ISSUE 842 MAY 14 2007
CARDIFF’S STUDENT WEEKLY free word - EST. 1972
Ludicrous costumes, transvestites and
gair rhydd on the politics, points and pitfalls Page 6
MUGGED Joanna Dingle News Editor
PHOTO: James Perou
! Attacker threatens to slit student’s throat ! Victims now too scared to walk Cardiff ! Police warn of increased street robberies
A FEMALE STUDENT from Cardiff University was mugged at knifepoint last week while walking home on a well-lit street in the popular student area of Cathays, despite walking with another female friend. The third year students were returning home at approximately 10.45pm after visiting friends on Lisvane Street, when one of the women was attacked on Flora Street. The pair were walking down the middle of the road as they considered it to be ‘safer’ and the street lights ensured they could be seen. When they were nearing Fanny Street, they heard footsteps and one of the girls glanced around to see a young white man wearing a hooded tracksuit and white cap approaching them. She said: “He came up between us and said ‘give us your bags’ – I couldn’t believe what was happening, and we naturally split apart at which point he went after my friend. “He was holding her up against the house.” She continued: “I couldn’t see him, but he was so close to me and he held my upper body so I couldn’t move. “I felt something metal up against my face, and he said he’d slit my throat if I didn’t give him my bag. I was shouting really loudly – ‘take it, take it!’, and thankfully he did before running off in the direction of Cathays Terrace.” The women then went to Woodville
Fish Bar on Woodville Road to wait for the police to arrive. Following the incident the women have become very nervous about going out and they hope other students will be more cautious when walking home at any time of the day, as they feel it could happen to anyone at any time. One said: “I’m shocked at how easy it was. He wasn’t even that strong and he sounded very nervous.” The other added: “So many students, girls especially, are walking back from the library at maybe 11, 12 o’clock at night and they don’t understand how vulnerable they could be. “The fact that it happened on such an open street, that we weren’t even drunk, it wasn’t even that late, and we weren’t even alone – shows it could happen to anybody.” “We can’t assume Cathays is as safe as we all think it is. I never want to walk on my own again, even during the day.” Police student liaison officer, PC Bob Keohane, recommends that students always walk at night in groups and stick to main roads. He said: “There has been an increase in street robberies around Cardiff and it is a simple offence to commit. One that only takes a second. “I would recommend that female students wear bags across their bodies, and hide laptops away in rucksacks to avoid being the victim of opportunist thieves.” Health and Welfare Officer, Kate Marsh added: “I urge students to stay vigilant and to carry attack alarms which can be bought in the Union Shop for just £1.50.”
a glance MAY 14 2007
News Editorial & Opinion Column Letters Politics Science/Environment Jobs & Money Media Television Problem Page Five Minute Fun Grab Listings Sport
1 6 9 11 13 14 15 17 19 21 22 23 24 26
EDITOR Perri Lewis DEPUTY EDITOR Sophie Robehmed ASSISTANT TO THE EDITOR Elaine Morgan CREATIVE EDITOR Graeme Porteous NEWS Adam Millward, Helen Thompson, Jo Dingle, Katie Kennedy POLITICS Andy Rennison, Tim Hewish EDITORIAL AND OPINION Chris Croissant, Huw Davies SPORT Dave Menon, George Pawley LISTINGS Jenna Harris, Rosaria Sgueglia, Dan Jones, Jenny Williams TELEVISION TV Fran, TV Jazz, TV Kyle, TV Ben LETTERS Rachel Clare GRAB Kayleigh Excell, Lisa Hocken TAF-OD Huw Pritchard SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT Ceri Morgan MEDIA Aline Ungewiss, Nadia Bonjour HEALTH Liz Stauber JOBS AND MONEY Gill Roberts PROBLEM PAGE Grace De Ville FIVE MINUTE FUN Lara Bell, Jesse Scarf PICTURE EDITORS James Perou, Sarah Day ONLINE EDITOR Paul Springett PROOF READERS Beth Herdman, Kieran Harwood, Andy Rennison CONTRIBUTORS James Stileman, Abigail Whittaker, Corrine Rhoades, Samantha Shillabeer, Emma Jones, Victoria Lane, Lucy Thackray, Ed Vanstone, Cemlyn Davies, Huw Davies, Adam Gasson, Rob Taylor, Jack Zorab, Ben Walker, Tasha Prest-Smith, Eleanor Morrey, Helen McKay, Dan Peacey, Scott D’Arcy, Justin Yau, Aisling Tempany ADDRESS University Union, Park Place Cardiff, CF10 3QN ADVERTISING 02920 781 474 EMAIL email@example.com WEB www.gairrhydd.com LOCATION 4th Floor Students’ Union
Opinion The joys of Eurovision, women in the media and the secret of being happy (it can’t be taught)
Politics The Post-Assembly Election fallout and reflects on a departing Prime Minister
The winners from the Cardiff Media Awards, with a bit of Newsround thrown in
fraudulent claims to the Student Loans Company in 2006
27% humanities students expected to find a job after graduating
number of days until the Summer Ball
weeks until graduation
The weather James Perou joins Newsround’s Lizo at the Cardiff Media Awards
Monday, May 14
12° Tuesday, May 15
13° Wednesday, May 16
13° Thursday, May 17
12° Friday, May 18
13° Saturday, May 19
15° Sunday, May 20
STUDENTS: Neither here nor there
James Stileman Reporter A BBC INVESTIGATION revealed that criminal gangs have defrauded the Student Loans Company out of millions of pounds by enrolling ‘ghost students’ into universities. UCAS has also recorded a massive surge in the number of suspect or fraudulent applications to universities, topping around 1,500 in 2006. A further 1,000 applications have been deemed suspicious, with the relevant universities being warned. As a result, the admissions regulator has pledged to double the size of its anti-fraud division in order to curb the increase of fake applications. The fraudulent claims seem to have come about through the exploitation of the loan application method. The Student Loans Company accepts birth certificates as proof of identity, even though they have a warning written on the reverse advising that they should not be accepted as a form of identification.
The largest incident of fraud against the company began when 850 blank birth certificates were stolen from a registry office in Erewash, Derbyshire in 2005. The Metropolitan Police claim that at least 200 of these birth certificates have been used to fraudulently claim student loans. The Student Loans Company has declined to comment on how much they have lost through this single incident, though the sum is thought to be around £1.2m. In a recent case, one Adeleke Adebayo, 32, enrolled in five different courses at London Metropolitan University, using five different fraudulent identities. In total he created 17 different identities, and managed to earn £65,000 in fraudulent loans. In March, he was sentenced to four years in jail, along with his girlfriend who received 18 months imprisonment for the same crime.
State of the Arts
PHOTO: Rob Taylor
Student Loans Company defrauded out of millions by fake applications to university
PHOTO: James Perou
ART: Making you pennies?
Tasha Prest-Smith Reporter ARTS STUDENTS are likely to earn £50,000 less than other graduates during their first five years of employment, new research suggests. Humanities and arts students are allegedly reported to spend far less time searching for jobs than others, with more than half of those asked saying that they had “no definite plans” for life after university, or expecting to take time off to consider the future. The survey of 17,000 final-year students shows only 27% of arts and humanities graduates expected to find a job after graduating, compared with 62% of IT students and 58% in engineering. In addition, employers reckon
salaries for arts students are likely to start at £18,500, compared to the graduate average of £21,700. By the end of five years, their salary is expected to be £32,500 a year in comparison to at least £43,000 in law, business or IT. gair rhydd asked some arts and humanities students what they thought of the figures. Antonia Heath (Third year Engliah Literature), said: “I didn’t take a humanities degree with a view to making a lot of money; I’ve always wanted to be a teacher, because job satisfaction is more important than money. “Also, I don’t do as much work as medics, and will never have lives in my hands, so it wouldn’t be right for me to be paid as much. “I’m doing a PGCE next year, and I think most humanities stu-
dents will have to do an extra training year to get the jobs they want, which probably partly accounts for the low employment percentage.” Juliet Chard (Second year English and History), said: “I haven’t got any definite career plans at the moment, but I’m applying for some work experience at a publishers in the summer to see exactly what’s involved and whether it’s something I’d want to pursue. I still haven’t ruled out further study as an option either.” Hannah Gathercole (2nd year English Literature), said: “Arts students can be lazy, but that is a huge generalisation; many use their degree as a springboard for further study. My degree has given me the time to decide what I want to do, and the qualifications to get me there.”
Not a waste of time Could you go one week without producing any household waste? These girls did... Samantha Shillabeer Deputy News Editor
WASTE: Less household stuff
A STUDENT HOUSEHOLD in Cathays has been challenged to go a week without producing any household waste in order to raise awareness about recycling and the environment. The residents of the house on Thesiger Street began the challenge last Wednesday with the aim
of generating no rubbish, particularly that which cannot be recycled.
“We hope that our story over the next week will help show students and others what can be done” Corin Rogerson, one of the house’s eight residents, said: “I’ve been living in Switzerland where people are very conscientious about recycling and their impact on the environment.” “Lots of people here are too but we hope that our story over the next week
will help show students and others what can be done.” Another resident will be filming the event to show how to conduct the most waste-efficient night out and which foods to buy that won’t generate rubbish. Cardiff University Students’ Union Vice President, Ed Jones, said: “Over the week we’ll see examples of what ordinary people living in cramped citycentre housing can do to lessen their impact but also the problems that people living in these kind of areas face in their bid to be environmentally friendly.” The event is being conducted in association with Cardiff Council and the city-wide Keep Cardiff Tidy campaign.
Respect your uni youngers According to new research, universities established after 1992 are more successful than older, traditionally-esteemed universities Corinne Rhoades Deputy News Editor ELITE UNIVERSITIES are less academically effective than those set up after 1992, the results of a recent controversial study have found. The findings mean that universities like Cardiff and those of the Russell group could have their prestigious places in the university league tables questioned. Mike Simpson, from Sheffield University management school, and Jeff Pursglove, from Hull City council, initiated the research which studied pairs of universities from seven cities. Their report has since been hailed as one which ‘explodes the myths
and stereotypes about modern universities’. Russell group universities were compared against post-92 universities in Birmingham, Leeds, Sheffield, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Nottingham. Looking at how effective the university’s teaching was, as well as their attempts to encourage wider student participation, Mr Simpson and Mr Pursglove set a benchmark against which to measure performance. The highest scoring universities were those with low drop-out rates and a larger percentage of high-class degrees being awarded to students with low A-level scores and from less ‘academic’ backgrounds. But despite this, the mean aca-
demic effectiveness of the post-92 universities was still considerably greater than those of the Russell group. Mr Simpson and Mr Pursglove put this down to the ‘relatively poor performance’ of new institutions being over-compensated for by their intake, poorly qualified entrants and lack of finance. They said: “The research is going to be the starting point of a big debate. We have been trying to shed a bit of light in those dark corners of prejudice and darkness.” But they also feared that the Higher Education Funding Council England would not welcome the comparisons, as they would merit a reassessment of funding towards newer universities.
Nuclear education University students to be educated about the health implications of existing nuclear policies around the world Abigail Whittaker Deputy News Editor WITH NUCLEAR terrorism seeming more imminent than ever, university students are to learn how to take action with regard to social injustice and nuclear disarmament concerns. Since 2001, the Nuclear Weapons Inheritance Project (NWIP) has been presenting these issues to medical students in an attempt to encourage them to take steps to change what they consider to be of global concern. The student-run and initiated project uses informal discussions with around 200 students each time to raise awareness of disarmament possibilities and the health implications of current nuclear policies. It is estimated that the project has reached more than 1500 students through 22 dialogues worldwide so
Bath sink BNP
University of Bath cause national outrage by inviting chairman of the British National Party to speak, but then reverse decision after student vote
Adam Millward News Editor BATH UNIVERSITY have overturned the controversial decision to invite to the leader of the British National Party (BNP) to give a speech on campus. After a Emergency General Meeting (EGM) in Bath’s Students’ Union, national outrage and condemnation from the NUS, the University decided not to let Nick Griffin, the leader of the controversial political party visit Bath University while on a tour of southwest Britain. A spokesman for the University said: “Not surprisingly, a very substantial number of people, within and beyond the University, have expressed their views about the proposed event over the past few days. Many of these have argued passionately against the event taking place, but a substantial minority have argued strongly in favour of it proceeding. “Notably, as well as strong opposition from some of the University’s staff, the Students’ Union has voted to ask the University to refuse permission for the event. “In addition, some staff and students have registered with us their seri-
ous concerns for their safety if this event proceeds, as well as fears of disruption to examinations given the likely scale of protests on the day.” The EGM held by the Students’ Union took place after calls from the NUS to stop the planned visit. According to one Bath student, a circular email was sent to all the graduates, inviting them to an ‘Extraordinary General Meeting’ on Thursday May 10. The meeting was called to allow each student to vote as to whether or not the planned visit by Griffin should proceed. At its Annual Conference, earlier this year, the National Union of Students (NUS) passed a ‘no platform’ policy against ‘fascist’ groups, within which it includes the BNP. President of the NUS, Gemma Tumelty made an official statement, ‘urging the University not to let [the visit] go ahead’. Tumelty believes that the decision to invite Griffin to talk to staff and students at the University of Bath is ‘at best naïve and at worst dangerous’. Vice President of Cardiff University’s Students’ Union, Ed Jones, reflecting on what would happen if a Cardiff student had requested that Mr Griffin should hold a talk at Cardiff Students’ Union, said: “Our
BATH UNIVERSITY: In the spotlight INSET: Nick Griffin
students have historically made it very clear that equality and diversity are extremely important to our student body. “I cannot see that anybody from any political background would be permitted to come into the University or the Union and speak in terms which go against our equality and diversity policies. “While recognising the rights of individuals to freedom of speech and representation, I feel that any decision should be based on firm consultation with the student body. I think I know where our members would stand, and it wouldn’t be alongside Mr Griffin.” Cardiff University declined to comment, stating that this was a matter for Bath University. Talking to the Bath Chronicle prior to the ban, Griffin explained he would talk on would ‘depend on whether students are interested in the BNP or the freedom of speech issue and how much opposition there is’. The politician conceded that: “Usually when a group of students is interested in me speaking, it is later cancelled. If it does go ahead, there comes a point when having lecturers jumping up and down means the talk has to end up being about freedom of speech rather than specific policies.”
far; one having taken place in the UK. There have also been at least 8 UK training sessions for future trainers to continue the work of the NWIP with the purpose of getting more students to consider the issues in a context that is relevant to them. Ruth Mitchell, International Student Representative for NWIP said: “My sense is that it has been some time since we have held a NWIP dialogue in a UK university and I think it may be time to change that. “We are very receptive to sending a delegation to Cardiff in the future.” Caecilie Böck Buhmann, writing about the project in ‘Medicine, Conflict and Survival’, said: “The mainstream view of nuclear weapons as necessary and of very limited danger must be disputed and addressed.” “To change nuclear policy the activist community must be strengthened.”
