The Aberdeen University Student Newspaper Aberdeen University’s Student Newspaper
11 December 2012
University freezes international student fees
Photo/ Linnea Delen
Editing/ Maria Suessmilch
By Jo Polydoros There have been propositions to fix course fees for non EU students studying in Scotland since a motion was lodged in Parliament in July. Since then, another motion was presented to parliament on 13 November with the aim of making fees transparent and fixed for all Scottish Universities. The University of Aberdeen is now one of a few universities to agree fixing fees along with
Edinburgh University, which was the first in Scotland to do so. Following much lobbying on the University of Aberdeen from the Student’s Association, the University’s commitment is expected to be confirmed today. A paper was presented to the operating board last week, by the SA, asking the board to agree to the principle of it. The papers from operating board must now go through Court, but it is a routine matter. Assurances were
given from Senior Management, amongst which the Principal said this would be happening. Student President, Anne-Claire Deseilligny said: “International students are experiencing huge difficulties when their fees jump unexpectedly from one year to the next. It goes so far to some people having to drop out. “There is a myth around that international students are all wealthy and can just keep on paying whatever the price. This is
absolutely not true. She added: “Some people’s families put their life-savings into a degree and so if the price jumps unexpectedly, it can be very difficult, if not impossible, for some people to keep up financially.’’ “This is why I am absolutely delighted that the university has finally recognised this, and is promising to address it. It should go some way towards helping international students plan and prepare for the cost of their
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studies.” There are approximately 25,000 international students studying at university in Scotland. The fees these students pay vary hugely between institutions and also degree programs making it a huge financial commitment. “ Megan Dunn, Vice-President for education at AUSA, added her praise to the University’s decision, saying: “The university has for
11 December 2012
Editors: Conor Riordan & Dan Naylor
Winter hits Grit Britain By Dan Naylor The first cold weather of the winter finally hit the nation last week, with up to 6cm falling across Aberdeen. The sub-zero temperatures had the Met office issue amber
warnings across Aberdeenshire, and despite warnings of “hazardous conditions” on the roads by police there were a number of accidents. While not the first snow of the year, with a brief scattering in October, authorities still struggled
to cope. Flights were delayed at Aberdeen airport and several schools were affected, opening late to allow staff to arrive if not closing altogether. The university was affected too. Law students were advised not to
“Roads on the way from Ellon to Aberdeen were horrendous, at 6.30 there were no sign of gritters being out at all.” Darren Coutts attempt to travel onto campus to hand in coursework if conditions were deemed to be too hazardous, with an alternative MyAberdeen method put in place. Darren Coutts, a first year Artificial Intelligence student, who’s commute from his home in Ellon was disrupted, said: “Roads on the way from Ellon to Aberdeen were horrendous, at 6.30 there were no sign of gritters being out at all. 3 and a half hours it took me to get to work, and for most of the time the only way we were going forward was from cars turning round and going home.” Despite a warmer weekend, with temperatures rising to 5C, weather experts have warned of more snow next week. A Met Office spokesperson said: “There is a chance there will be another 2cm of snow on lower ground. We can expect to see up to 15cm of snow on higher ground in areas like Braemar.”
Photo/ Rachel Job
Michael Forbes comes up trumps By Conor Riordan The closest resident and biggest opponent to Donald Trump’s Aberdeenshire golf resort has won the ‘Top Scot’ award. Michael Forbes, born and bred in Aberdeenshire, won the award after standing up to Mr Trump’s attempts to remove him from his home to further the ambitions of his luxury golf resort on the Menie Estate. Andy Murray was also tipped for the award, but the top spot was awarded to Mr Forbes, who had large support from many groups such as Tripping Up Trump. Mr Forbes said: “I actually thought the award should have gone to Anthony Baxter, who made the documentary,” Forbes was quoted as saying in The Scotsman. “I’ve no idea what Donald Trump will make of the award. I’m sure he’ll have something to say about it at some point.” The company which sponsors the award, Glenfiddich, however, has come under criticism from Donald Trump who has called for a boycott of the whisky. He said: “Glenfiddich is upset that we created our own single malt whisky using another distillery, which offers far greater products. People at our clubs do not ask for
Michael Forbes’ home in Aberdeenshire Photo/ geograph.co.uk Glenfiddich, and I make a pledge that no Trump property will ever do business with Glenfiddich or William Grant & Sons. “I hereby call for a boycott on drinking Glenfiddich products because there is no way a result such as this could have been made by the Scottish people.” He added: “Glenfiddich’s choice of Michael Forbes, as Top Scot, will go down as one of the great jokes ever played on the Scottish people
and is a terrible embarrassment to Scotland.” William Grant & Sons, Glenfiddichs’ distiller, shrugged off Trump’s criticism by insisting there had been no such prejudices with the voting for the award, which Glenfiddich has sponsored for 15 years. It had never interfered with the outcome, it said, and insisted Forbes’s victory should be respected.
Mr Forbes has gained increased fame over the past few weeks following the BBC’s broadcast of You’ve Been Trumped, which heavily featured his story. Mr Trump has claimed that Andy Murray should have won the award, and design work for a second golf course close to the Trump International Links is now under way.
University freezes international student fees continued p.1 too long taken advantage of its international students. I am glad to see this at court today and I am hopeful the university will today take its first step towards giving international students the respect they deserve” At Aberdeen University, an arts based degree will cost £11,000 per year but a clinical based degree will cost more than double at £24,500 per year. Campbell Stuart, fourth year Law student at UoA, who is from the US said: “I seem to remember starting at £9,000 or thereabouts in 2009. My fees have gradually increased to £11,000, where they now stand. “At the original rate, it was cheaper all-things-considered for me to attend Aberdeen than some of the private universities to which I had applied in the United States. Though this is still probably (barely) the case, the gap is narrowing.” Oversees students were faced with fees subject to annual revision meaning they were likely to change every year and are completely unpredictable. For example, an international student paying £10K per year for an engineering course in 2012/2013, may end up paying up to £14K in 2013/2014. A recent survey, however, conducted by Edinburgh University Students’ Association showed that 79 percent of international students were unaware of the annual increases to fees when they first applied to university. It appears that this could be a result in universities not receiving sufficient funding from the government. Aurora Adams, National Union of Students Scotland International Students Officer said: “Universities are getting less and less funding from the government and they try and compensate [for] this by receiving money from international students. The overseas students get a ‘cash cow’ status.” The economic hardships resulting from uncertainty over fees, can have a direct effect on their studies and make the difference between whether international students are able to finish their degrees or are forced to leave their course early. With the lack of funding from government, it is obvious that the income that international students bring to Scottish universities is crucial as it means that investment can be put into enhanced facilities for all students. However, the benefits are not purely financial, as attracting the most intelligent students from around the world enhances research bases in Scotland and builds strong cultural and economic bonds between Scotland and the rest of the world.
11 December 2012
ASR returns to the airwaves
Picturehouse absorbed by Cineworld
By Conor Riordan
By Dan Naylor
The University of Aberdeen’s student radio is back on air after no transmissions for over a month. Aberdeen Student Radio returned on Monday 3rd December following a prolonged cease in its
ASR’s Technical Manager, Shane Johnson, said: “It started with a power surge that had blown the Main Power Unit, I needed to diagnose it to see if there was any other problems, so I had to test the rest of the equipment to make sure nothing else had broken.
Shane Johnson, Technical Manager Photo/ Claire Wheelans broadcasting. The radio was originally down due to a power surge blowing the Main Power Unit, but further problems soon developed.
“I did this with the help of the Audio Visual Unit at the University, then I tested the MPU and diagnosed that it was a fuse had blown but after changing this
fuse another one went. Once the fuse had been changed, however, it soon became clear the damage was much worse than first thought. After identifying that the circuit board was faulty, it was sent to Synergy, who fixed and then returned it on Friday 1st December. There were, however, a few settings which needed to be changed by the Technical Manager, so transmissions did not resume until the following Monday. The repair work was carried out by Shane Johnson (Technical Manager), Craig Horton (Assistant Manager) and Elisabeth Haljas (Technical Support). Unfortunately, for a short period of time, the station was not fully functional. Tom Booth, Head DJ, summarised: “Long story short the microphones and aux cable are still unoperational, though getting them up and running shouldn’t take long.” This meant DJs could not speak on air, only play music. The faulty microphones were soon fixed and now ASR is fully operational. Fans of the university’s student radio shows across the board are very happy to hear that ASR is back and running. One fan of The Lead Belly, which airs at 7pm on Monday, Kelly Larken said: “It’s actually been rather strange not listening to ASR this month, I’ve missed listening to a good blues show once a week!” Aberdeen Student Radio is available Monday to Friday, 9am9pm on www.abdn.ac.uk/asr.
Last week Picturehouse cinemas announced they had been acquired by Cineworld Plc. The independent chain, who have a branch on Belmont Street, are keen to present the move in a positive light, announcing simultaneously their plans to expand their enterprise. Cinemagoers quickly showed their outrage, with concerns over whether the chain will remain
The Aberdeen branch took to Twitter, assuring one worried customer that the “plan is to remain true to what made our company so desirable in the first place.” Cineworld’s finance chief, Philip Bowcock, said: “We’re not coming in as a big corporate giant saying ‘you’re going to do xyz’. We’re going to keep the quirkiness. It’s a very different customer set – a little bit older, more discerning, more experienced. To lose that would be to lose the raison d’être
Photo/ Belmont Picturehouse Aberdeen autonomous. However Picturehouse stressed that nothing will change in their range of programming, with all 750 staff members being kept on. Ticket prices and memberships will also remain unchanged.
of Picturehouse.” The deal reportedly cost £47.3m, making Picturehouse’s co-founder Lyn Goleby a multimillionaire. This compares to the £30.3m the independent chain made last year, with a pretax profit of £2.5m.
University staff offered “derisory” 1% pay increase
Students sponsored for sex
By Gordon Maloney
By Rachel Clark
After a choppy period of negotiation with the campus trade unions, University management have settled on a below-inflation pay rise for all University staff. Staff unions had been asking for an increase of 7% which, they said, was “not a pay rise.” Mike McConnell, President of Aberdeen University and College Union, the trade union representing academic and support staff, told the Gaudie that “for most University staff the increase in pay over the last three years’ settlements has been about 1.4%.” UCU have argued that, since RPI has increased by over 12% in that period, there has been a real terms cut “of over 10% in the value of staff pay”. However, on 27 November, Steve Logan, the University’s Senior VicePrincipal, told all staff that that the Employer’s Association had made a final offer of a 1% increase. He acknowledged, however, that this move was “not supported by all of our campus trade unions”. The University is arguing that this offer was due to “significant uncertainty” in the sector, a claim that will raise eyebrows among staff. In 2012, a report by HEFCE showed that “the majority of the key financial indicators are the best on record, with the sector
“What management have offered staff, let’s be really clear, is a pay cut, not a raise.” Megan Dunn, AUSA’s VicePresident for Education reporting strong surpluses, large cash balances and healthy reserve levels.” Unison, the union representing many of the non-academic staff, had voted for a two-day strike and UCU had voted overwhelmingly for so-called Action Short of a Strike. The Students’ Association also has long-standing policy to support industrial action taken by staff. Both unions, however, have decided not to use their mandates for action, effectively drawing negotiations on pay to a close. Megan Dunn, AUSA’s VicePresident for Education, said she was disappointed. “What management have offered staff, let’s be really clear, is a pay cut, not a raise. This derisory offer means that, for another year running, staff will be able to afford less. There’s no way this won’t have an impact on students.”
A student sponsorship website has been uncovered offering to pay female student’s tuition fees in return for sex. Sponsor A Scholar offers sponsors to pay a minimum of £5,000 towards female undergraduate’s tuition fees if the student returns this with a sexual favour. The sponsors range in age from 28 to 50, and the contract states that the students are committed to meet their sponsor between 1 and 4 times a term. The scholarship available through this scheme requires no means testing or academic criteria, and the website has stated that the further a student is willing “to go” sexually, the more sponsorship money they will receive, with a maximum of £15,000 per academic term. The students and sponsors associated with Sponsor A Scholar meet in a private location, such as a hotel room. The Principal Assessor of the website was quick to point out that there is no direct intention of sex: He said: “It is important to stress Sponsor A Scholar does not stipulate what should occur between two consenting adults in a hotel room, but based upon the considerable sums of money sponsors are offering.
They tell us they have expectations of a level of sexual intimacy with their chosen student.” The Principal Assessor then went on to say that the meetings normally last around two hours, and that finer details such as “the level of sexual intimacy you are comfortable with” are agreed upon before the meeting. Mark Wakeling, the director of Beyond The Streets, a charity to end sexual exploitation, condemns the message that this website is sending out to female students. He said: “Websites such as Sponsor A Scholar are a worrying development and are in danger of creating an impression that selling sex is an easy way to raise money.” Wakeling also warned that “students need to be aware of the real dangers involved in such schemes.” NUS have placed the blame for this directly on the government. Estelle Hart, NUS Wales Women’s Officer, blamed higher fees and cuts to education for sending female students to prostitution. The NUS National Women’s Officer, Kelley Temple, agrees, blaming the financial hardship of female students and an unequal power dynamic. The website has apparently helped to pay for 1,400 female student’s tuition fees since 2006, and uses a false company and
VAT number which are actually registered to online dating site, match.com. The site has also been associated with a history professor at the London School of Economics. Both match.com and the LSE
“The students and sponsors associated with Sponsor A Scholar meet in a private location, such as a hotel room.” lecturer have denied any affiliation and have taken legal action. Channel 4 News named the founder of Sponsor A Scholar as Mark Lancaster, and have reported him to the Metropolitan Police, who cannot take the case further unless a student “victim” reports Lancaster personally. The website has currently been shut down and now reads that it is undergoing maintenance work. The Gaudie is not aware of what kind of maintenance is being undertaken.
11 December 2012
Aberdeen University winter graduations 2012 By Nesrine Bouguerra On Friday, 30 November, Winter Graduation ceremonies were concluded in Elphinstone Hall at the University of Aberdeen. Students’ achievements have now
“After conferring more than 16,000 degrees on graduating students, Lord Wilson describes his experience as one of the highlights in his time in Aberdeen.” been recognised, and celebrating graduates express satisfaction of their experience at the university. Ann Fitzmaurice, who is 64 years
old and belonged to the research staff at the university, took her studies further to a Doctorate in Philosophy. She admits she did not plan to study anymore but says: “When the topic was first mentioned to me, I instantly thought it was a really interesting area and once I had done some more background research I was hooked.” She adds: “I am thrilled at what I have achieved!” She also praises the support she has received from the staff at the university, and says she is grateful for it. Another winter graduate, autistic James Cusack, achieved his PhD even though no one thought it to be realistic for him to even start studying at university level. He has studied psychology to understand autism. He says: “Autism varies across the spectrum so I’m not saying everyone with the condition could go to university, however I do believe that if you get all the help and support that you require you can achieve things that you might never have believed possible.” This year is also remarkable because one of the pillars of the university, Lord Wilson of Tillyorn, steps down after 15 years as Chancellor.
After conferring more than 16,000 degrees on graduating students, Lord Wilson describes
On December 4, Aberdeen University saw the lighting of its 2012 Christmas Tree on the lawn at the heart of campus. The evening was organised by the Event’s Team welcoming academics, students and their children at Elphinstone Hall. The event included activities and story telling for young kids who enjoyed their experience at the University, said Jill Burnett, a member of the
Event’s Team. Drinks and snacks were offered during the evening and the atmosphere was very warm and joyful. Dr. Jutta Leonhardt Blazer, a lecturer in New Testament at the University, was present along with her child as she expressed positivity about the evening, especially glad that it had been held inside the hall rather than outside on such a cold evening. A selection of Christmas carols
the graduates and highlights that their effort at the university has been remarkable.
Christmas tree illuminates Aberdeen University for the festive period By Nesrine Bouguerra
his experience as one of the highlights in his time in Aberdeen. University has congratulated all
Scotland set to receive extra capital
were performed by the University’s Chapel Choir, led by Lucy Hole, to entertain the attendants while waiting for the lights to turn on. Father Christmas made a surprise appearance, showing up in his decorated mini-van and lit the Christmas tree after a countdown. The attendants were then invited back into Elphinstone hall as St Nick. stepped inside to offer Christmas gifts for the children.
Photo/ altogetherfool (Flickr) By Emily Thorburn
Photo/ Rachel Job
The Chancellor, George Osborne has stated that Scotland is set to receive an additional £5 billion which should be spent primarily on buildings and improving infrastructure. The announcement comes after the Scottish Finance Secretary, John Swinney and First Minister, Alex Samond appealed to the Westminster Government for more money. Last month, Mr Swinney published a list of numerous projects ‘Shovel –ready’ such as trunk road schemes, which are ready to begin yet simply lack the funding to do so. The money provided would amount to a rough increase of £394 million in extra capital funding for the SNP. Scotland is also set to receive a revenue rise of £90 million, however, because of numerous public sector cuts in recent months
to the value of just shy of £160 million, a budget of £331 million will remain. Mr Swinney has stated that the chancellor’s move to cut corporation tax to 21% by April 2014 was a ‘welcome step’. Mr Swinney is set to confirm exactly what projects will receive funding in the coming months. However, he has stated that Perth and Aberdeen will be amongst the locations to benefit, with around £50 being budgeted to help improve internet connections for residents. The Government are aiming to provide ultra-fast fixed rate internet access. Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont has stated that Mr Swinney should not ‘‘blow this opportunity to get Scotland’s economy back on track’’ The Scottish Secretary has supported the investment and suggested that it should be placed straight into ‘shovel ready’ projects.
