THE INTERN ATION AL EDITION
CONTENTS 7 How Bourgeois are You? 8 A New Yorker’s Perspective on Exeter 9 Escaping to Greece 10 Why the World Will Not End in 2012 14 A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Hitchhiking to Amsterdam 18 A Tourist’s Guide to Exeter 20 Syria’s Uprising 24 Working in Palestine 28 Dating in Siberia 29 The Other Race Effect 30 A Poem on International Relations 32 Thick as Thieves: A Review 34 Cosmic Vibes
Editor Max Benwell
Sales & Marketing Alex Chadwick
Design Nicholas Rowland
Features Gabrielle Allfrey
Copy Tom Murray
Culture Adriana Spence
Illustration Paula Rodriguez & Dave Wood
Proofing Chloe Hajnal-Corob
This issue is sponsored by the College of Humanities Exetera Magazine is a completely independent, student-run magazine. It is no way affiliated with The Students’ Guild. Nuh uh. Want to get involved in the Sex and Art Edition? Get in touch at email@example.com exeteramagazine.com Front Cover: Joel Khaw
–– Editorial/Q&A –– Q: What is this? A: This is the International Edition of Exetera. It’s the second ever printed edition that we’ve done, and, as you may notice, a little bit thicker/better than the last one. Q: Why the International theme? A: International students represent almost a quarter of all Exeter students. This is just under 4,500 people. However, the university is still widely considered to be a predominantly white, middle-class sort of place. Q: So...? A: Despite all of this, I think that Exeter still has something, and it is something that has been overlooked for too long. There is this myth out there that international students just don’t bother getting involved with anything, and that’s why you rarely ever see them contributing to any of our student publications. With this edition we hope to prove that all wrong. We’ve teamed up with the International Students’ Council (who are great by the way), and managed to bring you one of the most diverse lists of writers, photographers and models that any newspaper or magazine on campus has seen. Now, this isn’t to say that we don’t have our fair share of non-international students in this edition too. However, we’ve tried our best to make it all in proportion to the university’s general make up (1:3), and I think we’ve come pretty close. Q: Okay, cool! You know, that all sounded quite serious. A: That is not a question. Q: Are there more or less typos in this edition than the last? A: Less, definitely les.
–– Featured Contributors –– Funmi Osibona WRITER
Jake Burkin WRITER
Funmi is a 3rd year Philosophy, Politics and Arabic student from the Yoruba tribe of Lagos, Nigeria. She spent last year studying in Damascus and currently lives in London.
Jake is a 1st year Politics student from Torquay. At the beginning of second term, he left university to work on an olive farm in Corfu.
PHOTOGRAPHER Joel is a 3rd year Economics student from Penang, Malaysia. His photography has appeared in national publications such as What Digital Camera? He is currently President of the ISC at Exeter.
WRITER Sara is a 3rd year American exchange student from Kenyon College, Ohio. She studies English and lives in Manhattan, where she works for American ELLE.
WRITER Robert is a 1st year English student from Brighton. This is his first time contributing to Exetera, but hopefully not his last.
COPYEDITOR / WRITER Tom is a 2nd year English and Film student from London. His short film and music video work can be seen at tmurray.net. He is Exetera’s most profane writer and is available for children’s birthday parties.
PHOTOGRAPHER Josh is a 2nd year English student from Jakarta. Before he came to Exeter he lived in Toronto, and has had his photos appear in national papers such as The Jakarta Globe.
ILLUSTRATOR/WRITER Dave is a 3rd year Theology student from Marlow. Alongside his degree, he is also the founder and current manager of Gold Hands Clothing.
WRITER Hannah is a 3rd year Politics student from Buckinghamshire and the current President of Be The Change, a charitable organisation committed to making sustainable change in developing areas of the world.
–– Cover Models ––
Yara Hawari is currently undertaking her MA in Palestine Marion Osieyo is a 3 Studies after completing her BA in Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies at Exeter. She spent the first ten years of her life living in Palestine before coming to England. She is currently the Events Coordinator of Friends of Palestine.
Jessica Alice Curtis is a 3rd year English student from Buckinghamshire.
rd year Classics student. She was born in Nairobi, Kenya and lives in Lewisham. She is currently Vice President of the STOP AIDS society and a member of the Barbican Young Poets group.
is a 3rd year English student from Rajasthan, India who grew up and currently lives in Hong Kong. She is the President of Exeter’s Asian society and last year was the President of UNICEF on campus.
is a 3rd year Management & Marketing student from Tokyo, Japan.
Did you know, that ....
In 1903 parts of Great Britain had to be dismantled because it was too heavy?
60% of Somalian pirates are failed artists?
Up until 1994, Gordon Ramsay owned every single restaurant in Africa?
Two Freshers still canâ€™t find campus?
In preparation for the film Up in the Air, George Clooney travelled to every single country in the world?
In 2002, the then dictator of Turkmenistan renamed the month of April after his own mother?*
In a recent survey, 0% of people said they cared about Belgium?
Eating raw cat in Italy is illegal?
50% of the worldâ€™s surface is covered in milk? *Actually true
Tea on the Green Distinctive mix of traditional
light lunches, fabulous coffee and teas, Sunday roasts, private parties and outside events 2 Cathedral Close, Exeter EX1 1EZ 01392 276913 firstname.lastname@example.org www.teaonthegreen.com
HOW BOURGEOIS ARE YOU? Regardless of where you’re from, if you’re studying at Exeter, there’s a high chance that you’re a member of the bourgeoisie. Bourgeois is a universal language recognised all across the globe ; whether you’re Greek or Somalian, Chilean or Chinese – Marx still hates you. But how do you know if you’re actually bourgeois? Does one choose to be bourgeois, or is one born bourgeois? With this handy flow chart, Exetera can hopefully begin your journey of materialistic self-discovery; just don’t forget the olives.
Have you ever gone to shake someone’s hand who’s trying to give you a fist bump and ended up shaking their fist?
No Do you absolutely love Boston Tea Party?
Have you ever posed for a photo with a small African child who you’ve never met before?
Do you simply adore vintage clothing?
Have you ever worn a cravat and/or trillby?
Do you sometimes drop french words unnecessarily into conversation?
While at university, have you ever done a weekly shop at Marks and Spencers?
Do you like Hip-Hop, and by this do you mean... Kanye West?
Do you own an expensive SLR camera that you don’t know how to use?
Have you ever worn wellies to campus?
Have you ever started rapping along to a song and then suddenly stopped and panicked upon realising that the N word was coming up?
Have you ever paid more than £3.50 for a bottle of wine?
You are not very bourgeois
You are quite bourgeois
You are really bourgeois.
