The Aberdeen University Student Newspaper Aberdeen University’s Student Newspaper
19 November 2013
A leap for charity
RAG Week 2013
By Emily Thorburn Aberdeen Student Charities Campaign (ASCC) fundraised across campus in order to raise money for local Aberdonian Charities, during the University’s third annual Raising and Giving (RAG) Week. The week commenced on November 4th with a £1 Challenge, where committee members bucketed across campus, encouraging students and staff alike to donate £1 to charity. The following evening RAG volunteers took to the bars of Aberdeen during
“The highlight of the week for many students took place on the 6th, when students where given the chance to take part in a bungee on King’s Pitches.” Photos/ Jonathan MacDonell
Tuition fees could rise further By Rachel Clark A leading university figure has warned that tuition fees could rise to as much as £20,000. Professor Nick Petford, the ViceChancellor of the University of Northampton, believes that the current cap of £9,000 is no longer sufficient, and has predicted a rise of up to £20,000. Professor Petford claims that British universities will begin to face additional economic pressures as student numbers increase. This will subsequently force them to raise their tuition fees to meet the costs. With a predicted 100,000 new university places needed in the next 20 years, Petford claims that the solution is to treat home
“Higher Education should always be free, fair and funded at all levels to students from every background.” Rob Henthorn students at British universities more like international students. International students do not have a cap on tuition fees like home students do. The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford agrees with Petford, also stating that £9,000 is
no longer sufficient. Instead, he would like to charge £16,000 for home students. This is contradictory to what a spokesperson for the Business, Innovation and Skills department has said, insisting that £9,000 allows universities to continue to deliver high quality teaching. AUSA President for Education and Employability, Rob Henthorn, commented on the consequences of such a rise: “This sort of speculation about astronomical tuition fees makes it clear why students should never near a financial burden for learning. “University leaders equating university funding directly with student fees prescribe a dangerous sector where education is a private investment rather than a social
good. “Higher Education should always be free, fair and funded at all levels to students from every background.” Professor Sir Ian Diamond, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen, also commented on the effects this will have on Aberdeen students: “I think it is important to distinguish between Scotland and England. “The current Scottish Government has consistently maintained a policy of free higher education and this will certainly stay in place for this parliament. “Future Scottish Governments will need to consider whether they wish to retain this policy.
a bucketing pub crawl. The highlight of the week for many students took place on the 6th, when students where given the chance to take part in a bungee on King’s Pitches. The jump of 175ft was provided by Newcastle based company Extreme Sensations, who supply bungee jumping experiences across the UK. Students were offered the chance to fundraise for the jump, with the top fundraiser receiving an extra jump for free. The prize went to Frances Ryan who fundraised £236. Students were also able to sign up to the jump on the day. Overall, nearly 80 students participated in the jump. President for Charities and Community Emily Continues p.3 President for Charities and Community Emily Beever (right), was the main organiser of RAG week.
www.thegaudie.co.uk Oil and Independence: Features takes a look at how Scotland’s oil fields will fare if independence is successful.
Bah, humbug! Should the festivities begin so early? Turn to page 9 for the full debate!
Rachel Clark reaps the rewards of booking a spontaneous holiday to Iceland.
We chat to Dr Katherine Groo about the impact of new media on the film-making process.
This weeks we look at the highs and lows of Aberdeen’s sporting endeavours.
Life & Style p.16
19 November 2013
Editors: Dan Naylor & Anna Katila
Professor becomes TV judge
Student success at Council member removed from office Gaelic festival By Dan Naylor and Emily Thorburn
Photo/ abdn.ac.uk By Gordi McColm An Aberdeen University Professor in composition has taken on the role of a judge in Gareth Malone’s The Choir: Sing While You Work. The BBC Two 8-part series began two weeks ago and tasks Gareth with discovering the next best workplace Choir. The show sees Gareth coaching five different workplaces all vying for the top Choir title. Professor Paul Mealor will feature in the show as one of three judges. Alongside the professor is Sarah Fox, a world class soprano, and Ken Burton, an award winning gospel conductor. Professor Paul Mealor said: “I am absolutely delighted to be involved in Sing While you Work. The concept of the show is fantastic and I hope everyone enjoys watching our search for Britain’s best work place choir.” The show airs every Monday from 9pm on BBC Two.