11 December 2012
Bypass work Rubbish reception for begins new wireless bins
University applications are down By Anna Katila The number of UK-born students, who have applied to start university education in autumn 2013, has fallen by 8.4% according to the Universities and Collages Admissions Service (UCAS). Applications by students in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and England have fallen by 10.5%, 9.3%, 8.7% and 9.9% respectively. This downward trend in application rates shows the effects of increasing tuition fees up to £9,000 per year in autumn 2012. According to the latest UCAS statistics, 120,194 applicants from the UK have applied a place in higher education, compared with 133,357 this time last year. Just before the increase in tuition fees, there were 157,116 applicants by this point of the year. As most application deadlines are in January, the figures are not final. However, Pam Tatlow, chief executive of thinktank million+, is worried and said that alarm bells should be ringing in government. UCAS’s chief executive, Mary Curnock Cook, notes the drop but argues: “eExperience tells us that changes at this point in the cycle are a poor guide to final demand. For example, in the 2012 cycle the decrease in applicants in November was much greater than the final picture in January.” November 2011 the rate of applications saw 15% drop, whereas the confirmed numbers in June showed just 7.7% fall from the previous year. Liam Burns, NUS president, saw the matter from another view point: “The government should now finally admit that its higher education policies are having a significant impact on application behaviour.”
By Anna Katila
By Dan Naylor
Aberdeen is going to install in the city centre hi-tech litter bins, which will alert refuse department when they are full as well as provide wi-fi hotspots for visitors. The City Council, in partnership with the Aberdeen Inspired initiative, is planning to spend almost £250,000 by ordering 60 “Big Belly Bins”. The solar powered bins will be fitted with waste compacto which ensure the bins need to be emptied less than standard bins. Steven Shaw, the council’s environmental manager, said: “This is a hugely positive step forward for waste collection and management in Aberdeen and will allow for more effective and efficient litter emptying operations. A trial bin has been in place on St Nicholas Street and has been a huge success. It is emptied every three or four days, compared to our normal litter bins in the same area which are emptied twice a day.” Susan Bree, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said: “Big Belly
New legislation by the Scottish Government will make higher private rents inevitable according to leading letting agent. The Rent (Scotland) Act 1984 means that there currently is a grey area over whether tenants can be charged for additional fees, such as reference checks and inventories. New legislation introduced last week means that all charges, other than rent and a deposit, will be illegal, with the government deciding that this will lead to fairer practises. Owner of DJ Alexander, David Alexander said: “While not agreeing with the government’s decision, at least agents will, at long last, know exactly where they stand in respect of charges for ancillary services. “Inevitably, landlords forced to pay for services previously charged to tenants will recover these costs in the form of higher rents which, given present and anticipated future demand for rental property,
Photo/ Rachel Job Bins have been very well received in various major cities and our research convinced us they were a very worthwhile investment for Aberdeen.” Second year French and Spanish student Mary Taylor commented on the project: “It seems really unnecessary to invest all that money in bins.” Adam Muir, a fourth year Zoology student agreed, saying: “Though it appears to be ergonomic, it will create more problems than it solves.”
“The average rent could rise anywhere between £10 and £25 a month as a result of new legislation.” tenants will have no alternative but to pay.” He went on to estimate that the average rent could rise anywhere between £10 and £25 a month as a result. A spokesman for the Scottish government said: “The new Tenancy Deposit Schemes and clarification of the law covering what fees letting agents and landlords charge private tenants, will strengthen Scotland’s private rented sector and help make it a fairer and more secure place to live for tenants. “We will continue to monitor private rental charges and work with the sector to deliver for tenants and landlords in Scotland.”
The Leveson Report: a Scottish response By Jacob McCauley The Leveson Report published on 29 November recommended the press must create a new and tough regulator backed by legislation to ensure it was effective. Mr Salmond, has called for a Scottish solution following the Leveson inquiry. Speaking in Holyrood on Tueday 4 December Alex Salmond said there should be self-regulation underpinned by Scots law. But opposition party leaders have questioned the need for a separate regulation system north of the border.The first minister said Scottish regulation was needed because of the different legal system, and he said Lord Leveson had highlighted it as something that should be considered. Mr Salmond said: “If it is to be legally underpinned then it is inescapable, given it is our responsibility and it’s our Scottish law of defamation, that it would have to be underpinned on a Scottish basis.” Scottish Conservative leader, Ruth Davidson, claimed the first minister should step aside from the process of implementing press reform. She said: “There was severe criticism that was put on record by Lord Justice Leveson of the conduct of our first minister and he has to accept that. “I find it astonishing that he has not reflected on that and realised he has to take a step back from these talks and allow someone who is not tainted by that level of criticism to lead for the Scottish government.” She urged caution on the issue of statutory regulation and added: “I think that we need a free press, not just in Scotland but across the UK, and it is important to democracy that we have that.” Commenting on Mr Salmond’s
Photo/ Rachel Job call for a unique Scottish approach, Scottish Liberal Democrats leader Willie Rennie MSP said: “I agree with the first minister that we need cross-party consensus, but he must accept that we also need crossborder cooperation. “I want a Leveson style independent watchdog underpinned by the law to be agreed by all parties in Scotland and implemented across the UK.” During first minister’s questions
at Holyrood earlier this week, Mr Salmond outlined plans for an independent group to take forward the issue of press ethics in Scotland. He suggested the post-Leveson group should be non-political and chaired by a current or recent Court of Session judge. Brain Taylor, the BBC’s political editor for Scotland claimed that the first minister might be seeking to create a constitutional issue
out of Leveson. The Debate post Leveson continues both north and south of the boarder.
A few weeks ago the Supreme Court gave the go ahead for the Aberdeen bypass project to proceed, following a lengthy appeal made by campaigners who oppose the project. Already, ground investigation work has now begun along the planned route of the bypass. The £1millon contract will take 6 months to complete and has been awarded to Soil Engineering Ltd. This investigation into the ground, along which the bypass, will run will be used to inform potential candidates for the main construction contract. The main construction contract will be awarded to a company next spring. Construction of the bypass is due to start in the autumn of 2014. It is hoped that over the next 30 years the bypass will help to create 14,000 jobs and stimulate approximately £6 billion of investment in the north east of Scotland. The £653 million project and the bypass is scheduled for completion by spring 2018.
Landing tenants with the bill
By Louis Beazley
11 December 2012
Features Editor: Konrad Wojnar
Commercialisation of Christmas Bianca Madularescu examines a mixture of Christmas Time traditions and how these have changed over time
t is hard not to notice at every step of your way shops that have Christmas displays on, months before the actual big day. TV adverts increasingly talk about their special offers in the period leading up to Christmas Eve. It seems that each year companies turn the merriest holiday of all into a rat race, encouraging people to buy their products in a sometimes classless, devoid-of-thechristmas-spirit type of way. The more pompous the advertisement looks, the merrier the chance to be noticed. The Westfield London Christmas lights have been switched on as early as 6 November this year by Taylor Swift. The famous Lafayette galleries in Paris also prepared their shop windows and interiors as early as October. Even Aberdeen has started their countdown for Christmas in November. If you were to take a walk on Union Street around that time, you might find the early Christmas spirit unraveling your holiday mood. Let’s forget for a moment about all the commercial fuss and go back to the roots of this celebration. Christmas is the annual festival of the Christian church commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ on the 25 December. Comparing the traditional Christmas that our parents grew up with, with that of today, we see that what we instinctively associate with Christmas is clearly descending in favor of a more materialistic approach. If we ask a child the meaning of Christmas, they will surely reply ‘Father Christmas’ or ‘gifts’ rather than the birth of Jesus Christ or spending time with your family. Same goes with adults; it is a time to be enjoyed with family and friends no matter the amount of money spent on decorations, food, drinks, presents and so on. We are socially constructed to accept all these eccentricities once a year. W h y ? W e l l , because w e want t o
Photo/ hiking artist (Flickr)
impress our loved ones with our generosity in terms of money to perhaps compensate for our absence throughout the year, or simply show how much we love them. This is when companies strike. They realize the potential to sell their products during that time of the year and they compete to give us the best offer. The 3 December has been the biggest online shopping day in history of Britain, named ‘Mega Monday’. This was so big that online shops battled to make the best deals on presents by cutting their prices by half. If we were to contrast the past and the present in terms of the
evolution of Christmas throughout time, we would clearly see how marketing has shaped our vision of Christmas. A few weeks ago, I was checking Facebook and I noticed an explosion of statuses saying that the first Coca-Cola Christmas advert was on TV and that ‘now it is official, Christmas is coming’. I found it rather interesting how a commercial advertisement has become the landmark for Christmas. Even our image of Father Christmas has been shaped by this commercial. In 1931, Sundblom paints the image of Father Christmas for the CocaCola advert portraying him as a happy, warm character with rosy cheeks, white beard, twinkling eyes and laughter lines which instantly captivated the public and became an icon. Even though we might not realize it, marketing has been skillfully infiltrated into our daily life and traditions. Now, no Christmas should pass by without giving or receiving a gift, no matter the price; the gesture is the one that counts. I remember growing up in an Eastern European country where the commercial mindset was just finding its way to people, and where religious values were still strongly cherished. Christmas was a time to celebrate the birth of child Jesus, and I remember our family gathering together, having great
amounts of specific Christmas food and afterwards heading to the church. This does not seem to be the case anymore, and an overly marketed Christmas has contributed to this change. From a religious point of view all this commercial fuss is not very appealing. On the other hand, it is a good thing for the economy as more jobs are being created, employment rises and self-respect is gained among the population. Thus, commerce is not necessarily a wholly evil deed. Returning to the joy of Christmas, I asked several students how they are going to celebrate this year. Cristina Zamfir, a History of Art student from Romania said: “Well, my family has a tradition where me, my mother and grandma prepare the dinner together making the most delicious Romanian Christmas food, also we decorate the Christmas tree together and exchange gifts and all this happens on Christmas Eve.” Annie Whitcombe, a French Language and Literature and English Literature student from England says “I am working on Christmas Eve and then I will be spending Christmas Day at home with my family.” When asked if there are any traditions in her family, Annie said: “We will have roast turkey
“I noticed an explosion of statuses saying that the first Coca-Cola Christmas advert was on TV and that ‘now it is official, Christmas is coming’. I found it rather interesting how a commercial advertisement has become the landmark for Christmas.” dinner with Christmas pudding for dessert, as is popular in England. On the morning of the 25 we will open our presents and spend the afternoon chilling before a buffet evening meal. We will watch the Queen’s speech at 3pm.” Whether you perceive the commercialisation of Christmas as a good thing or bad thing, Christmas is all about spending quality time together with our loved ones, being kind and helping other people if in need – the latter should happen any time of the year not just for Christmas.
11 December 2012
A brief history of the end of the world Ben Kamal describes a Café Scientifique with Bill Naphy and his studies into our fascination for the end of the world phenomenon
certain date is fast approaching: the date of the end of the world. Or at least, that’s what the long extinct Mayan civilisation apparently predicted. As could be expected, a fair amount of speculation, fascination and anxiety, most of it rather spurious, stems from this prediction. At the last Café Controversial event held at the Stratosphere Science Centre, Professor William Naphy explains not only the origins of the Mayan prediction but also its wider apocalyptic fixations. To explain the significance of the year 2012, Naphy explains that a thorough examination of the usage of the Mayan calendars needs to be made. The Mayan calendar and numerical system, unsurprisingly, is very different from our own. Most importantly it works in base 20, whereas ours (the Gregorian calendar) works in base ten. Also the Mayans start their calendar on the 11 August 314 BC; as a result 2012 marks, for them, the end of another Baktun - their equivalent of a millennium. In other words, 2012 is when all the zeroes come up for the Mayans; it’s an arbitrary year of no significance. Surprisingly, 21 December is also the Winter Solstice, a date which the Mayans had no knowledge of. The claim of imminent and total destruction is not entirely sound, yet the fascination still holds and the phenomenon is common. Professor Naphy ardently pointed out that this wasn’t the first time
Earth ended. In fact, there were more than a dozen. Probably even before our recorded history began, people have been reading signs in the stars and deciphering secret hints from nature to decide when exactly was the day that all of what we created would come crashing down on our own heads. The bible claims that darkness would reign for a 1000 years after the birth of Christ and preceding his return and thus our end was marked. In the year 1000 AD the church fathers decided that this was meant to be taken strictly figuratively. Pope Innocent III set the last year as 1284 A.D. - 666 years after the foundation of Islam. Martin Luther said the earth would not last past the year 1600. John Napier set it at 1886. Pat Robertson predicted the end for 1982 and since then apocalyptic predictions have become something of a hobby for him, trying to predict the end again and again with similar degrees of success. Nostradamus said the end would be 1999 - just before all the zeroes came up for our calendar. Most recently Harold Camping set the date for May and then October 2011, with many devotees taking his musings with the utmost seriousness - much to their unfortunate detriment. The Talmud sets the big day for 2240, a date that sadly none of us will live to check up on. The common denominator of the above dates is that they are all religious in inspiration. This would
make sense as most religions posit the idea of a reward in the form of a glorious future after the end of a struggling present. However, this isn’t to say that all of the end time theories floating around the
millennium bug and the Mayan theory is that they both are points where a boundary upon a calendar is being transgressed. Yet this boundary is entirely subjective. However, because of its size and
Photo/ Space Ritual (Flickr) public consciousness these days are secular. The chance of a strike by an asteroid the size equal to or greater than the one that wiped out the dinosaurs or another millennium bug scenario happening are imminent. The latter one didn’t turn out quite as catastrophic as was suggested, but still caused far-reaching effects in society. What is most interesting about the
the fact that it rarely occurs it feels hugely significant. As a result we feel that something hugely significant should happen. There is, however, absolutely no reason that it should. Indeed, all our conceptions of time were invented and its development can be placed within history: the minutes of the hours were invented by the Sumerians, the days of the week by the Hebrews,
the idea of twenty four hours in a day by the ancient Egyptians and of course, we number our years from the supposed date of the birth of Christ. So every time an hour or a century goes by, it is important to remember that the idea or the hour or the century was conceived of by a mammal. Yet their passing still compels us to memorialise them in some way. This means that decades get assigned characteristics and centuries are often summed up in a sentence; these are often erroneous. For instance the France of 1899 had far more in common with the France of 1901 than it did with the France of 1801, or to put it another way, we would still celebrate New Year’s Eve even if 31 December was as cold, wet and dull as 1 January. A slightly worrying aspect to the whole end of the world shenanigan is that actual events which would cause a major change in our society, the depletion of fossil fuels for example, receive very little attention because they have no fixed dates, nor will they happen at any particular moment because they do not possess a temporal boundary. So while it may be thrilling for some to entertain the idea of our destruction in two weeks time, we need to bear in mind that the cause of this threat is entirely of our own making.
Creating an end of the world culture Alicia Jensen suggests you might be influenced by end of the world theories more than you may think
umor has it the world’s about to end in a final undefined apocalypse on 21 December. You may just brush this idea away if you’re a non-believer, but all this talk about the world ending this December affects people in different ways, regardless of if you directly believe in the world ending or not. The most obviously affected are those who believe in the world ending, who may have radical reactions. But what isn’t perhaps so obvious is the culture that has slowly come to being regardless if we are believers or not. A shorttermist mindset has crept into our everyday lives, which has developed from the concept of the world ending. When people – believers of the apocalypse and non-believers alike - consider having only a few weeks left to live, people have different reactions. The most obvious reactions are those who are manipulated into spending money to survive whatever ‘disaster’ is going to take place. But another more subtle reaction has been a change in behaviour, particularly behaviour which risks their lives. This behavioural attitude has developed from a mindset of ‘we’re
going to die in two weeks anyway, so why not?’ This year, and particularly the last few months have seen a transnational reaction of a self-destructive short-termist culture beginning. This short-termist mindset may spring from people considering the idea that they may not have a future beyond 21 December. It has led to two types of reactions - a more moderate reaction is doing things you may not have done at this time, such as booking a more expensive vacation than you usually would, and perhaps giving more appreciation to the days that we are able to spend on this earth, with the friends and people we consider important. Then there is the YOLO reaction which has developed particularly in the internet community, leading to dangerous and self-destructive behaviour. The motto YOLO – acronym for the well-known motto ‘You only live once’- is a good example of a short-termist way of thought. The idea begins when people begin to consider the fact that they may have a limited number of days on this earth- that all of our days are numbered, and we all have the
same number of days left. People naturally think of the things they would have liked to do in their life. This may spring simply from the consideration, rather than actual belief that the world is going to end. Now, with the possibility of a limited number of days, a consequence may be to attempt to do some of those things. This short-termist mindset has led to the YOLO phenomenon, where people have been found to do dangerous and harmful things. An example can be found on twitter, where, after tweeting #yolo, a man died driving 120 miles per hour while intoxicated. This shows a short-termist mindset possibly inspired by thoughts of having a limited number of days to live, and doing things you might not otherwise do. The more obvious radical reactions have been the desperate attempts to somehow survive the apocalypse. Doomsday groups have been building bunkers in mountains, such as the one near Tentersfield, who are charging $5000 for a spot in the bunker. Another theory is that those hiding in a French mountain crack will be the only survivors - hotels
“A short-termist mindset has crept into our everyday lives, which has developed from the concept of the world ending.” are now charging over $1,500 a night. Targets and to some extent victims (although we cannot yet be sure if they’re the victims - or the lucky survivors!) to these kinds of schemes don’t seem to think twice on expenditure when it comes to saving their lives when the world ends - which goes to show the radical measures people take when it comes to protecting themselves from the world ending. This has been the perfect opportunity for companies clever enough to notice the desperation of surviving the apocalypse, to make some money from the high demand of surviving 21 December. What is remarkable is that people are willing to pay to survive almost regardless of the
cost - and companies have noticed this as well. For the company it’s a win-win situation. If there is an apocalypse, and their shelter doesn’t work, then there won’t be anyone to complain or sue them for that fact. If there is no apocalypse, as many scientists point out, then the people have survived the dreaded date and have therefore gotten what they wanted - survival. Building end of the world packs, and building bunkers, have certainly been a profitable understanding of the consumer, for a company looking in to the long term. Regardless of how little we believe in the theory that the world will end on the 21 December, the short-termist culture has affected many of us in ways we may not have connected to the theory at all, but is nonetheless connected to that fear of the world ending. If we decide to splurge on a holiday, or if we do something reckless we’ve been wanting to do just because we think we might not have the opportunity in the future - all may be influenced by the mentality of living in the short term, and a fear of what the future brings.
