ISSUE 845 JUNE 04 2007
CARDIFF’S STUDENT WEEKLY free word - EST. 1972
gair rhydd’s first Creative Writing Anthology A collection of Short Fiction, Script Writing and Poetry from Cardiff students
FAIR PLAY !" Cardiff University and Students’ Union granted Fairtrade status to become Britain’s 53rd Fairtrade university !" People
and Planet pleased with result, but insist that further awareness needed CARDIFF UNIVERSITY: Greening up
Corinne Rhoades Deputy News Editor CARDIFF UNIVERSITY has finally reached Fairtrade status after months of vigorous campaigning. Just weeks since the official application was sent off, Cardiff will join the 52 other UK universities already
committed to promoting ethical consumption. The choice to buy fairly-traded products helps contribute to a better and fairer environment for the farmers of developing countries to work in. The University’s achievement also represents a step towards Wales’ campaign to become the world’s first
Fairtrade country. But the move is one that is considered by many to be long overdue. In 2004, the title of Britain’s first Fairtrade capital city was awarded to Cardiff. Fairtrade co-ordinator Lydia James said the University was ‘lagging behind’ other higher education institu-
tions. This year saw representatives from the University, the People and Planet society, the Council, and a Fairtrade shop meet together in a Taskforce group chaired by Students’ Union President Joe Al-Khayat. He said the decision to set a more ‘institutional goal’ came after previous
years had seen little development in the campaign for Fairtrade status. “We progressed to successfully completing the application process in just six meetings, which is a real achievement,” Al-Khayat said. Continued on page three
p.10 a glance
40 years on from the six-days war, Features looks at the Israeli occupation of Palestine, and what students are doing to mark the anniversary
JUNE 04 2007 News Editorial & Opinion Letters Features Creative Writing Politics Jobs and Money Health Television Problem Page Grab Listings Sport
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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 EDITORIAL AND OPINION Chris Croissant, Huw Davies SPORT Dave Menon, George Pawley LISTINGS Jenna Harris, Rosaria Sgueglia 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 Jenna Weeks, Bryony Tallack, Aisling Tempany, Rachel Cormican, Sarah Murray, Andy Rennison, Beth Herdman, Kate Monaghan, Kieran Harwood CONTRIBUTORS James Stileman, Natalie Parkinson, Abigail Whittaker, Corrine Rhoades, Samantha Shillabeer, Emma Jones, Holly Bassett, Victoria Lane, Rachel Greenwood, Hannah Pawley, Katherine WebsterDuncan, Amy Simpson, Lucy Thackray, Dan Ridler, Aisling Tempany, Phillip Dore, Cemlyn Davies, Huw Thomas, Dan Smith, Brychan Govier, Annie Buckle, Emily Woodrow, Rhys Triggs, Eillian Hughes, Amy Gorochowski, Adam Gasson, James Ford, Becky Oatley, Rebecca Isles, Dave Jones, Rob Taylor, James Woodroof, Paul Hayes, Jack Zorab, Ben Walker, Alex Mcintosh, Pete Dean, Jamie Kins, Ed Salter, Steve Florey ADDRESS University Union, Park Place Cardiff, CF10 3QN ADVERTISING 02920 781 474 EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org WEB www.gairrhydd.com LOCATION 4th Floor Students’ Union
Jobs and Money
Take a look at the fast-track degrees that only take two years, but cost you your summer holiday
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Creative Writing Pullout
creative writing has had It has been years since It is often treated a regular spot in gair rhydd. everyone is doing it, but like a guilty pleasure; it. The idea of a crethey don’t want to admit at first seemed daunting ative writing anthology to expose their - were people really ready secret writing? Due to the breeze. a be to out Yet it turned stars, creative writing oozing talent of our rising amongst gair rhydd out is back. The word was the help of the English contributors, and with flooding in. Full portfolios office, e-mails started up the account, of glorious prose clogged and now it office, the littered poetry sheets of by all. And there is all collected to be enjoyed wants to make rhydd is even better news: gair so keep your senses this a regular occurrence, peeled for the next instalment.
Beare Editor: Avalyn Daisy ew Styles Illustrations: Andr
gair rhydd brings you Cardiff’s student writers, in a pullout packed with poetry, scripts and short fiction
The week in pictures...
university lecturers vote yes to academic boycott of Israel
June - the date Cardiff Queen’s Street will see a student peace protest for Palestine
students on the honour roll shortlist
hours a student spent locked in bedroom for charity
school to university academic institution proposed for Britain
The weather Monday, June 4
James Perou captures exams in the Students’ Union Great Hall
21° Tuesday, June 5
20° Wednesday, June 6
23° Thursday, June 7
22° Friday, June 8
22° Saturday, June 9
22° Sunday, June 10
SUCCESS: The Fairtrade Steering Group
Cardiff University goes green Continued from front page
Over the limit Lee Macaulay Deputy News Editor YOUNG PEOPLE all over the UK are at risk of deadly accidents due to a growing number of young drink drivers, according to a survey by Radio 1. Prominent police officers from six constabularies have warned that people between the ages of 17 and 24 are making up more and more of the statistics for drink driving. In response, the Government has said that under-25s will be heavily targeted in their summer anti-drink driving campaign. Radio 1’s Newsbeat found that six police constabularies Leicestershire, Cumbria, Metropolitan Police, Strathclyde,
Northumbria and Dyfed-Powys, which covers most of mid-Wales – had serious concerns about the newly published drink driving statistics. Leicestershire police also revealed that drink driving had risen to its highest level nationwide for nearly a decade. A second year Cardiff Journalism student said: “I don’t think drink driving can ever really be justified especially when you consider the lives that have been lost.” Sgt. Ivan Stafford, from Leicestershire constabulary, said: “Young people form the majority of the casualties, and they’re the majority offenders. “The numbers of people being killed in drink-related accidents have increased dramatically. It is such a tragic waste of life.”
UK lecturers vote to boycott Israel Samantha Shillabeer Deputy News Editor UNIVERSITY LECTURERS have backed calls for a year-long debate on a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. A boycott has been proposed because of Israel’s ‘denial of educational rights’ to Palestinians. Delegates at the first conference of the new University and College Union (UCU) in Bournemouth supported the notion of a ‘comprehensive and consistent boycott’ of all Israeli academic institutions in a card vote by 158 to 99, with 17 abstentions. A full debate on the issue is now expected within UCU branches across the country, with the possibility of a vote on a formal boycott being held at the annual conference next year. A boycott would include actions such as refusing to work with journals published by Israeli companies or col-
laborate on research with Israeli academics. Tom Hickey, a Brighton University academic who led the boycott calls, claimed that the vote reflected the ‘deep concerns the people have’ about Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land. But Sally Hunt, General Secretary of the Union, said: “I do not believe the boycott is supported by the majority of UCU members, nor do I believe that the members see it as a priority for the Union.” The move has also been heavily criticised by both the British and Israeli governments. Higher Education Minister, Bill Rammel, said: “The UK government fully supports academic freedom and is firmly against any academic boycotts.”
WANT TO KNOW MORE? Turn to Features on page 10 for more on the situation in Israel and Palestine
ALOCHOL: Not a good mixer with driving
In the bid to become Britain’s 53rd Fairtrade University, Cardiff University took action to ensure it fulfilled the five goals laid down by the Fairtrade Foundation. Fairtrade foods are already available in all campus shops and food outlets, as well as being served at any meetings hosted by the University or the Students’ Union, helping to achieve two of the aims. In the run up to this new success, the Union shop has started to stock more Fairtrade clothing, and Fairtrade wine is now on offer in the Taf bar. Both the University and the Students’ Union have worked hard to develop their own Fairtrade policies, which can be viewed at www.cardiffstudents.com and www.cardiff.ac.uk. Staff and students have committed themselves to the cause in a number of ways. Karen Tanner, Director of Residences and Catering Division, has been involved in displaying and dispensing Fairtrade food and drink across the University. She said: “This important move to gain official Fairtrade status recognises the University’s long term commitment to the promotion and sale of Fairtrade products.” Information Services staff were
among various University employees who not only switched to Fairtrade tea and coffee, but chose products that were locally sourced and environmentally sustainable in the months leading up to the application. President of the People and Planet society, John Cowie, was keen for the Taskforce to continue its meetings in order to maintain Cardiff’s ethical title. He said: “It was good to meet each month to get a sense of continuity. Now we need to keep making progress and raising students’ awareness.” One way that the University will work with the Students’ Union to secure its newfound status is to keep organising events such as Fairtrade Fortnight, which took place this March. Joe Al-Khayat was confident that this would show the University’s ‘commitment to the campaign’, as well as sustaining its Fairtrade status on an ongoing basis. For him, the move signals a particular triumph in his final weeks as SU President. He said: "I am delighted for the whole of Cardiff University in achieving Fairtrade status. Personally, it’s pleasing for me because sometimes, with only one year, you don’t always get to finish what you have started.”
Gone with the wind-screen Corinne Rhoades Deputy News Editor
A CARDIFF STUDENT escaped death on the motorway after her windscreen was shattered by the bonnet of her car. Alison Masters is calling for increased security checks due to the bonnet of her Renault Clio II flying open while she was driving. Pulling over to the central reservation, Miss Masters was forced to drive blind before she could call the police. Other cars passed her by in the fast lane while she waited. The incident has led the 21-year-old student to demand action from Renault, who are recalling the Clio II model. Miss Masters claims she could have died, but is not going to be offered any compensation as she was uninjured. Despite this, she will face excess charges and increased insurance costs as well as losing her no-claims bonus. She said: “What is it going to take for them to do something about it? Is it
going to take someone dying?” A petition for an independent inquiry into the Clio’s bonnet clips is already being signed after a report on the Consumer programme Watchdog revealed them to be ‘faulty’. But Renault maintains that the catch mechanism of the car is safe. The firm issued a statement which said: “Renault is a responsible manufacturer. To say w e
wRENAULT o u l d CLIO II: Safety hazard
endanger our customers is categorically untrue.”
Education all in one?
Proposals for an all in one academy have been announced, which will include a secondary school, college and university; we ask what Cardiff students think
A NEW TYPE of ‘all in one’ academy is proposed for Cornwall, which would combine a secondary school, further education college and university. The project, to be submitted to
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the Department for Education and Skills, could provide integrated centres for students from 11 to 21 years old. The two sites under consideration are Newquay and Camborne, and Pool and Redruth. The aim of the project – described as ‘next-generation’ academies – is to provide a more effective way of encouraging
young people to stay in education and to reduce the drop-out levels between different stages. It is aimed at deprived parts of Cornwall, where too many people have left education without adequate qualifications. In addition, there have already been proposals for ‘all-through’ academies, which take pupils from infants through to the end of sec-
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ondary education, with a target of 400 to be opened. They are non-selective and nonfee paying, but operate outside the control of local authority and require £2m from sponsors. Teachers’ unions have criticised the high cost of these new schools and the involvement of private-sector sponsors.
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PHOTOS: Ed Salter
Tasha Prest-Smith Reporter
One-student And the winner is... lock-in Cardiff Union reveals the winner of the 2007 Honour Roll and those who were short-listed
Lee Macaulay Deputy News Editor
Samantha Shillabeer Deputy News Editor
‘50 HOURS of hell’ are in store for one Cardiff student this weekend, all to raise money for charity. Amrit Labana, a third year Politics student, is going to lock himself in his room after his final exam on Saturday instead of going down the pub in an effort to raise money for the British Red Cross’ Darfur appeal. The stipulations include no communications with the outside world, no items in the room except one book and he will not be allowed to leave the room at any time. News of the fundraising event spread due to the internet, with Facebook being used to promote the event and justgiving.com to collect sponsorship money. Amrit said before he started his ordeal: “It started off as a joke with my housemates. My room is referred to as ‘the cave’ as it is small, dark and untidy.” After housemates mentioned lock-
JAMES WHEELER has been awarded the prestigious 2007 Honour Roll for his dedication to Cardiff University and Students’ Union, the student body and others outside it. His contributions to university life include setting up the student business, TWO distribute, which has raised substantial funds for clean water supplies in Africa through its distribution of ONE water. Professor Teresa Rees said that James had made an “exceptional contribution to people both inside and outside of the University and has shown great ingenuity in his efforts.” James said: “It’s great to be part of such an amazing university and union, with such a wide variety of things going on and a
ing him in a room as a joke, the event was soon planned. Amrit said: “The reason I wanted to do this is that everyone does runs for charity or sporting events but I just feel this is so much tougher, particularly physically. “I feel it is an excellent cause and a great opportunity to help those who are less fortunate than ourselves.” Amrit will be charting his progress with a series of video diaries on Facebook and you can sponsor him at www.justgiving.com/amritlabana.
fantastic environment for getting involved in anything.” He added: “It was a big surprise to be nominated and an even bigger surprise to hear that I’d won.” The other nominees short-listed were Jo Dingle, Jo Plummer, Sam Smith, Charlie Hinder, Ben Hill and Adam Cottrell. A panel of eight judges discussed the candidates at great length before reaching their decision. Sir Donald Walters, friend of the Students’ Union and former Chair of University Council, said: “All of the candidates had clearly showed a remarkable commitment to the people around them.” Students’ Union Vice President, Ed Jones, commented: “I was extremely proud to be involved in this celebration of the great work done by our students.”
James will be presented with the award when he graduates in 2008.
JAMES: Helped start a business to help get clean water to Africa
World News in brief
Seeking equality Down Under
Victoria Lane Reporter
Fangtastic flowers AN 80-YEAR-OLD heart op patient in Croatia beat a deadly viper to death that had been brought into hospital in a bunch of flowers. Mr Vukovic leapt from his bed and used his walking stick to kill the snake. The snake made its way into the intensive care ward, looking for a new place to hide. Mr Vukovic said: “The bugger almost bit me in the leg but then I let it have it right between the eyes.”
A chilli reception A BOSS of a fast food restaurant has been shot in Florida because he wouldn’t give a customer any more chilli sauce. Mr Frage, was called to speak to the gunman to explain that it was company policy to only give out three sachets. After demanding 10 sachets with his Caesar salad and nuggets, the gunman opened fire. Miami-Dade police said: “It is sad someone would almost take someone else’s life over something so trivial as chilli sauce.” Mr Frage is stable.
Tigers go cheep TIGER CUBS at a zoo in China have made playmates out of chicks that were meant to be their dinner. Keepers at Zhejiang Wenling Zoo in Taizhou city placed the chicks in the tiger’s pen in order to “bring out the savage natures of the tigers”. According to a spokesman, the tigers were at first scared of the chicks. He added: “In no time they started playing with each other.”
As 40 years of Aboriginal recognition as human beings is commemorated, Australia still remains a nation divided Corinne Rhoades Deputy News Editor AUSTRALIAN ABORIGINES have marked 40 years of recognition by their country as official human beings. Less than half a century ago, Aborigines living in Australia were still classified as ‘flora and fauna’ along with the rest of the wildlife. In 1967, an overwhelming 91% of white Australians voted in favour of including indigenous people in the national consensus after a decade of campaigning. It was hoped that the reforms would bring about justice and equality for
Aborigines who suffered immense exclusion in areas such as education and housing. Linda Burney is the first Aboriginal member of the New South Wales parliament. She remembered how her people were treated as ‘savages and the closest example to Stone Age man living today’. But 40 years on, the Australian government has admitted that conditions may now actually be worse for its country’s original inhabitants. Mal Brough, the Aboriginal Affairs Minister, claimed that progress in some remote black communities has even ‘gone backwards’.
The function to commemorate the referendum’s 40th anniversary took place in Canberra, the national capital. It saw Prime Minister John Howard booed by hundreds of Aborigines in his address. Despite this, the Howard Government is now putting plans into place to deliver better services to those Aboriginal communities which exist on the fringes of society. He conceded that the rights for which they fought in 1967 were no rights at all if ‘accompanied by grinding poverty, overcrowding, poor health, violence and isolation from mainstream society’. There has been much speculation
Top in the world 71-year-old Japenese man claims world record for oldest man to conquer Mount Everest Samantha Shillabeer Deputy News Editor A JAPANESE MAN has become the oldest person to reach the summit of Mount Everest. Katsusuke Yanagisawa was 71 years, two months and two days old when he reached the 29,035-foot Himalayan peak on May 22, beating the previous record set last year by fellow climber, Takao Arayama, at 70 years, seven months and 23 days old. Yanagisawa, a retired teacher, said of the climb: “Everest was much more difficult than I expected. Even coming down the mountain was more difficult than I had thought it would be.” He added: “Everest is a really hard mountain. I did well, better than expected.” Yanagisawa spent 30 minutes at the top of the mountain a f t e r
climbing the Tibetan side of the peak with the help of a team from New Zealand and Japan. He was reported to be mentally and physically exhausted after his climb, and suffered some loss of movement in his right hand. Ang Tshering, president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association checked his records with other officials last Wednesday, before officially confirming than Yanagisawa is the new record holder. Yanagisawa claimed he was inspired to attempt to climb Everest last year after he managed to
EVEREST: Think of the Brecon Beacons on steroids
scale the nearby Mount Cho Oyo, the world’s sixth highest mountain at over 80,000m. He said: “It was my dream to climb Cho Oyu when I reached 70.” He caught a glimpse of Everest from the summit of Cho Oyo, which lies 20km to the west of it, and claimed: “I found my next dream.” Yanagisawa is the third Japanese national in recent years to set a record as the oldest climber of Everest. There have been hundreds of attempts to make it to the top of the mountain since New Zealander Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay conquered the peak on May 29, 1953. Recorded figures reveal that 205 people have died during attempts to tackle the mountain.
about the cause of the continuing marginalisation, including linguistic barriers, under-funding and the Government’s denial of ‘institutional racism’.
ABORIGINE: Isolated from society ABOVE: The majestic Ayers Rock
Mrs and Mrs Tasha Prest-Smith Reporter A PAKISTANI court has jailed a married couple for three years for perjury after a dispute over the husband’s sex. Last week the court ruled that the husband was, in fact, a woman, despite sex-change surgery, and that the couple had lied about his sexual status. It also said their marriage was un-Islamic because it was samesex. The case is believed the first of its kind in Pakistan. The couple said they would appeal against the sentence and have asked President Musharraf to help. Shumail Raj, 31, had surgery to become a man and then married his cousin – who was aware of the condition but says she needed his help to avoid being forced into wedlock with someone else. Tests carried out by doctors on behalf of the court ruled that Raj, who has a beard and moustache, was still a woman, despite the fact his breasts and uterus have been removed. The judge, Khawaja Mohammad Sharif, said he was issuing a “lenient” sentence, because the couple had apologised. He also asked them to pay a fine of 10,000 Pakistani rupees ($165). Shahzina Tariq says they are not homosexuals and they married because they are in love.
