the set. Billy re-emerged amid rapturous applause to slate Birmingham’s Christmas Village (“It’s the same stall over and over again”) before unleashing a frenzied, adrenaline-fuelled encore of ‘Zero’; instantaneously transforming the formerly well-behaved crowd into a reckless mob and prompting many a luckless fan to attempt an ill-fated crowd surf, only to be hauled away by over-zealous security. MTV favourite ‘Bullet with Butterfly Wings’, complete with a sing-along of “despite of my rage I am still just a rat in a cage”, ended the night on a high note. The long-awaited ninth album will drop early next year but for those for whom the anticipation is too much to bear, Gish and Siamese Dream will make a welcome return to the shelves this month, remastered and loaded with bonus material.
sional, it makes DJ Yoda’s AV-sets look like the fumbled Power Points of an eight-year-old (not that it was anything of a gimmick).
“Impossibly detailed and multidimensional visuals make DJ Yoda’s AVSets look like the fumbled Power Points of an eight-year-old”
“Billy’s voice is the best it’s sounded in years, like a man with nothing to lose but everything to prove” The new songs, a step forward for a band who have been written off since their reinvention in 2007, are scattered throughout a set favouring pre-Adore era material including the dreamlike, bipolar behemoth ‘Silverf***’ and the epic, almost operatic ‘Thru the Eyes of Ruby’ during which Billy’s voice became lost among a mass chorus of “the night has come to hold us young”. A spectacular rendition of ‘Tonight, Tonight’, which rendered a pair of girls sporting a banner requesting said anthem paralysed with childlike joy, was
SINGLE reviews Give Me All Your Love Madonna AFTER prolonged chart silence since 2008, Madonna’s 12th album is due for release early next year. Yet, the first single ‘Give Me All Your Love’ has already been leaked online and, if first impressions are anything to go by, the future looks promising. With the full version of the track expected to feature Nicki Minaj and MIA, ‘Give Me All Your Love’ sees a return to classic form that has been notably absent in Madonna’s recent work. Reminiscent of Blondie circa. 1980 and even a touch of Toni Basil, Madonna’s latest venture combines all the best of vintage pop, with elements of modern chart toppers as well (look out Katy Perry). The track is instantly catchy, open-
ing with contagious cheerleader chants and a strong rhythmic bass-line that is sure to stick. In true Madonna style, there are lots of synths and a guitarheavy bridge, yet each part flows seamlessly together, never feeling forced, as can often be the danger with such a layered track - a testament to such polished production by William Orbit.
“The single combines the best vintage pop with elements of modern chart toppers” Whilst admittedly the lyrics to the chorus are somewhat wanting (“Give me all your love / give me all your love today”) there are a few gems (“Let’s forget about time / and dance our lives
away”). But if it’s lyrical prowess and witticism you seek, you may want to look elsewhere. The bottom line is, we know what to expect from Madonna at her best, and this certainly delivers: strong vocals, distinctive sound and catchy melodies. It’s a rare occurrence when there is not a single part of a song that isn’t a melodic hook (see also: Gaga’s ‘Bad Romance’), but with this track, that is the case. The harsh urban sound of Hard Candy has been forgotten, and Madonna is sounding like Madonna again, which can only be a good thing. She may well get what the title asks for from both loyal fans and those who have gone astray. MADDIE SOPER
Knots Lisa Hannigan Though two albums, extensive touring with Jason Mraz, and a Mercury nomination have yet to override a resounding association with long-term collaborator Damien Rice, it is clear from ‘Knots’ that this Irish singer-songwriter has long left behind that brand of gushing melancholia. The otherwise buoyant intro of skipping ukelele plucks and downy-hushed vocals betrays a melodious snag that proceeds to gradually transmute the coffeetable delicacy into a soaring stompfest. As Hannigan unsettles with her lyrical transgression from “there wheeled away a starling” to “I thought that I would too”, intertwining, grating strings, propelling percussion and increasingly ham-
mering piano stabs serve to build the winsome chorus pattern into a tremulous crescendo. At the song’s peak, Hannigan’s purred vocals boom unexpectedly before the whole track slumps off with a refreshing jolt. This hair-in-the-wind swing and stomp mark a decidedly satisfying break from the rest of her more whimsical output. It gets closer to the charm and vigour of her live performances that convince us that, under her often perceived fey mushiness, there lies a degree of substance to bolster up her masterly melodies. The first single from new sophomore album Passenger, it is far from decided whether she has managed this with the rest of her work.
5 december 2011
All I want for Christmas is... a decent number one Matt Bugler examines the highs and ho ho lows of the Yuletide music chart
THE Christmas number one is seen by many as one of the quintessences of the modern British festive season, gaining equal status with the likes of mistletoe and the Queen’s Christmas message. As a nation we are intrigued by who will be holding the top spot on the 25th, and the bookies start taking bets months in advance. However, with The X Factor winner claiming it in five of the last six years, there is always a sense of inevitability about the contest. It seems the only way to prevent this is by launching a campaign in protest, with Rage Against the Machine two years ago the only successful one so far.
“Genuinely decent tracks have been few and far between”
A look back to previous winners before the reality-TV obsession, shows that there have been numerous cases of Christmas-themed songs, covers and novelty acts. Genuinely decent tracks have been few and far between, with The Beatles and Queen featuring many moons ago, but overshadowed by the
vast amount of lazy drivel flogged by the latest celebrity pairing. The 1980s was perhaps the best time for the Christmas classics, and it is a shame that the only recent themed song was a third run of Band Aid. The nadir surely came in 1993 with Mr Blobby’s eponymous work, although Bob the Builder may have something to say about that. If there has been such a low quality of Christmas number ones, particularly in the last decade, then why exactly do we care so much? The public fixation with it only allows music giants to release half-hearted, manufactured dross and wait for the cash to flow in. The X Factor is primarily geared towards this one week of the year and the subsequent careers of Shayne Ward, Leon Jackson et al. haven’t exactly set the world alight. When Rage topped the charts in 2009 with ‘Killing in the Name’ it was the ultimate statement of rebellion, with singer Zack de la Rocha expressing delight at toppling “this very sterile pop monopoly.” This suggests that genuine bands are indeed interested in reaching number one and have become disillusioned with The X Factor’s domination. It would surely
CHRISTMAS ALBUM REVIEWS Christmas Michael Bublé
THE name Michael Bublé makes you think of crooning, jazz, waistcoats and middle aged housewives dancing around their kitchens. His festive offering, imaginatively entitled Christmas, is no different. A collection of Christmas favourites, ranging from ‘Santa Claus Is Coming To Town’ to the spiritual ‘Ave Maria’, this album is designed to hit Bublé fans right on the nostalgic heartstrings, where they’re guaranteed to fork out the cash. Kicking off with ‘It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas’ we’re left in no doubt what Bublé’s voice can achieve; as smooth as melted rum butter, he hits all the right buttons for a Sinatra-equse Christmas number, stuffed with big notes and oozing charm. Bublé belongs in a black and white film carrying a small helpless child through a snow storm; he is the epitome of a good ol’ nostalgic Christmas, far away from Coca-Cola adverts and tacky tinsel. This doesn’t mean the album is any good beyond an appropriate backdrop
to a cocktail party; without exception he reduces the tempo of your Christmas favourites until they’re practically soporific. The bounce and bubble of Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want For Christmas’ is eradicated, replaced by exaggerated romance and meaningful-ness verging on melodrama. Similarly his gender-reversal of ‘Santa Baby’ to ‘Santa Buddy’ is frankly embarrassing; the conflict for the producers was clearly more than they could bear: how can they include an instant money-spinner single, whilst avoiding remarks on Bublé’s sexuality? The result missed the mark entirely, evoking winces rather than good-natured chuckles.
“Bublé’s voice is as smooth as melted rum butter” His partnerships are disastrous – although more to the criticism of Shania Twain and the Puppini Sisters rather than Bublé. Twain’s country voice (which instantly evokes memories of summer, rather than Christmas) sounds more like wailing in comparison to Bublé’s soft and sultry tones, and the 1940s harmonies of the Puppini sisters combined with Bublé’s tacky “Merry Christmas ladies” is simply sickening. All in all, if you’re a die-hard Bublé fan then you’ll love it, Bublé is flawless as always. But if you want a Christmas album for anything more than quiet drinks with the grandparents, then stick to Wizzard and Shakin’ Stevens. ALEX WYNICK
be a more interesting contest if it were between the musically best songs of the week, with bonus points for an original effort. This year sees a campaign for Nirvana to usurp the chart, although with
around 100,000 Facebook likes they are some way off Rage’s following. In fact, the BBC-led Military Wives Choir are favourites ahead of The X Factor winner, which may break the monotony but won’t win any prizes for musical innova-
tion. There are unfortunately no signs of a modern artist succeeding with an original song, but in this era we just have to hope it isn’t the cast of The Only Way is Essex.
The Christmas Album The Wurzels
circuit weren’t they? We have a wonderful love/hate relationship with Christmas music in the UK, and whilst you’re hating on Bieber and Busta’s steaming dump of a Christmas single this year, I hope you’ll be loving The Wurzels Christmas Album. The festive kitchen sink is thrown in here with a jubilant children’s choir on ‘Merry Christmas Everybody’, sleigh bells on ‘Sleigh Ride’, a majestic kazoo solo on ‘Let It Snow’ and a plucky banjo on… well, everything. This is what Christmas songs are about: fun, silliness and reinvention. Admittedly, these renditions of festive classics are highly unlikely to feature in the endless list of Christmas TV countdowns like “VH1’s 100 Top Christmas Kazoo Solos”, but it’s a guiltily enjoyable listen. That said, instances where The
Wurzels tackle Christmas classics which are actually very good songs - ‘Fairytale of New York’ and ‘Happy Xmas (War is Over)’ – do fall a tad flat. Despite the home-brewed cider that doubtless flows through their veins, The Wurzels are never going to pull off Shane McGowan’s drunken Christmas brilliance. For us in Exeter though, the West Country boys are a local treasure, and so the copious amounts of “ooo arr” vocal harmonies and the country bumpkin accents should fill us all with Festive pride. So indulge your silly Christmas tendencies and celebrate the season with The Wurzels. I’d rather find this lot in my stocking than Misha B at any rate.
retro style than a return to many of the jaunts of the heydays of Tinseltown? Kicking off the album is their own song, ‘Hollywood’, which is wonderfully fitting as first on the track list, not just for the name. It’s a lively little number that sets the tone for much of the album, and a brilliant reminder that The Puppini Sisters are not just mere cover artists, but good song-writers in their own right. Following this vivacious spirit is their newest single, a confident and sassy remake of the well-known ‘Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend’ that is sure to please. Although much of the album is upbeat in tempo, there are some rather soothing tunes that can be found buried within it. A delightful and serene rendition of ‘Moon River’ is a definite highlight of the album. As the majority of the tracks are covers of much-loved originals, The Pup-
pini Sisters set themselves a pretty hard task in bringing something new to the table. For the most, they are successful in bringing a new lease of life to many. ‘Get Happy’, first delivered to us by Judy Garland’s deep tones, is transformed by the bright sounds of The Puppini Sisters and works just as well. Of course, reworking classics will never be perfect. The feeling from the cover of ‘Good Morning’ is uneasy, and although fresh, does not match the chipper tone that you get from listening to it in Singin’ in the Rain. Nevertheless, the overall experience of the album is nothing if not enjoyable. If you’ve never heard of The Puppini Sisters, I suggest you take a look at the album not just for them, but for 40 minutes of brand new and reworked gems.
WHAT did you expect from The Wurzels? The nation’s favourite and most enduring scrumpy and western buffoons were tailor made for the Christmas album
Hollywood The Puppini Sisters
RETURNING with their fourth album, The Puppini Sisters have once again released a themed selection of original work and wonderfully reworked classics. This time, they’ve concentrated on Hollywood, and what could better fit their
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5 december 2011
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SAD news this week as we report the death of multi-talented director Ken Russell, who rose to international prominence with the release of Women in Love (1969), a film famous for its naked man-on-man wrestling scene... He also enjoyed success directing music videos for stars including Elton John, and with TV projects such as Lady Chatterley (1993), starring Joely Richardson and everyone’s favourite gruff northerner Sean Bean. Moving onto more cheery ground, Ben Whishaw, recent star of BBC2’s The Hour, has been confirmed as gadgets-man Q in new Bond film Skyfall: quite a departure from what had become the norm of having Q as decidedly older than 007. The delightful Desmond Llewelyn portrayed the man for a staggering 35 years- big boots to fill, Mr. Whishaw... Success for Martin Scorsese as his 3D family film Hugo has been named the National Board of Reviews’s Film of 2011, and he recieved Best Director. Other notable winners included multiple-winner The Descendants, and Michael Fassbender, who was honoured with the Spotlight Award- yay!
