The Aberdeen University Student Newspaper
1 May 2012
Students elect new sabbatical officers for 2012/2013 academic year
From left to right: Adam Khan (President for Charities), Emma Carlen (President for Societies and Student Activities), Josefine Bjorkqvist (President for Education and Employability), Anne-Claire Deseilligny (Student President), Gordon Maloney (President for Welfare and Equal Opportunities) and Clare McWilliams (President for Sports) Photos/ Jonathan MacDonell By James Valentine Student elections took place last week, as students voted to elect their Executive Committee for next year. The results, announced on Thursday, revealed a closely fought contest, with 11 candidates chosen to lead the Students’ Association. The results showed that 2,899 students had voted in the election, with 15,770 votes cast. The number of votes recorded for the election had increased on last year’s effort by the student community, which saw fewer than 2,289, or 17%, of students vote. Organisers, candidates and newly elected sabbaticals alike will be disappointed at a turnout of approximately 21% of a student
population of 13,676 participating in the election. Student interaction and campus representation have been longstanding issues for the Students’ Association; issues that the new sabbatical team will hope to address. The active engagement of just one in five students in elections, which directly affect their experience at university, is higher than many had hoped for, but lower than the voter turnout at many other British universities. However, considering the amount of votes, this year’s elections saw a spike in the number of candidates on previous years, showing that many students feel they can help the association develop, albeit due in part to open seats in four of the
Last weekend the largest student-led torchlit procession in Europe took place in Aberdeen. Gaudie sent a photographer and you can see the best pictures inside. P.4-5
“I am absolutely delighted with the results of the Executive Committee election. It looks set to be a fantastic team...” Tessa Birley, Student President six positions. Despite the low turnout, the 2012/13 Executive Committee will be led by the new Student President Anne-Claire Deseilligny, a fourth year Politics and International Relations student and current
co-editor of The Gaudie. Unfortunately, Anne-Claire wasn’t available for comment on the elections. The newly elected sabbatical team will take over from the outgoing 2011/2012 team in August, and will have just over six weeks to learn the job before the new academic year begins. In her role as Student President, AnneClaire will represent University of Aberdeen students on high-level university committees and will be responsible for overseeing the shaping of AUSA’s policies, whilst her fellow sabbatical officers will lead their respective committees and focus on their more specific fields. The year’s Executive Committee is believed to be the most diverse
Are lectures actually useful? The Opine section debates the merits of attending lectures for your overall academic performance. P. 11
one that has ever been elected, with a record number of four female sabbatical officers. In addition, Vice President of Charities was secured by Emily Beever, after the position was uncontested in the election. The current Student President, Tessa Birley said: “I am absolutely delighted with the results of the Executive Committee election. It looks set to be a fantastic team next year and I am confident they will represent students well and continue to drive the Students’ Association forward.”
Full details of the new team on p. 3
Record shops are closing up and down the country. Discover how an independent store in Aberdeen tries to counter the trend. P.18
Editors’ Choice Want more red in your meat? Now you’ve got an excuse for it. Just beet it with this tasty superfood!
Editors: Aaron Murray & Henry Booth
News William Walton, ‘the most-hated man in Aberdeen’ speaks to The Gaudie, and we find he’s not actually that hateful.
The Duchess of Rothesay, Camilla Parker Bowles, recently visited Aberdeen where she stopped off at the University’s School of Education and Department of Music. As part of her visit, the Duchess was shown how the University’s Inclusive Practice Project prepares new teachers going into the profession. The project, which takes into account new research showing the importance of reforming teacher training in improving education for students
with disabilities and learning difficulties, has focused on the development of new approaches to teacher training to do so. The developments aim to ensure that teachers have a greater awareness and understanding of social and educational problems that can affect children’s learning, as well as provide them with strategies that can be used to support and deal with such difficulties. Mrs Elizabeth Clark, Head of the School of Education, said: “The project achieves the vision of the
Features The House of Lords... what’s fun about this? Silly wigs? Maybe... The main question though, is, ‘should they be elected?’ P.12
Opine Everything is better when deep fried, this includes butter. And pizza (reading article may cause weight gain!). P.14
Life & Style Can you sing? Doesn’t matter, because Simon Cowell isn’t actually coming to Aberdeen, but he sent the X-Factor van in his place. P.21
Arts Meet the man who is head over heels for gymnastics. He’s so flexible he even found time to talk to us. P.23
Camilla, Duchess of Rothesay visits University By Emily Badiozzaman
1 May 2012
Camilla meets students
Scottish Government: ‘To see an education system that is inclusive, welcomes diversity and provides an equal opportunity for all children to develop their personality, skills and abilities to their fullest potential.’” Professor Ian Diamond, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen, said: “We were delighted to welcome the Duchess of Rothesay to the University of Aberdeen and our School of Education. Teacher education in Aberdeen has an impressive pedigree which can be traced back to 1873. Aberdeenled research plays a major role in policy-making in Scotland and beyond, and it was an honour to introduce Her Royal Highness to some of those at the forefront of this important field.” This is supported by the fact that leading project member, Professor Lani Florian, was invited to the White House in Washington to share the findings of the research. Whilst visiting the Department of Music, the Duchess was introduced to staff and students including the composer Professor Paul Mealor, who composed the stunning music for the Royal Wedding and also penned the emotional song “Wherever You Are” sung by the Military Wives Choir. Professor Mealor was recently voted the UK’s favourite living composer.
Her Royal Highness also met inspirational fourth-year music student Paul Murray, who has overcome four major brain surgeries and multiple sclerosis to continue playing the piano. Despite being left partially paralysed by his illness and having to learn the difficult technique of left hand only repertoire, Paul Murray continues to play piano at an incredible level. Dr David Smith, Head of Music, said: “The overwhelming success of Paul Mealor’s vocal music highlights one of the strengths of the Department of Music where we have staff composing and studying vocal music of various kinds from all periods.” Referring to Paul Murray, he said: “We have a great many hard-working and talented students in the department, but the way in which Paul Murray has battled ill-health to carry on with his musical studies has been inspirational. Rather than losing heart, Paul seemed almost to derive strength from his experience.” The visit concluded with a performance by members of King’s College Chapel Choir who gave a special recital of Professor Mealor’s “Wherever You Are”. The piece included male vocals for the first time and was the new arrangement’s debut performance in Scotland.
NUS Conference 2012: the best bits
By Hesham Zakai
As NUS National Conference 2012 staggered – literally, in some cases – to its inevitable end, it would not be amiss not to offer a little analysis from the giddy heights of the observer balcony. This conference was always going to be less sensational than the one before it – it wasn’t prefixed by student riots at Tory headquarters, nor was it foreshadowed by questions of Aaron Porter’s impending doom. In many ways though, it was a more thoughtful and genuinely democratic conference which saw deeper engagement alongside more passionate debate. The removal of the NEC from the stage to the delegate floor appears to have increased the democratisation and individual autonomy at conference, narrowing the gap between the NUS leadership and the elected delegates. Principles of anti-establishment activism and campaigning, at times, overwhelmed a conference floor traditionally dominated by moderate Labour Students: delegates voted to call for the resignation of Education Minister David Willetts, hold another national demo in the next academic year, continue to work with the Defend The Right To Protest campaign and stage a walk-out over EMA, amongst other things. No left-wing activist checklist would be complete without mention of Palestine and indeed the mention was made repeatedly by VP Society & Citizenship Dannie Grufferty, who outlined the success of unions in boycotting research projects
involving Ahava – a company which Liam Burns has previously described as being “deeply complicit with violations of international law, specifically concerning declaration of their products’ origins within occupied Palestinian territories.” On top of this, a radical left wing candidate was voted Vice President of Union Development, running on an explicitly political campaigning platform, defeating a Labour Students’ candidate in the process. Such an inroad could, in the years to come, prove to be the opening of the NUS floodgates for left-wing candidates. After the ignominy of disaffiliating from an anti-fascist organisation last conference, NUS voted overwhelmingly to re-affiliate with Unite Against Fascism, with strong speeches on behalf of liberation campaigns. In spite of all of this, there was also a feeling of “more of the same” at conference: Liam Burns headed a list of four re-elected incumbents (all of whom stood for their prior position again) and the defeat of popular leftwing candidate Michael Chessum seemed to defy the lefty current of conference floor – having loudly applauded him for his speeches on motions, conference gave a far less enthusiastic response to Chessum’s election speech. These are the paradoxes that will go without definitive answers for now, but they nonetheless point to transformational times at NUS. The changing atmosphere of the conference floor was inadvertently summarised by one election candidate when he said: “I am here
to represent students regardless of their politics, left or centre”. The political debate has been shifted so much to the left that the traditional political binary of left and right has been discarded, with the reality of right-wingers being completely effaced. The next candidate said he voted for a national demonstration not only because it was important, but because it was “fun”, before proceeding to sing a
NUS President: Liam Burns
rendition of “If you hate Nick Clegg and you know it clap your hands” – in fine voice and with the backing of the conference orchestra. Persuaded by the biting age of austerity, it has become fashionable to be far more radical than NUS has been in recent, Labour Student-dominated, years, and the ultimate effect of this has been to shift the entire Union to the left as well.
Photo/ James Skuse
1 May 2012
Trump accuses First Minister of foul play By Dan Naylor
Tourism tycoon Donald Trump has claimed he was “betrayed”, after he received assurances by both the current and former Scottish First Ministers that the proposal for an offshore wind farm near his £1bn golf resort would not come to fruition. His comments were made in person before the Scottish Parliament’s Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee. The committee has been set up to see if the Scottish government’s targets of generating the equivalent of 100% of its electricity demand from renewable sources by 2020 can be accomplished. Mr Trump has been strongly opposed to the wind farm situated just off the coast north of Aberdeen, only one mile away from his resort. He insisted that both Jack McConnell and Alex Salmond had,
on separate occasions, provided him with guarantees that the turbines would not be built: “The Ministry of Defence would never approve it, because it had something to do with radar, and they talked about the shipping lanes, especially because it’s near Aberdeen.” Both Lord McConnell and Mr Salmond deny the accusations. The tycoon continued: “Many countries have decided they don’t want wind because it doesn’t work without massive subsidies — it kills massive amounts of birds and wildlife and there are lots of other reasons.” When asked to back these claims up with statistics, Mr Trump replied: “I am the evidence.” He warned: “I think Scotland will be in serious trouble — I think you’ll lose your tourism industry to Ireland and lots of other places that are laughing
at what Scotland is doing.” This was followed by an attack on the First Minister, in light of his denial of Mr Trump’s claims: “Mr Salmond’s denying other things today on the front page.” This comment was in relation to the current investigation into the SNP leader’s dealings in the BSkyB takeover by News Corp. He also questioned the government’s thinking over the release of the Lockerbie bomber: “They let him out of prison because he’d be dead within two weeks — well, guess what, he was seen running in the park last week.” Scottish ministers have yet to make a decision on whether to approve the £150m European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre, though Mr Trump has committed £10m to fighting against the project. A joint venture by utility company Vattenfall, engineering firm Technip and Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group, it is estimated that the wind farm is worth £30bn of investment to Scotland, and could create up to 28,000 jobs.
Gaudie Did you ever wonder where we make the magic happen? Now is your chance to find out! The Gaudie is holding an Open Weekend, to give you the possibility of finding out where we work and how we put the paper together. Come and talk to the editors, production team and copy editing team to find out about our work.
AU students get on their bikes for Bike Week By Jennifer Elliott Last week saw the University of Aberdeen go green with the promotion of “Bike Week”. The Aberdeen University Environment and Ethics Association organised a series of events between 23 and 27 April to encourage both staff and students to embrace two-wheeled transport. The week kicked off with a bike road show which took place on Elphinstone Lawn, despite poor weather conditions. The BeCyCle Bike Co-operative took centre stage mid-week, with a bike-powered cinema that was just one cyclingrelated feat to be accomplished. “Triplets of Belleville” was presented in Butchart through the medium of pedal-power. Adam Walker, an organiser from the collective Magnificent Revolution, described how bikes were used to power the screenings: “The principle is that any motor that you turn backwards becomes a generator. This produces a DC current, which flows into a large ultracapacitor. This is kind of like a battery, but it holds charge for a limited period of time, smoothing the flow of the current to the inverter and then to the projector and the sound system.” Thursday night encouraged cyclists of all ages to attend a night-time ride commencing at Elphinstone Lawn, whilst on Friday the incredible Bike Orchestra — Bikestra — gave a talented performance utilising various spare parts and tools from the cycling world. This was followed by a safety workshop held by BeCyCle on the High Street. Gordon Maloney of the Student Association explained the concept behind the week of events: “Bikes are great. They’re healthy, cheap, green and loads of fun. Bike Week is a week of events to promote, encourage and demystify cycling’. Efforts made by the Environment and Ethics Committee have been
supported by the wider Aberdeen community. The official Bike Week organisation are holding “TryCycling” events in both Seaton and Duthie Park between 19 and 25 June. A Bike Roadshow will be held on 25 June on George Street, where attendees can test out tandems and tricycles as well as clown and recruitment bikes. Various goodies will be handed out including water bottles, reflective slap bands, bike bells, maintenance kits and cycle maps, as well as advice on cycling in Aberdeen. Various other organisations are making efforts to go green and get back in the saddle As part of Team Green Britain Bike Week, 18 to 26 June, Aberdeen Cycle Forum and the GetAbout partnership are running a commuter challenge for local organisations. The challenge aims to get staff in local organisations to cycle to work during Bike Week. Points will be scored for regular cyclists, new cyclists and the number of journeys made over the course of the week so there’s scope for loads of people to get involved. As a GetAbout partner, the University is already registered for this event. Staff can take part and compete against other local organisations like NHS Grampian, BP, Aberdeen City Council, Shell and many others. A huge effort has been made by the various organisers of these events to create a funfilled, healthy, and educational experience for all involved. These occasions are open to the public and any newcomers are welcome. BeCyCle is one of University of Aberdeen’s hidden gems that offers local residents free loans of bicycles. BeCyCle gather orphaned bikes in order to fix them up and pass them on to those in need, free of charge. The institution also offers free workshops, tools parts, a huge knowledge-base, as well as access to Aberdeen’s cycling community.
Exec. Committee 2012/13
Where? Butchart When? 12 May - 13 May 2012 9am - 6pm
We are holding the elections for our editorial team soon. This is your chance to talk to us and hear what the job involves! See how your student newspaper is put together!
Everyone is welcome!
Student President – Anne-Claire Deseilligny President Welfare and Equal Opportunities – Gordon Maloney President for Societies and Student Activities – Emma Carlen President for Sport – Clare McWilliams President for Education and Employability – Josefine Bjorkqvist President for Charities – Adam Khan Vice President Charities – Emily Beever Vice President Equal Opportunities – Daphne Heijdelberg Vice President Education – Megan Dunn Vice President Societies – Xander Brouwer Sports Union Treasurer – Marc McCorkell Environment and Ethics Officer – Joanna Wilson
1 May 2012
orcher By Aaron Murray News Editor
Photos/ Claire Wheelans
he 90th annual Torcher Parade organised by the Aberdeen Students Charities Campaign (ASCC) was held on Saturday 28 April, with all proceeds raised going to 38 different charitable projects in the Aberdeen area. The parade was part of the ASCC Charities Fortnight, which includes the annual Student Show as well as a wide range of other smaller events. 35 different floats were constructed by a variety of student societies from University of Aberdeen, RGU and Aberdeen College, as well as several other organisations. Approximately 500 costumed participants armed with collection buckets helped gather charitable contributions from over 10,000 spectators along the parade route. This year’s parade featured the first pipe band in six years, with the Culter and District pipe band providing musical accompaniment to the procession. In a departure from prior tradition, representatives from the charity projects were selected to hold the torches at the front of the parade – a role that had previously been open to volunteers participating in the parade. There were also more stewards present
than in previous years and there was a 50% reduction in time spent at Queens Cross roundabout, the midpoint of the parade route. AUSA President for Charities, Sean O’Rourke, said: “Torcher Parade was a fantastic event and went off without a hitch. Even the weather managed to hold off for one of the best days in Charities Campaign Calendar, which despite being cold, was an otherwise glorious day. “All of the floats looked amazing and I am still impressed with the quality of construction that our students can put together in a mere eight hours. “The streets looked busier than normal so let’s hope that we can raise more money than we ever have before. It was also good to see so many stewards for this year’s event, something that has been difficult to get hold of in the past. I would like to thank all of those who took part and who attended and made the Torcher Parade 2012 the success that it was.” The parade, which was first held in 1889 by a team of nurses from Aberdeen Royal Infirmary to raise funds for their wards, was taken over by ASCC in 1921 upon the Campaign’s formation. Since then, it has become the largest studentled torchlit procession in Europe.