Special Feature: gair rhydd takes a look back at the executiv
Have your 2006-2007 Sabbatical Officers fulfilled their manifesto promises? Now that the academic year is coming to an end, gair rhydd reviews those in charge of your Students’ Union. News interviewed the sabbatical team and those affected by the roles they have commanded since September 2006 President
Joe Al-Khayat What new systems have you put in place during your time as President? I suggested an alternative to the 70 year old Council system used in the Students’ Union, which would involve greater representation across the University community. The electronic key-pad system was piloted at Student Council and worked very successfully. I conducted the first ever Union survey about the non-academic experience of students. Having received over 4000 responses, it was a very worthwhile project and means the Union can continue to mould around the needs of its members. This year, I implemented a recycling policy which now means recycling takes place right across the Students’ Union. What would you say have been successes for you this year? Following a University decision to increase Halls of Residence Fees by up to 27%, I successfully negotiated a settlement that would save next year’s Fresher’s £200 each on their accommodation payments. In order to raise awareness of ‘keeping the cap’ on tuition fees, Cardiff played a major role in the NUS Campaign ‘Admission
“I think more or less everyone agrees that Student Council under this Sabb team and Joe’s presidency has been a much easier place to discuss issues. I feel that Joe has been particularly approachable.” Daniel Ridler - Deputy Chair of Student Council
Impossible.’ We organised an abseil off the Union building, took two coaches of Cardiff students to Trafalgar square, before performing Team Cardiff’s very own song, Freelove Feeway, live on stage in front of 5,000 students from all around the UK. Having discovered that students had been lobbying to lead the University towards Fairtrade status for nearly four years, I helped us take action and achieve it. Is there anything in your manifesto that is still awaiting completion? Following research conducted in the AU about the University paying for an all weather sports pitch, I successfully lobbied the University and the Vice-Chancellor to ensure that it would be accepted by the University and built in the very near future. I lobbied the University for £50,000 to improve facilities at Park Place Gym. New equipment is set to be installed in July and is the first major investment in Park Place Gym for over 10 years.
Education and Welfare Officer
Kate Monaghan How have you fulfilled the ‘Welfare’ aspect of your position? There has been a lot of work done to promote Union letting. For instance, the housing booklet now includes the accommodation experiences of second and third years, promotes the Cardiff Union Letting Agency and has been put online. I also helped run a safety campaign which raised awareness of things like drink spiking, getting home safely in taxis and robberies. Your manifesto mentions creating an ‘easily accessible internet forum for students’, what is being done about this? There will be a new website set up over the summer which will be easier to navigate. Also, when you log in it will be able to tell whether you are an international or a postgraduate student and it will highlight things which are of interest to you. I’m currently writing a piece to go on it about the Student Support Service and things like finance, council tax information and how to access the financial contingency fund. How have you made changes on the jobs front? The Student Development Unit is expanding to include an Entrepreneurial unit. There will be support if students want to set up their own business. Is there anything that you wish you’d done? The G.U.M clinic will definitely be in place next year, but although there has been a lot of progress in fighting for it, I would have liked for it to have moved faster. I also wish I’d spent more time with Heath Park students to be able to support them better. What have you done in addition to the promises in your manifesto? The standardisation of the Uni’s referencing system, employing a full time staff member to support course reps and improving disabled access and equal opportunities. “I attended a well-delivered training session given by Kate in the first term on the role of a Course Rep. Kate also restarted the Academic Council for the first time in several years. Any of the issues that we raised with her were always swiftly dealt with. It was evident Kate genuinely wanted to make a difference.” Niamh Matthews - Course Rep. Chair of SOCSI Student Staff Panel
ve team who took the year out to run your Students’ Union AU President
Looking at IMG first, you promised to ‘reassess its structure’ - what innovations have you brought in? The changes we have made to IMG have been fantastic, we have introduced independent referees and the position of IMG co-ordinator to handle its day-to-day running, while also improving safety with ambulance provisions and first aid training. There have been problems with the pitches though... Despite the cancellations we have managed to deal with the fixture backlog, and the season finished in time. With the funding for a Rubber Crumb pitch, IMG may improve still – should the ideas of making IMG into an evening and weekend league be followed up, the facility will guarantee everyone a game every week. On to the Invest in Sport Campaign, surely you couldn’t have dreamt of the kind of success it’s produced. I’m ecstatic about it, the success and creation of the campaign is going to be my legacy. The services the University were offering weren’t good but we rallied the student voice and came out with the funding that was needed. We aspire to be a world class Uni, but we have sports facilities worse than
some primary schools. The Fun Run was a hugely successful part of the Invest in Sport campaign – the AU clubs were obviously really supportive. It really highlighted a community spirit; the Uni’s students keeping fit and healthy and uniting behind some very positive causes. We raised £1000 for Comic Relief, and also raised plenty of awareness about the campaign.
“Woody’s greatest achievement by far was to get the go-ahead to erect the Rubber Crumb pitch in Talybont. This is likely to improve BUSA sport immensely over the coming years.” Dave Menon - gair rhydd Sport Editor
Societies, Postgraduate and International Officer
Kate Dobbs One of your pledges was to increase funding for societies. Have you achieved this? I managed to get an extra £11,000 for societies this year. How about this ‘fresher orientation programme’ for international students? I was involved in the putting together of a booklet for international students with advice and information before coming to Cardiff. In freshers’ week I held workshops where international students could come and get advice and I let people know when I would be available to speak to. Your manifesto said you were looking to get adequate prayer room facilities ‘in all main student buildings’. What’s been going on with this? I have moved the campaign on throughout the year. The University has been making steps in prayer room provision, and are looking into purchasing property to create a multi-faith centre. I have been involved in a number of meetings with the pro-vice chancellors, and there was also a large report in the gair rhydd highlighting the issues. I have a meeting set up with the Vice Chancellor next week to discuss the project. What do you feel is your biggest and
proudest achievement of the year? This year saw the biggest and most awards at the societies awards, as well as the highest turnout to the societies fair. I think one of my best achievements has been the prayer room developments, and Global Village was brilliant. “Katy has always been approachable and friendly and always had time for my problems. Any questions I sent her by email she replied to really quickly, Whenever I had problems and had to go see her, if I ever just turned up, she would always stop what she was doing and talk to me, which I think is a sign of a really good sabb, as they are there to help students. This year I feel she really has made a difference.” Toby Willis Member of RAG
How do you feel the year has gone? This has been the most amazing year. I have learnt so much and have enjoyed some unforgettable experiences. Dealing with individual students’ problems, helping them get their ideas off the ground and playing our campaign theme tune in front of thousands at Trafalgar Square have been the highlights. There is so much you don’t know when you come into office and so little time once you’ve learned what to do! However, I’m really pleased with what I’ve achieved. What are your greatest achievements? I hope that people liked my ideas when I was “Ed Jones has set a new standard as VicePresident. It’s probably the biggest role in the Union, combining parts of the old Secretary, Campaigns Officer and even a little of the President, and Ed has pulled it all together. He has worked very closely with the whole team to get more people involved in the Union – from Facebook to SOULdiers to getting out picking up litter.”
campaigning and I’m happy that I managed to make most of them happen. The student forum I envisaged in my manifesto a year ago has turned into the student parliament model and the student swapshop idea is being built into our new Union website soon to be launched (although Facebook have beaten us to it). Most of all I hope that I’ve managed to tackle the job with the enthusiasm and effort that I promised when I campaigned. I wish there was more time to take the Union on still further. I am sad to go but have had a terrific year and owe much of it to the support of the students and the other Sabbs.
Rob Sharples - Chair of Student Council
gair rhydd Editor
Perri Lewis You said you would increase the coverage of IMG - has this happened? Yes - one of our two sport editors has focused his time almost entirely to IMG and we now regularly have two if not three pages dedicated to IMG Football, Netball and Rugby. How have you increased communication between gair rhydd and societies? For the first time ever I produced a document entitled ‘gair rhydd and societies’ which was given to every executive at societies’ training. This included information about how to get their events, news, achievements etc published in the paper, gave them a sample press release and gave them the contact details of every appropriate section editor. We have seen a surge in societies contacting us about their events this year. What have you done to improve the website? gairrhydd.com is now updated every week, usually days before the newspaper is even printed. We have added many new features, including: a creative writing mini-site, an opinion/editors’ blog mini-site, and the ability to comment on articles. You promised more investigations and campaigns on issues that matter for students. Have you done this? Although the investigations team did not logistically work out as well as I had hoped, the news team and reporters have dug up some very impressive stories and we have run some cracking front pages this year. What have been the highlights of this year? I’ve celebrated the 50th edition of Quench with a bumper issue, a CD on the front of gair rhydd (the first time ever in student journalism history) and a Quench-run event. I’ve also done the first creative writing anthology of the last few years, and set-up an internet-based TV station. “The website has definitely improved. It is much more organised, up to date and accessible. The media section worked very closely with Xpress radio this year, so there was definitely an increased promotion for Xpress and much better communication with their PR team. However, I don’t think the newspaper has had much more society coverage than last year.” Aline Ungewiss - gair rhydd Media Editor
freewords the voice of gairrhydd
ISSUE 829 NOVEMBER 27 2006
CARDIFF’S STUDENT WEEKLY free word - EST. 1972
N C H Q U E > RHYDD .COM 2006 QUENC H.GAIR > NOV 27 VOL 4.46
h... Arghhh ...it’s Lily Allen
S H TALK QUENC IVELY EXCLUS ALLEN LY LI TO : ALL THE NEWSAND
ON PLUS LS E LOND FROM TH FILM FESTIVA CARDIFF
A QUENCH EXCLUSIVE
gair rhydd presents Edification, our new fortnightly column Page 13
DIAN GUAR ENT STUD ZINE MAGATHE OF YEAR
Students challenge Vice Chancellor to make major environmental changes
Helen Thompson News Editor THE VICE Chancellor will be confronted with a petition signed by thousands of students demanding a greener University this week. In a fortnight of campaigning, Cardiff’s People and Planet group have been drawing attention to the University’s poor environmental record and asking Cardiff to be the first Welsh university to sign up to a
Go Green strategy immediately. The group intend to present 2,000 signatures to Vice Chancellor Dr David Grant, who is believed to own several large, gas-guzzling cars, in order to persuade him to instigate more eco-friendly measures. People and Planet (P&P) is a nationwide network of student groups that campaign on issues related to world poverty, human rights and the environment. Of 60 universities reviewed by the organisation in 2005, only two had
fewer environmental provisions than Cardiff. The impact of universities on the environment is huge, with the UK higher education sector emitting three million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year. To reduce this impact, the Go Green campaign began in 2004. Since then, 30 universities have signed up to the Go Green strategy, leaving Cardiff lagging behind. Cardiff University P&P are asking for four key points to be addressed. They require: the support of the Vice
Chancellor; the introduction of a fulltime environmental manager; an environmental audit to review the University’s performance; and clear targets set out in a publicly available environmental policy. These are the factors common to universities that have a high environmental performance, such as Oxford Brookes and Sheffield. If their requests are ignored, P&P intend to hold demonstrations and put pressure on the University through the media and .local council.
PHOTO: JAMES PEROU
ARE E YOU U LISTENING?
John Cowie, president of Cardiff P&P, said: “There is no reason for the Vice Chancellor to refuse to go green. It will save the University money by cutting energy and resource costs.” Sarah Emmerson, a Language and Communications student and member of People and Planet, said: “This is not just an environmental issue, it is a moral one. Climate change will affect us all, especially those in the third world.” Emma Hughes, a Journalism PHD Continued on Page 4
It turns out that they were listening ‘FAIR PLAY’ TO THE University – after calls from the Students’ Union, Cardiff’s People and Planet faction and the wider student body, they have finally shown a commitment to improving their environmental record and have become the 53rd university in the UK to gain Fairtrade status. This is a big step forward for Cardiff University. In recent months their lack of concern about arms investments has indicated to some that they were not willing to listen to the wishes of students to become more ethical. However, they did listen to our calls this time and it is refreshing to see them moving towards a more environmentally-friendly university (ignoring for a moment the idea that Fairtrade is actually that fair). After also promising to provide sports teams with a Rubber Crumb pitch after the Invest in Sport campaign, this trend of listening to what students want must continue long after the recent achievements are forgotten. And, if the University really are committed to becoming greener, they must also continue to improve their environmental record and minimise their carbon footprint even after the publicity of this successful application has died down.
Have they done enough? ALTHOUGH MANY students have campaigned hard to get the University to recognise the importance of Fairtrade, it is unlikely that they would have listened if it hadn’t have been for Students’ Union President Joe Al-Khayat. He set up the initial talks between senior figures and the student body and has lobbied Vice-Chancellor David Grant for the last six months to ensure the Fairtrade application was taken seriously by the University. Without his commitment to the cause and his status as President, the calls from students may have gone unheard. The announcement of the successful Fairtrade application that he had a huge hand in comes the same week as gair rhydd looks at how Joe, and the rest of the sabbatical team, have performed this year. On the surface it seems that they have done a pretty good job. Although not everyone has fulfilled all their manifesto pledges, this isn’t always the result of not caring about the policy, but it being entirely impossible to put into practice. How much have the sabbatical team done for you? Let us know at www.gairrhydd.com
Big Bad Brother All in the name of entertainment? Big Brother is back, but controversy in Australia and the Shilpa Shetty racism row has shown it to be sadistic and cruel, says Jenny Randall
es, it’s that time of year again: a number of fame-hungry nobodies enter the ‘most famous house in the country’ for a couple of months to laugh, cry, bitch and shag for our entertainment. Yes, Big Brother is back for the eighth time, taking over primetime TV (and E4) ad nauseam. But isn’t it time we dropped this tired old show for good? Big Brother was initially set up as a ‘social experiment’ – it aimed to see what would happen if people from highly different backgrounds were forced to live together for, well, however long it could be dragged out. In recent years (well, after the first year), it has become some sort of freak show, and most of the excitement has derived from guessing which members of the house have been shagging each other. Thrilling, isn’t it? In its wake, it has managed to exploit some of the most vulnerable members of society, with people who are clearly mentally ill paraded in front of the cameras. I still disagree with allowing Pete Bennett, the Tourette’s sufferer, into the house. I know he wanted to be there to raise awareness, but I think that the experience of being locked in a house for weeks on end is enough to drive the most sane person – or Vanessa Feltz, at least – slightly potty. The effect it would have on a famously unstable, but little understood, condition could have been catastrophic.
Emma Cornell still does not know that her father died while she has been in the BB house Just think about the current controversy surrounding the Australian Big Brother. The father of Emma Cornell, one of the contestants, has died of cancer while she has been in the BB house, and because contestants are not allowed contact with the outside world, she has not been told. She does not know her own father is dead. This has, quite rightly, provoked a massive outcry. Emma was aware that her father was ill, but he was not expected to die quite so soon. Apparently the possibility of her father dying while she was in the house has been discussed, and her family seem to think that she won’t mind not having been told (as at the time of writing, Emma is still in the house and still unaware that she has lost her father). By the time she leaves, she will have missed the funeral as well. I think this is horrific. How is someone meant to mourn a parent if they are kept in the dark while everyone else is sharing their grief? Many experts believe that funerals help one to ‘let go’ of the deceased – a cue to move on. Disruption to the grieving
ILLUSTRATION: ANDREW STYLES
process can be extremely detrimental to a person, and I will not be surprised if Emma, when told, feels sadness that she could not say goodbye to her father, guilt that she could not support her family and anger that both opportunities were kept from her for the sake of a ridiculous gameshow. I know people take Big Brother far too seriously, but some things must be more important than winning money and fame, surely? I thought there were supposed to be professional psychologists working with the programme. Can they not see that, by keeping her father’s death from her, they are causing Emma Cornell psychological distress? I don’t think she would mind having to leave the BB house if it meant she could be with her family as they say goodbye to someone so close to their heart.
Racially or not, Shilpa was bullied. No one deserves such constant abuse Back to the UK, and in case you were in danger of forgetting about it, the row over the racism that took place during Celebrity (and I use that term loosely) Big Brother at the beginning of the year has raised its ugly head again, just in time to drum up publicity for the new series. Channel 4 has been ‘rapped’ over breaching its code of conduct and committing serious ‘editorial’ misjudgments in its handling of the bullying of Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty by the Three
Witches – sorry, Jade Goody, Jo O’Meara and Danielle Lloyd (who?). Ofcom claims that Channel 4 could have prevented such behaviour, and should not have broadcasted various situations where the three bullies made what could be deemed as racially offensive comments (such as the conversation about the chicken). But is that the point? Rather than parading the usual cavalcade of unstable has-beens desperately trying to kick-start their career, the last edition of Celebrity Big Brother may have been a return to the original point of the experiment, seeing what would happen if three pigignorant bints were forced to live with a “brown” person with a difficult accent (says Jade Goody – oh, the irony). And Channel 4 got their answer – said bints would club together and make rude comments about the person who is different from them. I genuinely don’t think that Jade, Jo and Danielle were being intentionally racist. I think if Shilpa had been British, but not fitted into the group, she would still have been bullied in a similar manner. It just so happens that she is from India, and therefore the easiest attributes to bully are her Indian traits. However, as my housemate has remarked, Celebrity Big Brother has proved that a large section of British society is endemically racist; ignorant about other cultures, and unwilling to learn. The other side of the argument is that Big Brother has a duty of care towards its participants. Shilpa was bullied, either racially or not, and that is an unpleasant experience for any-
one. Annoying and stuck-up as she might have been, no one deserves such constant abuse – not even Jodie Marsh, who, in the previous series, was bullied by most people in the house (there wasn’t much of an outcry then, because no one likes Jodie Marsh).
Big Brother has a duty of care towards its participants. Any employer must look after its employees Any employer must look after the well-being of its employees, and Channel 4 is no different. It could have done much more to prevent such upset to Shilpa, regardless of interest over viewing figures (shown in Channel 4 chief Kevin Lygo’s relief that the racism row saved a dull series). As much as I advocate free speech and understand that it is important to analyse people’s opinions before dismissing them, this shouldn’t be achieved at the expense of someone’s self-esteem. Shilpa undoubtedly suffered as a consequence of the bullying, and Channel 4 could have prevented a lot of this. But despite the threat of bullying and not being told about a parent’s death, another group of fame-hunters entered the house on Wednesday, May 30. I certainly won’t be watching the exploitation in this series, and I’d urge you not to either. Then Channel 4 may actually drop this pile of rubbish and spend the money saved on something worth watching.
email@example.com 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 e-mail any of your opinions on other matters to the letters page. Write a letter and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and you’re in with a chance of getting Letter of the Week and winning vouchers to spend in the Union!
Dear gair rhydd, Why did we expect anything different from the media, than to absorb themselves in media maddyness? All the media cares about is to sell a few more papers, or get a few more viewers to add to their rating polls. Anyone with a heart is going to feel for the family and do everything they can to help, but realistically how much can we do from accross the ocean? As for the cynicsm remaining silenced, who is going to have the guts to speak out against the media coverage first? I don’t fancy the task of standing in front of heartbroken parents and exhausted police teams telling them they shouldn’t hog all the limelight. At the same time, there are many other worthy causes which get little media attention purely because of their
Commen on the article ‘Fopp has landed’ How brilliant is it that Fopp has landed in the Student’s Union! Fopp is a one-of-a-kind shop, unlike the nasties of Virgin Megastores and HMV who strip their customers of needless amounts of hard-earned cash just to receive the same product you could in Fopp for a third of the price. Not only this but Fopp has
ethical status or class. You don’t see David Beckham making an appeal for Alan Johnston or the many female babies which get aborted daily in India just because of their unfortunate gender. And when will we ever see families of British soldiers dying in pointless wars meeting religious icons such as the Pope. I understand many people will read this and think of me not only as a cynic, but a cruel-hearted dope. But when you study the media, you learn to look at it from a critical perspective and what they are doing is simply for self-reward. It may seem as if the thousands of journalists care dearly for this little four year old’s life, and I’m sure everyone would love to see her found safe in the arms of her parents, but sincerity is lost in the newsroom. All they are looking for is a long-term story that takes little effort to keep producing, re-producing and re-re-producing. Janet Charrington some amazing bargains, with shelves full of five pound oldschool CDs which we miss from our childhood. Anyone into any form of alternative music has more chance getting the product they want here without the extra nag of having to trek the tripinto town. Perfect for summer presents and a great place to spend a few wasted hours browsing if you need to avoid some much-hated exam revision time! Well done Fopp, you picked a good spot.
if i ever watch another episode of car booty cut my arms off and eat them. This text is very funny. Does anyone want a marble sized fox for a tenner? Paul cunt *ahem* hunt: netball IS a physical game. Scrabble isn’t. Lindsey steals from old ladies Anyone seen my dignity? I think i left it under the bar after varsity No Leonie. I don’t like you Shittin on my back. TESCO IS TAKING OVER THE WORLD! Mwhahahaha.
