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forthvalleycollege student magazine May ‘11 . issue 13

in association with Forth Valley College Student Union

Funny in Falkirk set to Be A Cracker! P8 & 9 FVC Student’s Work Experience in New York P12 & 13 What’s FVC Listening To? P16 & 17 Pirates of the Caribbean Competition P20 Also Games reviews P4 Book Reviews P7 Film Reviews/Previews P18 & 19

may 2011 | fusion | 1


Vegas Themed


End of Year Ball • 3 Course Meal entary drink plus a complim er 18’s) (soft drink for


• Casino Tables ers • Showgirl Danc apel • Wedding Ch

• Facepainter • DJ/Disco ands • Battle of the B Winner

June 2011 Sunday 5th te! la ll ti k 7pm lub,Falkir City Nightc

lcome nds & family we 2011 All students, frie nday 18th April epted from Mo acc be l wil ts Deposi

0 Tick ets- £2

A hard year’s study is nearly at an end. Exams are upon us, books are being finished and those with an abundance of follicles have their hands poised to let that hair down as soon as the last assignment has been handed in. Of course the ideal place for a FVC student to do this will be at the End of Year Summer Ball on Sunday June 5 in Falkirk’s City nightspot. Tickets for this Vegas Themed event – which includes a three course meal, a drink on arrival, face painting, casino tables and even a wedding chapel and Elvis impersonator – are priced at £20 and available from the Student Union. David Connell, outgoing Student Union President, said: “This promises to be our biggest and best end of term bash ever. It’s creating a lot of excitement and even students who are under 18 years of age will be able to join in the fun as responsible adult chaperones will be on duty during the evening. “We are looking for as many students as possible to buy tickets for this great event and make it a memorable night to start the summer holidays!” 2 | fusion | may 2011

After a resounding win by the SNP at the Scottish parliament elections NUS Scotland officials are hoping pledges made before polling day on May 6 will be honoured. The NUS welcomed the SNP manifesto commitments to improve student support for the poorest students, to protect places at university and colleges and to keep Scotland free of tuition fees. Liam Burns, President of NUS Scotland, said: “The SNP manifesto shows that the voice of students in Scotland is being heard loud and clear. We called on every candidate of every party to commit to students to rule out fees and protect numbers. We know the fight is as much about after the election as before and so we will work very hard over the coming weeks and months to turn manifesto promises into cast-iron commitments, and to turn commitments into urgent action early in the new Scottish Parliament.” Since our last edition there have been some big changes at NUS Scotland. A new president has been elected and the outgoing postholder Liam Burns has been elected as the UK NUS President. Robin Parker, President-elect of NUS Scotland, said: “I am absolutely honored and delighted to have been elected NUS Scotland President for the year to come. It’s going to be a hugely challenging year for

the student movement. But if we maintain the momentum we currently have, I have no doubt that students can make sure we stop the introduction of fees, maintain graduate numbers and college places, and increase student support.” Commenting on his new UK wide post Liam said: “I am honoured and delighted to have been elected NUS UK National President for the year to come. It’s going to be a hugely challenging year across the UK for both further and higher education. I am looking forward to working tirelessly to defend, extend, and promote the rights of students.” 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

What's inside 04

Game On // David Harley with his regular view on gaming


N ew President // College elects new Student Union leader


Book Reviews // Fusion writers review books they’ve read recently


 unny in Falkirk Preview F Info, news and ticket competition


M elissa Finds Her Voice // Scottish Youth Parliament welcomes FVC students

“Don’t aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally.”– David Frost This quote accurately sums up my time as student president. It is a quote that I think will benefit a lot of students as they (or rather leave college and go onto employment or university goodbye) over the summer. As you may know, my tenure as Student President is now over. I have completed my maximum of two years in office and I will be moving on after this term is finished, so I am saddened to say that this will be my last ever President’s Hello. Even though it is very hard to know that I am leaving, I can look back at the successes that have been achieved, the people I have met and of course the changes that have been made due to the support and advice of the student body. I can state that during the last two years I have had some of the best moments in my life and I have learned some valuable lessons that I will take into my future. Some of the achievements we have had over the last two years are; raising funds

President’s hello

12/13 14/15

R ead All About It // New York Times work experience for Graham

D on’t Risk It // Health and Safety essentials for students


 Wha t’s FVC Listening To? // Dani Gibson finds out


Film Reviews/ Previews/ Competition

To contact Fusion email: for students in Malawi; smoking shelters built; helping with the revamp of the Fusion magazine; training class representatives so the learner voice is heard throughout the college; becoming the first Fairtrade College in Scotland; redesign of the FVSU logo and the FVSU website; and taking part in the funding cuts demo to ensure that tuition fees are not introduced in Scotland. There have been many more, but these are the ones that brought the most joy to fellow students and lecturers. And, they wouldn’t have been achieved if it wasn’t for the support from students at Forth Valley College. I would like to say well done to Kathleen Underhill, the new Student Union President. Kathleen was nominated for Class Representative of the Year at the prestigious NUS awards ceremony and she proved to be a popular choice with the students. I believe she will make a fantastic president next year as she has the drive and ambition to take the SU forward. Lastly I would like to thank the students and staff for their support over the last two years, it would take me forever to name everyone and I don’t think there will be enough ink either! Everyone has been superb from day one and have helped make this a fantastic experience. I wish everybody luck in the future and hopefully our paths will cross again sometime. Thank you. David Connell