Trial success Eleanor Morrey Reporter CARDIFF’S SCHOOL of Medicine’s significant role in clinical trials will be marked by a special event at the University on International Clinical Trials Day on May 21. The day will highlight increased participation in clinical trials by volunteers in Wales. The benefits of these trials have aided medical research in areas such as cancer and diabetes. A clinical trial is used to determine whether a drug is safe, what doses are most effective, and whether there are possible sideeffects. This year marks the start of major new developments to support clinical trials’ work in Wales. Clinical Research Collaboration Cymru, linked to the University’s School of Medicine, has been set up and the South East Wales Trials Unit has been established. Claire Weeks, a third year Education student, who has participated in clinical trials at the University’s Common Cold Centre, commented: “I know some people think it’s a bit risky doing trials but I am always careful with what I test and I feel safe because it is done within the University. The money I earn from them also comes in really handy.”
World News in brief Victoria Lane Reporter
Law Grandpa A CHINESE grandfather is studying law after he was let down by his own lawyer. The 87-year-old is studying with students a quarter of his age, at the Zhengzhou Justice training school in China. Mr Jianbang gets his tuition fees free because of his senior status. The student touched staff with his spirit and his dream. Mr Jianbang was in a two-year lawsuit over his apartment, which wasted time and money and made him realise that he wanted to learn more about the law.
Spider-boy A NINE-YEAR-OLD boy from Oregon, USA, went to the Doctors complaining of hearing noises “like Rice Krispies” in his ear, only to discover that two spiders had set up home in his head. Jesse Courtney started off hearing faint popping noises, later turning into earache, which alarmed his mother enough to seek medical advice. The child has kept the dead spiders in a jar.
Pushing the goat out Emma Jones Reporter A FAMOUS ‘married’ goat has died in Sudan just two months after getting hitched. A man was forced to marry the goat, named Rose, in the South Sudan capital of Juba after he was caught having sex with her. Local elders insisted the man marry the goat, as in Southern Sudan it is custom for a man to marry a girl if they are caught having sex in order to save her family’s honour. “Initially, the idea was to publicly embarrass the man”, says Tom Rhodes, editor of the Juba Post who first ran the story back in February. The man in question, Charles Tombe, has refused to comment on the issue but has explained that he was drunk at the time. He is now the owner of a male kid
JAMES DOOHAN, Star Trek's orginal Scotty has had his ashes scattered in space. His remains were sent up in a rocket along with 200 other people and with the late astronaut Gordon Cooper. “Trekkies” watched as the rocket took off from New Mexico. His widow said, “He would be ecstatic…he was totally into space”.
which Rose gave birth to after the marriage, although “not a human one”, Mr Rhodes added. As part of his punishment, Mr Tombe was ordered to pay a dowry of 15,000 Sudanese dinars (about £25), before retreating with the goat to his home in the Hai Malakal suburb of Juba. Sadly, Rose died after choking on a plastic bag as she ate scraps off the street in Juba. After the article became one of the most popular stories the BBC News website had ever published, Mr Rhodes was worried that he would be accused of tarnishing Sudan’s image as it is still a very conservative society. But he says that he has not encountered any trouble. Rhodes insists: “The story doesn’t portray Sudan in a bad light – it shows the Sudanese have a sense of humour.”
Le bateau controversial
New French president goes on yacht holiday while his country erupts in violence James Stileman Reporter
Beam me up Scotty
NICOLAS SARKOZY, the newly elected president of France, has come under fire for taking a luxury yacht cruise to Malta while violence continues in Paris. Sarkozy took a three-day break on the 196ft long Le Paloma with his wife, son and a small entourage. While his supporters felt that after a gruelling election campaign the break was well deserved, his socialist opponents were of the opinion that the new president was sending the wrong message to the nation. Sarkozy portrayed himself as the humble ‘people’s president’, yet the luxurious yacht trip is hardly in keeping with this image. A French website claims that the yacht belongs to Vincent Bolloré,
one of the richest men in France. A three-day trip on the yacht is thought to cost somewhere in the region of £110,000, although it is possible that Sarkozy was invited as a guest. Patrick Menucci, aide to Sarkozy’s election opponent Ségolène Royal, said: “Everyone has a right to a holiday. But when you’re a president, particularly a French president, I think that everything you do has a meaning.” He went on to add that if the boat was indeed Bolloré’s then the trip showed Sarkozy’s “worrying” links with industrial moguls. Spokesmen for the new French president stated that the holiday was being taken to allow Sarkozy to reflect on the course his future government might take, as well as giving him time to think over the forthcoming parliamentary elections. If Sarkozy achieves a majority in
these he hopes to pass new labour laws, as well as securing £15bn in tax cuts. One Italian news agency reported that Sarkozy used his time in Malta to “make honourable amends” for a “gaffe” made during his campaign. In a campaign speech, Sarkozy spoke of the importance of strengthening the EU’s Mediterranean front, yet he neglected to make any mention of Malta. This mistake was noticed by the Maltese ambassador to Paris. François Hollande, leader of the Socialist party, used the opportunity to call for an end to the anti-Sarkozy violence that continues unabated in Paris. He said: “We are in a republic, where universal suffrage is the only law we know. “There can be disappointment, anger, frustration. But the only way to react is to take up your ballots, not other weapons.”
A ‘safe’ night out Corinne Rhoades Reporter
A CONDOM-THEMED nightclub is the first of its kind in India to promote safe-sex to its clubbers. Intended to raise awareness of HIV and Aids, the club publicises itself as the ‘Condom Bar’. Everything bears a uniquely designed condom logo, including the drinks glasses and table mats which carry advisory messages encouraging customers to ‘enjoy safely’ and protect themselves. The non-profit nightclub, situated in the Indian city of Chandigarh, was the latest government-led initiative from the Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Corporation (Citco) to help tackle the problem of Aids. Jasbir Singh Bir, head of Citco, said: “Condoms must be seen as friends, not some embarrassing necessity that noone wants to talk about.” Consequently, condoms appear everywhere in the club, from interior decoration to an unending supply of free contraception strategically placed around the bar. Bartenders are also told to offer packs of condoms instead of small change when serving drinks. The president of a counselling group for Aids sufferers and young mother Pooja Thakur opened the club. She said: “I am thrilled that government bodies like Citco are now daring to venture beyond their stated purpose to provoke people into talking about Aids.”
EDITORIAL & OPINION freewords the voice of gairrhydd
Don’t be a mug IT IS EASY AS the summer evenings grow longer to relax in our attitudes towards personal safety around Cardiff. But last week’s frightening attack on two students in the heart of Cathays should serve as a further wake-up call for our campus. That these students were precautionary over their walk home is more alarming still. We are fortunate to enjoy a relatively low crime rate in Cardiff, and incidents such as these should not keep anyone locked fearfully indoors. The simple things are what will help keep these crimes to an absolute bare minimum. For example, if you’re going down to the shop at half 10 in the evening, take a few housemates it’s only down the road, 10, maybe 20 minutes, and nobody should raise an eyebrow at this sensible request. Male attitudes need perhaps the most adjusting. There is an illusion of some sizeable gender gap when it comes to street crime, with some guys being unwilling to take such aforementioned precautions for fear of wounded macho pride. Although statistically women are more vulnerable to muggings, research suggests that numbers play more of a part in the criminal’s estimation than gender. So if it’s a choice between robbing one man or four women, it’s a no-brainer. As long as we always stay conscious of possible threats, we can stay a step ahead of the muggers. BNP - Bath: Nul Points BATH UNIVERSITY’S reversal of their decision to host Nick Griffin and his fascistic agenda is another nail in the coffin not only of free speech at universities but of the NUS’s respectability. Their ‘no platform’ policy is the single biggest insult to every student in the UK. The idea that we need protecting from any extremist view is patronising in the extreme. It is undoubtedly true that radical perspectives pose a threat to society at large, and we are part of that society. But censoring such threats is enormously counter-productive. Those few individuals on campus who may be receptive to forms of extremism will not have their curiosity quenched, but may instead be more likely to the explore such forbidden beliefs for themselves. If ridiculous bigots like Griffin are allowed to speak in a theatre of open debate, all will see their misguided agendas rationally dismantled. That the NUS do not respect us enough to support this sensible, democratic approach to radicalism is another in a long list of their shortcomings and failures. Yet we must reluctantly condemn the fact that an institution as established and respectable as Bath has toppled at a crucial moment. If the University and its Union had stood firm upon the original invitation, it could have marked the first in a gathering tide of not simply victories for free speech but of defeats for the pitifully useless NUS.
Don’t flag it off While most of us puff and sigh at the first mention of Eurovision, Aisling Tempany can’t get enough of it. Perhaps it’s time we sat up and listened
irstly, by the time you read this the Eurovision will be over and done with, but if you can, just pretend when you’re reading this that you’ve gone into a time warp back to Thursday when I wrote this. Just imagine yourself in the same time warp the Eurovision is permanently stuck in. That funky time warp that every year gives us ludicrous costumes, transvestites, and bad music. And that’s just the UK's entries. The Eurovision is Geography to music. It’s Politics to music. It’s a three-year degree in theatre in three hours. It is truly the greatest thing on television ever. It’s better than Christmas. I do not just say that because I’m Irish and they’ve won more times than any other country. No, that would just be bragging. Eurovision is a tradition and institution. Without it once a year, I would find myself unable to go on. Where else would you see Ukranian drag queens, Swiss vampires, the truly insane Icelandics (seriously, their entries are in a world of their own). The musical madness of Europe on just one stage. How else would anyone know where Andorra was? The Eurovision Song Contest can make or break nations. It boosts economies and it threatens them. It
divides nations. It unites them. Where else can one see the Turks, the Cypriots and the Greeks agree on anything? Is it not heart-warming to see the former Eastern block support one another?
That funky time warp that every year gives us ludicrous costumes, transvestites and bad music It brings a tear to my eye. Ireland and the UK always vote for each other, though not as readily as they did when they fought each other. The real consequences of peace in Northern Ireland is that they are not offering ‘peace points’ to each other anymore. Only last year SerbiaMontenegro was forced to withdraw from Eurovision after a dispute over the entry being Serbian and not Montenegria. A month later, and the countries are divided. This year they’re entering separately.
In the 90s it boosted Ireland’s tourism, but nearly bankrupted them when they won three times in a row. As far as I’m concerned, Italy is not a part of Europe. It does not enter the Eurovision anymore. Of course the UK regards the Eurovision culturally as a big joke (unless they win) and laughs at those countries that take it seriously. It makes one wonder what countries they think take it seriously. The entries of recent years, and especially this year, make me wonder if anyone takes it seriously. Conveniently, the BBC always manages to forget to mention that the Eurovision is a big joke that they’ve been funding since it started back in the 1950s. The UK is just disappointed at their lack of success; the thought that if they weren’t part of ‘the big four’ (always in the contest) they’d never make it into the competition. The thought that, actually, Fame Academy, X-Factor and Pop Idol winners are not that good, or interest-
ing in the rest of Europe. Every year Terry Wogan whines about ‘block voting’ among the Scandinavians and Eastern Europe, never thinking that maybe the UK songs are just rubbish.
As far as I’m concerned, Italy is not part of Europe - it does not enter Eurovision Unlike most of Europe, it seems the UK just cannot lighten up for the Eurovision. They hate the campy tacky nature of it, and bemoan the fact that no one enters serious music anymore. They think it’s all about uniting Europe, but did not like it when Europe voted for each other and left poor Jemini with ‘nil points.’ It’s all just jealousy really, because they haven’t won enough. And despite all of this, they picked Scooch! (If they actually did win, and someone cashed in on the odds of 25/1 then good for you, but you still have no taste.) So if you did not watch this year, then you should feel shame. It only comes once a year, like Christmas, but without the annoying relatives.
First Words, Lasting Impressions The student elections may be over, but lessons are still to be learnt, says Nathan Glover
n many ways, campaigning for student politics represents the worst aspects of the democratic process. However, fighting an election still has the potential to benefit the student body. Every year the same pattern is repeated with disheartening predictability. Candidates choose a slogan that has some vague semantic link to their name, and then spend a week shouting it across the Park Place crossroads. After a week of irrelevant chants and fancy dress, are we really more informed as to who can run the Student s’ Union? It is hardly surprising that only 17% of students voted this year. It is saddening that those involved in student democracy tend to replace substance with style, and end up promoting one’s image instead of one’s ideas. Less than a quarter of the candidates chose to print any of their policies on their posters outside the Great Hall. It is especially sad when one considers that most candidates have spent a great deal of time creating their policies, which can have a massive impact on how the Union is run next year.
But this is not the whole story. Democracy is still something that should be cherished and defended. Why? Because it has an amazing power to educate people about issues outside their normal sphere of consideration. For an example of democracy’s power to open our eyes, one only has to hear Ted Shiress’ first words to the audience: “I’m sorry, I can’t get onto the stage.” Those words were never in his speech. He did not plan to say them so that he could score political points. He was simply stating a fact, one that he and countless other students with disabilities have had to put up with for too long; that many able-bodied people routinely fail to consider the needs of the disabled. Paradoxically, we should feel both deeply ashamed and fiercely proud about this state of affairs. On one level, it is appalling that those running the hustings, and innumerable other events, businesses and institutions, are often blind to consider the needs of people with disabilities (such as Ted, who has cerebral palsy).
But we should also feel proud because our students’ democracy allowed these conditions to be made known to the student body. The fact is that disabled access in Cardiff University is appalling. An example Ted gave in his speech (as sole candidate for Students With Disabilities Officer) is that the Bute library is inaccessible to wheelchairs. But the point here is that the existence of student democracy forced everyone in the room to stop and consider these issues. For three minutes, at least, it was impossible to ignore the issue. Personally, I had never really been motivated to do anything until Ted was forced to be lower down than the other candidates when he gave his speech. But do not say that Ted was brave or
heroic for standing up and speaking, because that would be profoundly patronising to him. But we should appreciate the fact that we have an officer for disabled students, and that awareness of their issues has been raised in such a graphic way. It is a shame that such important roles as racial equality officer and disabled students’ officer each had only one candidate standing. Such positions are often seen as insignificant compared to the high-profile positions of AU President, Vice President or President. However, as Ted so vividly demonstrated, sometimes we overlook the importance of some positions because the individuals in question quite literally cannot get up to speak out against injustice.
EDITORIAL & OPINION
Moore or lass?
Renowned astronomer Sir Patrick Moore has blamed the British media’s decline on women taking over the BBC. Huw Davies comments
he British media is definitely going downhill. The Sun and The Daily Mail are still the most widely-read ‘newspapers’ in the UK, and television just isn’t worth watching any more. Newspapers, magazines, radio, TV, the internet…. nearly all forms of the media have slid into the mire of mediocre modernity in their never-ending attempts to be ‘fresh’ and ‘interesting’. So who’s to blame? Women, apparently. The eminent astronomer and allround good egg Sir Patrick Moore shocked Radio Times readers last week when he blamed the decline of British TV on women, or more specifically, the BBC for employing them. He claimed, “The trouble is the BBC now is run by women and it shows soap operas, cooking, quizzes, kitchen-sink plays. You wouldn’t have had that in the golden days.” A brave statement. Except they are actually two completely disparate statements. There are a number of women at the head of the BBC. And the corporation’s output is largely crap. The two facts are not connected. It is simply a question of catering for the masses, and if cookery programmes do that, they will inevitably thrive and dominate the schedules. That’s not the fault of women being in charge; if anything, it’s the fault of capitalism.