1 May 2012
1 May 2012
Would you like beetroot with your burger? By Sofiane Kennouche Groundbreaking research by a team of University of Aberdeen nutritional experts suggests that adding beetroot to a burger can drastically reduce the amount of fat that the body absorbs. Professor Garry Duthie, of the Rowett Research Institute of Nutrition and Health, has suggested that the antioxidants found in beetroots can lessen the amount of saturated fats the body ingests. It is believed that these antioxidants can halt the oxidisation of fat and decrease the number of potentially toxic compounds in our stomachs, which can lead to the development
of cancer and heart disease. Duthie has related the oxidisation process to that of stale food: “When fats oxidise in the stomach and become toxic they essentially go rancid. It is this same process which causes foods to go off in a shop or supermarket over time. So introducing an antioxidant such as beetroot would slow down this oxidation process and have the added benefit for the food industry of lengthening the shelf life of products.” The burgers will also have the advantage of potentially lowering blood pressure due to the presence of antioxidants in beetroot. The nutritionists are looking for
Professor elected to prestigious society
males between the ages of 21 and 60 to aid them in their research. Volunteers will be required to eat turkey burgers with and without beetroot in order to examine the different absorption rate of the compounds that are ingested. It is hoped that this study will bring authoritative proof to their claim that the antioxidants are beneficial to health. Those interested in participating should contact David Bremner either by email (email@example.com) or by telephone on 01224 438785.
By Jo Polydoros Deputy News Editor
Photo/ Annie Mole (Flickr)
AU pioneering new medical approach
New sculpture unveiled on campus
By John Lewis
By Jo Polydoros Deputy News Editor
The University of Aberdeen could become the authority on anthroposophic medical research if plans for a new teaching centre go ahead. Anthroposophic medicine is a field of medical research that focuses on the mind and spiritual well-being of its patients, and as such comes under the umbrella term of Complementary and Alternative medicine (CAM). The plans for the centre were first noted following the opening of an investigation into the Social Pedagogy BA at the university, which claims the investigation is part of the “standard cycle of reviewing collaborative partnerships.” The teaching centre, if opened, would be funded by Anthroposophic Health Education and Social Care Movement, which plans to open the centre under the name of an “Integrative Health, Education and Social Care”. The centre itself deals with a myriad of ailments and illnesses including cancer and complex neurological disorders. The treatments they provide include Eurythmy, mistletoe therapy and therapeutic hyperthermia. Proposals for opening of such a centre were first proposed by Dr Stefan Geider in late 2010, whilst plans for the centre itself are still said to be under discussion with
Selection of homeopathic medicines
no concrete evidence of a plan going forward. The project has however found significant financial backing since the discussion period began. The Raphael Medical Centre in Kent has pledged the bulk of the money for the project, with a fund of £1.5 million. However, donations above £1 million must first be reviewed by the University Governance and Nominations Committee. The committee decides on the merits of donations based on financial risks, as well as reputation and ethical concerns. Thus it is the concern towards reputation that carries the greatest risk towards the project being rejected. In larger scientific circles the real world medical applications of anthroposophic medicine are considered of inferior quality compared with other areas of study. The University clarified its position by stating it would create a conflict of interest in taking funding from sources purely motivated by CAM. The University argues that such bodies would be willing to fund such a scheme to add scientific credibility to a controversial field of study and as such could call to question the credibility of the University as an academic body. Talks between the University and interested parties behind the creation of the centre are still ongoing.
Photo/ sermoa (Flickr)
The striking new sculpture in front of the library was finally unveiled on 25 April. The work, known as Waterlines, was designed by renowned Scottish artists Marian Leven and Will Maclean and was inspired by the iconic Aberdonian ship, the Thermopylae, built in 1868 and thought to be the fastest sailing ship ever constructed. Leven and Maclean are Fife-based artists who are mostly famed for their work rooted in Scottish cultures and landscapes. The shapes and lines of Waterlines were based on the ancient Pictish standing stones found around Aberdeenshire and it is made up of two shaped columns constructed from Kilkenny blue limestone. A short ceremony was conducted
New sculpture outside library
before the unveiling of the sculpture. Professor Ian Diamond, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen, believes the piece will enhance the landscape around the stark but striking new library and Old Aberdeen campus: “The rationale for building the new Library was not simply to create a library with the modernity and capacity that our much expanded academic and student community needed but for the library as an important cultural asset for the City and the wider region. “It is entirely appropriate, therefore, that we have in and around that library artistic points of interest and inspiration and I am delighted that we have been able to engage sculptors of the quality of Marian and Will to help us do that.”
Photo/ Claire Wheelans
A University of Aberdeen philosopher, Professor Crispin Wright, has been elected to one of the world’s most prestigious honorary societies. Professor Wright, FBA, FRSE, Director of the Northern Institute of Philosophy at the University of Aberdeen, has been elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Science, which is made up of talented leaders in academia, business, public affairs, the humanities and the arts. Previous members include influential figures such as George Washington, Winston Churchill and Albert Einstein. Professor Wright was elected alongside Hillary Clinton, Sir Paul McCartney, Clint Eastwood and Mel Brooks and current membership exceeds 250 Nobel laureates and more than 60 Pulitzer Prize winners. Professor Wright, who divides his time between the University of Aberdeen and New York University, is a world renowned philosopher. He said: “It is an extraordinary privilege to be recognised in this way. It came as a great surprise and I’m honoured to be placed in such prestigious company.”
School of Chem Engineering receives award By Jo Polydoros Deputy News Editor The University of Aberdeen has received praise from a body of chemical engineers. The University’s School of Engineering has been awarded the Chairman’s Award by the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) Aberdeen Members’ Group, for “the best contribution to Chemical Engineering in the Aberdeen area” and has become formally accredited for its highly popular BEng and MEng degrees in Chemical Engineering. The award was presented at the annual IChemE Aberdeen Member’s Group dinner at the Marcliffe Hotel, which was attended by 280 IChemE members and renowned guests including the Rt Hon Alex Salmond MSP, First Minister of Scotland. The degree in chemical engineering was launched at the university just five years ago with as few as twelve students, but now the school has become fully accredited boasting a total of 170 students, a high proportion of them being women. Neil Atkinson, IChemE’s Director of Qualifications and International Development, met staff and students, and presented lecturers Dr Neill Renton and Dr Euan Bain with certificates of accreditation for the two degrees, commenting on the huge success of the staff and the enthusiasm of the students: “The School is to be congratulated on launching these two programmes which are targeted especially at the needs of the energy sector, and with good links to industry. You have a strong safety culture, purpose-built lab, and opportunities for further enhancement.”
1 May 2012
Features Editor: Hamish Mackenzie
The AU lecturer who came in from the untold
Stuart Hewitt looks into the case of William Walton, a lead campaigner against the Aberdeen bypass
n 2009 Alex Salmond posed the question “is this the most hated man in Scotland?” The man he was referring to was William Walton, an Aberdeen University lecturer who has now won his right to fight Salmond’s government in the Supreme Court in an attempt to quash their plans for a £400 million Aberdeen city bypass. “It was a silly thing to say, most people wouldn’t know me if they sat next to me on the bus.” said Walton, a Senior Lecturer in Town Planning, who began campaigning against the Aberdeen West Peripheral Route in 2006 after Liberal Democrat Transport Minister Tavish Scott controversially approved an alternative route for the 28-mile project. In 2009 a public inquiry, which has been described by opponents of AWPR as a “sham”, ruled the project could go ahead. Mr Walton remembers it well as “both the shortest day of the year and the blackest day of the year.” The Government successfully defended the initial challenge — brought by campaign group Road Sense of which Walton was Chairman — to the decision at the Court of Session in August last year, spending £1.1 million in the process, and a subsequent appeal was also rejected in February. Following this last defeat Mr Walton admits that succumbing to the inevitability of the AWPR was a real possibility, but after taking legal advice he decided to fight on in the daunting arena of the Supreme Court. Campaign groups however, are not recognised as personalities by Scots Law and so Walton will have to fight this one on his own. “I wouldn’t say it’s a humbling experience, but going to the highest court in the country you can’t help but be aware of the gravity of the situation. It’s not something you do lightly, it’s not something that most people would ever do in their lives. It could be a very expensive decision.” The AWPR, which will run from
Blackdog in the North round the Western edges of the city before rejoining the A90 at Stonehaven, is part of the Council’s wider plans to alleviate congestion in the city. The route would require the demolition of 29–30 houses using controversial Compulsory Purchase Orders, which will also be used by the council to acquire university-owned land for their third don crossing project. Mr Walton is in no doubt about who to blame for the project and everything that has gone wrong. “The reason the Scottish Government is still in the courts with this, is in my view, directly attributable to the former Minister (Tavish Scott) essentially abandoning what was a plausible route and opting for an alternative which had not been scrutinised.” Road Sense, who Walton describes as a “broad church”, advocate alternatives such as greater use of cycle lanes, park & ride and subsidisation of buses, arguing that these options should have been explored before deciding on a bypass. Dates have not yet been set for the showdown but Walton believes the government will push to have it heard as soon as possible. The Media and Public Opinion Walton, who has been subject to something of a witch hunt in Aberdeen’s often vociferous local press is abrasive about the validity of his fight. “The mechanism is there, the way it is sometimes portrayed in the media is ‘goodness me, he’s going to the supreme court now, where next?’ Well that’s the process of justice whether people like it or not.” A letter published in the Press and Journal recently said Walton was a disgrace and called for the university to sack him. But this particular aggrieved resident will have to wait as according to Mr Walton the university have never spoken to him about his campaign “I have no doubt that senior management are well aware that one of their staff is involved in a
in Politics at Sheffield University in the 80s, laments the modern day life of a student who due to financial constraints has little time for campaigning. “I wish students were more energised in terms of campaigns and demonstrations. I was a student in the 80s and there was a degree of complacency but we weren’t as complacent as now.” “I think it’s a great regret that we have this system now where you can only go to university if you can afford it.”
Photo/ abdn.ac.uk high profile case but the University have said nothing and I am grateful for that”. The Press and Journal have reported that 90% of people in the North-East approve of the AWPR and are unsupportive of Mr Walton’s campaign. But following Salmond’s infamous barb Walton has seen the tide turn somewhat. “After that there were quite a lot of letters in the Press and Journal saying they were horrified by those comments and irrespective of what they thought of the Road Sense campaign they felt very uneasy about the way we were attacked and vilified by leading politicians.” Walton the Politician? William Walton was born in Cumbria. His father had been a member of the Communist party and so he grew up in a very politically active household: “So I joined the Labour party when I was 16 and my political views were fashioned by that. I helped Tony Benn’s campaign for Deputy Leadership of the party. And it was part of my life.” He went on to study politics at
What makes or breaks a society?
Sheffield University but now finds himself wholly sceptical of the party system. However, there is one party which is close to his heart and supportive of his campaign. “Over the years I have become a bit of a Green, I am more cynical now about party politics. We get the support of the Greens and they are kindred spirits. As someone who is left of centre I have a strong belief in what I regard as justice and the principles of justice” Indeed Mr Walton was also sounded out to run for the Green party in 2007 along with controversial Aberdeenshire Councillor Martin Ford who gained notoriety in 2008 when he helped reject Donald Trump’s plans to build his golf course at Balmedie. Such a pairing would have offered up the tantalising possibility of both of the Press and Journal’s least favourite figures holding public office in the region they accuse them of being so intent on destroying. Walton the Student Walton, who was an undergraduate
University and Aberdeen Walton studied and taught at the University of Aberdeen in the 90s before returning as a permanent member of staff and he has a great affection for Aberdeen and its finest University. “I love the campus and the University, it’s a wonderful place to work, it’s a lovely place to walk. You can’t help feeling enthused with the history. The staff and students are fantastic.” But he worries about how the region he now calls home will cope when its oily lifeblood runs dry. “Aberdeen will have to use its creative people to adapt to the post-oil economy. I don’t think golf courses, hotels and city squares make an economy, they are essentially derivative.” “The legacy of Aberdeen will be the University and the people the University turn out who are trained and qualified.” Thick Skinned With the campaign now being fought solely in his name the man and the cause are becoming ever more indistinguishable but Walton carries the strain well and feels like he has a much thicker skin after his treatment in the press. “The press frame the issue as ‘how can one individual prevent the will of the people’. And when presented like that it looks terribly arrogant, pig-headed and obnoxious to act in this way. Clearly that’s not the way I look at it, but I do feel a sense of responsibility”
Kenneth James explains what makes a great society
berdeen University Students’ Association has around 120 societies at present; they cover everything from political parties, performing arts, charities, departmental, environmental and general interest groups. The range goes from tiny societies to absolutely huge ones with hundreds of members, so why the difference? Well, there are many reasons why such disparity exists; some are simple, like the fact that some people just want to be part of a small group and the society has no real reason or desire to expand. Obviously to be a large society you need lots of members and the easiest way to do this is to have a society that focuses on something that lots of people are interested in, which explains why the Malt Whisky Society (recently voted Best Society 2011-12) does so well.
Another part of this is money: if a society can give its members good value for membership fees then they’re more likely to come back. This makes sponsorship important as well as putting on good events at a profit. However, there are some societies who don’t operate at a profit and still do a very good job; they either get their money from a parent organisation (charities and political parties are most likely to do this) or run on a tiny budget, putting on free events and relying on their own ingenuity. Why then, if it’s possible to run on such a limited budget, do some societies fold at the end of each year? The lack of interested members or an active committee can often be a problem; if no one has a passion to continue the society’s work then no one wants to get involved. Another problem is
when new members feel excluded from getting involved by the existing membership, or those members don’t make any effort to attract students in their first years of study meaning that the society will fail when the current members leave. Another oddity of Aberdeen’s student organisations is that many aren’t official AUSA societies; this includes several charitable organisations and the wonderful paper you are currently reading. Anyone can set up a club or society, but without AUSA affiliation it will not have access to funding or training which can be vital for a society just starting out. Among the notable groups without affiliation on campus are the Armed forces: Officer Training Corps, Naval Training Unit and Air Corps.
Freshers’ Fayre: an important event for Societies, and also many student activities like The Gaudie Photo/ Maria Suessmilch
1 May 2012
Coffee: a student love-affair John Lewis discusses the use of coffee as a work aid
hether it’s to get you properly awake for your 9 am Chemistry lecture or keep your mind jogging through the last 3,000 words of your IR dissertation, it cannot be denied: the miraculous merits of a macchiato can be a necessity, nay a way of life for many a deadlinepressured student. Coffee, in its many iterations is a curious substance; a watery, brown, bitter liquid. At first glance it has all the appeal of standing behind a horse fed on nothing but Bran Flakes and inhaling deeply, yet on even such a small campus as King’s there are no fewer than eight establishments that will happily relinquish you of your hard won student loan in return for the caffeine fairy in sippable form. It seems doing a degree comes with the requirement to ingest a solution derived from roasted beans, and many students are openly vocal of their love of the stuff, with some universities including Warwick and Sheffield even having societies dedicated to Garfield the Cat’s favourite beverage. Students who love the stuff (and I am most certainly amongst them) will be pleased to learn that there are benefits to chugging cappuccinos. Whilst there is disagreement on what constitutes “moderate” to “heavy” coffee consumption, many studies have shown averaging three cups a day decrease the risk of neurological
conditions later in life such as dementia and Parkinson’s. The principle reason students knock back shots of espresso though is for its lauded properties as a cognitive enhancer, and with good reason. Many studies have shown that across a battery of tests, benefits to coffee drinkers include an overall improvement in memory recall and performance in high stress situations ; near essay deadlines and during exam season. Likewise should you be suffering from a hangover after having celebrated your fantastic, caffeinefuelled results then coffee once again comes to the rescue. The caffeine in coffee also triggers an analgesic property, which makes pain killers such as paracetamol more effective (more expensive pain killers add caffeine to their medications because of this). Despite commonly held belief, caffeine does not dehydrate the body. Most recent studies have in fact found most caffeinated drinks have the same hydrating properties as pure water. It’s as if coffee was created with students in mind! It’s not all good news however. Whilst most studies seem to at best conflict over whether or not coffee does give you high blood pressure or make you more susceptible to some kinds of cancer, there have at least been confirmed risks to pregnant women who have a high caffeine intake, and like most things, coffee is best drank in
Photo/ Los Cardinalos (Flickr) moderation. Recently a 23 year old man died after overdosing on caffeine as a result of ingesting excessive amounts of caffeine
powder washed down with a can of energy drink. Whilst coroners were unable to conclude quite why Michael Lee Bedford did this, it
serves as a sobering reminder that, as with most things, too much of a good thing can quickly turn against you.