Maddyness was expected
Eternally Missed Indeed Dear gair rhydd, I WOULD JUST like to thank and congratulate you for your sensitive coverage death of Rachel Copp. It was very moving to see her on the front page but the way you treated the story was laudable. For Neil Southgate, as one of Rachel’s best friends, these past weeks have been very hard on him but he was also extremely pleased with the story and very proud to have contributed (especially to the headline!). Thank you for including him. And congratulations again for getting the facts right and covering the story in the way you did. Chloe Wells
Further Comment about article ‘Evolving Devolution’ The reason your party was not covered in the election edition of Gair Rhydd was because time and space constraints meant only the four main parties, Con, Lab, Lib and Plaid could be covered. It would have been impractical for any student newspaper to cover the campaigns of the multitude of the minor far-left parties that
letter of the week
Open Your Eyes Dear gair rhydd, AFTER READING both “the Fountain’s” letter of May 21st and Emily Isaacs’ response in the most recent edition, I felt I needed to address some issues. As much as I don’t doubt the capabilities of Nick Griffin’s public speaking abilities, nor promote his racist policies, I very much doubt he holds in his repertoire the ability to brainwash and manipulate educated minds. Furthermore, the argument that people do not understand the differences between the varying degrees of right-wing ideologies, movements or organisations, evident in today’s British society isn’t necessarily true. Nobody doubts that the BNP are racist bigots; however, Mr Fountain was perhaps inferring that people’s knowledge of the vibrant and varied political scene between Conservatism and Fascism is confused.
have infected the fringes of the political landscape. Likewise the same rationale holds for the right, which is why the BNP and UKIP were not covered not to mention the Christian parties.
Comment about the article ‘BNP- Bath nul points’ Even if the BNP are beneath contempt, allowing them to speak at
Due to the racist politics of people like Griffin, the creditable and non-racist element of the right wing is tarred with the same brush as the BNP. The right-wing orientation has many strings to its bow, which are overlooked due to history’s presentation of extreme right-wing politics, overshadowing the more constructive potential of right-wing governments. One must not judge all of those on the right as replications of Nick Griffin, but should open their eyes to the spectrum of right-wing governance including Conservatism as its mildest form. This is clearly evident in our current political climate where we encounter a more rightwing Labour party and a considerably centralist Conservative party. David Slaughter
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
a university can only show people why this is the case. Their policies are just that embarrassing. To ban them wouldn’t be protecting students from the BNP’s hate; it would be protecting the BNP from open analysis and ridicule from the students.
Leave your comments at www.gairrhydd.com and join the debate
The Six-Day War
In June 1967 the Six Day War came to an end. Helen Thompson talks to Cardiff students about life in Palestine 40 years on
haith Nassar knows what it is like to feel trapped. Until two years ago, when he came to Cardiff to study Architectural Engineering, he lived with his family in Ramallah. The city is one of the administrative centres of the West Bank, a Palestinian territory occupied by Israeli forces. As such, it is scattered with soldiers, roadblocks, Jewish outposts and partition walls, and life is full of inconveniences that range from the irritating to the life threatening. This is the reason that Ghaith left his home country to study abroad. “There are a couple of good universities in Palestine,” Ghaith says, “but hard work is useless if a checkpoint is closed on the road to the university, or there is a curfew. Exams are postponed, lecture times messed-up, all based on the mood of a 19-year-old holding a gun. “Crossing a checkpoint is very humiliating. Soldiers do anything they can to make it as horrible as possible. Sometimes they make people strip, or stay four hours in what they call ‘the pit’ in the blazing sun or heavy rain, usually just because they are bored. You can’t argue or you’ll get hit or arrested.” Reports like this have become the norm from Palestinians living with the legacy of occupation left by the SixDay War. This June marks the 40th anniversary of Israel’s greatest-ever military victory. Israel took hold of swathes of Arab land, redrawing the map of the Middle East and surprising even itself with its show of power. On June 9 2007, thousands of peo-
ple will amass in London’s Trafalgar Square to protest against the situation that the war created, and that has changed little ever since. The Enough! Coalition’s demonstration will show support for the Palestinian people whose territories have been subjected to military occupation by Israel for four decades, and try to persuade the British government to put pressure on Israel to find a peaceful solution to the conflict.
Victory against the odds The spark for the unexpectedly successful assault that left Israel in charge of Jerusalem, the West Bank, the Sinai Desert and the Gaza strip, came from the rise of pan-Arab sentiments in the Middle East. Israel was taking its first tentative steps as a sovereign nation; it had been created in 1948, after the UN Partition Plan demarcated the land that it believed should belong to the new Jewish state. The remainder was to remain under Arab control and retain the name Palestine. The Plan led to a war that left Israel in possession of about 50% more land than the plan provided, and Palestine under the control of Egypt and Syria. Never accepting the right of Israel to exist, Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser began to preach the ideal of international Arab unification in the Middle East, and the necessity of wiping out the new Jewish nation of Israel that had appeared in its midst. With this threatening rhetoric ringing in its ears, Israel watched Egypt’s 1967 closure of the Red Sea to Israeli shipping, and the gradual amassing of
Arab troops in the bordering Sinai Desert, with growing unease. Deciding not to sit back and wait to find out what would happen next, Israel launched a pre-emptive strike. Six days later, the nation’s rising nervousness was dissipated into a sense of relief, vindicated by its first decisive military victory. Israel had lost 779 men, and killed an estimated 1521,000 Arab soldiers. The Sinai Desert has since been handed back to Egypt, but the Palestinian territories have never shaken off Israeli occupation.
The streets are never safe day or night... Ghaith’s parents call him every half an hour to check he is OK There is a temptation among some Jewish communities to treat the anniversary as a cause for celebration. On May 15, the day on which the anniversary falls according to the Hebrew calendar, swarms of Israelis descended on the streets of East Jerusalem, joyfully re-enacting their occupation of the holiest part of the city with dancing, chanting and flagwaving. Not all are as exuberant. Araf, a 30year-old Cardiff law student who is half Israeli and half Canadian, says: “We were lucky that day. The Jews felt powerless before the war, and no-one expected us to win. Somehow we survived against the odds, and perhaps that is a cause for celebration.
“But in reality, anyone who thinks a military conflict should be celebrated is ignorant. We are happy to be alive, but others have died. On this occasion I feel a healthy, but sombre, respect.” For Ghaith, however, it is an occasion for sad reflection on the fact that in 40 years, no resolution has been achieved.
Settled in for the duration Tensions between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian civilians are always high. The streets are never safe day or night, and when he goes out, Ghaith’s parents call him every half an hour to check he is OK. Israelis can assert their control over Palestinian lives at any point, enforcing curfews that keep them housebound for up to a month. “It’s not worth even trying to go out during a curfew,” Ghaith says. “Once, my two little sisters were in our garden playing, and soldiers just started shooting at them. They were seven and twelve years old at the time.” The Israelis are demonstrably in power, but their presence has been deemed illegal under international law. Over the last 40 years, an estimated 450,000 Jews have settled in Palestinian territory – the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. They come to these territories for a variety of reasons. Some are Zionists, who believe that the territories are essential to the formation of Eretz Israel, the historical Jewish homeland, and aim to permanently retain them. Others are drawn by economic factors, but many are housed on land that legally belongs to Palestinians. Israel has lately been red-faced after
Theodor Meron’s refusal to withdraw the statement he made 40 years ago that the Jewish settlements violate the Geneva Convention. Legal adviser to Israel’s Foreign Minister at the time, Meron has since become an internationally renowned jurist presiding over the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. His is an opinion that it would be more than impertinent to dismiss. Under the Convention, occupying powers are forbidden to transport their own citizens into occupied territories, as this is seen as a process of colonisation. Meron’s opinion has been ratified by numerous UN resolutions, including Resolution 242. Signed after the Six-Day War, it called for the immediate ‘withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict’, and recognition of the political independence of every state in the area, things that the world continues to wait for to this day. Israel insists that the withdrawal is to be part of a negotiated peace process, the like of which the two states have not yet managed to complete. Either way, it would seem neither side intends to back down anytime soon. In 2005, Israel evacuated all of its settlements in the Gaza Strip, but simultaneously strengthened its control over the West Bank, where the River Jordan, a much-valued source of water, lies.
The blame game Many fingers continue to be pointed, but it is impossible to lay the blame solely within one side. Human rights
JUNE.04.2007 FEATURES@gairrhydd.COM organisations report that thousands of lives are still being lost in the Palestinian Territories. Since the beginning of the second Intifada in 2000 – the second major Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation – it is estimated that two to four thousand Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli Defence Forces. Seen as a fight for liberation from their oppressors, the Palestinians have in turn killed around 750 to 1000 Israelis.
Soldiers, Jewish outposts and partition walls ... life is full of inconveniences that range from the irritating to the life threatening Breaches of Palestinian rights include mass arrests, detention without trial, torture, arbitrary shootings and state assassinations. Asaf insists that Israeli soldiers do not get away with these actions lightly. “If an Israeli soldier carries out an inappropriate action towards a Palestinian,” he says, “he goes to jail. Of course, he has to go through the courts, and some may be let off, as in any legal system, but everyone is charged.” Whether the Israelis deny unlawful killing or not, the iron grip that they exert over the territories is too evident to ignore. Under international law, Jerusalem should be partly Palestinianowned, but Israel has occupied it entirely since 1967 and controls who can pass in and out of it. “I’ll never see Jerusalem again in the current situation,” Ghaith says. “I tried to get a permit not long ago, just to go there because I love the city, but the Israelis control the borders and there is no way I could get a pass.” Divides between Israelis and Palestinians only seem to be getting
worse, and have new, very physical manifestations, such as the separation wall. Dubbed the ‘Apartheid Wall’ by Palestinians, the Israeli government started building the intended 400-mile barrier on Palestinian land in the West Bank five years ago. Another problem is growing outside Israel’s borders. There were 4.3 million Palestinian refugees registered with the UN in 2002, up from the original 700,000 created by the Palestinian exodus of 1948. Thousands of Palestinians whose homes fell within the new state of Israel fled during the Arab-Israeli war. Most of them still live in terrible conditions in overcrowded, isolated refugee camps in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and the territories. The refugees claim that Israel is violating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by refusing them the right of return to their homeland, but Israel argues that if they are allowed back, they will not live ‘at peace with their neighbours’. In fact, the influx of returning refugees would mean that there would no longer be a Jewish majority in Israel, and Palestinian leaders have surmised that it would mean the ‘end of the Israeli state’. In the face of the still-apparent wish
Once, my two little sisters were in our garden playing, and soldiers just started shooting at them that Israel be dissolved, Israelis argue their aggressive strategies in the Palestinian territories are necessary. “I hope the situation can calm down to the extent that such hostilities are not needed,” Araf says. “I appreciate that the Israeli system isn’t perfect, but can you show me one that is? I sympathise with the Palestinians, but the Israelis are constantly under threat from not just Arab nations but from internation-
al Muslim organisations like Hezbollah. If a nation like the UK had to suffer the kinds of bombings that Israel frequently does, it would go ballistic – for want of a better word.”
Peace begins at home After 40 years, it seems unlikely that the two sides will ever spontaneously come to an agreement. Western interventions have fallen by the wayside without reaching a resolution, even when aided by the charm of Mr Clinton at Camp David. America’s attempts at reconciliation lead to deadends, such as that encountered by George Bush’s 2002 Road Map to Peace, which optimistically attempted to lead the way to separate, autonomous states by 2005. Internal divisions within each side do not make the job any easier. “They need new leadership,” Asaf says. “How can a resolution be found when each side does not know what the other wants because they don’t know who to ask? The leaders need to use less inflammatory language and stop corruption by looking to the needs of the populous, not their own personal gain.” Whatever conflicts of opinion Asaf and Ghaith may have, they do agree on one thing: Britain and America must make a more concerted effort at mediation. Asaf says: “It’s partly Britain’s fault that the area is in this mess, so it definitely needs to get involved.” The British had a mandate over Palestine from 1920-48. “There is a too entrenched view,” he continues, “that the conflict is just between the two sides. It would be good to see the USA, Canada, the EU involved as well. We need assistance to find a resolution.” On June 5, Ghaith, who is the president of Cardiff Union’s Palestinian Solidarity Society, will bring this need to the attention of the local public by staging a demonstration in Cardiff’s Queen’s Street. It will involve dancing and music as well as information.
Ghaith explains the importance of greater awareness among students. “Last summer I was part of a group of activists organising demos against the war in Lebanon and the aggression in Gaza,” he says. “I was shocked by how little students knew about what’s going on in Palestine. I started the Palestinian Solidarity Society and have been working all this year to get more people involved in the struggle for freedom.” This year, the society brought a motion to Cardiff Students’ Union ‘s Annual General Meeting asking the
I’ll never see Jerusalem again in the current situation ... I love the city but the Israelis control the borders and there is no way I could get a pass Union to officially support the Palestinians in their plight. “Think back 20 years to the situation in South Africa,” Ghaith says. “Our situation is the same. At that time the whole world, including students unions, said out loud that apartheid was wrong, and contributed to the boycott on South Africa. This situation is in exactly the same league.” The meeting did not pass the motion. Ghaith believes that the British Government’s close political ties with Israel are hindering the road to peace. “I can’t believe that countries like the USA and UK who thrive on democracy and claim to have high standards
on human rights will do nothing when it comes to the Palestinian plight, but watch as our rights are violated and our country split down the middle. Without the UK and USA putting pressure on the Israeli government to come to a peaceful solution, nothing will ever change.”
Hope without faith
Ghaith and Asaf still hope for peace, but neither is optimistic that he will see it in the near future. Ghaith, like many Palestinians, does not believe that a solution can be reached while Israel continues to exist. “This can’t be resolved with a two-state solution,” he says. “The refugees will never stop wanting to return to their homes, and the Israelis will never let them while the idea of a Jewish state persists. We must live together in a democracy, and be peaceful, and eventually the differences will disappear.” Asaf, however, sees no reason why a Jewish state should not exist. “The Arabs who live inside Israel enjoy the same rights as the Jews. At the moment, extremism on both sides hinders the peace processes. Everyone else is interested in peace, and the resolution has to be beneficial to both sides. “I don’t have a crystal ball, and so I don’t know if we’ll make peace. I just hope that my family won’t get blown up along the way. Really, I wish that the mothers would go up to the generals, who sit comfortably behind their desks, and slap them around a bit. It’s the kids that get killed, it is the mothers that are paying the price, and in that there is zero difference between the Palestinians and the Israelis.”
Uniting for solidarity
gairrhyddâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s first Creative Writing Anthology
A collection of Short Fiction, Script Writing and Poetry from Cardiff students
contents Short Fiction Short fiction A collection of short stories, prose and micro-fiction
Script Writing Gangsters and knives
Poetry Poetry Poems from all years, a kaleidoscope of subject matter
For more work visit:
An introduction... It has been years since creative writing has had a regular spot in gair rhydd. It is often treated like a guilty pleasure; everyone is doing it, but they donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want to admit it. The idea of a creative writing anthology at first seemed daunting - were people really ready to expose their secret writing? Yet it turned out to be a breeze. Due to the oozing talent of our rising stars, creative writing is back. The word was out amongst gair rhydd contributors, and with the help of the English office, e-mails started flooding in. Full portfolios of glorious prose clogged up the account, sheets of poetry littered the office, and now it is all collected to be enjoyed by all. And there is even better news: gair rhydd wants to make this a regular occurrence, so keep your senses peeled for the next instalment.
Editor: Avalyn Daisy Beare Illustrations: Andrew Styles
Short F iction Love and O bsession would take maternity-leave – parting the office with an ethereal glow and a knowing smile. And I would look at them, then look at the calendar, the ever-changing month, year, until one day I knew I’d been bitten. I didn’t just want children, I needed them. But all of this was a time before time. Before my entire life began to fray at the edges, unravel. It’s Tuesday and it’s raining and the casino is empty, bar me and a few other regulars. I often wonder how long it takes to become a ‘regular’. How long you have to be a regular to become an ‘addict’. Not that I am an addict, of course. You’d know it, wouldn’t you? Something like that. I feel sorry for them. It must be terrible that moment you realise you can’t live without a ‘fix’ – don’t they say that gambling really can become like a drug, but here I go, quoting them again. I smile a thank you, as the bartender hands me my drink from a silver tray that he’s holding in one hand like a pro. They don’t usually serve here, but on rainy Tuesday nights, he’s nothing better to do. “I put an extra shot in there for you, Mary,” the young man pulls the same joke he always does. He’s as much a part of this place as the music, the joy and the despair. I know he has Hollywood-white teeth, a ‘diamond’ in his left ear – I’ve even wondered if I could have an affair with him, though I still don’t know his name. I take a swig from my drink. Orange and tonic. Tonic water makes up the ‘extra shot’. No alcohol for me here. My concentration is paramount. I didn’t break on Richard’s first affair. I was too much in love with the family life to give in that easily. I really did treasure my suburban world with all its routines. School runs and helping our two sons with their homework, keeping the garden trim and
having the dinner on the table as Richard opened the front door. It was the late nights that gave him away. That and the mumbled phone calls. Withheld number, of course. And then the careless excuses, which I could easily pull to pieces. The sweet, pungent scent of another woman clinging to his side of the bed. I didn’t confront him. Perhaps that was my one fatal mistake. I knew. He knew that I knew and I didn’t utter a peep of objection. It was like giving the All Clear to two jumbo jets heading for the same runway. Why Affair Number One was quickly followed by the others. I stopped counting after Number Four... I put my energy into the boys, but now Alex is nineteen, and Joe’s eighteen, studying at a university the other side of the country. They don’t need me. If I’m honest, they haven’t for a long time. Not really. They’d barely hit their teens when they no longer wanted their old mum in the background; combing out the quiffs from their hair; buying their underwear; peeling the skins of their apples because that’s the way they liked them. They were grown-ups, or so they liked to think, and to all intents and purposes that was all that mattered. Suddenly, I found my life had become a shrivelled husk of itself. As hollow as a fruit machine when someone’s just won the jackpot. I needed something to fill the days. Something which could be just for me. Something from which I could get that little buzz. ‘A cattle prod?’ Richard, as caring as ever, had suggested when I’d voiced my loneliness, on one of those rare evenings that he’d eaten at home. Perhaps he’d been stood up? I suppose I’d been foolish looking for an iota of understanding from my husband. I could have become an alcoholic or experimented with drugs, but I
ready to slip and fall out of sight at any moment. I sipped on my cocktail and watched the warm breeze lift the little umbrella from the glass and roll it gently across the table. ‘Let’s go out,’ he said. I looked up and he grinned foolishly back at me. He was wearing shorts, and his sunburnt legs were still a raw red from the earlier boat trip. ‘Where do you want to go?’ I asked, noticing already that he had formed a plan. He set his heel on the bottom bar of the stool and let his leg jiggle uncontrollably. I wasn’t going to have a choice. ‘Well, really I don’t think we can come back to Bangkok like this and not go to a show.’ He tried to make it sound like everyone travelling here went to sex shows, and he was probably right. I, however, immediately put the idea to rest.