If the BBC’s reputation is in danger, then men are doing their fair share of work to help that If Sir Patrick must blame the fairer sex, he should look at the other side of the TV set. The reason this supposedly feminine programming is on is because women watch it and make it popular. And here’s news: output does not become ‘girly’ just because a woman is in charge. When Perri Lewis and Sophie Robehmed were elected editors of gair rhydd and Quench respectively just over a year ago, a lot of jokes were bandied about: the opinion pages would make way for their vagina monologues, Quench would become a tribute to Cosmo and gair rhydd’s dragon logo would “make way for a picture of an amputated penis.” (© Mickelodeon) But that’s all they were – jokes. Sadly, Sir Patrick doesn’t appear to be joking. A BBC spokesman did leap to his aid, claiming his “forthright” views are “what we all love about him”, but there is a difference between forthright and forthwrong. Anyway, “what we all love about him” is his xylophone. Still, we probably shouldn’t judge him too harshly. His demand for “two independent wavelengths”, one controlled by and for women and one by and for men, resembles little more than
Happiness, happiness, the greatest gift that we possess... surely giving schoolchildren lessons in being happy will stop them turning to crime and/or the anti-depressants? Lucy Thackray thinks otherwise
the bizarre, misogynistic ramblings of an 84-year-old with his head in the clouds (and who was arguably never that connected with Earth in the first place). His sexist comments are too brainless to be taken seriously. And he is far from being the first person to criticise the female regime, either. Michael Buerk lived up to his name a couple of years ago when he complained that due to an increase in female broadcasters, women decide “what we see and hear”, and as a result men were becoming feminised. It takes a masterstroke of pure absurdity to draw that conclusion, and Anna Ford was completely justified in calling him “bonkers”. At least Sir Patrick can use senility as an excuse. Although to be fair to the astronomer, he may have a point about female newsreaders. Whether they are too “jokey” (to use his phrase) is debatable, but there can be little doubt that Fiona Bruce is just not cut out for reading the news. And in dropping Moira Stuart from Sunday AM, the BBC wasn’t being ageist, racist or sexist – it was doing the world a favour. A big deal was made about Jacqui Oatley, the first female commentator on Match of the Day, but less was made about the fact she was awful. So there are bad female TV presenters on the BBC – but there are bad male ones too. Dermot Murnaghan seems to be terrified by the camera on Eggheads. Sir David Frost looks as though he might die at any minute, and not through age but just sheer incom-
PATRICK MOORE: Ladies man petence. David Dimbleby is just an idiot. If the BBC’s reputation is in danger – and it is – then men are doing their fair share of the work to help that. Sex equality begins in taking the blame.
Output does not become ‘girly’ just because a women is in charge And to think this all stems from Sir Patrick Moore’s anger at the BBC’s late scheduling of The Sky at Night. But then it is a programme about astronomy – the crucial word is ‘night’. Someone should tell him that The Sky At Lunchtime just would not work. And although his comparison between EastEnders and diarrhoea was inspired, he is simply wrong about why the British media is suffering. Women are good for the media, and if Sir Patrick wants proof of that he should look no further than this paper. Perri Lewis and Sophie Robehmed have both done an incredible job with gair rhydd and Quench this year, and the same goes too for the assorted female section editors, photographers, Xpress radio presenters and producers, and many more besides. The days of phallocentric media control are over, and it is for the best. Female broadcasters deserve their place at the top. This does not apply to Loose Women.
ou can’t teach someone to be happy. This may sound obvious, but Lord Richard Layard has advised the government to introduce ‘happiness lessons’ to secondary schools as some sort of futile attempt to perk up our disgruntled youths. Layard, like many, is worried by the increase in teenage depression and delinquency, and believes that if teachers formally instruct their charges in positive thinking, coping with tough issues and ‘emotional intelligence’ (anyone else think this smacks of Oprah?) it will create a strong and resilient generation. In an ideal world, yes, we probably would spend precious school hours sitting in circles in a meadow, encouraging kids to hold hands and sob about not being able to get that last green iPod Mini. Unfortunately, pesky science, maths and english seem to get in the way, leaving no room for such necessary love-ins. State school timetables are crammed already, barely leaving time to review individual progress or offer general academic support, so why this bizarre call for ‘taught positivity’? Reviewing previous attempts to transform teenage mindsets through education, the results speak for themselves. No amount of hard-hitting sexual education has stopped the little scamps from starting early, the nofrills lectures from policemen and excons (as a state-school veteran, I jest not) have failed to stem the tide of teen crime and vandalism, and even after the horror stories of Drug Awareness, the average adolescent will still indulge in a bit of experimentation during college or university. It’s not ideal, but we must be real-
worthy, the focus should be directed back to the home. It is probably not because they missed out on their Year 7 teacher drawing a smiley face on the whiteboard and reminding them to laugh once a day. In fact, they probably weren’t in school much anyway.
At what point did the line between ‘teacher’ and ‘parent’ become so blurred? The real factor here is the attitude their parents have given to them. Certain people will stay optimistic and focused no matter what life throws at them during their youth. Others will be given everything, materialistically speaking, and still go off the rails later in life if they haven’t been given some perspective early on. Layard claims the lessons will help pupils learn to ‘cope with life’. This leads me to wonder what sort of demi-gods will be teaching them, as I’m pretty sure that not even secondary school teachers have all the answers when it comes to life and philosophy. Social resilience and a strong sense of direction is either present in an 11year-old or it isn’t. Secondary school is certainly a huge influence on where a teenager goes from there, but in my opinion happiness cannot be infused into a fixed schedule. It is certainly ambitious to propose that this could change crime and depression statistics for a whole generation. Perhaps in Layard’s educational Utopia it all makes sense.
CHILDREN: In need of a lift? istic at some point. Teachers are paid to impart knowledge on their specialist subjects, set and assess pupils’ work and keep an eye on their social and academic progress. A parent is responsible for instilling good values of behaviour and ambition in their children in the years approaching this more academic stage. At what point did the line between ‘teacher’ and ‘parent’ become so blurred? If a 16year-old is committing robberies, taking drugs and being generally ASBO-
Having never had a ‘happiness lesson’ in my life, I may be ill-equipped to criticise them, but I also know the root of my depression-free existence. A solid and supportive family base, maturity, the benefit of great experiences and academic opportunities (and a bit of perspective) all form my apparently healthy ‘emotional intelligence’. And I’m pretty sure that can’t be taught.
Slipping away from the last days of Studenthood like a clawless mole down a slippery tunnel
Griffin grinds some gears
an you hear that? The crows and ravens carping malevolently in the wind? Listen. You hear? Just across the Bristol Channel in Bath, something wicked has been afoot. Something that, according to Ruqayyah Collector, the NUS Black Students Officer, could have caused students to study “in fear”. What possible event could engender such dread? What could arouse this mood, so dark and doom-laden, that might cause students to wander nervously about their campus, eyes flicking intermittently toward the shadows behind the Music building? It is that good old-fashioned charmer Nick Griffin, the oily, clayfaced wunderkind of the BNP, who had been due to give a speech at Bath University. No wonder the weather has turned bad. Don’t look at him; he’ll make you racist! At least, these are the kind of gorgon-like powers one might credit the goblin-like Cambridge graduate with if they were to judge the man by the furore he has inspired throughout the world of Higher Education. Somewhat predictably, the NUS and University and College Union (UCU) have been up in arms over Griffin’s scheduled appearance. Threats of protests and sharp recriminations were followed on Thursday by Bath’s Union voting against his appearance, and the University subsequently reversing their decision to allow Griffin a platform. Freedom of speech is always much harder to defend when that freedom produces bile-suffused discourse from the mouth of a moron. But that’s what the whole thing is
The truth about... deadlines
ife at university is mostly spent doing two things: indulging in Fun Times instead of worrying about deadlines and inventing ways to justify indulging in Fun Times instead of worrying about deadlines. The most brilliantly imaginative of students are able to deceive themselves to such a degree that they perilously risk their obtainment of one. These cheerfully cursed souls are talented enough to be utterly convinced that, though they have three essays to write in three days, there is time enough for a few pints and a trip to the park. And a quick bite to eat. And a pint for the road. And a kebab. And a lie-in … and a few pints.
about: it isn’t freedom of speech (unless the speaker holds extreme views, barely masking bigotry); it is the freedom to say exactly what you think, that most essential of privileges, and there will always be a small amount of people who think things that are, well, just stupid.
That good oldfashioned charmer Nick Griffin. Don’t let him look at you; he’ll make you racist To call the initial decision to allow the BNP on campus “at best naïve and at worst dangerous”, as NUS President Gemma Tumelty has done, is at best naïve and at worst dangerous. Students are a smart bunch. We are perfectly capable of forming our own opinions based on the evidence at hand. A speech from Nick Griffin that purports to explain why the BNP is “doing so well” in elections would not have sent insidious strains of racism seething through the university corridors. When Griffin’s presence is able to stir up more support than it ignites opposition, when his party galvanises more proponents than it does adversaries - only then should there be cause for alarm. And despite what Griffin and his deluded cohorts might think, this will never happen. That the clamour of criticism surrounding Griffin’s appearance has been successful in preventing it from going ahead marks the second bad decision on the subject of freedom of They are our heroes, the people who push our grades up, who descend into degree-less decrepitude and debt with a smile and a shrug, whose doctrine has been passed down from student to student since time immemorial: frolic perpetually; fail pathetically; feel proud; rinse, resit and repeat until the liver packs in. Bless them all. May they forever be free from the overpowering dread of The Deadline. Most of us, however, are not afflicted with such remarkable gifts of selfdelusion. The Deadline’s ever-growing shadow eventually looms large enough to pinion us to our desks. As the day draws closer and closer, every second away from the computer’s impassive glare becomes infected with guilt. No action can be completed, no journey embarked upon, without searing pangs of remorse. Soon, as the days slip speedily away, the fear of facing the work and the fear of avoiding it amalgamate into a single gargantuan fiend of dread - complete with big red eyes and teeth that are most sharp to
GRIFFIN: Blimey speech made in the last few months. At the annual NUS conference on March 29, a motion was passed to adopt the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia’s (EUMC) definition of anti-Semitism. Obviously, it goes without saying that anyone who is genuinely antiSemitic, who has an engrained, instinctual hatred of Jewish people, is a contemptible simpleton. Just as anyone who aligns themselves with the BNP possesses a similar vacuity of intelligence - or, at least, decency. The problem lies in a couple of danthe touch. And probably a weapon of some kind. To facilitate the teeth as a method of attack. Maybe one of those wooden-pole things with rusty spikes on the end. But the spikes don’t have to be rusty; that is just a personal aesthetic preference. At this point, usually around a week before the dreaded date, one is prone to do the classic
The Deadline’s ever-growing shadow eventually looms large enough to pinion us to our desks
Freedom of speech means putting up with vile things that you don’t want to hear gerously vague sentences that make up the EUMC definition, which contend that anti-Semitism “manifestations could also target the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity.” This conflation of anti-Semitism with criticism of Israel has extremely Harry-Potter-when-facing-Dementors, buckling into inertia under the sheer weight of the terror. Seeking a remedy, driven by a desperation more manic than the Manic Street Preachers doing a cover of Manic Monday while having a manicure, one usually attempts to find solace in the throes of daytime television’s brain-blotting fervour. It is a difficult, difficult time.
dangerous repercussions. Personally, I hold many reservations about Israel’s political behaviour, particularly with regard to the war in Lebanon last year. But does this make me an anti-Semite? Of course it doesn’t. To equate political opinions with racism is to be as myopic as any member of the BNP. As with the Griffin episode in Bath, the good intentions of protectionism risk critically stifling debate. Freedom of speech means putting up with vile things that you don’t want to hear. Universities should not be condemned for allowing a platform for this odious little man; they should be applauded for being prepared to put its belief in the right to freedom of expression ahead of the potential stain on its reputation. Briefly housing a goblin does not make one a monster. Every political viewpoint, even the ones that the enlightened majority of us find ignorant and abhorrent, should be given the chance to be heard and debated. It is better to face such warped and repugnant political perspectives headon than to hide them away as if we are frightened of them. Let’s not pretend the BNP doesn’t exist; let’s bring them out into the light and let them have their pathetic and prejudiced say, which they have as much of a right to as anyone else. There is nothing to be frightened of. It is the BNP. They are a bad, loathsome joke. Let them speak their hatefilled spiel, and then cut them down with words of reason. Why dignify them with such a panic? Disagree? Leave your comment at www.gairrhydd.com
But The Deadline also possesses a glorious splendour. Its date is a herald of promise as well as a portent of doom. Just as The Deadline looms forward, contaminating every day and week before it with an insatiable unease, so too does it bask every Monday to Sunday after its fall in the radiant light of infinite possibility. The weeks and months beyond its passing stretch out blissfully, endlessly, an ocean of potential adventure and boundless relaxation. The pallid, accusing stare of a blank Microsoft Word document; the hours of stalling, scrolling through pictures on Facebook and cursing CJ from Eggheads; the hideous intricacies of referencing and the numbing pointlessness of every single thing you can think to write. The freedom beyond justifies it all. For a few days yet, to me there are no words more beautiful than May and sixteenth.
firstname.lastname@example.org @ The gair rhydd website is a great place to discuss your opinions about articles featured in the paper. However, don't forget that you can email any of your opinions on other matters to the letters page. Write a letter and send it to email@example.com and you’re in with a chance of getting Letter of the Week and winning vouchers to spend in the Union.
Comment on the article ‘Evolving devolution.’ “It does actually scare me that some people actually think that independence would be good for Wales. The only reason that the Assembly has achieved what it has is because every time old Rhodders got into a bit of trouble Gordon got out his cheque book and sent a few billion Cardiff’s way so it could be spent on Social Services. Wales is a small country with no industrial or
Badminton deserves more gair rhydd, we deserve more Please learn how to use proper grammar people - TOO MANY COMMAS ARE NOT A GOOD THING Sarah blows in the wind “But I’m a postgraduate” Heather Facebook - don’t book my face please Chris. Good pun. NOT I still love facebook Don’t take my facebook away from me
manufacturing base and only has a single and small financially secure area around Cardiff and the urbanised South East. Past the M4 corridor Wales is like the rest of rural Britain, impoverished, backward and relying on hand outs from the State. If Wales did go independent and our monetary life-line with London dried up then we’d be up shit creek without a paddle. Lets pray it doeesn’t happen.” Comment on the article ‘Facebooked.’ “I find the principal of being identified on Facebook to be supremely stupid. Someone that was known to be drunk is supposed to have identified someone from tiny picture/pictures on FACEBOOK!? People can look totally different sometimes, and just like the thousands of other students from Cardiff. That someone can hope to ID a person that is trying to be added as a friend is paranoid and delusional.”
Comment on the article ‘A farewell to arms’ “ I truly hope that the University grows some balls on this issue and tells the Students’ Union where it can stick its ethical investment policy. The University has a responsibility to invest in companies that are likely to see a good return, BAE is, as mentioned, one of the world’s biggest defence companies and one of the biggest companies in Europe. It’s become the largest foreign defence company in the United States, making everything from the engines of public buses in New York to Armoured Fighting Vehicles for the US Army. It is a remarkable success story of Britain and the University, via its financial services contractor, made a sound decision in investing in it in the first place. It would be a shame if some misguided and naïve students forced a change to a sound financial decision because of their personal opinions of the defence industry.”
