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gairrhydd Cardiff’s Student Weekly

Monday 13 August 2001

FRESHMAN’S FRIEND

DOIN’ IT FOR THE KIDS

ANIMAL CRACKERS

FEATURES give you the skinny on what’s in store

LET us entertain you with GRiP magazine

FILM praises the parts that our furry friends play

The glamour. The fame. The drugs. Available to all who write for Gair Rhydd

OFFICIALS PREDICT PRINTING CHAOS

James Bladon

WIDESPREAD CHAOS is expected in the University’s computer rooms at the start of term if a proposed reorganisation of printing facilities goes ahead. Over the summer recess the University’s Information Services (INFOS) department will implement a new system of payment for the use of the crosscampus printing facilities. The current system of using coins to credit cards at every printer station is to be replaced with a PIC: Mike Parsons

COMPUTER TREE: Obsolete if new system goes ahead

touchscreen system that will allow students to credit their networked computer accounts with money. These accounts can only be charged up at specific sites. However, the University plans to site only five machines throughout the entire campus, which approximately equates to just one machine for every 3,000 students. The touchscreen system will be situated at the Bute, Humanities, Trevithick and Main buildings and the Colum Drive site, and only the last three will be available on a 24hour basis. David Manning, the Chair of the Postgraduate Students Representation Committee is extremely concerned about the implications of the system for students. He said, “I think it will cause massive inconvenience at the start of the semester, with hundreds of students being forced to queue to charge their cards at one of these pay points.” Under the current proposals the Students’ Union building will not be one of the sites for the machines, despite its two computer rooms, including the Graduate Centre. Mr Manning fears that it is the users of these rooms who will lose most under the new scheme: “If you are printing work in the Union and your credit runs out, you will be forced to leave the building and go looking elsewhere on the campus to charge your card. It’s hardly ideal.” However, INFOS are adamant that the new plans will be an improvement on the ageing current system. David Mellowes, part of the INFOS management team, said, ‘We believe that a single printing system is the sensible way to go.

Will £4.2 million centre open on time? Pic: Mike Parsons

CONCERNS HAVE been raised that a major new complex, due to open in September, will not be completed in time. The University has invested £4.2 million in the centre, which will house a 24-hour resource facility as well as the University’s largest lecture theatre, with 460 seats. Located next to the Cardiff Business School, work on the new centre began months ago but as the start of term approaches the work does not appear to near completion. While at a University Council members discussing the building work said that the deadline was unlikely to be met, officials have yet to confirm this news. ➤ NEW CENTRE: Doubts cast over whether it will be completed on time

The system will allow students to credit their accounts with money for the whole semester, which will be far more convenient.” The introduction of the machines will also be cheaper for students: “We can virtually guarantee that there will be no price increases for printing for at least six years.” A 20 per cent increase in the cost of printing, from five pence to six pence per sheet, was greeted with

widespread anger last year. Mr Mellowes also pointed out that the system will be introduced slowly in October so as not to confuse existing users, and assured that INFOS are prepared to review the system if they believe that five paypoints are insufficient to cope with demand. The Union’s Academic Affairs Officer, Ian Hibble, is also worried about the confusion that the new

system could cause. “I am extremely concerned about the implications of this rationalisation. It seems to have been a very shortsighted approach to this issue.” Mr Hibble is determined that it is an issue that needs urgent attention. “I shall be taking it up with Information Services immediately if these changes adversely affect students once term commences,” he said.

NUS RACK UP DEBTS OF £300,000 WITH MORE TO COME – PAGE 3


2 ● News

Briefly... Drink in time BUSY LIVES are stimulating the growth in sales of energy drinks, as young people work longer hours and play harder than ever. Increasingly hectic working and social lives are being blamed for the massive 5,588 per cent growth in sales of stimulant brands from 1996 to 2000, and the market is now valued at £615m a year. In 1998 Cardiff Students’ Union was the biggest buyer of Red Bull, ordering more of the energy drink than any other company, including the national supermarket chain Tesco. But while sales rise and £15m is spent each year on advertising, consumers are still sceptical of the drinks’ claims, with only five per cent believing that they improve alertness.

They came from outer space

gairrhydd, Monday 13 August 2001

Sight makes sense James Bladon

CARDIFF UNIVERSITY has received a grant of over £1 million to fund ground-breaking eye research. The University’s Department of Optometry received the grant from the Medical Research Council to allow researchers to conduct the world’s most conclusive study into the cornea of the eye. Led by Professor Keith Meek, the scientists are at the forefront of international optical research, having pioneered technology used for analysing corneal structures. The £1.1 million will be spent on state-of-the-art synchrotron X-ray techniques to probe the cornea at a molecular level, a process that will have significant implications into the study of eye diseases. Project leader Professor Meek was very excited about the benefits the research would eventually yield: “By increasing our understanding of corneal problems we can alleviate the burden of corneal disease on the NHS. “Our research will ultimately help to optimise procedures for a range of

CARDIFF UNIVERSITY researchers have put together dramatic evidence which suggests that living bacteria are entering the Earth’s upper atmosphere from space. Working in collaboration with the Indian Space Research Organisation, the scientists collected samples of stratospheric air from as high as 41 kilometres and found clumps of living cells. The findings are significant because no air from lower down could be transported to this area so this material must therefore come from space. It is estimated that about a third of a tonne of biological material reaches the Earth’s atmosphere from space every day.

corneal conditions” The announcement coincides with the results of a ‘Sense Census’ which reveals that Cardiff women would rather give up their vision than sacrifice any other of their five senses. Over 200 Cardiff residents were questioned in the study commissioned by Haagen Dazs as part of their national Exa-Sensual awareness campaign. Aimed at increasing awareness of all the senses, the study found that Cardiff locals were under-performing, with none of their senses used to anywhere near their full potential. “We are rapidly losing the ability to individualise each sense,” explained psychologist Geoffrey Beattie. “People are only getting half the experience of life because their senses are dulled or not working in harmony.” On a national level, the research suggests that younger people are four times more likely to report taste as the most important sense than older generations and it also showed that both men and women choose taste when they want to indulge themselves.

Gameshow girls fly flag for Wales Rhiannon Davies THE SUCCESSES of two Welsh girls starring in the country’s biggest reality TV shows have given Wales an unexpected spotlight in the nation’s media Helen Adams from Big Brother and Charlotte Hobrough from Survivor both come from South Wales and have raised the profile of their country with their often controversial antics on television. Charlotte, a police officer from Barry, beat rivals to the

Urban living MOST HOME-MOVERS in Cardiff prefer to live in the suburbs, according to research conducted by the University’s City and Regional Planning Department. In spite of all the hype about urban living, most of those questioned preferred private gardens and parking space over views and better access to the city centre.

Pic: Mike Parsons

CELEBRITY: Helen signs copies of the Big Brother book

£1 million prize by gaining a unanimous vote from her fellow castaways, while Helen narrowly missed out on the top prize of £70,000 in Big Brother as Brian, the gay air steward, cruised to victory. Helen kept Big Brother viewers in suspense over her relationship with fellow housemate Paul Clarke, while Charlotte added a touch of spice to the deserted tropical island through her romantic liaisons with a fellow contestant, despite already being attached with a husband at home. Charlotte certainly likes to see her home country in the headlines. In an interview in a national newspaper, she said, “We’ve done a lot for the country. The Welsh are taking over the world.” The producers of Survivor are set to release a video with unseen footage of the blonde’s affair on the show, which is likely to receive an 18 certificate. Fellow reality TV star, Helen, also feels that the pair have been flying the flag for Wales: “I think the world’s gone funny – Wales seems to suddenly be the centre of the world.” Helen, who lives in Cwmbran, captured the nation’s hearts with her blonde hair, dizzy comments and her love of all things glittery. One shop in Cardiff has already cashed in on Helen’s cult status by selling t-shirts bearing some of her more meaningful phrases, such as “Is there any chicken in chick-peas?” and “I love blinking I do.” Now the two women have found national fame, it is doubtful that they will return to their native South Wales. Staff at hairdresser Helen’s salon, Classy Cutz in Newport, don’t expect that she will return to work now she has been offered lucrative jobs in the media.

Hamlet to be staged at Welsh castle Morgan Pritchard A THEATRE company set up by two Cardiff University graduates is set to put on its first production this bank holiday weekend, at the fairytale setting of Castell Coch. Set up last year by Edward Bennett and Oliver Newton, Paper Scissors Stone Productions is to perform Shakespeare’s Hamlet in the outdoor arena of the nineteenthcentury castle. The company, which now has around 40 members, have been working on the production for more than six months and will raise the curtain on the show on August 23. Oliver, who is directing the production, said: “It is a great coup for us to have this venue. Hamlet was chosen as an ideal script to be played in this magnificent setting. All we need now is good weather.” The pair have been working on the script since graduating last summer and have condensed the play down to just under three hours of drama, action and suspense.

Student volunteers join forces for growth Charlotte Spratt THIS SUMMER’S planned merger of Cardiff University Social Services (CUSS) and Student Community Action (SCA) is set to give Cardiff University the largest network of student volunteers in the country. Although CUSS and SCA currently work closely, they are essentially separate organisations, undertaking different aspects of volunteering. The rebirth of the two

groups as Student Volunteering University of Cardiff (SVUC) will give students one main point of contact but will allow wider access to the type of work and amount of hours they are looking for. Andrea Dare, Assistant Project Manager of CUSS, said: “It will benefit the volunteers as they will be able to come together more socially.” It is also hoped that the two groups will be able to share their knowledge and experience to improve their work

in the community. SCA is currently the larger organisation, recruiting around 300 volunteers a year, and is involved in a wide variety of areas including homelessness, autism, working with the elderly, mentally deficient and teenagers with special needs. CUSS, with over 250 members, concentrates its efforts on younger children in the community. The intended move will primarily benefit the volunteers but this will

not be to the detriment of the individual projects. Mrs Dare said, “SVUC will enable us to use more facilities. We have exceptionally good coordinators and the move will allow more ownership of projects for volunteers.” Gareth Thomas, Coordinator of SCA said, “We aim to create a stronger network of volunteers which will enable us to pool our resources and be more economical.” The Union’s Equal Opportunities

and Welfare Officer, Rohan Tambyraja, added, “This is a very positive change. SVUC will be about putting things back into the community, just as CUSS and SCA were but there will be much less confusion about who does what.” To get involved with SVUC, you can meet them at their stand at the Sports Fair on Wednesday 26 September or the Societies Fair on Thursday 27 September, both held in the Great Hall.


News ● 3

gairrhydd, Monday 13 August 2001

‘Cruising for sex’ website puts Union toilets on map Pic: Mike Parsons

Blair promises higher education funding review James Bladon

Cottage industry Vicky Raymond

THE MEN’S toilets on the first floor of the Students’ Union are one of the best places in Cardiff to find gay sex and “gloryhole action”, according to a gay website. The popular website, www.cruisingforsex.com, gives worldwide listings detailing the prime places for gay men to meet for sex. Of only four venues listed in Cardiff, the Union toilets come a close second to “cruisy” Bute Park, a notorious pick-up point for rent boys and other gay men looking for casual sex.

Users describe the loos as “fantastic, quiet toilets with lots of variety and action in the five or so stalls” and point out to potential “cruisers” that the toilets “are a great place to suck off loads of cute students”. The website itself has a stepby-step guide to finding the right location for sex with users first choosing where they want it and then selecting from three categories what they want. The Union toilets fall under the public places category, but cruisers can also choose from “baths, sex clubs, private parties or back rooms” and

“XXX bookstores, arcades or theatres”. Cruising for sex.com also gives directions to the toilets and advises visitors that they are “easiest to find from the back entrance of the building”. While the toilets are touted as somewhere to go that does not seem to be policed, Union officials admit that there is rarely a security presence at the back of the building during the day. As well as being an embarrassment for the Union, the non-students that are attracted by the site pose a security threat to legitimate

users of the building, such as students and staff. The offices and communal areas in the Union are often targets for thieves, as the presence of outsiders can often go unnoticed when the building is busy. The toilets have also been heavily vandalised during their unconventional use, resulting in considerable cost to the Union to repair the damage. Cubicles are regularly graffitied with sexually explicit messages and phone numbers, and a hole was even made in a separating wall to allow users to look into the next cubicle. The

Unions angry at £300k NUS loss James Bladon

THE NATIONAL Union of Students has come under fire after a £300,000 loss for the last financial year was revealed at National Convention. Delegates representing student unions from across the country were outraged at the news and angry at an attempt by NUS to cover up the loss. However, a further blow was dealt when it was disclosed that NUS expects to lose £1.5 million over the next three years. The results of an internal review of the finances of the organisation have pointed to several factors behind the failings, including a “culture of unnecessary expenditure” and a shortfall in affiliation fee income. Evidence of massive overspending came to light in a Times Higher Education Supplement report which revealed that spending on National Executive

Committee priority campaigns reached £167,325 this year, overshooting the £50,250 budget by 233 per cent. Defending the outlay, NUS President Owain James suggested that exceptional circumstances, including the threat of topup fees and the election campaign, had been to blame but critics point out that neither was unpredictable. Affiliation to NUS currently costs Cardiff around £50,000 a year. “It is money which we could perhaps use better,” said Union President Tom McGarry who is angry at the findings. “It breaks my heart to see our money going to NUS and being wasted, when I know that so much more could be done with it here.” “I think at the moment that NUS really needs to justify its membership fee. As a union we would by no means rule out disaffiliation, but it is an important issue and will be the prime debate this year.”

Disaffiliation is an option that has already been taken up by two unions. Both Imperial College and UMIST have taken the decision to withdraw their membership and spend the money elsewhere. John Hogwood, a spokesperson for UMIST Union said: “We decided to disaffiliate mainly because we did not perceive NUS as having our best interests at heart.” With theories of mismanagement and poor financial controls being bandied about the NEC has passed proposals to implement a package that will compensate for the losses. Expense accounts will be trimmed, a review of staffing is likely to result in some voluntary redundancies and mailings will be reduced to exclude those Unions who do not attend NUS events. In addition, affiliation fees, which have remained at the same levels since 1995, will start to rise by inflation annually.

hole has since been boarded up. The President of the Students’ Union, Tom McGarry, is understandably concerned about the inappropriate use of the facilities. He said, “It is not only difficult to catch the perpetrators, but it is extremely bad publicity for the Union.” He is adamant that such behaviour will be treated very seriously in the future. “We’ve made the necessary renovations to the toilets and if we catch anyone conducting such business in the toilets again we will not hesitate to contact the police.”

John Hogwood believes the plans are destined to failure: “As far as getting more money out of various unions, the NUS can try, but the problem is that universities are experiencing government funding cuts and are having to make savings on, amongst other things, student unions and associations.” This is a view echoed by CUSU President Tom McGarry. “There is very little money to go around, and something would have to give. If the affiliation fee rose it would be a case of ‘can’t pay, won’t pay’. “We don’t want to leave NUS in the lurch, but what we do want is the best deal for students of Cardiff University, and you have to wonder if NUS is providing that.” While many Unions fear that in leaving the collective of NUS they will no longer be able to purchase goods such as alcohol at favourable prices, some have offered up the running of their bars for tender. McGarry has not ruled out such a scheme at Cardiff: “There is no reason why anything should change. The Union would still be a cheap, safe place to drink, sports teams would still take part in BUSA events and students would still be able to take advantage of discounts offered in Cardiff.” McGarry is urging both new and continuing students to get involved in Student Union Council, so that the issue can be properly debated. He does not want to see Cardiff rush such a decision.

TONY BLAIR has promised to look again at the funding of higher education after admitting that the issue has become the single most difficult problem facing the Labour party today. At recent private Labour party meetings, Mr Blair expressed willingness to review tuition fees and student loans. He also told a national executive meeting last week that there were lessons to be learned from complaints about student debt. At a national policy forum at the weekend, Mr Blair said that the issue had become the top complaint on the doorstep at the election. According to one forum member, Mr Blair said that both he and Estelle Morris, the education secretary, would reconsider the balance of contributions between students and government, while ensuring that universities were adequately funded. The prime minister stressed that most current students would not have had places, let alone grants, 20 years ago, but that the proportion from low-income backgrounds has not increased. Labour officials expect the issue to be raised at the party conference, especially as Scotland and Wales appear to be taking a different approach. The chancellor, Gordon Brown, has already signalled that when he fundamentally reforms the welfare system in two years’ time he will allow students with children to apply for the new integrated child credits. He has already introduced help with the costs of child care. In an Inland Revenue consultation paper, the chancellor also signalled a willingness to disregard student loans when calculating tax credit levels. Ministers are under conflicting pressure on what kind of concessions to make. Some Labour backbenchers have been lobbying for the extension of the education maintenance allowance system – aimed at 16 to 19-year-olds in higher education – to include the first year at university. Ministers are also being pressed for the tuition fee to be paid at the end of a course rather than at the beginning. The education select committee in the last parliament urged the government to raise the £10,000 income threshold at which a loan must start to be repaid.


4 ● News

gairrhydd, Monday 13 August 2001

Smaller cinemas forced to bow out of city centre

gairrhydd Editorial Early days WELCOME TO the first issue of Gair Rhydd of the academic year, and for most of you the first issue of your university career. You’ll get to know us over your three years in our rainy city, as every week we’ll bring you the latest news and reviews that will help keep you informed, and all the rude jokes you’ll ever need to keep you amused in lectures. It’s quite easy for me to sit here and talk to the students who are just about to arrive in Cardiff, as I’m also editing my first issue of Gair Rhydd, the experience of which is much like coming to university – its nerve wracking, a whole new chapter to my life and I’m already wondering what the hell I’ve got myself into. Despite these worries, I’m looking forward to the year ahead, and I’m sure that when you’ve left your parents at the Hall gates you’ll be prepared for the life of late nights, sleeping in and loads of booze. But I’d just like to remind you of the huge part the Gair Rhydd could play in your lives if you want to get involved. The paper is run by students for students, and is a great way of getting involved with your Students Union. If you want to get your voice heard by the whole student population, get involved with one of the biggest societies in the Union or just have a laugh with a group of lash fuelled fools, then the Gair Rhydd could be your spiritual home. If you don’t fancy indulging your journalistic side, then come to the societies fayre and take you pick from over 100 societies and sports clubs, where you can really get your teeth into the business of meeting people and getting out of doing your work. If you don’t do anything else at university just get involved. And keep on reading.