EX NY A New Yorker’s Perspective on Exeter
Upon arrival in Exeter, I did not experience culture shock of any sort. After all, we (that being me, an American, and the collective “you,” British citizens) all speak the same language, and oftentimes watch the same television—hello, conversation starter!. But then I was asked to try Marmite. Having no interest in the sticky brown substance, I politely declined and proceeded to find many other strange differences between my big city home of Manhattan and my tiny college on a hill in rural Ohio with all “civilization” a full hour away, versus London and Exeter, a much bigger “Uni” than I am used to. I’m yet to kick the habit of saying “college”, apparently suggesting to some that I am still in something called “Sixth Form”. It took a while to settle in and get used to your British ways. This became painfully obvious when I turned in my first paper at 4:05, totally oblivious to the fact that I was not only going to receive a penalty, but also (as if it wasn’t already bad enough) a RECEIPT. Later in the term/semester, I found myself again in one of your bizarre submission rituals, photographing and (forgive me) tweeting about the line (sorry, “queue”) that formed on January 12, when final papers for English “modules” were due. To clarify the contrast, in Ohio, I can simply email a paper to my professor anytime before midnight on the day it is due or slip a copy under the door of his or her office – no machines involved, no receipts, no cover sheets – and whoops, my first paper definitely had my name on it.
Other differences still don’t make sense to me. For example, at home, we rarely party during the week. Friday and Saturday nights are reserved for staying out late, drinking and dancing—after all, you can sleep in Saturday and Sunday morning. To be honest, going to Arena on a Monday night when you’ve got a lecture the next morning at 9 a.m still seems like a rubbish idea (there’s one of my newfound British-isms coming in). Still, in my mind, the differences create the adventure. A few weeks ago, much to my mother’s dismay (and my wallet’s) I announced over Skype that I planned to visit England for a week or so every year for the rest of my life. Sure, there are no New York deli bagels, and I desperately miss a Sunday morning stack of pancakes at a diner, something that sadly doesn’t exist in the U.K. culinary sphere. Yet I could happily exist on “proper” afternoon teas forever. The exchange rate is a mess and I have to spend around $7.00 to get my little slice of home – the latest issue of American ELLE. Nonetheless, when England is too rainy or dark, what could possibly be more cheerful than to live only a ten-minute walk from Topshop. I can always console myself with the fact that after all it’s a British store, so whatever I buy counts as a genuine souvenir of my travels.
ESCAPING THE BUBBLE Leaving Campus for an Olive Farm The plentiful Corfu sun shines through the window of the four bedroom house – mine for the fortnight thanks to the hospitable owners of the farm. An Exeter student taking an expensive holiday during term time? That’s unheard of ! You are probably imagining words including “posh”, “gap year” and “knob”. Nothing could be further than the truth. I am volunteering on a work exchange, meaning my food and accommodation are provided in return for my youthful energy, which is supposedly useful around the property. So far, however, I haven’t had to do any formal ‘work’ whatsoever. The chicken of the house struts around majestically, adding to the rustic charm of the area I’m staying in. This morning I awoke, ate a mixture of minced beef, beans, raisins, rice, cabbage and of course, olive oil in ridiculous abundance, and then sat around watching Spongebob Squarepants in Greek. This was followed by an hour long wait for the water heater to heat enough water for a two minute ‘shower’ (hosepipe spraying lukewarm water in all directions), an unwanted tussle with the four month old dog and a good few minutes spent picking the olive stones out of my shoes, socks and trousers. To think that only a week ago I was sat on the cold, Soviet platform at Exeter St David’s with several other transients; some drunk, some wishing they were drunk; all with no clear direction, waiting for a train. Back then I was a firm believer in the idea that you could only run away from your situation but not yourself. How wrong I was. Corfu has put things into perspective for me. No wonder so many people in the urban West are depressed – they simply don’t have anything to do!
I have been kept busy all morning so far with minor tasks which are part of the course of life out here. There simply isn’t enough time in the day to mope around being depressed, because you’d probably drown in the olive stones which seem to appear from absolutely nowhere. There is a sense of total relaxation but also a sense that there are things to be done. There’s not that hopeless “I’m bored” feeling we are probably all too familiar with, which actually stems from being spoilt for choice with regards to what we do, rather than a lack of options. Nothing is taken for granted here. If you want a shower, you have to wait for it. If you want something to eat, you have to prepare and cook it using nothing but fire alone, requiring constant monitoring. If you want to go outside, you have to make sure that there aren’t any stray dogs waiting behind the door to eat half your face off. Yes, now I’m starting to sound like the sort of person who came out here looking for a ‘cultural experience yah’. Regardless, this is undeniably therapeutic. I needed an opportunity to escape, and I need to take myself totally out of my comfort zone to do that. I believe we should all take a little bit of time to re-evaluate our positions once in a while, and I can’t think of a better way to do so than this. The electricity just went, and as the music snaps off, my attention is drawn suddenly to the bundle of flesh on the floor; toddler and dog locked in a youthful wrestle. Christ. In the UK, we’d have child services involved faster than you can say “rabies”. Over here, it’s “just a bit of fun”. I can’t help but agree with them.
WHY THE WORLD WILL NOT END IN 2012 Tom Murray Dissects our Global Fears
10 Photo Credit: Joshua Irwandi
“The world will end in 2012 – according to those citing politics or religion. The trouble is, they’re either politically over-exuberant, or… well, religious.” So – another arbitrary passage of time, another arbitrary set of resolutions. For many Exeter girls, this is the year that they will try and find a way of losing weight that does not involve their fingers. For many Exeter guys, this is the year that they try and gain weight in muscle, and ergo, ego. Personally, this is the year I save money on tissues by masturbating or crying less – or at the very least, refraining from doing both at the same time. But for some, this is the year when your delusional doomed promises are even more meaningless than usual. The world will end in 2012 – according to those citing politics or religion. The trouble is, they’re either politically over-exuberant, or… well, religious. The world is not going to end in 2012 – at least not for the aforementioned reasons, and here is why. 2011 was quite an interesting year, politically. You may have noticed that something happened in the Middle East – except this time we were apparently on the side of the lunatics firing their guns into the air haphazardly and proclaiming how great their God is, which, considering their circumstances, seems a bit generous. On the Burqha-covered face of it, the changes that have been made affect us directly. One of the biggest state sponsors of terrorism is no more, although, balancing things out somewhat, neither is one of the biggest state sponsors of American imperialism in the area. Either way, NATO needs some other Muslims to bomb, and who better than a country who want to bomb us just as much? We’re pretty assured that Iran have nuclear weapons, although definitely not on 80’s Mutually Assured Destruction levels. For any war with Iran (which is distantly plausible) to reach apocalyptic levels, we need it to escalate to include Pakistan. Who – sufficiently embarrassed by their failure to find one of Bush’s bearded Horcruxes hiding in their back garden – are unikely to try anything too silly, despite not being best pleased with America killing its citizens with remote-controlled planes. Or so it would seem. Since I originally wrote that sentence,
further evidence has emerged, demonstrating that Pakistani military intelligence in fact actively dicks about with the Taliban in Afghanistan, teaching them how to kill or maim ISAF troops. Which is the sort of diabolical thing that makes the situation so unpredictable, and UN meetings so awkward. Recently, the focus has shifted increasingly to a less religious but no less insane regime – that of the late, Great Leader of the DPRK, Kim Jong-il. Hilariously, his other official titles have included “Dear Leader, who is a perfect incarnation of the appearance that a leader should have”, and my personal favourite, “Amazing Politician”. Preoccupied with simultaneously devising a list of over fifty lovable nicknames and starving his own people, it seems unlikely that he would have had time to scrape together more than a couple of nukes. Again, close, but not enough to end the world in and of themselves. So, this model of escalation against the West requires China – North Korea’s most powerful and visible supporter – to get involved. However, would China, whose lending power exceeds that of the IMF, actually destroy the civilisation that owes them so much money, and with whom they enjoy such lucrative trade? And so the onus shifts finally to the most armed but ironically least threatening state – Russia. Never really the risk during the Cold War, Russia was always the more reluctant to push the button, having lost 20 million comrades in the Second World War. Nuclear weapons have only been used twice in history, both times by America. But fortunately, America’s government and populace believe in a familial theme park in the sky after you’ve died a burning, blistering, radioactive death. So who is responsible for running this celestial Center Parcs and its hellish equivalent (Butlins)? A god, apparently. An omniscient, omnipotent, but nonetheless incompetent god. A capricious god who, depending on the place and time of your birth, has done this sort of thing (complete world annihilation) before, out of spite and/or ineptitude.