Comment about the article ‘Driven to the edge’ “I totally understand that it's bad for people to feel driven to suicide. I'm not compassionless. I want to talk about a claim made in the article: “international students have to face exam and coursework deadlines without a close support network of friends and family, which can lead to many feeling isolated and alone" - what on earth makes you think this is exclusive to international students?! Lots of international students have as many friends at university as anyone else here and most 'home' students speak to their families as frequently as international students. As for feeling stressed if you have too much work due in you can't get the sleep or spend time getting help on the internet. You have to keep doing your work! For most final year students the work never ends. There's no point telling people to sleep when they know they have work to do. They need to know that there are people in their university faculty who understand the stress. Quite often different lecturers and tutors all expect everything from you every week. They need to communicate with each other so that things are not totally piled onto the students all the time. Stress is just the way for modern life and we should be medicating the original cause of this, not the outer symptom of student stress.”
letter of the week
Cynicism is reductive Dear gair rhydd,
ast week’s article ‘Too many alternatives’ made some cynical remarks about Socialists in Wales that need to be addressed. Firstly, that Socialist parties stand against each other in some elections is an unfortunate fact. However to assume that all differences between socialist’s parties are “petty” is unfounded. For example, Socialist Alternative has been involved in much of the resurge in trade union activism. On the other hand, the Socialist Equality Party does not think that trade unions are the way forward for better political representation for ordinary people. Is this difference petty? It certainly shows incongruity. Let’s not forget that a major criticism of the Soviet Union (one shared by many leftwing parties) was that it was a monolithic bloc and internal debate was not tolerated. Your article also makes no comment on the much larger number of capitalist parties, whose homogeneity is by far greater. For example the major political parties are all capitalist, all support (in practice if not in theory) privatisation and other neoliberal policies and all receive most of their political contributions from
big business; even New Labour who, for the first time under Tony Blair, receives more donations from business than from the trade unions. I would say the differences between New Labour, the Tories and even the Lib Dems are far more “petty” and in most representations seem to rest on individual characters rather than radical differences in policy. The problem with this article is that it makes an easy cynical attack on left-wing parties that only adds to the problem of building an alternative. The capitalist media for example does not give full coverage to alternative political parties. This year Socialist Alternative got something like 12 seconds of electoral coverage on the BBC and was not mentioned by the gair rhydd in its electoral guide, despite having two current students in Cardiff standing! You say that Socialism has become a farce, echoing the negative representations in the national media; however more people than ever are searching for an alternative to the capitalist parties. Gerald Blee
WIN WIN WIN The author of Letter of the Week
will receive vouchers to spend in the Union, including CF10, the box office and the shop
Politics of the round table Following an indecisive Assembly ballot, Cardiff Bay has been left with no majority power. So who will emerge to rule? Cemlyn Davies Political Correspondent
o, Labour lost a few seats, Plaid gained a few seats, the Tories gained one seat and for everybody else it’s a case of as you were. The pattern of the 2007 Assembly election results was as predictable as Rhodri Morgan refusing to resign or concede that Labour had suffered a bad night. It was obvious throughout the campaign that Labour’s support in Wales was crumbling and that it would be a race between the other three major parties to collect the crumbs. As it happens, the Conservatives were the party that benefited most from the people’s dissatisfaction, snatching four seats from Rhodri Morgan’s party. Plaid Cymru also took advantage of Labour’s failures by regaining Llanelli with a huge majority. Questions will inevitably be asked about Labour’s poor showing, with most focusing on the date of Blair’s departure from Number 10. Labour supporters will surely be wishing he’d left before the regional elections so that the final rout that the PM was worried about would never have been an issue. Supporters of the other parties will be relieved that he stayed on past the elections. Other questions will focus on how the BNP came within 2,580 votes of winning a seat on the North Wales regional list, and attention will also be given to Mohammad Asghar – the Assembly’s first ethnic minority member. For now, however, attentions must
turn towards what happens next – something which is much less easy to forecast than the results themselves. At first it seems inconceivable that Labour will choose to rule alone as a minority government, as the collective dissatisfaction of the other parties with Labour reflects that of the electors. No matter what divisions exist between the parties in opposition they are united in their disappointment with Labour’s record in office. Realising that such dissatisfaction could make life difficult for a minority government, Morgan will surely look to form a coalition. But with who? The Lib Dems? Why not – it’s been done before: the first Assembly mandate saw a Lib-Lab coalition governing.
It is difficult to imagine No.10 giving Welsh Labour the go-ahead to form a coalition Wales and Rhodri Morgan has already held talks with Mike German, the leader of the Liberal Democrats in Wales, about the possibility of repeating that situation. Indeed, the wise money is on this deal being made again. There we are then, another Lib-Lab coalition… or not. One Lib Dem AM has already stated that he and a “very strong body of opinion” among the Lib Dems would reject such a move. So what about a Labour-Tory coalition? Not such a ridiculous idea. Prior
RHODRI - still heading the table
Bye Bye Blair Political Editor Andy Rennison takes a predictable look at the highs and lows of the Prime Minister’s parting address
h, Tony. You’ve had 10 years to write that resignation speech, 10 years to stamp some measure of testament on the world you’re leaving behind. And it was going reasonably well – nice hints of apology and tinges of genuine sentiment. And then you went and spoiled it all by saying something stupid. Britain “the greatest nation on earth”? Seriously, of all the things Blair could have said towards dispelling the image of him as some Thatcher-Churchill love child, that had to be the least effective. Quasi-fascism aside, he could have done a lot worse. Blair brought togeth-
to the elections, former Conservative AM David Davies suggested that this could work. More recently the Tories’ leader in Wales, Nick Bourne, said, “The onus is now on political leaders from all parties to form a government which will provide stability for the next four years.” Nevertheless, Morgan’s unwillingness to discuss such a move with Bourne suggests that a deal between the two parties is impossible. Besides, it is difficult to imagine Downing Street giving Welsh Labour the goahead to form such a coalition. And so the final scenario: a PlaidLabour coalition. According to Ieuan Wyn Jones, the nationalist party’s leader, “a formal coalition, or a less formal coalition, or a written agreement which delivers a programme” are the options they would consider. He insists, however, that his party will not merely prop up Labour. Again it is difficult to envisage Labour allowing Plaid Cymru to have such an influence on Welsh governance. Downing Street would again surely be concerned about such a deal taking place even if they have given the Welsh Labour party permission to begin negotiations with Plaid Cymru. Labour must realise that having a nationalist party in governance in Wales would merely increase the pressure on Westminster to grant further powers to the Assembly. Another fear arising over this idea is that such a move could give Plaid enough credibility to overturn Labour’s status as the Assembly’s largest party at the next elections. Having considered all the options, a minority Labour government doesn’t seem quite so impossible. But what if no deal is reached by the May 24 deadline? If no government has been formed by this date a new round of elections – without the Blair factor – could be contested, and those results would undoubtedly be more difficult to predict.
er almost every aspect of his decade and stayed surprisingly realistic, if understated. He acknowledged the “blow back” from the “bitterly controversial” war in Iraq, admitted that 1997’s utopian hopes were perhaps “too high”, and finished with apologies for when he had “fallen short” – alongside the aforementioned slice of fist-raising nationalism. Of course, he said little that he hasn’t, in some way, said before, and Blair will leave many critics and many more cynics still waiting for a direct apology over Iraq. But, in reality, what difference would that ever have made? All the page space and Commons’
minutes spent languishing over this empty gesture could have been spent concentrating on the monumental challenges facing Iraq and the Middle East. If he had taken a final opportunity to voice his sorrow and regret, would the world wake up the next morning a better place? The past is just that. Blair has accepted, albeit in a restrained manner, the shortcomings of the occupation. Though he bears partial responsibility for the initial coalition intervention, the blame for the ensuing catastrophe is largely America’s, reflected by Britain’s relative readiness to withdraw from many of those regions we are charged with. Iraq was a terrible mistake, but
regurgitating that sentiment over and over is more than useless; it’s distracting. Hopefully, the spotlight will land solely on the issues for the future now that Blair is heading into the setting sun. He needed to deliver a half-decent spectacle this week, in order to ward off the further resurgence of the Tories. Buoyed by strong election results and the resignation of Home Secretary John Reid alongside Blair, David Cameron gave the Prime Minister a
FAREWELL - fighting the tears
sound thrashing at Question Time last Wednesday, accusing the government of paralysis during this timely transition to Gordon Brown. Perhaps Cameron should be a little more gracious towards Tony. His most enduring legacy to political culture is of spin, image and PR gurus. Because of Blair, the political figures of our future will be shaped by these factors. As one analyst shrewdly put it, Blair’s legacy is: David Cameron.
SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT
Fueling the future? Helen McKay-Ferguson tries to clear up the confusion around biofuels
n the video-wars of the early 80s Sony’s Betamax famously lost out to JVC’s rival VHS format. Now Sony is back for round two, throwing its financial weight behind the Blue-ray disc while Toshiba champions the High Definition DVD. Meanwhile the poor consumer is left lost on the sidelines, scratching their head and wondering which type of shiny new technology to welcome into their living room. Deciding on a new car throws up similar uncertainties. With scientists issuing dire warnings about melting ice caps, you’re probably keen to invest in a vehicle that won’t leave polar bears floundering. But no-one wants to sink their savings into a dazzling new technology that never takes off. And as today’s car market presents the consumer with a bewildering array of possibilities, it’s hard to know where to pin your hopes. Should we all be following in the supposedly tiny carbon footprints of Tory tree-hugger David Cameron and forking out for a Lexus Hybrid? Or perhaps the smaller and marginally cheaper Prius Hybrid? But then whatever happened to Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG), or autogas as it’s also known? A few years back this clean-burning fuel was heralded as the solution to all our environmental worries. Even today you can take advantage of a government grant to convert your engine to autogas and, thanks to hefty subsidies, you can top up your tank for as little as 40 pence a litre. Tempting perhaps, but just recently there’s been all this talk of biofuel. Is this the better, greener fuel of the future that we’ll all be relying on for years to come?
What is biofuel anyway?
Biofuel comes in two different types, biodiesel and bioethanol. Biodiesel is made by extracting the oil from plants like oilseed rape, soya beans and oil palms and can be used on its own or as part of a mix. Even the waste vegetable oil from your local chip shop can be used to power your car, after a little processing, and normal diesel engines will chug away on it quite happily without any need for modification. Simon Williams from Friends of the Earth Cymru has been powering his van on waste chip oil for over a year. He has no complaints about the fuel’s performance but as the only place in Wales he can buy it is in Ammanford, Carmarthenshire, and Simon lives over 50 miles away in Cardiff, he can only fill up when he’s heading in that direction. And according to Simon, “As you drive along your engine gives off a faint whiff of chips.” Bioethanol, on the other hand, is made by fermenting the sugar in crops like wheat, maize and sugar beet and is usually blended with petrol. Normal petrol engines can only handle blends of up to five percent bioethanol. So if
you want to use higher biofuel blends like E85, which comprises 85% bioethanol and 15% petrol, you’ll need to buy a car with a specially designed engine such as the Ford Focus Flex Fuel. “Our flex fuel cars can swap between normal petrol and E85,” explains Ford spokesman Oliver Rowe. “So you won’t be left stranded if you can’t find a pump selling E85.” At the moment Morrisons is the only company selling E85 in the UK and it’s only available at 14 stores, but there are plans to roll it out across the entire chain by the end of the year.
So what are their green credentials?
In theory, biofuel could be completely carbon neutral because the carbon released as it burns is off-set by the carbon absorbed when the plant was alive. In reality, it’s a lot less clear cut because of the varying amounts of fossil fuels that may have been burnt during the biofuel’s production. Wheat, for example, requires large quantities of nitrogen fertiliser, the synthesis of which is often powered by fossil fuel energy. Estimates for actual carbon savings in comparison to their fossil fuel counterparts vary enormously. One study by Imperial College London concluded that savings from bioethanol could be anywhere between five and 68% depending on how the crop has been cultivated and transported.
Should we all be following in the supposedly tiny carbon footprints of Tory tree-hugger David Cameron and forking out for a Lexus Hybrid? Anything else I should know? There is also a question mark over the impact of biodiversity. Under the Road Transport Fuel Obligation, five percent of fuel sold on UK forecourts will have to come from renewable sources by 2010. To meet this target, we’ll need to stop exporting wheat and start using the UK’s 750,000 hectares of set-aside land for crops. The RSPB is concerned that this could threaten birdlife. “Set-aside land has proven a real haven for quite a lot of farmland birds that have been marginalised by intensive farming,” explains Melanie Edmunds, energy policy officer for the charity. Linnets in East Anglia could find themselves particularly at risk as 80% of the population spend winter on set-aside land, compared with only one percent on land used for cereals. And if we’re to increase biofuel consumption any further the crops used to make it will need to be grown
Toyota Prius: too cheap for David Cameron elsewhere – UK farmland just isn’t big enough to grow enough fuel for our 32 million road vehicles. But we’ll need to be careful any biofuel we import has been produced sustainably. Over the past decade millions of hectares of the Indonesian rainforest have been cleared for logging and the production of palm oil, destroying the habitat of the critically endangered animals like the Borneo orang-utan.
And what about grain prices? If the UK diverts crops for biofuel, won’t more people go hungry?
Hard to say. Since the US started large scale biofuel production, grain prices have soared causing major problems for surrounding countries. In Mexico, for example, the price of a tortilla has risen by 400%. And within the US itself the price of wheat reached a 10 year high this February. According to Peter Crowe, who represents UK biofuel company Green Spirit, “Wheat prices in the UK are likely to rise as the result of increased biofuel production.” But Crowe also reckons that food prices in the UK will remain relatively cheap and world grain prices won’t be affected. Let’s hope he’s right…
Hmm. That doesn’t sound so good. Maybe I won’t bother with biofuel after all… You might not have a choice. Legally stores can add up to five percent biofuel to their standard petrol and diesel without having to declare it. Supermarket giant Tesco has been adding five percent bioethanol to its standard unleaded petrol at 185 stores since 2005. But the future of biofuel might not be so gloomy. Under the RTFO, companies will have to detail complete carbon lifecycles of biofuel crops, factoring in things like the amount of carbon dioxide emitted during fertiliser production. They will also have to prove their operations don’t upset the ecological balance. The trouble is exact details of these requirements haven’t been finalised yet so we can’t be sure how it’s all going to pan out.
Biofuel: Good Further down the line we might see a second generation of biofuel made from woody materials like miscanthus (elephant grass) or willow. These plants will require much less fertiliser and it’s hoped that biofuel can be produced in a much more energy efficient way by tapping into their lignocelluloses. “Second Generation biofuels have the potential to be much better for the environment as the whole plant will be used in their production,” says James Markwick, head of energy policy at Natural England. The trouble is the technology to produce these biofuels doesn’t exist yet, and best estimates place it at 20 years away.