End of reel life for Odeon Sarah Hodson

THE CITY centre Odeon cinema, popular with students due to its prime location and reasonable prices, has closed its doors in response to competition from two new multiplex cinemas being built in the area. The Odeon, which first opened 10 years ago, closed even before the launch of the second cinema near the Millennium Stadium because it foresees a critical drop in trade. It is the first time that an Odeon has been absent from Cardiff city centre. It is the third smaller cinema in as many years to fail to make a profit in the city, its demise following hot on the heels of the closure of the ABC and second Odeon site on Queen Street. The Chapter Globe arthouse cinema on Albany Road, which was one of only a few

venues in the city to show lesser-known films, also closed in 2000. The Odeon is a victim of the growing trend for ‘luxury’ venues like the UCI cinema in Cardiff Bay which, with its outof-town site, provides bigger screens and better facilities than a city centre cinema with space restrictions. The first new multiplex in the city is the UGC on Mary Anne Street which opened last month. The cinema has 16 screens and is designed with completely black fittings to give a better viewing experience. The complex also has two bars, and hosted the first royal premiere of the year held outside of London, when Prince Charles came to see Final Fantasy in July. Despite its superior facilities, the manager of UGC Mo Williams does not think that it had a hand in the demise of the

Odeon. “They were leaving town anyway, and I don’t think that the Odeon was really a city centre site,” she said. The UGC are also keen to cater to the student market. Located within walking distance of the Union and promising to show two or three independent films a week, the chain offers a student discount and monthly cinema passes at a bargain rate. However, it will face stiff competition from another multiplex currently being built on Wood Street near Central Station. The Millennium Plaza – due to open later this month – will include a 14-screen cinema, a health club and a selection of bars, cafes and restaurants. With an additional 30 screens in the city centre it remains to be seen whether demand will even match supply one of the major players could well go the same way as the now-empty Odeon.

CLOSE 12.08 D .01

Mighty Millennium Stadium a hit Charlotte Spratt TWO YEARS after its completion, the Millennium Stadium has proved to be the nation’s top music venue after attracting huge stars and sell-out concerts from Robbie Williams and the Stereophonics. Already established as a more than adequate replacement for the twin towers of Wembley in the sporting field, recent music events indicate that Cardiff could soon be home to the musicians’

favourite live venue. Concerts over recent weeks have included performances from Tom Jones and Bon Jovi and more live shows are planned, including the BBC’s ShowTime, a familyorientated ‘Live Aid Two.’ Acts such as Atomic Kitten, Charlotte Church and Sinead O’Connor are amongst those confirmed to sing songs from musicals in the show, whilst Madonna, Robbie and George Michael have also been approached. The Millennium Stadium was

one of only six venues played by chart-topper Robbie Williams on his recent tour, selling out the 64,000 tickets for both nights in minutes. Chris Brown, a second year who saw the concert, said, “It was fantastic. The stadium is so huge that it can’t help but have a brilliant atmosphere.” It has also been praised as an arena for sport after hosting the FA and Worthington Cup finals as well as the Speedway World Championships. It has also been suggested that the England

football team should play there. The Stadium has played host to the FA Charity Shield between Liverpool and Manchester United to a sell-out crowd of 72,500 as well as Wales’ international rugby matches. The impressive retractable roof, only the second in Europe, also makes the Stadium suitable for use throughout the season, ensuring that Cardiff will remain the nation’s focus for both sport and music through sunshine and even the inevitable Cardiff rain.


News ● 5

gairrhydd, Monday 13 August 2001

Record result as A-levels reach the end Alison Cheyne THE PASS rate for A-levels has risen for the 18th consecutive year, in the final term that the examinations exist in their current form. The national pass rate this year increased by 0.7 points to 89.2 per cent, while in Wales the overall result sees 94.3 per cent of students making the A - E grade. The results for the new AS

qualification, which was heavily criticised by teachers for the added strain it put on pupils and the administrative nightmare it caused with examination timetable scheduling, were also favourable, with a pass rate of 86.4 per cent. In a continuation of the current trend girls have once again outperformed boys, with the biggest gap in performance shown in the first AS-level results. Girls came in 3.2 points ahead at A grade and 4.2

points ahead overall. David Hart, General Secretary of the National Association of Headteachers, said: “The widening gap is a cause for real concern. This lends urgency to the need to drive up standards in the first three years of secondary school.” Despite the increased success of today’s A-level students, universities across the country are struggling to fill places. More top-rated courses than ever have been included in this

Local MP hopes to legalise cannabis Charlotte Spratt THE LABOUR MP for Cardiff Central, Jon Owen Jones, is set to bring a private bill to legalise cannabis by the end of the year. The Labour backbencher, who last year admitted to smoking marijuana as a student, has received crossparty support for his proposal, including from a number of Labour MPs who claim the current ‘war on drugs’ is too expensive and essentially unwinnable. The MP said: “I am not arguing that cannabis is not harmful, but the greatest harm it does is make an ass out of the law and provide billions of pounds to modern mafias. “The policies of the last 30

or 40 years haven’t worked. Prohibition merely promotes disrespect for the law. Society would be better off if no-one took cannabis but it is not the state’s responsibility to eliminate things that are harmful to people. That would mean we’d have to ban things like rock climbing.” As a private member’s bill it stands no chance of becoming law at its second reading in October, but it has reopened the trouble-some debate over the decriminalisation of soft drugs. Mr Jones, who has worked for 10 years in the Cardiff Central constituency, has observed how tensions between students and residents in the local community are mainly alcohol-related. Pointing to the recent observations of English football fans, who rioted after drinking in the bars of Belgium but remained peaceful after indulging in the cafes of Amsterdam, Mr Jones said he “foresees less tensions if students were to substitute cannabis for alcohol.” Although he admits that more students may take the drug if it were to be freely and legally available he believes that, as adults, “students should be entitled to make decisions about their

own lives.” While the Students’ Union actively promotes the consumption of alcohol in its bars and nightclub, the stance that it might take on cannabis were it to be legalised remains unclear. The Equal Opportunities and Welfare Officer, Rohan Tambyraja, said: “If cannabis was to become legal in Britain, I doubt if it would ever be the Union’s policy to advocate the use of the drug.” The Union’s stance on use of the drug in the building could ultimately be dictated by its governing body, SUC, which is made up of student representatives. If a motion to ban the substance was brought forward and passed by SUC’s members it could see cannabis banned for up to three years. A similar ban is currently in place preventing the Union’s shops from stocking Nestle products. While other MPs, including former Tory cabinet minister Peter Lilley, support the decriminalisation of a drug widely seen as less harmful than tobacco and alcohol, Tony Blair remains resistant to any liberalisation of the current drugs laws. The Home Affairs committee is to begin a review of the government’s drug policy in October.

year’s clearing listings as the number of vacancies at leading universities outstrips demand. Availability has increased because the government has allocated extra places to a number of high-demand universities Some institutions are anticipating admissions to be down by as much as 13 per cent and will be using aggressive marketing tactics to try to fill these place through the clearing process. Cardiff University, however,

claims that admissions have not been adversely affected. University spokesperson Debra Lewis said: “Admissions at Cardiff are only down by two per cent compared to last year, which is significantly less than some other institutions.” On the day that the A-level results were announced, courses in both Law and Architecture were already full and only a limited number of places were being offered through clearing.

PIC: Mike Parsons

NEED A JOB WHILE AT UNIVERSITY? Why not visit us at the Job Shop situated next to Blackwell’s in the Mall.

Bar work Driving Secretarial Administration

Job Shop offers a free, independent service aimed at providing casual employment for students during term time. Job Shop is open 9am - 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Marketing Catering Shop work

Job Shop ensures all employment carries a minimum wage of at least £4.10 an hour (from October) (not age defined) Job Shop is the contact point for all casual employment opportunities within the Union, University and the City, such as bar work, marketing and minibus driving. Job Shop complies with all Equal Opportunities legislation.

JOB SHOP VACANCIES CAN BE ACCESSED VIA THE UNION WEB SITE:

www.cardiffstudents.com • jobshop@cardiff.ac.uk


WANTED Meeting Times: ■ Monday 1.15pm News Features Sport

Arts Books Classifieds Comment Competitions Crossword Executive Committee

■ Wednesday 1.30pm News Update ■ Wednesday 2.15pm

Features Film Games Interviews Letters Listings Music

Arts

News

Books Games Film

Rough Guide Sport Voxpop

Music Features

TV Guide

Gair Rhydd is looking for enthusiastic and imaginative... ● writers ● designers ● web programmers ● photographers ● production assistants Visit us at the Societies Fayre – 27 September Gair Rhydd, 4th Floor Students’ Union, Tel: 02920 781434 or 781436 Fax: 02920 781407 Email: ssugr1@cardiff.ac.uk


gairrhydd, Monday 13 August 2001

And now a message from our sponsor...

I

t’s very easy to spend three years, or even more, studying at Cardiff just attending lectures during the day and going out and getting hammered every night you can afford to. The Students’ Union provides you with all you need – regular drinks promotions, a nightclub, a pub and two further drinking venues. The Union also provides you with a great means of making new friends, seeing more of Wales than just the strip between Cathays and town and a way of leaving University with a bursting CV and lots of great memories, not just liver damage. We have over 100 societies and two large volunteering groups. All of them provide a way to meet lots of new, similar-minded people and a break from the routine of student life. Joining SVUC or RAG (the two main volunteering groups) you may end up bathing in beans, bungee jumping or kidnapping the Union president. Alternatively, you may take a group of children ice-skating and then out to Pizza Hut, or to a theme park. The responsibility you are given doing these types of activities, and the wealth of experience you gain (as well as the purely recreational and social aspect) is what makes the experience look so good on your CV; you have actually picked up excellent, transferable skills. Lots of departments, such as English and Psychology, already have well-established societies set up with the aim of getting people within the department to meet others from their course. Psychology have had extremely successful trips to Dublin and Paris in previous years, while English plan to do more cultural events in addition to the successful social events they have run this year. If your department does not have a society attached to it, you can always be the person who sets one up and becomes the first president. Come and talk to James Somerville on the third floor of the Students’ Union and he will be able to advise you of how to set about getting financial backing for it. Alternatively you may want to get some hands-on experience in running the Union. Come to the third floor, or e-mail Elaye Clarke on Clarke4@Cardiff.ac.uk. Your help will be more than welcome for our campaigns on student debt, women’s rights, international student issues and many other things, or you may want to get involved with the Student Union Council (SUC). Joining this gives you the opportunity to scrutinise and debate Union policy before it is passed and have a say in the direction our Union’s attitude and running takes. These are just some of the many things you can get involved in during your time in Cardiff. Take advantage of your Union, take advantage of the flexibility of time that you have and get involved to get the most of your time at University. Rohan Tambyraja

GRipe GRipe The kids are all

Comment ● 7

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his time last year I wrote an article for Gair Rhydd about the anti-paedophile riots that were raging in Paulsgrove. So you’ll excuse me if I’m more than usually incoherent but I seem to be suffering from deja-vu. We’ve got the same kneejerk hysteria, the same irrational postulating and the same self-righteous tubthumping as last year, only this time it’s coming from the Houses of Parliament rather than the south coast’s rent-a-mob. But this time, for added interest, we’ve got the question of censorship as well. The reason for all this fuss? Brass Eye - brainchild of Chris Morris and one of the best shows on television in the last ten years. The myriad complaints and accusations thrown at the show have filled plenty of column inches but are largely groundless and have served only to show the idiocy of the show’s critics. Beverly Hughes, minister with responsibility for child protection (whatever that entails), was the most vociferous complainant about Brass Eye (she called it “unspeakably sick”) but quickly admitted that she hadn’t MORRIS: Really damn funny even seen it. For God’s sake, woman, if you’re going to go sounding off about something try to make an celebrities and political figures were duped into taking part – but they informed judgement – especially when you’re in a position to be able can hide their embarrassment behind the moral crusade being to influence what other people, particularly Cro-Magnon man in relaunched on the back of Brass Eye. ‘We were only trying to help,’ Paulsgrove, will think. they can wail while they repair the dents in their credibility. Not that I hold the complainants who actually watched the show in The programme has also been condemned for failing to tackle the much higher regard. Chances are, most of them only watched Brass subject of paedophilia seriously. Which is ridiculous. Just when does it Eye in order to get het up. Chris Morris’ career has been dogged with become acceptable for a subject to be treated humourously? Charlie controversy so the thought of him making a show about paedophilia Chaplin’s The Great Dictator was made in 1940 – he parodies Hitler must have had the moral ‘majority’ in raptures. Except the show wasn’t and pokes fun at the Nazis and this was used as propaganda for the about paedophilia – it was about media attitudes towards it – and this Allied troops – they lapped it up. There was no moral outcry about the is where the point has been missed by several miles. subject of Fascism being treated in an inappropriate manner – people Paedophilia is a hot topic for the media simply because it seems to were probably too busy being bombed to worry about such matters. be the last taboo. Other crimes and offences can be portrayed And yet when Mel Brooks, a Jewish director, made The Producers fictitiously with no repercussions. EastEnders, which is watched by (which famously contained a song and dance number entitled millions more people than Brass Eye (which is a worrying state of ‘Springtime for Hitler’) he was condemned for his flippant attitude. affairs in itself) – including England’s collective child whom everyone As a parent and someone who’s worked in the media for many seems so keen to protect – is a cacophony of lies, murder, incest, years, Chris Morris is in the ideal position to tackle the media’s teenage pregnancy... all the things that, if the moral guardians get their reaction to paedophilia. And it’s not as if the subject of paedophilia was way, no-one should know about until the age of 18, if at all. being treated lightly: it was the media reaction that was being attacked And with EastEnders all this is ‘gritty realism’, there’s no veneer of so incisively. Far from presenting a sympathetic portrait of paedophiles satire. You’d have to be very thick indeed to think that Brass Eye was and sex offenders, Brass Eye transformed the public, the press and a real documentary – what sort of documentary would use the phrase gullible celebrities into howling gargoyles lacking rationality, humanity “quadraspazzed” to describe a severely handicapped man? Would and compassion. Nicholas Owen, a respected newsreader, really say “let’s blow this A yardstick of any society is the way it treats its criminals. Brass Eye dog’s brains out,” on Panorama? makes you realise that we’re all rather sick. Not because we watched The fact that Owen and the other celebrities featured in Brass Eye the programme, and enjoyed it and realised the obvious satire but clearly thought they were being filmed for a genuine educational video because there are still far too many people out there who would be shows the glory-hunting rife within the media. Everyone is striving to more than willing to hound Chris Morris out of his home as they did adopt a ‘worthier than thou’ attitude – making sure you get a seat on with innocent people on the Paulsgrove estate last year. And Morris is the bandwagon ahead of everyone else. And now that the antithe only person in a position of influence talking paedophile bandwagon is picking up speed thanks to scaremongering any sense. on a phenomenal scale it’s going to be harder for celebrities to jump As for the MPs and our moral guardians – they’re clearly talking on board. Not only because of overkill but because, with any luck, ‘nonce sense’. they’ll think twice before committing to a project that could be a hoax. Fiona Mountjoy Much of the outcry seems directed at the fact that so many


13.08.01

Focus

The Gair Rhydd Features Section Free Word 698

Five go mad on the continent

To mark the transition from undergraduates to respectable citizens, Fiona Mountjoy and her housemates decided to head off to France for a proper grown-up holiday complete with lots of map-reading, cooking and where the only foam party was washing up under the influence of cheap wine.