A member of the AUSA Student Council was removed from office last month. It has emerged that Patrick Rochford, who held the position of Vice-President for Welfare, was dismissed from the voluntary position after tweeting an allegedly anti-Semitic joke to a friend. Despite being on a private Twitter account, the tweet received complaints via AUSA’s complaints system, leading to disciplinary action; Mr Rochford’s sixth during his time with the Student’s Association. Currently, Members of AUSA staff are unable to comment on the matter directly as the situation is still ongoing. However, President for Welfare and Equal Opportunities, Bright Amponsah has told The Gaudie that, ‘I am not on the Disciplinary Committee I
cannot tell whether his previous disciplinaries were taken or not taken into consideration. In the interest of fairness, I choose not to comment on this ongoing matter. I will be more than happy to provide a detailed comment once the disciplinary sitting is over.” Schedule Ten of the AUSAs Constitution: Disciplinary and Complaints, states that all members of the Association are liable for their actions. The Constitution also dictates that the Disciplinary Committee be made up of one Sabbatical Officer, who chairs the meeting as well as three members of the Trustee Board and two ordinary members of the Association. Mr. Rochford’s case was chaired by President for Charities and Community, Emily Beever. The Gaudie will report on the case accordingly.
Two students of the University of Aberdeen have succeeded in competitions at the Royal National Mod 2013, a prestigious Gaelic Festival. Lawrence Butler Perks, a PhD student who graduated in 2011 in Gaelic and Celtic Studies, was awarded first place in Silver Pendant Heat men’s singing competition. Alison Gael Macrae, who is doing an Accelerated Law degree, came second in both the Oban Times Gold Medal and Previous Mod Winner’s women’s category. Lawrence competed at Mods for the first time in 2010, and has previously achieved second in the same category that he has now won. Lawrence said: “I was absolutely delighted to be awarded first place. I first started singing in these competitions after I happened to mention to one of my tutors in first
year that I used to sing at school – however singing in Gaelic was a whole new challenge for me!” Alison, who has been competing in local Mods from a young age, did not have a chance to prepare for the competition as much as she wanted to. She said: “Everything seemed to be against me - my voice was not 100%, I hadn’t used it in Gaelic singing for some time and I couldn’t see my tutor, Mod Gold Medallist Alma Kerr, as I was working in Aberdeen over summer.” Alison also told that her Mods experience this year was topped off with Back Gaelic Choir winning the Lorne Shield, as she used to sing in that choir. Both students are involved in the Aberdeen Gaelic Choir, which has had a tradition to participate in Mods since 1952. The Mod was held in Paisley, where more than 8,000 people flocked to the town to take part in the 10 day festival.
Trump wind farm hearing Aberdeen students starts battle it out in USA By Gordi McColm
Film showcases Aberdeen’s sights By Louise Sloan ‘Beyond the Haar’, a film all about our own city of Aberdeen, recently had its British premiere on the 7th of November in Inverness. Directed by Mark Bremner, it won a Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Amsterdam Film Festival Van Gogh Awards and is described as ‘both a visual poem and a eulogy to the city’. Using rarely seen archive material and modern shots of iconic sites such as King’s College, actor Ralph Riach narrates the story of Aberdeen. While paying tribute to the city, the film is not afraid to show its darker side, in particular the fact it has some of the wealthiest areas in the country a very short distance away from some of the most deprived. Despite this, it showcases the amazing architecture, landscapes and people of Aberdeen and proves the city is much more than just the ‘Oil Capital of Europe’. Watch the trailer online now at http://beyondthehaar.com/index.