Wasn’t that Stern bloke saying it would be too late to have
much of an impact on climate change by then? That’s a good point. Environmentalists like Robin Maynard from the Soil Association reckon we should be curtailing our consumer habits anyway. “Concentrating on biofuel ducks the issue,” he says. “We need to reduce our profligate consumption of energy – nothing can substitute for the 400 years’ worth of plant/animal remains we burn up as fossil fuels across the globe in a single year.” So instead of worrying which kind of new car to buy, maybe you should be walking more, or sharing lifts, or using public transport. Or you could just decide to stay at home and wonder what to watch your movies on…
gairrhydd 15 MAY.14.2007
JOBS & MONEY
Flying high with cheaper prices Whether you are planning a weekend away, summer vacation or your gap year travels, Gillian Roberts looks at how to keep your travelling costs at bay tudents who are planning to travel this summer will be looking at ways to cut travelling costs in the next few months. It is not always easy to find the best travelling deals, especially when students are troubled with organising accommodation, places to go and see and spending money. Travel expenses can definitely be a huge pain and can lead to students having empty pockets without them even noticing. As with anything, it is advisable for students to shop around in advance to avoid any surprises and to get the best deals. Planning can always help to keep your pockets fuller, some travel deals booked beforehand can save you money and time. No-frills airliners are a popular option among travellers on a budget. Europe has 50-plus no-frills airlines where they aim to help backpackers save money on flights. It is advisable to book direct and
online to avoid paying an agent booking fee, as well as it being quick and easy. Travelling midweek, very early morning or very late in the evening, tend to be cheaper, as well as not during the school holidays. This is restricting but saves cash. Check out different airlines with price-comparison websites, www.travelsupermarket.com and www.openjet.com. Yet, it is stressed not to ignore traditional airlines as sometimes such airlines can actually be cheaper than the no-frills carriers. It is not difficult to forget the extra tariffs that no-frills airliners tend to add on. Remember to research the cost of transport links and limits on baggage. Many no-frills carriers have a 15kg limit per person for checked in baggage. High rates are charged for any excess kilos. Take note of the ‘total’ fare and ignore the ‘from’ prices. Additional charges and taxes may attack your cash card unnoticed so beware. Cardiff third year, Katie Coopey
jobshop Please contact us on 029 2078 1535 or pop in to the Jobshop on the ground floor of the Students’ Union. Opening hours 10am-4pm Monday-Friday.
who travelled to Amsterdam early this year said: “We travelled using BMI Baby and looking at the website to begin with, it seemed the flights only cost £8.98. But then £30.75 was added in tax, £2.50 for every bag, insurance costs, and a credit card fee, causing to total to £55.43. However, it was overall a very cheap flight, and went to plan.”
It is not difficult to forget the extra tariffs that no-frills airliners tend to add on BMI Baby and Ryan Air which are popular airlines for students, usually don’t include food and drink, so take plenty to munch on. Booking online can be easy and quick but mistakes can occur. It is advisable to double check everything and to print off a hard copy of your details and keep them safe.
Students who are flying from Cardiff International Airport can catch a regular bus to the airport. A single adult bus ticket costs only £3.70 on bus X91. If you are expected to travel a lot within Europe it may be worth buying a rail pass. At Inter-Rail http://www.interrailnet.com you can choose from a 12 day single zone pass to a one month all zones pass. It can be the best way to explore Europe on a budget. The rail pass is valid in 29 countries across Europe, from Macedonia to Portugal, and includes travel in Morocco. They are available from £140 where you can apply for 16, 22 or 30 day passes. When travelling a little closer to home around the UK, there are some better ways to make sure you don’t have to dig too deep into your pockets. If you are travelling by train, make sure you invest in a Young Persons’ Railcard. Costing a mere £20 it saves you a third off every journey you make
for a year. It is as easy as popping down to Central Station, filling out a form and taking with you a passport size photo. It is also advisable to book tickets in advance, check out the National Rail website where a full timetable of available trains and tickets are available. Alternatively, if you don’t mind adding on a little time to your journey around the UK, travel by coach. There is a Young Persons’ Coachcard which can be a good investment if you are using the coach often. Further details can be found at your nearest coach/bus station. Students also find the Megabus is a popular method of travelling from city to city as, if booked in advanced, it can cost as little as £1. Book online at http://www.megabus.co.uk/uk/.
Useful Contacts www.studentflights.co.uk/rail.shtml www.interrailnet.com www.visiteurope.com www.gapyeardirectory.co.uk/bytrain. aspx www.travelsupermarket.com www.openjet.com www.nationalrail.co.uk www.megabus.co.uk/uk
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Samantha Shillabeer Media Reporter
PHOTO: JAMES PEROU
ardiff students donned their dresses and suits for the Cardiff Student Media Awards 2007 last Saturday. The awards, held at the Hilton Hotel, saw members of gair rhydd, Quench, Xpress, The Photographic Society and The Film Society all gathered under one roof to celebrate the various achievements of Cardiff University’s media. Hosted by Lizo Mzimba of Newsround fame, with a champagne reception and a four-course meal, the evening was a great success for everyone involved. In all, 32 categories were judged by industry leaders such as Channel 4’s Jon Snow. The ceremony was rounded off with the three heads of Cardiff Media giving their views on the year gone by. Syd Lawrence, Sophie Robehmed and Perri Lewis gave emotional and engaging speeches in what was one of the highlights of the night. After the ceremony was finished it was off to CF10 for the after-party. There were cheers all round when Lizo was persuaded to accompany us: the perfect end to an amazing night.
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Best opinion writer Judged by: Peter Preston, columnist and former editor of the Guardian GRACE DE VILLE
Best Film review Judged by: Nev Pierce, Total Film editor EMILY STEBBINGS
Best mainstream show Judged by: Andrew Burfoot, former Xpress Station Manager A DATE WITH HANNAH AND GAIL
Best critic Judged by: Charlie Brooker, G2 columnist MIKE RICHARDS
Best sports writer Judged by: Kevin MacCarra, chief football writer at the Guardian TOM WILLIAMS
Best black and white image Judged by: Jamie Bunce, professional photographer GNAITH NASSAR
Best specialist show Judged by: Huw Stevens and Bethan Elfan, Radio 1 presenters THE EXHIBITION
Best gair rhydd designer Judged by: Barry Ainslie, Guardian designer BEN BRYANT
Best news writer Judged by: Alan Edmunds, The Western Mail editor HELEN THOMPSON
Best news reader Judged by: Jamie Owen, BBC Wales Today anchor CARRIAN JONES
Best newcomer Judged by: Hiten Vaghmaria, BBC JAMES HOTHAM & JIMMY HOYLE
Best Quench photographer Judged by: Chris Casey, Kerrang! photographer JAMES PEROU
Best colour photo Judged by: Jamie Bunce, profressional photographer CHRIS LEIGH
Best Xpress interview Judged by: Tom Reeves, Red Dragon producer RACHEL HENSON
Best film Judged by: Richard Staniforth, Chairman of BAFTA Cymru A LIFE ASTRAY BY ROB CLIFFORD
Best short feature Judged by: Cathryn Scott, WM editor STEVE MYERSCOUGH Best music video and documentary Judged by: Richard Staniforth, Chairman of BAFTA Cymru GUAGLIONE BY ELLY MORRIS Best Interview Judged by: Rachel Howells, The Big Issue Cymru editor SI TRUSS
Best gair rhydd photographer Judged by: Mike Lusmore, South West news service MATT HORWOOD
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Best Producer Judged by: Chris North, Head of Talent, Wise Buddah JONATHAN MANNING
Best Xpress news reporter Judged by: Jon Snow, Channel 4 anchor LEE MACAULAY
Student Living With your friends
Judged by: Dewi Wyn Williams, S4C script editor DINNER DATE BY TIM BRANDON
Best digitally-manipulated image Judged by: Jamie Bunce, profressional photographer SARAH ETHERINGTON Best long feature Judged by: Aida Edemariam, Guardian feature writer HELEN THOMPSON Best screen play
Best presenter Judged by: Vicki Blight, Heart 106 Presenter SAM GOULD Best Quench section Judged by: Dylan Jones, GQ editor CULT CLASSICS Best gair rhydd section Judged by: Meirion Jones, Newsnight and former editor of gair rhydd SPORT Most dedicated Quench member Judged by: Sophie Robehmed, Quench editor SOFIE JENKINSON Most dedicated Xpress nonexec Judged by: Syd Lawrence, Xpress Station Manager LEE MACAULAY Most dedicated Xpress exec Judged by: Syd Lawrence, Xpress Station Manager RHIANNON FITZ-GERALD Most dedicated gair rhydd member Judged by: Perri Lewis, gair rhydd editor ANDY RENNISON
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Seriously, TV Marshall, what’s with all the pop?: May 7th - 14th
You Gotta Speed It Up And Then You Gotta Slow It Down
Velcro: Tits! 5 mins until the bus leaves and I haven’t got any shoes on. Ah! Velcro! Slip them on, Smash the Velcro across and you are laughing. Yes I know they look a bit like school shoes. Yes I can tie my own shoelaces I just choose not to. Leave me alone.
Soaps Daz is the name of a popular laundry detergent on the market in the United Kingdom. It is manufactured by Procter & Gamble. Aggressively marketed, it is associated in popular culture with the "Daz Doorstep Challenge" series of commercials, which saw various 'hosts' including Danny Baker, Shane Richie and Michael Barrymore surprising house occupiers at the door and asking them to put Daz to the test against a rival detergent. The advert was famously spoofed by Dom Joly in the British sketch series Trigger Happy TV where Dom would knock on doors presenting the 'zap mega' challenge. He then ran from the scene with the crew in tow, arms akimbo, legs flailing while the occupier went to retrieve a white garment. The occupier then returned to the door looking bemused.
o, seeing as it’s going to be the start of the exam period when you grasp this tome betwixt your sweaty fingers, you shouldn’t really be watching TV to be honest, you should be off learning things and writing essays and sobbing gently into your pillowcase (just me then?). Therefore, this week I thought I’d give you a heavy dose of escapism and remark upon the unhinged lunacy that is the Eurovision Song Contest. Now, as you may well know. I’m not one of these ‘LOL OMG EUROVISION IS WEL FUNI COZ LIKE THE MUSIC IS WEL GAY BUT I PRETEND TO LIEK IT COZ I AM WEL RANDUM!!!11!11 LOLOLOLO!!!!111!’ idiots, I actually sometimes genuinely love the acts that perform. It’s bubblegum chintz at it’s finest. This year, the British public have gone proper old skool in their choice for the British representation at this
Fudge Tunnel ❉■❆❉■❉▼❙
year’s competition. As you can’t have possibly failed to notice, the UK contingent to Eurovision are the magnificent Scooch. Scooch are a million times better than that home wrecking tramp that we tried to peddle the other year, *cough* JAVINE *cough* and also one of Scooch’s numbers appeared in that Boys Will Be Girls program, which obviously calls for some Bucks Fizz-esque shenannigans on stage. Sure all the miserable swines will be complaining because they aren’t serious and, oh I don’t know, don’t spend all their time living indoors wearing black lace and writing pseudo-intellectual poetry for the benefit of their cat. Yes they are dressed up as flight attendants, but that’s what makes them so thrillingly ace. Having spent the last week or so fretting about Corporate Law or Microbiology or even Golf Course planning, you can take your brain out, get tanked up and sit giggling
Bring Back... 19th Century English Lit.
So probably not an obvious choice, but considering gair rhydd telly is about pretty much everything but telly, I'm not too bothered to be honest. 19th Century literature is probably about as fun as a small child with AIDS, but I guess it has some pros, which is funnily enough why we want to bring it back. If you are lucky enough to study English Literature at mighty Cardiff, my good friend TV Marshall tells me he has Wednesday, Thursday and Friday off. What a stroke of good fortune. Whether this is true or not remains to be seen, but the next time somebody spits on me for being from JOMEC, I'm going to send them over to humanities. Bring it back because it's basically really, really light porn and you get to read about vampires and goblins and stuff. Vampires are whores, and the goblins make young girls suck juices off each other. They're sisters too. Now try and tell me literature isn't down with the kids yeah.
as a Baltic pop punk act sing like Busted speaking in tounges. It is the best form of escapism, and if you feel you can spare yourself the evening, I highly recommend that you watch it. Watch it because you love Europe and this program gives you a sense of togetherness with our continental brethren. Watch it because you hate Europe and just want to laugh at all the silly costumes. Watch it because we all need a bit of silly pop in our life. Watch it because Terry Wogan will inevitable be drunk off his everloving tits and will be making borderline racist assertions throughout the evening. Just be thankful that for one evening you can completely forget about everything in the world and just be thankful you aren’t Portuguese, as they first entered in 1964 and still haven’t won the bloody thing. That is a fact, knowledge is the bomb I THANK YOU. x
The Smelly Milk In The Office: No joke, this is singularly the worst smelling thing I have ever encountered. It smells like being inside the dead anus of a tramp, with warm vomit mixed in for good measure. Its only use as far as I can tell is for pissing TV Fran off by threatening to chuck it over her. Actually this is actually pretty ace.
Serious Cat Says:
“Porcelain tiles are growing in popularity in both the domestic and commercial market. Producers are now able to replicate a range of natural stones, finishes and designs but with the additional benefit of being durable, strong and easy to clean.”
Sport Big week for obese men in tight shirts this week AKA sports fans, it’s the bloody FA cup final isn’t it?! What everyone loves about the FA Cup is it’s the only competition where even the smallest clubs get a chance to battle it against the best, and put their name next to a famous cup upset. Oh yes this truly is the magic of the FA cup, and you can catch conference struggling side Manchester United Vs recently bankrupt Chelsea in this year’s passionate local affair. Load of ol’ bollocks if you ask me.
TV Grapevine Oooh Doctor Who gossip! So, John Simm is indeed the Master, but in a bizarre twist, it will be revealed that John Simm is also the 11th Doctor. See, because the Master has run out of regenerations he has taken over the Doctor's next incarnation. Tennant defeats him, but only to be forced to regenerate again into John Simm. Now you know why he only did two series of Life on Mars. However, this is all by the by really, because if you are genuinely interested in this shite then you are an insufferable geek and I want you off my damn TV page. Serious! xxx
The de Ville’s Advocate This Week: I’m the last of the famous international playboys. Honest.
The Final Countdown I suppose the burning question that’s occupying my wizened brain this afternoon is: WHO WILL CAPTAIN MY SHIP? Will YOU? Yes, I’m about to jump overboard, and the lack of successor is immolating my mind. It’s literally charred. I’m going to call myself Charlotte from now on. One is planning to escape from this publication in the not-too-distant future, and therefore requires a sympathetic, empathetic, pathetic, heretic to carry on my (good) work in the field of Agonising. My credentials were impeccable. Not only did I once shine the brogues of Virginia Ironside, I’ve also shared ice-lollies with Irma Kurtz SEVERAL TIMES. Dear Deidre can FUCK RIGHT OFF. The time has come to shake hands with obese, aubergine-faced men in boardrooms, smoke cigars with a larger circumference than my own face and eat with a fork AND a knife. I’m going to be a real grown-up, and perhaps I might slice your head off with the severity of my shoulder-pad angles. I’d watch out if I were you. And in the Real World, people aren’t going to argue whether The Byrds murdered Mr Tambourine Man. They won’t wear flip flops in extreme weather conditions and they’ll look at road signs, read them, and carry on their merry way without feeling the need to touch them at all. Perhaps the new Agony Aunt/Uncle might be adept at desktop publishing software, instead of spending a great deal of time shouting bad things at the monitor and then realising that the screen has absolutely nothing to do with the format of the page and then deciding that pressing buttons on a mouse might be more conducive to a healthy newspaper page. I haven’t got a clue. I can’t even remember my own postcode; let alone how to format a text box. Anyway, I’m fucking off to a menial job in the service industry. I’ll spend each day trying to master the ‘expert’ level of Minesweeper and failing miserably. Each evening will be spent drinking wine from Marks and Spencer and watching Who Wants to be a Millionaire? All the while I’ll be hating Chris Tarrant for being an adulterous bile-faced Presenter of Doom. The hate will probably mangle me. I’ll have to wear a neck brace and walk around with one of those orthopaedic platform shoes on. Yeah, so if you want to do this page then pen me a note. Flowers are always welcome.