Taxes, taxes, taxes
James Holland argues that the tax changes in the budget are the right ones
he hysterical reaction to the reduction in the top rate of income tax reveals several things we already knew. One, the Labour Party has forsaken the virtues of common sense and pragmatism and merrily exchanged them for the politics of partisanship and outright belligerence. Secondly, a large proportion of the UK’s citizens are unaware of the detrimental
against a 10% rise in taxes suggests that the rich are avoiding the tax by various means: forestalling tax assessments or exporting capital abroad to name but a couple. At best the tax was expected to raise an extra one billion in contrast to the wildly optimistic 2.5 million predicted when it was proposed. The study shows that raising the tax above 45% was next to pointless, and above 50% is self-defeating.
Photo/ Sunset Parkerpix (Flickr) effect of high rates of income tax on our economy, the availability of jobs and the behaviour of the rich. The problem with the 50% tax rate was that it simultaneously raised a pittance and forced capital out of the UK economy. The Tax office stats show that in 2011 the collective incomes of those liable to pay the 50% tax rate fell from £116 billion to £87 billion. Such a disproportionate drop in incomes
Incidentally this may be one of the reasons why France, which is expected to adopt a 75% top rate of tax after its next presidential election, has an economy forecast to drop behind that of Britain’s within the next ten years. The 275, 000 top rate tax payers are estimated to pay a quarter of all income taxes in Britain. Given Labour’s so called concern for social justice I’d like to see
someone actually ask Ed Miliband what David Davis phrased so bluntly on Question Time last week: “It’s a question of do you want to get more from the rich, or less”. Well Mr Miliband? Do you want more from the rich to help increase funding to the most vital public services like the NHS, into which spending is actually being increased? Do you want to protect other services from the worst of the cuts? Or do you want to send the signal to international business that Britain in closed for business and further choke the supply of funds to those who most need the state’s help. All in all then the reduction in top rate tax is the right policy for the right time. It was still judged though as a major gamble for the government to take given the Conservative Party’s current position in the polls. However, if there was a time for Osborne to introduce the measure it was this budget, which is the first of the chancellor’s three which did not contain new bad news – just the same old bad news. It’s a similar story with so-cxcalled “granny tax”, which actually isn’t a tax at all: it’s the closing of a loophole which less than half of those qualified actually use. Now it is true that the older generation has been hard hit by the recession. Inflation has reduced the real value of their pensions and quantitative easing is set to reduce it further; low interest rates have punished all savers but particularly the old. As a result of all this 360,000 more pensioners are back at work, not enjoying a well-deserved retirement. All arguments that the old have rigged the system in their favour are therefore false.
However, if viewed from the perspective of the young, then the tax seems to be fairer. This is the first new generation which can expect to earn less than the one that came before it; in which the average age of first time buyers is 44 and will pay the largest tuition fees this country has ever seen for tertiary education. In contrast it has been shown that pensioners were the least affected by austerity. The state pension has gone up by a percentage double that of salaries and the cost of care is rising ever higher. It’s not as if pensioners have no benefits either – they still have free bus passes and winter fuel subsidies. In the grand scheme of things then is closing a loophole really such a wound to the elderly? The final controversial tax of the
Photo/ soukup (Flickr)
budget, on hot food, or Pasty-gate as the papers have dubbed it – I do wish the media would drop that pathetic reference to Watergate which actually was a cataclysmic event. I won’t waste words here arguing for the tax because it’s a very simple principle – if you want to buy something in this country then expect to pay a small duty on it. The only mistakes I think Osborne made are in combining this tax with the drop in top rate. The two are so symbolically paired as unfair that the combination will be devastating to the government. One suspects a Malcolm Tuckerlike character is currently giving a bollocking to whoever had the idea.
1 May 2012
Injecting some realism, facts, and perspective into the wind turbine debate
Maitland Mackie, CBE, LLD, DBA, FRAgS, BScAg, MA Hons Econ, Lord Rector of the University of Aberdeen, explains the benefits of wind power “Tis very true my sovereign King. My skill may well be doubted; But facts are chiels that winna ding. And canna be disputed!” (Burns)
f course, there is a subjective aesthetic issue with regards to wind turbines. Well I remember my parents in the 40s bemoaning the pylons marching across the countryside! But as they had to get them into perspective with reality, so have we with turbines. Appreciation of the following points and information is crucial to ensuring constructive debate concerning wind power’s renewable energy potential. We are at the beginning of the end of the fossil fuel era. A fundamental reality is that dramatically rising energy costs will only stabilise when there is enough renewable energy coming on stream, capable of filling the world’s fast increasing gap between conventional energy supply and demand. A modest 10% annual energy price increase means a doubling of price every seven years. To realise that the price of energy in one and a half decades could be four times its current price puts the potential cost of renewable energy into perspective. To avoid Armageddon
Mackies’ - American Pie Flavour!
in the next few decades, the world needs to invest trillions in replacement energy systems in which renewable energy will be by far the major component. The following practical points reflect 5 years of experience of our (Mackies’) investment in 3MW of wind power capacity that now drives our business. Wind power has a big part to play, and has now a proven track record. Efficient onshore installations on sites of average wind speed of 7 m/s, at 6% interest charged on the investment, are producing electricity at a cost of around six pence per kilowatt, similar to that of new conventional fossil-fuelled power stations saddled with carbon capture requirements. What’s more the running cost (maintenance and insurance) is less than half a penny per kilowatt, and will remain so until a government taxes the wind! Around 90% of the full cost is the interest charge on the initial investment and depreciation charges. After wind speed, financial and physical efficiency is directly, and crucially, related to the size of turbine, both in height and generating capacity. 1 MW+ turbines deliver the figures mentioned above. Planners need to be aware that enforced reduction from optimum height
results in an output decrease roughly proportional to the size of the reduction. I.e. a 20% height restriction likely reduces the output by 20%. And the difference between quite big, big and very big is quite small! The incentivising subsidy, paid for by all electricity users in UK, is circa four pence per kilowatt for the big (1 MW +) turbines, and will not be necessary when the price of electricity doubles. In comparison, the subsidy for the smaller turbines rises to circa 33 pence per kilowatt for the very small toys, and incentivises people to spend a very large amount of money for very small and insignificant output. (Note that photovoltaic solar panels currently require subsidy of up to 43 pence per KW produced.) Certainly backup power is needed to cover light-and-no-wind situations, but the industry is now learning fast how to store windproduced surplus energy, e.g. as off-grid stored heat, hydropower pumped storage, hydrogen and ammonium production. Demand management, in which smart grids will play a big part, will help to solve this requirement. Further, wind is seldom still everywhere, and turbines distributed here there and everywhere, feeding into the National Grid, ensures best use of this power source. Incidentally, it also reduces grid
Photo/ mcdlttx (Flickr) distribution costs by producing electricity close to its users. Important to note is the fact that grid management requires constant expensive supply adjustments to balance widely fluctuating demand. As part of the process of supply management the grid owners do compensate all power suppliers for enforced suboptimal output. It only costs a phone call to shut down and start up a turbine or two (i.e. when the wind is blowing), another side of this coin is that the dynamics of supply management are hugely facilitated. The big, slow-moving turbines do not kill birds. To keep a perspective, hundreds of thousands are killed every year on the roads, by cats and by flying into windows. Investment in offshore renewable energy is also crucial in filling the widening energy gap. But it is important to note that the cost per kilowatt produced offshore is, and likely always will be, twice that of onshore wind power. Hence, the more of our replacement supply we can produce by onshore turbines instead of offshore ones, the less costly it will be. 1,000 3MW turbines throughout Scotland, delivering an average 33% of their capacity, would add 10% to Scotland’s current electricity generating capacity of circa 10 GW. 10,000 would outright double Scotland’s generating capacity, i.e. deliver 100% renewable electric
Photo/ chaunceydavis818 (Flickr)
energy, and reduce Scotland’s CO2 production by circa 50 million tons – more that the Government’s 2020 target of 44 million! 10,000 such turbines owned by people in Scotland at current prices would return to them and their communities circa a net annual income of £4billion! The power produced from the wind can potentially save billions of barrels of oil or gas equivalent for its myriad of other essential uses; the energy equivalent used in the manufacture and installation [of a wind turbine] is replaced by renewable energy within the first year of production; and should we crack nuclear fusion, it takes 24 hours to dismantle a turbine, and everything of it is usefully recyclable. On the subjective aesthetic issue, maybe this tells a tale. There are thousands of transmission pylons across Scotland. A good friend was expostulating how she did not wish for a planned turbine on the hill behind her house; “What about the pylons on it?” asked her husband. “What pylons?” she responded! Our society simply needs to get used to turbines as my parents did pylons! Finally, Donald Trump is clearly totally ignorant of these realities, and needs to be put back in his box!
1 May 2012
Opine Editor: Alasdair Lane
ADEC: extremist, or just active? Gordon Maloney hits back at critics of the Aberdeen Defend Education Campaign
ver the course of the Students’ Association elections, several candidates were accused of having organised a slate through the Aberdeen Defend Education Campaign — known more commonly by its acronym: ADEC. They were accused of running only to further their own extremist politics and to push some kind of personal agenda. The people making this accusation could never quite work out who they thought was on this slate and seemed to have no real understanding of what ADEC is, so we would like to take the opportunity to explain who we are. The Aberdeen Defend Education Campaign was established in 2009 when the scale of cuts that were to be made to Higher Education funding became clear. Since then, we have organised hundreds of events- from talks and workshops to media stunts and protests- in order to highlight concerns we have with the direction of our University and tertiary education more generally. The issues we’ve been raising quickly broadened out from just funding cuts to include accommodation, accountability, transparency, discrimination and the kind of activities our University is involved in. Put simply, we are a grassroots group of activists with
no particular unifying goal other than to make the University a better, fairer place.
We don’t think it is extremist to take offence when the University’s senior staff take hundreds of
University occupied: December 2011
thousands of pounds in bonuses while so many staff see belowinflation pay increases. We don’t
Photo/ Carmelo Establier Sanchez
think it is radical to believe that the University should not invest its money in arms companies and other companies implicated in horrific human rights abuses worldwide. We don’t think it is part of some kind of Marxist agenda to say that accommodation should be affordable and accessible to students. We also don’t think it’s wrong to do something about these issues. We also have a strong track record of winning. ADEC action last year secured a student and staff representative on the University’s remuneration committee, to make sure that our concerns are heard when the University is talking about bonuses for senior staff. We successfully lobbied the University to sell its shares in any arms companies it had investments in. An event we organised before Easter targeting accommodation prices received great media coverage and placed the issue of accommodation firmly on the agenda with the Students’ Association now fighting the university on the issue. We’re not extremists or radicals. We’re just students who want to make the University and society a better place, and we’d encourage like-minded students to get involved with our work.
Why you should vote NO to the NUS this week Mark Sherer and Declan Pang discuss why AUSA should not be affiliated with NUS
n Tuesday 1 to Thursday 3 May, every student will have the opportunity to voice their opinion on their membership of the National Union of Students. We, as a campaign team, believe that the time has come for our students’ association to disaffiliate and leave the NUS. Why? Quite frankly, it’s a complete waste of money that could be better spent elsewhere. Aberdeen University Students’ Association currently spends over £40,000 every single year just to be part of the NUS (a figure which has doubled since 2007/8), and a further £5000 on attending the NUS conferences and training. What benefits do we get for such an outlay? Very few. We are told time and time again that this money pays for representation nationally and a national voice, but just how representative is that voice? Not very. AUSA is allocated five delegates to represent the entire community of 14,000 University of Aberdeen students. That’s what we get. NUS also famously has a large hard-left bloc, which has a militant streak a mile wide. The net result of this is the over-politicising of the entire movement to the left. A lot of NUS die hards use their elevated positions not to represent what’s best for students but to
push their own agenda without even bothering to consult 99% of the student movement. We can’t go on like this. Last week, Liam Burns (NUS UK President) was re-elected by less than 1% of the student population. It is a farce that he gets to be the “voice of students”. If we lost
this “national voice” would we really miss it? Instead, it would be replaced by something much better: our own voice. AUSA is still a huge institution within its own right. We would be able to form more balanced policy without the unnecessary influence of aspiring Labour MPs, trade unionists and
those who worship the Hammer and Sickle religiously every night. Aberdeen University Students’ Association is lagging behind its counterparts across the UK. We don’t have a union bar on campus, the facilities our union provides are a fraction of those available at other universities. Have you seen the Students’ Union at Dundee? Dundee University’s facilities make ours look utterly shambolic in comparison. And they aren›t NUS affiliated. Neither are St Andrews University, Glasgow University and many others. Their successes prove it is simply untrue that AUSA would be isolated and suffer if we choose to leave. If we opt to disaffiliate this week, we will all still get our student discounts at McDonalds and Top Shop. Life will go on as normal, except our students’ association won’t be spending vast amounts on subsidising an organisation that has provided mediocre support and advice for too long. It will also mean an extra £45,000 pounds to be reinvested on student facilities in Aberdeen, which you will see the benefits from. I’m not against the principle of the NUS. I’m against the lack of democracy, the inefficient executives that currently run it, and who perpetuate stagnate, stale, left-wing politics, taking my forced membership completely
for granted. They care not what I think, they care not for anyone with an opinion other than their own. They also sadly get away with it, since students are so apathetic to affiliation they have lost interest and change is rendered impossible as the momentum just isn’t there. The system is broken beyond repair. We can’t change things from within the NUS. The machinery works against anyone who tries. However despite this, the NUS still needs AUSA more then we need them and their fatal mistake is they should have never, ever have forgotten that. It’s time to disaffiliate and leave them to rue it.