If you aren’t aware of His credentials (and why is it a He, female believers should ask themselves), and have never worn the latter day equivalent of the electric chair round your neck, his plan involves impregnating his mother and sacrificing himself… to himself, for an original sin committed by two proto-humans with no concept of sin. A plan which, in all its genius logic and professed love, culminates in a genocide beyond the perverse proportions that the Abrahamic religions enjoyed so much. Many believers point to the environment as being proof that god has almost completely given up on us. However, the perceived increase in natural disasters can, in actuality, be attributed to their increased media coverage. It seems that the only way for us in the West to feel better about ourselves in a time when our money increasingly resembles Monopoly money, is to watch people of the third world wade through debris/ stagnant water/lava. Having experienced a couple of natural disasters myself, I reserve a special kind of hatred for the cunts who look forward to them, and even cite them as a sign of their impending celestial ascent. One such man is Harold Camping – a
wanker of the absolute highest pedigree, who makes his money out of conning the mentally deficient into believing that they require his specific brand of belief to prolong their existences. For a man who has spent his entire life staring at the Bible, he’s done a great job of applying his prophetic knowledge, having used it to predict the Apocalypse would occur in 1988, 1994, and
But why do we need a Daily Mail article stating “Scientists say something is bullshit” before we actually realise something is bullshit? twice last year. Men like him abound, and he’s only one you may have heard of. Nostradamus had a go, albeit mostly relying on his drugaddled mind, and has left vague ramblings which have been vaguely translated and extrapolated to retro-actively predict whichever world event had just occurred. Meaning is in the eye of the beholder, and nowhere is this more true than with religious texts written decades after the events they apparently describe – the fact that they can be interpreted in such an alarmingly divergent manner, demonstrates how nebulous they are. But let’s discuss something marginally more ludicrous. The most cited “evidence” for a 2012 world-ending event is the Mesoamerican Long Count narrative – the Mayan Microsoft Outlook. The fact that this obscure South American
culture’s calendar (which we obviously do not use, despite it featuring scantily clad Aztecs) ends this year, has led some degenerates to deduce that everything ends this year. Like the Judeao-Christian Jehovah, saying that these gods know the future, they are really bad at avoiding catastrophe. And hence our current existence is apparently their fourth attempt at not completely fucking up the universe. Despite being a religion slightly more obsessed with blood sacrifice than Catholicism, there is nothing but the vaguest of references towards an Apocalypse – and even then, within the context of a continuing cycle. Recent scholarship corroborates this. But why in Western civilisation do we need a Daily Mail article stating “Scientists say something is bullshit” before we actually realise something is bullshit? The null hypothesis should never be to lend credence to superstition. If you find yourself doing so, then ask yourself – how is this, or any other example, different to any of the prophecies predicting the end of the world every single year for the past several hundred? Maybe you went to a minor public school, but stop pretending it was Hogwarts. You cannot predict the future. You can, however, predict what will not happen, based on the fact that it has never happened – which is not a fallacy if you admit the ludicrousness of the alternative position. Once this year comes and goes people will hopefully begin to question what is so special about the other religions – like Islam, Judaism, or Apple. Political developments in the Middle East this year will hopefully replace dogmatic, autocratic
states with rational, democratic ones. Advances in education in these states, as well as a year in which yet another belief system becomes irrelevant, will hopefully lead people to realise that their religion is no different than any other – especially if it is governed by equally useless deities with surprisingly suspicious demands and male failures. What if the world does end though, Tom? In our moment of doom we will remember your obscure, opinionated (but admittedly well informed and cogently argued) little piece in Exeter’s best magazine. Well if this is what comes to mind when told your existence is more finite than previously thought – then, well, you didn’t have much to live for anyway. With the knowledge that we are alone, hopefully we will all begin to live our own lives – free of dated doctrines and socially inflicted body dysmorphic disorders which comprise the bulk of New Year resolutions. 2012 will almost certainly not bring the end of the world – what it will bring, I hope, is the beginning of the end of idiocy. Either way, I’ll still be spending a lot of money on tissues.
A HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO HITCHHIKING TO AMSTERDAM
Words: Robert Harris Photos: Joel Khaw
On a cold November morning... I and two friends decided to go to Amsterdam. We also decided we’d go without any form of transport and without spending any money, yet as we arrived at our Dutch destination just 33 hours later we were amazed at how it had actually happened. I wish I were as whimsically impulsive as this makes me sound. In fact it was all in aid of RAG’s organised charity hitchhike, although I still like to think of it as no less a part of the wacky impromptu hi-jinks I’m told are all the rage at university. In any case perhaps this Hitchhikers guide to, well just Western Europe, will prove useful to some. So take note, and remember: “don’t panic”. 1. I cannot stress enough the importance of having boobs. Surprisingly, this is not a tip included in RAG’s official ‘Hitch Handbook’ but I assure you that, like in many other areas of life, they will help. Our first drivers were even so honest as to admit the only reason they picked us up was because “the brunette looked quite tidy”, and I don’t think they were referring to the level of cleanliness she maintains. If you, like me, are not lucky enough to be blessed with a pair of your own then be sure to travel with people who are. I must thank my own hitchhike companions, Miss Revell and Miss Frankland, without whose unique female assets (their personalities) I would most certainly still be standing on an M5 slip road, dodging the advances of sociopathic truckers. 2. Don’t get kidnapped. This may seem obvious but when hitchhiking you are likely to meet some slightly shady characters. During one lift I complemented our mysterious Belgian driver’s music taste after he put on the soundtrack for Drive. In response he turned to me with a raised eyebrow and whispered “I can be your Ryan Gosling for the night”, leaving me both enamoured and disturbed in equal measures. Don’t get me wrong, navigating the line between arriving at your intended destination or in an abandoned Serbian basement is half the fun, but try to remain on the right side of that line. 3. Prepare to talk. This will help in avoiding those awkward interludes in conversation with your new car-owning friends. If you’re ever in need of a talking point on such journeys, about which everyone has
“I’m staring at an 8ft penis with a bunch of weed in my pocket, 20 metres away from a girl who’ll do anything for the price of a ticket to the SSB, yet no one is batting an eyelid” a untied opinion and even German-only speaking strangers can contribute to with heated fervour, simply remember the following two words: house prices. It turns out that people, regardless of creed, colour or psychological stability, are all hugely concerned with fluctuations in real estate valuation. Thus, the utterance “Isn’t it hard for first-time buyers to get on the property ladder?”, or something to that effect, became a devastating weapon against all silences. ************ These pointers may well assist you in your own hitchhiking endeavours. Maybe they’ll even get you to Amsterdam (in which case a thank-you note would be nice), but if so another issue arises: what to do when you actually get there? There’s no denying that Amsterdam is a beautiful city, known for its quirky Renaissance-inspired architecture, quaint cobblestone streets and interweaving canals. Of course, many visitors are instead attracted by the city’s more notorious idiosyncrasies. Its liberal policies on cannabis and prostitution have propagated its reputation as Europe’s home to the vices of life, taking on an almost mythical status as the weekendtourist’s mecca of drugs, debauchery and sex. As a first time visitor, I have to admit it’s all a bit disappointing. I’m staring at an 8ft penis with a bunch of weed in my pocket, 20 metres away from a girl who’ll do anything for the price of a ticket to
the Safe Sex Ball, yet no one is batting an eyelid. And because no one cares, neither do I. The age-old predicament of the rebellious teenager once again reigns true; when you’re allowed to do something illicit, it’s no fun anymore. In the daytime the red light district is a sordid scene, as living dolls in the windows continue with their seductive duties whilst families meander by. But it all somehow works. In making the transactions for drugs and sex transparent, these industries remain safer for all parties involved. However, at a point the smutty decadence just became excessive and eventually uninteresting. From speaking to the few locals we met, there seemed to be an air of resentment towards this side of their city and the typical party-seeking tourists who come for it. Impending changes to legislation, in making the sale of marijuana legal only to registered residents, seek to deter and sift out those who are travelling a few thousand miles just to get high. Perhaps this will improve the city, as there’s a sense Amsterdam has a lot to offer that is often obscured by its over-publicised ‘wild-side’. Regardless of where you end up hitching, the one thing to rely on most is simply the generosity most people will show in offering a free lift. The very fact that we arrived in Amsterdam, and not in a body bag, is testament to this. So if you’re ever in need of a holiday, yet your student loan was instead well spent on Jägerbombs, then start making use of those opposable thumbs. Just don’t forget your towel.
Another Hitchhiker’s Tale
Thinking about it, I probably wouldn’t walk into a stranger’s house, sink into their sofa and have a good old chat with them. I think I’d find it a bit weird, not to mention highly dangerous. After all, modern mythology tells me that twitching behind every second front door is a psychopathic office worker building his own abduction cellar under the living room floor. Why, then, I found it acceptable to stand on the side of the road in Normandy this summer, waving a cardboard sign whenever a stranger drove past and running like a child towards a Christmas present when a car pulled over, is a good question. I can only attempt to defend my skewed logic. Firstly, I was living and working in a small French village in the middle of nowhere. It’s easy to get preoccupied with the danger of hitching when you’re in a city pulsing with travel networks, but when you’re spending six weeks in a lonely village which boasts around three buildings, the tattered hitchhike signs and strange odour of somebody else’s car suddenly seem all the more seductive. The nearest town was a half-an-hour cycle ride away, but there are only so many times you can visit the same patisserie before you want to drown yourself in the tarte au citron. And though the hitching started out an unfortunate necessity because of the remote location, it quickly became a real joy and a highlight of my stay in France. It’s an unconventional way to travel a foreign country, but, I would argue, also one of the best. Locals driving through the area delight in telling you its history, providing personal insights which the paper and ink of a guidebook just can’t offer. It’s infinitely more exciting to be told about a local
monument by the enthusiastic driver at your side than to hear the crackling ‘and to your left, you will see...’ of the monotonous tourbus microphone. And part of the adventure is in not knowing who you’re going to be spending the next half an hour sitting next to. It could be a half Madagascan woman who teaches you a few phrases, or a man with so many birdcages in his car that you have to sit with your legs askew to avoid being attacked by a canary. It could be a friendly mother figure worried about you hitching in the area, or a nervous young man who speaks only once to ask for your Facebook details. It’s a complete lottery, but even if you do have to spend an hour bottle-feeding an angry baby while its mother ignores you in the front, the chances are that on your hitch back the driver will have the face of a perfume advert model. Maybe. And of course, it’s free! For a student, the absence of a price tag is probably the most attractive element of hitchhiking. While others quake on trains for the arrival of the ticket collector, you and your wallet can relax in the safety of a stranger’s kindness, and when you reach your destination you’ll have enough euros left to buy an offensively tacky souvenir and a postcard. Travelling hundreds of miles without spending a single euro feels so good that it’s bordering on indecent. Just never hitch alone; I always travelled with at least one other person, and even then there were times when we exchanged looks that said ‘Shit. We’re never getting out of this car, are we?’ But when it’s done right, it proves to be a spontaneous, exciting, and intimate way to truly explore a foreign country.
oo pretty g ’s t i r e t e e to Ex
Illustration & Words: Dave Wood
WELCOME TO EXETER A Tourist’s Guide to the City
Hungry? A student? Love darkness? Firehouse! Enjoy the traditional nightly ‘Eat-Your-Weight-in-Pizza’ competitions, and burn it all off with an endless walk up and down stairs to try and find a seat again. A truly magical night out! Just don’t expect to be able to see what you’re eating or hear anybody talking to you.
If you’re looking for something a little more romantic, why not take a wistful stroll down Sidwell Street with your partner on a late Saturday evening? While you’re there, you can visit some of the city’s world-famous eateries, and enjoy them whilst being serenaded by the floating sounds of breaking glass and low-level criminal misdemeanours. Grease has never tasted so deliciously plentiful.
Want to connect with other young people? Interested in swapping stories about that time when you saved the world in the twelve-month period before you came to University? If so, why not head down to the Quay and rediscover yourself ? Just kick back, enjoy some shisha, and make sure you tell everyone how much better it was when you were in Morocco. The Quay is the ‘real’ Exeter, and anyone who hasn’t been to soak up all the serene ambience going on there is like, totes missing out.
Hey, like talking loudly to strangers about a music genre you may or may not actually know very much about? Then you’ll love paying a visit to the Cavern and its extensive outside smoking terrace! Here you can gleefully blacken your lungs whilst enjoying the varied ramblings of a group of twentysomethings with chat even flatter than their caps. Top tip – remember how to properly pronounce your genres!