11 December 2012
Great changes or empty words? How did the Leveson Inquiry come about? Dainius T. Balcytis tries to explain in a few words how the whole fiasco began
nited Kingdom was one of the first countries in the world to see the rise of modern journalism and to this day is among the countries with the most press freedom around the world. However, in recent years, journalistic community of Great Britain is still feeling tremors after the ‘Rupertgate’ scandal that happened in 2005. News of the World, one of the oldest newspapers in the UK was found out to have been hacking into the phone lines of Royal family, celebrities, politicians and listening to their private conversations. This was, however, not the whole truth – in the summer of 2011 after investigation was reopened, it became clear that they were also
representatives from all the major publishers. It was created with the goal of making press regulate itself, keeping up high standards in journalism and to make it as detached from the state rulings as possible. However this also meant that PCC does not have any legal powers and can influence decisions of its members only through nonofficial measures. This has put a lot of criticism against the PCC and more often than not people who felt that they have been slighted by the press would choose to go to courts to settle the problem, as petitioning PCC would quite often bear little results. An even harder blow was struck against the organisation immediately after the “Rupertgate” affair. In the face of
Photo/ Gene Hunt (Flickr) tapping into the lines of families of dead soldiers, victims of 7/7 London terror attacks and even accessed the phone of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler. In July of the same year PM David Cameron appointed Lord Justice Brian Leveson as the head of Leveson Inquiry to “investigate culture, practice and ethics of the British press.” Such inquiries are not to be taken lightly – since the end of WWII this is only the sixth one. Now, after more than a year of investigation, on 29 November, Leveson Inquiry published its report - a huge tome of over 2000 pages. The conclusions reached by the Inquiry are beyond what anyone expected – Westminster was advised to abolish Press Complaints Commission. PCC is currently the supreme regulatory body of the British press; it is a voluntary association having
such criticisms PCC proved to be entirely inadequate to deal with the consequences of the biggest media scandal in Britain in the last few decades. The Leveson Inquiry in its report suggested not only abolishing the PCC, but also establishing a new body for press regulation in its place. This new organisation would still remain independent of outside influences, but a lot more of press activities would now be regulated by strict laws. Naturally, this both frightens and angers British press as such statutory regulation could be seen as the first steps towards restraining of free speech and freedom of press. However, no one can argue that PCC failed to prevent the “Rupertgate” scandal and at first even scolded The Guardian for claiming that News of the World was hiding more than it seemed at the first glance. After
this, even the most conservative media magnates and newspaper editors agree that some sort of reform within PCC is needed. How exactly the current system will be changed remains a seriously
“British press will most likely see some major changes and will operate from now on on a much tighter leash. ”
disputed issue. Despite suggestion from the Leveson Inquiry, there are other options. The first one is very similar to what PCC now stands for – a self-regulating press. Reforms that were suggested are minimal; basically they would only increase the number of participants and ensure their dedication to the guiding principles by long-term contracts. Another idea is to create an independent regulation committee with an autonomously elected chair and either very few or none of the editors participating. This position is very popular at the moment and it is assumed that David Cameron is also supporting it even though no official statements have been issued yet. Another suggestion was proposed by The Times, calling for judicial regulation, arguing that this would make the new commission truly independent from both press and politicians. Finally, there is even a radical proposal to strip press of its traditional independence and make sure that it is under statutory regulation. It would mean having an official regulator similar to Ofcom (responsible for regulating British broadcasts) in a sense that it would have full legal powers at its disposal to enforce its rulings upon the newspapers. One thing is clear – whatever the way this goes, British press will most likely see some major changes and will operate from now on on a much tighter leash. Some people applaud it, hoping that obscene abuse of journalistic license, as that of the News of the World, will never repeat itself. Others criticise it, reminding us that occasional misconduct such as this is a necessary price to pay for the free press and a reason why news agencies were established free from state interference in the first place. Either way, these are very interesting times for journalists, and by extension, everyone else.
Photo/ sh0dan (Flickr)
Say no to glass Have you ever heard of the Bottle Stop Campaign? Clare Blanchard discusses why glass needs to be banned from pubs and nightclubs
s the Christmas party season gets into full swing this week, alcohol consumption in Britain is predicted to increase by up to 40 percent throughout December. As the nights darken and the Christmas trees go up, we turn our minds away from essays and course work to accessorizing for that big Christmas night out and figuring out whom we will be kissing under the mistletoe before the year is out. With all these important questions to reflect upon have you ever stopped to think… not what you will be drinking, but what you will be drinking from? For Jane Sheriff this is the allimportant question. In April this year, her husband Phil Sheriff was attacked by a drunken aggressive man in a London night club. An attack which could have been unfortunate and painful became life threatening with the addition of a broken glass bottle. The glass bottle severed Phil’s carotid artery, and jugular vein. He died several days later as a result of the injuries inflicted on him by the glass bottle. Phil, described by many as “a perfect father and loving husband” left behind two young children and his wife Jane who, in consequence, launched the Bottle Stop Campaign. Her aim is to have a law passed which will ban city centre pubs and clubs from using glass bottles late at night. Jane explains on her Facebook page “Bottle Stop wants to change the law. Potential weapons should not be handed out in city centre late night clubs and bars.” I find it hard to disagree with this sentiment. Speaking to one friend who works in an Aberdeen bar, she explained that sometimes customers complain when drinks are served in plastic or polycarbonate
cups and bottles, rather than a traditional glass. The main complaint is the difference in feel and drinking sensation. But this stigmatism of plastic alternatives mainly (according to my friend) amongst the older generation is really the only negative to plastic and polycarbonates that I can find. Compared to the lives which could be saved by banning glass late at night, just how important is it to you to have a real glass? A study by the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit found that there are around 1.2 million incidents of alcohol related violence each year, with 70 percent of A&E admissions between 12am – 5am being alcohol related. We cannot stop people drinking, and we cannot stop people becoming violent under the influence of alcohol. We can however, make it illegal to give violent people what is effectively a free weapon with every drink. This will limit and reduce the devastating consequences of alcohol related violence which has already been felt by Jane, her family and so many others every year. So this Christmas, as you raise your festive polycarbonate cup, spare a thought for Jane and her children and their mission. Join the 117,000 others who have already signed the online petition to help her campaign. This is a law that needs to be passed so that no other innocent people are snatched prematurely from their loved ones by drunken glass attacks. To learn more about the campaign, check out Jane’s Facebook page: www.facebook. com/bottlestopnow, and watch: http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=DtPRgwoKS5I
11 December 2012
How much do you know about King’s College? Nesrine Bouguerra questions our knowledge about something that we see every day on campus
ing’s College, often referred to as King’s or Old Aberdeen lies at the heart of the historical privilege of the University of Aberdeen. The University and King’s College of Aberdeen, ‘Collegium Regium Abredonense’, was the first university in Aberdeen, the third in Scotland, and the fifth in the United Kingdom. It was founded on the 10 February 1495 by Bishop Elphinstone, under a bill issued by Pope Alexander VI and on behalf of King James IV in order to recognise Aberdeen’s status as equal to Scotland’s two existing universities, situated at Glasgow and St Andrews. The Chapel was consecrated in 1509 and dedicated to St Mary; topped with an Imperial Crown rather than a royal one. This is significant as it shows support for the Scottish crown’s claim to imperial authority within Scotland, making it the most architectural iconic feature of the university as a whole. The original crown was lost in a 1633 storm; the present is a recreation. More medieval wood work is still retained in King’s College than any other Scottish church including the choir stalls and rood screens. The Cromwell Tower was built during the 1650s and 60s during the period of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland. Originally used for accommodation and surveillance, it continues its function as an observatory to this day. In the 1900s and thereafter, the university expanded dramatically in size, with larger buildings
“King’s College is without doubt a treasured place for the majority of students.”
Photo/ Linnea Delen dominating Old Aberdeen and expanding out from the high street. These include a number of modern buildings, such as the most recent addition, the Sir Duncan Rice Library completed in 2011. Due to these new additions, “King’s College is without doubt a treasured place for the majority of people who studied at the University of Aberdeen; it is
certainly a time-honored piece of Aberdeen’s heritage” says Neil Gregory, a member of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. The Univeristy of Aberdeen first began to grow in the early 1900s, with the creations of Elphistone Hall and New King’s buildings. Elphinstone Hall was constructed in 1930, now bordered by Old
Aberdeen’s High Street and the New King’s building, constructed in 1913. The antechapel of Elphinstone Hall has been used as the university’s war memorial of the 524 students who fell in the First and Second World Wars. Bishop Elphinstone, the College’s founder, and Hector Boece, its first Principal, are buried at the foot of the chancel. A larger tomb,
however, dedicated to Elphinstone, is located just outside the college. The designing of the chapel, along with its date of construction, were inspired by and coincided with the building of Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem. King’s College is now within the university’s main Old Aberdeen campus and retains its original and historic quadrangle. Today, it is used as a Conference & Visitor Centre. Elphinstone Hall is used for functions, dining, and examinations. King’s College is also the location of the education Department for the schools of Divinity, Theology, History of Art and Religious Studies. The rear of King’s College is used as a pavilion for sports. Notably the old college buildings now provide a central focal point to the wider University of Aberdeen campus. While small in comparison with some of the newer constructions and areas, the building maintains a great deal of importance and is central to the atmosphere of the university.
Aberdeen from the Down Under perspective Michael Phillips gives us an outsider’s perspective on the Aberdonian lifestyle, all the way from Queensland, Australia
transport system which apparently all closes down on Sundays) Aberdeen slowly revealed its
But enough about architecture and my love affair of stone and glass. By far the most amusing highlight of my brief visit was the Christmas parade. While Father Christmas’s on Segways can always win over a crowd, I was particularly amused by two separate renditions of ‘Gangnam Style’ by local school students who well and truly did PSY proud. I feel as though, given the opportunity and my civic obligation, I should confirm and deny some myths about my homeland. Five things you need to know: ‘I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here’, while winning the award for most verbose TV title of all time, is not in ‘the jungle’. It’s not even close. On that same note, there is not an Australian version of ‘I’m a Celebrity...’, placing Australians in the British Midlands (I’m looking at you, BBC Radio 1). Fosters isn’t a thing - no one drinks that stuff! Ramsay Street isn’t real. Nor is Summer Bay.
Drop Bears (koala wannabies) are Australia’s most feared, yet most underrated, apex predator. In closing - Aberdeen, thank you for being such a wonderful host. I am incredibly grateful to the many Aberdonians I met, who made me feel so welcome and at ease in their beautiful city, language barriers and thick Scottish accents be damned. A special shout out must go to my wonderful hosts Hannah, Emily, Emma and Caitlin who were kind enough to house me in their undeniably boisterous frat house. Cheers, and thanks for the haggis!
“The biggest surprise of my improvised campus tour was your magnificent sparkling jewel of a library... a wonderful symbol of the University’s determination to remain relevant in a changing world.”
beauty, particularly on campus. Putting it quite simply, your campus is stunning. I marvelled at the intricate stonework of some of your eldest buildings, which outdated the federated country from which I came. Try all I might to remain inconspicuous and blend in, the tourist in me took over and I whipped out my camera and tried to capture just some of this grandeur. All this sounds very gushing but rightfully so - the university from which I obtained my undergraduate degree celebrated its 40 birthday last year, which in hindsight, is comparatively infant and somewhat embarrassing. However the biggest surprise of my improvised campus tour was your magnificent sparkling jewel of a library. While I’ve been assured that it has its issues (how you study without coffee is beyond me) it, to me, was a wonderful symbol of the University’s determination to remain relevant in a changing world in the Asian century something that seems to hang over the wider United Kingdom as a question yet to be answered.
he familiar roar of the jet engines on board yet another aircraft signals the end of my first stint in the United Kingdom - onwards to Dublin and beyond. Thankfully these particular engines don’t belong to Paddy from Ryanair, so I’m reasonably certain I’ll remain in the sky without issue. The captain announces the conditions on the ground are a balmy three degrees - I wonder if he’s ever experienced temperatures in excess of 20. G’day, I’m Michael from North Queensland, Australia - and when I’m not perpetuating an Australian stereotype, I’m traveling around Europe, for the first time. I’ve traded the sun, sand and 35 degree days for the promise of a White Christmas I’ve heard so much about (particularly from the geographically challenged retailers back in Oz). And so, with two backpacks in tow and a few friends scattered around the continent, I arrived in London and ventured up to Aberdeen. While the Scottish weather wasn’t so kind initially (nor was the public
11 December 2012
Editor: Alasdair Lane
Gender equality: an issue of royal proportion Richard Wood ponders the question of royal succession
ast year the country was united by the Royal Wedding. This year it has been the spectacular Olympics, the Jubilee and now the recent announcement of Kate Middleton’s pregnancy that have achieved an enduring sense of ‘Britishness’. Despite the huge debt and the austerity measures the UK is facing, we must not let it overwhelm us and instead appreciate the good news. For centuries, the wife of a male monarch has been subjected to scrutiny and had a sort of ‘royal duty’ to produce an heir. Although, this is not so much the case now as the lack of a child will not mean the decline of the nation, it is clear by the global media’s avid attention -from the USA to New Zealand and back again- that there was mass expectation and hope for this proclamation. The news was announced earlier this month, due to the Duchess of Cambridge being admitted into King Edward VII Hospital with severe morning sickness. It is clear that the story only broke to the public due to her unfortunate condition, but thankfully she is now out - and so is the Royal secret. Significant news coming hand in hand with this announcement is that the leaders of the Commonwealth nations have agreed at a summit in Australia to change the law of succession. This will allow a hypothetical female eldest child of The Duke and Duchess to be a future monarch and surpass any younger brothers she may have when that day comes. This is good news for any liberal and believer in gender-equality such as myself. However, we are
Photo/ radarchronicle.blogspot.com almost at the one-hundredth year anniversary of female enfranchisement and almost thirteen years into the twenty-first century (where women and men are equal in so many fields), so the arrival of this social change seems rather delayed. On one hand, yes the laws are going to be changed which is a giant step forward, but we must also wonder why it has taken so long. A cynical approach would be to believe that somehow the British population and successive governments have been unwilling
to change the law. However, once the facts and history are looked at things become slightly clearer as to why such a change has taken so long. King George VI, born in 1895, was the younger of two male siblings and took the role of Monarch when his brother abdicated the throne. Next in line was his daughter - our present monarch, Elizabeth II who is the eldest of two sisters. That made the unequal law irrelevant and guaranteed her place on the throne. Her son, Charles (next in line to the throne) was the oldest
of four making the a change to the law further still irrelevant. And more recently Charles and Diana had William and Harry both boys - negating any need for immediate change. Once this evidence is taken into account it is clear that the outdated law has not been updated to account for the modern social norm due to the lack of a female first born with younger brothers. However, now that Kate is pregnant there is uncertainty afoot - will the child be a boy or girl? The bets are on. This uncertainty has catalysed the need for a change in the succession law and sensible amendments are being made. We can look at this as a triumph of social justice: male and female equality will be achieved in yet another capacity. On the other hand, one could argue that if social equality is a goal then perhaps the monarchy itself is outdated. Although this could be the case, the wedding, Jubilee and Royal baby have definitely given the British people great hope and united the country in a tough economic time. For that reason, the news should (for now) be treated with positivity. The population has enjoyed the recent regal celebrations and there is no immediate sign that the monarchy will disappear, or any want for that to be the case. In the end William and Catherine are going to be parents. No matter what happens, boy or girl, future monarch or not, I am sure they will love that child very much and look after him or her. It is a cliché but I truly wish them all the best and I am sure they will do their nation well!
Putting prisoners in their place Joanna George explains on why EU law should be defied
or most students, and indeed your average Joe on the street (or “Jock”, seeing as we all reside in Aberdeen), you would not think, nor expect that a prisoner would be able to vote in a democratic country. The first thing that strikes you, undoubtedly, is that the prisoner has defied certain rights and privileges when undertaking criminal activity, in both the legal and personal sense. In contrast, it would be expected that law abiding citizens have the right to take enfranchisement for granted. It is especially important to consider the disparity between those entitled to partake in the democratic process of voting, and those not, as this ultimately undermines our parliamentary process. For some, it is a case of why prisoners should not be able to vote. After all, for quite a few under lock and key the actual
outcome of voting may not be of direct consequence to them. Furthermore, in most cases they will not directly benefit under the mandate they are voting for. On
the other hand, which in my view literally overrules this argument, prisoners are directly responsible for their own actions. To allow them to vote would throw insult to those in the past who genuinely deserved the right to vote and were most definitely entitled to a say in how the democratic process
works. The Great Reform Acts of the 19th century allowed men of all circumstances the right to vote; this was later followed by the Representation of the People Act of 1918, which introduced female enfranchisement and acted as a strong, powerful and active device for women who were otherwise sidelined. The right (and privilege) to vote is something that the governmental system forgets far too easily in favour of political advancement. I would thus disagree and condemn Nils Muižnieks, Human Rights Commissioner at the Council of Europe, for stating that “The UK decided to delegate some small part of its sovereignty to the Council of Europe when it joined and when it agreed to abide by the rulings of the court”. How can we “delegate” power to an institution on matters that are of such constitutional importance and which define the question of
morality - what is right and what is wrong? Thankfully, our Prime Minister David Cameron has the guts and political stamina to individually comment on this, claiming that the prospect of enfranchising prisoners makes him feel “physically ill”. He would question Britain’s future membership and association with the EU over an issue that may possibly hinder our relationship with the “democratic deficit” that has seeped into everyday life. Although other countries where currently prisoners cannot vote do not have the same historic advancement and achievements on justice as Great Britain, it is up to us to maintain faith in our parliamentary system and our politicians so that they will uphold “true” justice in its purest form. It is in this way that we will prevent the decay of what is one of the best legal jurisdictions in the Western world.