Forth Valley College Citizenship and Enterprise students from Stirling and Alloa have been working their socks off to raise awareness of worthy causes over the last few months. Among the events Lifestart, SCOPE and Social Enterprise students from the Access and Progression Department have been involved in were: a shop and café during Fairtrade Fortnight at the beginning of March which collected more than £300, a Valentine’s Day Pamper Hamper which raised £155 for the Red for Feb British Heart Foundation campaign and a sponsored walk to raise cash for the Young Persons Residential to Badeguish near Aviemore which amassed £220 in total. Lecturer Linda McPherson for Extended Transition (Alloa and Stirling) said: “Students from these courses have all worked together to help raise awareness and funds for Fairtrade Fortnight and sold products and refreshments at both campuses. We like to think that we played our part in the fact the College was awarded Fairtrade status by the Fairtrade Foundation. Work experience also played a big role in this event. “Lifestart students were delighted when the STV news crew covering the award filmed the stall at the Stirling Campus and they suddenly found themselves appearing on television on Reporting Scotland that night. “Weeks before, Lifestart students from Alloa had raised awareness of the British Heart Foundation as part of the Red for Feb campaign. As part of the research we investigated a healthy diet and the importance of exercise for the heart. “With exercise still on our minds we joined up with Lifestart Stirling to do a sponsored walk to raise funds for the Young Persons Residential to Badeguish near Aviemore. Around £220 was raised mainly from relatives and friends at home to enable additional activities to take place during their stay. “So all in all it’s been a good start to the year in raising awareness of Healthy Living and involvement in Community Action through fund raising activities and we are delighted with the efforts of all our students.” may 2011 | fusion | 3


by David Harley



Mortal Kombat

Well, this has been a fun time in the world of gaming! I'm sure anything I say here on Sony’s recent performance will have already been said on every gaming site and magazine… so I won’t bother ( I can hear my editor sigh with relief from a legal standpoint). We also move past the Wii2 announcement as…well, there’s nothing to go on. In this edition we’re going to take a look at the 3DS, the first shot fired in the new Console Wars. This is actually Nintendo’s third console to be capable of 3D graphics. The original and most well known example is the Virtual Boy – a horrible block of red and black plastic that just didn’t work at all. Then there was the GameCube which had the capability to display true stereoscopic 3D, but only the launch title Luigi’s Mansion was designed to utilise the technology. No other titles did this, primarily due to the cost involved at the time to take advantage of the availability. Yes I did buy one on release day – in fact, I was the first person in Falkirk to obtain one (Shut up, I know I’m a geek). I will say this though – the reports that the 3D makes you feel ill was not new information – some people are unable to view 3D properly due to one thing or another, so blaming Nintendo is unfair and detracts from the crisp quality the 3D offers. I don’t use it myself due to a problem in one of my eyes. The 3D can’t work for me, but from what I can see…which is the left side…it is nicely done. The console comes packaged with a few ‘Apps’ that are more interesting than fun. You can create Miis as you can on the Wii, but this time you can create one using the built in camera, allowing it to work your face into a digital recreation using the parts

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it has preloaded. It works well…except for the eyes. If you don’t have your eyes wide open – as in so wide it is questionable you have eyelids – you are left with two very tiny beady eyes, pressed in to the middle of your face. I still look nicer than I do now though, so it’s not all bad. The game list is less then stellar, with future titles such as Ocarina of Time 3D, Dead or Alive: Dimensions and Cave Story 3D missing from the line up. The only two games I can honestly recommend are Ridge Racer 3D, a solid racing game that works well and controls well, while looking very pretty, and Super Street Fighter 4 – just an all around fun game. But from an initial launch list of a dozen games, that’s sad, yet expected. The 3DS does have an air of ‘rushed’ about it, with several facilities all missing from the system. But patches are being made available for download when they are ready, so that is the silver lining to the small grey cloud over this console. If you were still on the fence about getting this then I would advise waiting until around July or August before picking up the latest offering. By then the game choice will be much improved, the features that were promised will be there, and you will definitely get your money’s worth.

We all know the song, we all know the fighters – Mortal Kombat is back and gorier than ever in this reboot. It goes all the way back to the first game, altering the timeline and allowing for a new universe to be established. I won’t spoil the story for you, but it is one that shatters premonitions of games only having a tacked on story mode. The cut scenes blend into the fights seamlessly, similar to what Final Fantasy 13 tried to do, but better. If you hate fighting games then this won’t convert you, but with easy controls, a balanced roster, and a fun atmosphere. Lovers of fighting games, and those on the fence won’t fail to be entertained. You don’t have to be good, just mash the buttons. Rating: 4 out of 5

Portal 2

Thinking with Portals yet? This return to what was originally an added on demonstration of technology is bigger, badder and has Stephen Merchant – what more could you want? You play as Chell once again, as you pit your wits against Turrets, Light Bridges, and everyone’s favourite evil singing AI – GLaDOS. That’s all I can tell you about the plot, any more and I enter spoiler realm. The humour is upped from the last game and the challenges are…well, pretty much the same, but with a new twist. If Portal was Coca Cola, Portal 2 is Diet Coke with a twist of Citrus Zest. They’re similar, but just different enough for you to notice – except the second one is better for your health…That was a terrible analogy. Rating: 4 out of 5

KATHLEEN READY FOR FVC SU CHALLENGE Kathleen Underhill (27) an HNC Early Years Education and Childcare student from Grangemouth won a keenly contested election at the end of April to land the role of full-time president for the next year. Having experience as a class representative and recently being nominated in the NUS Scotland Class Representative of the Year category in March’s Student awards, Kathleen has a fair idea of the challenges afoot in her new role. New FVC SU President Kathleen, said: “I am nervous and excited at the same time and totally surprised that I won the election. However. I am looking forward to it and it’s something new and exciting. “I have big shoes to fill as David has done an amazing job and he has made it really easy for me to step in and follow all his great work.

Forth Valley College’s Student Union has a new President!

“I can’t thank him enough for all his help and advice. “My main objective next year is to try to bring all four campuses together more and I’m looking forward to the challenge.” Outgoing President David Connell, said: “It’s been a really great experience, being Forth Valley College Student Union President and I have made loads of new friends. “Helping to get the College its Fairtrade status has got to be the highlight for me. But the whole two years will be something that will stay with me for the rest of my life. “I think Kathleen will be a really good President as she has the drive and ability to take the Student Union forward. I wish her all the best for the future.”