How the Grinch scheduled Christmas... Melissa Barrett shares her favourite films for Christmas
It’s a Wonderful Life, starring Jimmy Stewart and directed by Frank Capra, never fails to make me well up. It begins bleakly with a man about to commit suicide on Christmas Eve. We then gain a window into his life leading up to that very event, witnessing exhilarating highs and devastating lows, and when George Bailey finally reaches that breaking point, his guardian angel offers him the opportunity to see what the world would be like had he never been born. In his favourite film, Stewart beautifully portrays a man full of aspiration, who is broken down by fate and circumstance (and greedy capitalist Mr Potter!) This film restores your faith in hu-
COMPETITION FESTIVE freebies now! We have ONE PAIR of FREE tickets to see a film of your choice at Picturehouse before the vacation. All (literally ALL) you have to do is email us at exepose-screen@ xmedia.ex.ac.uk with the subject ‘It’s A Wonderful Freebie’! If you want to be extra keen, you can even choose your film and screening time by visiting the Picturehouse website: www.picturehouses.co.uk. You’ll probably win.
Amelia Jenkinson recommends a family friendly classic
FOR me, it’s not Christmas without the evocative tones of the 1982 animated adventure, The Snowman. Since I was small, the Christmas holidays meant the fuzzy video was extracted from a dusty box and my parents were allowed half an hour of peace whilst we were distracted by the magical winter story. Even now I’m older, I can’t help but continue to love this timeless tale about a boy who builds a snowman on Christmas Eve, which comes alive at night and flies him to the North Pole to meet Father Christmas. When contrasted to more recent garish Christmas movies,
manity with one of the most genuine and joyful endings in Hollywood history. Another great Stewart movie is The Shop Around the Corner: a romantic comedy involving a bickering pair who do not realise they are pen-pals. It all comes to a head on Christmas Eve, however, in a passionate scene that will make women swoon and men eager to charm the ladies like Jimmy! Home Alone is another favourite, starring a young Macaulay Culkin as Kevin McCallister, who is accidentally left behind when his family leave for the Christmas holidays. Kevin initially relishes in this and does all the things you wish you could do as a child without parental supervision, from bed-jumping to “eating junk and watching rubbish.” Plus he protects his house from burglars using absurdly imaginative traps. This may sound like a generic family-movie plot but what makes this film stand out is its hilarious script and, to be honest, its Capra-like heart. Culkin was one of those rare child-actors who was not annoying or overly cute. He carries the film with a balance of maturity and innocence, remaining a kid and not being irritatingly “wise-beyond-his-years” or stupid. A lovely, nostalgic film that will never grow old for me.
Tom Bond suggests the perfect Christmas viewing itinerary
THE schedule begins after lunch, when everyone’s brains are so deadened by barely concealed resentment, red wine and inhumane amounts of turkey that any show requiring more than two brain cells is pointless. So I recommend beginning with the Hollyoaks omnibus. Adults will be shocked that acting this bad exists, but just sit back and ruthlessly mock.
“Shows requiring more than two brain cells are pointless”
Next, let your grandparents watch the Queen’s speech so they can remember what it feels like to be under 85 and respected by society. By then, they will probably be passed out on the sofa, and any young children will have broken all their new toys. The best remedy is to put on something universally accepted that will occupy the children and wake up the adults (if you’re feeling particularly sadistic). I recommend Shrek or Willy
The Snowman seems fabulously simple and understated, presenting a traditional and unadorned Christmas that will evoke nostalgia for all. Of course, the highlight is Howard Blake’s soundtrack, especially the celebrated ‘Walking in the Air’ that accompanies the snowman’s flight to the North Pole. Combined with a roaring fire and a mince pie, this classic animation makes for pure Christmas holiday bliss. It’s guaranteed to be on television this year, so put it on and immerse yourself in the Christmas magic.
Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. No cynicism yet, just wallow in the familyfriendly goodness (and ignore the racist undertones of the Oompah-Loompahs). Now it’s the children’s turn to fall asleep, allowing the viewing of a national classic: James Bond. Beloved by all, these films provide action for the men, a handsome lead for the ladies and casual racism for the grandparents. The painfully bad double entendres also provide laughs, such as the topical words spoken to Dr Christmas Jones in The World is Not Enough when, after the traditional celebratory coitus, Pierce Brosnan delivers the immortal line: “I thought Christmas only came once a year.” After the second batch of turkey has been consumed you’re probably reaching the point where you want to subtly hint to certain relatives that it’s time to leave. For this I would recommend The Human Centipede or for the braver viewers, A Serbian Film. Warning: this tactic will probably result in becoming scarred for life and your mental health becoming a topic of serious concern. Now it’s late and you’ll want to cry or destroy your TV. Instead, shatter your dad’s childhood by showing him the 1998 film, The Avengers, based on the 60s TV series. Despite a strong cast of Sean Connery, Uma Thurman and Ralph Fiennes, the film is an abomination. It is the worst I have ever seen and therefore hilarious. It has villains inexplicably wearing colourful bear costumes, Connery and Thurman in a disturbing, borderline rape scene, sex jokes that the Bond writers would be ashamed of, and Eddie Izzard and Shaun Ryder as an unlikely pairing of evil henchmen. If you’re still alive, restore your faith in film and humanity by watching The Snowman. This will wipe away all of your revulsion and despair in 27 beautiful minutes, allowing you to drift off in a haze of alcohol and turkey grease, ready to do it all again the next day.
Films to see before you graduate: The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Director: Henry Selick Cast: Chris Sarandon, Catherine O’Hara, Danny Elfman (PG) 76mins
WHAT do you expect from a Christmas film? A chuckling Saint Nick, sleigh bells ringing in the background and a predictably slushy ending? Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas is the antidote to such saccharine offerings. The 1993 film may refer to Santa as ‘Sandy Claws’ and its protagonist may be a skeleton instead of a rosy-cheeked child but I would argue it’s one of the most endearing Christmas family films on offer.
Burton offers a dark fantasy twist on the festivities in a typically gothic manner. The hero is the aptly named Jack Skellington, a skeletal figure who is king of Halloween Town. It is through mere curiosity that he stumbles across a portal to Christmas Town and his world is turned upside down. The stereotypical Christmas scenes are displayed almost mockingly to both Jack and the audience as he discovers snowmen, Christmas trees and stockings. Although unable to fully comprehend it, Jack is simultaneously enraptured and so begins his obsession. Jack announces to the residents of Halloween Town that this year they will take over the holiday, which inevitably causes mayhem to a thrilling extent.
There are plenty of devilishly humorous moments throughout the film such as Jack’s Christmas sleigh composed of a coffin and pulled by reindeer skeletons. However, it is the visual magic of the film that truly shines. The eccentric stop-motion characters, with all their flaws and imperfections, reflect the unusual plotline and beats CGI any day.
“Jack, please, I’m only an elected official here, I can’t make decisions by myself!” The film score by Danny Elfman provides welcome relief from the overplayed Christmas hits that haunt the air-
waves at this time of year. Elfman also provides the touching singing voice of Jack. Despite targeting a family audience, it cannot be categorised with other Christmas animations and children’s films, with their conventional plots and heavy censorship, and is all the better for it. Tim Burton has clearly shown that family Christmas viewing need not be sugar-coated, as red and white striped candy canes share the screen with deformed ogres, ghouls and Jack’s suitably cobwebbed abode to great effect.
FRANCESCA DE MUNNICH LANGFORD
Exeposé week ten
Have I got a TV review for you!
Life’s Too Short: New!
GERVAIS’ and Merchant’s new mockumentary, following dwarf actor/agent Warwick Davis, offers a lot of promise but produces an awkward blend of thematic similarities to Extras and stylistic similarities to The Office. One of the genuinely brilliant features of The Office was its uncompromising approach to the documentary style. Life’s Too Short seems to lack courage in the style, dropping it when attempting to shoe-horn in what appears to be the dregs of Extras celebrity cameos (though Liam Neeson is hilarious). Additionally, the show suffers when it falls into sub-par The Office shtick; Davis lapsing into his Brent impression when we meet his assistant (Rosamund Hanson) who basically resurrects the character of Keith. In the book It’s a PC World, Edward Stourton interviews a disability affairs correspondent who explains his favourite stories are not those where the disabled overcome great obstacles, but rather scandals involving Paralympians taking performance enhancing drugs. The reason for this being that it shows how the disabled are, of course, as crappy and fallible as the rest of us. It is in the moments that reflect this
Misfits: Season 3
WITH Nathan in a Vegas prison and the gang exploring their new powers, comedy drama Misfits is back in style. Nathan has been replaced by Rudy (Joseph Gilgun), a coarse Northerner with the power to clone himself. After the first episode (which of course wouldn’t be complete without at least one accidental murder), he seems strangely outside the plot, more an observer dropping amusing gems of wisdom: ‘Women are cruel, even if they smell like toffee-apples.’ The series develops the ludicrously complicated relationship between Simon and Alisha, and it’s genuinely touching to see Simon defeat an obsessive cartoonist with a sinister superpower, and grow into his ‘future self’. Curtis’ new power allows him to switch genders, explored in a truly ridiculous episode where the girl he
Gossip Girl: Season 5
notion when Life’s Too Short really shines. When Warwick Davis is being petty or a bit of a prick, he’s a real character, rather than merely a funny ‘little person’. When we get cheap jokes, like a dwarf in a toilet or a wedding photo with the top of a head missing
(although I did laugh at the latter) the show isn’t so much offensive as it is lazy. All in all I think the programme shows immense potential and, when Davis is set free from the Gervais/Merchant office, to flesh out his own narratives, it may really hit its stride.
WITH the start of a new Exeter year comes the much anticipated arrival of the new season of the CW’s Gossip Girl on ITV2, which continued where Season 4 left off. For those of you who have never heard of Gossip Girl or the concluding phrase of each episode “XOXO” here’s a brief explanation. The series follows a group of privileged teenagers, now in their 20s in Season 5, who live on the Upper East Side of New York and the numerous scandals they find themselves in. Any act or rumour committed by these selected few can be caught on camera, and sent to Gossip Girl’s website anonymously. To add curiosity and trauma to the photos, the website’s owner also keeps a tight lock on his or her identity. Ultimately, you’re nobody until you’re spo-
ken about. Having now entered its fifth series, one wonders whether this will be the last. So far the episodes appear to flow far more easily and with greater interest than previously, despite still including the ever present dynamic between Chuck and Blair, the petty nature of Serena and the departure of three main figures. The sense of exclusion has been transferred to the outsider Charlie/Ivy, allowing us into this world through association with her desperation for experience. Perhaps we’re not quite ready to let the Upper East Side’s most wanted go just yet? Expect dirty secrets, exceptional fashion, charm, and of course, gossip. You know you love me. XOXO
I’VE always been attracted to the ‘60s for a number of reasons, main among them an admiration of the go-getter attitude infectious at the time, and the abundance of style and sexiness. Thus I flew up into the world of Pan Am with abundant optimism, and was pleasantly surprised. The story follows four stewardesses and their pilots during the hey-day of the airline. At first there were unmemorable episodic storylines, but this seems to have been set-up for the intriguing story arc now taking place. Cold War espionage, secret affairs, marriage-scuppering, seduction, deception – Pan Am has the right ingredients, if not necessarily blended together skilfully. The stewardesses represent an apparent bizarre need to have every ‘60s female stereotype pres-
ent – the Blonde, Ginger, French, and the token feminist, who are all, obviously, attractive. While the actresses playing them give reasonable performances and are the show’s main focus, the male pilots have been sidelined, and attempts in more recent episodes to give background character are somewhat lacking and drew focus away from stewardesses Maggie (Christina Ricci) and Kate (Kelli Garner), who are much more interesting. The decision to focus on the female leads was smart, but it could have been written and executed far better. Pan Am has fun moments and a strong sense of style in both set and costume, and I would recommend it as mindless fun but not as a serious 1960s drama. For that, you should watch Mad Men!