...about how to run a successful business. I used to be a “dae fit yer telt” manager, which works as long as you are clear and detailed in your instructions, and you continually inspect to see that what was asked to be done was done. But it was a 24/7/365 process. If you’re lucky you get a holiday on the extra day of each leap year! Then I discovered Investors in People (IIP) management philosophy, the rationale of which is involving all staff in understanding and planning of objectives, and ensuring that all recognise the important part each plays. It starts with articulating a clear vision statement for the business. Then each person in the business discusses with a line manager and agrees up to 6 personal business focused objectives for the year, that he or she has to work to and deliver. In so doing training requirements get identified, allowing more targeted and effective tuition programmes. At each annual personal review the employee is appraised on how well their personal objectives have been delivered, and new ones set. It was amazing to discover how well the business ran because each employee was focused on delivering these objectives, and took much delight in their own achievement, rather than simply doing what they were asked to do. The third element of IIP is to communicate continuously as to how the business is doing physically and financially. We installed a continuous monthly reporting procedure, which included celebration points for clear successful achievements, and an annual employees meeting at which all the targets achieved or failed are exposed, and targets for the year to come set. It was wonderful to see how the business ticked when everyone was trying to achieve the same ends. Indeed my own input became superfluous, and my golf handicap improved miraculously! Our University adopted the investors in people principles a few years ago. This was intriguing and not easy, for academics do not respond well to being set objectives. However once it was understood that each should and could set and articulate their own objectives, tuned of course to the vision and strategic objectives of the University, then they too saw the light!
11 December 2012
Economic equality for beginners Nicholas Layden discusses the issue of social financial disparity
ith the Autumn Statement having just been announced by the Chancellor, George Osborne, the question over what is fair has understandably surfaced once more. With austerity predicted to continue until 2018, it seems unlikely that this issue will be gone in the near future. “What is fair?” The Labour Party feel that fairness lies in narrowing the gap between rich and poor and that redistribution of wealth is a fundamentally good thing. On the other side of the debate is the idea that as long as people perform a good job and receive their due their work then that’s fair. This is the Conservative point of view. The first idea poses many problems, many of which focus on equality and more specifically, that of income equality. Income equality can’t be fair as it fails to recognise the variation in specialist occupations in addition to the disparity in investment of time for training and indeed hours worked. These arguments, among others, are reasonable and fairly standard criticisms of equality of outcome and begin to demonstrate the flaws in former point of view – that’s without even starting on the question of liberty and freedom. There are other types of equality which are more difficult to deal with though. Equality of opportunity is one of these. At its surface, there seems to be no debate to be had in that of course everybody should have
Photo/ HM Treasury (Flickr) the potential to rise however far they like, regardless of where they come from. That much is true, but does not tell the whole story. Dealing in absolutes is a dangerous business and that is no different in this debate. While the removal of arbitrary obstacles into the highest echelons of society is a laudable achievement, there is still the struggle in how one defines equality of opportunity. The achievement of this aim in the absolute sense is quite impossible, due to the different talents and attributes we are all born with – not to mention the differing desires and objectives
we all have in life. In addition, how can it be fair to strip away the right of parents to support their children financially through private schools or tutors, when parents may have been preparing their finances to allow their children to go further than them? Surely that is in fact the greatest achievement of equality of opportunity – parents can live their lives in order to allow their children new opportunities, not necessarily defined by where they came from but where they want the next generation of their family to go. This is where the ideology of the Left stutters. It struggles to reconcile the idea of equality of opportunity with that of bettering people’s families by encouraging people to go higher and then trying to level down the very families who have strived to provide their children with better opportunities. Indeed, the Liberal Democrats in government have been vocal about a ‘mansion tax’ - a tax on those who have saved and got themselves into the position whereby they can afford a more expensive home. It is, frankly, a tax on success and not even on an income determined level but one which could target those who may not have the income, such as pensioners, to pay such a levy. In addition, the Labour Party championed the idea of improving ourselves during the New Labour years but raised the top rate of tax by 10% before leaving office. This potentially lost £7 billion of revenue as top
earners moved their money or left the country altogether to avoid the new rate. What is fair, for anyone in this country, about losing out on revenue from those who made their way to the top and who are being punished for it after being encouraged to aim high? Indeed, the wealthy in our society are all too often incorrectly seen as ‘fair game’. In the financial year 2011/2012 the top 1% of earners paid 28% of all income taxes and the top 10% of earners paid half of all income tax revenue. Do the top earners pay their way? It certainly seems so. Bearing this in mind, the current government has taken two million of the lowest earners out of income tax altogether and reduced the taxes of 24 million people. Which is more fair: to encourage people to work hard and then tax them for the extra money they have earned; or to cut taxes for the lowest earners in society? Not everybody will be happy all of the time when the government makes decisions, and this is especially the case during difficult economic circumstances. This government, however, is being fair both to those struggling to make ends meet and to the businesses and investors in the private sector who will drive our economy forward. This is a Conservative led government which is making work pay again – that is what’s fair today.
Katie Fraser questions why Brits struggle to take praise positively
me that it wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on? Furthermore it was not an isolated incident and I am certainly not the only one who struggles with this. On the other side of this occurrence I often tell my sister that her hair looks nice or that I like her shoes. By way of response she will argue that, no, her hair couldn’t possibly look nice today because she hasn’t even brushed it; or that her shoes are actually really old, so there. To offer some clarification about my own reply- it had not been an effort on my part to instigate a discussion. It was not an attempt to fish for compliments. I responded before I really thought it through. It was instinctual… or perhaps ‘habitual’ is a better word to characterise it. I am sure I am not alone in being one of life’s excessive apologisers. I wouldn’t like to contemplate how many times I say ‘sorry’ in any given day. I say it when I bump into people, when people bump into me, when I’m late, when I think a joke has been taken more seriously than I intended. I am not sure why I do
it but I am continually apologising for myself. An extension of this appears to be my sarcastic sense of humour. Sarcasm is often cited as being part of a defence mechanism.
“It has become a stereotype of the British character that we cannot accept a compliment graciously”
A deadpan reply means that one can change the subject quickly or draw attention on to someone else. If I receive a compliment I start to shift in my seat and shrug my shoulders. Between the adverse reaction to flattery, the sarcasm and somewhat contradictory apologising I am
The funnier things on campus this year...
Rachel Scott, 3rd Year One of the funniest moments on campus this year has to be when a rogue seagull made off with someone’s lunch! My friend and I were eating when we watched this seagull stealthily creep up on a girl. It had been watching her for quite a while before it pounced the look of surprise on her face was hilarious!
Sofiane Kennouche, 3rd Year English
The compliment conundrum hen is it rude to be polite? Well, when one is being rather prudishly British and unwilling to accept a compliment. It has become a stereotype of the British character that we cannot accept a compliment graciously. Culturally our cousins across the Atlantic appear more comfortable with self-promotion. We on the other hand wander around in the murky greyness between false modesty, diplomacy, and embarrassment. Last week a friend told me that she had enjoyed reading a piece of work I had written. Instead of saying thank you and moving on with the conversation I replied, ‘Oh really? Nah – it was rubbish.’ Why did I feel the need to say that? In contradicting the person offering the compliment all I have done is made them a participant in my sense of unease. In saying so I effectively told her that she was wrong. My remark also ground the conversation to a halt. What was my poor friend supposed to do from here? Try to convince me that she really did like it? Agree with
making a resolution. I make it now rather than January because no one ever keeps their New Year’s resolutions. The next time someone offers me any form of compliment I resolve to smile (or at least grimace) and say thank you. My current attitude is just churlishly childish. Just because something is thought to be an endearing part of the British psyche doesn’t mean I have to live by it. In giving you a compliment someone is merely trying to share their appreciation, no matter how minor, with you. Rather than modesty, contradicting them smacks of arrogance. For those of you who don’t really know what I’m talking about and you are absolutely fine with accepting admiring comments, then it is your job to pass around the smiles. Whether it is to a stranger or a loved one – just as long as it’s sincere – propagate the praise.
I remember a few weeks ago when my buddy (studying economics) sat through a two-hour Mandarin Chinese lecture as he was too embarrassed to get up and leave. It’s pretty bad how we’re in 3rd Year and he can’t get the right lecture hall!
James Holland, 3rd Year History The funniest thing on campus this year? Well, just before Easter me and a few friends were going to get some food at The Hub. Double-checking that I had my wallet I dived my hand into my pocket and, upon pulling it, scattered a healthy handful of condoms all over the floor in front of everybody! I was utterly speechless when the inevitable: “Jimmy… what exactly were you planning on having for lunch?!” question arose.
11 December 2012
Is the grass really greener? Sofiane Kennouche considers whether we should ‘legalise it’...
ast month, the US states of Colorado and Washington voted to legalise marijuana use at state level for the first time in the nation’s history. Through the taxation and regulation of marijuana, the government will be able to raise valuable tax revenue whilst allowing ‘responsible drug users’ the high that previously they have been willing to break the law to achieve. Somewhat confusingly, despite the democratic legalisation of the drug in these two states, the use and distribution of marijuana is still illegal at the federal level throughout the country. This illogical set-up can unwittingly catch out those who use the drug as an occasional ‘Saturday-night high’ yet work through the week, due to strict anti-drugs tests taken by many employers. Like a handful of other American political ideas, there is a theoretical chance that the legalisation of marijuana may gain greater purchase in the United Kingdom if the United States
Photo/ Torben Bjørn Hansen (Flickr)
experiment proves successful. As a non-smoker, I have never tried the drug myself, thus ruling me out of any analysis of how addictive it really is. Personally, though, I have no objection to marijuana being legalised in theory, as it is already such a widespread and loosely-controlled feature of university life. The commonly voiced argument by those who do use it is that the drug is relaxing, and that it does as little damage to the user as alcohol does when drank in moderation. My only real fear is that in modern Britain, legalised marijuana would become as problematic as excessive alcohol consumption. We have all seen the carnage that descends upon Belmont Street on a Friday night after a few drinks. Instead of aggressive drunks, we may even be overrun by incredibly docile, unproductive students! On a serious note though, the legalisation of marijuana is not without its practical obstacles. If the UK was to introduce such a
“The commonly voiced argument by those who do use it is that the drug is relaxing” measure, it is conceivable that this may even increase the price of the drug due to taxation in comparison to the price of a bag of marijuana at the current day. There is also the problem of ensuring the safety of those on the roads, as the effects of marijuana are felt in different ways by those with different builds and genders. Only time will tell if the new legalisation will prove to be successful or a step back in social policy for Washington and Colorado. In the meantime, though, stoners will have to content themselves with their current hidden habits.
The same-sex marriage debate Daniel McCroskrie explains why the gay marriage issue has been overcomplicated media and calling all critics of gay marriage “bigots”, or using other such language. Stonewall even chose to indecorously lampoon
equality of the Civil Partnerships Act (2004) While this certainly won’t please many from the gay rights movement who feel that there is a pressing need enter into the marriage franchise, I feel it
“An argument between those who call it ‘same-sex marriage‘ and support it being fully integrated part of institution of marriage, and those who call is ‘redefining marriage‘ “ Photo/ joseanavas (Flickr) and Lord Carey, argue that gay marriage isn’t necessary because civil partnerships are of equal stature. Technically they are right as now all of the legal rights attributed to marriage between a man and a woman are automatically transferable to civil partnerships, albeit a few minor details. However, they wholly discredit their argument by supporting the pernicious language of the Roman Catholic leader in Scotland, Cardinal Keith O’Brien, when he equates gay marriage to bestiality and paedophilia. On the other hand, many gay rights activists do themselves little credit by going to the mass
Keith O’Brien with their annual “Bigot of the Year Award”. Even when the openly lesbian politician Ruth Davidson MSP argued that it showed poor taste and doesn’t further the equal rights cause, she was heckled off the stage at the same awards ceremony. Tactics like that only hinder the LGBT movement and some of their incredibly positive work. So where does all this leave my argument? Well, the time, energy and money that have been spent by groups such as Coalition for Marriage and Keep Marriage Special could have been avoided had the Government simply reopened the debate on the legal
would have certainly prevented much of the discourse that has resulted, as well as much of the vitriol expressed by the ignorant. The openly gay freelance journalist Mark Simpson wrote an opinion piece for the Guardian Online where he argued that gay people don’t need marriage. He argued that secularism has given gay people real rights and that Civil Partnerships are a perfect secular institution. He is right. Civil Partnerships are only second class to marriage if you subscribe to that understanding, but it doesn’t make it fact. I feel that I wouldn’t need marriage to feel equal or accepted in society- a civil partnership would suffice. And if Mr Simpson isn’t convincing enough, one of
Britain’s much loved entertainers, John Barrowman is of the same view. In an edition of The Herald newspaper, he said of his civil partnership with long term partner Scott Gill that it suited him fine and that he didn’t want marriage because, “why would I want ‘marriage’ from a belief system that hates me”. Both arguments have weight and highlight the fact that cries for same-sex marriages aren’t universal from the LGBT community. After all the tantrums are over, we will probably end up with equal marriage in the UK. But after a year of name calling, mudslinging and thousands of pounds spent on lobbying by both sides, many, like myself, will ask: “was it really worth all that”…the answer? Probably not.
The reasonably barking mad Coalition for Marriage lobby group, fronted by individuals such as the detestable Ann Widdecombe
he issue of gay marriage has been one of the most bizarre and unusual debates that I have witnessed in my young life. Since the Prime Minister David Cameron made it very clear that he “does not support gay marriage despite being a Conservative, I support gay marriage because I am a Conservative” and began to pave the way to allow gay and lesbian people to participate in the marriage franchise, it has become one of the most frenzied and heated discussions that has ultimately divided the nation. It has, in essence, become an argument between those who call it “same-sex marriage” and support it being a fully integrated part of the institution of marriage, and those who call it “redefining marriage” and argue that it is against the social fabric of British society, not to mention religious doctrines. However there has scarcely been a leading voice on this issue from individuals who simply feel that it has become a matter blown out of proportion and one that could have been resolved far easier without offending the religious right or preventing the drive for equality for lesbian, gay and bisexual men and women. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not some self-deprecating gay man like the Daily Mail’s Andrew Pierce who described the issue as “another sop to the wretched Lib Dems” or the Labour MP Ben Bradshaw who argues that the debate is about “pure politics” from the Government. I am simply wishing to present the case for maintaining civil partnerships for LGBT people.
Disclaimer All opinions expressed in the Opine section are those of the authors of the articles, and do not necessarily represent views held by The Gaudie, AUSA, or any company which advertises in The Gaudie
Your Guide to
REFRESHRS’ WEEK 2013 SATURDAY 26th JAN - SAT 2nd FEB
WELCOME All students at the University of Aberdeen are welcomed and encouraged to participate in Re-Freshers’ Week 2011! Aberdeen University Students’ Association (AUSA) have organised loads of events to keep you entertained and off the streets for your first week back after the holidays and exams. On that note, we hope your exams went swimmingly! Please use this guide as a reference for events taking place during Re-Freshers’ Week but please make note that more information and details surrounding the events will be listed on the AUSA website www.ausa.org.uk and on our facebook page - www.facebook.com/aberdeenuniversitystudentsassociation We’re trying to keep the cost of this publication down so we can spend a bit more money on events for you! Right, back to the fun stuff! We’re using this Re-Freshers’ Week opportunity to lavish our lovely students with a scaled down but equally entertaining week of events as the bigger Freshers’ Week. You’ll notice some of our most popular events are back for your pleasure! So, what are you waiting for? Continue reading this guide and decide which events you’d like to attend! Please note, all events listed here are correct at the time of print, but chances are we’ll be adding to them and things may change, so we highly recommend you also check out www.ausa.org.uk/whatson where any updates will be posted! We’re also on Facebook, so search for Aberdeen University Students’ Association and become our friend! Can’t wait to see you! Love AUSA
Sat 26th January INTRODUCTORY TALK FOR NORTH AMERICA/HONG KONG/JAPAN/SINGAPORE INTERNATIONAL STUDY ABROAD AND EXCHANGE STUDENTS ONLY KCG7 (King’s College) - 9.30am (sharp) till 10.30am REGISTRATION FOR NORTH AMERICA/HONG KONG/JAPAN/SINGAPORE EXCHANGE STUDENTS ONLY GLOBAL HUB - 11am - 2pm Student Recruitment & Admissions Services TEA & COFFEE FOR ALL NEW INTERNATIONAL AND EUROPEAN STUDENTS GLOBAL HUB - 11am - 3pm Drop in for a tea/coffee. Our International Student Advisers, ERASMUS Coordinator and Students’ Association will be available to answer questions. WHERE ARE YOU FROM? UNION BAR - 8-12pm Whether it’s your first night at Uni or your first night back after exams make sure you head down to the Union Bar for our classic “Where Are You From?” night. This is a great night to kick off Refreshers’ Week and to meet your fellow students from all over the world. Look out for the drink deals, ace tunes and face paints! The only question on everyone’s lips is “Where Are You From?”
BUS TOUR OF ABERDEEN KING’S COLLEGE ON THE HIGH STREET - 2 pm (the tour takes about 2 hours) Free tickets will be available at tea/coffee on both Saturday and Sunday – but numbers are limited. A TASTE OF SCOTLAND BURNS SUPPER & CEILIDH DANCE HILLHEAD GAMES HALL, CENTRAL BUILDING - 7pm - 11pm (approx.) Tickets £5 from Karen Reid at the Adam Smith Community Centre from 14th January. Please email email@example.com to buy tickets. AUSA and Your Residents team welcomes you to an evening of traditional Scottish entertainment, whether you are celebrating the end of exams or beginning a new term here at Aberdeen! The evening will begin with a taste of the finest Scottish cuisine followed by traditional ceilidh music from a fantastic Scottish Ceilidh band. This promises to be a truly fantastic night providing you with the opportunity to show off your dance moves and learn some new ones whilst meeting new friends from all over the globe. This is always a popular event and tickets are limited so act fast to avoid disappointment... this night will be a sell out!