What can you expect from the new campus? 99It’s easy to get to – the town centre location is close to bus routes and the new railway station 99Modern, fully equipped classrooms 99State-of-the-art workshops and equipment

We’re all very excited at the college as we prepare to move into our new Alloa Campus over the summer break. From state-of-the-art technology to shiny new furniture, the campus will offer a host of benefits for the lucky students who will be the first to experience it. Students due to study at the new Alloa Campus will be issued further details in regards to the move over the summer, so keep a look out for an information pack in the post. Or check out the college website which will be updated regularly with all the latest news and guidance. In the meantime if you have any questions about the move, please get in touch! Chances are if you’re wondering about something, someone else will be too. Drop us an email at

99Combined Learning Resource Centre and Student Advice Desk – everything you need in one place 99Access to all the latest technology – including WiFi 99New and improved canteen 99Comfortable seating areas 99Get fit with the new campus gym 99Treat yourself at the hair and beauty salons

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Interview with Gavin Orr Director of Big Bad Wolf Children’s Theatre Company a What inspired you to fulfil a life in the

"[Theatre] is great for confidence boosting, socialising and self expression." Whilst reading Fusion magazine I noted that although it is packed with film, book and games reviews, there was nothing that hinted at local theatre companies – musical or dramatics. This pushed me to delve into the thespian world within Forth Valley to investigate what is out there and who it caters for… To do this I needed to look no further than Forth Valley College itself to find a children’s theatre director who is a Communications and Media lecturer within the Creative Industries Department...his name...Gavin Orr. I asked Gavin if he could spare me some time to discuss his opinions on amateur dramatics and musical theatre, its exclusiveness, what ultimately inspired him and his successes.

Upcoming Events Billy Elliot the Musical - Falkirk Children's Youth Theatre Venue: Falkirk Town Hall (FTH) Date: Thursday 30 June,19:30–20:30, Friday 1 July, 19:30–21:00, Saturday 2 July, 19:30–20:30 Cost: £8/£6 concession Email: Web: 6 | fusion | may 2011

performing arts? G My English teacher in high school encouraged me to do public speaking in 3rd year. She volunteered me to do a speech for an educational conference in Bannockburn, in which my character was a tree. From here I took on the responsibility of most public speaking in assemblies then took part in a charity event with four friends, which then lead onto taking part in the school show and the rest they say …history.

a What was the show? G Swamper. It was one man’s rise and fall due to drugs. It was a good show with the writer/director being my Rector – Gerry Docherty.

a Do you think theatre is accessible for

everyone of all abilities? G Yes, it should be about fun if you’re not trying to make a living out of it. It is great for confidence boosting, socialising and self expression.

a What are you doing now? G At the moment I am currently working with Falkirk Operatic Society, playing the role as Jesus in the production of Godspell. This company ranges from children aged six years to adults who are 60 years plus. This is a fine example of how theatre is accessible to all. I am also working on developing acting technique workshops with children's theatre company Big Bad Wolf (BBW) over the summer and next year’s production.

by kathleen underhill

a How do you work theatre into your

working career? G I’m not working full time as a lecturer at present so technically do have some spare time to work on BBW my production company – Goldray Productions – and performing on the stage.

a What has been your biggest

highlight(s) of your theatre career? G I couldn’t possibly highlight just one experience! Gavin then goes on to give a list of all his highlights……

>>Touring with Swamper in 1995, performing at the MacRobert Centre and Falkirk Town Hall with Central Scotland Police and CADIC, which is a drug awareness scheme.

>>Playing the Pharaoh in Joseph and his Technicolor Dream Coat, which was part of a charity trip to Romania with Busket in 1994.

>>Playing Nicely, Nicely Johnston in Guys and Dolls with my big solo – sit down your rocking the boat in 1997.

>>Westside Story, which is where I managed to nail my singing, acting and dancing all in one show!

>>First ever directing job with Falkirk Youth Theatre which was ‘The Wiz’. Here I also took lead role of ‘The Wiz’.

>>Summer Holiday – which I am proud to say, was a Scottish Amateur Premier.

>>Disney’s Aladdin Junior, which was my first production with BBW.

>>Lie of the Land – Playing the role of The Alman Dramatic Club - Summer Production will be a stage adaptation of the classic comedy drama series M*A*S*H. Venue: Devonvale Hall, Tillicoultry Date: Tuesday 14 June to Saturday 18 June Cost: £8 Web:

Private Lobby Cargill with the Almond Theatre Company in Alloa.

>>Beauty and the Beast, with BBW, which was a UK Children’s Theatre Premier.

BOOK REVIEWS Marabou Stork Nightmares


By Irvine Welsh Marabou Stork Nightmares is yet another insight into the boundary breaking imagination of Scottish writer Irvine Welsh. The main character and narrator, Roy Strang, has been in a coma for two years and has created a fantasy world for himself deep inside his subconscious in order to avoid the guilt and pain which stems from his real life. I particularly like that in Roy’s deepest level of his subconscious he is hunting down the deadly Marabou Stork, which represents a much more sinister side to his own personality.

Welsh fills this surreal story with complex symbolism and the darkest of black comedy, two things which are common to all of his novels. To give away any more of the plot would ruin the book altogether as the twists in the tale and shocking revelations are better left to be discovered by the reader themselves. If you enjoy books that throw you 100 miles an hour through thrilling adventure with the most brutal character development, then Marabou Stork Nightmares is the book for you. By Melissa Russell

The Broons Annual (2010)


Seriously? I mean, what do you expect me to say about this? If you don’t know about the Broons then pick up the Sunday Post once in a while! The book features reprints of some of the stories that featured in the two years since the last one – as well as some new tales – in a chronological order from New Year’s Day down to Christmas and Hogmanay. I can’t tell you about all the characters, there’s not enough room! Just go read it yourself, it’s hardly a complex story – stuff happens, people laugh, it’s all good fun. By David Harley

Christie Malry’s Own Double Entry By B.S. Johnson Of all the writers cast into obscurity over the years, perhaps none deserve discovery more than the experimental novelist B.S. Johnson. This last book, published in 1972, Christie Malry’s Own Double Entry is by far the most accessible piece of Johnson's work, but still carries his unique, post-modern style, and a strong belief that novels are the only true way to convey the true nature of humanity, rather than films, television or plays. The novel itself is largely concerned with class, as is the titular character as he

Ice cold


By Tess Gerritsen Now this is my kind of book! This is one good thrill spinner. I loved the fact that Tess Gerritsen has continued to keep up the ‘frightfest’ in her books. Can't sleep? Pick up this and you won't sleep for a good while longer. Enjoy! By Dawn McLaren

