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forth valley college STUDENT MAGAZINE

TOP TEAM Meet some of the Fusion team that scooped a top award recently at Scotland’s Colleges Marketing Awards.

Your student magazine won gold in the ‘Promotional Literature’ category at a glittering event held at the Royal Hotel in Bridge of Allan on Thursday 23 February. The award was the result of hard work and the growth of an excellent working partnership between FVC Student Union and the college’s Communications and Marketing Department to promote student activity and encourage new writers, correspondents and contributors. The last edition of the magazine included work from 11 different writers and this was enhanced by the design skills of BA Art and Design student Paul McDonald who puts Fusion on the page. So please take a bow (in the picture from back to front) Sean Pritchard, Nicholas Reid, Iona Baird, Mark Sneddon, Melissa Russell (Student Editor), Sheryn Morrison and Kathleen Underhill (FVC SU President) not forgetting (not in picture) Graham Ruthven, David Harley, Ross McGregor, Louise Holliday, Dawn McLaren, Andrew Milner, Kelly Anne Aitken, Laura Fyall, and previous regular contributors, Debra McShane, Georgina Guest, Amy Paterson, Ali Drysdale, Chris Currie, Deborah MacKenzie, Heather Easson, David Chalmers, Colin Speirs, David Connell, Ben Barclay, Dani Gibson, Jillian Gray, Sidra Iftikar, Stacey McAuslan and Scott Sinclair.

Well done and thanks to you all!

P04 P09 P12



Student representatives from across Scotland – including three from FVC - came together recently at NUS Scotland’s National Conference in Irvine, to elect new student leaders for the coming year. Robin Parker was re-elected as President for a second one-year term from July, after receiving 68 delegate votes. Nearest challenger Charandeep Singh received 56 votes and Re-Open Nominations received two votes. Robin said: “I am absolutely honoured to have been re-elected NUS Scotland President. I commend Charandeep and his team for the enthusiasm and positivity with which he ran his campaign and the issues he raised.”


Andrew Milner FVC SU Vice-President Falkirk, said: “It’s great that Robin has been re-elected and we wish him all the best. The NUS Scotland are a voluntary organisation that campaigns for student rights.

“One fight in particular this year was the ‘OUR FUTUREOUR FIGHT’ campaign in which over 80,000 studentssigned up to help reverse the proposed cut of over £11m for college bursaries. A very positive outcome now protects college bursary funding. This is a huge thing to succeed in and great thanks go out to everyone who helped throughout, including everyone who signed up from Forth Valley College.

Student Union “This - and much more - is what your FVSU (Forth Valley Student Union) is for. We are here for you in many ways …from the smallest of things like playing pool and watching the TV in the student union, to helping you to switch off and breathe a bit, through to helping any way we can to assist you through your courses. “We hope you know that in every department in the college there is help if you need it. Class Reps, Senior Class Reps, Student Liaison Officer, Presidents, College

Officers, LRC, Learning Advisory Team, various other staff and not forgetting Lecturers can all give advice and help. They have all helped me in the past and thanks goes out to them all.” Based at 29 Forth Street in Edinburgh the NUS have been at the forefront of protecting and campaigning for the rights of students for many years. They are always ready to discuss issues and problems students may have and can offer support and advice on a wide range of issues. They would also be delighted to hear from students wishing to get involved with their campaigning.

So if you are interested in finding out more about the NUS Scotland and recent issues being raised, then why not visit the NUS website on

MOODLE STUDENT Health and Social Care student Catherine Young was over the moon at winning a recent Moodle competition and walking away with a brand new I-Pod Shuffle.

Catherine (23) from Falkirk – who is on the second year of her NC course – entered a catchy poem in the college’s virtual learning on-line campus competition, which challenged students to say what they liked about Moodle. She said: “I use Moodle all the time and I think it is a great resource, and I just put my thoughts down as best I could and submitted my little poem and I won – I couldn’t believe it!. Facilities such as the e-books are very good and I just couldn’t imagine being a student without it. I would recommend it to anyone.”

Jasmin Hodge FVC Organisational Learning Coordinator, said: “We set students the challenge of saying in a few words just what they thought about Moodle and we had more than 150 entries! We were absolutely delighted by Catherine’s poem, it was really creative and summed up Moodle to a tee!”