SUN 27th January FOR ALL NEW INTERNATIONAL AND EUROPEAN STUDENTS TEA & COFFEE GLOBAL HUB - 11am - 2pm Drop in for a tea/coffee. Our International Student Advisers, ERASMUS Coordinator and Students’ Association will be available to answer questions.
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Turn over for infomation on Project Ausamon and how YOU can win loads of prizes just by getting involved!
After Refreshers’ Week (what’s next in Project Ausámon):
VOLUNTEER IN SCOTLAND FAYRE BUTCHART CENTRE 2pm – 4pm Aberdeen University Students’ Association are holding a Scottish Culture Day during Refreshers’ Week. As part of the day, we would like to invite students to come along and t a Ge ot meeting voluntary organisations / charities who will be there to promote local volunteering opportunities. n Those attending can enter a free draw to win a Kindle! vo l ved Ausámon: Joining up with a volunteering project means you get 75 points !
TUES 29th January COOKERY BUTCHART - 4pm - 6pm Join us for our seasonal themed cookery session. We will be cooking up some of your favourite winter dishes with some of the best produce Scotland has to offer. These sessions get busy so be prepared to take turns in the kitchen! FREE EXERCISE CLASSES FOR RESIDENTS Hillhead Games Hall - Every Tuesday University of Aberdeen’s Sport and Exercise are offering free exercise classes on campus to help you stay physically and mentally fit! Take some time out each week to help you cope with the stress of student life! Join us at Hillhead Games Hall every Tuesday! Ultimate Abs - 5.30pm-6pm- A 30minute focus on the abdominals, t a Ge ot introducing effective exercises to give you maximum core stability. Feel the burn! n 20/20 - 6.10-6.50- Looking for something with a bit of variety? vo l ved An energy packed session to give you a great full body workout. You’ll be amazed what you can do in 40minutes! Ausámon: 100points per class I
Look out for more detailed informationin the New Year as to how to get your points and how to Get Involved!
Scottish Culture and Food Day ALFIE’S CAFE, BUTCHART CENTRE - 12pm - 3pm Scotland is a land of history, culture and experiences so why not pop along and immerse yourself in a few of its offerings? Taste a ‘wee dram’ of whisky, try the famous Mackie’s ice cream and feast on some of the fine local food that will be on offer. After which you can learn how to Ceilidh dance (pronounced Kaylee), ready for those times during the year when you will get involved in a traditional Scottish night out! So whether you are from the t a Ge t o far flung corners of the world or just across the border then why not come along and sample just what Scotland can offer! n vo l ved Ausámon: Attending and joining in the ceilidh dancing will gain you 150 points. t
So, collect as many points as you can (you’ll be given a card with a points value from each event/service), which will then be totalled up at the end of the project and there will be 3 prize ‘hampers’ for the students with the most points.
CAMPUS TOURS BUTCHART - 11am, 12pm, 1pm and 2pm Where can you buy a pint (of milk)? Where can you go to hang out with my new found friends? Where can you find a University PC? Get to know all the campus knooks and crannies on our campus tours.
All Week: Student Advice Centre: come to SAC, where your welfare, comfort and advice needs will be supported by our great team of student staff and full-time advice team. Attending a drop-in session (it’s good self care!) will net you a whopping 200 points. Student Advice Centre: while you’re in SAC you may as well pick up some extra points by collecting a SAC pack, some information on housing rights and mental health, and of course the all-important condoms and safer sex goodies. Doing so will earn you 25 points from our student staff members! Fill in the ISS/NSS to collect 150 points from Student Association’s Education Development Coordinator. Sign up for Carbon Conversations in the Climate Change Project office and learn how your current habits affect the environment, and how becoming more ecofriendly will totally change your life and the world for the better! (Pick up 200 points for signing up through the Climate Change Project.) Not sure what to do about Climate Change? Come to Carbon Conversations to learn more about what a carbon footprint is and make a plan for reducing your impact. We’ll have five discussions about climate change in a small group designed to kick start your low carbon life. Topics covered include local food, waste and consumption, sustainable travel and carbon trading. No previous experience needed. A great way to meet people, share ideas and get informed.
MON 28th January
REFRESHERS’ WEEK EVENTS: One-offs: 28/01 Scottish Culture Day: come for a taste of Scotland, and have a jolly jig while you’re at it! Attending and joining in the ceilidh (that’s pronounced kay-lee) dancing will gain you 150 points. Alfie’s Café 12-3pm. 28/01 Volunteer Matching Fair: find your one true volunteering passion at our Volunteer Matching Fair. Joining up with a volunteering project means you get 75 points toward the prize. Alfie’s Café 2-4pm. 29/01 Take advantage of the perks of student life in halls by coming along to our Exercise Classes for Hillhead Residents at 5:30pm in the Games Hall on site, which happen to be worth 100 points 30/01 Swap Shop: Update your winter wardrobe from our selection of woolly jumpers, scarves and party frocks, plus much, much more! Swap Shop is a great way to reuse your old clobber. Just bring along any unwanted item, and swap it for something else. Music, drinks and nibbles available. A nice easy way to reuse and recycle the stuff you no longer need whilst refreshing your wardrobe for 2013! 122pm in Climate Change Office You’ll earn 100 points for attending during Refreshers’ week and another 25 points every time you stop by the shop in the Climate Change office before the end of February. 31/01 Refreshers’ Fair: come meet our great societies and sports clubs, join in and make the most of student life! Win 100 points for showing up and giving it a go. Alfie’s Café 12-2pm. 31/01 Come along to our Hillhead Residents exclusive Cookery Classes! These are free of charge and you learn new recipes every time you come, not to mention earning yourself a sweet (or savoury) 100 points. 4-6pm in the Central Building. For more information, find AUSA Creative Cookery on Facebook. 31/01 Eureka Launch Party: come along to the first Charities event of the new year, a magazine launch in Bookends! You’ll net yourself 100 points for attending and triple points with the purchase of a Eureka Magazine (proceeds go to charity, of course).
SO you want to be an AUSA superstar? Here’s how to get involved, get points for your participation and be in with a chance to win a load of excellent prizes all tied to the expenses you face as a student!
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National Student Money Week 11-17 February 2013 200 points for participating in any/all events Become a Class Rep 28 January-15 February 2013 500 points for becoming a Class Rep Meet your Class Rep 16-28 February 2013 200 points for meeting your Class Rep and collecting a card from them Fill in the Institutional or National Student Survey February 2013 100 points for filling in either the ISS or NSS Submit a motion to AUSA’s Annual General Meeting for discussion 28 January-9 February 2013 500 points for submitting a motion to the AGM Attend AUSA’s Annual General Meeting 19 February 2013 1000 points for attending the AGM Nominate someone to stand in the Exec Elections 11-28 February 2013 200 points for nominating someone else to run for the elections Stand in the Exec Elections 11-28 February 2013 1000 points for standing in the elections yourself Carbon Conversation: sign up to attend the March 2013 conversations anytime between Refreshers’ Week and the end of February 200 points for signing up, collected from the Climate Change Office Green Week 11-17 February 2013 200 points for participating in any Green Week event or campaign
REFRESHERS’ WEEK 2013 Guide
TUES 29th January
AN EVENING OF JAZZ ALFIE’S CAFE, BUTCHART CENTRE - 7pm – 9pm Relax this evening with our special live music combination of soulful jazz. Warm your cockles with hot chocolate, play some games, and make some friends whilst you rest your ears and feet. This event is sure to get your feet tapping and your jazzy side on red alert, with the AU Big Band providing the tunes too!
WED 30th January SWAP SHOP CLIMATE CHANGE OFFICE, BUTCHART CENTRE - 12pm - 3pm
Update your winter wardrobe from our selection of woolly jumpers, scarves and party frocks, plus much, much more! Swap Shop is a great way to reuse your old clobber. Just bring along any unwanted item, and swap it for something else. Music, drinks and nibbles available. A nice easy way to t a Ge reuse and recycle the stuff you no longer need whilst refreshing your ot wardrobe for 2013! Ausámon: You’ll earn 100 points for attending during Refreshers’ n vo l ved week and another 25 points every time you stop by the shop in the Climate Change office before the end of February. I
INTRODUCTORY TALK FOR ERASMUS AND EUROPEAN STUDENTS ROOM 051 MACROBERT BUILDING - 3pm Information specifically for ERASMUS and European students BREAKNECK COMEDY NIGHT UNION BAR, HILLHEAD HALLS - From 8pm Breakneck Comedy are fast becoming Aberdeen’s premier providers of stand up comedy and run regular nights in and around Aberdeen. Tonight they’re here with a fantastic line-up of top-notch comedians to get you giggling and laughing all the way to the bar! Look out for the line-up to be announced soon!
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Want to get involved? Whether you are looking to play sport or learn to knit we will have the Sports Club or Society just for you. With over 58 Clubs and 130 Societies available you cannot help but find something to tickle your fancy. Ausámon: Win 100 points for showing up and giving it a go.
SPORTS & SOCIETIES REFRESHERS’ FAYRE ALFIE’S CAFE, BUTCHART CENTRE - 12pm – 2pm
WELCOME AND INFORMATION SESSION FOR NEW INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS REGENT LECTURE THEATRE - 2pm Our International Student Advisers will provide you with practical information on living in Scotland Followed by General talk for all new postgraduate students (Sessions on Information Technology, Library, Students’ Association)
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Join us for our seasonal themed cookery session. We will be cooking up some of your favourite winter dishes with some of the best produce Scotland has to offer. These sessions get busy so be prepared to take turns in the kitchen! Ausámon: 100 points
COOKERY HILLHEAD (STUDENT COMMUNITY CENTRE, ADAM SMITH BUILDING) 4pm–6pm
EUREKA LAUNCH PARTY BOOKENDS, BUTCHART CENTRE - 7pm Come and join the Aberdeen Students’ Charities Campaign as we t a Ge ot launch our BRAND NEW RAG MAG for 2013! Eureka is packed chock-full of great jokes, stories, photos and puzzles for everyone to enjoy, and n has long had the honour of being the best RAG mag in Aberdeen! So vo l ved why not come and join us as we celebrate another amazing year with EUREKA?! You’ll be able to pick up your copy on the day as well! Ausámon: You’ll net yourself 100 points for attending and triple points with the purchase of a Eureka Magazine (proceeds go to charity, of course). G
REFRESHERS’ WEEK 2013 Guide
INTERNATIONAL MIXER TBC - 8pm Several of Aberdeen’s cultural societies have joined forces to bring you the most global party of Refreshers’ Week 2013. Come along and mingle with people from all over the world. Starting the night off with a drinks reception.
DATES FOR YOUR DIARY 2013 7th February Sports Union Ball 15th February – School Disco, Union Bar 10th March Superteams 13th March Granite City Challenge 16th March – St Patricks Day Party, Union Bar 23rd March – Charities Jailbreak 5th April – I Love the 80’s & 90’s Party, Union Bar 17th April – Charities Student Show Week 19th April The Second Annual Whisky Festival, Elphinstone Hall 20th April Race to Rio 20th April – Charities Gala Saturday 22nd April – Charities RAG Week 27th April – Charities Torcher Parade 1st May Sports Union AGM 10th May – Traffic Lights Party, Union Bar 7th June – Charities Disbursement
CHECK OUT WWW.AUSA.ORG.UK FOR MORE EVENTS AND UP TO DATE INFORMATION ABOUT EVERYTHING GOING ON IN AND AROUND ABERDEEN UNIVERSITY!
Editorial Editors: James Valentine & Claire Wheelans
What to do with the demons of Fleet Street... Claire Wheelans assesses whether the British press needs regulating
s there a way to regulate the press, while still having free press? The question many politicians are trying to decide after the publication of The Leveson Inquiry report. The inquiry was created by David Cameron, who appointed Lord Justice Leveson as chairman, to investigate the phone hacking, police bribery by the press and the ethics of the British media. Public figures such as Sienna Miller, Hugh Grant, Piers Morgan, J.K. Rowling and Steve Coogan. The report has recommended a new self-regulation body to be created that would not include any serving editors or those in government or business. While the inquiry found that there is no extensive corruption of the police by the press, it did conclude that politicians and press have been a little too close for comfort. One part of the report even states “There have been too many times when, chasing the story, parts of the press have acted as if its own code, which it wrote, simply did not exist. This has caused real hardship and, on occasion, wreaked havoc with the lives of innocent people whose rights and liberties have been disdained.” The most criticised case is that of the phone hacking scandal by The News of the World whose hacking victims included murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler, relatives of killed British soldiers and victims of the 7/7 bombings. After the revelation of phone hacking, News of the World was forced to discontinue its printing. All of the cases brought forward are evidence to how uncontrolled the British press has become. The purpose of the press should
11 December 2012
be to inform the public and in a democracy, to hold public figures to account. However, it is not just the British press who have recently received criticism. In early December of this year, the New York Post published a front-page photograph of a man just as he was about to be hit by a subway train. This immediately caused an uproar and put fuel on the already ablaze fire. The problem is that there is a debate among politicians, journalists and the public as to how to control the British press and to what extent. This leads onto the well-known question “who watches the watchers?”. From all of this it’s clear that the press does need some controls to prevent more cases of privacy being breached. Having considered journalism as a career, I was quickly dissuaded after seeing
the ethics - or lack thereof - of journalists. Some stories do need to be published for the public to be aware, the most famous arguably being the Watergate Scandal, but because media is so widespread nowadays it means that outlets are constantly competing for a newsbreaking story. If a regulatory body was created, there would need to be an agreed view of how controlled the press should be in order to function well. But then this means “who watches those who watch the watchers?”.
When researching a story journalists have caused “real hardship and, on occasion, wreaked havoc with the lives of innocent people”
firstname.lastname@example.org Editorial Team Head Editors
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Conor Riordan and Dan Naylor
Life & Style Editor
Head Copy Editor
Copy Editing Team
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Butchart Centre University Road Old Aberdeen AB24 3UT Tel: 01224 272980 We voluntarily adhere to the Press Complaints Commission Code of Conduct (www.pcc.org.uk) and aim to provide fair and balanced reporting.
Photos/ Gene Hunt (flickr)
Disclaimer: All opinions expressed in the Editorial section are those of the authors of the articles, and do not necessarily represent views held by the Gaudie, AUSA, or any company which advertised in the Gaudie.
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11 December 2012
Life & Style
Editor: Jo Polydoros
Aberdeen’s Next Top Model: AUCC fashion show Alasdair Lane gives you the low-down on a night of high-fashion
hough as depressingly dark and frosty as any other evening this side of Halloween, the final night of November was one to remember. Why? Seven words: Aberdeen Students’ Charities Campaign annual Fashion Show. I’ll level with you- I was more than a bit sceptical when
fashion house began to set in. The Aberdeen University Dance Society kicked the evening of entertainment off with a stirring, foot-stamping routine which served its warm-up purpose perfectly. With the audience’s eyes very much to the front, our host and hostess for the evening, Chris Shanks and Isla Hodgson,
took to the stage with a hilariously awkward and purposely haphazard salsa which really set the tone of their comedy-punctuated routine.
audience, with saucy winks and hilarious end-of-catwalk skits aplenty. A sudden return to elegance
Without further ado, we got down to the main show of the night- the modelling. Strutting their stuff with real gusto, the student models cast aside any inhibitions admirably and really got into the spirit of things. The clothing on showall generously donated by local retailers such as Penguin, Burton and Ann Summers- was as rich in variety as it was attractiveness. Starting off with the decidedly more casual jeans and jumper combos, there was a definite progression in style. A few runs in the crew necks were turning to shirt collars, the skinny jeans to skirts and dresses as motions of smart-casuals grew ever more formal. And then Ann Summers reared her head! A sudden flurry of female lingerie and skimpy male boxers brought the mounting sophistication back down to earth with a hysteric crash. The already excellently cavalier models really cranked it up for the salivating
came in the form of a late surge in eveningwear and a splattering of kilts, before all the models- clothed or not- took to the stage in one final triumphant hoorah. Any potential boredom was prevented with a couple of brilliant mid-show distractions. A public sale of some of the apparel garnered modest interest for instance, though it was the auctioning off of the models themselves (each offering to take a lucky bidder on a unique date) which really caused a stir. Though even this paled in comparison to the jaw-dropping hip-hop dancers who really stole the side-entertainment show with their matchless moves and coordination. Not often can an evening of such unadulterated good fun also be so beneficial to a genuinely good cause- over £1000 was raised for some forty local charities. Was the evening worth an hour’s wage? Absolutely.
Photos/ Jonathan MacDonell stumping up the six quid ticket price. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for charity (though I usually go for the ‘anonymous’ altruism approach accompanied with a healthy helping of thinly veiled modesty) but these sort of student organised events tend to be lacking in, well, production value and can be plagued with an endemic amateurishness. Upon strolling into The Garage fashionably late, however, these concerns were immediately put to bed. The catwalk, flanked on all sides by seating, shot out across the dance floor; a rank of photographers took up position, itchy shutter-fingers eager to get snapping; beautiful models appeared momentarily then vanished once again backstage and slightly less beautiful punters excitedly anticipating the commencement of proceedings. The exuberance was palpable. Indeed, it only took a few not-somodestly-priced drinks before the illusion of an authentic Parisian
11 December 2012
Sparkle like a star this Christmas Kirsten Rankin shows you how to make a statement in glitter Michelle Phan has a cool trick up her sleeve that we could steal by using business cards. Simply just place the card at a slight angle to your face and it should catch most of the fall-out. Another option could also be to hold a tissue to your face. If there is any glitter that manages to penetrate your blockade; just take some foundation onto a brush and sweep it away. Now these are all good and well to use if you’re sticking glitter onto your eyelids, but what about your lips? ‘Disco Lips’ according the Elle magazine are going to be huge this season. Just watch on New Years Eve who you kiss because it may be blatantly obvious! Besides the point though, this look is all about having a little bit of fun, but how do we make this work? Well obviously you can’t use use any
Uses of Vaseline By Natasha Eastwood It has plenty of other uses aside from its chief use as chapped lip curer, and they’ll appeal to your empty bank account after those expensive Christmas-themed nights out have left your bank balance in the single digits!
