The best Xmas markets from the UK and beyond
Where do our readers stand on Xmas tracks?
THE UNIVERSITY OF SHEFFIELD’S INDEPENDENT STUDENT NEWSPAPER
South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Authority (SYFR) are set to launch an ‘urgent’, independent review into Sheffield’s student accommodation sector, in order to examine the fire safety of the city’s accommodation. The review comes after a blaze at ‘The Cube’ student accommodation block in Bolton on Friday 15 November saw the evacuation of over 200 students. Concerns have been raised by the likes of Greater Manchester’s mayor, Andy Burnham, over the use of combustible cladding - notably high
pressure laminate (HPL) cladding, and whether it was used on the fivestorey Bolton block. The SYFR review also comes after more than 100 students were evacuated from Sheffield’s Royal Riverside flats on Tuesday 15 October, when a power-cut left the block without water, electricity or working fire alarms. Speaking to the Sheffield Star, Cllr Paul Wood, who is also the Cabinet member for Neighbourhoods and Community Safety, praised the University’s response to the incident, adding that “although it’s a private building, the Council can get involved if there is a safety issue.
ISSUE 140 | WEDNESDAY 4TH DECEMBER 2019 | FREE
Student blocks set for ‘urgent’ fire inquiry James Cottis News Contributor
Snow levels, like Marmite, you love ‘em or hate ‘em
Image: PA We will bill them for the cost that’s been incurred.” The former Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Students, Paul Blomfield, has since “received reassurances from the South Yorkshire Fire Authority and from Sheffield City Council that an urgent review will be undertaken on local high-rise developments, but has urged the Government to take action.” Documents seen by Forge Press outlining the next steps of the review shows that there will be moves to identify any student accommodation in the city that uses similar cladding to that on
The Cube through their Risk Based Audit Program, which, under The Regulatory Reform Order (2005), gives fire authorities the power to inspect buildings and enforce the party responsible for the building to make changes where there is a risk to safety. The document, produced by SYFR, states that: “Following the fire within Bolton, Greater Manchester, which occurred on the 15th November 2019 and affected student accommodation, I thought it prudent to update you on the immediate action taken by SYFR prior to the release of additional information from either Greater
Manchester FRS or the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC). “Officers from within the Business Fire Safety (BFS) department are in contact with colleagues in Greater Manchester to identify the construction type and the company responsible for “The Cube” building in order to identify if similar buildings are within South Yorkshire. “In addition BFS officers are seeking further information on the exterior cladding, given it appears that the fire spread from within the building to the exterior and developed up the exterior cladding. It is too... (cont. on p4)
Editorial Team Editor-in-Chief Ben Warner Managing Editor Becky Sliwa Webb Deputy Editor Bethan Davis Deputy Editor Patrick Burke News Coordinator Tevy Kuch Sport Coordinator Michael Ekman LOF Coordinator Jack Mattless Entertainments Coordinator Ella Craig Entertainments Coordinator Ash Williams News Editor Lucas Mentken News Editor Georgie Marple News Editor Niall O’Callaghan Features Editor Anastasia Koutsounia Features Editor Bernadette Hsiao Opinion Editor Jack Mattless Opinion Editor Jack Redfern Arts Editor Kate Procter Arts Editor Rosie Davenport Lifestyle Editor Em Evans Lifestyle Editor Taylor Ogle Music Editor Ella Craig Music Editor Dana Raer Screen Editor Dan Cross Screen Editor Josh Teggert Games Editor Catherine Lewis Games Editor Ash Williams Science and Tech Editor Bethany Hanson Science and Tech Editor George Tuli Break Editor Luke Baldwin Break Editor Alicia Hannah Sport Editor Alex Brotherton Sport Editor Harry Harrison
Well, we’ve made it to the end of the decade! It didn’t really hit me until a few weeks ago that this issue, 140, would be the final one of the 2010s, but to mark the occasion we’ve got a special Christmas-themed issue for you. It is, to paraphrase Andy Williams, the most wonderful time of the year, and to reflect that there’s some amazing content found throughout this issue. Of course, not everyone celebrates Christmas, and there are many who aren’t as fortunate as ourselves, and the festive period should also be a time to reflect on how we can help those. Our Music Editor, Dana, has written in Lifestyle about how she’s planning to spend her Christmas this year, helping the homeless in Edinburgh, and you could read that while baking some of the vegan muffins also detailed in Lifestyle. Not all the Christmas traditions are all-round popular though, and one which massively divides opinion is Christmas music: check out our showdown in Music over whether such tunes are over or underrated. To celebrate the end of what has
felt like an extremely long decade, Screen’s Josh has rounded up the decade in film and TV, including the increasing dominance of Disney on the big screen. They’ve also reviewed a number of films, including Last Christmas, Frozen 2 and Klaus, as well as getting our readers to vote on their favourite Christmas flick. The past couple of weeks have seen academic and professional staff from the University go on strike alongside other University and College Union branches from around the country, with the strike action concluding today, Wednesday 4 December. Opinion have a contributor arguing why the picket lines we’ve seen outside campus buildings are necessary, and in News you can find a roundup of the action from the period of industrial action. Forge Press voted to support the striking UCU workers, and although the period of strikes is over for now, we’d still encourage you to support them as much as possible. They didn’t take the decision to go on strike lightly, but ultimately their working conditions are our learning
PIC OF THE PRESS
conditions and we’re stronger when we’re united than divided. That isn’t the biggest politicised event which is happening around now though; no, that pleasure goes to the forthcoming General Election, which I’m sure you’ve all heard about now. Check out Opinion for a couple of pieces on TV debates, which have returned with a vengeance this time around, as well as the importance of having your say at the polls. This election is extremely important for students, and we need to make sure our voices aren’t being lost in the maelstrom of political debate and are being heard. Once polling day (and results night, where you’ll be able to find me in Bar One) are out of the way, we can properly start thinking about Christmas in earnest, and stop getting distracted by the winter election. Hopefully the holly-jolly content in this issue gets you in the mood!
The Christmas Market which is open until Christmas Eve, with many stalls to visit.
Head of Design Claire Gelhaus Secretary and Social Secretary Tom Buckland Inclusions and Welfare Officer Chloe Dervey Head of Marketing and Publicity Giulia Carleton Head of Photography Chelsea Burrell Head of Online Aimee Cooper
Get involved Want to join the team? Get involved! This year’s committee want to have as many people writing for the paper as possible. No prior experience is necessary, just join the Facebook group Forge Press Contributors and come along to the regular members’ meetings, which take place every two weeks! Contact email@example.com or message us on Facebook with any questions.
Image: Chelsea Burrell
Editor’s Picks: Christmas Songs ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’ Noel Gallagher cover for NME Originally performed by Slade
‘Happy Xmas (War Is Over)’ John Lennon/Yoko Ono Label: Apple
‘Wonderful Christmastime’ Paul McCartney Label: Parlophone
This Christmas song probably isn’t at the top of everyone’s list, and indeed will never be as popular as Slade’s original. However, I much prefer the acoustic tones of the former Oasis guitarist’s version, and it’ll be getting many more renditions before the festive season is out.
Released soon after the Beatles split, and released in the UK a year after its American debut, this political tune by John, Yoko and the Plastic Ono Band, with contributions from the Harlem Community Choir, caught the tone of anti-Vietnam War activism perfectly.
Another Beatle, Paul McCartney, released his own Christmas song towards the end of the 1970s, and it has remained a staple of most Christmas playlists ever since. A number of other artists have since seen fit to cover it, adding their own spin to this classic track.
Wednesday 4 December 2019
News in Brief
Got a story? firstname.lastname@example.org
News editors Tevy Kuch, Lucas Mentken, Georgie Marple and Niall O’Callaghan
SHEFFIELD The Vivienne to perform at Foundry
UNIVERSITY Royal recognition for neuro research
NATIONAL London Bridge victims mourned
RuPaul’s Drag Race UK winner The Vivienne is set to perform at Foundry on Thursday 19 December. There will be a full performance followed by a meet and greet and a DJ until 1.00am; the event has been put on by LGBTQ+ club night Grapefruit. Tickets are still available and are priced at £7.70.
The Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience (SITraN) were awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for innovation in neuroscience on 21 November at St James’ Palace. SITraN’s work helps those with parkinsons, motor neurone disease, MS, and dementia.
Victims of the London Bridge terror attack were commemorated at vigils in London and Cambridge. Cambridge graduates Jack Merritt, 25, and Saskia Jones, 23, were both killed by convicted terrorist Usman Khan. Boris Johnson, Jeremy Corbyn and Sadiq Khan attended in London.
SHEFFIELD Budgens replaces Arts Tower Sainos
UNIVERSITY NATIONAL Reclaim the Night Uber loses license branded a success in London
Local supermarket chain Budgens has opened on Weston Road, in the space formerly owned by Sainsbury’s. It is part of a deal that has seen several Sainsbury’s Locals close across the country to be replaced by Budgens. The store will retain both staff and opening hours.
Reclaim the Night, the annual womens’ march through Sheffield against gendered violence and racism has been branded a success by Womens’ Officer, Rosa Tully. There was a large turnout despite pouring rain as they marched from the SU down to the Cathedral.
International ride-hailing app Uber will not be granted a new licence in London. TFL have “identified a pattern of failure by Uber that has directly put passengers’ safety at risk” says London Mayor Sadiq Khan. Uber have appealed the decision and will operate as normal for now.
down to Devonshire Green to meet the striking school students. We’re now at a point where we all need to join the fold. School students have been leading the way in this fight which has been utterly inspiring, but they cannot do this alone. “We’re living in a climate crisis
and at this rate heading for utter devastation. People are already struggling and suffering in the Global South and it is vital that governments, businesses and society transform the system we’re currently operating in. We need a systemic change.”
Students unite for climate justice Niall O’Callaghan News Editor
Students from the University of Sheffield joined the Global Youth Climate Strike on Friday 29 November, taking to the streets to demand climate action. Students gathered on the concourse outside the Students’ Union at 10.30am and heard talks on climate change from the likes of Womens’ Officer Rosa Tully, Natalia Mole, Development Officer Harry Carling, striking University and College Union (UCU) representatives and others. Those who wanted to address the crowd spontaneously were invited to do so by Harry. Students chanted “Climate change, system change!” and “Switch to lean, switch to green, we want all our sources clean” before forming up to march to Devonshire Green, where the Sheffield Global Climate Strike took place. Marching past the IC and down on to West Street, the protesters paused
to sing happy birthday to one of the striking staff picketing outside Jessop West. Carrying on down West Street they chanted “Students and workers, unite and fight” and “Ohhh stop global warming” to the tune of ‘Seven Nation Army’. Locals and other students alike paused to watch as the march cascaded on to Devonshire Green where over 100 school strikers were waiting as part of the Global Climate Strike. Students were cheered on to the green by the waiting crowd, and as the two protests merged a brass band began playing. Speaking to Forge Press Harry Carling said: “ It was fantastic to see the momentum carry through to today’s Strike from the last Global Climate Strike on September 20th. Seeing University students and staff marching in solidarity for something we all are fighting for was breathtaking to be a part of. “We had many incredibly powerful speeches at our rally on the concourse, before all marching
Image: Ad Meskens
Weekly bus tickets for students return on First Buses Niall O’Callaghan News Editor
SU President Jake Verity has secured weekly student tickets with First Bus. The price of a weekly student ticket with First will be £8, giving students unlimited bus travel round Sheffield on First’s services for £1.14 per day. First had initially abandoned weekly student tickets in September as part of a trade-off for the £1 student fares, however, they are now reintroducing the fares for a promotional period. The £8 fare will be available until January on a trial basis when First will review the success of the move. The student singles had previously been on a trial basis but have now become a permanent feature of both bus companies that operate in Sheffield. Speaking to Forge Press Jake said: “Transport should be affordable, available and accessible for everybody. “I think it’s so important that our students have the best deal they can possibly can to explore the great things Sheffield has to offer. “It’s been a pleasure working with First again cooperatively to ensure that we can give Students a really good deal when it comes to travelling. For anyone wanting to explore more of Sheffield or get around the city in cold weather for cheap this winter, I’d encourage you to take advantage of this deal!”
SPECIAL REPORT James Cottis News Contributor
(cont. from front) ...early to confirm the exact material used on the exterior, however, once this is confirmed we will seek to identify premises within South Yorkshire which are similar and through our Risk Based Audit Program prioritise our engagement.” The document also notes that, since the Bolton fire, SYFR are “reviewing the training provided to all operational staff to ensure that the knowledge and skills are in place should attending crews be faced with evacuating [a] tall building in the event of a fire.” In addition to this, a letter has been distributed to both of Sheffield’s universities, thirdparty accommodation providers and all local councils within South Yorkshire, in order “to make responsible persons, approved landlords and corporate partners aware of this incident and the importance of reminding occupants to evacuate premises which adopt a phased or full evacuation strategy.” The letter calls on accommodation providers to “ensure all residents understand the fire procedures and evacuation strategy for the building” and “Take steps to minimise the incidence of ‘false alarms’ which can undermine confidence in the fire warning system”
JUNE 2017: GRENFELL TOWER NOVEMBER 2019: THE CUBE
We are working closely with the University and partners in the city to ensure student accommodation is safe In a statement from Beren Maddison (Welfare Officer at Sheffield Students’ Union), he expressed that; “Following the Bolton fire, the Student Advice Centre has contacted University accommodation and Sheffield City Council earlier in the week for updates on any actions being taken in light of the fire, and checks being made to University and other PBSA accommodation in Sheffield. “We are working closely with the University and partners in the city to ensure Sheffield Student accommodation is safe, and all students should make sure they are aware of their own building’s fire safety procedures. Don’t ignore fire alarms however often they go
off and report any concerns around faulty alarms to relevant housing management.” Speaking exclusively to Forge Press, Assistant Chief Fire Officer of South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue, Steve Helps acknowledged that “a review is well under way and inspections of accommodation have been brought forward. We do need to wait to hear back from Manchester fire authorities before we can begin to identify buildings that are using similar cladding to that on the Bolton accommodation. “The advice that has been given out by the South Yorkshire Fire &
Rescue has been two fold. Firstly we have written to universities and their accommodation partners and providers, encouraging them to assess their accommodation and make sure that the fire-safety procedures they provide are up to scratch. The government has also written to university deans across the country, asking them to provide certainty that their accommodation is safe. “Secondly we have written to students, insisting that they familiarise themselves with the fire safety protocols - especially new students. Not all students follow
those procedures, especially in the early hours of the morning, where it is easy to just think that the fire alarm going off is just a false one. We have also been advising against malicious attempts to set off fire alarms where there is no fire.” Helps expressed concerns around the changes that have occurred over the past 15 to 20 years in building construction, fire-safety regulations, the powers of fire services, and the growth of third party building inspectorates, stating that: “There have been a lot of changes in the past few years in regard to fire safety and building
construction, especially since the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order of 2005 came into power. In the planning stages of building construction, the fire service can only offer an advisory service. This has led to the creation of a selfregulatory system, where the fire authorities have to trust that any advice given to the developer or responsible owner of the property will be acted on. Building sign off is not in the hands of the fire authority, but often lay with either the local authority inspectors, or increasingly with third-party inspectors employed by developers.
Wednesday 4 December 2019
ARE STUDENTS IN HIGH-RISE BLOCKS BEING KEPT SAFE?
“The systems around fire-safety need changing, especially around legislation. New legislation needs to be ready and relevant for the next 20 years,” Helps added. “And of course, this legislation will take time; it cannot be rushed. We also need to see greater government funding being put into the removal of unsafe cladding, alongside, for example, the retrofitting of buildings with sprinkler systems, for example. “Here in South Yorkshire we are doing a lot, and generally speaking we are doing quite well as a region in making sure our buildings are as safe as possible. The last thing we want to see is something awful happen again, like in Bolton.” In 2017, the University of Sheffield launched a review into their own accommodation, aiming to identify combustible ACM cladding found on Grenfell - a portion of Allen Court was found to have this cladding. Concluding the review, the University said ‘we continue to maintain our estate in a safe condition and we remain vigilant to ensure that fire safety is a key risk which is regularly managed.’ Since the Bolton blaze, a
Historically we have also seen a decline in the quality of building materials, that need to be removed
Image: GMFRS “And, generally speaking, we have found that build quality over the past few years has significantly decreased. Codes of practice which are used by developers and construction companies are sometimes cherry picked to find ways to cut costs and make it easier to build accommodation. We have seen instances where contractors have put piping into buildings yet not put any fire stopping back. We have seen instances where fire doors are removed and fire corridors are blocked. In relation to combustible cladding, Helps spoke about
Made of wood fibre and acrylic, HPL cladding is different to the combustible aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding found on Grenfell Tower, where 72 people died in 2017. Government tests, which concluded that HPL satisfied fire-safety standards in July 2019, have since been fiercely contested in a report by experts who argue that the tests the government ran were “fundamentally flawed” - that it “did not reflect real-life conditions and underestimated the risks of combustible materials on high-rise and high-risk buildings.” It hasn’t been confirmed whether HPL cladding was responsible for the spread of the fire in Bolton, but this has not stopped calls for its removal from
over 440 tower blocks. The private firm that managed the The Cube, Valeo Urban Student Life, also manage the ‘Liv Student’ accommodation just off Ecclesall Road, Sheffield. In December 2018, the government brought in a ban on external, combustible cladding on new high-rise buildings over 18 metres. However, this ban does not apply to buildings below 18 metres. The Cube student accommodation measured in at 17.86 metres - just below the 18 metres threshold. It has since been revealed by Inside Housing that more than 100,000 medium-rise buildings, built below 18m, fall outside of stricter scrutiny and the requirements to remove dangerous cladding.
fire-safety criteria surrounding buildings over 18 metres high. On this, Helps noted: “We need to better understand the ways in which developers are using building criteria, especially around building height, to get away with avoiding much more thorough scrutiny. “And historically we have also seen a decline in the quality of building materials. Materials like combustible cladding need to removed from high-rise buildings. At the end of the day whether it be HPL, which has failed government testing, or any other unsafe cladding, it needs to be removed.”
spokesperson for the University of Sheffield told Forge Press: “The safety of our students and staff at the University of Sheffield is paramount to us, and following the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower in London we undertook a thorough review of all of our student accommodation, policies and processes to make sure we have the most robust fire safety procedures and equipment in place. “We continue to actively work with South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue who assessed the University’s fire safety policy to be outstanding in following best practice, and we have mandatory fire safety training for all students and staff to ensure they understand what to do in the event of a fire. “The University only advertises privately rented accommodation that is registered with the SNUG scheme. The voluntary scheme, operated by Sheffield City Council, inspects any property being offered as student accommodation in Sheffield, sets out to drive up standards and promotes good quality, safe housing.”
Eight Department of Chemistry staff to be made redundant
Niall O’Callaghan News Editor
The University of Sheffield Chemistry Department could make up to eight technical support staff involuntarily redundant after a departmental review of support employees. The eight staff, who have a combined service of over 200 years with the University - an average of 25 years each - are due to be
Apartheid Off Campus rally challenges University partnerships Tevy Kuch News Coordinator
Pro-Palestinian students held an ‘Apartheid Off Campus’ rally to challenge the University’s ties with unethical companies. Students from Sheffield Hallam and the University of Sheffield marched for the advocacy of human rights in Palestine and to drive ‘Apartheid Off Campus’. The national rally was organized by Palestinian societies with protests held across 30 campuses in the UK, held to coincide with the UN International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, which took place on Friday 29 November. The University said they regularly review their partnerships.
made redundant in 2020, after a consultation period has taken place. While technical support staff were informed that there was a review of their positions taking place, there was no consultation with students or postdoctoral staff, while academics in the department were “poorly consulted”. The University is expected to advertise for replacements for all the staff that will leave, however, these will likely be downgraded roles and
it is thought that the new support staff will have fewer technical skills and receive a lower pay grade. According to a source in the Chemistry Department: “[The University] are expecting remaining members of staff to take on the work of those being made redundant, and train new staff. “But the staff left behind are not experts in the areas they don’t work in, and would be just as inexperienced as the new staff.”
Included in the potential redundancies are analytical services technicians, workshop staff, a glass blower and two safety officers, sparking concerns about the future safety of students when dealing with chemicals. Employees who are due to be made redundant have spoken exclusively to Forge Press, concerned that their redundancy package will be reduced further should they speak out about their situation. One said: “My main concern is for the future of the department regardless of the outcome of the restructuring. The downgrading of the role of safety officer should be a primary concern but also the clear removal of any kind of promotional prospects for lower grade staff means retention of staff will be an issue. “It seems ironic that we are called support staff but when times are hard the management feel no need to reciprocate by offering us their support. It has been incredibly heartening to see the support we have received from across the department.” According to the member of staff, there has been an “incredible lack of sensitivity in the communications from HR, all of which make a point
of stating that the University is in The Sunday Times 100 best not for profit organisations to work for. “If this is how one of the 100 best behave towards their loyal staff I would hate to think how the ones that didn’t make it onto the list behave.” Another staff member told Forge Press: “Over the course of my years at the Sheffield University I always hoped that I was making a difference, enriching both the department and the university as a whole. I thought that if I go above and beyond, devoting time and energy to further my skills, my work would be recognised and valued. “To see what has happened to my colleagues and I is nothing short of astounding. The damage it will do to the department that we have devoted many years to will be considerable. “It is claimed that the review will “boost morale”, as it stands the department could lose over 200 years of experience, I don’t see how this could be good for staff moral or the department.” A University of Sheffield spokesperson said: “We have carried out a review to ensure that our Department of Chemistry has the best structure to fully support our students and staff. “The new structure will mean we can offer a better and more effective support system for teaching. We are consulting with administrative and technical staff whose roles may be affected by these changes.”
