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“ “gair“rhydd Politics tackle 18 days of Egyptian protests

Morgan Stoddart talks broken bones

Sport page 33

LGBT+ history month Features special

Politics page 15

Features page 19

Monday February 21 2011 | freeword – Est. 1972 | Issue 943

228 Fixed Penalty Notices £22,280 in fines £1,000 late payment fee

A rubbish policy Miranda Atty News Editor Students have criticised Cardiff Council after they issued approximately £22,000 worth of fines to students for failing to comply with the Council’s waste regulations under Section 46 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. Two hundred and twenty eight Fixed Penalty Notices, of £100 each, have been issued to students in Cathays since the new measures were introduced at the start of 2011. If these Fixed Penalty Notices are paid, the Council will receive £22,280 in fines from students. gair rhydd first reported on the

new policy in November 2010 (issue 937). In December 2010 (issue 939) a follow up article confirmed the Council’s policy on waste, and included a statement from the Council, which stressed that the £100 fines would only be issued ‘after a process of visiting residents and offering advice and information on how to dispose of waste correctly.’ The statement continued: “If the problem persists after a formal letter of warning, a fine of £100 is imposed.” However, students have approached gair rhydd to complain that the Fixed Penalty Notices and resulting £100 fines were imposed

without a clear Section 46 notice that should have been issued as a warning. The Section 46 notices contain stipulations reminding tenants how waste should be presented for collection. Second-year Maths student Kathryn Wynne was issued with a £100 fine in January 2011. Kathryn and her housemates, who live on Harriet Street, were given a Fixed Penalty Notice after one of their three bins was found halfway down their street. Kathryn explained: “The bin in question was not outside our house following collection. “My housemates and I assumed

that the bin had been removed by council refuse collections operatives due to the fact that throughout our tenancy we had three black bins, which we felt was excessive for the number of tenants residing in our house. “At this time we did not contact Cardiff County Council to report the bin as missing, or to confirm its removal, as my housemates and I were currently undergoing examinations as part of our studies at Cardiff University. “This was an extremely stressful time as we have recently entered our second year of study and have seen a dramatic increase in workload and examination preparation.”

Kathryn visited the Advice and Representation Centre (ARC) after receiving no response to a letter she sent to the Council explaining her situwation. ARC is currently advising a number of students on their rights in relation to the issuing of both the Section 46 notices and the Fixed Penalty Notices. A spokesperson for ARC told gair rhydd: “We are currently aware that in excess of 200 student households in the Cathays area have been issued with Fixed Penalty Notices for £100.”

Continued on page 3


02News

gr EDITOR Sarah Powell

CO-ORDINATOR Elaine Morgan DEPUTY EDITOR Dom Kehat SUB-EDITORS Anna Redbond Isabelle Roberts Hannah Van Den Bergh NEWS Morgan Applegarth Miranda Atty Pippa Lewis Ben Price Hannah Pendleton FEATURES Zoe Bridger Laura Brunt OPINION Holly Howe Chris Williams COLUMNIST Henry Burton POLITICS James Dunn Oliver Smith SOCIETIES Bianca London SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT Tom Clarke Jack Parker SPORT Alex Bywater Lucy Morgan Alex Winter CONTRIBUTORS Hugh Rodger Camilla Flint Charlotte Bufton Tom Wilkinson Geoffe Brown Bethan Cable Jess Love Lucy Portlock Laura Amey Jonathon Stevens Sophie Gidley Luke Slade Mark Anderson Kate Boddington Hector Roddan Guy Kelly Izzy Voss Elizabeth Crandon Niyi Ajuwon Daisy Payne Jo Greet Adam Clancy Rebecca Beling PROOFREADERS Catriona Camacho Guy Kelly Camilla Flint Emily Kneale Steph Pugh Bethan Cable Ellen Atkinson Amy Campbell Laura Amey Thanks to Tom Armstrong and Chris Griffiths for enduring this week's AGM

Monday February 21 2011 • gair rhydd • news@gairrhydd.com

IMG rugby disappoinment Ben Price News Editor Questions over the future of IMG rugby have been raised once again as students feel let down and disappointed over the lack of inter-mural competition. This disappointment is compounded by the fact that all Athletic Union Presidency candidates last year pledged to address the issue of IMG rugby. Moreover, the elected AU President, Jack Perkins, highlighted in his manifesto that he would make it a 'priority'. Craig Gorman, Captain of the Law IMG rugby team, said: “Every year we’re told something will be done. We had training sessions with the Head of Rugby, Martin Fowler, towards the end of last year which was promising, but that progress wasn’t carried on this year.” As hundreds of rugby hopefuls do not make it into any of the University’s rugby teams, many have expressed the fact that students who want to play rugby have no other outlet to do so while at Cardiff. According to SAWSA team captain, Chris Kellard, each IMG rugby team are approached annually by between 30 and 60 male students who want to get involved with their respective teams.

The SAWSA captain explained that he felt an IMG rugby league or regular competition could provide a stepping-stone into one of the University rugby teams. Athletics Union President, Jack Perkins responded: "IMG Rugby is still a priority for me. Currently the AU is in talks with the University regarding a revised College Cup proposal that will start in 2011-2012 and will provide a genuinely safe environment to play full contact rugby. "I will be meeting with the IMG Rugby captains shortly to discuss these plans and also to look into providing some form of competition for the end of this academic year.” Ways of getting around some of the obstacles that currently prevent the organising of regular IMG rugby competition have been suggested. Since the lack of official referees is one of the main issues facing IMG rugby, there have been calls to introduce refereeing courses for team members. Despite the current uncertainty surrounding IMG rugby, the enthusiam for some form of competition suggests there is still a future for the sport.

Student/Lecturer contact hours slashed Research reveals universities are reducing lecturer contact hours Hugh Rodger Reporter Russell Group Universities, of which Cardiff is a member, have decreased their contact hours between students and lecturers over the last year according to new research. Additional data shows a drop in the number of first year students rating their courses as excellent. Medicine and engineering saw the sharpest declines, with medical and dental students seeing their time spent with teachers reduced from 22.6 hours on average a week the year before to just over 20 hours last year. Engineering students received 16.5 hours of teaching compared with 19.6 in 2009. A first year civil engineering student of Cardiff said: “For a course as intensive as mine, I need all the contact hours I can get. "While I would rate my course as excellent, and I am satisfied with the current amount of hours I receive,

a potential decrease in valuable time spent with tutors and lecturers would mean I’d have to find an alternative study method such as catching up with a textbook, which just isn’t as engaging a learning experience as the kind lecturers and tutors provide.” Last year the average time spent in tuition or lectures fell from 15.6 hours a week to 14.7 according to a survey from the Nation Union of Students.

Contact should not be about quantity, but quality

In the face of deep cuts to higher education funding and the inevitable rise in tuition fees, universities are under pressure to deliver a better learning experience to current and prospective undergraduates. The research was conducted

by GfK Financial for the NUS and HSBC, involving over 3800 students. Overall satisfaction with the qual-

Excellent standard of teaching and learning

ity of teaching remains high. Sarah Ingram, Academic and University Affairs Officer of Cardiff Students’ Union said: “It is a sad fact that in these times of the Teaching grant being cut back, universities feel they have to make these negative changes to their courses. “Contact should not just be measured in quantity (though that is important), but quality: how many other students are in the seminar, in the lab, in the lecture hall, what experience are students getting when they are face to face with their professors.”

In response to the issue of lecturer contact hours at Cardiff, a University spokesperson said: "The University is evaluating the implications of changes in higher education funding for both students and the institution. It should be noted that the situation in Wales is different to the rest of the UK. "Russell Group students receive the highest number of contact hours with lecturers and tutors compared to other universities. At Cardiff, Senate Regulations state a minimum of 100 study hours per ten credits, including associated contact hours, individual study and assessment. Cardiff is proud of the excellent standard of teaching and learning currently provided by the University, delivering long-term benefits for all students choosing to come to Cardiff to study. The University is committed to providing a high-quality overall student experience for all our students."


News03

Monday February 21 2011 • gair rhydd • news@gairrhydd.com

Proposed AGM motions fall through Hannah Pendleton News Editor

Photos: Elected officers speak at the AGM

Photo: Chris Griffiths

the prospect of further debate on the topic, the disgruntled proposer summarised the motion: “It is in the interest of members to defend ourselves against cuts.” After much heated debate, the motion eventually failed to pass. Further motions continued to fall through as the meeting progressed including, ‘Bring Students and Educators Together Against the Cuts’ and ‘Continuing the Fight Against Fees and Cuts’. ‘Free Movement during Occupations’ also failed following the arguments of an opposition speaker who expressed that the existing policy both protects students during occupations but also throws political effectiveness into question by reducing the impact and dissolving the point. Despite the motions that were unsuccessful there were two that squeezed their way through as the first two motions of the evening. ‘Supporting affordable Medicines for Developing Nations’ passed with a high majority. It resolves to lobby Cardiff University to alter its international patent policy in order to make medicines more accessible to developing nations. The Welsh Assembly referendum’ seeks to make students more aware of how the referendum will affect them and received what seemed like a unanimous vote. The AGM meeting signalled the confirmation of a democratic forum of student debate which has established the direction of CUSU for the following year.

Photo: Chris Griffiths

Last week’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) saw the defeat of a number of the proposed motions, with just two out of seven receiving a majority vote. The meeting attracted a busy quoracy leaving many students standing throughout the forum of debate that acts as the ‘sovereign body’ of Cardiff University’s Student’s Union (CUSU). Although the recurring issues of cuts and fees dominated most of the agenda for the evening, one of the most widely contested topics was the proposed motion for the CUSU to support the Anti-prohibition movement which resolves that the President of CUSU write to Transform (an organisation that supports the legislation of drugs) and declare the Union a supporter of legalising drugs. Ed Carey stated that the 'catalyst' for this motion was the Union night in which police conducted searches on students. He argued that everyone has their “own right to take recreational drugs” and went on to describe legalisation as 'setting the tone for the next generation.' Sarah Ingram, the University and Academic Affairs Officer, stood up to argue against the motion. She said it was “based on personal habits and deluded. “It is absurd to our Union policy record…and irrelevant to higher education.” Ed summarised his argument,

describing the criminalisation of drug use as 'unnecessary.' Despite the heated debate and majority vote there was a sizable number of red voting cards raised in favour of the motion before it was out voted by those against the Union representing students as in support of legalising drugs. The third proposal of the evening, ‘Support the March for the Alternative’ fell through after a lot of time was given to the debate it created. The proposer, Rae Lewis-Ayling stressed that the march “could be the biggest anti-cuts demonstration in 30 years” against the “horrendous” cuts the coalition imposed. “I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t take that up” he said. By this point students appeared to become disengaged as the murmur of chatter became steadily louder. A second speaker for the amendment in the motion equated the march to the recent protests in Egypt stating “people of Egypt showed the way forward. “It is a real opportunity for the people of Cardiff to come together and fight back…this demonstration offers that opportunity” he said. Opposition to this motion argued that more critical thinking was needed in the evening's voting process: “I feel uneasy…don’t say the Union is the march” one student said. Several audience members voiced their concerns over the costs of participating in the march. As students became vocal about

'Section 46 is a calculated and sure fire way of beating the recession' continued from front “ARC is keen for any students affected by Section 46 notices to be fully informed of their rights in relation to this matter, have the opportunity to receive a full explanation of the processes involved and to ensure all notices have been delivered in accordance with the relevant legislation.” Another student approached gair rhydd after receiving a Fixed Penalty Notice and £100 fine. With regard to the Section 46 notice, the student revealed that the letter she and her housemates received looked like, "a general notice sent out and not a specific type of warning stating exactly what we needed to rectify, which I personally think would have been more appropriate considering the student population of Cathays." She said: “I am angry that we’ve had to pay this, and I’m aware that there are probably people living in houses of three, for example, who

are having to pay a lot more each.” She told gair rhydd that when she went to send the Council a cheque by recorded delivery, a lady working at the Post Office told her that she’d seen "at least 250 students come in to pay the fine in the past week alone." “I do accept that the new rules are there for a reason and I do think they will help to prevent cluttered, obstructed pavements and to help the collectors by ensuring the right kind of rubbish is put in the correct bin,” she continued. “Ultimately however, the instant fixed penalty is far too extreme, both in the amount charged and also in terms of the lack of warning and lack of information given in the fixed penalty notice,” she said. In response to the number of fines imposed, Rose Savage, the Union’s Welfare, Campaigns and Communication Officer, sent a letter to Cardiff Council on Monday February 14 2011 expressing students’ dissatisfaction ‘with the actions of the Council in identifying

the real issues surrounding waste management." The letter encourages the Council to ‘take some responsibility for the ill issuing of fines’ and takes issue with the Council’s communication strategy ‘of a letter addressed 'To the Occupier'.’ The letter reveals the Union’s stance that: “the Section 46 is a money making scheme for Cardiff Council… This is a calculated and short fire way of beating a recession at the expense of a significant demographic of Cardiff, a measure which I perceive to be short sighted and exploitative.” Cardiff Council responded, stating “Section 46 notices were issued to named individuals in Cathays in January of this year to remind residents of how waste should be presented for collection. “The council’s enforcement unit use the electoral register to obtain names, and these are verified where possible via door-knocking. “Where officers have been unable to obtain names, they are continu-

ing to verify the data and update the records.” The Cardiff Council spokesperson said: “Cardiff Council is committed to creating a clean and safe environment for residents and visitors to Cardiff…. Bins and bin bags left out on the streets for long periods cause unnecessary obstruction to pedestrians, pushchairs and wheelchair users, and a great deal of litter is generated from broken bags.” The spokesperson emphasised to gair rhydd that the Fixed Penalty Notices were being issued ‘citywide and not just in Cathays’. The spokesperson also reiterated that the Council had been in contact with Cathays residents in September and October 2010, distributing an information pack ‘including a green bag collection calendar, information on what goes in the green recycling bags, what should be placed in the green composting bin and a warning letter that not presenting waste on the correct day and times could lead to enforcement action'.

The Union’s Welfare, Campaigns and Communication Officer revealed that many students have been paying the £100 fines within the Council’s deadline of 17 days rather than appealing against them and potentially paying up to £1000.

If you are in need of any advice in relation to either a Section 46 Notice or a Fixed Penalty Notice please contact ARC so that they can advise you of what steps it may be possible for you to take in order to rectify the issue. ARC would like to speak to you if you have already paid a Fixed Penalty Notice, but feel you may have approached this matter differently had you been advised. ARC can be contacted by telephone on 0290 781 492, by email on advice@cardiff.ac.uk or you can drop in between 10 and 3 Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday and between 1 and 3 on Thursday.


04News

Monday February 21 2011 • gair rhydd • news@gairrhydd.com

Cardiff slip in rankings Morgan Applegarth News Editor

Cardiff University has fallen in a recent Times Higher Education (THE) survey into student experience. According to the Student Experience Survey, Cardiff rank 23 out of 113, dropping two places from last year’s survey and six places from the 2009 survey. The survey, which gathered the views of more than 13,000 full-time undergraduates, explored issues that ‘matter to them’ in regard to their university life. The THE survey asked students to rate their university on issues such as the quality of teaching and their social life on campus.

Students were asked on 21 different aspects of university life, rating them on a seven-point scale. On average, Cardiff students voted the quality of staff and lecturers 6.0 out of seven, while wellstructured courses were voted 5.8 on average. Cardiff ’s overall score totaled 79.35, while survey-toppers Lougborough University’s overall score came to 84.90. Commenting on the survey, Students' Union President Olly Birrell told gair rhydd: "It's disappointing to see Cardiff slip places again this year in the Student Experience Rankings. "Although the University features the student experience on its strategic plan, serious questions

are being asked as to whether this is being shown in the actions, future planning and funding arrangements the University makes." Rose Savage, Welfare, Campaigns and Community Officer, also commented on the survey's results: "The student experience is something that the University has on its agenda, and an item which the Union holds close to its heart. "Despite the fall in overall position, as a Union we are ranked 5th in the 'Good Union' section, which should not be over looked as a positive." According to the latest THE University Rankings League Table, Cardiff University is positioned 31st in the UK.

New awards ceremony introduced to praise and reward University staff Pippa Lewis News Editor

A new awards ceremony, the Enriching Student Life Awards, has been set up to celebrate the staff at Cardiff University who have helped make a difference to the lives of students. The awards have been introduced to provide recognition and reward to those members of staff who had received compliments from students. Sarah Ingram, Academic and University Affairs Officer told gair rhydd: "After having discussions with University staff about the possibility of such awards it was confirmed that the focus should be on all members of University staff, whether they were lecturers or not, and that it shouldn't just be aimed

at 'favourite teachers' or those that give easy exam papers, for example. "When I first thought about running this project, I was nervous that students wouldn't be interested in nominating their staff. How wrong I was.

Students really do want the best staff to be rewarded

"We have had a resounding response from students, showing that they really do want the best staff to be rewarded. "I just hope that the people who win know how much the students appreciate them and that they can

give some advice to other staff about the methods they employ to teach, help and motivate the students." The deadline for nominations has been extended to February 28 2011. Each nominated member of staff will receive a 'congratulations card' from the Students' Union informing them of their nomination. Shortlisted members of staff will then be invited to an awards ceremony on May 9 2011 in the Council Chamber in the Main Building where the Vice-Chancellor Dr David Grant will present the winners with the awards and an experience voucher of their choice. Students can nominate staff at www.cardiffstudents.com/ staffawards.

South Wales Assembley Member calls for University bosses to take pay cut Bethan Cable Reporter

University bosses should take a wage freeze, suggests South Wales Central AM Leanne Wood, after Cardiff University revealed that Vice-Chancellor Dr David Grant earned £245,000 in 2010 – over £100,000 more than the Prime Minister David Cameron. The Prime Minister is entitled to £197,000 per annum, however he only accepts £142,500. As well as Dr Grant, seven other Cardiff University academics received more than £150,000 during the 2010 academic year, while 223 made more than £100,000. Ms Wood, a member of Plaid Cymru and a former lecturer at Cardiff, said: “We keep being told by

the Westminster coalition government that ‘we are all in it together'. That message doesn’t seem to have found its way to academia. "There must be a comprehensive review of all top pay in the public sector as a matter of urgency because those at the lower end of the pay scales cannot be expected to see their living standards drop while others sit on very hefty and growing salaries.” A Cardiff University spokesman argued that Cardiff University could only achieve the highest standards by paying the best wages. He claimed that salaries were “proportionate with the responsibilities of the role of Vice-Chancellor of a university with around 6,000 staff, more than 28,000 students, a turnover of more than £400 mil-

lion and a value add to the national economy of more than £1 billion. "In common with all other higher education institutions, Cardiff University has responded to cost pressures in the difficult financial environment of recent years. Consequently, the University Board comprising of senior management and chaired by the Vice-Chancellor - did not receive any performancerelated increments or payments for 2010-11. "In common with all Cardiff University staff, the Board will receive the standard nationwide salary increase of 0.4 per cent for 2010-11. "Cardiff has invited Ms Wood to the University to discuss these issues. Unfortunately, we have yet to receive any reply but our invitation remains open."