The Lovely Bones


by Alice Seabold This is a dark book, not in a criminal sense but in a more real life sense. The book explains the deep hiddenunderworld of what the families of murder victims go through when their sons or daughters go missing, but also what the victims' souls see and go through. This book outlines the destruction of what these people (murderers) have done, but as the story unfolds it shows how the family of the victim evolves through their loss, but not quite for the best. The Lovely Bones book is a real tonic to read, especially if you're stuck studying like me. So pick this up and escape for a while. Its a real good read. By Dawn McLaren


attempts to breakfree from these constraints through his ‘double entry system,’ in which he debits himself for everything wrong done to him, and makes it up by an act of rebellion, thus crediting himself. It is around his quest concerning this system that most of this fantastic novel revolves. As society’s slights against him become (in his eyes) greater, so do his retaliatory actions, leading him to cross the line from heroic crusader to psychopath, and he transforms, into a British Kitchen Sink version of Patrick Batemen. By Nicholas Reid may 2011 | fusion | 7

This summer’s Funny in Falkirk festival is set to be a real ‘cracker’ after a comedy legend was confirmed to Fusion magazine as a headline act.

FUNNY IN FALKIRK SET TO BE A CRACKER Frank Carson has been making people laugh for the best part of 50 years and he is just one of the big attractions gearing up to make this year’s event – from July 22 – August 2 – the best yet. Canadian comic Stewart Francis – who has stolen the show several times on BBC 2’s Mock The Week – is also confirmed for the festival which will see more than 40 gigs take place at Falkirk Town Hall, Behind the Wall, 20 Rocks and other venues in Grangemouth, Stenhousemuir, Bo’ness, Bonnybridge and Denny. The Irish master of the one-liner will no doubt pack out Falkirk Town Hall on Saturday July 23rd (Tickets £15.50, £12.50 concession). Francis, who can conjure comedy gold out of the simplest of everyday phrases, will also play FTH on Sunday July 31st (Tickets £15.50, £12.50 concession). The full festival programme will be

8 | fusion | may 2011

announced in June, and will include a range of stand-up and sketch comedy from international stars and homegrown talent, plus children’s shows and a special programme of comedy films at the Hippodrome in Bo’ness and Falkirk Cineworld. Anna Cornelius, Marketing Officer for Funny in Falkirk said: “We are really excited about this year’s event which is even bigger and better than last year’s. “The full programme will be available in June on and on the FVC SU website and we hope as many FVC students as possible will take advantage of our concession tickets to come along for laughs this summer.”

Why not register for the festival e-newsletter at and find us on twitter and facebook for all the latest news about the festival as it happens?” Tickets for all Funny in Falkirk shows will be available at 24 hours a day at and via the telephone hotline on 0844 481 8108 every day between 9am and 9pm. Tickets are also available from the Steeple box office on Falkirk High Street in person or by telephone on 01324 506850 (Monday – Saturday between 9.30am and 5.45pm). Booking fees may apply. Further information can be obtained by visiting

The festival will see more than 40 gigs take place at Falkirk Town Hall, Behind the Wall, 20 Rocks and other venues in Grangemouth, Stenhousemuir, Bo’ness, Bonnybridge and Denny.

Behind The Wall Comedy Night Review

CRACKER OF A COMPETION We have a pair of tickets up for grabs to see Frank Carson at Falkirk Town Hall on Saturday July 23. All you have to do is answer the following question: What is Frank Carson’s famous catchphrase? Is it: • That’s a corker • That’s a cracker • That’s a quacker Email your answer to with ‘Frank Carson’ in the subject line. The deadline for entries is 12 noon on Friday 8 July. The winner will be notified by email and posted on the FVC SU website.

Photos: Stephen Callaghan and Susan Calman.

By David Harley I love stand-up, it’s something that fascinates me, people able to get on a stage and entertain with only jokes and anecdotes for a most likely drunken audience.

FVC FESTIVAL VOLUNTEERS Funny in Falkirk organisers are looking for FVC students to get involved with the festival this summer! The festival needs volunteers to help with promoting events, flyering and supervising shows. In return you’ll get an official Funny in Falkirk t-shirt and free tickets to see some of the funniest comedians in the country performing at the festival. The Funny in Falkirk team are also happy to give references if you want to include the festival on your CV. Interested? Contact with ‘Volunteer’ in the subject line and include your name and telephone number.

That said, I jumped at the chance to review this gig at Falkirk’s regular comedy venue Behind the Wall on Sunday March 27 and I’m glad I did. The venue itself is nice and cosy, though can be a little intimidating for the uninitiated in terms of bars. The show itself is upstairs, away from through traffic, and is warm. Yes, warm can be a compliment, you don’t want to be wrapped up in a jacket freezing, while trying to listen to someone make jokes, do you? On the bill were compere Susan Calman, and comedians Chloe Philip, Stephen Callaghan and Keir McAllister and they all went down very well with the appreciative and knowledgeable crowd. The entire show itself was fantastic. It wasn’t Live At The Apollo, but the comedians knew their audience, and that’s an integral part of any entertainer’s arsenal. They interacted with the crowd, talked with them, and were quick to adapt to whatever was thrown their way…not literally, figuratively. However, the filler music was…really an odd choice. It brought you out of the immersion of focusing on the show though it started to repeat a wee bit. I’d highly recommend going to this if you get the chance – it’s on every last Sunday of the month, and is less than a tenner for a good night of fun. Hopefully see you there. Rating: overall – 4 out of 5

may 2011 | fusion | 9

 Melissa Finds Her Voice! When you initially think about what the term ‘politics’ means what comes to mind? Boring middle-aged men talking about spending cuts and taxes? Writes Melissa Russell, a BA Media and Communications student at Forth Valley College. At the Scottish Youth Parliament (SYP) we focus on the political issues closer to home. Whether it’s Scottish tuition fees or giving young people a better chance for the future, as a member of the SYP it’s my job to do my best to make sure these things happen and that the social/ political issues affecting young people are heard. I joined the SYP in March of this year and I’m still to regret the decision. My initial reason for applying to become a member was to represent young women on a political level. I feel that women, not just young women, are severely under represented in politics and should stand up and have their say in how this country is run. Like most young people I didn’t think about politics at any great length when I was at school, but now that I have a bit more life experience I’ve realised that it affects every aspect of our lives. From the clothes we buy to the places we go on a Saturday night, everything that we do is influenced by Scottish and UK law. I would really like to try and make other young people aware of this fact so that they can see how easy it is for them to stand up and make a difference in their community. As a member representing Falkirk East – along with SYP member Christopher