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fitting end to our degrees seemed to be to take a holiday to mark three years of shared accommodation and mutual poverty. However, my abject refusal to fly anywhere meant destinations further than Southern Europe were out of the question. And, being short on time and money, an elaborate inter-railing scheme or plans to rent a Cliff Richard-esque charabanc for a cross-continental jaunt were unfeasible too. Which is how we ended up in France – it’s in easy sailing distance, the exchange rate is in our favour and, with

at least one A-Level and three GCSEs in French between us, we stood a vague chance of getting by. The ferry crossings were included with the Eurosites caravan we’d booked but finding a car for the rest of the journey was more problematic. Most hire companies won’t lease cars to people under 25 and while a few make concessions for over-23s that’s not much good for a group of 22-year-olds. Two afternoons of frantic phone calls eventually turned up a small company near Newport who could give us a Skoda Octavia for the week for £400. We weren’t allowed to make the ferry crossing without a car and we

figured the train fares either side of the channel would have equalled, if not exceeded, the hire price. We only needed £50 worth of petrol for the whole week and there was the added luxury of not having sleeping strangers dribbling on your shoulder on a train. At five hours, the crossing from Plymouth to Roscoff is one of the shortest routes across the Channel but it allowed plenty of time for catching up on sleep – most of which was done on the floor thanks to Brittany Ferries’ policy of charging people to sit in reclining chairs. Two housemates slept in the cinema which had enormous seats and, being comatose, they didn’t notice the crowd of children who were amused by the strange English girls trying to watch The Mexican face down with their backs to the screen. On leaving the ferry we had to walk and drive through disinfectant due to the ongoing fear of foot and mouth on the continent – a pointless exercise as the disease is airborne and for all the port authorities knew we could have had a dead sheep in the boot of the car. Driving in France takes a bit of getting used to – not only do they drive on the right but it’s sometimes hard to work out whether a road is a dual carriageway or not. In order to avoid making news back home and a mess on the roads, we generally drove in the lane that was furthest right – no doubt irritating the hell out of the people

With one A-Level and three GCSEs in French between us we stood a vague chance of getting by

behind us. Almost improbably, the weather got better as we went further south; sadly, the roads got more complicated and navigating became almost as stressful as driving. But with youth on our side and a smattering of French we accosted several elderly locals who were no doubt amused by a car full of flustered English girls who hung on every word they said. It took five hours instead of three to get to Carnac but we put that down to Sunday closing. Many petrol stations aren’t manned on Sundays and only accept credit cards in slots in the pumps. Even those of us with money in the bank had our cards rejected but by good fortune, and with a bit of pleading, the man in the car in front used his card in exchange for our hard cash – thereby dispelling the myth that the French are in any way unpleasant. Carnac consists of two resorts – Carnac Plage and Carnac Ville. Carnac Plage is home to numerous campsites, lots of shops (but no chain stores) and a long beach. The beach is sandy with clear water and plenty of local teenagers hurling themselves off the diving platform. When the beach seemed too far to walk (being all of a few hundred metres away) the campsite had its own swimming pool with waterslides as well as two hot tubs, tennis courts, playgrounds – with suitably sturdy equipment which we tested rigorously – and even an on-site masseuse providing free massages. The

One of the sausages appeared to consist mostly of tongue and hooves

majority of the other holidaymakers at the campsite were French so we were saved the indignity of staying in a ‘Brits abroad’ enclave – this also saved embarrassment one night during a noisy game of Fuzzy Duck where we turned the air blue but then realised most people wouldn’t understand us anyway. Probably scared that we’d be drunken upstarts every night, our site reps had allocated us the caravan in the furthest corner of the site although as it turned out we behaved impeccably (the Fuzzy Duck incident aside). Putting five people in a caravan the size of the average garage tends to encourage either cordial relations or mass murder. As it was, we managed to co-ordinate lavish feasts every evening around our

FocusFocusFocu

Inside Focus this week: A survivor’s guide to getting through freshers week unscathed • Staying safe in your first weeks at university • Hints and tips for new students • Societies and Sports – how to get involved • Guide to blagging • Time- and labour-saving badges


Focus ● 09

gairrhydd, Monday 13 August 2001

Gair Rhydd’s patented Freshers’ Week badges Freshers’ Week is, of course, terribly exciting but it can get tiresome having to tell all your new friends and that boring bloke in the Taf who you are, where you come from and what you like to do in your free time. Simply affix one of the following badges to your fresh-from-the-boutique t-shirt and you’ll be able to move onto more stimulating topics of conversation – such as the merits of a federal European currency or which one of the Corrs is the dirtiest. Hi, my name’s:___________________ I went to school in: _________________________________ I’ve got A-Levels in: 1._______________________________ 2._______________________________ 3._______________________________ I’m clever 4._______________________________

Above: Rustic French architecture in Carnac Ville – the sort of thing that gets photographed by tourists. Below Left: Crepes with seafood – that’s fish in pancakes to you and me. Left: Trying to pay for the holiday by picking up a trucker in a French lay-by.

standard issue plastic table and were paragons of domestic virtue – not entirely through choice, however, as there were five of us and only six of each eating utensil which necessitated almost hourly washing up. Admittedly, this isn’t the sort of thing that vibrant twenty-somethings should be getting up to on holiday but there was something about the family-oriented campsite and the responsibility of having a ‘grown-up’ car that cultivated an air of what can only be described as ‘mumsiness’. Most of us had been on similar holidays to France with our parents and the strangeness of being on such a holiday without family members was noted several times a day. The fact that, between them, my housemates have covered pretty much every continent became irrelevant: globe-trotting is seen as the preserve of young people but taking a car to France, cooking dinner almost every night and being in bed by midnight is strictly for old people. The early nights were unintentional – Carnac Plage didn’t offer much in the way of nightlife although the Latino Café had excellent (but expensive) cocktails. One night a silver Jeep screeched up outside the bar and the driver distributed flyers but the club being advertised was in Carnac Ville – too far to walk and we didn’t fancy negotiating local roads at night. Besides, it was entertaining enough counting the number of passers-by who subscribed to the fashion of wearing a jumper draped over their shoulders and knotted in front - very Howard’s Way. We didn’t succumb to the family horror of driving miles to see ‘places of interest’ although on the one day when the sun didn’t appear we took the car to Les Menhirs – over two thousand standing stones arranged in lines over

several kilometres. Like Stonehenge, the stones are fenced off but a miniature train offered trips along the road beside the stones. In an effort to strike out and be independent travellers we decided not to take the train but follow in the car providing our own commentary in English. Sadly, not being as well-informed as the train driver, most of the commentary consisted of frequent cries of ‘Bloody hell, there’s more!’ Carnac Ville, a few miles inland, boasts a beautiful church, several charming galleries and plenty of creperies. It obviously hasn’t felt the need to sell itself to tourists with a ghastly neon amusement arcade like that at Carnac Plage. If you don’t like seafood you might be a bit stuck for choice in Brittany. Moules Marineres are a local speciality and while my housemates all tucked in to giant bowls of glossy black mussels I tried the Assiette Breton – a sort of French ploughman’s lunch consisting of bread, pate and various sorts of sausage. I can understand French fears over foot and mouth disease – one of the sausages appeared to consist mostly of tongues and hooves – and it’s fair to say that France hasn’t fully embraced the concept of vegetarianism. That said, eating out was fairly cheap – a threecourse meal was about seven pounds. By the end of the week, the boot of the car was crammed with cheap wine and noxious cheese. In the days of flights to anywhere you like for no more than a fiver, it wasn’t the cheapest holiday in the world but we got free massages, cut-price booze and a real sense of achievement. And now that we’ve taken a grown-up holiday it’s probably time to hit a mid-life crisis and start regressing. So, Ayia Napa next year then...

I’m very clever 5._______________________________ I’m lying 6._______________________________

Sorry, I’m gay/straight

Please, for the love of God, help me get home. I live at: __________________________ but you can leave me: __________________________ and I’ll crawl the rest tomorrow. The likelihood of me being sick on you is high/low (delete as appropriate). The likelihood of me making a pass at you is high/low (delete as appropriate). The likelihood of this being the start of a beautiful relationship is low.

(delete as appropriate)

Do you want to buy me a drink? Hello there! Why not come and talk to me about: football/pop trivia/celebrity gossip/the weather/politics/esoteric Hungarian techno/travel/world domination/religion/Big Brother (delete as appropriate).

I wouldn’t bother trying to strike up a conversation with me, I’m far too: clever/stupid/drunk/arrogant (delete as appropriate)

Before coming to university I: travelled extensively/worked with a range of charity organisations/earnt a pittance in a supermarket/slaked my thirst for knowledge/spent a few years in prison/performed in a revue bar under the name Ritzy La Rue Gair Rhydd does not accept responsibility for any unpleasantness that may arise as a result of wearing these badges. Any pleasantness, however, is entirely due to us because we’re skill and ace and you can buy us a drink to show your gratitude.

Cheers, I’ll have _____________________________ This does/does not appropriate)

(delete as

mean that you’ll be going home with me tonight. I may be lying prone in a corner but that is not an open invitation for you to grope me/steal my wallet/draw on my face (delete as appropriate). My father is a lawyer and if I wake up to find that any of the above have happened then you won’t hear the end of it.

I demand to have some booze!


10 ● Focus

gairrhydd, Monday 13 August 2001

So fresh and Freshers’ Week can be a daunting experience, but now you can set your mind at rest with Charlotte Martyn’s indispensable guide to what you can expect from your first seven days at university

someone with whom you can do some bonding. If your flatmates are disturbing you with loud music or ritual slaughter it’s best to have a quiet word with them rather than fight fire with fire – just because your neighbour’s got an electric guitar doesn’t mean you should hire Slayer to play a gig in your room. Student wardens can help settle disputes, as can the University’s Residences and Catering staff. It’s a safe bet that you won’t get much sleep in Freshers’ Week anyway – meeting all those people takes plenty of time and intercoms will be a novelty for most people. The fascination wears off fairly quickly though, so you should be able to sleep properly by about November, by which time people will have stopped buzzing at 3am to ask if Ghengis Khan wants to come to the pub. You’ll quickly meet people off your course (at least you’ll have academic interests in common) and joining a society is a sure-fire way to meet kindred spirits. The Societies Fayre and the Sports Fayre will take place on Wednesday and Thursday of Freshers’ Week in the Students’ Union and it’s well worth staying sober long enough to get along to one of them, if not both. There’s no harm in joining as many societies and clubs as you want – you’re not obliged to go along to the meetings if you change your mind later – but nearly all of them will charge a small fee to join and that can quickly add up.

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t’s only natural to feel lonely, homesick or a bit depressed during Freshers’ Week – scientific studies (proper ones, not anything to do with Carol bloody Vorderman) have shown that leaving home for the first time and starting university are among the most stressful events in a person’s life. Being the last person to arrive in your flat is often perceived as being worse than being the first – there’s the worry that everyone will have settled down by the time you arrive – but this isn’t the case. Even if you can’t face walking into the kitchen to say hello, leave your door open so they can come and talk to you. Even though you might feel like going home or ending it all during the first week, don’t. It’s worth getting over the first few days of feeling disorientated, dazed and confused for all the benefits that the next three years have to offer. It’s not really a good idea to ring home on the first night either – that way you’re more likely to want to turn round and go straight home (unless you hate your parents, of course, in which case you’ll probably appreciate the freedom of ➤ CONDOMS: Available from a toilet near you (or free from the SHAG office in the Union) ➤ NUTBAGS: Your university years will, in time, allow you to become every bit as crazy as these two

good idea to sleep with your flatmates (at least in the first few weeks of term) because you’ll still have to live with them for the rest of the year and you don’t really want several months of frostiness over the Frosties. Similarly, Freshers’ Week romances tend not to last longer than a fortnight so don’t start arranging whose parents you’ll stay with over Christmas. If you do get lucky (which might turn out to be unlucky in the harsh light of day) then remember to play it safe. Condoms are the most convenient form of protection although many people find that paper-thin walls in halls of residence are an effective contraceptive. Thin walls, shared kitchens and, in some flats, shared bathrooms are all incentives to get on with your new flatmates although obviously that’s your prerogative. It’s in your best interests to try to get on with them – remember that everyone’s going to be feeling apprehensive about moving in with a bunch of strangers so it’s worthwhile making the effort to talk to people and find out about them. Drink is a great leveller (usually socially, occasionally physically) and a few pints in the Taf or the hall bar should help you find out more about each other – it’s best to stop, however, before nudity gets involved. If you’ve tried and tried and still can’t get on with your flatmates then don’t panic – there are over 15,000 students in Cardiff (as well as plenty of civilians) so there’s bound to be

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reshers’ Weeks at most universities are fast becoming the stuff of urban legend. Tales seep out to prospective undergraduates about orgies, stomach pumps and annoying the dons by hopping across the quad on the fourth day of Michaelmas (assuming you’ve applied to Oxford, that is). And while some rumours have their basis in fact, a lot of Freshers’ Week myths are just that – stories invented to account for events that have no logical explanation, and they aren’t unknown during Freshers’ Week. Some of the most widely-circulated stories about Freshers’ Week concern sex and vast quantities thereof (quality doesn’t appear to come into the equation). It’s certainly available if you want it and the chances are that if you stand still in the Taf (the Student Union’s pub) for long enough then someone will try to pick you up – particularly if you look fresh-faced and wide-eyed. A word of advice: don’t dress up for the Taf unless you’re planning to go somewhere else afterwards. Spangly boob tubes, feather boas and stilettos are rarely seen in the Taf, unless one of the male sports teams is arsing around. That said, don’t be offended if noone approaches you for a quickie – it’s probably a blessing in disguise. It’s quite possible to get through three years of university perfectly chaste and unblemished – it’s just that most people choose not to. It’s not really a

university more immediately). Tearful phone calls home might well upset your parents who may decide that the wrench of separation is too great and promptly come to fetch you home – and you really don’t want that. It’s better to call friends, particularly if they’re starting university at the same time as you or, if you’ve had a gap year, have already done their first year. If you really can’t face unburdening yourself onto friends but still need a sympathetic ear then the University has its own listening service. Nightline is run by student volunteers every night between 8pm and 8am and can be contacted on (029) 2038 2141 or by calling in person at 148 Colum Road. The service is free and confidential and is there to listen, not advise. Similarly, The Samaritans can be reached on 08457 909090.

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here are plenty of other people to turn to if you’re having trouble coping – the Student Advice Centre on the third floor of the Students’ Union can help with all practical and welfare issues, and if they can’t help they’ll be able to point you in the direction of someone who can. Academic tutors, student wardens and Residences and Catering staff will also do their best to sort out any problems. You’ll get a free University e-mail account after you’ve enrolled and this is an excellent way of staying in touch with friends and family. Friends at other universities will have similar accounts so it works out much cheaper than endless phone calls. Don’t worry if you haven’t got a mobile phone – there are payphones on site at all halls of residence (although not that many) but seeing as how everyone else will probably have a

Leaving home for the first time and starting university are among the most stressful events in a person’s life mobile there shouldn’t be queues to use them. After a few weeks it might be worth inviting your parents or friends from home to come and see you in Cardiff – that will give you plenty of time to settle in and decorate your room (which will look like a prison cell when you arrive). You’ll also have had time to explore the city a bit and find somewhere nice for lunch (Café Mina on Crwys Road is a personal favourite). Cardiff is a wonderful city that really does have something for everyone. Don’t expect to see too much of it during your first week as most activity is centred around the Students’ Union (it takes several days to find your way round in there anyway). But once you’ve found your feet, which won’t take long, get out there and have a brilliant time – eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we study (well, the day after tomorrow, hangover permitting).


Get There

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elcome back to Get There, the listings section that really should have a proper job by now. But doesn’t. Next September, it will once again become a great way of communicating with members of your society. So if you want to advertise a forthcoming event, you’ll have to drop in a pleading note to the Gair Rhydd office or e-mail us at ssugr1@cf.ac.uk putting Listings as the subject. But for now? Leave it. LEAVE IT!

Union Mondays

Fun Factory @ Solus 9pm, free. With the Beat The Clock promotional gambit – 80p on drinks 9-10pm, £1.00 on drinks 1011, normal (albeit still cheap) bar prices 11pm-close. Hopefully this is still running, as it takes the sting out of the dreadful watered-down beer, plastic glasses and mostly rubbish music. Comedy Club @ Seren Las 9pm, £2. Some of the people who come here are actually pretty funny (if generally made up of the sort of arch ironists you’d expect to trawl the student circuit), and anyway, it’s certainly better than going down to Cardiff Bay and spending £12.50 on something which is, roughly, the same. Jive Hive @ Solus 9pm-1am, £2.50. The midweek look back in time with loads of ‘60s and ‘70s tunes for all you sports fans to go crazy to. Easily pleased? Enjoy the refreshing taste of lager swilled in plastic? You’ll go nuts for Jive.

Thursdays

Replay @ Solus 9pm, £2. It used to be called ‘80s Night, but then someone decided that MTV or whatever had shortened the student population’s memory span so much that they couldn’t remember that far back. 80p a pint on stuff too, so you can destroy your brain that bit more.

Fridays

Lashtastic @ Solus 12pm-1am, £2 after 7pm. Used to be the ‘indie’ night at the Union, but this gradually gave way to a random selection of chart cheese and trance arse. Cheap pints mind. You’ll notice this is a regular staple of Union nights.

Sunday 14/10 Mark B & Blade @ Solus

7.30pm, £7.50. Rather good UK hip-hoppers and mates of Feeder. Hopefully all of them will deign to turn up this time unlike the last time we saw them when Mark B decided to do an interview instead. Thanks brah.

Wednesdays

The Cheesey Club / The Milky Bar / Popscene @ Clwb Ifor Bach 9.30pm-2am. £2/£2.50 after 11pm. A top night. See the double-page music feature (page 7) for a little more. Student Night @ Liquid 9.30pm-2am, £2. Everything from UK garage to indie, all drinks £1.50. Happy Hour @ Henry’s Cafe Bar 3pm-9pm. £2.50 for cocktails with NUS card. Student Night @ Evolution 9.30pm-2am. Carlsberg £1, all spirits £1, all other drinks £1.50. Student Night @ Rosie’s Bar DJ from 8pm. Carlsberg £1, all spirits £1, all other drinks £1.50. Student Night @ Red’s 11am-2am. All drinks £1.25

Thursdays

Disco Inferno @ Zeus 9pm-2am, £3/£2 NUS. 70s stuff, including wannabe celebrity dancers on the stage. Let’s Get It On @ Clwb Ifor Bach 10pm-2am, £2/£2.50. Soul, jazz, Latin and funk.

Fridays

Hustler/Silent Running @ Clwb Ifor Bach 10pm, £6/£7. Information 07950 345791. Generally someone pretty good, of the hip-hop or junglist persuasion. Can’t tell you who any of ‘em are yet though. Enter the Dragon @ Vision 2K 9pm-6am, £10/£8. I’d rather not, thanks. Chaos @ Metros 9pm-3am, alternative student night. Big In Japan @ The Model Inn 8pm-11.30pm, £2. Cheeky night of guest-mungous DJing. Robots Eat My Face @ Oz Bar (downstairs) 9pm-1am, £1. Awesome stoner rock scenes. ROAR @ Evolution 9pm-4am, £10 or £8 NUS.

Saturdays

Monday 22/10

Shed Seven @ Solus 7.30pm, phone for prices. The last time Shed Seven came here, Rick Witter got into hot, or at least tepid, water after pissing against the jukebox in the Tafarn. Witnesses commented that the “ffffffssssssshhhh... aaahhhhh!” sound was more sonically pleasing than Shed Seven’s actual music.

Clubbing Mondays

Student night @ Cuba 9pm-2am, Free b4 10pm. Carlsberg £1 a bottle, Bacardi £1.50 a bottle.