Times Higher Education Student Experience

gair rhydd looks at how Cardiff scored No. of respondents Overall score High quality staff and lecturers Helpful/interested staff Well-structured courses Good social life Good community atmosphere Good extracurricular activities Good environment on campus High-quality facilities Personal requirements catered for Good students' union Good support/welfare Good personal relationship with staff Centralised/convenient facilities Good industry connections Good accommodation Good security Cheap shop/bar/amenities Tuition in small groups Good library and opening hours Fair workload Good sports facilities I would recommend my university

154 79.35 6.0 5.8 5.8 6.2 6.0 6.0 6.0 5.8 5.6 6.1 5.6 5.5 5.7 5.2 5.7 5.7 5.7 5.2 5.9 5.4 5.2 6.3

Source: Times Higher Education 2011

Tuition fees in Wales set to be £2,000 cheaper than English universities Pippa Lewis News Editor The basic tuition fee level in Wales is to be set at £4,000, £2,000 lower than in England, Education Minister Leighton Andrews has announced. Mr Andrews stated that the decision was based on the contribution which he believed that higher education should make to social justice and feedback from the sector. The upper limit will be £9,000, from next year, as in England. Universities, however, must show a commitment to widening access and other strategic objectives before being allowed to charge more than the basic amount. It is hoped that that any new fee regulations will be in place before the Welsh Assembly is dissolved for May's election, so that universities have time to prepare for the changes before the start of the next academic year in which the new fee boundaries will come into force.

Furthermore, students from Wales will be subsidised by the Assembly Government wherever they study in the UK. Details released under the Freedom of Information Act showed that £51.7 million will go to UK universities outside of Wales who have accepted Welsh students. Total spending on grants for Welsh students over the next nine years will be £1.5 billion, of which £427 million will go to English universities.

Follow us on Twitter @GairRhyddNews


News05

Monday February 21 2011 • gair rhydd • news@gairrhydd.com

Russell Group warns against Cardiff train Social 'soft' A-level subject choices Science experts Particular A-level subjects are seen as hindrances in the process of obtaining university places Millie Flint Reporter 'Soft' A-Level subjects have been described as hindrances for obtaining a place at university. A booklet recently compiled called ‘Informed Choices’ confirms speculation that traditional subjects are more likely to earn applicants a universtiy place. Developed by the Russell Group of leading research-intensive institutions, the guide proposed for post-GCSE students clarifies that the Russell Group themselves do favour Maths, Science and English over subjects such as Art, Media Studies and Photography. As Dr Philip Dixon, director of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers of Wales, points out, "at last they are being honest with us about what they are looking for in students." This honesty concerns only part

of the selection process, while leaving the remaining areas of selection ambiguous. A Cardiff University spokesperson stated that "[the guide] was committed to transparency so that students are able to make informed decisions."

At last they are being honest with us about what they are looking for in students.

Cardiff University, part of the Russell Group, has traditionally leaned towards selection on preferential ‘traditional’ subjects. However, a Cardiff University spokesperson said: "Any required subjects, or combinations of sub-

In pole position

Hannah van den Burgh Reporter The Cardiff University Pole Dancing Society is breaking new boundaries and hosting the first ever inter-university pole dancing competition on campus. The society stands to battle it out for the championship against Bristol, UWE, Bath, Bath Spa and Derby. A spokesperson from the society told gair rhydd "We wanted to create an event to abolish the stereotype where people could see the strength, skill and stamina required to perform a routine; and most importantly to give our members a chance to show off their new

talent and meet other pole dancers who share our passion!" The competition is to take place on March 19 2011 in the Great Hall and students will have the opportunity to come and show their support. The panel have proven in themselves a collective array of pole dancing talent, in the form of Maxine Betts, Miss Pole Dance UK 2009; Jennifer Gooch and Cat Denning, Miss Pole Dance UK 2009 Doubles, second-place runners up and currently ranked third in the UK; and Robyn Rooke, the winner of the Bristol Pole Championships. The Pole Dancing Society are also taking centre stage at Go Global on the February 21 from 15.30-18.30.

jects, are listed in the entry requirements incorporated into the prospectus and online courses." In addition, it was explained that the University's Schools Liaison Officers visit catchment area schools and offer expert advice to prospective students to ensure they have the right information they need to make informed decisions should they wish to study at Cardiff.’ Dr Philip Dixon agreed with the publication. He argued: "Whether or not they think it fair or right, the controllers of the game are saying that these [subjects] are the things they value." Dr Dixon also explained how 'Informed Choices’ is seen as a necessity for students who do not wish to disadvantage themselves for progression to the next stage of learning, by choosing what is seen to be a ‘weak’ combination of A-Level subjects.

Charlotte Bufton Reporter Leading universities in Wales have been awarded a multi-million pound grant to train social scientists on a range of important issues affecting modern society. The award will mean the establishment of a Doctoral Training Centre which will be able to provide at least thirty new postgraduate studentships every year for the next five years. The postgraduates will be trained in a range of important disciplines including social policy, economics, environmental planning, psychology and linguistics. Professor Terry Marsden, Dean of the Cardiff University Graduate College, said: "The ESRC Wales Doctoral Training Centre will deliver the very best training to students from right across the social science research base. "Such training will be delivered in an interdisciplinary research environment that nurtures intellectual and professional growth and

in which postgraduate researchers can thrive." Cardiff University will be leading a Welsh Consortium in association with Swansea, Bangor and Aberystwyth Universities to create the Doctoral Training Centre, which will be funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ERSC). The Welsh Consortium will be one of twenty-one accredited Doctoral Training Centres to provide excellence in postgraduate training, as judged by the ERSC. The Vice-Chancellor of Cardiff University, Dr David Grant, said: “This successful collaboration furthers Wales’s international reputation for excellence in the social sciences. "In gaining accreditation, the Wales Doctoral Training Centre has demonstrated excellence in the breadth of its social science postgraduate training." The studentships will start at the Wales Doctoral Training Centre in October 2011, and full details of the studentships and how to apply will soon be available through the websites of the collaborating universi-


06News

Monday February 21 2011 • gair rhydd • news@gairrhydd.com

Former student receives Oscar nomination Laura Evans Reporter Cardiff University graduate Tim Hetherington has been nominated for an Oscar at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards for his documentary capturing life on the front-line in Afghanistan. The feature length film Restrepo has been nominated for Best Documentary Feature. The film, co-directed by Hetherington and Sebastian Junger, follows the deployment of a platoon of US soldiers in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley; focusing mainly on a remote 15-man outpost which was considered one of the most danger-

ous postings in the US military. The former Cardiff student, who graduated in 1997 with a Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism Studies, spoke of the film: ‘Our intention was to capture the experience of combat, boredom and fear through the eyes of the soldiers themselves. ‘The war in Afghanistan has become highly politicised, but soldiers rarely take part in that discussion. Soldiers are living, fighting and dying at remote outposts in Afghanistan in conditions that few Americans back home can imagine. Their experiences are important to understand.’ Whilst watching the documentary, viewers are made to feel as if

they too have just experienced military deployment in the war stricken valley. With no interviews from generals or diplomats, emphasis is placed on the reality of the situation as Hetherington’s only goal was ‘to portray the true experience for viewers to fully comprehend.’ Hetherington’s former tutor, Dr Daniel Meadows, Lecturer of Photography and Participatory Media, recognised his talent, as he said: “He was the first of my students who was truly ‘modern’. He was always an inspiration to be around. I’m so glad his work is being recognised at last.” Above: Directors Junger, left, and Hetherington, right

Cardiff University's Welsh School of Architecture go Stateside Joanne Southerd Reporter Cardiff University’s Welsh School of Architecture has secured a major new research partnership with top US Universities. The department has become the first in Wales to successfully receive funding from the prestigious British Council Partnership Fund (BCPF), who have provided

a £20,000 grant designed to create academic links between US and UK Universities. As well as developing joint courses and encouraging student exchange, the partnerships are expected to help enhance new research into ways of providing a sustainable future for post-industrial areas in Wales. The Welsh School of Architecture will be working closely with Illinois Institute of Technology,

Chicago, The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Carnegie Mellon University and the School of the Art Institute in Chicago, in what has been described as ‘an invaluable research opportunity,’ Fuelled by leading US expertise, the project will focus on urban and rural landscapes in order to explore their potential for environmental and cultural regeneration. Speaking on the new partnerships, third-year Architecture stu-

dent Ellie Mills, said: “I would have loved the opportunity to study in the US. Had an American exchange been offered to me I would have jumped at the chance. I’m very jealous.” Cardiff University secured one of just 31 of the British Council’s innovative higher education collaborations, with over half of the UK’s 200 universities applying. Applicantions covered a wide range of different projects.

Mhairi McVicar from the Welsh School of Architecture said: “We are delighted to be the first in Wales to have secured such a prestigious Partnership Fund from the British Council.” Higher education leaders will meet at Windsor Castle in October to evaluate the progress of the new partnerships and discuss the next steps in advancing US-UK research.


World News

07

Klepto Kitty Grrrrr McWeddings Jonathan Stevens Reporter Dusty the cat is renowned for prowling his local neighbourhood in San Mateo, California on a three-year stealing spree. The crafty feline lazes around nonchalantly by day, but turns into a prolific cat burglar by night. Owners Jean Chu and Jim Coleman claim that the cat, nicknamed ‘Klepto Kitty’ holds a record of 11 items in one night. Ms Chu said: “He has taken towels, gloves, shoes, socks, toys…” He was even caught on camera thieving a neighbour’s bra, and spokes-

people suggest that he has an eye for female bathing costumes. Yet none of the local residents are concerned by the cat’s recent swiping, and simply venture to Dusty’s house the next day to reclaim their stolen loot. To date, Dusty has snatched a whopping 600 items, and is on a skulking roll.

Laura Amey Reporter

Lucy Portlock Reporter

A man in Malaysia survived a vicious tiger attack after his wife fended the animal off with a soup ladle. Tambun Gediu was pursuing a squirrel with a blowpipe near his home in the northern state of Perak when the tiger struck. He tried climbing a tree to escape and punching the big cat in the face but to no avail. Recovering in hospital, he credits his wife, Han Besau, with saving his life when she rushed to his aid with the wooden implement.

McDonald’s in Hong Kong has filled a rather unusual niche by offering weddings in one of their branches. The ‘Warm and Sweet Wedding Package’ costs around £800 and includes decorations and gifts. For an extra fee, the couple can also rent a wedding dress or buy a pink backdrop. Shirley Chang, managing director for McDonald’s Hong Kong, defended the concept, stating that there is a genuine demand for this kind of service and that many Hong

Kong couples “grew their love” in a McDonald’s branch. The idea is anticipated to be popular in a country where traditional weddings can be very expensive, and 70 couples are already in talks with the fast food chain to conduct their own special day under the golden arches.

RoboCop-out Miracle Horny old man Bethan Cable Reporter The mayor of Detroit has been forced to make a statement that the city will not be getting a statue of RoboCop, the hero of the classic 1987 sci-fi movie that helped make the city famous, after a clamour on Twitter. A single suggestion sent to Mayor Dave Bing’s Twitter account has suddenly snowballed into an internet-wide debate, with ‘protestors’ on each side making their voices heard and some taking the initiative and setting up advocate groups on Facebook, hoping for Bing to

change his mind. Victoria Bielecki, of Phoenix, Arizona, offered to buy the statue herself and “haul it all the way up there in my 1992 Suburban. “Do you know how freaking awesome it would be for my 7-year-old to look up at a 10-foot statue of RoboCop?” she told the Free Press.

Jess Love Reporter 61-year-old Kristine Casey has acted as a surrogate for daughter Sara Connell after she was unable to have children of her own. Mrs Casey gave birth to her last child almost 30 years ago. Despite this, she was happy to help her daughter. She fell pregnant after the second course of IVF treatment and gave birth to a baby boy, named Finnean, after 39 weeks. Mrs Casey, originally from Virginia, is believed to be the oldest person in the state of Illinois to give birth.

Anna Redbond Reporter

Huang Yuanfan is currently harbouring a sizable growth resembling a horn on the top of his head. The 84-year-old Chinese man reported that he noticed the bizarre bump forming two years ago, and claimed “I tried picking at it and even filing it but nothing changed. The horn just kept getting bigger.” After repeated measuring, Yuanfan has found that said horn now measures three inches, with no signs of slowing. He claims that doctors cannot remove it for fear of reappearance, and that he “tries to hide it beneath a hat but if it gets much longer it will be sticking out the

top.” Surprisingly this is not the first horn occurrence from the area, as a Chinese grandmother reported similar horn growth in March 2010. Watch this space!


Opinion

09

Fashion's weak Daisy Payne Opinion Writer The fashionistas of this world will know that this week is New York Fashion week; a showcase of the best in fashion, from the world’s top designers. They have been showing their extravagant designs for the next season: Autumn/Winter 2011. It is a week of lavishness, hair, beauty, makeup and the crème de la crème of the modelling industry. Those long legged models stride up and down the catwalks, showing the world what we should, and will be wearing in six months time. I don’t know about you, but autumn feels far into the future, and I’m not sure what I’ll be wearing tomorrow – let alone in six months time. Nevertheless, the fashion world insists on dictating and inspiring what we will be wearing in months to come. Designers such as Marc Jacobs have this week showcased their interpretations for the wardrobes of the future. From what I’ve observed, block colour will be ‘in’. Black and white prints, delicate patterns and spotted print was

featured heavily in Jacobs’ show. Ruffles? Oh yes they’ll be around in the autumn, as will the high waisted skirt, and the ever-prominent black lace. And one mustn’t forget the statement handbag. I might be missing something here, or I may be merely unappreciative of the beauty, art and delicacy of the fashion industry – but surely all of these things are in fashion in one form of the other, every year? My nice warm coat will be just as wearable this November as it was last year. My trusty knitted cardigans and dresses will still be acceptable for me to wear too. What is the obsession with the need to be absolutely ‘on trend’, all of the time? Do we all, must we all, be slaves to this ever changing and developing machine that is ‘fashion’? Don’t get me wrong, I shop until I hysterically drop to the floor with exhaustion. I am very aware that the clothing I buy was inspired, in part, by the designers at these fashion shows. But it frustrates me somewhat that fashion can, and does force judgement on individuals; judgements that can so often be wrong. So what if today I don’t fancy going for the ‘bohemi-

an look’ or the ‘pretentious inspiration’ look? Perhaps I just fancy wearing a jumper and jeans? Does that make me a traitor to fashion, or someone who doesn’t care about my appearance? Surely it just makes me human, living my life? Some people (increasingly men) are becoming slaves to fashion; I don’t think this is healthy. To be ‘fashionable’ is a constant aim that can never be quite reached. We should focus on looking good rather than looking absolutely on trend. There is always something else you could be, or should be wearing. There are blogs upon blogs, and stacks of magazines that show us what we should look like this season, next season and what we should avoid wearing. They tell us that fashion is an ‘investment’ and should be carefully considered. That, if we are a certain shape to wear this, and if another – to wear that. Sure, look good – but don’t stress about it, or wake up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night in fear of tomorrow’s outfit. I would advise that your time (and your money) is far better spent on other things.

We need to grow up when we graduate Jo Greet Opinion Writer Whether it is the latest gossip, adding new friends, or sharing the dreaded drunken photos from last week’s sports social, Facebook has arguably become an integral part of student life. Speaking from experience, it is so easy to accumulate hours every week spent trawling through status updates, latest groups and of course casually perusing photos that depict your friends recent escapades and the state you got yourself into at the union last Saturday – come on, we’ve all been there! However, as a (not so) hardworking third year, the time will inevitably come when I will need to seriously consider the material that is available to a mass audience, through social networking sites such as our beloved Facebook. Of course, there have already been many forums and much debate about the potential hazards of having such personal information being so readily available. I would argue that, as a student, the use of such social networking sites is indispensible. However, how much caution should we exercise when freely posting information about our private lives, in order to avoid repercussions that such availability of information

It is easy to spend hours casually perusing photos that depict the state you got yourself into at the Union last Saturday

in the public domain may incite? I am sure that most students would be in agreement that social networking sites, predominantly Facebook, are essential for everyday student life. Facebook is the medium by which I communicate with my nearest and dearest while at university, but also has a crucial role in organising student led groups and associations. Furthermore, and perhaps most importantly, how would we pass away those tedious lectures without a good old Facebook stalk, or the constant stream of status updates, which we quite frankly don’t care about, but are always much more appealing than a two hour lecture on Chaucer? Despite an overwhelming majority of students, myself included, being totally engrossed with such sites, I am not naive enough to suggest that students are not already aware of the potential pitfalls of social networking. However, I sometimes wonder how aware students are to just how readily such photographs are able to proliferate on such sites, with easy access, to a wide audience if privacy settings are not stringent. Obviously, from a student’s perspective, being able to access anyone’s Facebook account can result in hilarity. But, looking beyond university life, the consequences of such readily available personal information has the po-

tential to be detrimental. In terms of becoming a graduate in the not too distant future, it may be worth considering how many employers now use social networking sites to investigate potential candidates. Uncomplimentary photographs or unsavoury wall posts that are available to view publicly would be a major disadvantage to any prospective candidate. This is where such sites become problematic. Is such scrutiny invasion of privacy? Or, as the information is publicly available and posted with the consent of the individual, should we be more careful about what we post and the privacy settings we employ on our pages? We have hit a greyarea that is tricky to negotiate. As students we are at once somewhat reliant on the beneficial aspects of social networking, but also easily misguided in relation to the opacity that surrounds the protocol of social networking in terms of employment opportunities. I would argue that any graduate with an ounce of common sense would realise the potential dangers of enabling anyone to see your full profile. Furthermore, when holding a position of responsibility, exemplary behaviour is necessary in order to uphold a professional image. Allowing full access to your profile is simply inappropriate as it has the potential to compromise

your position. While a ‘Facebook policy’, that certain unions are calling for, may indeed be beneficial, surely anyone intelligent enough to gain a degree would realise the professional boundaries required when holding a position of responsibility. Despite how hilarious the image of seeing your mate running down the street, bottle of Lambrini in hand, with her skirt tucked into her knickers is, it is hardly behaviour appropriate to share with the entire online community. What we must comprehend is the changing expectations from the relaxed university environment we currently enjoy, to the demands of a shift into professional life. As Facebook enables us to choose how we portray ourselves, we must also question who we are intending to view this portrayal. So folks, rant over. Check your privacy settings. Delete those oh-so uncomplimentary photos. Check who your friends are: 877 Facebook friends is simply unnecessary. I don’t want to put a downer on social networking sites; their capacity and versatility is fantastic. However, we need to extend caution to social networking as we do not want to abjure all privacy and be presented with a ‘1984’ scenario. With over 500 million users, users, Facebook is watching you.