Tori Brazier, Screen Editor, defends the Twi-hards... Breaking Dawn: the continuation of a ‘saga’ that divides the nation... Let’s face it, if you’re not already a drooling fan of Edward/Jacob, this sure as hell isn’t gonna be the film to change your mind. Yes, it’s cringey and embarrassing, the dialogue’s awful and the pacing is uneven in places, but these problems
in the books didn’t stop the series selling over 116 million copies worldwide. See, it’s so faithful to the novel (with Stephenie Meyer producing and featuring in a hideously gratuitous cameo) that it even emulates its faults! Bless. Watch with your brain unplugged, whilst you revel in its awkwardness. The epitome of a guilty pleasure; don’t be shy now in showing it your love (I just did)!
Gossip Girl: ITV2, Wednesdays, 8pm Catch-up on ITV Player
Pan Am: New!
Life’s Too Short: BBC2, Mondays, 10pm Catch-up on BBC iPlayer
MATTHEW HIGHMOOR is seeing ends up two-timing him with his female self, while Kelly begins a tentative flirtation with Seth, the powers dealer. After a brilliant episode detailing an old man’s attempt to rewind time and kill Hitler (which predictably goes horribly wrong), I was rather relieved that Curtis’ old power is ‘off the market’; time travel makes my brain hurt. The series so far has been tense, emotional, hilarious, and everything we have come to expect of it. Misfits: E4, Sundays, 10pm Catch up on 4oD
Pan Am: BBC2, Saturday nights Catch-up on BBC i Player
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 Director: Bill Condon Cast: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner (12A) 117mins
THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN PART 1 followed the pattern of Harry Potter and was split into two films, although I can’t for the life of me understand why. Everything that is particularly memorable from the book, including the appalling writing, happened in Breaking Dawn Part 1, and it isn’t really very much. There’s a vampire-human marriage, and excessive numbers of hardcore sex scenes – one would be sufficient – in which Edward (the vampire) manages to injure Bella (the
human). She forgives him immediately because it’s down to his passion, which is not at all suggestive to the young teenage girls that violence in relationships is acceptable. An accelerated pregnancy of a vampire-human child follows (Edward’s fertility is another implausibility as he is supposed to be dead) and a gruesome Caesarean section by vampire teeth. Oh, and Jacob the werewolf falls in love with the baby whilst they all have a massive fight. I will concede that Bella’s skeletal appearance during the pregnancy was well achieved, although this has absolutely nothing to do with Kristen Stewart’s acting, which continues to be awkward at best. Her transformation into her vampire form at the end of the
movie also borders on the ridiculous. The film as a whole plods along just like the book does. So perhaps it’s a good adaptation considering the starting material, but I will be highly intrigued to see what is even left to happen in the second part. Or maybe not. If you have been following the series because you find Jacob’s character attractive, then by all means go along for the first five minutes because he takes his top off very early on in the film. Then leave the cinema. If this isn’t you, then don’t waste your money.
Screen My Week with Marilyn
Director: Simon Curtis Cast: Michelle Williams, Kenneth Branagh, Eddie Redmayne (15) 99mins
WITH a cast to tempt anyone, I was afraid My Week with Marilyn would fail to live up to my high expectations, but that could not be further from the truth. Filled with glamour, charm and sex ap-
Director: Jonathan Levine Cast: Joseph GordonLevitt, Seth Rogen, Anna Kendrick (15) 100mins COMEDY will continue to venture into controversial subjects and “pushing the boundaries” will continue to be a grotesquely overused stamp, branded onto the marketing of every new, supposedly funny film the incestuous Apatow-clique drag to the multiplex. For a film that finds its comedy in cancer, there was a real risk of 50/50 pushing too far, and in recent weeks, where Ricky Gervais has felt the consequences of his no holds barred approach, the danger was all too real. Thankfully this isn’t the case as the film plays its comedy with a light-hearted tone that keeps its solemn subject matter, correctly, at the forefront, tracking a 20-something Adam (Gordon-Levitt) and a supporting ensemble of friends and family as he struggles to come to terms with and fight against his unexpected illness. Gordon-Levitt shines in this film (after all, he is the go-to indie actor who can’t
Director: Tarsem Singh Cast: Henry Cavill, Mickey Rourke, Luke Evans (15) 110mins IF you have any appreciation for classical Greek mythology then avoid this movie. Its butchery of myth and changes to characters such as Theseus will leave you incredulous, confused or snorting with laughter at the plot’s inanities. On the other hand, if you have no knowledge or love for the classics, you’ll still find the characters silly and the plot stupid, leaving you again mad or im-
peal, it is divine from start to finish. Michelle Williams is simply a revelation, as she portrays Marilyn Monroe as part performer, part tragedy. At moments, her despair feels so desperate as to be devastating, whilst at the next turn she shines with warmth that lights up the screen. With a single look, she simultaneously breaks and lifts hearts, so it is impossible to look anywhere else, perfectly capturing the woman who did this best of all.
“My Week with Marilyn is divine from start to finish”
Kenneth Branagh as Laurence Olivier channels his mannerisms brilliantly as a frustrated director and brooding genius. Eddie Redmayne is also a pleasant surprise as Colin Clarke, the lowly third assistant director, whose memoirs inspired the piece. His chemistry with Williams gains sincerity in its understatement – less sexual than deeply emotional and dependent, as he becomes not only a film-shoot fling, but also an anchor in the life she feels lost in. The film’s only low point is the irrelevant and somewhat irritating sub-
5 december 2011
plot about Emma Watson as the wardrobe girl. Any potential substance here is completely diminished by Williams’ central performance. Watson’s inclusion does nothing but make you lament the loss of screen-time that could have been better spent. Yet if you’re playing the how-many-Harry-Potter-stars-can-youspot game, both Toby Jones and Zoe Wannamaker provide pleasant comedic relief on occasion, cleverly interwoven with scenes of Monroe at her most vulnerable. Ultimately that is what makes this film so moving and heartbreaking: it documents a woman torn apart by her own projected persona, as she slaves in an industry that eventually destroys her. When the mask and make-up of Marilyn slip away, underneath it all she is just a lost little girl, haunted by her own insecurity. There are some films that you exit the cinema wanting to re-watch multiple times a day for weeks. This is one of those.
in the film’s trailer. It is definitely one to watch – just don’t enter the cinema thinking it’s your typical Rogen affair.
mensly amused. Either way, don’t go and see this for the story – you’ll be disappointed. If you have any understanding of film tropes, then you’ll be laughing as Tarsem Singh ticks each one off the list.
enough (or in the case of Rourke, hammy enough) to keep your interest, whilst your mind relaxes and can appreciate the stunning visuals. The action is spectacular: fight scenes are visceral and bloody, and characters move with balletic precision. It all builds up to a brilliant finale between the goldhotpants-wearing Gods and the troll-like Titans. This scene alone is worth the entry-price. The spectacular visuals set it above Snyder’s 300, to which it has been unfairly compared. Honestly, this film is magnificent.
Then again, screw you! This film isn’t about plot, it’s a reworking of classics into a conventional action flick combined with unconventional, beautful imagery! The cinematography used in the action scenes are art. The world is well-realized and the actors are pretty and charismatic
Wuthering Heights Director: Andrea Arnold Cast: Kaya Scodelario, James Howson, Nichola Burley (15) 129mins
BEFORE taking your seats for this latest adaptation of the Brontë classic, you should know that Andrea Arnold’s Wuthering Heights is long. Very long. It may not be the lengthiest feature ever but certain factors slow the pace drastically, including the lack of music. Arnold chooses to let the bleak landscape speak, quite literally, for itself leaving gaping stretches of silence. This works to great effect and in some ways music would have seemed superfluous, taking much away from the harsh realism. Yet similarly there are points when the silence lasts just a moment too long leaving us bored, even uncomfortable, as yet another, albeit stunning, image of the desolate landscape settles on the silent screen. The mixture of characterless shots, silence and stilted dialogue makes it
difficult to deal with the cast, the one thing to really stimulate discussion about the film. The young Heathcliff has few lines, but plays the misunderstood, mistreated outsider well whilst young Cathy is suitably dislikeable. The older couple (Howson and Scodelario) make something of the unstable passion depicted in the novel, yet that utter affinity between characters seems to be lacking. However, it is one of the most truthful accounts of Brontë’s tale, in which fans of the novel will find moments of complete recognition with the text. It is not the overtly romanticised love story too often depicted but a tale of mania and brutal violence, as Brontë intended. At times it does drag and, although beautiful, you may never want to see another image of nature again after the credits roll. Nevertheless, it’s worth a watch to see a new perspective on the classic tale or just to see what all the fuss is about.
put a foot wrong) playing a character that is charming and adept to the comedic aspects of the film, whilst also delivering a painstakingly emotive performance in its more profound episodes. Similarly, Seth Rogen’s performance compliments the film nicely, being the source of most of the comedy but essentially providing what he does best – being Seth Rogen (Jonah Hill being a close second to that much coveted title). The film follows the expected trajectory of the character’s treatment, working towards an inevitable conclusion that pins all hope on a third-act ploy. The film works brilliantly in this respect, and its drama is topnotch. Its comedy moments, however, are good but few and far between, with nothing of real show outside of what was shown
“If you appreciate Greek mythology, avoid Immortals”
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LUKE GRAHAM, SCREEN EDITOR
5 december 2011
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Cambridge Winter Wordfest 2011 ‘Tis the season... Hannah Rogers reflects on this winter’s star-studded season
FESTIVALS, I can inform you, are not just for the summer. The Cambridge Winter Wordfest forms one half of the biannual celebration of some of the year’s biggest books and brightest authors, with a second festival taking place in the spring. This year, on 27 November, Winter Wordfest attracted notable public personalities and thinkers, as well as popular writers, including Ali Smith, Ian Hislop, Claire Tomalin, Alistair Darling, and Vikram Seth.
“The Cambridge Winter Wordfest celebrates some of the year’s biggest books and brightest authors, with a second festival taking place in the spring” Writer, journalist and campaigner Melissa Benn spoke on the unfailingly emotive subject of Britain’s education system, a frustrating, maligned, mismanaged and increasingly privatized branch of the public sector. Having spent the majority of life thus far living and learning the national curriculum, Benn’s book, School Wars, will certainly resonate with all of us who have seen the flaws of the education system – and its strengths – from the inside. Benn remains convinced that to address the inequities still entrenched in the education system we
Terry Pratchett Doubleday ISBN: 038561926X
HILARIOUS as his work usually is, Terry Pratchett’s latest novel Snuff is a darker addition to his long running Discworld series. Pratchett is well known for his lampooning both of fantasy stereotypes and of the foibles of modern society, yet as his latest novel concerns itself with issues of racism,
need to start again from scratch, and recognise that politicians and market forces catering to “parental choice” are undermining the fairness of public education. After a stroll around the wintry, cobbled streets, Vikram Seth’s animated and entertaining recitation of ‘Fire’, a poem from his latest publication The Rivered Earth, warmed up the crowded theatre. Mark McCrum, who was interviewing Seth, opened by quoting the Evening Standard’s description of the poet, novelist, biographer and librettist as “a phenomenon, a prodigy, a marvel…it is hard to believe that Seth is only one man.” And by the end of Seth’s masterly elucidation of the influences fused in The Rivered Earth – which include the poetry of George Herbert, calligraphy, Hindu mythology, musical composition, and the work of eighth-century Chinese poet Du Fu – it was difficult to refute this praise. The book consists of four parts, or libretti, which serve as a narrative accompaniment to four pieces of music composed by Alec Roth. Undoubtedly an ensemble in print, The Rivered Earth encompasses a grand sweep of themes and forms that will enrich a reader brave enough to take up the challenge. We finished off the evening in a small lecture hall behind some gloomy gothic arches and stone stairs, with a discussion on madness between psychoanalyst Darian Leader, and presenter of BBC Radio 4’s ‘All in the Mind’, Claudia Hammond. In his book What is Madness?, Leader sets out to undo the stigmatisation attached to ‘mental ill-
ness’ by rejecting the paradigmatic idea of ‘mental health’. Leader spoke of the ‘quiet madness’ that may never manifest itself in violent or destructive ways, but which, to some extent, orders and orientates all of our lives. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Leader’s assertion that we are all, to some degree, mad, was met with a murmur of amusement and scorn from parts of the audience. When pushed to give a more specific definition of psychosis, Leader replied that he simply considered it to be the centrality of certainty, as opposed to doubt, in a person’s conception of reality. The murmuring was hushed. We filed out of the theatre afterwards, chatting loudly and questioning our reality, ready to head home.