Melissa and

Adamson from Bo’ness, an Access and Progression Workstart student, (pictured above with Melissa) – I will be visiting schools and colleges. I'm aiming to attend ‘sit ins’ with other SYP members to discuss points in this year's manifesto ‘Change the Picture’ and to decide on the campaigns we will be running for the next year or so. Although the elections to become a member of the SYP are over, there are still plenty of ways that you can get involved! You can visit www. and join in any one of our ongoing campaigns, or if you would like news updates you can join the electronic mailing list by visiting So far being a member of the Scottish Youth Parliament has been really exciting for me as we have been visiting schools in the Falkirk East area talking to young people about issues and explaining to them what we are trying to do. We have had a positive response so far and hope that the feedback continues to be good. We need more young people to raise their voice and be active in their community, if not to make radical change, then to at least show the people of Scotland that we are not all bad people just out looking for trouble and that we also have a right to be involved in how our homeland is run.


Like most young peo ple I didn’t think about p olitics at any great length when I was at school, but now that I have a bit mor e life experience I’ve reali sed that it affects ever y aspect of our lives.

If you have any questions please feel free to add me on Facebook (search for MSYP Melissa Russell) or follow me on twitter at MSYP.

E-mails to the Editor Fusion Magazine is looking to start an E-mail page for the next edition in August 2011. We want to hear from Forth Valley College students with all their comments, queries, facts and figures, questions and answers, pictures, jokes, fascinating stories and trivia.

We also hope to run competitions in this new column and are looking for everyone to get involved. Please send your e-mail to and we will use as many as we can in the next issue. There will also be a prize for the best e-mail we receive. 10 | fusion | may 2011

So if you’ve got a bee in your bonnet or your knickers in a twist over something – it doesn’t even need to be student related – then let us know from now until the end of July. Fusion Magazine is also looking to recruit new correspondents to help with the writing and production of the magazine. So if you have any ideas on how to contribute or want to report on College sport, interview people on the important issues in the college today, fancy taking some pictures or perhaps even reviewing a blockbuster movie – then get in touch as soon as possible on Kind regards, Stuart Hall, Fusion Editor


T OUN DISC Or F ey vall h T FOr Ollege C Tel. 01259 722428 code : FVC

Colin Martin Brown

• Theory training • Motorway tuition • Refresher courses • Pass plus +

Welcome to a new feature in Fusion where we randomly select a Forth Valley College Student for a quick snapshot interview and photograph. To kick us off is a student who has progressed from school through several different courses and has discovered new skills along the way.

Discounts for block booking

To get your student discount give us a call and say the code !

Tel. 01259 722428 Code : FUSION

Safe driving for life

Colin came to FVC through the School Link programme from Glencryan School in Cumbernauld. He moved on to a work Start Course in the Access and Progression Department and is now nearly finished a one year Construction course which covers everything from Name: bricklaying to plumbing.

Colin Martin Brown Age: 21 From: Cumbernauld Course: NQ Introduction To Construction Craft Skills

Additional Info:

Colin is a dedicated Class Representative and a FVC Student Union Officer who helps out at the SU common rooms during breaks, dealing with any issues students may have. Colin said: “I am really enjoying the whole college experience and get a lot out of helping my fellow students where and whenever I can. I would encourage any student to get involved with the Student Union in an official capacity as the work is very rewarding. “The College has really helped me in many ways. When I was at school I was pretty bad at drawing. Now I am proud of myself that I have the confidence to draw and even sell my drawings in the Supporting Children Charity Shop in Cumbernauld where I work on a Saturday. I’ve even sold a couple!” may 2011 | fusion | 11

Budding sports journalist Graham Ruthven woke up in a city that never sleeps recently to take up an exclusive work experience placement at The New York Times


he 19 year-old Forth Valley College BA Media and Communications student from Doune, bagged the lucrative on the job training after securing an unpaid brief to supply The New York Times website with copy relating to Scottish football and other sport. Graham contacted NY Times Sports Editor Joe Sexton and asked if he could spend some time at the newspaper – one of the most famous in the world – during a family holiday in the Big Apple at the Easter Holidays. A positive response allowed Graham to spend one day in the office shadowing some of the USA’s finest sports reporters. Graham, who also covers Stirling Albion games and other football stories for the AllanWater News and the Wee County News, contributes regularly to The Away End football blog and has also had pieces published in the Sunday Post and The Herald newspapers, said: “This was a fantastic opportunity for me and it was even better than I expected. I have experience of newspaper editorial offices in the UK and it was great to see the similarities and the differences in one of the most famous newsrooms in the world. “I was put to work on some research, made 12 | fusion | may 2011

a couple of phone calls and wrote a couple of articles for the website – so it was a busy day. I met a few big names in journalism including Grant Wahl from Sports Illustrated and I was even invited to join all the sports journalists after their shift in a bar, as they watched the Real Madrid v Spurs game on the TV. “I was really treated as an equal which was great and I think the fact I had already written a couple of pieces which had been published on their website helped. The whole experience was very worthwhile and it has made me more determined to become a sports journalist. I am now looking forward to some work experience with the Guardian in England in September!” FVC Media and Communications lecturer Andrew McColl, said: “Graham’s writing has always been of a very high standard and this allows his natural enthusiasm for the game of football to come across very clearly. “The number of pieces he has had published over the last few months along with his blog writing is testament to his willingness to get out there and make things happen rather than wait for the world to beat a path to his door. All of his lecturers are extremely proud of his achievements.”

by Graham Ruthven


They say that journalists are never far from a bar. That journalism and alcohol go hand in hand.