THE MAN WHO
CAME TO STAY In 2010, Funmi Osibona left Exeter to study in Damascus for a year, hoping to get a real taste for Middle Eastern politics. A few months later, she was in the midst of the country’s very own Arab Spring , and could only watch as Bashar Al-Assad violently tightened his already iron grip.
n the 31st of January 2011, while protests were raging through Tunisia, Egypt, and Jordan, and whilst you were probably getting ready for a great night out to Arena, a softly spoken Arab man sat down in central Damascus for an interview with the Wall Street Journal. At this time of crisis, his demeanour was calm and collected. He stated that the status of his country remained ‘stable’ and credited this to the fact that his foreign policy reflected the ‘beliefs of the people’. President Bashar Al-Assad had found himself in a rather impressive and unique position. The Arab Spring was aggressively tearing through the Middle East. Any country with an oppressive regime, high unemployment, and a young zealous male population was on the hit list, yet quite remarkably his country (up until then) had emerged unscathed. We, being the over-excited year abroad students that we were, sat huddled around a squeaky table in a university lecture room, reading the article; it had reiterated what we thought we already knew. There was to be no great Arab spring in Syria, and to say we were disappointed would be an understatement. In all honesty, the whole situation seemed unfair. All the year abroad students in Egypt were being evacuated by charter planes and giving exaggerated accounts of their experience to BBC reporters, whilst we sat in Arabic classes conjugating verbs and watching the clock hand tick so slowly that it mocked our existence. However, our reasons for wanting a revolution weren’t purely superficial. At the time, the Arab Spring had a seemingly attractive face. It had only taken a few weeks of protests to send the Tunisian president Ben Ali
Illustration: Paula Rodriguez
running, and with millions gathering peacefully in Egypt’s Tahrir Square, it was only a matter of time before Mubarak was gone. Finally the region was beginning to receive the democracy it had yearned for and so it was only logical that we would want the same for Syria too. The first signs of trouble didn’t materialise until several months later when I awoke, to the sound of Friday morning calls to prayers bellowing out from the mosques in the surrounding area. Scrambling from my room into the kitchen, I had hoped to find the usual breakfast feast laid out before me, but instead I was greeted by a bouncing 2 year old toddler waving a Syrian flag twice his height in my face. His grandmother emerged from the living room with two portraits in her hand, neither of which I had seen before. “This is my president! He is for the people, and he loves the people.” She wagged her finger in the air as she spoke. She hung one of the portraits on the front door and the other above the dining table, adamant that all the neighbours would see her support for the regime. Her grand display of loyalty to the regime was a serious indication that something was wrong. Two weeks prior, in the small, agricultural town of Deraa close to the Syrian Jordanian border, a group of 15 teenagers spray painted anti-regime slogans on the walls of the town. ‘The people want the fall of the regime’ it read. Within days they were publicly rounded up and thrown into prison, sparking outrage across the country. Their families, backed by thousands of protesters, gathered in the town and surrounding areas demanding their release. It was a demand that was answered a week later when the teenagers were returned home,
“Separated from his father during an anti-regime demonstration, thirteen year old Hamza Al-Khateeb was arrested and taken to prison. A month later he was returned. His corpse bore three bullet wounds to the chest.” but not without evidence of horrific torture on their adolescent bodies: they had been burnt, beaten and had their fingernails pulled out. Yet for weeks, my host family and every other Syrian on the street denied that anything was wrong. The demonstrations and protests, which had until then remained focused in Deraa, were nothing to worry about. It would all die down soon, they reassured us. But evidently, they were wrong. The torture of the children had traumatized the town and it remained defiant in its opposition. Soon other cities joined in, and it wasn’t long till the protests fell into vicious cycles; the funeral for those killed a day earlier would grow into an anti regime rally to which security forces would open fire, killing more people. This inevitably created an even larger turnout at the next funeral, at which, again, the armed forces would open fire. Now, this was not the kind of revolution that we had anticipated or hoped for. We were gripped by guilt in what seemed a ‘be careful what you wish for’ moment. On the one hand we genuinely wanted a free and fair democracy for the country that had become our home and for the people who had accommodated, fed and housed us. But on the other hand, as lives were being lost at a nauseating rate, we wondered – was it actually worth it? This was played out against a backdrop of intense confusion. State media would report one thing, whilst friends and family at home would hear another from the BBC. Too often it would feel as if we were playing games of hide and seek with the Western media as it that claimed a protest was being staged in a certain suburb in Damascus when it wasn’t. We, being the now foolishly excited year abroad students, would rush out of our homes, fumble into the nearest taxi in an attempt to find them, only to arrive and
find nothing or instead a pro-government rally. Some were clearly staged, but others were not. In the weeks that followed, Damascus grew quieter and quieter. In the streets, you could feel the awkward dichotomy of an affluent city that was aware its fellow citizens were suffering, and that it could play a crucial role in helping, yet deeply hesitant to jeopardise its own safety and stability. The old city, usually bustling with tourists from all parts of the world, didn’t have a foreign face in sight and my host family, whose entire household income came from renting rooms to British students, watched as each of their customers packed their bags and left. There were even fewer guests at Friday morning breakfast. Yet despite all this, my host grandmother’s support for the regime did not falter. Every night as we watched events unfold on the television screen in horror, she would causally light a cigarette and tell us how great she thought the president was. And why wouldn’t she? She was an elderly woman residing in the safety and comfort of central Damascus. There were no dead bodies on her doorstep, and it seemed to her an absurd idea to fix something that wasn’t broken. Thirteen-year-old Hamza Al-Khateeb has become the face of the Syrian uprising. Separated from his father during an anti-regime demonstration, he was arrested and taken to prison. A month later he was returned. His corpse bore three bullet wounds to the chest; he had been burnt, beaten and whipped with electrical wires, his neck broken and his penis missing. But, if the regime intended for this to deter Syrians, then they were wrong; the effects were subversive. Spurred on by the slaughter of Hamza, each Friday women still send their loved ones out to protest, but the same scenes are still played out. A mother in tears runs out onto the streets,
screaming. She finds her only son lying dead in a pool of blood, surrounded by men screaming at the top of their lungs, “Allah Akbar, Allah Akbar – God is great for he has been martyred.” And the saddest part in all of this is that there seems to be no end in sight. With failed talks between the Arab League and the Syrian regime, the future of Syria can only be said to look bleak. Crackdowns continue across the country as fear of civil war mounts. Anti-government protests are gaining momentum but, at the time of writing, are yet to inspire Syria’s two biggest cities, Damascus and Aleppo. There have been calls for a Libyan style NATO intervention, but this is looking unlikely, with any meaningful condemnation of
Syria’s actions by the UN Security Council being met by fierce opposition from Russia and China. However, if in the off chance foreign intervention did occur, would President Bashar Al-Assad, the eye doctor who studied and lived in London, and who reportedly had no political aspirations until a series of unfortunate events forced him to return to Syria and succeed his father - meet the same sorry fate as Gaddafi? If so, I wonder what his dying thoughts would be. Would he think of the parents of Hamza Al-Khateeb? Or would he think back to the interview with the Wall Street Journal, and how comfortably he sat in his seat, certain that the Arab Spring had glossed over Syria, and wonder how it had got this far?