Economics first-year student drops out, sets up sustainability company Georgie Marple News Editor
Tom Benford, a former student from the University of Sheffield, set up his own business whilst in his first year of study. He began the business in May 2018 after seeing his university kitchen covered with plastic straws after a student party the night before. The business is called Plastic Phobia and it started online in July 2018. It has since begun selling wholesale to other companies. They currently supply over 200 retailers. Tom was a first-year economics student when he set up the business a year and a half ago. After forming the business out of his student flat, he has since dropped out of university to focus on running the business full-time. The products that Plastic Phobia sell are made from recycled
materials, such as reusable bamboo straws, bamboo dishcloths and coconut bowls. Many of the products are alternatives to popular products typically made out of plastic, such as toothbrushes and combs. The company seeks to inspire people to develop more sustainable consumer habits and reduce plastic from factory to consumer. A priority is to ensure that the process remains zero waste throughout the supply chain. The company’s aim is to reduce plastic use as plastic can be very harmful for the environment. Most plastics are made from materials that take a long time to decompose and therefore cannot properly be disposed of. Plastics are also often dumped on land and in waterways and oceans. Animals, in particular sea creatures, often mistake plastic for food, particularly when it has been broken
down into smaller pieces. Fragments of plastic have been found in over 90 per cent of the world’s sea birds. Plastic Phobia are “committed to providing the very best Zero Waste Wholesale services in the UK, Europe, and beyond,’’ their website reads. As the business continues to
grow, they hope to make Sheffield live up to its name as the greenest city in Europe. Other members of Plastic Phobia’s team are also former University of Sheffield graduates, including Abi Baker (Sales Coordinator) and Shelby Storey (Marketing Coordinator).
Tom winning the President’s Young Entrepreneur 2019 award at the Sheffield Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner in October Image: Sheffield Chamber of Commerce
Wednesday 4 December 2019
the extent that they’re pricing out younger and lower-paid members, which makes the scheme completely unsustainable. “What we’ve seen is a lot of support from students because they understand that a lack of investment in staff is a lack of investment in students. They also understand what it’s like to be bullied around by universities. “This week, what we’ve seen in Liverpool, threatening international students with coded threats about deportation if they don’t comply
This week, what we’ve seen in Liverpool, threatening international students with deportation if they don’t comply, that’s bullying
(Clockwise from top-left): Students made banners in support of striking workers; Dr Jo Grady speaks to crowds outside the City Hall; the SU Officers lead the march through campus Images: Ben Warner
University staff strike over pension changes and pay Ben Warner Editor-in-Chief
Staff from the University of Sheffield have been picketing outside campus buildings daily for the past week and a half. Members of the University and College Union around the country have been on strike since Monday 25 November, with the industrial action concluding today, Wednesday 4 November. Students have joined striking staff from the city’s two universities throughout the period of strikes, including a march and rally combining the UCU branches from both institutions last Thursday, 28 November. There, they heard
speeches from political and union figures from around the city and further afield. University of Sheffield staff voted to strike in two separate UCU ballots - one on changes to their pension schemes, and another on pay equality, casualization and increasing staff workload. The Students’ Union’s position has been to actively support the strike action, and most mornings a ‘roving picket’ has wound its way around campus, offering hot drinks and support to striking academic and professional staff. At the rally for both UoS and Hallam strikers, a number of speeches were given and messages read out, with contributions from
Paul Blomfield, Louise Haigh, Baroness Natalie Bennett, Cllr Olivia Blake, Liz Lawrence – the former president of Hallam’s UCU branch,
There’s no other way of resolving it, we’ve tried all negotiation and our employers keep refusing to fix these issues Martha Foulds - Chair of the SU’s Disabled and Dyslexic Students’ Committee, Sophie Wilson, Unite and Unison’s branches at the University of Sheffield, and a closing
speech from Dr Jo Grady, a former UoS staff member who has recently been elected the General Secretary of the UCU. After the rally, Dr. Grady told Forge Press: “The dispute that connects everyone across the UK is about pay and equalities, about the four major issues affecting all staff in Higher Education: casualization, workload, equality pay gaps and actually, just complete stagnation and cuts to our pay. “There’s no other way of resolving it, we’ve tried all negotiation and our employers just keep refusing on a national level to fix these issues. Regarding the pension dispute, we’ve reached a level now where our contribution increases are to
with attendance monitoring, that’s bullying.” The issue Dr Grady is referring to regards a letter which was sent to students at the University of Liverpool, telling students it was unlawful for them to join pickets, and that international students could ‘jeopardise their visa’ if they chose to join staff on strike. In a statement in response to the Liverpool Echo, a spokesperson for the University of Liverpool said: “We are committed to supporting our students throughout industrial action and ensuring they have accurate information. “We undertake regular monitoring of all our undergraduate student attendance. This is not only to ensure we fulfil our duties on international student visas to UKVI, but is also vital as attendance is an important student wellbeing. “Monitoring information enables us to follow up patterns of non attendance with students so that we can provide them with appropriate support, should they need it. “As such, attendance monitoring must continue throughout industrial action and it is important that our international students are aware of this. “We respect our students’ rights to support the industrial action, should they wish to do. However it is important that they have the necessary information to do so lawfully.” This round of strike action has come to a close after eight working days, six less than the previous round of strikes, which took place in spring 2018.
OUR STUDENT VOTE 12 DECEMBER
SHEFFIELD STUDENT MANIFESTO WE SUPPORT...
Re-introduction of rent controls
National register of landlords Crack down on disrepair - properly funded enforcement
MENTAL HEALTH INTERNATIONAL STUDENTSâ€™ RIGHTS
More funding for nhs mental health services Joined up services and access to gp provision at uni & home Allocating resources to service provision for young people Guaranteeing EU students residence status, and remove comprehensive sickness insurance requirements Refugee & asylum seekers study as home students Post study work rights for international students Free, publicly-funded education
Repurpose or abandon the teaching excellence framework and end the marketisation of higher education Proactive steps to widen access to higher education
COST OF LIVING
Reinstate a grant system where maintenance funding adequately covers living cost Commitment to control interest rates on student debts Remove the tampon tax from sanitary protection products
Rapid transition to a sustainable economy & society Greater investment in public transport Support the creation of sustainable and secure jobs Avoid no deal or hard brexit
Support erasmus students and protect freedom of movement Protect research funding & partnerships
#ourstudentvote Promoted by Jake Verity, President, on behalf of Sheffield Students' Union, Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TG.
Wednesday 4 Decemberr 2019
Anastasia Koutsounia Bernadette Hsiao Features Editors
Hello lovely people!! In the last issue of this semester, we present four interesting articles:) First, we have Reclaim the Night, focusing on gender based violence; second, there is a Christmas themed piece the experience of being a Christmas elf ; for the third one, we look at the connection between billionaires
and philanthropy, taking Mark Zuckerberg as an example; last but not least, there is the article of ableism, discussing the issue in depth. We enjoyed being editors and presenting amazing features, hope you guys enjoyed reading as well:) We wish you all best of luck for the deadlines and exams, an early Merry Christmas, and we will see you next year!
Reclaim the Night: women walk in protest against gendered violence Anastasia Koutsounia Bernadette Hsiao Features Editors
Disclaimer: references to sexual assult and violence. According to UN Women, women and girls of all ages are exposed to the threat of rape, sexual assault, or abuse universally, whether in wartime or peacetime. The exact number of rape and sexual offences remain unclear due to the impunity surrounding perpetrators’ prosecutions, a situation worsened by some courts putting the blame on the victim. Survivors are reluctant to come forward. And abuse and violence against women remains a neglected issue amongst the public. In recent years, through campaigns such as #MeToo, #TimesUp, and #NotOneMore, people have rallied globally to say that it is time to face up to the issue of sexual violence. It is no longer acceptable to shy away from confronting the perpetual abuse that women have to suffer while going about their daily lives. To support the UN annual campaign of ending violence against women and in the hope of raising awareness, Sheffield Students’ Union has organised several events in the upcoming two weeks as part of the 16 Days of Activism against GenderBased Violence. On 23 November, women of all ages gathered in the streets of Sheffield, reclaiming their right to walk in the night as untroubled as anyone should be. For Sheffield, Reclaim the Night holds a particular historical significance due to Peter Sutcliffe, a man better known to the public as the ‘Yorkshire Ripper’. From 1975 to 1980 he murdered thirteen women and attempted to kill another seven around the north of England.The result of this horrendous incident was a curfew preventing women from walking outside past nightfall.
However, the order, while much needed back then, has remained an unspoken rule for many women to this day. During the march, Rosa Tully, SU Women’s Office, highlighted the importance of women coming together to raise awareness in hope of bringing about real change. “Women still remain victims of gendered violence and they still are not listened to, even when it comes to court cases,” she said. “So this is a very important night for women to come together to say that we’ve had enough of it and we are here to resist the kind of oppressive system and experiences.” Rosa identifies the sad truth that while both men and women rally for every other issue, when it comes to the well-earned rights of women, women often have to march alone, shouting in the hope that men in power will hear them. Nahyun Kim a 19-year-old European and international law student at the University, notes that gender inequality is not a historical
of women in the UK have experienced ‘sexual and/or physical’ violcence’ by a partner in their lifetime.
problem nor a past event, it is still happening now. It is our reality. “If women do not stand out and speak up, there would be no one to protect our rights. It is important for us to let people know this is a real problem and try to solve it.” There is a misconception that, when referring to violence against women, it encaptures physical and sexual abuse. However, women are not afraid to walk down the streets only when the sun falls. Speaking with Tara Kimberlee, Vice President of the Feminist Society at the SU, she told me that she tends to be wary when walking past pubs filled
Image: Bernadette Hsiao with men that start drinking at 12.00pm. The abuse does not come during a specific time of day; women at night are living in fear of dark-lit alleyways and empty streets and during the day, they are subjected to catcalling and sexist slurs. “What do we define as verbal abuse? How can we treat people better, more fairly? It’s an opportunity [for us to think].” said Thea Padley, a 22-year-old computer science student at Sheffield Hallam University, asking us to contemplate whether we are aware of the broad context of ‘verbal abuse’. Many think that it only entails straightforward insults but in reality, snide remarks, uncalled for criticizing of appearance, becoming a frequent target of yelling, a disagreement that develops into a string of accusations and ‘guilttripping’ are some of the many behaviours listed under ‘verbal abuse’ by Healthline. We should be taught from a young age on what falls under the title of abuse so we know to report it when it happens to us or someone we know. Yet, we should now support schemes which educate to prevent such behaviours. The World Health Organization (WHO) fund a number of school and community programmes to educate and prevent abusive behaviours, moving the responsibility away from
the victims, to the perpetrators. Although successful, these schemes are still in their early stages. According to UN Women, at least 70 per cent of women in the UK have experienced ‘sexual and/or physical violence’ by a partner during their lifetime. WHO also pointed out that up to 70 per cent of women experience physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner at some point in their lives. Being an issue across many societies, rates of physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner ranged from 15 per cent in Japan, to 70 per cent in Ethiopia and Peru, according to the WHO study. The impact of gendered violence is profound: women are deterred from viewing relationships in the same way, live their life under insecurity and flinching in the prospect of physical contact, others might become prone to a range of mental health disorders, and some are led into the path of offending. In fact, over 50 per cent of women currently in prison were victims of some kind of abuse from an ex-partner. Megan Binning, a 20-year-old politics student participating in the march, considers conversation the best way to pave the path towards a concrete solution: “Silence just kills any progress of change whatsoever. And even if the conversation is just an
incremental one, it’s going to make a lot of difference for someone. Don’t change the world; change someone’s world for the better.” But while these women were marching the streets, devoting themselves to trying to make that conversation happen, there are still lots of issues left unheard and many female voices not being taken seriously. During Reclaim the Night, some men swore and yelled at the crowd, made offensive gestures and teased the marchers. Ironically, the circumstances were better this year than the last one during which some women felt fearful for their wellbeing. The difference was that, on this march, security presence was requested; in any other kind of march guards are not usually needed. As with many movements in recent years, more awareness has been raised and people in power have started acknowledging the need for women to feel safe. But it is a process moving at a slow pace, and many are still neglecting the issue. This shows the need of constant conversation to enable people to understand the impact of gendered violence. It is also giving us as a society an opportunity to reflect: what else can we and those in power do to make this matter more recognisable to all and to effectively reduce it?
My job as a Christmas elf
What is it like to work in Santa’s Grotto? Kate Procter Arts Editor
If you hadn’t already heard we’re living in the age of the ‘experience economy’ - today more and more people are opting to spend their money on experiences than on commodities. This might sound counterproductive to Christmas, a holiday often known more for gift giving than religion - especially in the UK where over half the population is estimated to be nonreligious. However, even Christmas has been adapted to simulate an experience for consumers and nothing is more quintessential of this than ‘Santa’s Grotto’. I never visited a grotto as a child. The closest I came was a chance encounter with a slightly worsefor-wear Santa in the entrance of ASDA in 2005 - the less said about that the better. Still, demand has grown for Santa’s Grottos and with it, related jobs. A quick search online shows countless job advertisements opening up for the festive season across the UK, with many from event companies specialising in providing
Image: Mia Robertson
‘Christmas experiences’. However, there is one job in particular that pops up the most: being a Christmas Elf. The variety of elves that can be found around England is actually startling; there are Reindeer Elves, Train Elves, Fairground Elves, Present Elves, straight-up Father Christmas Elves (though from looking at the job description it sounds like they mainly take photographs so maybe they should have been called Photography Elves instead…). Being an elf certainly sounds like a unique experience that we don’t often think about, so to get a better insight on what it means to be Santa’s helper, I spoke to Mia Robertson, a 19-year-old biology student at the University of Sheffield, who once worked as an elf. Back in 2017, every weekend from mid-November up to Christmas Day, Mia drove half an hour from her home in Hertfordshire to the farm park where she worked as an elf. Dressed in red dungarees, a long-sleeve green top and elf hat, she worked from nine-to-five as
‘Winter’, her chosen elven name. Her elf speciality was ‘admin’; welcoming families and selling tickets at the entrance of a barn transformed into the grotto. Once greeted by Mia, the children would enter a snowy area decorated with icicles, a massive sleigh and fake snow. That’s where they would wait before entering the official Santa area - “a cute little log cabin” - to meet the man himself, have their photo taken, and of course tell him what they would like for Christmas. Mia tells me it was a “bit like a theme park” when they came out of the grotto, with the option for parents to buy keyrings with the photos in. Clearly commodities still have some role to play. Not least, at the “stations” Mia describes that follow meeting Santa, including a knock-off ‘Build-a-Bear’ room and a present room for the children to pick a toy. She says the whole experience could take about 30 minutes, including any additional tantrum time whenever a parent refused an add-on outfit for their child’s bear. It sounds like quite a system, and while Mia remains impressed by the grotto, it was not what she expected from the job. In fact, she hadn’t even applied for a job as an elf in the first place: “I was looking for a weekend job so went on Indeed and saw a job for the farm working in their soft play area. I rang them up but was told they didn’t have any of those jobs left but they did have a position to be a Christmas elf.” When Mia was first told about the job she was a little unsure whether she’d fit the role’s criteria. At 5ft 9, she’s not exactly elf height. Luckily, there was no size requirements,
just a short interview about what experience she had working with customers and children. She says: “When the job was explained to me it did all sound quite exciting because sometimes as a Christmas elf your job is just managing a line of kids as they wait to see Santa, but because this was a full-on interactive experience it sounded a lot more fun.” Also, £7.50 per hour is a pretty good pay rate when you’re 17. Mia was one of six admin elves working at the farm, all of them a similar age. They were accompanied by older “professional” elves “children’s entertainers like the type you get at parties who had all been to drama school” - who did the main interactions with the children before they met Santa. I ask Mia what makes a good elf. She says, “you have to be very happy - I remember by the end of the day my cheeks would hurt from smiling. You also have to be imaginative to bring the magic of Christmas to the kids.” By the end of our interview I can’t help but express my wonder if the constant merriment didn’t kill the holiday joy for her. “Definitely not,” Mia is quick to reply: “I actually liked it even more than I thought I would. I’ve always loved Christmas but being an elf has added to my love of Christmas.” It also confirmed to Mia, who would like to become a teacher, how much she enjoys working with children. The only major downside of the job was the temperature, she says. “It was freezing even in the barn and a couple of days it snowed and you’re just stood still so by the end of the day I’d be really tired. “The mornings went by fast when
it was busy but once it hit 4pm when less people are arriving and it began to get dark, you’d start feeling like you just want to go home.” As the weeks progressed so did the number of socks and thermal layers she wore under her fortunately “baggy” dungarees. She did also start to notice songs repeating - though luckily the farm seemed to avoid the classics in their soundtrack so they weren’t ruined for her (Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want For Christmas’ remains safe for now). “I think because I was only working weekends it was OK but if I was doing it full time the job would have probably started to annoy me.” So does she recommend
I remember by the end of the day my cheeks would hurt from smiling. You have to be imaginative to bring the magic of Christmas to the kids becoming an elf? “Definitely,” Mia says. “I actually wanted to do it again last Christmas but we break up from university too late.” She warns that “for anyone thinking about becoming an elf, check what you are doing, particularly that you’ll be busy otherwise you could easily get bored.” But, at the end of the day, she says, “you’re bringing the magic of Christmas to life for kids, and what could get you more into the festive spirit than that?”
Wednesday 4 December 2019
Mark Zuckerberg: Should billionaires decide how philanthropy works? 88% Professional gamer
Jake Preston Features Contributor
In a recent Facebook Q and A, Mark Zuckerberg was asked whether he thought billionaires should exist. Surprisingly, the fifth-richest person in the world responded by saying billionaires don’t deserve the amount of money that they currently possess. He then justified his own $66.6 billion fortune by talking about his decision to become a philanthropist. Zuckerberg promised to invest 99 per cent of his Facebook shares in the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative which he co-created with his wife Priscilla Chan. He admitted that the idea of a group of wealthy individuals deciding which ‘science projects’ receive funding was not perfect, but still optimal when compared to the alternative, leaving it to the public sector. How has Zuckerberg come to the conclusion that a small group of unelected billionaires would be more effective at solving the world’s problems? He argues that private philanthropy can work alongside its public equivalent with better results, as individuals might prove more willing than governments to invest their money on experimental solutions. When it comes to personal investments, economist Milton Friedman argued that it is not possible to dictate the manner in which people spend their own money. However, relying on philanthropy creates the issue of money going to causes which have a personal connection to the donor and not necessarily the ones t h a t desperately n e e d funding. For example, the folliclychallenged Jeff Bezos might be more prone to invest in finding a cure for baldness, but that does not mean it would be a beneficial use of his billion-dollar fortune. While, on the other hand, the state would be less likely to have such a personal bias. Zuckerberg’s issue with the public
sector running philanthropy comes from organisations such as the National Institute of Health (NIH), a US government agency which aims to improve the health of the American public. The NIH has a $34 billion budget which it gives out in lots of small grants to a variety of different scientists. However, a problem with that can be found in the different studies conducted for the same disease. In the case of Alzheimer’s, for example, many are conducting similar research and, according to Zuckerberg, this lack
He believes that resources should be more tightly focused, yet when you look at his own foundation, its targets vary from ‘eradicating disease’ to ‘reforming the justice system’ of coordinated funding is a waste of resources. He believes that resources should be more tightly focused, yet the targets of his own initiative vary from ‘eradicating disease’ to ‘reforming the criminal justice system’. Whereas, in total, the NIH spent $929 million in 2016 alone to try and hit their goal of preventing and effectively treating Alzheimer’s by 2025. Evidently here Zuckerberg’s criticism seems inaccurate and contradictory to the NIH’s g o a l s , which are proving to be less diluted than those of his own company. Issues such as disease are a global problem which means that there needs to be a coordinated global fight. With public institutions focusing on these matters, there is a greater chance of sharing information and resources as their only incentive is to achieve their goal. Private philanthropists
might be less likely to pool resources in the same way that public health organisations should do.. Looking at corporate philanthropy, Milton Friedman had assumed that companies are optimal to society when they are most profitable for shareholders. This means that any form of donations and charitable behaviour are being carried out for the sake of profit, to improve the company’s public image. In 2014 Shell saved 6.2 million metric tons of CO2 and raised $5 billion for organisations in four countries. In that same year, Shell failed to make any significant gains in addressing their huge oil spill in Nigeria which contaminated water with benzene 900 times above the World Health Organisation’s guidelines. It could be argued that Shell’s apparent generosity was a marketing ploy to keep the brand image positive and consequently keep shareholders happy. Even on an individual basis, it is important to consider a billionaire’s motives for supporting a particular cause. Zuckerberg’s initiative aims to reform the criminal justice system but his personal interests are bound to come into play at some point. Will he push for harsher measures against data harvesting and corporate tax avoidance? The jury is still out on that. In 2017 Zuckerberg gave $3 million in grants to address the housing crisis in San Francisco. His donation is unlikely to address such a large problem, which Zuckerberg himself could be considered one of the
people responsible for; locating the Facebook HQ in San Francisco in 2015 led to a rise in rent and house prices. Billionaires tend to argue that they are acting in the public interest, but elude scrutiny on how they spend their fortunes and evade disclosing their reasons for prioritising certain issues. Some people would justifiably argue that it is Zuckerberg’s business how he chooses to spend his own money. However, in 2016 the US Treasury forgave more than $50 billion in tax breaks to acts of philanthropy. These subsidies benefit the richest in society more as people in higher brackets are forgiven a higher percentage of their donations than someone in a lower tax bracket donating the same amount. Therefore, the state is paying for private philanthropy as it is costing it tax revenue and yet has no direct channels of influence over the way the money is spent. Teddy Roosevelt famously argued that no matter how large a charitable donation is, it doesn’t make up for the misconduct carried out in acquiring the fortune. There are clearly huge benefits to the world that have come from philanthropy, such as the Carnegie Library right next to my house. So, regardless of the impact that Zuckerberg’s company might have, it is difficult to forget that a large sum of his fortune has come from his company, Facebook, selling personal data and his exploitation of tax loopholes. This is why private philanthropy can be a controversial issue; the
influence of these individuals is huge, yet the source of their money along with their political agenda are often ambiguous. Governments still often take a laissez-faire stance on this, while journalists can give a free pass and subsidies are handed out to businesses.