Snuff inevitably takes on a more serious tone. Set atop the increasingly multicultural Discworld, Pratchett adds yet another fantasy race to his collection in the form of goblins. These are represented as an underground-dwelling race living in filth, fear, poverty and a state of perpetual hunger. It follows, therefore, that the people of the Disc consider them to be dirty chickenthieves, and have no sympathy for them whatsoever. When the corpse of a murdered goblin girl is found, one of the few people who actually cares is the leading character: Samuel Vimes. Vimes is a city policeman on holiday in the countryside with his aristocratic wife, and despite his aversion to
aristocratic behaviour, he is forced to mingle with high society as he pursues his case. The same situation has been repeated throughout the series, along with several other gags, and these will feel perhaps too familiar to the existing fanbase. Even the premise feels formulaic; being similar to that of Pratchett’s other recent Discworld novel: Unseen Academicals, where an orc has to overcome racial discrimination. Despite all this, there is
“I would recommend that you try festival-going to bring these books to life”
It was a fun and provocative but exhausting day, and I would recommend to anyone thinking of attending either the Spring or Winter Wordfest that you find accommodation in Cambridge for the duration, in order to make the most of the festival’s programme – and, of course, for the sake of your sanity. If you want to participate in the latest opinions and ideas of some of our most important thinkers and artists, I would recommend that you try festival-going to really bring these books to life.
Emily Tanner’s ideal winter warmers
AS the winter nights draw in there is nothing better than settling down at the end of term with a mug of steaming hot chocolate and a good seasonal read. I love nothing better at this time of year than to dig out a book which will take me back to childhood, when Christmas really was the most exciting time of year. For those of you who are happy to use younger siblings and relatives as an excuse to indulge in some childhood nostalgia then there are two books which are a must for the season. The first is Christmas on Exeter Street a story concerning a house packed full of visitors, many finding beds on windowsills and in bath tubs, on Christmas Eve, whilst older children, or adults ready to reminisce, will find Rover Saves Christmas by Roddy Doyle a wonderfully light hearted tale about a family dog who takes the place of an ailing Rudolf to make sure that Christmas happens around the world. Although both are aimed at children you cannot fail to be reminded in either case of how you once felt as you got ready for bed on Christmas Eve, closed your eyes and strained to hear the sound of sleigh bells on the roof. If ‘children’s’ literature is, however, beneath you and you want something to really get your teeth into over the festive season, nothing beats the Victorian novel, preferably anything by Dickens. Of course, the obvious example would be the magnificent A Christmas Carol, a book epitomising festive cheer. Adaptations of this little gem have been vast and it is virtually impossible to avoid seeing some reference to it on screen at
plenty of new material for new and returning readers alike. Much of the comedy comes from the setting of the novel; a rural landscape similar to the coach-and-bonnet era of the English countryside. Humorous references to the fiction and stereotypes of the time punctuate the storyline, providing the light relief needed to cushion the darker content.
this time of year, but nothing beats the book itself. It is perfect escapism into the true spirit of Christmas for a few rainy days. But if there is a Scrooge inside of you who wants to shout “Bah Humbug!” at the first sign of a mince pie in November then go and find a bit of Gothic fiction to submerge yourself in. Perfect for the dark nights but not for the faint hearted! My personal favourite is A Picture of Dorian Grey with its seedy opium dens and murderous protagonist.
“I love nothing better at this time of year than to dig out a book which will take me back to childhood”
Yet, for me, the ultimate festive read is The Christmas Mystery, by Jostein Gaader. The novel, translated from Norwegian, is split into 24 bite size chapters each labelled from the 1st to the 24th of December. Acting as a literary advent calendar, with just one chapter being a great nightly read, it has to be the ultimate realisation of Christmas in book form whilst the story itself will keep you on tenterhooks as Christmas Eve approaches! Whether young or old; Scrooge or Joachim there is a story out there for everyone at Christmas. Find your book, grab your mulled wine and mince pie, and sit down for a winter in another world as you turn the first page and dive right into the snowstorm. The professional relationship between the hard-edged city cop and country bumpkin Chief Constable Feeney Upshot also provides some laughs, despite being a familiar pairing in fiction. The book does fall short of previous efforts however, and those new to Pratchett’s writing style should begin with his earlier works. Snuff is presented as a detective novel, yet lacks mystery and tension. Vimes comes across as too competent for there to ever be any serious sense of a threat, and the major chase scene was almost dull. All in all, this is by no means his best work, but if you’re already a fan, it shouldn’t matter. peter collins
Exeposé week ten
review The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Stieg Larsson
MacLehose Press ISBN: 1847242537
STIEG Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is to be released again in cinemas on 26 December. With the film starring Daniel Craig and directed by the sensational David Fincher (best known for Fight Club and The Social Network) I fear that Larsson’s intelligent and captivating novel, that was originally written in Swedish, will be side lined by the far more conventional and Americanised cinematic version. The novel, however, is one of very few books that I have read in one sitting. Despite its gritty, and perhaps painfully long, introduction the relentless fast-paced narrative combined with masterful twists and turns produces a highly addictive read, one that should be first appreciated in print format. The novel primarily follows the actions of Lisbeth Salander, a trou-
bled, yet highly intelligent adolescent who is believed to have Asperger’s Syndrome. This however gives her the skill that enables her to be one step ahead of the system, cleverly manipulating governmental systems and pushing political and social boundaries. Abused by that very system she meets Mikael Blomkvist, a controversial journalist who unravels and dissects the gruesome truths about a family overshadowed by murder, loss and deception. The story is laden with characters and sub-plots that interweave throughout the framework creating a fascinating and thrilling crime novel. Larsson masterfully executes this intricate storyline with a narrative that jumps between characters viewpoints and perceptions leaving the reader with unfinished thought processes and questions unanswered.
“Despite its gritty, and painfully long introduction the relentless fast-paced narrative produces a highly addictive read”
Due to Larsson’s colloquial and fluid style of writing, I felt an affec-
LIVES & LIT
Beth Fuller recalls the life of Italo Calvino, soldier-turned-writer
YOU are about to begin reading a profile on Italian author Italo Calvino. He is perhaps best known for his post modernist masterpiece If On A Winter’s Night A Traveller, but his career as a writer is hard to summarise, with work as an essayist and journalist as well as a novelist, ranging from neo-realism to the utterly fantastic. Peter Washington described him as a man on “a quest for the new” who didn’t want to “rewrite books that had already been written by others,” and it’s this originality which
tion and appreciation for the complexity of the characters, its curious Nordic backdrop and its poignant political and moral message. This is particularly relevant as Larsson takes much inspiration for the novel from the Ebbe Carlsson Affair of 1988 and the discovery of the IB’s (secret intelligent agency) operations by Swedish journalists in 1973. These very real events shaped Larsson’s criticism of the Swedish Government within his novel and thus highlight the reality and possibility of political injustices today.
“Larsson masterfully executes this intricate storyline with a narrative that jumps between viewpoints” Larsson unexpectedly passed away soon after this novel. The two sequels were delivered to his Swedish publisher in 2004 and thus he never saw the success of his heroine Lisbeth. I urge you to tackle The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. After all, we all know the books are always far better than the films. Harry Potter? Twilight? Need I say more? ALICE BOORMAN
allows his work to remain fresh and exciting over 35 years after his death. Calvino shunned the scientific studies his parents hoped he would pursue in favour of novels and poetry; Calvino would later say he was “attracted by another kind of vegetation, that of the written word.” In 1943, during the German occupation, Calvino joined the Italian resistance and claimed that this was where he learned the art of story-telling, sat around a camp fire as the day’s escapades were recounted. After the war he studied literature in Turin, a city he described as “serious but sad,” and went on to work as a journalist, editor and translator. He travelled widely, from Japan to New York, and even met Che
Larsson (bottom), whose ‘Millenium’ series of books are taking the film-industry by storm
Guevara on a visit to Cuba. Calvino wrote his first novel, The Path to the Nest of Spiders, in 20 days in the December of 1946. The story of a boy from the slums who joins the partisans, it belongs to the neo-realist mode dominant in post war Italy, as does most of Calvino’s early work. However, the publication of The Cloven Viscount in 1952 signals the start of Calvino’s reach beyond the perimeters of neo-realism: a story between fable and fantasy, it tells the tale of a soldier who survives a battle but finds that his good and evil characteristics have separated into the two halves of his body. Calvino went on to write such stories as The Baron in the Trees, about an aristocrat who lives
Epilogue . . . reviews of essential literary classics Interview with the Vampire (1976) Anne Rice
Futura ISBN: 0708860737
HAVING lost several precious hours of my life reading the Twilight saga, I was determined to find a vampire novel that I actually enjoyed. Interview with a Vampire seemed a hopeful possibility, partly because it sold eight million copies and was made into a highly successful film, although in retrospect I should have realised that this also applies to Twilight. I read the entire novel in less than a day, mostly because I was forced to
stay in bed through illness, as otherwise I’m doubtful I would have finished it. I’m unconvinced that any novel merely recounting someone’s life story ever makes a gripping read. The novel follows the life of Louis, a plantation owner, who is transformed into a vampire by Lestat, the vampire who later dominates the Vampire Chronicle series.
“I was forced to read the book in less than a day, otherwise I’m doubtful I would have finished it. I’m unconvinced that life stories ever make gripping reads”
Anne Rice seems unsure about the
character of Lestat, and gives him so many aspects to his personality that he passes the boundaries of a ‘complicated’ character, and becomes impossible to even imagine. Louis’ feelings towards Lestat fluctuate throughout the novel, and Louis seems unable to form a clear opinion of a single character, leaving the reader confused as to how they are supposed to feel about anyone. By all means avoid clichéd ‘good and bad’ characters, but backing away from any decisions at all creates a bland novel full of bland characters. Claudia was the only character that intrigued me, a vampire child with the passions and desires of a fully grown woman. At least the uneasiness she inspired is an emotion, I think the only one the novel evoked other than boredom. The final message of the story
“I find it difficult to believe that much planning went into Rice’s artistic process” seemed to be that vampirism is a curse, a sentiment that would come across more successfully if the novel didn’t end with the listener to Louis’ tale, an unnamed boy, leaving to beg Lestat to transform him. I found it difficult to believe that much planning went into Rice’s artistic process; it seems more likely that she just sat down with a pen and paper, making it up as she went along. Helen Carrington
and dies in the trees, not touching the ground once after climbing up there as a child, and the celebrated If On A Winter’s Night A Traveller, a novel that contains the opening chapter of ten different novels, as a reader struggles to find the missing chapters. In 1985, Salman Rushdie said of Calvino: “I can think of no finer writer to have beside me while Italy explodes, Britain burns, while the world ends,” strangely apt given the events of the past year. I’m with Salman on this one; if the world is ending, and I just want to to climb up a tree and stay there, I can count on Italo Calvino to leave me surprised, amused, and enthralled every time.
5 November 2011 Exeposé
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High impact art from Brighton
Zoe Bulaitis, Arts Editor, chats with artist Ju Row Farr on the upcoming Blast Theory shows in Exeter BLAST THEORY is a group of contemporary artists born April 1991, making Blast Theory exactly as old as me. However with four BAFTA nominations, A Prix Ars Electronica and international renown, Blast Theory has had no normal life. Now, at long last, Exeter’s contemporary art institutions have tempted the Brighton based group to venture west, with a pair of Blast Theory commissions in the city. Both the SpaceX Gallery and the newly refurbished Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM) will be housing the works of the group. With such a Blast Theory ‘buzz’ about town, I met Ju Row Farr, one of the founders of the group to find out more about the upcoming shows. Blast Theory, as a group of people, are hard to fit into a neat box. Blast Theory’s repertoire spans from interactive digital games to theatre projects. They tend to have an interactive aspect to their work, which forces the traditional art viewer into a more active role. Farr was keen to avoid being classified as “being placed under a restriction can limit what you do,” and instead sees the challenge of Blast Theory to simply try to do “something that hasn’t been done before.”