Always take the weather with you Dear Grace,
If I had to choose one thing that pisses me off most, it’d be the rain. It goes without saying that it’s wet and damp and fluid and generally harrowing. Whenever it rains, my hair defies the laws of physics and tries to escape from my scalp in all manner of directions. I’ve no suitable footwear to see me through these watery times and I can’t leave the house without being dripped on. People seem to purposely jab me with their umbrella prongs. I can’t take it anymore; I just can’t. The weather is stalking me with its clouds and propensity for puddles and, inevitably, trench foot.
What do you want from me? What could I possibly do to alter the meteorological condition under which we are currently enslaved? Can I stop asking questions? Do I have any answers? Are you under the impression that I am the possessor of climate-changing powers? I could well be. It’s just part of my brain that electro-convulsive therapy hasn’t zapped into attention yet. It’s only a matter of time. Until then, I’ll forward this on to the Met Office. I’m sure they’ll be delighted to help. Michael Fish loves to help. He’s filled to the brim with help. When I chatted with him earlier, he revealed that:
Help me before I become housebound!
“Currently there are no indications of an increased risk of a particularly dry or particularly wet summer.”
It’s a good job those weather-
studying bastards have got our backs. Thanks for those enlightening comments, Mike. Michael Fish is so damn coy, like a carp. I’d like to touch Michael Fish. I don’t think he’d enjoy being touched by me. Aside from my fascination with all things Michael Fishish, I don’t have much of an interest in isobars or areas of low pressure. I’d advise you to seal yourself up. Buy yourself a brush of the finest horse hair you can acquire and paint yourself all over with a bitumen solution. I’m currently covered with a patchy film of tar myself. Anything a motorway can do, I can do better. FACT.
I sincerely wish you all the best during this precipitous spell. Much love, Grace xxx
Student in ‘Paranoia’ Shocker Dear Grace, I am wondering if you could help me with what I worry is a spy on the perimeter of the house I share with my friends in Cathays. Sometimes when it's late at night and I am working hard on revision and procrastinating on Wikipedia by reading about the Red Arrows and various methods of anaesthetic, like morphine, I can see a light clicking on and off in a neighbour's window across the back yards. Usually I'd ignore this but of late I've noticed it happening when the rest of my housemates are asleep, and when I've got the subtle 'work' lights on in my room. Worse still is when I go to have a cigarette at the back door. I decided to turn the lights off last night to see if I could see anyone with surveillance equipment peering down at me, but to my
horror saw a naked couple with binoculars looking across at my back yard. I don't know what to do or why they are looking at me, because my house is not very interesting and I am not a criminal. Would it be rude if I assembled a team of people to stare back up at them? Or should I start leaving posters on all of our windows that say rude things about spies? Thanks, A Worried Jeff, Cathays Dearest Jeff, I must first confess that I was once a witness to a naked couple having it away in a chalet at Pontins with the curtains open. I wasn’t spying, but a chum of mine did capture the incident on his mobile telephone. It was all kinds
of wrong, really. I wonder if they’ve somehow tracked me to Cardiff and are now subjecting others to their extreme nakedness. Did the gentleman have a comb-over? OH GOD, I bet he did. He’s after me. I do look a lot like a Jeff. Lock all your doors and tape some black sugar paper over any unfrosted windows. I can’t be sure if they intend to use violence. Binoculars HAVE been known to be used as weaponry in times where financial reasons have depleted the military’s arsenal. Stow yourself away in a wardrobe, arm yourself with a breezeblock and await further instruction. OVERANDOUT GolfRomeoAlphaCharlieEcho xxx
P. S. I’m really very sorry for any inconvenience I may have caused you. I’ll buy you a drink sometime.
Someone could well be sliding a butter knife under my cheeks and rubbing their knuckles into my eye sockets. It could also be that I’ve got a mammoth of a headache. It’s making my face look a little bit like I’ve been in a fight. I haven’t. I can’t really remember what my visage looked like before these sour times. How very sad.
FIVE MINUTE FUN SUDOKU 6 3
Calling all concubines Fed up with looking for the french hunchback who you suspect is living near Splott market and has yellow curtains? Why not let us entertain you with some facts about famous prostitutes...
! SingDisney -a- long
5 4 HOW TO PLAY SUDOKU: Fill in the numbers. And he doesn’t look a thing like Jesus. More than a woman..more than a woman to meeee. Take a look at me now.
bahbeedoopdoopdoobeedoop Now I'm the king of the swingers ohhhh the jungle VIP I've reached the top and had to stop And that's what's been botherin' me I wanna be a man, mancub And stroll right into town
ACROSS 1 Mind your manners (6) 4 Connect (6) 7 Sketched (4) 8 Grotesque imitiation (8) 9 Embarrassed (7) 12 Severe discomfort (3) 14 Recess in wall (6) 15 Reward (6) 16 Free of moisture (3) 18 Give up (7) 22 Legitimate target (4,4) 23 Sea- rescue group (inits) (4) 25 Jam ingredient (6)
Here at FMF we’re f**ked off with the general public’s ignorance of what should be part of everybody’s lyrical vocabulary. To save you from yourself, here are the words to some well know classics. Sing along now children...
DOWN 1 Minder (9) 2 Social ranking (9) 3 Crowd actor (5) 4 Die down (5) 5 Rain heavily (4) 6 Ship,--- Sark (5) 10 Destruction, damage (5) 11 Low dull sound (5) 12 Crisp biscuit (6,3) 13 Medical practitioner(9) 17 Respond (5) 19 Speak at length (5) 20 Crawl, tread (5) 21 Melodic song (4)
1. Sophie Davies has recently been heralded as the ‘Whore of Babylon’, her business cards read; ‘The Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth’. 2. Estimates of the prevalence of incest among prostitutes range from 65% to 90%. 3. According to last years tax forms Twice as Nice turns over £1,000,000 each month. That equals 300,000 hand jobs, 45,000 full sex acts and 3 back massages. And they only have 4 members of staff. Those Poles sure are hard workers. 4. Although Mary Magdeiline was not in fact a prostitue rumour has it she did get around all 12 apostles. Was the last supper a swinger shindig (avec toe sucking)? We’ll never know...
And be just like the other men I'm tired of monkin’ around! Oh, oobee doo (hoopdeewee) I wanna be like yoo-hoo-hoo (hapdeedoobydoowop) I wanna walk like you (cheep) Talk like you (cheep), too-oo-o (weebydeebydeewoo) You'll see it's true (shoobedeedoo) An ape like mee-e-e (scoobeedoobeedoobeep) Can learn to be huu-uuu-uman too-oo-oo! Now here's your part of the deal, cuz... Lay the secret on me of man's red fire But I don't know how to make fire Now don't try to kid me, mancub I made a deal with you What I desire is man's red fire To make my dream come true Now gimme the secret, mancub C’mon. Clue me what to do Give me the power of man's red flower So I can be like you (hot funky trumpet stuff)
found on facebook Post them up on da’book at the ‘found on facebook’ group
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WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN
WIN tickets to Grand Designs Live
ancy a bit of celebrity spotting on a weekend? Grand Designs Live will be the place to be on June 8-10. It’s tempting enough just to see the hunk that is Kevin McCloud. The show returns to ExCeL in London for the third year and is set to be even more popular with new show features, more celebrities and more expert advice. Based on the popular talkbackTHAMES series for Channel 4 and presented by design expert Kevin McCloud, this year’s event will play host to over 600 carefully selected exhibitors, from the Interiors, Garden, Build and Kitchen and Bathroom sectors. Kevin McCloud will be joined by a host of well-known personalities to form an impressive celebrity lineup over the three days including favourites from previous years’ shows Naomi Cleaver and Diarmuid Gavin. At Grand Designs Live London 2007 visitors will get access to six shows for the price of one, with GRANDInteriors, GRANDBuild, GRANDGardens, GRANDKitchens, GRANDBathrooms and The Design Shopping Arcade. What’s more, a comprehensive free seminar programme with new speakers for the ExCeL London event and numerous live demonstrations will run throughout the three days for those seeking advice or conducting fact-finding research. For your chance to win a pair
of tickets to this year’s Grand Designs Live show in London, simply answer the following question: Grand Designs Live 2007 will combine how many shows under one roof? 1) 3 2) 4 3) 5 4) 6 Send your answer to the usual address at the top of the page and the first five correct entries will win a pair of tickets.
For further information, or if you want to purchase more tickets to this year’s event then call - 0870 380 0341 or www.granddesignslive.com
What can I expect from my free jolly to Grand Designs Live? GRANDBuild – Providing everything visitors need to know to feel comfortable with each stage of the build process, from planning through to construction and fitting out a Grand Design. GRANDGardens – Full of products, services, ideas and information for outdoor living, from full redesign, to timber decking and planting schemes. GRANDInteriors – Explore the world of furnishing and decoration, with something to suit all styles and purses, from the latest technology and most innovative furniture, as well as product design businesses. GRANDKitchens – Showcasing cutting-edge cooking spaces and kitted-out kitchens. The exhibitors in this section will be on hand to demonstrate the latest appliances and offer design guidance. GRANDBathrooms – The sleekest bathroom designs and stateof-the-art technologies will be on show, with experts to show where they will work best in the home. The Design Shopping Arcade – An exclusive collection of designer furnishings, many of which are not available to buy on the high street. From cushions and lampshades to artwork, jewellery and ceramics, providing the finishing touches to any Grand Design.
kate-boarding, sex, violence, rascism and punk rock your thing? How about a copy of Larry Clarks’ Wassup Rockers to add to your DVD collection? Wassup Rockers is a blend of gritty documentary realism and stylish urban drama set on the streets of South Central LA. The real-life story is based on the experiences of a group of Latino teens who, instead of getting involved with the hip hop culture of their neighbourhood, choose to wear their clothes tight, ride their skateboards and listen to punk rock. Constantly harassed for being different, they have to fight to be them-
selves and avoid the violence of their dangerous home turf. One morning, the Rockers decide to skate the world famous “Nine Stairs” at Beverley Hills High School that is featured in their skating videos. There they meet some rich girls who are attracted to these funky punks from the ghetto - but they soon find themselves in trouble with the rich girls’ rich boyfriends, and are ousted by the Beverley Hills Police simply because they don’t belong there. Trying to
escape arrest by the police and fighting local kids, the Rockers run from house to house in a desperate attempt to escape this wealthy foreign world and get back to the normality and relative safety of their South Central homes. Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Larry Clark (Kids, Bully, Another Day in Paradise), Wassup Rockers stars South Central Los Angeles Street Kids in the leading roles and also international supermodel Janice Dickinson. Random. For a chance to win one of two copies of Wassup Rockers on DVD just answer the following question: Which hit US show can Janice Dickinson be seen on? A) America’s Got Talent? B) America’s Next Top Model? C) America’s Worst Driver Email the usual address.
See Coldcut at Coal Exchange
oldcut land at Cardiff’s Coal Exchange on May 19 and you can be in with a chance of winning a pair of tickets to the gig. Support comes from Does It Offend You, Yeah?, Parker & Moneyshot + special guests and visuals from Pictureworks. The tour follows the phenomenally successful sound mirrors world tour last year, and will see Coldcut exclusively bring their next installment of audio/visual mash ups. It'll be a case of what you see is what you hear, as they slice, cut, dice, layer, mash, process and chop a cast of 1000s on the big screen - from B-boy breaks, hipster film references, cartoons, politicians, Ninja Tune party classics and their own twisted back catalogue. Most people come into music, do the same thing for a few years, slowly
sink back into obscurity and spend the rest of their life collecting publishing royalties and re-forming for tribute tours. The problem with Coldcut is that, despite their veteran status, they act like two unruly children who just won't sit still. Musically, they have continued to refine and develop both their skills and their style so that, after a twenty-yearcareer at the forefront they can honestly claim that this is their best, most complete album to date, utterly contemporary, as fresh as the day they started. Maybe they've remained masters by remaining unruly schoolchildren. Who knows? All that matters is that the masters are back. Tickets are £15 from Spillers or the Uni box office. Or if you’re quick enough, you can get a apair for free by emailing the grab address.
Arty Farty Party I f you’ve ever wandered around art galleries wondering how and when you would ever be able to afford such expensive art work, then the Bristol Affordable Art Fair may be just right for you. The Affordable Art Fair takes place at the Passenger Shed in Bristol from May 18-20. It is a key event in the capital’s art calendar, and around 55 galleries will be exhibiting paintings, sculpture, photography and original prints ranging from a nice £50 to a rather expensive £3,000. It is the largest art fair in the West of England and regularly attracts over 6,000 visitors who in total spend over £1 million. It's the perfect hunting ground to pick up a contemporary piece of art to add a touch of individuality to your home. In addition, Will Ramsay, Founder of the Fair, provides his top tips on how to 'Shop Savvy' and make the most from your visit. If you’re interested in paying the fair a visit, gair rhydd can give you a 2-4-1 offer. Entry price is £5 on the door, but you can get it for £2.50 each by taking along this page.
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This week: 2/3 of The Jam return (!!!), and Listings gets its teeth into Derren Brown: D e rren Brown @ St David s Hall
Wed. 16 May 7.30pm/Sold out Listings Editor Jenna Harris recommends
erren Brown, magician/psycological performance dude, is one of the most irritating people on screens at the moment. Which is precisely what makes him so enigmatic and addictive to watch. With his Russian Roulette ‘gun stunt’, who really belived that Channel 4 would ever allow anyone, never mind a ‘celebrity’, to take part in a stunt that like that? Not that the safety of the Brown was ever in doubt- there were rumours of him not using ‘real’, i.e. deadly, bullets, and that’s assuming that after patently attempting to
dupe the British public through his television ‘seance’, he could be trusted to do anything in earnest. Saying all of that, he clearly has a number of psychological tricks up his sleeve that are really quite impressive. His guessing of words and phrases when telling randoms off the street to imagine well, random things, is baffling in a good way. Then, after watching his recent television show Trick or Treat (yes, I unashamedly slag him off yet line his pockets through watching his programmes), emerged the most hilarious image ever. Brown arrived at someone’s house in the middle of the night, made him sign a contract, then hours later said man found himself in Morocco, with no concept of how he got there. Fantastic. There’s no denial that the man isn’t an intelligent, enigmatic performer, and I for one would much rather have him than the overblown ludicruousness of David Blaine. If you want entertainment then Brown is certain to deliver. Just try and make sure that you aren’t a recipient of his magic. Though, to be fair, I personally wouldn’t object that strongly if I were suddenly sent to Morocco.