Catherine’s Winning Poem: Moodle is great, it is so cool, Organised information, way better than school. Obliging, safe and very valued Do agree you know it's un-argued Learners can use it night or day Either at college, home or on their way.

Jasmin (right) presents Catherine with her prize

SPONSORED MALAWI STUDENT GRADUATES A Malawi student – sponsored by students and staff at Forth Valley College – has been celebrating after graduating from her advanced computer course. Now Evyness Chiwaya (20) from Lilongwe is looking forward with hope for the future for herself and her family. Originally Evyness was among four female students who received some funding for tuition fees and living allowances while studying at colleges in the African nation’s capital. However, Evyness progressed so well that one of her lecturers put her forward for advanced Microsoft accredited IT exams – recognised across the world – at the well-respected private Don Bosco Youth Technical Institute in the capital. FVC students and staff were only too happy to send money to Don Bosco to pay for Evyness to sit her exams and pay for a few items she needed for her studies. Delighted Evyness, said: “The support from Forth Valley College staff and students has brought a great

Evyness with her diploma

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change into my life that l never thought would be possible. “I didn’t know that l could reach the extent of holding a Diploma in ICT and Certificates from two different exam providers in my hands, as l had nothing to support myself and my family could not afford to give me such help. My family think I am a bright shining star as I am the first girl in my whole family to become so well qualified. “Thank you so very, very much! My department graduation day was the happiest day in my life.” Iris Aitchison Depute Head of the Business Department and one FVC’s main driving forces behind the Malawi link, said: “We are all so proud of Evyness and her efforts, she has worked really hard to get where she is today. We have been told by academic staff at Don Bosco College that passing these examinations will provide Evyness with a life changing opportunity which will be of great benefit to herself and to her family.


08 09

An update from Kathleen Underhill


Featuring a Comic Book review


Our new beauty columnist on make-up







David Harley talks games

Ross McGregor’s Insight on Anxiety

06/07 NEW STIRLING CAMPUS All you need to know about our new campus

Ideas for what to do during the holidays Two of the latest releases

Graham Ruthven’s latest sports blog Contact Fusion at: Fusion Designed by Paul McDonald

PR & Events Officer

Student Union Vice President

Vice President

@ Falkirk Campus

@ Alloa Campus

Hi my name is Laura Fyall and I am the Student Union Vice President at the Alloa campus. I am currently studying an Access to Higher Education course. Over the last few months I have been involved in the GOATs campaign that has been running through all campuses as well as petitioning for Our Future Our Fight. I was also recently part of the focus group for the HMIE inspection. I am available five days a week in Alloa, so please feel free to drop into the office and see me or even stop me if you see me in college.

Hello to all students across our four campuses, I’m Andy (Andrew Milner). I am currently in my first year of my HND Furniture Restoration course and Vice President of Forth Valley Student Union Falkirk Campus. This time of year can be difficult with, nabs, reports, assessments and exams, but I am right there with you all, pulling my hair out! With all these things going on, it can be quite stressful and difficult even to concentrate - so Forth Valley College prides itself on the promotion of ‘Healthy Body Healthy Mind’. Healthy Body Healthy Mind is a campaign run throughout all our campuses on the awareness of mental health, showing that the smallest amount of activity can help your mental and physical health. With this we are all working to lessen the stigma that is associated with mental health issues and to get the message across that we should never hide from what is affecting us.

Hi my name is Kelly-Anne Aitken. I am your PR & Events officer for the Alloa Campus. We are looking to recruit team members for a pub quiz team which is held in the Kilted Kangaroo in Stirling every Wednesday night. If we could get a few teams together we can alternate weeks for attending. Our next event will be a prize bingo on 29 March and our posters will be going up soon for this. I am on campus five days a week, so if you have any suggestions feel free to stop me.

@ Alloa Campus

My office hours will be Monday 11am – 12noon and Lunch Tuesday 9.15am – 11am Wednesday 9.15am – 10am Thursday Lunch Friday 12.45pm – 1.15pm (Friday is subject to change depending on my course work)


My office hours will be: Monday Lunch, Wednesday Lunch, Thursday Lunch and 3.30pm to 4pm


Don’t be afraid to say ‘Hi’ when you see me, as Kat (President) would say ‘Stay Awesome’.