Graham Ruthven at the famous New York Times Building on Eighth Avenue which boasts 350 staff writers, a one hundred and sixty year history, dozens of Pulitzer Prize winners and over 800,000 copies sold daily, as well as over 50 million unique visitors to NYT Online every month

But whilst this may be an antiquated stereotype from a bygone era when journalism was actually a profitable industry, perhaps it rendered my induction to my placement with the world renowned New York Times wholly appropriate. Although at the time, watching Tottenham Hotpsur play Real Madrid perched on a stool in a Manhattan sports bar which specialised in garish cocktails did seem somewhat of an anti-climax. My relative despondency and shortsightedness soon faded with a short walk down Broadway to the NYT’s magnificent head office. Hatched from a rather speculative request made by myself to NYT Sports Editor, Joseph Sexton, to spend some time at the offices of the world famous publication, a family holiday to the Big Apple had become something more, at least from a personal perspective. So far my journalistic route, which started with The Bridge four years ago, had taken me to a job with Alloa based Forth Independent Newspaper Group as well as placements at The Herald and work with the Sunday Post, News of the World and STV, but nothing could’ve prepared me for the true scale and magnitude of what I was to face in the city they say never sleeps. Once inside Renzo Piano’s architecturally acclaimed creation on Eighth Avenue that houses the NYT’s head office, it become apparent that this was certainly no sleepy operation. 350 in-house writers spread over thirty-nine

floors and dozens of Pullitzer Prize winners made my small research tasks seem insignificant. Although after writing a couple of ‘soccer’ articles for their website, the most visited media site on the planet, I was informed that my work would be viewed by over 100,000 readers. That didn’t seem so insignificant. As a sports nut in a sports nutty city, it was only natural that I sampled a few of the local sporting wares. The plan had been to attend the MLS (soccer) clash between the NY Red Bulls and Houston Dynamos and write a report for the morning edition of the NYT. However, the closest I got to a Red Bull was in an Edinburgh Airport hotel bar that night, following the postponement of my flight due to a malfunctioning parking brake sensor. When I did eventually make it across the pond, tickets to witness some basketball, ice hockey and baseball at some of the world’s most famous venues did act somewhat as compensation. Apart from anything else, it gave me ammunition for the office debate. Countries may change but office cultures’ alignment with sport doesn’t. I’ve been told more than once that this was a ‘once in a lifetime experience.’ I hope not. A day was simply not enough and I already harbor hopes of spending an internship at the NYT next summer. I may need to brush up on my cocktails.

Follow Graham on his football blog at may 2011 | fusion | 13

Health and Safety Why is health and safety important you may ask? Well... Health and Safety is the main thing that keeps everything in day to day life nice and cosy! It’s important to have Health & Safety so that nothing happens to you in your work place or learning environment. I interviewed FVC’s Health and Safety Manager Claire Shiels on her views on H&S and why it's important to you.

DAWN: why is health and safety important to our well being? CLAIRE: Mainly to promote longevity and quality of life. Also to meet our moral and legal obligations and to maintain a safe working environment for staff and students. The main objective is to comply with health and safety requirements to ensure that working practices do not pose unnecessary risk from workplace exposures such as dust, fumes and noise or exposure to hazards from the work activities, such as equipment and machinery, chemicals, “wet work”, moving of materials, static work (such as working at an office desk) and these are just some examples. Work is not something that should reduce your life span or cause a disability. D: What’s the worst breach of H&S rules that you’ve seen in your full-time career? C: I have not experienced a deliberate or wilful breach of H&S practices, however, I am all too aware that lapses of concentration, or misconceptions in H&S can lead to an accident. It is this type of behaviour that can be difficult to change. I once experienced a skilled, qualified, competent engineer lose two fingers when he decided to cut holes in a small piece of lead plate without first using the clamps to secure it. The piece of metal rotated on the machine taking the operators fingers with it! D: What’s the main important notice or advice that you would want to send out to students at FVC? C: The basic safety precautions to remember are to look after yourself and others. This might mean taking a minute to think about

14 | fusion | may 2011

what you are about to do eg. Do you know what can go wrong? Have you thought about the best and safest way to do something? Are you following the safety guidelines and wearing the correct personal protective clothing required? No-one wants to have or witness an accident and it’s important that we all challenge others if we see something that’s not right! It’s up to all of us to comply with the regulations, that’s why the law places specific duties on to both employers and employees. D: What would happen if the college were to be seen/heard breaking the H&S regulations? C: This type of poor practice would not be good for any college. In addition to potential accidents or ill health, there would be an investigation and there could be potential for prosecution against the College from the Health and Safety Executive. Any breaking of the rules should be addressed at the time and promptly dealt with. Training and information for individuals is also essential to avoid any such event. D: Why did you choose H&S as a career? C: I think it chose me actually. I started off my working life as a lifeguard and swimming coach. Even then, safety was a huge part of my job. After studying health and safety I became interested in the factors that cause accidents/ ill health and decided to progress my skills as a full-time career. I enjoy the topic of health and safety and think if we can keep health and safety sensible and apply it to all our work activities, then together, we can change the future, and make it safer.

By Dawn mclaren


;; Do have a H&S induction

and find out the emergency arrangements in your work area.

;; Do follow the information

and instructions given to you.

;; Do report things that are not right.

;; Do take a minute to think

about what you are about to do and the safest way to do it.

Dawn wears her own protective clothing in her chemistry class

Here are some of FVC’s students and their views on Health and Safety! Student mechanic Stuart, said: “Health and Safety is good and not really overkill at all. H&S is always necessary no matter where you go! It’s always tested in these departments, we check the extractor fans and do other daily checks. The benefits of this are that it keeps you and others safe from harm.”

procedures that you have to carry out makes the task linger on for hours, but it is essential to keep us free from harm because if it wasn’t there all manner of things could be going wrong. The staff do check up on H&S, ensuring that we are properly safe. It also prepares us for real scenarios when working on the job.”

Callum, also a mechanic, said: “The staff here in this department are always helpful, and they do daily checks and always keep an eye on the H&S rules that we have to follow. Some of our Health and Safety clothes need to be improved, but overall it's actually good. Fair enough, you do tend to have some minor accidents, but they are quickly solved and it is important to have Health and Safety overall.”

Jack Paterson, on the same OPITO course as Wesley said: “ It’s important because it really does save on accidents. Everyday we do a quick inspection to make sure everything is working properly and then we report it to our supervisor once we have finished the H&S checks! There have been very minor incidents like cuts etc, but nothing major has happened.”