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THE REALITY OF WORKING IN PALESTINE Last Summer, Hannah Metcalfe began to organise a student trip to Jenin. One political assassination and ten withdrawals later, she was ready to go.
Photo credit: Alaâ€™a Ghosheh/UNRWA
onsidered by many as a terrorist breeding war zone, Palestine is not your average holiday destination. But for me, it presented an opportunity to leave the country, undertake humanitarian work and make a difference. After a barrage of emails, I managed to land the role of Project Coordinator of a student team headed to the Middle East. We were going to Jenin. Situated in the North, and the largest city in the West Bank, Jenin has a population of 39,004, around a quarter of which live in the city’s Refugee Camp. In 2007 it was discovered that almost 5,000 of its occupants were under the age of fifteen. The city came to prominence in 2002 for its involvement in the second Intifada between Palestine and Israel and Jenin’s refugee camp experienced some of the harshest fighting during this period. While the camp remains stable, it was hard not to be acutely aware of our presence as international volunteers. In the West, we are taught to practice tolerance but it soon became clear that as a Westerner in Jenin, there is a thin line between cautious acceptance and open animosity. We began as a team of thirteen students. Then, four months before we were due to fly out, the Israeli actor and filmmaker Juliano Mer-Khamis was shot dead in his car while his four year old son sat on his lap. He was parked outside The Freedom Theatre, a community project he had founded in 2006 to help improve the prospects of Jenin’s children, and the place that we had planned to stay and work in. After his murder, panic reverberated through the city and all internationals were exiled. Soon afterwards, the inevitable withdrawal emails arrived in my inbox. Group size dwindled from 13 to 3 and the motives of those who remained began to be questioned by those who had pulled out. In
light of all the upheaval, could we really take a team of Western students to work there? For me, and two others, the answer was yes, although we were forced to rethink our work in Jenin. A safer alternative had to be found and, after much reorganisation, this came in the form of a school for the visually impaired, situated in the small village of Al Khaffif on the outskirts of Jenin. On arrival in Palestine, we made our way to the school. After all our setbacks, we remained fixed to the idea of a warm arrival, anticipating the hundreds of children waiting to greet us. However, we arrived to an empty hall. It was Ramadan and the children would not be attending for another month. We had travelled all this way, convincing every suspicious Israeli official that we were your average tourists, only to be welcomed by an empty blind school. Unwilling to prove the cynics right, we remained undeterred, ignoring their warnings that we would undoubtedly get blown up, taken hostage, or sold in exchange for goats. Our perseverance paid off when we finally had the opportunity to meet some Palestinian children. In spite of all that they had been through, the violent and brutal reality of their lives, they welcomed us with open arms. The trip was a holiday, but not in the conventional sense. Every morning we were woken by the windows and doors flying open as Israeli jet planes flew overhead, producing sonic booms. For a fortnight we had no water, slept an average of three hours a night, and under a high levels of pressure in an unfamiliar country, as we did our best to teach the children and help reconstruct their derelict playgrounds, we had our fair share of disagreements. But to be fair to us, we were in 45 degree heat, during Ramadan, continually aware of how we must and must not behave, and what we could and could not say. As white western
girls this was even harder: especially when it comes to explaining to a room full of 20 something Palestinian women that in the West you can have boyfriends out of wedlock, and that you may not exactly meet their strict standards of purity. In the face of all this, we did our best to remain cheerful, despite local partners no longer being allowed to work with us, various unpleasant bowel
believe that only four years prior to our visit, this city and its many citizens had been so badly afflicted by the cyclical violence of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Still, as well as being a traditional city, it is also one whose citizens are surprisingly open-minded. One man I spoke to expressed his belief that peace would only be achieved by the secularisation of Israel and Palestine into one country, even if that
NEVER HAVE I FELT MORE AWKWARD THAN WHEN, MIDCONVERSATION, AND WITH DISARMINGLY POLITE SMILES, THE LOCALS TOLD US HOW WE WERE RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR REPRESSION. movements (coupled with toilets that unfortunately refused to flush), teenage Palestinian boys taking your drying underwear on the roof, and the bizarre possibility of Israeli agents disguising themselves as ‘hot’ Spanish girls in order to to spy on you. One of the hardest parts of this was having to constantly think of the most diplomatic answer to one of the most asked questions: as members of the United Kingdom, why had we personally put them under occupation? Never have I felt more awkward than when, mid-conversation, and with disarmingly polite smiles, the locals told us how we were responsible for their repression. We soon learnt to smile back however, nodding in agreement that yes, Britain did indeed have a lot to explain given their involvement in the Zionist Movement, having officially named and recognised Israel as the Jewish State in 1948. Although an incredibly tough environment to work in, Jenin is a surprisingly modern city and one open to change. It was remarkable at times to
meant he had to give up some of his Palestinian heritage. However, many argue that for as long as Israel oppresses their Arab neighbours, the conflict will continue. Whether you are speaking to a young child or an elderly grandmother, everyone has their own perspective on the situation. The sad reality is that the only contact the two sides often have is under a hostile and aggressive altercation between Israeli soldiers and the Palestinians themselves. It is difficult to see the possibility of peace when there is still such animosity between the two peoples. As we flew home I felt both guilt and relief. On the one hand, the Palestinians are currently experiencing a period of relative stability that allows them to have some quality of life, and for the time I spent there I was proud to be part of it. However, while things have improved and life in Palestine isn’t always as bad as it is often portrayed in the media, the threat of violence is no less a fact of life.
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Dating in SIBERIA “The simplest advice in Russia is to never buy an even number of flowers; it signifies the death of somebody”
ife in Siberia isn’t all about bears, cold weather and vodka hangovers. There is rather a lot more to it, especially when it comes to relationships. In fact, it is often said that if you cannot find a girlfriend in Russia, then you will never find one at all. However, it is a lot more complicated than just finding yourself a relationship, and you soon realise how every culture has its own ideas about dating. When I arrived at my university here in Russia, I viewed it as a time to shine. I have never been the confident type of male who is frequently surrounded by a harem of girls in Arena, but I hoped that being an exotic Englishman in a strange land would pay off. At first all was wonderful. I just went into a club, spoke English loudly at the bar with a few friends and then simply waited for the girls to approach. And indeed, if you want, you can continue using this method to score in Siberia. But there is a force here that lulls you towards the idea of a relationship, even with my next year in Exeter quickly approaching on the horizon. It seems that girls here really value the idea of a being in a relationship, and will even chase you down for it. It’s all made me realise that we English can be stupidly indecisive and negative about relationships. We (or at least I) panic too quickly. Girls here wait for a good, reliable guy, rather than the classic ‘bad boy’. This was a shock for me as generally I’m the former. But because of this I found myself being in a relationship without even realising it. Worse still, she wasn’t really that interested in me. All she wanted to do was to say that she was
in a relationship – such is its hallowed status here. Siberian girls expect you to buy flowers on dates, and this isn’t to mention the whole set of rules you have to follow as to what type and colour of flower you buy. The simplest advice in Russia is to never buy an even number of flowers; it signifies the death of somebody. In return, a woman will often look after you very well. A certain friend’s girlfriend doesn’t even know the concept of feminism, much to our surprise. It all may sound a lot simpler than the United Kingdom, but in reality it isn’t. Girls will often want a relationship, and then get to know you, which means you can end up in a relationship with someone you don’t like, and worse still, without any sex at the same time. Attitudes towards sex here vary hugely, so follow the stereotype of the ‘Easy Russian Girl’ at your peril. To compound the matter further, there are many Kazakhs here as my city is not far from Kazakhstan. Their views on relationships are very complicated, and completely foreign to indoctrinated English such as myself. Generally the girls fall into two types: there are those who are very conservative, religious, and will scorn upon your dirty Western humour. However, there are also those that are much more easy to get along with. Trying to figure out which type a girl is can be a real challenge. The ‘foreign factor’ may have proved useful in my dating adventures in a foreign land, but things are far more complicated than I had initially imagined in the summer!