Andrew Milner

Vice President Falkirk 01324 403290

MARCH 2012

By David Harley

WHAT MAKES IT A GAME CHANGER? A lot of games are now boasting deep, complex storylines, fancy mechanics and so many sidequests that a game will last well over 200 hours. It sounds like heaven, right? So why, when I have games like Skyrim, Final Fantasy 13-2 and Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, am I going back to Team Fortress 2, The Ship and Left 4 Dead - games that primarily consist of doing the same thing over and over again with no change in story or motivation? The answer is simple. It’s the debate that has seen Saints Row going against Grand Theft Auto - since the former’s appearance - what do gamers find more appealing? The super serious, grey and gritty realism with so many guns and functions that the tutorials are still going on half way through the game, or being told to select the ‘Kill everything’ button with lots of pretty colours. I’m in the latter column with all the pretty lights in the world. If a game takes too long to get going, or to make me feel interested, then I’m going to leap out the car long before the game gets to the point. It’s the build up to the enjoyment and the pacing of it, that separates a great game, from a game that is a regular in your game timetable. Even great games become somewhat monotonous after say the tenth time, as you know all the set pieces and it seems you are going

MARCH 2012

through the motions rather than experiencing something new and exciting. With games like those mentioned earlier, the developers wanted to craft something fun, and didn’t try with complex storylines. This is good mechanics, as it ensures as few bugs as possible and gives an excuse for players to continue coming back. I’d class Skyrim in the same category as Left 4 Dead in terms of quality, because they show their quality in different ways. Multiplayer only games, not including MMOs, craft themselves so every time you boot up the game, you will never run into the same situation twice. They don’t require deep characters, they need only simplistic fun that keeps you on your toes. Now don’t get me wrong, in no way am I suggesting you avoid non Multi-only games, it’s just they live a lot longer in my attention span than playing through, say, Final Fantasy 4 for the twelfth time. But what of those that offer both a rich, deep story and exciting multiplayer? They’re fictional, or at least I cannot remember a game in recent times that can claim to be that. They either have a lackluster campaign (Battlefield 3), lackluster multiplayer (Modern Warfare 3) or both (Duke Nukem Forever) - and no, Portal 2 does not come under rich or deep. It’s fun, but not as much in either category as the examples mentioned. Competent is not fantastic.

If you require support with anxiety, stress or a crisis that is affecting you currently, then you can contact the Learning Advisory Team by e-mail at or via telephone on (01324) 403001. If you wish to read further on the subject of mental health illness then the following websites may be of some interest:

An insight into anxiety

Mental health illnesses are becoming more and more common in modern day life and yet the stigma associated with those who are suffering from such conditions is just as prevalent as ever.

In fact, it is predicted that one in four of us will have issues with mental health at some point each year. Yet the issue is often overlooked or dismissed by others due to a lack of understanding. Having struggled with anxiety and panic attacks for nearly six years I have noticed this first hand. Given that the issue is now very much in the public domain (contrary to previous decades) the most prominent question that arises is why are mental health illnesses not being treated with due respect by others? I do genuinely wonder if people are aware as to the impact that mental health illnesses have upon one’s life and those around them. The initial feelings upon having difficulties is quite often just as traumatising as the years to follow, perhaps even more so. Not knowing what is wrong with you can have a hugely negative effect on your morale. Equally, you feel as though you are isolated due to the fact that not many people are open about having these issues predominantly because of the stigma attached to suffering from these conditions.

The Hippodrome cinema in Bo’ness celebrates its hundredth anniversary this month, writes Melissa Russell. Opened in 1912 it’s thought to be the oldest such picture-house of its kind still surviving in Scotland. To celebrate this momentous occasion the Hippodrome, with help from Creative Scotland, are providing cinema goers with a year-long array of workshops, exhibitions and even screenings in unusual places! As of 2012 the Falkirk Community Trust started a new Youth Ambassador initiative to give The Hippodrome a bit more of a youthful edge. I myself am one of the Hippodrome’s brand spanking new Youth Ambassadors helping to bring both a younger audience to the cinema as well as some unique and interesting films which may not have been screened there previously. On 23 February I was able to present my first film choice for the cinema, Amelie. This quirky little French film starring Audrey Tatou was just the thing to inject some fun into a Thursday night at this beloved cinema.