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
1 May 2012
Debate: The importance of attending lectures By Alasdair Lane
s a naïve pre-university teenager I had a very particular image of what my future life as a student would entail: late nights tearing up the streets of Aberdeen and bleary hung-over mornings, dragging myself from the sack to attend those all-important lectures. And when my first ever semester kicked off in late 2010 this was pretty much how things panned out… until I started missing a lecture here, or a tutorial there. While there was a customary feeling of guilt, the more and more times a week I opted not to go to lectures the more and more I realised they just weren’t all that important. More than sixteen months on and reaching the end of my second year (realising you’re halfway through uni and still have the maturity of a twelve year old is very unsettling indeed) I can say, without shame, that the aforementioned pattern has continued. Though my lecture dodging isn’t quite as chronic anymore I definitely do still only attend between half and threequarters. “Why is this?” you academic puritans cry! Well my goto response would be that I’m a very busy guy (apologies for sounding like a smug moron) holding down a part-time job as well as a few extra-curricular bits and pieces. But let’s be honest, this reason just doesn’t hold water and in reality I do have enough time to attend
“They bore me. Yeah, lectures, in my mind, are pathologically dry.” every lecture. The real reason then? They bore me. Lectures, in my mind, are pathologically dry. Let me justify this rather fatheaded comment. I’m a studious person and always strive to do my very best academically, so it’s not some ridiculous sense of ‘cool’ rebellion against organised education. In fact it’s quite the opposite. As far as I’m concerned a huge lecture theatre full of students chatting, texting, checking Facebook and maybe a few taking notes, with one person at the front with a couple of flimsy PowerPoint slides, is the least conducive environment to learn. Give me a quiet library and a book (or jstor journal) any day when it comes to good old fashion information ingestion. “Oh but you should be reading anyway in addition to attending classes!” Ah, but that’s why we have MyAberdeen (forever WebCT in the hearts of the old guard) so we can check the slides and fill in the gaps from peer assessed literature. This is where I’ll put my hands up and admit that I’m approaching this very much from an Arts student’s point of view, and I understand
that for more practical courses like Engineering or Medicine it is important to have a lecturer physically teach you the syllabus. Do lecturers do much teaching though? In my experience they simply narrate a stack of notes which we could just as easily find ourselves. What’s more I feel that any level of interaction between student and speaker is much, much smaller — usually limited to the odd mature student asking some bizarre questions just to make
my education bills so that element of guilt just isn’t applicable in my case, or those of thousands of others. Another argument often thrown at me is that lectures are where you meet likeminded and interesting people, and skipping these ‘social’ gatherings would be resigning yourself to a lonely life. Nonsense. Barring the first couple of weeks of first year when everybody is making friends with everybody regardless of the location (many a
1930: are the glory days of lectures over? Photo/ University of Iowa (Flickr) sure she’s getting her money’s worth. And there’s another point: if you’re paying for it then you’re wasting your own cash by not attending. Well, being Scottish the kindly gents over at SAAS see to
close friendship is to be found at a cluster of urinals…) lectures, in all their silent and attentive glory, are the least conducive places to make pals. With everybody staring forward at a salient figure there’s
little hope of eye contact, and trying to start up a conversation in forced whispers is never easy. Then there are those who selfrighteously proclaim that you are an abomination for wasting your education while there are a thousand more unlucky youngsters who are desperate for a university place. Well I’d have to agree with this if I could truthfully say that my not-quite-so-perfect attendance record has had a negative impact on exam results, which I can’t. “But you’re here to learn much more than how to pass exams you damn fool!” Well no, I’m not. I’m here primarily for an education, which at the end of the day is only useful if I do well in my exams, which luckily enough I do, no thanks to lectures. The funny thing is that despite the boredom and uselessness, I quite like turning up to the odd lecture. There’s something satisfying about taking notes, which I know come revision time I will not look at, and listening attentively to something I could just as easily read myself. I like to indulge myself in the fantasy that lectures are actually a fundamental aspect of a university education (and in later years they may be), but until the bibliophobes take over and internet dries up, I feel that a fantasy is all they will amount to.
Alasdair Lane, Jonathon McCreadie and Maria Suessmilch argue whether lectures are necessary to do well at university By Maria Suessmilch
hen I told my dad about my plan to go to university in Scotland and study English he proudly looked at me and said in his all-knowing manner: “It’s going to be the best time of your life”. And while my dad’s wise words were echoing in my head, he was already drifting back to the time when he freshly arrived at university. His sentiment had a profound impact on me and I eagerly awaited my arrival time with feverish excitement and childish naivety, believing that it would turn out just as my dad had said, or even better. Two years into my degree it is time for a reality check to see if life really turned out that great as a student. The answer is yes and no. It is not the glorious place I imagined, but then again I had been fanaticising about journeying in a great old steam train and getting off at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, whereas in reality I got here with a cheap EasyJet flight, getting off at Glasgow Airport — home of street gangs and 165 rainy days a year. But after I accepted the fact that Hogwarts might not be real after all (I know… but it’s really all made up), I started realising that I was quite happy at uni. Indeed, it became the best time of my life so far. Not just because I met wonderful people here, but because I was truly having fun – outside and inside the lecture theatre. Believe it or not, but the heart of my university experience lies within the lectures. They are teaching me the stuff I need to know, the direction I can take and
maybe inspiring me to do some further thinking. I’ve certainly had great times in a lecture theatre, be it playing lecturer-bingo or hearing a wonderful speaker talk. Unfortunately nowadays our lecture theatres are often sparsely occupied. Of nearly 200 second year English students 50 seem to manage to get up at 10am on Tuesday and Thursday. I sometimes wonder why the lecturer even bothers to spend this hour away from his studies when only a quarter of the students bother to show up, with only 20 bothering to listen. Jonathan Wolff, in a recent Guardian article, was wondering about this problem. Why do so few students turn up to lectures? His theory, which I highly agree with, was that lectures are just too boring to be worth attending. Well, he is right. Eight out of ten lectures I go to make me count the seconds, but still I go there every time; the logic of a lunatic? Not really – first of all I pay £1,820 per year to study, so why shouldn’t I attend what I paid for? It’s like if you pay for a Big Mac, but then don’t eat it. Secondly, I am aware that I do all of this voluntarily, I could quit if I didn’t like it here. And thirdly, there are many people who would like to be in my shoes, so who am I to steal their places and act like a jerk by not turning up and not caring a bit? I just said the unthinkable, but showing up is kind of your responsibility, rather than your right. It’s part of the deal you chose and if you don’t want to be bothered by the people with a PhD then just don’t study and make room for those who want to, because nobody likes a sourpuss.
By Jonathon McCreadie
t is an unwritten rule that students should attend lectures. There seems to be a lot of debate surrounding the issue and it is a topic on which all my flatmates take a different view. For me, the bottom line is that we are here to learn and be taught by our superiors and therefore lectures are crucial. I think that the main argument from the other side is simply that we can find out the answers and learn from the internet and from books, rather than from our lectures. My answer to you: go to the Open University. Learning online would deprive us of the opportunity to question our lecturer about issues that we do not understand, ask for clarification, for further direction or, indeed, from just being able to converse about the course. The information available online isn’t always reliable and, for some courses, is very limited indeed. Teaching staff can also offer personal qualities. In high cchool I had an amazing History teacher who was very traditional and oldschool (so traditional that he still wore the cloak on occasions and so old-school that he taught my own mother!). He was utterly fantastic as absolutely everyone revered him and the class clowns would not dare put a foot out of line in his presence. What I think made him such a great model was that he was extremely enthusiastic about his subject and he commanded respect. I loved going to his classes, I genuinely enjoyed them, but he put the fear of God into me. Showing up with incomplete
homework or an unsigned diary was not an option. Even trying to excuse yourself for a music lesson while in his class was not really feasible either. The funny thing is, I could not rewrite any of the essays that I learned for my first semester exams this year, yet I could probably just about write out most of my higher History ones. My fondest memories of high school were in SS3 (his classroom) and I think it would have been
“I don’t profess to attend every lecture, but I do feel an element of guilt if I don’t manage.” really quite sad if I were denied the opportunity to attend these classes because the world is rapidly moving towards a truly electronic era. My point is that if we didn’t have contact with our lecturers then we’d miss out on a lot. I think of my Family Law course. In my opinion the substance is actually quite dry, repetitive and very statute-based which, believe me, does not make for good reading. However, our lecturer is none other than Mr Lessels who is something of a legend in the Law school. For those of you who don’t know him, I challenge you to ask a law student about him and I bet they will only have positive things to say. Anyway, Mr Lessels makes what should be a rather boring course into a really intriguing one by the use of comical intonations, interesting hand gestures and
witty remarks. I don’t profess to attend every lecture, but I do feel an element of guilt if I don’t manage. The fact that someone has gone to the bother of preparing a PowerPoint presentation, showing up and teaching a course on which you are enrolled, and then discovering some poxy teenagers haven’t bothered going to the lecture because they drank too much the night before is in my mind not on. This surely must be demoralising, even though the lecturers are paid to do the job. I also find that with a 10 am start on Mondays and Tuesdays and 9 am for the rest of the week, once I am up and at university I am more likely to do work throughout the day and get things done. If I were simply teaching myself I am afraid to admit it, but with lack of structure in my day, the work would be left to the last minute and rushed. Lastly, in lectures there is an element of comradeship. We are all here because we picked this University, this course and will do this exam. Lectures are for more than just academic learning, they are a place to meet like-minded people, chat with friends and find out how everyone else did in that all-important essay. So yes, in my opinion lectures are an essential part of the University infrastructure. As my second year draws to a close and I am faced with the prospect of junior Honours (all going well), I can safely say that when the time comes and I have to attend seminars rather than lectures, I will be kicking myself for not appreciating them more at the time.
1 May 2012
Elected Lords? I wish! Nathan Hepburn explains why the House of Lords should be an elected body
he issue of the Lords’ reforms has sparked a series of discussions which the press will undoubtedly claim to be another wedge forced between the coalition. For those of you who don’t know, currently the House of Lords is the UK’s upper house of parliament and is made up of a combination of appointed members, hereditary lords and senior Church of England Bishops. In principle all the major political parties in the UK recognise that the current system, with its complete lack of democratic legitimacy, cannot continue. Although the Lords do have less power than, for example, the American Senate, they do still have power to delay or block government legislation. A recent example of this would be when the Lords forced significant revision of a welfare bill which it had defeated a total of seven times. Despite this consensus, there are several reasons why the main political parties would prefer to maintain the status quo. Many members of the Conservative party, with their commitment to tradition and general opinion that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” disregard a potentially expensive change
as distracting and irrelevant. Meanwhile many members of the
Labour party see an opportunity to damage the coalition and largely
seem to be opposing the reforms on this basis.
Such policies and views are unfortunately misguided and damaging. A political system can only survive whilst it enjoys legitimacy, something which the Lords implicitly contradict. The fact that our daily lives are in part run by an unelected upper house, that our multicultural society is run in part by Church of England Bishops is an anachronism and its removal should be a priority. I accept that events like the London riots are not caused by people complaining about a system many people neither understand nor care about. However, whilst politicians wilfully ignore our democratic deficit which is deliberately excluding people from decision making, I am not surprised by the lack of engagement with politics. It is essential in this day and age that our politicians are elected. Every single major British political party stated their desire for an elected House of Lords in their election manifestos and they have to honour this promise… Mere political point scoring should not obscure this need.
House of Lords
s u p m Ca on
Durate Pergira 3rd year Psychology I lived in Johnstone Halls in my first year and feel that student accommodation is a lot less hassle than a private flat as everything, such as internet, electricity and other utilities, are taken care of as part of your rent. However, when staying in your own place you have much more control over these things, for example I can arrange to have a much faster internet connection! All in all there are pluses and minuses to both ways of living.
This week, we were on campus asking about your thoughts on student living, be it in halls or private accommodation
Victoria Psalmon 1st year Neuroscience & Psychology
Maria Suessmilch 2nd year English Literature & Language I like living in private accommodation. I have never experienced living in halls, but then again I chose to stay in my own flat. I love having my own space and being able to live the way I want without having to timetable bathroom slots.
I am currently staying in Hector Boece and really like it. My halls are nicknamed the “Erasmus Ghetto” due to the high number of international students staying there which suits me perfectly as I myself have come over from France to study in Aberdeen. Despite living in a “shoebox” I feel the social side to student accommodation more than makes up for the lack of luxuries — though I’m definitely looking forward to having a double bed next year!
Tashana Khan 1st year Psychology and French
Goodluck Iwuamadi 5th year Oil & Gas Engineering
I was happily surprised when I moved into Crombie Halls this year as I expected the rooms to be a lot smaller. I was also a bit nervous about having to use shared facilities but have had no problems with them all year. While I don’t think the Hub food is too bad I don’t really think it justifies the increased price of catered accommodation. I’m looking forward to moving into a private flat next year so I can start cooking my own meals again, and also enjoy a bit more privacy!
I would have to say that I prefer living in my own flat to living in halls. Despite missing the social side of student accommodation I find that I study better when staying in my own place, which is particularly important as I am currently doing my Masters. In first year I lived in Hector Boece and I loved the sense of community the place had, however the lack of privacy and personal space was definitely a down side for me.
Opine writers wanted!
Leo Stockford 4th year IR & Politics I much prefer living in private accommodation — whilst living in halls was fun, I don’t miss the 3 am fire alarms, the impromptu late-night-raves-the-day-beforean-essay-deadline, or the beds that seemed to be made of granite. Living in private accommodation means that I can live how I wish — if I rock up home at early o’clock in the morning, I don’t get strange looks from the porters. It’s also cheaper for me — £290 a month in rent, and my last electricity bill was £9.50. Whilst halls do have a lot of benefits; security, free heating and wifi, and a “vibrant student community”, for me they can’t beat having your own flat. The walk into university in the morning, especially at the moment, is lovely. Also, whilst the library might be a 20 minute walk away, I have the luxury of being able to lie in bed, with a coffee, biscuits, and food in the oven, and write an essay, with music on, should I choose. Simply, I can choose how I live. Photos/ James Holland, Alasdair Lane
Do you have an interesting opinion you want to get published?
1 May 2012
Trump the environmentalist
Stuart Hewitt criticises Donald Trump’s new stance on environmentalism
his week Holyrood descended into a circus as “The Donald” pitched up in Edinburgh to dispel any notion that he knows the meaning of “altruism”. Trump was in the capital to provide evidence against the building of wind farms which he says will “destroy Scotland”, an opinion which is in no way connected to the proposed wind farm off the coast of Aberdeen which he thinks ruin the view from his £750 million golf resort. The £150 million project, partly funded and researched by the University of Aberdeen, includes 11 wind turbines and has led to Trump threatening to pull out of his development if the First Minister Alex Salmond doesn’t stop the wind farms. When asked by Chic Brodie of the SNP, to provide the “empirical evidence” that would show wind farms would result in the destruction of Scotland, Trump oozed “I am the evidence.” But arguably his most ignorant piece of amateur showmanship came when he attempted to compare the Scottish Government’s renewable policy to the release of the Lockerbie bomber. “This is the same thinking that gave you al-Megrahi, where they let him out of prison… because he would be dead in two weeks. Guess what? He was seen running in a park last week,” Trump said – to bemusement all round. But putting his obfuscating buffoonery aside for a moment, Trump’s campaign against offshore wind farms couldn’t be
Donald Trump: a cold front to renewable energy? more hypocritical. This is the man who attempted to stir up a frenzy of hatred against the residents of Balmedie who dared to stand in the way of his gaudy new golf course and personal playground on the grounds that the self-serving home owners were selfishly hijacking the economic prosperity of the North East for their own cynical personal gain.
This argument, which was ropey at best at the time, is now being exposed as the cynical piece of self-aggrandising, sharp elbowed politicking we have come to expect from the self-professed tycoon. To many out there Mr Trump is a hero for consumerism (though this is disputable considering his unfortunate habit of bankrupting companies). However, a view is
The Dodd-Frank Act and making crises less likely Alicia Jensen examines the economic crisis
ome of us like to live and dream in the past, but those who pass legislation and carry influential institutions such as banks in the palms of their hands cannot afford to do this, while attempting to protect the future. The solutions proposed by the government now are more relevant to past economic crisis, rather than to future ones. It is understandable that economists and those who write legislation are looking to the past for answers — we don’t have enough information about the future to ever know what will cause the next financial crisis; if we did we wouldn’t let them happen. Because of the unforeseeable and therefore surprising nature of the past subprime crisis, it is psychologically natural to dwell particularly on the causes of the crisis, but this should not be jumbled with future policy or legislation. Consider the example of the Dodd-Frank Act written in the United States, this piece of legislation was created in an attempt to hinder another financial crisis by controlling and monitoring the banks, with aims to catch all who try to cheat the law and predict the ways in which people will try to manipulate financial law. Had the Dodd Frank been active while the last crisis was happening, it may have prevented the financial crisis, but within our status quo, where it is no longer relevant to hinder the
crisis because it has already happened, there are problems; first of all it has been argued as too long and complicated to be carefully considered, as it is a type of legislation which demands 1,400 questions to be answered and to be refilled yearly, and therefore also cost banks tens of thousands in bureaucracy charges. It will most likely not actually even prevent future problems because bankers and lawyers will find loopholes in the legislation — it is just not possible for legislation writers to predict all manners in which loopholes will be found in the future. The point is, however, that if too much attention is being put on escaping future crisis based on the model of the past, it won’t necessarily tackle problems that lay in the future. Creating legislation which tries to control at deeper and higher levels the banks and society in light of what may have prevented the last financial crisis. Clearly it is beneficial to some extent to understand the main causes on what went wrong in the crisis so the same mistakes are not repeated, which is a burden to be placed on the banks in the case of the 2008 economic crisis. It can be argued that the key problem of this crisis lay in the Federal Reserve “safety net” which banks considered too big to fail believed they had. The problems that were inherent in this idea have now been brought to the attention of the banks by the crisis,
and do therefore not need as much attention as the Dodd Frank wants to give them. The problems faced then will not concern the same problems we will face in the future, as no economic crisis had, considering that most crisis are based on speculation or unforeseen problems which could never have been predicted to happen. Considering this, a natural conclusion to draw is that the legislation and rules we pass on financial activity now won’t reflect the current state of our economies in the future, and if the legislation attempts to harshly regulate banks because of a slip-up in the past, it is likely that banks will be resentful of such legislation. The Dodd-Frank Act, and similar extensive legislative measures, are not the way to prevent future financial crisis. The financial world is dynamic, expanding, and international. Any country specific legislation in such a world will not necessarily be guaranteed to prevent a future economic crisis; perhaps the answer lies in more cooperation, interaction, and understanding of a global economy. Secondly, such legislation detracts our attention from aspects which are more relevant to our status quo. For these reasons it would be best for our legislation writers and governments to turn their goggles away from the past and towards the future.