Wesley Smith, OPITO Mechanical Engineering for Technicians student, said: “Health and safety is an essential part of engineering. Risks are always high when using chemicals and tools. At some point H&S can seem OTT, because when you're doing certain jobs the paperwork and

Connor Hastings, a Skills for Work Construction Craft student, said: “ The staff here in the college may be very strict about Health and Safety but it shows that they are concerned about your welfare. There are a lot of posters and bill-boards that show and tell you about Health and Safety and why it’s important.”

;; Do familiarise yourself

with the relevant risk assessments for the task which will help you understand the hazards and the risk.

;; Do make sure you have

supervision for tasks when required.

;; Do wear the correct

personal protective equipment at all times when instructed. Make sure it fits you.

;; Do challenge others if you

see them behave unsafely or report it to a member of staff.

;; Do tidy up afterwards and

make sure that no one slips, trips or falls over anything you have left around.


:: Don’t take short cuts. :: Don’t carry on with a task you feel is unsafe.

:: Don’t ignore safety signs and instructions.

:: Don’t attempt a task if you don’t understand it.

:: Don’t interfere with The staff here in the college may be very strict about Health and Safety but it shows that they are concerned about your welfare.

anything that is provided to protect you or others.

may 2011 | fusion | 15

t op of t he vox pops

This is a new section to the music page. I wanted to know what my fellow students at the college were listening to. So over the last month I have ventured out to Forth Valley College campuses Falkirk, Stirling and Alloa to see what’s getting you guys grooving and what sort of sounds you are listening to right now. I loved how you all have so many different tastes in music, so here 's what I’ve found out so far.



SHEREE Age: 16 From: Redding, Falkirk Course: School Links What is your favourite: Single: Only Girl in the World – Rihanna Album: Loud – Rihanna Genre: Pop Music

Age: 25 From: Falkirk Course: Highers What is your favourite: Artist: Slipknot Album: Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses) – Slipknot Genre: Rock



CLAIRE Age: 17 From: Stenhousemuir, Falkirk Course: School Links What is your favourite: Single: Born This Way – Lady Gaga Album: The Fame – Lady Gaga Genre: Pop mixture and Alternative

Age: 18 From: Clackmannan Course: NQ Landscape Gardening What is your favourite: Single: Sweat – Snoop Dogg Album: New One – Kings of Leon Genre: Rap


ROSS Age: 20 From: Banknock, Falkirk Course: Highers What is your favourite: Single: Free Falling – John Mayer Album: Bright Lights Genre: Blues, Rock, Metal

maxine Age: 26 From: Plean, Stirling Course: NC Child, Health and Early Years What is your favourite: Single: On the Floor – Jennifer Lopez Album: Loud – Rihanna Genre: Dance and Pop

16 | fusion | may 2011

Age: 19 From: Stirling Course: NQ Landscape Gardening What is your favourite: Single: Party Rock Anthem (feat. Lauren Bennett & Goonrock) LMFAO Album: The Massacre – 50 Cent Genre: Rap

Sean Age: 18 From: Stirling Course: NQ Landscape Gardening What is your favourite: Single: Give Me Everything - Pitbull feat. Ne-Yo, Afrojack & Nayer Artist: Pitbull Genre: Pop

By dani gibson

Natalie Age: 19 From: Tullibody Course: NC Art and Design What is your favourite: Single: Sweat – Snoop Dogg Album: One Love – David Guetta Genre: R&B

Tanya Age: 18 From: Sauchie Course: NC Art and Design What is your favourite: Single: G ive Me Everything – Pitbull feat. Ne-Yo, Afrojack & Nayer Album: 21 – Adele Genre: Chart Music

Ashley Age: 18 From: Sauchie Course: NC Art and Design What is your favourite: Single: What Katy Did – The Libertines Artist: Johnny Cash Genre: Indie/Old School


Craig Age: 20 From: Stirling Course: NC Digital Multi-media What is your favourite: Single: Saturday – Bowling for Soup Album: Awesome as F**k – Green Day Genre: Punk

Martin Age: 21 From: Alloa Course: NC Digital Multi-media What is your favourite: Single: Stan – Eminem Album: Get Rich or Die Trying – 50 Cent Genre: Rap

While I do want you guys to tell me what you like, I still want to give an insight to what I like and what albums – in my opinion – are good to listen to. Right now I am listening to more rock and punk music which goes right back two or three decades.

AC/DC | Back in Black (1980) that the album is about to start. It I’m feeling nostalgic right now and going back almost a decade is an amazing intro to the album and the unforgettable ringing before I was born, but AC/DC have always made an impression bell and guitar riff from guitarist Angus Young is what makes this on me and their 1980 album song so recognisable. There is so “Back in Black” is my favourite. much passion in this first song Yes it is the one most people that it keeps the whole album who like them would say is their going till the end. The beginning favourite, but it is for a good guitar riff of “You Shook Me All reason. I got back into them Night Long” is what makes this because of the American show song so recognisable and catchy Supernatural. I watched it for to me. As one of my all time the first time last summer and to hear all those old songs again favourite songs it’s the tune that always clicks in my head. Finally put me right back in the mood. “Back in Black”, one of AC/DC’s The songs are strong and are played with passion. There are at most iconic songs. If you’ve never least three songs that always play heard of it, then you’ve never heard of AC/DC. It is everything on my iPod every day – “Back in that makes a great song for me. Black”, “You Shook Me All Night The guitar riff, lyrics and tune are Long” and “Hells Bells”. When I all rolled up in one and make for hear the opening guitar riff of “Hells Bells” there is always a thrill an amazing rock song.

Green Day | Warning! (2000) My all time favourite band. Every time I hear the words Green Day my mind stops. I know a lot of people have criticised them and not many of my friends like them, but to me they are the best thing since the invention of the wheel. Since I was nine and heard “Good Riddance – Time of Your Life”, I have been hooked. I was not into punk at that age, but the song stuck with me till the age of 14 when my obsession started with the album “American Idiot”. Not many people believe that “Warning!” was all that good an album, but somewhere in the back of my mind – I call my own little universe – I say it is. Green Day show you they are not your average punk-rock band. They are not hooked onto the three power-chord angst songs as much and write catchy fun songs like “Misery”. OK the title does not show that, but although the song’s lyrics are depressing it is done in such

a funny way using accordions and a Russian-Spanish style. “Minority” is a well known song with the fans and definitely one of my all time favourites. I tend to forget that this song is on the album because I’m so used to their greatest hits album “International Superhits”. But it is still an awesome song and fits in well with the flow of the album. Vocalist and guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong sings about being an individual who drifts through the darkness to find the place where you belong and this will relate to any teenager who feels as if they are the odd one out. “Warning” sets itself apart from other Green Day albums. One reason is that there are fewer lyrics showing that they have grown up a bit from the care free punk they produced in the 90s. It seems to me they have moved on from the harder rock to more folk-ish songs like “Hold on” and meaningful songs like “Minority”.