It took me seven weeks, going back and forth from the doctors, before I was finally diagnosed with anxiety and panic attacks. The thing that most people seem to be unable to comprehend, is that there is no easy cure, no magic pill that you can take which is going to alleviate your problems – these pills only postpone them. The limitations that are imposed on the lives of people who are unfortunate enough to have a problem with mental illness can range from the mediocre to the severe: some people are unable to travel and others are unable to leave their very doorstep. Even if you begin to take steps towards recovery, it is just as easy to find yourself back in freefall, such is the frailty upon which the illness can lay its foundation. People who stigmatise mental health illnesses need to look at it from the point of view of someone who is struggling. Does this person really want to be causing an inconvenience to those around them? Does this person really like being unable to do things that most people would otherwise consider normal? These are of course rhetorical questions. Nobody enjoys being left out and those lumbered with panic attacks, anxiety and other mental health illnesses are no different. It is often overlooked how much of an impact mental

illness can have on the immediate family members and close friends of the sufferer as they attempt to come to terms with exactly what is wrong. More often than not they struggle to comprehend the situation fully. Mental health can be a very difficult thing to understand after all, further isolating the person who is suffering from the issues. People who are unfortunate enough to have mental health issues often maintain a façade - in my case of complete confidence - in order that people are unable to notice any issues from the outside. This is something which appears to be quite common amongst others with mental health issues. Confidence is a key factor in overcoming mental health issues, certainly in my own experience. Confidence is the reason that social stigma has such a damaging effect on individuals in this regard, as when people disregard your problems it is likely to have negative implications on the individual. ‘Healthy Body Healthy Mind’ is a campaign being launched in order to raise awareness of mental health and help people overcome any difficulties through better eating habits and regular exercise, as well as helping those who do not have mental health issues to continue to live as healthy and fruitful a life as possible. Together we can change attitudes for the better.

I had my programme synopsis published at the start of the year and as Youth Ambassador it is my duty to get the word out about the screening. It is with great pride that I announce the success of this viewing of Amelie. We had over 40 people in attendance, which is perfect for a back catalogue showing (25% capacity is the industry standard for this type of screening). I recommend - for those of you who have not seen the film Amelie - to sit yourself down and do so, it is the epitome of French cinema and will have you laughing from start to finish. I also recommend a visit to The Hippodrome for the most unique cinema going experience you will ever receive. For more information on becoming a Hippodrome Youth Ambassador please contact Alison Strauss, Arts Development Officer for the Falkirk Community Trust at For more information on screenings and workshops at the Hippodrome in Bo’ness go to: venues/hippodrome/hippodrome.aspx

Bo’ness Hippodrome

MARCH 2012


YOUR NEW STIRLING CAMPUS It’s finally here…Forth Valley College’s new state-of-the-art campus in Stirling is set to welcome learners in April. This fantastic new facility is hotly tipped to be one of the most stunning learning locations in Scotland when it opens. Learners will be inspired by the beautiful riverside location overlooked by two iconic historical landmarks – Stirling Castle and the Wallace Monument. The new campus will be kitted out with specialist workshops and studios and flexible learning spaces. Students will also have all the latest resources and technology at their fingertips ensuring they can meet the demands of 21st century learning. So what types of learners will be studying at the campus? Many of the students will be studying courses in the areas of Creative Industries, Culture

and Tourism, Business, Construction and Hospitality. With a wide range of programmes available from access to degree level, the campus will also have learners from all walks of life so there will be lots of opportunities to meet new friends. The campus will also have a fully-equipped fitness suite and a new fine dining training restaurant – the Gallery. With so much on offer, staff and learners can’t wait to get in – here are some important dates in relation to the big move! April 2012 – Learners and staff from Kerse Road will move to the new campus August 2012 – New and other continuing learners will commence their studies at the new campus

Getting there… Moving to the new campus or just fancy a visit? Visit the college website for key travel information including bus and train services, walking and cycle routes plus much more. Remember choose green travel if you can!