Girls Aloud - 23 May @ CIA...The Who - 1 June @ Swansea...Paul Weller - 20 June @ Newport Centre...Kings of Leon 5 July @ CIA...Damien Rice - 12 Oct @ CIA... Fflam Festival: Manic Street Preachers / Placebo / Feeder (plus others) - 12-15 July @ Singleton Park, Swansea...
illusionist/magician/psycho TV bloke
Fun Factory @ Solus, SU Cardiff’s own alternative music night. Also features DJing by Oddsoc and bands put on by LMS in the live music room. 10pm - 2am. Free entry with NUS. £3 otherwise. The Jazz Attic @ Cafe Jaz Jam in a jazzy manner with the house jazz trio. All instruments and singers are welcome. £2/£1 if you perform. Arrive early. Vodka Island @ Tiger Tiger Wales’ superclub. 9.30pm - 2am. £4. OrangeGoblin/Solace/Soloman/Kane/Zum bar @ At Clwb Ifor Bach This old school British heavy rock band are screaming loud and clear to be the voice of their genre. But to be quite honest their shouting is just too loud and not at all clear. Maybe one to miss. 7.30 pm. £7.50 Il Divo @ CIA Four classically trained male singers take popular songs and give them a more sophisticated edge. They seem to succeed in the impossible task of blurring the line between classical music and cheese-tatsic pop. £40 - £25. SOLD OUT. Duke Special/Beth Rowley @ The Point Duke Special is a singer/songwriter from Belfast. A unique live show that mixes an old gramophone with strong vocals, piano rifts and the occasional fiddle. Supported by Beth Rowley, a talented. young musician from Bristol. 7.30pm. £9
Tuesday 15/05 Forecast @ Buffalo Bar The usual Forecast DJs spin the decks. 8pm - 3am. Free. LMS Open Mic Night @ Buffalo Meanwhile, in another room at the same venue, LMS host their open mic night. 8pm. Free. Planet Rock @ Clwb Ifor Bach The one and only rock request night, originating from a Cardiff music society way back. You ask, and they play the rock, metal and goth classics. You can also request via MySpace.com/planet_rock_club. 9pm 2pm. £3. Roots Unearthed: Van Eyken @ St David's Hall Howdy folks! If you like your music with a touch of...folk, then this guy is for you. He was a winner of the 1998 Radio2 Young Folk Award. However, don’t be fooled by this crap title, Tim Van Eyken displays an array of musical skills with one of the most recognisable voices in folk. Joined by Nancy Kerr, Oliver Knight and more. For ticket info and times contact the venue diectly. Jack Rose & The Gentle Good @ Buffalo Bar Ex Pelt member Rose is a vituoso guitarist who combines traditional American folk with stylish blues. 8pm. £6 in advance
Rubber Duck @ Solus, SU Dressed up clubbing for jocks and pretend jocks. 10pm. £3. Popscene @ Clwb Ifor Bach Three floors, three different club nights. 9.30pm. £3. Cheapskates @ Metros Indie, alternative and cheese, mixed together with £1.09 house doubles. Oh, and don’t forget the smell of sweat. Still, it is Metros and the sweaty ambiance is what makes it so good. £6. 8pm-3pm. Help She Can't Swim/The Pistolas/Kick Box Riot @ Barfly Club Lo-fi indie-pop band Swim are a riotous live band who love the idea of being thought of as ‘mental’. But when you know someone’s trying to be mental, it’s not so mental. Just rather annoying. Apparently they’re a cross between Sonic youth and Pretty Girls Make Graves. But fear not, I don’t know who they are either. The Pitolas, however, are worth a look, a barage rock/garage noise. 8pm. For ticket info contact the venue directly (or just don’t bother, have an ice-cream instead). JimJam @ Clwb Tafod (NosDa), 53-59 Despenser St. Live bands/acoustic open mic night. 8.30pm-1am. Free. For more information, contact venue on 02920 37 88 66.
Mr Hudson & The Library @ Barfly Club An outsider by his own admission, Mr Hudson fuses r’n’b & hip-hop beats with classic lyrics and has proved a surprising success. With influences including Dr Dre, Andre 3000 and The Lemon Heads, Mr Hudson along with his band The Library, has a unique hybrid of different styles and instruments which creates an intriguing must-see experience. 7.30pm. SOLD OUT.
Pick Of The Day 65 Days Of Static/Josh T Pearson/Miriamiar Disaster @ The Point Static are a young band based in Sheffield. Ents24 reckons, “They are hard at work breaking fuzzy glitch-beats with their guitars” - I’ll take their word for it...Josh T(to his mates) is a bearded deep-south son of a preacher-man who has an impressive arsenal of acousitc material together with plenty of ‘fire and brimstone’ packed lyrics. An enchanting live performer. 7pm. £8 in advance.
Pick Of The Day The Balance Present: Betty @ The Point Yanky all girl group Betty have starred in their own musical in the states and their music featured alot in the contraversial dyke-fest television show The L-Word. I’m not sure what it means if you go and watch this band. You are either there purely for the music, or you have some perverse hope of seeing some kind of TATU-esq lesbian love-in. There’s only one way to find out. 7.30pm. £12.50.
Access all Areas @ Solus SU New Look Friday...Another Union event, another way to make people drunk. Promises the best alternative music and beats for you to boogie to. 10pm - 2am. £3.50 / £3 adv. The Dudes Abide @ Clwb Ifor Bach Music for those who love music. An indie and retro night that takes in the heady landscape created by the likes of Hendrix, the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and Dusty Springfield. 10.pm – 2.30am. £3.50 / £4. Mad4It! @ Barfly DJ Mike TV comperes an indietastic night of your favourite alternative music, ranging from the Strokes to the Smiths to absolutely everything in between. 10.30pm - 2am. £5. Chris Corcoran / Chris McCausland / JoJo Smith / Jeff Innocent @ Jongleurs Ticket includes free entry to Club Risa - dancing until 2am. To book tickets visit www.jongleurs.com or call 0870 787 0707. Chris McCausland is a blind comedian. Even more impressive is his attitude towards his disability. Ents 24.com has reported that, at performances, ‘Chris McCausland makes light of it. He usually begins with a crack about the irony of a blind comedian doing obervation comedy’ Chris Corcoran is the previous winner of ITV's 'Take The Mike' comedy competition. 8pm. £8.
Come Play @ Solus, SU Union-run night of rock, pop, dance and general debauchery. Party tunes in the main room and Traffic DJing in the side room. 10pm. £3.50. Fly Swatter @ Barfly Indie party fest that mixes up the best music with the even better. Bring your funky selves along. 10.30pm. £5 NUS. Under The Carpet: Theatr Iolo @ Sherman Theatre Because Listings hasn’t forgotten the kiddies. Or even the big kid in you, assuming that, like me, there are some Twenty-something big kids around. A new play for the very young by Sarah Argent. The Cardiff-based Theatr Iolo have been creating drama since the Eighties. 11am/2pm. £5. Titanic: Llandaff Musical Society @ Sherman Theatre Because it’s not just about Winslet, DiCaprio or DiCaprio’s former tween idol self. Now they’ve both moved on to better things (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Catch Me If You Can are just two of their respective better films), the Sherman is running a production that follows the doomed ship's historic voyage and the tragic events of 15th April 1915. 7.30pm. £11 / £9.
Pick Of The Day Andrew Lawrence / Dave Johns / James Cook @ The Glee Club Comedy night followed by late bar & disco. Visit www.glee.co.uk for further information. Chortle, laughter experts if one were to go by their name, have described Andrew Lawrence as the 'Leonard Cohen of comedy', (he) is the master of his game. '… a hard act to follow.' Geordie stand-up Dave Johns is a fair bit experience- he has numerous TV and radio credits to his name. James Cook is compere at The Comedy Kav at Patrick Kavannagh Bar in Birmingham. 7.45pm. £6-£13.
Pick of the Day BBC National Orchestra of Wales: Chamber Music at Lunchtime - The Aquarius Ensemble @ St David’s Hall The orchestra present a varied programme of chamber music, performed in the Level Three foyer. It features works by Handel (Concerto Grosso No.10), Britten (Phantasy Oboe quartet) and Villa-Lobos (Bachiana Brasileira No. 6 for flute and bassoon). Performers include Tomoka Mukai on flute, Jaroslaw Augustyniak on bassoon and Sarah Jayne Porsmoguer on oboe. 2pm. Free.
Open Mike (Upstairs) @ Buffalo Bar An intimate and relaxed atmosphere where you can experience live acoustic acts, songwriters and performers, as well as participating yourself. 8pm - 3am. £1. The Hop @ Buffalo Bar The resident DJs present 50s night: rock ‘n’ roll, jive, rockabilly and psychobilly. 8pm 3am. Free. Nas @ SU Hip-hopper Nas hops over the channel to bring it to the Cardiff massive. He has worked in the music industry for 10 years and is rated in the rap/hip-hop world for the quality of his lyrics. He’s also notable for his marriage to r’n’b princess Kelis. Said to be energetic live, if you are into this genre of music then it should be a rather good night. 7pm. £20. From Autumn to Ashes / Drop Dead Gorgeous / Cry For Silence @ Barfly Club Seventies power pop with Drop Dead Gorgeous, ‘metalcore’ (hmm, sounds uplifting) from Long Island’s From Autumn to Ashes and melodic metal with the metally and metallic Cry for Silence. 8pm. £9. Marty Wilde And The Wildcats @ St David's Hall 50s/60s pop singer, and former matinee idol, fronts a veritable nostalgia fest for the grandparents. He has been in ‘showbiz’ for a mind boggling 50 years. 7.30pm. £15.50.
Pick Of The Day
Pick Of The Day Nine Black Alps @ Clwb Ifor Bach Indie rock sensibilities from the hyped up big thing of a few years back. Perhaps a bit too hyped in retrospect. Whatever, tonight’s as good an opportunity as any to see what they are like for yourselves if you aren’t familiar with their music. They have been compared to both the Pixies and Elliot Smith, apparently. 8pm. £7.50.
The Bait Shop @ Barfly For alternative music fans, the Barfly has handily provided this club night, named after the establishment frequented on The O.C., to minister to your musical needs. 10.30pm. £3/2 NUS. Laser Safari @ Buffalo Bar A night of live indie music and DJs. 8pm £4. The Unsigned Band Connection: Milano / The Stop Motion Men / The South Wales Police @ Callaghan's Milano are a trio formed in 2006. The indie rockers are apparently catchy and melodic. Turn up to catch them and the other groups playing. 9pm - 2am. £1. SwitchedOn Sherman: Scriptslam @ Sherman Theatre Regular session devoted to developing new writing talents. There will be four 15 minute pieces written by four new writers and the audience votes for the piece they would most like to see developed. 8pm. £3. Julia Harris / The Tuesdays @ The Point Dredlocked nu folk singer. 7.30pm. £7. Pick Of The Day Topman NME Music Tour 2007: Rumble Strips / Pull Tiger Tail / The Little Ones / Blood Red Shoes @ Coal Exchange Blood Red Shoes are a mixed sex duo from London, influenced by The Slits and Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Pull Tiger Tail apparently formed over a milkshake in New Orleans on a road trip across America. They are signed to B-Unique Records. Devon’s the Rumble Strips have a singer who used to be in Vincent Vincent and the Villains. Oh, and they are quite good. The Little Ones are from California (oh, how great it would be if we all could be). Soundsxp says that they make '...fizzy pop tones with a slightly quirky aftertaste, the sort of back-to-front pop that makes Grandaddy and The Spinto Band so listenable.' 7pm. £7.50.
Students’ Union, Park Place 02920 387421 www.cardiffstudents.com Med Club, Neuadd Meirionydd, Heath Park 02920 744948 Clwb Ifor Bach (The Welsh Club), 11 Womanby Street 02920 232199 www.clwb.net Barfly, Kingsway Tickets: 08709070999 www.barflyclub.com/cardiff Metros, Bakers Row 02920 399939 www.clubmetropolitan.com Dempseys, Castle Street 02920 252024 Moloko, 7 Mill Lane 02920 225592 Incognito, Park Place 02920 412190 Liquid, St. Mary Street 02920 645464 www.liquid-online.com The Philharmonic, 76-77 St. Mary Street 02920 230678 Café Jazz, 21 St. Mary Street 02920 387026 www.cafejazzcardiff.com The Riverbank Hotel, Despenser Street www.riverbankjazz.co.uk St. David’s Hall, The Hayes 02920 878444 www.stdavidshallcardiff.co.uk Chapter Arts Centre, Market Road, Canton 02920 304400 www.chapter.org Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff Bay 0870 0402000 www.wmc.org.uk The New Theatre, Park Place 02920 878889 www.newtheatrecardiff.co.uk The Sherman Theatre, Senghennydd Road 02920 646900 www.shermantheatre.co.uk The Glee Club, Mermaid Quay 0870 2415093 www.glee.co.uk Cardiff International Arena, Mary Ann Street 02920 224488 The Millennium Stadium Can’t miss it. www.millenniumstadium.com The Point, Cardiff Bay 029 2046 0873. www.thepointcardiffbay.com
Boxing on the ropes? PHOTO: ADAM GASSON
Scott D’Arcy examines whether boxing has gone downhill in recent years
FIGHT NIGHT: Not so exciting
Comment FIGHT NIGHT is supposed to be an exciting prospect. It is supposed to make you cancel all other plans and, unless you can afford a ticket, sit in front of the television with a take-away, channelling all concentration on the black box in front of you. And in this case, bigger really is better (mine is 17 inches, I measured). Lately though, I have been unable to focus, seeking solace in the latest unfinished sudoku or internet poker. The article in last week’s gair rhydd made me think about the current state of boxing, in this country and in the US, where it is reportedly losing viewers to a new brand of ‘blood sport’ called the UFC [The Ultimate Fighting Championship]. Reasons for this wane in popularity could be the high ticket prices, considering that it cost around £200 to get a decent view of the recent Joe Calzaghe fight (at the Millennium Stadium), which saw three of Britain’s top fighters all win within three full rounds. Hardly your money’s worth and I bet the drink was not cheap either. I am aware that it was a record capacity crowd for a British boxing match but I doubt the same 35,000 people would turn up again if there was another fight in July. Another black mark on boxing’s scorecard is the frustrating ranking system, made complicated by the four different governing bodies. Why there needs to be an IBF world champion as well as a WBC, WBO and WBA one has me clawing at my scalp. This of course then limits the options for challenges, as each body has its own mandatory challenger for each weight limit and so there is a dis-
tinct lack of ‘super-fights’ between socalled world champions. Belts are taken away from champions quicker than it takes them to earn them. And these ‘super fights’ are not living up to their billing either. For those who witnessed the latest ‘super-fight’ between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Oscar De La Hoya, there was a distinct sense of anti-climax. It had been billed as one of the biggest fights ever, yet De La Hoya was punching the air, landing only 122 of his 587 punches thrown and receiving 207 in return, according to official figures. Still the $23m he received for the fight will be a nice cushion for him to rest his battered cheek bones on. The fight did last the distance and was a close call as two judges out of three ruled in the favour of Mayweather Jr. But frankly, the buildup was more exciting. I do not want to make this seem like a rant against boxing, because I am a fan, but I do feel that it needs serious cosmetic surgery if the sport is going to be as attractive as it used to be. As for UFC, well, boxing will never match it for its diversity of fighting styles or seemingly greater sense of danger. But I see no reason to suggest why you could not be fans of both and that boxing can correct its errors before it loses its footing by taking examples from UFC. From the outside it makes sense to unite the governing bodies and have an undisputed world champion in each weight class. It also seems obvious that fights are well matched and rankings reflect accurately a fighter’s record and form. These reform proposals are nothing new, but then boxing does not need to be knocked down and built up again, it simply needs to remember its roots and let its fists, rather than its wallet, do the talking.