‘There’s no way in hell I’m watching what those people do to themselves. I’d be sick in an instant!’ I garbled, choking slightly on a mouthful of sickly sweetness. ‘Fair enough, but I still think we should go out,’ he conceded, smiling back at me. Later, I found myself once again hailing down a tuk-tuk and climbing on board. He said something quickly to the driver just before he too climbed in. ‘Where did you ask to go?’ I asked. We had not made any plans for the evening, so I was surprised he had said anything. ‘I just told him to take us somewhere fun,’ he replied, the corners of his mouth curling up, failing to hide his amusement. I sighed and looked at the worn seat. I picked at the stuffing of a small cushion lying on my
by Adam Millward They say there’s a fine line between love and obsession. Coin in. Lever down. Win or lose? Lose. But what do they know? I suppose they’d say what I’m doing here – in this sordid, colour-bleeping place is obsession, not love. Well, I don’t care what they think. This place is always here for me, my twenty-four-hour safehouse. I’ve come to know all of its secrets and imperfections and have grown closer to it for them. If that’s not love, what is? Coin in. Lever down. Win or lose? Lose. I’d like them to live one day of my life and see how they cope without a little love. Just rows. And silences, which somehow seem worse. Being part of a family that doesn’t give a damn. Knowing when you wake that nothing’s going to have changed. That nothing ever will. Coin in. Lever down. Win or lose? Lose. I’ll tell you exactly who they are, the people who make up these sayings. They have perfect kids and go on cultural holidays. They’re the sort who likes to think they’re the crème de la crème, and who knows, maybe they are. They’re husbands and wives who don’t know the meaning of infidelity. Coin in… By now, you know the rest. When I think about it, I suppose my take on love has always been a little…off kilter. I never really loved Richard in the swooning schoolgirl sense. No, my feelings went deeper than that. I guess you could say I was addicted to him. I had to hear his voice. I had to catch his flirtatious eyes. He had to be mine. It sounds strange but starting a family came about in much the same way. One by one, the women from work
B angkok Sights by Avalyn Beare Breathing in heavily, I sat on the high stool and looked out over the building’s edge. The looming towers of concrete that seemed threatening when we were on the ground now hunched embarrassed below us. The potted palms around us glowed with an unnatural fluorescent light, as the coloured spotlights shone like searchlights straight into the darkening clouds above. On the horizon, the sun hung precariously,
I found my life had become a shrivelled husk of itself. As hollow as a fruit machine when someone’s just won the jackpot
wasn’t brave enough. So instead I tried a Book Group. We didn’t get on. Too many people trying to know too much. Come to think of it, they were the sort of people who went around making useless musings like there’s a fine line between love and obsession. So I tried an art course. I was quite good – at the abstract stuff, shapes and lines that could be interpreted in many ways. But when it came to lifedrawing, it was difficult to tell the difference between my vase of flowers from a naked man. Sianara, Mary the artiste. It was walking home from the art course that I came across the casino. Well, of course, I’d seen it before. It wasn’t as if it just appeared, but I’d never really paid it a second glance. I remember thinking how surreally beautiful the casino looked by night, with its white and blue strobes – as if dressed to impress. The chatter that had been spilling out into the silent darkness. The rush of warmth I’d felt as I’d tentatively stepped over the threshold. I walked in with twenty-five pounds – walked out with none. I’d spent it all without winning so much as a penny in return. I was devastated, as I later lay alone in the double bed. Devastated, yet excited. That suspense as the wheel spun; as the playing cards were turned; as the lever was tugged. It was intoxicating. I had to go again. Soon. It was the first time in months that I didn’t fall asleep wondering whose arms Richard was lying in. I had my very own lover now. Continued at www.gairrhydd.com/creative_writing
side, holding my breath instinctively as other tuk-tuk’s passed us, trying not to inhale exhaust fumes. The driver was unusually quiet and gave me time to examine the front seats. There was a faded photo of a little girl wedged into the steering wheel; her tiny smile barely visible now the sun had done its work. Brightly coloured beads that knocked and scratched gently against themselves as we swayed around corners hung from a screw where the rear-mirror should be. As we drove through the streets, the calls of the vendors faded quickly in and out of hearing, incomprehensible to me, but he would shout back and wave. We were swallowed into the wave of traffic, tuk-tuks and cars attempting to make the road their own. The small cheap horns were constantly blearing out, and my head swum with all the movement around
me. Eventually we came to a shuddering stop. ‘Where are we?’ I asked suspiciously. We had pulled up outside an unmarked door. He didn’t answer but went on grinning, and the driver turned round for our money. I scrabbled in my bag, pulling out useless items that I had forgotten to leave behind. I found a bright yellow disposable camera and put it on my lap as I finally found my purse. The driver looked at me carefully, and pointed at my camera. ‘Camera, no no,’ his English broke out, pointing first at my camera and then at the building. I turned towards my companion and glared at him. He burst into laughter and grabbed my hand, leading me into the darkened entrance hall.
Nourishment by Natalie Harris Up until that peculiar day, the collection of exotic vegetation that grew in Mrs Dupont’s greenhouse had been flourishing perfectly. Down the central walkway hung baskets of long curling ferns and creepers that traipsed along the overhead passage, blocking pockets of light from the central panes of glass above. To each side of the walkway were two long wooden workbenches on which stood an assortment of tropical, temperate and desert plants and vegetables that all thrived on the barely-tolerable humidity – cacti, tomato plants, bamboo canes, glamorous flowers the size of human heads – all carefully positioned in plush, velvety soil for optimum areas of light and shade. At the end furthest from the house lay the dank aquarium. Morning had begun to make its way across the greenhouse, and Mrs Dupont had begun to regret what she had done. She peered timidly over the top of the thin blanket (a pitiful replacement for her untouched quilt upstairs), and noticed that aside from the numerous precious plants, pots and other paraphernalia that now littered the floor around her, two windows on the eastern side had been smashed, and at least one rather large fish lay dead beside her head. A gruff voice mumbled from beside her. Mrs Dupont felt nauseated. She flinched as Mr Little, the gardener, offered her a broken, hopeful smile. Mr Little had not always favoured Mrs Dupont as an employer, but her husband had been away for well over the annum, and the gardener now considered her as highly as he would any rare and tropical plant. His declaration of passion for her had, the previous night, been met with little resistance – if anything they had both enjoyed the cathartic destruction of the greenhouse, for it had freed them both from the constraints of professionalism, both as a gardener and as a wife. But daylight shatters such pretences, and at least for now, normality ensued. Mrs Dupont returned to her grand house to read the morning papers, and Mr Little began to restore the greenhouse to its perpetual beauty and order. His usually placid face crinkled slightly when he saw that Mrs Dupont – presumably enveloped by a frenzied pas-
sion – had flung the large cylinder compost container through the eastern window. For the compost was the life-source of the place; the greenhouse could not breathe without it. Every fortnight before dawn set in, Mr Little would walk the two and a half miles to the old cemetery at the top of the hill. Here, he would implement his perfected process of shovelling, scurrying, prising open and dismantling human bones, thus providing his plants with the golden gift of corporeal richness. After slogging the goods, he would sit for hours, humming, with a pestle and mortar, grinding down all that remained of the last remains. The plants thanked him for their muddy nests. Mrs Dupont had thus far not thanked him. He did not long for her anymore. Today he longed only for his precious, ruined compost heap. A strange sensation overtook Mr Little, a reckless feeling that perhaps warranted him entry into her territory. Mrs Dupont did not know what startled her most: the sloppy sludge that now infused her cream carpet; the roughness of his kiss on her delicately piggy face; or the fact that the hired help had crossed the invisible line into her house. He looked down at the paper she was holding. ’Simply dreadful business!’ said she, twittering away. ’Gravediggers – here! Looking for pocket-watches or gold fillings I expect. How appallingly macabre.’ He loomed impressively over her. *** Some months later, it was widely supposed that Mrs Dupont had joined her husband on whichever business it was that had kept him away from her for so long. Day by day, the house fell into gross disrepair. The lawns were, however, as neat as they had always been. The greenhouse panes had been mended and emerald light shone brightly from within. Thick greenery swayed down from the workbenches and fish of every colour flicked hither and thither in the aquarium. Each plant seemed to fight for light with more ferocity than its neighbour, and at their roots the worms squirmed in delight at their warming, earthy home. To the untrained eye, it was perfection. Only by a few oddities – the occasional whiff of Mrs Dupont’s perfume, a long fingernail in the soil, and the fact that each plant has now been renamed in scrawling handwriting with the tag MRS DP – can one suppose that there is something distinctly off about the place.
The Shepherd by Sean St. John In a distant room behind the closed doors the occasional musical note leapt from the tinkling piano and migrated through the stale air of the house like a graceful summer bird, finally taking nest deep within the boy’s warm ear. He wasn’t trying to listen but the silence gave him no choice. The tune reminded him of his mother’s hands, the colour of the white ivory keys. And also of a time passed that should have angered him rather than heightened his sense of indifferent nostalgia. She once told him it was Beethoven’s best achievement, and to celebrate her love for its beauty she had written a poem in German that flowed with the soft beauty of the sonata. He remembered her voice whispering as he sat on his favourite rug by the fireplace. He would pretend the intricate design was a labyrinth and he was Theseus, lost but ready to slay the Minotaur. He would try and escape before his mother finished the song, but he never succeeded. Now these memories were seeping away into the estuary of time, where he would eventually forget. Today he was in what he liked to call ‘his’ room, but he had numerous others. He and his sister took great pleasure in dividing all the rooms in the house into either his or hers. When they got bored they would trade rooms, but owning a room meant nothing more than the title. This room was bare and cold moisture lingered. Under the dim light the
stained floorboards looked like a lake on a still winter’s eve; ominous but alluring. The boy sat, crouched in the middle starring up at the patchy yellow ceiling. Watching the mould grow beneath the pealing paint as if a flower basking under the springtime sun. An exposed light-bulb hung lifelessly on a long cord as if noosed years ago and now forgotten; decomposing alone. The light of the day had given up rushing through the window, blanketed by untrimmed bushes and trees, but the boy was not concerned. He was starring yet saw nothing. He could do this for hours, perhaps thinking, or maybe just listening, trying to grapple with silence’s curse. The boy spent enough time in this room to witness every rarity; small flecks of paint dropping, unprovoked from the walls, like petals from a dying rose. Floating down into the deep crevices of the floorboards. The occasional droplet of water sailing through the air and exploding, always in the same dimpled place. The sanctity of the room was broken as a gentle rap at the door rattled through the boy’s head. His sister entered. ‘Hey, do you want to come and hear me play?’ she enquired with a gentle whispery voice. The brother turned to face her. Their eyes met and understood something deeper than their youthful vocabulary could express. Here silence was an ally. After a few moments he nodded, and with much effort, followed her through the creaking house.
Her piano dozed in a large room the length of the house. Opposite the piano was a huge fireplace spewing old coal dust from its mouth. The boy imagined if it spoke it would have a gruff voice. At either end of the room were huge windows with lead crisscrosses that would cast a fantastic shadow in the morning sunlight, but not this evening. A few of the panels were broken and the wind would whistle wildly in a way the boy could only wish for his own lips to produce. The girl sat at the piano and removed an oversized black coat she was wearing. It fell to the floor and she began. The boy stared out of the grimestained windows, into the grey garden and silver drive. He watched the branches of the apple tree fight against the wind, and the homemade swing blow as if an invisible hand pushed it to and fro. Adjacent to the window and next to the fireplace was a bookcase; yet most of the books lay on the floor; some open, some in colour coordinated piles and some tossed aside. The acoustics of the room were perfect, but the girl’s attempt of Beethoven was not. The brother took a seat over by the fireplace and picked up a book. He flicked through looking at various pictures of lambs, birds, heaven and trees. He and his sister failed to understand the poetry, but it was their favourite book to read all the same. He put the book down and watched his sister from under the piano, her legs stretching to press various pedals, and moving in time. After a while she saw her brother was no longer listening and was staring as he did so often. She stopped playing, walked over and sat down in front of the marble fireplace. They could both hear the evening songs of birds echoing down the chimney. She returned their song up into the dark tunnel but only dislodged soot that rained down onto her golden hair. The boy smiled, something he rarely did. She sat down with him and read a few lines of poetry; ‘For he hears the lambs’ innocent call, And he hears the ewes’ tender reply; He is watchful while they are in peace, For they know when their shepherd is nigh.’ Her voice warmed the boy’s body, her hands warmed his soul. After she had read the short poem she looked down to see her brother, huddled against her, his head on her lap, his eyes screwed up tightly. She knew it was her company that he loved; she stroked his head and felt maternal, but all she wanted from life was for her own mother to stroke hers. This was a routine they had, like most things they did; the reading of poetry, the playing of the piano, the searching for answers, the searching for food. The adventure had worn off long ago and each action was now a necessity for survival.
Continued at www.gairrhydd.com/creative_writing
Technological Homesick Blues by Emma Bohan
Monday Mornings by Michael Gilbert Monday mornings only ever really have two options. Either you stay in bed or you don't. The working week begins and, across the nation, we rise as if from some deep sea dive. Our heads are heavy from hours spent sinking through dark, rippling, currents of sleep. Eyes closed, limbs relaxed, curled inside a pool of dreams, as comforting as the waters of the womb. Far below us the darkness grows as we ascend, stealing away the stuff of dreams. Always be careful not to rise too quickly or you'll get the bends. Your mind will throb for the first two hours of the day and someone else – normally a fellow sufferer – will tersely comment in response to your snarled up face, 'look who got out of the wrong side of bed today'. Anyway, the moment where we crest the surface is the real transitional moment in the day. We habit both worlds but are fully present in neither. And in this hazy state we face the question. To enter the real world, of breakfast, and showers, and 'things to do today', or to return to your submerged dream world before it is too late. Because your subconscious has cast you off and is slipping back between the waves and you'll have to be quick to catch it or otherwise – the alarm clock rang. A hairy hand slid out from a pillow, flexed itself in mid-air and then lashed out. The alarm clock brrrrrrrrped again, then stopped. Silence hung in the room, vacant and tired. Dust motes streamed lazily in through a chink in
JUNE.04.2007 CREATIVEWRITING@gairrhydd.COM The newsprint drips down onto Alisdair's head from his paper shelter, pouring kanji and kana characters in a black rain down through the valleys of his messed-up hair and on to his sweating forehead. The rain brings no relief from the stifling heat of the grey city as he runs through the streaming downpour that obscures his view like television static. The Velvet Underground ask him "Who Loves The Sun?" through the headphones of his iPod as he catches a glimpse of his target, blurry and glowing through the steamy windows of his glasses. "I do, actually," he answers aloud as he reaches the dry and air-conditioned haven of the electronics store. "Iri shae massai!" The shop girl competes with Lou Reed to sing to him. She wins and he removes his headphones, pushing them down around his neck, Lou now asking "Who cares what it does, since you broke my heart?" Alisdair digs through the cluttered junk in his record bag, past at least three of his cameras and smooth metal canisters of slide film, to retrieve a small and soggy brown Jiffy bag. The Queen's face slides off the corner of the waxy surface as he pulls out the cassette tape that he received this morning. Mixtapes are a cute but impractical notion in this country, and now Alisdair readies himself for battle with the smiling girl behind the counter who will not understand a word he
sharp, careering itself eastward down the curtains. Everything was still. the cul-de-sac, playfully snatching The bed clothes twisted as Ian tried leaves, dust and Ian's breath away. to dive back down. He squirmed Apart from the wind though, the some more, scrunching the pillow, street this morning was insipid and determined that he had not lost out, grey. Somewhere above the estates that the choice was still his to make. the sun weakly struggled to pierce If he had stayed asleep then we'd through the gloomy disposition of a have a different story to tell that day. British sky. Ian rounded the corner *** of Acacia Avenue toward where the The bed sheets are thrown back with train line dissected the road up to a groan revealing black boxer shorts, Cherry Hinton. He was wearing a white limbs, and a fairly hairy chest. thick YSL jacket as he walked, Ian staggers up and stretches. He has black, padded, smart as fuck; it kept a slight case of the bends but fortuout the unseasonable chill, but not nately only the symptom of mild the rawness within him. grumpiness which a short shower The text message was stuck in his can usually sort out. Add to this a mind. She was in his mind. A rigid bowl of Start, and that 'after-shave' block twisting screws deep into his that stings your face, and it only takes half an hour for Ian to greet the chest and unsettling his insides in some nauseous osmosis. Either that day with a smile. The house is quiet but only recently departed, a patch of or the milk he'd had for breakfast was off. It had been days since she'd condensation lingers on the bathcrept back under his defences he room mirror and in the kitchen the realised, as he stared at the solid smell of bacon hovers above square blocks of the retail park that unwashed pans. A note lies upon the right-angled off from the road. Even kitchen table, a faint impression of now he wasn't thinking about her so grease upon it. much as feeling her. He sensed her I've taken the car. B.' as she seeped through his pores, into A scowl, a scrumple, and the note is capillaries that carried her round and in the bin. Ian paces, bare feet kissround inside him. What did he juding the sticky floor. Ah fuck it. Into der with as she touched upon his the lounge. Slouch on the sofa. heart? A familiar phrase popped into Channel surfing. Strange metaphor, his head. 'My only love sprung from even 'flicking' seems too exciting a my only hate'. With a grimace Ian verb for this pastime. 'This morning', decided Shakespeare might very well Philip Schofield, making dresses? have got that line the wrong way No thank you! And yes we did all round. As he reached the train line, a know the clocks have changed, don't steady rumbling heralded its patronise us. A message tone beeps approach. The London train blurred loudly. Sender: Charlie. past him as Ian decided that a con‘What happened to you last night?! clusion was that place where you got We really need to sort out what’s tired of thinking. And he couldn't going on, this is getting ridiculous’ think about her anymore. No kisses. She must be really pissed off. Ian glanced at the clock. He still had time to make it. He could get Continued at there on time on the bus if he left www.gairrhydd.com/creative_writing now. Outside the house the wind was
says or why on earth he would want to buy a Walkman in the heartland of nanotechnology. Anna's writing on the inlay card brings the refuge from homesickness that he'd sought; what the words allude to is now not only unnecessary but a complete pain in the arse. Plunged back into the soupy heat of the streets from the crisp, dry air of yet another electronics store, Alisdair faces the rainy static again, resenting the reluctance to embrace the modern that attracted him to her in the first place. He wipes the rain from the face of his watch and sees that today's search must come to an end. Headphones are pulled up around his ears once again as he disappears into the sober noodle chaos of the Tokyo subway system for what seems like hours. He eventually makes his way out of the subway station next to the theatre, slowed up by the delivery boy in front of him on the stairs, who is carrying at least 50 manga comics on his shoulder with another 50 hanging from the blue plastic ties that are cutting off the circulation in his hand. Alisdair is pleased to see the absence of rain in the sky beyond the manga monger as he emerges from underground and makes his way to his friends awaiting him at Kabuki-za. Geishas and 17th century samurai, faces white as blank pages, sit on the stage before him, seemingly miles
away, past the simmering, bubbling darkness of Japanese theatre-goers and gap-year students. Alisdair's regret at not paying 400 yen for an English translation grows with each passing minute that is softened with esses and filled with vowels that he cannot understand. Upon the stage is a confusion of characters that he has come to know well in a place far away from here: home. Home is where he is "into East-Asian cinema", where he stands in line with the smell of popcorn and nacho cheese lingering in the air as he passes over his ticket stub in exchange for darkness and this city that he now sits in, not comprehending a word. Up in the nosebleeds, with his slumbering friends taking sleepy refuge in the darkness, he feels more distant from this place that he sought to know than he ever did at home. As his gaze floats upon the drowning characters on the stage, he feels a country's culture eluding him. "I don't have the words…" he whispers into the cool dusty air. Everything is aesthetics here and far away at home, he will one day sit close to the screen with the language that he loves in flickering white consonants telling him what he would have given far more than 400 yen to feel in Tokyo, that specific space that will never really exist to him again.