Opinion10

Long live the chat show King!

Monday February 21 2011 • gair rhydd • opinion@gairrhydd.com

Is Jeremy Kyle more in Our Opinion writers investigate the

Elizabeth Crandon Opinion Writer

Every morning, I switch on my TV in time to see a suited man shout at a younger man in a tracksuit to the rapturous hoots of a live audience. Yep, it’s The Jeremy Kyle Show, AKA my no. 1 Guilty Pleasure. Despite the groans of protest whenever I tune in, I find the show brilliant and compulsive viewing. Obviously, it’s not the most highbrow of series, but that’s all part of its charm. I am well aware as I switch on to storylines such as ‘I don’t remember sleeping with you, but are you the father of my child?’ that I’m not in for an intellectually stimulating hour. But it’s just too fascinating to switch off. Surely these people can’t be real, I tell myself gleefully. Apart from the show’s questionable subject matter, the confrontational and provokative style of Kyle’s presenting sparks debate. But I can’t help but find that Jeremy’s contradictions and shouted catchphrases make the show all the more amusing. “There are two sides to every story...let's not judge the guy,” he says, before his next guest appears. Cue the aforementioned fellow strolling onstage to a bad-guy tune so foreboding that it makes Darth Vader’s theme sound like Walking On Sunshine. Hilarious. However, the issue many want me to feel guilty about is the ‘exploitation’ of the guests. But if we’re going to be all pompous about supposed exploitation of ‘vulnerable’ people on television, might I raise my hand to mention a little welloiled exploitation machine named The X Factor? Or reality documentaries that follow ‘celebrities’ around in the aftermath of their personal crisis? When compared to both, Jeremy Kyle is no more exploitative to its viewers or participants – who are entirely aware of what they are in for by appearing on the show - and its positive aspects far outweigh the negative. Because, love it or hate it, The Jeremy Kyle Show does put out positive messages on a variety of topics – education, employment, overcoming addiction, practicing safe sex and being responsible parents. Jeremy recognises that the onstage resolution isn’t enough to truly solve issues, and recommends counselling. The show reunites loved ones, or pays for a life-altering DNA test. Beyond the show’s sensationalist format, there really are some positive messages and strategies to take away for tackling life’s problems. If you strongly disagree with me, well, we can always write to ITV and hash out our differences on The Jeremy Kyle show.

Are we the real tools when we watch Tool Academy? Niyi Ajuwon

Opinion Writer The fairly new show Tool Academy on Channel 4 is being held by many as the most compelling thing on TV at the moment. For those who have not seen Tool Academy it takes a handful of couples on a series of challenges, counselling and voting off ‘the weakest link’ at the end of each show. The final surviving couple will win £25,000. In the first episode, the young men think they are on a show where they are competing to be crowned

Britain’s ultimate lad. However, what they don’t know is they’ve been duped by their cunning girlfriends and they are actually on a show to highlight how much of a ‘tool’ they are for poor boyfriend behaviour. The ‘aim’ of the show is to change their actions for the better – but this is a giant farce. In episode one a tool cheats on his girlfriend with a stranger in a bar toilet (while being filmed), yet at the end of the programme is given a commitment badge to symbolise his loyalty (or perhaps just to keep the tension around for future shows

and a big reveal). It’s ridiculous how trashy the show is, but with some humiliating challenges and tasteless banter it is very engaging. It’s terrible to admit, but my flatmates and I tune into the show every Monday night and can’t help but laugh at some of the couples antics. When seeing a sex therapist, one couple was asked if they knew what lube was and they had no idea – even though they practised anal sex. It is no wonder that they need counselling. The couples have done everything so far from mock funerals to

fake lie detector tests to examine various attributes within the men. However, it’s noticeable that the women are just as bad, each with their own massive flaws – they behave like stupid Prima Donnas. If the behaviour of these ‘tools’ is so outrageous and below us, it’s no wonder we think the show is entertaining. It is fast food for the brain; a guilty pleasure to be indulged in once a week. Perhaps we should just enjoy it for what it is, but take our fast food with the pinch of salt. It's a programme for the realitytelevision-obsessed.

If you want to write a piece for You Reply about any Opinion articles you have read, or have any other opinions, email opinion@gairrhydd.com.


Opinion11

Monday February 21 2011 • gair rhydd • opinion@gairrhydd.com

nfluential than a degree? schadenfreude of reality television

Sun, sex and near misses for British youth Izzy Voss Opinion Writer

Some of the recognised faces from current reality television shows: Jeremy Kyle: Take Me Out: Tool Academy: My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding

Never judge a woman on a television programme Guy Kelly Opinion Writer If I were to make my judgement of women based solely on television programmes I’d have jumped off a bridge by now. Exhibit A: BBC3’s latest attempt at turning me gay. Hotter Than My Daughter: a show which sees middle aged mothers, with the face of a Monster Munch, forcedly tell us they are more attractive than their daughters. They never are, but naturally a ‘makeover’ must ensue as a video of the aforementioned hag being vile is shown betwixt clips of her daughter whining at Liz McClarnon – who merely sits and grins with a mouth so large she could eat

that Skoda cake from the advert. McClarnon is, of course, a former member of Atomic Kitten. The band name is fitting, since she now looks like how I imagine a cat would look – after surviving Hiroshima. Less unattractive, but with an identically unfortunate blight on her CV, is Jenny Frost, the host of Snog, Marry Avoid. This finds overly made-up girls and has them ridiculed by a sarcastic robot. Cue a profoundly offended chav, some demure clothing and bam! Success. Except it’s not, for Frost later revisits the girls and finds they’ve almost always reverted to type – citing it as being ‘more fun’. This charming confidence in themselves is in fact an entirely unintentional

but lovely message to take from the show. Bravo, girls; not that I’d ever come within four miles of any of you. Dating shows have turned similarly bizarre. The modern take on ‘Blind Date’ is Living’s Dating In The Dark. Essentially it's the same idea but without the budget to buy that retractable bit of unfinished wall Cilla so loved hiding behind. And, what’s more, it’s eclipsed in the ratings by ITV’s Take Me Out, where each week a dickhead of unfathomable magnitude swaggers and parades before a gaggle of stupid, single girls in the hope of keeping their ‘light’ on. What results is more a comedy show than a dating one, as laughs come about mostly due

to the lunacy of the chosen chap and the fact that the strategically placed ugly girl is never chosen. The contesntants look arrogant or stupid, and are no doubt edited to be even more so – something one doubts they consider before choosing to compete. We must be thankful that these are extreme cases: these girls are not everywhere we look. Indeed, the link between all these shows seems not desperation for a boyfriend or the perfect exterior, but for 15 minutes of fame and a fee. Frankly, appearing on reality television and hoping for anything else strikes me as about as sensible as playing leapfrog with a unicorn. And that’s not very.

Sun, Sex and Suspicious Parents should make for ideal car-crash TV viewing; the first holiday without Mum and Dad is, as the programme itself says, a rite of passage for many young and naïve teenagers in the summer after they finish school. It is an early taste of freedom and independence which allows them to experiment with both alcohol toleration limits and horny northerners. Unless, that is, they are followed and covertly observed by their parents. As you would expect, this volatile combination of perceived liberation and parental supervision produces many cringe worthy moments throughout the series, a personal favourite being ‘shy and sheltered’ James listening intently to his ‘man of the world’ mate as he instructs him to get hammered before losing his virginity so that he will ‘last longer’, while his weedy parents listen in and question the biological accuracy of the theory. However, while normal people nationwide recoil at the horrifically voyeuristic exploits of the interfering parents, the teenagers who take part do not tend to have the explosive reaction to the revelation that their parents have been crouching behind rocks to watch them banana-boating that you may expect. When discussing the show with friends, all seem to agree that such an invasion of their privacy would probably cause them to seek emancipation from their parents. Yet, when crunch-time comes and the parents have to reveal themselves (usually from a convenient behindthe-scenes part of a bar where the kids happen to be) it tends to be something of an anti-climax. After a 25 minute build-up of awkward viewing, people want tantrums not a tearful reunion where the parents gush about how proud they are of their little darlings and the kids insist that they had never ever smoked before they landed in Zante. While the general concept of the show does have potential for authentic car-crash viewing, the programme loses its shock factor right at the pivotal moment. Perhaps the fact that the teenagers have been subtly followed round by an entire film crew for the main body of their holiday causes them to rein their behaviour in, or maybe they are just more tolerant of having their private lives observed by Mum and Dad. Either way, the programme is not so much car crash television, as it is ‘near miss with a few beeped horns’ television.


Opinion12

Monday February 21 2011 • gair rhydd • opinion@gairrhydd.com

Race Relations Miranda Atty News Editor Halle Berry and Gabriel Aubry appeared to have one of the most amicable splits, and subsequent custody arrangements, in recent history. Photos emerged in the media of the couple continuing to co-parent together, even after their separation was made public. Yet their fragile peace now seems to be well and truly broken, with Berry releasing a statement in which she expressed serious concerns about her daughter Nahla’s wellbeing when in the custody of her father. So what caused their civility to descend into the now bitter custody battle? Race seems to have impacted hugely on the former couple’s custody issues. Whether Berry is now using race as an attempt to gain sole custody of Nahla - sources claim that she is concerned that her unsettled acting schedule, which involves travelling all over the world, may weaken her case as a primary carer - is not this article’s main focus. For me, what is important are the issues raised by her rigid racial standpoint. Of course, the ins and outs of their relationship seem more complicated, and I don’t mean to be reductive in my argument. Accusations have flown from ‘anonymous sources’, suggesting that Aubry himself abused Berry with a racial slur, and got upset when people referred to his daughter as black. If he did racially insult Berry then the public should indeed lose their respect for him. His feelings towards people classifying his daughter as black, however, elicit slightly more understanding. Ultimately, Berry and Aubry’s daughter’s mixed heritage gives her the right to be able to choose how, if at all, she should categorise herself. Berry seems awfully quick to call her daughter black, because that is how she chooses to identify herself. She revealed her controversial belief in the one-drop theory in a recent issue of Ebony magazine. "I feel she's black," the magazine quotes Berry as stating, as she subsequently qualifies the statement: "I'm black and I'm her mother, and I believe in the one-drop theory." The one-drop theory is the belief that anyone with even one drop of black blood should be classified as black. Historically linked to ideas of racial hierarchy, the theory has led to huge racial injustice in the past. The idea that someone as influential as Berry, a positive role model for a lot of mixed race and black women - and indicative of what they can achieve - should subscribe to a theory which was often used as justification for segregation is extremely problematic. I have never chosen to identify myself as black. Neither have I chosen to identify myself as white. To

Three year old Nahla with her high profile parents: Halle Berry and Gabriel Aubry

The idea that one drop of black blood means that you should be referred to as black is insulting and almost comical.

choose one category at the expense of another seems to completely ignore the influence of the other parent. Like Berry’s own parents, my father is black and my mother is white. Like Berry’s mother, mine has been the primary caregiver. How could I choose to call myself black and effectively wipe out every input my mother has had into my life, genetically or otherwise? For the same reasons, I would never identify myself as white. The idea that one drop of black blood means that you should be referred to as black is insulting and almost comical. If you subscribe to this view, all I can suggest is a lesson in dominant theories of evolution and the origin of humans. From what I can gather, Berry’s main motivation for identifying herself as black is shaped by the way society perceived her. In others’ eyes, because she was obviously not white, she was black. This constant need to contain through the category of black those who aren’t white seems a relic from decades past. Mixed race people are the fastest growing ethnic category in the UK. If society persists in categorising people, then surely this major growth means we finally deserve

our own category. Berry is completely entitled to choose how she refers to herself: black, mixed or otherwise. I can’t help thinking, though, how sad it is that she bowed to pressure of outside influences in her decision making process. Fair enough that she identifies more with a black community, who perhaps have experienced similar attitudes from society, but ultimately, it’s a shame that she can’t embrace her multi-racial genetic heritage by outwardly recognising it. I have had people calling me black, coloured and half-caste. My insistence on referring to myself and having others call me mixed race might be dismissed by some as political correctness to an extreme. To anyone who espouses that view, all I can suggest is that they attempt to understand for one moment what it feels like to be called half-caste, to feel the implication that you are only half a person. Ultimately, I hope that the rigid way that Berry refers to her daughter as black does not influence Nahla’s own view of herself and that, should she choose to do so, she grows up to feel comfortable recognising and referring to her racially mixed heritage.

Camilla Flint Opinion Editor When reading last week’s article 'Do you have to be posh to be privileged?’, it immediately seemed to me that it failed to determine what exactly is posh and how this innately leads to being privileged. Bridger assumes from the outset that the posh are those who attend private schools, and thus intrinsically end up in high status employment. She appears to condemn those from low income families and assumes that there is no hope for them: "low income families can no longer work their way up from the bottom without the qualifications, social skills and contacts [of the posh]". She appears to have sympathy with the ‘un-posh’ only momentarily to disguise the elitism suggested further into the piece. These privileges of low-income families may not be privileges enjoyed by a higher class, but for the concern of ‘the low income’ they are indeed 'privileges'. Perhaps ‘the posh’ may disregard them as privileges, because they have higher expectations of what ‘privileges’ should entail. The article goes on to assume that the majority of society expect a doctor or lawyer with a ‘posh’ voice and their accent ‘is a socially accepted thing’. In my opnion this is not the case. It implies we would revolt against confiding in a doctor if they dropped their 't's and missed their 'h's What the article ignores is the possibility that there can and there are people who have ‘snapped up the best jobs’ who do not sound posh. Sounding posh is irrelevant to whether you are privileged in my opinion. The article states that "being a doctor or a lawyer is actually better than being a hairdresser or a waiter". Perhas those professions are indeed worse because of the nominal status, the wage and...? To be a doctor and lawyer is only going to be better if you enjoy it, but this importance is ignored by Bridger. In childhood the desire to be a hairdresser is pretty strong for most girls. What’s wrong with that? For the ‘posh’ it would seem it is not a socially accepted ambition. And for the un-posh to be a hairdresser rules out the possibility of jumping social class and experiencing a ‘utopia’ the article associates with a medical or law profession. Ultimately, there are differing levels of what posh and who the posh are. On a public level there are incipiently the ‘Regal Posh’ and the ‘Posh Spices.’ If you think Posh Spice is privileged, you’re wrong according to this article, because she is neither a doctor nor a politician.


Columnist

13

Ken? Or Ed? There's only one way to find out...

T

he Mirror was crowing the other day over the unsurprising news that David Cameron acknowledges his own unpopularity. Quite why a national newspaper would use something so blindingly bloody obvious as a banner headline is beyond me, really, but then again it is The Mirror, a paper not exactly famed for its cerebral content. Perhaps it was a quiet day. Seriously, though, how is Cameron’s unpopularity front-page news? Given the tribal nature of UK political allegiances, whoever gets in is going to be hated from Day One by at least half the country. The fact that Cameron, most lefties’s hated old Etonian of choice (as opposed to Wayne Rooney, some lefties’s most-hated old Evertonian) is presiding over the biggest bashing of big-budget blow-outs since the Dark Ages, was never really going to endear him to every one. I’m not going to give you a thousand word diatribe about politics this week, though. For one, because I could probably write ten times that if something really got on my goat, but more importantly because I can’t be bothered. I highly doubt you’re taking every word in anyway. You probably glance at the nice pretty picture and turn the page, and I don’t blame you: it’s the required way of reading the Sunday Sport, after all, so why not gair rhydd too? It is at least a very pretty picture for you to cast your gaze upon this week. Harry Redknapp’s a legend, isn’t he? Yes, he is. And Spurs are absolutely flying this season, going at the Champions' League harder than Gennaro Gattuso’s head went at one of their staff. I’m pleased that a team outside the usual ‘Big Four’ are doing so well. You can’t exactly call Tottenham

Hotspur an underdog, of course, but I’d be chuffed if they pulled off the shock of the century and actually won the Champions League. And I’m not even a die-hard fan. I’ll leave you to guess where my footballing allegiances traditionally lay, sufficing to say that I am a child of the 1990s and not actually from Manchester at all. I’ve always had a lot of love for the underdogs, though. It’s brilliant when your Ipswich Towns and your Northwich Victorias do well, and it’s infinitesimally boring to see the same clubs win things every year. Any more of that and we’d be getting like Scotlandzzzzzzzzzzzz… You know what? Fuck it. I’ll get back on the politics. It is soooooo bitchy in the House of Commons. They’d be better off pairing opposing MPs off and making them fight. Not to the death, of course. That would be barbaric (and think of the cleaning bill! We’re on austerity measures, people!) But there’s definitely room for a bit of fisticuffs. I reckon a decent match-up would be the Tory ‘Big Beast’ Ken Clarke versus that Labour bruiser, Ed Balls. I can just imagine it now. A couple of decent punches each and then it gets nasty: Ed whacking Ken over the head with one of his infamous boardgames what he bought off of eBay and Ken stubbing one of his trademark fat cigars out on Ed’s beetroot face. I really don’t know who would win that one. Mr Balls (up) has nearly thirty years on Mr Clarke, so that could prove advantageous. Then again, Ken has survived forty years as an MP in a party that often enjoyed stabbing each other in the back, even though he practically kisses the arse of Europe compared to many Tories. Yes, folks, it would be a hardcore match indeed. And there’s plenty more gas in this tank. How about Chancellor George

There's definitely room for a bit of fisticuffs

Osborne versus Dennis ‘Beast of Bolsover’ Skinner? There’s been bad blood between these bad boys, and the man who looks like a Regency baronet versus the man who looks like a Regency baronet’s best and most brutal hunting hound would be a fine contest. To those who would suggest that Mr Osborne’s 39 years are an unfair advantage over Mr Skinner’s 79, I say this: did you SEE Mick Jagger

at the Grammys? Blimey. Mick Jagger is 68 this summer and the dirty old devil could still no doubt fit into a pair of Topman XXXS skinnies. Yes, age is no barrier to MP vs. MP, and nor, of course, is gender. Anyone for front row seats for Theresa May versus Harriet Harman? Mrs May would be armed with a razor-sharp pair of leopard-print stilettos and Ms Harman with a hefty copy of the Human Rights Act. This could be more fun than steel-chairing Bubba Ray Dudley on SmackDown: Here Comes The Pain!

It’s a shame Jacqui Smith is no longer MP for Redditch, otherwise she would be able to use her extensive experience of pay-per-view to organise a decent TV Fight Night deal with Sky. That would knock at leasthalf the deficit out in one. As for the actual knock-outs? Simple. I suggest just putting Lord John Leslie ‘Two Shags’ Prescott in a cage and send the whole six-hundred-and-fifty MPs in to face him. Prezza stick all. There’s only going to be one winner of that bout. AND it would get him off those blasted moneysupermarket.com adverts...


