The Aberdeen University Student Newspaper Aberdeen University’s Student Newspaper
22 October 2013
Aberdeen property prices rocket Aberdeen house prices rise 11.5% Rents average £1000 per month By Asma Butt Private letting prices have doubled in a decade leaving students in limbo with loans. Many students arrive at Aberdeen and quickly realise that the price of accommodation far supercedes anything they had previously expected. Rent in Aberdeen City average at £1000 per month according to a Citylets’ report. RPI inflation, which includes housing costs, has risen by 0.7% nationally, with house prices rocketing by 11.5% in Aberdeen. This leaves students worse off in real terms, meaning that, pound per pound, students here have less money. In Scotland alone, letting charges have increased by 5.28% (according to Zoopla), with Aberdeen much higher than the national average. The reality is that students are being priced out of Aberdeen, meaning that the city will soon only support those that can afford to be here, something which fundamentally goes against the city’s ethos to remain vibrant and
Photo/ Ewa Czerwinska
MSP appeals over sale of Picture House By Jo Polydoros An Aberdeen MSP has appealed over the sale of the Belmont Picturehouse in Aberdeen. Cineworld has been told it must sell one of its venues in Aberdeen amongst others to create more competition and protect customers’ interests following the company’s takeover of the Picturehouse chain. Cineworld has “reluctantly” agreed to sell venues, including the art house in Aberdeen known as the Belmont. Kevin Stewart MSP wrote to the Competition Commission on October 8, requesting that the watchdog reassess its decision to force Cineworld to sell one of its
Energy Special: we examine Aberdeen’s foremost industry. P.5-8
cinemas in Aberdeen. Mr Stewart said: “I am extremely concerned that this ill informed decision by the Competition Commission could spell the end for the Belmont and the rich contribution it makes to the cultural scene in Aberdeen.” Cineworld is being forced to sell the Picture House after only one year of ownership.
The US Government shut down is the focus of our weekly debate. P.9
He claimed: “The Belmont is not your run of the mill cinema. It delivers an entirely different repertoire from other cinemas in the city, and this art-house offering is what justifies the public subsidy it receives from Aberdeen City Council. “The Belmont also hosts a number of worthwhile community facilities that are also being put at risk.” Mr. Stewart has said that the differences appear to have been largely ignored because the cinema caters for such vastly different audiences. He complained that the audience diversity fundamentally undermines their decision to force the sale.
He continued: “If a buyer cannot be found then the Belmont may be forced to close. This decision should be halted immediately and lift the threat on this hugely valued cultural asset.” Mr Smith said earlier this week: “The sale of one of the cinemas in Aberdeen to a competing operator will restore competition and protect customers’ interests. “Cineworld will have the choice of selling any one of the cinemas it owns in three areas across the UK. If it chooses to sell any of the Picturehouse cinemas, we are confident that a new owner will wish to build on their existing strengths.”
Life & Style
Recycling for beginners - we look at how to live harmoniously with the planet. P.14
This week we chat to Cara Mitchell, a singer on the rise. P.18
“Students are being priced out of Aberdeen, meaning that the city will soon only support those that can afford to be here“
full of people from all walks of life. The University of Aberdeen has provisions in place to help UK students who are at the most risk of falling through the cracks, through the Discretionary and Hardship funds. Otherwise, the University cannot help you. Continues on p.3
Sport The Aberdeen American Football team has their first official game and we review their performance. P.24
22 October 2013
Editors: Dan Naylor & Jo Polydoros
Wildlife filmmaker launches Aberdeen Biodiversity Centre
Photo/ dailyrecord.co.uk By Anna Katila Internationally renowned wildlife filmmaker John Aitchison has visited Aberdeen to open the University’s new Biodiversity Centre. John Aitchison has worked on programmes for the BBC, National Geographic and the Discovery Channel, on programmes including Frozen Planet, Life, Big
Cat Diary, The Natural World, and Springwatch. A university spokeswoman commented on the new centre: “Evolving from the institution’s Natural History Centre which has been involving primary school children and families with nature and science for over 18 years, the new centre aims to engage and inspire schools and communities about the importance of the
Scotland set for worst winter in decades
environment. “The main focus will be supporting teachers in the delivery of the Curriculum for Excellence for Scotland. An underlying theme of the centre is to raise awareness of topical science and encourage environmental citizenship, whilst working with partners across the region.” For the launch event, representatives from academia, education, and industry gathered to hear John Aitchison’s presentation, ‘Wild lives and why they matter’. They also had a chance to view the facility located in the University’s Zoology Building. Professor Sir Ian Diamond, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen, said: “The new Aberdeen Biodiversity Centre places the University of Aberdeen at the heart of supporting local teachers in the delivery of science and environmental education.” Marie Fish, manager of the new centre highlighted the need for the centre: “Understanding the environment, the science and the value of biodiversity is the responsibility of all future citizens and not just those who follow a career in science.”
Internal Teaching Review hears students By Anna Katila The University of Aberdeen has again conducted an Internal Teaching Review (ITR) this month on the School of Language and Literature. The ITR aims to measure the quality of teaching. All schools within the university are evaluated separately, approximately every six or seven years. The panel that hears the students and respective academic staff must consist of seven people. Out of the
“The panel was especially interested in hearing how students found the existing course options” seven, two are external subject experts, one a student representative appointed by the AUSA, and the rest are staff from other schools and administration. A member of academic staff described ITR as an exercise that judges if the School actually does what they say they do on paper. ITR aims to address general and wide issues left out of course-
specific questions asked in SCEFforms that are completed at the end of every course. According to the university’s Academic Quality Handbook, the panel will check the School’s opinion of itself against the views of its students. The panel’s judgements are taken seriously, and it even has power to make recommendations that the School must respond to. Previously, the School of Language and Literature changed its supervision system of PhD students due to national recommendations after the ITR panel noticed an issue. The academic staff in the School of Language and Literature were interviewed last Wednesday, and the students had their say on Thursday. Group interviews were conducted by separating the students according to department and level, i.e. the first and second year students together, and the honours students in a different session. The panel was especially interested in hearing how students found the existing course options, how assessments are conducted, and if the students knew where to find help if they needed. The panel will produce a report of the review, which will be published and available to all students on the university website in due course.
Students from Scottish universities more likely to study abroad By Louise Sloan New figures have shown that a higher number of students from Scottish universities are choosing to take part in a year abroad with the Erasmus programme than those from other parts of the UK. Here at Aberdeen University, over 200 level 2 and 3 students have a chance to study at more than 200 universities across Europe.
Photo/ Ewa Czerwinska By Rachel Clark Scotland is set to have the worst winter in decades, meteorologists have predicted. Cold air is sweeping in to Scotland from the Arctic, which is expected to produce high winds, blizzards and freezing temperatures in the months to come. This fast-flowing band of air, known as the jet stream, is currently near Britain, and high pressure is building up, which is expected to cause the impending first major snowfall of the season in just a few weeks time.
Because of the Arctic winds, record-breaking snow and widespread chaos is expected, with below average temperatures anticipated to last until February. Parts of the Highlands are already blanketed in snow, giving a preseason boost to ski resorts in the Cairngorms. Experts have compared the forthcoming winter to an experience similar to that in December 2010, which subsequently is likely to produce major disruptions to public transport, rail networks and schools.
“More than 200 Aberdeen students study at more than 200 universities across Europe.” To find out about the reality of university life in a different country, I spoke to Lyle McAdam, a 2nd year student currently studying in Stockholm. He told me that so far it has been an “incredible experience”. He talked about how much it has broadened his horizons and given him “invaluable skills” as well as the chance to meet people from Sweden and all around the world. He says that “despite initial
Photo/ Chris@APL (flickr) nerves”, he is very glad he took the opportunity and would “highly recommend it to everyone.” It was on hearing accounts like this that inspired a law student, Kirsty Summers, to apply to study French Law abroad next year. She hopes that being immersed in France will improve her language skills and make her more employable in the future. Students are always looking
for ways to improve their CVs and Ruth Sinclair-Jones, the head of the British Council’s EU programmes, said: “The Erasmus experience has been shown to make a real difference in terms of people’s employability.” If the sound of this exciting opportunity to live and study in a new city appeals to you, visit http://www.abdn.ac.uk/erasmus/ for more information.
22 October 2013
High speed railway to cost Aberdeen millions
Aberdeen property prices rocket
By Dan Naylor
Continue from p.1
Aberdeen has topped the list of areas that will lose out if new highspeed railway line is built. High Speed 2 (HS2) is backed by all three major political parties of the UK, and aims to create a faster rail network between London and the North West of England. Future expansion to the Scottish central belt is possible, with the
Bright Amponsah, President for Welfare and Equal Opportunities, earlier explained: “I am putting in a bid to the Development Trust to start a similar scheme for international students. Mr Amponsah is also working with Shelter and The Scottish Landlord Association to help tackle
“More than 50 areas not serviced by the network stand to lose out, with Aberdeen City and Shire on top of the list, with estimated losses standing at £220m.” system potentially reducing travel times from London to Scotland by an hour. A freedom of information request by BBC’s Newsnight programme has unveiled hidden downsides of the project. More than 50 areas not serviced by the network stand to lose out, with Aberdeen City and Shire on top of the list, with estimated losses standing at £220m.
Photo/ Airport Watch The £17bn project is estimated to be worth £15bn to the UK economy per year, with London unsurprisingly benefiting the most at £2.8bn. The government has countered the ideas that some areas will lose out by saying that the rail network is only part of £73bn plans for the transport sector, with areas not serviced by HS2 receiving other benefits sooner. James Bream, policy director of Aberdeen’s Chamber of Commerce, has called the findings “really disappointing” and said that the negative impact on the north-east of Scotland would be “significant to say the least”.
A spokesman for the Department for Transport said: “These figures show it boosts the north overall more than the south. “Of course the line does not serve every city and region and these figures reflect that.” The chief executive of HS2 Ltd, Alison Munro, said: “What this is showing is that the places that are on the high-speed network... those are the places that will benefit most from high-speed two. “But high-speed two isn’t the only investment that the government is making. Over the next five years it is planning to spend £73bn on transport infrastructure.”
“People have talked about this for a long time, but this is the first time there has been a lot of interest everywhere, this is the year to make that difference” Gordon Maloney this growing problem. The issue has been bubbling for decades, but five years ago there was talk of founding student letting agencies up and down the country, with Aberdeen spearheading it in the National Union of Students. Megan Dunn, Student President, ran on a platform advocating for the first Aberdeen housing co-op. She said: “Student housing co-
ops are about putting students first, not profits for landlords” with people living in the co-op or a students’ union the owners of it. “Here in Aberdeen we are starting to develop groundwork to make housing co-ops a reality.” This year AUSA’s executive committee, made up of all 7 Presidents and their Vice-Presidents, decided accommodation should be a priority campaign, and now accommodation will be a running theme in all seven sections of AUSA. Moreover, the National Union of Students Scotland has made accommodation a priority campaign this year through the “Change Today” project. They will “campaign for better student housing, which isn’t prohibitively expensive, and ensure better tenants’ rights through innovative ideas and strategies, including tenants’ unions and co-ops.” On Wednesday the 23rd of October they are holding a meeting at 11:00 at RGU:Union surrounding this very issue. Gordon Maloney, NUS Scotland President and Ex-President of Welfare and Equal Opportunities here said: “People have talked about this for a long time, but this is the first time there has been a lot of interest everywhere, this is the year to make that difference”.
Campaign Launched to Aberdeen wins bid to host inaugural help Medical Research European student energy summit By Rachel Clark A new research initiative was launched at the University on Thursday the 10th of October. SHARE is a nationwide project from NHS Research Scotland that aims to improve the success of health research projects. It aims to do this by creating a database
“Those who sign the database will subsequently asked to participate in medical research.” of people who are willing to participate in medical research. The scheme was launched at the Suttie Centre at the University’s Foresterhill Campus with presentations from a number of doctors and researchers. It is hoped that 1 million Scots will sign the register, providing researchers with a great resource for forthcoming studies and allowing them to test the feasibility of potential trials in the future.
Scots who sign the SHARE register allow their health records to be accessed to see if they’re suitable for any upcoming research ventures. Suitable candidates from the register are then subsequently asked to participate in the research. There is no obligation for those who sign to agree to take part in a trial, and they can leave the register at any time. The clinical leader for SHARE in NHS Grampian, Dr. Sam Philip, explained how the research initiative will help future and current medical research: “Clinical trials are vital to the development of new medicines and other new life saving treatments for use within the NHS. Finding suitable participants is one of the main reasons for delay in clinical trials. This register aims to remove that delay.” At the launch night at the Suttie Centre, the Lord Provost of Aberdeen, Councillor George Adam, the NHS Grampian Chief Executive Richard Carey, and University Principal and Vice Chancellor, Professor Sir Ian Diamond signed the SHARE register. Students who wish to sign the SHARE register and potentially participate in forthcoming medical research trials can do so at www. registerforshare.org.
Photo/ Julia Franke By Josh Bircham Aberdeen University has achieved success on an international level having claimed the European Student Energy Summit (ESES) which will take place in the city on June 19th and 20th, 2014. The event in Aberdeen will run alongside equivalent summits on every other continent- Mexico City in South America, Cape Town in Africa and two further unannounced universities in North America and Asia. Student Energy itself was an initiative by a group of students
at the University of Calgary. They strove to create a conference which would be committed to Students and would bring together experts from all over the world with the aim of educating those wishing to enter into this vibrant and innovative industry. The first summit took place in Calgary, Canada in 2009. The event achieved praise from students, speakers and educators alike which spurred Student Energy to build on this momentum and branch out to different cities around the world. The bid for ESES to be held in
Aberdeen was initiated by a group of students and backed by Scottish Government Energies Minister Fergus Ewing MSP and various local and national organisations. Lora Dimitrova, co-organiser and part of the student team behind the bid said, “Hosting this regional summit is a unique opportunity to highlight our country, city and university to some of the brightest young minds in energy.” She then asserted that, “We are determined to put on the best summit possible, and to do that we need as many bright, enthusiastic volunteers as we can get.” Professor Jim Anderson, leader of the Energy Theme at the University asserted the importance of ESES by stating, “ESES is somewhat unique in that it is a conference for students organised by students. The lectures, however, will be given by established experts in the field.” This unique opportunity for the Aberdeen further establishes the city and University as a dominant and innovative centre for energy education on an international scale, furthermore, the success of the proactive student team is highly commendable.
a Read more about
this in Features, p.7.
Contemporary dance festival in 8th year By Louise Sloan An annual dance festival is currently underway in Aberdeen. DanceLive, now in its 8th year, is produced by Citymoves Dance Agency and is a celebration of contemporary dance, bringing inspiring performances to North Eastern audiences. It is Scotland’s only contemporary dance festival and won the Creative Cultures Scotland Award for Best Festival in 2012. Running from 11 to 31 October, DanceLive is showcasing a variety of shows from national and international companies, suitable for all ages and tastes. Amongst these shows is the 5-star reviewed ‘Within this Dust’ presented by Smallpetitklein. The show is inspired by the photos of a man falling from the World Trade Centre during the 9/11 attacks and has had sold-out performances in New York and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. There will also be a number of workshops, films and talks, allowing people to not only spectate but take part and learn more about the world of dance. The events will take place in different venues throughout the city including the Lemon Tree, Belmont Picture House and His Majesty’s Theatre. This unique celebration is proof that like Glasgow and Edinburgh, Aberdeen is more than capable of hosting exciting, cultural events.
Rare bird egg found in Conservatives unexpected place criticise wind farms By Richard Wood
By Jonathan Brown
A Jerdon’s Courser egg has been discovered in Aberdeen’s Zoology Museum. Dr Alan Knox, our University’s former Head of Museums, came across the egg whilst searching through the drawers at the Museum. A Jerdon’s Courser is an endangered bird that only inhabits a fraction of southern India. The bird’s breeding habits have always
Wind Farm applications to Scottish local authorities have soared in the past 18 months to 2,508. Information obtained by the Scottish Conservative Party under the Freedom of Information Act has revealed the huge volume of wind farm proposals made to Scottish councils, which averages at 7 a day. Aberdeenshire received the greatest number of applications (428), followed by the Highlands (376). The Conservatives have criticised the Scottish Government for
“Finding this rare egg could be vital to the threatened species’ survival.” eluded the scientific community, but the discovery of this egg is hoped to shed some light on this. On discovering this rare find, Dr Alan Knox said that “It was one of those eureka moments - finding something nobody else knows about, something so rare and exciting. I could hardly believe my eyes.” However, although labeled as a Jerdon’s Courser egg, Dr Alan Knox had to confirm this for sure. He took the egg to the Natural History Museum in Tring, where the biggest egg collection on Earth is located. Compared to other Courser eggs it appeared to be similar, resulting
Photo/ University of Aberdeen in a DNA test being carried out, which proved at last that the egg came from a Jerdon’s Courser. Finding an egg belonging to this rare bird could be vital to its survival as, according to the IUCN Red List of threatened species, only eight to a few hundred Jerdon’s Coursers exist in the world today. Its population is decreasing so perhaps the discovery of this rare egg will raise awareness of its critically endangered nature, as well as other animals in similar situations.