“Art is dead unless someone sees it”
Chatting to Farr, it became clear that although the group may produce works that are deeply concerned with the digital age, the importance of the human touch prevails. The founding members of the group met, not online, but whilst working in the same cinema. Farr spoke of how the gathering of artists was “naïve, energetic and natural,” and admitted that the common ground was much more a case of “knowing what you didn’t want to do” than any precise career tactics. This feeling of interaction
Blast Theory’s new project Ghostwriter opens at the RAMM this month.
Each week we ask a reader to share their most memorable moments within the Arts
“Truth,” I said, I hate dares. “OK then,” said Catherine, “When did you last cry?” I looked down shamefully, “Last week.”
That’s right, I’m a guy, and in my first week of High School I admitted to having cried listening to Love Divine by Howard Goodall. The week before I had been to the Essex Young Singers’ concert at Christ Church URC Chelmsford where I had been left wiping my eyes. The opening dissonance on the piano, delicately played with a sense of longing, and the beautiful angelic sound of
the sopranos and altos had me in tears. I had heard the piece of music before, but this time something about it struck a chord with me. Perhaps it was the acoustics of the church, perhaps it was the fantastic Steinway piano, or perhaps it was this particular performance. I was certainly “lost in wonder” at the sublime piece of music. I say I was “listening”, in actual fact I was part of the choir my-
self, but by the time I was meant to sing, I could only choke, tears blurring my vision.
“I was left wiping my eyes after listening to Howard Goodall’s Love Divine”
As an agnostic, the Christian meaning behind the words may not mean any-
and human relationships is at the core of what Blast Theory is about. In creating work and presenting it to the public, the interaction extends from the artist out to the audience.
“In art our aim is to do what hasn’t been done before”
Audience interaction is a vital part in the newest Blast Theory creation - Ghostwriter. December sees the RAMM reopening in Queens Street, and the chance to experience the commission firsthand. The premise of the exhibit is ‘a million objects give rise to a million thoughts’. Ghostwriter is an audio insight into the thoughts within a museum. Meeting Farr at the RAMM she appeared full of enthusiasm for the upcoming show. She described it to me as an “alternate idea of a tour” with a step “through the museum glass to understand what objects mean to us as people.” This challenges the traditional museum role of impersonal reference, and instead allow the audience to add to the museum experience through their personal lives. The SpaceX Gallery is hosting a retrospective of Blast Theory’s work, from 10 December. Farr saw the exhibition as “a survey of the last 20 years up until the present day” planning to fill the gallery with “documentation and artefacts” from projects to date. A great chance to get an overview of the groundbreaking work of Blast Theory. Examples include the BAFTA nominated Can You See Me Now, and the enticing A Machine to See With, which leads participants to the brink of a potential bank robbery. In these works, once more the personal impact upon the audience is the key. Questioning whether it is worth seeing the work of Blast Theory in Exeter, I shall leave the final words up to Farr: “Art is dead unless someone sees it.”
thing to me, but the beauty of the sound touched my very soul. Music is a sound world that appeals to our senses more than our mind. The important thing that this taught me is that you should never judge a piece of music by its words. Words are the domain of poetry; melody and harmony are the domain of music. JONATHAN MINTER
Exeposé week TEN
Friend or Foe @ Northcott Theatre 22 - 26 November
WHEN I first realised that Friend or Foe was going to feature two adult actors playing children as the main characters, I was slightly apprehensive. Adults playing children has a tendency to either be cringe-worthy or unintentionally comical; however, my concerns were unfounded. Within minutes I was completely convinced that Paul Sandys (playing David) and Mathew Hamper (playing Tucky) were in fact 10-year-old boys; an achievement I felt was impressive. Friend or Foe, based on Michael Morpurgo’s book, is the story of two boys
evacuated from London to Devon during the Second World War. When David is saved from drowning by a stranded German airman, the line between ally and enemy becomes blurred, and they must decide where their loyalties lie. Although Michael Morpurgo is most famously known as a children’s author, this is not just a play for kids and families; it deals with issues of morality and war with humour and honesty, and I found it both heart-warming and thought-provoking. While the main characters of David and Tucky were played excellently, the other performers; Janet Greaves, Michael Palmer and Chris Porter, are also to be commended. They each played multiple characters, but each character was so distinct and convincing that they could have been played by different actors. I particularly enjoyed Michael Palmer’s performance of Mr Reynolds, a gruff Devonshire farmer with the accent to boot. An aspect of the play that I found unexpectedly moving was that most of it is set in Devon. Walking along Exeter high street today, it can be easy to forget that it was just in the last century that this peaceful county was so affected by war. Friend or Foe finishes its run in Exeter, which seems auspiciously appropriate. Michael Morpurgo once said “I write stories for me - for both the child and the adult in me.” Both the adult and the child in me are glad that he wrote this one. BETH FULLER
Shappi Khorsandi @ Barnfield Theatre 24 November SHAPPI KHORSANDI started her show at the packed out Barnfield Theatre as she meant to go on, chatting engagingly with the crowd rather than jumping into a routine. She got into my good books early on with a disconcertingly accurate impression of Michael McIntyre, complete with exaggerated head wobbles, posh spluttering and a reference to him as “that Chinese comedian.” It was typical of the rest of the show that this slight dig was delivered very lovingly. Personally I would’ve preferred it if she’d ripped into him, but her self-consciousness about being mean was very endearing.
“Khorsandi was her own warm up act which somewhat backfired ”
Khorsandi took the unusual step of being her own warm-up act, a decision that somewhat backfired. The intention was honourable enough, with an opening half hour of improvisation followed by a more scripted main act. However, she soon hit upon stumbling blocks with an unexpectedly diverse crowd of lesbians and Iranians stepping on the toes of some of her planned later material. This led to a few awkward minutes as she debated
with herself onstage when to use it. It was passed off as mock frustration but clearly this incident interrupted the flow of her show. Some of the most memorable material was focused on the fact that she is a first generation Iranian immigrant and the issues this raised, particularly in her childhood. At one point she recalls being comforted after some racist abuse on a train, with an elderly woman saying, “Don’t worry dear; it’s not your fault you’re a paki.” She also looked on the lighter side of racism, and speaking about some bullies said, “I’m a first generation immigrant. My parents couldn’t read or write English...just like them.” She also had the more unusual childhood experience of getting death threats from an Iranian Ayatollah because her father (also a comedy-writer) made unappreciated jokes about him. This led to a one-woman standing ovation, and Khorsandi calling us “the sweetest audience of the tour.” The feeling was mutual as Khorsandi created a cosy, entertain-
ing atmosphere that even made me comfortable about facing my greatest fear at a comedy gig: being chosen for audience participation. I was only two questions away from being selected as a potential partner for Khorsandi, mainly because 90 per cent of the men in the audience were married. I generally see audience participation as the threat of being instantly judged and mocked but in her hands it was somehow less scary. TOM BOND
THEATRE REVIEW EUTCO The Dice House @ M&D Rooms 17-19 November
ART ATTACK WE asked students to get into the festive spirit with this Christmas card classic The Tree of Life by Gustav Klimt. Will Roberts: Nice to see Art Attack branching out, but I’m not sure this leaves much room for comment. Rachel Bayne: The scene is certainly not a traditional Christmas tableau - but it embraces the positives of Christmas, a season for bringing people together and the rejuvenation of familiar relationships.
Charlotte Monk-Chipman: If you make this black and white, it looks like something someone doodled on lecture notes.
Bethany Fuller: Well this picture makes my Christmas tree feel extremely inadequate.
James Crouch: In a purely academic sense, the symbolism of this painting is perfect for Christmas, with the Tree of Life having an important meaning for many cultures. But in my own Yuletide preferences, I far prefer traditional images that make me impossibly nostalgic such as a snowy village green. This painting will never be a mental image I conjure when I wake up on December 25.
Alex Hawksworth-Brookes: I think it looks like a golden peacock that’s buried its head in some sand. Ella Williams: I can’t help but notice the elements from The Kiss that are incorporated. The Kiss can be read as an expression of erotic ecstasy, but isn’t the woman passive in all of this? Is she being suffocated or even drowned by masculine desire and emotion?
THROW together two rival psychiatrists, an unsuspecting client, a house of paranoid patients and a cloaked dwarf wreaking havoc on unsuspecting individuals, and you have The Dice House, a darkly comic farce with no one safe from the decisions of the dice.
“Brilliantly executed moments include a beating with a giant spoon”
The simple physical and visual comedy of the production is masterfully played out by the cast, with much slapstick comedy gore coming from Tom Myles, a member of an army sent to tor-
ture those who have committed immoral acts, and Tim McNiven, a paranoid patient who believes there are people “out to get him” – and it turns out there are. Brilliantly executed moments include those so simple as McNiven being beaten with a giant spoon, to having his hand hacked off with a pair of rusty shears, equally as shocking as it was hilarious. This physical comedy is played in tasteful contrast to the un-PC wordplay of the script, which really gives the show its comedic edge. Tristan Rogers, playing Dr Drabble, delivers shocking lines with such confidence that you can’t help but laugh, even when you know you shouldn’t. While some of the script would be considered “bad taste” by some, it’s the sort of comedy I really enjoy, and when well placed can really have great comedic impact. While the narrative line of the script is not particularly strong, causing the show to occasionally seem like more of a series of skits, strong performances from the entire cast held it together, and prevented the scenes from becoming disjointed. An example of dark comedy at it’s finest, this is one production EUTCO can be truly proud of. ANDY SMITH MUSIC EDITOR
Video Games Alex Hawksworth-Brookes & Jessica Leung - firstname.lastname@example.org
5 DECEMBER 2011 Exeposé
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Homosexuality: Are games ready? Julian Hough explores the role and absence of homosexuality in video games HOMOSEXUALITY has been explored in many forms of media. Writers have considered it for many years, films have visualised it for decades, and television has tentatively expressed it for a comparatively brief amount of time. Even music, with the advent of genres like Homo Hop, has managed to make an impact on the popular conscience. But in my mind there is one facet of modern media that is still stalwartly resistant to modern trends. Video games can no longer be viewed as a niche avenue. As a whole, it’s an industry that challenges Hollywood in terms of naked profit. The fact that developers are broadening the horizon in terms of how games are received is a sign that it should be taken seriously. Despite this, video games are still grossly under-developed in comparison to other art forms.
This is made all the more poignant by the very modernity of the platform. Unlike film and literature, video games are a decidedly recent development, yet it has taken a long time for games to reach a comparatively equal stage in terms of popular perception. A brief bit of history may be required. For a long time, video game developers were strict in terms of what could be published. Fair enough. In the case of Nintendo, this included drugs, violence, eroticism, violence against women (note
the separate categories), alcohol, and virtually every form of sex or overt sexuality. This may seem quite reasonable, and in the vast majority of cases, this may not cause a problem. One cannot expect to go from conservative to liberal overnight, nor should anyone expect a totally unrestrictive policy on content. Unsurprisingly, there were scant few depictions of homosexuality (or overt heterosexuality) in early gaming. The hero saved the heroine or, in a rare few examples, the heroine saved the hero/associated love interest/ friend. So far, so conventional. Localisation (making a product viable for a foreign consumer) is a funny thing. It’s not quite the same as translation because translation relies soley on the difference in words and how they are perceived. Literature rarely suffers a problem in this regard, as does film, where translation to a foreign market is usually a niche industry and will not make a huge impact. In the case of video games, translators and localisers make
This time it’s personal
similarly broad strokes, sometimes for the worse. A good example of this would be in Sega’s side scrolling fighting game Final Fight. The player moves from left to right, beating the pulp out of enemies on a violent, gang-infested street. A major difference between the original Japanese and the US/EU versions was in the boss characters. Whereas Japanese gamers battled against Roxy and Poison (a pair of feminine, flamboyant male to female transsexuals), English speaking gamers fought off Sid and Billy, a pair of intimidating, muscular punks.