In 2016 the US treasury forgave more than $50 billion in tax breaks to acts of philanthropy To trust them with something as vital as the world’s most crucial issues, the companies that accumulate the personal wealth of billionaires should at least be taxed effectively, with Facebook only paying £28 million in tax in the UK after a record revenue year of £1.6 billion. With a higher tax revenue, states would have greater resources to carry out their own services and aid to their citizens. Despite the good work they do, private philanthropists need to be scrutinised more and held accountable by the state, as the current situation is definitely not ‘optimal’ for the society.
Ableism: will we ever learn how to help each other? Anastasia Koutsounia Features Editor
Ableism can be argued as an underlooked issue within our society, but statistics from the UK Department of Work and Pensions state there are 13.9 million disabled people in Britain. The prejudices of racism, sexism, homophobia, and ableism are all evidence of a population bent on looking at the world through partisan lenses. And, to crack those lenses, we need to ask ourselves, are we aware of our actions’ impact on others? When talking about the impact of ableism, it is worth contemplating the message we send to younger generations - it’s preferable to dismiss or hate on something you qualify as ‘different’ rather than take the time to understand it; an ironic statement when looking at modern teenagers desperately trying to prove their individuality. However, for disabled people, their individuality brands them a target and an ‘inconvenience’. Rebecca Wight, Co-campaigns Coordinator for the University of Sheffield’s Dyslexic and Disabled Students Committee (DSC), is a 20-year-old student living with joint hypermobility spectrum, a condition that causes her joints to dislocate easily. Describing her experience of being bullied in high school, she spoke of classmates asking her to demonstrate her ‘quirk’ and then proceeded to yell at her, even branding her a ‘freak’. Years later, that resulted in a reluctance to buy a cane she would need to get through particularly challenging days. “Because I’ve experienced that torment and bullying [when I was in high school] for things that people couldn’t see, and have heard of other disabled students feeling this way,
there is a reluctance to use things that we get given to help us, because they make us open to people seeing us, and therefore abusing us,” she said. Rebecca’s experience of abuse with the purchase of her cane is unfortunately not a unique case. Disabled people in the UK often feel reluctant disclosing their disability in fear of being singled out, left out, or abused. In fact, there have been several surveys about disabled employees being fearful of informing their employer of their disability, in the chance that they will be underestimated or fired. A study conducted in 2015 by Great With Disability on over a thousand students and graduates showed that 76 per cent of them worried about disclosing their disability to a potential employer, while 77 per cent lived in fear of discrimination. Rebecca highlighted her own
of students and graduates are worried about disclosing their disabiliy to a potenal employer
fears of discrimination, causing her to doubt whether she could enjoy university life like other students: “One thing I already faced, and to be honest I only got past at the end of my second year, is that to be included in any university’s activities or societies could be really daunting because I didn’t know if that was going to be a supportive place. I didn’t know if I was going to be accepted or welcomed.” When examining the root of this problem, it can be easily found in the lack of education and awareness surrounding the matter of disabilities, which generates detrimental misconceptions. The
University of Sheffield’s DSC Committee 19/20.
most frequently mentioned one is the expectation to detect the disability. During my interview with Chelsea Burrell, a student with Asperger’s Syndrome, she revealed that people often exclaim she ‘doesn’t look autistic’, a reaction to her autism that, unbeknownst to them, causes her only hurt. “A lot of people I know don’t know how it affects me because I’m very good at looking as if I’m okay,” she said. “But, at the same time, I’m hiding a part of myself that I struggle with, and taking home, and it’s affecting me mentally and physically. “It is an invisible disability and this is a problem because we are, as a society, I think, more aware and eager to help when we can see people have something wrong with them. People can’t see [my disability]. So they don’t really care for it.” A few years back, Scope, an organization for people with disabilities, ran a campaign called ‘End The Awkward’, educating the public on how to interact with people living with a disability. The sad truth is that not everyone in society knows how to do this, because some may have never met a disabled person, and our limited knowledge often comes from the misinformed way movies portray disabled people. But assuming disabilities are visible dismisses the complexity and the range of disabilities that exist, making those with invisible disabilities feel obligated to prove its existence. In many cases this results in isolation. Ableism can also be found in our choices of convenience. When a non-disabled student decides to
use the disabled toilet because they prefer the privacy it offers, they are depriving that space from a disabled student. While one student has several options to choose from, the other has only one. Sometimes it is all about taking a moment to think rather than immediately taking the easy way. Some students don’t have as many options for getting around campus or to lectures, and that needs to be considered. An unintentional form of ableism also exists in failing to provide disabled members of a society with the facilities they need to be part of bonding activities. Starting university, the fastest way to meet people and ‘fit in’ is by joining societies in their wide range of activities and socials. Yet many of those socials take place in buildings unaccessible or inconsiderate of disabled people. This form of ableism is often ‘unintentional’, mainly because it is usually due to a lack of awareness or funds on the society’s part. There is also a false assumption that if you have a disability you are not likely to be enticed by the prospect of a night out in a bar, dancing the night away in a club, or even going to karaoke in Bar One. Again, it is fair to remember that every case is different and, at the end of the day, we are talking about young people exploring life and independence for the first time. As the Co-campaigns Coordinator for DSC, Rebecca has worked with different committees to help them make their activities more inclusive to students with disabilities. “We are trying really hard to work as a committee alongside the Union to
improve those systems. Societies often times don’t have the funds in place to help with accessibility,” she said. “There is also not a lot of things in place in order to help both the Union and the students to improve those things. ” The Students’ Union offers inclusions training to all committees and societies at the start of each academic year, while DSC has been working with the Sheffield University Performing Arts Society (SUPAS) and the Sheffield University Theatre Company, helping them become more accessible to disabled students with a flair for acting or singing. In the end, when asked what she would advise her fellow students, Rebecca spoke of the need to be accommodating and kind to people. During my talk with Chelsea, she told me something that has stuck with me since: “If you’ve met an autistic person, you’ve only ever met one autistic person; you’ve not met them all.” There are several support services available across campus for students with disabilities, including through the Disability and Dyslexia Support Service, the Student Advice Centre, getting involved with DSC and so much more.
Wednesday 4 December 2019
Jack Mattless and Jack Redfern Opinion Editors
Hello readers! In our last issue of this year we’ve got plenty of reads to keep you up to date with what’s going on both at our university and with what feels like a lot of drama in the country. To begin, a piece from Jaz Catlow on the cuts that have fallen on our Chemistry department recently and John Campbell makes his case for
the use of picket lines in the recent UCU strikes. On page 14, we’ve got a piece on why we need the monarchy now more than ever and another regarding the floods that have swept across regions of the country and what that tells us about the climate crisis. Finally, some political pieces on page 15, with Greg Ford on why he thinks TV election debates are no good and Ella Craig on the issue of voter registration in the UK. Enjoy!
The Chemistry department’s big mistake
The Dainton Building in 1972 (L) and 2012 (R) Images: David Dixon
Jaz Catlow Opinion Contributor
There have been a worrying number of Chemistry departments shut down in recent years, as the marketisation of education forces a move towards maximising profits. Whilst it’s always going to be expensive to keep these institutions open, the benefits are a generation of scientists who will shape the future of sustainability, industry and medicine. Given the recent announcements of changes to technical staff in our own Chemistry department, it seems destined for the same fate. Eight are being made redundant,
with a collective of 200 years experience between them. The department has put forward a plan that would see the same number of technical staff hired to replace those lost, but it’s rumoured that new contracts are at a much lower pay grade. This would leave a huge loss of skills in the technical support provided, and poses many questions about the future of the department. What will happen to postgraduate students during the interim period where we are without sufficiently trained technical staff? Surely research would halt without operation of the technical services and students with degree deadlines would be forced to play catch-up.
Included among the staff at risk are two safety officers. I’d have thought safety was pretty important in a Chemistry department, what with all the hazardous chemicals, but what would I know - I’m just a student. The decision falls at an already busy time, with the department undergoing major changes due to the new course design. Students recruited onto this new course were supposed to have access to a wider variety of choices, but will likely find themselves restricted by the lack of technical support. They will undertake research projects which will not have the in-depth expertise required to ensure their success,
John Campbell makes the case for picket lines outside study spaces John Campbell Opinion Contributor
Students are right to be angry about the eight days of strike action that has brought teaching to a standstill in Sheffield. But rather than alienating students, the UCU’s decision to strike outside of study spaces should serve to highlight the contradictions in higher education funding. The UCU’s decision to strike over pension cuts, the casualization of work, gender and ethnicity pay gaps and precarious contracts paints a picture of the UK higher education
sector in financial trouble. Unable to meet the commitments it made to its staff over working conditions, nor its students whose quality of education is compromised, things really do look bleak. Speaking to a seminar leader last week, however, showed the paradox at Sheffield between the colossal sums of money being ploughed into physical infrastructure while staff are drowning under inflated workloads and receiving a £240,000 pension cut for the privilege. UK students now pay over £9,000 a year at undergraduate level with costs even higher for postgraduate
and international students. It is fair to say that there is no shortage of money around. Speaking to the BBC, the UCU’s general secretary Dr Jo Grady argued that the higher education sector has made a lot of money over the past 10 years but that spending on staff had gone down, in conjunction with an attack on working conditions. Tuition fees are paid for tuition; for teaching, teachers and those who support them. This appears to have been forgotten. Instead of money going to staff to pay them for their increased workload and responsibility worker’s conditions
with work experience options removed completely. This begs the question of whether chemistry graduates will still have the skills needed for employment. What looks like a cost-cutting solution has the potential to be a money-pit disaster. There’s the cost of redundancy pay, training new staff, delayed research, reduced student numbers, outsourcing work that cannot be replaced, and machinery inevitably breaking under inexperienced hands. It’s also worth saying that we’re not the only department relying on our technical support staff. The people facing redundancy work across science departments and
even sometimes across faculties, supporting interdisciplinary research collaborations. Can we really maintain our status as a top100 research institution without our all-important technical support staff? I say not. There is no doubt that student voices have been taken more seriously by the university in recent years. I personally have had many positive conversations with my department, up to and including the curriculum review. It is a huge step backwards that no students were consulted about this proposal. We urgently need students, staff and managers to come together for the good of the department.
have been sacrificed in order to pay for new buildings which without the expertise of valued, respected university employees, are completely redundant. So when you meet a striking lecturer outside of the Elmfield building on Northumberland Road, who is directly facing the gargantuan site of the new Social Sciences building, or you meet an
administrative worker striking outside the £81 million Diamond, remember that university infrastructure embodies the contradiction and hypocrisy of recent higher education spending. Those who work tirelessly to support our education simply don’t see its fruits.
Students and staff rallying last Monday Image: Jack Mattless
Armarni Lane on why we still need the monarchy, despite Prince Andrew's car crash interview Armarni Lane Opinion Contributor
Recently, questions surrounding Prince Andrew’s infamous friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein have resurfaced, with the backlash mirroring the #MeToo movement’s ability to amplify women’s voices and hold abusers to account. With this, a recent YouGov poll stated that 47 per cent of UK adults believe the Prince’s actions to have damaged the royal family. The fallout from that Prince Andrew interview on BBC Newsnight has resurrected a centuries-old question: is there still a place for the monarchy?
The royal family today has never looked or behaved this close to us common folk My answer is yes. Aside from being key players in our global recognition and their enormous economic
contribution to the Treasury (a sum of almost £1.8bn a year), the royals reflect progress. The royal family today has never looked or behaved this differently, and this close to us common folk. With Princes William and Harry breaking from the tired royal tradition of a ‘never complain, never explain’ mantra, we’ve seen them speak openly about mental health and family bereavement, issues which affect the average person as well as the uber affluent. We’ve seen a rejuvenation of the royals over the years, bolstered by the marriage of Prince William to ‘commoner’ Kate Middleton, and more recently the marriage of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle to create the first biracial royal couple in modern British history. Societal significance cannot be overlooked. Following the rise of the far-right movement across a dark decade which saw the EDL, Britain First and an abhorrent, anti-immigrant sentiment in parts of the UK, a mixed-raced royal acts as a proud, global reflection of our multicultural society. Even in their moments of scandal, the royals raise questions about
our society, bringing certain issues to the forefront and inadvertently acting as positive and negative examples for the public.
Following the rise of the far-right movement... a mixed-raced royal acts as a proud, global reflection of our multicultural society The accusations against Prince Andrew have resulted in his public withdrawal from royal duties “for the foreseeable future” and having patronage after patronage pulled, reiterating the potency of public opinion, and the strength behind the fight against powerful, predatory men. The royal family has never reflected the times as much as they do now. Rather than tarnishing them, we should be giving the monarchy the royal treatment.
Image: UK Home Office
This flooding should be a climate change wake-up call. Is it time for the Government to be doing more? Levi Broomand Opinion Contributor
The United Kingdom is no stranger to adverse weather conditions. So, when a full month’s average rainfall fell in the space of 24 hours there should have been no immediate cause for alarm or concern amongst residents. However, as rivers swelled and streets started to flood, it was clear this was more severe than initially thought. A woman died after her car was swept away by powerful currents in Derbyshire, a region which also suffered 1,758 damaged properties; not to mention the images that emerged from the cut-off village of Fishlake which shocked the nation. The scale of the floods is not
Cleanup underway in South Yorkshire Images: Jennifer Thompson
uncommon in valley areas after a long period of rain, but the truth is that floods of this magnitude are becoming more frequent and severe. Scientists have long said that a warmer atmosphere holds more
moisture and as such will result in increased rainfall. As evidenced by the most recent IPPC report conducted by the UN, current efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions are simply not enough in the face of climate change. This means that as we approach a new decade, we need to adapt our infrastructure as a matter of urgency. Inevitably, this should start with properly funded policies from the government elected on 12 December. An increase in flood defences is the first major step but simply pouring money into temporary structures will eventually prove to be futile; housing and transport will need to be systematically adapted to cope with severe flooding. The British government must learn lessons from other European countries such as Denmark, who recently announced the construction of railways with adaptable watercourses that divert
water away from tracks to prevent transport disruption. There also needs to be some form of regulation established to prevent councils from building large residential neighbourhoods on flood-prone areas. Even in the midst of a social housing crisis the government cannot ignore the risks of housing citizens in high risk areas. The 12 December will prove to be monumental for these decisions as the nation heads to the polls. Campaign promises on the environment have been rolling in steadliy, with every party claiming to be committed to tackling environmental challenges. Yet climate change is happening at an unprecedented rate. This is no longer a matter of political point scoring on the campaign trail. It is now a matter of urgency and survival.
Wednesday 4 December 2019
America can keep its head-to-head TV debates: they’re really quite tedious Greg Ford Opinion Contributor
Scenes from the inargural TV debate between Kennedy and Nixon in 1960 Images: UPI
Ah America! We gave you language, democracy, universities and a tax system so crippling you rebelled and formed your own nation. Our cultural exchange has been ongoing ever since and while we sent you the Beatles, you gave us fast food and obesity. Then in 2010, in apparent revenge for all our sins, you inflicted upon us the tradition of televised political debates. In the US they began in 1960 with the slick figure of a young John F. Kennedy taking on political heavyweight Richard Nixon in one of the most watched broadcasts of all time. In the UK we started with arguably the most unpopular Labour Prime Minister ever, the man who accidently caused Brexit and a guy who caused his party to implode by jumping into bed with the Tories. Over in America these TV debates seem to genuinely turn the tide of public opinion; in the UK we
are taking longer to warm to the format. In 2010, the opinion polls after the debates had Clegg as the most popular performer with Brown in second and Cameron bottom of the pile. What followed was the biggest single loss of seats in Labour history and a net loss for the Liberal Democrats. The 2019 debates began on ITV with a controversial two-way between Jeremy Corbyn and Boris Johnson. What more could we glean from this clash of the titans? What would be revealed when Julie Etchingham stopped interrupting the leaders? Well, apart from an apparent shared love of damson jam, very little unfortunately. We learnt that Johnson would be sticking to that most divisive of issues through his repetition that he will ‘get Brexit done’. Corbyn led with his plans to refocus the national economy while protecting services from what he considers the predatory hands of big business. If you didn’t know those would be the
We learn more about our leaders from formats that dispense with the illusion of debate two main thrusts of this encounter then you haven’t been following things too closely. It is telling that we learnt more about all of the leaders from the QuestionTime ‘Leaders Special’ in Sheffield, where all illusion of debate was dispensed with. No silly throwaway questions about Christmas gifts here, this was the politically-astute public leading the grilling (albeit with a suspiciously high Scottish population). Given how poorly it performs its intended purpose, maybe it’s time we admitted this is one import we should be returning to the US.
Disillusionment shouldn’t stop us from voting says Ella Craig Ella Craig Music Editor
There might have been a record number of registrations to vote in this election, but millions in the UK remain absent from the electoral register. Voters will head to the polls December 12th Image: flickr
Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised. After the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, people have lost trust in the political system believing that no matter who they vote for, they won’t see any real results. Whatever your stance on Brexit, frustration with
the current state of affairs is just another reason why you should vote if you can, so that you can have your say and make a difference in this country. Many people think their vote won’t count given the nature of
the first-past-the-post system in the UK. True, the party with the majority of votes usually forms the government, but that doesn’t mean the losing parties have no role to play
Voting in the 21st century should be done with the use of technology in the new Parliament. Votes do still count. The official opposition hold government to account through select committees, ministerial question sessions and by offering an alternate policy platform. Some people, especially younger generations, may see voting as an inconvenience due to work or university commitments meaning they don’t have the time to vote. More efforts need to be made to encourage people to use the postal vote and to make university students aware that they can register to vote in either their university or home constituency. At any rate, voting in the 21st century should be done with the use of technology. In the same way that lots of people now opt for convenient
online shopping rather than heading to the shops the old fashioned way, a secure online voting system would surely encourage people to engage more readily with our democratic process. Registering to vote can be done online, so why not the act of voting too? One possible solution is an automatic registration to vote, where all eligible voters are automatically enrolled. This would likely see an increase in election turnouts as people will not forget or be too busy to register. Another option is making registration compulsory. In Australia it is mandatory to vote, and not doing so can result in a fine or even jail. Although this seems pretty extreme, the UK should develop a similar system as we can’t have a fair political system that represents the whole of the UK if 17 per cent of eligible voters are not having their say.
Taylor Ogle & Em Evans Lifestyle Editors
Finally settling into December, the holiday season is amping up once again with mince pies and Christmas songs nestling themselves into our lives as they do each winter. We’re indulging in the holiday spirit and delving into different ways students spend their holiday seasons. Check out Dana’s piece on spending the Christmas period alone for ideas on
learning how to stretch out of your comfort zone and give back to the community. If baking is something you’ll be doing a lot this winter break, have a look at Samantha’s muffin recipe as it will absolutely get you ready for the festive season. Finally, if wandering around charming Christmas markets is something you enjoy, check out at Lifestyle’s top four markets from across Europe.
Spending Christmas alone as an international student From signing up for volunteer work to learning how to keep yourself company, Dana’s tips will give you some guidance on how to spend your time this Christmas Dana Raer Music Editor
I made the choice to spend Christmas alone this year. As shocking and distressing as this may seem for some, I’m truly ecstatic about the prospect of devoting an entire holiday to a unique experience that not many are brave enough to face, that is completely out of my comfort zone – far, far away from my family.
What I did not expect when telling my decision to the world is the number of people overwhelming me with pity, consideration or disconcerting looks on their faces What I did not expect when telling my decision to the world is the number of people overwhelming me with pity, consideration or disconcerting looks on their faces. I even started questioning myself,
whether I was going through a sombre experience, but at the end of the day, every person has a different view of this holiday. I agree that Christmas should be spent with the ones you love, but that should not be the norm. Giving and receiving love should not only belong to a closed circle of people you know, it can extend so much further. For those who have no choice, this time of year can become quite daunting. As an international student, I can understand the pain of not having your family around at important times. However, the gesture of spending time with people who have less than you can bring you so much cheerfulness without having to depend on the presence of your loved ones. One of the most rewarding experiences in this sense is volunteering. A few days ago I received a letter from Crisis, an organisation that fights to end homelessness. For Christmas, you can make a donation of £28.87 to provide a homeless person with fresh clothes, healthcare, friendly company and most importantly, support and advice. My plan is to get more involved. I want to see with my own eyes the change I am making on Christmas Day. Thus, I am planning to volunteer for Crisis in a serene and
magical place I’ve never been to – Edinburgh. That is the present I will offer to myself this year. It gives the perfect motivation for endorsement, travel and time invested into the beauty of other cities .The applications are open for anyone who wants to volunteer in London, Birmingham, Coventry, Oxford, Newcastle, Edinburgh and South Wales. Another way to pass time without your family during the
There is nothing wrong with taking a step back from the fast paced world. It is, after all, the best opportunity to unwind winter holidays could be by joining HOST, a safe and warm space to go to as an international student in need for company and pleasant conversation. You can either choose to be a guest or a host to people from a range of cultures and identities, all happening by making new friends and memories. As appealing as it sounds, volunteering is sometimes a tough task to set upon. That is why I plan
to fill my time with activities that bring a lot of joy and passion. For me that would be reading. For others it can involve binge-watching their favourite TV shows. Whatever choice you may have be sure to have your Spotify Christmas Playlist ready and tea with biscuits on the side. Or, you can always enjoy more of the familiarity of Sandra Bullock in the movie Will You Marry Me? when she spends her Christmas alone by the fire, with Wuthering Heights in her hand, enjoying the simplicity of reading her favourite book. There is nothing wrong with taking a step back from this fastpaced world. It is, after all, the best opportunity to unwind and
recover from a semester of lectures, seminars and assessments. Christmas markets can also become a companion in a delicious and worthwhile encounter. Spending the holidays by yourself can become a fulfilling and constructive experience, loaded with lots of love, especially selflove. Every adventure is frightening in the beginning, you get out of your comfort zone, away from the protection you once had. It only means you are growing as a person. That is why I encourage you to experience a deserted Hogwarts in the city of steel, as well as a chance to give more love to people who really need it.