Breast cancer Research into cure in shark Thalidomide at University blood By Rachel Clark
By Anna Katila The Scottish cancer research charity, AIRC, has granted £200,000 to biologists from the University of Aberdeen for testing if antibodies found in shark blood can inhibit the growth of cancer cells. The grant will fund the three-year study that investigates if IgNAR antibodies in shark blood can block two molecules, HER2 and HER3, found on the surface of cancer cells. The modules signal the cancer cells to grow and divide. Around a fourth of women with breast cancer have a type referred as HER2-positive breast cancer, where a very high level of HER2 is found on the surface of cancer cells. The research could lead to development of new drugs specialised to fight this type of breast cancer. Dr Helen Dooley, the leader of the study from the Aberdeen University, said: “With the funding from AICR we can begin to explore the potential of IgNAR as a future treatment for breast cancer. This is only the first step in a very long process but if our hypothesis holds true we hope to develop new anticancer drugs.”
22 October 2013
A researcher at Aberdeen University is leading a study into developing the drug Thalidomide and hosted a talk to explain his research. Dr. Neil Vargesson, a lead researcher and lecturer in developmental biology at the University, discussed his research and how he aims to enhance the understanding of Thalidomide and develop it to make it safer for
“Thalidomide is used worldwide to combat cancers and leprosy, and is in trials for HIV.” clinical use. Thalidomide was first launched in 1957 to combat morning sickness in pregnant women, and was frequently used in the 1950s and 1960s. However, the drug caused in excess of 10,000 birth defects worldwide, resulting in babies being born with severe disabilities and many even dying inside the womb. This resulted in a medical catastrophe, and changed the way new drugs are tested and screened.
Dr. Vargesson hosted the free talk on Wednesday 13, called “Thalidomide: 50 Years On – Will It Ever Be Safe?” in Waterstone’s book shop on Union Bridge and is the latest in the university’s Café Scientifique series. Dr. Vargesson’s work into Thalidomide research has been highly controversial, and peer experts have criticised his scientific conclusions. Speaking before his talk, Dr. Vargesson commented: “Thalidomide caused what is arguably the single biggest disaster in medical history, dramatically altering the way drugs are tested and screened from the 1960s onwards. “My talk will provide an insight into the research I am conducting at the University into enhancing understanding of Thalidomide, including investigations into how the drug causes birth defects and how with this knowledge we may adapt the design of the drug into a form which is clinically beneficial but does not cause birth defects.” The drug is used worldwide to combat cancers, particularly multiple myeloma, and leprosy, and is currently in clinical trials for Chron’s disease and HIV, which is why the research being carried out at Aberdeen University is of such great importance.
Photo/ Wendy Schotsman (flickr) overturning rejected applications with their overly green policies. A spokeswoman also said that additional funding had been allocated to ease the workload that comes with so many proposals. She said: “Seventeen bids were received for additional funds and earlier this year £725,000 was made available to support all of those bids.” The Conservatives have argued
that the SNP’s environmental policies, with their emphasis being on green energy, and their extra funding, have turned the issue of
“The Scottish authorities have received 2,508 wind farm applications in 18 months ” wind farms into a “gravy train”. Conservative energy spokesmen Murdo Fraser said: “These applications put council planning departments under immense strain, and cause great concern to communities worried about the impact a massive wind farm on their doorstop will have.” He added: “This surge has to stop. The way to do that is ending ludicrous subsidies for an unreliable and intermittent energy source.” A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “Our policy on wind farm applications aims to strike an appropriate balance between Scotland’s massive green energy potential and the need to satisfactorily address the impacts on communities and the environment.”
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22 October 2013
Features Editor: Konrad Wojnar
- Aberdeen University at the edge of energy Energy is a fundamental part of Aberdeen University’s DNA. From the very beginning, the new ‘Energy & Science’ aims to connect AU students to the energy industry and all of the fantastic events happening around the campus. All article ideas and comments should be sent to the features email! Konrad Wojnar interviews Professor James Anderson, Aberdeen’s Energy Theme Leader
omewhere within the confines of the Meston building sits a professor with dishevelled hair, slumped over the computer screen. Now, describing a professor may not be the most efficient way to set apart one from another but, if you peek over Professor James (“Jim”) Anderson’s shoulder, what he’s working on might surprise you.
The Energy Theme Leader When he’s not looking at amorphous mixed oxides or researching photocatalytic degradation of nitrate and oxalic acids, Jim tries to understand and promote the research done at Aberdeen University across the broad area of “Energy”. You see, he’s not only a professor with a million emails to send, talks to give and people to meet; he’s also Aberdeen University’s Energy Theme leader. “The University has four, broad research themes which are aimed at enhancing interdisciplinary approaches to ‘grand challenges’”, he says. “The [themes are] based around 4 grouping which are ‘Hydrocarbons,’ ‘Low carbon energy,’ ‘Energy sustainability and demand’ and ‘Energy, society and culture.’ These were based on an assessment of our research activities, income publications, number of research students etc.” These groupings or ‘sub-themes’ raise the profile of the research being done at the University and help to promote the University by identifying closely with the industry’s on-going and current problems. He points out that, “the energy theme does not aim to interfere in any way in terms of the nature of research that is conducted by individual.” Many companies, including some of industry’s best known multinationals, support Aberdeen University because of projects much like the one Jim is leading. In that sense, Aberdeen is very lucky not only to have a direct link with the industry, but also to have an on-site research hub that is Aberdeen University.
The “energy city” Without research centres like the University and projects that try
Photo/ abdn.ac.uk to directly tackle issues in various energy sectors, the industry would suffer. But it isn’t only the industry-oriented research that makes Aberdeen so well suited for the energy industry. Since the 1970’s, when the industry boomed in the UK, many companies decided to settle here for good. As a consequence, a vast supply of skills and talent
“It will be many years before the energy sector becomes fully sustainable and most likely only when it is economically feasible.“ was created in Aberdeen making it a strong contender among the world’s ‘energy cities’. “This is based not only on the level of industrial activity and the fact that many companies whose core activities are energy-based are located in these cities but also on the fact that these locations attract key energy meetings, conferences and exhibitions.” As a consequence of this selfperpetuating machine that arises along with an oil boom, the University and the city are reacting and growing along with the industry. “I fully agree that there is a flurry of activity at the moment including designing of the new building, the launch of the Institute of Energy and appointment of the director and the new staff appointments,” says Jim. “All of this is geared towards raising our profile and performance research-wise and increasing our attractiveness
and appeal to potential PGT and research students. We already have a good standing internationally but clearly our ambitions are much greater.” With the UKCS hydrocarbon renaissance for the last few decades, great wealth was brought to Aberdeen. However, with great wealth and an industry that is sometimes troubled with environmental and social issues, there is a chorus of voices chiming in for changes to be made. This is partly a reason to get into the industry. While the energy sector connected to the UKCS is ageing fast, it will be the young people that will be left to tackle the energy problem. “There has never been a more important time to embrace the challenges we face in meeting the planets diverse and increasing energy demands,” says Jim. “Whether this involves, for example, seeking out remaining hydrocarbon reserves, using these reserves while limiting carbon emissions, harnessing radiation from the sun, or converting wind and wave into electricity, there are very many opportunities to get involved in conducting meaningful research.”
Energy Conferences Apart from wrestling chemical chimeras nestled somewhere in the Meston underground and working as the marketing guru for Aberdeen’s energy research, Jim is a mentor, a supporter and a link to the University for the upcoming European Student Energy Summit (ESES). There is a huge amount of speculation and biased science in the media today just because it suits the trend and there’s money behind that. That’s why conferences that present a platform for a 360-degree debate
are the mediums through which our perception of reality will be the most practical and factual. “ESES is somewhat unique in that it is a conference for students organised by students,” says Jim. “The lectures, however, will be given by established experts in the field.” ESES, like many other events, is an opportunity “to discover some of the recent findings in the broad spectrum of Energy research in lectures given by sector experts,” says Jim. “We should also participate to show our support to the student team who were successful in bringing the meeting to Aberdeen and who have put in so much effort to arrange the conference.” Whether you like the industry or not, our lives revolve around hydrocarbons. They are almost in every product we use and allow us to live at the standard we are used to. Although fears of peak oil are ever present, the industry doesn’t
seem to ease up the pace. It will be many years before the energy sector becomes fully sustainable and most likely only when it is economically feasible. Nobody can predict the next natural disaster or when the hydrocarbon prices will become unaffordable to the vast majority of the population, but what we should do is start tackling these questions now. These questions relate to the issues the industry is currently facing and the ones it will face in a few years. Jim says that the industry will progressively switch to renewables and the people fueling it will be many of the people currently working in oil and gas. “I believe that getting a qualification and training in an area relevant to the energy sector now will provide a lifetime of opportunity,” he says, “ …and not limit you to one subsection.”
Lectures and Events for Energy and Science Tectonic developments of the Amerasia Basin Meston 118 22 October 2013 12pm Entry: free A talk by Dr. Ruth Jackson. Engineering & Technology Fair Elphinstone Hall 22 October 2013 All day event Entry: free Interact with Engineering, Energy, Oil and Gas. You need to register for the event at www.abdn.ac.uk/ careers. Can we freeze energy prices and save the planet? Taylor C11 23 October 2013 6.30pm Entry: free A talk by Dr. David Toke. Fluvial reservoirs in North Sea and Atlantic Margin Meston 118 29 October 2013 12pm Entry: free A talk by Tom McKie (Shell).
Shiny Rocks, Missing Microbes and the Pitch and Yaw of a Merry Monsoon at Okinawa Meston LT1 31 October 2013 6.30pm Entry: free A talk by Dr. Stephen Bowden. A guide to main roles within Petroleum Engineering Venue tba 31 October 2013 6.15pm Entry: free An SPE Lecture. Tania Johnston Robert Gordon’s College 4 November 2013 7pm Entry: free Prof. Ian Stewart MBE FGS Fraser Noble LT1 4 November 2013 12pm Entry: free Virtual Outcrop Geology Meston 118 5 November 2013 12pm Entry: free A talk by John Howell.
22 October 2013
What the frack is happening? Caitlin Millar looks at what shale and fracking is and whether fracking is dangerous
racking is a sticky subject. You’ve probably heard of it, unless you have been thoroughly avoiding all environmental headlines for a good few years. You might even know what it is, but in case you don’t, the gist of it is this: fracking is a process used to extract gas which has been rather inconveniently trapped in shale rock deep below the Earth’s surface. It involves driving a mix of water, proppants (e.g. sand) and chemicals down a borehole at high pressure to shatter the rock and release the gas. Sounds intimidating, doesn’t it? Sounds-ahem-dangerous? Extensively used in the USA as a method of reducing levels of imported gas and lowering gas prices. Health and environmental concerns have been raised that fracking is unsafe in proximity to cities, towns and villages. In Britain, where the industry is still in relative infancy, it was thought that exploratory drilling in Lancashire by the oil company Cuadrilla was even responsible for a series of slight seismic tremors felt in Blackpool in April 2011. Large and influential protest groups- including the delightfully and creatively named ‘Frack Off’have been formed around the issue and accused of ‘scaremongering’ the public with stories of methane leaks and water contamination. Supposedly, leakage from well casings through human error can enter and pollute aquifers, disrupting balanced ecosystems and subsequently causing widespread health and environmental issues. The
Photo/ Silvia Minissale chemicals used in fracking fluid include carcinogenic benzene and the poisonous preservative formaldehyde - quite a risky cup of tea, then. Oil and gas companies themselves maintain that the technique is safe with proper management and regulation - a position backed in a review of the matter by the Royal Society, released in 2012. Contamination of water supplies should not be a problem as long as the fracking takes place at an adequate depth below the surface - we’re talking many hundreds of metres, or even several kilometres down. The hydrogeological environment
“Large and influential protest groups - including the delightfully and creatively named ‘Frack Off’ - have been formed around the issue and accused of ‘scaremongering’ the public with stories of methane leaks and water contamination.’”
of British shale, in fact, doesn’t meet the right pressure conditions for pollutants to flow, and properly regulated wellbores have concrete barriers that are virtually impenetrable. Even the claims that fracking can cause earthquakes are rubbished - levels of seismic activity caused by gas extraction are likely to be much smaller than events that occur naturally and those provoked by coal mining. There are more issues that come up when discussing fracking. One environmentally concerned opposition asked: “Won’t an increased focus on unconventional gas extraction distract money and attention away from the development of clean and renewable energy?” This is not a proposition easily denied, but the oil companies and their affiliates, never to be lost for words, have a wily response; that natural shale gas has lower carbon emissions overall than oil or coal, and as such can be used to ‘bridge the gap’ between fossil fuels and new renewable sources. The British Government, with its aggressive carbon emissions target that would require our power supplies to be basically carbonfree by 2030, has embraced this approach, proposing policies this summer to encourage exploratory drilling for shale gas. Although the industry is unlikely to be a real ‘game-changer’ in our country the way it has been in America (our surface area being too small, too densely populated, and not owned by individuals), with Scotland alone said to be sitting on £5billion worth of shale gas deposits, the
“Levels of seismic activity caused by gas extraction are likely to be much smaller than events that occur naturally and those provoked by coal mining. “ economic opportunity is just too large to ignore. Fracking is a subject which provokes passionate opinions both within the oil and gas industry and without; it is a subject on which public opinion is crucialin order to obtain planning permission licenses and votes on major policies; and it is a subject on which, for better or worse, environmental threat or not, we all will need to be educated in order to understand the full consequences of our energy needs. And so the critical question remains- would you want fracking taking place near you? You might have to start thinking about this quickly, because The British Geological Survey is to begin work next year on estimating the size of shale gas reserves in central Scotland from Dumfries and Galloway to Aberdeenshire. Meaning, at some point in the future, you could potentially have a wellhead for a neighbour. Is it worth the risk? Are you a supporter or a protester?
Filling the skills shortage in the UKCS industry Ben Kamal has a closer look at Aberdeen University and why it needs the new Institute for Energy
ast September the university announced the building of the new Institute for Energy. The new build will cover 15,000 square metres in the North West corner of campus between the library, Fraser Noble and the Hub. As the name suggests the institute will focus on energy research and training and should increase the university’s links with global, governmental and corporate interests. The approach will be multidisciplined; masters courses in Business and Law, Computing, Engineering, Geosciences and Natural Sciences will be offered. According to the literature put out by the university, the purposes or “challenges” of the institute will be fivefold: firstly to “maximise economic recovery” or make sure new energy policy does not further bankrupt the country; to “maximise energy efficiency” or to make energy policy as frugal as possible given that oil is limited and there are not many alternatives which immediately spring to mind and that are palatable to everyone; “regulatory and environmental framework” or making sure that there is minimal funny business in the energy sector; “safety, reliability and integrity” or making
sure various things do not blow up and that, if they do, legal costs are slight; and lastly “renewable energy systems” or given that being frugal with oil will not last forever, new sources of energy are needed sooner rather than later. The building of the institute has already brought industry and the university closer together. A new
“The approach will be multi-disciplined; masters courses in Business and Law, Computing, Engineering, Geosciences and Natural Sciences will be offered.”
masters course in Oil and Gas Computing is already on offer and has been designed with the cooperation of the information technology company CGI. It was done spe-
“Given that nature of both the job market and our need for energy such criticisms have an air of lofty impracticality”
Photo/ geograph.org.uk cifically to make up for a shortfall of skills in the industry. Also on offer is a masters in Petro-physics and Formation Evaluation, this time in conjunction with the energy company Senergy, also because industry is in need of more petro-physicists. This course in particular allows students to both work and study simultaneously.
In the short term we should expect more building and disruption on campus which will, unfortunately, be near the library. In the longer term we may expect closer links between the university and industry: certainly in the field of energy - which is probably necessary given the nature of the field and the urgency of the problem.
Some might argue that the university could become a factory of experts for industry, given that companies clearly have some say in designing courses, and thus compromise the academic integrity of the university. However given that nature of both the job market and our need for energy such criticisms have an air of lofty impracticality. Overall, though, it means that Aberdeen should remain one of Europe’s major energy providers after peak oil has been reached, and maybe even after oil has run out.
22 October 2013
AU: Powering the future of energy Demetris Hadjiosif looks at why Aberdeen won the bid to host the European Student Energy Summit in 2014
t is a slow Monday morning and I find myself facing the impossible task of writing an article that is actually going to be published!!! As a law student I usually write long dry pieces of work that nobody reads for a second time. I am sitting in one of the new coffee shops in Belmont street drinking organic lemonade and eating a gluten free scone. You’ve seen the ones. Those that epitomize the subtle change that Aberdeen is undergoing the past few years. Our city has been known over the years as ‘Granite City’, ‘Grey City’ and my personal favourite: ‘The Silver City with the Golden Sands’. Looking around me though, I see so much colour, I see so much change. Aberdeen is no longer the ‘Grey City’. Perhaps the most renowned nickname of our lovely city is ‘The Oil Capital of Europe’. This too has been slowly and subtly changing into ‘The Energy Capital of Europe’. As renewable and sustainable energy grows in Scotland, the bloodline of Aberdeen is no longer exclusively filled with oil and gas. This slow and subtle transformation of the Aberdeen Energy Industry is reaching a crescendo, as today the University will proudly announce that we will host the very first Regional Student Energy Summit, an initiative that is under the auspice of StudentEnergy. StudentEnergy is a global nonprofit organisation that began as a grassroots movement by a group of
Photo/ Julia Franke driven students at the University of Calgary (CA) in 2009. It seeks to create the next generation of energy leaders committed to transitioning the world to a sustainable future. StudentEnergy is an NGO that seeks to educate, unite and inspire students into shaping the new energy order and open the eyes of students to all perspectives on energy.