MARCH 2012

Watch out for opportunities to visit the new campus – check out the website:

Kathleen Underhill FVC Student Union President, said: “I have already spoken with students who are moving to the new campus and they are all very excited about their new surroundings and state-of-the-art facilities. Of course like any move there will be nerves and anxiety, but there is loads of information on the college website already and this Fusion article provides some valuable advice. “This new campus opens up so many opportunities for our learners especially the fantastic link we have with Stirling University and of course working closely with the local community in Stirling - who may well be coming in to use the excellent facilities in the not too distant future.

“It’s safe to say, we’re all very excited about the grand opening!”

MARCH 2012


The Hunger Games Suzanne Collins

Dawn of the Dreadfuls Steve Hockensmith

'Left Neglected' Lisa Genova

A lot of people will tell you it’s a rip-off of ‘Battle Royale’ or the Arnie fans amongst you will tell you it’s a teenage ‘The Running Man’. Firstly the plot - America is now divided into 12 districts, it was 13 but the Capital destroyed it to prove a point when revolution broke out (unlucky 13 they would say). From that point on, once a year, two children from each district are chosen to fight in the Capital in a custom built arena as the authorities show their power. Two dozen gladiators enter, only one leaves. One of the main characters Katniss volunteers in place of her younger sister and goes into the arena. A friendship triangle emerges, but thankfully it hasn’t got the awkwardness of the ‘Twilight’ lot. You won’t put this book down once they enter the arena and that’s why I enjoyed it so much. I’m such a fan that I am now half way through the third book! My only gripe is, in this post-apocalyptic time with food scarce, I felt the author was padding things out a bit much with description after description of each meal. But that didn’t stop me enjoying it.

A prequel to the famous quirky classic Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (PPZ), Dawn of the Dreadfuls is a surprisingly enjoyable literary mash up. Set in Regency England four years before PPZ, we follow a young Elizabeth Bennett and her sisters as they evolve into warriors in order to combat the rising number of ‘unmentionables’ making themselves known to the sleepy village of Meryton. Although some might see this as a literary rip off rather than a mash up, none of Jane Austen’s original text has been used for the prequel. This leaves only the original Pride and Prejudice characters to be transformed into zombie slaying ladies who lunch. For me this book is the perfect combination of horror and romance. The novel takes the central theme of high society romance and drama from Austen’s original and combines it with feverishly top form zombie gore. The two may not sound like they go together, but believe me it works.

This fictional, but true-to-life, story follows Sarah Nickerson (a married mother of three with a high-flying career) through the most eventful year of her life as an accident leaves her disabled. The book is laugh-out-loud amusing, but will also bring tears to your eyes. If you enjoy an emotional roller-coaster then this is perfect for you. The story is inspiring and Lisa Genova demonstrates brilliantly how having a disability is not the end of the world. It may change your views of people with disabilities as it shows how they manage to triumph over adversity every day.

By Melissa Russell

By Sheryn Morrison

Bangarang – Skrillex

By Andrew Milner

American Vampire Volume 1 Scott Snyder & Stephen King. Art by Raphael Albuquerque American Vampire tells a tale set in 1920s Los Angeles about a struggling actress and how a chance encounter changes her life forever. A secondary story, told through flashback, gives us the original story of Skinner Sweet, a bandit from the old west and the first American vampire. American Vampire sets itself apart from many vampire stories as it tells the story of a brand new breed of vampire. Framing the story around this new breed allows Snyder and King to rewrite the rules of vampires, while keeping true to classic conventions when dealing with older breeds. This approach makes the story feel fresh and original.


MARCH 2012

The art does a great job of capturing environments. The 1920s story oozes glamour and the old west scenes look dirty and gritty. Albuquerque also captures the horror of the story fantastically, providing the reader with vampires that resemble the monsters they really are. While it might have been nice to explore one story in more detail, rather than jumping between two, Snyder and King do a good job of balancing the stories, providing readers with many great moments. This book marks the beginning of a great series which I will be following until the end. By Sean Pritchard