Wednesday 4 December 2019
Warming Winter Muffins This recipe is the perfect winter warmer! Best served fresh out of the oven, these muffins are packed with festive spices and as an added bonus, are vegan! The best thing about these muffins is that they’re not too sweet but still very indulgent! Ingredients Nutty Topping: 2 heaped tablespoons of rolled oats 65g pecans or walnuts 45g cup flour ¼ tsp cinnamon 4 tbsp melted coconut oil 4 tbsp maple syrup Spiced Winter Muffin Mixture: 150g plain flour 2 tbsp cornflour ½ tbsp baking powder ½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon ¼ tsp nutmeg ¼ tsp ground cloves Pinch of ground ginger 50ml plant-based milk 1 tbsp vinegar ½ tbsp vanilla extract 110g maple syrup 50g coconut oil Method Nutty Topping: 1) Mix together the rolled oats, flour and cinnamon in a medium sized bowl. 2) In a separate bowl, mix the maple syrup and the coconut oil. 3) Combine the wet and dry bowls by folding the ingredients together with a wooden spoon and then fold in the pecan pieces. Butternut Squash and Muffins: 4) Preheat oven to 220°C.
5) Mix the vinegar and milk together in a jug and set aside. 6) Hollow out a small butternut squash. For best results, do this with a spoon and a fork as it shreds the butternut squash enough that it can be put straight into the mixture with ease. 7) Mix the flour, cornflour, baking powder, baking soda and spices together in a mixing bowl. 8) In a separate mixing bowl, melt the coconut oil enough so that it is a liquid and whisk in the maple syrup, vanilla extract and milk-vinegar mixture. Add the butternut squash and mix well. 9) In a different bowl add the dry ingredients and fold them together with a wooden spoon or spatula until the mixture has combined. 10) Divide the mixture into 12 muffin cases. Top each muffin with a tablespoon of nutty topping. 11) Put the muffin tray into the
preheated oven for 5 minutes, then turn the temperature down to 190°C for a further 10 minutes. Sometimes they can take a few more minutes to brown off. 12) Once brown, take out of the oven and leave aside to cool.... These muffins are best served
fresh out of the oven. Serves 12
How to afford Christmas this year For students, the festive season is something we all find daunting. Town centres being painted with lights, store windows enticing you into their winter deals and the Christmas adverts starting eight weeks before the big day even arrives – the list is endless. Everything about Christmas screams money, and for a lot of us it’s a time where we question… how are we going to afford everything? From tips on how to decorate your living room to where to go to save money presents, this article will give you some advice on how not to stress during the most expensive season of the year.
Em Evans Lifestyle Editor
Decorations Every year we all encounter a debate of when is the most acceptable time to hang up the decorations. Some like it as soon as Halloween has been and gone, when others swear it’s not allowed until we’re officially in December. Yet regardless of your preference, the easiest and cheapest method to decorating your bedroom or lounge area is by making paper snowflakes and hanging them from your ceiling. For best results, getting a few housemates in on the plan at once will make sure all snowflakes look different and unique – just as they should be. Do note: some landlords are stricter than others when it comes to sticking things on walls and ceilings, so whether you can get away with Blu-tack is your call. In case you do have strict landlords, it is recommended to get some non-damage removable tape just to make sure you won’t
incur any damage fees! Don’t leave things to the last minute If you’re working with a budget the last thing you want to experience is walking into a shop with a specific present idea in mind, to realise they’re out of stock. Organising presents in advance will give you the choice of everything that stores have to offer, so getting a present under budget is better than splurging out on something £20 more in an unnecessary panic. A lot of high street stores have an online presence, so having a gander on what you’d like to give will not only make your Christmas shopping cheaper, but a lot more efficient. Top Store Deals Boots announced earlier this year that their 3-for-2 deal on Christmas gifts wouldn’t be happening - until everyone went into meltdown! Lo and behold, they then announced its back on
track, with other high street stores taking a page out of Boots’ book. Debenhams and Argos Toys are amongst the many who are holding deals this Christmas on their gifts. However, the best thing about Boots is that once Christmas Day has been and gone, all their stock goes for 50 per cent off! Savvy Secret Santa Instead of purchasing presents for each individual person you know, it might be worth organising Secret Santas in groups instead. Not only will this require less organisation, it’s an exciting way to give and receive presents without the expensive price tag. An example of this is by doing Secret Santa with your housemates, another with friends outside of university and a final with close family. Alternatively, for those who want to make their Secret Santa unique, have your group meet in a shopping centre and draw the names there and then. Everyone has a one-hour time limit to find
the perfect gift for their person. This makes the whole experience more memorable with added excitement. An experience worth remembering A gift doesn’t always need to be something physical. Making memories with the ones you love can be more valuable than something anyone can buy from a shelf.
Whether it be a voucher for a restaurant or a spa day for two, there are many places that promote experiences as gifts that are very affordable. Sites such as Groupon and Wowcher are known for offering consumers something a bit different for a reasonable price, so it is definitely worth having a look to see if there is something on there that might catch your eye for someone special.
Europe’s top Christmas markets Visiting Christmas markets in the festive season is something that is on everyone’s bucket list, and with there being such a fabulous selection of markets in various cities throughout Europe, it’s difficult to know which are the best ones. Lifestyle have shortlisted our favourite must-visit Christmas markets in Europe Berlin, Germany Glühwein, Christmas cheer, and stunning settings: Berlin’s many Christmas markets offer it all and the city is the perfect place to take a winter break this year. Berlin is home to lots of famous markets which are situated around the main sights, such as the festive market at Alexanderplatz or the vast Christmas market behind the iconic TV tower. However, there is much more to Christmas in Berlin than just the obvious! The historical
Christmas market at the RAW Gelände, near Warschauer Straße, Friedrichshain is the perfect place to visit to fulfil all of your Christmas wishes. This market is a little off the tourist track despite being just a 10-minute walk from the famous East Side Gallery. Here you’ll find traditional German and Eastern European food, drinks, toys, gifts, circus tricks, and activities. Whilst it has become quite common to have to pay an entrance fee for Christmas markets in Berlin, this one is free
across the city, so while you’re wandering around getting a feel for the buzzing place, you’re never too far from hot mulled drinks and the smell of toasty roasted chestnuts. With the captivating view of the castle looming over, which can be seen at almost every point in the city, the markets stretch from the Old Town all the way to Prague Castle. The markets are open most of the day and run late into the evening, but it was undeniably more splendid as the night went on. Fairy lights everywhere Image: Taylor Ogle
Image: Sergey Galyonkin, Flickr
Contribution by Aimee Cooper Manchester, UK As a proud Mancunian, I’d be remiss if I allowed this feature to go out without making the case for why we have the best Christmas market (outside of Sheffield, anyway). Every year the German markets come to town, sprawling down Market Street, Exchange Square, St. Ann’s Square and just about every other spot you can think of. Mock log cabins adorn the city’s streets, offering up all kinds of festive treats, German meats
Image: David Dixon
Prague, Czech Republic As an avid Christmas fan, my favourite part of the festivities has got to be the markets. Last December I visited the capital of the Czech Republic, Prague, for the merry markets labelled the best in Europe on TripAdvisor. With the Christmas markets rapidly becoming part of everyone’s festive bucket list, the late December trip had me engulfed in the holiday spirit. One of the best things about Prague’s Christmas Market is the way the stalls are spread out
to all from Monday to Wednesday. I recommend the Hungarian Lángos stall which offers hearty fried dough with toppings- just the right thing to keep away the winter chill! The Historischer den Weihnachtsmarkt in East Berlin is bound to both transport you back in time and get you in the festive mood this advent. If you are thinking of visiting Berlin this month make sure you put it on your to-do list!
and hot drinks (or beer, if you’re so inclined). To have a slot in the markets is, allegedly, a very expensive endeavour, but with the foot traffic and atmospheric buzz, it’s bound to be worth it. Of course, there are quieter Christmas markets, and at times Manchester’s can be an assault on the senses, but it’s a wonderful time of the year and this huge market captures it beautifully. I’d recommend starting your afternoon off by browsing the street
food stalls in Piccadilly Gardens – maybe try a buntzel, a cross between a bun and a pretzel – before heading down Market Street to pick out some trinkets, then heading onto Exchange Square to try out some German lager, or a Yorkshire pudding wrap. What a day. Props should also go to the organisers, who, like Birmingham, are going to great lengths to be more sustainable. Contribution by Ben Warner
and brightly decorated wooden stalls selling trinkets, glassware, jewellery, toys, tree decorations ensure the cold weather is absolutely worth it to observe the beauty Prague markets have to offer. So if you’re considering taking a trip outside of the UK to celebrate the most beautiful time of the year - Prague is a definite must! Contribution by Hannah Bridgeman
Birmingham, UK Birmingham’s Christmas market is the largest German Christmas market outside of Germany and Austria. It’s got all of the festive draw of your local Christmas market, but there are a few additional attractions that make it all the more appealing. Not only does this make Birmingham’s market supremely Instagrammable, there is also the opportunity to get a picture with
Image: Roderick Eime, Flickr
the enormous Father Christmas – if you can fit the whole statue in the frame! The craft market offers a range of charming handmade goods, including jewellery, leatherwork, toys, and tree decorations. It’s the perfect opportunity for present shopping, especially if you’re looking to give something with a little more love than that Lynx Africa gift set you seem to buy every year. Like many this year,
Birmingham Christmas market has employed a reusable mug exchange scheme for the inevitable gallons of glühwein, mulled wine, that are drunk over the run of the market. This cuts down on a huge amount of waste, and I can’t think of anything more festive than cradling a steaming mug of mulled wine between two gloved hands. Contribution by Clare Skaife
Bring along a Secret Santa present! (£5 limit)
Home Away from Home
Christmas Ball Come and celebrate Christmas with your International Students’ Officer & International Students’ Committee, with a 2 course Christmas dinner & drink, followed by an evening of dancing.
Sunday 15th December International Students’ Officer
19:00 arrival, 19:30 sit down, 00:00 end £18 - Tickets on sale at sheffieldsu.com Tickets go off sale Monday 9th December
Luke Baldwin and Alicia Hannah Break Editors
Ho-ho-ho hold up - it’s the fucking CHRISTMAS EDITION! Personally, we’ve been listening to Elton John’s Step Into Christmas since September, so its nice that you’ve all decided to catch up. Time to haul half of your belongings home for your mum to complain everything is minging and tell you that you look malnourished.
We have nothing to say but Merry bloody Christmas; here’s a crossword
Paul McCartney earns £250,000 a year just from his Christmas song, which is widely regarded as the worst song he ever recorded.
6. What you should be every night in the lead up to Christmas (5) 7. The only pie that matters apart from Notty House (5) 8. The only way to buy Christmas presents for housemates (2 words, 11) 9. How an Irish person would say three (4) 10. The Christmas drink that no one fucking wants (6) 12. The best Christmas film ever made - see Screen’s section for complete reasoning (12)
1. Tickets for the Christmas edition of this Saturday staple will be on sale soon (2 words, 7) 2. The Christmas special everyone has been waiting for (3 words, 14) 3. The band who sing the best Christmas song of all time (4) 4. A big fucking sock (8) 5. The second best f word (7) 11. He’s got a nose redder than a corp pint (6)
December is a time to be thankful for all the things that are good in our life: food, family, booze, and good times. But don’t forget about the cold and those exams you’ve got coming up. 5 December -Charlemagne becomes King of France (771) -Captain Henry Bostock is taken captive by pirates but is later released. When describing the pirate captain he gives him the nickname “Blackbeard” (1717) -Oceans Eleven, starring Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Julia Roberts premieres (2001) 6 December -13th Amendment is ratified in the US, abolishing slavery (1865) -Hugo Chavez is elected President of Venezuela (1998) -NASA reveals photographs taken by Mars Global Surveyor suggesting the presence of liquid water on Mars (2006)
7 December -Inventor Leo Baekeland patents the first thermo-setting plastic, marking the start of the plastics industry (1909) -Japan attack Pearl Harbour Naval base, ushering the US into WW2 (1941) - Cristiano Ronaldo wins his 5th Ballon d’Or, matching Leo Messi for the record amount (2017) 8 December -The US and USSR sign treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons in outer space (1966) -Best Picture Winner The Deer Hunter starring Christopher Walken and Robert De Niro premieres (1978) 9 December -Coronation Street is broadcast for the first time on British TV (1960) 10 December -Martin Luther publicly burns papel edict demanding he recant (1520) -First Nobel Peace Prizes awarded to Red Cross founder Jean Henri Dunant and peace activist Frederic Passy
Images courtesy of Wikimedia and the moviedb
Did you Know?
On this day
1. Rudolf 2. Gavin And Stacey 3. Love Actually 4. Stocking 5. Poptarts 6. Mince 7. Tree 8. Drunk 9. Wham 10. Festive 11. Eggnog 12. Secret Santa
Japanese people traditionally eat at KFC for Christmas dinner, thanks to a successful marketing campaign 40 years ago. KFC is so popular that customers must place their Christmas orders two months in advance.
Bliss. Get your housemates together and have a beautifully festive boozefilled dirty West Street night out then cry to each other about how you won’t be able to cope without them for a month. And for those of you who stay in Sheffield over Christmas, hang in there, and have a read of Lifestyle’s piece on being alone over crimble.
Wednesday 4 December 2019
Sheffessions of the week Housemates
http://_Sheffessions #Sheffession7332 to the girl who lives across from us on Springvale road, it sounded like you were having a very good time last night, we could here you from the street #Sheffession7297 I, and I cannot stress this enough, got a handjob at Freaksfest where Jeremy Corbyn is standing on QT right now. God bless Sheffield. #Sheffession7241 I live with my boyfriend and one of his flatmates looks vaguely similar from behind. Guess whose arse I just grabbed. #Sheffession7195 Just want someone to sweep me off my feet like the Arts Tower wind tunnel #Sheffession7129 I got my crush for Secret Santa, what does a shy lil man get for the girl of his dreams?
#Sheffession7309 My flatmate has really got into star signs and all that shite recently, I’m sorry Sarah just because ‘mercury is in retrograde’ doesn’t mean you can’t do the washing up you pisces twat #Sheffession7304 I don’t like the flat above us (4th floor) because they always send noise complaints when we’re partying, so whenever I’m leaving my flat and I see the lift is coming down from theirs I run down the stairs and push every ‘down’ button on the lift in each floor below to make sure it takes them forever to get down. running down 3 flights of stairs is exausting but it’s worth it to know they’re slightly inconvenienced. #Sheffession7303 absolute peak of rudeness when you bought an 18 pack of bog roll for the house and the next person buys a 4 pack of single ply
#Sheffession7311 Petition to start a conga at the bottom west street going into all the bars on your way up collecting more and more people, before heading up towards bar one and into the su with a huge train of people ready for pop tarts #Sheffession7292 Oddly, my girlfriend can’t afford to do anything I want to do but has no problem going to Roar and Poptarts every week, nice to know where your priorities lie babe. x #Sheffession7284 Alcohol tastes so much better when deadlines are approaching #Sheffession7132 You know you’ve got a true friend when he lets you borrow shoes for Corp on 5 mins notice. On a Monday no less.
#Sheffession7343 my seminar tutor wears crocks and socks to teach us #Sheffession7330 Next southerner to repeat me when I say “no” is going to get a good clip round the fucking lughole #Sheffession7323 I butter my toast with my fingers so i dont have to clean the knife #Sheffession7321 As an Erasmus student, I want to applaud the amount of open, friendly, interesting clubs you have here in Sheffield. I’ve never had so much after uni fun than I have had here. Don’t take it for granted Sheffield students try something new once in a while: swing dance, choir, ceilidh, peak district walks. This place is amazing and I’m going to miss it so much.
Forge Press 2010-2019 Issue 19 February 2010
Issue 140 December 2019
On the eighth day of Christmas... Star Wars Quiz Monday 16 December 7pm-9pm
Love Actually / Christmas screening Tuesday 10 December 7pm-9pm The Leadmill Tickets via The Leadmill website.
On the fifth day of Christmas... Shrektival Friday 13 December free five onion rings with each burger!
SoulJam / Return of the Disco Thursday 5 December 11:30-3:30 Foundry Tickets online via Facebook/Foundry.
Wednesday 4 December - Saturday 14 December
Need a Christmas gift for family or yourself? CR Events: Xmas Bath Bomb Making Tuesday 10 December 6-8pm Coffee revs Tickets online via Facebook
Bar One: 12 Days of Christmas Celebrate the run up to Christmas with Bar One! Including BOGF Burgers, free mince pies, themed quizzes and amazing deals!
On the first day of Christmas... Drag Race Quiz! Monday 9 December 7pm-9pm Bar One
Club Tropicana: Last Christmas Thursday 12 December 11pm-4am The Leadmill Tickets online via The Leadmill website.
Friday 13- Saturday 14th December (variety of showings) The Montgomery Tickets online via FaceBook or The Montgomery website.
Want to spend an afternoon with some alpacas? Holly Hagg with Sheffield University Conservation Volunteers Saturday 7 December 12:30pm16:30pm Meet at the Octagon, 12:30pm Information on how to sign up is on FaceBook!
SUPAS Presents: Little Shop of Horrors
O Morning Star Join the University of Sheffield’s Chamber Choir for a night of festivity as they perform seasonal music from composers such as: Lauridsen, Vaughan Williams, Chilcott and more! Saturday 14 December 7:30pm Firth Hall Tickets start at £5 via FaceBook or the University of Sheffield website.
Wednesday 4 December 2019
Society Spotlight Getting to know...
Ben Warner Editor-in-Chief
University provides a great opportunity for people to try something new, or have a go at something in public they’ve never had the confidence to do before – like playing an instrument or singing. We sat down with Aggi Yates and Michael Brühlmann, the president and treasurer of Open Space, the open mic society at the Students’ Union, to have a chat about how people can get involved in the society and why they should come down to the weekly open mic sessions. Every Wednesday the society heads down to the University Arms on Western Bank, and lets people come along and show off their talents for a couple of hours. Although the society is student-run, anyone is welcome to come along and do what they fancy.
Two of the Open Space sessions last month Image: Chelsea Burrell
Having been set up in 2002, Open Space will celebrate its 18th birthday in 2020, while both Aggi and Michael have been involved for the last four years. They said they mainly have musicians and poets, but they’ve
We’ve had a couple of people who’ve started writing and playing music together because they’ve seen each other at it also had a wide range of other talents represented, including a magician a couple of years ago. “We tend to get quite a lot of first years; there are the odd people who come again and again that we’ve seen for a few years now, but it’s largely first years who we’ll have
given flyers to and spoken to at the Freshers’ Fair, and when they come we try to recognize their faces,” Michael said. “We do have definite groups of people who get together and sit with each other every week. We’ve had a couple of people who’ve started writing and playing music together because they’ve seen each other at it.” Aggi added: “It’s a good place for first years to meet people.” Open Space sessions tend to be mainly acoustic music, although recently a couple of people have brought in their own pianos, while one member brings along his keyboard and sings alongside it. “We only really have two rules, which is when people are playing, just listen, maybe only a quiet conversation between two of you,” Michael said. “Between it gets a bit loud with it being a full room with people with
drinks, but when people are playing people tend to sit and listen. “It’s a nice chill place to work as well, sometimes I’ll take just some work I’ve got to do for the next morning. There was someone who was on the committee for a few years a couple of years back, she didn’t sing, didn’t do poetry, didn’t do an instrument, she just came along and ran it for the love of it.
It’s really good if you’ve never played in front of anyone before and you’re really nervous, everyone gets applauded “If you are going to be someone who’s never going to get up and still want to be on the committee, that’s got to be something for it surely.”
Aggi was quick to praise the atmosphere of the sessions, which encourages people to get up and play, even if they’ve never done anything like that before: “It’s also really good if you’ve never played in front of anyone before and you’re really nervous about it, it’s just a really good place to do it for the first time because everyone listens and everyone always gets a round of applause.” The sessions happen every Wednesday at 8.30pm at the Uni Arms, while they also have a special Christmas session at Harrisons 1854 on Wednesday 11 December – check out their Facebook page for more details.
Kate Procter and Rosie Davenport Arts Editors
While editing this week’s issue I was struck by a quote from Ghanian historian Nana Oforiatta Ayim in Adam Sundle’s opinion piece on why museums should return colonial artefacts. In it she highlights that the poor labelling in many museums shows a lack of care or consideration towards the often stolen artefacts they exhibit. While I completely agree with her, I do wonder if this is
not also part of a wider problem with labelling in cultural institutions? Failure to contextualise makes for uninteresting and non-educational viewing. But when done well it can reframe your perspective and provoke a lasting reaction. However, I’ll be the first to admit that if faced with a wall of text for each display I’d be unlikely to read most of them. Maybe then it’s best I stick with my current solution of joining any tours provided - even if this runs the risk of leaving me desperate for the exit by the time they finish.
Cli-Fi: What impact can climate fiction have? OPINION Bradley Marshall Arts Contributor
Titan of science fiction Ray Bradbury once said “science fiction is any idea that occurs in the head and doesn’t exist yet, but soon will, and will change everything for everybody, and nothing will ever be the same again.” This applies doubly so to Climate Fiction, or Cli-Fi, the genre that is bringing the climate crisis to literature and attempting to raise awareness before it’s too late. Cli-Fi’s origins can be traced to the sixties, before the ozone hole was even discovered or the term “global warming” was coined. You can look to J. G. Ballard’s post-apocalyptic novels from the first half of the sixties to see this: The Wind from Nowhere, in which civilisation is destroyed by hurricane force winds; The Drowned World, where rising sea levels force society north; and The Burning World, with its then unique take that humanity was capable of destroying the climate. Later in the 20th century, as the scientific community began to sound the alarm bells about humanity’s effect on the climate, the genre became increasingly popular. But
it wasn’t until the mid-2000s that the term “Cli-Fi” was coined by former journalist and teacher Dan Bloom. Today, we have a whole host of climate fiction, with a particular explosion having occurred in the last 10 years. Bestselling authors from Barbara Kingsolver (Flight Behavior) to David Mitchell (The Bone Clocks) have joined the genre. Even Amazon have caught on, launching a series of seven Cli-Fi short stories last year, titled ‘Warmer’, about “possible tomorrows” in a United States ravaged by climate change.