As part of the aforementioned efforts StudentEnergy organises energy conferences for students by students. The very first being the International Student Energy Summit (ISES) in Calgary in 2009, bringing together post-secondary students from over 30 countries. In fact it was such a tremendous success that it acted as a catalyst in turning StudentEnergy to a global
movement that organises an ISES every two years; with the following two being hosted in Vancouver (2011) and Trondheim, Norway (2013). The latest StudentEnergy undertaking involves the city of Aberdeen as the host of the first European Student Energy Summit (ESES) in June 2014. At the same time a North American, Latin American,
Asian and African Student Energy Summit will be held, and all five summits will delve in the issues of technology and innovation, market regulation and global energy dynamics both in their respective continents and at an international level. These summits will attract world-class ingenuity from the government, industry and academia for a two-day ‘must attend’ meeting on the future of energy! The organisation of the event is already underway with a dedicated team of students working under Malgorzata Olesewicz, chair of the event, and the full support of The University of Aberdeen. It is no secret that the University of Aberdeen is a leading institution in the energy field. A testament to this is it’s latest initiative, the establishment of the Aberdeen Energy Institute. “It is difficult to overvalue the importance of energy for the world economy and for the future of our environment. The amount of attention paid by governments, international institutions, and various activists’ groups to the future challenges of energy security and associated environmental issues, made us realise that our generation should already be involved in shaping the future of a sustainable energy industry.” Malgorzata stated. This conference undoubtedly represents a unique platform to begin doing just that.
Green energy is making everyone blue Nicholas Layden looks into how Britain can secure low energy prices and higher profits
s a wave of energy price rises are announced, and the Government prepares to make switching easier to encourage tracking down cheaper prices, the looming issue of blackouts hangs in the background. These issues, seemingly incredibly distant, can both be tackled to the benefit of the British nation with a few straightforward steps. Why are prices so damn high? The issue should be looked at fundamentally and judging from the hype that green energy has been getting lately, this will be our starting point. Because much of the green energy is unprofitable, and because a growing portion of the energy industry is green, it is inevitable for energy prices to go up. Simply put, energy companies don’t have any slack in how much they can charge because they don’t actually make that much profit. Over 85% of running costs are out of control for most companies. This leaves only a 15% margin in which to make profit. As long as the government keeps subsidising green energy companies and as long as this type of energy remains unprofitable our energy bills will keep going up. With this being the case and those uncontrollable costs being increased by successive misguided governments, how can we expect energy companies to keep prices down? Additionally, our depend-
Photo/ Ewa Czerwinska ence on foreign oil keeps a fair amount of energy prices outside of the control of British companies and Governments. There is, however, a solution. Other energy options There are huge untapped resources beneath the soil of Great Britain, the technology exists and we can reap huge benefits from this – indeed this Coalition Government is already pressing ahead. Fracking is not a new technology in the United Kingdom – we have been fracking in the North Sea since the 1970s and there have been around 200
onshore wells for both oil and gas since the 1980s. The controversy has only emerged since shale gas became the target of drilling companies. The opposition is often led by professional protesters and those who immediately reject the idea of anything that is not “green”. Partly this is a reflex reaction; these reflexes are difficult to go back on once made – particularly for those such as the Green Party who struggle with getting behind ways of reducing energy bills at the cost of their principles.
Shale gas is not the only energy source that British Governments have failed to exploit for the benefit of the nation. Nuclear power, recently getting bad press after the Fukushima disaster, is in fact both safe and clean. The most dangerous thing about nuclear power is warm water – hardly the environmental or radioactive disaster which it is often portrayed to be. An equivalent of the Fukushima disaster cannot happen in this country due to our lack of tsunamis and limited number of serious earthquakes. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported this year that there has been no warming for 20 years. Not only that, but it has no way of predicting future warming and past models – including the infamous ‘hockey stick graph’ – have been completely ineffective in determining global temperatures. However, pushing for cleaner energy, such as shale gas and nuclear power, should still be a priority. They will allow the industry to transition into, and develop, proper renewable energy sources that can be profitable. The price of unfulfilled governmental promises The risks if these policies are not pursued cannot be overstated. The risk of blackouts has increased as energy supply has plummeted by 20% due to traditional power stations being closed in order to help fund subsidies for turbines and other inefficient renewable energy
“For as long as the government keeps subsidising green energy companies and as long as this type of energy remains unprofitable our energy bills will keep going up.” sources. The only other option may be to import liquefied gas imported – no doubt at an extortionate price – from nations with a less than stellar past, such as the Russian Federation. The only way to avoid this problem in the future is the rapid establishment of nuclear power plants alongside the wholesale encouragement of shale gas acquisition. As we move away from inefficient green policies that so hamper business operating costs, the way to protect our wallets is to safeguard our energy supply using pragmatism rather than ideology and rhetoric. Inevitably it is the energy consumers that will suffer the higher bills and price hikes, and it should be the consumers that have a say in this issue as well.
22 October 2013
Aberdeen the next oil capital of the world? Jonathan Brown looks at how Aberdeen relates to other energy cities in the world
espite Aberdeen not being the oil capital of the World, its influence is felt right around the globe. Indeed, after the discovery of oil in the North Sea, a lot of oil companies originating in Aberdeen in the oil boom of the ‘70s exported the Aberdeen model across the world. The Wood Group, for one, has now grown to a level where it has over 43,000 employees and operates in over 50 countries. It is a major provider of oil services to
“Aberdeen ranks highly amongst other oil cities in the world, due to the export of methods of production that began right here.” places as far flung as oil-rich Kazakhstan. In this respect, Aberdeen ranks highly amongst other oil cities in the world, due to the export of methods of production that began right here. Foreign companies built upon Aberdeen’s tried and tested methods recently began to acquire a stake in the North Sea. In November of 2012, Taqa, Abu Dhabi’s national energy company, closed a £650 million deal to buy some of the North Sea oilfields from BP. The acquisition was Taqa’s largest in 5 years. Research done by
“A need for constant connection to the North Sea oilrigs means the heliport carries more civilian passengers than any other heliport in the world.”
Photo/ Ewa Czerwinska the Wood Mackenzie Group shows that companies controlled by overseas governments now account for 12% of overall production and 9% of reserves in the UK – up from 0% a decade ago. The Impact of Oil on Aberdeen Oil is a lucrative business and its extraction is very consequential to the cities and countries in which it is discovered. A good gauge for this is Aberdeen’s heliport. A need for constant connection to the North Sea oilrigs means the heliport carries more civilian passengers than any other heliport in the world. Aside from London, Aberdeen
is the wealthiest place in Britain, with an annual income of about £32,000 per person, mainly due to the 100,000 jobs that are generated by the oil industry in the area. However, this newly found wealth does not come without problems. Aberdeen is UK’s capital of class-A drugs with many attributing this to a lot of young people with a great deal of disposable income. Living in an oil-producing country The spread of wealth attained from oil across society differs massively from country to country. In a lot of oil-rich countries, the money stays concentrated amongst a very
small group of people and companies and it is not distributed or invested for the benefit of those further down in society. This is articulated by the concept of an oligarchy, with a highly unequal society existing, despite the economy having the capacity and potential to be transformative. The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), which ranks countries based on how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be, is quite revealing as to differences between oil-rich countries. It does this through a combination of polls and by reflecting on the views of experts living and working in the
countries evaluated. Turkmenistan in the 2012 CPI study had a rating of 17 out of a 100 and Venezuela had a rating of 19. The UK by comparison had a ranking of 74. This expresses that being resource rich on its own does not guarantee a fair system. Problems in society can still persist in such circumstances and can indeed be exacerbated, especially where there are high levels of corruption. The disparity between the potential of an oil-rich country or city and the lives of its inhabitants is quite startling in some cases. Venezuela, which has some of the highest oil reserves in the world, is a highly polarised society. Around a third of Venezuela’s population lives in poverty, despite its oil wealth. Turkmenistan which is in the top 10 oil-rich countries, has an unemployment rate of 60%, with around a third of the country’s population living in poverty. Aberdeen on the other hand has an unemployment rate of around 2%. In some cases, one of the only common denominators between Aberdeen and other oil-rich areas around the world is just that: oil.
The Angus diaries... Tosca Gunn looks at how one night changed the oil industry
wenty-five years later, nothing but a buoy floats on the water where the Piper Alpha rig once stood, a marker reminding of the tremendous sacrifice that both the industry and many families were forced to make. For some it was a stark call for more rigorous procedures, for others it was a condemnation of the very process of the oil business itself. Yet no one realised on the morning of the 6th July 1988 that the calm was soon to be shattered and that the worst offshore disaster in history was only hours away. A simple sequence of mistakes which could have otherwise been prevented created the biggest human and industrial loss ever seen. Flames danced on waves as the Piper Alpha slipped from the grasp of the North Sea oil industry and into the unreachable. It started with confused paperwork. A condensate pump, which was due to undergo maintenance, was restarted after the other pump
had become blocked, yet no one realised the seal had not been properly tightened. This sparked a series of events which led to several explosions and a three week fire destroying the rig and killing 167 men. The real effects of Piper Alpha echo still into the future both in how the industry operates and how the surviving workers and families deal with the psychological and emotional trauma. There is little questioning that change was required within the industry - but would it be enforced and prevent similar disasters? The Cullen Enquiry of 1988 highlighted 106 recommendations for improvement, both for operation of machinery and emergency responses and led to the Offshore Installations (Safety Case) Regulations of 1992. These measures intended to improve the safety of the oil industry and ensure that lives were not compromised by corporate shortcuts. Yet what is most horrifying was that Occidental Petroleum, who owned the rig,
were found to have insufficient procedures for maintenance but were never formally charged. This lack of commercial responsibility is still something that needs to be
“This lack of commercial responsibility is still something that needs to be tackled not only for the sake of justice but for the reassurance of families who lost relatives.” tackled, not only for the sake of justice but for the reassurance of families who lost relatives. For those who suffered losses in the disaster there is comfort in the recent 25 year anniversary commemorations which were
held in Hazlehead Park and the monument that has been installed there. The memorial foregrounded the improvements that the industry has made and the importance now placed upon the health and safety of workers. Several documentaries have also been released on the accident including National Geographic’s ‘Seconds from Disaster’ leading to heightened public awareness of the incident. Yet despite all the regulations enforced and the awareness of the disaster, some may still question the impact it has really had on the industry in regards to decisions they are making for the future. The 2010 Deepwater Horizon Spill suggests there are still elements of the industry that are to be improved upon and the recent foray into fracking despite the environmental and health risks and its unknown effects upon the earth show that economic gain is valued before safety. Whether the incidents of July
“For some it was a stark call for more rigorous procedures, for others it was a condemnation of the very process of the oil business itself.” 1988 have changed the industry for the better or just highlighted the need for change, nothing can deny that those who lost their lives should always be commemorated and used as an example for the future to prevent such incidents happening again. It is in the hands of the industry to make the correct decisions for the world regarding energy and to protect those that risk their lives.
22 October 2013
Editor: Sofiane Kennouche
US Shutdown: Credit cookie crumbles whilst both parties debate recipe
merican politics are multifaceted and complex. The separation of powers results in cooperation and compromise, but more often than not it also means a huge amount of arguing, a tornado of conflict and of course blinding political power which forgets the needs of ordinary people The reason for the recent shutdown of the US government that left 800 000 people without work, and many vital public services halted, is that the Democrat-run Senate and the Republican-run House failed to pass a budget before the new financial year (October 1st). Tea Party Republicans that are against healthcare reforms, dubbed ‘Obamacare’, voted to delay these changes which was originally passed in 2010. Therefore, the government shutdown was due to lack of consensus between the House and Senate. Such actions would have resulted in the US potentially defaulting if it did not raise the debt ceiling. The last time the US almost defaulted back in Summer 2011 - a deal was reached in the eleventh hour, just as in 2013. To the rest of the world, the recent shutdown has looked ridiculous, and it’s the ordinary working people that have suffered. Workers lost out on pay. National
parks were closed. Pensions were delayed. Such results are simply not fair. There are numerous reasons why the Republicans should not have attempted to delay the healthcare reforms that have resulted in the shutdown. The Republicans put
both democratically, and more importantly in some ways, constitutionally. It was successfully voted through and approved by the Supreme Court, after much speculation over its constitutional legitimacy. Of course, the Republicans were also wrong to shut down the government because by risking the US defaulting on its debt, the economic consequences could have been internationally catastrophic. The IMF’s chief, Christine Lagarde, has warned that the current situation could eventually push the world into recession. Despite the unfair electoral systems and huge donations that arguably persuade politicians to vote in different ways, the basic principles of the US political system are conducive to agreement and cooperation. But sometimes, things can get out of hand. The Republicans have played a political game with real people’s real lives. And while the US most definitely needs to sort out its estimated $17.5tr debt, the debt ceiling had to rise once more in order to keep the US moving forwards. Cuts must be made, but halting the US economy simply to stop reform has resulted in complete and utter chaos.
“[The Republican’s] actions were to score political points but the truth is that the US as a nation has been harmed.”
on this political show purely for ideological reasons. They do not wish Obamacare to come into force, despite approval. Such actions were to score political points but the truth is that the US as a nation has been harmed. Its credit rating will be downgraded once more and businesses will lose out. Furthermore, the healthcare reforms have been approved,
By Richard Wood
Editing/ Catrina Ball
Michael Kusznir and Richard Wood examine the political and economic wreckage of the recent walkout by Republicans in the US
oliticians constantly babble on about “living within our means”, yet in the UK and America our national debt is rising as politicians continue to placate our private and public debt addiction. Personal and public indebtedness is one of the greatest social evils of the 21st century and – for all the genuine pain felt in some quarters – we still have not broken with the reckless spending of the early 2000s for which America’s debt crisis is ample evidence. Although many other Presidents, especially George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan, added considerably to the national debt, none have come close to Barack Obama. The human impact of this profligacy is generations of Americans who will have to repay Obama’s spending. Unfortunately the Republican leadership has constantly failed to retake the narrative on debt or even begun to discuss what an
appropriate level of debt for the American state to run would be. Republicans are right that Obama is a debt junkie begging Congress for just one last hit, but their lurid obsession with
‘Obamacare’ and their own continued (and historical) lack of
fiscal conservatism ensures they lack any credibility. Senator Ted Cruz
of Texas, a state with the highest number of uninsured persons in the Union, claimed that he was “listening to the American people” over the debt ceiling – the majority of whom reelected a President who happened to back ‘socialised
medicine’ declared legal by the Supreme Court. To back down from demands to delay a rather limited reform of American healthcare would rightly make Obama a lame duck. It is akin to certain Conservatives in the UK who argue that redefining marriage will be a massive vote loser come 2015, while ignoring the fact that pandering to the right on such a marginal issue will lose votes from across the important floating voter section. The Republicans’ lack of discussion on how to minimise the U.S debt isn’t surprising considering their non-existent record of fiscal conservatism. The conservative hero, Ronald Reagan, doubled the national debt in his time in office and, by setting fire to other
people’s countries, George W. Bush added $3.294 trillion around the neck of American taxpayers. As America reaches a default deadline, the land of the free is increasingly looking ungovernable:
“We still have not broken with the reckless spending of the early 2000s for which America’s debt crisis is ample evidence” President Debt Junkie refuses to implement public spending cuts, the Republicans work on their daily agenda of looking borderline certifiable and ordinary Americans suffer by the hand of those who allegedly care most about America. By Michael Kusznir
22 October 2013
Asexuality: recognising the grey zone Dougie Morgan calls on asexual students to make their voices heard on campus
t a recent flat warming party, a chum of mine turned to me, imbibed a draught of the wisdom-juice, and asked what I can only describe as a zinger of a question. “Tell me,” quoth she, “do you like boobs?” Well really, gentle reader, what’s a chap to say to that? Or rather, I know how a chap is conventionally supposed to respond, but the quandary is how chaps such as myself should answer. For you see, between the roguish bark of “you bet” and the more muted tone of “not I”, there sits something of a grey zone, a place where physical attraction and carnal lust are sticky subjects. I refer of course, to asexuality, a disposition which, in my experience, can be difficult
to express within the precincts of student culture. I feel that it would be pertinent to offer some clarification, primarily for the benefit of those scratching their heads with bemusement, wondering if I’m some manner of self-fertilising triffid. Asexuality, in this context, refers to people who experience no feelings of physical attraction towards anyone or anything – no matter what their gender. That is not to say that asexuals do not experience certain sensations or that they do not seek to gratify them; they struggle to associate these urges with potential romantic partners. Usually, this predilection warrants little comment, particularly given that it is expressed through non-
Photo/ Mikusagi (Flickr)
expression; there is nothing overtly ostentatious about it. When it comes to student life however, the waters tend to be irrevocably muddied. Ours is a culture which, in the spirit of learning, places considerable emphasis on open-minded liberalism. We are fond of being at the forefront of social progress. It cannot be denied that this is an admirable mindset to advocate, but for some, this culture of encouragement can prove uncomfortable. The zeal with which many students cling to particular perspectives can skew their view of those who do not conform. This may sound paradoxical, given the liberal paradigm, but opposition is an essential aspect in any line of ideological thinking; after all, how can a system of thinking appear valid if it is not challenged? In the case of the asexual individual, this mentality can prove stifling. To us, there is nothing quite as troubling as someone reassuring you that they will act as your ‘wing-man’ in the intrepid quest for a mate. The rejection of such an offer, despite its good intent, tends to evoke queer glances and comments. These reactions can be disorienting, contributing to a certain insecurity. We anxiously question our self-conceptions, wondering whether it’s possible that they have a point, or whether we ourselves are irredeemably abnormal. Even when we’ve come to a definite conclusion with regards to our sexuality, the battle is by no means won. The bonus is then on us to explain
our position as clearly as possible to enable a dialogue wherein we rouse the compassion and intellectual comprehension of our peer groups. Whilst the majority of us will feel uncomfortable with
“Even when we’ve come to a definite conclusion with regards to our sexuality, the battle is by no means won”
discussing sexual orientation, it is essential that we do so to dispel the discomfort so often unwittingly enacted by others. We have already seen the resounding success that the gay, lesbian and other communities have had by candidly recounting and celebrating their struggles. Let us follow their example. So, to the asexuals on campus, I exhort you to step from the shadows and make your voices heard. As to the rest of the student population, I implore you to exhibit the same open-mindedness that is so often apparent in your approach to any worthy cause: look out for those inhabitants of the grey areas and accord them the same respect and tolerance as their more polarised compatriots. An expansion of the diversity dialogue can benefit us all.