THE OT H E R RACE E F F E C T It may not manifest itself in the most politically correct of ways, but the existence of the Other Race Effect is well-established in psychological scholarship.
s that foreign person in your seminar a regular attendee or someone you’ve never seen before? You might have no idea, but don’t panic. Although embarrassing, it’s one of the most frequently demonstrated and psychologically justified misdemeanours! In psychology, its is known as the ‘Other Race Effect’, and describes how people from races other than our own can actually all look the same to us. In today’s society, we prefer to tiptoe around the difficulty we have in differentiating between people from other ethnicities, yet the existence of the Other Race Effect is well established in psychological scholarship. And, against popular opinion, it’s not actually just a “white” thing to do. It has been documented, for example, that Chinese people also sometimes perceive that Europeans look much alike, so don’t worry: it is completely reciprocal. But how can this phenomenon be explained? While the underlying mechanisms aren’t known exactly, one thing we are relatively sure of is that babies make these mistakes too. Research suggests we aren’t born with an expert ability to recognise our own race, but that this skill very quickly develops. At around 6 months, infants can individuate between two human faces and between two monkey faces, but by 9 months they’re much less good at distinguishing between the monkey faces. However, recent studies have shown that between 3 and 9 months of age, as well as having difficulties with monkeys, we also become just as bad at telling the difference between two faces of another race! The reasons for this seem to originate from the faces that we are exposed to in early life. During this period, we quickly become experts in distinguishing between the faces of the ethnicity around us, but that we begin to struggle if we are not continually viewing two different faces of another race or species. Thus, just as a human infant who grew up in a wolf pack would be an expert at telling wolves apart, a white baby brought up in a
predominantly Indian environment would be best at distinguishing between those who were Indian. The Other Race Effect might seem relatively harmless in the context of being unable to recognise the person sitting next to you, but the potential consequences of this negative bias can be less innocuous. ‘Don’t talk to strangers’ – the age-old saying that has been instilled in all of us since nursery school, encapsulates the idea that, by avoiding the unfamiliar, we will somehow safeguard ourselves against danger. But if, according to the Other Race Effect, we effectively view all those of other races as strangers, then it isn’t difficult to see how we might translate this advice into an avoidance of those who are racially different. The fear of the unknown and reduction of other races as scary, unidentified beings are not new notions. Representations of ‘the other’ have been cropping up in various disciplines for hundreds of years. While obviously not the sole cause, The Other Race Effect might provide some insight into the thought processes behind this primitive racism. We may sometimes see those who are foreign to us as looking very similar to each other because our perceptual acuity is not refined to distinguish their features, leading us to lump them together as one entity rather than a collection of individuals. Fortunately, nowadays it seems that most of us, with our penchant for political correctness, have become remarkably adept at filtering what seems to be a relatively automatic response to the unknown. Which raises the question: if we have to fight against our neurological instincts, is our desire for racial equality within society just as much of a cultural creation as racial prejudice? If so, we must indeed be careful to nurture it. Being unable to recognise someone in a seminar is forgivable; being intolerant towards that person is not.
The Garden Party I “At midday, this Sunday, the world will come to a head, Around my house, with nibbles!” The English Primeminister said. In an overfamiliar text to the rest of the planet’s nations The PM waffled on about strengthening relations: “With nibbles and treats! Around my house, before tea.” This one will... charm the world, he thought, to himself, hopefully. “Never in the course of human history Has so much been owed by so many to one man: me. So I want there and there and there’ (he pointed the places Where he wanted Germany, America, and China; the other spaces He left till later) ‘the Big One and Two and Three: China, America, and Germany – sitting next to me. For the rest of them, place each man according to his proper rank: Keep myself away from the Irish, the Cuban from the Yank, We do not want fisticuffs. Right, for the French – Bread. For the Russians – vodka. India – curry. China – noodles. For the Yanks – do hurry And find something nice, but slimming. The Germans – like our food. Next – Canada, yep. Bulgaria, whatever. Iran – no?” (Their text Must have been forgotten) “Pakistan, Croatia, Prussia – are they all there? Right, lovely, all countries measured out equally and fair. Now, for my lunch I want” (He clasped his hands over his heart) “Scones and tea and muffins! Vikki sponge and gypsy tart! Oranges and apples freshly picked, cured bacon and roasted ham! The berries that are sweetest and the sugar that is richest for our Old Albion’s berry jam! Ah, England, this feast rustled up for comrades near and far To spoon onto their luncheon plate: England in a jar.” But inevitably, disconcertingly, onto his heart pressed the sudden realization Of the 21st Century, and the reality of each nation
Entering his home, for warmth, and scones, and things English, flickered in a flash Before his eyes, and with clammy hands he reached for the rash That habitually haunted his neck, saying to himself “It’ll be fine on the day” But unconsciously, secretly, wishing the world to come, then go away. II On the brink of twelve o’clock the host was waiting, by the door; He had thrown parties in the past, but never like this before. His calm, supportive wife sat quietly, listening to his steady pace Pace the room, interpreting the worried look on his face. New friends sprung up these past few years, new friends to impress; He rubbed a smudge from his polished shoe, and cast an eye over her dress; Good: we are good. But then he heard the first foreign wheel crunch onto the drive. The meeting of the nations had come. “Everyone!” he bellowed “All of you: look alive!” Behind the door he waited, fearing the possibilities he could possibly miss: Grip firm with the welcoming handshake – or go in for the continental kiss? No. Well, the chest to chest hug, then? No. Tea And cake, yes? And a stiff upper lip, and a – and... Be cosmopolitan: Man of the World: welcome in French and Swahili and English and...Fuck. Oh come on, come on! Don’t be so ridiculous, stop being such a schmuck! “Christ, I’m not even Jewish!” he suddenly exclaimed aloud. “Remember the Britons...” a secret voice said, “do the English proud...” But don’t fuck it up. Just be nice. And all of what has gone before, And all the stupid things you’ve done, leave heaped up by the door; Do them in, and dig a hole, and put them in, so no one finds The little tiffs and rows that we once had, that rest unsettled in our minds. Be proud. Yes. Pride. He strode to the door with bold English zest, Grasping the handle with three lions burning on his chest, And with his intentions right and moral, and his focus on the front gate, He entered into the newest of orders, and demanded himself to tolerate, And knowing where he has come from, knowing where to he cannot tell, He held his pride at the lawn’s trimmed side, and hoped the world would come well. – C.P