The issue with Cli-Fi - for all its literary and moral appeal - is that its readership is largely confined to those who care about climate change Margaret Atwood has been a chief exponent of climate fiction, pushing the message that rather than ‘climate change’ we should be talking about ‘everything change’ such is the colossal impact projected
for the next 50 years. Atwood’s series, The MaddAddam Trilogy, is probably the best example of Cli-Fi being embraced by a truly mainstream author, unless you count Ian McEwan’s Solar - and you shouldn’t. However, this isn’t to say Cli-Fi has managed to really engage the public yet. The first book in Atwood’s trilogy has around 200,000 reviews on Goodreads, compared to 1.2 million for the The Handmaid’s Tale. This sort of statistic demands we ask one serious question of CliFi: does it matter? Whilst that’s a question we wouldn’t normally throw at artistic endeavour, it’s the very seriousness of the genre’s subject matter that demands it be asked. If our children grow up in a world with nothing more than an excellent library of speculation on the dystopia they’re suffering, won’t that be a pretty serious failure on our part? However, in the necessary didacticism of the genre, perhaps we can see why it’s yet to reach truly mainstream appeal. Much of society wholeheartedly rejects being lectured about our semi-personal failure to give up our fossil fuel habits. If we’ve had enough of experts, surely we’ve had
enough of authors telling us how we’re destroying earth? The issue with Cli-Fi - for all its literary and moral appeal - is that its readership is largely confined to those who care about climate change. This isn’t all bad; it will certainly help terrify and inspire those who are leading the fight for a more sustainable future. It might even educate readers who haven’t really considered the topic but stumble across it, exploring Atwood’s back catalogue. Yet, as it stands, it lacks the universal appeal that will engage a sufficiently wide audience. We must remember that, depressing as this is, the only real breakthrough work of Cli-Fi remains Allan Folsom’s New York Times
Bestseller, The Day After Tomorrow. Although when the ice caps really do melt for good I’m afraid to say Jake Gyllenhall won’t be able to save us. Another issue facing Cli-Fi is the tightrope it’s attempting to walk. It must be popular in order to be successful, but it must also tell extremely hard truths. It has to be educational without lecturing, scary rather than sanctimonious, persuasive but not pretentious. Most of all, Cli-Fi needs to be great fiction. Sci-Fi has always had a limited audience, and Cli-Fi is currently a niche within a niche. In order to change hearts and minds it needs a pretty serious breakthrough. This goes not just for Cli-Fi, but for the entire fight against climate change. The signs of this are good, the topic is currently bubbling in the popular consciousness with more ferocity than ever before. We can only hope that those inspired by the likes of Greta Thunberg and Extinction Rebellion continue to educate and enthuse others. Bradbury could have been speaking about climate change when he said it “will change everything for everyone”. And that is why it is so important that we encourage every effort to tackle climate change. Art is certainly one way in which the message the world needs to hear might be amplified. Perhaps, as you’re reading this, a budding young writer is penning a Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter level tale of the threat posed by climate change. Perhaps this is what it will take to get the masses truly mobilised. I’m not sure if Cli-Fi will be able to do this, I’m worried the tightrope might be too thin to tread. That said, considering the alternatives, it has got to be worth a try.
Wednesday 4 December 2019
Why more museums should return their colonial artefacts OPINION Adam Sundle Arts Contributor
This month, Manchester Museum became the first UK institution to return ceremonial items to aboriginal groups. This step taken by the museum could well become a catalyst for museums to give back their colonial artefacts acquired through European endeavours and colonial expansion. Indeed, the University of Edinburgh has decided to give back a set of skulls to Sri Lanka too. So, why should other museums follow suit? Museums have been put under increased pressure in recent years about how their artefacts have been acquired imperialistically. But Tiffany Jenkins, author of Keeping Their Marbles, argues that repatriating colonial artefacts is an unnecessary politicising of culture. She believes this insurgence in restitution has stemmed from “an insecurity and crisis in the idea of what a museum is for.” However, Jenkins’ perception that the repatriating of such artefacts is unwarranted politicisation of culture is part of Britain’s overall problem concerning its views on its former Empire. Indeed, Britain has ignored its violent atrocities from imperialist endeavours for too long. This links back to the denial that Britain has about the way in which it treated its colonised peoples. The idea that keeping the artefacts in museums can aid our understanding of empires and decolonisation as Victoria and Albert Museum director Tristram Hunt has said ignores the fact that merely having such artefacts isn’t acknowledging the brutality in which they were acquired and is thus an inherent contradiction. The British Museum has returned artefacts from Iraq and Afghanistan that were stolen by the Taliban, but when it comes to colonial-era artefacts the museum has been accused of having “its head in the sand”. In the ‘Indigenous Australia: Enduring Civilisation’ exhibition, many items were obtained by massacring thousands of aboriginal inhabitants. Artefacts were stolen in raids, remains were dug up and stolen, with the British justifying this to ‘prove’ supposed European superiority and ‘scientifically’
racial predominance. If museums continue to contain such artefacts, they are evidently not sympathetic to the brutal manner in which they were obtained, thus contradicting the idea it can help us to understand empires better. Furthermore, it also ignores any moral argument that these possessions do not indeed belong to them, especially given the manner in which they were obtained. The UN support the repatriation of artefacts too. In 2007 it formed a declaration of the rights of indigenous peoples which aimed to restore “cultural, intellectual, religious and spiritual property” that had been taken from indigenous people without their “free, prior and informed consent or in violation of their laws, traditions and customs.”
The returning of colonial artefacts brings to the forefront the wider discussion about acknowledging the struggles of the people in colonised nations It has been argued that by keeping artefacts they will be safer and better maintained. This is contradictory in itself as it relates back to the British Empire’s perception that they are more civilised than its conquered nations and are thus superior. Speaking to Vogue, Ghanian historian Nana Oforiatta Ayim refutes that colonial artefacts give any educational purpose or have any right in museums: “In the British Museum, you have the African galleries, and it’s like, ‘this drum is from 1500 Ashanti,’ but there is nothing else about it. You don’t know what it is used for, what context it’s from, how it was brought here, who stole it. The museum as it exists today is so much an imperialist project and is so much about power.” France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, has also called for repatriation, claiming that he could not “accept that a large part of
Arty Secret Santa gifts for £10 or less Kate Procter Arts Editor
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cultural heritage from several African countries is in France.” The acknowledgement that these artefacts have been acquired through brute force is an important step in the discussion surrounding the roles of empires’ barbarity. The violence and exploitation of colonised nations is an aspect of 19th century empires that has been disregarded for far too long. The returning of colonial artefacts brings to the forefront the wider discussion about acknowledging the struggles of the people in colonised nations and the voice of the subaltern in the world of empires. Critics of repatriation should acknowledge the reaction of the Indigenous Gangalidda Garawa group when the first artefacts were handed back to them from Manchester Museum. The leader, Mangubadijarri Yanner, described the handing back ceremony as “extremely emotional, spiritual and powerful – cathartic and healing.” Christopher Simpson, the director of AIATSIS and a Wakka Wakka descendent added that “our people want our sacred items home” and this will help “tell the full story of those items.” This shows the significance of these artefacts for indigenous people and that morally returning such artefacts would aid the healing process of the damage that empires have caused. By returning colonial artefacts, museums symbolically admit their brutality in having claimed such items. Whilst it won’t heal the wounds of the indigenous peoples of whom they stole from in their entirety, it will represent a changing sympathy to them. It will show that Britain and other empires are finally understanding their coercion and oppression upon its colonies, rather than continuing to glorify itself on the world stage.
Frida Kahlo mini plant pot asos.com, £6 There’s not much you can’t buy with Frida Kahlo’s face on these days. This cute plant pot of the Mexican painter will be sure to brighten any student’s bedroom while paying homage to the iconic artist.
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While your hours away adding colour to Sheffield’s cityscape. Don’t like the Arts Tower’s grey exterior? Make it pink or orange or both - that’s the joy of colouring. Comes with dedicated Henderson’s Relish pages. Vinnie door stopper meettheweggies.com, £16 OK, so technically this gift is over £10 but just look at Vincent’s cute little straw hat. Plus, door stopper does come under ‘essentials’ for student bedrooms. Other artists are available including a fetching Dali.
Christmas book stocking fillers Are you the sort of person that spends days worrying what to get your weird, nerdy cousin for Christmas? Do you have a friend who rolls their eyes and scoffs as they unwrap the latest collection of Jeremy Clarkson columns? Well, fear no more because we at Forge Press have got you covered! From fiction to memoir to essays and poetry, we collated a list of recent book releases plus some older gems. So if it’s a gift for your one friend obsessed with pre-war football or the one only two drinks away from being able to talk about nothing but the Soviet Union, you’ll find something below for all the wonderful odd balls in your life. By Kate Procter, Rosie Davenport and James Turrell
The Mysterium By David Bramwell and Jo Keeling A user guide to the strange and unexplained corners of modern life. The Mysterium catalogues a host of bizarre, funny and intriguing stories from outer space’s version of the Bermuda Triangle to tales of the dark web. A great gift for your friend a little too obsessed with conspiracy theories. (KP)
Trick Mirror By Jia Tolentino A bold and playful collection of essays on the topic of self-delusion. Tolentino gleans much-needed sense out of the daily distortions and conflicted opinion of today’s world. Traversing subjects from religion to drugs, feminism to internet culture, she writes with style and humour for these strangest of times. (KP)
Fleabag: The Scriptures By Phoebe Waller-Bridge For the die-hard PWB fans in your life, or just those of us missing the much-loved TV programme, this book houses a collection of scripts from the TV series script as well as never seen-before stage directions plus an in-depth analysis of the unforgettable voice of Fleabag. (RD)
Albert Angelo By B.S. Johnson A novel unlike any other, Alberto Angelo was Johnson’s masterpiece of experimentation. With literal holes in the pages, the book may appear oblique but at its centre it’s a brilliant comic novel. Buy this for your friend who pretends to have read Ulysses but never finished it. (JT)
Gotta Get Theroux This By Louis Theroux Even for through and Theroux fans (sorry a pun can’t be avoided) the master interviewer is still something of an enigma to his viewing public. But in his new memoir Louis reveals what makes him tick, the challenges he has faced and what he really thought of those he has interviewed. Perfect for the friend with a Theroux cushion in their room. (KP)
The Zoo of the New Edited by Nick Laird and Don Paterson This colourful selection of poetry classics is sure to warm you up on a cold winter’s evening. With a variety of poets from Frank O’Hara all the way back to Thomas Wyatt, there is something for everyone in this anthology of much-loved poems. (RD)
Out of the Woods By Luke Turner One of our finest music writers turns his hand to nature writing with a brutal aplomb. Turner writes about sexuality in a way few others can – piercing, gut-wrenchingly honest but incredibly funny. Get this for the person in your life that has sex in forests but cries afterwards. (JT)
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous By Ocean Vuong Poet Ocean Vuong’s debut novel is a tender portrait of a family, and a testament to the redemptive power of storytelling. Written in the form of a letter from a son to his illiterate mother, it will make you fall in love with the art of writing this Christmas. (RD)
Calypso By David Sedaris
Invisible Women By Caroline Criado Perez From government policy and medical research, to workplaces and the media,
Tokyo Ueno Station By Yu Muri Focussing on a contemporary Japan, Muri’s novel deals with death, imperialism and homelessness in its exploration of how we inhabit spaces. It unveils the dark side of the postwar boom in Japan as it examines and analyses social structures of the past. (RD)
Twas The Night Before Christmas By Adam Kay
The Adventures of Maud West, Lady Detective By Susannah Stapleton Move over Miss Marple, there’s a new female detective on the scene this Christmas - only this time she’s real. Maud West grabbed headlines with her crime investigations in the first half of the 20th century. This book intertwines her cases with social history. A real treat for Agatha Christie fans. (KP)
The Names Heard Long Ago By Jonathan Wilson The greatest football writer in the English language produces another fascinating history lesson. The story of Hungarian football from 1916–56 may seem inconceivably obscure but it reveals humanity’s endless capacity for brilliant ingenuity. This is for people who think Tim Lovejoy is a worse affront to humanity than Idi Amin. (JT)
Stalin’s Daughter By Rosemary Sullivan The finest biography written in years, Sullivan’s life of Svetlana Alliluyeva offers a wondrous snapshot of not just of Cold War history but how a person survives an unimaginably deranged childhood. A tome certainly, but one that never outstays its 600+ page length. (JT)
The Penguin Book of Christmas Stories Edited by Jessica Harrison
A collection of 21 essays that glimpse into Sedaris’ own family history and traditions. His essays explore both politics, tragedy and mortality as he shocks readers with his honesty and truthfulness. His deeply personal writing, littered with dark humour will have you binge-reading all of Sedaris’ other work over the holidays. (RD)
A festive follow up to This is Going to Hurt, Adam Kay’s new book is a hilarious, little read filled with anecdotes from life as a junior doctor on ward at the most challenging time of the year. This book will no doubt cheer up any reader who finds it in their stocking. (KP)
Invisible Women reveals the world’s gender data gap. A gap that has created a pervasive but invisible bias with a profound effect on women’s lives. In making the case for change, this powerful and provocative book will make you see the world anew. (KP)
The perfect present for literature lovers. Penguin’s new collection contains some of the greatest festive short stories of all time. From a wide array of writer, you will be transported around the world from frozen Nordic woods to midnight mass in Rio, and even outer space. (KP)
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Dana Raer and Ella Craig Music Editors
Welcome to the Forge music section where we have filled our pages with opinions on whether Christmas songs are overrated or underrated, the top five best albums of the season and a feature on punk revival. For the last issue of the year, we also decided to include two album reviews, both receiving four stars each; Everyday Life by Coldplay and
Dana created a whole page dedicated to Leonard Cohen’s latest album, released after his death, as a farewell for his fans. What’s more, Ella provided the best imagery by designing the Christmas tree on page 29. It’s been an incredible journey as music editors for the last few months and we are ready to move forward with new interesting developments and ideas in 2020. See you next year.
Are we in the midst of a
FEATURE Thomas Hirst Music Contributor
Let’s go back to the 1970s: the UK is in political and economic turmoil and many of the working-class are feeling cheated and forgotten. From the anger emerges bands like The Sex Pistols and The Clash, who with inherently political messages, spat in the face of the established order and flooded the streets with youths clad in ripped clothes and a DIY ethic. They used music as inspiration to revolt. Fast-forward almost 50 years, and amidst the uncertainty of Brexit, many of the working classes are again feeling overlooked and pockets of distaste for the country’s diversity are becoming worryingly outspoken. This climate is one where punk music is primed once again to rear its troublesome face and incite something within the
Sex Pistols Image Credit: Koen Suyk
Are Christmas songs over or underrated? OPINION Danny Lardner Music Contributor
Underrated: We’ve hit December now, so the entire nation surely has free reign to start properly enjoying Christmas. The lights are lit, decorations hung, and Mariah Carey’s holiday bangers are blaring out from every shop in town. It’s this time of year when people start finding it fashionable to start complaining about Christmas. While the rest of us are starting to get excited for the most wonderful and warm time of the year and playing some cheery festive tunes, the anti-Christmas brigade can’t help but voice their frustration at everyone else’s happiness. “It gets earlier and earlier every year,” they say while scowling
at some Christmas decorations. “It’s all too commercialised these days,” they observe, ripping down all the festive lights in the house. “Christmas is overrated anyway,” they’ll mutter, after punching a carol-singing child in the throat. I think these people need to be educated about the concept of fun. Christmas and its associated music brings so many people, myself included, a lot of happiness in this dark time of deadlines and dissertations. For so many people, the sound of their favourite festive songs bring back irreplaceable memories of childhood - of the intense excitement around Christmas Eve and flying downstairs the next morning to see what the big man from the North Pole dropped off for us. The pressures of university life start to stack up at this time of
year. The introduction of Christmas music is one of the few liberators from the inexorable creep of dread generated by approaching postChristmas exams and the general stresses of higher education. What we need in these circumstances is a window into a happier time - a time of primary school Christmas discos, advent calendar raids, and circling your dream toys from the Argos catalogue. If you think Christmas music is overrated, do us all a favour and keep it to yourself. We’ll keep enjoying Mariah’s Merry Christmas 25th Anniversary Edition while you go and shout at a Christmas tree or something. There’s more to life than hating Christmas tunes. We’ve all got bigger problems. Brexit is still dragging on. There’s a big fucking hole in the ozone layer. TikTok is still going, for crying out loud.
people. Despite punk music not being as popular as it was back in the 70s, you need not look further than this year’s Mercury Prize to see the recognition it’s getting. Both IDLES of Bristol and Fontaines DC of Dublin were nominated for album of the year for Joy as an Act of Resistance and Dogrel respectively - Joy as an Act of Resistance being 11 songs of pure radical rage. The album touches on modern issues like immigration, the toxicity of masculinity and austerity. Dogrel on the other hand is more about identity, with Fontaines painting a raw and authentic picture of their hometown, promoting pride in history and culture and interweaving a poetic Irish charm into the core of the ragged postpunk music they were making. Both are poignant but necessary, whilst still being excellent records. Not only is the genre back in its recognisable form, its ideals are seeping throughout modern music.
Ella Craig Music Editor Overrated: The beginning of December is approaching and everywhere you go, they’re following you. The same jingly songs that stalked you last holiday season are back to haunt you again this year. They are overly cheerful and repetitive and they play on a loop in every single shop, bar, workplace, cafe, restaurant, even on the car radio. And I hate it. For similar reasons to why I don’t listen to certain pop radio stations (an opinion for another time), listening to the same songs on repeat gets extremely boring. They play everywhere you go and it’s the same ones every year alongside a few new additions from pop artists each year that will never be as memorable as the classics. I mean, it would be okay if there were actually any good Christmas
Most recognisably in rap and grime, which are genres that are infinitely more popular than punk nowadays, but similarly, the artists are exposing unknown truths and struggles in the lives of the lower-classes. If you need an example, just look at Slowthai and his critically acclaimed debut Nothing Great about Britain. An album that champions this exact narrative and one whose title alone is a political statement you’d expect to have come from the Sex Pistols. Whilst the punk of today does not wear all black, grow long hair and cause chaos like it used to, its political and nonconformist essence is being nurtured within the uncertainty of modern Britain, an influence that is defying genre and creating a breeding ground for important discussion across the board.
songs to listen to! But no, the cliche sleigh bells, echoing choirs and jolly choruses in every song don’t really make them stand out tracks that people would choose to listen to. If you do choose to listen to Christmas songs, then you definitely need Santa to bring you some new ears for Christmas as you mustn’t be able to hear these terrible songs properly. Also all Christmas songs are usually lacking in any lyrical creativity at all. Even in the most recent songs are either about the countdown to Christmas or longing over past lovers. Little Mix’s latest release ‘One I’ve Been Missing’ is a prime example of this as they sing “I need to show you how much I need you this Christmas” above the classic sleighbell chimes and a harmonic gospel choir. Even in 2019 Christmas songs are reiterating the same old conventions and it’s time to think of something more original.
Wednesday 4 December 2019
REVIEW Coldplay: Everyday life
Top five Christmas albums
Rahul Warrier Music Contributor
After the cheerful, carefree vibes of A Head Full of Dreams, Coldplay have taken their time to come back down to Everyday Life. 2017’s EP Kaleidoscope and 2018’s Global Citizen (released under the brand Los Unidades) offered a brief glance into an evolved Coldplay. Everyday Life, however, sees the band delve much deeper into experimentation: it is a wide-ranging spread of genres and styles, setting it apart from past Coldplay albums. The double album, fittingly named Sunrise and Sunset, mixes up themes, genres and languages to a point where it reflects the title perfectly. Everyday Life isn’t about a singular concept running through, but a mix that reflects the muddledness of life. There’s gospel choir, Arabic singers and piano music. ‘Guns’ is Chris Martin’s antifirearm plea, while ‘Trouble in Town’ includes a recording of a policeman racially profiling an innocent man in USA. Chris Martin has always been open with his political views, but the band’s music now reflects that too. These specific sentiments even include expletives - not over the top - but it’s a small reflection of how they now view themselves. The multiculturalism is best reflected in the six-minute ‘Arabesque’: a bizarre musical journey involving Femi Kuti’s extended family and Belgian musician Stromae, marrying afrobeat with French verses. Norah Shaqur adds a beautiful Arabic verse to the typical Coldplay sounding ‘Church.’ There’s even ‘Bani Adam’, stylised in Arabic, one of a few instrumental-dominated songs. This is an album that strives to transcend regional and cultural boundaries. No matter your stance on Coldplay, you have to give them credit for attempting to speak about world issues through the lighter medium of music. Their brand offers them the chance to do so. Martin recently spoke about not touring until they were more eco-friendly: a statement met with derision in some points. But Coldplay have the resources to at least try. Everyday Life is all over the place, but it reflects everyday life perfectly. If “music is the weapon of the future”, then Coldplay very much want to be wielding it.