Answering Aberdeen’s education dilemma David Paterson discusses the lack of teachers in the city and offers a solution to lure education students into the profession
he City of Aberdeen faces a shortage of teachers. A shortage will, without doubt, make it much easier for education students in the city to find jobs. This is great for Education students (after all, who would pass up a profession with a near-guaranteed job these days and a healthy paycheck that is guaranteed to rise?). However, this will not necessarily help the schools and colleges of the city. A lack of choice for schools in who to employ could lead to mediocre students receiving employment and teaching future generations. If schools feel compelled to fill positions, they may turn to anyone that is qualified and not those who are judged to be best for the job. Children should be taught by the best minds available, and by those proven to have worked hardest, such as those achieving 2:1s or 1sts for instance. A setup already tried
“A lack of choice for schools in who to employ could lead to mediocre students receiving employment and teaching future generations.” in England, the Teach First scheme, selects the best students from top universities such as Aberdeen, fast tracks them into teaching, then places them in schools in ‘tough’ areas. If it is the case, that students achieving simply a standard degree pass are being allowed to become teachers to satisfy this shortage, parents around the city should be worried. During high school I had my fair share of mediocre teachers, without passion or deep understanding
of their subject, and I would not wish the same mediocrity upon any future generation. If a student were to achieve a standard degree pass, surely this would not prove passion for their subject? Furthermore, surely, if schools are understaffed in Aberdeen, student teachers will increase current teachers’ already sizeable workload, since they have to be supervised, monitored, assessed and reported upon back to the
Photo/ Ewa Czerwinska
university, distracting them from what they are there to do: teach. This could further compound the problems caused by the teaching shortage. So what must been done to solve the problem? Well a £5000 incentive is a good starting point. A pay rise for teachers should be welcomed as it entices more people into the profession. An ambitious strategy Aberdeen council could pursue (provided it is allowed) would be to offer to pay down SAAS loan debt of students achieving 2:1s or 1sts in return for studying for a post-graduate diploma in teaching, then say, five years of teaching in the city’s schools. They could take advice from the success of Teach First in England and similar schemes around the world. This would help increase the quantity of teachers in the city, whilst maintaining standards of teaching or even raising them.
As a student, what do you do to help preserve the environment? Keren Green, Fourth Year Education Generally, I turn plugs off when they’re not in use and I also try not to put the heating on too often! I’m learning to wear more layers indoors to keep warm. If my journey’s quite short I tend to leave my car at home too.
Stephen Dunlop, Fourth Year Economics Well, I make sure to bin my rubbish and not just throw it away. Where I can, I’ll tidy things I see strewn in a lecture room. I also recycle things at home too. I grew up in Sweden, and there’s quite a culture of reusing and recycling there.
Stephen Bridgewater, Postgraduate Discovery and Development I make sure to separate my recycling properly so that it can actually be used later down the line. Other than that, I walk to my classes and only use the bus to travel somewhere when it’s quite far away.
a Life and Style
features an article on living harmoniously with our planet, see p. 14.
22 October 2013
Barlow says bye-bye With Gary Barlow’s exit from the X Factor, what’s next for the show? Ysabelle McGuire analyses the situation for us
he X-factor first came to our screens in September 2004, as Simon Cowell’s replacement for its predecessor Pop Idol. With an average of 7.4 million viewers per episode throughout the entire first series, it was safe to say that Cowell’s decision to break away from Pop Idol and go his own way was a good one. In its nine years on British television so far, X Factor contestants have churned out 33 number one singles, proving the show’s success within the music industry. When Cowell announced his departure from the X Factor in 2010 to focus on the X Factor USA, the ratings of the UK show fell by an average of 2 million views per episode in 2011. The introduction of Cowell’s replacement, Gary Barlow, was thought to invest more interest into the flagging franchise because of his success as a musician. However, the show is yet to regain the popularity it once enjoyed. It could be said that this was not due to the loss of Cowell as a judge, but from the twists and turns the show took following his departure. It became something completely different from the show we once knew; instead putting money and appeal above the raw talent the show promised to produce. With the announcement that Gary Barlow has decided to leave the show to focus on his solo career next year, it is possible that the show could suffer further. Who will Cowell find to take the place of the stern, strict and professional judge, willing to tell acts if they are actually good or not? Rumours have emerged this week that Olly Murs might be selected to take the fourth seat as a judge next summer. With this, it is impossible not to think that the X Factor will lose its edge, seeing as Olly Murs
is known to the public as a young and ‘cheeky chappy’ with a sweet persona. Although Murs has
Misogyny in the music industry Alan Henderson investigates the lack of gender parity in the music industry of today “promotes rape”, and I don’t think it deserves to be banned on that basis. I think it says more about attitudes towards music nowadays, when a song so obviously vapid has managed to sell almost ten million copies worldwide, and is the second biggest song of the year so far in the UK. In a recent edition of this paper, Features editor Konrad Wojnar made the point that sex sells, and always has done. But perhaps due to the need for immediate gratification
“Who will Cowell find to take the place of the stern, strict and professional judge, willing to tell acts if they are actually good or not?” experience in the industry and has had four number one singles since he was runner- up in 2009, some might argue that he isn’t a suitable replacement for Barlow. I’m not entirely sure how the X-factor bosses plan on getting any sort of professionalism in the show with the ever-changing and arbitrary line up of judges. Despite this, however cheesy and ridiculous parts of the show seem to become, we as a nation just can’t turn it off completely.
Photo/ vagueonthehow (Flickr)
auren Mayberry, frontwoman of Scottish electro-pop band CHVRCHES, recently wrote an article for The Guardian that discussed a particular pitfall of being a woman in the music industry. She referenced multiple messages she had received, ranging from the vaguely creepy and entirely ignorant (‘act like a slut, getting treated like a sluy [sic]’) to the stunningly vile (‘This isn’t rape culture. You’ll know rape culture when I’m raping you, b*tch’). These were sent to Lauren in response to her taking exception to men who had previously got in contact online, asking for sex. How did society get to a point where anyone would think it acceptable to write these things? A potential factor is that the music industry is becoming more overtly sexualised by the day, and some of the biggest and most popular female musicians are releasing songs that are fairly inappropriate in their own right. But even if this wasn’t little more than a ‘they started it’ non-argument, the fact
remains that Lauren Mayberry does not portray that kind of sexual aggression in the slightest. She doesn’t dress provocatively. Her lyrics deal with emotions and relationships, without being explicit. She doesn’t, as the aforementioned message accuses her of doing, ‘act like a slut’. We’ve ended up with an odd sort of dichotomy where the most commercially successful music is often the most lyrically explicit and socially inappropriate. Miley Cyrus licking a sledgehammer naked is considered mainstream, while the archetypal indie girls – Mayberry, PJ Harvey and Laura Marling – are much more introverted and tend to use their sexuality in more subtle ways. Perhaps men are seeing CHVRCHES become a bigger concern on the back of their musical talent, and expect Mayberry to be the paradigm of sexuality they see everywhere else. Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” has gained some attention for its salacious lyrics. Personally, I think it’s a stretch to claim the song
“It seems that the most outrageous and sexualised new releases are the ones that gain the most attention nowadays” and the saturation of the media, it seems that the most outrageous and sexualised new releases are the ones that gain the most attention nowadays. The growing importance of the music video has increased the demand for music to be aesthetically pleasing – a concept that jars with me a little. Of course, there are many other possible factors involved: the impersonal nature of social media, the rise of “lad culture”, and the fact that some people are just perverts and will utilise any medium to express that. But I think the most telling thing that has occurred in the reaction to Mayberry’s article, is that while most people were sickened by the messages she received, very few were surprised.
A great victory for common sense? The issue of prisoner disenfranchisement risks removing a key democratic element of UK society in the eyes of Javor Georgiev
n light of the recent ruling of the UK Supreme Court on the issue of disenfranchisement of prisoners, Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted: ‘The supreme court judgment on prisoner voting is a great victory for common sense’. The case in hand concerned two prisoners convicted of murder who argued that their rights are infringed by UK legislation banning inmates from voting. Their argument is plausible; the European Court of Human Rights has recently ruled that inmates cannot be deprived of their right to vote in the UK, regardless of the large margin of appreciation that states whoever signed the Convention possess on sensitive issues like religion. Unfortunately for the two inmates, the Supreme
Court had its sound arguments to dismiss the appeals. The case is closed. However, is the ban morally just? Is the decision of the court truly “a victory for common sense”, or just a victory for national law and the Government? Clearly, the legal and the moral side of the issue must be distinguished in this case – UK courts are not bound by Strasbourg judgements. However, they must be bound by moral concerns. Prisoners are not deprived of every right that a free man possesses, nor do they cease to have other Convention rights upon entering prison. They remain citizens. Citizens are citizens because they have the right to engage in voting with other citizens in order to
put a selected number of citizens in Parliament. Now that is an example of common sense. Both prisoners in the relevant case are lifers, both in prison for brutal murders. But their actions cannot justify the unjust divestment of a basic human right – the right to vote, to express one’s will in any minimal way. Many students at the University of Aberdeen have expressed disagreement with the message the ruling of the court has sent. One clear example is Olivier Sorgho, a second-year Politics student, who reckons that the denial of voting rights would consolidate and even worsen the feeling of alienation in prisoners and would reverse the rehabilitatory function of prisons. Inmates have been stripped of
the most cherished value – liberty. Scottish readers would likely agree on this point and would surely recognise the following quote: “It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom — for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself” Yet many convicts have living relatives, children, spouses, who are directly affected by the actions of the Government. Many inmates serve short sentences, after which their voting rights would be restored. So why is this an issue in the first place? There is a simple and plausible explanation. Through voting, prisoners could instigate change, whatever the scale of their contribution to the overall
percentages, and affect the position of the Government in charge. I ask you this – who actually benefits from the ‘blanket ban’?
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
22 October 2013
Editors: Alasdair Lane & Emily Thorburn
Print Journalism – The Sick Man of Media? F
or me, growing up, print was gospel. If something was in a book, magazine or newspaper, it was infallible, trustworthy, and intelligent. By printing words you immortalised them – that’s how stories endured the test of time, and great journalism profoundly changed the outlook of the reader. Though shamefully romantic – and fundamentally flawed in its disregard for the threat of manipulative and malicious writing – this sentiment has largely stuck with me. Times are changing, however, and it appears that print journalism may be teetering on the
1960s very much embodied the long, luxurious days of summer for the presses. Why was this decade the heyday of British journalism? Social fragmentation was much more defined 50 years ago, and this communicated itself in newspaper circulation – the intellectual and political elite would unshakably shackle-up with The Times; the working class (depending on the direction of their political lean) would side with the Daily Mirror or Express religiously. Today, with a generation defined, in large, by its perpetual ambivalence, the ideological attachment to a
of qualification, make it clear that I’m no Luddite. I love the Internet; feeling connected, having a finger on the pulse of global news and the revolutionary effect it has had on the way we study. Also, for the first time, well, ever, censorship has been vanquished. For a while, at least, it appeared that they would endure by providing the bespoke service that the Internet couldn’t: rigorous, qualified commentary on the things that we care about, be it politics, sport, arts, or entertainment. The World Wide Web, once the domain of ostensibly unqualified
Editorial Team Head Editors
Alasdair Lane and Emily Thorburn
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Life & Style Editor
Head Copy Editor
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Anna Katila, Rachel Clark (News); Grant Costello (Features); Richard Wood (Opine); Ashley Sevadjian (L&S); Michael Cameron, Andrew Parker (Arts); Josefine Björkqvist (Sport)
But why such an exodus of readers? Of the pile of theories tasked with tackling this question, two in particular stand out. The first, and debatably less convincing of the pair, approaches the issue from a sociological perspective. If, today, we truly are in the midst of a print journalism winter, the
Catrina Ball, James Teasdale, George Mathew, Frédérique Manceau, Anna Katila, Manuel Lopez
Butchart Centre University Road Old Aberdeen AB24 3UT Tel: 01224 272980
Photo/ Vaucher Bastien (Flickr) edge of extinction. Newspapers across the land (and globe), plagued with tumbling readerships, are on the decline. Figures released by the Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) paint a very bleak picture indeed: the opening decade of the 21 Century witnessed an average decline of 19.7% in sales of the UK’s ten national titles. Reaching for the microscope, we can see that on a month-by-month basis the decline is just as startling. Between June and July of 2013, circulation of The Independent dived-bombed an alarming 30.2%, with all but one publication, ‘i’, recording drops.
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particular publication is all but resigned to history. Above all, however, it is the proliferation of technology that has facilitated the decline of print. For over a century the printing presses resisted the ever-growing sophistication of their technological adversaries, staving off the threat of household radios, and then televisions. While there is evidence that newsprint circulation has been in jeopardy since the 1980s, the advent of the World Wide Web has had an undeniably injurious effect, so the second theory goes. Yes, it would appear that the Great Equaliser of our time is now the Great Enemy, as far as print journalism is concerned. The ubiquity of information today is undeniable. We are never more than a click, swipe or voice command away from instant knowledge – we truly are living in an Information Age. And, significantly, this service (aside from the cost of the connection itself) is free. I feel I should, by way
conjecture, caught up as creditability grew, however.
Unable to satisfy we screenjabbers’ hankering for immediacy, newspapers have been forced to diversify time and time again, continually launching new websites, online content, and, most recently, mobile apps. What does the future hold for print journalism? Though the cascading circulation statistics are undeniable, newspapers will endure, though in a radically scaled back capacity. Where once they were a staple, they will have to become a niche product of sorts, offering that tactile, armchair experience which people are willing to pay for. By Alasdair Lane
We voluntarily adhere to the Press Complaints Commission Code of Conduct (www.pcc.org.uk) and aim to provide fair and balanced reporting.
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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 advertises in The Gaudie.
22 October 2013
The Silver Tongue
Editor: Hamish Roberts
Silvio sings In the bicentenary year of Giuseppe Verdi, a new opera has been commissioned by the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. Taking inspiration from the swirling political crisis in Italy, ‘Don Berlusconi’ will premier in December in the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma. It is said to be a modern day Rigoletto with Don Berlusconi rising to a modern take on the aria ‘Questa o quella’ (This (woman) or that) which has been renamed to ‘Ogni della’ (Every woman). Librettist Paulo Abandonato is said to have given in to the temptation of including the immortal Silvio gem: ‘I will take questions from the guys, but from the girls I want telephone numbers.’ D. H. Lawrence’s preference may have quite another meaning on that Roman December night; ‘I love Italian opera – it’s so reckless.’ By Hamish Roberts
Cavanous Plague After the categorical and unmitigated success of the University library’s gaping void, otherwise known as the ‘architectural lapse’, the University has announced that more holes are to be put in more buildings on campus. By Woody Milligan
Anti-perspirant After the recent spate of Millibandfrolicking and moral depravity, the Daily Mail have suspiciously tightened dress code policies for all employees. In a new edition of the employee handbook, Article 21.4b states that ‘All employees are not permitted to wear black shirts.’ One rather clammy employee was later overhead despairing ‘How am I meant to hide my sweat-patches now?!’
Huntly’s Hero If you’re looking for Y look George Donald’s funeral was held last week in Huntly. The performer and comedian was a third of Scotland the What? which included Stephen Robertson and William ‘Buff’ Hardie. The trio, all graduates of this University, performed large amounts of their sketches and songs in Doric. Hardie said one critic commented that the act ‘came to be known as couthy and classy - it was George who made us classy.’ His contributions to entertainment in Scotland was recognised in 1995 with an MBE and an honorary degree from the University of Aberdeen. Thanks for makin’ a’body laugh!
Initiatives in the classroom No. 10 Downing Street has announced that cabinet meetings will now be a lot comfier after a shipment for 22 beanbags arrived last Thursday. David Cameron is to now host circle-time every week where ministers will take it in turns to pick what stories they want to be read.
By Algernon Ernest
By Chris Grundy
By Mr Fawkes
The new Royle Family? Following the cheap sell-off and privatisation of the Royal Mail recently, new shareholders have been revelling in their acquisitions. However, an imminent strike has put the smug shareholders in a perilous position by providing cover. Early rises, long days, stereotypical grudge-holding pets and really quite shocking uniforms await these unwitting investors. Chief Executive Moya Greene said that now that shareholders were part of the happy Royal Mail family they had to put in the hard miles too. The City is expecting a huge dip in Royal Mail share prices with some investors willing to pay to get rid of the gruelling. unforseen burdens. By Spike Allen
In a recent Communist Party Newsletter the headline ran as follows: ‘November 5 – make it a date to remember’ which then continued to boast that ‘Nationally, the People’s Assembly is calling for action on bonfire night to protest government policy.’ Needless to say history is ever so slightly stacked against these reds.