Brick Lane By Amy Grier This is not my story to tell. Dawn to me was the best time of day. Some mornings, all these years on, I wake up think I still hear the chink of cold glass bottles rattling against each other as the cart hobbled over the cobbles. Maybe that's just my tinnitus. It's hard to tell these days. She sat bent in her chair and smiled. The room was an ambivalent yellow. She had added touches to it to make it hers, a set of old copper candle sticks for Fridays, photos of us, her grandchildren hung on the walls. Her wedding photo, its sepia tones lightened with exposure. But there were things that didn't seem to belong to her. A rail around the room hung as a reminder of her frailty. An emergency cord for the next time she fell. These things were not hers. They were the necessities of age. This is her story. My dad was the milkman on Brick Lane. Brick Lane; the starting point for so many lives, as if the name itself inspired people to build their lives with its foundations. The glittering twenties never reached Brick Lane. There was no Charleston, no silk gloves, no pearls. Just devastation and hard work; depression, and a belief that somehow all those deaths, all that waste was not for nothing. I wasn't even born when the war ended. But I feel like I lived through it nonetheless because I lived through the aftermath. There were hardly any men. The ones that were there were scared for life. There were no jobs, no prospects. Yet Brick Lane thrived. Every day brought a new family to the street. The street that was my world. My London. At first it was the French, then the Poles, then the Jews. That was me. Later when I had moved on, the Indians had moved in, making it theirs in the same way that every wave of immigrants did. A human Continued at www.gairrhydd.com/creative_writing
Silence by Rhiannon Johnson The day the dogs all escaped mother was humming out of tune and peeling potatoes. Hearing the barks and the clink of cages she dashed into the garden just in time to see Tommy sprinting across the field, chased by 15 Spaniels and 12 Labradors (six brown, four golden and two black). I clapped my hands and laughed as she shrieked at them to stop. Dad came out to see what the commotion was and blew his silent silver whistle. Everything stopped. The dogs lay down. Tommy started crying.
by Rhiannon Johnson
She had painted a rectangle on the road in front of her house. In wobbly white writing she had scrawled 'disabled' in it. She sat in her window daring people to park in Her Space. Children charged past her front garden. The brave ones would bolt up the unkempt path, seeing how near the door they could get before she shrieked through the letter box. One day we saw a big van in Her Space. Running out to see, we watched the white sheet covered trolley roll into the ambulance. Council men in bright orange jackets painted over Her Space after that.
The Willow by Amy Grier I am dripping, my back drenched, the desert sticking to the soles of my feet. I feel drops coursing down my right calf, weaving paths of dark, glistening skin through the layers of dust and sand. I pull up my head, squint at the harsh sun, and immediately regret it. The heat fights its way through my once white T-shirt, sitting close upon my chest, pressing into the small of my back. I stop, try to swallow the stickiness that cakes the inside of my mouth, and glance to my left. I see a fountain, large and steady, of green water that does not move. I run towards it, falter, look again. No, it’s not a fountain, but a willow tree. I tell myself that willow trees don’t grow in the desert, but as I stare, I know this is no mirage. It is big and green and real; still rivers of leaves falling from the top to the sand with no movement. Its tendrils hang low, like a dancer effortlessly bending to stretch out her palm on the floor. As I stare, the fronds twitch and then part, revealing a man standing with one hand in the green, sweeping it aside like a curtain. He is smiling, his forehead smooth as if he has never known the meaning of worry. His eyes dance with some secret that I suddenly long to hear. I realise I am just standing there, steaming and dripping and staring at this guy, but I can’t unlock my eyes from his. He holds my gaze. Then, still holding aside the mass of green, he takes one step back into the shade, and with his free hand he beckons me in. The leafy curtain rustles as it falls behind my back. My whole body drinks in coolness. The earth feels soft beneath my feet, and its aroma of crushed dry leaves and peaty soil fills the shade. I close my eyes and mouth and breathe it all in. As I exhale in a smile, I hear a laugh like water rushing over smooth stones. I look up to see the man, leaning against the trunk of the tree, arms folded, laughing at me. He flashes that grin again and then turns and walks beyond the tree
trunk. It is then that I see that the circle does not end where it should, but rather continues on and on, beyond my vision. It is as if the willow has forgotten that there’s a desert outside and that it ought to have an edge, that it ought to submit to the burning sand. Instead, the soft earth banks downwards, and runs on. I want to explore. I want to find the man and ask him his secret, so I walk beyond the trunk until I stand on the brink of the bank that falls away beneath my toes. An enormous lake stretches out before me. Shifting lights dance upon its surface, though there is no sun within the willow. The flitting colours seem to rise from within the lake, as if it glows with a hidden quality. Deep emerald bumps into rich purple and mingles with ruby reds. I’m filled with a childish urge to race to the edge of the lake and dare myself to dive in headfirst. My feet plough through the soft silt, tumbling faster and faster down the bank until I roll to a stop at the edge of the water. Suddenly I’m nervous. Bending over the sparkling skin of the lake I realise it is much, much deeper than it looks. Straightening up, my heart still racing from the scramble downhill, I scan the edges for a glimpse of the man with the smile. He is nowhere to be seen. I turn slowly to the lake, attempting to act like an adult, weighing the foolishness of jumping into a strangely coloured unknown expanse of water with the irrational urge to just see… it takes three seconds to decide. As my feet leave the ground I know I’ve crossed over. Things will never be as they were. Mid-air, I register the risk and my insides spasm. Then my fingers break the surface and I’m swallowed up, hips, legs, toes… water enfolds my body, encasing my ears in padded silence. I find I can open my eyes without pain. The colours look stronger further in. They draw me. As I leave the surface behind, I am aware of a faint sound.
It’s a voice, a song, somehow connected with the water. The music is soothing and familiar, as if I should recognise it. I kick down deeper, following the lights, focused on the sound. Then I hear words, but can’t decipher their meaning. I’m breathing. Normally. I halt, not kicking, not treading water, stunned by the freedom. The water behaves like water should; yet I see clearly, I breathe as easily as in an open field. I move without restriction. The childlike energy bubbles up within me once more and I spin a somersault just to see. The momentum takes me on and on, ’til I stick out my feet to stop the endless cycles. I’m doing underwater star-jumps when the music penetrates my thoughts once again. Then I hear the words: ‘I love you. I know you. I love you.’ My lungs swell and burst and I’m crying in the depths, a massive grin splashed across my cheeks. I don’t understand about the lake, the song, I don’t know who is singing, but I know I am loved. Known and loved. Known, and still loved. The words whisper in my ear, melodies soaring and spinning, washing over me again and again and again. I spin a thousand somersaults. Here, I am home. I hear water rushing over smooth stones, the man, laughing. Then the colours melt and I blink onto grainy black. I close my eyes, dragging myself deeper; emerald bounces into purple but again they ebb away. I turn onto my shoulder, willing myself away from the morning. I can see a trace of light beneath the door. My forehead wrinkles as I try to concentrate on the dream, but it’s gone. And yet, the feeling is still there. I feel like I’ve crossed over. I’ve woken lighter, somehow, than I was when I went to sleep. I feel the muscles around my mouth twitch involuntarily as a smile stretches itself across my sleepy face. No longer will I live life in the shallows. I don’t need three seconds to decide. I’m diving in.
by Emma Bohan “I was born 15 years to the day after the Prague Spring ended. August, 21st. The revolutionary spirit was crushed when Soviet forces invaded. But this wasn’t my actual birthday. Each day has an echo – a resonance from all the August 21sts that have come before it and an anticipation of all those to come. The memories are suspended in the atmosphere – like tiny quarks or atoms of history. And these affect every person born on that day. They lend a theme to people’s lives, you know?” Amy speaks in fragments over the tinny folk instruments from the car stereo as the road stretches on for hours ahead of us. In the Eastern hills a blue smoke rises against the darkening sky as the smell of home fires and the outside drifts in through the crack in my window. I’m at the wheel, just driving and listening to the specificity that pours out of her. “On my actual day of birth, a Philippine opposition leader was assassinated at Manila Airport. I’m destined for change, politics, upheaval…” She trails off in search of the words to describe her destiny, but seems unsure and narrows her grey eyes at a dark spot on the windscreen, distractedly twisting her hair between thumb and forefinger. She starts to tell me about some of the other spectral dust hanging around on the day of her birth. “...Sand kicked up by the Pueblo Indians that captured Santa Fe from the Spanish during a revolt in 1680. Stray fibres from the loosened ties that bound the black slaves freed in a rebellion in 1831. Flecks of paint from the Mona Lisa that a Louvre employee stole in 1911. Apollinaire and Picasso were brought in for questioning about the disappearance. Imagine cuffing Picasso…! It’s supposed to be the most expensive painting in the world, not that anyone would ever buy or sell it, of course. But it was surpassed by the sale of Klimt’s Adele Bloch-Bauer I, which was sold on the birthday of the first man I ever loved.” “I don’t want to hear about him,” is what I should have told her. But in
Growing-up by Rhiannon Johnson I was never allowed to have sugar in my tea. I would plead to be allowed just one, especially if we were in a café with the cubed kind. When Mother wasn’t looking I would pop a gravelly, brown block into my mouth and clamp it tight. It made my eyes water and my teeth hurt, but I would suck it until my tongue was coated in sticky sugary goodness. When I learned to make my own tea, I would clamber up onto the kitchen surface and grab the sugar packet. One day I had twelve sugars in my tea. truth, I did want to hear about him. Because she fascinates me, this girl. My insides feel like they’re being crushed and torn apart all at once when she speaks of him, but to know her, it seems I must know him. She looks down to the right with a memory of their past playing along to the soundtrack of folk songs filling the car, bare feet with painted lilac toes on the dashboard and a smothered smile on her face because she knows she can’t explain to me what’s in her head. I remain silent, eyes on the road. “Life is full of patterns, Daniel. Some people see them. Some don’t. There are instances of the number three everywhere, for example,” she says, tracing the patterns of the redwood trees on the glass between her and the forest rushing past us. “That’s a book, no?” I ask tentatively, ashamed that this has been my sole contribution of the last three hours. “Hmm-mmm, yeah.” My eyes wander from the straight greyness ahead of us to a wooden shack by the roadside. “Wanna stop for coffee?” I ask her. “There’s a place just ahead.” “Yes, do, let’s, ” she yawns at me and she takes her feet down from the dashboard. I pull over into the clearing by the woodlands, driving onto the soft nuggets of bark that remind me of adventure playgrounds. The flashing neon COFFEE sign rises above our heads, resting lop-sided on rusty poles with peeling paint in primary colours like a climbing frame. Amy waits for me to lock up, leaning against one of the poles with her bended leg forming a triangle against the harsh straightness of the metal. I think about my own birthday as I look over at her, arms folded, softly smiling. I remember my tenth birthday in London and the worried look on my mother’s face as she changed our plans to avoid the chaos of an IRA bomb at Victoria station. I remember that I was born on the same day as Molly Ringwald and John Travolta and vaguely wonder if I’m destined for artlessness and destruction. “You were born on the day they discovered Pluto and banned fox hunting,” she tells me as her smile spreads into a grin. She’s done her homework and we’re on the same page. But then the eyes are cast down once again and I know she thinks of him.
Script W riting T he T own is on F ire by Avalyn Beare EXT: DODGY BACK STREET – DAY Full shot of shop front door. One pathetic cardboard sign hangs in the window, declaring the shop open. The door is suddenly thrown open and a young man in a wrongly buttoned, dishevelled suit rushes out. In his hands he holds a pile of loose papers. He looks one way, then another and runs unceremoniously away. A few papers fly off the top of the pile; the shot freezes as they start to fall to the ground. VOICE OVER There he goes, with the most important documents in town. The shot continues as the paper falls to the ground and then cuts quickly to a staircase. INT: SHOP STAIRCASE – SAME TIME The camera is at step level. A pair of women’s legs in huge purple wedge-heeled shoes run down the stairs. EXT: SHOP FRONT AGAIN – SAME TIME The door is thrown open and a muscular women in a short leopard print dress sprints out. She stops outside the door and looks both ways. The shot freezes again. VOICE OVER And there I am. I’m not happy, I can tell you. That swine just screwed me out of...well a fuck lot of money I can tell you. The shot continues again at normal speed. WOMAN (on screen) Shit! The teenagers start to laugh and taunt her too. She turns to them and marches up to them and picks up the first boy she meets by his collar and holds him to her face. The boy points his finger in the other direction. He is terrified. The woman then throws the boy to the ground and runs out of the shot the other way. The shot follows her as she runs down an alley, not far behind the terrified escapee. VOICE OVER (over shot) Pricks. See that paper? Well, it’ll basically set the town on fire. I had to pay a lot to get it in the first place. Don’t look the type do I huh? I mean, I’m the type alright, I’ll do anything for you, to you, but not the type to have thousands lying around right? Well, I better explain everything… EXT: A CROWDED HIGHSTREET – EVENING The pubs are opening and there are
bouncers standing at all the doors. The prostitute, whose name is Seena is wandering up and down one side of the road, in a different outfit than the leopard print dress, but equally as horrible. A friend of hers, Harmony, is walking next to her both obviously looking for business. The shot focuses on a man walking on the other side of the road; this is Frankie. He walks shiftily towards them. SHOT: from real time to double speed and back. Slow motion when focusing on Frankie’s eyes. Looks fugitively around, then focuses on him walking towards the women. He is desperate to seem inconspicuous. FRANKIE Lay-dees. HARMONY AND SEENA turn to FRANKIE and give him the once over. He is short and thin, and has a moustache and combed back hair. There is something of a rat about him. He is dressed in a black suit that is a size or two too big for him. FRANKIE pulls out a wad of money and starts to thumb through it. Unfortunately, he is clumsy, and he drops a large chunk. The money blows round the pavement. SEENA and HARMONY look at each other. Screaming, they try and pick it up. Frankie joins in, screaming at the same pitch as the women. SHOT: From normal speed to fast as in a cartoon. The shot freezes again mid-action. INT: GRUBBY CAFÉ – LATER THE SAME EVENING The three of them are sitting drinking coffee out of mis-matching mugs. There is a box on the table. SHOT: Focuses on box, then on Frankie’s eyes looking at Seena. Shift to Seena’s, that look back at Frankie. Shift quickly to Harmony, and so on. Eventually, the shot widens to show them all again at the table. SEENA Well. It’s stalemate. Harmony and I, we could just take this straight out of your hands, but we don’t know who you know, or you could give us a third, pay it out of your pocket to keep our mouths shut and not go see some of the lads we know. They’re cute lads, big, but cute. FRANKIE It’s my money, I made it myself. You can’t take it off me. I was going to give you a bit for the night anyway. SEENA Frankie, Frankie, now you know I
know you, right? There’s nothing you could do that could get you this money, unless you were stupid enough to steal it. Also, you know that nothing, no nothing would make me spend a night with you again. Now, why don’t you hand it over to us, before Harmony and me do some real damage here. FRANKIE Two nearly-women? Not likely. From under the table there is a loud bump and Frankie's face begins to turn red. Harmony has a hand under the table, and is smiling straight at him. SEENA We can do this the hard way, if you like. FRANKIE Shit! Alright, I'll tell you where it’s from. SEENA I don’t care nothing for where it’s from Frankie; that’s trouble. I just want my share and we'll be quiet. Unless you have nicked it, which, if true, means that we can probably take it all off your hands anyway. FRANKIE Nah nah, I didn’t steal it. I did a job. HARMONY (who has been silent throughout) No one would give you a job Frankie, you can’t even tie your own shoes. FRANKIE Well, lay-dees, maybe you should’ve stuck with me, people trust me now. I mean the right people. (He winks theatrically) Harmony rolls her eyes and looks at Seena. Just then the door of the café bursts open and two men in dark suits rush in. They are huge men, typical of muscle used by gangsters. People scream as they pull out big black guns from inside their suits. Seena, Harmony and Frankie look at each other and dive under the table. MUSCLE MAN Nobody move! SEENA (whispering) Frankie? MUSCLE MAN Frankie, come out, we know you’re here! SEENA Typical.
Continued at www.gairrhydd.com/creative_writing
Domestic Strangers by Hollie Clemence Onstage is a kitchen with regular trimmings; red gingham curtains and wooden units. The kitchen leads into an open-plan living room where a glass coffee table stands between a floral sofa and armchair. A woman enters the kitchen carrying a pile of clothes, humming to herself. She puts the clothes in the washing machine and leaves the room. A man walks into the living room reading a newspaper. He sits in the armchair, rests his feet on the coffee table and continues to read, with the newspaper held close up to his face. The woman re-enters, still humming, pulling along a Hoover. She plugs it in and begins to vacuum the living room. The man lifts up his legs obligingly as she vacuums around him, but does not stop reading. She turns the Hoover off and leaves it in a corner. ANNIE Tea? HUMPHREY Hm. Annie pours the tea with a splash of milk in each. She brings one cup through to the living room. In the kitchen she holds her cup up to her mouth and looks absentmindedly out of the window for a moment. During which, Humphrey puts down his paper and takes a sip from his tea before returning to his stories. Back to reality, Annie puts down the mug and prepares to cook breakfast. She places a box of eggs, a bowl, a wooden spoon, chopping board, knife, mushrooms and a tomato onto the work surface and begins to crack the eggs into a bowl. She has her back to Humphrey who once again puts down his paper and looks up at Annie. Walking into the kitchen, he puts his arms around her from behind. For a moment Annie smiles. But on turning around she lets out an almightly scream. Humphrey darts backwards. ANNIE (In sheer terror) Who are you? What the hell do you want? (Annie has read about these people. She feels around behind her for the knife.) HUMPHREY Me? Who the hell are you? ANNIE (Finding the knife, she waves it around in front of her for a moment) I have a knife.