32Photo Credit: Lucy Liu
WE DIDN’T GET PAID TO SAY THIS Thick as Thieves at The Cellar Door: A Review
t’s a common practice for certain publications, in return for money, to dedicate entire sections to reviewing a product or event very positively. It is something that has arguably spread itself into the very fabric of the reviewing industry, and quite rightly causes suspicion amongst readers. Of course, this isn’t 100% always the case; we’re not trying to blow your mind with some sort of Marxist conspiracy theory here. More often than not though, if it isn’t money that curries critical favour, then it is the generosity of friendship, or the return of a previous favour. So how are you supposed to trust anything? Well, we can tell you this – not only is Exetera receiving zero £ for writing this review, we don’t even really know the people who run Thick as Thieves at The Cellar Door each fortnight! (Although if you’re reading this guys, we would love to be your mates; please get in touch.) Yet, despite this lack of money or favouritism, we’ve just got to get this off our chests: Thick as Thieves is a fucking awesome night – one of the best in Exeter alongside Beats and Bass – and you should definitely go. In the last edition, we reviewed the October opening of The Cellar Door and, while generally being very positive about the venue, we felt it still had a way to go before it properly cemented itself into our weekly schedules. But with Thick as Thieves, it’s safe to say that the club is on its way. Music-wise, you can expect a lot of House, Garage and Drum & Bass. However, whether you go there knowing your Boddika from your Netsky really doesn’t matter – it all sounds good and is delivered with an enjoyably frenetic pizzazz by the DJs. One particular highlight for our music editor was the inclusion of Zed Bias’s ‘Been Here Before’ on the night’s set list – a true old school garage classic, we are told. Now, if you are so inclined, you can scoff all you want at how trendy this already all sounds, but once you consider how many nights resembling this exist in Exeter at the moment, it’s hard not to see the appeal. But it’s not even that it just fills a niche that has needed to be filled in Exeter. The crowd is clearly there to get their money’s worth, populating the dance floor from an early stage and staying there, getting increasingly
busy until the very end. Timepiece may have recently been voted as the easiest place to pull in Exeter (and was once even in the top three for the entire country), but with the average attendee here being, well, generally a lot hotter than your burger grease-smeared TP regular (and probably quite a lot less intellectually occupied with their gym regime), you get the feeling that any increase in difficulty is probably for a reason. One of our original problems with The Cellar Door was with the lack of drinks deals, but once again, when combined with Thick as Thieves, the venue delivers. Jäger Bombs are only £1.50 and bottles of Kronenberg £2.00, which is great if you’re a student looking to, you know, get drunk. When it comes to the obligatory ‘well these are the pros, but here are some of the cons’ bit of the review, it sounds lazy but it’s honestly quite hard to think of anything to say. With big queues recently forming outside and a fair amount of people being unable to get in, as well as long waits for service at the bar, capacity is clearly an issue. Yet, with the opening of the newly refurbished upstairs area of the club in a few months and an imminent increase of bar staff, none of these should soon be a problem. So what bones, if any, are there left to pick? Well, it would have to go back to the club itself, and something quite specific that should be urgently addressed (if it hasn’t already). There is a complete lack of soap in the men’s toilets. And with not a single drop of sanitising gel or foam in sight, if there was ever a place that made you want to drunkenly piss all over your hands even less than you normally would, it’s The Cellar Door’s male toilets. These (sort of) minor concerns aside however (sorry about that), it’s still an ideal venue for the night, and despite its flaws, one that perfectly lends itself to the bi-monthly event. So if you haven’t been already, we can only recommend that you do. However, if you have, then you don’t need us telling you anything else; we’ll see you there. Thick as Thieves is on every two weeks at the Cellar Door, which is just by the Quay. Upcoming dates include March 6th and 20th. You can figure out the rest.
Pisces February 19 - March 20 With Neptune in your sign, one of your dreams will finally come true this month. Unfortunately, it will be the one where nothing makes sense and you get hazily sodomised by Delia Smith. Be careful what you wish for.
Virgo August 23 - September 22 This month you will feel more embattled than your fellow Virgo and President of Syria, Bashar al-Assad. However, without your own security forces, you will have to take matters into your own hands. Show no mercy.
Aries March 21 - April 19 As your fellow Aries Adolf Hitler once said “The bigger lie you tell, the more people will believe it.” As you will soon discover though, telling people you only have a month to live just so you can go on holiday during term time is not exactly the most foolproof of plans.
Libra September 23 - October 22 This month, your excessively superstitious nature will prevent you taking full advantage of exciting opportunities that arise in your life. Beware of lucrative job offers.
Taurus April 20 - May 20 Regardless of your gender, for some unknown reason you will become infatuated with Lad Culture this month. After a prolonged period of great bant however, you will go one rape joke too far (one) and find yourself in deep trouble with just about everyone who isn’t a prick. Beware of feminists/anyone who is mildly intelligent. Gemini May 21 - June 20 Be prepared for upheaval in your love life, as you come home from a hard day wearing joggers in public to find your partner in the bath with all the bouncers from The Lemmy. Single? Don’t worry – that’s not going to change for a while. Cancer June 21 - July 22 Keep an eye on your laptop this month. With Mars as your ruling planet, you are destined for a fall as your housemates decide that it’s a good idea to send emails containing graphic sexual imagery to your grandmother. Leo July 23 - August 22 You are a street walking lion with a heart full of napalm and you don’t take no for an answer. Surprisingly, people resent you for this. Be more pragmatic.
Scorpio October 23 - November 21 Who are you? Where have you come from? If these are the sort of questions one of your elderly relatives is asking you this month, then be sure to refer them to the appropriate specialist. Sagittarius November 22 - December 21 As a Sagittarius, you are a true animal lover, and this will always be a source of great happiness in your life. After being caught in a compromising position with a Border Collie however, this love will come to define you for all the wrong reasons. From now on, always lock your doors. Capricorn December 22 - January 19 After a series of slightly humiliating events, you will become increasingly self-conscious this month and begin to ask questions of yourself. Did you peak in 2009? Does your mother still love you? Unless it’s true, the key is not to worry. Aquarius January 20 - February 18 With Saturn as your ruling planet, you will begin to try new things this month, opening your mind to a whole host of brand new experiences. However, after cultivating a really lame addiction to Mephedrone, you will begin to despair upon realising that everyone was doing it ages ago and that it actually gets really weird, really quickly.
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