Tuesdays

Hoochy Koochy @ The Emporium 9pm-2am, £1 b4 10pm/£2. Party and Dance hits downstairs, The Jockstrap 5 with 70s and disco upstairs. Rock Inferno @ Clwb Ifor Bach 9pm-2am, £2.50. Heavy Rock Disco. Pulse @ Zeus £1 a pint and spirits. A market with meat. Offya Face @ Metros 9pm-2am, £2 before 10.30pm. Alternative student night, £1 bottle/pint. Happy Hour @ Henry’s Cafe Bar 3pm-9pm. £2.50 for cocktails with NUS card.

03. Get There Expand your social horizons with our extensive guide to what’s hot in the warm capital 04. Games Games review Tony Hawk 2 for the GBA, Operation Flashpoint and Sonic Adventure 2

Tuesdays

Wednesdays

Contents

03

Funky Techno @ The End... 8pm-11pm. With One Mission DJ’s. The Betty Ford Guest List @ Metros 9pm-3am, £3 before 10.30pm. Club Class Latino – Sol Latino + guest DJs @ Toucan Entry £3.50 b4 10pm. Slammers £1 b4 10.30pm. Kettle @ Bar Amigos 8pm-1am, free entry before 9.30pm then £2. A blend of funk, future jazz, cool house and hip-hop. Twisted By Design @ Dempsey’s (sometimes) 7pm-12am, £2 I think.

Live Music Saturday 8/9

Raging Speedhorn @ Newport TJ’s Phone for price/door times. Information (01633 216608). Ace distorto-metal crew get to Wales, finally. Sorry to taunt you if you’re not going to be

here at this point, but if you’re vaguely in the area – go see.

Thursday 13/9

Janus Stark + Dirt Era @ Barfly 7.30pm, £4. Information (029) 2066 7658. Brightlycoloured poppy punk band make gradual comeback.

Wednesday 27/9

Catatonia @ Port Talbot Afan Lido 8pm, £7.50 adv. Information (029) 20230130. Out of rehab and back (back!) with a new album, the populist indie icons put down the drugs long enough to hit the provinces for a tour.

Thursday 26/9

Echobelly @ Clwb Ifor Bach 8pm, £7.50 adv. Information (029) 2023 2199. Some people just don’t know when they’re beaten, Echobelly being some of those people. Still, they’re here. Hopefully they’ll play King Of The Kerb.

Saturday 29/9

05. Books Books suggest some holiday reading (for those of you yet to go on holiday, that is...) 06. Music You’re going to be in Cardiff soon. You might as well know where to go and get your ears massaged by good music. Let us guide you, and inform as to who’s just paid a visit...

Chris Helme + Tom Hingley + Teflon Monkey @ Barfly 7.30pm, £4. He used to be in The Seahorses you know. Eh? Where are you all going? Come ba... oh sod it. Turn up early for the Teflon Monkey. 10cc @ St Davids Hall Phone for times/prices. Information (029) 2087 8444. The only band in rock history named after a measurement of human sperm. Apart from The Lovin’ Spoonful. And Monstrous Jizzblast.

09. Arts Arts head to Cardiff’s New Theatre and review the hilariously titled Having a Ball, a play all about vasectomys.

Spunge + 4Ft Fingers @ Barfly 7.30pm, £5. Ska-’punk’ merchants loved by The Kids hit Barfly on what is doubtless a 3,782-date tour, or thereabouts. 4Ft Fingers are from Cheltenham, so they must be good.

10. Film Film review Cats & Dogs, and take a look back at other films where animals have taken a starring role. Plus reviews of Swordfish and Dr. Dolittle 2.

Wednesday 3/10

Friday 12/10

Super Furry Animals @ Cardiff International Arena Phone for times and prices. DO IT! Information: (029) 2023 4500. SFA’s new record is the nuts. Buy it, blag it or (best option) swap it for the kidneys of your Stereophonics-loving friend. With the spare change buy a ticket to this.

Saturday 20/10

Madonna + presumably other charitable moneyspinners @ Millennium Stadium Phone for times and prices. Information (029) 2023 0130. A Red Hot AIDS benefit. Details a little sketchy at present.

Thursday 1/11

Alabama 3 @ Clwb Ifor Bach 8pm, £8 adv. They ain’t going to Goa. Pity. Nah, I quite like Alabama 3, they’re just a little wearying.

Friday 2/11

Slipknot @ Cardiff International Arena Phone for times and prices. SLIPKNOT! Even people who don’t like them like them, if you just give ‘em to admit it. Come on, one of the guys plays drums with his head. You can’t say that’s not enjoyable. Oh, maybe Hefner are playing that night or something. Pfff! Slipknot, man!

Saturday 3/11

Tystion @ Clwb Ifor Bach 10pm, phone for prices. Welsh hip-hop legends. We love ‘em. But you’re going to have to wait a bit.

Societies

We haven’t got any info about societies as yet, for the fairly obvious reason that everyone’s on holiday. BUT! When term begins there’ll be a Societies Fair to get you acquainted with these peculiar cliques – and then check these pages for societies listings every week. If you’re the head of a society, send ‘em in via e-mail, phone, post, foot or pit pony. Cheers. Cheersars.

GRiP Editor Sarah Hodson GRiP Editor Jack Hobhouse Arts Sarah Hodson Books D.C. Gates Film Charlotte Martyn Games Steven Bailey Music Noel Gardner, Maria Lane and Gemma Curtis Get There Noel Gardner GRiP doesn’t need your help for a while! We’re pissing off to go and get jobs and that. BUT we’d like some help on the Freshers’ issue (GRiP 23-27 July; News/Features 13-17 August). So... • E-mail ssugr1@cardiff.ac.uk• Hear us speak 029 2078 1434/6


g gamesreviews

04

Chronic Misadventure

SONIC ADVENTURE 2 Sega (dreamcast)

S

ONIC IS a relic. Whereas Mario, Zelda et al coped with aplomb and grace as their respective 2D lives were pitched, stitched and grafted into 3D, Sonic has clumsily spilled onto the next-gen scene, like a slapper in her mam’s best stiletto heels. Whereas Mario, Zelda et al have sought to break moulds/genres/hearts with each progression, Sonic has simply run about a bit, albeit within the confines of luscious, vibrant worlds. When it comes to Sonic The Hedgehog, the retro-fetishists and bleary-eyed traditionalists have got it right (for once): no Sonic title, including the myriad sequels and spin-offs, has ever bettered the 16-bit debut. As a character, Mario (homoerotic overtones aside) is most well known for his finely-crafted games. Sonic, on the other hand, is most well known for being, well, Sonic, the spunky mammal who likes to run about a bit. He’s known for his speed, something brilliantly encapsulated in the Megadrive series and something that falls flat on its aerodynamic arse in 3D. As with the original, Sonic Adventure 2 is a beautiful world wrapped around a very ugly game. The visuals are gorgeous: a majestic draw distance, a poppadum-crisp resolution set in massive and detailed

levels. The controls are awful: besides an overly twitchy analogue system, the entire experience is ruined by the mentalist bodypopping camera. The cut-scenes are atrocious: poorly acted with C-list dialogue, pointless and token at best. Whilst SA2 does come across as something rather splendid to look at, its visual appeal isn’t enough to salvage a flawed and marred video game, especially since the DC is several generations of software into its lifespan – there are handbags full of quality Dreamcast titles available that look just as pretty but without the twin evils of camera

as a revenge-agenda Sonic with a raspy voice, covered in a lick of shoe polish and who enjoys holding things in his clutches, as opposed to his hands. As baddies go, he’s pretty bad. In a bad way. The Sonic/Shadow levels are the engrossing highpoints of the game, allowing your character to whizz through loop after loop of rollercoasters of terrain – admittedly, it’s mostly on rails, but haring it through the sky at a hundred miles an hour across a platform as wide as a gstring is impressive stuff. Conversely, the gem-finding detective levels of

The controls are awful: the entire experience is ruined by the mentalist bodypopping camera and control. The styles of play on offer mirror those of the action stages of the original (with the exploration stages having been thoughtfully culled for the sequel), with several new evil, cackly characters replacing Amy, Big and That Robot, namely Dr Robotnik, Shadow and Rouge. You can play as the good guys, or the bad guys, each having a suitably weak interlacing narrative to follow, with Shadow being potentially the greatest waste of a supervillain ever. He’s Sonic nemesis, his Yang, his Magneto, his Ken Barlow – but instead of a blistering Terminator 2-style stand off between these two antipodes, Shadow just comes across

Rouge and Knuckles are a reluctant trudge. But that camera - responsible for so many frustrating deaths, blind spots and pulsating head veins – is inexcusable considering that a good viewpoint and control method are the bread and water of 3D gaming. Sonic would work amazingly well in the pseudo-constrains of 2.5 dimensions, as the Crash Bandicoot series and Klonoa 2 attest, but until the Sonic Team take away the freedom that currently ruins rather than enhances SA2, you’re better off playing with your bits of your face. Steven Bailey www.booyaka.com www.honourablemember.co.uk

TINY HAWK

TONY HAWK’S PRO SKATER 2 Activision (GBA)

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ARIO 64? YES YES YES! 3D Lemmings? OH NO! Sonic Adventure? Mmmm maybe. As technology lurches drunkenly towards the last human being hooked 24/7 into the Matrix (TM), tradition dictates that old franchises are constantly recycled for each ‘next’ generation. A lick of paint, a bonus multiplier and larger breasts might guarantee a financial winner, but a better game? With this, the premier third party GBA launch title, we get a rare chance to investigate the opposite: a modern gaming icon rendered in widescreen retrovision. In previous incarnations Tony and his pro skater mates have been sumptuous 3-D supermodels, sashaying gracefully down suitably bitching virtual skatewalks. However, a short blast of the old shrinkoretro-matic exposes the naked gameplay and a surprisingly accurate isometric conversion. The action viewed from above and to the side, providing 3D visibilty on a 2D system. All six game zones are faithfully reproduced with their umpteen half pipes, ramps and other assorted street furniture, plus oddities such as a helicopter and the last level bullring competition. For those who’ve not yet enjoyed Tony’s ample charms, tasks include collecting gravity defying greenbacks, grinding specific rails, random acts of anti-social vandalisation and competing in high

GRiP

tension competitions where smoothness and stack avoidance are as vital as silly high scores. Along the way you can jump, kickflip, nolly, ollie, fakie, grab, manual and above all grind to your hearts content through the obstacle packed environments (whatever you do though, don’t try to pamplemousse, you’ll only embarrass yourself). Even with two less buttons than other versions, the intuitive feel remains. Tony aficionados can pose by noting that you can no longer do a clockwise 720 with double Indy nosebone, but the quicksilver gameplay is intact and long term skate euphoria seems assured. All poised then, to become the first GBA classic. No. Sadly Tony has one fundamental flaw, how could a problem this big fit inside a console so small? Nintendo have opted for a non backlit screen, a compromise giving a lower street price and greater gaming range but also poleaxeing prolonged gaming enjoyment, for this cartridge at least. Other launch titles such as Mario and FZero sporting the classic Nintendo sweet shop look and feel fair much better. But with Tony you’ll be struggling to see what’s going on, cursing the faked shots used on the box, in the adverts and even in the mainstream games magazines. Playing this game will make you go blind. And no, you can’t just do it until you need glasses. Tony, I still love you, and I can forgive you. But just this once, okay? Meirion Lewis www.tony-hawks.com http://aggressivespace.homestead.com/ouch.html

OPERATION FLASHPOINT Bohemia Interactive (PC)

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AR IS A group activity. Until every emergent nation manages to develop a Godzilla-style superhero representative to duke it out in a moon-based amphitheatre for title of Lord Of Earth, the struggle for power is still going to take place in the dirt and foliage of a battlefield, between squads of reluctant working class parents covered in bits of moss and equipped with a rudimentary knowledge of which end of a gun the bullet comes out of. Operation Flashpoint captures this more succinctly than any of its batallion-based combat peers could ever hope. Free from glamour, rawk soundtracks to kill by, trigger happy whooping US gun loons, tits, beer and the massively over-elaborate preamble schematics of titles such as Rainbow Six, Operation Flashpoint succeeds in transporting the player into a grimy (and unsettlingly tranquil) battlefield. These people aren’t toy soldiers or sarge’s heroes – you’re made all too aware of your own mortality, with one-hit kills drilling the need to keep a tight formation and bark out orders with thought and trepidation. There’s a sombre atmosphere, too – when you manage to cull an enemy grunt, there’s no airpunching high score satisfaction but just a slight lift in your hopes of survival. Levels are square miles of countryside that roll on through valleys and forests, and missions have an open-ended structure that, along with

titles like Deus Ex, provide the gamer with a wonderful sense of freedom and vacuum-sealed immersion. Comandeer a jeep (or hell, even a chopper), and approach from insertion point at whatever angle or vantage you can best utilise, get the job done and avoid becoming yet another posthumus participant of Remembrance Day. Operation Flashpoint appears to be shoddily stitched together (the animation is thoroughly camp, with soldiers mincing and waddling their way through the undergrowth, grasping their weapons like giant comedy crayons), but it’s a sum that manages to realise the potential of its parts. A deserved medal of honour then, especially for a game that doesn’t need ninjas or exploding deathbots to provide its thrills. Steven Bailey www.operationflashpoint.net http://homepage.ntlworld.com/dave.ro bot/cashpoint.htm


booksreviews

05

Summer book loving

treated to an incredibly visceral portrait of Elizabethan decadence, taking in plots, executions, quarrelling playwrights and venereal disease. Thus, as Burgess focuses on the Dark Lady of the early sonnets, and her effect on Shakespeare’s life and works, we are allowed a much wider scope of interest without once dumbing down the subject matter. If all you know of Burgess’ work is the dialogue from A Clockwork Orange, then this is a good place to start. John Wilson

Although it’s the holidays, and you should by rights be lazing about without a literary care in the world, David Gates and his bookworm chums are just itching to tell you about their favourite books for enthralling summer reading. Just don’t expect them to be cheerful

ULYSSES James Joyce

MY EDUCATION: A BOOK OF DREAMS William S. Burroughs Those damned dream books get everywhere these days, explaining how that dream about eating an ice cream with a squirrel predicts your future career as prime minister, or some other such nonsense. Thank heaven, then, for William Burroughs and his very own book of dreams. His last published work, it details his immediate memory of the previous night’s dreams in all his usual mannerisms, coupling drug fantasies with black humour and surrealism. However, there is also an unexpected degree of poignancy, even gentleness. Although fragmentary in places, My Education could be seen as the logical conclusion of its author’s life and ideas. D.C.Gates THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING Milan Kundera

CHARLES BUKOWSKI (left) and WILLIAM BURROUGHS: wrinkled, drug-addled and dead is the new black this season The Moldovans At Tennis (Tony Hawks). Comedian, actor, writer and all-round nice bloke Tony Hawks spent six months trying to beat the Moldovan football squad at tennis for the sake of winning a drunken bet. A funny and insightful look at East European politics, human nature and the importance of good groundstrokes. Charlotte Martyn WISE BLOOD Flannery O’Connor

Set against the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia, Kundera’s novel explores one man’s search for the freedom that comes from commitment-free relationships and his ultimate failure to live with the ‘lightness’ that this produces. Occasionally complex but never confusing it looks far more impressive on the beach than a Jackie Collins breezeblock novel. And, as a sorbet to clear the palate, Beating

Hazel Motes comes straight out of the army and into the ministry. But his church, The Church of Christ Without Christ, isn’t like the others. Soon he faces rivals, opportunists, would-be lovers and his car breaking down... Before Buffy, before even the Life of Brian, there existed an author unafraid to ridicule and lampoon the amusing antics of religious fundamentalists. This woman was Flannery

O’Connor, living in the Deep South and drawing inspiration for her skewed and grotesque tales from her redneck surroundings. Although the entirety of her small output (she died in 1961, in her thirties) is worth reading, it is Wise Blood that remains the summation of her work. Robert Frost NOTHING LIKE THE SUN Anthony Burgess If, like me, you find historical novels rather dreary, and thought that Shakespeare in Love was contrived and insulting, then Nothing Like The Sun will come as a breath of fresh air. Very much a conceptual novel, it begins with Burgess delivering a lecture on the racial significance of the Bard before developing into a biographical account of Shakespeare’s life, spoken in the patois of the day. The expression ‘warts and all’ does not do it justice; we are

Fresher fictions Students need books and bookshops need profits. One party must lose out, but David Gates is here to tell freshers how to avoid paying over the odds for textbooks

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NLESS YOU’RE a curious friend stroke relation, if you’re reading this you’ll soon be joining us here in Cardiff. And as a student you’ll be needing books. So, in a rare moment of kindness, Books offers up a brief guide to escaping the perils of buying those all-important texts. The excitement of coming to a university can often give you a distorted vision of the next few years of your life. Whether you expect the squalor illustrated in such sources as The Young Ones, or foreswear that this new period of freedom won’t change your organised existence one bit, chances are that you’ll be in for a surprise. One thing is for certain, however. Contrary to popular belief – indeed, you will find this hotly contested in the first three weeks of term – all universities still require their students to undertake the archaic task of studying before they

hand out qualifications. And this precludes the buying of text books. And all that loan to buy them with. You lucky people! Of course, we have two problems here, namely a) the loan is to be spent on other things than books, and b) the loan isn’t really enough for a year in the first place. On top of this it will become evident that every chainbookstore about is trying to make as much money as possible out of a group they consider naive: freshers. Although there are probably better things to read this summer (see, for example, Books’ handy guide to summer reading up there), it will be worth it to at least browse through the preliminary reading for each module. I didn’t do this before my second year and found myself utterly bewildered by several areas of my course – I still am. Knowledge gained before Freshers’ Week might also stay in the memory and counteract the debauchery that

traditionally rears its head in these fearful seven days... Sadly, you will not get anything like a comprehensive reading list until the second week of the term proper. However, as soon as you know which books to buy they mysteriously become unavailable in most bookshops. This could be because all copies sold out straight away, or may instead be due to the shops’ withdrawal of stock. Withdrawing guarantees an increase in