FEATURE Yash Raveendra Music Contributor
A Pentatonix Christmas - The Pentatonix Unbelievable talent can be heard whilst you stream this album. The Pentatonix has brought an acapella twist on all our classics. Every tune has a unique beat; ‘O Come, All Ye Faithful’, makes you feel like you’re in Lion King. It’s traditional beats paired with their amazing vocals make this song the star of the album. They also have conventional songs like ‘Coventry Carol’ which presents a more unique acappella feel than the rest. All in all, it is a must have for everyone this Christmas! Merry Christmas II you - Mariah Carey ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ by Mariah Carey has proved its dominance by topping our charts every Christmas. Our famous diva has brought in a gospel choir to bring twists to our classic Christmas
songs. Paired with her amazing vocals, she has brought a contemporary twist to this album. My favourite is ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town’ because you can hear the beauty of contemporary music paired with the gospel choir alongside her strong vocals; it’s so pleasing to the ear. We all know, Mariah Carey is a must-have every Christmas! Christmas - Michael Bublé Everyone knows since November has come to an end, Michael Bublé is defrosting as I write. As we all know, he is a great vocalist smooth, steady and his songs make Christmas complete. He is backed up by amazing musicians and guest vocalists such as Shania Twain - to deliver our favourite classics. ‘It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas’ is just one of the very few that is still laidback and that has you humming while you wrap the fairy lights around your tree. The more upbeat versions of ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town’ and
‘Jingle Bells’ bring in symphonies to give these classics a very jazzlike twist. It gets you into the spirit and energizes you while you are wrapping your gifts. I don’t think there is anything left to say as we all know he’s everyone’s favourite during Christmas - especially to our mums! Under the Mistletoe - Justin Bieber Even those who aren’t Bieber fans have begrudgingly admitted that some of his songs on this album are good. He has brought in many guests artists (Boyz II Men and Mariah Carey) to bring us beautiful melodies. In this album, ‘Fa La La’ with Boyz II Men sticks out. Their harmonies paired with the chilled beat brings music to your ears literally. This is definitely a song you’d want to dedicate to your partner. Besides all of that, his original single ‘Under the Mistletoe’ is definitely a nice lullaby that you’d want to listen to in front of the fire with your loved ones. With this album, you’ll surely want to spend your time under the
mistletoe. A Legendary Christmas - John Legend The classiest album of all goes to John Legend. This album brings in retro soul, jazz and swing all into one. Classics like ‘Merry Christmas’ will surely have you dancing with your loved ones and it is definitely the best song on this album! The jazz symphony combined with Legend’s energetic and lively vocals definitely put the cherry on top! Guests such as Stevie Wonder and Kelly Clarkson wow us with their strong vocals that complement Legend. Along with the perfectly paired beats and vocals, this album will have you dancing and singing, surely making your Christmas a very lively one!
Image Credit: Universal Island Records, Columbian Records, The Island and Def Jam Music Group, Reprise Records, RCA Records Modifications by Ella Craig
Leonard Cohen’s legacy in music REVIEW Leonard Cohen: Thanks for the Dance Dana Raer Music Editor
Leonard Cohen had that husky, strong and cold voice that we were all familiar with in our childhoods. Your mum would play it in the house and sing along to ‘In My Secret Life’ and you’d pretend to match her musical tastes. Or when on a road trip with both your parents, the radio would not be working, and you stumble upon an old CD at the back of the car. Your dad would say ‘Oh, that is my favourite singer!’, but you never listened intently to understand why. It was a tune of your childhood, nothing more.
That album marks experiences of his life, depression, drug issues and sex – in a sense, it was nothing new from his previous songs With the release of Thanks for the Dance, an album of unheard songs chosen by his songwriter son after his death in 2016, I started listening for real. That album marks experiences of his life, depression, drug issues and sex – in a sense, it was nothing new from his previous songs, but it includes a crystal-clear farewell for his fans. That is why I wouldn’t exactly say this album represents his legacy as a musician, as some of the songs were not released for a specific reason. Every song of his is literally a poem. In ‘Listen to the Hummingbird’, it is like he is reciting an impromptu poem right next to me; his voice has always been profoundly captivating. No matter how cynical or depressing his words are, he has the most calming way of singing. Thus, the poetry combined with the guitar creates a nostalgic and enchanting mind space where you can lose your train of thought and reminisce. Another song with the same name as the album, ‘Thanks for
the Dance’, shows how his creative mind does not stop there. Even after his death, it continues in the form of a Spotify or YouTube playlist waiting to be played again. His legacy as a musician is engraved in time through his lyrics. ‘You Want It Darker’ was
Even after his death, it continues in the form of a Spotify or YouTube playlist waiting to be played again released a few weeks before his death. The choir combined with his singing developed a stagnant apocalyptic view of the world through crescendos “you killed the flame”. Leonard Cohen created his own art as a salvation from depression and alcohol - sufferings with which he had to deal with for almost all his life. That is why listening to ‘The Goal’ is understanding what “a smile of defeat” truly is. It is a quite depressing and realistic minute of feeling low, but that gets better with the following songs ‘Puppets’, ‘The Night of Santiago’; all accompanied by guitar and a choir. ‘Hallelujah’, on the other hand, shows a more religious side of his life; Leonard Cohen used to juggle a lot with different religions as a form of escapism from his depression. ‘Famous Blue Raincoat’, an old song of his, makes its reappearance on this album and it is fantastic in every sense of the word. Putting one of the most popular and loved songs he created in a farewell playlist was a great choice from his son.
Every song of his is literally a poem. In ‘Listen to the Hummingbird’, it is like he is reciting an impromptu poem right next to me In the end, it is refreshing to hear his soothing voice again in new songs hidden from the public, especially when he sings about touching topics such as religion, politics, love and sex in a manner of lyrical eloquence and joy. Image Credit: Rama (Wikimedia Commons)
How would you shape your University?
The University is currently working on its new strategy which will define their focus and priorities. Come along to Ask Your University and speak directly with members of the University Executive Board.
Monday 9th December, 17:30 Gallery Presentation Area, Students' Union (level 4)
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Dan Cross & Josh Teggert Screen Editors
In the immortal words of Noddy Holder: “It’s Christmasssss”, but since you’re quite far into the paper you’ve already picked up on that by now. Same thing from us then: it’s a very festive-themed screen section for our last issue of the year. We’ve ‘borrowed’ an idea that Music did a few weeks ago and polled Forge’s favourite Christmas film of all time.
There’s plenty of reviews from our amazing contributors - Jay Jackson has been to see Last Christmas, a new festive rom-com featuring the music of the late George Michael. Michelle Almeida has reviewed the hotly-anticipated Frozen II and James Turrell brings you his thoughts on Klaus - a new animated adventure brought to by the creators of the Despicable Me franchise, while Josh looks back over the last decade of film and television...
It’s snow secret: Screen presents Forge’s favourite Christmas movie of all time... As you may have noticed by the time you get to the little ol’ Screen section, this issue is particularly Christmas-themed. So we’re jumping on that bandwagon and (sort of) copying an idea that Music had a few weeks ago - they wanted to find out Forge Press’ favourite UK album of the 21st century and in keeping with the Christmas spirit, we want to know the favourite Christmas movie of all time as decided by our readers. First we asked Forge Press committee
members for their picks, then we took to contributors group on Facebook with a poll and a whole lot of strong opinions ensued. Suggestions were quite varied, ranging from Star Wars (“because it comes out at Christmas”) and Die Hard to The Polar Express and The Muppets Christmas Carol. As you might expect, this was an incredibly close vote with only two votes in it between first and second but we can now reveal the winner is… Love Actually.
In my humble opinion, Love Actually is a festive, cinematic masterpiece. It explores a multitude of emotions and issues, including grieving a loved one, class divides in romantic situations (basically a modern day Romeo and Juliet), and overcoming the harmful stereotypes surrounding men’s emotions. No other Christmas film has successfully made the whole nation detest someone as much as the UK detests Harry. That necklace was fucking horrible anyway. I’d rather have a Joni Mitchell CD. Horrible twat. It’s a film for the people, Love Actually is an all-rounder, a timeless classic, and it should be law that every UK citizen has to watch it before December 25 - Alicia Hannah | Break Editor
Love Actually Home Alone How the Grinch Stole Christmas Die Hard Elf
Yes I’ll take “Things you wouldn’t expect in your car” for 500 please Alex Image credits: Movie DB
REVIEW Film: Klaus James Turrell Screen Contributor
Image Credit: Movie DB
This sweet but so-so animated feature from Despicable Me creator Sergio Pablos has snowy festive charm, but is lacking a punch of idiosyncrasy. A Santa Claus origin story mixed with a coming-of-age tale, Klaus is warm-hearted and visually delightful, yet is missing a certain spark to distinguish it from any number of Christmas-themed animations released year on year. Jesper (Jason Schwartzman) is a teenage aristocrat; he is ostensibly training to be a postman at his dad’s
company but spends the majority of his time lounging on silk sheets and eating fine foods. His father, keen to see his lavish idleness replaced with hard-work and achievement, sends Jesper to Smeerensburg – a brutal, snow-drenched icescape to facilitate his transition from slacker to workhorse. He is given the task of delivering 6,000 letters in a year, and if he fails he will be cut off from the seemingly never-ending tap of his family’s wealth. It all seems hopeless for Jesper, until he chances upon a large, looming figure with protruding belly and an enormous white beard, the titular Klaus (JK Simmons). From here on, Klaus and Jesper start delivering toys to the island’s children and the film begins the plodding inevitability of its
narrative. Pablos has created a wonderful traditional feel to the animated palette of Klaus, aside from the human characters themselves who are distinctly CGI figures, the landscape itself is superbly handdrawn. There is also a surprising lack of humour in the film, with Pablos resorting to tired visual gags that only raise the briefest of smiles. Overall, Klaus is a film made with precision and confidence, but is perhaps lacking a flash of originality to make it a festive classic. There is much to praise: the beautifully drawn landscape; the imperious Klaus; the nimble way the film darts from ethereal and lush textures; and Rashida Jones is excellent as ragged school teacher Alva. It’s a fine film, but therein lies the problem - it’s just fine, and nothing more.
Wednesday 4 December 2019
REVIEW Film: Frozen 2 Michelle Almeida Screen Contributor
After a six-year wait, directors Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck have wowed the silver screen with the second instalment of Frozen, aptly titled Frozen 2. The film stars the iconic snow Queen Elsa (Idina Menzel) and her free-spirited sister Anna (Kristen Bell), along with Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), his trusty reindeer Sven and our ever loved snowman Olaf (Josh Gad). The heroes embark on a fantastical adventure to help uncover the secrets of their family’s past that
Image Credit: Movie DB are threatening to destroy their beloved kingdom of Arendelle in the present. The musical sequel throws light onto the importance of sisterhood,
REVIEW Film: Last Christmas Jay Jackson Screen Contributor
For George Michael obsessives, this is one of the most eagerly anticipated festive releases of the year, but sadly Last Christmas comfortably takes the title of one of the worst films of this year. Last Christmas, directed by Paul Feig and written by Bryony Kimmings, Emma Thompson, and Greg Wise is the story of Kate (Emilia Clarke) and her recovery from an ‘illness’ that is infuriatingly skirted around like a pothole until the final act of this car crash attempt at romantic-comedy. Kate works as an elf at a year-round Christmas shop, and the story unfolds as she
women’s empowerment, the importance of love, and the need for acceptance to its young viewers and adults. These elements are beautifully encapsulated through the humorous and simple dialogues of the cast. Keeping in touch with the first Frozen, the illuminating visual effects makes this a sequel which is full of life. From the lighting effects to the animations of the characters, even the sounds - everything is played out rather amazingly, giving the film a crisp, modern technology feel. Credit also needs to be given to the soundtrack of the movie. Songs such as ‘Into the Unknown’ by Idina Menzel and AURORA, ‘Reindeer(s) Are Better Than People’ by Jonathan Groff and one the cutest and best ‘80s rock bangers, ‘Lost in the Woods’ written by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez for Groff’s role as Kristoff. The songs are artistically composed to draw the attention of the young audience towards the idea of growing up and the importance of family and sibling relationships. The concept of grief, which is a rather sensitive topic, is brought out delicately without having to disappoint the young viewers. While the tone and overall charm of the songs did not really meet the expectations of the audience as compared to the first instalment, the composers still did a fantastic job with them. Frozen 2 is filled with moments
attempts to find stability and clarity in her uncertain life. Let’s start with the few redeeming features of the film - the soundtrack to the film feels thoughtfully curated; Wham! and George Michael fans won’t be disappointed by the mix of recognisable hits (‘Faith’,
The screenplay is particularly uninspiring, laden with tedious robotic dialogue and fusty cliches ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go’, ‘Freedom ‘90’) and are treated to some lesser-known ballads (‘Waiting For That Day’, ‘Heal The Pain’). There’s some poignant - if unsubtle - social commentary about Brexit, the culture wars and
Image Credit: Movie DB that make you laugh your guts out or bawl your eyes out. One of the best scenes in the film comes, without doubt, from our adorable little snowman Olaf, when he recounts the entire first movie in his typical dramatic persona. The film also grazes upon the modern-day issues of climate change and breaking the stereotypes of the way Disney have portrayed female characters. This is the first animated Disney film in the 21st
century to dress female leads in
trousers (after Mulan in 1998 and
Jasmine in Aladdin in 1992), which is a subtle yet huge step in breaking the traditional barriers of archetypal female presentation in Disney films. Frozen 2 has considerably large shoes to fill, and the second film works hard to meet the expectations of the viewers. It’s a must-watch for a night of entertainment that will have you laugh and cry but will ultimately leave you satisfied as you walk out the theatre with a smile gracing your lips.
the immigrant experience, a nice touch in a film that is ostensibly inspired by George Michael, himself an LGBTQ+ man and secondgeneration immigrant. Andrew Ridgeley makes a pleasing cameo as does Sue Perkins - and the film does well in terms of representation of minority groups. Whilst the film has well-chosen music, the application of the score is rather jarring. Often simply played loudly over the top of a scene for no reason, the film lacks some serious diegetic balance. The screenplay is particularly uninspiring, laden with tedious robotic dialogue and fusty cliches. But undoubtedly, the worst part of the film is the wholly unnecessary and risible plot device used to tie the film together; clearly intended to be the emotional climax of the film, it’s mainlining-lemon-juice-intomy-veins level of cringe-inducing. Shutter Island, The Firm, Fanta Fruit - this twist is worse than all of them.
Most puzzlingly, for a film that clearly attempts to have a social conscience, it has some profoundly problematic scenes. The most egregious example being when Kate outs her sister Marta (Lydia Leonard) to her family during an argument - a nightmare scenario for many LGBTQ+ people - and not dissimilar to what happened to George Michael himself in 1998, when he was outed to the world by the LAPD. The scene is completely unnecessary, deeply uncomfortable to watch and
bordering on indefensible. There’s also a scene that depicts homeless people as greedy - a lazy and downright offensive trope. Overall, it’s really quite tedious, a lengthy 104 minutes that I would heartily suggest you spend doing literally anything else - why not spend the time reading the manifestos of the political parties for the upcoming General Election? It’ll almost certainly be funnier and might well be more romantic than this film.
The concept of grief, a sensitive subject, is brought out delicately without having to dissapoint younger viewers
Image Credit: Movie DB
The last decade of film and TV - the age of superheroes, sequels, and sentimentality FEATURE Josh Teggert Screen Editor
As we prepare to enter into the third decade of this millennium (yeah, scary right?), it seems only fitting to close this year of Screen by reflecting on the last 10 years. It’s not unfair to assert that, in so many regards, the 2010s has been defined by the increasingly monopolised nature of the film and TV industries. Here is a quick rundown of the development of cinema and television over the past decade. FILM: The past 10 years have seen quite a turbulent shift within Hollywood, and 2010 began the decade with a turning point. Toy Story 3 and Alice in Wonderland both earned over $1 billion worldwide, which marked
Most Watched TV Shows of the last decade in the UK (in millions)* 2010: The X-Factor (12 December) - 16.55 - ITV 2011: Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton (29 April) - 13.59 - BBC One 2012: 2012 Summer Olympics Closing Ceremony (12 August) 24.46 - BBC One 2013: New Year’s Eve Fireworks (31 December) 13.53 - BBC One 2014: 2014 FIFA World Cup Final: Germany v Argentina (13 July) - 14.96 - BBC One 2015: The Great British Bake Off (7 October) - 15.05 BBC One 2016: The Great British Bake Off (26 October) - 15.90 BBC One 2017: Blue Planet II (29 October) - 14.01 - BBC One 2018: 2018 FIFA World Cup: Croatia v England (11 July) 20.73 - ITV 2019: Line of Duty (5 May 2019) - 12.69 - BBC One * all information correct as of 29 November 2019
It’s been a mammoth of a decade for film and TV All images: Movie DB
Highest-grossing films worldwide of the 2010s (in $US) * 1. Avengers: Endgame (2019) - 2.797 billion Disney 2. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) - 2.068 billion - Disney 3. Avengers: Infinity War (2018) - 2.048 billion Disney
the first time ever that two films had grossed over that amount in the same year. Compared with 2019, as of writing this, seven films so far this year have managed to haul in a box office total of over $1 billion, including the first R-rated film ever to do so in Todd Phillips’ Joker. The figure will no doubt reach eight when Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is released in December. Hollywood’s franchisement progressed in December 2015 when the release of Disney’s The Force Awakens ushered in a new age of Star Wars film and TV, sparking constant debate in its passionate if hysterically entitled - fan base. Marvel continued their conquest of cinema (Scorsese’s fuming), reaching the peak of its achievement with this year’s Avengers: Endgame - the highest-grossing film of all time. It’s impossible to avoid the influence of sequels and franchises on modern Hollywood. In fact, a study by the Radio Times in 2018 suggests that there has been a steady rise in the number of sequels and remakes since 1993, with the number of sequels in the top 25 highest-grossing films of each year having multiplied by 700% over 25 years. The last decade also saw the unfolding of the #MeToo movement, which exposed big Hollywood names who had allegedly used their power in Hollywood to sexually abuse individuals for decades. The movement changed the face of film forever, and one can only hope it continues to encourage the necessity for equality between the sexes. Some exciting new talent emerged as well. Greta Gerwig surfaced as one of the most exciting new filmmakers towards the latter part of the decade,
and Damien Chazzelle is now a household name after his Oscarwinning streak with Whiplash and La La Land. Keneth Lonergan; Marielle Heller; Sean Baker; Patty Jenkins; all of these made some serene films in the 2010s, and many readers may not know who they are. Not everything is sequels and remakes; we’re often just looking at things from a monetised perspective. Admittedly, inflation bumping up ticket prices by 26% on average over the last decade has meant that audiences are choosing to spend money on tentpole releases. But ultimately, studios are outputting based on demand. A trip to the nearest independent cinema (Showroom Workstation is one of the finest in the area) may just help open your mind to a new breed of cinema you may otherwise have not observed, and help sustain the art of so many talented individuals. TV: TV experienced a similar seismic shift over the course of the last decade. The advancement of home entertainment technology has meant the emergence of what we now know as “binge-watching culture”, led by the powerhouse that is Netflix. The mammoth streaming service began this decade in transition between its previous core business model - DVD rentals - and its new format which is, of course, streaming online content. It was just beginning its European expansion in 2012, arriving in the UK in January that year, and by February 2013, Netflix had released the first of its original content. The groundbreaking House of Cards. The 2010s then became swallowed by the mass popularity of Netflix’s service, that other businesses such as Amazon Prime, Now TV, and
more recently Disney+ and Britbox have attempted to compete with the American streaming service, but none have come close. 2017 was said to be the first year that the same number of people were subscribed to Netflix as to cable TV in America; 73% of all households. Netflix has produced some high-quality original material since then. Highlights include British royal family drama The Crown, prison-based Orange is the New Black, notalgia-infused 80s smash hit Stranger Things, and Breaking Bad prequel series Better Call Saul. In retrospect, Netflix has provided some of the decade’s unchallengeable greatest hits, but it’s not the only place all the good TV has been. How can TV in the 2010s not be discussed without Game of Thrones? This show instantaneously took over the world back in 2011 when Sean Bean fronted the fantasy series. Though his stay didn’t last long, the series ran for eight seasons and took the hearts of so many individuals. Its controversial ending will go down as one of the most infamous in TV history. Other notable TV shows this decade include The Walking Dead, Community, Peaky Blinders and HBO’s limited series Chernobyl released this year. Naturally, I cannot list every good TV show of this decade, but things have changed for television recently more than ever. Streaming services are on their way to overtaking regular cable TV, putting the likes of the BBC and ITV at risk. The modernisation of TV has allowed for new areas of television to be explored, and more depth to stories and characters, and the future of TV only promises more of this exciting new material. But there may be some issues with providers
4. Jurassic World (2015) 1.671 billion - Universal 5. The Lion King (2019) 1.655 billion - Disney 6. The Avengers (2012) 1.518 billion - Disney 7. Furious 7 (2015) - 1.516 billion - Universal 8. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) - Disney 9. Black Panther (2018) 1.346 billion - Disney 10. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 (2011) - $1.341 - Warner Bros. * all information correct as of 29 November 2019
and streaming services which need ironing out. Conclusion: It’s now more important than ever to support independent projects.
There will always be films and TV shows which fly under the radar of many cinemagoers, but the scope of modern home entertainment means that these items are far easier to access than before. So why not give something different a try? Obviously, I cannot go through every film and TV show of the last decade and give you comprehensive, heartfelt recommendations, but I can give you a place to start. Try sticking on something you may not have otherwise chosen. Don’t rewatch Friends for the 100th time. Don’t use another 2 hours watching Guardians of the Galaxy for the third time this month. Instead, pop on a film by Yorgos Lanthimos or Kathryn Bigelow, or watch one of those original TV shows or films that Netflix plugs once in a while. You may just find your new favourite.