HUMPHREY Well you can bloody well put that down. Where’s my wife? ANNIE Get out. Get out of my house. HUMPHREY (Indignant) This is my house. ANNIE Fine. (She backs into the living room still brandishing the knife) I’m phoning the police. HUMPHREY Phone the police. Hopefully they’ll take you away. You’re crazy. That must be it. You're actually crazy. And you’ve escaped! Look, put the knife down. I’m not going to hurt you. (He shouts upstairs) ANNIE? ANNIE? I THINK YOU BETTER COME DOWNSTAIRS. ANNIE? (he gives up and turns to this Annie) Where’s my wife? ANNIE How do you know my name? HUMPHREY (Humouring her) Right. Your name’s Annie? My name’s Humphrey. I just need you to put the knife down. I’m not going to hurt you. ANNIE You are NOT Humphrey. What do you want? What have you done with my husband? HUMPHREY Why don’t you have a seat? Continued at www.gairrhydd.com/creative_writing
creativewords The Garden
by Kayleigh Forsyth
The inky sky sleeps in the moonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s phosphorescence And there is a strange serenity in your face,
The Crimson Russian Doll
Which the daylight can not quite capture. The roses lie in a slumbered shadow.
by Rachel Faulkner
Somehow the darkness elucidates the leaves
No larger than the palm of my outstretched hand,
And the tiny droplets of dew slide down
Was tucked into the corner of the dressing table.
One by one they hit the silky ground.
The coat that was once glossy, is now matt like an eggshell,
Mesmerising to watch nature in its truest form.
It clings on to little drops of golden glitter.
Only in this non penetrable silence can I truly feel you.
They dance in the white light of the ceiling lamp.
The atmosphere shivers and envelops the distance between us,
If I run my finger over the shiny bumps
please do not drift away.
I can trace a floral pattern across the curved shape.
Stay close and inhale the scintillating softness in the air.
Curved like a porcelain bowling pin;
It asks no questions.
Another person trapped within.
Down the stony steps of life I lead you, Battered lilies leap up in life and light our path.
A Performance to the Island
Nothing could be as real as right now. This garden in its quivering brilliance breathes life into the soul.
by Natalie Harris
The sky is still a distant web of intangible dreams, Yet for now we are as real as the flowers.
The moon was mute; it studied Our beachfire, the only heat
Each petal leaves an invisible mark,
For miles around. Blanketed
Yet like the tears we have cried
In company, we trampled sand
they have a perpetual presence. And as we stand here alone time seems to have stopped
In defiance of other lands
The ancient soil beneath our feet is everlasting,
Other earthface places.
The earth ever turning.
We sang to create a glowing
Yet for this brief moment we are here
Rhythm, signed names on sand:
and for now that is enough.
Labels of genius. Affected right there By rising smoke shapes, swirling, Then tumbling back into the beach. Rubied chants swelled and pumped Into life, like the first gasp of air
Drop by Jay Spencer
And the beads soak back in. You soak back in. Lift yourself out of the chair
After a momentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s drowning. Heavy waves Regain yourself within a group. Greeted the ocean behind that strange
Every cold bead of sweat You are,
Peninsular with crackling applause.
Drips down your side. But as many.
Only the darkness could guzzle
They send shivers through each pore of your skin.
And back in.
First in terror,
Three separate conversations.
Then in shame.
Then with joy.
Or at least for these few lasting moments.
Our song; its thickness compressing Our lucky lungs.
You look up
creativewords The Daffodils and I
'What's he looking at?' Is the interruption of a drunken man walking by,
by Phil Jones
And there is not much else to do but go back inside and warm my feet
I stand barefoot in the front garden Among the early March daffodils Digging my toes into the cold earth, Planting myself to stare upwards at the eclipse. The shifting shadow pushes my mind, Outwards, Above the blue and white mass Spinning to the perfect point So that I stand on this small green patch not in night, But in shadow Watching the same dark eat the moonlight. The daffodils and I are casting galactic shadows, The minutest thread in a dance of global parasols.
The Dying Rose by Tasha Prest-Smith
She Smiles by Sam Allen
I am the rose that will not blossom in spring,
Aldgate by Roland Copping
My floral heart sunken and wilting.
She smiles, is there
Even the light April rain blunts my thorns.
perhaps a moment of peace?
I am the greased, long-discarded chip shop paper,
Maybe a pleasing presence of happiness
Curling along the esplanade, seeking a dell, Smeared on those tarnished teeth. Gathering dust in my empty shell. Dry, overused lips.
Head tilted, I watch them I am the battered kettle, lying on its side;
Slithers of nicotine stains.
Sitting Windsor-knotted. Blessed with a multitude of scratches,
No gleaming whiteness here.
Funny to see them act the roles Where once I was glossy, the colour of celandines. We spent caffeine-blue infinities Labelling and deconstructing
I am the saucepan that has boiled over countless times;
No purity spouts from this carved semi-lunar smile. Inhaling, exhaling.
And now I'm the outsider.
My milky bubbles ravage the hob, Grimacing as the air dances
'You're such a culture victim',
Attempting fruitlessly to counteract the lies. with smoke in familiar circles.
I am the figurine phoenix that weeps crystal tears, No, her smile is an illusion
'We always knew you'd be the last
Folds itself inwards to shut out the day, Filled with confusion and lies.
to grow up.'
Watches its feathers frizzle and decay. Eyes glittering,
And they swig down their lattes
No more will you see my bird-like heart teeth struggling to shine.
And cross their legs wide
Pulsing through a flimsy ribcage; Poisoned, tainted.
And generally act like real men.
Sometimes nature rejects the coming of age. The ruins are visible here.
After all, growing up
Let the snake in the fruit tree sing: There are lines, faults, cracks
Makes you pretty good at
You are the rose that will not blossom in spring. remaining from this masked smile,
Talking down. forever grinning at her demise.
None ruling the many Pepsi Politics As another big Westminster name jumps ship to big business, Andy Rennison asks why
Caleb Woodbridge Political Correspondent
rainbow coalition in the Welsh Assembly is back on the cards and could oust the new minority led Labour Assembly Government, Plaid Cymru has claimed. Rhodri Morgan was appointed First Minister after talks over a coalition agreement broke down between the other three parties. Labour has a minority government with 26 of the 60 Assembly seats. On Wednesday 23, a vote by the Lib Dem’s Welsh Executive rejected a coalition. But in a dramatic U-turn, Lib Dem party members called for a special conference, which took place in Llandrindod Wells and voted to go ahead with the alliance. During the discussions a lot of political mud was being slung, with the Welsh Nationalists accusing the Lib Dem of treating the electorate with ‘contempt’ and sitting on the fence by denying the possibility of a rainbow coalition, then by snubbing another Lib-Lab pact for majority rule. The Plaid leader Ieuan Wyn Jones said, “The Liberal Democrats have turned their backs on their duty to the people of Wales and have shown contempt for the electorate. It was as a result of their decision to suspend talks with Labour that Plaid Cymru was required to offer an alternative government.” However, after the dust had settled, a joint programme dubbed the AllWales Accord has now been negotiated between Plaid, Lib Dems and the Tories. In response to this outcome, Dr Dai Lloyd, chair of the Plaid AMs, said, “We’ve all agreed on this programme
hen it comes to the basics, the corporate world and the political world are not all that different. Businesses have their PR gurus, as governments do. Companies have stock markets, just as parties have opinion polls. And execs often get early retirement, something Blair is merely weeks away from. It is perhaps no surprise then when
SEATS: uncertain for a Plaid-led government, but basically we have to await our opportunities, and push for a vote of no confidence when an issue of sufficient magnitude rears its ugly head.” The Lib Dems have attracted widespread criticism for their hesitation over forming a coalition. Lloyd accused them of ‘caving in’ and missing an ‘historic opportunity’ for Wales. These events in Cardiff Bay are likely to have repercussions beyond Wales. Gordon Brown may face a political landscape with nationalist leaders of both the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly. If the next general election results in a hung parliament, this latest political scuffle in Wales may heighten opposition to a Labour-Lib Dem coalition in Westminster. Also, wrangling over the possible coalition has raised questions over
food producers have come in for in recent years. PepsiCo have themselves reduced the sugar in some of their beverages and cut a chunk of salt out of their Walkers crisps, but now they have hired Mr Milburn to give them something of an inside edge over any new rules and regulations brought in to dent the industry. He is to sit on an advisory board set up by the UK arm of PepsiCo, following similar measures in the US. There he and fellow advisors, including Blair’s former PR guru Philip Gould, will try to battle the health backlash against PepsiCo and build a more acceptable, lucrative image. Many may choke on the hint of hypocrisy from Mr Milburn, but on some level this is unjustified. We have become so accustomed and,
Wales’ proportional representation voting system. Caerphilly MP Wayne David said, “There are some supporters of PR in the Labour Party, but I think what’s happened in Wales has probably made it more difficult to argue for electoral reform.” Not everyone supports the coalition. Four Plaid Cymru members have publicly opposed the move, voicing concern about working with the Conservatives rather than Labour. Meanwhile, Welsh Conservative leader Nick Bourne sought to reassure members that participation in the coalition was a real alternative to socialism. The final blow in this week’s spat was dealt by Plaid’s Lloyd, who warned that change would not be long in coming: “I can't imagine us hanging around for months and months before we trigger a no-confidence vote.” MILBURN: surprising?
top brass from one of these worlds transfer to the other. Former Health Secretary Alan Milburn became one such bigwig last week with the announcement of his new corporate post. No big surprise in itself, until the bit about who is to be Mr Milburn’s new boss. On £25,000 a year, the one-time Health chief is to be the new advisor for PepsiCo. PepsiCo, they of the dentists’ nightmare, are employing Mr Milburn - apparently for the ‘enormous value’ of his track record. A track record that during his time as Health Secretary was littered with attacks on the junk food industry. Most notable among these was his claim that the Aids epidemic was a problem far outweighed by bad diets. His anti-junk stance continued throughout his four years in the job, and even after stepping down in 2003 Mr Milburn repeated his call for a ban on unhealthy snacks in school vending machines. Now, he is working for PepsiCo. PepsiCo, of the fizzy drink and assorted sugar-rammed subsidiaries fame. Hmmm. That such companies are after employees with government experience is in no way shocking, considering the intensive criticism many junk
worse still, apathetic to such double standards that we have little right to complain. This story itself has hardly set the world alight, with little to no uproar from a Britain languishing in indifference. If no one is willing to kick up a stink the next time a politician reverses or contradicts themselves, are we then any less culpable for Westminster’s hypocrisy than the politicians? But beyond this is a trend more troubling still. That a man who was a mere four years ago a cabinet minister can now be spinning the image of a multinational is a mildly terrifying reflection of PR’s dominance over politics. If Mr Milburn and ministers in general were effective politicians doing their jobs with transparent integrity, they would go on to jobs that need those attributes - Mr Milburn would perhaps be in some NHS think tank, or with the Food Standards Agency. Instead, he is the latest politician to be snapped up by big business for his proficiency in image and publicity. How those transferable skills would have been useful in managing our hospitals is anyone’s guess.
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Moving in the fast lane
JOBS & MONEY
Jobs & Money Editor Gillian Roberts takes a look at “fast track” degrees which are completed in two years
hile the majority of students at Cardiff University are partaking in degrees between three and fours years, it seems odd to think of a degree only lasting a mere two. But the new fast-track degrees of only two years have been described as reaching a wide range of students, according to a review. Although ministers stress that they are “no easy option”, the report by Sheffield Hallam University said that these degrees, achieved over a smaller amount of time, suited more mature and able students. The report was commissioned by the Higher Education Academy on behalf of the Department for Education and Skills and the Higher Education Funding Council for England. The benefits of fast-track degrees are smaller costs and a faster way to get onto the career ladder. Staffordshire University explain
that their fast-track degrees work by students continuing their studies through the summer period. At the moment Staffordshire are offering fast-track degrees in Geography, Business Management, Accounting and Finance, English and Law. Yet, many more subjects will be available as a fast-track, with it going national by 2010. A second year Cardiff Law student has said: “I’m not sure if I would prefer a fast-track degree in two years, I think it would be a bit rushed and very stressful, although easier on the pocket.” Also for students, it is the summer break which gives them a much needed rest after exams, and can also help raise some much needed funds for the following semester. Bill Rammell, England’s Higher Education Minister, has said that, “No one mould suits everyone. “Increasingly we will see higher
he end is nigh, your bags are packed, exams are finally over, all that is needed to do now is to move out of your mouse-ridden, mould-collecting and dusty student house. But there are many things which should be sorted out before you leave, and it is not just replacing the crockery which you have managed to smash throughout the year.
You must phone up your electric, gas and water suppliers to tell them that you are leaving. This is so they don’t carry on sending you bills in your name. Sorting them out will also make sure you don’t get angry phone calls from your landlord who has collected your outstanding bills. It is definitely best to keep on the good side of him/her, as they will be deciding how much of your bond to give back.
This is the time to start buttering up your landlords and agencies to make sure you are going to get your full bond payment back. Make sure your house is clean from top to bottom, so that your landlord won’t take any money out of your bond for cleaning and a general
End your student account If you are graduating you may need to end your student account. Most banks will automatically inform you that your student account is coming to an end and auto-convert it to a graduate account. However, if you are going on to another year, remember to inform your bank that you need to keep your account as a student one.
Sort out your mailing address You don’t want your mail to be delivered to your old house when you have gone. The odds are that the new housemates will likely throw your mail in the bin or leave it lying around. This could be dangerous if you have any important details sent to you, for example bank statements, or outstanding bills. Make sure you contact, banks or important people who send you mail (e.g. that grandma with that parcel of food) and tell them your new address.
education offered in a way, in a place and at a time which suits particular groups of students and which still meets employers’ needs.” Yet, this report follows a warning last year by Roger Kline, head of the University College Union, who said that fast-track degrees are not necessarily the best option. He said “We believe it fails to
A fast-track degree is “no easy option” acknowledge the importance of developing critical and analytical skills while studying for a degree.” He also added, “Reducing study time may diminish the degree experience by replacing considered study with intensive ‘cramming’ - this would not develop the skills we seek from
graduates.” “We do not believe that, for the overwhelming majority of students, a two year degree will do anything other than devalue the worth of a degree in the eyes of both employers and peers.” According to the report, fast-track degrees are not replacing the traditional three or four year degrees, but are here to open up the options for students. The National Union of Students (NUS) have responded by saying that the mature students’ reactions have been positive to the fast-track degrees. However, there have been concerns with the installments of the student loans. The debate continues, as though fast-track degrees could possibly save
students money and get them onto the career ladder faster, many believe that it could be too rushed. It also could lead to students having less time to acquire the skills and experience they need for their future jobs. As more and more students are opting for a year out in the workplace, extra work experience, and voluntary work to secure them a place in the world of work, it seems that whether students opt for a fast-track or a traditional degree, extra time and effort is needed to make sure they are employable.
What do you think? Let us know at www.gairrhydd.com
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.
DO YOU HAVE YOUR OWN CAR? WANT TO EARN SOME EXTRA CASH? Are you free from 8am-5pm on at least 2 days during the week of 4th-8th June to deliver leaflets to local schools? £5.35 per hour + mileage allowance. Contact the Jobshop on 02920 781535 or come and see us (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm, ground floor, SU building).
Optical Assistants Newport £5.35/ Ongoing Busy high street opticians require assistants to advise customers on spectacle frames and lenses, and for reception and admin work. Full training will be given, but this would suit an optometry student!
Centre Assistants Cardiff £5.35/ Flexible, ongoing Company providing consultation rooms to health professionals require reliable, casual staff for duties to include meeting and greeting clients, providing refreshments, responding to general queries and other admin duties.
A spot of bother Most people suffer from the odd zit which can often be stressful, especially if it is the night before an important day, or the morning of a first date. However, for some, it’s a lot more painful than the tiny occasional pimple...
ameron Diaz is one of the most beautiful women in the world; however, she and the likes of Jessica Simpson have both been known to suffer from a skin condition that can affect many. Acne is a common skin condition in which inflamed spots develop. They can appear mostly on the face and neck, but also on the shoulders, back and elsewhere on the body. Each spot begins within a sebaceous gland in one of millions of hair follicles in the skin. There’s an excessive build-up of sebum (a whitish, greasy substance), which becomes blocked in the duct, or tube leading out of the gland. This plug of sebum may appear as a whitehead or, if the top contains the pigment melanin, a blackhead. Acne is then caused by bacteria multiplying and leading to inflammation, leaving the skin around the spot swollen, red and sore. The spot then increases in size until it eventually bursts and heals over, leaving a scar.
The condition usually begins around puberty, between ages 12 and 14, when increased levels of the maletype sex hormones ‘androgens’ (girls have these as well as boys) stimulate the sebaceous glands to increase production of sebum. It is possible that family genes have
Irritants on the skin, such as cosmetics and oily creams, and emotional stress can sometimes make acne worse some connection to a person suffering from the condition. Irritants on the skin, such as cosmetics and oily creams, and emotional stress can sometimes make acne worse. But, con-
trary to many myths, acne is not connected to diet, or poor hygiene. The main symptoms are spots, which can vary from tiny, painless whiteheads to large, angry red cysts filled with sebum and puss. Scarring may leave discoloured pitting of the skin. Even minor acne can cause sufferers a lot of stress. The diagnosis is usually quite obvious but should be confirmed by a doctor. There are several different simple treatments that can be bought from chemists, but one of the most successful consists of creams or washes containing a chemical called benzoyl peroxide. This chemical helps to control levels of bacteria, reducing inflammation, and leads to the removal of dead skin layers, which helps to free the sebum ducts. A mild strength medication should be used first but if this isn't effective then stronger ones can be used. Developments in recent years have
found that exposure to ultraviolet light in sunshine can help with healing. However, for more severe occasions tetracycline antibiotics are given, either in the form of skin cream or as tablets and retinoid drugs (powerful
treatments to induce skin peeling) may be used. Long-term treatment, for several months, is usually necessary
Tried and tested Quinoderm Cream, available from behind the counter at most pharmacies. It stings at first, but use it at night and spots are almost gone by the morning
So you wanna be a playa?: June 4th - 11th
Holla Atcha Boi TV Desk rides with the Big Dog
Tr a c k s u i t s : Much like my elegy to velcro the other w e e k , Tr a c k s u i t s represent the height of comfort for ol’ Marshall. Sod all you nonces tottering into Uni wearing Jack Wills and Kitten Heels, I’ll be very happy in my vintage 82 Dunlop number and it’s even spill-friendly.