The static hairs on your head that often appear after you’ve blowdried your hair can be softened down by smoothing a small blob of Vaseline into the tips of your fingers and running it through the top of your head along these pesky hairs. Scrunching it through the ends of your hair can give your hair that messy/controlled look too!
Curing dry elbows
The skin on your elbows is particularly prone to dryness, so smooth a dab of this petroleum jelly onto the skin in this area and you’ll have soft elbows in no time!
As an exfoliant
Just add some salt or sugar to make the cheapest ever exfoliating scrub. You can also add to any expensive cream you may own to make it last that bit longer before you have to replenish stocks.
Photo/ Stopsign (Flickr)
Tis the season to be one of the glitterati. This season one of the main trends is glitter, glitter, glitter, and even more glitter. What the heck, let me write glitter one more time, just so you get the point. Now I love glitter, but it is a pesky little pain as it seems to not take direction all too well. You mean for it to end up on your eyes and it somehow ends up on your cheeks, lips and clothes instead. How do we make it stick and somehow not cover absolutely everyone else in the room? The first and most obvious way to make the glitter stay is glitter glue. Don’t panic, there are safe glues created by many makeup brands, such as Two Faced Insurance. They do a good glitter glue eyeshadow primer for £17 which you can buy in many Boots stores. I’ll admit, this seems a bit expensive so I have
Who’d have thought! It can be made all the more effective on chapped lips by using a soft headed toothbrush a few minutes after the Vaseline has been applied to gently rub it in and to make the skin on your lips even smoother.
As a spot-buster
Perfect for acne sufferers or any white head that has magically appeared overnight, just apply a smidgen of Vaseline onto the troubled area and it acts as a moisturiser to reduce irritation and it can help smooth out the skin quicker.
Cheap red (preferably Italian) wine Sprinkle of cinammon/ cinammon stick A few bay leaves (optional) Nutmeg Caster sugar or honey Orange juice Method 1. Combine the ingredients in a pot. 2. Heat over the stove. 3. Enjoy responsibly with a mince pie. Warning: do not try and make more after you’ve already finished a bottle or two. It will only end badly.
old glitter, you have to use edible glitter because whether you like the idea or not, you’re probably going to end up eating some of it. Frontcover do some edible makeup glitter for £4. Bargain. Personally I think putting glue on your lips is a bit of a silly notion (not that putting glitter on your lips isn’t a bit of a fizz gig either) so I suggest just using a fine glitter with a tightly packed stiff brush and put it on over the top of your lipstick or perhaps even a lipgloss. As much as we wish it could be, we have to face the facts that this isn’t a durable look. This trend, whether it be on your lids or lips, will be great for New Year. After all, glitter surrounds us that night anyway. Plus you never know, you may pick up a magpie or two.
another proposal. Eyelash glue: you know, the type of glue that you stick your fake eyelashes too. If its safe enough to stick your eyelashes on with then it should be safe enough to stick glitter onto your eyelids with. The particularly good thing about this is you can buy this glue very inexpensively. Just go into Poundland or another discounted store and I can guarantee that you will be able to buy a fake eyelash set on the cheap. Just ditch the lashes and take the glue. Or not, I mean you can wear the lashes if you want. Finally, you could just resort to a tacky eyeshadow base like Sleeks Molten Metal duo. This is a cream eyeshadow which will mean it will be very tacky, meaning the glitter will stick. The only problem with this will be fall-out. However,
t seems that far too many of my recipes have come from my crazy, hippy flatmate, but I really have to commend her on this one. This is a fantastically cheap
Cure dried lips
Life & Style
recipe for mulled wine that’s so simple no one could get it wrong. If that’s not enough to persuade you, it will have you feeling all warm and fuzzy after just one glass.
Aberdeen University’s straight-talking OAP Agony Aunts solve all your problems I’m spending Christmas alone this year as the flights back home were too expensive for me. Is there anything I can do to keep myself busy and make some friends over Christmas? KF If you don’t much fancy drinking the season away and forgetting about the sorrow and misery, you can always try volunteering at a homeless shelter over the festive period. Not only are you doing something for the community, building up your CV and doing something fulfilling but you’ll realise how much worse your life can get and not feel so bad about being alone for just a couple of weeks. I really don’t know what to get my boyfriend for Christmas, he’s being really difficult and will only tell me to get him a DVD that he’s only downloaded or a T shirt but I really want to do something special. Please help me. DT If he doesn’t really want anything you can’t help that, but we know one thing that will always make
him happy. Just buy yourself some sexy underwear, turn up at his door in a trench coat and just enjoy the repercussions. No one takes me seriously, my colleagues, lecturers and even fellow students all just think I’m a massive joke just because I’m a little bit eclectic. What can I do to persuade them otherwise. FR We believe you should never change yourself for anyone so if you are eclectic just live up to your reputation they gave you. Put on some ironic sunglasses, quote Buddhist mantras whenever answering a question and wear turnips as earrings, then they’ll never be able to tell if you are being serious or not. My crush and all his mates saw me fall over on the ice the other day. They all laughed but he did come over and help me up. Does this mean anything? VA Probably not. There’s a chance he could have just been being a decent guy.
Email Ethel & Janice with your problems: firstname.lastname@example.org
Life & Style
11 December 2012
Powder, glitter, action!
Just do it!
Emily Hunt gives you her top tips for looking picture perfect this festive season
Jo Polydoros tells you why you should join the horse riding society
hristmas is a time to eat too much, drink too much and take too many photos. Whether it’s for Christmas day or New Year, nearly all of us will style our hair and do our makeup in order to look our best on Christmas photos. When we get all dolled up we feel good, but sometimes we are definitely not looking good in the photos. Our skin is shiny and our face is a lot paler and ghost like compared to the rest of our body and we just look awful. So we moan, maybe un-tag ourselves or press delete and continue not to understand why we look strange. The answer is, either you were intoxicated and drunk us always thinks we look gorgeous or, more likely, you have been a victim of flashback. The majority of us will at some point look awful in photos because our makeup is not photogenic. Yes, we can finally blame our lack of photogenic ability on our choice of makeup. Here are some simple, yet effective tips to looking gorgeous on camera this Christmas. Moon face syndrome is a common result of flash photography. Sometimes the camera’s flash can cause your face to appear unusually pale and white. The key culprit behind this is SPF. Titanium Oxide and Zinc oxide are key ingredients of SPF and unfortunately, if these are ingredients in your foundation, when taking a photograph with flash they will reflect back causing that awful white glare. If you use mineral foundation the chances are this will also cause flashback because minerals are natural sun protection. SPF is important for everyday to protect the skin, but during the Christmas celebrations avoid using foundations that use SPF or contain Zinc oxide and
Titanium oxide. Lower SPF levels may be ‘flash proof’ but to be on the safe side test before use. Although none of us want to look like a moon face, some reflection of light off the face can look beautiful and will help to highlight our best assets. Although dewy foundations look great in person, the flash will not be forgiving and no one
wants a shiny face. Instead use a matte finish foundation because they tend to photograph better and add highlight to specific places. Apply a highlighter such as Benefit’s Highbeam or Topshop’s Highlighter in Sunbeam to the highest point of your cheekbones, on to your brow bone and along your cupids bow. Highlighting is easy if you think of it in simple terms- imagine a light above your head shining down on to your face, you want to apply highlighter to the areas the light would naturally hit. Applying highlight to areas the light does not naturally hit will appear odd and can highlight
imperfections we would rather stay hidden. If you have oily skin such as an oily t-zone, unfortunately photographs can leave you looking a hot sweaty mess. Apply a translucent powder to the areas of the face most affected by oil- the forehead, nose, sides of the nose and chin. This will not only set your makeup in place, but it will prevent your skin looking shiny. Although it is easy to use a large fluffy brush to apply your powder, be careful. If you sweep the powder on to the face, you will move the makeup that you have already applied. Instead, push the powder in to the skin as this will not alter the already done makeup. Winter weather can cause the skin to appear red and give you that famous Rudolph nose. There is an easy way to counteract this problem. Before you apply your foundation apply a green (yes, green) base to the face. Green counteracts red in the skin, so try L’Oreal Paris Studio Secrets antiredness primer available in Boots, applying directly before foundation to neutralise the redness. Finally, if there’s one time of year when glitter is more than appropriate, it is Christmas. Glitter can photograph beautifully when used on the eyes. You can apply your normal eyeshadow and push the glitter on top with your finger or a flat brush. The Barry M Dazzle-dusts are fun, affordable and come in many colours. If you are feeling a little more creative pat some glitter on top of your lipstick or gloss for really festive makeup. Unfortunately there are no makeup tricks for looking less intoxicated, but hopefully these simple tricks will help you feel camera ready this Christmas!
magine this: you’re out enjoying a beautifully crisp afternoon, with snow over the fields, icicles hanging off trees and robins whistling away, but one thing isn’t quite right because you’ve found yourself sitting down, able to see miles ahead of you and you are very, very warm. If there’s a sport out there that you have to try once, it’s definitely horse riding. Now don’t dismiss
Photo/ Sami Keinanen (Flickr) me as one of those girls who has pony pictures plastered all over her room and wouldn’t know a real sport if it hit her in her face. Ten years of horse riding has given me brick-like calf muscles and enough bruises and scars to deal with the measly insults that get thrown my way about enjoying this sport. Saying that, I definitely don’t want to scare you off as horse riding is definitely not all about being dragged upside-down through a pool of mud whilst attached to a horse or being chucked off travelling at 40 miles per hour; it’s more about developing a bond with an animal and really getting your body to work for you. Don’t be fooled though, this sport is definitely not for the faint hearted. It requires constant effort, determination, discipline and a
hell of a lot of balance. When I first started horse riding I cried for days about the first time I fell off, but after some perseverance I realised that balancing on a moving animal is definitely not as hard as it looks, as long as it is doing what you’re telling it to do. After a while you’ll start noticing the changes too, getting a horse to move will use much less effort, your balance will improve so much that you’ll be able to stay on even when the horse blatantly doesn’t want you to, your whole body will stop aching and start to look much more toned, and you’ll have gained a new appreciation for the power and beauty of not only horses but nature herself. Not only is horse riding an incredibly beneficial sport, but University of Aberdeen Riding Club is known for being one of the best societies around with a social held every other week and is one of the best competing university clubs in the country. Whether you’re a complete beginner or have rosettes covering every inch of your room there is a place for you at AURC, with a variety of lessons taking place on a Wednesday afternoon at Hayfield Riding School and the chance to compete for their teams at the beginning of each year. Don’t worry, the sport isn’t as expensive as you would think, because the club receive a special discount from Hayfield, and you get the chance to rent out equipment rather than pay for it straight away. I couldn’t recommend it more if I tried and I urge the rest of you who have ever been tempted to try it out, so make sure you book yourself a lesson with them in Refreshers Week. I promise, you won’t regret it!
Confessions Corner An anomynous Aberdeen student shares her deepest secret
o I have a secret. I don’t know if it’s unorthodox or not; perhaps you’ll empathise; perhaps you’ll demonize; but I can guarantee you will at least be, definitely, be surprised. You see my secret, no one knows, not even really close friends. You see I’m a virgin, and at the age of twentysomething. It just hasn’t happened, you know. I’m a female and regularly go out clubbing. I’m not religious either, just to add another twist. I simply just haven’t done IT, and neither do I particularly feel the need to. You also can’t place it down to the fact that I’ve never had a boyfriend, cause I have; I’ve had three serious ones to be exact. In fact, thinking retrospectively I’ve never really ever been single. Obviously, my current boyfriend knows, (as the fact that we’ve never had sex is something that he would indeed notice), but as I have explained to him (and I will
to you too) that I simply don’t want to right now. Yes, it is obviously awkward and tiring keeping up the charade with people, cause if I were ever to tell them the truth: number one they would be upset that I’ve lied to them for so long and number two they would wonder why the hell I haven’t done it as they’ve known me from day one, as such and such’s girl. And to tell the honest truth I am slightly ashamed too. Ashamed that society has made me feel so awkward about my sexual relationship (or lack there of) that I don’t feel that I can tell the truth. After all, the label virgin at my age is deemed worse than that of slag. On the topic of being honest, after all this is anonymous, so I feel ‘world’ that I can pretty much tell you everything. It’s kind of cathartic really… But I guess my real issue with having sex is that; I just genuinely don’t want to do that... right… now… There is no really simple answer to it, as more
of several reasons. Mainly, I feel I have better things to do right now, I have a job, a flat, university and course work, a family that is on the brink of falling apart, quite frankly adding sexual issues to my relationship is not really on my itinerary right now. We’re good just as we are currently, why go asking for trouble? Secondly, I do sort of have this belief that, if you can, just give it up to the one and only. Trust me, I do know how idealistic this does sound, and I agree it sounds a bit silly in the 21 century too. But its just how I feel, I want the one to be my only one if I can help it, and I guess the only real way for me to be sure is through marriage. After all, the entire act literally does involve the two participants becoming one: this idea isn’t just a metaphor used in sappy love songs.
Obviously, the next step here would be for me to defend myself, I am not a lesbian, in fact, my favourite hobby is drooling at Alex Pettyfer in ‘Magic Mike’. Neither is my boyfriend gay, (not that that is an issue either though), he is simply just understanding; and if you do snigger to yourself thinking ‘yeah right’, people like you are the reason for my lack of promiscuity. I guess from this perspective you could call me a control freak. I am indeed the one calling the shots in the relationship, and I suppose my holding out is directly proportional to him providing me with the comfort that he does genuinely love me and will be willing to wait for me.
Maybe h a v e I psychological issues: low self-esteem… Intimacy issues… But you with your bed hopping, can you really proclaim that you’re any different? All girls after all are psycho bitches. And no, no I’m not scared that if my current boyfriend and me do get married that we will be sexually incompatible and that its my fault for not sleeping and finding out earlier. I mean, after all, isn’t the repetition of the act what the fuss is about? I have my whole life to have sex, and quite frankly the later I start the older and older I’ll be having great sex whilst you’re stuck in a drought. Trust me, right now your pitying me, but one day you will envy me.
11 December 2012
Life & Style
Think twice before you give that child a dollar Emily Thorburn shows you how to give back to your holiday destination without falling victim to crime
une, July and August – Tourist season has descended on South East Asia. Flights were purchased months ago, new rucksacks have been acquired and visa applications have been approved. Backpackers all over the world are finished packing those last few essential items (Passport check!) and made the emotional decision to leave their straighteners at home. While this may be the adventure of a lifetime, a world away from essay writing, parental phone calls and dull day jobs, there are still certain things it is important to remember when visiting this part of the world. As students everywhere jet off to Thailand, Cambodia and other exotic locations, child-welfare activists become increasingly worried about the impact these well-meaning travellers might have on the local children. It is not uncommon to see street children in these parts of the world, running around, often barefoot and barely clothed, asking Western tourists to donate a dollar here and there. Of course, they are extremely hard to resist with sad faces, broken phrases of English and eyes full of desperation. It is in the good nature of every tourist who does not know better to hand over a dollar or two to every child
they see. After all, you’ve paid to get this far, a couple more dollars here and there can’t hurt right? Wrong. For a lot of children, begging is not an option. Some are sold into begging by their devastatingly poor parents, while
Its a sad fact that in countries all over the world, by giving money to street children, you are paying to keep them away from school. However, here are a few steps towards helping the issue: 1 Do your research – If you
Photo/ Drriss (Flickr) others work for ‘Child Predators’ - groups who send children to the streets to beg - before taking their money for the day. Such as well as being poorly clothed and badly fed are also denied educations.
are travelling to another country, wherever it may be, you should familiarise yourself with what it will be like. By reading up on social issues and the country’s history, you will be aware that problems
such as child begging do exist and how donating money will only further the problem. Reading up will also help to lessen the culture shock. 2 Give food – if you are hounded by a beautiful dark eyed child and really cannot resist giving something, then food is your best bet. Something substantial, to get them through the day, which cannot be later removed by a begging ‘pimp’. 3 Work with local charities and organisations. Take Cambodia for example. Child protection organisations do exist and offer courses to educate tourists about where they are and the local population. Charities like ThinkTwice Cambodia are also present and willing to offer advice. Visit their offices and look up their website if you are unsure of anything while you are travelling. 4 Beware of fake orphanages. It may sound silly, but they do exist, with the aim of lulling innocent tourists who will then offer a hefty donation after seeing rows of poor children. Do not be sucked in by this, children are not tourist attractions. Any real orphanages are unlikely to let tourists wander in for a look around. 5 Be aware of children who
claim to just want food and not money. The city of Siem Reap, Cambodia, is currently undergoing a problem with children, often as young as six or seven, holding babies and claiming: “I don’t want money, I just need milk.” If you were to oblige, the child would then lead you to a particular store and allow you to buy milk. Once you back is turned, they will return the milk to the shop keeper. He or she will then keep the milk and half your money, while the child will pass the other half onto his or her ‘owner’ or ‘pimp’. Investigations into this has found that the babies are often taken from poor women in the countryside and then drugged to make them gain more sympathy from tourists. Do not be fooled. Don’t get me wrong, if you go travelling in South East Asia, I am willing to bet that you will have the time of your life. However, it is important to remember where you are and how damaging doing something like giving a dollar can be. While it may seem like a nice gesture, it continues the problem of child poverty. No child should have to ask for milk, instead of asking to learn. Where possible, when travelling anywhere, try to take only photos and leave only footprints.