The bitter end Thanks again extend to Mr Wilde for a preemptive warning to readers that ‘consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative’. Anyone who is interested in contributing to the satire section should not hesitate to do so. Photo/ wikimedia.org
love punt with
D’ARCY GRANT While claims he is a certain English film star’s brother remain unverified, D’arcy Grant shares his namesake’s foppish, Home Counties scrumminess and winningly hesitant delivery. Experience clod-hopping upper middle class seduction by a true gent. (At callers’ discretion, D’arcy can affect a nervous stammer – of any level of severity - to further enhance his signature overgrown-Boy-Scout style.) Telephone: 0894 111 9233 Text: 0894 111 9234
Wilde Wodehouse Photo/ wikimedia.org
Sail the Isis in a
By Hamish Roberts
By Ralph Dacre
After the fiscal crisis in the USA eased last week, it is of concern that perhaps these words from Lord Illingworth may still retain even a morsel of truth: ‘The youth of America is their oldest tradition. It has been going on now for three hundred years.’ Of course, if not disgruntled, Messrs Reid or McConnell, leaders of the Democrats and Republicans, will be far from being gruntled. Thanks to Messrs Oscar Wilde and P G Wodehouse who would have turned 159 and 132 on the 16th and 15th of October respectively.
For severe and slow-burning seduction, try our ‘flirty Goethe’, WOLFGANG von KRAUTZMELTE A Bavarian Heathcliff with the soul (but not the talent) of a great artist, Herr Krautzmelte is a deeply sardonic individual for whom kind words butter no parsnips. (CALLER BEWARE: Those of a sensitive or religious disposition, or persons who do not enjoy the sound of very loud shouting, are strongly advised to select from elsewhere in our Dreamboats roster.) Sturm und drang guaranteed! Telephone: 0894 111 9237 Text: 0894 111 9238
HOT AND HORNY
CALL NOW! YYY
22 October 2013
Life & Style
Editor: Alicia Jensen
Style On Campus
MIMMI AKERSON Sporting the classic Nordic style with the Fjallraven bag. Jacket from Lindex and Scarf from Indiska.
OLIVER MEADOWS Wears an outfilt collected from around the world - a scarf from Latvia, and Levis from Amsterdam.
ANNA GLIERE Is a french student living in Aberdeen, got top from Zara and the rest of her outfit from France.
Photo/ Carmelo Establier Sanchez
Photo/ Carmelo Establier Sanchez
Photo/ Carmelo Establier Sanchez
JONATHAN LETT His outfit is assembled by pieces from J Crew and Gap, and his glasses are from Warby Parker - a website selling original pieces for a lower cost. Photo/ Carmelo Establier Sanchez
HANNAH MARTIN Got her jacket from NEXT and she ordered her shirt from Red Bubble online. Photo/ Carmelo Establier Sanchez
Living harmoniously: Recycling for beginners Clare MacCallum shows what we can do as students to
e all know that we should look after the planet. After the first twitchy scientist started predicting the end of the world as we know it, and those dreaded two words ‘global warming’ were first branded, we haven’t heard the end of environmental issues. Recycle! Reuse! Reduce! Big companies suck up to us with their ecofriendly policies or the low carbon foot-prints of bananas flown in from the Caribbean, and local ecowarriors (we all know one!) guilt trip us every time we buy or throw away anything. But with another seven billion people living on the planet it’s all too easy to feel that our own tiny contribution to living in harmony with the planet makes no difference to anything in the grand scheme of things. But as Mulan taught us, every individual makes a difference; ‘even a single grain of rice can tip the scales’. But can the honest, humble, and let’s face it, skint student really make an impact and live more harmoniously with the environment without growing a beard and moving to a yurt in the Outer Hebrides? Perhaps films such as ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ somewhat
exaggerate the effects of what ‘global warming’ could lead to, and over the years there have been many conflicting reports, ideas and theories around global warming. It can be easy to dismiss these conflicting reports as nonsense, but the latest research by the UN has lead them to be 95% certain that humans ARE responsible for global warming. If we don’t try to slow down and reverse the impact we are having on the environment, we may end up having to live in The Day After Tomorrow after all! In today’s society, excess is all around, and we feel secure and comfortable in our modern
respect the environment
Photo/ Spookygonk (Flickr)
lives. But the bottom line is this: The natural resources which we rely on today, such as oil and gas, will run out. Recycling is therefore essential if we are to sustain our modern lives. Most flats are now equipped with recycling as well as general waste disposals, and the installation of food waste recycling bins across Aberdeen is making recycling even easier. Every item recycled is a valuable resource saved with an extended life time, rather than wasted by being thrown into a smelly ugly landfill site. If the choice was recycle all your old wine bottles, or have no more glass, ever, which would you choose? Most students probably consider themselves quite thrifty, but are
you really? The old tag line of ‘mend and make do’ may seem somewhat outdated in modern society, but it could in fact still have a place in living harmoniously with the planet, and making your loan stretch just that little bit further. When something breaks or gets worn out, consider fixing it yourself, or looking up recycling charities online that can fix or reuse parts from most things that you don’t want anymore. And when it comes to updating your wardrobe, don’t forget charity shops, out with the old and in with the new, all without having any impact on the environment, and helping a good cause. So without growing a beard or joining a commune, it’s not too hard to make a few small changes to the way you live your life which will have a really big impact on our planet, and you can still shower regularly! Take some time to think about how you can live more in harmony with the planet. After all, we’ve only got one, and when it’s gone, it’s gone. So be that grain of rice and tip the scales, make the difference to the planet.
22 October 2013
The 5 creepiest places in Scotland By Tarrick Haynes
Located under the old town of Edinburgh, it initially housed businesses before becoming inhabited by the poor, prostitutes, murderers and the bodies of the victims of the illustrious Burke and Hare. Strange phenomena have been sighted and felt in these abandoned caverns. People have reported being mysteriously scratched; some have died on the spot while others have experienced their hair pulled to the point of blood loss!
Shawarma: the back room Persian experience Jessica Kuznia shows us a culinary gem in an unlikely place
s a fourth year I have pretty much eaten myself through most restaurants that this city has to offer. Some of it has been pretty tasty, some of it has been awful but most of it has been pretty average. With a number of scream pubs and chain restaurants offering near to identical menus, being able to try out new types
of food is a rare find in this town. As a result, when I heard about a Persian restaurant here in Aberdeen I could not wait to try it out. Located in Cornhill shopping arcade, it is probably not the first place you would think of going for your meal out and at first glance I, too, had my doubts. The
outside looks just like your average chippy but don’t be deceived by first impressions: our waiter lead us into a back room and showed us to a well decorated table. After ordering drinks and glancing at the menu, we took in the many photos and posters of Iran plastered on the walls of the small room. Being a group pretty new to Persian
Situated near the border with Scotland and England, this castle was burned down to deny the English its strategic advantage. It was rebuilt in the 19th century, along with a prison on its grounds. The appearances of a piper on the battlements; the pressing feeling of an unseen presence; strange lights and wild poltergeist activities have all been part and parcel of this historical landmark.
The Tolbooth, Aberdeen:
Janet Walker, a.k.a. The Fittie witch, was the most famous inmate of the Tolbooth. Former centuries saw it utilised as a prison/holding area, now museum, in Aberdeen. It was a site of human despair as murders and even torturing sessions were conducted in parts of the building. Paranormal disturbances at the sight include feelings of heart wrenching despair; wild temperature fluctuations; whisperings, funky smells and anomalies of light; and pressure on the chest and throat were all discovered in investigations.
A75 Mile Stretch
A mile long stretch of road in Southwest Scotland has received the attention of decades long reporting of berserk activities. The worst is said to have happened to two brothers who drove along the stretch of road. Flying chickens, wild animals and creatures from the depths of hell all ran into them that night. They reported the car being bounced on the road like a basketball, a presence that suffocated them. Along with sharp falls in temperature and hysterical laughter, it was enough to make the hairs on the back of your head stand from fear!
Sudden collapses, attacks, gouges in the flesh, bruises, biting, feelings of unease and an exorcist’s report of a powerful evil presence (that later took his life) have all been the reported experiences in this graveyard in Edinburgh. With a history that saw the execution of 18,000 men, women and children, it is no wonder that this has been a sight of supernatural infestation. Most famous for the dog that slept by the grave of his master for 13 years, the history of its bloody past is well nigh forgotten.
Life & Style
Photo/ jennifer wu (Flickr)
food we started with a selection of mini dishes served with Taftoon, squared Persian bread. Especially enjoyed, and something I would strongly recommend to try, was the Kashk-e-bademjan, a sort of warm, sautéed aubergine pure mix with mint, garlic, walnuts and yogurt whey. For a main I ordered a Joojeh kabab, a skewer of marinated chicken fillet served with saffron rice and a side salad. The chicken was well prepared and tasted delicious. The saffron rice, which was to be mixed with a piece of butter, made the whole meal that little bit extra-special. However, having a fellow table companion order a Zereshk Polow, steamed rice mixed with bright rubycoloured barberries and pistachios served with chicken in a tomato sauce, did provoke some food envy and will definitely be what I order next time I go and, trust me, there will be a next time. For dessert we all ordered Bastani, a Persian ice cream made of saffron and pistachios. It was defiantly a unique taste experience and for you Nordics out there craving a saffron bun- this is as close as you will get! It was the same taste but in ice-cream form, and what’s not to love about that? No Persian meal would be complete without a pot of Persian tea to finish, just remember to add sugar and lots of it. The overall eating experience was made even better due to the absolutely lovely waiters that are guaranteed to treat you like a princess for the night. Shawarma is definitely the place to visit if you want something other than your regular dining experience in Aberdeen.
Chronicle of a French frog-eater in Sco’land Caroline Toussaint considers what the first few weeks as an erasmus student feel like
don’t know what the aim of the Erasmus program was when they first created it: to allow spoiled students to discover new cities, to sign up for new learning schemes or to become more independent and to have a new open-minded approach to the world and its many cultures. Maybe the point was to make us, the new generation, feel as though we were not French, British, German, or Spanish, but as though we were all European. Even more: citizens of the world. The fact is that, in reality, everything reminds me that I’m a French frog-eater. The keyboard of my computer, which is designed for French-writing; the questions of those with whom I am speaking: “You come from France, eh? You’ve got a little accent! Is it true that you eat frogs?” (yes it is, and it’s excellent!)or the feeling of familiarity that rises in me when I hear someone speaking French in the streets of Aberdeen (“OH! SALUT, vous êtes aussi Français? Let’s be friends!”). I feel as though I belong to this French community but that wasn’t the aim of my time abroad in Aberdeen; I have plenty of French-speaking friends on Facebook or on Skype with whom
“Everything reminds me that I’m a French frogeater. The keyboard of my computer...; the questions of those with whom I am speaking: “You come from France, eh?... or the feeling of familiarity that rises in me when I hear someone speaking French in the streets of Aberdeen.” I’ll be able to practice my French language (if I could ever forget it?). What I wanted was to meet Scottish people and discover a new culture: Scottish culture. With kilts, bagpipes, haggis, and all these stereotypes. The first day in Scotland I took a British taxi on the left side of the road (this is still so difficult for me to get used to…), I listened to the BBC radio instead of France Culture, I discovered my new (empty) room, I tidied it up a little
bit to make it feel like “home” with the few things I brought with me. I then started having this little stomach-ache-mostly-called-fear. I was LOST. I didn’t feel like home at all: I missed my bed and the quietness in my house (because student residences are not wellknown for being very quiet), and also French cheese… I didn’t know anything, anyone, and, on top of that, I couldn’t understand a single word coming out of Scottish people’s mouths. But the next day, I thought about all those comments on the blogs, forums and all that stuff: “ERASMUS Best year of my life”, “the beginning of the real life”, “the best way to get to know your TRUE self”, and I thought it had to be the same for me. So I got into ACTION. I put my warmest jumper on, my rain boots, took my hooded cape (just in case it would rain…) and the little map of the city in order not to get lost. After one hour of wandering around the city, I learned the first thing about myself: I can’t read a map. So I had to be courageous, and ask some Scottish faces to help me find my way home: “Sori, coude you elp mi to faïnd King Strit?”
Then, I learned a second thing about myself: with a smile and a cute face, people are more likely to help you. OR (and I think this hypothesis is more realistic) Scottish people are the nicest and the most helpful people that I’ve ever met: they brought me back to my place safe and sound. Little by little, I am getting more and more confident in Aberdeen and I am learning more and more about my Scottish saviours. I’ve also met great Erasmus friends who walk in front of me so that I don’t get lost anymore. Together, with our different languages, our almost-perfect understanding of English, our country stereotypes, we discover this new town: the beaches, the pubs, and we are stunned by the wonderful landscapes and surprised when tasting haggis. We’ve tried whiskies, met ginger-haired bagpipe players, and danced Ceilidh. And I’ve learned something new about myself: in one year, I’ll surely still feel like a French frogeater wiz maï bioutifoul accent, but I’ll also know that I was a citizen of “Sco’land” for a while, and both France and Scotland will feel like home.
22 October 2013
Life & Style
The best pint you’ve ever pulled Home sweet home The Beer Society pay a visit to Six Degrees North
Grace Balfour-Harle goes home for the first time since starting university
went home to Glasgow for the first time since moving to Aberdeen last weekend. It was an odd, unfamiliar sensation being picked up by parents, knowing that in two days’ time I would be going back. Greeted by the old familiar landmarks brought a nostalgic feeling to the situation and I found myself feeling both choked up and unable to keep a grin off my face. It was similar to any other weekend I’ve ever spent at home: I fought with my sister, went to the cinema on Sunday morning and had a big family dinner at night. However, I felt restless as if I wasn’t quite part of the household. When my mum was making dinner, I was overly helpful. I felt out of control, overwhelmed by the need to find something to do so I did chores and buried myself in course activities and reading. The whole weekend passed in a blur, full of never-ending questions that were repeated over and over. I
started to feel like I was on a loop, dutifully answering them all. This is not to say that I did not enjoy my weekend. I enjoyed the endless attention that was bestowed on me and having my washing done for me was a bonus too! I loved seeing my family and reassuring myself that they were not missing me too much. When the time came to catch the bus home, it was much more emotional than the first time I left, where I was full of excitement about what I was to face in the unknown world of Aberdeen. This time, however, I knew what I was going back to and what I was leaving. By the time I got on the bus back to Aberdeen I was exhausted, but happy to get back to the hard working world of books, lectures, notes, tutorials and late nights that is the student world.
Photo/ afagen (Flickr)
berdeen University Craft Beer and Brewing Society is a brand new society which believes in good beer, good bars and brewing it themselves. Recently the society took a trip to the new bar, 6 Degrees North, on Littlejohn St, a place that is becoming popular amongst students. The bar specialises in Belgian-style beer and is the stockist of its sister brewery of the same name based in Stonehaven. Here’s what our members had to say on some of their stock: Lagunitas I.P.A. Full hop flavours, slight bitterness but well balanced overall. Not a session beer, however at 6.2% a good starting point to get you
steamboats. Hop Classic This one lives up to its name – hoppy with a touch of sweetness. It has a light and non-lingering flavour. Refreshing for a 6.6%! Kasteel The sexiest blonde I’ve ever sampled. Its sweetness slides down my throat like a slipping trout. The soft aftertaste leaves an ecstatic pleasure on the tongue that lingers pleasantly, i.e. it’s good for a cuddle afterwards. Wanderlust Wheat A smooth wheat beer with fruity aromas and a lemony taste, with hints of a nectarine finish up this
burnished gold beer- A fine tasting cask brew. Cold Flat Heineken Feels like a cold stress ball that you cannot squeeze, but very quaffable. Curvee des Trolls Similar to a cold flat Heineken. 66 IBV A forgettable beer. Bio Saison The beer has a mild smell and a half transparent colour, as if it would have a little bit of sediment in it. The taste is nicely sweet, a little bitter, but together it mixes in a well contenting taste.
Photo/ Fabio Burna (Flickr)
Do as I say and not as I do... Ysabelle McGuire talks about her mistakes in first year and what she’s learned from them since
eaving home and moving across the country or even across multiple countries can be extremely difficult for anyone. At the tender ages of 17 and 18, every teenager thinks that they are adults, ready to take on anything and live alone. But everyone makes mistakes and in this article I wanted to share a few of mine that I made in first year, so hopefully you won’t make the same ones. Working too much and playing too little: Throughout my first semester of University in first year, I found myself working 30hour weeks at my part time job just so that I could live the way I wanted to. I didn’t have enough money to cover more than my university accommodation fees, so working all this time was what I thought was necessary. However, I found this was definitely not the case. Working so much just made me ill
and tired. It affected my university attendance, my mood, and meant that I never had any time to socialize. In all my free time I just slept and caught up on lectures I’d missed. It is safe to say that I learned my lesson and this year I’m living in a much more affordable way – which is actually giving me time to act like a real student. Flat mate feuds: You’d be surprised how many people end up having problems with their flat mates in first year. I was one of those: working all the time left me feeling tired and grumpy which is never a great formula for success. During my first few months of university, I was happy enough with my flat mates and we all got on fantastically so I didn’t see the point in broadening my horizons, expanding out and making more friends. So when I did fall out with my flat mates, everything fell apart. This year,
I’m living with people I get on with and meeting new people and spending time with lots of different people rather than limiting myself to spending all my time with just a few friends. Missing out on university societies and clubs: Everyone says that you need to get involved in societies and sports clubs but I think a lot of freshers’ find it difficult to conjure up the confidence to go and socialize with a lot of new people. I think the most daunting part of going to societies is being accepted by the people who have been involved within the society for a long time. In reality, members of societies are so friendly and welcoming of anyone! Not joining any societies in first year was one of my biggest regrets of the year and learning from this mistake was one of the best things I have ever done. So far this term I’ve made some of the
“ I think the most daunting part of going to societies is being accepted by the people who have been involved within the society for a long time. In reality, members of societies are so friendly and welcoming of anyone! Not joining any societies was one of my biggest regrets of the year ” most amazing friends yet. I’d never change that. The ‘it’s only first year’ myth: My final mistake was believing the ‘it’s only first year myth’. Yes, first year is not as important as
second, third and fourth in terms of studying as it is more of a trial and error year but it is still important to your decisions in later years and not taking first year seriously can damage your confidence in your own abilities and hinder you down the line. In first year, you pick the courses you think that you will want to pursue later on. Even though they aren’t exactly necessary to your degree, doing these courses help you decide if your degree structure is right for you. For example, my degree title in first year was MA in Politics and International Relations but after studying English for the entire -ty of first year and doing pretty well in it, I changed my degree to English and Politics. So taking first year seriously is important to the way things can pan out – sometimes what you thought was the perfect subject for you can become something unbearably difficult, or unbearably boring for you!