“Watching or reading is considered a lot more passive than direct involvement”
Some may question a game that demands, nay, encourages that you viciously beat up a pair of transgendered persons as a part of gameplay, but surely the act of changing them is equally significant? Some may see it as not wanting to be transphobic, but this would be too easy an escape, especially considering that even the Japanese version of the game originally featured a Village People style Leatherman who immobilised the player and groped them to death. Modern games have gotten better, but only by degrees. Serious or realistic portrayals of homosexual characters are few and far between, whilst the stereotype of the flamboyant, cross-dressing Queen (usually as a minor villain or comedy relief) or the butch intimidating lesbian are far more common. This is not to say that the LGBT com-
munity is totally ostracised by the video game industry. The Sims (all three versions) has enabled same sex couples to digitally “WooHoo” for over a decade. Bioware, a company long praised for being progressive in terms of characterisation and plot, have released games with several homosexual characters and situations. Despite this, few games have depicted homosexual characters beyond the physical context of their sexual preferences. Games such as Dragon Age and Mass Effect have options for samesex romances but these are solely at the prompting of the player and not an innate decision of the storyline. Several games make concessions to homosexuality but only towards erotic portrayals of femaleto-female sexuality, which are usually targeted towards a predominantly heterosexual audience.
“Serious or realistic portrayals of homosexual characters are rare” Ultimately, homosexuality in video games faces many of the same problems as in other forms of media. However, it suffers a greater form of resistance because of the innately interactive nature of the medium. Watching or reading is considered a lot more passive than direct causation or involvement, even if that involvement is completely digital, and therefore at a user’s prompting. As such, video games must rely on other forms of media paving the way first before venturing forward themselves.
Adam Western champions the PC and its status as a legitimate gaming platform
ASSASSIN’S Creed: Revelations, the newest instalment in the series is... well, I have no idea really. You see, I’m a PC gamer – a title which I am greatly proud of, but for us the pleasure that is the new Assassin’s Creed will not be available until 2 December. The computer games industry owes its existence to the PC gamers of the past, so why is it that my brethren and I must, almost invariably, endure later release dates, fewer titles and layer upon layer of Digital Rights Management. In fairness, there are a plethora of reasons. For one, game designers know exactly what console hardware is capable of. This enables them to thoroughly test and optimise their games to give the best game experience they can – at the expense of a keyboard, and that all-important mouse. Another, I suppose, is a drop in de-
mand; again this is, in part, down to the many-headed hydra that is the console industry. With so many console generations from Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft the gamer demographic has been cruelly divided and the PC has been, by many, left behind. Perhaps it is considered old fashioned, archaic and expensive. My experience, however, is that the graphic quality of PC games vastly outshines that of their console counterparts so, certainly on a visual level, the PC is far from obsolete. I also find that PC-only games are often far more engaging and mentally demanding – perhaps this says more about the mental aptitude of console users than that of the educated world. As for expensive, you may have a point – if you’re foolish enough to buy a gaming PC. Build one. Or upgrade a cheap one. Either method is good. After that, you need only replace the component that is
letting you down, rather than the whole machine, when the next generation of games comes along. However, the main reason, and the reason I don’t foresee a positive change in this situation, are the black sheep of the family – pirates. Piracy is illegal, in case you didn’t know. The reason? It crushes the market. Blockbuster games cost millions to produce and, if only a handful of people buy them, the designers lose money, go bust and then there are no more games for those of us who pay for them. The industry has tried to counter the pirates with disc checks, validation keys and, most recently, a permanent connection to a server to verify you own a licence for the game. This latest method affords me a glimmer of hope. OK, so it feels a little Big Brother-esque, but if it saves the platform I’m all for it. So is there any hope left for the PC
as a legitimate gaming platform? I hope so. Big titles, such as Elder Scrolls, Assassin’s Creed and Call of Duty do still make it to PC. Services like Steam and OnLive breathe life into the less expensive or hardware-intensive end of the market. Steam affords casual gamers a gateway into AAA titles and OnLive pro-
vides an excellent way for a low-end PC with a good internet connection to play the latest and greatest games for a fraction of the cost. As for me, I’ll stick with my desktop PC for as long as I can; from time to time you might even catch me doing work on it. Image: Sam Spratt
Exeposé week ten Exeposé Video Games asks ‘What Will YOU Be Playing This Christmas?’
Let us know on Facebook and Twitter Hugh Blackstaffe: “Skyrim, because real snow without dragons or bears is nowhere near as fun.” Will Hayman: “Bastion, because it’s beautiful and because I still haven’t released a decent RAGE patch.” Matt Bevan: “Starcraft II, because I have no shame in plugging Exeter in the CSL:EU.” Kate Gray: “Assassin’s Creed: Revelations because nothing says ‘family’ more than avenging my father’s murder by STABBING PEOPLE IN THE NECK.” Alex Phelps “Skyrim, because I have no use for a real life now.” Jonathan Jenner: “Monopoly, with my extended family... sigh.” Cameron Ward: “Skyrim, as I’m planning on modding Santa hats into Tamriel.”
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword; Nintendo; Wii Nov 18 2011
Assassin’s Creed: Revelations: Ubisoft; Activision; PS3/360/ PC Nov 15 2011
MILKED for all it’s worth, and stuttering more than its predecessors, Assassin’s Creed Revelations marks the final chapter in Ezio Auditore da Firenze’s dragged out story. The central concept of Revelations is the same as every other game in the series; the Templars are back in town and it’s up to the Assassins to stop them. Cue lots of sneaking, spying and silent stabbing – all good fare and what we’ve come to expect and enjoy from the franchise. Even though the core experience is the same as offered by Assassin’s Creed II and Brotherhood, it doesn’t disappoint. However, the story lacks the flair of previous titles, and many of the characters are forgettable or inconsequential. It’s everything outside of the core experience that Revelations attempts that lets the experience down. Although Ezio is a likeable and familiar character, Desmond remains as boring as watching beige paint dry in a padded cell, with about as much personality as you’d expect to find in a lump of polystyrene. The fact that he plays a larger role here than in previous installations only highlights his blandness, whilst the ludicrous sci-fi mumbo-jumbo of his segments make it more than clear that even the scriptwriters don’t know where the story is really going. These first person puzzle sections reeked of a vain attempt to introduce something
games that stand out to me are those that make me push through adversity, without passively referring to the internet for solutions. Examples for me are Resident Evil 4 and Monster Hunter Tri (well, not until a sabre-tooth-icewyvern started kicking my arse). Skyward Sword compels me to solve puzzles and figure out how to beat bosses myself, taxing my brain instead of being lazy,
THE reason I love Skyward Sword is not nostalgia, or graphics, or gameplay, or anything so simple. It’s because it makes me try. When I could understand the internet, games suddenly became much easier. I developed a bad habit of using guides and walkthroughs whenever I encountered difficult obstacles. The
because I feel rewarded. What causes this compulsion? It’s a blend. The swordplay is great and immersive, the music has that epic-adventure quality, and the graphics appeal to me (a combination between Windwaker’s cartoonism and Twilight Princess’ realism). The storytelling is simple but engaging. I love how the attraction between Link and Zelda is subtle, yet clear. The game is also mas-
new to a game that hasn’t evolved since its predecessor. Another floundering attempt at innovation comes in the form of tower defense games, where you have to defend your assassin outposts from attacking Templars. These sections are frustratingly long and poorly implemented, and do little more than break up the pace of the main game. New additions to Ezio’s arsenal, namely a hook blade and bombs, both feel as if they were included out of a desperate need for a new feature.
of the series’ attempts at diversification have, at least, paid off. Hopefully Ubisoft will now take the time to rest and work on the series, in order to deliver a fresh experience with a fully-fledged sequel.
“Desmond remains as boring as watching beige paint dry” It’s surprising to say that the best bit of the entire Revelations experience comes in the form of multiplayer. The format first established in Brotherhood has been refined and polished, with new modes introduced for both solo and team games. New perks and abilities can also be unlocked and the entire experience feels a lot more balanced than before. However, anyone who was unconvinced by the multiplayer in Brotherhood won’t find any solace here. On the whole, Revelations delivers a solid singleplayer experience, whilst showing that Ezio’s finale occurred at the right time. Certain aspects of the single player feel tired, familiar or just down right desperate, although a select group of blockbuster moments make up for this. Multiplayer makes up for these flaws, demonstrating that some
sive: I’ve only completed two of seven temple-dungeons (okay, not Skyrim massive, but that’s still taken me 15 hours).
“Skyward Sword compels me to solve puzzles because I feel rewarded” The game’s not perfect: the hubtown of Skyloft feels empty and dull compared to the town in Majora’s Mask and the plot is clichéd (I’ve been chosen by the goddess to fulfil my destiny! Surprising?), the main antagonist looks like a giant penis with teeth and there’s an unnecessary RPG-style crafting system, meaning I must waste time catching bugs, but I stop caring the second I run to the edge of Skyloft, leap off, summon my giant bird and begin flying through the cloudscape while the string orchestra swells around me. It’s a magnificent feeling every time, and I can’t get enough.
9/10 Luke Graham, Screen editor
Alex hawksworth-Brookes Video Games Editor
Lego Harry Potter: Years 5-7: Traveller’s Tales; 360/PS3/PC/Wii Nov 18 2011 ANOTHER Lego game has descended upon us and this time it is even bigger and better. Lego Harry Potter Years 5-7 is the long-awaited conclusion to the popular franchise. The story develops through humorous cut scenes (the awkward Harry and Cho kiss being a personal favourite) and playable iconic moments from the movies. The whole of the wizarding world can be explored at will in between missions and lessons, which brings the world of Harry Potter to life and gives the franchise a new dimension. The structure of the game is the same as its predecessors. The aim is to progress through the story by casting various spells to destroy, build and collect Lego. There are also many hidden secrets that are always exciting to discover. Many locations were cheekily recycled from the first game. However, I quite liked this idea of keeping Hogwarts consistent as this tied the two games together. To avoid creating a game that was
too similar to the first, Traveller’s Tales have also included many new features. The highlight is the addition of duelling at set points in the game. Although this is a clever idea to further develop the story, it becomes very tedious and the novelty soon wears off. The game is clearly designed to be played co-op as there are many points in it that require the help of another character. This adds to the replayability of the game which does not disappoint. With over 200 characters, and new areas that can only be unlocked with certain spells, it would be difficult to even complete the game to 50 per cent after one play through. Lego Harry Potter: Years 5-7 is perfect for the whole family. Regardless of the fact that the game itself is simple, there is also a lot to love. The iconic moments from the franchise are perfectly parodied, which allows all fans, young and old, to fully experience the world of Harry Potter.
Jessica Leung Video Games editor
5 december 2011
Photo: Josh Irwandi
Exeter’s first centurion legend Ben Nash celebrates his goal in this year’s Varsity match against Exeter City, where the Uni team led the locals 2-0 going into half-time, but lost the match 3-2
Rachel Bayne, Sports Editor, talks to Ben Nash about EUAFC and his career
Ben Nash has achieved the striker’s dream of scoring over 100 goals for his club. Emulating professional greats such as Alan Shearer, Ian Wright and Teddy Sherringham, Nash, at the time of going to press, is on 102 goals in two and a half years of playing for EUAFC. The striker started his University football career playing in the 4th team and mid-way through his first year was promoted to the 1st side. In his 102 goals for EUAFC, he has scored eight goals for the 4ths, 36 for the 2nds and 56 for the 1sts. Only two of his 102 goals have been penalties. Nash has scored five hat-tricks and his highest goal tally from a single match has been four from a 4-1 cup victory for the 1st team against EUAFC’s BUCS rivals Hartbury. Nash smiled at the news, admitting that his left foot is definitely his weaker side in front of goal: “Yeah, a lot of my goals come from my right foot and a few with the head as well.” Nash got to the mammoth total of 100 goals on Wednesday 23 November in the Men’s 1st team’s 1-1 draw against
Cardiff and went on to score two more goals in the Saturday league. As well as having considerable talent on the pitch, Ben Nash is a hardworking footballer who is prepared to put the team in front of his own personal achievements. He spoke modestly about his 100th goal, admitting that it was “overshadowed by the fact we’re in a relegation battle at the moment. “I’ll always try and score, but there’s no point in me scoring if we’re losing as well. We’ve got to start winning as a team really, and not just focus on individual performances. We’ve got so many good players; we’re just not really playing well as a team. That’s the main priority.” Currently, EUAFC’s 1st side are sitting bottom of the table in the BUCS Mars Football Western 1A league with two points out of five games. If performances in the BUCS league do not change and the 1st team get relegated, they could end up playing in the same league as the 2nd team, and possibly even the 3rds, who are on promotion-winning form in the
nationals. The sailing conditions were ideal with light to medium winds and even a bit of sun. The team of 12 was skippered by James Anderson and helmed by Matt Rainback. Last year’s bowman and recent Exeter graduate AJ Dawson came back to coach the bow team for the weekend. It was a steep learning curve for the team, with seven new faces on board and only time for a few quick practice manoeuvres before the first race. The team worked really well
The 1sts are on a brilliant run of form in the BUCS cup. The team is through to the quarter finals where they will face UWE 1sts, after they won 3-1 away against Brunel on Wednesday 30 November. The team is also going strong in the South West Peninsula League Division One East. “The good thing about the Saturday league is that we’ve become more physical by playing against older men, so we can bring that into our BUCS games as well.”