The Cooking Bike Hannah Girvan meets two guys go the Longer Way Round, exploring global delicacies on a tandem bike
October, a study on over 11,000 employees found performance at work was increased vastly by a strong sense of wellbeing. So if you’re trying to achieve the astonishing title of employee of the month, maybe a holiday is in order. The culinary culture of each country crossed will be explored and a blog will be kept to share the journey and spread a little joy around the world. Get your Instagram accounts ready for the photographs of meals with unimaginable beauty that could stop Man vs. Food in his tracks. If you’d like to help this fantastic physical feat, simply donate as much as you want here http:// thecookingbike.wifeo.com/home-
December plays host to Geminid meteor shower, which is surely worth the cold of the frozen north. Not only that but life in the new titled ‘FABerdeen’ gives us the rare opportunity to see the Northern Lights in the next couple of weeks! So step outside, have a drink with your friends and remember how good life can be.
page.php and maybe we can help slow down the rat race just a touch. Oh and just in case you’ve not been to a spinning class for a while, there are other ways to procrastinate that don’t involve Facebook. The night of 13
from France have decided to begin a quest for new global tastes and reminding us of our ability to conquer all with sheer determination (as well as thighs of steel). Travelling from France all the
way to China, Jonathan Perras (Jo) and Emmanuel Kurtz (Manu) will be working up their appetites by travelling solely on a tandem bike. The 23 and 25 year olds began this journey with two simple pleasures: the love of food and love of cycling. Through the sixmonth period they will put to good use their basic bike-fixing skills and determination, overcoming inevitable obstacles of terrain and weather. Many of the roads will be rural so if anything goes wrong, they’ll be on their own. So why a tandem? “For team spirit. The effort is shared so in every moment, good or bad, it’ll be just the two of us.” It’ll probably help brake the ice in harsher social climates too. Covering over 13500km by pedal, Manu and Jo will begin this incredible sixmonth journey next spring. What could possibly inspire them to do this I hear you ask! When Joshua Bell (world famous violinist) playing some of the hardest pieces of music went unnoticed by the majority of rush hour commuters in a Washington metro station, an underpinning issue in western culture was highlighted. The simplest virtue of stopping to enjoy life seems to be fading fast. Manu and Jo are trying to encourage the world to do whatever it is that makes us smile. Your boss might appreciate it too. This
ost of you reading this will be taking a break from the chaotic workload that is inevitable in the run up to Christmas, however the chances are we’ll keep working our butts off until Summer next year. Flying on red bull, regarding sleep as a luxury, and putting the library down as your billing address can all get a bit much sometimes in a 24/7 workaholic environment. With this in mind, two guys
11 December 2012
Editor: Emily Thorburn
Willy Mason talks to Jess Johnson about family knees-ups, intellectual traditions and always remembering to change your socks
i Willy! How did you like Aberdeen? It was great! That was actually one of my favourites of the tour, definitely a standout show: the crowd and the sound in the room were really special.
childhood memories of music, where you might have decided that was what you wanted to do in life? Well it was never a conscious decision but I do remember sitting on the couch in the corner when my parents were still together and they threw a party: I think it was in the holidays, there was lots of family visiting and the neighbours came over too, and they were just playing music in the living room. My cousin was there playing the mandolin, he showed me a couple of chords, and people were playing the piano, and my uncle was blowing on an empty apple cider jug. Everybody was singing, and it was just that really warm safe feeling where you could just fall asleep and everybody’s having a good time. I’ve never forgotten that night.
Yeah I ran into you outside and really awkwardly made you sign my guest pass/chest, because I’m a professional. Oh I remember you! Glad my stalking paid off. So you’ve had some quite big gaps between albums, what have you been doing since If The Ocean Gets Rough in 2007? Oh all kinds of stuff: writing songs, commercial oyster fishing, teaching a song-writing class, building some stuff, helping my parents out, and putting on concerts.
I’ve heard you be compared to lots of people, like Dylan and Hank Williams Sr. – is that exasperating or flattering? It was definitely flattering when I first started, but I pay it no mind these days. It doesn’t really mean anything, it’s just a reference point. It’ll take a long time before anybody can really say I’m like one thing or another, because with each album I get different comparisons. Hopefully in the end I won’t be compared to anybody but myself.
You called Carry On “the third and final chapter” of your existing albums. What’s different about this album? Well, I got myself into some trouble with the first album, it’s sort of taken me two albums to get out of it and to feel comfortable in the music business. I was really young when the first album came out, so now with this album, I finally feel like I have the reins back in my hands and I’m free to do my own thing. I was 13 when your first album came out, I loved it. It’s surprising that you feel more positive now, because the memory of that album is one of great youthful idealism, but the new album’s lyrics struck me as a bit more poignant. Do you think that’s just getting older?
Photo/ all that improbable blue (Flickr) to accept. But once I did, I was just stronger and more optimistic for it, you know? That’s a cheering message. This is slightly embarrassing, but I have a vivid memory of crying the first time I heard We Can Be Strong. Do you think that certain genres like blues, folk etc just provoke deeper emotional reactions? Wow. That’s just what all music does at its best, you know.
Well this album is definitely about what I’ve gone through trying to get to where I am now. And a lot of that had to do with accepting things that were difficult
I dunno, I think if you cry at drum & bass you’re probably just on bad drugs. [laughs] Well crying isn’t the only emotional reaction! It’s an important one, but music that makes you wanna get up and dance your ass off is just as important. And I think that���s what all genres share, the ability to move people. That’s been said a million times before, but it’s true. So you’ve been touring the UK for nearly a decade. Do you have a favourite city or
venue? I have really fond memories of some of the early places I used to play, like The Night & Day in Manchester and King Tut’s in Glasgow. And then some of the house parties have been incredible – there was one up in Derry that I’ll never forget. It’s hard to pick any one place. The more that I travel the UK, the more I have an appreciation for it. You know, it is rainy, but I love it. So do you think there’s a particular significance which places play in creating music? Where do you write? I write anywhere, but it definitely has an effect on the music. You can shut out your environment when you’re making music but I think you can get a lot more out of it if you’re absorbing your surroundings and letting them have an influence. It’s best to use the materials that are right in front of you. Being from a musical family, do you have any specific
How will you celebrate the album release of Carry On? I’ll be on tour when it comes out, so that’ll be cool. Then I get home [Martha’s Vineyard] about a week later and I’ll do something in the venue that I started with some friends of mine, called The Pit Stop. So we’ll throw a party! I do like to travel, but I do sometimes get homesick. It’s nice to leave and it’s nice to come home. I read that you are a descendant of William and Henry James. Do you think that has had some sort of bearing on your ideas of the importance of free will and truth? I have no idea, but I do think about them a lot. I like to think that I’m playing a part in carrying on that tradition of American pragmatism and analytical free thinking, looking at things questioningly and not taking any creator ideologies for granted. Finally, I was wondering if you have any passing advice you could give me? Don’t forget to change your socks. Haha. Thanks Willy!
Reinventing Classics the
or the first reinventing the classics column, I would like to justify the lasting relevance of Vanity Fair: one of my favourite novels. Although a fairly wordy work, the novel is remarkably easy reading for something first published in 1847. The characters that Thackery introduces in the novel are flawed, detestable, devious and most importantly, realistic parodies. Reading the novel now, it is (worryingly) easy to compare people we know to the characters. For example, we all know an Amelia Sedley: frustratingly passive and naive, very much a girly-girl. We also all know a Rawdon Crawley: a ‘lad’ but ultimately empty-headed, easily manipulated and violent. Becky Sharp: the devious, manipulative, anti-heroine who battles her way from a low position in life to giddying social heights. In the 2004 film Vanity Fair, Reece Witherspoon played Sharp and managed - although giving a performance reminiscent of her previous work in Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde - to interpret some of the hideousness of Thackrey’s portrayal of Sharp. Love-to-loath characters are timeless and help the novel transcend through to 2012. To look at Vanity Fair away from the characters it is easy to see how the book still acts as a parody of society as a whole. Thackery’s greatgreat-grandson Al Murray paints a picture of society through the stereotypes of ‘The Pub Landlord’, and in a remarkably similar way, Vanity Fair shows the pettiness of Victorian society. This can be seen in the family members competing for inheritance, the vanity of the British officers, the ridiculous nature of colonial government, and the juxtaposition of stupidity and greed at the very top of the social strata. For a modern reader, Vanity Fair can be seen as much today as a satire of contemporary society and human nature, as it was in Victorian England. Beyond this, it is a very amusing read. The complex strands of plot that Thackery separates then ties up, lend themselves to create the first brilliant and timeless classic in this series. By Josh Bircham
11 December 2012
- Will Maclean & Marian Leven Fiona Lawson reveals the creators, the inspiration and the creative process behind THAT sculpture
ver wondered what the peculiar stone sculpture outside the Sir Duncan Rice library is or what it represents? Look no further because I have the answer - and it is more interesting than you think. First and foremost, it is titled Waterlines and was created through a collaborative husband and wife partnership between Will Maclean and Marian Leven. Maclean is one of Scotland’s leading artists with both a national and global reputation for his range of skill and imagination. Raised in Inverness, he studied at Gray’s School of Art in the early 60s and then went on to travel Europe and study at the British School in Rome after being awarded a Gray’s Travelling Scholarship. His original intentions were to follow in his father’s footsteps with a maritime career but Maclean changed tack and from then on has achieved a distinguished name for himself. The Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Dundee is indebted to his work there over the years. Perhaps as a result of growing up in the Highlands of Scotland, Maclean is renowned for his interest in ‘found’ objects, often with relation to the sea. His catalogue of work is very poetic and quite often has a story to tell or a moment of reflection for the viewer. Leven met Maclean whilst the two were studying at Gray’s School of Art – a partnership that has lasted some 50 years. She too shows great
Photo/ Dereck E-Jay (Flickr)
REVIEWSFilm Argo Starring: BEN AFFLECK, JOHN GOODMAN, BRYAN CRANSTON
By Michael Clark Ben Affleck focuses his directorial capabilities on the new political thriller Argo. It tells the story of the CIA-Canadian operation in 1980, to rescue six US embassy staff from the hostility and turmoil of revolutionary Iran. In order to save these embassy personnel, Tony Mendez (Affleck) hatches the plan that those attempting to escape are actually Canadian filmmakers, scouting locations in Iran in order to make a science fiction movie. It is amazing how much of this recently declassified event is actually true. The opening scenes capture brilliantly the absolute loss of control and anarchy that comes with revolution. Argo smartly switches between
passion for the Scottish seascape and the effect of the elements on the landscape around us. Whilst her work is very abstract and is a predominantly pale palette, there is an air of harmony, balance and emotion emanating from many of her works. Amongst this haze of art, the pair have also raised a family of three children, two of which appear to have inherited the artistic genes; a film writer and director (see ‘Pitch Black Heist’), and the other is a drummer in the band Django Django. Given the couple’s adoration of the Highlands, sea and the history and mythologies of those who live and work by the sea, it was inevitable that their commission in Aberdeen would reflect this. The decision to use Kilkenny Blue limestone to construct the sculpture is a nod to the many standing stones in the Aberdeenshire region; continuing the mythological, storytelling theme. The engravings cut into the stone represent the sheer lines, body plan and half breadth of Thermopylae, one of the fastest clipper ships to be built. The ship was constructed in 1868 by Aberdeen shipbuilders Hall, Russell & Co who sadly were one of the last Aberdeen shipbuilders to be closed down in 1992. In her heyday as a tea and wool clipper to China and Australia, she was described as being a ‘fine specimen of naval architecture, a model of symmetry and beauty; her sweeping lines and exquisite proportions, her graceful outline and general
political thriller and Hollywood satire, with genuinely comedic moments, which are outlandish concerning the subject matter. It is this balance between satire and serious political drama that makes Argo hugely entertaining. The final act is, without doubt, one of the most intense, white knuckle experiences I have ever had in a cinema. This part of the film was evidently a dramatic invention, but the film gets away with it as it is constructed in such a remarkable way. The revolution from which this uncanny tale was taken is well documented, and to this day still has a profound impact not just on the Iranian people, but on international relations as well. But, because this particular segment of this widely known affair is relatively unknown, the viewer generally has no clue as to the welfare of the characters, which further enhances the tension. These factors along with decent performances from all make Argo a terrific film to watch.
compactness, conveying an idea of perfection’. When you place this description alongside Waterlines it becomes clear to see what Maclean and Leven were aiming to portray. The three key elements to Waterlines are line, colour and texture; elements which are very apparent in the Sir Duncan Rice library. Maclean and Leven have innovatively created a sculpture that not only marks the entrance to a new addition in the Aberdeen city skyline, but the sculpture itself represents a combination of the old and new customs of the environment in which it has been placed. Waterlines may not be to everyone’s taste but I think what is most fascinating and important to remember, is the research and contextual approach that has been put in to produce the sculpture. Hundreds of people pass it every day - the majority don’t give it a second glance – but for those of you reading this, at least now you will have a better understanding of the new landmark in the Aberdeen landscape and the heritage it stands to represent. Coincidentally, on the 19th January 2013 at the University Library Gallery begins an exhibition that will hopefully offer a greater insight into the design, construction and thought process behind the Waterlines sculpture, as well as highlight that, contrary to popular belief, there is a very intricate creative process behind most works of art.
Show Daniel Sloss Comedy Show Location: Lemon Tree Date: 22 November 2012
By Jo Polydoros The 22 years young comedian has rocketed up through the comedy circuit and evidently plans to keep on going. He started off at the fringe and has worked his way up; appearing on Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Road Show, Russell Howard’s Good News and toured around the country with his comedy sidekick Kai Humphries. Having cut his hair from the boyish Justin Bieber-esque flop to a much more mature and tidy crop he pranced around the tiny stage oozing youthful charisma and confidence, and dare I say it just a little bit of sex appeal (you could see all the girls swooning towards him). But does this mean he’s lost all his charming but laddish
banter? Definitely not. Sloss stuck to what he knows best. With little life experience, the only thing a young man really does have to talk about is his awkward sexual encounters and unintentional erections that got the giggles going and eased the tension in the room at lightning speed. He tried his hand at other topics in that naïve and youthful approach and tackled the age old issues (fairly tactlessly may I add) of fat people, Americans, vegans and homosexuality. However, it was all forgiven once we remembered just how young
this man was. In fact, it was almost refreshing to see such an awkward approach that somehow managed to show a lot of thoughtful logic. I haven’t laughed as much as when he claimed it was, in fact, kinder to animals to eat a non free range one as you’re not giving it a false hope of life as my very pro animal rights friend sat trying not to laugh along next to me. The support act, Kai Humphries, held his own though, and is definitely not one to be forgotten. Five years Sloss’ senior, you’d expect him to have a much wiser outlook on life, but that was definitely not the case. Combine this with a Geordie accent and the fact that it was easy to tell that the two are good friends, it set a perfect tone of banter for the whole evening. The best part of the night by far, had to be when the two came on stage and answered tweets from the audience about each other’s most embarrassing moments involving a lot of bodily fluids.
11 December 2012
Flash Fiction Competition The Winner and Runner up Stories
he mother is a donkey, the farther is a cock and the child is a dog. Of course this is all pretend, this is a game they play. The masks that cover their faces are the kind that the mother and the father have forgotten that they wear. The child however, has not yet learnt to forget. He feels the string that ties the mask tightly around his neck. E v e r y morning, as far back as no one can remember, the masks have been a daily ritual. The mother’s arm fumbles under her pillow and finds the mask. Before she has opened her eyes and consciously become aware that a new day has begun, her hands have pulled the donkey mask over her head and it has fallen into her character. The mother can scream and whine as sad sounding and lonely feeling as a donkey, and sometimes she does. The mother behind the mask screams loudly, her sound however never comes through the fabric of the mask but screams in her own
ears. The father on the other hand can be heard from the furthest corner of the village when each morning without a fail, he declares his existence. One hot day the child that is also a dog cannot get his breathing to relax, it is in a rush, short and quick so not enough air can get to get to
but she does not want to see. How can her child be a dog, how did she never notice how it happened. She wants to get away. You can tell by her eyes, by the way she looks somewhere else, upwards, as if there was something up there other than weather. She wants to be less of a donkey and more of a woman. The donkey is not strong enough, and if you tie her she cannot escape. The father knows this trick. He just has to hold on to her, tie her to a pole that is safely secured in the ground then she will not be able to leave. And the dog knows his place, he will always do as he is told. He walks back to his room and lies down, breathing hurts his throat, but after a while it is not so bad and he thinks he might be able to forget. From then on the dog that once was a boy will never take off his mask.