22 October 2013
Life & Style
The Good, the Bad, and the Moody: PMS Explained Evelyn Mckay gives insight in to what PMS is and some recommendations for managing it
MS (Premenstrual Syndrome) has long been the butt of jokes which downplay a serious problem. ‘PMS-ing’ women are often portrayed as hysterical, man-hating, irrational, and sometimes violent lunatics. Most people don’t know much more about PMS except that it can make women moody in the days before a menstrual period but there are many variations and, since it’s something that affects a majority of women at some level, it’s important that we understand more about it. There is a huge range of physical, psychological and behavioural symptoms, shown in the graph below. Up to 90% of women experience at least one symptom in the luteal (latter) phase of the menstrual cycle. Some women may experience just one or two mild symptoms while others experience a plethora of more severe symptoms: each woman
Some recommendations for managing PMS/PMDD:
PMS symptoms appear when the hormone levels rise- indicated by the blue line
1. Log your cycle and plan as much as you can for your ‘good days’ 2. Regular exercise, plenty of water and avoiding salt, sugar, caffeine and alcohol can help symptoms 3. Meditation – try the Facebook group PMDD Meditation Sessions, which provides online guided meditation sessions for PMDD sufferers 4. Discuss deadline extensions with your tutor if you need to – that’s what they’re for! 5. Nutritional and herbal supplements may help ease some symptoms 6. Don’t overstress yourself during your luteal phases – take time out to relax 7. Ask your doctor to refer you to a gynaecologist or other specialist if they are unable to help you 8. If you think it will help, explain your condition to your classmates, colleagues, tutor, family, partner and friends 9. Avoid negative people and situations during your luteal phase 10. Research, research, research!
their symptoms as a feeling of ‘going mad’ or ‘going insane’’, Hawkins writes. ‘They feel out of control of their emotions and find their minds full of racing negative thoughts. Some say it feels like being possessed and many women will describe themselves as Jekyll and Hyde’. We can see, then, that the work of students with PMDD will almost certainly be affected. In the end it’s important to remember that you’re not alone! Photo/ bbc.co.uk is unique, and each woman’s symptoms can vary from month to month. In some cases, PMS can even make pre-existing conditions worse! PMS usually tails off in the first couple of days of a woman’s period and returns in the run-up to her next period. PMS can also be a chronic condition, with many women oscillating between ‘good days’ (non-PMS days) and ‘bad days’.
Students and PMS Students with premenstrual symptoms may find it difficult to prioritise and even struggle to concentrate or memorise information. More severe symptoms can affect female students academically, create interpersonal problems, or cause relationships to suffer. Some may have extreme difficulty even with the simplest daily tasks. These effects, among many others, mean that PMS can pose a serious and
Physical Symptoms Migraine/headache Bloating Cramps Breast tenderness/pain Fatigue Insomnia Increased/lowered libido
potentially debilitating problem for students. During my research for this article, I asked some of my fellowsufferers about their experiences. A recent graduate affected by PMS told me that her symptoms were both physical: with nausea, stomach cramps, leg pain, a worsening of her chronic back pain, and emotional: ‘I get very tearful, I become very sensitive to criticism and short tempered. Psychologically I feel very low in self- esteem and generally sluggish, lacking motivation’. However, like many of the other women I interviewed, she found ways of dealing with the situation, and stressed the importance of keeping busy and being social: ‘force yourself to be active and get out at least once a day even if you aren’t doing your work. See friends and talk to family to avoid isolation and feeling too down’.
PMDD Psychological Symptoms Depression Aggression Mood swings Anxiety Paranoia Difficulty concentrating Memory disturbances
PMDD can be described as the bigger, uglier sister of PMS. Cat Hawkins, founder of www. pmddawareness.co.uk explains: ‘the distinguishing factor of PMDD is the extreme swings in mood and how [sufferers] feel about themselves and others’. Added to the psychological symptoms of PMS, PMDD’s emotional symptoms can include ‘increased personal conflicts, persecutory delusions, racing thoughts, feeling overwhelmed or out of control, indecisiveness and confusion’, while behavioural changes can include ‘loss of interest in usual activities, inability to think clearly to make simple decisions, cancelling outings or events, hiding indoors and avoiding contact with others, damaging relationships, being unable to cope with usual tasks or requests, difficulty in keeping employment and difficulty focusing on studies or work’. PMDD is distinct from PMS specifically in its dysphoric aspect: ‘PMDD sufferers often describe
Behavioural Symptoms Irritability Anger Panic attacks Alcohol abuse Sweet cravings Binge eating Crying
Whether you have one symptom or ten, there are things you can do to take the bull by the horns. With increased awareness and lifestyle changes and the supplements, medication and alternative therapies out there, there is real hope for improving your symptoms. So don’t despair! Plan around your cycle, do your research, find out what works for you and spread the word!
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22 October 2013
Editor: Elizabeth Ozolins
On the first night of her tour, Elizabeth Ozolins speaks to upcoming female singer/songwriter Cara Mitchell about the music industry, touring and supporting Emile Sandé What are you lyrical influences? What do you tend to write about? I mostly write about my feelings and what happens to me in my life. If something happens to me I try to make it into song form. But all of my writing is improvised and so I usually don’t necessarily know what it means until afterwards. Sometimes it comes from a rational place but not often because I can’t even tell how I feel sometimes. Sometimes when you have so much going on, you just get frustrated. After I’ve written a song about it I feel so much better.
of your money. Fair enough you’ll get known but do you want to be famous for licking hammers? How do you think female musicians can avoid it? Probably the more DIY way of doing it. You won’t get as well known, but the people who do know you will think you’ve got a right because you did it by yourself.
“I’ve got more confidence with myself, even on stage. My writing technique is better now, maybe with more mature subject matter.”
When do you remember first becoming aware of music? When was little I used to sing along to Cher. I’d be like ‘Mum do I sound like Cher?’, when I was nine or something. So it has always been there, but when I was 14 I really wanted to start doing things with it. I started making YouTube videos and started writing round about that time I think. When did you start playing guitar? I think I was 11 because I got lessons for about a year. We always had guitars around when I was little but we never really did much with them. So when I was 11 I got lessons for a year and then I taught myself for the rest of it. When did you start playing shows? It was July 2011, so two years ago. I’ll tell you the exact date, it was the fourth of July. I remember it because it was Independence Day. I thought I would be really nervous on stage, but when I got up there I remember thinking it was okay actually. It was weird looking at the people because I think I got mooned at but I didn’t notice. It was in my first gig. Do you think women in the
Are there any particular female musicians who you aspire to? Probably Lisa Mitchell. She’s an Australian singer/songwriter and she was in Australian Pop Idol when she was 16, she got a contract but turned it down and now she’s making her own demos, recording everything by herself and writing her own songs.
Photo/ Ewa Czerwinska music industry are taken advantage of? Yes, definitely. Especially when they’re on major record labels and they don’t have a say at all about
what they’re doing. If I was told to change my image or my style, I wouldn’t. You’ve got to read the small print because usually you have no say and they will take most
How do you think you’ve developed since you first started playing? I’ve got more confidence with myself, even on stage. My writing technique is better now, maybe with more mature subject matter. I’ve also realised that playing music is not necessarily just a hobby but that it can be worth something.
You supported Emile Sandé in Aberdeen Music Hall on her UK tour. How did that come about? It was mental. I remember my manager was like ‘Do you want to support Emile Sandé?’, and I just said ‘what?’. Because I wasn’t sure if I was going to get it. I was going to be on call for tour support because the person I filled in for had a sore throat. She was supposed to play two shows, I played the first one and she recovered a little bit for the second one. It was just a little weird to be called on my mobile by her booking agent to be honest. What was it like to play in front of so many people? It was mostly full. The stage is massive and I felt so small. I was really nervous before I went on, but then when I walked on stage I had to do it. But I’m short sighted so everyone’s faces were really fuzzy anyway so it didn’t bother me much. It was just like a big applauding blur! This is the first day of your tour. Where will you be playing? Tomorrow is Glasgow, then I’m going to Leicester, Nottingham, we’re taking a break to go to Alton Towers, then London, Brighton and Halifax. I’m looking forward to playing in London and Brighton because they’re bigger cities. That’s really exciting. I’m not looking forward to the sleeping arrangements of the tour because we’re sleeping in a van. My manager and Dad are both going and they both snore, so that will be fun! Let’s hope I get a shower at some point. Are there any local female musicians you support? There’s Leanne Smith, and Jamie Wrenn is really good too. I think Leanne and I are more similar in what we play. Jamie has a more soulful sound.
‘The Luminaries’ wins Man Booker Prize T
he Man Booker Prize, declared to be ‘the most important literary award in the English-speaking world’ has last week announced its latest winner, 45 years since its inception. First awarded in 1969 to P.H Newby for his novel ‘Something to Answer For’, the prize has acknowledged the likes of Scottish author James Kelman for ‘How Late it Was, How Late’, Ian McEwan for ‘Amsterdam’ and Salmon Rushdie for his magical realist novel ‘Midnight’s Children’ and since then has grown to become one of the most prestigious and richest literary awards in the world. The £50,000 prize was award-
ed to New Zealand author Eleanor Catton for her second novel ‘The Luminaries’, a thriller set in Victorian-era New Zealand and one which has been celebrated as ‘structurally innovative’ and ‘ambitious’ by a host of critics. At only 28 years old, Catton is the youngest person to receive the award and at 832 pages, her novel is the longest. Set amongst the gold rush of the late 1800s, ‘The Luminaries’ is a neo-Victorian mystery, a far cry from her first novel, ‘The Rehearsal’, set in a New Zealand high school. While her first effort was acknowledged by a number of awards, including the Adam Award in Creative Writing and the Betty
Trask Award, her entry into the Man Booker canon will certainly hold her in good stead for the duration of her writing career. Along with the announcement of the winner, came the news that as of 2014, the prize will open the award to any author writing in the English language as long as it has been published in the UK. Previously, all considered entries had to be written by authors born in the UK, Ireland, Zimbabwe or the Commonwealth. With the application process widened, critics of the decision worry that British authors will run the risk of being overlooked when other countries, specifically literary giants such
as the US are open for consideration. However, this year’s short list featuring Jhumpa Lahiri who was born in Britain but grew up in the US and Ruth Ozeki whose heritage is considered Canadian-American already displays the international reach of the award despite the restrictions of nationality. Criticism has also been expressed regarding whether broadening the scope would diminish the ability of the prize to discover unknown authors who may not have been recognised otherwise. By Elizabeth Ozolins Photo/ themanbookerprize.com
22 October 2013
REVIEWS Machete Kills STARRING: DANNY TREJO, ALEXA VEGA, MEL GIBSON, JESSICA ALBA
By Michael Cameron If you’re considering whether or not to see Machete Kills, the first question to ask yourself is did you like the first Machete? And, if you didn’t, why not? If the answer to that question is the idea of Danny Trejo as a machete wielding, vigilante law enforcer – accompanied with an extra helping of over the top violence and lines cheesier than a slice of good edam – doesn’t appeal to you, then I would suggest Machete Kills probably isn’t for you. The film has received a lot of bad press for exactly that reason – critics are seeing the film and judging it by Hollywood standards, standards that Rodriguez, the film’s director, is deliberately trying to negate. Time Out London, a fairly prestigious magazine, began their review as follows: “Machete Kills (15), Film, Drama.” Drama!? If you go and see a grotesquely violent sci-fi-B-movie and judge it as a drama of course you’re going to give it two stars. The ‘lazy screenwriting’ and ridiculous violence that are being uniformly criticised by critics were not mistakes. They’re aspects that
The Fifth Estate STARING: BENEDICT CUMERBATCH, DANIEL BRÜHL, STANLEY TUCCI, LAURA LINNEY
By Alex Currie It is hard to believe that the director of this film, Bill Condon, won the Golden Raspberry award for Worst Director, to mark his work on the Twilight Saga finale; because in his most recent work, The Fifth Estate, he carries us through a fast paced thriller, following the rise of WikiLeaks and the subsequent controversy and feud between partners Julian Assange and Daniel Domscheit-Berg (played by Benedict Cumberbatch and Daniel Brühl.) The film begins with Assange and Berg uniting at a tech convention in Berlin where they discover a mutual understanding of exposure through truth from large corporations. The film gains momentum as the duo receives support and information from global whistle blowers with all the major leaks between 2007 and 2010 shown in the film; from the release of the list of BNP party members to the Collateral Murder video and Afghan War Diary, one
Film conform to the Grindhouse/BMovie tradition and pay homage and tribute to it. But ‘tribute’ doesn’t seem to do this film justice, it amalgamates Rodriguez’s love of sci-fi, displayed in Spy Kids (the origin of Machete’s character – seriously, look out for Uncle Machete next time you watch it), with his infatuation with the overtly violent Grindhouse style. Alongside this, it also seeks, as the original Machete did, to satirise the Mexican/US relationship, with the end result of being the most fantastically confused and wonderfully ridiculous piece of cinema I’ve seen in recent years. The actual plot of the film manages to be both ordinarily straightforward and unnecessarily complex at the same time. The twists and turns are so out of the blue - facilitated by multiple characters who are either insane or schizophrenic - that they only serve to complicate the plot rather than enhance it. Appearances from the promarijuana President of the United States, President Rathcock (Carlos Esteves a.k.a. Charlie Sheen); Lady Gaga, as an assassin who plays little to no role in the plot; and Mel Gibson as Luther Voz, the leader of a space bound, Scientologyesque cult, keep the ridiculousness pouring out in ample quantities. In a nutshell, if you do go to see it, don’t expect a nicely polished, realistically scripted Hollywood film the same as anything else being produced right now. It’ll be ridiculous, it’ll be gory, it’ll be funny, dozens of people will get decapitated, but most of all, it’ll be enjoyable.
of the largest military leaks in US history. Highly paced and well-acted the film invites the viewer into a world of internet action and is a mustsee for all “computer geeks” and those “web-anarchists”. Once the viewer begins understanding the characters and the relationships between them, it becomes harder and harder to decide whose side to take as the ball bounces from one court to another. As the viewer is drawn further into the pursuit of truth, issues of trust, power and morality are raised and the fine line between corporate responsibility and individual privacy is blurred. All this makes the film an extremely intense experience, with the viewers engaged and held for the entire duration. Does having the power mean you should use it? And should those with power be held responsible? See it and decide!
Sunshine on Leith STARRING: GEORGE MACKAY, JASON FLEMYNG, ANTONIA THOMAS, PETER MULLAN
By Emily Thorburn When we think of musicals we tend to think of flamboyant costumes, exotic locations and beats so catchy that we’ll be singing and dancing all the way home. So, when you initially hear of Sunshine on Leith, a tale of love, heartbreak and general humanity, set in Scotland’s capital, you wouldn’t be wrong for not feeling exactly enthused. Let’s face it, Edinburgh doesn’t exactly have the sun, sea and sand of a Greek Island, like Mamma Mia does. Starred by a relatively unknown cast and based on the music of Scottish legends, The Proclaimers,
the film centres around the lives of best mates and comrades, Davy and Ally, two young, good looking soldiers returning from the middle East. While Ally, hopes to soon be a married man (to Davy’s sister Liz), Davy conveniently falls for Liz’s co –worker, Yvonne. Thrown into the mix are Davy and Liz’s parents, whose not so wonderful 25th Anniversary celebrations are put in jeopardy after an old secret comes back to haunt. Audiences become privy to the high and lows, the arguments and reconciliations, the opportunities taken and those wasted of the starring six, all of course with a dash of Scottish humour thrown into the mix. This small time Scottish film is the latest project of director, Derek Fletcher, who is also famed for his writing and acting skills. While audiences may miss the expanse of The Greek Islands, or in fact, many scenes that contain sunshine (Scottish weather is represented accurately),this is certainly a heartwarming affair that will further The Proclaimers into the Scottish Hall of Fame.
Best of 2003
1ThiefRadiohead, Hail to the – Maybe this is more
nostalgia than hindsight? In fact, it’s arguably the least remarkable of their back catalogue, something of a mellowing after their Kid A/ Amnesia era and not nearly as neatly packaged as In Rainbows. But maybe that’s just it: what else did they have left to prove? I suspect this is the album that they had the most fun making. Dizzee Rascal, Boy in da 2 Corner – Dizzee’s sending out mixed signals nowadays (“I Don’t Need a Reason” is promising, his collab with will.i.am is, er, not), so it might be wishful thinking to believe he’ll ever accomplish anything else on the same level his Mercury prize winner. Fix up!