Wednesday 4 December 2019
Catherine Lewis and Ash Williams Games Editors
It’s a ho-ho-hello from us at Games!! No matter how or where you’re spending the festive season, you can always count on games to have a great time. As such, we’ve got a great feature from one of our contributors, Arthur, who’s written about his experiences with gaming at Christmas, and why it’s special to him. Chloe, our lovely Games Editor
of Christmas past, has argued about whether snow levels in games are super cool, or not so hot. We’ve also got some suggestions for games you can play with your friends or family to spread the cheer, and even some gaming-themed gift ideas. December also means it’s time for The Game Awards! But are they really handled in a way that’s fair? Joe Warner has given his thoughts in his brilliant opinion piece. Enjoy!
globally influential gaming news outlets (in this case, 80). Then, each outlet compiles a list of
into question the eligibility of each person to vote on some of the more difficult games.
considering that at that time, the game likely remained untouched by a large number of players. The game
cent) and fan (10 per cent) vote. On the surface this process may seem satisfactory, but contains inherent problems. First, the voting proceeds: an anonymous, unranked ballot vote is conducted in each organisation to determine their nominated titles. The games chosen reflect the opinions of a highly diverse editorial staff. This sounds fine; it’s a simple democratic process, but this brings me to my second point: the extent to which the review staff themselves could be considered to be familiar with each game wildly varies. Not all reviewers actually complete
mass audience should have sole control over the voting process - it only takes two idiots to outvote a genius - but the opinions of critics shouldn’t be given such a grand inflated sway in the first place, certainly not 90 per cent. This is just one issue of many, to say nothing of the reasons behind why members of the advisory committee might choose which outlets should vote, what relationships these parties might have with each other, and the disproportionate number of US and UK gaming outlets selected versus the total number of total global outlets (35/80). The internet has also speculated upon Keighley’s very close public relationship with Hideo Kojima, the director of Death Stranding, arguing that Keighley may have swayed the nomination process in a way that would ‘boost’ Kojima’s game. This comes after the title received incredibly mixed reception from both critics and wider gaming audiences on its release, yet has been nominated for awards in nine categories, more nominations than any other game has received this year. Controversy has also been drawn from the game’s inclusion in this year’s awards in the first place, having been released just 10 days before the nominations were
Games The Game Awards: are they really fair? OPINION Joe Warner Games Contributor
The modern Game Awards were
created by Geoff Keighley as a way of replacing his decade old ‘Spike Video Game Awards’, which ran from 2003 to 2013. After the 2013 show received significant controversy, Keighley left, believing its focus had become too commercial, a far cry from what he thought was most important in his show: a celebration of the achievements of modern video games. Sometimes referred to as the ‘Video Game Oscars’, the popularity of the event is only growing, perhaps as a direct result of the everincreasing relevance and prevalence of video games in popular culture today. While in 2014 the event’s debut show drew 1.9 million online viewers, this figure is dwarfed in comparison to the whopping 26.2 million viewers the show garnered
The influence of just 80 gaming news outlets worldwide is weighted to make up a whopping 90 per cent of all votes in 2018, over double the number of people that tuned in just one year earlier. This year’s Game Awards has nearly 30 different categories, some examples including ‘Best Family Game’, ‘Best Score/Soundtrack’,
‘Best Studio/Game Direction’, ‘Best Art Direction’ and ‘Best Esports Event’, to name just a few. However, by far the most prestigious and sought-after award given out at the
ceremony is the infamous ‘Game of the Year’ award. This year’s nominees for the accolade include Death Stranding, Control, Resident Evil 2, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and The Outer Worlds. Each of these categories can be voted on by the public via The Game Awards’ official website, but just how much does your vote count? Not much, it would seem. This is because the influence of just 80 gaming news outlets worldwide is weighted to make up a whopping 90 per cent of all votes counted, while votes cast by thousands, perhaps millions of fans influence just 10 per cent of the final result. This obviously places extreme emphasis on the opinions of mainstream gaming news critics, giving them priority over the views of more generalised gaming audiences. This sounds fine on paper, if one assumes that the opinions of gaming news organisations could be considered ‘in line’ with the typical views of gamers en masse, but many would argue that this is not the case. As such, many believe that the ratios of the input of ‘game critic’ to ‘gamer’ are incredibly disproportionate for truly determining the ‘best’ game in each category. The event’s nomination process is as follows: first, a committee of representatives from hardware manufacturers and AAA game publishers select a number of
worthy nominations for each given category. The selections are then compiled, and the five most selected titles (or more, if there is a tie) in each category are nominated. Winners are then determined by the aforementioned blended jury (90 per
the games they play due to time constraints, and the gaming skill of each reviewer also varies, calling
This isn’t to say that I believe the
revealed - an extremely small time window in which to consider its eligibility for awards, especially
is estimated to take 40-50 hours to
of news outlets that get to vote at The Game Awards are from the US and UK
complete, only amplifying already existing concerns that gaming outlets nominated this game prior to finishing it. However, Keighley addressed these concerns in an email to Kotaku: “I respect and appreciate the concern. This is why we have the FAQ right at the top of the website to make the process clear. It’s also why I don’t vote on the nominees or winners… I work closely with game publishers and developers on a number of levels, so [I] leave the judging to media outlets that provide a wide critical assessment.” Although the event may appear, to some, to be biased in a number of ways, it would seem that this is not due to Keighley himself; rather, the issues present with the ceremony perhaps seem more widely reflective of symbiotic relationships between organisations in the games industry as a whole. Ultimately however, these issues still affect the show, calling into question whether The Game Awards can truly be called a celebration of the achievements of modern video games.
Gaming traditions at Christmas FEATURE Arthur Barratt Games Contributor
Being an avid gamer, I’ve been really looking forward to Christmas break so that I can go home, lock myself in my room and waste away many glorious hours on my Xbox. First semester has been really fun, but I’ve rarely had the time between going to lectures and going out to game on my own, so understandably I was looking forward to going home and just taking a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Even though I’m getting older, video games still hold a special place in my heart as there is simply no better form of escapism, and they are still able to supply me with a bit of childlike joy no other medium manages to. However, my plans changed when one of my housemates brought their old Wii to
Even though I’m getting older, video games still hold a special place in my heart as there is simply no better form of escapism, and they are still able to supply me with a bit of childlike joy the house… We spent the next few nights having tournaments in Mario Kart and Fifa 11, and it has honestly been some of the best fun I’ve had all year. The quality of the games is far better than I remember, b u t it’s playing as a group
which makes it so enjoyable. Nothing quite beats a group of adults shouting at the screen for you to go faster as you nick the victory on the final straight. It really took me back to my childhood, but more importantly reminded me of Christmases past. Looking back, most of my favourite Christmas memories are of playing video games. For Christmas, we always went over to my cousins’ house and spent hours playing Mario Kart, Wii Sports and Halo 3. These games were brilliant in their own right, but the competitive element with others made it extra special.There really is nothing better than laughing and mucking about playing Forge War with people you love. It also introduced me to so many new games that I’d probably never have tried out on my own. These last few Christmases, however, have been a bit drab. We have stopped playing games as a group. After we’ve eaten dinner, we often just slouch in front of the TV, or go off to our own rooms, ironically to play games on our own. I still enjoy the occasion but it’s not as fun as it used to be. This Christmas, things will be different though. Playing video games with my housemates has convinced me that it’s still possible to bring back the Christmases I enjoyed when I was younger. As soon as I get home, I will dig out my family’s old Wii, boot it up, hope to god it still works, and start playing. I’ll also bring my Xbox down from my room and we can play things like Trivial Pursuit and Monopoly as a group (the video game versions are much better than the board games). I’m not alone in
Suggestions for festive fun with friends and family! Mario Kart Any list of games to play in a group would be incomplete without Mario Kart. Whether it’s on the Switch or the Wii, you’re bound to have a lot of fun, but beware not to get too competitive! You could lose friends over a badly timed shell...
thinking that playing video games with my family is a great idea. Though most academic studies have sadly just focused on violence
Some studies have shown that playing video games as a family improves relationships between generations and leads to better family satisfaction and closeness in video games, some studies have shown that playing video games as a family improves relationships between generations, and leads to better family satisfaction and closeness. I am also excited this Christmas to get some of my old schoolmates back onto the Xbox to play things like COD Zombies or World at War when they come over. Drinking and going down the pub may be fun, but I think I’ll get equal enjoyment and a sweet, sweet hit of nostalgia from playing these games from my childhood, not on my own, but with my friends, like in the good old days. So this Christmas, why don’t you dust off one of your old consoles, gather the family and get playing as a group again. Whether you choose to play old favourites like Mario Kart and Wii Sports, or more modern coop games like Fifa or Rocket League, you’ll have a great time. There’s no better way to have fun and relax this holiday than playing video games with the people you love.
Super Smash Bros What better way to bond than to have an all-out battle? With so many characters to choose from (especially in Ultimate!) you could spend all night duking it out. There’s no better way to settle who gets the last mince pie. Just Dance Dancing your heart out to some early 2010s classics is the perfect way to get into the Christmas spirit. Don’t be afraid to get a bit too into it. Yes, you’ll probably look silly, but everyone does. Embrace it!
Overcooked! Christmas is the perfect time to over-indulge in food. But what if you were the small round chef making it all? Team up with your friends and prepare for some culinary chaos in the Onion Kingdom! Just hope you’re all still friends at the end. Wii Sports You can always rely on some motion-control madness to bring the family together. Get grandma fired up with some highly competitive bowling, or maybe have a swinging showdown in tennis. Just remember to use the wrist straps, please...
Image: Public Domain Vectors
Wednesday 4 December 2019
Let it snow! A defence of snow levels
Chloe Dervey Welfare and Inclusions Officer
For many players, when the loading screen opens on a scene generously blanketed in white, they greet it with a sigh of despair like taking a cold dagger to the heart. Yet like Santa loves a mince pie, I love a snow level! My heart is full
of warmth for these icy treasures. Cosy up with a Coffee Revs festive drink and we’ll skate through some reasons why. Bare with me on this one (or should I say...brrrr with me!) The silence of snowfall can stop time on a winter’s night, and a snow level can recreate this sense of entering an almost liminal space. Little effects that come with a snow level’s design can immerse a player completely, from the frosty breath and footprints in the snow to reflections in the ice and glitter bouncing off of a glacier. Snow levels have always seen the addition of extra details for the player to appreciate throughout the evolution of 3D graphics. Snow levels can be totally harrowing, but this doesn’t mean that they are not brilliantly so. This is seen at its best in Naughty Dog’s Uncharted 2. Their recreation of the wintry Tibetan mountains at
the roof of the world plays host to not only one of gaming’s most iconic opening sequences, but also later some of the most dramatic lighting ever seen in games. In chapter 15, Train Wrecked, the screen becomes awash with blues and whites as a harsh blizzard intensifies. But among this blares the hot orange explosions of train wreckage fires which act as beacons, guiding your way to the end of the level. Drake clings to life, and we cling to the controller, pushing him forwards through the unforgiving blizzard and feeling the bite of every snow flurry. The presence of snowfall in a game always has an additional purpose, and has been used in various ways in games over the years. Snow can communicate playfulness (like the Winter Isle town of Yule, home of the adorable yeti-like people in Ni No Kuni) or, more commonly, emphasise themes of isolation in narrative storytelling through sheer cold. A snow level is a statement. It adds another dimension to the utility of
environment in games narrative, arguably more so than other types of level design. It is a more direct communication to the player: we want you to feel isolated; we want you to feel like you are in uncharted territory; we want you to really look at this environment we have created. A game which achieves all of this in spectacular style is Horizon Zero Dawn’s DLC expansion, The Frozen Wilds. The region may be drenched in snow, but this expansion is full of colour and character in its environment, storytelling and cast. The snow is a blank canvas which the many wonderful factors of the expansion reflect off of. Elsewhere in the likes of Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, the inclusion of Snowpoint City and its seasonal weather at that time also portrayed a milestone in the development of
the franchise, and showcased the exploration of what else Pokémon could do with implementing regional and seasonal weather into game design. Let’s not forget that wintry regions bring with them a delightful array of weird and wonderful wintry creatures! We’ve all ran sideways down High Hrothgar to get away from Frost Trolls and Frostbite Spiders whilst climbing the Seven Thousand Steps in Skyrim. Lastly, not a lot makes me happier than seeing my favourite characters wrapped up in a new winter outfit. I mean just look at Mario in the Snow Kingdom in Super Mario Odyssey. Come on! Tell me his little hood isn’t melting your frozen heart!
Introducing... Gaming themed present ideas! Pokéball Mug Store.Nintendo.co.uk £14.99
Sans Plush Fangamer.com $32 (£24.78) Image: Fangamer
Image: Nintendo UK Store
Tetris Stackable Lamp Menkind.co.uk £34.99
Sonic Hat Amazon.co.uk £9.98
Image: Sonic the Hedgehog
Street Fighter Christmas Jumper Geekcore.co.uk £19.99 Image: Geekcore
Majoras Mask Bag Amazon.co.uk £33.92 Image: Bioworld
Science & Tech
George Tuli & Beth Hanson Science & Tech Editors
In our final issue of 2019 we've brought you some Christmas content to get you in a festive mood! How fast must Santa's sleigh travel to deliver presents to all the world's children in just one night? And I'm sure you've heard that every snowflake is unique, but why exactly is this? Why not enjoy an environmentally
friendly beverage this winter? Vodka can now be made by extracting CO2 from air to make ethanol. Turn over to find our selection of Christmas science gift ideas. In non-Christmas news, the universe may be a little sweeter than previously thought - the first sugars have been detected in meteorites, supporting the theory that some of the chemicals required for life to exist arrived to Earth on meteorites. (George)
How does Santa visit two billion children on Christmas Eve? George Tuli Science & Tech Editor
Our race against the clock with lastminute gift shopping is nothing compared to the difficulties faced by Santa on Christmas Eve. One man and his glorified reindeer trap must allow time to visit every child on the planet in a single night. So how does he do it? Santa has to visit approximately two billion children in the world, and assuming there are an average of 2.5 children per household, that makes about 800 million stops on Christmas Eve. Next, we must work out the
distance Santa has to travel. Earth has a surface area of 197 million square miles (to the nearest million), but given most people live on land, only 30 per cent of this area needs to be considered. So assuming the 800 million stops are equally spread across the landmasses, each house occupies about 0.073 square miles. We square-root this area to calculate the distance between each stop, which comes out as 0.27 miles. For 800 millions stops, Santa’s journey on Christmas Eve is therefore about 216 million miles long. Travelling at 100 mph, for example, this journey would take 2,160,000 hours, or 247 years!
Clearly, he must be going much faster to be able to finish in one night. Luckily, if Santa travels across the International Date Line, in the direction of the Earth’s rotation, he’ll have a generous 48 hours on Christmas Eve to deliver all the presents. This means he has two ten-thousandths of a second per household. Santa’s sleigh must, therefore, travel at 1,250 miles per second, which is 5,865 times the speed of sound. The only explanation I can think of for how he does it? Good old-fashioned Christmas magic.
Why is every snowflake unique? Eve Thomas Science & Tech Contributor
Snowflake photos from 1902. Image: Wilson Bentley, a farmer whose hobby was photographing snowflakes.
It’s getting to the time of year when you hope to see snowflakes - when you dream of that white Christmas we hear about from Bing Crosby. Snow is made up of billions of white snowflakes and, while it’s common knowledge that no two snowflakes are alike, it’s less commonly understood exactly why this is. Snowflakes form when an extremely cold water droplet freezes onto a pollen or dust particle in the sky, creating an ice crystal. As the snowflake falls to the ground, water vapour freezes onto the first crystal, building new crystals. These new crystals are the six arms of the snowflake, which give it its characteristic hexagonal shape; the arms are symmetrical because they reflect the internal arrangement of the crystal’s water molecules. This process is called crystallisation. The exact shape of the crystals is based on the temperature and humidity at which the snowflake forms. For example, long, needle-
like crystals form at -5℃, and flat, plate-like crystals form at -15℃. Each arm of every snowflake is intricate and detailed, and determined by external conditions. A crystal may begin to grow arms in one way, but a sudden shift in humidity will suddenly change the direction of growth. However, each arm will be identical to the other five because they all experience the same atmospheric conditions. Importantly, the water molecule arrangement means there are always six arms on a snowflake they are always hexagonal. Snowflakes fall because they are heavier than the surrounding air. When they fall through more humid air, water vapour freezes to the crystal. This means that it grows progressively larger as it takes on its expanding hexagonal shape. There are unlimited variations within the hexagonal, geometric shape because no crystals experience identical conditions. However, just because snowflakes form, it does not mean that there will be snow on the ground. The
temperature increases closer to the ground, meaning that in most conditions snowflakes melt before the have the chance to settle. We only experience snowfall if the air temperature is below freezing all the way to the Earth’s surface. Sometimes, these snowflakes pass through a very thin layer of warm air and experience only partial melting. When they exit, they refreeze as small pellets of ice, which we recognise as sleet. If the layer of warm air is thicker, the crystals are completely melted, and we experience freezing rain. Meteorologists can predict when it will snow by identifying a moistureladen air mass which might pass over a particular area. If the highest temperature within this mass is still below freezing, the snowflakes will not melt on their journey. Provided that lower elevations also maintain a low temperature, the snowflakes will make it to the ground as snow and stick without melting.
Wednesday 4 December 2019
Science & Tech Artist’s concept of meteors impacting Earth. Image: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center Conceptual Image Lab
Carbon-negative vodka removes CO2 from the air Wesley O’Callaghan Science & Tech Contributor
Extraterrestrial sweetness may explain the origin of life Bárbara Pinho Science & Tech Contributor
What’s in the sky helps us understand the universe, but what if it could help us understand life itself? Scientists have found essential biological molecules in meteorites and this could be a key step towards understanding how non-biological chemistry formed life. American and Japanese Scientists aimed to find bio-important sugars in meteorites NWA 801 and Murchison. They found ribose, a particularly interesting sugar molecule, among other substances in both rocks, and published their results in the paper “Extraterrestrial ribose and other sugars in primitive meteorites” in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on 18 November. “It is remarkable that a molecule as fragile as ribose could be detected in such ancient material,” said Jason Dworkin, a co-author of the study at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Biomolecules which were thought to be from the Earth may not have originated on the blue planet. Earlier studies on meteorites (including Murchison) revealed other molecules such as amino acids and alcohols, but this “sweet” finding is rather relevant. Knowing the meteorites Meteorite NWA 801 was found in 2001 in Morocco, and Murchison was found in Australia in 1969. Meteorites are extraterrestrial small rocks that have hit the Earth. There are various types of these, but researchers chose to study carbonaceous chondrites, a type of meteorite with higher levels of carbon. Biochemical molecules are made up of carbon, so by studying specifically this type of meteorite, scientists expected to find higher levels of biological matter, such as sugars. Furthermore, scientists chose the Murchison meteorite
because it showed minimal signs of contamination, which is essential to make sure evidence is accurate. Questions raised Meteorites NWA 801 and Murchison carried sugars, but on a planet full of life, and consequently sugar, what if the samples were simply contaminated by Earth itself? The team of researchers considered this possibility and conducted tests. They aimed to understand if the carbon from the extraterrestrial sugar molecules was heavier than the carbon from our planet molecules (yes, Earth’s carbon molecules have different weights than outsider ones). The results showed that carbon from sugar molecules was indeed extraterrestrial, reinforcing the findings. Understanding the results Scientists found the sugar ribose in both meteorites. Ribose is the building block of RNA, a molecule essential for reading genes. Genetic information is stored in DNA molecules, and even though this information is essential for life itself, it’s of no use if RNA doesn’t transcribe it. Thus, RNA is an essential yet simple molecule for genetic expression, acting as a carrier of information. Without it, life would be very different. Even though DNA and RNA are similar (both are genetic molecules), some differences are evocative. DNA is bigger, heavier and has a different composition. Instead of ribose, DNA has deoxyribose – a similar sugar to ribose, but with slight differences - deoxyribose has one less oxygen than ribose. Since RNA is far simpler than DNA, it’s theorized that RNA occurred before DNA. This is the “RNA World Hypothesis” which states that RNA appeared first in our planet. Chicken or egg? Some could argue that DNA came first with all its genetic information,
but complex molecules don’t just appear. Thus, RNA, a simpler molecule is thought to be the first molecule to carry genetic information, and through time it would have developed into DNA. “The sugar in DNA (2-deoxyribose) was not detected in any of the meteorites analyzed in this study,’’ said Danny Glavin, a coauthor of the study at NASA Goddard supporting the theory that RNA is older and appeared first. What if? Researchers had never faced extraterrestrial sugars before. However, the scenario has changed as stated by Yoshihiro Furukawa, the lead researcher. “The research provides the first direct evidence of ribose in space and the delivery of the sugar to Earth. The extraterrestrial sugar might have contributed to the formation of RNA on the prebiotic Earth which possibly led to the origin of life.” These findings show that certainly there are various organic molecules out there and extraterrestrial sugars within meteorite rains could have promoted life on our planet. Since these meteorites are prebiotic (before the emergence of life), this work supports the idea that ancient sugars could have been delivered to ancient planets, like Earth and Mars. Thus, perhaps all the genetic information our blue planet holds evolved from extraterrestrial RNA, but it’s still too soon to be certain, and further research is needed. The team wishes to continue to study meteorites to find more organic molecules and better understand them. If successful, perhaps we will have more evidence of organic molecules from the outside. And who knows, the universe may become a bit sweeter.