Nash admitted that the “flip-side of playing Saturday football is that, because we have that extra match, we have less recovery time than the other BUCS teams. But we’re all athletes, so we should be able to cope with it really. Everyone loves playing football, so the more matches the better, I guess.” With two matches and at least two training sessions per week, he spends a vast majority of his University life playing for EUAFC. “That’s the thing about playing for a sports team, it does take up most of your life. But if you enjoy it, it’s perfect. There’s not a day goes by without doing something for the club, always around the boys, which is really good.” Although he can’t see himself making a living out of it, Nash will never want to be separated from the green, green grass of the football pitch. “I definitely will continue playing football. I doubt it will be as a high level as Exeter University can offer, but I’ll never want to stop playing football.” Matt Slater, EUAFC Club Captain, said: “To score 100 goals in less than
three years is an incredible feat at any level, but the fact that over 90 per cent of Nash’s goals have been for the University’s top two sides makes this achievement all the more remarkable. With well over 50 goals for the EUAFC 1st team, Nash not only scores goals, but important goals at that. On top of this, strikers often get labelled as selfish, and it would be very easy for someone of his quality to act all ‘big time,’ however Nash is very different. He is extremely modest.” So, what next for Ben Nash, who after only half of the BUCS 2011-12 season, has already netted 20 for the 1st team. “I’d maybe like to have scored 40 by the end of the season.” Amidst all the success, Nash is still able to keep a level-head and admits that what he wants most from this season is for his team to stay up. A team-player at heart, Nash ended by saying: “If I scored no goals now until the rest of the season and we stayed up in BUCS then that would be just as good.”
together and where experience may have lacked causing a few mistakes the determination to do well shone through and the team finished a very respectable 5th place. There was time after the 1st race for a full debrief and further practice of manoeuvres. Exeter started the second race with a lot more confidence and had fantastic boat speed, landing them an even more respectable 3rd place. Another debrief and a few more practice moves and Exeter were off to a
winner in the 3rd and final race, leading round mark one and holding this lead to the finish with tactician James Anderson calling the perfect layline on the final leg to hold the lead to finish. Exeter finished 2nd overall, one point behind Portsmouth University 1st team and beating other university teams including Portsmouth 2nd team, Oxford and Durham. The prize for 2nd place was a free entry to the Sunsail Gill Racing Series round in 2012 which Exeter will use as a training event for BUCS
yachting finals. In other news, Exeter University Sailing Club also competed in the BUCS Fleet Racing Nationals. The team had an impressive result in the Firefly Fleet Race, with wins from Matt Rainback, Suzy Russell, Jason Saints and Pippa Russell, leading to the Exeter team winning the impressive 100 years cup. Exeter just missed out on the overall team prize, coming 3rd with the winning prize tied between local rivals, Plymouth and Bristol.
Western 3A league. The 1st team are working hard to turn their BUCS form around, but the team are hopeful that they can stay up. “Last year we were in exactly the same position and we ended up winning four out our last five matches, so if we can do that again this year, it’ll be fine. “We all know that we’ve got it in ourselves. We just need that one lucky goal to go in and it’ll change everything.”
“I’ll never want to stop playing football”
Wind in their sails - updates on Nationals Yachting
Suzy Russell Sailing Club Saturday 19 November saw the first event of the year for Exeter’s yachting team. The team travelled down to Port Solent for the Sunsail final weekend having won their round of the Sunsail Gill Racing Series in March. The event was held in the Sunsail F40s which are used for BUCS yachting
Exeposé week ten
EUMHC Varsity 2011 Hockey
Photos: Josh Irwandi
BUCS Cup Victory Hockey
Ben Stupples EUMHC Publicity Officer
Antonia Hawken Reporter
A crowd of nearly 500 welcomed East Grinstead to the Nando’s Sports Park for EUMHC Varsity on Saturday 19 November. Iain Lewers, Mark Gleghorne, Glenn Kirkham, Ashley Jackson and Mark Pearne, due to international commitments, were all unavailable for East Grinstead and there was very much a sense of opportunity for the University of Exeter as they sensed a potential victory. However, with Darren Cheesman, Adam Harper, Danny Hall and Ross Stott still in the East Grinstead side – players who in the past have all represented either GB or their respective countries – it was clear that the University of Exeter would have to be as clinical up front and decisive in defence as they were in their 3-2 victory against Reading on the season’s opening weekend. Exeter, in spite of East Grinstead’s calibre, started the first half as the stronger out of the two teams, attacking both flanks at pace before firing in several crosses that flashed past outstretched East Grinstead sticks and across the goal’s mouth. East Grinstead were lucky to come out of the opening ten minutes unscathed but, as play and possession switched to the other end, they pounced on their advantageous position, earning a short corner that was duly converted by Rick Gay. The game then became a fight for control as East Grinstead sought to maintain their lead whilst Exeter looked to draw level. Joe Sterlini provided the impetus for several of Exeter’s attacking moves by flicking the ball over East Grinstead’s defence, which Tom Carson and James Royce chased after. East Grinstead, conversely, patiently played the ball around from a solid platform at the back and pressed forward along the flanks before slapping incisive passes into the D, carving gaps into the University of Exeter defence. The score remained 0-1 to East Grinstead, though, and after a great performance from Exeter cheerleaders at half time both teams looked to capitalise on any chances after the break. Exeter, after a swift passage of play, earned the first penalty corner of the second half but failed to score as their move broke down. Darren Cheesman then found himself in the corner of University of Exeter’s half and proceeded to weave an unseen path through four Exeter players to earn East Grinstead a penalty corner, which Rick Gay, again, converted to make the final score 0-2. EUMHC Club Captain, Andrew Miller, said: “There was very little that separated the two teams in regard to the quality of their performances outside the D. Inside the D, however, especially on the penalty corners, East Grinstead were simply more composed and clinical than Exeter.” EUMHC 1sts next home game is on 12 February against Beeston and will also be screened live on Unisportonline.
The University of Exeter Ladies Hockey 1sts proved themselves against a very strong Nottingham side on 30 November, winning 5-4 and progressing to the quarter finals of the BUCS PWC Cup.
“Exeter aimed to break the hearts of the visiting side by scoring again in quick succession” Both teams appeared determined to gain as much momentum as possible within the first few minutes, with Nottingham scoring in under five with an impressive break down the right hand side of the astro. Battering through strong defence, Exeter fought to enter their attacking circle, and were awarded a short corner for a ‘ball on foot’ offense. The home side scored and equalised, providing a variety of shots to place the ball at the back of the goal. Both Exeter and Nottingham proved that there’s more to winning a match than hard ball strikes; rather, it’s achieved through anticipating your opponent’s next move. The Exeter defence remained poised and controlled as Not-
tingham revealed their determination to force themselves through by any means possible. Despite well timed picks at the ball by the home side, Nottingham scored again with a crafty pass down the line, giving them the lead at half time. Exeter re-entered the match with heads held high as Nottingham took the pushback. This half saw decisive movement, excellent stick work and intelligent passing between the back trough by Exeter, forcing the opposition to reposition and wait. Highly strung and desperate for the ball, Nottingham attacked and suffered a yellow card, and Exeter seized upon an awarded penalty flick to equalise. A new spirit appeared to have roused within the Exeter 1sts as they scored once again. Exeter aimed to break the hearts of the visiting side by scoring again in quick succession. They were 4-2 ahead with only 15 minutes left in the match as a Nottingham attack was sin binned. Through a momentary lapse of concentration by the Green Army the opposition scored twice, also awarded a penalty flick for lack of discipline within the ‘D’, though thoroughly contested by the Exeter defence. With only a few minutes left efficiency and decisive action were needed, and with an exquisite pass through the mid-field, pushed around the goal and finally tapped behind the net, Exeter scored, winning the match 5-4.
Fresher’s Grand Prix Rugby
Will Kelleher Reporter
EUMHC battle hard against East Grinstead, the giants of the Hockey Premier League
ON Saturday 26 November, in the fourth Freshers’ Grand Prix of the season at Gloucester, Exeter’s results again paint a disappointing picture. EURFC’s Freshers came away with only one win and a draw to show from four matches across two teams. The A XV started brightly in their first match against Bath with some aggressive scrummaging and a much improved line-out. The game was tense with the men in green dominating large portions but just falling at the final hurdle. Ill-discipline hampered Exeter’s progress with two men sent to the bin in the game; luckily this did not have an effect on the scores as Bath could not put together any meaningful passages of play. Exeter almost broke the deadlock late into the second half when Will Kelleher called a box-kick on the blind side as Bath’s full-back had gone missing, he somehow gathered the ball and trundled towards the line only to be stopped by a last-ditch tackle- the game incredibly ending 0-0. If flair was on the menu for the day then the B XV certainly ordered a large portion. In their encounter with Bath there were some audacious moves on show with Charlie Farron using the wind to his advantage to pin back the Bulldogs with an elegant long kick to touch from inside his own 22 metre line. Next
it was the turn of another forward, Marcus Cottle, to shine with a Sonny Bill Williams-esque, back-of-the-hand offload to an expectant Fred Clelland who finished well to the left of the uprights. 5-0 half time. Bath however replied with a well worked try in the corner to level the scores but then with time running out Jago Cann topped off the performance with a defence-shattering run through the heart of Bath’s midfield to score under the post. 12-5 Exeter.
“EURFC’s Freshers came away with only one win and a draw” Unfortunately the B XV couldn’t replicate this audacity in their next game where they went down to UWIC Bs. With only one game left in the day the A XV prepared to come up against a burly UWIC A outfit. UWIC started impressively and ran in three ties in the first half. Exeter were able to take some positives from the game however as they battled hard in the second period and Tom Saunders scored a fantastic try from a catch-and-drive off a wellworked lineout. As per usual there were lots to take from the competition but Exeter A XV are still yet to win a Grand Prix fixture since the Coombe Dingle festival at the start of the year. Subtle improvements are all that is needed for that elusive win to come.
5 december 2011
Also in the news...
Jiu Jitsu Nationals: Satur
Tae Kwon Do Nationals Tae Kwon Do
Ollie Cox Social Secretary The University of Exeter Tae Kwon Do Club hosted a friendly competition at the St. Luke’s Sports Centre on the 12 and 13 November. As Tae Kwon Do is a non-BUCS sport, the competition was eagerly awaited. The meet was an exciting opportunity for both new and experienced students to test their skills and become accustomed to a competitive environment within a sociable club setting. EUTKD played host to several other United Tae Kwon Do Organisation Clubs from across the country from the likes of Bristol, Cornwall, and Manchester. EUTKD performed exceptionally well with special mention going to
Max Dupenois achieving gold and silver position in the black belt category for patterns and sparring respectively. Debutant Pru Pyle put in a great first performance and claimed silver for patterns in her category. Returning alumni member Claire Marchetti showed excellent form and was awarded gold for her category in patterns. Also club treasurer Aleksander Angelov took silver in sparring for his category. Club Captain Brian Parker said, “It was a great experience, both as a chance to meet people from other clubs in the UK and to test our abilities.” The weekend proved to be a great success for EUTKD. It showed that the club has definitely got what it takes to put in a strong performance at the UTO Championships in Manchester next March.