The bringer of dub step himself is back with this little EP named ‘Bangarang’. After the ‘Scary Monsters & Nice Sprites’ EP came out and made Skrillex a household name, we’ve been kept waiting for more devastating, mouth-watering dub step, but here we are. The entire affair starts off with the devastating track ‘Right in’, kicking off with a dance influenced intro which leads you right into a solid wall of thick bass, and rather melodic chorus which you don’t really forget. However, the recording then gives way to some less memorable tracks. Even though Skrillex fans will be momentarily amused by the wobbly bass lines and melodic choruses, when they get to tracks like ‘Breakn a sweat’ and ‘The Devils Den’ they will realise that Skrillex has gone soft on us, and at certain points, it’s just straight up dance. This is not what we wanted. So all in all Bangarang isn’t a terrible EP, it’s just not what you would expect, since some of the songs are nothing but dance anthems dipped in dubstep light. Again I would say this isn’t terrible, but I think we just expected him to stick to what he is known for. By Mark Sneddon


Matte complexion. To achieve this look, always use a

primer so the skin can be as perfect as possible for using a powder based foundation. Avoid applying illuminator or highlighter in your T-zone and apply foundation only in the centre of your face, leaving the forehead bare, then blend outward for a natural look. Foundation isn't a mask.

Bare-eyed mascara. Apply mascara first, even

before foundation as this opens the eyes up and creates a focal point for the rest of your make-up. You may find that you may not need to use as much make-up as you usually would, pre-mascara. Use an eyelash curler and eyelash primer before, and a lash comb after you wiggle the mascara on. Invest in individual eyelash extensions to enhance the outer edges, using a couple is easy enough for yourself or a friend to apply. Give the liner and shadow a break and go natural using a black or brown mascara. Lash tinting is available in the college salon to help with this look.

Bold but feminine brows. Neither thin nor thick but

strict and groomed. This can involve a lot of filling in and growing them out. Observe the direction the hair is growing when filling the brows, follow the direction using fine strokes with the pencil. The brow pencil always needs to be one or two shades lighter than the hair colour. The eyebrows should be strong but sophisticated, they are the map of the face so let them make a statement. The college salon provides eyebrow tinting, waxing and more advice.

From time to time FVC will have some promotional offers on products and services. Here are some offers the college has on at the moment – so why not treat yourself!

Get yourself ‘glammed’ up for the weekend with our Fabulous Fridays offers at our Raploch Campus salon. Option 1 - File and Polish, curls or hair up and L’anza Ultimate Treatment - package price only £15.00 Option 2 - Upgrade to full manicure and all of the above for only £20.00 Luxury Package Option 1 - Shellac or minx nails, L’anza Ultimate Treatment, beautiful blow dry, curls or hair up and party lashes only £30.00 Option 2 - Upgrade to a cut and blowdry plus all of the above for only £35.00

Classic red vs nude. Red lip stains have been all the

rage recently which was perfect for a pop of colour on a dreary winter’s day. Now nude is making its way back in, statement eyes are what it’s all about. Dab the outer edges of the lips with a cream-based concealer to outline them. Pick a nude colour that is one or two tones darker than the colour of the inside of your lips. Using a lip brush paint the lips from the centre then to finish off, you can dab some loose powder over them for extra effect. An alternative could be to choose a nude gloss, this will conceal the natural pinkish hues of your skin.

NAKED 2. By Urban Decay is the most anticipated

Legs, bikini line, underarm and eyebrow wax, eye lash and brow tint only £20.00 Available at Falkirk salon@thecampus Mondays and Wednesdays 1pm – 4pm, Tuesdays 9am – 1pm Raploch salon@thecampus Mondays 9am- 1pm

sequel of the decade. 'Naked' is the world’s best selling palette of all time and 'Naked 2' is following in its footsteps. Released in the UK on the 9 January, it's already a big hit. This will be perfect for combining these tips to get this season’s statement eyes. It contains 12 pigment-rich shadows with five new and exclusive, neutral shades. Includes a travel size lip gloss and a double ended shadow/crease brush.

MARCH 2012



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CELEBRATION OF FAIRTRADE CELEBRATION OF FAIRTRADE: (From left to right) Elias Mohamed, Iris Aitchison, Agnes Armah, Martin Rhodes, Kathleen Underhill FVC Student Union President, Linda McKay FVC Principal.