One of the most controversial books in history. This mammoth chronicle of a day in 1920s Dublin outraged both the literary and moral worlds with its daring challenges of conventional form and its intimate portrayal of a housewife’s innermost thoughts. Ulysses tells the story of one Leopold Bloom, a jewish advertiser, and Stephen Dedalus, a dreamy supply teacher. Taking on a variety of narratives – each with its own voices, thoughts and symbolism – the novel winds its way through the streets and pubs of Dublin with humour and a poetic eye for detail. Helen Robinson LOVE IS A DOG FROM HELL Charles Bukowski This remains one of the poet’s most popular compendiums, being a collection of works form 1974 to 1977. We are allowed a glimpse into the mind of ‘the laureate of Skid Row’ in his late middle-age, still shocked by his popularity and still building bridges between misanthropy and tenderness. In particular, this is a book about love, and the things which Bukowski adores or despises: girlfriends, his daughter, classical music, other poets, sex, beer. Unlike the selfconscious writing of contemporary poetry – still trying to be ‘Beat’ – these poems still switch effortlessly from light to dark and back again, and remain some of Bukowski’s most honest pieces. Jane Baker

ways than others, but shopping around should still be possible. Of course, one should never neglect the humble charity shop, and its slightly more selective cousin, the second-hand bookshop. Taking time out to navigate Roath, Cathays, and the centre of town (take a map if unsure of the territory) can be very rewarding, and surprising finds can be made all year round. Books’ particular recommendations are Albany Books, situated on Albany Road, Roath, and Land of Green Ginger on Salisbury Road (conveniently located between the Union building and Ramon’s cafe, which you will know of soon enough). The Blackwell’s Bookshop at the Union’s ground floor

It will become evident that every bookstore about is trying to make as much money as possible out of a group they consider naive: freshers ordered sales, and also permits the ‘revision’ of prices. For example, a textbook essential to a particular module costing £8 may suddenly vanish during Freshers’ Week, only to re-appear in a couple of weeks, now priced at £14.95. Note that some books are almost only sold to academics, and will not sport a printed recommended price. Those studying medical matters will of course be prey to overpricing in more drastic

also stocks a selection of second-hand and clearance stock books, and the walls of departmental buildings are covered with the desperate adverts of final-year students offering books for cash. This also brings us to the issue of what to do with the books when they are safely in your hands. An 800-page exegesis on the life of Lenin is of no use if you only want a quote on his

dislike of Stalin. The weight of reading may differ from course to course, but buying and reading text books costs both time and money. For example, those of you taking modules in English Literature will probably have to buy the Norton Anthology of Poetry in English, a huge and pricey book. Although a fine read, you might want to start writing those advert posters. However, no matter who you sell to, you will not be able to recoup the original cost. Oh well. Finally, for those of you who have trouble buying the relevant material, whether through bad luck, lack of funds or being lazy swine, there is always the library. Never underestimate the combination of fully itemised and cited weekly lecture notes and a photocopier. Tutors may also be willing to lend you any items you require, especially if they have contributed to them. Unfortunately, this article is centred on the experiences of a third-year philosophy student, so it should not be taken as a fully accurate guide to sorting out the academic side of your education. The unscrupulous dealings made by some of Cardiff’s larger bookstores (naming no names, but one is – shall we say – very close to home) may well have ceased by the time you need to start looking. But whilst the ‘student pound’ is still there to be exploited and patronised, it remains a necessity to take nothing for granted.

13.08.01


musiclive

08

PIC: Robbie Watkins

ROBBIE WILLIAMS Millennium Stadium ROBBIE WILLIAMS is an iridescent sliver of golden radiance, enchanting fair maidens’ hearts with giggling spasms of anticipatory delight. Consequently not-Robbie ABC and not-Robbie (though distinctly Sideshow Bob) Toploader are denied the respect they don’t deserve. Instead a marshmallow ocean of pink fluffiness haunts the R.W.’r’Us mini-mall and attempts better living through merchandise until Bob’s up. “Mr Robbie Williams has requested absolute silence for his entrance.” Squeal Squeal Squeal! Sporting shiny 007 ensemble and de rigeur cheeky grin, blonde skunk streak now elegantly tousled, the cat from Take That takes the stage to a rapturous applause/scream hybrid for a performance that could be entitled “Variations on the secret Tom Jones sex-vowel.” After an opening saveloy of Let Me Entertain You and Let Love Be Your Energy the Robster speaks. “Good Evening Wales! I’m glad you all came

tonight coz I know the Stars In Their Eyes final is on! And Big Brother. I bet you’re all Helen fans down here. I’ve ‘ad ‘er.” Ahhh, Robbie’s numerous virtues. He’s an accomplished raconteur, a humble, big-hearted superspy with his finger on the nation’s pulse. Gee, there’s a guy who really knows what country he’s in! With the boisterous charm having circumcised the few remaining unbelievers it’s off again, with bombastic renditions of Forever Texas, Supreme and Road To Mandalay, the last saucily begging

providing comic burps should his doting harem forget to breathe. Millennium is unsheathed and the crowd goes wild! This man sweats sincerity, expectorates entertainment and urinates sophistication. During a barnstorming Strong his pithy, ironic chiding of, “Right, I wanna see some flesh. Come on girls, get your tits out,” marking him as a truly postmodern wit. Tattoos! Swearing! Tank top! Dissing Take That! Punk attitood! Past heroin and cocaine addictions (knowing wink)! Thirty foot flamethrowers! Stockinged laydeez

This man sweats sincerity, expectorates entertainment and urinates sophistication... “Beat me up on Cardiff Bay.” Adlibbing bursts of “Do you really like it?”, Rob’s in blistering form and clearly loving it, loving it, loving it. While the music skillfully sips the cream of soft rock, film music and pop’s knicker drawer, to the audience’s unalloyed joy, his stage persona is equal parts Mephistopheles and Lee Evans,

dancing with poles! A rousing finale of We Are The Champions discreetly brings the audience to climax. “Cardiff, you’ve been fucking great, may the force be with you, always.” And Luke Skywalker has left the building. Robbie Williams thinks he’s it. Unfortunately, he is. Mei Lewis

Bighead Strikes Again FANTOMAS Newport TJ’s YOU KNOW logic is going to pot when one of the most thrilling and visceral gigs you’ve seen all year comes from a band whose modus operandi appears to be to annoy their audience as much as possible. But then, this is Fantomas. A band who, since the dissolution of Faith No More in 1997, have provided a boundless outlet for former FNM head honcho Mike Patton to take his avant-psycho musical fantasies to extremes that the commercial constraints of his old band would never allow. A veritable supergroup of the unwell, Patton has enlisted ludicrously brilliant ex-Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo; Melvins guitarist Buzz Osbourne, who looks like a public information cartoon about keeping your fingers away from light sockets; and Trevor Dunn, who used to be in Mr. Bungle but still “makes Isaac Hayes look like a white boy,” according to Patton. Rest assured, this is a freakish sound drilling the collective aural canal of an overstuffed TJ’s. Slices of their ace new LP The Director’s Cut – 16, ah, creative interpretations of cult movie themes – drop into the almost relentless sonic carnage. Hyperspeed metal riffs start up and reach breaking point before the band switch into loungecore mode, or croon through some old Henry Mancini score. People try and fail to get a mosh on. Patton, for his part, evidently sees his freedom from his Rock Superstar status as an excuse to make stupid noises and put effects on his voice. It could have been appallingly selfindulgent showboating, kind of prog rock played at death metal speeds. But, acquired taste as Fantomas evidently are, this chaos is so brilliantly controlled it attains a kind of Zen ambience after a while. A soundtrack to performing the kind of martial arts where people get very badly hurt. Noel Gardner

GRiP

PARTY IN THE PARK Cardiff Castle SATURDAY 14 July. My mission – to infiltrate the scary World Of Pop. First impressions are not promising, consisting of several thousand deelybopper-clad children and Hear’say on the stage. Unlike the recent Summer Ball, there are no egg-related tantrums to break the tedium this time. Despite Noel’s protestations of how much he loves playing in Wales, they all look as fed up with Bridge Over Troubled Water and the rest as I am. Things can only get worse with the appearance of the talentless Dane Bowers. “Shut up and forget about it !” he squawks. At least his songwriter has a sense of irony. As the rain gets heavier, the music just keeps getting cheesier. Amongst the familiar faces – Mystique, A1, the Honeyz – are a few surprises. Dina Carroll and Dario G unwisely make a reappearance from ‘Where are they now?’ land. A new Irish band called Bellefire ooze sickly Corrs meet B*Witched sickliness. And then ...OH MY GOD. “Do you really like it, is it is it wicked?” The unbelievably evil DJ Pied Piper and his satanic minions take to the stage and hideous parent dancing scenes ensue. Terrifying as this experience is, it’s not the thing that bothers me most about Party In The Park. What really makes an impact is how similar everything sounds. Even Catatonia, who might be expected to stand out a bit, are as bland as the rest. As if to sum up how flat everything has gone, we are informed that 5ive have cancelled. In their place we get the dubious privilege of watching their new video. We also get to listen to Hear’say for the second time in one day. The band are wheeled out like performing monkeys to play the same set in a different order. Worryingly, nobody else seems to notice. The kids scream delightedly and the drunken louts stagger about grinning.

Perhaps I’m missing something. To me, it seemed like a day full of pop with very little fizz. Helen Mahoney

JOEL PLASKETT AND THE EMERGENCY Barfly BEING RETRO in a musical climate like the one we’re enjoying at the moment is playing with critical fire. Sure, look at that Stereophonics review below and you can see that there’s still

plenty of capital to be made from slavishly, lamely, sticking to your guns in the three-chord mud. But the fact that they suck is something that could be proved by musicologists on an Etch-A-Sketch. Where then for lanky, denimswathed Canadian troubadour Joel Plaskett? There’s no denying it – on his recent LP, Down At The Khyber, and for the 40-minute duration of tonight’s under-attended show, Plaskett and backing band make as much effort to innovate as your average factory-plant lid-screwer worker drone. But if we’re

STEREOPHONICS Millennium Stadium SOMETHING IS wrong with Kelly Jones. Despite the attention of 50,000 flag-waving devotees, he has the enigma of a half-arsed cabaret entertainer. Ironic, that, because on this hugely underwhelming showing the Stereophonics appear to have been reduced to little more than an en masse karaoke act. The major problem with one of Wales’ biggest exports is that they are so (un)remarkably unchallenging. This is reflected in the blandness of support acts the Crocketts and The Black Crowes. Put it this way: these are bands that wouldn’t excite the average music fan, but do even less for those anxious to hear nothing less (or more) than Jones and his band of similarly unenthralling men. Regrettably, even a kick-arse and punk-tastic Ash outing is unable to avoid being dragged down by the general air of lethargy in the arena. Irritatingly unjust, considering they show more attitude than the headline act at any given point. It’s not all bad news for the ‘Phonics set though, and admittedly things look vaguely hopeful at the start. Local Boy In The Photograph has the usual pop buzz and pleasing old-skool sensibilities. This is a reminder that the Valley boys were not always about stadium rock and chugalong control. Once they wrote a tune that promised further good things to come. More Life In A Tramp’s Vest has a pogo-worthy raucousness alongside tuneful nicety, and A Thousand Trees is suitably anthemic. For all their shortcomings Jones’ voice remains capable of stadium boldness. I Wouldn’t Believe Your Radio even embraces this fact and is convincingly more engaging live. Bad set organisation, however, means that from here on in little of the rawness that originally gave the band some appeal is present. Instead they dissolve into unimaginable stodginess and boring nothingness.

talking reinvention, then nearheartbreaking levels of ennui, the only rarely been heard since the halcyon days of Neil Young, are achieved on Clueless Wonder and a cover of obscure reggae number Cry Together. As with Young, gnarled rock buzzard and fellow Canuck that he is, there’s a tendency to lapse into overly indulgent soloing at times. But True Patriot Love, direct as a lightning flash on a hot night, makes up for any errors of direction. It’s not an Emergency for the retro guitar-slinger quite yet. Noel Gardner

Just Looking, Pick A Part That’s New and Have A Nice Day exist alongside countless other tracks of nonnoteworthy relevance. And although the crowd are only to pleased to be bombarded with the hits, it’s a sour feeling of non-adventure that lies heavy in the pit of the stomach. The problem is that the Stereophonics now make music for non-music fans. The big screens that surround the Millennium Stadium stage only emphasise the stagnant performance. Mr Jones doesn’t communicate with the fans, and barely speaks between songs. I suppose he would say he lets his music do the talking. What a pity this is, because even this has nothing to say. Gemma Curtis

KELLY JONES: “Curtis, this is the last straw. Where’s Davey Crockett? We’ve got some battering to do.”

13.08.01


09

artsreviews

Great Balls of Dire HAVING A BALL New Theatre

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edical comedies have never been the same since Carry On. It is impossible for playwrights to make jokes about the hospital ward, as the British film staple has already covered all of the angles. Accidental nudity, nurses with huge boobs and randy doctors have all been done to death in such classics as Carry on Nursing, and in today’s culturally diverse society toilet humour now seems passé. So it seems strange that Having a Ball, a comedy about a vasectomy clinic, is on stage at all. In fact, it is the big name playwright that lends the credibility to this production. Alan Bleasdale is possibly the most respected screenwriter at work in this country, with the acclaimed gritty dramas GBH and Boys From the Blackstuff coming from his pen. He wrote Having a Ball during the 1980’s, when the mines were closing, unemployment was high and the masculinity of the male species was under threat. In this political climate, it is understandable how a play about a space where men question their own masculinity was so popular. Yet it is dubious subject SARA CROWE: ditsy drunk matter to spring on a middle–aged 21st Century audience, and it proved that to as soon as the offending appendage was modern spectators the play didn’t produced, a cackle erupted from the encourage the political fervour of the 80s, audience so loud that the rest of the or indeed fervour of any kind. dialogue was obscured. This was a shame, The opening ‘joke’ of a worried patient as the speeches that we couldn’t hear squirting aftershave down his pants set the explained the political situation at the time tone of toilet humour for the rest of the and the mens’ frustration at being play. The single joke running throughout was a pun on the word ‘balls,’ which The whole point of the play reminded of a was masked by the audience particularly bad high laughing at a nude man school play. Indeed, the wooden acting degraded. The whole point of the play was wouldn’t have been out of place in a youth masked by the audience laughing at a theatre production. The audience nude man – something that I’m sure they sniggered at one or two obvious jokes, but had all seen before. only really seemed to enjoy themselves For a playwright who is known for when presented with a naked man presenting Northern people in a realistic swinging his bits around the stage. The light, the characters in Having a Ball were play was marketed for girls’ nights out, so

arts preview DOWN THE BAY Butetown History & Arts Centre Following the impressive reception of their exhibition on black culture in post-war Britain, for its new project the Butetown History and Arts Centre has turned its attention to the most notorious and culturally diverse part of Cardiff – Butetown. Formerly known as Tiger Bay, the city’s dock area is known for producing Wales’ most famous export Shirley Bassey, and is historically an area of immigration, shipping and cultural mixing. From the late 19th Century, the Bay was a thriving and nationally important port, with the first million pound check being signed within its boundaries for an export of coal. The wealth of the area was totally different from the present situation, as the decline of heavy industries during the 1970’s and 1980’s saw employment in the area decline and the richer families

Edinburgh Nights The renowned local theatre company, the Welsh College of Music and Drama, will be appearing at the Edinburgh festival this year in their own city centre venue. The college, whose past students include Sir Anthony Hopkins, own the Venue 13 theatre in Edinburgh, which they purchased in 1993. It is used to promote Welsh theatre in the festival, which draws visitors from around the country for a week of dance, comedy

and new theatre. This year, college students are performing Hang Up written by the director of The English Patient Anthony Minghella. The play is a dialogue about an intense love affair, and will once again show the Welsh College to be a nationally important performing arts company. If you’re in Edinburgh over the summer, Hang Up is a must see. Look out for news on the Welsh College in further editions of Gair Rhydd.