Uriel bring home gold
Amie Cripps Publicity Officer
THIS weekend Exeter University’s Ultimate Frisbee team Uriel took the title of Indoor National Champions, earning the University 50 BUCS points in the process. This is an achievement never experienced by the club in all of its 20 years. The first game of the weekend was against Newcastle and, taking nothing for granted, Exeter played hard and fought for every point, eventually winning 6-5. Exeter continued to trade points in the next few games against Portsmouth and Birmingham, coming
out on top in both instances. Exeter then lost to Loughborough in sudden death 8-7. Fortunately, this only fuelled their desire to win their remaining games and hopefully come home with a medal. Exeter’s quarter-final game was against Oxford. Exeter took to the pitch with such tenacity they won the first few points with considerable ease. Exeter played Southampton in the semi-final. With some hard defence and fluid offence from both sides, Exeter came out on top winning 8-6. The final saw Exeter and Manchester go head to head, with Exeter winning 9-6. An incredible victory against BUCS rivals and for Uriel history.
BUCS Dinner comes to Exeter BUCS
Simon Dewhurst Reporter Sport at the University of Exeter has received a massive boost by being chosen to host the 2012 BUCS Conference and Awards Dinner. The annual event will be held between 10-11 July next year and will be one of the first events to be held in the new Forum Project. The Conference brings together all BUCS members, helping to shape the future of university sport for the next year. The Awards Dinner will be a celebration of the successes of student sport in 2011-2, including prizes for the best sportsman, best sportswoman and the overall BUCS champions. Exeter was chosen as the preferred venue following a highly competitive
bidding process. The event has previously been held in Keele and Leeds. The decision to hold it in Exeter in 2012 rewards the University’s recent sporting success, highlighted by their ninth place in the BUCs table last year. BUCS CEO Karen Rothery said: “Our annual conference, AGM and Awards Dinner is a highlight of the year for us and we are genuinely delighted to be going to the University of Exeter in 2012.” Beth Hampson, AU President, added: “Having the annual BUCS awards dinner and conference come to Exeter is very exciting and something that does not come round very often. It will be a great opportunity for us to showcase the Exeter experience as well as showing the rest of the country all of our new developments.” Further details of the event will be released early next year.
Luke Graham Screen Editor On November 19 and 20, Exeter University Jiu Jitsu took part in the National Competition, where the club competed against Jiu Jitsu clubs from London, Southampton, Leicester and Exeter’s town and college classes. Over 130 Jitsuka competed this year. Exeter brought over 20 members to take part in the various competitions, and having trained all term, were feeling confident. After a training seminar in the
morning, the competitions began. The main events were the Groundwork competitions, where competitors are divided according to their experience, weight and gender using a coloured belt ranking system. Groundwork is basically wrestling, and each three minute round is won by whoever gets the first pin or submission, or it goes into extra time and then to a judges’ decision. The Men’s Novice Category went well, with nearly all of the Exeter team winning at least one or two matches, and showing great skill and spirit. Martin Rӧder and Fin Reddy both managed to get bronze medals in the Heavyweight and Middleweight categories respectively.
Exeter Women’s Novices also performed strongly. Charlotte Aspinall won three matches to receive a gold medal in the Middleweight category and Elise Polkinghorne won Silver in the Top weight category. Moving on to the higher grades, EUJJ did very well in the Yellow and Orange belt categories, which is a competition between people who have at least one year’s experience in the sport. EUJJ dominated the Women’s categories: in the Middleweight division, Sarah Hayes, Alexandra Westerman and Ayesha Ichsan won the gold, silver and bronze medals, while in the Lightweight division, Charlotte Simpson and Katharine Gray won the gold and silver medals.
A result of which means that all three BUCS teams (two mens and one ladies) are this year undefeated. Last week, despite feeling the pressure, and spurred on by Captain Sophie Williams, the Ladies 1sts pulled out all the stops against rivals Cardiff, securing a 4-0 victory, meaning that regardless of next week’s outcome against Bath, they have won the 1st division, with both men’s teams looking set to follow suit and top their respective leagues. The Mens’ 1sts recently found their
biggest challenge yet up against UWE, where world number eight, Mohammed Shorbaggy, plays for the university. Fortunately for the boys, Shorbaggy was off touring in Rotterdam. Despite Brett Norman, the 3rd seed’s defeat at the hands of a Polish junior champion, solid wins for the 4th and 5th seeds, Josh Tipping and Seb Posner placed Exeter at a 2-1 advantage. In the number one string match, Exeter’s Jon ‘Frenchie’ Taubert was up against fellow countryman Lucas Serme, currently ranked 145 on
Exeter Squash smash opponents to rema Squash
Holly Gottlieb Squash Club Captain The promotion of both men’s teams at the end of last year, combined with a severe loss of many 1st team players, meant that 2011 was set to be a pretty tough year on the squash courts; no one, however, could possibly have predicted the outstanding calibre of the fresh intake.
Exeposé week ten
day 19 November 2011
No. 27 by Clare Mullins
Photos: Hannah Walker
1. Sickness (6) 3. Eat alfresco (6) 6. Egyptian canal (4) 8. 1994 film starring Jean Reno and Natalie Portman (4) 10. Au (4) 12. Knife canners [anag] (12) 15. Nobel Prize-winning, English playwright (6,6) 17. Links place, library, and greeting (4) 18. Clothing exclusive to Roman citizens (4) 19. See 5. down 21. Christmas tipple (6) 22. Penguin in Toy Story 2 (6)
1. Links pea, brazil, and pine (3) 2. Memento (8) 4. Mild flu-like symptoms (4) 5. & 19. Four went to Glen Coco, you go Glen Coco! (5,4) 7. Abstract idea (7) 9. Third part of the gift of X and Y across (5) 11. One of the first men to climb Mount Everest (7) 13. Ridiculous – Style of verse (8) 14. Exclusive group of people (5) 16. Traditional Jewish potato pancake (5) 17. Abel’s brother (4) 20. Happiness (3)
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The men were also quite successful, as Ashish Evans won two matches to receive a Bronze medal in the Men’s Heavyweight category,
while Miroslav Kubalak won a Bronze medal in the Men’s Lightweight, pulling off some spectacular submissions. Luke Graham competed in the Green to Blue belt division, which is a competition between people with two or more years experience. After winning two matches very quickly by submission, he lost to a Judge’s decision after a five minute match with a Southampton competitor, but came away with a bronze medal. Edward Trend and Jamie Bunting also competed very well, using their impressive technique and strength. EUJJ members also competed in the Random Attacks tournament, which is only open to Yellow belts and above, and is a test of skill and technique dem-
onstration against a surprise attack. Sarah Hayes added another Bronze to her medal collection, demonstrating fast and street effective techniques in the Yellow to Orange division, while Theresa Kamper won a bronze medal in the Green to Blue division. With a total of 14 medals won by members of EUJJ, Exeter placed highly in the overall medal table and once more showed that they are a force to be reckoned with. All of Exeter’s competitors proved themselves and demonstrated a high level of teamwork and sportsmanship.
the Men’s Word Tour. Nonetheless, UWE’s Serme proved to the crowd why he is on the world tour and his 3-0 win squared the match at 2-2, providing a tense wait for Captain, Alex Cope’s match. Cope demonstrated why he is nicknamed ‘the curtain’, his incredible wingspan covered the court, and secured an overall 3-2 win for the boys. The 2nds have been equally victorious this season, being able to claim the title of undefeated champions not only in their BUCS matches, but also the local
Devon League, a fact which the rest of the club is forced to endure as the boys continue to dominate week after week. Captain, Luke Christian, has consistently demonstrated his prowess on the court this season, chopping nicks here there and everywhere. Combined with Resident Reporter ‘Zelda’ Breakey, and magical Social Secretary. John ‘Weasley’ Howell (he is ginger, just to clarify), this dream team have also now turned their hands to coaching the beginners and improvers. They
are certainly men of many talents, on and off the courts, with Weasley also captaining the racketball team, a new addition to the Devon League, but commonly referred to as ‘banterball.’ The surplus of talented squash players allowed the club to enter a 3rd men’s team into the Devon League this year, and they are also enjoying success in their league.
“With a total of 14 medals won by members of EUJJ, Exeter placed highly in the overall medal table and once more showed that they are a force to be reckoned with”
in undefeated in BUCS
MOnday 5 december 2011 Exeposé
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Exeter charge to the line
Photo: Freddie Beare
Lucy Burton Reporter
In another victory for Rugby League, the 1sts secured a solid 48-8 victory against Loughborough on Wednesday 30 November.
“The 1sts secured a solid 48-8 victory against Loughborough on Wednesday 30 November”
Considered the most formidable
opponent in the league, the Loughborough game represents one of the most anticipated fixtures of the season. Playing on home soil, Exeter were keen to give their rivals a run for their money. Exeter started well, with a determined attacking line which Loughborough struggled to detain. The half backs controlled the game well, providing a good base for the centres and forwards to run some hard lines. The first try came in the ninth minute, at the hands of Josh Jones. Clear passes and strong communication yielded three more in quick succession, touched by Nico Flanaghan and Luke Evans.
Chris Perrins EUMCC
Exeter Rugby League 1st team charge to a 48-8 victory over Loughborough in the BUCS National South League
EUMCC on the way to Lords
Tensions were clearly running high in the later minutes of the first half, which saw a minor scuffle between the two sides. Conflict was quickly resolved, and the game continued in a mature manner.
“The team have an astronomically high goal difference. They have a difference of 147 points over their league rivals UWIC”
The result places the 1sts in an advantageous situation at the top of the
BUCS National South League after being undefeated in all of the seven matches played this season. The team have an astronomically high goal difference of 277 points which means they have a superior goal difference of 147 points over their league rivals UWIC who have made 10 points from the first half of the season. The Men’s 2nd team are currently 3rd place in the BUCS West league. The team has two points from their three matches played. They won one of these matches and currently have a goal difference of eight. .
The first round for EUMCC’s BUCS 6-a-side campaign was held at the Sir Christopher Ondaatje Cricket Centre where Exeter played Plymouth in a tight opening game. Exeter scored 112/2 with Webb and Laidman both retiring on 25. In reply Plymouth scored 112/3 which tied the game, however with Exeter losing fewer wickets this meant a win for the home side. The other team in group A (Gloucester) proceeded to beat Plymouth easily to leave a winner takes all match in order to reach the semi finals. In the decider Exeter were put in to bowl and in the face of some hostile bowling from Barrs (4/13) and Barkett, Gloucester were reduced to 54 all out. Exeter got off to a shaky start collapsing to 4/2 but cool heads from Captain Barrs (21) and Williams (24) guided Exeter to an excellent win and through to the next stage. After an uncertain start to their campaign Exeter came good in Stage 2 played at the SWALEC Stadium, Cardiff, heading their group and being the stand-out team of the day. The morning match against Cardiff was likely to be the hard one, but ViceCaptain Chris Webb (28 off 17 balls) and Matt Laidman (28 off 22), neither of whom was dismissed on the day, accumulated impressively. Rob Williams and skipper Joe Barrs (21 off 11) consolidated, though some lost momentum left the total of 119-3 seemingly a touch short of par. The opening overs from Barrs (2-13), though, left Cardiff struggling. Alec Barkett found testing swing, debutant Bradley Lane’s whippy pace kept the pressure on and sharp fielding produced three run-outs. Despite 29 from Pranav, Cardiff subsided to 79 all out, leaving Exeter winners by 40 runs. The afternoon match against Portsmouth followed a similar course. Webb (38 off 25) and Laidman (26 off 12) built the foundations; Williams added 20 and Lane a late flourish of 25 off 10. The total of 143-2 looked far too many for Portsmouth once the hostile Barrs quickly removed both openers again. Only Sambrook’s 33 provided much resistance and his side ended on 81-5 with Exeter winners by 62 runs. Convincing qualifiers for the finals at Lord’s on 1st February, Exeter seem to have worked out their game with a balanced side in which everyone is contributing. In this form, it will need some performance to beat them. Exeter Ladies have already qualified for their own indoor final at Lord’s a week earlier than the Men’s.
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