Photo/ Gage Skidmore (Flickr) not a commodity no matter how panoramic it is. I personally could not be less aesthetically affronted by the sight of a sleek, whirring, timorous beastie on the horizon. Without reverting to tiredly accusing people of NIMBY attitudes, opposition to wind farms, off or onshore, is short-sightedness in the extreme. Will we really notice another x
tonnes of metal on Aberdeen’s nautical horizon? I am sitting on the sixth floor of the library writing this article and can currently see eight ships (and, despicably, one onshore turbine) blending perfectly into a beautiful view. I assume if Mr Trump wins his fight he will next lobby the shipping industry to make a detour round “his” stretch of coastline. OIL IS TEMPORARY, ENGINEERING IS ETERNAL. Aberdeen’s frustrating and often baffling submission to the interests of big business are causing it to miss the one shining hope for replacing its crippling dependence on oil money: renewables. It is a myth that Aberdeen’s biggest economic asset is oil, the real wealth of the region lies in its abundance of engineers and the transferable expertise which reside within their noble profession. Some scientists already believe the oil fields off Aberdeen’s coast have hit their peak and are declining rapidly. By the time Aberdeen’s oil runs out and the big companies — who are so pandered to in the city — begin to shift production to other parts of the world the region must have re-aligned itself to take advantage of what will be by then a vibrant renewable industry. Ultimately it comes down to this: A collaboration between Renewables and Engineering can be Aberdeen’s sustainable lifeblood for years to come while Mr Trump and his ego will be long forgotten.
Life & Style Editor: Conor Riordan
1 May 2012
Style On Campus
Conor Riordan has a look at some of Aberdeen’s best dressed this week
Alina Dugnia Studies: Law Alina describes her style as out-ofplace fancy, not in the general sense of dressed up. She shops at ASOS, River Island and Next. She would never wear jeans and trainers.
Beccy Endersby Studies: Spanish and Linguistics Beccy mixes different styles, for example feminine pieces with tougher accessories, such as Dr. Martens. She is inspired by Alexa Chung’s style. She would not wear leopard print.
Hayley Anderson Studies: Philosophy and Divinity Hayley dresses like a wannabe band member and Emmi mini-me, because she lives with her. Her style has been described as woodland creature dressed in vintage attire. She would not wear Ugg boots or anything that makes her look shorter such as a maxi dress.
Kate Appleby Studies: French and Linguistics Kate draws her make-up and style inspiration from films such as Changeling and Chicago. She dresses in feminine, flattering, a-line silhouettes. She loves the ultimate glamour of Marilyn Monroe. She would never wear platform sandals and is scared of showing camel toe.
Photo/ Conor Riordan
Photo/ Conor Riordan
Photo/ Conor Riordan
Photo/ Conor Riordan
Perfectly perfecting pastels
Emmi Makiharju shows us how dying your hair pastel can brighten up any outfit
t’s spring, even though Mother Nature does not seem to agree, and pastel colours are dominating the high street. While everyone else is embracing the long awaited return of colours, I try not to suffer from a migraine attack every time I walk into a clothes shop. I guess I’m just not made for summer. Eventually I found a way to brighten up my gloomy wardrobe, and decided to dye my hair. The pastel colours I refuse to wear as clothes, I wear on my head, whether it is candy floss, lavender or baby blue. This hair revolution started last year with the dip dye trend that provoked opinions of all sorts, some thought it was original and unique, others found it messy and odd. While still trending the dip dye look, it’s now popular to dye your whole head, be it with a single shade or the whole rainbow.
Resurfacing from the 90s, pastel hair isn’t a new phenomenon. Celebrities such as Lady Gaga and Katy Perry, as well as real-life girls are spotted with this trend, instantly unleashing the sunshine. And why only let girls have all the fun, a baby pink or blue will not make a man any less manly. To ease yourself into the world of pastel hair, start out with a candy floss or lavender toner that lasts a couple of weeks, and then decide whether to commit or not. Unfortunately, for dark tresses bleach is a must before any light colour will stick. For the fearless, try a turquoise or blue dye, or mix a few together. Instant new summery look guaranteed! I’m considering mint next.
Photo/ Tessa the Pisces (Flickr)
1 May 2012
What to do next?
By Sam Prout
If at any point in the past few weeks/months/hours you’ve asked yourself “what am I going to do next?” then this list is for you. Whether you’re staying in education next year, or moving on to something different (or perhaps even nothing), here are my top five things to do next.
Take up something new
Unfortunately, my extreme tumble-drying club didn’t exactly take off this year; membership dwindled after people realised just how extreme it was. I will persevere though, and so should you — embrace something new next year.
See the world
We live at the very zenith of millions of years of human achievement. Nowhere is too far away; nothing too impossible to try. Why, you could even take a bus to Bridge of Don! You [almost] won’t be disappointed.
Get a job
Once upon a time, children were sent out to work as soon as they turned five. Unfortunately, there aren’t many coal mines left to help gently break you into working life, so maybe try volunteering somewhere first to see if you like getting up in the mornings.
I once spent a day digging a trench with a friend in his girlfriend’s back garden [not a euphemism]. Nothing is more rewarding than something into which you’ve literally poured your blood, sweat and tears, and then had to explain to someone else’s parents.
Contribute to the Gaudie
The Gaudie depends on lively, informative and frightfully handsome witty voluntary contributions for its very survival. And once you start sending things in, they’re just too nice to ask you to stop! Share your opinions with everybody, every fortnight, only in The Gaudie.
Life and Style
Homemade Scones Samantha Worsley tells us how to make Scones
really have a soft spot for scones. They remind me of baking when I was young, and they’re yummy. Yes, yummy really is the best word for it. So to make yummy homemade scones you will need: Ingredients 225 g plain flour 1 tsp cream of tartar 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda 55 g butter ¼ pt milk Pinch of salt (can be excluded if using salted butter) Method: 1. Put all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix them together. 2. Rub the butter into the dry ingredients using your fingertips. The mix should resemble bread crumbs. 3. Stir in the milk to make a thick dough.
4. Turn the mix out onto a floured surface and knead for 1 minute. 5. Roll the dough out to 2 cm thick, and cut out scone shapes (if you don’t have a cutter, use a small glass or cup). 6. Place the scones onto a greased baking tray or baking paper, and cook for 7–10 minutes at 220˚C. 7. Once they are golden brown remove from the baking tray to cool. If you want your scones to be sweet, add a tablespoon of sugar. You can also add dried fruit, chocolate chips, or whatever you fancy! Alternatively, keep them savoury and add cheese, sundried tomatoes, or anything else you can think up. The beauty of scones is that they are simple and versatile, which is most likely why I grew up baking them. Either that or my Grandmother understood that kids like to stick their hands in people’s
food, mushing it up. Although there was no “using your fingertips” and the mix resembled bread crumbs. It was fists, lumps of dough, and being head to toe in flour. Regardless the scones always came out pretty good. Which is
great, because it means anyone with an ounce of common sense (or adult supervision) should be able to make a pretty good scone! Did I mention how yummy they are?
Photo/ Samantha Worsley
Grabbing a slice of the deep-fried pizza action Max Goodwin Brown asks what batter way to have pizza than deep-fried?
hortly after accepting my place at Aberdeen a friend of mine’s older brother, who also went to university here, told me that I’d find deep-fried slices of pizza being sold in all of the fast food outlets around town; a rather exciting prospect. In the weeks following my arrival I scoured the chip shops and greasy spoons of Aberdeen, accompanied by a handful of new-found friends who were also intrigued by the idea, but to our collective disappointment the search proved unsuccessful (apparently it’s more of a “Glasgow thing”). Undeterred, we resolved to make it ourselves. Using the cheapest available oven pizza, which seemed suitably “authentic”, we spent an evening attempting to discover the best method of preparation. The experiment had three main phases: regular batter (i.e. flour and water), beer batter, and breadcrumbing, with the last of these yielding by far the best results. I’ve since had the chance to sample deep-fried pizza as produced by a chip shop and I think our breadcrumbed version was somewhat superior. Admittedly this is generally the feeling one has about
homemade things, nevertheless I would strongly recommend that anyone who has ever tried it, or had their curiosity aroused by its presence on a chip shop menu, have a go at making it themselves. It’s possible you’ve sampled it in the past and found it perfectly acceptable, but still feel it to be one of those things that would be bizarre and revolting outside of a chip shop context (the macaroni pie springs to mind here). Even so, I assure you that the tried and tested formula of taking any foodstuff, dunking it in batter and sticking it in a fryer for a minute or so doesn’t do the deep-fried pizza justice. It could be said that deep-fried pizza is “meant” to be liberally battered and served with chips in a polystyrene box, given that it belongs to that host of lovely greasy things, practically a food group in itself, that seems so desirable when you’ve had a few, and there’s probably some truth in this. That being said, the homemade bread-crumbed version, with its contrast of crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside, is really surprisingly good, especially if you first cook the pizza in the oven then
Other deep-fried confectionery Deep Fried Snickers
Deep Fried Mars Bar
Photo/ justgrimes (Flickr)
Photo/ audrey_sel (Flickr)
let it rest in the fridge. This is so that the cheap rubbery cheese gets revitalised as it’s plunged into the hot oil. Seeing as we had a pan full of hot oil at our disposal we passed the rest of that evening happily deepfrying whatever could be found to deep-fry, and it’s amazing how many different things are suitable if you’re in the right frame of mind. Kiwi fruit works particularly well,
Photo/ Retromoderns (Flickr) Deep Fried..... butter?
Photo/ l_c_m_tt_ (flcikr)
its tartness offset by the frying process so that you’re left with something that tastes rather like a nugget of cheap but cheerful apple pie. Incidentally, since our fruitless search over two years ago a few of the chip shops of Aberdeen have now started serving deep-fried pizza slices. Are we trendsetters? It’s not for me to say...
1 May 2012
Editors: Anne-Claire Deseilligny and James Valentine
elcome to our penultimate edition. Yes, that means the year is nearly up. 2011/12 has gone very quickly, as always, and we’ve seen the paper change and develop over each section. Sadly that means only one more deadline for those regular writers and any final newbies.
Editors Deputy Editor & Head of Production
In the news this week, we’ve obviously had the results from the Executive committee elections, which you can read about on the front page. Campaigning isn’t done however, as there are still Standing Committee elections which will be happening from the 1st to the 3rd May. Something which may have escaped your attention, but might nevertheless be of interest to you is that at the same time as you vote for your new Standing Committees, you will be asked a question on NUS affiliation. This is actually a much bigger deal than it may at first appear. Our relationship with NUS is one that costs us £40,000 a year, in exchange for which we get a national voice. It is an issue that is worth exploring before you vote, and you could start by having a look at Mark Sherer and Declan Pang’s article in Opine, as well as Tessa Birley’s opposing article which you will be able to find on our facebook page. In any case, this is another week of endless campaigning, be it by NUS campaigners or by aspiring councillors.
Photo/ Claire Wheelans Good day, my name is Pedro Haidautu Ferro, and I am writing to you to complain about the article “Alpha funding: the downfall of independent games?”, a piece published in the March 13th issue of your newspaper, under your heading of “Features”. The article is filled with inaccuracies, falsehoods and the kinds of statements I would expect to read on an internet discussion forum of the lowest denomination, not in a print publication. Or at least, in any sort of print publication that holds itself to decent standards.
Lastly, we’d like to include a letter to the editor about an article we ran a while back. Apologies have been made to Pedro but have a peek at his letter and look forward to a reply.
Honestly, I don't know what to say. I understand that the Gaudie does not have an editor specifically there to look over pieces pertaining to technology, but I still find it hard to believe you would publish such trash. If you'd like, I can of course back up all my outrage with the rebuttal document, though it is essentially unpublishable due to its length. I hope that the Gaudie does not offer Mr O'Brien any further work, or in the very least finds someone half-way in the know to read over tech-articles as they are submitted.
The Gaudie team would like to say thank you for reading, and have a nice two weeks.
I thank you for your time, respectfully, Pedro H. Ferro
For indeed, who could forget that we will also be voting in Local Council elections this week. Quite a few students are standing in constituencies all over Aberdeen, good luck to them all.
Dear Editors, Having read the Ethel and Janice article regarding James Valentine’s hair, I am still in search of a product that will make mine as voluminous as his? Best Wishes, Emma Lovejoy To Whoever it may concern, I require a table for two 7:oopm, near the window, and not too near the lavatories. It is my first date since leaving prison, and I wish to make a good appearence. Regards, Daniel O’Deen To the Gaudie Editors, The online editor position seems to have disapeared from your Editorial team box. I am glad to see this, and little seems to have been done to the website since the beginning of the year. Love, Alex Vancer.
This Term’s Last Deadline Thursday 10th May
Investigative Journalism Do you hear about issues on Campus? Want to find out the truth about the big University issues? Do you have an interest in investigating but don’t necessarily want to write articles?