Edinburgh Festival: crazy antics

Road to Nowhere?

so stereotypical that it made me cringe. There was the cheeky Northern character, the rich man with a dark secret and a drunken wife, and the hard-nosed female surgeon keen on inflicting pain on her patients. The casting director even managed to bag one of the most stereotypical character actresses, the Philadelphia woman Sara Crowe, to play the ditsy drunk, which was an uninspired piece of casting. And that’s how I’d describe the play in a nutshell – uninspired and undemanding. Toilet humour was covered when the Carry On’s were popular, and the constant ball jokes not only confused the serious elements of the play but also the majority of the audience. Ultimately, Bleasdale’s bank account is the only thing having a ball out of this production. Sarah Hodson

When the Ffotogallery in the town centre closed down last year, we thought it was the end for the visual arts in Cardiff. Luckily, the Chapter Arts Centre in Canton will temporarily housing the gallery, whose new exhibition is about the imagery and folklore

surrounding the A470 road that runs the entire length of Wales. The exhibition shows the work of eight artists who use perceptions of the road in their work, and can be seen at Chapter in Canton until September 2. Tel: 029 20304400

arts soundbites

On the Dock of the Bay

moving out. Tiger Bay became a haven for prostitution and crime, so the name was changed to Butetown to try and improve its image, and a huge programme of regeneration to the docklands area started in the late 1990’s. However, the rich history of the area is still present in the atmosphere of Butetown, and this new exhibition aims to celebrate the unique place with pictures and accounts of the people who lived there during the boom years. Down the Bay promises to show visitors about the life of people in Tiger Bay during the height of its powers and consequent decline, and would be a great introduction to the history of Cardiff for anyone planning a trip to the capital in the summer. The Butetown History & Arts Centre is situated in the Bay, and runs from the end of July until the end of September. It free to get in, and comes highly recommended as a reminder of times past that should never be forgotten. Sarah Hodson

13.08.01


filmreviews

10

Travolta the Codfather

SWORDFISH

Starring: John Travolta, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Vinnie Jones Dir: Dominic Sena 99 Mins, 15 In Cinemas: Now

APPARENTLY WHEN Dominic Sena the Director of this silly blockbuster read the first scene of its script, the only description for the opening explosion was the word ‘kaboom’. It’s truly amazing what a whole lot of money and a vivid imagination can generate from a single word, because what came from that is surely one of the most breath-taking explosive introductions to an action flick ever to grace the silver screen. Thirty glorious uninterrupted seconds of a 270angle sequence shot where every object in that wake is ripped apart in splendid slow-motion bullet time action reminiscent of The Matrix. You know that something’s wrong with the storyline, however, when an explosion and the topless appearance of one of its stars are the only true bright moments you care to remember. Not that Swordfish is essentially bad, it’s just that the remainder of the film fails desperately in trying to live up those breath-taking first minutes. Sadly it’s old territory done

better before. For what it’s worth, here the plot in a nutshell: Gabriel Shear (John Travolta recycling his patented bad-guy-you-love-to-hate persona from Face Off and Broken Arrow) hires the ‘most dangerous hacker in the world’, Stanley Jobson, to help him break into a secret government bank account holding billions of dollars. The impromptu interview Travolta forces on Jobson,

FISHY: “Quick! Get me to a reputable hairdresser!”

A load of old Pooh? DR DOLITTLE 2

Starring: Eddie Murphy, Kristen Wilson, Jeffrey Jones Dir: Steve Carr 87mins, PG In cinemas: Now YOU KNOW it’s a winning formula: it’s got Eddie Murphy, all-singing, all-dancing (and allfarting) animals that talk and the kids are going to love it. But we’re all adults here and mafioso beavers seem just a little bit implausible. So too does the notion that a bear would really plant its ass down on the toilet of a local diner and empty its bowels after gorging on ice cream. It’s toilet humour at its worst. Despite all this though, Dr Dolittle 2 really is the sort of film that both children and parents will love, although you don’t have to abduct a child from the local shopping centre to take with you. The basic plot is this: the doctor, now famous for being able to talk to the animals and no longer considered a nutbag, is drawn into a fight to save a local forest by beavers who want to protect their habitat from evil developers who are going to cut down the trees. Cue Archie, a big fat circus bear with not a

BEARABLE: “Buuuuurp! Oh, I’m terribly sorry...”

GRiP

clue about making it – or making out – in the wild. And it’s the Doctor’s job to make Archie take a walk on the wild side and prove to Ava, one of an endangered species of bear living in the forest (voiced by Lisa Kudrow and remarkably like Friends’ Phoebe), that he’s just the sort of man bear she wants. If they can get it on, the forest will be protected and all the other animals living there will live happily ever after, or at least until they’re run down in the headlights of a speeding Chevy. Dr Dolittle 2 may rely on infantile humour and weak set-pieces to get its eco-friendly message across, but it’s a likeable Hollywood tale designed to cut across every demographic in the book. With a cameo appearance from real-life animal antagonist, the crazy Australian Steve Irwin, it’s both funny and hilarious. And don’t forget to look out for the cute little girl from The Cosby Show – she’s Dolittle’s grown up daughter, you know, and they’re not getting on too well. Convincing special effects and a full quota of pop culture references place Dr Dolittle 2 firmly in the 21st century, but its old-fashioned morals and conventional sub-plots render it typical Hollywood family fodder. Rachael Attenborough

played by X-Men’s Wolverine and rising star Hugh Jackman, made me realise that I’ve been going for the wrong jobs. The added incentive for Jobson taking the Job is that with the money he’ll earn, he’ll be able to hire a good lawyer to get his daughter back from her drugged-up porn star of a mum. It’s a faint human interest element in the plot. On their tails is the typical tough-but-fair cop played by the always great Don Cheadle, and we have the oh-so-beautiful, reportedly-got-half-a-million-dollars-to-bear-her-assets, Halle Berry rounding up the cast nicely. Although better than Sena’s last offering Gone In 60 Seconds, the showdown at the end leaves you feeling slightly short-changed and wishing that perhaps they’d done things the other way round. There’s certainly enough to hold your attention but once you’re out of those cinema doors it’s forgettable stuff. Don’t watch out for Vinnie Jones – he’s as lumpen as ever as Shear’s henchman and no match for Travolta in the bad man stakes. As a summer blockbuster Swordfish isn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination. It simply isn’t anything new or less of what we expect from Hollywood these days: loud, fast, furious and mindless. Good fun if you check your brain at the popcorn counter, right next to the hotdog machine. Elaye Clark

Super furry animals CATS AND DOGS

to be subversive and move away from the cutesy elements of the on-screen balls of fluff, but we never really get the sense that we are witnessing anything more radical than a cartoon. To be a bit more positive, the star of the show is the power-hungry cat Mr. Tinkles. He is beautifully animated and could actually be the next Jackie Chan if he actually existed. The JEFF GOLDBLUM (present beau of Elizabeth kung fu scenes between the sparring pets are Taylor celebrity gossip fans) might have surprisingly funny and one of the best reasons defeated aliens in Independence Day, but a to see the film. However, for cat lovers in the new war for control of the earth is happening audience, it’s a bit grating to see the cats under his nose. But this time it isn’t scary aliens portrayed as evil Hitler-esque dictators while the who are vying for world domination, but your dogs are the all-American heroes. It seems that trusted friends, your adopted family members – we have not strayed any further from Disney your pets, fluffy Fido territory, despite It’s a bit grating to and Tom. the efforts of the It’s such an see the cats portrayed scriptwriters. obvious concept that The verdict – if as evil Hitler-esque it’s a wonder it hasn’t you’re going to been done before. dictators make an Thank the Lord it adult/child crossover film, make it a little bit more hasn’t, as the recent developments in filming than a better looking episode of Tom And Jerry. technology (see Final Fantasy) mean that this If you have to baby-sit a younger film is not only a clever idea but comes off sibling/cousin/dog (delete as appropriate) then looking very impressive as well. But, as the by all means take them to see Cats and Dogs – cliché goes, all that glitters is not gold and just take your walkman to drown out the cheesy cynical FILM are not to be romanced by good jokes. looks alone. We need a fast, yet gripping, plot, Sarah Hodson and it seems that Cats and Dogs can not keep up the promising beginning right to the end of the film. Jeff Goldblum plays a nutty professor who has developed a vaccine that will cure all human allergies to dogs, and therefore give them a higher place in human affections than cats. The cats, being naturally more clever than dogs decide to steal the vaccine to prevent their “Who put inevitable demise, and landmines in it is up to the young my litter puppy Lou to save the tray?” vaccine and therefore the rest of the doggie race. Although the plot seems interesting enough, the characters are particularly clichéd and don’t seem able to get past the Disneyesque premise that characters are all good or all bad and nothing in between. Lou’s exclamation of “Son of my Mom” is a nice bit of intertextuality to Hollywood’s more adult films, but any adults hoping for the grown-up laughs of Shrek or Toy Story 2 will be disappointed. The plot tries hard Starring: Jeff Goldblum, Elizabeth Perkins, Mariam Margolyes, Tobey Maguire Dir: Lawrence Guterman 87 mins, PG In Cinemas: Now

13.08.01


Focus ● 11

gairrhydd, Monday 13 August 2001

Do Open a student bank account: Most student accounts come with incentives like cash, railcards, mobile phones or whatever. They’ll also be more generous with their overdraft allowances. Don’t steal the pens on chains though – no-one will be impressed.

Leave plenty of time to get everywhere: Even if you go everywhere in groups, you’re bound to get lost at some point. Allow plenty of time to get where you’re going and don’t be embarrassed about asking for directions. All you’ll need to know by the end of the first week is how to get to the Union and your academic department. You can worry about the

kebab shops later. Attend the Sports and Societies Fayres: What better way to get together with students who share your interests than to join a society? Societies and sports always welcome beginners, so don’t be afraid to approach the Ramblers’ Society even if you don’t own any pairs of red socks.

Register with a GP: In case you fall ill at university (hangovers don’t count) it’s a good idea to be registered with a local GP. The University’s Residences and Catering department will have more details, the Student Advice Centre in the Students’ Union will also be able to help. Befriend the cleaners: Most halls of residence have cleaners who’ll do their best to keep your kitchen and hallway halfdecent (although the onus rests on you – they won’t do the washing up). It’s a good idea to keep on friendly terms with them so that small misdemeanours can be overlooked.

Is your head swimming with the sheer excitement of starting university? Are your eyes all wonky with anticipation? Sounds like you need this easy-to-read, cut-out-and-keep guide to the dos and don’ts of Freshers’ Week

Don’t Lie too much about your past: While university is an ideal opportunity to reinvent yourself and shed any embarrassments from your past, don’t overdo it. By all means adopt a new nickname, change

your taste in music or get pierced beyond all recognition but don’t go round telling people that your dad invented bread, that you were found in a shoebox and raised by wolves or that Nicky Wire asked you to write songs for him - people will find out. Dick around with the fire extinguishers: Halls of residence staff are legally allowed to kill people who attack each other with fire extinguishers. And that’s true. They also take a dim view of people who use them to prop fire doors open. Better to invest in a water pistol for combat purposes and, while propping doors open is frowned upon, it can get rather anti-social when everyone’s bedroom doors are shut. And remember to lock your door while you’re out or at home. Smoke in your bedroom: Bedroom smoke detectors seem to be more sensitive than those in hall kitchens - even joss sticks can set them off. Only smoke in the kitchen (assuming it’s alright with everyone else) and don’t even think of indoor barbecuing. Get too pissed before enrolment: As if standing in a queue with a churning stomach and a pounding head isn’t bad enough, remember that the photo on your University card is meant to last three years -

do you really want to be reminded of an escaped convict every time you use it? Bring a car: Unless you fancy being a taxi service for trips to the supermarket, cinema, places of interest...well, maybe not places of interest.Cardiff’s a big city but small enough to walk around; buses are frequent; and the inexpensive Valley Line trains can take you further afield. Bike theft is not unknown here - even in halls of residence - and the cyclepath near Talybont isn’t the most salubrious place in the world but cycling is a quick way of getting to far-off lectures. If you’re going to be living in University Hall bear in mind that it’s at the top of a hill.... Be a travel bore: Travel certainly broadens the mind but if you go on about it too much then people can, and will, lapse into voluntary comas. Chances are you’ll meet someone at university who went to the same backwoods hostel in Upper Volta that you visited in your year out but it’s best to chat about it between yourselves. Then again, it’s a good idea not to be a bore about any one subject or you’ll be ‘that Hornby train set bloke’ or ‘the Sultans of Ping girl’ for three years. Join or start a society about whatever interests you but don’t let it rule your life – university broadens the mind just as much, if not more than, a round the world ticket.

You won’t be able to get by without... You won’t be able to get by without... You won’t be able to get by without...

so keen

A Freshers’ Survival Kit Passport photos: You’ll need these for Athletic Union membership cards, your temporary NUS Card (to get you into the Union) and at various stages of enrolment on your course. If someone comes up to you in the pub and demands to have a photo it’s best not to hand one over – they’re probably a loon. Umbrella: The rumours are true – it does rain a lot in Cardiff. Don’t bother with wellies though, unless you want to look like a Sloane or a farmer. Assorted food and kitchenware: Toasters and kettles aren’t provided in halls of residence so you might want to bring them with you. Most halls are in walking distance of shops and supermarkets but it’s best to bring heavy tins, jars and bottles with you rather than trying to carry them back to your flat with Stretch Armstrong arms. Fridge and freezer space will be limited too, so don’t bring a whole roast ox with the aim of living off it for a year, unless you plan to keep it in the shower.

If you bring a bike, make sure you bring a lock too...

Underwear: You’re unlikely to get any laundry done in the first week so it’s best to bring enough clean pants to get you through, say, a fortnight. When you do get to the laundrette you’ll need to take your own washing powder and it might be worth investing a zip-up string bag to hold socks, bras and other small items as these have a habit of getting eaten by the Zanussi demons. Camera: It’s probably obvious, but don’t forget your camera. It’s worth investing in a disposable one to take out in the evenings because they tend to be smaller, lighter and less of a problem if they get covered in beer. Posters, photos and drawing pins: All hall bedrooms look like prison cells when you arrive so bring plenty of posters and objets d’art. Blu-tak isn’t allowed on the walls but you can get round this by sticking stuff on cupboard doors, drawers, shelves and so on. Most rooms have very large pinboards too although, obviously, you’ll need pins for these as blu-tak falls off and you’ll wake up under a pile of paper and flyers. Condoms: While not everyone comes to university hoping to break Annabel Chong’s record of sleeping with 251 men in ten hours it’s highly likely that the opportunity of getting some sex will spring up at one point or another. There’s nothing worse than having to knock on your housemate’s bedroom door begging for condoms in the middle of the night, so be sure to take your own stash to get you through the first few days/weeks/months (delete as appropriate). And remember, you can always ‘donate’ them to your needy flatmates in return for, say, a month’s washing-up.


12 ● Focus

gairrhydd 2001-2002

Was brought to you by... Editor Sarah Hodson GRiP Editor Jack Hobhouse

gairrhydd, Monday 13 August 2001

Fayreground Attractions Athletic Union President Caz Noyes and the big cheese in charge of societies, James Sommerville, give you the lowdown on getting involved...

News James Bladon and Charlotte Spratt Sport Michael Pearlman Focus Charlotte Spratt and Fiona Mountjoy Books David Gates Arts Sarah Hodson Music Gemma Curtis, Maria Lane and Noel Gardner Film Charlotte Martyn Games Steven Bailey Get There Noel Gardner Comment Fiona Mountjoy Photography Mike Parsons Contributors Morgan Pritchard, Meirion Lewis, Rohan Tambyraja, Jon Stevenson, JJR Callows Alex Molokwu, Elaye Clark, Nabil Hassan, Vicky Raymond, Helen Mahoney, The Mighty Rob Watkins and Teddy Mearlman A message from your Editor: A big thanks to James, Charlotte, Ford, Mike, Noel, Pearlo and Rhiannon. You’re truly awesome

WANTED We need help – serious help! Do you want to join our merry band of men (and women)? Then meet us at the Societies Fayre on Thursday 27 September, or, if you’re just too damn lazy (or stupid enough to miss it) just pop up our penthouse suite on the fourth floor of the Union building, marvel at our shiny computers and we’ll welcome you with open arms.

Contact us Address Gair Rhydd Cardiff University Students’ Union Park Place Cardiff CF10 3QN Telephone Editorial – (029) 20781434/436 Advertising – (029) 20781416 E-mail ssugr1@cf.ac.uk Visitors Find us on the 4th floor of the Students’ Union

Clubbing to death HELLO THERE. Hope you’re well and enjoying your summer. This is just a brief note to invite you along to the time-honoured Societies Fayre on Thursday 27 September in the Great Hall of the Union from 10am to 4pm. This is essentially a great big marketing exercise where societies will try every means under the sun to entice you into joining them. Should you? Well, I know I’m biased (check out the title), but having spent more time doing stuff with societies than actually doing my degree (and that’s not counting social time....whoops) I can honestly say they were the highlight of my time as a student. It’s an old cliché but you’ll meet some good friends and you’ll have more to do than just sit at home or in the pub. Which is nice. Here are just a couple of things to bear in mind: • Try to go early as from 12-2pm it’s really rather crowded • Don’t feel pressured into spending loads – you can always join societies later on in the year • Don’t worry if you can’t make the Fayre – check the website or the societies area for details of when the society is next meeting and go along – it’ll be great, I promise. That applies at any time through till next semester, when we’ll be having a Refreshers’ Fayre at the start of February. Lovely! Thanks very much and I hope to see you there. Remember, if you have any problems about Societies or anything else, all of the Executive are here in the Union with open doors, so don’t hesitate to pop in. (I’m the best, though, because I have free cookies!)

WELCOME TO Sport at Cardiff University. I would like to personally welcome you to Cardiff Athletic Union as your elected AU President, Caz Noyes. I am your Sabbatical officer, and I will represent the student body on all sporting issues over the next twelve months. Especially with the University and BUSA (British University Sports Association), which all our sports clubs actively take part in and at present are 12th in the country. Sport at Cardiff will be the best introduction to the university way of life. The Athletic Union (AU) is NOT just for athletes; it’s for everyone from the elite to the beginner, or those who just want to have a laugh as a social member.

On your marks...

With 58 sports clubs there is something for everyone. Whether you fancy a bit of kickboxing, tennis and netball; taking to the outdoors with windsurfing, sailing, mountaineering and rowing; to the pitch with football, hockey and rugby; or if you simply fancy a bit of an adrenaline rush with Extreme Sports, skiing or mountain biking – it’s all here. There really is something for everyone; the opportunity to get involved is so easy. Pop along to the biggest and most entertaining day of your Freshers’ Week on Wednesday 26th September in the Great Hall between 10am and 4pm

to meet all the clubs. They’ll be very willing to have a chat with you and answer any questions you may have. It’s a great day with lots of fun and games to be had with all the clubs. After you have met everyone, the party moves to Solus for the first Jive Hive of term (which takes place every Wednesday night and is traditionally frequented by most of the sports teams). Checklist– 1. Yourself – come to the Great Hall between 10am and 4pm. 2. Bring a current passport sized photo for your membership card. 3. You will also need to bring a chequebook or cash for

Blagging: A Rough Guide Besides all the freebies thrust upon you by family and friends just proud that you made it to university, once you get here there’s a ton of people just desperate to give you free stuff. Here’s our guide to getting it all (sort of) STUDENTS ARE notorious for their need and/or ability to get hold of free stuff. And the best place to start is at the Companies Fayre on Friday 28 September. Over 50 stalls will be manned by representatives from banks, newspapers, food outlets, supermarkets, websites, local businesses and numerous other student-orientated companies. As with the Societies and Sports Fayres, entrance to the Great Hall is free and, once you’re inside, you’ll be plied with all manner of giveaways. Of course, it’s not all about free stuff (although that is why most people turn up), so be sure to take a good look around.