Animal Behaviour his lungs. He tries to tell the father, he pulls his father’s clothes, but the father is busy keeping the mother tied up. The cock yells at the dog, “go back and lie down, go back to your room! Go back to your room and lie down!” The dog tucks his tail between his legs, or if he had had a tail he would have done so. His breathing makes his head light and he cannot let go of the father’s clothes. The mother senses it all,
By Julie Pallesen
e’d put away a fair bit on the coach – and soon we were in a big barn of a place, knocking back tequila slammers and Christ knows what else. A man came and sat beside me. A well-dressed, Italian-looking man. “What the **** you grinning at, Sunshine?” says Meg. “I was smiling at the young lady’s hat.” It was a pink Dolly Parton cowgirl.
and belch and fart and mutter and cry out and I thought about myself. This was my future. Meg and Jeannie: that was me in 20 years time. Killing chickens for a living, false teeth, padded bras, drinking too much, dodgy hats, dodgy men. I wept, helpless. As the light came in, I fell asleep. Half-past eleven, hungover. “Christ, come on, you. The bus goes at 12.” I struggled into my clothes, feel-
But there were these women, some of them still wearing their stupid pink hats, dancing in the carpark: DON’T tell my HEART, my Achy BREAky HEART I JUST DON’T THINK he’d underSTAND And IF you tell my HEART, my Achy BREAky HEART and so on. 4 steps forward, 4 to the side, turn, sway, flick, lift, shake hips to the beat. The other
- Runner Up The Chicken Factory Outing “The hat? Don’t start. Get the ****.” About one o’clock, I was finished. Meg was done too. There was no sign of Jeannie. “Leave her,” said Meg. “She’s man-mad.” We got a taxi back to the Travelodge. I fell asleep and woke up in an hour. The light from the bathroom shone on my bed. Violent retching. Jeannie came out, face like a panda. “What happened?” I said. “Don’t ask. Don’t ask! ******* men.” I didn’t get back to sleep. I listened to Meg and Jeannie snore
ing like ****. The coach hadn’t arrived, but there was a massive ghetto blaster in the carpark and it was belting out Country hits, and some of the women were linedancing to “Stand by your Man”, “I will Survive”, “Jolene”, and then Billy Ray Cyrus started singing “Achy, Breaky Heart”. Now, this is a very stupid song, but it had been a favourite of Joe’s and mine. It was a big hit last New Year. It was belted out in every house we went to. It was a kind of joke. We used to sing a couple of lines and collapse laughing. So, I started crying again.
women standing round and clapping in time. Meg tried to pull me into the dance, but I held back. She was laughing and singing along. And I started laughing too. So I was laughing and crying at the same time. At the Chicken Factory women, line-dancing and singing and clapping in a carpark at 12 o’clock on a Wednesday morning. Singing that stupid, stupid song. And the sun was shining, and then the coach came, and they were still dancing. By Richard Bennett
11 December 2012
elinda likes to check herself in other people’s mirrors before she goes out for the night. A wing-mirror, the blacked-out window of a shop, the glass of a table top or a cabinet, and sometimes she sits at my vanity table examining her face and stretching a pair of my tights over her size eight feet. Tonight, while she rolls her nose between her fingers checking her
“Really?” “Yeah, I’ll walk a few paces in front of him. I won’t let him hold my hand.” She stands up to check the line of her skirt, runs her hand down the tights she’s borrowed to feel the smooth, new polyester then picks up my tweezers to fine the point of her eyebrows. “So on the street, when you’re out, you’re separate, you don’t speak?”
out.” It’s her scarf that’s tangled around his neck, her grey peacoat in a larger size draped over the back of the sofa. Christmas is just round the corner so perhaps he’ll buy matching t-shirts, a queen of hearts and a king of hearts, in the hopes they’ll be like those young Asian couples he’s seen on the television in Tokyo and Taipei wearing matching his and hers
Runner Up -
A proportionate reaction jackets and trainers. I wonder if Melinda’s into compromise, if she’d be happy to see herself in him while she remains suspicious of her mirrors. Dan rubs his hands together then rests his warmed palms on his russet cheeks, pinked by the cold outside. “This weather makes my skin so dry, could I borrow some moisturiser?” It’s not until later that I realise he must have known that she’d borrowed some too.
- Runner Up -
By Laura Tansley
A Guide to Identifying Sea-Creatures
. When the divers bring up a haul, find an excuse to examine it. Discard anything smaller than a child; although shapes can be changed, a body’s mass is constant. Do not be fooled by faces. It will have altered its features. Look instead for the rise and fall of breath. 2. Remember to bring pins. It may be playing dead. When no one is looking, jab the pins into uncovered patches of skin. If it flinches, it lives. 3. If you cannot examine the haul, you must investigate after the fact. Magnify family photos. Look particularly at the hands: are the fingers separate all the way to the knuckle? If so, is the webbing scarred from scissors or scalpels? Check also the neck just beneath the ears. It is not as simple as spotting gills; look instead for unfashionably high collars, elaborate hair-styles, even neck braces. Circle the defect in red and leave the photos on the kitchen counter. It must know that you cannot be fooled. 4. Earth is not enough. Sea is not enough. But requiring the produce of both: that is the true sign. Give it bread and water to reassure, then hold both back. It must understand that you are the dominant species. 5. Select a date with a full moon, then awake at midnight and creep to the shore (if your family are heavy sleepers, the creeping is not necessary). Find a flat rock and wait. You may need to wait a while, for it will be cautious if it
knows of your suspicions. Do you see its silvery hump in the shallows of the sea? Do you hear the lure of its song? Does the disgust rise up in you when you realise that this thing has been living amongst your people? Now creep back to bed. It must not know that you are ready to act. 5. If it is your neighbour’s wife, proceed with caution. However well you know your neighbour, he may not believe you at first. Take care to collect your evidence, and present it calmly. Bring heavy chains in case he wants to deal with it immediately. Help him, and do not flinch. 6. If it is your own wife, you may do as you wish. If she admits her nature and chooses a home – it must be earth or sea, one or the other, to be selected and lived with forever – then return her to it. If she selects the sea, do not try to change her mind. It will not work. Take her to the shore and do what must be done. 7. No matter how much she splashes or calls, you must not look back. This is her final trick. Do not succumb. By Kirsty Logan
“That’s right. It’s all about balance.” I wonder if he knows this. If she’s bothered to explain. Probably not. With her, it should be obvious. When Dan comes round to pick her up she disappears into the bathroom, makes him wait for thirty minutes so I sit with him, share a drink with him. “I like your shoes,” I say, because I suddenly feel sorry for him. “Thanks”, he says, wiggling the leather-pointed brogues, “they’re Melinda’s.” “Oh that’s nice, you’re sharing.” “She doesn’t like it so much, but I like to feel like we’re a couple. It’s fun to be matching when we go
pores, she tells me about Dan. She says she likes to be with boys who are the same height as her, the same weight as her, to feel equal to them, physically matched. “You’re pretty tall,” I say, looking at her long arms as she twists her hair around itself creating a swirl at the nape of her neck, “you might be missing out on a lot of wonderful, average-sized men,” “How tall are you?” she asks. Melinda doesn’t wait for an answer. She fills the 5’ 5” sized gap I left in the conversation as I try to convert inches with her own ideas. “Dan is so tall. It isn’t right. It feels odd. So I walk ahead of him. Always.”
11 December 2012
Editor: Tom Booth
Festive Secret Policeman’s Ball 2012 The Blue Lamp 11 December 2012 7pm Entry: donations Following last year’s successful show we are pleased to announce this year’s Secret Policeman’s Ball! The Secret Policeman’s Ball is a variety show, featuring a wide assortment of acts performing together in a way seen nowhere else. All proceeds of the night will be donated to Amnesty International to aid their continuing campaigns for protecting human rights worldwide - so here, you will be having an absolute blast while helping out a great cause! Featuring: The Juggling and Slacklining Society, Treading the Boards Musical Society, The Improvised Theatre Society and The Latin-Style Dance Group. Brass Jaw Christmas Tour The Lemon Tree 14 December 2012 7.30pm Entry: £10 + bf Multi award-winning horn section mavericks, Brass Jaw set out on a celebratory Christmas themed UK tour. Expect a fresh take on some well known seasonal melodies, given the Brass Jaw treatment in a lively and adventurous set. Working without a traditional rhythm section, Brass Jaw creates a performance that is truly unique. Brass Jaw’s concerts are characterised by the band’s trademark momentum, drive and charisma, in a set that strongly embraces the jazz tradition whilst reaching out into the unknown towards new musical territory.
Christmas Special – TLF Club Nights presents Gary Beck Tunnels 22 December 2012 11pm Entry: £12.50 + bf Gary Beck is regarded as one of the most prolific and inventive producers in the current electronic music scene. Renowned for his own unique sound, Gary is currently in high demand all over the world playing at some of the most respected clubs and Festivals Refusing to be caught up in the new wave of sync technology, Gary prefers to work with turntables & CD’s along with Traktor and controllers keeping the old and new school vibe alive. Support DJ’s on the night will be Jamie Robertson, Audio Perversion & Lefalc.
JAM Xmas Extravaganza! Cellar 35 14 December 2012 8pm Entry: free Drop by Cellar 35 for a fun and relaxed jam session with a festive twist. This might be your only chance ever to jam out Merry Xmas Everybody with a room full of strangers. Mince pies will also be provided.
Handel’s Messiah Music Hall 18 December 2012 7.15pm Entry: £16-£20 (students 50% off) Christmas is simply not Christmas without a performance of Handel’s ever-popular oratorio Messiah. A fixture of Aberdeen Choral Society’s calender this is a highly popular event that’s just right to get into the holiday spirit. Be sure to get tickets in advance as the event often sells out.
Hogmanay – Stonehaven “The Fireballs” Ceremony
19 December 2012 7.30pm Entry: £10-£21 (conc. Available)
31 December 2012 11pm Entry: free
Relive all those Christmas afternoons digesting your turkey and sprouts with the RSNO and Chorus. Conducted and presented by the effervescent Christopher Bell, this concert is packed full of your favourite festive melodies and traditional singalong carols. Plus, don’t miss the magical film The Snowman shown on the big screen, accompanied by Howard Blake’s timeless music and narrated by a special star guest.
For those of you staying in Aberdeen over the holidays here’s a great way to spend your New Years. What is commonly called “The Fireballs” is a colourful annual festival, unique to Stonehaven, attracting thousands of spectators every year. The ceremony is not only Stonehaven’s way of welcoming the New Year, but it also provides a gathering point for the town’s “ain folk”, some home from distant lands, to greet relatives and old friends, mingling happily with visitors from home and overseas who have come to enjoy a “guid” Scots Hogmanay. Moments before the old Town House bell chimes midnight, welcoming in January 1st, the music of a small pipe band is heard, fireballs are lit and swingers emerge from the street leading to the harbour eventually flinging their fireballs into the sea, helping to speed the Old Year on its way and to herald in the New in an ancient style and highly dexterous performance. At the end of the ceremony fireworks are set off from the road above the harbour to the south, well worth waiting for. Get down to Stonehaven earlier in the day for Hogmanay Open Air in the Square festivities starting at 2pm. The Fireballs start at midnight but there will entertainment from 11.00pm onwards along the route. A Pipe Band and drumming band will play at various times from 11pm.
University Christmas Carol Service St Machar’s Cathedral 12 December 2012 8pm Entry: free Join King’s College Chapel Choir in the beautiful interior of St Machar’s Cathedral for a traditional service of lessons and carols, including a varied selection of choral pieces interspersed with congregational favourites.
March Hare Craft & Vintage Market Boys Brigade, Crimon Place 15 December 2012 11am-4pm Entry: free
Royal Scottish National Orchestra: The Snowman Music Hall
Looking for something a little different to give this Christmas? Then The March Hare Craft & Vintage Market is a perfect way to find that unique and decidedly North-Eastern present. The market will feature 26+ stalls with Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire’s finest stall holders selling Vintage clothing and accessories, handmade crafts for your home, jewellery and much more.
TEDx Union Terrace Gardens In the spirit of "ideas worth spreading," TED has created TEDx. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. Our event is called TEDxUnionTerrace, where x = independently organized TED event. At TEDxUnionTerrace, TEDTalks video and live speakers will combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. Our conference will be held on March 16th 2013, live, here in Aberdeen and we encourage both students and faculty from the University of Aberdeen to get involved in any way they can! For more details regarding the conference please visit www. facebook.com/tedxunionterrace or www.ted.com/tedx.
By Tom Booth
Christmas Flower Arranging Provost Skene’s House 14 December 2012 2-4pm Entry: £12
Want that extra special something to take home with you for the Christmas? Join the experts from Aberdeen and County Floral Group to create your own Christmas Flower Cake and/or Table Centre. This is a fun and informal workshop, perfect for people new to flower arranging. Some materials included – details will be sent out at time of booking which you can do by ringing: 01224 523700.
11 December 2012
Music Molotov Jukebox Tunnels 17 December 2012 7.30pm Entry: £7.50 Molotov Jukebox are a 6 piece, genre dodging, leviathan of an experience, poised to take the world by storm. Incorporating trumpet, accordion, violin and the sultry tones of lead singer Natalia Tena, over the most concrete and inventive rhythm section this side of Jamaica, this is a band born out of love - love of each other, love of music and a love of making whole roomfuls of people dance till they fall over. Expect a mixture of gypsy, dubstep, calypso, funk and much more.
Christine Bovill: PIAF The Lemon Tree 25-26 January 2013 7pm Entry: £14 + bf Last year PIAF sold out the Lemon Tree and the entire run sold out at the Edinburgh Festival 2012 as well as all over the country. Bovill is the renowned as the world’s best Piaf performer, Charles Dumont himself, writer of “No Regrets” and 40 other songs for Edith Piaf, flew into Edinburgh from Paris to appear on stage and play for her. He said “Christine sings so well, so beautifully.” Edinburgh Festival. org wrote, “It was as if Piaf had been alive again for a few moments with us as Christine performed.” Bovill focuses on Piaf as a vocalist, singing of life’s triumphs and tragedies, resisting the temptation of retelling her life story. PIAF focuses instead on the music. “This homage to Piaf will transport you from Aberdeen to the streets of Montmartre and send shivers down your spine” Sunday Times
Abigail’s Party His Majesty’s Theatre
Theatre Scottish Ballet – Nutcracker His Majesty’s Theatre
16-19 January 2013 7.30pm Entry: £12.50 - £30.50 + bf An enchanted dolls’ house, an evil governess, and a nutcracker who may just be a handsome prince in disguise - this winter, prepare to enter a magical new world... Following on from the hugely successful productions Cinderella and The Sleeping Beauty comes a revival of The Nutcracker, a sweet yet deliciously sharp take on ETA Hoffman’s original story Nutcracker and the King of Mice. This fresh and vivid retelling of the famous Christmas story features Antony McDonald’s stunning sets and costumes, Ashley Page’s breath-taking choreography and Tchaikovsky’s sumptuous score performed live by the Scottish Ballet Orchestra. There will also be pre-show talks on at 6.30pm – 17 January with Artistic Staff and 19 January with Music Staff.
SCO Concert 3: The Little C Major Music Hall 19 January 7.30pm Entry: £10-£21 (conc. Available) Between classics by Schubert (Symphony No 6 in C ‘Little C major’) and Beethoven (Overture, Prometheus), SCO Associate Artist Richard Egarr introduces one of their contemporaries who deserves to be far better known. Dussek certainly had a colourful life: his brilliance as pianist and composer won him the favour of Catherine the Great of Russia and Napoleon Bonaparte among others. It also won him favours of another kind, and he had to flee several countries with angry husbands on his heels. He left eighteen captivating and unusual piano concertos hugely enjoyable to listen to, and fascinating for us looking back to that time because, in them, you can so clearly hear the future – the piano styles of Liszt, Chopin and Schumann. more.
29 January 2013 7.30pm Entry: £10 + bf Known for his work fronting the enigmatic rock band Pedro the Lion, David Bazan’s emotionally charged narratives, eye for telling detail, and mournful voice have more in common with J.D. Salinger’s “Nine Stories” or Flannery O’Connor’s “Wise Blood” than with the usual lyrical slant of popular music. Bazan is a gifted storyteller, weaving parables of spiritual conflict, suburban ennui, and personal surrender into magnetic, crafted songs. His debut solo full-length album, Curse Your Branches (out now on Barsuk), is a masterwork by a modern American poet at the height of his powers. Paste Magazine called him one of the “100 Best Living Songwriters”. This record is the deepest and most explicit exploration of his struggles with faith and a meditation on all things passed between the generations.
4-9 February 2013 7.30pm Entry: £16 - £30.50 Available)
After a triumphant West End, Lindsay Posner’s acclaimed revival of one of the most popular plays ever written is touring the UK. Mike Leigh’s comedy became an instant classic when it first appeared as a BBC Play For Today in 1977. It is a ruthlessly accurate observation of the pretensions of suburbia, a world obsessed with class and taste and ruled over by the monstrous Beverly! “Lindsay Posner’s triumphant production. Brilliant, vintage Leigh” Observer “A night of continuous guilty pleasure...a superb production” Daily Telegraph
Comedy Breakneck Comedy – Phil Kay Snafu 18 December 2012 8pm Entry: £8 + bf Multi award winning Scotsman Phil Kay brings his marvelous freewheeling ever effervescent comedy troubadour show to the glorious streets of Aberdeen. Come revel in the eternal fun of the sunshine mind, learn secrets of optimism as realism and see beliefs float into view through improvised song. “One of the greatest comedic odysseys ever witnessed... ‘Hysterical’ in every sense of the word - Kay truly is a mesmerizing headf**k genius” - ***** Time Out
David Bazan The Lemon Tree
Science with Sentience: Recognising how Animals express their Quality of Life NK3 12 December 2012 6pm Entry: free Dr. Francoise Wemelsfelder will be tackling the question of how animals experience their world and discussing in the rapidly growing field of animal welfare science. Can we, as scientists, investigate if and how they suffer under the conditions we impose on them, or will an animal’s inner world mostly remain a closed book? Animal scientists are trained in a mechanistic language that explicitly aims to move away from anyone’s particular perspective, and therefore tend to be sceptical a bout the possibility of getting closer to an animal’s world. However with the right starting-points, there is a place for conversation in science too. Animals are expressive living beings, and if we can accept that such ‘body language’ speaks to us, there is no reason this could not benefit science, and help us give animals a decent quality of life. Dr Wemelsfelder is a biologist specialising in animal behaviour and welfare and the philosophy of science.
University To the End of Love (TIP Connection) The Lemon Tree
Building Brochs: An Architectural and Archaeological Re-assessment NK10
2 February 2013 7pm Entry: £10 + bf The legendary tale of the Blue Beard inspired an international group of young artists from Finland, France, Russia, and Lithuania to create a visual-theatre production on the peculiarities of jealousy of the loved one’s past. Left alone in the castle, the young bride discovers that there may have been others before her. She enters the hidden space of her man’s secrets that leads her on to the dangerous path of selfexploration and, possibly, to the end of love.
15 January 2013 7.30pm Entry: free
Craig Hill-Jock’s Trap! The Lemon Tree 25 January 2013 8pm £15 + bf Indulge yourself in a deliciously wicked evening of gloriously camp no-holds-barred comedy and pure, unadulterated fun. Hilarious, sometimes wickedly provocative and always outrageously cheeky, the Scotsman called Craig “a revelation” and he has been selling out theatres across the country and internationally on tour. “Absolutely hilarious… An hour with Hill makes for a cracking show… He has the rare ability to make any audience feel like part of an intimate gathering… Magical!” LIST
Hosted by the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland with speakers Dr Tanja Romankiewicz and Simpson and Brown Architects with Addyman Archaeology. A broch is an Iron Age drystone hollow-walled structure of a type found only in Scotland. Brochs include some of the most sophisticated examples of drystone architecture ever created.