The Gaudie needs you
For more info email firstname.lastname@example.org
James Valentine and Anne-Claire Deseilligny Leo Heydon Lancelot Stockford
Aaron Murray and Henry Booth
The Granite Press
Life & Style
Photography Editor & Secretary
Deputy Section Editors
Tasneem Mahmoud (News), Jo Polydoros (News), Monica McCarrey (Features), Samantha Worsley (Life & Style), Siobhan Hewison (Arts)
Copy Editing Team
Josh Doyle, Sam Prout, Lauren Houghton, Katherine Watson, Andrew Cheyne
Editor-in-Chief 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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1 May 2012
The Granite Press Editor: Stuart Hewitt
Exclusive: RON speaks
In an exclusive interview with The Granite Press, serial AUSA election candidate RON seeths about being betrayed By Stuart Hewitt & Josh Ferguson Carpet Dust Inspectors to The Duchess of Cornwall t’s five minutes to three before elections is not RON’s only vice. our interviewee pours what’s Distracted, RON stares into the left of his rotund frame into the corner of the room reminiscing seat opposite. The Granite Press of his political heyday when he had arranged to meet RON at 11 could pick off weak, uncontested o’clock but the serial electioneer candidates with ease and pick up uncharacteristically admits he has vulnerable Young Conservatives been on ‘poor form’ of late after with his charm alone. being defeated in every election he RON had made it clear from contested last week. the beginning of his campaign RON wastes no time in expressing that under his leadership, AUSA his shock and disappointment at would have lobbied the University the tiny amount of votes he polled. to encourage recruitment from Speaking to this reporter, RON said untapped markets. “I very strongly “I suppose I should have expected support access for Eton, Harrow and nothing less from a horrible campus Sevenoaks. It’s places like this where in the Northern wastes filled with our future Thatchers, Camerons hippies and reds. These people are and Boris Johnsons are forged, and the reason sub-prime mortgages we should foster and encourage don’t work.” RON had put on an those people who will change the energetic campaign, including such world in the same way that these events as flash-mob “Conservative luminaries did.” Parties” and threatening to do When questioned on his political harrowing things to Shared Planet views and the direction he would members with carrots. have taken AUSA in, had he won, He seems edgy and engages in RON started grinning eerily. “It’s more twitchy caresses of his nose all in my manifesto,” he said. RON’s than is completely necessary for manifesto has already garnered anyone who isn’t an aardvark. It him some controversy, not only for seems getting soundly gubbed in its alleged racist, homophobic and
Vampires in history By Adam Cook Snooki stunt double
first appeared on the battlefield of Mons Graupius as Calgacus the Swordsman fighting against the Romans under General Tacitus and years later helped the Jacobite forces at Culloden but it was one period in history that this Vampire truly influenced. In the 14th century this Vampire supposedly took part in the Scottish Wars of Independence under the name, Robert the Bruce. New evidence uncovered in Marischal museum by renowned Archaeologist Neil Oliver-Jones
ith the release of a film based on the historical studies of Seth GrahameSmith (on the significance of the involvement of Vampires in the American Civil War and President Lincoln’s personal grudge against them), new artefacts and evidence suggesting Vampiric influence in Medieval Britain has come to light. Specifically the involvement of a certain Vampire who has cropped up repeatedly in Scottish history. According to this new evidence he 1.
sexist undercurrent, but also for the candidate’s adamant refusal to give any out. “It would be hard for me to give them out,” RON explained “Most of them were confiscated by the Aberdeen constabulary. The ones that I managed to keep were accidentally printed with every other word in Ancient Greek. And I needed those to show my mum.” RON, of no fixed constituency, had to be escorted off campus during elections after breaking rule 7b of AUSA’s elections guide which states “candidates must at no point express a desire to drink Maggie Thatcher’s used bathwater.” RON is clearly a broken man Despite his spectacular defeat this year, RON has vowed to return next year: “I’m a fighter, not a quitter. I learned that from my idol, my mentor, and my guru, Peter Mandelson. I’ll be back next year, and the next year, and the next year, until one year you will have me as your Glorious Leader.” RON then strode off into the toilets, loudly singing an off-key version of “Tomorrow Belongs To Me”. was presented at a press conference last week. The evidence was a plaster cast of the skull of Robert the Bruce that revealed certain physical properties. From the photo we can see that the skull has two prominent front teeth suggesting that Robert the Bruce was in fact a Vampire. When asked if there was any more evidence to this belief, Oliver-Jones replied with “You need more?” There are still many sceptics to this theory, although the History channel has already started a series of documentaries and Warner Brothers have bought the rights to make a series of films starring Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi from the hit MTV series Jersey Shore and Sylvester Stallone to play the lead role.
Now hear this!
By Anne Underling Chief Imperialist and Glorious Capitalist Leader fter the glorious people’s and capitalism lies in ruins we must victory in the AUSA elections export the revolution throughout all last week, the glorious the Scottish Universities.” While the peoples’ party will take charge of the enemies of the AUSSR may claim now renamed AUSSR. The glorious that Mr Baloney has long followed people’s leader Unclear Dirigibleini the dictum of Socialism in one will take charge of the executive University, on this he said: “nice one with Gideon Baloney taking the boss.” newly founded position of Party What makes the glorious people’s Secretary. All hail the glorious victory all the more impressive is that people’s executive! they gloriously and democratically In a wonderful statement, which elected the only candidates brought tears to the eyes of the officially sanctioned by the Defend cheering workers, Ms. Unclear Education party which is, of course, Dirigibleini stated: “The first not a party in any way shape or act of the new regime will be form, said our spokesperson. There to abolish the Economics and were initial fears that the officially Business Management Department sanctioned candidate for Vice and ground their laptops into President of Paperclips would not agricultural equipment. The win his position however, these were Gilbert and Sullivan Society will be soon thwarted when his opponent collectivised to work the land for the accidentally locked himself in an glory of the AUSSR. Within the next airtight cupboard for three days. In 6 months we will regain the ancestral the next 5 years AUSSR can expect motherland of Marischal College to see a 10,000% increase in 5 year and Aberdeen Agricultural College.” plans and a 10,000,000% increase in Mr Baloney added “good idea boss!” empty rhetoric. Ms Dirigibleini further added that: “now the great deed has been done
Gaudie overthrows uni
By Tristan Boyle Thunderhammer, Thane of Butchart, and One Direction Lyricist
n the dark shadowy bowels of the University, a fight for survival has begun. A competition that cannot be named, for being so vile it would disturb readers, and the AUSA. On the surface one could see the combantants line up, wielding profane implements of torture, often on the cover of a Cannibal Corpse album; these men and women had grown out of a deceptively small band of untrained warriors, often misspelling their way on to print. The Gaudie came out in full force, and with time pressing hard on them, they fought with vigour and honour. Hvalgarsh Bvredshrthiar succumed after thwarting tenscore
1. large diving bird 3. crucifixion place 4. 16-17c. Italian painter 9. thin coating or layer 10. Turkish dynasty 12. defy gravity 13. hidden resting place 16. French dramatist, Theatre of the Absurd 18. District Attorney 19. King’s clown 21. type of beer 22. 18c. German philosopher
2. egg shaped wind instrument 3. deprive of vitality 5. instinctive part of the mind (Freud) 6. country in Southeast Asia 7. a rationalist 8. small brown bird known for its song 11. movement of molecules 14. bad 15. Greek goddess of the earth 17. battle in northern France, 100 years war 19. charged particle 20. intense dislike
Procrastinators By Stanislav Benes
of the enemy. The others that fell were great in number, but quite possibly a misreported number. Obviously this attack was meant to raze the University to the ground and in its place, reopen a massive newspaper service. One pheasant, close to the Gaudie I spoke to, squawked awkwardly and ran off. No one else was available for comment. Surely these are dark times, when within our own walls, those we laugh at today will tommorrow, be kings.
Anus Horribilis By Stuart Hewitt Paparazzi Legal advisor Dave had a sore bum for a year. Bellowing at The Granite Press, he said: “This is disgraceful; you are using my pain and embarrassment as a crass excuse to crowbar a funny headline into your infantile, despicable publication.” In a clear admission of guilt a spokesperson for The Granite Press failed to comment, as he had ironically given himself a rectal prolapse from laughing so hard.
1 May 2012
Editor: Jessica Cregg
Record Store Day 2012 at One Up
Jessica Cregg spoke to Yogi Duncan and Fred Craig and found out why we should keep it independent
ver the last five years an independent record shop has closed in the UK every three days. The idea of physically owning a tangible piece of music has well and truly become a dying art. It wasn’t too long ago that the phrases “purchasing music” and “buying a CD” were synonymous. However, as it stands, music can be purchased with simply the click of a button, anywhere in the world. The emergence of websites such as Amazon and Play.com has ensured the demise of well over 90% of Britain’s independent record stores and we are down to our last one in Aberdeen. 33 years ago, Fred Craig and his business partner Raymond Bird founded One Up Records, a store that was later to become more than simply an outlet, but an Aberdeen institution. Fred comments that “it started as a stall in a boutique up by Rosemount Viaduct called Happy Trails. He [Raymond] basically just started selling his own record collection back in 1979 About a year after that, he opened up his first store, further along Rosemount Viaduct and he named it One Up. The story goes, he got the sign made as the original place was going to be on the first floor, one story up but we didn’t get it, so it was on the bottom floor. By then we had the sign made so we just used it anyway.” Even from One Up’s earliest days, it was having to battle against the major contenders in Aberdeen, Fred adds “Virgin records opened up in Aberdeen in 1984, so we combined the two stores over in Diamond Street. In the early nineties we moved to this site in Belmont
“Record store day is a great idea. We totally support the idea of a day which encourages people to go out and enjoy their local record shops. If only because buying your records from a shop is a much more enjoyable and inspiring experience than buying online in your front room in your pants.” House of Lords, Young Knives’ bassist Street and have traded here ever since as the only independent record store. We’ve tried to be as competitive as possible.” However, since the rise of online trade, consumers have come to expect something very different from their high street. With prices become ever-more competitive and shoppers having a much smaller disposable income, the footfall in town centres across
Britain isn’t what it used to be, causing independent businesses to suffer, “These days it’s a totally different market. We compete against the likes of Amazon and Play.com who don’t pay any taxes as they’re off-shore based. Yet they’re still allowed to sell in this country, despite the fact that they don’t pay the 20% VAT, they don’t pay the corporation tax, they claim to only have around 130 employees when in fact they have thousands. The thousands of them simply work in the service sectors. All these factors very much affect independent record stores all
I’ve had customers stand there and say – “I’ve just got this two quid cheaper on Amazon!” They think it’s fun. They don’t see it as your livelihood.” However, in 2008 Record Store Day was founded to not only celebrate music, but to prompt the public to rediscover their local record store and once again enjoy physical, tangible music. On 21 April, One Up employee, Yogi Duncan held an in-store celebration for Record Store day which was met with an overwhelming response. Yogi remarks: “We had a queue of well
With the store absolutely packed, the only lament is that Record Store Day comes around all but once a year, “The whole vibe of the day was a bit like a venue. I just wish it wasn’t just a yearly thing. It’d be good if they did something quarterly. Get all the British distributers and labels – rather than compete against each other, to work together and do an event in record stores. It’s great fun, especially getting bands involved.” Unfortunately, with such rare pressings available, many will spot the profit to be made. “The downside of Record Store Day is
In the One Up record store on Belmont Street, Aberdeen across Britain and how they actually manage to trade. I think you’d see a lot more independent record stores if the European government cracked down on tax avoidance” states Fred. With well over £50 billion having been spent online last year, within the UK alone, it’s naive to think this shift in our consumer preference would leave our High Streets unchanged, “There used to be well over 3000 independent record stores ten years ago” remembers Fred, “and that was twenty months before Amazon started off and people started getting involved with buying stuff online. Now there’s just over 300. The impact’s been enormous. It’s quite a battle.” The colossal effect of these sites has even been aided by the rise of smart phones by allowing customers to add insult to injury by expecting these record stores to deliver the service of their knowledge of popular and niche music, without the sale of any of their stock. Fred adds, “What is annoying is that you often get people coming in asking your advice about the latest thing and then they’ll leave without buying anything – so you know they’ve gone online. Also the smart phones have barcode scanners, so they’ll scan the barcode of the album they like and go and find it on Amazon whilst they’re standing in the shop.
over a hundred people at the door from half nine! We opened up and the queue was going down the block for at least another two hours.” To celebrate the international consumer holiday, One Up held and instore concert and for one day only, sold a wide range reissued vinyls – from classic to contemporary, giving the public a chance to own their favourite album on vinyl. “The list is huge! It was all limited vinyl releases be it 7 inch, 10 inch or 12 inch vinyl. There were some new releases, some reissues but a lot of stuff that you could get on vinyl before. It’s a worldwide thing. It’s really limited as to what stock you get. For instance the big names, The Beatles, David Bowie we’d only have around 15 in stock. So they’d obviously be the first ones that go. Arctic monkeys – that was a big seller. We had two local artists. Singer/songwriter Craig John Davidson, indie-rock chick Amy Sawyers and headliners, Dry The River. As I stated on BBC 6 music, I noticed their gig poster about two weeks prior to Record Store Day, and I looked at the date and thought 21st? That’s Record Store Day. It was great that it worked out, especially [with] a band that are playing in 300 plus capacity venues, are all over the BBC and are away to tour America.”
Photo/ One Up
the non-keepers. The people who try and make a profit by selling them on, over eBay,” adds Yogi. “I just think it’s completely f*cking wrong. We had a lot of music fans coming in later in the afternoon asking for something that had sold out, and we later find it for double the price on eBay. Somebody told me that one item available from this year’s Records Store Day was available on eBay the day before and that can’t be possible unless it’s
“Records are beautiful things. In times of peace it is a joyous thing to indulge in such luxuries. What else is there to fight for? I prefer Record Store Day to my birthday” Conor O’Brien, Villagers someone from a shop. That’s what kills the music industry, people who do that. I would say that 90% of the people who came through this door are real music fans – they’re real keepers of the merchandise.” With Fred adding: “It frustrates the customers and us because it’s not the spirit of the whole thing. The whole idea is for collectors to get collectable items” it’s clear that One Up truly strive to deliver to people a piece of physical and concrete art. After Record Store Day 2012, there has been a reported rise on the 341,000 units of vinyl sold in 2011. With independent stores across the country reportedly filled to the brim with customers, as Fred recites with Love Music in Glasgow: “Love Music are down to a couple of staff as well. But the Record Store day just gone was their busiest day ever since they opened, and that was 50 years ago. It was the busiest day ever in the history of their existence.” It’s been said that this year yielded the most success with over 230 UK stores participating and over 400 reissues commissioned by international artists. With any hope, events such as Record Store Day are simply the beginning in prompting consumers to look beyond themselves and notice the cultural community on their doorstep. “One thing that’s unique across the planet” remarks Fred, “is the music lovers. You could go to any country on the planet and start speaking about music and end up in a good friendship, a good conversation. It unites the world, in my opinion.”
1 May 2012
Music Album The Twin Atlantic Make a Beast of Myself Red Bull Records
By Liz Ozolins Having never listened to Twin Atlantic before this single, the intro sounded to me like a pretty generic opener; steady guitar and quite bitter sweet in tone. From this point I assumed that I already knew everything about this band. However, from the moment the vocals begin, my perspective on the song changed completely and I have no doubt that it is mostly down to the beautiful Scottish accent of the vocalist. It is amazing just how much better a song can become when the vocalist uses his own accent. Other than the fact that by doing this, it gives you an extra element which distinguishes you from other bands, it also gives a sense of authenticity to the music which, for me at least, is something which catches my
Album Lostprophets Weapons RCA Records
By Dan Naylor Having gotten into Lostprophets just after the release of their third album, Weapons reminds me why I still call myself a fan nearly six years on. The new record represents everything that makes Lostprophets great, drawing influence from their first three albums to create a mature, alt-rock sound. The opening track, “Bring ‘Em Down,” typifies this new blend, crossing excellent pacing of their first hit “Shinobi vs. Dragon Ninja” with the real metal notes of “Burn Burn,” all glossed with the pop tones found in Liberation Transmission. It is here that Lostprophets are at their best, and they know it. The traditional ballad
attention. Lyrically, the song is infused with questions of life and love, which seems fitting with the beautiful vocals. From listening to the rest of their singles, this is a slower attempt, but this approach allows the band to explore their softer, more delicate side. The chorus is powerful, and packs a punch compared to the relatively calm verses. If the instrumental arrangement had been more creative, this could have been a truly great single, however, since the single is lacking in that aspect, this leaves the vocals holding the majority of the charisma, which can only take a song so far in my opinion.
is present too, in the form of the acoustic “Somedays”, providing a welcome change of pace towards the record’s close. “Jesus Walks” and “We Bring An Arsenal” are highlights too, but despite this there seems to be little variety; on my first play through in the background, I didn’t really notice when one track ended and another began. The problem is that while the songs themselves tend to go from upbeat and rocky to slow and vocal, almost all of them do this, blurring the lines between them. In reality though, this is knitpicking. After a couple of listens the nuances of the tracks really come to life, and it is here that the maturity of the band really shows. Gone are the needlessly aggressive guitar riffs and ten-words-asecond of their previous album The Betrayed; this has been replaced by carefully thought out lyrics and more intricate instrument work. Weapons is the band’s second best album, after Start Something, and even then it runs close. It might not be as accessible as their older stuff, but it benefits from this. This album was a pleasure to listen to.