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may 2011 | fusion | 17

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. Anthony Hopkins in Thor

Thor 3D (12A)


Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins Director: Kenneth Branagh Plot: Film scientists expect that, by the year 2017, 99.7% of all professional film actors will have featured in a comic-book movie at some point, leaving only Daniel Day-Lewis, Barbara Streisand and the dwarf who’s in all of David Lynch’s films, not to have been in some sort of adaptation. If the reason for this is laziness on behalf of the filmmakers, then Thor is a major piece of evidence to pronounce them guilty – the smoking gun in their hand, the blood stained bed sheets in their car boot. The film does nothing to clear their name, limply dragging itself through the motions, as it retells the legend of the Norse god Thor, thrown out of his home world by his ageing father Odin for re-igniting a feud with their enemies. As is standard with many comic book adaptations, Thor has no acute faults (other than arrogance) – there is none of the dark personality that you get with Batman or the Watchmen, none of the hidden facets of their psyche which make the story interesting. Admittedly, a superhero movie without spectacular action set-pieces would probably not work either – the reason that The Dark Knight has become the benchmark of this genre is because it was able to mix both elements equally – set pieces and the Noir-ish moral complexity of the nature of a vigilante. Thor, however, is severely lacking in the former and overdoses on the latter to make up for it. Verdict: The movie at times even seems unable to think of itself as a superhero movie, throwing in bits of Tarzanstyle ‘fish out of water’ comedy and ending with romantic drama. The film is also left with two further large faults in the acting and the script. This is especially true for lead actor Chris Hemsworth – surprising, given all he is asked to do is bellow ‘I AM THOR, SON OF ODIN’ and walk around without a shirt on. Thankfully then, it is given a redeeming feature in the visual effects, which, if nothing else, provide a glossy coat of paint for the otherwise rotten walls of this film. The ostentatious sets and action scenes are given the kind of glamour they need to prop up this otherwise unsatisfactory two hours of cinema, that even its makers will forget once it has stopped lining their pockets. By Nicholas Reid

Courtesy of Cineworld in Falkirk

See as many movies as you like, from just




a month

And get 13 months for the price of 12!** Apply at or ask a member of staff for details. Input promotional code FAL311 at to receive the discount.

*Minimum subscription of 12 months. **For a limited time only, offer ends 30th June 2011. See subscription form for full terms & conditions. This offer excludes Cineworld Fulham Road, Haymarket, Shaftesbury Avenue & Chelsea.

18 | fusion | may 2011

> > > > > > 1 1 0 2 r e m m u s – s e s a e l e R m il F e r u t u F > > >> Transformers: Dark of the Moon

30 Minutes or Less

It’s difficult to tell how long the Transformers series will be spun out for – probably for as long as it continues to make outrageous sums of money and they can find people to stand about as explosions erupt around them. The people in this case are a resilient Shia LaBeouf, model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and more unfortunately, real actors like John Malkovich and Frances McDormand, who continue to follow the on-going battle between the Autobots and the Decepticons.

Before his fantastic portrayal of lonely, misanthropic computer genius Mark Zuckerberg, much of Jesse Einberg’s films would have gone unnoticed, or straight to DVD unless the title featured the word ‘land’ as a suffix. Now, however, Oscar-nomination in pocket, his new film – which also features Danny McBride (Eastbound and Down) – looks set for deserved success. It is based on the true story of two criminals who kidnap a pizza delivery boy and force him to rob a bank – after strapping a bomb to his chest, with a 30 minute timer on it.

1 July

The Hangover Part II 27 May

It would seem that there is no one who has not seen and subsequently quoted from The Hangover and, after a controversy involving Mel Gibson (he allegedley had to leave because the cast refused to work with him), the production is back on schedule. Despite opting for a subtler way to celebrate Stu’s wedding, the group refuse to learn their lessons, somehow managing to lose one of them again…making it practically the same movie then. That, however, is not a bad thing.

One Day

30 August Based on the book of the same name by David Nicholls – who also adapted the screenplay One Day, starring Anne Hathaway. It focuses on the malleable and twisting nature of a relationship begun on the night the two protagonists spent together in Edinburgh and follows their changing relationship over twenty years. Updating the reader on every July 15, the film aims, through the ups and downs of life, to show what happens to a long relationship stretched precariously between two very different people.

Captain America: The First Avenger 22 July

If you don’t like superheroes, it might just be time to turn your back on cinema. News of a Spiderman, Superman and Batman reboot, coupled with yet another summer of superhero blockbusters, and you will find yourself buried beneath a pile of lycra costumes and factual inaccuracies that make nerds bubble with pedantic rage. If you like comic-book adaptions though, you could do worse than to check out the new Captain America film, which stars Chris Evans (a man seemingly unable to star in a film not based on a graphic novel) and Hugo Weaving, who plays Red Skull.

12 August

Final Destination 5 26 August

Proof – if any more were required – that, when summer rolls around film producers are quite happy to throw the same rotten scraps of meat into the lion’s den of mainstream cinema. Despite already promising the end of the series (2009’s The Final Destination), someone has decided that people still do not know that you cannot escape death, and you have to show even more young people being decapitated by glass to prove it. This one is about a bridge. However, the fans who have helped the film gather nearly half a billion at the box office will dorubtlessly be satisfied.

FVC NC Sound Production student Jane Shepherd (18) (pictured here) was the winner of the Cineworld competition from the last edition of Fusion. She thoroughly enjoyed her prize of two cinema tickets along with a meal and share deal (popcorn and two regular colas) at the Falkirk Cineworld. may 2011 | fusion | 19

Photograph: Peter Mountain Š Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

20 | fusion | may 2011

Fusion Magazine  

May 2011 student magazine

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