Should prisoners get the vote? <<Page 17

15

Politics

Fallen Pharaoh

Oliver Smith Political Editor In the last two weeks Egypt has descended into chaos. The government’s heavy-handed approach to widespread protest has failed, the national curfew mostly ignored. Even the military withdrew their support for the regime in ruins. President Mubarak, a name unknown by most until recently, lost control of his country in the most violent, bloody way possible. But no one thought it would ever end this way. As the Tunisian Government collapsed a week prior to the start of the protests the Egyptian Finance Minister, Youssef Boutros-Ghali, declared with certainty that it “won't happen in Egypt.” Egypt was different ; we have “a free press and an open society”; such things could never happen here. The Egyptian people are simply “different from Tunisians” highlighting the subsidies that the government gives to the poor and in need. Six days later Egypt broke down into protest and violence. The rest is history.

Throughout those 18 days of protest the Egyptian people found their voice to speak out against oppression, and they have done with the noblest display of solidarity. Inspiring stories have surfaced from the chaos, which demonstrate the real spirit of Egypt. From the Egyptian youth, who hurried to social networks to tell the world of the atrocities being committed before the government, shut down the Internet while risking the wrath of the government so that the world would know what was taking place, to the groups of Christian protesters who shielded their fellow Muslims from the army’s brutality while they prayed. Great opportunity follows great destruction. Egypt now finds itself beginning to rebuild its shattered political system; the broken government has abandoned its attempts to quell protest and left their posts. Discussions between the army and its people have started and the process of rebuilding has begun. Word of positive reforms in the areas of free speech and human rights are the right steps to strengthen a people and unite the nation.

Throughout 18 days of protest the Egyptian people found their voice

In contrast, the meddling from the likes of the US is harmful for the people of Egypt. I can taste the desire from the US to cling on to the Arab regimes with which they have had many back-room deals, securing sites for unofficial CIA torture, extraordinary rendition and the like. For the West, Mubarak has long been a friend, an embarrassing friend, one whom you’d rather not talk about, but a friend nevertheless. As America and the UK come around to the idea that the whole Arab region is destabilising, they may seize this as an opportunity to install democracy upon those countries they see most fit as a quick fix to install new friends in the region. However, as in the West’s previous attempts in the Middle East, I believe these efforts would ultimately benefit politicians, not people. Instead in the words of Andrew Rawnsley, writing in The Observer last week, democracy must be “nurtured” not enforced. Word now comes that Algeria has shut off its Internet, incidentally the same thing that both Tunisia and Egypt did just moments before being consumed by protest.

The wave of revolution is spreading through the Arab states, washing away the corrupt governments and replacing their crooked dictators like a cleansing force. There are currently minor and major protests underway in 14 nations of the region including most of the Northern African countries and spreading through to the Middle East. As one country destabilises and revolts, it triggers another to do the same, the chain reaction of revolution shows no sign of slowing any time soon. I hold great hope for the future of Egypt. As one protester remarked “This is the first piece of the new Egypt. Mubarak does not rule here anymore. Suleiman does not rule here. We will rule here and will rule all of Egypt.” The opportunity that now presents itself to the people of Egypt is fundamental, return to the way things were, albeit tweaked from the experiences of the past two weeks. Or turn the page and rewrite the story, the choice can only be theirs to choose. Every great civilisation undergoes revolution: I think it’s time for Egypt.


16Politics

Monday February 21 2011 • gair rhydd • politics@gairrhydd.com • Follow @GairRhyddPol

Turning point for the ASBO? Sophie Gidley Politics Writer Drunken behaviour, excessive noise, abusiveness, vandalism, littering: just some of the many acts considered to be a form of antisocial behaviour in today’s society. Introduced in 1998 by former Labour Prime Minister, Tony Blair, offenders who committed any of these crimes were sanctioned with an ABSO (an Anti-Social Behaviour Order), intended to curb low-level crimes that had previously been largely ignored by the law. However, this month the government hascaused debate with a new initiative posed by Theresa May, the current Home Secretary, who raised plans to reform this offence by eradicating ASBOs altogether. Instead she proposes to enforce alternative means of social control which will work on a scale of varying punishments. But how effective will this new legislation be? And how much do these new propositions truly differ?

The ASBO was the silver bullet that would cure all society's ills

It is the common stereotype of hooded youths stood on street corners terrorising local communities, that is most commonly associated with the ASBO. However, they can be imposed upon any member of the community deemed to be behaving anti-socially. By issuing ASBOs, it was believed that it would make the offender more aware of the negative consequences of their conduct, thus preventing offenders from re-offending, and dramatically decreasing petty crimes. Yet with statistics showing that over 50% of

Last year, Theresa May annouced that the ASBO would be replaced by contemporary street dance and with a large student population introduce the ‘Criminal Behaviour Behaviour Order’, in the belief that it is simply a politically motivated it is of vital importance that any Order’ and the ‘Criminal Prevenrebranding of the ASBO. While the new government initiative address- tion Injunction.’ The former is dies the youth of today, especially to rected at those who already hold a government claims to be radically ensure that future generations have criminal conviction, and the latter changing this legislation, it does apa greater concern for morality and intended to act earlier and prevent pear that reducing the orders down good behaviour. It is also important potential offenders from commit- to four is just another example of to ensure that youths committing ting criminal anti-social behaviour. the government’s attempts to cut such petty crimes are firmly dealt While there is similar emphasis on everything down, and so this prowith now to prevent them commit- firmly dealing with anti-social be- posal appears to be amalgamating ting greater offences later on in haviour when it happens, a greater old legislation, yet branding it as a emphasis now lies with broadening new initiative. their lives. Mrs May has proposed to radi- police powers and encouraging and cally reduce the 18 orders dealing promoting a sense of community, with anti-social behaviour, to a con- allowing the people greater involvecise four orders, arguing that these ment in their communities. These new changes have been will be more efficient and swift in dealing with anti-social behaviour, supported by many who feel that rather than the ASBO which was streamlining this legislation is considered too bureaucratic and beneficial, as it will make these time consuming. The government new proposals far more of a real deterrent to potential offenders. As has also criticised the vaugeness of former anti-social behaviour offenc- stated, ASBOs were very arduous, es which were comprised of many plus long procedures and their efIf the ASBO was not efficient, components, including the ASBO, fectiveness has always been a matthen surely entirely new means the CRASBO and the ABSI, which ter of debate. Even so, vast numbers have need to be introduced, not merely were felt to be over-complicated. fiercely criticised Mrs May’s pro- new orders that are practically a The government plans to eradiposals for an alternative ‘Criminal tangent policy of the former Labour cate these altogether and instead government’s work. It seems that Mrs May and the coalition governBreached in England & Wales ment need to seriously determine whether this new legislation will actually be any more effective, or whether it will end up as a waste of taxpayer’s money, funding another pointless and unsuccessful initiative.

ASBOs are breached and youth offenders even regarding an ASBO as a “badge of honour,” it is clear to see the failure of this legislation and the intentions behind May’s proposal for reform. As she stated: “For thirteen years, politicians told us that the government had the answer; that the ASBO was the silver bullet that would cure all society’s ills. It wasn’t.” Furthermore, the ASBO has been criticised by many who feel that it has unnecessarily criminalised young people. It is extremely concerning to note that a recent publication of the local crime statistics shows that Cardiff is in the highest two percent of crime in the country. Reports from December 2010 state that, out of 1213 reported cases of crime, the second greatest number of offences were that of an anti-social nature, with a reported 437 cases. This therefore strongly supports the notion that current attempts to tackle anti-social behaviour are ineffective and that stronger action needs to be taken. In particular, the Cathays area is the most affected

ASBOs Issued and

Cardiff is in the highest two percent of crime in the country

Follow us on Twitter @GairRhyddPol

1671 Issued

2008

56% Breached

2027 Issued

2007

55% Breached

2299 Issued

2006

53% Breached

2705 Issued

2005

51% Breached

4122 Issued

2004

45% Breached

3479 Issued

2003

40% Breached

1349 Issued

2002

39% Breached

427 Issued

36% Breached

350 Issued

27% Breached 2001

2009


Politics17

Monday February 21 2011 • gair rhydd • politics@gairrhydd.com • Follow @GairRhyddPol

UK prisoners to vote? With the European Court of Human Rights asking for a new rethink of the prisoner voting laws, Luke Slade examines what this will mean for Britain Is voting a right, a duty or a privilege? The British government have been called to reconsider the right of prisoners to vote by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). Kenneth Clarke said that the government would provide "the minimum necessary" to avoid defying the ECHR. Jack Straw, Labour's former justice secretary, and David Davis, the Conservative former shadow home secretary, believe that Britain should ignore the ECHR and refuse to give prisoners the right to vote; however, this would incur prisoners being given large compensation claims, compensation that will come from the taxpayer. In 2004, following the legal challenge of John Hirst (an ex-convict of twenty-five years), the ECHR ruled that the blanket ban currently operating in Britain concerning prisoners’ right to vote was discriminatory. But the last Labour government delayed lifting the ban. After the recent judgement by the ECHR Mr Hirst, who killed his landlady with an axe, celebrated. On his four minute long home video, he said: “Finally won out. I’m now going to celebrate for the 75,000 prisoners who will be getting the vote – that includes murderers, rapists, paedophiles, all of them will be getting the vote because it’s their human right to have the vote. You can’t start moralising and say

which ones can and can’t have the vote.” He then lights a joint, adding: “and this is courtesy of the local drug dealer” and starts singing “I shot the sheriff ”. It is easy to highlight this distasteful video by Mr Hirst but easier to forget all those in prison under much different circumstances. There have been suggestions of prisoners who are serving under ten years, four years and then even one year, being given the right to vote. But it calls to question where these figures come from. How can someone possibly decide how long another should be serving before they are not allowed the vote? Surely the sentence time does not always correlate to their complete loss of moral liberty?

MPs voted 234 to 22 against

Perhaps then it would be more apt to justify the vote in terms of crimes committed: the Greenpeace whaling activists, who were jailed for exposing the widespread corruption in the Japanese government’s whaling programme, against David Riding, who was jailed for keeping a homemade bomb under his bed at

his house in the grounds of a girls’ school. Should Greenpeace get the vote because it lacks the potential loss of life that Mr Riding’s bomb could have provided? Similarly, if it is that important how long their jail sentences are then it might come as a surprise to learn that they were both given the same sentence time: one year. But is the answer yes or no? As usual it cannot possibly be that simple. MPs have voted in an overwhelming majority (234 to 22) to keep the ban on prisoners voting. However, the House of Commons’ decision is not a contractual one, but it is a suggestion as to how much pressure has been put on ministers to rule against the Strasbourg court’s decision. It is clear from this that Britain does not appear to support a system where prisoners, who have committed a crime and had their freedom removed, are allowed to vote and potentially have a hand in the running of society. But, and there is always a but, what about someone who is serving a lesser sentence and should have the right to impact on society because they will soon rejoin and be a part of that society? It seems that they deserve the vote because a democracy is about giving people a voice no matter how sour their views may sit morally, and as it is the view of some it therefore de-

serves consideration. However, prisoners are to get the right to vote as the battle against the ECHR is lost by MPs. The bottom line is that it is a legal obligation at the moment to give the vote to prisoners; in the eyes of the European Court of Human Rights this is a human right. The simple fact that they are the governing body for human rights suggests that they are not to be refuted. What could further be argued however, is that it clearly does not sit well with an overwhelming majority in Britain. But does this present the difference in ideals that we British have to that of the rest of Europe? Is voting a right, a duty or a privilege? It is hard to see voting as a fundamental human right, however, it is a democratic right and we live in a democracy. It is a duty, but a duty that so many do not fulfill. And it is a privilege, we are a country that gives a voice to our people and they should all be heard. The media have used examples such as Ian Huntley and Peter Sutcliffe to instill fear, commenting: surely you do not want these people voting for the country? This, however, is not the issue. Voting is a liberty and it should be integrated into sentencing, not for everyone, but at the discretion of a judge. Just as there should not be a blanket ban there should not be a blanket ruling.

The facts and figures on the vote

85,458 inmates in Wales and England 85,458 inmates in Wales and England

29,653,638 votes were cast in the General Election of 2010

10,911 inmates serving life sentences

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The week according to... @joshuamneff

@Queen_UK

"I resign as leader of Egypt. No, not RESIGN! I REIGN! REIGN! DAMN YOU AUTOCORRECT!" -- Hosni Mubarak.

Having Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi put on trial following yesterday's Valentine's 'present'.

(Joshua M. Neff)

(Elizabeth Windsor)

@TimMontgomerie Andrew Cooper once described the Tory grassroots as "vile" to me. And now he's head of strategy for David Cameron.

(Tim Montgomerie, Editor of Conservative Home)

@BorowitzReport Democracy is sweeping every Middle Eastern country Bush didn't invade. #iran #Egypt #Tunisia #Yemen #Algeria

(Andy Borowitz)

@Queen_UK

Yes, Prince Harry will be Prince William's 'Best Man'. One understand he is currently planning a "big fat gypsy stag party". God Save Them. (Elizabeth Windsor)


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Features Special

19

In light of LGBT+ History, Hector Roddan welcomes you to the Features LGBT+ Special, featuring Cardiff nightlife, politics, films and coming out stories

P

rogress on LGBT+ rights has been halting, and there is still much to fight for. Here in the UK, a postcode lottery still exists for female same-sex couples if they wish to receive IVF treatment. Similarly, any man who has had any sort of sex with any other man (and any subsequent female partners of either man) is unable to donate blood and save the lives of others.

There is still so much to fight for

Although some would argue that pop stars such as Katy Perry and Lady Gaga have brought bisexuality into the public eye, the reality is that many on the gay scene still say “bi now, gay later”, while much of straight society see it as an excuse for wanton promiscuity. The situation for trans is similarly depressing. Even while clinics across the UK have reported increased take-up of gender reassignment treatment in recent years, societal attitudes to trans people still lag behind. As a society, we have two things to be thankful for. Firstly, Britain – and the majority of western European countries –

are far better places to be lesbian, gay, or bisexual than many parts of Africa or Asia, as the recent tragic death of Ugandan gay rights activists attests. In Indonesia last year, a man named Alterina Hofan, was arrested and imprisoned in a woman’s prison after police DNA tests showed him to be 'female'. Hofan suffers from a rare condition known as Klinefelter's syndrome, which means he has an additional X chromosome which makes him appear more feminine. Despite legally changing his gender in 2006, and marrying a woman in the US in 2008, the Indonesian authorities have ruled that he is female after his wife’s family discovered his past. The second thing we have to be thankful for is how far we have come. Less than fifty years ago, consensual sex between male adults was illegal. Only in 2001 was the age of consent for homosexual and heterosexual sex equalised. Just two years earlier, and a full decade before similar legislation in the United States, were LGBT+ people allowed to serve openly in the armed forces. The first civil partnerships came in 2005: although different from heterosexual marriage, they mark one of the most important symbolic steps toward the acceptance of same-sex couples in British society.

Last summer, a survey for the gay online newspaper Pink Paper showed that over 98% of its readers believed that full marriage equality – including the right to include religious blessings and use consecrated buildings – was needed for homosexual unions to be truly equal.

Some of you will undoubtedly feel that the 'gayagenda' has gone too far

In my opinion, there is still so much to fight for. I know some of you will undoubtedly feel that the so-called 'gay agenda' has gone too far – that the rights for LGBT+ people have come at the cost of personal morals, religious conscience, or traditional family values. I agree it is a moral dilemma when equal and opposing rights collide. LGBT+ rights are not – and should never be – about taking rights away from other groups. That is quite simply not how a civilised society should work. However, a civilised society should guarantee the equal and fair treatment of all its citizens, regardless of their sex, race, gender, sexuality, or any other perceived trait or characteristic.

Head of the LGBT+ Association, Mark Anderson talks about the recognition of diversity within Cardiff University

T

he LGBT+ society is brand new for 2010-11. We believe in equality for all students here in Cardiff and are here to help enhance the experience of LGBT+ students, raising awareness about LGBT+ issues and helping you to find friends. The LGBT+ Association is founded on diversity and is committed to equality. We encourage members to live, grow, believe and triumph. We welcome all students in Cardiff whether you're LGBT+ or not. For those who are worried, confused, curious or alone – you’re not alone, we're here for you! We are here to ensure everyone receives an accessible, open-minded and complete student experience, free from discrimination; being able to freely self-express and selfidentify as you choose. The elected head of the LGBT+ Association is the primary student

voice for all LGBT+ students across campus. I pride myself in being utterly committed to an honest and vocal reflection of the views and opinions of everyone in the Cardiff LGBT+ student community. I have always believed that if I can be out and proud for everyone across campus, that I should be approachable enough for people to be able to confide in me. For some time, the LGBT+ society has been growing and holding a variety of social events, and this year they merged and formed one half of the LGBT+ Association, maintaining their welcoming atmosphere. During 2009/2010 the LGBT socciety won several awards, including third Best LGBT Society, in the Readers Choice Pink Paper Awards 2010, and the most developed Association or Student Led Service in Cardiff, in the Society Awards of the Students’ Union for 2009/2010. We as an Association have

achieved a great deal this year, but our biggest achievement to date is the renaming of the LGBT acronym to LGBT“+”. Around the UK there is a crying need to accept and recognise more than just gay, lesbian, bi and trans students. There are various new acronyms emerging, with letters including Q (Queer), Q (Questioning), A (Asexual), I (Intersex), F (Friends). It all boils down to the fluidity of sexuality and gender identity and our self-expression. We decided in Cardiff that we wanted to accept people in a much broader and mature approach, embracing our diversity without judgement or boundaries. LGBT+ is now what Cardiff is. Being apart of the Association and the community here in Cardiff is about meeting like-minded friends, those who accept you for you are, understand what you’re feeling and can talk to you about LGBT+ life.

Above: LGBT+ support World Aids Day at the Students' Union in December


20LGBT+ Special

gair rhydd • Monday February 21 2011 • features@gairrhydd.com

Your 'coming out' stories

Out with it! Kate Boddington and Hector Roddan chat to Cardiff students about their experiences of telling all to their nearest and dearest...