MARCH 2012

Two cocoa farmers from Ghana were guests of honour at Forth Valley College’s first ever Celebration of Fairtrade event recently. Martin Rhodes, Director of The Fair Trade Forum Scotland was delighted to bring Elias Mohamed (55) and Agnes Armah (34) both sponsored by Divine Chocolate - along to Scotland’s first Fairtrade College so they could share their fascinating story with around 70 delegates, in the middle of Fairtrade Fortnight 2012 (27 February – 9 March). Forth Valley College students from the Hospitality Section produced and served the food and drinks available on the day and Creative Industry students filmed and recorded the presentations. Falkirk Council Provost Pat Reid joined representatives from all five of the Falkirk area’s Fairtrade schools – Kinnaird, St Andrews, Bowhouse and Bo’ness Public Primary Schools and St Mungo’s High School – at the morning conference and delegations from several more local schools, who are hoping to attain the status soon, attended the event. Iris Aitchison, FVC Fairtrade Co-ordinator, said: “The presentation from Martin Rhodes was inspirational and the cocoa producers - Elias and Agnes - talked us through some fascinating slides of how the cocoa beans are converted into delicious chocolate and how Fairtrade has changed their lives. The film showing what the local schools are doing with Fairtrade status was so popular that we had to show it twice! Martin Rhodes, Director of the Fair Trade Forum Scotland, said: “I was delighted to have been a part of Forth Valley College’s Celebration of Fairtrade. It shows how lots of schools and Scotland’s first college with Fairtrade status have worked together to become an important part of the campaign to make Scotland Fair Trade.”

We all like a good movie, and that’s especially true when we need a break from studying. so just as well then that Cineworld in Falkirk are happy to continue with their fantastic discount offer to Forth Valley College students. All you need to do is present your NUS discount card to Cineworld counter staff. These cards are available from Forth Valley College Student Union and will entitle you to a great discount at Cineworld Falkirk.

The Raven

John Carter

Director: James McTeigue Starring: John Cusack, Alice Eve, Luke Evans Plot: Leave it to a gruesome fatalist like Edgar Allen Poe to inject some mystery into his own death. When he was found - rambling through Baltimore in early October 1849 - having disappeared for several days, he was unable to explain where he had been, and died a short time later. In all likelihood he spent those missing days drinking the Baltimore bars dry of gin. But in the mind of writers Ben Livingstone and Hannah Shakespeare, he spent them solving an incredibly elaborate series of murders based on his short stories in a bid to save the love of his life. Verdict: The premise of The Raven is very interesting, (a similar plotline worked well in the Doctor Who episode ‘The Unicorn and The Wasp’), and the gothic ‘charms’ of Poe are hard to resist. Unfortunately, the makers of The Raven seemed to have merely cribbed his ideas and left behind all the skill and atmosphere. After the vaguely interesting set-up has been established, the film lapses into a strict pattern it seems to have set itself. It starts with a murder. Poe finds a clue. He shouts ‘GRAVEYARD’. Everyone rushes to find another murder scene in the graveyard. Poe finds a clue…etc, etc. Eventually, it becomes totally inconsequential that John Cusack is even playing the famous writer, and the premise seems more and more like a gimmick used to decorate the flimsy plot. It’s unfortunate for Cusack, who puts in a good performance and would probably put in an even better one if given a more interesting backdrop. You’d be better off just watching an old Poe adaptation. By Nicholas Reid


Director: Andrew Stanton Starring: Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Mark Strong Plot: Based on a popular series of sci-fi novels from the early 20th century, John Carter tells the story of a veteran soldier of the American Civil War, who one day stumbles upon a magical amulet that transports him to another world. The majority of the film takes place on the alien world of Barsoom, the natives’ name for the planet Mars. While on Barsoom, John Carter obtains super strength and the ability to leap huge distances. Carter very quickly becomes caught in the middle of a war between two kingdoms of Red Martians, whilst also becoming involved with Princess Dejah Thoris and the green skinned alien Thark race. Verdict: The design of the alien races and cities of Barsoom are very well done. The world feels alive and exciting and the aliens look great. Especially enjoyable is a dog like alien gifted to John by the Thark tribe who steals the scene whenever he appears. However, Taylor Kitsch is somewhat lacking as a lead actor. While he shines in the film’s fantastically choreographed action scenes, he just doesn’t have the charisma to keep things interesting when the time comes to slow things down. The main villain of the piece is difficult to pinpoint, which can make viewing the movie frustrating at times and made the final battle feel slightly anticlimactic to me. The film feels a little long at times, with some pacing problems at the beginning making the Earth based sections crawl by. Once the film is let loose on Barsoom though, it begins to get much more exciting and the action scenes are especially exhilarating. This is by no means a perfect film but it is certainly enjoyable and worth seeing. By Sean Pritchard