Telly Legends Kriss Kezie Uche Chukwu Duru Akabusi MBE: Kris Akabusi is an absolute stonking legend. After a sparkling run of medals throughout his athletic career, Akabusi is probably best known to you dear readers as the giggling fool who presented the television shows Record Breakers and The Big Breakfast, and has regularly appeared as a panellist on many quiz shows such as A Question of Sport, They Think It's All Over and Through the Keyhole. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s actually impossible to be angry/depressed/sad while watching this adonis of the presenting world strutting like a priapic cockatoo bellowing and giggling his way through life. Hurrah.
s a white, male suburbanite who doesn’t own a car, I’m the perfect target audience for MTV’s Pimp My Ride. The original American series was essentially a vehicle for Xzibit to reinvigorate his flagging hip-hop career. Introductory pieces delivered to camera could only be done in front of two ludicrously overpriced cars and must make reference to how Xzibit is similar to said automobiles in girth, speed and strength. I’m not entirely sure whether it was written into his contract, but for some unknown reason, Xzibit had to constantly mention that he was ‘ya boy Xzibit’, and was ‘coming atcha hard.’ Now despite all the Oedipal complexes that this raises, Xzibit was seemingly unaware of the weird incestuous bravado he was portraying as he gurned his way around America ridiculing poor people for having old cars. X to the Z would breeze in to whoever deserved a ‘pimping’ the most, only for the owner to lose all sense of humanity and
Fudge Tunnel ✟
experience some form of base, atavistic transformation into a shit-flinging ape. After some comedy banter in which our beloved host usually made some sexually dubious comments about any female contestants and questionned the sexuality of any male contestants. The ‘Ride’ would then be whisked off to West Coast Customs, where Mad Mike and his band of merry morons would rip it to pieces and build it to resemble a moving disco all whilst throwing gang signs and hugging each other. However, the thing that amused ol’ cynical Marshall was that the reason that very few of the contestants on Pimp My Ride had nice cars to start with, was because they lived in deprived
inner city areas, and although they are inevitably apoplectic with happiness at being given such a vulgar display of monetary wealth, I’m pretty sure that they’d prefer a decent schools system, or a shortening of the gap between the rich and a poor, rather than, say, a diamonte seat cover and a gold-plated shark tank instead of a boot. That said, I’m not even sure if the gross worship of financial gain is even the worst thing about the programme. Am I the only one who is more than a little uncomfortable with the glamourisation of prostitution as a way of life? These whooping idiots gleefully revel in the idea that they have been pimped. Something tells me that if they were actualy ‘pimped’, and forced into sexual slavery that they’d much prefer to have their old 92 LeSabre back, sans $1000 wheel rims. Sorry for lack of humour, but you don’t see MTV apologising for theirs, so I shan’t be doing one anytime soon. Hello, satire!
Chris Moyles: Believes that the word ‘gay’ means lame or rubbish, and is therefore not insulting to homosexuals. Therefore Chris Moyles is a ‘gay’ man who leads a ‘gay’ life. He is definitely the ‘gayest’ radio presenter in the country. So, as he is ‘gay’ I am a massive ‘homophobe.’
Serious Cat Says:
“The United States and Canada are the world’s largest producers of paper and paper products . The next largest are Finland, Japan, and Sweden, who produce significant amounts of wood pulp and newsprint..”
Sport Best news in sport this week is the sad news that the Baggies are not going to be playing premiership football next year. Boing Boing indeed. Also this Derek Beckham chap is playing for England again. Doesn’t really mean much for me because I’m Welsh and he’s a preening tosser. x
Bring Back... Gladiators:
number one, you will go on my first whistle. Contestant number two, you will go on my second whistle.” John Anderson, referee to end all referees is just one of the reasons why Gladiators was must-watch television for seven whole years, and essentially shaped my childhood from age four to age 11. Never before has Saturday night prime-time TV been so family-orientated; your Mum wanted to shag Wolf, your older sister had a massive crush on Hunter, and your Dad used to pretend to love Tina Turner's 'Simply The Best' because it was Lightning's theme song and he could eye-her-up while Mum was cooking tea. Combine that with John Fashnu, the dreaded eliminator, and those spunky looking outfits and you're onto a winner. Cue
lots of dirty cheating, disqualifications and dislocations; Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway just ain't the same kids.
STOP ALL NEWS: LES BATTERSBY IS NOT RETURNING TO CORONATION STREET. Street Chiefs have made the sad annoucement this week that Boozy Bruce Jones will not be coming back after a spate of alcohol fuelled rants against his fellow Coronation Street colleagues. Speaking from his Spanish holiday home, the daft racist bigot said ‘I’ve had a fantastic time but the stage has come on to move on and try my hand at other things. I have already had some very exciting offers.’ We bet.
The de Ville’s Advocate This Week: I’m not going to fill this space with a song title. I’m just NOT.
Stranger than Fiction... Erm, well. Once upon a time there was a smaller, more facetious version of myself, who read too many Point Horror books and fancied herself as a bit of an author. She died a long time ago, but left a few remnants of her existence. Take this story below, for example. She clearly had a bright future in scriptwriting for Inspector Morse or Diagnosis Murder.
The Vampire’s Revenge 28/06/94 Gordon Butcher slammed the door of his cream Lambourghini and walked to the corner shop. He was fair haired and reeked of alcohol. He was a spoilt man and he was so lonely because he was so horrid he never got married. He lived in Hulkly Manor, an old castle that had been converted. That night of June 24th 1972 was a night to remember, but Gordon Butcher never lived to remember it. A great storm was above Gordon’s house and it crashed down on the slate roof of Hulkly manor. Gordon had happened [sic] to be working in the garage loft at that time and the roof crashed down on him. He was dead, dead as a doornail. His body was never found and it was left decaying on the floor of the loft. He was looking for blood, fresh human blood. A postman knocked on the door of the house. Gordon (now a ghost) grabbed him with in visible [sic] force and fested on flesh, human flesh… Gordon had power, real power. He was out for revenge to those people who were mean to him in his life. He had fresh blood on his lips. He buried the remiams [sic] under the house. After a while the police came around and dug up the pit and found the body an innocent man was convicted. Gordon was scared. He wondered how the police found out where the body was. A baby was in a pram and Gordon picked it up. When its mother reterned [sic] the only part of the baby left was the bones. The mother ended up in a mental hospital unit. “Stop!” Gordon Butcher cried but no-one heard his cries. “Help!” “Help!” No one heard him. “Please” Gordon heard a moan and a groan and the evil spirits came and took him to hell. The End. How very charming. I was a delightful child. My punctuation hasn’t got any better.
A Bird in the Hand... Dear Grace, I've never written and asked for advice before; I just want you to know that. It's just become such an unbearable problem that I don't know where to turn. I was getting ready for bed a few months ago when I heard a wolf-whistle coming from outside. I was understandably concerned that I was being spied on by some dirty old man in a yellow mackintosh, so I quickly covered my modesty, shut my window and closed the curtains. I thought nothing more of it until the next afternoon when I was sitting at my desk while preparing for an examination. The whistling started again, but this time it sounded rather more suggestive and excitable. I craned my neck to see where it was coming from, but there was no sign of the perpetrator. After a few weeks of this baffling barrage of builders' mating calls, I discovered the source. Climbing on top of my garden wall revealed that my next door-but-
one neighbours had housed an amorous parrot in their back yard who had the privilege (?) of an aviary which directly faced my bedroom window. We all saw the funny side of it, and I was glad that I didn't have a human Peeping Tom to contend with. It's only during this stressful examination period that I've started to tear my hair out with frustration. It's as if he KNOWS. The whistling has become more frequent and much louder. I'm trying to concentrate but it's hard when I know there's an avian pervert lurking outside. I bet he's having a right laugh at my expense. What can I do? Do you think I'll be able to cite 'harassment from exotic bird' as a special circumstance if I contact the examination board? Shaye, Cathays Dearest Shaye, I’ve been pestered by birds long enough. It’s time to make a stand. This morning, a pigeon
carrying a twig in its beak flew right into my face and nearly impaled me with its pointy cargo. This exotic beast needs to be shown its place. I’ve been informed that although many birds have a relatively short life-span, Parrots can live for up to eighty years. Unless you move house or resort to more deviant tactics, you’re stuck with this whistling menace. To be perfectly honest, the idea of a horny bird frightens and perplexes me. It’s just obscene that underneath those gaudy, vibrant feathers lurks a PENIS. Eurgh. Parrots SHOULD mate by exchanging Rainbow Drops or depositing fertile matter on a cuttlefish bone. It’s just horrible, especially when you’ve got the Sid James of the bird world leering at you. I just don’t know what you should do as I feel to sick to continue with this discussion. Buy some earplugs. The End. Grace xxx
The Ground is Grinding me Dear Grace, I've developed a mammoth fear of anything below my chin. It's so utterly absurd that I feel silly writing it down, but you can see why this might be problematic. I'm writing this while attempting to wedge my laptop against my woefully flaccid pectoral muscles so that I don't have to look downwards. Essays have been difficult, to say the least. It's been getting progressively worse over the last few years. The massive trigger, I think, was moving to a student area and having to contend with all the puddles of vomit around. Since 2004, I've attached wine corks under my eyes with masking tape whenever I'm in the house in an attempt to stop flashes of the floor reaching my field of vision. I KNOW I can't do this when I'm in public, so have to look skywards at all times. It makes me look terribly daft. I've
even considered investing in one of those collars cats and dogs have to wear to prevent them from licking their wounds. It's got so bad that even the sight of my own torso, legs and feet scare the living daylights out of me. What do you suppose I should do? Unfortunately, I know that neither my lower body OR the ground is going to piss off. I'm stuck with them. Do you think you could point me in the direction of a good selfhelp book that deals with this field? I'd really appreciate some help with this matter. My housemates think I'm a loon. Raphael 2nd Year Physics Dear Raff, I'm afraid that I've not come across such a phobia in my many years of experience in the art of
agonising. I'm not, for one second, suggesting that you're insane. You're a little 'offbeat' perhaps, but not insane. I used to be scared of the sky until I realised that there was no danger of being suffocated by a falling cloud. We're probably in the same boat, except you wouldn't be aware of our aquatic transportation method, what with it being underneath us and all. I suggest that you should perhaps purchase one of Allen Carr’s bestselling self help books. After the success of How to Stop Smoking and How to Lose Weight, he’s posthumously released How to Stop Gravity. If you’re floating in the air, you’ll have no fear of the pesky ground below. £11.99 from all good bookshops. Hope this finds you well. Much love, Ecarg xxx
This box has shrunk this week. I’m dreadfully sorry; I don’t know what’s happened. (?)
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Festival Special Flaming fantastic! W
ALES IS getting set for the biggest music extravaganza to hit the nation, Fflam festival! And we have got a pair of weekend tickets (not including camping) up for grabs. For your chance to win read on... Some of the hottest bands around have confirmed to play the festival, headliners include: Feeder, The Manic Street Preachers and Keane! The line up for Wales’ first major music festival just keeps getting hotter and hotter! Joining the everexpanding line up for Fflam is a host of top bands – Dirty Pretty Things, Biffy Clyro, Cold War Kids, Howling Bells, Fightstar, White Rose Movement, The Hold Steady, yourcodenameis:milo, Oceansize, Carbon/Silicon, Dropkick Murphys, Bloodhound Gang, Buzzcocks, New Model Army, Jaw and the wonderfully extravagant Lost Vagueness will all perform over the week-
end. Taking place from Friday 13 July to Sunday 15 July, Fflam will welcome over 50 bands to play across multiple stages in 3 days! Welsh for flame, Fflam will ignite a blazing trail to Swansea Bay for the very best in indie, rock and dance music. Scottish trio Biffy Clyro, having toured extensively since 1998, will certainly be one band you won’t want to miss on the main stage on Saturday. With new material from their forthcoming album Puzzle, Biffy Clyro will be sure to bring their dynamic sound to Fflam. Hailing from Fullerton, hot new indie fourpiece Cold War Kids are all set to bring a little Californian sunshine to Wales as they join the Saturday line up, which will also now include Howling Bells, White Rose Movement, Fightstar, yourcodenameis:milo and Oceansize.
Making their most natural move to date, a change in schedules means the almighty Manic Street Preachers can now take the title they deserve as the Sunday night headliners - they will bring the whole Fflam festival to an electric finish! As the penultimate act, Dirty Pretty Things will show us just why they are regarded as such a formidable live band. Touring non stop for over a year now, Carl Barat and the boys will be in Singleton Park to play hits from their debut album Waterloo To Anywhere, that includes Bang Bang You’re Dead and Dead Wood,. Dirty Pretty Things are firm festival favourites and will no doubt bring their rock n roll London style to Wales! Sunday will also see the likes of the Dropkick Murphys giving Fflam a dose of Celtic punk from this US band who took their name from a rehab center. The band lyrics convey a political consciousness, with songs
like Workers Song from their latest offering The Warriors Code. Bloodhound Gang will certainly bring their unique sound and sometimes controversial live show to the proceedings. With classics such as The Bad Touch, the band will provide the kind of humour that has been seen by their appearances on TV shows Jackass and Viva La Bam. Music aside, Fflam will keep revellers entertained away from the music with the infamous touring outfit Lost Vagueness. Coming straight from Glastonbury Festival, Lost Vagueness has picked up a reputation for being the most anarchic and culturally twisted location at the festival, a place where performers and guests languish together in the warped decadence of the surroundings. With a bill that boasts some of the
best new and established live bands around including headliners Keane, Placebo and Manic Street Preachers plus special guests Feeder, hottest new kids on the block Enter Shikari and Cold War Kids plus legendary outfit Levellers, Fflam will have something for everyone. Fancy the chance of winning a pair of weekend tickets to this momentous festival? Send us 50 words explaining why you should win the tickets to the usual address.
Hay Music Festival Green Man Festival T I T’S BACK and it's bigger. After last year's successful debut the Hay Music Festival has been extended into a three-day event. It's being held once again in the spectacular grounds of Hay Castle and takes place over the weekend. July 13-15 with The Big featuring as headliners. The much-in-demand ska band is coming to Hay after playing a rather special "warmup" gig - at Glastonbury! Hay Festival promoter Mel Cooper said, "The Big are great crowd pleasers and are guaranteed to get the audience buzzing. Our crowd may not be as huge as Glastonbury's but our festival goers are certainly going to pick up a more intimate vibe here in the grounds of the castle than in the vast fields of the West Country." "And that's the essence of Hay Music festival, the friendly, chilled out atmosphere, where everything is on a human scale," added Mel The entertainment this year will come from the Red Kite Theatre and bands and artists playing Folk, Roots, Rock, Blues, Jazz and World music. Yes it's an eclectic mix.
The event kicks off on Friday night which is dedicated to showcasing emerging talent with a line-up of young bands. The band line up for Friday 13th, Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th is: - Friday: Star of 59, First Signs of Frost and Henan Drive. - Saturday: The Badgers, the Potboilers, the Anomalies, Red Kite Theatre, Off With Her Head, Inxile and Steve H. - Sunday: J.B.Quintet, Whisky River Boys, Jim Kirkpatrick, Red Kite Theatre, Craig Bradbury, Manu Song and The Big. There will also be a licensed bar, food and craft stalls and of course the renowned hostelries of Hay are all close at hand. A weekend ticket costs just £20. For more information about ticket prices and the bands please go to the website. Limited tickets so please book early to avoid disappointment www.onestopentertainment.co.uk Box Office: 01497 820 560 Information line: 077904 62780 To win a pair of tickets to the Hay Music festival just e-mail your details to the usual address.
HE GREEN Man Festival 2007 will be returning to the glorious Glanusk Park in the Brecon Beacons National Park, with its 20,000 acres of peaceful parkland in the Sugar Loaf mountains. The Estate site is unique to the Festival, and they will once again be using the Walled Garden for the Children’s area, the Stable Courtyard for the Café stage and the tiered lawns for the natural arena of the Main Stage. The campsite opens on Thursday 16 August at 10am, with the 3 full days of music beginning on Friday 17 at Midday and ending at Midnight on Sunday 19th. The Cinema, DJ and Literature tents will all again be featured, while the green field and retreat areas will both be extended offering massage and alternative therapies. We will also be offering a wider selection of delicious local food and cuisines from around the world. New additions for this year include: fresh seafood curries, smoked delicacies from the onsite smokery and a stall run by the local Cwmdu School. Among the artists so far confirmed are: Robert Plant & The Strange Sensation, Joanna Newsom, Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks, Bill Callahan, Vashti Bunyan, Stephen Duffy & The Lilac Time, Dead Meadow, Gruff Rhys, Vetiver, The Earlies, Richmond Fontaine, John Renbourn, Six Organs of Admittance, Alasdair Roberts, James Yorkston, Richard Swift, The Broken Family Band, Findlay Brown, Euros Childs, Tunng, Lisa Knapp, MenAn-Tol, Alela Diane, Monkey Swallows The Universe, The Yellow Moon Band, Gareth Pearson, John Power with loads more to be added. Weekend Tickets are the same price as 2006, £98 for Adults including camping, and Free for
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Under 12s. Parking is Free, but please note there will be an additional cost for those wishing to bring a live-in vehicle. Tickets can be purchased via the website or through Ticketline UK on 08700 667799. There will be even more showers at this year's festival. They are all separate cubicles with hot water and will be open from 7am to 9pm. Oxfam Stewards will be on hand in the camping areas 24 hours throughout the festival. There will be a lock-up on site for valuables for a small fee payable to the charity operating the facility. Family camping areas and for people with disabilities are all sited to support access to and from the entertainment areas of the festival. If you like the idea of frolicking in the Brecons this summer then this is the comp for you! We have a pair of tickets to the festival to giveaway. For your chance to win just send your answer to this question to the usual e-mail: Robert Plant was the lead singer of which band? a. Pink Floyd b. Led Zeppelin c. Cream
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28 gairrhydd JUNE.04.2007
This week: Enjoy Erna Ómarsdóttir and Jóhann Jóhannsson show Tony Robinson’s Cunning Night Out @ The Sherman Theatre
Thurs. 7 June Listings Editor Jenny Williams recommends
Summer Theatre @ Chapter Arts Centre
Tue. 5 June Listings Editor Rosaria Sgueglia recommends n her field, Erna Ómarsdóttir’s talent is, today, without doubt, the most blazing… she
reminds us, that, above all, dance is a burn which leaves nobody unharmed.” - Télérama. Using these words Télérama describes Erna Ómarsdóttir and Jóhann Jóhannsson’s show. This powerful experience intends to explore the relationships between man and machines. Through the power of their dance and music Erna and Jóhann attempt to evoke the nostalgia of old technologies and human evolution. The music is an extract of a hymn programmed on the first computer to arrive in Iceland in 1964 (the IBM 1401). What makes this show superb is the collaboration between Jóhann Jóhannsson, a sublime musician, and
Erna Ómarsdóttir one of the greatest dancers in the world. Summer Listings of the Chapter Arts Centre ‘Theatre’ 9 June/Radik/ Tulush/ 8pm. £10/£8/£6. 10 June/Rove/7.30pm. £5 on the doors. 12 June/Harnischlacey Dance Theatre: Final Cut. 8pm. £10/£8/£6. 13 June/On The Edge: Botticelli’s Bonfire by Greg Cullen/8pm. £3.
oving from the trenches in Blackadder Goes Forth to the archaeological trenches of Time Team, Tony Robinson has a plan to entertain you, which is ‘as cunning as a fox whos’ just been appointed Professor of Cunning at Oxford University’. Using his famous character, Baldrick, as a launching pad, Tony, with his ability to talk at rapid speed, tells his autobiography. His interest in the revisionist view of history underpins the telling of his life stories and champions the forgotten people with the rubbish jobs who are left out of the history books (which perhaps fuelled his desire to present the recent Worst Jobs in History television series). Tony’s career is a fascinating
assortment of politics, comedy, charity and even green tights, in his contribution to children’s TV, Maid Marian and her Merry Men, a feminist version of the Robin Hood legend. Working his way through his political involvement with the Labour Party, excavation in Time Team, his 16 children’s books, charity work for Oxfam and Comic Relief, his role as The Artful Dodger in the West End production of Oliver! at the age of 12, to his big break as Edmund Blackadder’s docile sidekick, Baldrick, Tony jovially recounts the highlights of his 40year career. The second half of the show is a question and answer session, which allows the audience to engage directly with Tony and maybe ask ‘how did a man make his name as a smelly-turnip-loving dimwit?’ Described as the ‘the love child of Simon Schama, Alistair Campbell and Eddie Izzard’, this energetic and charismatic little man promises to make you laugh, maybe cry and even retch. Apparently there’s also a chance to sing, although the reason for this is unclear; it must all be part of the cunning plan.