Oranges are not the only fruit It was after years of existing as a cliché, wearing dungarees and rainbow stripy jumpers as my everyday attire, that I finally came out when I was in sixth form. It was on an English trip to see a play and my friend was bugging me about setting me up with one of her male friends. My resolute insistence that I was not interested led her to ask, in front of a handful of other people on the trip including my English teachers, whether I was a lesbian. When I came out to my mum a few months later by tentatively telling her that I was dating Amoret, my girlfriend, she replied "I know." No one has ever been shocked, but this still doesn’t stop coming out being the best thing I’ve ever done. A personal highlight was when my sixth form English teacher asked if I’d do a book review on Jeanette Winterson’s Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, assuming (correctly) that I’d have read all the books with any vague lesbian content... Kate

Out, proud and cringing

My form tutor in year seven was undeniably fit. Because I was getting a bit older I finally realised that the thoughts I’d been having about ladies since I was tiny must have meant something. I realised I was a bit gay. I told my mate I fancied her, and then once that was out of the bag I wouldn’t stop going on about how fit all these girls were to just about anyone. More or less everybody in my school knew I was gay by the time I was thirteen (including all the staff after I sent my Biology teacher a valentines card – massive cringe) but I never felt the need to bring it up with my parents because that would have been awkward, and as a rather awkward teenager I certainly needed no more awkwardness in my life. Turns out they knew anyway. The P!nk shrines, the Sugar Rush box sets and the hot flushes at parents evening had given it away (surprise surprise). Generally I don’t think people are ever as shocked as you expect...

Yas

E

veryone loves telling their 'coming out' stories – it’s true. If you get a group of LGBT+ people in a room it’ll undoubtedly be one of the first topics of conversation that comes up. For one thing, it’s a standard point of comparison – if you came out last week you can get pointers and help on what to do now from someone who came out last year. There can also be a competitive element, whether it’s who has the most embarrassing experience to who has the best, worst or most comically inappropriate reaction from their audience. Finally, it’s important to know how 'out' someone is – you don’t want to accidentally expose them, especially if they are not yet comfortable with their sexuality or gender identity being public knowledge. Though it may not sound so, it really is a massive deal. Not only does coming out address the terrifying reality of acknowledging to yourself that you are different, but it is also the fear of telling others, hoping they don’t judge you. And, trust us, that can be really scary. gair rhydd chatted to some LGBT+ members about their experiences: ''Trying to come out to my family and friends was the most stressful time in my life. I realised that I fancied girls, but I didn't know what to do about it because I thought it was wrong." Rhian said. "It was something that was never talked about with my family and friends and the idea of me being gay never crossed their mind. When people started to find out, I had some bad reactions from socalled friends and that made it even harder for me to feel comfortable.''

My mother didn't stop crying but she came to love me for who I am

Like many LGBT+ people nowadays, Rhian’s story has a happy ending: “I met my long term girlfriend

to who I am now engaged and we live happily together. I’ve never been so happy in all my life, finally having realised I am comfortable with being gay and being with a woman.'' Rhian came out to her family in writing first: “I told my brother first by giving him a ‘coming out’ letter as it was easier to write it down than say the words. I used the same letter for my mam too and we just sat and cried together. A weight had been lifted!'' My family did take it hard and my mother didn't stop crying, but she came to love me for who I am. Although I still have some trouble with certain people I just think they are the ones with the problem, not me.'' Everyone’s story is different: and doubtless, many LGBT students in Cardiff have not experienced direct prejudice. Miles told us that he felt indignant that straight friends and siblings don’t have to strive to be recognised and accepted for who and what they are. “Coming out for me wasn’t some big issue. My sexuality was something I flat out refused to talk about for a long time. I simply wouldn’t confirm or deny to any of my peers at school. “There were more important and relevant things to me at the time, like what was on the television last night, or whether or not our art teacher was actually having an affair with the head of history. In the end, my friends got bored of speculating. They just didn’t care anymore, which was precisely the attitude that I wanted. My sexuality didn’t really matter, the important thing was that I didn’t really care, so why should they? Besides, it turned out the art teacher was actually having an affair." A number of people who spoke to us found that, after they’ve finally plucked up the courage to spill the beans, it was something of an anticlimax: everyone had already assumed. Tom Leeming, a second year City and Regional Planning student told us: “I remember coming out to a friend on MSN around the age of 12. I was so nervous. There I was, about to reveal something so personal to me. It turned out that she wasn't

surprised at all – apparently it was obvious! However, I was under the impression that no one had worked it out, so typing the words 'I'm gay' was very difficult. Straight away, though, it was like a weight had been lifted. It got easier, I started telling more people and now everyone knows.”

Hiding away, pretending to be someone you're not will never help you

The opposite reaction was also common among the students we spoke to, as one student who wished to remain anonymous told us. “I think it’s safe to say that I was the last person anyone expected to be a lesbian. Not only am I conventionally feminine, I’m also a Christian. When I had my first crush on a girl when I was 13, all I knew was that it was something very shameful and I must never tell anyone. So I didn’t breathe a word about it until eight years later”. It was only when I was 21, about a year ago now, that I managed to admit to myself that I was gay. "I was going to a church that was great in many ways, but held the view that same-sex relationships were wrong. I didn’t feel able to tell anyone – I literally didn’t think I’d be able to get the words out of my mouth. It was one of the loneliest experiences I’ve ever had. Eventually, I phoned an LGBT helpline which was really helpful. Next I confided in a friend who was in a long-term relationship with a guy, so you can only imagine my astonishment when she told me she was bisexual! “Since then, I’ve told all my closest friends and family. I’ve got involved in the LGBT community, through which I’ve made some of the closest friends I’ve ever had. I’ve joined a new church that fully accepts and celebrates gay people. Coming out has been one of the most

terrifying things I’ve ever done, but also one of the most worthwhile.” Although the majority of experiences we have been told about were positive, revealing your sexuality or gender identity to those closest to you can and does change your relationships with those around you, and not always positively. Ben’s experience is a familiar one: “I came out to my mum after a fair few bottles of wine on my 18th birthday. She seemed fine at the time though she can’t help herself with the bitchy comments at Christmas time. I then came out to my dad last year. He doesn’t want to talk to me, or even to acknowledge me as his son anymore. As a result, I consider Cardiff to be my hometown, not where my family is.” Amongst our contributors, a few of whom have provided more detail on their stories on the opposite page, many found that coming out is not an end in itself. In a sense, it’s a never-ending process. You will meet new people and come out to them, or get a job and maybe come out to your new colleagues or employer – it doesn’t stop. But, it really does get easier. Just check out the recent viral YouTube channel 'It gets better' for messages of hope and support from around the world. Tom Leeming, the Regional Planning student we spoke to earlier, told us: ”Hiding away, pretending to be someone you're not will never help you. "Eventually you will have to open up and start living the way you were born: nothing's going to change you or the way you are. But on the other hand, it's not a race either. You shouldn't feel pressured – so take your time and come out when you're ready and feel happy." So to celebrate LGBT History month, and the personal history of all our contributors, we’ve collected some 'coming out' stories from students in Cardiff. For some of you, this may be familiar territory – either for yourself or a friend. If this hasn’t happened to you, then these stories might give a bit of insight into how people prepare themselves, and some of the reactions they received.


LGBT+ Special21

gair rhydd • Monday February 21 2011 • features@gairrhydd.com

Variations on the theme of "we guessed"

An appetite killer?

Outed by Keanu Reeves

T-shirt travails

I’d been aware of my sexuality to some extent since childhood. Despite my avid participation in every sports team and fondness of dungarees no one ever suspected I might not be straight. The prospect of coming out scared and frustrated me. At no point did my sister have to announce her heterosexuality, nor did any of my straight school friends. Why should things be different for me? The anwer? Because the thought of lying to people sickened me, and I felt my parents deserved my honesty. I wanted to tell my parents before my friends, as I didn’t want to risk them hearing it off anyone else. It was a delicate subject, so I spent months cautiously waiting for the right moment. The right moment eventually came when I was 18. My father greeted me as I walked into the living room: “Did you know there’s a gay clubnight on after that gig you’re going to tonight?” I panicked: “uh... no...um...Rock on!” I replied, with a cringe worthy attempt at a devil horns gesture. It was weird, and ohso-awkward. My father then left to pick my mother up from work, so I proceeded to make dinner: lemon chicken. As I stirred the noodles it occurred to me the conversation my parents would have in the car… tonight would be the night. Coming out would surely be an appetite killer, so I decided to eat my portion early, and sat in the living room in silence. After what seemed like an eternity my parents arrived home. “RACHEL!” my mum shouted, “Is there something you’d like to tell me?!” she was smiling from ear to ear. I was not. “Are you a lesbian?” she laughed. “Um...maybe...yes…” I mumbled. She continued to laugh. Lots. I started to cry. Still smiling my mum turned to me, and her face dropped. “Oh my God...you’re not joking?” she was stunned. “GARETH! Did you know this?” she called into the kitchen. She was in shock. My Dad ate his noodles. I cried, she cried, we hugged, we cried some more and eventually we laughed.

I’m a mature student at the Centre of Lifelong Learning and I knew I was gay 27 years ago, back in the early 80s. I started to have crushes on boys but I repressed it, keeping quiet, hiding my identity: no one ever suspected. I fancied the sporty boys in school, but talked about tits while undressing with them, faking being straight while watching the first pop stars come out as gay. However, my parents had no idea and I wasn’t about to out myself – that just was not done in my family. When I was 18, my mum came in to clear the mess one day, and picked up my cuttings and a letter I’d written to another tortured gay soul. I’d completely exposed my feelings and my attraction to men (particularly Keanu Reeves) – nothing was left to the imagination. She told my dad. I arrived home that day and was greeted with silence. I went upstairs to my room only to find my private letter on my freshly made bed. I had been outed. What would happen now? I went over to a mate’s before they could react, and came home late when my family were all asleep. My parents never mentioned my sexuality from that day on. I live my gay life now and have never introduced a partner to them. I know what they think and they never mention homosexuality to me or anyone else. Simon

After being a walking stereotype for 18 years, I came out to my mum when my girlfriend bought me a t-shirt that said ‘nobody knows I'm a lesbian’. It amazes me that coming out was actually a necessary process.

Telling the family

The first person I came out to was a gay friend, and then I told the rest of them. When I told my mum I was gay she accepted me for that, but I was too afraid to tell my dad. I got my mum to tell him for me. My dad tried to convince me that me being gay was just a phase – he hasn’t told his family and I haven’t told the neighbours. I don’t mention my involvement in the LGBT+ Society to people at home, but I am out to all my friends and I can discuss things with my mum. James

Sara

By the bi-sexual? I clearly remember that immediately after my first kiss with a girl, someone asked "Kate, are you bi-sexual?" To which my awkward answer was "No, I'm just cool with kissing a girl" - and then thinking to myself 'wait a minute ...' I think that the first person I truly came out to was myself - my actions certainly spoke louder than words. I hadn't really considered that how I had been feeling was a manifestation of non-heterosexuality, and one I was initially uncomfortable with - especially since the label came with both straight and gay accusations of greed, sluttiness or attention seeking. At the time, I talked a lot with my mum, who was great about the whole thing. I knew that although dad wasn't homophobic, he wasn't comfortable with the idea of me being gay either. To this day we've never had a proper conversation about it, but on the other hand I don't think we need to. We love and look after each other, and can put our differences aside for that. However, as a rather telling postscript, I told my boyfriend of five years (with whom I have been completely frank about my sexual preferences) about writing this article. I was completely dumbfounded when he expressed his shock that I still considered myself bisexual - because I hadn't gone on about it beyond the 'getting to know you' stage, he thought it had magically gone away, been just a phase, or not even that.

Kate

My name is Hector and I am a homosexual. Sit down, buckle your seatbelts and prepare for the intense melodrama behind this seemingly innocuous sentence. Firstly, I should say that said sentence was written on a tearstained post-it note on New Years Eve 2005, on top of the village green as I drank myself into oblivion. The truth is that accepting to myself that I was attracted to other men was far harder than the subsequent revelation to those closest to me. What coming out did involve was a Bebo quiz in which you set up multiple-choice questions to find out how well your friends knew you. I was eighteen, it was cool. And Facebook hadn’t been invented yet. So via some innocuous question like “which of these best describes Hector? 'Republican, Vegan, Pescetarian, Gay-a-tarian' " I tried to take the sting out of actually saying the word 'gay'. That worked well enough, except I hadn’t prepared answers to any of the subsequent questions, mainly because I was reduced to a gibbering “let’s not talk about all that” wreck. The truth, which I spent years working out, was that lying to others and trying to kid myself it was all 'normal' was not doing me any favours psychologically. At the end of the day, I had to be truthful with myself and the rest of the world in order to be truly happy. Sobbing into a post-it note while you wrote down how much you hated yourself and how, basically, being gay was going to obliterate your life and everything you held dear may not sound like 'truly happy', but it was definitely cathartic. Aside from drunken hints and that Bebo-quiz-fiasco, I started to come out to friends in my first year of Uni. Since my melodrama was entirely psychosomatic, the reactions I received varied little on the theme of “yeah, we guessed”. Strange as it seemed to me nothing really changed, except I was

able to be open about my feelings. Most importantly, I didn’t have to lie anymore. Since my dad died when I was nine, I’d always been close to my mum. Telling her was hardest of all, because I knew she was set on grand-children and from the age of fifteen up had been enquiring whether I was dating pretty much any female friend I mentioned. One tip: do not come out to your parents just after New Year when you are both very drunk. Clearly, she was worried and upset: it was just a phase, I didn’t know because I hadn’t slept with anyone, how could I know at my age, I just hadn’t met the right girl… Despite her reaction, I knew she still loved me. It felt like a shame that I couldn’t share an important part of myself with the person I was closest to. At the end of the day, she needed the time and space to get her head round it and learn more about what being gay actually meant. Fastforward four years, I know she still loves me just as much. Furthermore, she’s seen that coming out has only made me happier.

Hector Roddan For help and support on coming out, or any other aspect of sexuality or gender identity for yourself or a friend, support information can be found online at www.cardifflgbt. vze.com. Alternatively, email Mark Anderson, the Head of the LGBT+ Association, in confidence on lgbt_cardiffstudents@hotmail.com Support is also available through the support pages of the University website cardiff.ac.uk/studentsupport or their drop-in centre at 50 Park Place. Nightline is also availabe. It is a listening service run for and by Cardiff students. They are available 8pm-8am on 02920 2087 0555 or their website at www.cardiffnightline.com.


22 LGBT+ Special

gair rhydd • Monday February 21 2011 • features@gairrhydd.com

The bar exchange I

From the closet to Oceana (the gays come out) by Kate Boddington t’s a Wednesday, and it’s Student Night in Oceana. Plenty of people, plenty of booze. Plenty of boys and girls, and one handful of LGBT+ students awkwardly surveying whether Cardiff ’s biggest club has anything to offer them. Though I had asked many people whether they would like to join me on this outing, I was hardly shocked when the vast majority paled at the thought. We ended up being a small group, predominantly composed of freshers who hadn't had the time to experience the horror of Oceana to it's full extent before. Various others who had offered their attendence bailed on the evening, claiming via text that they weren't quite up for it. I was entirely unsurprised. The first thing that was pretty obvious, was how much we resembled tourists. Upon arriving in Oceana it was obvious that we felt awkward and in the eyes of onlookers, we looked out of place. Even though there were only a few of us, it was

clear that we did not belong. For one thing, our clothing was obviously out of sync with the Oceana dress code of choice (with me and the other girls in jeans and shirts) with every other girl in there wearing a skirt or dress. Though we had been prepared for a difference, we hadn't quite considered that we'd feel so uncomfortable. It also seemed that Oceana was quite a lot smarter looking than most of the gay clubs in Cardiff, this undeniable classy element making us feel more out of place from what we were used to: the slightly more grimy familiar rooms of Pulse. We hoped that when the drinks kicked in we might feel a little more relaxed, but unfortunately this wasn’t to happen. Oceana got fuller and we headed upstairs, but those I was with did not get more laid back. It could be because we weren’t used to the atmosphere or it could be because we weren’t feeling it but no one seemed to be finding, in the words of the Black Eyed Peas, that

‘tonight’s gonna be a good night.’ While James Cheeseman found Oceana to be ‘less sexual than the gay bars’ in Cardiff, Kate Gale found it to be an example of ‘the routine process of meeting, mating, dancing and pulling’ that make clubbing seem really mundane. Because Cardiff ’s gay scene is so much smaller than the number of other clubs in the city, it’s quite easy to know a good proportion of people out on a given night, so the anonymity of Oceana made everyone find it less intense than they might on a normal night out for them. Less intense, less familiar and ultimately less fun. Maybe we were sobering up, or maybe the obvious and unsubtle purpose of going out was being exposed to us more and more by the minute, but this solidified the idea that it was time to head back. We left to the iconic tune of ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’, only finding the track bittersweet as we headed out into the night, quite happy to be stopping clubbing and going home.

Bright lights: the 'disco room' in Cardiff's Oceana

Straight into a gay bar (gaaay bar gay bar) by Zoe Bridger

esbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and everything in-between, we are all essentially in love with Dolly Parton. So imagine our delight when we were asked to go to Cardiff ’s gay clubs for a one-off bar exchange. Unlike the poor LGBT+ members who were dragged kicking and screaming into Oceana on Wednesday night, we happily stumbled into Pulse and Wow after endlessly Youtubing Aretha Franklin, George Michael and Dolly Parton while drinking gin. I say ‘we’, I actually mean me and the other girls; our friends Matt and Jake were somewhat less excited by the prospect of a gay night out. In fact, Matt – the straighter of the two – backed out at the last minute. On walking into Wow, a place excessively bathed in a questionable shade of orange, we were greeted by a drag queen. Desperately trying to act nonchalant, we got some drinks and took a seat – right in front of

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the stage. What happened next was both beautiful and memorable in equal measures: we were forced to participate in a game, which entailed listening to TV theme tunes and guessing the show. Once we had the answer we had to elbow and shove our way to the front of the stage, pushing aside the weaker gays with a mere finger. The drag queen enthusiastically handed us the microphone and we blurted out “Baywatch” with unashamed pride. But what did we win? I hear you ask. Apart from the respect and adoration of the whole club, we were rewarded with a huge shot of Apple Sourz. Now that’s what I call a night out. While Jake was enjoying the new-found attention he was getting, us girls were absolutely loving the lack of attention we got. We didn’t feel like we were being judged for our looks or groped by unattractive men. We laughed a lot, we got up on stage and sang, we downed Apple Sourz and we tried to set Jake up with Fernando. All in all it was one

of the funniest nights I’ve had in a long time. Next it was time to sample the delights of Pulse. Shaken and slightly ashamed by his experience in Wow, Jake was forced to make a swift exit, so it was just the four of us girls left. Walking down the stairs into the dark, misty depths of Pulse nightclub we paid our £4 and crossed the threshold into LGBT+ heaven. As the DJ played a 'battle' between Girls Aloud and Spice Girls and the dance floor was awash with 90s dance routines, we drank and danced and laughed without a thought for the poor LGBT+ members who were having a miserable time in Oceana. All in all we loved our gay night out. I can’t believe it has taken me three years in Cardiff to finally pop my gay-bar cherry. As for the straight boys, well, they were not convinced. But for us girls it was a night free from any of the pretension or potential-rape of a grimy straight club on a student night. Bravo the gays! I say. Bravo indeed.