Album Asher Roth Pabst & Jazz SB/SRC/Def Jam
By Josh Donnelly Pabst & Jazz is Asher’s latest free mixtape (available at www.datpiff. com). Asher Roth’s reputation, garnered from the success of his 2009 debut single “I Love College”, for me casts a pessimistic shadow over the mixtape. His previous works characterises much that I disdain about fratboy hiphop – affluent white kids, weed smoking and mundane raps. Pabst & Jazz, however, is an incomparable offering which shows either a greatly matured Roth or an artist’s creativity not impinged by the market. Just a glance at his album art shows an Asher Roth that contrasts his fratboy reputation. Either way, Pabst & Jazz excells; the mixtape boasts more than is necessary for me to give it five stars. For those wondering “Pabst” is an American beer brand, while “Jazz” is the one word to describe the strikingly mature beats provided by little known producer Blended Babies. The mixtape boasts consistent production that earns the tape a cohesive jazzy sound which is as moody as it is mature. This sound is crafted from an ingenious fusion of electric piano, jazz basslines, unforgettable hooks and even a saxophone solo; in the case of the mixtape’s single “Common Knowledge”, there is a divinely enjoyable synth sound
Album Jack White Blunderbuss Third Man Records
By Martin Podlucki It seems strange that a musician so prolific and ridiculously active as Jack White has waited until now to release his own debut solo album. Since the break up of his careerlaunching band The White Stripes, White has maintained his hold on the garage rock revival scene while simultaneously exploring other genres in numerous projects including The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather. He has been running a record label, Third Man Records, since 2001 and has collaborated with an astounding amount of artists such as veteran act Wanda Jackson and the bizarre Insane Clown Posse. Fans must be grateful that he has finally found the time to give the old solo album a shot. What is most striking about Blunderbuss is how biting and bitter some of the lyrics are. White’s focus seems to rest mainly on the nasty, conflicted side of relationships. On the track “Freedom at 21” he sings: “Cut off the bottoms of my feet/Make me walk on salt/Take me down to the police/Charge me with assault.” The gentle piano and acoustic strumming of “Love Interruption” is juxtaposed with masochistic
which fluctuates along with the song. Not to mention the hiphop drum beats which are lively and captivating enough to support Asher’s verses on their own. Over this, Asher Roth’s consistently impressive flow compliments the jazz-influenced hiphop. When Asher is not exploring playfully melodic rhymes he’s providing contemplative narratives which speak directly to the listener of topics such as disenfranchising wealth, the value of integrity and reflection on life’s difficult decisions. The record includes an array of collaborating artists, 24 in total, across 16 tracks. Collaboration
-heavy to say the least, and it perhaps diminishes the pressure and emphasis from Asher Roth himself. Wisely chosen collaborations, however, give this record a broader appeal as well as a dense offering to its audience. Each constituting element of the mixtape deserves individual praise; Asher Roth should be proud of the mixtape’s achievement, predominantely the bold shift to thoughtful subject matter. Additionally, hiphop should take note of, and pride in, Pabst & Jazz. Nervously, we await the next studio album. Look out for this summer’s release Is This Too Orange?.
descriptions of what he wants love to do to him: “grab my fingers gently/slam them in a doorway, put my face into the ground”, apparently. Just how personal these lyrics are is a matter up for debate. On the one hand White went through a divorce last year, while on the other his ex-wife Karen Elson accompanies him with backing vocals on a number of tracks. This would suggest that the album’s scathing dissection of love is perhaps engineered theatricality rather than genuine emotion. Things take a turn for the upbeat on a cover of Little Willie John’s “I’m Shakin’” which features a catchy, rollicking beat accompanying White’s playful
inflection of phrases, such as “I’m noivuss!” The album’s range of influences must be quite vast, considering “Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy” resembles a track from The Faces’ back catalogue and the second half of “Take Me with You When You Go” genuinely sounds like A Bat Out Of Hell-era Meatloaf. Blunderbuss is a decidedly energetic piece of work where even the ballads contain bluesy, reverbheavy guitar. Musically it doesn’t differ that much from White’s previous output, but lyrically it hints at something significantly darker than what we’ve seen before.
1 May 2012
Film character stereotypes in a very entertaining way and also nods openly to horror classics such as Hellraiser and The Evil Dead. The film itself, though, doesn’t quite fit into the horror genre; it may be marketed that way but it resides in a difficult to define genre of its own. Having said that, both horror and non-horror fans should enjoy the film as it picks apart classic elements of horror to create a fun experience with several genuinely funny moments. The first two acts play out in an interesting and engaging way but it’s during the third and final act that the film really comes into its own. It’s wild, chaotic and a little out of control but it’s immensely enjoyable and concludes with a big revelation which, although absurd, fits perfectly with the tone of the film. Personally, I loved the crazy ride the film offered but I’m very aware of the fact that it won’t appeal to everyone. Still, I’d urge you to give it a chance. You may find it utterly ridiculous, you may never want to sit through it again but you’ll have one hell of a ride along the way.
Cabin in the Woods Directed by:Drew Goddard Starring: Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth and Anna Hutchison
By Louise Clark First time director Drew Goddard (writer of Cloverfield) and Joss Whedon (of Buffy and Firefly fame) have teamed up to create The Cabin in The Woods, which twists the horror genre to the extreme. The film follows a small group of college students who travel to a remote cabin for the typical college vacation of drunkenness and debauchery. Terror inevitably ensues but not in the usual fashion. That is the entire plot summary you’re getting from me; the less you know about the film before going to see it, the better. The film is clever, well versed in the horror genre, plays with
Lockout Directed by: James Mather and Stephen St. Leger Starring: Guy Pearce, Maggie Grace, Peter Stormare and Anna Hutchison
By Christian Robshaw A breakout occurs in a space prison in 2079, and a lone badass who smokes and wisecracks is sent in to rescue, and fall in love with, the President’s daughter. It’s a pretty cool premise that could have been pitched as Escape From New York: IN SPACE; Alien³: THAT DOESN’T SUCK; Batman: Arkham Asylum: IN SPACE, or The Fifth Element: IN PRISON. It’s actually more like Die Hard: IN
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen Directed by: Lasse Hallström Starring: Ewan McGregor, Emily Blunt and Kristin Scott Thomas
By Fiona Lawson If you have seen 2012’s earlier hit films The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and The Iron Lady, then Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is another great contender for the English eccentricity award. Adapted from Paul Torday’s debut novel, the film tells of a sheikh’s desire to bring the art of salmon fishing to the Yemen desert whilst alongside, swims a budding love story with just as many interesting parallels about politics and life. Despite the all too predictable film title, it does what it says on the tin and sometimes there is nothing wrong with that.
SPACE PRISON and NOT THAT GOOD, especially since Guy Pearce plays Snow exactly as Bruce Willis’
John McClane – same smirk, same intonation, same smoking. The Die Hard formula is
venerable and all, but I don’t think it’s quite unhinged enough for a riot-in-space-prison movie.
Ewan McGregor plays “Fred” a rather obscurely witty gentleman. Fred is a British government expert in fisheries who feels trapped by the monotony and mundane aspects of his marriage and existence. His everyday life begins to melt
away when he is asked to aid in the process of introducing salmon into the Yemen. Though reluctant at first, his meetings with Ms Chetwode-Talbot (Emily Blunt) – the sheikh’s consultant — show the dry, British humour at its best. I
never doubted McGregor, or Blunt for that matter: both have such an excellent track record. With the aid of clever wordplay, they both bounce off one another making for many laugh out loud moments, for which the script writer deserves a
Rather than air vents and quips, there should have been pounding menace. Actually, space asylum would have been cooler, if it had been like the maximum security section in Shutter Island. Joseph Gilgun’s violent Glaswegian nutter offers a bit of that sort of thing, but not nearly enough, and he never receives the gruesomely welldeserved sticky end I was hoping to see. This film is nearly brutal enough. Maybe they cut all the ultraviolence to make room for the superfluous framing device taking place on Earth, especially the car chase that looks like a PS2 cut scene. Now, all of this isn’t to say that there aren’t moments of action movie panache; there are, because that’s writer-director Luc Besson’s specialty – for the most part – but the whole thing seems to simultaneously be trying too hard and also not trying quite hard enough.
good handshake. The Prime Minister’s press secretary (Kristin Scott Thomas) puts forward the political satire in the film as she latches on to the salmon project in order to create a positive Anglo-Yemeni headline for the British public to see and believe, amongst the on-going Middle Eastern troubles. The irony of it all is mostly kept in the wings as the film is too light-hearted and lacking in density to withstand such politics. Yet Thomas’ role really is hilarious, bringing into question the age rating. The sheikh’s parallel between faith and fishing is poignantly portrayed. When a man fishes, he is emptying his mind and breaking down the barriers and prejudices of life; everyone becomes united on common ground. Touching concepts of the impossible becoming possible emerge from Fred’s decision to “swim upstream against the flow”. Extraordinary, really, how life and a film can be centred on a fish. To hell with it, the film could have been about golf and still been worth a watch, just to sit for nearly two hours listening to Ewan McGregor’s voice. Sigh.
1 May 2012
The language of the bard lost: in translation? Fanny Johansson contends that we don’t know how Shakespeare intended his plays to be performed
he World Shakespeare Festival kicked off on 23 April with “Globe to Globe”, an international festival with adaptations of Shakespeare plays in 37 languages, including Love’s Labours Lost in signlanguage. While the thought of a whole festival of nothing but Shakespeare, translated, adapted and interpreted by so many different cultures, fills me with a “hey” and a “ho” and a “hey nonny nonny”; I am wondering whether something of the magic of the bard is lost in translation? My Shakespeare experience consists of a range of meetings with the bearded bard, ranging from debating the level of “emo” in Hamlet in a second year Shakespeare tutorial, to portraying a number of Shakespeare’s characters on stage, including a sword-wielding, corset-wearing Gertrude in Hamlet, all in Swedish. I can honestly say that, yes, something does indeed get lost
Photos/ Vladimir Pohtokari
in translation. This is not to say that versions of Shakespeare plays in other languages are worth less than those in the original English. In fact, considering the depth, the levels of interpretation, and the intricacy of the plots and the wordplays, even an English version will have to choose which parts to highlight, as there is no way every detail and witty twist of words can be included in a single production. At least not without making the show mind numbingly long. Considering the amount of text in a Shakespeare play, just reading one out will take more than two hours. Then you add all the silent moments, the witty looks, the silent breaking of the fourth wall in those moments when a character says a line and the clown looks out at the audience, underlining the innuendo “we don’t believe a word you say”. This adds up to a play of about four hours, and very few people have the patience to
sit through such a thing. At least in Elizabethan times the audience was allowed to come and go as they wanted, have a picnic, chat with people, etc. With this in mind, the parts that get lost in translation, like double entendre and wordplay, can be seen as giving space for highlighting other aspects, thereby not creating a worse play, but a different one. And even so, with the linguistic skills of people today, and the prevalence of the English language, anyone reading a Shakespeare play, will always have the option to read the English original if they want a broader understanding of the various levels of meaning. As an example, when putting on Romeo and Juliet, we read the English original alongside the Swedish translation. This way we had a broader range of interpretations to choose from, and we often ended up using the words from the Swedish translation, and using the underlying message of the wordplay or double entendre in the physical acting, thereby getting a multilevel effect in the actual stage production. Despite this richness of choice that comes with translations of something that relies so much on the multiple meanings of words, a loss of meaning is inevitable. This is especially noticeable when reading the play and thereby not getting the double effect of words and acting, including intonation, facial expression, and gestures. This would support the argument that Shakespeare is best read and viewed in English, in order to get the full effect of the genius. But we must remember, even for those who fanatically defend the English originals, arguing that this is the only correct way to experience Shakespeare, the full original effect has inevitably been lost. While the words on the
Photos/ Elisa Makarevitch paper are the same as the ones the bard scribbled down, often their meaning has changed over the years, while some meanings are tragically lost. Sadly, without a Tardis-type way of learning olde
English, we will never be able to watch a Shakespeare play the way they were seen and understood in a time when plays were written, rehearsed and played in a couple of weeks in total.
X Factor auditions are coming to Aberdeen
Lauren Houghton explains her excitement at The X Factor coming to Aberdeen
or those of you who were sadly unable to get to the Scottish X Factor auditions in Glasgow last year, never fret. This year they’re coming up to us in Aberdeen. To allow more people to try for the chance of a lifetime — or alternatively embarrass themselves on national TV — mobile vans will be touring the country throughout the next month. Heading to places as far reaching as Brighton and Aberystwyth, they reach Aberdeen on 4 May. Not only will those auditioning be able to do so in the vicinity of their own home town, they also manage to wriggle out of singing in front of a live audience. Instead they step inside one of the mobile vans and get recorded. Sounds thrilling - if a little dodgy. This recording will then be seen by a preliminary judging panel; for some reason it appears the celebrity X Factor judges not only didn’t fancy visiting the lovely Aberdeen, they would also rather the audition tapes of its citizens were vetted before they have to lay their eyes upon them. Surely these auditions are not to be missed. X Factor is after all the show that introduced us to the likes of Stacey Solomon (now best known for the Iceland adverts), Chico (who made it onto Dancing
Who’s got the X-Factor
on Ice this year) and of course the nation’s beloved Jedward. Excellent examples of ordinary people like us who have managed to reach superstardom, or at least achieved a lifelong discount from a frozen foods store. In recent years the X Factor has come under criticism for its excessive commercialism detracting from what it is actually meant to be doing — finding musical talent. In fact it has been accused of damaging the UK music industry, with the contestants belting out cover after unoriginal cover and consistently bagging Christmas number one on the singles chart. This led to a public campaign two years ago which saw Rage Against the Machine managing to win the top spot over the show’s Joe McElderry. Still, X Factor does make amusing Saturday night telly, with a huge percentage of the nation tuning in to critique the female judge’s outfits, watch the man dressed as a banana audition, and – sometimes – vote for their favourite contestant. Maybe’s it’s rather nice they’re including us Northerners this year, and if you fancy heading out to the mobile van, good luck to you. You could be the next Jedward.
Listings Societies Nordic Society First of May - Breakfast Seaton Park (at the fountain) 1 May 9am-11am Price: £2 Grab your picnic blankets, baguettes and funny hats and roll down to Seaton Park to enjoy some sophisticatedly foolish breakfast. This wonderful celebration will end with a Beach Party in the evening. Beach Party 1 May 7pm - 11pm Price: Pre-ordered BBQ meals (from Breakfast Party) given out towards tokens
Celtic Society Annual Ball Doubletree by Hilton 5 May 7pm Price: £32 (members), £35 (nonmembers) This year we will have a fabulous three-course meal followed by tea and coffee, and the night will be rounded off with a ceilidh with music from the fantastic Deoch ‘n’ Dorus, as well as some special guests. There will also be a raffle with some fantastic prizes! The dress code is formal, so dress to impress - any excuse for a new pair of shoes! To order your ticket(s), please email email@example.com or speak directly to a committee member.
11am - Folklore 12am - 99 Red Ballons 1pm – Happy slapped by a jel- lyfish 2pm - Save It For the Radio 3pm - Happy Times 4pm - Around the world with Rachel 5pm - Tell You What 6pm - The Lead Belly 7pm- - Happy Hour 8pm - La Voz
AU Debater, Philosophy, History & Creative Writing Societies Small Societies Ball Station Hotel 5 May 7pm Price: £30 The evening includes a three course meal and a ceilidh afterwards, performed by the outstanding Ghillie Dhu, one of the best bands in the business. Tickets will be sold 11-3pm everyday beginning on 16 April. Tickets can be reserved by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Dress Code: Black Tie Everyone is welcome! History of Art Society Drinks at... The Albyn
4 May (starting) 6:15pm Belarus vs Finland The Championship will take place between sixteen teams from 4 May to 20 May 2012. Finland and Sweden will host the event with games being played in Helsinki and Stockholm. We are going to show only the most interesting games, so we can be sure that the atmosphere will be amazing each time! For more details and the full listings go to www.facebook.com/nordsoc.aberdeenuni
Your Weekly Radio Guide
11-12am - Mixtape 1pm - The Jazz Show 2pm - Goo man and Friend 3-4pm - Comedy Society 5pm - Audio Rehab 6pm - The six o’clock Show 7-8pm - AUEM
History of Art Society Bake Sale The Hub
Nordic Society Ice Hockey World Championship Screenings tba
Editor: Maria Suessmilch
Have a nice BBQ meal while enjoying the warmth of a bonfire. DJ Jack Green and DJ Grant Prophet will be delighted to entertain you and James Winter will be taking photographs. Show your moves and get your boogie on.
4 May 11am You all know that the History of Art Society throw the absolutely best bake sales on campus, and we promise this one won’t disappoint. Their last hurrah for the year will be full of the tastiest, most beautiful baked goods you can imagine. It will also be a good opportunity to find out about joining them for drinks at the Albyn on 10 May.