w at the Chapter Arts Centre
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 Jazz 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. Los Campesinos plus special guests Help She Can’t Swim & Napoleon IIIrd @ The Point When the amazing Broken Social Scene played here last year, they made it pretty clear to us that they didn’t want a support band. They were going to be playing a very long set, so fair enough. About a fortnight before the gig, we got a call from the band: they’d heard of an amazing local band called Los Campesinos, and they were going to support. That night the whole audience fell in love with Los Campesinos, and now they’re back. But this time it’s their own show.7.30pm.£7. Calvin Harris + David E Sugar + Breakfast Club DJ Set @ Barfly 7.30pm.£6 Chapter MovieMaker Premieres @ Chapter Arts Centre A presentation of short films by independent film-makers for independent film-makers. Come to Cinema Two for screening and informal discussion. Admission is free and all are welcome. Bring along your short films on video if you’d like them shown. Chapter MovieMaker members benefit from the following: Chapter’s one-stop shop for all your film-making requirements: light, sound, camera, editing, invitation to training courses and industry guest-speaker events, etc.6.30pm.£5.10
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. Anterior / Circle of One / The AutonomyWithin / Emily Rose @ Clwb Ifor Bach 7.30pm.£5 @ St David’s Hall V//Formation + Ninja Pigeon@ Barfly 7.30pm.£5/£4 flyer Becoming Jane @ Chapter Arts Centre Jane Austen remains one of the best-loved of British authors, admired and enjoyed for her wit and wisdom. But her life was also stoked by passion: at the age of twenty she met and fell in love with rebellious young lawyer Tom Lefroy, and their relationship sparks a tale as real and romantic as her greatest novels. In English society of 1795, marrying for love was a fool’s game. Money made this class obsessed world go round, but Jane was blessed with a feisty, independent spirit that saw beyond the pride and prejudice around her.6.15pm.£5.10 Puccini For Beginners@Chapter Arts Centre Opera-loving Allegra has some decisions to make. Her commitment-phobic ways have driven her girlfriend away and she’s confused. What does she want out of life? 8.45pm.£5.10
Rubber Duck @ Solus, SU Themed dressed-up clubbing for jocks and pretend jocks. Apparently, it is a sell-out each week. If you have any nurse or pornstar inclinations then you may be very much at home, as people frequently seem to be dressed up like them. 10pm. £3. Popscene @ Clwb Ifor Bach Three floors, three different club nights. Cheese, indie and Motown will take up residence, each on its own floor. 9.30pm. £3. Cheapskates @ Metros The one and only sweatfest alternative music night. Nice music and doubles a bargain at £1.09, which means that you can have both a fun and economical night out. 8pm-3am. £6.50. Jindabyne @ Chapter Arts Centre Director Ray Lawrence follows up Lantana with this deft and chilling adaptation of the same Raymond Carver short story that Robert Altman memorably explored in Short Cuts. On a fishing trip, four friends discover a black girl’s body floating facedown in the water. They decide to continue fishing and report the corpse later on, but when they return home, their actions have terrible repercussions – the women in their lives are mortified, everyone around them seems to doubt their integrity, and as they continue to reassure themselves, the four men are caught in a web of hatred, distrust and racism. 6.15pm.£5.10
Pick Of The Day Fairy Tale: Contemporary Art and Enchantment @ Chapter Arts Centre ‘Fairy Tale’ is a New Art Gallery Walsall Touring Exhibition curated by Angela Kingston. Chapter Cinema will show a series of film screenings inspired by the theme of fairy tales to accompany the exhibition,please visit www.chapter.org for details.
Pick Of The Day Lia Anna Hennig - When I’m King surely I will need a Queen@ Chapter Arts Centre Complementing Chapter’s ‘Fairy Tale: Contemporary Art and Enchantment’ exhibition in the main gallery, the quirky and delicate ink drawings presented by Lia Anna Hennig demonstrate the artist’s fascination with food and food consumption and what happens ‘before and after’ – the process from birth to death.
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. Mad4It! @ Barfly DJ Mike TV comperes an indietastic night of your favourite alternative music, ranging from The Strokes to The Smiths and absolutely everything in between. 10.30pm - 2am. £5. Homefires with Adem, Nina Nastasia, Richard Swift & Elysian Quartet@ The Point Nu-folkie darling Adem, followed up his acclaimed debut album of ‘04 ‘Homesongs’ with ‘Love And Other Planets’ where he moves his thoughts from the home to contemplating the cosmos. A truly beautiful performer, this is a welcome return to Cardiff for Adem. 7.30pm.£12. Scouting For Girls + The Blims + Kazuya @Barfly Scouting for Girls are lifelong friends Roy, Greg & Pete. Since forming in late 2005 these fine scouts have recorded a live session for BBC Radio One, won the Innocent smoothie unsigned band competition, appeared at Glastonbury, Fruitstock & the Shepherds Bush Empire, topped the Intomusic download charts and received regular airplay on XFM and Radio One. 7.30pm.£5/£4 flyer.
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. Bob Delyn a'r Ebillion / Gareth Phillips / DJ Ceri Morgan@ Clwb Ifor Bach Bob Delyn a'r Ebillion / Gareth Phillips. One of the Welsh music scene's best-loved artists returns to Cardiff for a one off gig.9pm.£6. Clwb Cariad@Clwb Ifor Bach Clwb Cariad Indie on the top floor, Mixture on the middle, Chart, Cheese, anthems and classic Welsh Tracks on the ground. A full house of the best new music with a splash of retro.10pm.£5/£4. Red City+ Me & The Major + David Medlicott @ Barfly 7.30pm.£5/£4 flyer My Best Friend@Chapter Arts Centre A buddy movie as perhaps only Patrice Leconte (The Hairdresser’s Husband, L’Homme du Train) could make it, this is the story of François, a Paris antique dealer who’s taken aback when the people he considers to be his closest friends confide that they really don’t like him very much. Don’t miss it.6.15pm.£5.10
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. The Films + The New York Fund + Goldspot + Threatmantics @ Barfly Fuzzed-up Southern-fried punk pop with Bowie and T-Rex glam influences. Self-declared “nasty, dirty, fast and loud”. One of the most exciting alternative debuts of recent times, and there’s a heap more where this came from. “We’re ready to make so many records right now,” says Michael. “Elvis Costello’s first three records came out within the first two years. Let’s do that.” Check yourselves into The Films’ Fabulous Freakhouse then; you’ll be staying for a while. 7.30pm.£5.50/£4.50 flyer. Lights in the Dusk @ Chapter Arts Centre Kaurismaki concludes his ‘Loser Trilogy’ (following Drifting Clouds and The Man without a Past) with this story of a shy nightwatchman. Koistinen is ostracised by his fellow security guards and lives alone in a modest apartment – until he meets Mirja. 8.30pm.£5.10
Pick Of The Day Black Gold @ Chapter Arts Centre This vital, outspoken documentary explores the global coffee industry, now worth over $80 billion a year. As profits for multinational coffee companies continue to increase, the price paid for coffee harvests has fallen to such an extent that farmers in some of the world’s poorest countries are forced to abandon their crops.6.15pm.£8.
Pick of the Day Rosenblatt Recital Song Prize@ New Theatre Twenty-five of the best young singers flown in from around the globe. A jury of legendary figures from the world of opera. Every day of this major international event offers something to enjoy. Each preliminary round concert promises to be memorable – building up to a truly gripping final. Please contact email@example.com.
Pick Of The Day Night of the Sunflowers@Chapter Arts Centre 8.30pm.£5.10
Pick Of The Day SUMO feat Future Funk Squad @ Clwb Ifor Bach SUMO debut for breaks stalwart and personal favourite Future Funk Squad. Support from Chico Fresco, West One, Stretch and Hightower. Plus ZeroZero in room 2. 10.30pm.£8.
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The Bait Shop @ Barfly For alternative music fans, the Barfly has handily provided this club night, named after the establishment frequented on the much missed (well, missed when it was good) The O.C., to minister to your musical needs. 10.30pm. £3/2 NUS. Take it to the Stage - Freak Unique / Omega 66 / Julia Harris @ Clwb Ifor Bach 8pm.£4. Three Other Tenors from WNO @ New Theatre With over eighty performances at venues throughout the UK, WNO’s Three Other Tenors take to the platform with a sparkling selection of songs by popular composers such as Lehar and Novello as well as favourite arias from the great operas. They will be joined by one of WNO’s principle sopranos and the whole evening will be linked together with anecdotes and humorous tales from the world of opera. Come and hear the great favourites such as The Flower Song, Nessun Dorma and O Sole Mio Please contact http://www.newtheatrecardiff.co.uk Pick Of The Day May Contain Nuts+ Penny Racers + Last Journey+ Planetman@ Barfly May Contain Nuts' are a five piece punk rock band that formed in early 2002. The combination of weird band members, fart jokes and bizarre punk rock songs (the themes of which include alcohol, alQaeda, ghosts, the undead, politics, war and poo) guarantees a unique and entertaining stage show every time! 7.30pm.£5. Tony Robinson's Cunning Night Out@Sherman Theatre Tony Robinson presents an amusing, revisionist view of history that champions the little guy.7.30pm.£15/£14.50. See opposite page.
VENUES 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 Incognito, Park Place 02920 412190 Liquid, St. Mary Street 02920645464 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
He’s Beck: Should David Beckham have been recalled to the England squad? Sport present the arguments Dave Menon Sports Editor No
George Pawley Sports Editor Yes FORGET ALL THE palaver in the press and politics of Soho Square, David Beckham is justly back in the England squad. Fine, the criticism of his performances at the World Cup was certainly not without foundation but even then, people saying he was only in the side because Sven loved him were way out of line. We are talking about one of the most expensive British players ever here. Beckham has been and remains an unbelievable player for club and country; anyone who thinks he isn’t in the top 25 players who qualify to play for England simply hasn’t been watching football recently. He shouldn’t have been axed from the squad in the first place for starters, perhaps dropped from the team yes, but one wonders if leaving Beckham out of the international setup was a pathetic attempt by new England boss Steve McClaren to assert himself in his new position and ‘start afresh’.
Beckham has an overwhelming desire to play for his country Despite being alienated by Capello at Real Madrid when his deal with LA Galaxy was announced, Beckham trained hard, got his chance, and has been an integral part of the squad that has seen Los Merengues challenging Barcelona in La Liga as the run-in has heated up; he is a true professional. At 32, he isn’t exactly over-the-hill, and his fitness is far superior to many players at the highest level, covering obscene mileage and still having energy left in the tank. England are a young squad, and Beckham certainly doesn’t lack experience at the highest level; World Cups, European Championships, Champions League all form part of his CV. Players like Aaron Lennon are going to need help both in handling the pressure of playing international football, where the press will rip them to shreds for a mistake, missing a penalty or getting idiotically sent off.
Beckham has experienced all these things, and has always come back stronger for it; it was no coincidence that his most prolific season at Manchester United, where he helped the side to the treble, came immediately after the infamous kick on Diego Simeone at France 98. His presence in the squad may well mean the frenzied speculation surrounding England will increase, but it’s a small price to pay for the kind of contribution Beckham can bring to the setup, especially considering McClaren’s ‘innocence’ as an international manager – he could certainly teach the gaffer a thing or two about reaching your peak under pressure. His experience is two-fold; as arguably one of the best wingers in world football, Beckham knows everything about his position – discipline, how to deal with markers, awareness of his teammates which can be passed onto every player, even though his magical right foot cannot. More than anything though, Beckham has an overwhelming desire to play for his country. His emotion is evident in his performances and disappointments; his expression after slamming home his penalty against Argentina in the 2002 World Cup, putting to rest his demons of four years earlier, was unforgettable, while his teary press conference when he relinquished the captaincy in 2006 inferred a deep regret when he had failed. England need Beckham’s passion back. Though he’ll need to earn his place as a starter and may have to warm the bench at times, he’ll be an asset to the squad, he would be for any team in the world.
We can’t afford to live in the past. Rather than taking a trip down Memory Lane, our destination should be White Hart Lane
David Beckham should not be in the England squad to face Brazil and Estonia. Although he’s playing well for Real Madrid, I feel the England team should look to develop young players instead. You may disagree but at least hear me out. The reason why Beckham is so experienced is because other young talented players like Shaun WrightPhillips, David Bentley and Aaron Lennon have not been given a long enough run in the side. These players cannot master the international scene overnight; they need time to settle in. And most importantly, they need a manager to believe in them. Try to imagine how Steve McClaren’s latest U-turn of picking Beckham would affect the morale of these would-be youngsters. I would b e devastated if Beckham was plucked from oblivion and asked to replace me with immediate effect. Such a decision could seriously damage a young player’s confidence. Bentley, Wright-Phillips and Lennon certainly have potential. Bentley has had a superb season for Blackburn, while Wright-Phillips has shown flashes of promise for Chelsea. And the entire nation saw the raw pace and ability of Lennon, who caused international defences all sorts of problems at the last World Cup. Yet Wright-Phillips didn’t even get picked in Steve McClaren’s latest squad. I’m fully aware that Beckham is excellent at freekicks and set-pieces while his fitness has improved, but he simply doesn’t have the pace of the other candidates. I can’t imagine Beckham running at players with the ball and getting to the by-line to deliver crosses. England have often been criticised for lacking width, and
Beckham will certainly not solve this problem down the right-hand side. And above all, why do we need to recruit an ageing footballer to beat a minnow team like Estonia? I agree that Estonia should not be underestimated and it’s a crunch encounter that England must win at all costs to reach next summer’s European Championship finals. But I don’t see why Beckham is needed, because our current crop of youngsters should have the experience to beat a team of Estonia’s ability. By recalling Beckham, it appears that McClaren is running out of ideas. The current England manager earned a lot of respect for dropping Beckham following his dismal performance at the last World Cup. So what’s really disturbing is that McClaren is going against his own principles to please the media. I’m getting increasingly worried that the media are in fact running our national football team. During the World Cup and in its aftermath, the media were quick to swoop on Beckham’s below-par displays even though he scored the winning goal in our 1-0 win over Ecuador. Yet since we’ve begun to struggle under McClaren, the same media launched a campaign to bring Beckham back. And it seems McClaren has succumbed to this pressure to give in to their demands. McClaren must stand by his own convictions to have any chance of becoming a successful England manager. Although Beckham is a proven midfielder who boasts impeccable talent, we urgently need to move on and evolve as a team to win silverware. And if that means dropping Beckham once and for all, so be it. We can’t afford to live in the past. Rather than taking a trip down Memory Lane, our destination should be White Hart Lane. Although Lennon is currently injured and will not face Brazil and Estonia, I think he is the long-term solution to England’s woes. But for the time being, there’s no harm in giving Bentley a chance to shine this week. At least that’ll be a step in the right direction.
Cardiff riflers shoot for the stars Nadia Cracknell Rifling Reporter CARDIFF UNIVERSITY’S Rifle Club have had their most successful competition season in years. Competing in the BUSA Team of 8 league, Cardiff’s A team overcame the pressure and shot to success, taking top spot place in Division Two.
Scoring 7597 points out of a possible 8000, the highest score the club has seen in many years, the team won all ten matches against rival Universities St Andrews, Aberdeen, Dublin and London. The Cardiff B team also performed well, fighting off the competition to come second in their division, scoring 6769 points. The Celtic league against Aberdeen and Dublin Universities also saw hot
competition this year with the Cardiff A Team scoring 5958 points out of a possible 6400 and coming a close second. Shooting in a variety of 25 yard indoor competitions, each team member was required to use all their concentration and skill to complete score cards. Faults of less than a millimetre could ruin the medal hopes of the whole team. The hotly contested BUSA individ-
ual UK Top Twenty league also saw success for Cardiff. Team Captain and Chairman Joe Dunn ranked 7th with an average score of 97.75 points. Next year’s Chairman, Eric Carter, also broke into the medals in 17th place, averaging 96.79 points. The minimal distance between these two scores highlights the intensity of the competition. The rifle club also put in a brilliant
performance at the UK competition held at Appleton. Shot at 50m and 100 yards outdoors, shooters had to struggle against the elements but were still placed highly. The top 5 club scores were Dunn ranking 5th, Winston Lewis (10th), Nadia Cracknell (26th), Eric Carter (27th) and Luke Stevens (45th) out of 120 competitors. Particularly impressive was Lewis’ result in his first outdoor competition.
INSIDE: gair rhydd analyses whether David Beckham should be in the England squad
UNDEFEATED Cardiff Cricket Club secures magnificent treble and captain Ben Walker applauds new coach for his input this summer Dave Menon Sports Editor
CARDIFF CRICKET CLUB completed an extraordinary treble last week, as all three BUSA teams ended their respective league seasons as winners without losing a single game. This is the second time in a space of two weeks that Cardiff’s cricketers have made AU history, after the Men’s Firsts became the first ever BUSA side to win a top-flight competition. Remarkably, the first team’s superb exploits were matched by the ladies’ cricket outfit and the men’s seconds, who booked a place at the highest level possible after securing two consecu-
tive promotions. Cardiff Cricket Club captain Ben Walker was understandably delighted with this latest achievement and said: “It’s been a historic season for all the cricket sides. This shows that cricket is going from strength to strength across the university. “The twos [men’s seconds] performed brilliantly to win back-to-back promotions, while the firsts have pushed on since last year after narrowly missing out on winning the [Premier South] league. And the ladies have been dominating their games.” However, although players across the board have performed superbly this season, Walker was keen to hail the contribution of a man who helped the squad massively off the pitch.
“I think it’s been a blessing for Cardiff cricket to finally have a coach”. Walker added. “He’s [Richard Kaufman] got everyone focused, helped people individually, taken prematch warm-ups, and even filmed players’ bowling actions to help them improve.” “We’ve always wanted to get a paid coach to take the club in the right direction. As long as it’s financially viable, we’re hoping to secure the services of a coach for more parts of the year, rather than for just the duration of the season.” Nonetheless, Walker also singled out a selection of players who have excelled on the field this summer. “Although it’s been a great team effort from the players this year, [first
team] batsman Evert Bekker deserves a mention for completing the season with an average of around 153. “In our first game, Evert scored 156 not out and played the best innings I’ve ever seen in a game I’ve played in. Chasing 260-odd, we were struggling at 27-5 when Evert came in. “After marshalling the tail superbly, he managed to hit a six off the last ball to give us victory. It’s got to be up there with the greatest innings in BUSA history. “Firsts captain Chris Allen has also been superb in the field, while Dean Cox has averaged around 60 as an opening batsman. “With regard to the seconds, bowler Simon Williams stood out for me. He kept on taking wickets early doors and
became the overall leading wicket taker with an average of just 9.” But the season might not be over for the men’s first team who faced Loughborough’s second side last Friday in the quarter-finals of the season’s national BUSA cricket competition. A win for the firsts would lead to a semi-final showdown with either Bath or Essex firsts. Unfortunately, Cardiff seconds bowed out of their respective national event against Westminster last Thursday. After rain prevented any possibility of a result between the two sides, Cardiff narrowly lost 5-4 in a bowl-out where bowlers are required to hit the stumps from 22 yards without any batsman being present.
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