You’ll be able to find out about local healthcare, talk to the Citizens Advice Bureau, sort out a bank account or sign up with a recruitment agency if you fancy getting a part-time job to supplement your loan. The major banks will also be in the TV Lounge (on the third floor of the Students’ Union) from Tuesday 25 to Thursday 27 September. If you haven’t already opened a student account then they’ll be able to sort you out with some of those special offers like railcards, cash or a pigshaped porcelain money box (maybe not the latter). And when you’re tired of picking up loads of freebies from the fayres, you can always go around the local streets scavenging for things from bins.

joining fees. 4. University Identity card – for current students you need your University library card. New students will also need some paperwork that shows you’ve been accepted onto a course at Cardiff e.g. your UCAS number. So all that’s left for me to say is to wish you all the best for your time at Cardiff. Pop into the AU, say hello and ask any questions, I’ll do my best to answer. If not – see ya in Jive Hive every Wednesday night by the bar, celebrating with all our teams after their BUSA matches. Always happy to help, Caz Noyes

When was the last time this man bought a pint?


Focus ● 13

gairrhydd, Monday 13 August 2001

Better safe than sorry In sickness and in health...

Despite the many pleasures that await you here in Cardiff, new students are vulnerable to both illness and crime. Charlotte Spratt looks at some of the greatest risks you’ll face as you get to grips with the student lifestyle

C

ARDIFF IS generally a very safe city. The crime rate is low and there are good services here to keep students safe and secure. Nevertheless, being a new student in an unfamiliar environment can be an unnerving experience. But whilst important, personal safety is often a low priority for freshers what with all that drinking, making friends, drinking, having sex, drinking, drinking… Common sense is often said to be your best weapon against crime. So what if it’s a cliché? Use it. Stick to the primary school rules and don’t walk home alone at night. The Students’ Union runs a minibus service between University Hall residences and also in the evening to Talybont halls. Free to use and running every twenty minutes, it is an invaluable aid to freshers, especially in the first few weeks of term.

Stick to the primary school rules and don’t walk home alone

If you do find yourself walking home at night however, follow this advice: • Keep phones and wallets out of sight in pockets or bags: try to keep both hands free. • Keep to busy, well-lit main roads. • Don’t use the alley way between Cathays station and the Arts and Social studies library. • Look confident and positive. • Cross the road if you think you are being followed. If you still think someone is following you, head for a busy area and ask for help. Don’t stop. • If you are attacked, shout. If there are people around, shout positive instructions such as ‘Phone the Police!’ as people are

more likely to react to a call for action. Be prepared to give up your bag if it is being snatched. • Have your front door keys ready in your hands as you approach your home so you can get inside quickly if you are worried. • Do take taxis if you can afford it and especially if you are on your own. Some companies operate a pound per person journey providing there are more than two passengers and you aren’t planning on going to Timbuktu (or the Bay; it’s almost as far). Be aware, however, that there were a series of attacks on lone women last year so do use a reputable firm, such as the black and white cabs, from one of the taxi ranks (e.g. Talybont, New Theatre/Zeus, the station). Try to order one to bring you home before you go out. If you are going to be by yourself, ask for the driver’s name and what kind of car it will be. You can always explain the situation – or find another firm – if they find this a problem. If you do feel uneasy at any point, ask to stop at the nearest busy place and get out. The halls of residence have patrolling security officers who can come to your aid if necessary. But use your common sense and lock your room when you leave the flat. If you are on the ground floor, don’t leave valuables, such as mobiles, on the windowsill. They will be taken, oh yes, they will. And probably just when you’re expecting a call from the lovely person you met at the bar the night before. Although you’ve come away to University to get away from the protectiveness of your parents, it is essential that you tell a housemate or friend where you are going, who with and when you expect to be home. It’s very worrying when one of your housemates doesn’t come home at night and you don’t know where they are, so have the same respect for your friends and tell them about your plans. Then they always know where to reach you if something goes wrong. Safety is one of the most important issues that freshers can familiarise themselves with, as an early start in practising personal safety habits can mean a safer and more enjoyable time at university. Even if it is just for the peace of mind of your parents, stay safe during your three years in Cardiff.

Useful Contacts NIGHTLINE (8pm–8am) 029 2038 2141 VICTIM SUPPORT UNIT 0845 30 30 900 CAPITAL CABS 029 2077 7777 CARDIFF BUS 029 2039 6521

A freshers’ guide to meningitis

O

f course you’re going to • diarrhoea have hangovers. You’ll • a loss of consciousness and have hangovers like you, rapid breathing. and no-one else, have ever had before. And they hurt. Like hell. A rash accompanies these But you get over it, move on, have symptoms for which a simple another pint and you’re laughing. ‘tumbler test’ can be taken. Hold a All too often, however, the glass against the rash, if the rash is symptoms of deadly illnesses can still visible when the pressure is be overlooked as too much of the applied, get urgent medical advice. student spirit. If you are in Halls of Residence, Meningitis is a killer. There are one of your most useful contacts two form of the disease: viral and in an emergency is the Student bacterial. The most common is the Warden, who is a student who viral but it is only the bacterial lives in halls to looks after the that can be vaccinated against. It residents. He or she can be is this strain which causes contacted at reception, and can Septicemia (blood poisoning). It is offer help in any situation, thought that one whether your in ten people friend is ill or “All too often you are locked carries the bacteria which the symptoms out of your room. causes of deadly If you do meningitis, contract the meaning that diseases can be disease, it is when faced with hundreds of new overlooked as essential that you inform the people in halls too much of the University or lectures, the Centre as risk of catching student spirit” Health soon as possible the disease is far so that prompt greater. action can be taken to protect your Transmitted by sneezing, friends. coughing and –unfortunately for If you are worried about safety, you frisky freshers – intimate sex, drinking, drugs or illness, you kissing, both strains can develop can contact Nightline, the Union’s within hours. information line. They also have The symptoms at first are as information on topics such as mild as a hangover or flu. The accommodation, exam timetables, full-blown virus is more likely to be contracted if the immune takeaways, lottery numbers and system has been weakened by a what’s on at the Union, so you cold, for example. need never be uninformed again. The symptoms are vomiting, If you need any more advice feeling feverish, having a pain in about meningitis and its the back or joints, feeling drowsy, symptoms or any other student disliking bright light, having a related issues, contact the Student headache, fitting, having a stiff Advice Centre on the third floor neck, feeling disorientated or of the Union. confused and having a bruise like rash or a coma. Useful Contacts The symptoms of Septicemia include: MENINGITIS RESEARCH • fever FOUNDATION • constant vomiting 0808 800 3344 • very cold hands and feet MENINGITIS TRUST • stomach pains 0845 6000 800


1 4 ● Classifieds

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Monday 13 August 2001, gairrhydd

PERSONAL Every night between 8pm and 8am nightline is just a local telephone call or short walk away. here for information. here to listen. here for you. Tel: 2038 2141 Drop-in: 148 Colum Rd Want to talk about sexuality? Or do you want information about lesbian, gay or bisexual issues? No hassle, no pressure, just a friendly ear. Ring the LGB Phoneline on (029) 2039 8903, Monday, 7pm-9pm.

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Please circle the category you require: Personal; Services; Employment; For Sale; Wanted; Accommodation; Societies; Miscellaneous Please complete this form and return it to Gair Rhydd, Cardiff University Students’ Union, Park Place, Cardiff CF10 3QN. All cheques should be made payable to Cardiff Union Services Ltd.

SHAG OFFICE HOURS: Tuesday 35pm; Friday 12-2pm INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS’ OFFICER: RamkumarP@cf.ac.uk STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES OFFICER: Monday 2-4pm. Contact HambrookEM@cf.ac.uk WOMEN’S OFFICER: Wednesday 2-5pm; Monday and Thursday afternoons. Contact NoyesCF1@ cf.ac.uk LGB OFFICER: Monday 2-5pm; Wednesday afternoons. Contact ssucs@cf.ac.uk or call (029) 2078 1501. BLACK AND ETHNIC AFFAIRS OFFICER: Contact ssuam@cf.ac.uk All officers can be contacted on the third floor of the Students’ Union during term time.

ACCOMMODATION Well look, if someone offers me a decent job in London or whatever you can have my room, which is pretty big and everything. But I doubt many of you reading this will be interested, seeing as you haven’t even got here yet and probably wouldn’t be too excited about living in a house with

three weirdos who are going to make you pay council tax. One of them buys a steady stream of left-wing political texts he can’t afford, another eats his dinner on a huge tray and the other one likes Loop Guru. Achh. Only joking guys, you rock my nuts.

MISCELLANEOUS Basically, due to the pagination and shit we generally have tons of space to fill every week with stuff like this. You probably think it’s pretty pathetic but it makes Thursday nights a lot more bearable. And maybe it’ll make you laugh. We’ll tell jokes and gossip about people and offer opinions which won’t fit in anywhere else. Have you seen www.buddyhead.com? It’s a bit like that in its selfindulgence. Buddyhead is the nuts; we think it’s both funny and humourous. The Icarus Line, the band of one of the guys who run it, are fantastic also. Go to the gossip section and then ring up Fred Durst and tell him to eat a dick. During your stay here, make sure you don’t see the band Curveside. They’re the Simply Reds of Cardiff bore-rock, except without the girls. Throw things at them. If you’re looking at Popbitch and jjr_nacallows offers some fictitious gossip, tell him to stop temping and get his shit together. This office got officially – well, not officially, but near enough – declared a health hazard last week. Today, we sorted it out. So instead of the entire floor being covered with old newspapers, there’s four-foot high piles of newspapers all over the place. Improvement. High fives to James, Andy, Mark and

Phil. Stud fucking bolt fellas. Q: What’s the difference between Neil Armstrong and Gary Glitter? A: One was the first man on the moon and the other fucks children. By the time you read this we’ll have the new records from Spiritualized, Mercury Rev, The Strokes, Stereolab and possibly Pulp, and you won’t. Bad luck hippies. If you’ve read that news story about cottaging in the first floor Union toilets and want to get some in there without getting caught, try standing in a big sports bag while performing, so no-one can see your feet. Works for us anyway. I’ve had a good idea. Over the next year you’re going to get to know all the section eds really well. So to prepare you, let’s sum them up in one word... Sarah: ‘Scouser’; John GRiP: ‘quiet’; Pearlo: ‘arrogant’; Charlotte S: ‘keen’; Gemma: ‘gregarious’; DC Gates: ‘alcoholic’; Jonathan: ‘buff’; Bladon: ‘special’; James M; ‘Bluetonic’; Ladonna: ‘injury-prone’. Bet that’s made you want to come and write for us now. To Janey Baby, Harris, Annie-Mac, Flick, Clubber, chums and squeezes - looking forward to cooking you some dinners this year. James Hodge, Will and Chris. I’m not being funny, but have a word, is it? Where to, luv? You like that, don’t you? Get ready for GR 2001-2 – its going to be a year of awesome scenes, pizza and drunkeness. Come and join us, have a laugh and get some good experience to put on your CV. We’ve also got some good looking guys and gals on our team, especially Noel who’s charm and good looks light up the office – especially when stuff goes wrong.


Letters ● 15

Monday 13 August 2001, gairrhydd Holy Moses.

Letter of the week The writer of this week’s Letter of the Week wins the straw that broke the camel’s back. Make sure you’re at home when we deliver it, mind – it’s a bloody huge straw and we wouldn’t want to leave it on the doorstep. Dear Gair Rhydd, I’ve rarely felt compelled to write to the paper before – and when I have I’ve been too lazy to actually do it. But this time I’ve had enough. And what has caused this uncharacteristic outburst? The shocking display of music at the graduation special of Replay last month. Replay – as the posters so pertinently point out – plays ‘the best of eighties and early nineties music’. Terrific – lots of tacky songs that are just about old enough to be respectable. So I parted with my hard-borrowed £2 and entered Solus with the high spirits of someone who was about to enjoy good booze and good music. How wrong I was. Instead of all my childhood favourites I had to spend four hours listening to all that’s wrong with modern music – Destiny’s Child, S Club 7, Artful Dodger even, worst of all, that one about going ‘ribidibidibi’ by those Ayia Napa wankers (I forget their names). Plaintive cries in the direction of the DJ booth proved fruitless and out of the whole evening we heard about three eighties songs – and none of them were much good either. I hope someone at the Union can give me a bloody good explanation for this shocking state of affairs and can apologise profusely for cocking up my last ever Replay. Yours in a huff, A very disgruntled graduate Letters Desk says: Well, yes. Look kids, Cardiff’s great, but it doesn’t mean that every time you step into your Union it’ll be exactly as you’d hoped. Understand: the ‘80s huffed sack sweat. The future is now.

Pissed-up moron of the month Dear Gair Rhydd, Right. Enough is enough. File this under the ‘pissed-up moron of the month’ heading if you will but this needs to be said. I am the freshest, just from Fun Factory, alcohol-consuming ‘customer’ you will find, it is one of the greatest tasks I have have ever undertaken just to write, 01.15 and the first thing I’ve done is gone to the computer room and grizzle about the standard of entertainment on offer to people like myself tonight. That’s how much I thought it was poo. My missus is visiting me from Crawley, for the first time in a long time,

and rather than go back with her, to my cosy, suggestive bed, I’m here, moaning about Fear Factory (sic) in all its Robert Milesist, disappointing faff. If some twat wants to come and play me some records, at least make sure it’s my dad, or older brother, or someone I care about more than the buddleia infesting my excuse for a garden. Why is it that some people assume we all want to listen to dance music all of the time. Somebody help me, aaaaaaaaah! For me, there are two simple equations: Musical instruments = music Records played = played records I enjoy both, but please let’s get a balance between the two..... Three years it’s taken me to build up to that.

Proman, Third year Chemistry Letters Desk says: Reprinted verbatim for added impact, you understand. Feel assured, freshers, that the cheap and nasty beer, randomly selected chart ‘smashes’ and washed-up guest DJs will enable you to fire off incoherent missives like this one in the near future. Even at times when the musky feminine scent of Crawley Woman draws ever closer. This bloke’s real name, incidentally, is Martin Parsons, so if you meet him next year why not share your woes with him and congratulate him on his Stephen Hawking-worthy grasp of equations. Will Robert Miles be back next year? Does anyone care? Can your auntie crossfade? Answers on a postcard.

Daisy Age is back shock Dear Gair Rhydd (Jim), Will you please please please fix it for me to have a Fun Factory without any of that nasty heavy metal? It is really nice with all the funky hip-hop and friendly tunes, then all the headbangers descend to the dancefloor and make it a very dangerous place for us normal people. Yours hopefully, Drunk Bloke Esq. Letters Desk says: Well, let it be understood that we listen to views from all sides of the spectrum here. Apart from this one of course. Drunk Bloke, look. A night out’s not a night out in a student union unless you’ve spent a minimum of six minutes doing Fred Durst poses (red baseball cap optional), had an elbow shatter your eye socket and received a romantic ‘Glasgow Kiss’. What sort of a man are you?

Justify my ars Dear kind person who NEEDS to print my letter, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Zeus on such an amazingly crap Madonna night yesterday! The so-called evening of

non-stop Madonna consisted of two... yes, two whole songs, and some dumb blonde who looked about 50, wearing cones on her chest! What is going on?! Having been looking forward to the event all week, I think it’s fair to say that I was mildly pissed off by the amount of ‘70s shit they played instead of the advertised music! Well done Zeus! You managed to wreck my soiree! I left an amazingly good ‘80s night at the Union early, shredded and safetypinned some jeans, and then to top it all off, out of the two songs they played Justify My Love wasn’t even one of them!!! Club X have no fear... we shall be returning there in future, safe in the knowledge that Madonna gets played as much as she rightfully deserves, ALL NIGHT! Thank you byeeeeeeeeeeee. Yours sincerely, Rhiann Harwood. Letters Desk says: For the uninitiated, Zeus is Cardiff’s tackiest and scalliest nightclub; Club X is Cardiff’s leading gay disco hangout; and Madonna is an internationally renowned pop artist of some 20 years’ standing. The event of which Rhiann complains took place in June. So why are we printing this letter (along with the previous two)? As a note of warning: you get what you pay for, round here as it is round anywhere else. Peanuts, monkeys, etc. Try to be selective in where you waste the money that the Government have given you to study with.

Lamppost polishers wanted Sir, Whilst walking home yesterday evening I noticed a gentleman of maturing years sweeping my street free of leaves and other such debris. He appeared to be doing this from the simple kindness of his heart. Now, I’m not an undergraduate myself but it seems to me that they have great deal of time to go out and become inebriated and wake myself and my aviary of rare finches several times a week. Thus, in the absence of the boon of National

Service, vis a vis some of your new readership wouldn’t mind assisting this chap by, say, polishing the lamposts or cleaning up the seagull droppings. It would certainly reduce the incidences of sleaze and filth that seem to occur with depressing regularity in these troubled times. I look forward to a response from any volunteers, preferably by telegram. I remain yours, John T. Dixon

Letters Desk says: Much as we’d like to agree with John, his boundless and wrinkled enthusiasm hides a sinister reality. The man he refers to lives on Cathays Terrace and can regularly be seen tending to those pesky stray leaves on the pavement. He has two hobbies: sweeping up litter and sexually molesting women. Hope that’s cleared things up for you.