A Brooklyn-based company has patented a method of making vodka from thin air. Air Co. vodka requires just two ingredients: carbon dioxide and water. Air Co. extracts CO2 directly from the atmosphere before combining it with water to make perhaps the first carbon-negative vodka in the world. The invention enables vodka production that does not use any farmland and simultaneously removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Traditionally, vodka is made from corn, wheat or potatoes. This means that the production of the spirit requires thousands of acres of land which could otherwise be used for forests or food production. The large-scale farming of grains and potatoes also releases significant amounts of CO2 while the chemicals used to increase yield often find their way into rivers and pollute the environment. To eliminate the negative effects of vodka production, Air Co. has taken inspiration from the natural chemical reactions of photosynthesis. The company splits water into its two component elements: oxygen and hydrogen. The hydrogen is then combined with carbon dioxide to produce a mixture of ethanol in water. Oxygen is the only by-product from this first step. Next, the ethanol is distilled to
Biology research: New insights into early development of songbirds Saskia Lee Science & Tech Contributor
You might think that the DNA found inside your body is the same in every cell type, but you’d be wrong! In fact, this sequence of DNA (known as the genome) is different depending on whether it’s found in germline cells of the reproductive system, or elsewhere in the body. Germline cells hold the genetic information that is passed on to the next generation. Comparison of the genomes within these cells led researchers to discover a whole chromosome in songbirds that was
a strength of 96.5 per cent ethanol in water before being purified and diluted into a 40 per cent ABV (alcohol by volume) vodka – this part of the process is a closely guarded secret. According to Fast Company, a business media brand, the production of one bottle of vodka usually produces up to six kilograms of greenhouse gases. Air Co. on the other hand, says that one making one bottle of carbon-negative vodka can remove the same amount of carbon as eight trees would in one day. Yale graduate Stafford Sheehan partnered with Gregory Constantine to form the company in 2017. Their endeavour was to make practical use of the system that Sheenan had developed at Yale to convert carbon dioxide in alcohol. Air Co. plans to eventually use the system to make an entire range of carbonnegative alcohol-based products, including household cleaning items and fragrances. The demand for more environmentally conscious products is continuously on the rise. Carbon-negative vodka is another step closer to a truly sustainable and carbonneutral future. Air Co. themselves state that this is “a drink that you can be proud to own and pleased to share”. However, at $65 a bottle, perhaps it will need a little more work before it fits into the budget of University students. only found in germline cells - the germline-restricted chromosome (GRC). Given that songbirds make up 50 per cent of all bird species, understanding their evolutionary history and how their reproduction functions at a genetic level is valuable to science. In recent research, an international team has comprehensively studied zebra finches to show that the GRC is functional and is “likely performing germline specific roles” in zebra finches. The GRC has been found to be tens of millions of years old and is likely to be present across all songbird species. This important research suggests that the GRC is still “rapidly evolving” and “has played a crucial role in this group's remarkable success”.
Science & Tech
Top 10 science Christmas gifts by Gwynnie Naylor Chemistry Thermos Flask £25 from Amazon Being environmentally friendly has never been more important, or fashionable, as it has been in recent years. What better way to show your support for not only the environment but also science with this fashionable and sustainable thermos? The thermos is made out of stainless steel, with an insulated vacuum keeping drinks either hot or cold for hours on end. The stylish leather covering shows your love of chemistry, while the high-quality nature of the bottle shows your love of a hot drink during these cold winter months.
The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace Wells £9.99 from bookshops While not the most light-hearted of reading, I wouldn’t recommend curling up with a mug of hot chocolate by a stoked fire, this novel by Wells is incredibly important in how it prophesises the numerous, and likely, ways that the human race will end. Some of the cheery ways include overheating, pollution, capitalism and drowning. Although it may not be a cheery tale of hope and cheer (as one might want over Christmas), it serves to shock the reader into action and would make the perfect gift for that special pessimist in your life.
National Geographic Gemstone Dig Kit £29.99 from Amazon This nostalgic and aesthetically pleasing present allows you to excavate fifteen real gemstones from around the world, including pyrite, rose quartz, amethyst and obsidian. It’s the perfect gift for the budding excavator and comes with anything you could possibly need, including a dig brick, a chisel, brush and magnifying glass. This could also be a fun gift to do with a younger sibling or family member, and plenty of fun is to be had from examining the excavated stones.
I Was a Teenage Space Reporter £7.19 from Amazon This novel tells an unlikely, yet true, story of David Chudwin, who after writing a piece for his university’s newspaper advocating for space travel, was given press accreditation for the Apollo 11 launch. It details how Chudwin, a student at the time, was given access to one of the most secretive and high-security operations of the 20th century. Split into three sections, the book shows Chudwin’s interactions with scientists and astronauts and offers a new perspective into one of the most written-about events in modern history.
Horrible Science Explosive Experiments £17.99 from Amazon Perfect for younger family members or relatives, this fun science experiment kit features cool projects for families to do together, giving you an excuse to get in on the fun as adult supervision is required. It includes a rocket, and a do it yourself exploding volcano. You can make a lava lamp, or whip up some sticky snot. Whether you’re an older sibling who wants to spend some quality time with a sibling or just a child at heart, this present will let you have a little fun with science.
Personalised serotonin necklace £12.50 from Etsy Do you have someone special in your life who may need a little extra joy? Look no further than
Plant cell key chain £24 from Etsy These beautifully handmade keychains are made out of resin, polymer clay and microbeads, and
Dark Sky Stargazing Experience for two £50 from Lastminute.com While a bit pricey working within a student budget, you can always
Albert Einstein plush £24.95 from Amazon Do you ever have the overwhelming urge to hug Albert Einstein and thank him for all that he’s ever
Molecule Christmas bauble £6 from Etsy If you’re looking for something a little more related to Christmas, look no further than this gorgeous
this adorable serotonin necklace, available in three different shades, rose gold, gold and silver. Delicately made in the shape of a serotonin molecule, it features delicate leaves with the initials of your special someone engraved into the leaf. Each piece is made from brass, with either rose gold, gold or silver finish, and is handmade.
provide a stylish finish for any set of keys of that special biology fan out there. Delicately made from shiny resin, each piece is handmade by CaroGrayCreates, who also produces a wide variety of other key chains in blood and animal cell form.
split the cost with a friend or two if you want to treat someone you know would truly appreciate a chance to stargaze. Working with Dark Sky Wales, and the use of portable telescopes, you can explore the stars, while being aided by an astronomer who will guide you through the sights of the galaxies. This gift would be perfect for a couple and would truly be an unforgettable experience.
done for science? Well, now you can! This soft Albert Einstein is instantly recognisable as one of the most important figures in modern science, with his tufted white hair and moustache, and an adorable knitted jumper. High quality and suitable for science fans of all ages, this little Einstein would make a wonderful gift for any physics whiz.
Christmas bauble. Made of bronze coloured glass, the molecule represented in white on the bauble is the molecule which is responsible for making the smell of pine needles. With this cool and quirky present, you can have a tree that looks as science-mad as you, or your friends and family, are.
Wednesday 4 December 2019
Lessons learned ahead of T20 Cricket World Cup
Henry Clark Sport Contributor
Chris Silverwood’s tenure as England coach got off to a winning start with a series victory over New Zealand decided by yet another Super Over between the sides. The former Essex head coach used the series as an opportunity to debut some of those who have excelled on the county circuit recently as well as to rest some of his star names ahead of a busy winter. In terms of missed opportunities, Sam Billings will be left feeling disappointed by his displays, especially in comparison to middle order partner Eoin Morgan who shone once again. Billings failed to produce the volume of runs required to stake a claim to play as a specialist batsman with both Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler blocking his route to taking the gloves. It was an all too familiar story for James Vince in international cricket. Some sensational knocks, including his man-of-the-match 59 in the opening encounter, alongside some
dreadfully soft dismissals continues to fuel questions over whether he is consistent enough for the highest level. Although expensive at times, Matt Parkinson proved to be a cunning, wicket-taking bowler in the shorter format and enjoyed a fine debut series. The fact that the Lancashire leggie is being considered as a genuine challenger to the Adil Rashid’s spot in the side is a testament to his talent and a relief for Silverwood given Rashid’s injury struggles of late.
This could well be the strongest position English white ball cricket has ever been in Whilst the focus of the series was on youth we witnessed yet another exceptional series from Chris Jordan. His herculean effort in the deciding clash, where he smashed 12 from three balls, before conceding just
Can Chris Silverwood guide England to glory at the T20 World Cup? Image: Bostonracing, Wikimedia Commons eight runs in New Zealand’s Super Over has reminded the selectors of just how valuable his skills and experience are in this side. Dawid Malan appears to have firmly moved himself into the category of one of England’s ‘undroppables’ following a stellar series. Scores of 11, 39, 55 and 103*
(just the second hundred in T20Is by an Englishman and the fastest) have boosted his already freakishly high strike-rate to 156.31 and average to 57.25 and his performances serve to confirm the inevitable that there has to be a place for Malan in the side. With the result largely secondary, the series provided plenty of food for
thought for Silverwood. Whether or not we see some of these names in Australia next year remains to be seen. But considering the depth of talent England have at their disposal and this summer’s World Cup final heroics, this could well be the strongest position English white ball cricket has ever been in.
Are Liverpool ownership responsible for Women’s decline? Konrad Ostrowski Sport Contributor
In November 2014, Liverpool Ladies had recently secured their second consecutive Women’s Super League title. Meanwhile, Liverpool’s men’s team had made a poor start to their Premier League season, in which they would end up finishing sixth. Fast forward five years and the men’s side are defending European champions and sit eight points clear at the top of the Premier League. The now-rebranded Liverpool FC Women, however, are bottom of the WSL having accrued just one point all season. I feel that the current disparity between Liverpool’s two sides can be attributed to a lack of interest from the club’s ownership in the women’s game. Things began to truly unravel for Liverpool Women in the summer of
2018 when a mass exodus took place at the club after a disappointing season. 12 first-team players departed, including captain Gemma Bonner and stars such as Caroline Weir, Alex Greenwood and top scorer Bethany England.
This was not the first time that accusatory fingers were pointed at Liverpool’s ownership for a lacklusture approach Further upheaval occurred as manager Scott Rogers left and was replaced by Neil Redfearn, who lasted just two competitive games in charge before resigning. There were reports of tension between him and
the club’s hierarchy over the way the women’s team was being run, and the poor recruitment to replace those who left in the summer. This was not the first time that accusatory fingers were pointed at Liverpool’s ownership for a lacklustre approach to their women’s project. Siobhan Chamberlain, who was one of the many to leave in 2018, stated her desire to play for a side challenging for trophies. She added: “I also want to know that I am part of a project that is doing the most it can to develop the women’s game.” There have been some positive moves by the club recently, such as the women’s Merseyside Derby being played at Anfield for the first time in front of 23,500 fans. Nevertheless, Vicky Jepson, who replaced Redfearn, is undoubtedly in for a relegation scrap this season. Something that is particularly concerning is the fact that only one
Liverpool player has been called up to the England squad in the last year. It is clear their team is far off the level needed to challenge the likes of Manchester City and Arsenal again. It appears that, while most of the top clubs are tapping into the growth in popularity of the women’s game, Liverpool’s ownership has been reluctant to place any significant
investment in the side as of yet. The men’s team may be flying high, partly due to a successful analytics-based approach to recruitment, but their female counterparts have not been afforded the same support and may be plying their trade in the Championship next year as a result.
Liverpool FC Women are currently struggling, in contrast to their male counterparts. Image: Katie Chan, Wikimedia Commons
Student basketballer on overcoming disability, playing at the Olympics and future aspirations Adam Dickinson Sport Contributor
Basketball star Joy Haizelden has risen from an orphanage in China to being part of a record run to the semi-finals at the 2016 Rio Paralympics. Still only 20, she’s hoping to go one better next year and be part of a gold medal-winning team at Tokyo 2020. Abandoned on the steps of an orphanage, Joy moved to Southampton as a child and is currently in the final year of a Health and Human Science course at the University of Sheffield. Born with spina bifida, a condition that means her spinal cord is underdeveloped, she’s a full-time wheelchair user and took up the sport in 2012 after she was unable to take part in her school’s PE lessons. Joy’s father, Jim, saw Joy’s frustration at being left out at school and took her and sister Miriam to a basketball try-out session, which left her hooked. “I instantly fell in love with it. I love that basketball has both tactical and physical elements to it,” she said. “No two games are the same, which means being in new situations and scenarios requiring quick thinking and on-the-spot problem solving.” After playing for only a year, Joy
Joy Haizelden (L) in action Image: SA Images was called up to the GB squad and made her international debut in 2013. Two years later, she was part of the under-25 GB team that won the World Championships in China, the first time the team had won a major event. She acknowledges that Jim has had a huge influence on her career and remains her biggest fan: “When I was younger, he would drive me all over the country to go to games and training. He is always there for me whenever I need a rant or just someone to give me some motivation.
“He’s my best supporter, he travels the world to watch me play.” Three years ago that meant travelling to the Rio Paralympics, where Haizelden helped Team GB women’s basketball to their bestever finish: “Rio was special for me and an experience I will never forget. One of the most special moments for me was playing against Brazil on their home turf. “There were about 10,000 people all supporting Brazil and the crowds were insane.” The team missed out on a medal following defeat to the USA in the
semi-final and the Netherlands in the bronze medal match. However, Haizelden is hoping Team GB can go one better in Japan. “After the performance at the Worlds and Europeans, there is a definite expectation for us to medal at the Games,” she adds. “Personally, I think we have the potential to reach the final and take it from there.” Outside of basketball Joy is unsure of what the future holds, although she knows she wants to work in the health and social care sector. Next year she plans to focus on basketball,
with the option of doing a master’s after that. Alongside her course she’s currently training five days a week in preparation for Tokyo, with several warm-up tournaments also slated. Among those is the Osaka Cup, which will prepare the team for living in Japan as well as allowing them to gel on the court. From the steps of an orphanage in China to the bright lights of Tokyo via Southampton, Rio and Sheffield, Joy’s journey still has plenty of miles to go.
what was that like? I fought first, he came to the dressing room 40 minutes before my fight to give me a big hug and told me, ‘let’s get that win’. It’s very emotional to fight with him on the same night and after I won I helped him to prepare for his fight.
card and I knew we were both going to win. We helped each other out in the dressing room and had a laugh together. It’s different from regular people to grow up like I have, watching your dad fight and train every day. He got me into this world because of what I
Aviv Gozali: I want to be the youngest champion in the history of Bellator MMA Harry Robinson Sport Contributor
As the old adage says: “blood is thicker than water,” even when it is
splattered on the floor of a cage. As 46-year-old Haim Gozali closes the book on his seasoned 21year MMA career with a win in his hometown of Tel Aviv, his son Aviv was busy putting Bellator fighters on notice. The 18-year-old continued his win streak with a slick anaconda choke on Zaka Fatullazade in less than a minute, racking up his fourth consecutive first round submission victory with the finesse and flair of a grappler twice his age. With his frightening agility on the ground and the lethal chokes and locks in his virtuosic arsenal, ’The King’ tells Forge Press how he
wants to continue his father’s legacy and has his eyes set on the Bellator crown. So Aviv, you’ve just fought
on Bellator MMA’s card in Tel Aviv alongside your father in his retirement bout - a lot of pressure. Did you have any nerves beforehand? I’m not nervous before fights because I believe in myself. I know what I’m gonna do in the cage so there is no nerves. I love it. In your last fight in Israel you managed to secure Bellator’s fastest ever submission at 11 seconds. Could you talk us through that performance? I went into the ring and touched
the gloves before the fight because I knew what I’m going to do; I knew
that I’m not going to touch his glove at the start because I want to break the record. Both you and your father trained
under the great Renzo Gracie and your Jiu Jitsu is phenomenal, especially for someone so young. Do you credit Gracie and your father for your fighting style? I have my own style as a fighter. I take inspiration from a lot of fighters and I build my own style, I think I’m one of the five best grapplers in my category. I have a lot of goals to achieve. One of them to be the Bellator lightweight champ and to be the youngest champion of the history of Bellator. Earlier this year you fought on
the same card as your father at Bellator’s first ever event in Israel,
This was the second time I’ve fought with my father on the same
saw as a kid. To fight alongside him is just amazing.
Wednesday 4 December 2019
Got a sports tale to tell? email@example.com
Michael Ekman Sport Coordinator
Hi everyone! Welcome back to another issue of our Sport section! Featuring on the back page this time we’ve got both the Womens and Mens volleyball 1s teams which qualified for the Student Cup Finals next February. Moreover, in Women in Sports, we spoke to the water polo team, as they faced an intense away
game against Lancaster. Additionally, we also have two interviews that were sent in by contributors. One is with paralympian Joy Haizelden regarding her journey to competing at the Rio Olympics. The other is with MMA fighter Aviv Gozali, who has his eyes set on the Bellator crown. Lastly, in Sport Thoughts we’ve got a piece on the contrast between
Sport Liverpool FC’s Women being left behind while the men’s team remains one of the best teams in the world. There is also an article on what England’s cricket team has learned from their last New Zealand tour ahead of the 2020 World Cup. We hope you enjoy reading it just as much as we enjoy writing it!
Wolverhampton 1 - 1 Sheffield Utd
Sheffield Utd - Newcastle
Charlton 1 - 3 Sheffield Wednesday
Sheffield Wednesday - Brentford
London City 1 - 2 Sheffield Utd Women
Sheffield Utd Women - London Bees
Sheffield Wednesday Ladies - Altoft Ladies (Game postponed)
Sheffield Wednesday Ladies - Bradford Park Avenue Ladies
Sheffield Tiger 19 - 29 Sedgley Park
Hinckley - Sheffield Tiger
Nottingham Panthers 1 - 3 Sheffield Steelers
Belfast Panthers - Sheffield Steelers
Sheffield Sharks 58 - 81 Bristol Flyers
Bristol Flyers - Sheffield Sharks
work for each other. “This isn’t something the women’s water polo has ever really succeeded in until now and as a result the girls are really being picky when they do something wrong and are really evaluating their performances
as they gradually improve. “It wasn’t until the end of the game that the team finally realised how much we have improved since October and how well the training programme has worked.”
Women in Sports: Water polo put on disciplined display against Hallam Michael Ekman Sport Coordinator
The women’s 1s water polo team put on a disciplined performance when they faced local rivals Sheffield Hallam in their recent BUCS fixture, drawing 17-17. Hallam came into the game as league leaders in their BUCS standings and were so far undefeated this season. On the other hand, finding players available for Wednesday games has been an issue for Uni of, with many students struggling to balance university work and sports. As a result, the team has suffered against opposition that would otherwise have been beatable. Additionally, neither team had their first-choice goalkeeper, with Hallam’s being their captain, and Uni of captain, Rebecca Lee, being
forced to play in goal despite being a strong outfield player. Even though these proved to be early setbacks, Rebecca felt that they put in a performance to be proud of. She said: “It was a very even game throughout. “We are the only team this season that cost them points and really test them and there was potential for us to win.” “As we’ve lost Varsity for women’s water polo for the past 11 years this score is really promising for when Varsity comes around next year. “We lost by one goal last year so this game was the closest we’ve come to beating them for many years.” However, playing against Hallam is no regular game, insists Rebecca, who says the rivalry always brings out the best of both teams.
She said: “Playing Hallam always results in a big game no matter the score. “As individuals, we all get along, and are even friends with each other, but no matter how well you know the opposition it all goes out the window when you get into the pool to play. “We don’t tend to talk to our opposition before a game as we like to keep in our pre-game mindset and so avoiding conversation is usually the best thing before a match.” The two sides had met previously this term, a 15-4 loss for Uni of, so this game was a vital moment for the team to prove just how much they had improved in the past two months. Rebecca said: “As captain I’ve tried to introduce a really strict regime in training and getting the players to really knuckle down and
Women’s team manager urges for funding as both volleyball 1s qualify for Student Cup Finals Alex Brotherton Sport Editor
(cont. from back) ...members and build a new team. “We’ve been training 3 times a week, two volleyball practices and one gym session, and everyone has shown commitment and enthusiasm. “Over the two months that we have played together as a team, we have bonded far better than I ever expected. We have some amazing players, but qualifying for the Student Cup Finals is the product of our shared efforts.” The success of the volleyball club is perhaps reflective of the sport’s
increasing popularity, as more and more students across the country hit the court every year. Natalia said: “Our club has grown a lot in the last couple of years. We have four competitive teams that are performing at a very high level, two men’s teams and two women’s. “Our development team has received greater interest as well, with a record 24 students in the squad. For the first time in the club’s history they’ve started playing friendly matches with other development teams from other UK universities.” For many of the players at the club, volleyball has become much more than just a chance to exercise
and socialise. W1 player Vaia Kontou said: “Many of our players have been playing for years, so it’s much more
We have some amazing players, but qualifiying for the Student Cup Finals is the product of our shared efforts. than a sport. “It’s making friends, inspiring and supporting each other and learning to be a team. We all lose
together and we all win together.” Natalia added: “When I came to Sheffield, I had a hard time settling in. I missed my country, my friends and my family. It was the volleyball team that helped me overcome this homesickness and helped me start relishing my time here.” Unfortunately, despite its teams’ fantastic performances in qualifying, the club faces a struggle to be able to compete at the finals in February. Participating in national tournaments like the Student Cup is expensive, and the club is struggling to cover the costs of registration fees, transport and accommodation. In a bid to raise the necessary
funds, the club’s committee has organised a number of fundraising events, such as a prize auction at the club’s annual Christmas meal and a bake sale, and has set up a GoFundMe page. Natalia said: “Sending our teams to the Student Cup Finals is one of our main priorities, but we are in need of serious financial help. We’d be so grateful to anyone that can help us out.” You can find the donation link on our website: forgetoday.com.
Women’s and men’s volleyball 1s smash qualifying to reach Student Cup Finals Alex Brotherton Sport Editor
The University of Sheffield’s W1 and M1 volleyball teams continued their rich tradition of success last month, as both qualified for the national Student Cup Finals in February.
Both sides travelled up to Leeds for the qualifiers on 17 November, and faced teams from across the north of England in a round-robin style tournament. The women’s team won all three of its matches to qualify for the finals for a third consecutive year,
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while the men’s team won three out of four. Both will represent the University of Sheffield at the Student Cup Finals at the University of East Anglia on 1-2 February. W1 team manager Natalia Tsenova, a second year Business Management student, was thrilled
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to qualify: “Everyone played really well during the three games. All 12 players we brought with us got game time, and the results were very satisfying.” But above all, Natalia was pleased with how her team earned its success.
“I’m really proud to be the manager of such a friendly, supportive and motivated team. We’ve worked really hard for this. “We had a difficult start to the season as most of the W1 players from last year graduated, so we had to find 10 new... (cont. on p43)
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