1 May 2012
10 May 8pm Price: Free Entry The History of Art Ball got cancelled unfortunately, however there will be a small get together this year still. We will meet at the Albyn to have some drinks, a chat and possibly some good music. If you’re still interested in joining us for some drinks and dancing, please let us know by the end of the week so we can give the Albyn an idea of numbers and hopefully organise some drinks on arrival. Again, really sorry we’ve had to cancel this time - those of you who have already paid for your tickets will be reimbursed in full over the coming week.
10-11am - Going Underground 12am-1pm - Chill Out Zone 3pm - Walk on the Wild Side 4pm - The Young Folk 5pm - Amish Paradise 6pm - State of the Art 7-8pm - Feel Sorry For The
Thursday 10am 11pm 1pm 4-5pm 6 pm 7pm 8pm
10am 11am 1pm 2pm 3-4pm 5-6pm 7-8pm
- On This Day - The Dungans of Rap - Roll away your stone - Time for Thomas - Ardvark Canal Rescue Radio Team - V for Veronika - Rub a sub dub
- That Friday Feeling - Two Peas in a Pod - JH - Evolution - Club Sounds - MJ Show - Ready for the Weekend
Looking for... New space for student ads!
... Staff Dunnottar Castle and Dunecht Estates Are now recruiting for the following seasonal staff from 18 June to 17 September 2012 to work in our Castle Picnic Van: 2 staff members for 31h/ week each 1 staff member for 22h/ week Includes a share of weekend work Previous catering experience not essential but must have excellent communication skills and customer facing experience is vital, as is an excellent standard of English. Local knowledge would be an advantage. Training, uniform and good rates of pay. Please submit CV and references to Wendy at email@example.com
University Cafe Scientifique Inverurie Colliding Physicists and the Search for Higgs Acorn Centre, West High St, Inverurie 8 May 7pm Price: Free Entry Speaker: Dr Aidan Robson, Particle Physicist, University of Glasgow The LHC, or Large Hadron Collider, is the world’s biggest scientific instrument yet it probes the very smallest building blocks of matter. Come along on 8 May to find out how it works and why physicists think 2012 might bring breakthroughs in our understanding of the Universe? Whole Earth - Hard Rain Follow Up Exhibition University of Aberdeen, Campus 16 April - 11 May Part Two of the exhibition “Hard Rain (Whole Earth)” will be displayed in front of New Kings, Old Aberdeen and looks at finding solutions to the challenges of climate change. The University of Aberdeen is the first venue in Scotland where you can see the new instalment of the exhibition. Don’t miss out! For more information visit www. hardrainproject.com
Vue Aberdeen Marvel’s Avengers Assemble 3D 2h 22min Action 14:00; 17:10; 20:00; 23:00 Salmon Fishing in the Yemen 1h 52min Comedy 13:15; 18:00 Battleship 2h 11min Action 13:00; 15:45; 18:30; 21:00 The Cabin in the Woods 1h 35min Horror 14:30; 16:30; 18:30; 20:30; 22:30; 00:30 The Hunger Games 2h 22min Action 13:30; 16:30; 19:30; 22:30 Lockout 1h 50min Action 13:00; 15:00; 17:15; 19:15; 21:45; 00:15 21 Jump Street 1h 49min Action 15:45; 20:15 Belmont Picture House Aberdeen This month: An American Werewolf in London Director: John Landis 97 min The Thing Director: John Carpenter 109min Being Elmo Director: Constance Marks 80 min Great Expectations (Re) Director: David Lean 118 min The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel Director: John Madden 124 min Alber Nobbs Director: Rodrigo Garcia 113 min Aberdeen College Showcase Director: Various 80 min
... Designers (Fashion, Jewllery, Accessories,...) AU Fashion Society The Aberdeen University Fashion Society is looking for up and coming new designers we could showcase. On 17 May we are holding a Vintage Fashion Show, but we still need designers to show off their creations; anything from jewellery to clothing to accessories is wanted. We would be thrilled to help out and get new names on to the fashion scene. If you are interested and want to know more then email Emmi: emmi. firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Turtle’s Tale: Sammy’s Adventures 2D Director: Ben Stassen 85 min You can find us on
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ROH. LIVE: Rigoletto 185 min Labyrinth Director: Jim Henson 101 min Marley Director: Kevin Macdonald 144 min Bolshoi: The Bright Stream 125 min For details visit www.picturehouses.co.uk
1 May 2012
Editor: Ryan Ross
The week in tweets @J_Ennis – can never catch enough sleep. “Don’t u hate it when ur in the deepest sleep and ur alarm goes off! Just needed like 5 more hrs!” @rioferdy5 – gets wet on the way to school. “School run in the rain can be eventful! Puddles have a ‘jump in me’ sign on them....my lil men splash me + laugh again I will flip on them!” “I’m doing the school run in a wetsuit+wellington boots tomorrow+any puddle I see my lil men are getting it! Teachers stay out of it its on!” @HanahMiley89 – has an early morning fright. “Well that was weird. Fell into such a deep sleep in my post training nap, I woke up and panicked thinking I’d missed morning training!! #odd” @MarkCavendish – savours some home cooking. “Good effort by my Mum on tonight’s dinner. Lamb shank looks & tastes scrumptious. Would take a picture, but it’s half devoured already..” @BeckyWainLH – has a wild time on a geology field-trip. “Another day up a mountain getting blewn away and rained on but my “latte in the field” SAVED me!! #coffeefix!” “ohhh and I saved a fellow student who was stuck up to his hips in a bog!! :) :)” #localheroes #northscotland #geology”
Video of the Week
Sergio Ramos’ penalty found its intended target http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=2Y7f2mjYDSk&feature= b-mv
Fighters of the future Stanislaw Swiecicki explains the intricacies of Mixed Martial Arts fighting
ust before the spring break, on 17 April, a ground breaking competition called SMMART took place at the Aberdeen Sports Village. SMMART stands for Scottish Mixed Martial Arts Rookie Tournament and here, at the University of Aberdeen All-Round Fighting Club, we’re hoping that the format will change the face of amateur-level Mixed Martial Arts in the UK altogether. The ARFC has been running since February 2010 and has been very successful along the way. Grappling competitions, semi-professional MMA shows, knockdown tournaments – you name it – we’ve been there and we probably grabbed a few medals while we were at it. However, up until recently, amateur MMA, a platform on which a universitybased sport club should focus on (for a start) has been both rather disorganized and highly controversial. Usually the distinction between ‘amateur’ and ‘professional’ competing levels was reified in making a large amount of techniques illegal in the former. But then – when all sorts of headshots, including ground and pound, are barred – it becomes very difficult to maintain that the fight taking place in the cage/ ring can still be classified as what you see on TV. And, in a similar fashion, the learning aspect of it becomes questionable. SMMART bridges this gap. It is the brainchild of Marc Howes, head coach of the ARFC (over 30 years of martial art coaching experience says it all), and Stanislaw Swiecicki, former captain of the club; the inspiration came from amateur Japanese Shooto tournaments. The competitors are given headguards to prevent any
head trauma from occurring but apart from that, the rules are those you see when the international big shots trade blows. The resulting realism and “thrill” was immense - no tickets were sold to further stress that SMMART is all about learning but the balcony above the section of the Sports Hall where
representatives enter the ring as boys and leave it as true warriors. Five teams participated in SMMART – our very own University of Aberdeen All-Round Fighting Club, Urban Disturbance from Fife, the Headhunters from Edinburgh, Fusion MMA from Forres and the Granite
Aberdeen University All-Round Fighting Club Photos/ AU All-Round Fighting Club (Facebook) the tournament was taking place quickly filled up with spectators. As Steve Kilner, one of the judges at the event, said, if one was to assess SMMART on the basis of the intensity of the fights, it was very far from an “amateur” show. Despite this the main goal the organizers had in mind – creating a safe, friendly environment in which young fighters can dip their toes in the water – was achieved. Nobody picked up any serious injuries, new friendships were formed and the coaches of the ARFC were proud to see the club’s
City Grapplers from Aberdeen. Over 30 competitors entered the tournament and each of them got at least two bouts, amounting to a long day, but one we’re planning to repeat as soon as possible. Perhaps the best feedback heard came from Alan Martin, head coach of Urban Disturbance, who stated that SMMART’s only fault was that nobody had organized it sooner! The cogs are all in motion now and SMMART 2 is on its way, coming to Aberdeen at the start of the academic year 2012/2013. We hope that after it secures
itself a steady position within the Scottish MMA community, it will contribute to the process of moving away from the thuggish, hyperviolent image that still haunts the sport and show that true fighters are individuals who not only have bodies and wills of iron, but also a code of conduct which permeates both their training and their lives. Last but not least, here’s a list of the fighters who, win or lose, made both the committee and the coaches of the ARFC as proud as they’ve never been before: Finlay Mackie (2nd place in Welterweight), Piotr Jachym (3rd place in Welterweight), Mantas Andresiunas, Krzysztof Wojcieczak (1st place in Welterweight), Akan Samenov, Calum Oswald (3rd place in Lightweight), Ross McNally, Ross McFarlane, Cameron Hyde (3rd place in Featherweight), Rėjus Zemaitis, Jonas Marcius and Bogdan Patrascu (2nd place in Light Heavyweight). For more information on SMMART and the University of Aberdeen All-Round Fighting Club itself, you can find us on facebook at www.facebook.com/ allroundfighters.
They see cheese rollin’, they hatin’ John Lewis on why Cheese Rolling is a great sport in its own right
am quite possibly one of the worst people to ever attempt to write a sports article. I hate pretty much all sports on the planet, or at the very least, treat them with a semi-loathsome level of ambivalence, possibly perpetuated by a heightened ignorance on my part to what the hell is going on. Football, Basketball, Rugby and Tennis. Who was it that decided these glorified pastimes should be the focus of the sporting world? If only there was a British pass time that I could champion as the next big national event. The next thing to be broadcast every Sunday in pubs up and down the country. The next thing for drunken bozos to have pointless arguments about. And thus readers of the back of the Gaudie, I am here today to tell you why I think Cooper Hill Cheese Rolling has what it takes to take over Match of the Day. From what I gather of the most popular of the sports to shout at the TV for, Football has a tradition of not just being 22 blokes on a bit of lawn in shorts kicking a spherical
object around until it ends up in the back of a laundry net, it’s also about the team spirit, comradeship and the occasional swilling of beer. Cheese rolling is arguably more efficient as it rolls these three things into one, as all contestants gather in The Cheese Rollers pub for a pre throwing-yourself-downa-hill chat of tactics and bravado, and the obligatory Dutch Courage. Football, you would argue has far more global appeal than a game of chasing Double Gloucester down a virtually vertical surface, but you would be wrong. Sure, people come from all over the world to see Manchester United, but a football club situated in one of the biggest cities in the UK has a plethora of attractions to subsidise any waning interest significant others being held hostage may have. Meanwhile, a mere wheel of cheese attracts visitors from all over the globe. To Brockworth of all places. Of course, what sport would be fit to take the mantle of Wayne Rooney and his abnormally large ears without the element of
danger? Haven’t you gotten bored by now of footballers taking prat falls for the sake of winning a game and then claiming it was the other team’s fault? It’s like watching a general election, but with whistles and a better turnout. Cheese rolling has the far more honest approach of “if you try and fake a fall, you’ll probably die”. Pretty good discouragement. Even with the screws of common sense intact in all competitors, it’s still far from a safe sport – the race of 2005 was delayed whilst waiting for all the ambulances from the event to return from the hospital. Football, of course, is about far more than just the kicking of balls: where would the benighted (god knows why) sport be without a bit of controversy. Most matches will be met by protestations on both sides for why they should have won and why the referee is a balding idiot with a ridiculous mother. Cheese rolling is by no means an innocent sport by comparison. In 2010 and 2011 the official running of the event broke down after locals
decided to hold the event without their permission – this came after event managers were accused of profiteering from the tradition by starting to charge a £20 entry fee. Cheese rolling, I hope I have proven, is by far the superior to football, and should you need any more convincing, whenever a team wins at … footballing they get nothing. Except the yearly wages of a postal worker per day and a ruddy great cup. The outcome of cheese rolling is far simpler; die, or win a years supply of cheese on toast.
Photo/ Mike Warren (Flickr)
1 May 2012
Vaulting towards victory
Ryan Ross interviews Ross Soutar, an international level gymnast and a student at the University of Aberdeen
oss Soutar is a gymnast, studying at the University of Aberdeen. He competes at an International level for Scotland and can be found training at the local Beacon Boys Gymnastics Club and Aberdeen Sports Village. I sat down with him to discuss Gymnastics, his sporting idols and the upcoming Olympic Games, to be held in London this summer. What course do you study? I study Geology and I selected the course because I have a keen interest in the subject area. The potential career opportunities were also a key factor, with the oil and gas sector particularly strong in Aberdeen. And why did you decide to study at the University of Aberdeen? I chose Aberdeen because it is an established University. Remaining in Aberdeen also made it easier for my training. My coach is based locally and I’m already centred here. What are the good aspects of your course? It has been a great way to meet new people. Despite it initially being hard, the social aspect makes it thoroughly enjoyable. How do you balance your
Photos/ Ross Soutar
time between University coursework and training? It is very difficult and is the hardest part of it all. It’s hard to be successful at both, because they interfere with each other. I have to knuckle down and find the right balance.
Have you managed to enjoy the social side of University life? Not an awful lot, occasionally. You can’t go out clubbing because it takes two-to-three days to recover; and so this affects training. But I do get to spend time with my classmates.
currently. What are your long-term aims? 2014 is my long-term target, it’s the largest event looming on the horizon. After the Games, it will depend upon my performance, but I want to take my gymnastics to the next stage and then as far as I can. What are the biggest events for gymnasts? And how does this affect funding? Olympics and the World Championships are the largest events. It is only when you are at the very top that you can succeed and earn top levels of funding.
compete? I train for 22 hours per week and also have strength-conditioning training twice per week on top of that. I normally compete once per month also, most recently at the London Open. It is quite intense.
different cultures when travelling? You get to see some of the culture, but it is difficult. You’re not a normal tourist; you are there to do a job. But you do get to meet people and compete at the same time.
How do you train for a multidiscipline Sport? I have strength conditioning and undertake some short-distance running, which is important for the floor event.
Are you looking forward to the London Olympics this summer? Yes, I can’t wait. It will be a fantastic spectacle and it’s an interesting race to see which gymnasts qualify and get to compete. Gymnastics is one of the centre-pieces of the Games and it’s great to inspire people to take up the sport.
A typical session would involve a warm-up, stretching, conditioning and then working on two or three pieces of apparatus per session. However, if I have a competition, I will practise routines on a single piece per session, in order to maintain my skills.
How would you define gymnastics? I use six pieces of apparatus; there’s floor, pommels, rings, vault, parallel bars and high bar. I compete on all six pieces and I’m trying to become an all-round gymnast to get the highest score on all pieces. This would aid my development and increase my chances of reaching Glasgow 2014, in the Commonwealth Games.
How has the University Sports Bursary benefited you? It has been really helpful. The grant I’ve been awarded takes the financial pressure off. For example, every Sunday I travel to Glasgow for training with the National squad and then competitions in England regularly. In addition to this, it helps with providing strength and conditioning training, which is vital for me to succeed.
Which piece of apparatus is your strongest? It constantly varies. However, at the moment floor and rings are my strongest; I’m reigning Scottish Champion in both of those pieces
The University have also been incredibly supportive and enable me to meet deadlines when I’m competing.
How much travelling is involved with the sport? Do you have to travel abroad? I often travel abroad. Last year I competed in Sweden, in the Northern European Championships. Before that, I’d been to Austria. There’s a possibility that I may be competing in Berlin later this year. So there are plenty of opportunities to travel and it is one of the best parts of the sports.”
How often do you train and or
Do you get time to experience
Who were your sporting idols when you were young? The Japanese and Chinese gymnasts were my main role models. They led the sport in terms of developing it and raising it to a new level. Now, I look to Britain’s top gymnasts, such as Daniel Keatings for inspiration. If you weren’t a gymnast, what career path would you choose? If I wasn’t involved in sport, I’d be working a 9-5 job, or at university striving to gain a degree. I’d almost be lost without Gymnastics because it has always been part of my life.