Snooker players need a rest Comment Dan Peacey Snooker Reporter “GREAT, back to normal TV!” cry the majority of people that think the World Snooker Championship is far too long. After all, it takes up the TV schedule for 17 days. Yet for me and other hardcore snooker fans up and down the country, it is 17 days of absolute bliss. But for most of us students that like watching the beautiful game, it really messes up our revision timetable. People say things like: “I’ll just watch this frame and then do some revision”. The frame concludes and they are subsequently hooked. However, I think it would be a good idea to introduce ‘rest days’ and implement them after the quarter-finals and just before the final. This would give players more time to recover both physically and mentally, making it more likely for them to
perform at the top of their game. Although that would extend the tournament to 20 days, it is a change worth making if the standard of snooker is to improve further. I know that some professionals would not like the day off because it could break the momentum that they have built during the tournament. Yet this change would be fair to all players concerned, because it would treat all competitors in exactly the same way. Meanwhile, people have argued that this event should be moved away from Sheffield and around the country so that everyone nationwide can gain access to this special event. But if that happens, the magic and history of 30 great years at the Crucible will be lost. Those maximum breaks and those amazing comebacks will be forgotten. Speaking of amazing comebacks, I will now turn my attention to Mark Selby, the “Jester from Leicester”, who played in his first ever final against John Higgins last week. I must admit that Higgins and Selby
were the best two players overall. But after the first day of the final where Higgins led 12 – 4, people were not talking about if Higgins would prevail. Rather, it became a matter of when Higgins won. Everyone was expecting Higgins to run away with it with a session to spare. In my opinion, this would have been unfair on Selby, who played some memorable snooker to get through to the final. Like all good Englishmen, I enjoy supporting the underdogs and my faith in him was still as strong as ever. I have never supported any other snooker player like I supported Selby in these last two weeks. Before the second day got underway, I wrote a note on a local snooker forum predicting that if Selby won the first frame then he would win six or maybe seven frames. Everyone on the forum just laughed at me. But my prediction came true as Selby won the first six frames and reduced the deficit to 10 – 12. Yet disaster struck when the players were
pulled off with two frames left in the third session. As the six frames had taken too long, organisers felt the players had to leave the table early to get some rest ahead of the evening session. Personally, I think that the organisers need to re-think the starting times for the final in particular as 3pm and 8pm is simply too late. If the third session began on Monday at 1pm, there would have been more time for the two extra frames to be played. Possibly, Selby could have used his momentum to level the match at 12 – 12. It wasn’t meant to be. As it happened, the final eventually ended at 1am on Tuesday morning with Higgins coming out victorious 18 – 13. Yet if it went to a final frame decider, who was to say that it wouldn’t have finished at 3 or 4am? So in closing, I would say that you can compare all the drama, twists and turns of a Shakespearian play to that of 17 days of World Championship snooker. Is the tournament too long? Well it is, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Snooker pick up wooden spoon DURING the Easter holidays, six members of Cardiff University Snooker Club went to Glasgow to represent Wales in the BUSA Home Nations tournament. Although a depleted Welsh team sadly lost all of their matches in the competition, Snooker Club President Ben Chung remained upbeat afterwards. He said: “I’m very happy for the whole team. We showed a lot of spirit and enthusiasm and never looked like giving up. “In my opinion, our performance has exceeded my expectations considering I had less than two weeks to find a team. “A lot of my first choices were unavailable to play so the team wasn’t at full strength to start with. In the end, we all had fun and that’s what we came to do.” Each team was required to play one another in a league format. All nations had six players, who each played a total of three frames against an opponent, making the entire match consist of 18 frames. The tournament started for Wales with the match against England, who were the eventual winners of the tournament. Wales suffered a heavy defeat in this match, losing out 15-3, with Dan Morris taking 2 frames, and Neil Fairbrother the other. Day One finished with the match against Ireland. This was Wales’ closest match, with Dan Morris taking three frames for Wales. In addition, Ben Chung and Joe Merola won two apiece while Neil Fairbrother notched one. This meant that Wales could have won this fixture, although they narrowly lost 10-8 in the end. Wales subsequently suffered heavy defeats to hosts Scotland and Northern Ireland.
HIGGINS: World champion
Dunsford does it for 2s Justin Yau Cricket Reporter
CARDIFF’S 2ND XI stretched their winning streak to three games in the BUSA League as they took a three wicket victory at Clifton College, Bristol, against UWE.
Having lost the toss, the UWE captain’s decision to bat backfired spectacularly when they were reduced to 3 - 3 after 7 overs. Opening pair Simon Williams bowled a miserly spell of 72-16-3, while Pratheesh Raj Pal was equally unimpressive in his first three overs going for just a single run. Cardiff were looking to bowl UWE
The Scoreboard St. Marys won toss Cardiff 1sts Lloyd c Bale b Collins . . . . . . .17 Cox c Poynter b Jeyaratnam . . .60 Butterworth st Bale b King . . . . .4 Fury lbw b Collins . . . . . . . . . . .0 Allen lbw b Jeyaratnam . . . . . .26 Bekker lbw b King . . . . . . . . . .71 Crump run out . . . . . . . . . . . .17 Williams c b London . . . . . . . . .7 Davies not out . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 Walker not out . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Extras . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22 TOTAL (for 8, 50 overs) . . . .234
St. Marys London c Fury b Walker . . . . . .13 Dunn c Williams b Walker . . . .21 Brookes c Fury b Orr . . . . . . .11 Poynter b Davies . . . . . . . . . .12 Jeyaratnam c Fury b Williams .55 Hall run out . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27 Ward c Allen b Walker . . . . . . . .7 Journeaux lbw b Williams . . . . .3 Collins c Lloyd b Bekker . . . . .27 Bale not out . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 King st Fury b Crump . . . . . . . . .0 Extras . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21 TOTAL (46.3 overs) . . . . . . .203
Bowling: Collins 10-3-25-2; Journeaux 5-1-24-0; King 9-1-30-2; Jeyaratnam 10-1-45-2; Ward 7-043-0; Hall 4-0-27-0; London 5-0-281
Bowling: Walker 10-1-49-3; Bekker 9-1-39-1; Davies 8-0-43-1; Orr 103-23-1; Williams 10-1-40-2; Crump 0.3-0-0-1
Bristol won toss Bristol UWE
Cardiff 2nds Yau lbw b Kang . . . . . . . . . . . .31 Woodroof b Harper . . . . . . . . . .4 Stevens st b Morrison . . . . . .31 Trevarthen c Filby b Morrison .28 Sedden b Augustus . . . . . . . . .0 Crooks not out . . . . . . . . . . . .36 Price c Haines b Filby . . . . . . .23 Dunsford lbw Harper . . . . . . . .4 Pal not out . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20 Extras . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21 TOTAL (for 7, 44.3 overs) . . .199
Featherstone c Crooks b Williams . . .0
Morrison b Willaims . . . . . . . . .1 Augustus c b McQuinn . . . . . . .58 Kang lbw b Williams . . . . . . . . .0 Love c Crooks b Kartik . . . . . . .5 Haines c Pal b Dunsford . . . . .30 Filby not out . . . . . . . . . . . . . .51 Hewitt c Pal b Dunsford . . . . . . .9 Pedersen lbw b Dunsford . . . . . .0 Gall lbw b Stevens . . . . . . . . .11 Harper run out . . . . . . . . . . . .15 Extras . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 TOTAL (44.4 overs) . . . . . . .197
Bowling: Worman 7-0-49-0; Stone 7-0-72-1; Adcock 7-0-72-0; Walker 6-0-55-1; Jackson 3-0-24-0
it over the infield, Pal sprinted 25 metres towards the ball and produced a catch from nowhere, taking the ball an inch from the ground with a full stretch dive. James Woodruff bowled a fantastic containing spell, restricting UWE to 18 in 8 overs before his figures were tained by some agricultural cross-bat hitting in his final over. A couple of dropped catches saw UWE reach 197 all out, a score that was deemed par for the dodgy wicket. Cardiff’s reply started solidly. After Woodruff was bowled by a yorker for 4 and Yau departed for a brisk 31, Stevens and Trevarthen steadied the ship with a 45-run partnership, displaying some blistering shots in the process. Stevens was stumped on 31 after
trying to up the tempo as Cardiff collapsed from 100 - 2 to 105 - 5 and the match was back on. Trevarthen played some glorious strokes before he departed for 28 after chasing a wide one and Seedon lasted only three balls before being bowled. With Cardiff in a spot of bother, cool heads were needed for the situation. Crooks provided the vital anchor role which Cardiff so desperately needed. His 36* eventually saw Cardiff home. Ali Price showed off his batting prowess with a towering six into the tennis courts in a much-needed quick-fire 23. His part in the run chase was critical as it took the pressure off the batsmen to come in. Pal came in with 27 required and he steered the visitors home in style with a powerful 20*.
Cardiff won by 31 runs
Bowling: Harper 9.3-3-41-2; Gall 63-17-0; Featherstone 4-1-23-0; Kang 5-0-22-1; Morrison 6-0-36-2; Augustus 9-1-22-1; Filby 5-0-21-1
Bowling: Williams 7.4-2-18-3; Pal 7-2-24-0; Kartik 6-0-49-1; Woodroof 9-1-33-0; Dunsford 7-1-21-4; Cardiff won by two wickets Stevens 5-1-20-1; Trevathen 3-020-0 Cardiff won toss Cardiff Ladies’ R Smith c b Walker . . . . . . . . .80 Kislingbury c b Stone . . . . . .145 Ralph not out . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Eyre not out . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Extras . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .38 TOTAL (for 2, 30 overs) . . . .270
out cheaply at this stage but West Indian U19 Johnny Augustus had other ideas. He went on a rampage, destroying the bowlers and hitting it all over the park as the score accelerated to 94 – 4. Kartik bore the brunt of this, going for 23 in one of his overs. Prior to this, he had success with a cracking bat-pad catch from James Crooks at short leg. Needing inspiration from somewhere, Jay Dunsford bowled a superb spell, claiming four scalps including the West Indian and the UWE’s skipper Haines. His figures of 7-1-21-4 were fully deserved and it was a performance of the highest quality. The dismissal of the Augustus saw a full stretch diving catch from wicketkeeper Yau whilst the dismissal of the captain was sensational. Trying to loft
Plymouth Ladies’ Jackson b R Smith . . . . . . . . . .7 Stone b Pearcey . . . . . . . . . . . .0 Walker c b R Smith . . . . . . . . .2 Vickery b Eyre . . . . . . . . . . . . .0 Peaters c b Eyre . . . . . . . . . . .0 Worman run out . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Stevens run out . . . . . . . . . . . .0 Evans b B Smith . . . . . . . . . . .1 Couldridge not out . . . . . . . . . .0 Adcock b Kislingbury . . . . . . . .1 Rutter b Martins . . . . . . . . . . . .0 Extras . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19 TOTAL (41.1 overs) . . . . . . . .33 Bowling: Pearcey 5-3-3-1; Hudson 4-2-2-0; R Smith 4-3-4-2; Eyre 4-15-2; Cork 5-1-5-0; B Smith 2-2-0-1; Woolfenden 3-1-3-0; Samson 2-0-70 Cardiff won by 237 runs
Magic Medicine Jack Zorab Rugby Reporter CARDIFF Medics 1sts . . . . . .43 NOTTINGHAM Medics 1sts . . .26 CARDIFF MEDICS retained their NAMS title last Saturday with a 43 - 26 victory over Nottingham Medics at Sale’s former ground Heywood Road. The trophy has now seen nine spring dust-downs in the Medics cabinet under the watchful eye of enigmatic coach Huw Davies. Cardiff, however, have not been without their contenders in that time and Nottingham, just like Birmingham in previous years, caused Cardiff problems with their harum-scarum style of
rugby. Their willingness to throw the ball wide tested Cardiff in a way that their forward-orientated opponents this season in BUSA hadn’t. The game was open from the start and Cardiff used the hard ground and the wide pitch to unleash their fleetfooted back three on Nottingham’s rearguard. The result was two early tries from Sion Crabtree down the right wing and from the centre Adam Bennett in the famous Daffodil corner. Nottingham though, matched each score with two of their own and gave their supporters a great deal to cheer about with some terrific plays. Cardiff touched down either side of half-time which looked to have taken them out of sight from the tiring opposition pack, but Nottingham came back again and, through their organised backs, fashioned another two tries
to take them to within a whisker of snatching the lead at 26 - 27 with ten minutes to go. But the formidable sight of playerof-the-season Andrew Miller returning from the sin-bin inspired Cardiff and they finally cut loose from Nottingham with three late tries from Evans, Price-Smith and captain-to-be Hywel James to round off a thrilling final. The majority of the current squad will be donning the navy and red jerseys come next September, so the Medics can be expected to challenge for next year’s NAMS trophy. However the three that are leaving are from the very finest of rugby stock; Iwan Harris, Adam Bennett and Andrew Miller were stalwarts of the club for six years and between them have never lost a NAMS match.
PHOTO: ROB TAYLOR
Inside: Medics retain the NAMS trophy yet again
CARDIFF MARCH PAST SAINTS
Men’s 1sts take 31 run win over St. Marys, stretching their unbeaten run to three games in the league Ben Walker Cricket Reporter
CARDIFF MEN’S Firsts kept their unbeaten start to the season, taking a 31 run win over St. Marys, following on from their tight win against Reading. Cardiff lost the toss, but were unexpectedly put into bat on what looked to be a road. However, the pitch did not play quite as well as hoped and after a hard fought opening stand of 37
between Dean Cox and Aled Lloyd, Cardiff lost three quick wickets to leave them struggling on 49 - 3 off 17. Captain Chris Allen joined Cox at the crease and for a while looked to be putting Cardiff back on track before Allen was adjudged to be LBW while sweeping for 26. This brought the in-form Evert Bekker to the crease. He carried on where he left off from the last game and, together with Cox, put on a partnership of 80 in only 13 overs. Both reached their 50s before Cox was
caught on the boundary for 60, trying to push on towards a big total. Bekker eventually fell for 71 but some useful runs from Matt Crump (17) helped Cardiff post a score of 234 for 8. The side was reasonably pleased with their score but knew they would have to bowl better than in their previous encounter to defend it. The opening bowlers showed a far greater consistency as Ben Walker managed to pick up both openers, leaving St. Marys on 39 for 2. The first change pairing of Ben Orr
and Jonny Davies kept the pressure on, picking up a wicket each. Orr especially gave nothing away as St Marys struggled to 67 - 4 off 18. Despite the positive start, Cardiff let their intensity and pressure drop, allowing the opposition back into the game. St. Marys needed just over a hundred from 17 overs until Nick Williams and Walker combined to pick up three wickets in five overs. This put an end to any chance of the hosts chasing down the total. It was Williams who started this mini-col-
lapse by picking up the key wicket of the dangerous Jeyaratnam. Some spirited running took St. Marys up to 197 before the last three wickets fell for six runs, including a well-deserved wicket for Bekker thanks to a good catch from Lloyd. Cardiff’s relatively small victory margin of 31 runs shows the need to keep focused the whole time in the field. They will need to keep their concentration up for the entire game in order to keep this unbeaten run going.
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