Wow: Our words exactlty Oceana: More of a cattle-market than a club. The place makes you feel uncomfortable and out of place - especially if you're not wearing the latest get up. Best to be avoided on a Wednesday. Wow / Pulse: Best for a girl's night out; maybe don't bring your male friends along. The drag queens often pick on the straight people - so if you don't like a bit of banter, try to avoid their eyes.

Verdict

Oceana: Fun if you're with a big groups of friends and so drunk you don't realise where or who you are. The variety of rooms mean that forgetting your whereabouts / identity is made easier. Wow / Pulse: It's unpretentious, unassuming and good clean fun. For anyone who feels their musicals career is yet to take off, this is your time to shine. After all, girls / gays just wanna have fun.


gair rhydd • Monday February 21 2011 • features@gairrhydd.com

23LGBT+ Special

In real life as on film Mark Anderson discusses living with two mums

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ll my life I have lived in a happy and loving family. I was an only child and I’m proud to say I’m now a confident and charismatic character who has grown up able to help instil these values in others. Whenever people remark on my enthusiastic and conscientious “can-do” attitude towards life, and say to me… “Your mum and dad must be so proud…” I always reply with “Yes… my mums are!” After nine years with my dad, when I was four years old, my mum realised she was gay. After a divorce my mum has been an openly gay parent. I have always been in contact with my dad and still regularly talk to him, but I will always consider my mum and her parner my immediate family. While I was a child my mum had two long-term relationships so I have always lived in a stable, family-orientated environment. Throughout my childhood my mum would always tell me how much she loved me and we’d always talk about things. I felt special as my mum always explained things about life to me if I asked – she was honest with me, so I wanted to be honest with her. The parental figure in my life was fabulous! Naturally we are very close and I have always wanted to make her proud. During primary school, I felt the brunt of kids lashing out from homophobia, but I was always grateful for some teachers who would defend me. Defending my mum’s sexuality was so easy though - she was my mum and no one was going to bad mouth her to me! I didn’t care who she was, I was always happy and loved… so how could that be a bad thing for a child? Everything was easier in secondary school; hearing insults had just got boring and I was completely unfazed by this point. But ironically it helped my own coming out. I felt I never had to face homophobia as I always assumed it was mum that was being targeted, not myself. I didn’t come out until I was 17, despite my surroundings. My mum told me to take my time and not to jump to any conclusions as it took her 29 years to realise she was gay and she didn’t want me making the same mistake. Now my mum and her partner have been together for 11 years and are the best parents I could ever wish for. They will both join me for graduation and my mum has recently proposed to her soon-to-be wife.

Laura Amey explores character representation within LGBT+ films: All families have problems

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oose Cannons (2010) is a coming out tale with quite a twist. It can be difficult enough to decide to make such an announcement to your whole family, but what if your brother gets there first and gives your father a heart attack? This happens to Tommaso Cantone, an aspiring writer living with his boyfriend in Rome. When he returns to the family home in Puglia, he is left unable to come out, as he had resolved to do, for fear of killing his father. Despite this rather joyless-sounding premise, Ferzan Ozpetek's film manages to be funny, touching and wonderful to look at. Its aesthetic appeal owes a lot to its setting and everything about Loose Cannons, or Mine Vaganti, transports you straight to southern Italy - the music, the sunshine and the large, exuberant pasta-manufacturing family. The conservative and narrowminded views shown by many of the family towards their gay offspring could also be seen as part of what’s typically Italian about this film, although arguably this is a somewhat outdated and gen-

eralised impression of society. The film uses stereotypes honestly and unashamedly to great comic effect. There is the alcoholic and very short-sighted spinster aunt, the irritating brother-in-law, the wise and serene grandmother and the lordly patriarch, who is not as assured as he acts. Exaggeration exists in all films and is a necessary dramatic device. My only reservation with Loose Cannons is its tendency to develop a character to a certain extent and then abandon the plotline, leaving you wondering. This may have been intentional but it left several loose ends that were frustrating, for example Alba. From outside the Cantone family, but the new partner in the pasta firm, she quickly becomes close to Tommaso. She confides in him about the death of her mother and her own mental health problems, but this thread ends as quickly as it begins, so it is hard to get a full understanding of her character. Loose Cannons is a thoroughly enjoyable film with catchy songs and likeable characters as well as a few darker hints thrown in to balance out the campness, comedy and Italian family histrionics.

Italian persuasions

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fter the recent box office success and numerous nominations achieved by The Kids Are All Right, here’s quite a different look at LGBT families. In The Kids…, lesbian couple Nic and Jules have two children, one each biologically but both from the same anonymous sperm donor. Once eighteen, the older child traces their father and he becomes part of the family. This comapres to Patrik Age 1.5 which follows a conventional tale of parents adopting a child. Gay couple, Sven and Goran set up the perfect home together. Now all they want is a child and are overjoyed when they are approved for adoption. Waiting excitedly for baby Patrik, aged 18 months, they are surprised when a thuggish 15 year-old arrives at their house. One little “.” can make a big difference but Sven and Goran believe there has been a mix-up of children and not just a typo. Through many difficulties, including Patrik’s homophobia, the couple temporarily breaking up and Patrik trying out another potential adoptive family, eventually

all three come through and become a family in time for a happy ending. Patrik comes between the couple and drives them apart but in the end he helps bring them back together. It could be seen as a bit of a cheesy "journey" of a film – everyone learns something and becomes a better person – but no more so than any other familybased comedy-drama. Interestingly, Sven and Goran’s previously welcoming and harmonious community becomes more unbalanced with the arrival of Patrik, reflecting their domestic situation. The local children taunt, and threads start to unravel in some of the other families. This reminds us that all families have problems and that’s what I particularly like about this film: it isn’t really about being gay. The complicating action of the adoption is not that the would-be parents are homosexual, rather an administrative mishap that could happen to any couple. It is refreshing to see a film with gay central characters that looks beyond the usual clichéd problems and comic situations to create an original, entertaining and touching story.


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Science26 Reaching for the stars 2011 is set to be a seminal year for space exploration, Bethan Cable takes a look at what the major space agencies have in store for the year ahead.

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ess than two full months into 2011, and already the year is shaping up to be full of groundbreaking moments when it comes to space exploration. Whether it’s a mission to Mars, the first simultaneous observation of both sides of the sun, or the possibility of sending a space station to an asteroid, 2011 looks set to be full of new discoveries, new missions and new surprises. Four and a half years ago, NASA launched the two STEREO (Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory) spacecraft from Cape Canaveral in Florida. The spacecrafts’ mission was to capture stereoscopic (3D) images of the Sun and solar phenomena, such as coronal mass ejections, by circling them on two different orbits, effectively allowing views that can look at both sides of space phenomena at once. Over time, the satellites will orbit further and further apart, and are expected to approach Earth again some time in 2023, but will never return to Earth. Initially used to search for Langranian (or Trojan) asteroids, which are minor planets or moons thought to be orbiting Earth, the major phase of their mission began last week. On February 6, the STEREO satellites were 180 degrees apart (on opposite sides of Earth's orbit), which finally allowed both sides of the Sun to be viewed simultaneously for the first time. Combined with an Earth-based view (from observatories such as the Solar Dynamics Observatory

Above: A huge solar flare erupts from the Sun's surface. Captured on film by Astronauts aboard NASA's Skylab Space station in 1979 launched last year), STEREO will allow observations of the whole Sun for several years, allowing NASA’s scientists to directly monitor the Sun for solar flares and, more importantly, coronal mass ejections (CMEs). CMEs, which are huge bursts of magnetic fields, solar plasma and solar winds frequently ejected far into space by the Sun, are hugely dangerous. They have the potential to disrupt Earth’s communication systems, power grids and satellites – they may even damage aircraft due to interference with communication systems and exposing passengers to intense radiation. Since the Sun rotates every twenty-five days, half of it is completely unviewable for days at a time – STEREO means that this will not be a problem for several years, and will allow scientists to monitor the build-up of sunspots which are believed to be linked to CMEs. Information from STEREO is already being used to help build forecasts of solar activity for airlines, power companies, satellite operators, and others. When he came to power in 2009, the US’s President Obama threw out George W. Bush’s original plan to return humans to the moon by 2020; in April last year, he instead proposed to send astronauts to an asteroid by 2025. NASA has been trying to work out the details of how to fulfil this plan ever since, and last year held a conference on the topic in Washington, DC. According to the New Scientist, NASA is considering using part of the International Space Station

Space Agency Budgets: NASA: $18 billion ESA: $5.5 billion Roscosmos: $2.4 billion JSA (Japan): $2.4 billion ISRO (India): $1.2 billion CNSA (China): Unknown

523 The total number of exoplanets discovered

• 2000 satelites have been launched since Sputnik in 1957 • 500 remain operational today

to build a spaceship that could be sent to an asteroid when the 100 billion-dollar Space Station is retired in 2020. One of its crew compartments could be used to build a capsule that would be launched from orbit, rather than launching a new spaceship from Earth – not a bad bit of recycling, given how much the original is worth. The conference last year also promoted a very novel method of creating artificial gravity in space, by rotating two spaceships around each other. As well as allowing astronauts to walk, rather than float, the artificial gravity would reduce the bone and muscle-loss astronauts now suffer as a result of long space missions. However, NASA emphasised that this idea was more of a concept than a real plan, so anyone hoping to see the spaceships of Star Trek or 2001: A Space Odyssey become a reality should probably not hold their breath. Not to be left out, the Russian Institute of Biomedical Problems,is running a simulated mission to Mars with the help of the European Space Agency (ESA). Mars500, so-called because it simulates the plausible length of a real mission to Mars, 250 days to get there, 30 days on the surface, and 240 days to get back (a total of 520, but Mars520 doesn’t sound quite as snappy a title), is made up of six ‘astronauts’ who have been sealed since June in a simulated spaceship made up of steel containers. On Valentine’s Day, three of the group are due to ‘descend’ to the surface of Mars – actually the san-

dy floor of another module at the Moscow-based experiment – for the first time, wearing real spacesuits and carrying out the kind of experiments that would be done on a real mission to Mars. The experiment, which aims to study the likely physiological and psychological impacts of a genuine trip to Mars or other long-duration spaceflight, is intended to simulate as closely as possible the genuine conditions of such a trip. The six men – three Russians, two EU citizens and a Chinese national – are due to ‘return to Earth’ in November this year. Finally, astronomers were ‘stunned’ this month to discover six exoplanets orbiting a star 2000 light-years away, a set-up very much similar to our own solar system of eight planets orbiting the sun. Although the planets are likely to all be too hot to support life, as they all orbit closer to their star than Mercury orbits to our own, the Sun, the information forms part of the latest data release from the Kepler space telescope. According to the leader of the study, Dr Jack Lissauer, the new information from Kepler, challenges the previously-held theory that planets form by coalescing from the debris around young stars and ‘bump’ into each other violently which casts them into irregular elliptical orbits. In January, the Kepler team announced that Kepler had found the first definitely rocky exoplanet, Kepler-10 – a milestone in the search for the other planets that could support life.


Science27

Monday February 21 2011 • gair rhydd • science@gairrhydd.com

Bird flu breakthrough Hannah Van Den Bergh Sub Editor First it was Freshers’ Flu. Then it was Man Flu. But the real crisis hit when the dreaded Bird Flu swept Europe, killing at least 306 people in total. The increase in demand for vaccinations had great effect over the past year when the NHS had to revert to overspill jabs to combat the additional requirements. For this reason, it wasn’t just science boffs that were celebrating when Lawrence Tiley, Senior Lecturer in Molecular Virology at Cambridge University, made headway with a solution to stop the spread of the flu virus. But don’t head down to your GP just yet because the current breakthroughs are to create a genetically modified farm animal resistant to viral diseases. The modification does not prevent the virus in chickens, but severs the ability to pass it to other

avian carriers. Currently “the mechanism underlying the effect is not known” and is raising questions as to whether this makes the possible success more or less dangerous. But as with all scientific developments, it is only the test of time that will provide us with an answer. This potential breakthrough poses other equally poignant questions as to the successes of genetic modification throughout species’. Who knows where these expanses may take us? A future of dogs free from rabies? Could these developments span to human transmitted viruses, for example? There are concerns that we could be moving too fast with genetic manipulation. Infections are a part of life and can be useful. Yet, could this be the solution we need, taking us one step in the right direction? Although they remain answerless, science seeks to question the very biology of genetic make-up, allowing us to take the first steps into the unknown.

Evolution Explained Adam Clancy Science Writer This is about evolution. Being an occasionally touchy subject, I will abstain from risking the wrath of the non-believers by not saying that it is an undeniable truth and will instead just explain it as a theory. A well regarded and as yet completely undisproved theory. The obvious place to start is the beginning, quite famously with the book “On the Origin of Species” by a certain Mr Charles Darwin. It put forward the concept of natural selection – the foundation of modern evolutionary theory - which stated that animals must be suited to their environment to survive. If you are a bird living somewhere a long beak is required for survival, then you are more likely to survive with a long beak. The big jump was to say that after a couple of generations, only birds with long beaks would be around, as they out-survived their shortbeaked brethren. If a group of the short-beakers lived somewhere else as well (somewhere their lack of beak didn’t lead to them not being alive anymore) then they would adapt to that different environment, for example developing bigger feet. What you now have is three groups of birds: our big-beaked ones alive in the first location, the big footed ones in the other place, and small beaked/footed ones that have died out as the other two did a better job at staying alive. The two

new species had evolved from the first and replaced it. This applied to our ancestors too. Once upon a time a group of apes found their jungle habitat wiped out by climate change. Only the smartest apes survived out on the new savannah that replace d it and along the generation became smart enough to make iPods and play Team Fortress 2. It was all well and good observing these phenomena and coming up with a nice theory of life adapting to its environment, but that covers the what and why, not the how. To explain these observations we have to skip forwards to modern genetics. You have probably heard of DNA and proteins and if you are studying biochem I apologise in advance for the gross simplification that will follow. DNA is like an instruction manual, a long list of letters that code for proteins. These proteins are then the things that do everything in your body. If you have brown hair, its because a specific pigmentmaking protein was floating around your follicle cells, and that protein came from a bit of DNA. However, when you shine UV light at DNA in a cell, or expose it to a certain chemical, then the letters in the DNA can change so the recipe for a protein will change. This means a different protein can be made which can cause something different such as, say, a bigger beak. Or something more morbid, like cancer. But hopefully the beak thing.

• Influenza kills 500,000 people each year • The Pandemic of 1919 killed 100 million • 65% of those who contract H5N1 die

NFL cheer on smart helmets Rebecca Beling Science Writer

A record number of NFL players sustained concussion this season, and manufactures have designed new ‘smart’ helmets to assess the severity of head injuries players sustain during violent collisions. Recent medical research has found that there are long-term implications of concussion. Helmet manufacturers are now working hard to design new models that incorporate the latest materials and technology, in order to provide advanced protection from head and brain injuries. In 2007, Riddle (the official helmet manufacturer of the NFL) launched their revolutionary Head Impact Telemetry System (HITS), a helmet fitted with censors that cannot only detect the severity of forces encountered by players, but can also send warnings to sideline coaches and upload data to medical centres. One of the major benefits of using HITS, is that these accelerometers can quickly identify any problematic injuries suffered to the head and run a full diagnostic brain scan within minutes. This new helmet could be available to NFL players within the next few years. Similarly, Michael Princip has designed the ‘Bulwark’ helmet in response to increasing levels of concussions suffered by NFL players. He has created a helmet within a helmet, offering additional protection in areas where injuries are likely to be sustained. The ‘Bulwark’ helmet is a cheaper, more practical alternative compared to the HITS system. Riddle’s new ‘smart’ HITS helmet cost $1000, making it extremely expensive for a team of eleven players. The price also means it is only accessible to professional players in the NFL leagues and not amateur teams or school teams where the same serious brain injuries can be incurred. Increased head injuries including concussion within American football has generated great concern. The NFL is continually committed to protecting all players who engage with this sport and supports the developing work by helmet manufacturers to protect players from head and brain injuries.

Follow us on Twitter @GairRhyddSci


Taf-od 28

Dydd san Ffolant Non Mererid Jones Taf-Od Chwefror y 14eg. Y diwrnod coch a phinc. Diwrnod ‘I wuv you’ and ‘I wuv you, too.’ Y diwrnod y mae rhamantwyr a’r rheini sydd dros eu pennau a’u clustiau yn mynd o’u coua’. Y mae Bridget Jones’ Diary wastad ar y teledu tua’r cyfnod hwn, ac y mae hysbysebion dirifedi yn cael eu darlledu yn hybu traciau sain hen ffilmiau Hugh Grant. Ochneidiaf. Dydd San Ffolant. Diwrnod pwysig iawn i rai, a diwrnod annioddefol i mi a’m cyfeillion sinigol. Fodd bynnag, nid chwerwder sydd y

tu ôl i’r farn hon, ond y teimlad o rwystredigaeth a rhyw ddicter bod cymaint o bwysau yn cael eu rhoi ar bobl i ddangos, neu yn hytrach i arddangos i eraill mewn dulliau dros ben llestri eu bod yn caru eu cymheiriaid. Er fy mod yn sinig wrth ystyried rhamant, y mae darn ohonof yn ei fwynhau. Mwynheais, yn erbyn fy ewyllys, y ffilm hynod sentimental The Notebook; ac yr wyf yn un drwg am berlesmeirio dros gymeriadau gwrywaidd rhamantus megis Noah o’r cyfryw ffilm, a hyd yn oed Alfie Moon (cymeriad Shane Richie yn EastEnders… trist iawn, very

sad - fe wyddwn). Hefyd byddaf yn teimlo rhyw genfigen ac edmygedd, yn ogystal â rhyw obaith wrth i mi ddarllen am y cyplau hynny sydd bellach yn eu nawdegau, wedi cyfarfod yn ystod y Rhyfel ac yn dal i fod yn briod ac mewn cariad. Y mae rhamant yn beth hardd, prydferth a hapus ar un olwg, ond credaf fod yr harddwch hwn yn cael ei ecsbloetio ar Ddydd San Ffolant. Y mae Dydd San Ffolant yn gallu bod yn ddiwrnod peryglus iawn i berthnasau llawer o gyplau. Diwrnod make or break, fel chwedl y Sais. Ceir hysbysebion di-ri mewn ffenestri siopau yn pwyso

ar y cyhoedd i ‘ddangos’ i’w cariadon cymaint y maent yn eu caru. Yn sicr, wrth ystyried busnesau a chwmniau, y mae Dydd San Ffolant yn syniad gwych – ond beth am y cyhoedd? Ni cheisiaf ymddangos yn rhywiaethol wrth drafod Dydd San Ffolant, ond y mae’r ferch fel arfer yn disgwyl i’r dyn wario arni hi. Credaf fod yna fwy o bwysau ar ddynion i blesio’r merched ar y dydd hwn wrth ystyried yr hen ddelwedd rhamantaidd o foneddigeiddrwydd a sifalri sydd ynghlwm hyd yn oed â’n syniadau modern ni am Ddydd San Ffolant. Yn fy marn i, rhoddir straen diangen ar berthnasau pobl

ar y diwrnod hwn. Y mae’n peri i’r rhai nad ydynt yn ramantwyr naturiol (fel fy hunan) i deimlo’n anghyfforddus am nad allent ddangos eu teimladau yn y ffyrdd sentimental fel ag a ddisgwylid ar Ddydd San Ffolant. Credaf fod llawer o bobl sengl hefyd yn teimlo’n eithaf annifyr ar y diwrnod hwn, a dweud y lleiaf ! I gloi, rhoddaf dwist fy hunan ar y stribyn comig a greuwyd gan Kim Grove yn y chwedegau ‘Love is…’. I mi, ar Ddydd San Ffolant, Love is… a multi-billion pound industry. Gobeithiaf y cawsoch chi’r darllenwyr Ddydd San Ffolant hapus!