MARCH 2012

by Graham Ruthven

Fusion are delighted to bring to you one of the most exciting young sports journalists working in Scotland today … and he’s a student at Forth Valley College! Despite continuing his quest for a BA Degree in Media and Communications, Graham Ruthven is also the freelance Sports Editor of Clyde and Forth free-sheets the Allan Water Herald, Eastside Advertiser, The Stirling News and the Strathallan Times. He is also the on-line football correspondent for the New York Times and writes his own sports blog which attracts hundreds of followers on When then owner David Murray made the infamous claim that for every fiver Celtic spent, Rangers would spend a tenner, he could never have imagined how that path could eventually threaten the solvency of the entire club.

On the other hand, hours before Rangers filed for administration, Celtic Chief Executive, Peter Lawwell had insisted his half of the rivalry could survive without the other, but just how accurate are Lawwell’s claims? Could Celtic survive, even thrive as the Celtic chief suggested, without Rangers? The demise of one club can never instantly spark that of another, and despite carrying a debt themselves of around £7 million, Celtic are widely acknowledged to have operated more responsibly than their cross-city counterparts. However perhaps a more apt question would be do Celtic want to face having to survive without Rangers? I suspect that if Celtic supporters were to discount tribal emotion from their opinion, they would acknowledge that an existence without Rangers, without rivalry or competition, would be immeasurably less compelling. The Scottish Premier League (SPL) is undeniably a two-horse race, just as is the case in Spain and Portugal. While many will argue that this generates a monotonous routine, the intense rivalry between two teams as strong as the Old Firm creates a focus that attracts interest from outwith the Scottish football hardcore. It’s this interest that broadcasters Sky and ESPN pay a combined fee of £80 million to be a part of. Should that interest disappear, it’s a possibility the commercial partnership that keeps Scottish football viable right now could disappear with it.

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However, it cannot be denied that as much as administration is disastrous for Rangers, its consequences represent less of a blow to controversial owner Craig Whyte himself. Using administration as an escape route may be morally questionable, but from a business perspective, it represents the only option. A distinct lack of communication between those in charge of the club and those in the stands has contributed to an air of panic amongst the Rangers support. Furthermore, whenever Whyte has made a token media appearance, his words generate even more questions, with very few answers. Whyte recently stated in an interview that he’s sunk £32 million of his own personal wealth into the club, and was forced to admit burdening the club with further debt after borrowing £24 million on the value of four years worth of season tickets. It was also revealed recently that Whyte has accumulated an unpaid tax bill of £9 million, on top of the alleged £75 million tax bill currently being contested with HM Revenue and Customs, that would almost certainly cripple Rangers, forcing them into liquidation. Many are beginning to accept that liquidation might not just be a possibility, but a certainty. Even club directors, such as Dave King, are acknowledging it as a likely conclusion. Even if a ‘phoenix’ club equivalent is formed to take their place, re-admittance to the SPL is not guaranteed and a three-year ban from European competition would be meted out by UEFA as automatic punishment. A communication vacuum has become a common trait of Whyte’s regime to date, and at a time when questions are no longer as trivial as potential transfer targets or formation options, Rangers fans are entitled to feel frustrated at a lack of leadership from the club’s owner. However, now that independent administrators, Duff and Phelps have been in charge for almost a month, a more transparent approach may be adopted at Ibrox. This episode might take Rangers to the very brink of existence, but the bitterest blow so far might finally generate some answers. All views expressed in this column are those of the writer and not necessarily representative of either Forth Valley College, The Student Union or Fusion magazine.

MARCH 2012

14/09/2011 16:14

Fusion - Issue 18  

Forth Valley College Student Union Magazine - Fusion issue 18 March 2012

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