3 Kayo Dot, Choirs of the Eye – Explosions in the Sky’s ‘The Earth is not a Cold Dead Place’ was also released on this year. While unquestionably impressive and the group’s foremost record, Kayo Dot’s astonishing effort beats it out (marginally) as the better post-rock album. It’s easy to think this genre selfreplicating, but this is the sort of breath-taking album to remind you that this is a quibbling complaint.
CAGE THE ELEPHANT
By Andrew Parker By cutting themselves off from as much recorded music as possible, Cage the Elephant hoped to achieve a truly reflective, personal piece of work with their third album, ‘Melophobia’. The question is: have they succeeded? Meaning a fear of music, the album’s title represents a struggle against the external pressures that all emerging artists must face, and the questions that are inevitably asked: do you indulge in more of the same sounds that previously brought success? Do you take the music in a new direction? What’s everyone else doing? Cage the Elephant, fortunately, have overcome these tribulations with an eclectic album that sways from upbeat to sombre; from providing a wall of sound to indulging in a quiet moment of introversion between each track, and yet is consistently characterised by
“Meaning a fear of music, the album’s title represents a struggle against the external pressures that all emerging artists must face” frontman Matthew Shultz’s growing lyrical prowess. What the album lacks in high impact singles it makes up for in the synthesis of the album as a whole. The album certainly has its highlights, such as ‘Come a Little Closer’, the first single of the album, and ‘It’s Just Forever’, featuring lead vocalist of The Kills, Alison Mosshart; however, Melophobia is at its best in moments like those provided in the final two tracks, where Shultz transitions from wild and uncontrollable to a peculiar yet meaningful spoken word section about the current state of arts (‘an entire population of critics and no painters to be found’) in ‘Teeth’ before following up and ending the album with the acoustic-sounding ‘Cigarette Daydreams’. Even with its lack of a climatic flagship track, ‘Melophobia’ is an excellently constructed album certainly worth a listen for any of an alternate or indie rock persuasion.
4 Thrice, The Artist in the Ambulance – It was a good
year all round for screamy front men: Thrice’s ‘The Artist in the Ambulance’ is not only one of their best but one of the best of the genre. That, though, is a list for another day. You can never truly call Thrice ‘simple’ - they’re usually quite the opposite but as a tour-de-force of posthardcore staples it doesn’t get much better than this. Biffy Clyro, Vertigo of Bliss 5 – It’s a tough list to begin, with the likes of Permission to Land, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, The Black Album, Absolution and a host of others just missing out on the top 5. It’s not just rose-tinted glasses, there really was some cracking music released 10 years ago. In the end, it goes to Biffy: the further back you leaf through their recordings the more interesting it gets. By Scott Reid
Arts News Morrissey’s much-hyped and aptly-titled autobiography, Autobiography, has this week been released as a Penguin Classic. The Lion King is about to gross $1bn on Broadway, and will be the first musical to do so in history. The trailer for Wes Anderson’s new film, The Grand Budapest Hotel, has just been released. The story is led by Ralph Fiennes, with a cast including Anderson favourites Tilda Swinton, Adrien Brody and Ed Norton.
Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die! PANIC! AT THE DISCO
ALBUM RELEASE: 8 OCTOBER 2013
By Fraser Walker
Robin Thicke, best known for the anthemically sleazy ‘Blurred Lines’, has announced that he will be bringing out a short film about a man who kills his cancer-stricken wife, entitled ‘Mercy’. No official release date has yet been given.
Kurt Cobain’s childhood home in the town of Aberdeen, Washington, is up for sale. The asking price is $500,000.
22 October 2013
Panic! at the Disco, the Las Vegas band who made their appearance in 2005 with ‘A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out’ are back again with a fourth album ‘Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die’. The album is a far cry from the nostalgic emo days of 2005 (do not deny it). There is a sense of maturity and accomplishment about this album. The band has had its variation in members over the years but appears to be settled and established with this new confident sound. Of course, the creative lyrics of Panic! at the Disco have not changed especially in ‘This is Gospel’; easily the strongest track of the album. It has the usual bouncy rhythms and
strong beats. Lyrics have always provided this band with a musical edge and the lyrics of this album provide a dramatic and artistic feel throughout. In terms of musical critique, the album has taken a completely different musical path with a
“The album is a far cry from the nostalgic emo days of 2005 (do not deny it). There is a sense of maturity and accomplishment about this album.” more electronic sound on tracks ‘The Girl That You Love’ and ‘Nicotine’. It feels like they have been rebranded, trying to be more ‘in with the crowd’ in an attempt to appeal to a wider audience. This is not necessarily always a negative thing. ‘Casual Affair’ and ‘Too Young To Die’ maintain most of the traditional Panic! at the Disco sounds which we are familiar with. However, a portion of this album is unnecessarily over-techno. These guys are too talented for that! All in all, this is a standard album which does provide an adequate listen but I know from past albums that these guy are capable of producing greater music. Despite my somewhat harsh criticisms, they have certainly matured as a band and I feel that they have carved a new musical direction in comparison to the traditional Panic! At the Disco sound.
Game Pokémon X and Y GAME RELEASE: 12 OCTOBER 2013
By Rory McGregor Pokémon. The single word means something different to every individual. Whether it is carefully training up that Charmander into a ferocious Charizard, chasing down your friend in the playground so they can trade you their shiny Mewtwo card, or watching Ash and Pikachu constantly thwart the efforts of the evil Team Rocket. The franchise has been a worldwide phenomenon since its initial release in 1995, selling over 245 million games for a variety of Nintendo consoles. Now in its sixth ‘generation’, Pokémon X and Y are the newest games to hit the market, released globally for the Nintendo 3DS and 2DS on the 12th October 2013. Taking place in the newly dubbed Kalos region, the player is entrusted with their loyal starter Pokémon and embarks on an adventure to complete the Pokédex and take on the Pokémon League. However, they are also challenged to explore the mystery that is Mega Evolution and get caught up in Team Flare’s plot to destroy all Pokémon and wash away everything that to them isn’t ‘beautiful’.
Although I may be biased as a lifelong Pokémon fan, I truly believe that X and Y are the best Pokémon games to date. Despite the fact that the core storyline of the game is the same as all previous games - get eight badges and defeat the Pokémon League - there is so much more for the player to do and explore as they travel through the games. The introduction of Mega Evolution, a new mechanic which allows certain Pokémon that had previously reached their maximum evolution to temporarily evolve into a whole new Pokémon. The new Player Search System (PSS), which allows a player from Scotland to trade, battle or chat to another player on the other side of the world via the internet with a single click of a button. Full character customisation, including skin, eye and hair colour. A whole host of new Pokémon, joining the existing cast of over 600. And all in a brand new 3D over-world, with 3D Pokémon battle animations, elevating every aspect of the game to a new level. But what is even more impressive is that Pokémon have ensured that they have stayed true to their longtime fans. As well as your new Kalos starter, the player receives one of the original starter Pokémon from Red and Blue version. Pokémon from every generation can be caught throughout the game, allowing the player to create a team from their personal favourites. In Pokémon X and Y, Pokémon have succeeded in creating fantastic new games for a brand new Pokémon audience, while still keeping true to the generation of fans who loved the original games and catapulted the franchise to fame.
Donna Tartt has released her third novel, The Goldfinch. It comes 10 years after her last novel, The Little Friend, and weighs in at 771 pages. Plans to name a street in Brooklyn after deceased resident Christopher Wallace, aka Notorious B.I.G., have been protested by the local community board. The petition to have his childhood street renamed Christopher Wallace Way currently has over 3,500 signatures. Superbabe Swedish rapper Neneh Cherry has announced that in 2014 she will release her first solo album in 16 years. The as-yet unnamed album was recorded over only five days, and features a guest appearance from fellow Swede Robyn. The BET Hip-Hop Awards 2013 were last week, with Kendrick Lamar winning Album of the Year and Drake getting Track of the Year. Best Hip Hop Style was a tie between Rocky A$AP and Nicki Minaj. The 2014 nominees for The Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame have been released, and include Nirvana, N.W.A, Cat Stevens and Kiss. By Jess Johnson
Here come the Quines
o over the last couple of weeks I’ve been making general, sweeping statements about the local scene, interspersed with names of bands I think you should check out. This time I thought I might pick a specific area and go into it in more detail. Chvrches’ Lauren Mayberry recently wrote a brilliant article about misogyny in the music industry. It was insightful, honest and relevant. It can undoubtedly be difficult being a serious female musician if people are going to judge you on things that aren’t at all relevant to the music. Fortunately, I’ve never seen any of this in Aberdeen. We’ve no shortage of female singer-songwriters – or “quines wi guitars” as I like to call them. Brilliantly, most of them manage to bring something that’s totally their own to the table. Cara Mitchell has a voice like no one else,
tender and youthful but absolutely memorable. Her songs range from thoughtful philosophising to love letters to her cat. She’s already supported Emeli Sande and is about to head off on a UK tour as I write. If you’re looking for a really established acoustic act, they don’t come much bigger here. That doesn’t mean to say Cara is flying the flag alone. Quite the opposite. Macduff girl Leanne Smith has had a break-out year, having supported Lucy Rose and Fossil Collective, as well as releasing her debut album. Her songwriting has really developed. Sometimes brooding, sometimes building, sometimes unapologetically catchy, there’s genuinely something for everyone. I asked Leanne how she found being a female musician here. “There are a lot of great opportunities in Aberdeen for musicians if you go
Photo/ Matt Jolly looking for them. There is also a lot more going on than people think.” And when I asked if she felt at a disadvantage because of her gender, Leanne’s response was pretty unequivocal: “I don’t think it’s easier or more difficult being a female solo artist because at the end of the day it’s about being reliable, having a good attitude and working hard.” There are more and more girls appearing on the scene all the time, bringing something fresh to
the table. Margaret Finlayson and Liz Russo both released debut EPs this year. The former got played by new music don Jim Gellatly and Margaret is supporting Anderson McGinty Webster Ward & Fisher in December. Russo has been getting attention from blogs all over Europe and she has a voice that deserves to be heard. By Alan Henderson
22 October 2013
Don’t go outside” I said the words carefully, making sure that the meaning of the sentence was acknowledged in his face before I continued. “The winds are coming. You remember them last year don’t you?” He looked startled. His young face clearly couldn’t contort itself into an appropriate expression yet, so it seemed that all he could muster was a wide-eyed stare. A branch of the great apple tree outside rubbed against the house, grating down its flank and causing a rumbling within. “But they were here then” Jacob said. Jacob had always been dependent upon our Mother. He slept in her bed until he was six years old. He blamed it on bad dreams but I knew he was just fragile in the night. Sometimes he screamed in his sleep; though this only happened once he took rest in his own bed permanently. I suppose some people are just made peculiar like that, the dark gets to them. “You hungry?” “No” “Well, I am starved. Let’s see what delicacies this house beholds shall we?” He wore the face of a boy starved from bravery. It is key in such circumstances that you let no breath of fear escape yourself, even if it runs rampant through every bone. For if the comrade in question, whose countenance reveals the brittle nerves within, garners any mention of dread within you: all is lost. Only bleak
situations as these warrant such guile. I began traipsing through the cupboards in search of something to distract Jacob with, though serious doubts in my culinary prowess surfaced when the wind began rattling the tiles of the roof. “Spanish Omelette! How exciting. Set the table will you J?” “Stop it” “Set the table” “I’m not hungry” “Then you shall sit there and pretend” I sounded stern. I didn’t mean to. Just, what else was I supposed to do? As I began to cook, the blinds ruffled with disturbance from the gale. An a p p l e , severed from its limb by the wind, struck the skylight in the dining r o o m . Jacob just stood there, hoping that if he remained paralyzed by fear long enough the night may draw to end. It wouldn’t. The arrival of autumn had been a violent transition for the past few years; air currents slithered spitefully through the land, telephone wires hung limply from their tangles above the street, like nooses awaiting unsuspecting avians. In a world where communication seems vital, the new season’s
turbulence caused chaos. Deviants, brave enough to risk death, looted shops and restaurants whose windows had collapsed in the mistral waves. However, this year had been different. There had been no warning, no alarm raised, the storm had come viciously through the clouds one September afternoon. It wasn’t expected, and if it was to be expected it was due in the later days of October. This world had taken strange turns with the weather. An old woman died last year, the wind dragged her thirty foot before she hit a tree. My
always act in the way of a man; even if he may not warrant that label yet. I looked through the window, peaking through the slit of the curtains so Jacob couldn’t glimpse the picture of ruinous fury that was our street. We had once cycled underneath the cherry-blossom tree, its petals raining over us, that now stood bare and broken in the garden of our neighbour’s; a thick bow clung to it with a splintered grasp, desperate to hold on. We ate silently upstairs, Jacob reading football magazines by candlelight as I watched birds catch breaths of wind and fly past the window like bullets. “I can’t sleep” Jacob said, his meek voice repeating the phrase for a third time. “I know” It felt as if the house were shivering upon its foundations such were the tremors of sound that spoke through the halls. We had been lying in our respective bunks for over an hour, feigning slumber in an attempt to make the other follow suite. But we both knew that sleep would not come. I could feel every movement Jacob made in his bed beneath me, and he could hear mine. It felt safer to be with someone, though fear still steadied the air, made it seem
- Short Story -
Bleak Inheritance father found her the next morning. “How about we eat upstairs? Mum never lets us do that, but she won’t find out will she?” “Ok” Jacob had fallen into silence. The front door rattled on its hinges, filling the space of his reticence with its metallic shaking. I felt just as scared as Jacob looked, but, as few as my years on this earth may number, a young boy thrust into a situation of graveness like this will
fragile as in the moments before calamity. For hours we lay like this, bodies in the darkness hoping for rest. Until finally I heard Jacob slip into his little snores, which comforted me so that I fell asleep. Eight hundred people were killed that night. The dark winds appeared to have more malevolence under the cover of blackness; nearly all the deaths occurred between the hours of three and four in the morning. Jacob and I were fine. Our house withstood nature’s onslaught with minimal damage, although the mastiff of an apple tree now lay flattened on the garden lawn like a fallen soldier. People talked of moving away, but the truth was that the tainted swathes of weather had begun to blanket the globe. Of course, small idyllic pockets of the world remained unscathed, but the children on many slept restlessly, fearful prophecies marauding their dreams nightly. And this is the world we endow the generations, the world we leave in the hands of others whose palms close round it with obligatory acceptance. Their bleak inheritance heard at night, when the trees shuffle ceaselessly and the crows call blasphemy at the sky. Its no wonder my little brother can’t sleep at night. By Richard Ross Hunter
“Tolkein uses this theme of human desperation and fear of death as a driving theme in the book”
Lord of the Rings by Josh Bircham
he Lord of the Rings is a book read and loved by millions and for many, it provides a different and exciting world for the reader to experience. However, scrape back the layers of mighty battles, high kings, wizards and Wargs, and you’ll find that Tolkein is really talking about things applicable to us in real life. Despite this novel being so deeply embedded in
another world it is so much closer to our own than you may think. The very human desire to escape death is the root of much evil in the books: the
rings of power give men immortality but ultimately curses them to become ring-wraiths. Tolkein uses this theme of human desperation and fear of death as a driving theme in the book as it makes the emotional impact timeless and transgressive. Equally however, the way Tolkein balances power and corruption is relatable to present international leadership. Indeed, although Lord of the Rings can be seen as a metaphor for early twentieth Century politics, the leaders of Gondor, Rohan and Mordor, as well as smaller factions have a similar cocktail of despotic, vain and proud tendencies that many world leaders have today. As well as this, Tolkein makes a very clear distinction between good and evil, and shows that despite human failings, it is ultimately possible to make positive change.
Yes Scotland Chief Executive Thursday 24th October. 7.30-9.30pm MacRobert Building,
University of Aberdeen
B L A I R JENKINS
Editor: Josiah Bircham
Music DF Concerts presents Jessie J AECC 21 October 2013 6.30pm Entry: £32.50 plus b.f. After a run of successful summer festival appearances including Wireless, Radio 1’s Hackney Weekend, Isle of White, Ibiza and Mallorca Live and T in the Park, Jessie J will be taking her live show, ‘Nice to Meet You’ to Aberdeen’s AECC as a part of her first 12-date UK Arena tour. See a range of hits from this well established British pop icon.
Extremely Bad Dancing to Extremely French Music Citymoves Studio 24 October 2013 5.00pm Entry: £3.50 With over 50 piano, dance and text-based solos, edited around strict rhythmic structures, this piece spans the overtly political, the understated and the oblique, while ranging in temperament and emotion from the extremely calm and extremely harmonic, to the extremely loud and the extremely vulgar. In association with DanceLive, critically acclaimed composer Matteo Fargion and choreographer Karl Jay-Lewin come together to create a collaborative live dance and music work, performed by Karl and pianist Tim Parkinson.
Combassal King’s College Chapel
Wedding Present The Lemon Tree 27 October 2013 7.00pm Entry: £18 plus b.f No ordinary Leeds based indie band, in 1992 Wedding Present equalled Elvis Presley’s record for scoring the most top 30 hits in 12 months. No mean feat. They achieved this remarkable record by releasing limited edition 7” singles, one a month from January to December. This kind of thing is common now, but in 1992, it was revolutionary, and saw them on Top Of The Pops four times. Their music can be compared to The Fall, Buzzcocks and the Gang of Four, though has evolved over the years into a whole spectrum of varied styles.
BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra: Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No.2 Music Hall 25 October 2013 7.30pm Entry: £10-£20.50 (concessions/ subscriptions/discounts available) Denis Kozhukhin is taking on Rachmaninov’s best-loved (and technically most challenging) piano concerto at Aberdeen’s Music Hall, with Thomas Dausgaard as Conductor and backed by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. This will be a spectacular performance, Denis Kozhukhin already having dazzled listeners in his breathtaking Prokofiev concerto performances in recent seasons. Also performed will be Sibelius’ Finlandia and Nielsen’s Symphony No.4.
25 October 2013 6.00pm Entry: £8, £5 concession, £2 Sound: Scotland’s Festival of New Music student Do you like plainchant? Do you like organ improvisation? Do you want to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the death of Gesualdo? If the answer to any of these questions is a resonating “yes” then come and see an international ensemble of singers perform his chromatic settings of Christianity’s most dramatic texts in the apt setting of King’s College Chapel.
22 October 2013
Theatre Inferno The Tivoli Theatre
23 October – 23 November 2013 Tickets available through www. boxofficeaberdeen.com
25 October - 27 October 2013 18:45pm for 19:30pm Entry: £11.50 (Students £8)
With the aim to make new music more accessible to audiences of all ages and backgrounds, Sound embraces a network of local organisations to produce a varied programme of events exploring new music, encouraging people to discover new sounds and widen their musical horizons. An initiative of Woodend Barn and the University of Aberdeen, and shortlisted for an RPS Music Award, it spans over 25 venues across Aberdeen. “Within a short space of time [sound] has become a magnet for enthusiasts and big names.” Susan Nickalls, Scotland on Sunday 2010
The Tivoli Theatre opens its doors to host the first play performed in almost 50 years this Halloween weekend. A stage adaptation of the memoirs of playwright and alchemist, August Strindberg, this is a gripping tale of a mad scientist with a theatrical flair. Set against a Paris backdrop, ‘Inferno Crisis’ was a turning point in his writing, marked by his inexplicable abandonment of wife, child and career in the Stockholm theatres for a life of ignominious toil and chemical experiments. His memoirs reveal a nervous breakdown, culminating in alchemical obsession and attempts at making gold.
Sean Lock: Purple Van Man Music Hall 22 October 2013 8.00pm £23 One of the UK’s most highly acclaimed and original comedians, The British Comedy Award winner has performed on Live At The Apollo and Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow and is coming to the Music Hall to perform his new stand-up show, which looks at life from a skewed white van man’s perspective.
Paul Merton- Impro Chums Music Hall 27 October 2013 8.00pm Entry: £22 plus b.f.
One world week: the Ceilidh Elphinstone Hall, Kings Scottish Dance Theatre Campus His Majesty’s Theatre 25 October 2013 8pm- 12pm Entry: £5
29 October 2013 7:30 Entry: £12 -£18 plus b.f.
One world week seeks to raise awareness in Aberdeen about issues affecting the Global South. As a part of this, they and the International Society are putting on a ceilidh with a free international buffet alongside music and dance from around the world, including Nepalese dances, African dances with live drumming and ceilidh dancing. Cash bar available.
The Scottish Dance Theatre perform ‘Second Coming’ by Victor Quijada and ‘Winter, Again’ by Jo Strømgren. The repertoire of Scottish Dance Theatre is constantly evolving, pushing boundaries and expectations. Using songs from Schubert’s Eine Winterreise, Strømgren’s new work will take us on a journey through the cycle of the darkest, coldest season. Scottish Dance Theatre is Scotland’s leading contemporary dance company.
Chase and Status AECC 1 November 2013 6.30pm doors £31.64 inc. b.f.
Vodka Siberia Halloween Pub Quiz Vodka Siberia
Pharrell Williams hails them as ‘The most exciting producers in the UK today’, Rihanna considers them ‘the backbone’ of her record ‘Rated R’ but this isn’t enough to quench the musical thirst of multi-award winning, platinum record selling producers, writers and musicians in their own right, Chase & Status aka Will Kennard and Saul Milton. The duo, who count Jay Z and Snoop Dogg as fans, as well as drum and bass’ finest Andy C, Hype and Pendulum; enjoy heavy rotation in the hands of dub-step royalty such as N-Type and Skream; and have each release been enthusiastically supported by Radio 1 tastemakers Annie Mac and Zane Lowe. They have released three studio albums as well as collaborating with major artists such as Plan B, Cee Lo Green, Rihanna, Example and Tinie Tempah.
28 October 2013 8.30pm Entry: £1 With a bargain £1 Entry experience a range of Halloween fun and festivity with bobbing for apples, a pub quiz and a highly competitive fancy dress competition. To get you in the mood, why not sample a selection of the impressive range of flavoured vodka or take advantage of the generous drinks promotion.
Paul Merton, one of the UK’s bestloved performers, and his world renowned Impro Chums: Mike McShane, Lee Simpson, Richard Vranch and Suki Webster will create a new and unique comedy show, based entirely on suggestions from the audience, using their own finely honed improvisational skills. Each performance promises to be different and very entertaining. Come along and shout something complicated or ridiculous and watch the troupe smoothly execute the strangest of requests!
Comedy Night of the Laughing Dead Slain’s Castle 27 October 2013 8.00pm Entry: £4; or £3 if you come dressed as a zombie Wildly Unprepared, AUSA Improvised Theatre Society and AUSA Comedy Society have come together for one night at Slain’s Castle. Alongside Halloween games, performing a mixture of magic and comedy is magician Eoin Smith. Included will be Improvisation, Stand-up comedy, sketches and games. Also, the best dressed zombie in the house will win a prize!
Henning Wehn: knows Bestest The Lemon Tree
30 October 2013 7.00pm doors Entry: £13.50 plus b.f. German Comedy Ambassador Henning Wehn is a fountain of knowledge; he knows there’s no shortcut to success and that hard work will eventually pay off and there is no shame in paying tax. But what he knows bestest is that his comedy shows are a guaranteed success. Either he’s funny or he confirms a national stereotype. It’s a win-win situation. Wunderbar!
22 October 2013
Mixed day for AU Shinty against varsity rivals Jamie Fogarty, AUSC captain, reviews the men’s stunning victory over RGU whilst Gillian Brown reports on a disappointing day as the women’s side lose their derby match
he 14 October saw the Aberdeen women’s shinty team head for Balgownie to play RGU in what is always one of the more tensely fought fixtures of the season. Armed with our first full team - including subs - for what has been several years, we were keen to see how we could fare and get the many new faces on the team onto the field for as much play time as possible. With the majority of our team having only picked up a shinty stick that very week and a few having to learn the game during the warm up, the girls were slightly apprehensive. The game began and the team played a defensive first half while getting accustomed to the speed and play of the opposition. Although playing well, the more experienced RGU team managed to get 4-0 up by half time. However, RGU would have been much further ahead if it had not been for the defensive skills of our back row and goalie, Eilidh Fraser. By the time the second half came around the team were more prepared and play became
Photo/ mcnair.smugmug.com more evenly distributed leading to several shooting opportunities at RGU’s goal by midfielder, Judith Mair. Eventually the game came to an end with the team 8-0 down but our new team for this season played well and came away with a few bumps and bruises, but with the determination to improve upon our performance.
hrow up for the league opener began at 2pm on the 12th of October as the RGU hosted their Granite City rivals, Aberdeen University. The team numbers had been reduced due to RGU struggling to field a team due to other commitments. An early goal for Aberdeen set the tone as John Sweeney powered through
the midfield to blast the ball past a disorganised defence. Aberdeen were solid throughout the 1st half, inflicting a further three goals whilst barely having any possession in their own half. Josh Corbett came on as a sub to score his first goal in the sport with his first touch into the bottom corner. The 2nd half started slowly with the main stay of the team rotated to give newcomers a chance, and only one goal was scored in the second half as RGU settled down into a game that they had previously dominated in the recent encounters. The Aberdeen defence found themselves regulated to mop up operations and sorties into the other half, while the keeper was forced into one save. All in all, it was great day for the University of Aberdeen and one to forget for the overwhelmed RGU. Man of the Match was awarded to John Sweeney. For more information on Shinty check out the Aberdeen University Shinty Facebook page.
Aberdeen - a great place for student sport Ewen Reid gives the lowdown on the great variety of sporting activities on offer in the Granite City
ot a member of a Sports Club at University? This does not mean that you should forget about sport completely from September to June every year. There is still plenty of sporting activities for students in the Granite City to try stay in shape whilst saving the pennies with their student discount. Just a stone’s throw from the University is the Aberdeen Sports Village, heaven on earth for those with a keen interest in sports. Your student card will grant you a very generous discount on the range of activities and classes available within the Village as well as memberships to the state of the art gym for as little as £99 per academic year. So, whether you are just wanting to sweat out a hangover on the treadmill or have a 7 aside game of football with your friends on the carpet like indoor astro-turf pitch, the ASV is the place to be. If being cooked up indoors isn’t your cup of tea and you’d rather a game of golf then the King’s Links is worth checking out. Just £6.50 a round with your student card for 18 of the best golfing holes in the area. An 18 hole, 6500 yard gale susceptible course that balances the challenge and enjoyment aspects of the game, perfect for low and high handicappers alike. With winter fast approaching, skiers will be licking their lips at
Photo/ Aberdeen Sports Village
the prospect of spending some time on the slopes. However living in Aberdeen can prove problematic when trying to spend some time on the skis. At Garthdee, the Aberdeen Snowsports Centre is the ideal place to go to brush up on your skills or even learn to ski with the Centre offering lessons at very reasonable student rates. When the cold winter weekends come in, a trip down to the ski slopes to try your hand at skiing, tubing or snowboarding is well worth keeping in your thoughts. If you fancy a competitive edge to your sport without having to give up as much time as you do playing for one of the sports clubs then Intramurals may be closer to what you are looking for. With mixed netball, 7 a-side football and ultimate frisbee all available at the Aberdeen Sports Village every week starting at the end of this month. With the opportunity to play with your friends, society or club, it is a great way to have fun but at the same time earn some bragging rights. Any additional info can be obtained by emailing pres.sport@ abdn.ac.uk So make the most of your time at University and get out there and use your student card to take advantage of the many great deals that are on offer.
In other news... BUCS Update Aberdeen has secured 44 wins so far this season, with 92 defeats and 16 draws, making their win rate 29%. Aberdeen currently lies in 6th position in both the overall and Scottish standings, sandwiched between Strathclyde and Dundee. This Wednesday (23rd October) sees Women’s Basketball take on St. Andrews, Women’s Water Polo face RGU, AU Golf 1st play Stirling and Men’s Tennis face Glasgow. Once again, all these ties are played in Aberdeen so if you are free get yourself down to one of the matches to cheer on Team AU! (All information is correct as of 17/10/13). Please visit http://www.bucs.org. uk/homepage.asp for more information.
Rugby Men’s 2nd, 3rd and 4th XVs all picked up victories last Wednesday in the Scottish Conference Cup. The standout result undoubtedly came from the 4th XV who took a major scalp against St. Andrews 2nd XV, winning 22-19. The Men’s 1st XV were unable to build upon the previous round’s away victory over Glasgow as they came unstuck against a strong Dundee side, losing 39 points to 23. Whilst the Women’s 1st XV’s season did not get off to the best of starts, they will look to bounce back with a good result against Edinburgh this Wednesday at Kings Playing Fields (KO at 1pm).
Weightlifting In the most recent Weightlifting Scotland rankings (released last week), AU Weightlifting Club Secretary, Andy Benton, and fellow AUWC member, Ashley Wiles, ranked 23 and 26 respectively (out of ninety-three man strong field). This feat is particularly impressive as, between the weightlifters, they have only competed in three competitions.
Archery AUAC Captain, Rebekah Tipping, and fellow member Veronique Heijnsbroek, have been accepted onto the Scottish Archery squad and attended a selection shoot off last weekend for the British championships. This once again shows the vast improvement of the club which has come on leaps and bounds in recent seasons.
Editor: Stuart Bill
The week in tweets @andros_townsend – the England winger on the Hodgson’s joke furore
Tai Chi Chuan on show at Confucius Institute opening ceremony Christina Duncan reports on AU Tai Chi’s involvement at the official opening of the CI
I don’t know what all this fuss is about. No offence was meant and none was taken! It’s not even news worthy! @andy_murray – panics as he runs late for his appointment at Buckingham Palace In the middle of a drug test hahaha I’m goin to be late!!! @RealMisbah - Misbah-ul-Haq, the Pakistan cricketer, celebrates following their Test victory over RSA Last shot had an emotions in it if you feel :) Anyways Congrats for Praying for our victory. Finally happy :) @timbovisser – Dutch-born Edinburgh winger revels in Edinburgh’s H Cup victory over Munster Fantastic win. We really got stuck into them and bashed out the result @J_Ennis 6 – the Olympic Gold Medalist gets excited for the return of the hit US show, Homeland Homeland is back! Can’t wait to tune in later @lewis_damian I’ve missed u :) @Susie_Wolff – the Williams development driver mourns the loss of colleague, Maria de Villota Maria you were an amazing lady with so much strength and character. You are gone but will never be forgotten. X x
Video of the Week
Nose Pick Cam (Extremely Awkward) http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=9YKtmG7Fa_4
22 October 2013
Photo/ Wei Lan
s Freshers’ week was drifting into its final few days, members of the Five Winds School of Tai Chi Chuan, with which the Aberdeen University Tai
Chi club is associated, had gathered to give a demonstration at the opening ceremony for the new Confucius Institute situated on the High Street in Old Aberdeen. The
aim of the Confucius Institute is to promote educational, economic, and cultural ties between the North East of Scotland and China. The opening ceremony, held on Elphinstone Lawn was attended by First Minister Alex Salmond and senior representatives of the UK Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, the Chinese Consulate in Scotland, the University of Aberdeen and Wuhan University in China. Members and instructors from Aberdeen University Tai Chi club practiced the WuCheng style of Tai Chi Chuan. First they gave a demonstration on a short hand form, before later giving a demonstration on the three weapon forms – spear, sabre and straight sword. Before each demonstration Ian Carolan, the University Club’s main instructor, gave a short introduction about the style and what was going to happen during the performance. The hand form demonstration included a show of the martial applications of the different moves including locks, sweeps and throws (you can see the demo
on the clubs blog: http://taichi-au. blogspot.co.uk). The three principles of the clubs style of Tai Chi is shoulder-width, single-weightedness and structure, which when practiced correctly, gives a solid stance, fluid and free movement, and good balance and posture (you can read more about the club in our previous Gaudie Spotlight article: http://www. thegaudie.co.uk/sport/2013/04/ spotlight-au-tai-chi-club). The club practice in the Sky Studio at Aberdeen Sports Village on Tuesday (8.30-10.30pm) and Friday (8.00-10.00pm). The classes have a very friendly atmosphere and there are also plenty of un-official meet-ups, social opportunities and a yearly trip to Lock Muick on the Balmoral Estate available outside of class. The club is noncompetitive, but will support any members who to want to go and compete. Members are of varying levels of experience, and the club welcomes complete beginners. Check out the blog for more information.
Roughnecks bring American Football to the Granite City Rory McGregor profiles the Aberdeen Roughnecks following their first fully-padded game
or those of you looking to the NFL for your fix of hardhitting American football action, you can now find it in your very own city. The Aberdeen Roughnecks played their first fully-padded game last Sunday, and it promises not to be their last. Meeting for the first time in 2011, it has been a long road for the Roughnecks. Brought together by a passion for the sport, the team has been striving to become part of the British American Football Association (BAFA) and to compete at the highest level they can. Through the work of former coach Mike Rushby, head coach Scott Campbell, and several other hardworking Roughneck volunteers, the team has transformed their early meetings into weekly scrimmages, and now to fully-fledged friendly games at their home field, The Rig, implementing a full playbook. Last Sunday’s friendly was the first of three association games that the Roughnecks are required to play in order to gain membership into the National North Division of the BAFA National Leagues, after fulfilling all previous league criteria. Despite going down 25-0 to the Glasgow Tigers, there were
Photo/ AU Roughnecks AFC many positives to take away from the game. One of these was the excellent play by the Roughnecks defence, captained by assistant coach Ben Filmer. The defence forced an impressive six Tigers turnovers, with an interception, two fumbles, and three turnover-on-downs. A stellar effort by the defensive line continuously pressured the Tigers’ quarter-back, forcing him out of the pocket and into scrambling for
yards and throwing on-the-run. However, the main positive to take away is the experience gained from the game. Potentially more so than other sports, due to the complex nature of a playbook and the technicalities of the game, experience is absolutely vital to success in American football. The Roughnecks struggled to get anything going offensively, but the experience of playing a game will
help them greatly going forward into their next fixtures. All in all, the result was very good considering the Glasgow Tigers have been around for over a decade, and went to the British semi-final in 2009. The Roughnecks have two more games lined up, one taking place at 2pm on Sunday 20 at home (The Rig, Hazlehead Park), and an away fixture coming up in the following few weeks. The Roughnecks are always looking for new people to become part of their American football family. When not playing a game, they practice on Sundays at 1pm at Seaton Park: just bring boots and a gum shield. Be sure to check their Facebook and Twitter pages for information about upcoming games and for more information about how to get involved. It certainly is an exciting time for those of us in Aberdeen who love American football. There has not been a team in the city since the Granite City Oilers parted ways in 1995. Here’s hoping that the Aberdeen Roughnecks can continue to grow as an organisation and have success as they take on the rest of Britain in wrestling for those yards to get that ball in for a touchdown!