Gemau Olympaidd 2012 yn agor yng Nghaerdydd Caio Iwan Taf-Od Wythnos diwethaf fe gyhoeddwyd fod digwyddiad cyntaf y Gemau Olympaidd flwyddyn nesaf yn dechrau ar y 25ain o Orffennaf yma yng Nghaerdydd. Bydd y gystadleuaeth pêl-droed i ferched yn dechrau deuddydd cyn y seremoni agoriadol yn Llundain. Mae hyn yn anrhydedd fawr i’r ddinas, ac i Gymru, ond mewn gwirionedd, bydd y gystadleuaeth hon ddim yn apelio at y mwyafrif o wylwyr. Yn hytrach bydd y rhan fwyaf yn edrych ymlaen yn eiddgar am

gael gweld Usain Bolt yn herio ei record byd yn y 100 medr, neu am gael gweld Cymro neu Gymraes yn llwyddo i gyrraedd y podiwm (gan obeithio eu bod yn cadw’i gwefusau ar gau i God Save The Queen)! Ond nid poblogrwydd y gystadleuaeth bêl-droed sydd yn bwysig, yn hytrach, mae hyn yn dangos fod ‘pobl bwysig’ chwaraeon Prydain yn ymddiried ym mhrifddinas Cymru i lwyfannu achlysur agoriadol un o ddigwyddiadau mwya’r byd. Mae’r ffydd yma a roddir i Gaerdydd gan Sebastian Coe (& co.) yn adlewyrchu twf llewyrchus y ddinas yn y blynyddoedd diwethaf ac yn helpu i

sefydlu Stadiwm y Mileniwm fel un o ganolfannau chwaraeon mwyaf Prydain. Does dim cadarnhad eto o ba dimau a fydd yn cymryd rhan yn y gystadleuaeth agoriadol ond o ran y twrnament i ddynion, a fydd yn cychwyn ar y 26ain, ni fydd gan yr Ariannin gyfle i ddal gafael ar ei medal aur a enillasant nhw ‘nol yn 2008 yn Beijing. Ac i’r rhai ohonom a oedd yn gobeithio cael gweld rhai o sêr mwyaf Ewrop yn chwarae ar ein stepen drws, ni fydd llawer o gyfle i hynny ddigwydd chwaith gan fod y rhan fwyaf o glybiau mawr Ewrop yn anfodlon i’w chwaraewyr

pennaf gynrychioli eu gwledydd yn 2012. Er bod y gystadleuaeth bêl-droed yn un o’r rhai lleiaf pwysig o ran ei hygrededd, nid yw hyn yn mynd i amharu yn ormodol ar y bwrlwm a fydd o gwmpas Caerdydd yr haf nesaf. Heb geisio corddi’r dyfroedd yn ormodol, mae’r cyhoeddiad diweddaraf yn si_r o gythruddo’r rheiny, o Gymru a Lloegr, sy’n credu mai digwyddiad sydd yn eiddo i Lundain yn unig yw’r Gemau Olympaidd. Wedi’r cyfan, London Olympics twenty-twelve sy’n cael ei hysbysebu ym mhob man. Ond mae hi’n

afresymol meddwl, er mor wirion o fawr yw Llundain, y bydd hi’n gallu cynnal y cymysgedd eang o gampau a fydd yn digwydd yn ystod yr haf nesaf i’r safon uchaf posib. A heb geisio swnio fel gwleidydd, bydd economi Cymru yn buddio o ganlyniad i dwristiaeth ac ati yn sgil y Gemau. Mae prif bwyllgor y Gemau eisoes wedi cyhoeddi fod ambell i gamp yn cael eu cynnal yng Nghymru yn ystod yr haf, ond mae’r ffaith fod digwyddiad agoriadol y Gemau yn dod i’n prif ddinas ni yn achos i ddathlu. ‘Dwi’n si_r y bydd Cymru yn croesawu gweddill y byd â breichiau agored.

Want to write? Come to our meetings on Monday at 5pm on the fourth floor of the Students' Union


comic.

sudoku.

Puzzles30 EASY

HARD

crossword. Across 1. Unimportance (14) 10. Having a clear mind (5) 11. Retribution (9) 12. Occurring with no delay (7) 13. Teach (7) 14. Midget (5) 16. Advocate (9) 19. Thwarters (9) 20. Not drunk (5) 22. Territorial reserve (7) 25. Where planes land (7) 27. Extremely painful (9) 28. Apportion (5) 29. Conveyance (14)

Down 2. Essential (9) 3. Large Asian country (5) 4. Novice (9) 5. Often was a white picket one (5) 6. Naive (9) 7. Martial arts expert (5) 8. Tallest mountain (7) 9. Joined by treaty or agreement (6) 15. Petulant (9) 17. Blitzkrieg (9) 18. Entanglement (9) 19. A sexually attractive young woman (7) 21. Spin (6) 23. Stage between egg and pupa (5) 24. Spanish friend (5) 26. Respond (5) By Daniel Judd


Listings

Monday

Tuesday

31 Wednesday Thursday

21st Feb

22nd Feb

23rd Feb

24th Feb

THE LASH, Solus, £3.50, 9.30pm The Lash promises all the best in chart and cheese, which doesn't really sound all that tempting to be honest. But if you're a sporting LAD then it's most definitely the place to be. This week, the theme is Tight and Bright UV. Sounds great, no?

LIVE MUSIC, The Taf, FREE, 8pm Pretty much what it says on the tin really. Live music. In the Taf. They had a pretty good line-up last week, so expect great things from this night.

LISTEN UP, Clwb, £3, 9pm Listen Up has become an institution within an institution. Everybody loves Clwb. Everybody loves Listen Up. Playing a mix of motown, funk, indie and pop among three floors of cheap bars and trendy kids, this is the place to be every Wednesday.

BOUNCE, Walkabout, £4, 9pm If you really, honestly, have nothing better to do... actually, no, even that isn't a valid excuse. No reason for going to Walkabout is acceptable in my eyes. Okay, so perhaps you have to go once in your university career, but I know that the debauchery and filth will put you off going again. If you have any personal morals, that is.

FUN FACT TREE, Solus, FREE, 9pm Fun Factory is an institution among Cardiff students and you simply must check it out. Playing the very best alternative music, and with various cheap drinks promotions, you're sure to have the best night of the week here and I'm not even biased. It's a staple. LATE NIGHT LIVE, 10 Feet Tall FREE, 8pm Live music, acts, comedy and DJs upstairs, new music & party tunes in the bar. Plus the added bonus of two for one cocktails between 5pm and 9pm. ROLL DEEP, Millennium Music Hall, £12.50, 7.30pm Firmly establishing their place in the main stream whilst still upholding their street roots, Roll Deep's Mexicalypso grime meets salsa hip hop. That 'Green Light' song is a little guilty pleasure of mine, I'm sad to admit, although I'm not sure that this is worth missing Fun Factory for?

JUST DANCE, Clwb, £3, 10pm Just Dance returns every Tuesday night at Clwb Ifor Bach with one simple mission...to get you dancing all night long. A mixture of modern day pop, rock and R&B thrown together with some cracking blasts from the past...cheap entry, cheap drinks prices and great, GREAT tunes. 10 FEET LIVE, 10 Feet Tall, TBC, 8pm Live music, singer songwriters, bands and acoustic acts upstairs, new music & party tunes in the bar. Plus, there's the added bonus of two for one cocktails from 5pm until 9pm. SWN PRESENTS: EFTERKLANG, The Globe, £10, 7.30pm "Haunting and evocative alternative electronica from Denmark's Efterklang. Like Sigur Ros, their largely instrumental music manages to both inspire and arouse the senses whilst remaining accessible for most. Beautiful stuff." Well, high praise indeed. It might be worth going to see them, just so that you can act like a dick in front of your mates when you name the latest 'cool' band.

JAZZ AT DEMPSEYS, Dempseys, £5, 9pm Music ranges from piano or guitar trio, saxophone or trumpet quartet, quartet with vocals to big band. Hear jazz standards made famous by the likes of Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, and Nina Simone, as well as original tunes. SUGAR DROP, 10 Feet Tall, £TBC, 10pm Midweek dancefloor dose of roots, electro, dub, party breaks, dubstep, drum'n'bass & mashups.

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

25th Feb

26th Feb

27th Feb

BOOMBOX, Solus £3, 10pm Playing an eclectic mix of electro, funk, drum 'n' bass, hip hop, dubstep and breaks with a turntablist twist. Featuring dance classics, chart remixes and old school classics. Expect to hear Pendulum, Calvin Harris, Dr Dre, David Guetta, Major Lazor, A Skillz, High Contrast, Prodigy and much more. To be fair, it's the cheapest Friday night this side of the bridge, fulfilling all your student needs and perfect for bringing those visiting mates too. Plus, there's the added bonus of our best Xpress DJ's spinning some great tunes at the silent disco. Go ahead kids, BOOM YOUR BOX. The Saturdays, Cardiff International Arena (CIA), £24, 7.30pm I'm not sure whether The Saturdays will appeal to the niche readership of the Listings section... but I felt that they were worth a mention. Five beautiful women, making emotionally vacuous music. What better way to spend a Friday evening. Oh wait...

COME PLAY, Solus, £3, 10pm A safe bet for a Saturday night. If none of the other events do it for you, head to the Union for guaranteed good music and cheap drinks. Not the most imaginative of nights out, but you'll be sure to have a good time. And who said that being able to predict the playlist down to the very last minute was a bad thing? BEATBOX BALLROOM, Buffalo, Free before 11pm, 8pm "Booty-busting breaks, pimped out soul & clock-stopping rhythms." Apparently.

NOWHERE BUT HERE: SWEET BABOO, H. HAWKLINE, TRWBADOR, FAILED NASA EXPERIMENT and STACKING CHAIRS, Ffotogallery (Penarth),£3, 6pm From 6pm you can kick back and relax as the gallery will become a performance space for musicians from all over Wales. From finger-picking balladry to electronic experimentation, each act has been chosen for their contribution to the fresh and fertile Welsh musical landscape. Sounds divine. And Sweet Baboo is lovely.

C.Y.N.T, Clwb, £4, 10pm Expect big queues as ravers descend for their dose of electro, techno, dubstep and drum 'n' bass. Advance queue-jump tickets from c-y-n-t.com. This is the only legitimate thing to do on your Thursday night.

10 FEET TALL SUNDAY SOCIAL, 10 Feet Tall, FREE, 8pm If you have nothing better to do on a Sunday night and fancy heading out for twofor-one cocktails, perhaps give this a go. THE BIG SUNDAY RECOVERY PROJECT, CAI, FREE, 12pm What’s the Sunday project ? It’s a regular’s social gathering to end the week. You get together over a late Sunday Roast or just laze around with fellow hung-over friends on the sofas. Enjoy a Sunday ‘Institution’, weekly - Squeaky Hill Pub Quiz are back. The only quiz that provides you with a general all round work out, utilising the physical, mental and creative parts of your brain that other pub quizzes just can’t reach! It's free to play, and there's loads of exciting prizes to be won. HAVE A SUNDAY ROAST Gather all of your housemates together and cook a Sunday roast. Or, if you can't be arsed, why not head to the Taf or CAI for a dinner that will rival your mum's.

Venues Students’ Union, Park Place, 02920 814456 www.cardiffstudents.com ◆ IV Lounge, Neuadd Meirionydd, Heath Park 02920 744948 ◆ Clwb Ifor Bach, 11 Womanby Street 02920 232199 www.clwb.net ◆ Metros, Bakers Row www.clubmetropolitan.com ◆ CAI, Park Place 02920 412190 ◆ Buffalo Bar, 11 Windsor Place www.myspace.com/wearebuffalobar ◆ 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 ◆ Cardiff International Arena, Mary Ann Street 02920 224488 ◆


Societies 32

One Mission Beach Break hatrick

Monday Feb 21 Scout Guide: Watching Wales Train -Millennium Stadium, 12.30pm

Bianca London Societies Editor One Mission society has secured a slot at Cardiff University's official end of year trip, Beach Break Live festival, for the third year in a row. Beach Break Live is a four day festival which looks set to be the student event of the summer. The fifth edition of the festival will see 20,000 imaginatively garmented students flock to Pembrey Country Park, Carmarthenshire to celebrate the start of summer. With a killer location stretched over 8 miles of golden sand, a head-banging line-up and all the extravagant escapades a student could dream of, Beach Break Live 2010 lived up to all its festival tomfoolery and One Mission can’t wait to hit the decks once more. One Mission will be playing exclusively for Cardiff students in the Cardiff VIP tent this year. “After a packed-out tent in 2009 during our first ever set, we made quite an impression on the organisers and have been given an unconditional place at Beach Break this year as a recognition of our consistently high standard performances over the years,” says society President, Rachel Underhill. “Beach Break 2010 was my first festival performance and it did not disappoint. DJ's that performed for us were Alexander Gosling, Lawrence Whitehead, James Griffiths, Paul Mackie, Tom Davey and James Tsoi, as well as guest vocalist performances from Rachel Collier and Shyam Gharial.” The society was situated just opposite the dance tent and provided the perfect warm up for the big acts with an incredible vibe buzzing through their tent. Tickets for the award-winning beachside bonanza are selling like hot cakes and One Mission are geared up for their most support-

ed performance yet. “Beach Break Live is set to enjoy its most successful and popular year and we are really excited to have One Mission on board again,” says Matt Dawes, BBL Cardiff Marketing Manager. The One Mission committee spoke enthusiastically about the event: “everyone in Cardiff should most definitely try and make it down to Beach Break this year to support us and join in on the festival fun. We hope to get the biggest Cardiff camp yet, and show those who don't know about One Mission exactly what they’re missing!” After Beach Break Live 2011, Rachel will be handing over the reins of One Mission to a new president. The society was founded in 1998 and is still going strong providing members with an amazing experience. Not only is being a committee member a great CV boost but members have mingled with worldfamous DJ’s and made many like-minded friends. “The society deserves students who live and breathe music to carry it forward not only to future festivals but within the amazing underground dance music scene in Cardiff ” says Rachel. Many positions are still available for the academic year 2011/12 with full training. Catch One Mission every Monday in 'The Kitchen' at Fun Factory, every Thursday at CYNT and the first Friday of every month at Cardiff Arts Institute with their next headline show ‘Kito’ at CAI on March 4. One Mission celebrated its 12th anniversary last year and has gone from strength to strength as a society, representing a fresh new music scene within the city. Their appearance at Beach Break Live will be the culmination of all their hard work. Tickets for Beach Break Live 2011 are available at the SU box office.

MathSoc: Playzone -Swansea, 6pm

Tuesday Feb 22 Students for Life: Talke -Room 2.48, Humanities Building, 7pm

SOCSI: Pub Golf -Meet at Woodville, 7.30pm

Art Soc: Art Space for Go Global -Aneurin Beaven Room, 7pm

Anime Soc: Manga Library - Nelson Mandela Room, 4th floor SU - 7-9pm

Wednesday Feb 23 STAR: Refugees Rhythm -CF10

FAD: Tour Meeting -Great Hall, 5pm

Anime Soc: Manga Jam - Rona Griffiths, 4th floor SU - 6-8pm

Thursday Feb 24 Real Ale and Cider Festival -Great Hall, All day

ArchSoc: Research Seminar -Room 4.45, Humanities, 5.10pm

Friday Feb 25 Green Party: National Green Party Conference -Angel Hotel

Real Ale and Cider Festival -Great Hall, All day

TRAFFIC Presents: Global Bass -CF10

STAR: Sleepout -City Centre

Saturday Feb 26 Anime: Cosplay Cafe - The Kitchen, SU - 1-5pm

Malaysian Society: Festival of Diversity -National Museum Cardiff, 6pm

Sunday Feb 27 FAD: Go Global Performance -Great Hall, 8pm

To feature an event or article email societies @gairrhydd.com Above: One Mission at Beach Break Live

If you would like to join a Society, or see a full list of opportunities, visit: http://groups.cardiffstudents.com/societies/home


Sport

33

Above: Morgan Stoddart in action for the Llanelli Scarlets

With the Six Nations under way Lucy Morgan spoke to Wales' Morgan Stoddart about tries, the Italians and broken bones...

W

elsh rugby fans breathed a sigh of relief last weekend as the national side finally ended their eight game losing streak with a decisive 24-6 win over Scotland at Murrayfield. The win has clearly given the squad a much needed confidence boost as they look ahead to the rest of the Six Nations and has lifted a huge weight off their shoulders. Morgan Stoaddart was given his international debut against England and was pleased with how Wales' bounced back from that opening defeat: “We were obviously disappointed with the first game but we responded well. We were under a lot of pressure in Scotland.” The 26-year-old may have felt the pressure a little more than some of his team mates after vowing before the tournament to prove a hit on the international stage. After two years on the sidelines through injury, the Scarlet was handed his chance when he was

named in the starting line-up for Wales' first game. Despite Wales’ loss to England in the opening match of the championship, Stoddart had a good game, proving how dangerous he can be with a notable first-half breakaway and a well-taken try. Against Scotland, however, he was less pleased. “Personally I think I played a bit better against England - I didn’t really have much chance to get my hands on the ball against Scotland.” The Llanelli wing may not have been too impressed with his performance in Murrayfield but it’s worth noting that he played the game with a broken bone in his hand - an injury that is clearly visible. “I wasn’t going to take any time off - we don’t get any sick pay,” he joked. He was quick to play the injury down though: “as long as it’s strapped up I know it will be ok. You don’t really feel it much when you’re caught up in the moment of the game.” He was keen to point out that the Scotland game was less about

individual performances and more about the squad as a whole. “It was just a great team effort,” he said. A team effort it certainly was with Wales finally showing what they are capable of. The players put on a brilliant all round performance which was directed well at outside half by an impressive James Hook. Their defence was also outstanding - something which pleased both players and coaches alike. “It was a real buzz to be involved in a game like that,” said Stoddart. Despite the Murrayfield win, the game was not perfect and Stoddart was quick say there are a lot of improvements still to be made. “I think we need to take our chances more - we blew two or three chances against Scotland which we should have really finished off. I think we had 12 turnovers and only two tries. We need to improve on that.” Wales go into their next game against Italy as favourites with Italy having suffered a crushing defeat against England. But Stoddart is aware that the Azzurri have

been something of a “banana skin” in the past and still have the ability to pose a threat. After all, they nearly beat Ireland at the start of the championship. “It will definitely be a tough game - Ireland made hard work of it. They [the Italians] slipped up against England but I don’t think that’s a true reflection of where they are in playing terms at the minute," said Stoddart. "I don’t think we’ll play too expansive a game because Ireland played too expansive and Italy kept turning the ball over - they played off their mistakes.” On a personal note, Stoddart is looking forward to the encounter in Rome having never played against the Azzurri in his career. “I’ve played against Treviso and Aironi but not Italy. It will definitely be a different kind of atmosphere - the crowds are a bit more lively.” Stoddart certainly seems to be enjoying his time in the national squad despite playing out of his preferred position of full-back. “Obviously I want to play full-

back for the Scarlets but I’m happy playing any position for Wales. "Long term I’d like to play fullback but I’ve got quite a lot of things to improve on before I have a chance of playing in that position,” he said. For now though, Stoddart is focused very much on the present and, if picked, he will be sure to play a pivotal role in helping Wales to another win this weekend.