A n d f i n a l l y. . . Dear Gair Rhydd,

I’d be gutted if I was me. I took the brown beauty out for a drive last night, having noticed that I was about to get a trentfillion miles on the speedometer. Just as I thought I was about to become the championay of mileage scenes, the c***er ring sounded on my mobile. I thought it was either going to be Saddam or the missus, but by the time I’d answered the nutbag had dwarfed into Lomu. While all this was going on, pal, a small inflatable gay – obviously on the lash – had walked in front of the brown beauty. I was powerless to prevent an awesome mashup. Oh my day, it was actually all to much for me – I had to go to the nearest pub and drink endless smoffs, smongs and ginwars. When I woke up at 10:66 the next morning, I found out that it was going to cost about nine trentfillion pounds stelling to repair the brown beauty. Gutted scenes mate. As for the loser that got hit, let’s just say he isn’t going to be competing in the Olypics for a while yet. Yours Iraqily, Hass Letters Desk says: Eh?

Send your letters in to us at Gair Rhydd, Students’ Union, Park Place, CF10 3QN or e-mail SSUGR1@CARDIFF.AC.UK Letters may be edited for length and clarity. The views expressed in these letters are not necessarily those of the newspaper or the editor

Crossword Crossword

Welcome to the weekly mind-fest that is the Gair Rhydd crossword – your chance to get your hands on a free meal for two at a frankly awesome curry house. And all you have to do is put the right letters in the right boxes. It’s almost too easy... ACROSS: 1. Letters for London, Edinburgh and Cardiff? (8) 7. Egg-shaped (4) 8. The end of the railway line? (6) 9. Do tidy up the strange thing? (6) 13. Wager (3) 15. Lady in the Senate? (3) 16. Mr Hislop (3)

Name: _________________________________ Phone/e-mail:____________________________ I’m going to spend the rest of the summer:____ _______________________________________

18. See it and become angry? (3) 20. Water-birds’ boots? (6) 24. That container for that television? (3,3) 25. Rodents – damn! (4) 26. Amount of money taken in the patisserie? (8) DOWN: 2. Severe (5) 3. Uncertain (4) 4. Cook’s protection? (5) 5. Exchanged for money (4) 6. Sailor’s last move? (4) 10. Wand-waving lady? (4) 11. Man involved in divorce? (4) 12. Enclosure’s length? (4) 13. Forehead (4) 14. Dull heavy sound (4) 15. Title of Muslim ruler (4) 17. Stare wildly at a flower? (5) 19. Bring to mind (5) 21. Desert dweller (4) 22. Point seat out? (4) 23. Brave man (4) 696’s solution: ACROSS: 1. Righteous; 6. Too; 7. Records; 8. Ankle; 11. Lethal; 14. State; 16. Celery; 18. Smart; 21. Abridge; 22. Ray; 23. Hysterics DOWN: 1. Rook; 2. Gere; 3. Ticket; 4. Oprah; 5. Sisal; 6. Tea; 9. Nice; 10. Lose; 11. Lay; 12. Term; 13. Aver; 15. Trudge; 16. Coach; 17. Larks; 18. Semi; 19. Airs; 20. Try Send your answers to the Gair Rhydd office and the winner will be announced in September.

This week’s winner wins a meal for two at The Roath Tandoori & Balti Restaurant


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Gair Rhydd is looking for enthusiastic and imaginative... ● writers ● designers ● web programmers ● photographers ● production assistants Visit us at the Societies Fayre – 27 September Gair Rhydd, 4th Floor Students’ Union, Tel: 02920 781434 or 781436 Fax: 02920 781407 Email: ssugr1@cardiff.ac.uk


18 ● Sport

gairrhydd, Monday 13 August 2001

‘Henmania’ in the spotlight TOUCH JUDGE

Jon Stevenson SO WE were all supposed to be gutted when brave Tim Henman bowed out of Wimbledon and cost his country any chance of sporting summer success? Why? I’m not a huge fan of tennis I’ll admit, but I did watch events at SW19 unfold with intrigue and no little enjoyment. It was a fine tournament, of that there is no question. The fact that a wildcard (Ivanisevic) not only got to the semi-finals for the first time in history but actually went on to win it, is one of the most remarkable stories of recent years in any sport.

So why should we be so miserable just because the home favourite yet again failed to live up to his over-hyped billing? If we look at the facts of Henman, his consistent failure to give the country what they are so desperate for is hardly surprising. Nine ATP tour career titles may not be a paltry figure, yet the names of some of his conquests do not exactly bear relation to Sampras and the rest, or even Goran. Vincenzo Santopadre, Patrick Baur, Andreas Vinciguerra anyone? Thought as much. It would make life a lot easier if we just accepted that neither Tim or Greg (don’t make me start on him) are ever going to win Wimbledon. Ever. They are not good enough. Let’s just be pleased when Tim

gets to the semi-final, because that is still quite an achievement. Especially when you see how well England’s cricketers are doing. Even if Henman were in fact good enough, he would still have to conquer the outrageous sensationalism that takes hold of the national media every time a British player gets as far as the second week. I woke up one day to see The Wright Stuff actually hosting what was ostensibly a serious debate on whether there should be a ‘Tim Henman day’ if he wins Wimbledon. For Christ’s sake, stop pretending anyone cares that much. It isn’t football. It’s not even cricket. If we had a Henman day, then I would want a day named after me for winning the Premiership with Nottingham Forest on Championship Manager 2000/01. The country was so gagging for a title this summer they even jumped on the Colin Montgomerie bandwagon as he sought to shrug off his unwanted ‘Best player never to win a major’ tag by winning the British Open golf championship at Royal Lytham. ‘Monty Mania’, the Daily Mail assured us, had come off the back of Henmania as Britain prayed for a champion they could call their own. But Monty blew it too, and our hopes disappeared yet again. Still, there’s always the Germany vs England World Cup qualifier on 1 September to get excited about. ‘Owen Mania’ is sure to grip Britain in time for that one.

LEFT: Goran a true hero in Croatian tennis, and a man who loves the lash. TOP: Henman, a man carrying a nations massive expectations


Sport ● 19

gairrhydd, Monday 13 August 2001

Caz set to make some Noyes as she unveils her AU plans Michael Pearlman INCOMING AU President Caz Noyes is positively brimming with ideas and enthusiasm for the coming year. Noyes is certainly looking forward to the challenge, although she is the first to admit that it will not be easy. “Being involved in the day to day running of such a huge business is a little bit daunting, and although I’m not a cynical person, I could be by the end of the year.” It would be fair to say that the race to become AU chief was a very intense affair, and having beaten off a string of good candidates, Caz certainly intends to make her mark on the university. She hopes to raise

the profile of sport within the university, so “that lot down the road take us far more seriously.” She also realises the need to drastically improve resources and hopes to instigate a year plan involving a great deal of fundraising schemes. Another key concern for Caz is to be fair with all clubs, giving everyone an equal opportunity to succeed. It could be suggested that this has not always been the case in the past. Cardiff University currently lie 12th in the BUSA rankings for Britain, and Noyes would certainly love to see CU in the top ten. “It may take two or three years, but a place in the top ten absolutely must

be our aim.” Caz hopes to work closely with the marketing team in order to promote CU’s sporting pursuits, and acknowledges that she is generally supported by a very good team. “Jo and Marian my AU staff are invaluable to me, as they are so enthusiastic and experienced.” Another major concern to Noyes is to ensure the safety of all AU members, and she proposes to have specific training days for club captains in addition to first aid courses. An undeniable success of last year was the Varsity match with Swansea, and through increased sponsorship, Noyes hopes to make this years event even bigger, “by

liasing with Swansea and increasing sponsorship, we can increase the profile of the Welsh Varsity match and make it bigger and better.” In addition to her plans Noyes was keen to stress that her “door is

VARSITY: Looking to build on last year’s success

always open to people who want to speak to me, I will always be readily available.” It certainly seems fair to say that on this evidence, next year could be a very successful and exciting year for the AU.

NOYES: Ready for the challenge

Aussies destroy British hopes BRITISH LIONS TOUR Nabil D. Hassan THE BRITISH and Irish Lions returned from Australia bruised and battered after a tour that promised so much, but sadly delivered very little. After a titanic effort in Sydney, the Lions lost the third test and with it any hopes of winning the series in a closely fought battle. Jonny Wilkinson, who has performed miracles for England all season, for once left his kicking boots in the changing room, choosing the deciding test to have an off day. Wilkinson looked a shadow of the player we all know him to be and the combination of a long season and a strenuous tour had clearly taken its toll. Injuries had decimated the squad from day one, with key players such as Lawrence Dallaglio, Dan Luger and Phil Greening being forced to return home early. Luger’s departure did prove to be a blessing in disguise as it gave ex-Rugby League star Jason Robinson a opportunity to shine and this was a responsibility he did not shirk. Robinson tore the Aussies apart in the first test, scoring one try and setting up another as the Lions comprehensively beat their southern hemisphere opponents. The Lions performed with consummate ease that day and produced some of the best rugby ever seen by a Lions side. At this point the Lions looked unbeatable and to a certain extent in the first half of the second test they looked equally commanding. However, quick tries after half-time condemned them to defeat and the tour started to fall apart. Immediately after the second test defeat

Matt Dawson was openly critical of coach ASHES SPECIAL Graham Henry’s training methods, saying that it was the intensity of training that was to JJR Callows blame for the amount of injuries the squad had suffered. The blame appeared in Dawson’s newspaper diary column. I’ve always thought it strange that players write diaries whilst on tour. They give away secrets and tactics, they slag off the opposition and then to top it all off they have a go at their coach. Now I’m not an intelligent person but even I know that is just plain madness and quite rightly Dawson was suitably punished for his comments. Austin Healy was another player who wrote a tour diary that ended in controversy and his comments confirmed that you should never trust a man whose first name is the make of a car. With a severely depleted side the Lions went into the third test as serious underdogs CROFT: A painful reminder of and led by an inspirational captain gave it our cricketing shortcomings their all. However, it wasn’t to be and a late late try gave the Aussies the victory that in retrospect they fully deserved. LIKE SO many things in the life of a Pom, any

JASON ROBINSON: A big plus for the beaten British Lions

residual doubts are precipitated by the arrival of the baggy green cap. England, once a roaring fire of enthusiasm, have been reduced to a mass of sodden embers. Once again, the Ashes look lost. Things looked bright enough at Edgbaston, with Mike Atherton posting a dogged half-ton, but once again, England’s spineless middle order shorn of Vaughan and Thorpe capitulated to Glenn McGrath’s metronomic accuracy and Warne and Gillespie’s respective tearaway spin and pace. Only a rearguard stand of 103 between Alec Stewart and Andrew Caddick gave the home supporters anything to cheer about. On the second day England were running for cover as the Aussies filled their boots. England’s seam attack looked patently out of form, and with Ashley Giles barely fit, they had no answer to the magnificent seven opposition

batsmen, who all average 40+. Michael Slater in the carefree manner only he knows scored a fluent 77 before deferring to the big guns of captain Steve Waugh, the coming man Damien Martyn, and the pyrotechnic Adam Gilchrist, who all registered centuries. Gilchrist’s effort was particularly beguiling, a peerless 143 from 152 balls, that combined power with panache. This man bats at seven, but in my short memory, he is the most destructive hitter of a ball since Lara. To add insult to injury, England’s lack of penetration was compounded by the success of Mark Butcher, a dobbing swing bowler who took 4-42. It seemed that England could only prosper through luck not judgement. Needless to say, Australia’s mammoth total of 576 provided a huge psychological barrier to overcome. It proved too much for the home batting which tumbled, Marcus Trescothick and Mark Butcher aside, to an innings and 118 run deficit. The hammer blow was provided when Nasser Hussain’s glass hands took another shattering, one which would keep him out for an indefinite amount of the summer. As the England injury road show bumbled on to Lord’s, things failed to improve. The Aussies’ first innings 401 eclipsed a tame 187. A similar story ensued as England picked up the bat in the second innings recording a meek 227, with the middle order failing to resist the Australians’ black arts one more time. Ian Ward, for all his organisation at the crease, looks nervous, and totally exposed. There is an increasing inevitability in his stumps shattering shortly after he strides out to the middle. Australia were left to patter off the remaining runs, and despite Gough and Caddick taking some consolation wickets, this performance flattered to deceive. England were out-thought, outfought and out-played. At the time of going to press, the Ashes seem certain to be remaining with the Aussies.


Sport

BUSA: AU President Caz Noyes outlines her BUSA blueprint

Gair Rhydd

PLUS: Britain’s sporting turmoil

Monday 13 August 2001

Free Word 698

2000-2001 BUSA SUCCESS FOR CARDIFF UNIVERSITY

Jomec FC take Carbs IMG crown IMG REVIEW SPECIAL Teddy Mearlman

BUSA teams hope to build on past glories BUSA SPORT Michael Pearlman ONCE AGAIN last season the Cardiff men’s waterpolo team provided the university with a season of domination. The side romped to the British University championship, beating all comers along the way. The victory was achieved thanks to a superb performance at the championship tournament in Nottingham, where the CU side destroyed both the hosts and the strongly fancied Loughborough team. Personal glory was also secured, as James Ross, Mark Taylor, Chris Taylor and David Taylor were all selected to represent the British Universities waterpolo team. The only other BUSA champions were the korfball side, who will be delighted to have won, as they are still a

team very much in their infancy. Perhaps the surprise package of the year were the men’s hockey team. The first team were in outstanding form throughout the year, absolutely demolishing all those before them. The team were BUSA South West league champions; winners of the Welsh shield, Welsh Cup finalists and the team have qualified to represent Wales in European competition next year. This represents an outstanding season, and the entire men’s hockey club have enjoyed a very promising and exciting year, with the second team reaching the last 16 of the BUSA championship. Some CU players have also been selected for the Universities hockey squad, namely Iwan Williams, John Davies, Matt Narbett, John Collis and James Bainbridge. The women’s team also enjoyed a fine season, as they gained

WATERPOLO: Amongst the best of any BUSA club in Britain

JOMEC FC lay to rest the ghost of seasons past by finally claiming the IMG crown last season. The Journalism boys so cruelly pipped at the post by Carbs A a year earlier, won a tense Premiership group thanks to a crucial 2-2 draw with Engin Argyle, with a late Anthony Palmer penalty securing the vital point. Jomec had already beaten Law A and thrashed the once mighty Carbs A 5-1. Team captain Nabil David Hassan, was understandably elated. “After losing at the death in 1999-2000, we were determined to clinch top spot this season. I must thank all my players for their efforts this season, I’m absolutely ecstatic.” In a changed format to previous seasons, the IMG was concluded in seven round robin groups consisting of four teams, which caused a great deal of controversy. The First Division was won by Chemistry, who just scrapped past the University IV team. Division Two champions were Maths, while Irish Society topped a competitive Third Division. Biology and Pharmacy were Kings of the Fourth and Fifth Divisions respectively, whilst Carbs B restored some pride to the Business School by winning Division Six. The not so mighty Accountancy boys won group seven.

ROWING: A very successful club

promotion into the South Wales top division, without losing a single game. They also won the West Division One, as well as triumphing in the Welsh Universities cup. This was also a season of significant triumph for the CU rugby team, as the Varsity match provided an absolutely wonderful spectacle for the thousands who turned up at the Arms Park for the rearranged fixture. Cardiff delighted the partisan crowd by clinching a 10-10 draw, the first time ever that they have avoided defeat. It could have been even better, but for a last minute try from Swansea, breaking CU hearts at the death. The team also achieved a creditable last sixteen place in the BUSA Shield, beaten by Cheltenham and Gloucester in a fine match. The CU Football teams had a slightly disappointing time this year, as the first team, who were in a very difficult league, failed

to retain their status amongst the elite universities. They did however, perform well as a cohesive unit, as did the second and third eleven. The Ladies football team enjoyed one of the most successful seasons in the clubs history, as they reached the semi - final of the BUSA Shield, and the final of the Welsh Universities Cup. It proved to be another good season for Cardiff rowers, as Clare Allen and Lucy Thomas were selected for the Wales senior women’s squad. In the BUSA championships, the women’s quads achieved a bronze medal and the junior single scull won gold. The real highlight came however, in the Bristol head race, where both the male and female senior fours came in first. This year could well see even more success for the University as the freshers make their mark on all of the CU clubs, as Cardiff strives to dominate in all BUSA competition.

IMG: Last year Jomec won this extremely hard-fought competition The Rugby league had a close finish in the end between Carbs A and Engineering. Only two points separated the teams at the death making the win for Carbs against Engin earlier in the season even more important. Carbs B took the illustrious wooden spoon, but this is hardly a surprise as they have had difficulty fielding a team this side of Christmas. Masts have had a good run and did well to finish in the top four.

IMG RUGBY TABLECHECK TEAM Carbs A Engineering Gym Gym Masts Pharmacy Law Sawsa Carbs B

PTS 18 16 12 12 10 9 3 0

GAIR RHYDD IS PUBLISHED BY CARDIFF UNIVERSITY STUDENTS’ UNION, PARK PLACE, CARDIFF CF10 3QN ■ TEL: (029) 2078 1400 EXT. 434 ■ REGISTERED AS A NEWSPAPER AT THE POST OFFICE ■ PRINTED AT WEST COUNTRY PUBLICATIONS, PLYMOUTH ■ THE GAIR RHYDD RESERVES THE RIGHT TO EDIT ALL CONTRIBUTIONS ■ THE VIEWS EXPRESSED ARE NOT NECESSARILY THOSE OF THE PUBLISHERS ■ THE GAIR RHYDD IS WRITTEN, DESIGNED, TYPESET AND OUTPUT BY STUDENTS OF CARDIFF UNIVERSITY ■ RON JOB LEAVES YID UNDER IMMENSE PRESSURE ■ HANCOCK, DUKES AND RON TO BE CONSULTED ■ ACTUALLY QUITE SCARED TO BE GOING SOLO

gair rhydd - Issue 698  

gair rhydd - Issue 698

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