Watch Stoddart at his sparkling best in action for the Scarlets: tinyurl.com/morganstoddart


Sport34

Monday February 21 2011 • gair rhydd • sport@gairrhydd.com

Brave Cardiff squeeze past UWIC into semi final Alex Winter Hockey Drama. Excitement. Controversy. Passion. This cup tie had it all. A thrilling local derby that Cardiff edged to progress to the semi-finals of the BUCS Cup. It was the perfect platform for Cardiff to make history - the third X1 has never been as far as the semi finals before - and they produced a brave, dogged display to overcome UWIC seconds. A goal down before UWIC had a goalkeeper on the pitch, Cardiff fought back. A second half blitz saw them take a two goal lead but UWIC responded and the home side had to dig deep to hang on at Talybont. Out of contention in the league, the cup represents Cardiff ’s last

chance of BUCS success. They are now just 70 minutes away from a showpiece final at the BUCS Championship in Sheffield. Cardiff Medics are their semi final opponents in two weeks time. "It feels fantastic to have got this far," said a thrilled Cardiff captain, Paddy Hyslop, "I am so proud of the team. They have put in a tremendous effort this season. "We're now unbeaten in 17 games and hopefully we can keep this going and reach the final." The quarter final was delayed by half an hour amid confusion over the start time. UWIC were forced to start the match with 11 outfielders but they made the extra man tell with an early goal. Cardiff conceded possession cheaply in their own half and four passes later, UWIC had struck home the opening goal. Despite being a goal down, Cardiff were enjoying the majority of the early possession, working both flanks, but failed to manufacture

any clear sights of goal. UWIC were content to play on the break, utilising three high forwards, and a second chance flashed wide before Cardiff grabbed the equaliser. It wasn't the slickest penalty corner routine but Ali Welchman found some space to bring his level. But almost immediately from the restart, disaster struck. UWIC produced a superb move that swept across the pitch and created a chance six yards out that was finished to give the visitors the lead once more. Pace and stretching the play were key features of the UWIC game plan but Cardiff kept the ball well for the remainder of the half and won another penalty corner on 25 minutes. A more controlled manoeuvre saw a shot on goal illegally kept out and Alex Holden converted the penalty stroke in the bottom right corner. Having levelled, Cardiff began to dominate and Scott Carey came an inch from giving the home side the

Swansea bring Cardiff's winning run to an end Darren Wong Badminton Cardiff men’s seconds had their unbeaten run come to halt after losing narrowly to Swansea firsts 5:3. The match could have gone either way with Markus and Simon playing some superb singles and Simon triumphing in a thrilling game against Barry. Darren and Teoh had less success in the doubles, however both games were very close in points and it was a disappointment that they failed to take at least one game. Gary and Phil managed to pinch one game of doubles off the Swansea side but lost their last game in three. Cardiff girls finished the league by coming second in the premier division - a phenomenal achieve-

ment. They played their cup match against Southampton firsts and drew 4-4. However they lost out on a countback by games won. The men’s first team had to travel to London to play King’s College. Given the length of the trip, many second team players were drafted in to play. Wai, and captain James, were able to take one game of doubles but lost three narrowly to the other pair. Darren and Gary had to play singles, which was quite daunting. Gary was able to defeat the first singles player. However, cramp during his second game meant his mobility around the court was hindered and was resulted in him failing to beat the second opponent. Darren was thrashed in his first singles tie but upped his game in the second, although he was un-

able to beat his opponent. The two lefthanders Michael Khong and Rich Townsend played some decent badminton but the King’s College pairs had the extra edge over them and they lost both games. Finally a good result came in the week when the men’s second team played UWIC firsts in their quarter final cup match and beat them 6:2. Markus and Teoh played some fantastic singles where Teoh had a tough final game winning 30:29. Matt, Sam, Phil and Simon had great games in their doubles with each pair winning a game each that sealed the day with a glorious victory over UWIC. The seconds progress further into the cup with another meeting against Swansea firsts. Hopefully their luck will change and they will be able to beat Swansea to reach the finals.

Send in your match reports to sport@gairhydd.com

lead before the break. He rounded the goalkeeper but his shot from a narrow angle rebounded off the left hand post. The positive finish to the first half continued at the start of the second as Cardiff quickly went ahead. A penalty corner created a chance which was deflected towards goal and then flicked in by Holden. UWIC had been caught completely cold after the interval and suddenly fell two goals behind. Cardiff built a delightful passing move the entire length of the pitch. A neat exchange of passes in the shooting circle presented Elgan Jones with the chance to slide a finish underneath the goalkeeper and put Cardiff firmly in command. Two goals behind, UWIC had to press forward. They reinstated three high forwards in an attempt to stretch the game and a long period of defending began for Cardiff. The home side remained organised and held out until 15 minutes from time. After a free hit on

the edge of the circle was taken quickly, Cardiff were caught out of position and a drag flick into the left corner halved the arrears. Cardiff were then dealt a below as central defender Charlie Rickett was forced off with a hand injury as the game turned into one-way traffic. With 10-men behind the ball, the final minutes were a desperate scrap for survival. UWIC spurned an opportunity from a penalty corner and captain Paddy Hyslop produced a fine save to keep out another chance. A clearance off the goal line kept Cardiff ahead. Wave after wave of attacks swept forward as Cardiff struggled to move out of their own half and desperately held on to any chance of possession. 30 seconds remained when UWIC won a final penalty corner. The shot flashed wide and Cardiff relished in sheer elation. They pulled off a superb victory.

BUCS RESULTS February 16 Badminton KCL Men's 6 Men's I 2; Men's II 6 UWIC I 2 Basketball Women's II 30 Glamorgan I 60; Men's II 87 UWIC 1 93; Men's I 53 Oxford Brookes I 86 Fencing Kent I 132 Men's I 118; Women's I 135 Warwick I 80 Football Men's II 1 UWIC Men's III 2; Swansea Met 3 Men's IV 4; Women's I 2 UWE Women's I 1; Glamorgan Women's I 3 Women's II 0; Men's I 3 Brunel Men's 0 Golf Newport I 5 Cardiff I 1 Hockey Bath Women's II 2 Women's III 2; Durham Men's I 4 Men's I 1; Men's III 4 UWIC Men's II 3; Men's II 2 Cardiff Medics I 3; Women's II 6 UWIC III 0; Women's I 0 University of Gloucestershire 2 Lacrosse Exeter I 25 Women's I 2; Men's I 20 Gloucestershire Men's I 2 Netball UWIC III 37 Cardiff II 47; Cardiff Medics I 32 Cardiff III 29; Cardiff V 49 Bristol IV 20; Cardiff Medics II 19 Cardiff IV 53 Rugby Union Chichester Women's I 0 Cardiff Women's I 27; Men's I 20 Hartpury II 0 Squash Men's I 4 Birmingham Men's III 1; Men's II 0 UWIC Men's II 5 Table Tennis London Met Men's I 8 Men's I 9 Tennis Aberystwyth Women's I 2 Women's II 10; UWIC Men's I 10 Men's I 2; Roehampton Women's I 0 Women's I 12


Sport35

Monday February 21 2011 • gair rhydd • sport@gairrhydd.com

English B go from strength to strength as Christians lose faith Jo Greet IMG Netball English B 27 Christian Union 3 English B managed to maintain their unbeaten winning streak in the IMG Netball Spring League, after a 27-3 triumph over Christian Union. Going into the game, on the familiar surface of Talybont’s indoor sports hall, English B were quietly confident and hoping to build on the success of their previous game, which saw them dominate URNU. After losing the first centre pass after the coin toss, English B were keen to establish an early lead. Fortunately this came in the form of an early interception from Rachel Jones. English demonstrated some brilliant play with a medley of short, sharp passes in the goal third, which left the Christian Union defence in tatters. A brief dispute regarding a questionable tackle just outside of the D left regular goal shooter Ellie Hobday to successfully score within the opening three minutes of the game. This promising start was to set the trend for the match, with English converting efficient play into a succession of goals. The goal-rush was facilitated by some innovative passes in the D be-

Pw

tween the new shooting partnership of Ellie Hobday and Rachel Jones, who effectively used the space available and the support of centre Sian Eaglestone to ensure English continued to put a steady run of goals past the Christian defence. Christian Union had some promising chances from their centre passes but English held firm. Defensive pressure from Megan Goldie in wing defence and Sian Eaglestone as centre ensured the Christian Union attackers had little chance to score. The defensive alliance between Rachael Adcock, as goal defence, and Amy Lord, as goal keeper, was again unquestionably successful in the first half which prevented the Christian Union attackers having many chances on goal. The way in which the English players competently channelled the ball from the defensive third to their attacking players was particularly impressive. This led to English creating numerous chances on goal and a huge goal margin after the first half. The score at half time was an outstanding 14 – 1 to English B. As the second half commenced there were a couple of notable changes to the English line up. Fiona Bean took the centre position in her first performance of 2011. English were looking to maintain their considerable lead and managed to

extend it throughout the duration of the second half. A skilful performance from Sophie Cooke, who took to the court as goal attack for the second half, furthered the goal margin for English B. The formidable partnership of Hobday and Cooke ensured dominance for the English players as they picked up some good loose balls and rebounds in the D. Great goal keeping and defensive play from Naomi Slade and Rachael Adcock guaranteed English to maintain such an immense lead. The efficient conversion of rebounds in the Christian Union D to attacking play for English meant that English were able to dominate the majority of the game. The pace was sustained effectively throughout the second half and was enhanced by great support from the sidelines. A worry after such a great lead and impressive score line was a loss in focus and motivation. However, the English girls maintained focus and poise. At the end of the match the score read an impressive 27 – 3 to English B. After an outstanding performance throughout the game and virtually no missed chances on goal Ellie Hobday was voted player of the match. This demonstrated a solid team effort from English B, who hope to continue their unbeaten run when they face Y Gym Gym next week.

JOMEC bounce back Hannah Slater IMG Netball JOMEC 12 SOCSI A 10 JOMEC netball saw their first win of the season on Wednesday afternoon in what proved to be a nail biting match against SOCSI A. The journalism side took to the court with real determination, in the hope of gaining their first league points of the season. JOMEC proved victorious as a two goal difference saw them win 12-10. SOCSI dominated the first five minutes of the game with their quick passes into the shooting circle and impressive shooting leading to them taking the opening goal. However, excellent defending by Cerys Bowen and Charity Yan proved effective for JOMEC. They picked up the pace and intercept-

ed SOCSI’s passes, encouraging JOMEC’s attack to fight back and equalise. Although SOCSI looked to be the better side in the first half, JOMEC only trailed by one goal at half time with the score standing at 5-4. A halftime team talk and a couple of changes appeared put JOMEC back into the game with the potential for victory in sight. Impressive centre passes from JOMEC’s centre Abi Williams created great opportunities for the Journalists' offensive players, topped off by outstanding shooting by goal shooter Sarah Brown. It was evident that SOCSI’s confidence grew in the second half as they improved their lead. Their well-rehearsed drills provided particular success for them. However, the last ten minutes of the game saw a remarkable JOMEC come back as they managed to keep

hold of possession, with the majority of it in the attacking circle. As SOCSI tired, JOMEC used this to their advantage and managed to equalise in the last two minutes. Careless passes and fatal errors from their opponents meant that JOMEC had the chance to take the lead as the match neared its finish. As the tension grew JOMEC had to ensure they didn’t let the pressure get to them. Quick bounce passes into the circle to the shooters by Kim Chaplin led to JOMEC taking the lead for the first time in the game. Their determination to win secured their victory when the final goal of the match was scored in the last 30 seconds. In what was a terrific match by both sides, a thoroughly deserved player of the match went to Abi Williams.

Group A P

W

D

L

GD

PTS

1

KLAW FC

6

5

0

1

+22

15

2

SAWSA

6

2

3

1

+6

9

3

Pharm AC

5

2

1

1

0

8

4

Engin

5

2

1

2

+3

7

5

SOCSI

5

2

0

3

+2

6

6

AFC Cathays

5

1

1

3

-9

4

7

Kay FC

6

1

1

4

-15

4

Group B

1

Sub-Standard Liege

P

W

D

L

GD

PTS

6

5

1

0

+22

16

2

Gym Gym

7

4

1

2

+27

13

3

CARBS

6

4

1

1

+15

13

4

Inter Menan

6

3

2

1

+7

11

5

JOMEC

5

2

1

2

0

7

6

Physco

4

1

0

3

-6

3

7

Fenerbache

7

1

0

6

-26

3

8

CHAOS

7

1

0

6

-45

3

Group C P

W

D

L

GD

PTS

1

Economics

7

5

1

1

+33

16

2

AFC History

6

5

1

0

+29

16

3

Law A

5

3

1

1

+20

9

4

Your Mum's

6

2

2

2

-3

8

5

Real Ale

6

2

1

3

-13

7

6

Time Team

5

2

1

2

-1

7

7

Myg Myg

6

1

1

4

-19

4

8

Opus 11

7

0

0

7

-46

0

Group D P

W

D

L

GD

PTS

1

Earth Soc

6

4

1

1

+18

13

2

FC Euros

5

3

1

1

+10

10

3

MOMED

5

2

3

0

+2

9

4

Law B

6

2

0

4

-8

6

5

Engin Auto

5

1

2

2

-7

5

6

Port Fail

5

1

2

2

-7

5

7

Chemistry

6

0

1

5

-12

1


Sport

Morgan Stoddart plays through the pain << Inside

Wave Jammin' in Wales Tom Wilkinson and Geoffe Brown Kitesurfing It's tough to be a host: the preparation, the expectation, the reputation hyped up and in the end whether it flies or dies is all down to how the wind blows. Literally, in our case. Cardiff University Kitesurf Club had two weeks notice from the National Student Kitesurf Association that our back garden beach, Porthcawl, was going to be where their Wave Jam competition landed. Short notice, yes, but we had a guaranteed army of home spectators and local kiters to storm the beautiful Bridgend coast, so why worry? Actually, the notice wasn't short enough: good wind only comes onto the radar four days ahead at best, so we had some trepidations. The kiters' usual daily glance at the wind forecasts became an hourly event, with wind and waves just a week before still looking tame. Suddenly it was there; thirty to forty knots – galeforce eight – of surging, sweeping, southerly wind; powerful enough to ride at 50mph or jump 30ft but safely onshore for the coastguard. The best conditions we had seen all winter. We could certainly feel that wind as we approached Rest Bay bright and early on the first day of the weekend event. But better than its buffeting we could hear the surf's crash on the neighbouring cliffs; the intensity of the atmosphere building with every wave as if they were slamming against our taxis and driving in through the win-

dows. Kitesurfers get their power from the wind and where they can, steer clear of waves in favour of a flat surface that doesn't disrupt their freestyle or wakeboard style tricks. This weekend was different though; there has been a recent boom in new wave style riding, that gives up the small, solid, rectangular board we usually strap into for tricks, in favour of pointed foam surfboards. Whereas the former are lighter for flight, and make for less of an impact on landing, the wave style boards are much more buoyant and let you stay and play on the crest of a wave in exactly the way a surfer does. Not only can a kiter skip the hours of paddling out and onto waves of an average surf session but if they lose their place on the wave they're riding they can just turn the kite into the wind and put themselves right back where they want to be.

Cardiff hockey into cup semi final << Inside The Wave Jam was going to be a showcase of the best students in this new discipline and more time on the waves was going to mean more entertainment for the crowds. First in the water was Southampton Solent's professional rider Ali B, who proceeded to throw down some of the epic megaloops that got him a sponsorship deal. A kite usually acts like a wing, with the air flowing over it giving

it lift and pulling the rider along at less than the speed of the wind, but in a controlled way; Ali's kiteloops put the kite directly downwind of the rider and use it more like, well, picture a 7sqft shopping bag in a gale: the rider feels G's something like those from a 30mph emergency stop but stays airborne twice as long and rockets downwind. Ali's throwdown to the competition was immediately answered by Cardiff's riders, new and old, spilling onto the water to reclaim their patch. And so the competition began. In true beach spirit, the event was judged by the competitors themselves so, while everyone was eager to get in the water, some held back for a bit to check out the competition. Precise manoeuvres and slick tricks were on show every way you turned, as you might expect from the cream of amateur riders in some of the UK’s best surf. While lots of the classic surf moves that wave boards allow were witnessed, the ripping wind meant riders couldn't help breaking out some of the big-air moves that make kitesurfing the sport it is. From first light until 3pm, competitors put their bodies on the rack between wind and water, before coming in to rest and then going back out for more. Finally, as the tide came in, a reverse river of people trickled out of the ocean and the beach was again left for the few lonely locals. Beaten up by galeforce winds and crashing waves, the kiters took respite in Sunday morning.

The wind had dropped a little but as the competitors returned to the water, it once again whipped up for the final hour-long heats. Eventually, the field was narrowed to a final twelve students for a half hour final. With riders both strapped on to their boards and strapless there were some technical skills on display up close to the beach, while others fought to get back out into the deep swell and cleaner waves – a winning move for Zac Andrews of Southampton who

took first place in the strapped category and Jon Cook, also of Southampton, who took first place in the strapless category.. With the prizes awarded, and the local crowd dispersed, the country's student kitesurfers said their goodbyes and headed back to their own universities – not a short journey for the Newcastle crew. All will remember South Wales' wind, waves, and hospitality as the event of this winter.

Strong winds provided excellent conditions for kitsurfers at Rest Bay in Bridgend for the 2011 Wave Jam competition

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gair rhydd - Issue 943  

gair rhydd - Issue 943