By Anna Katila
Photo/ Ewa Czerwinska By Richard Wood Donald Trump, the American business tycoon, has legally challenged the building of offshore wind turbines near his Aberdeenshire golf resort. The multimillionaire, who recently abandoned plans for a hotel to go along with the golf course, has used a number of arguments for why he opposes the £230m offshore project for eleven wind turbines. According to Trump, if the plan goes ahead, it will result in him ending plans for his golf course. One argument against the building of the renewable energy farm is simply that the eleven 200-metre tall, white turbines will spoil the view from the golf course. Another argument against the green energy project is, as said by his counsel: “The applicants [for
the wind farm] do not have a license to operate a generating station nor do they have an exemption.” However, there are of course those who support the building of the wind farm, seeing it as more vital for Scotland than having an expensive golf course. The director for WWF Scotland, Lang Banks said that it is “depressing” that Donald Trump is getting in the way of Scotland becoming a “cleaner, greener, job-creating nation”. Additionally, he said that 28 000 jobs could be generated by 2020 as a direct result of all Scotland’s offshore wind turbines, making the case that green energy means more jobs. The debate will continue and can only be resolved in court where Donald Trump takes on the wind turbines. But for now the people of Aberdeenshire need to wait until the verdict is returned.
Five Aberdeen University students travelled to Cornell University, New York, last week ahead of the fifth annual Cornell International Real Estate Case competition. The Team, named Granite Rock, was made up of Matthew Aitchison (MA Economics), Darren Barr (MA Accountacy and Finance), Isla Carson (BSc Mathematics), Robert Hamilton (MA Economics and Finance), and Natasha Ross (Accountancy and Property). Granite Rock was the UK’s only entry. At the competition on November the 14th, Team Granite Rock came up against formidable teams from across the globe, from various universities in the USA, China and Hong Kong. The challenge that Team Granite Rock faced was to present their investment plans based on a real estate transaction with the top
three teams. They then presented their solution to a panel of judges. Mark Whittington, Head of Accountancy, Finance and Real Estate at the University, supervised the team. He said: “Taking part in projects such as the Cornell International Real Estate Competition highlights the University’s commitment to student experience and those who take part will be gaining valuable real world experience which will prepare them well for life after University.” Granite Rock were knocked out by the eventual winners, team BlackBoulder from the University of Villanova, Philadelphia An institute that has won the event in the past, and which has a dedicated course for the competition. The winners then received a share of $22,500.
19 November 2013
Annual charities campaign Continued p.1 Beever described the event as her ‘personal highlight of the week’. She commented: “I’m so impressed with all the brave students who jumped and raised over £2000!” The Norwood Hall Hotel provided accommodation to six Extreme Sensations staff members. Other events included a RAG volunteer night out at RAG Week’s sponsor, Institute Night Club, as well as film screening of Rocky Horror and RAG Bash Ceilidh to end the week. Volunteers also engaged in community based events, such as face painting at The Rocking Horse Nursery and ‘Jeans in the Dean’, encouraging staff to dress down for the day for charity. Bookends, a second hand charity bookshop, who work in collaboration with the Charities Campaign, also held a Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit movie marathon in Alfies Café which was attended by over ninety people. The total amount raised by RAG Week is not yet known.
Photos/ Jonathan MacDonell
Tuition fees could rise further
Project to collect childhood “hums”
Ian Wood rejects invite to Garden Project meeting
By Jonathan Brown
By Asma Butt
A University of Aberdeen lecturer is seeking the help of 500 Aberdonians in creating a unique public sound installation. Dr. Suk-Jun Kim, a lecturer in Electroacoustic Music and Sound Art, is collecting samples of people humming their childhood songs. This will then be showcased in an event called the Aberdeen Humming Programme. The project began in the summer when a number of hums were collected from members of the public via a “humming booth,” situated at Seventeen, Aberdeen’s art hub, Belmont Street. Now, with the assistance of a group of music students from the University, Dr. Kim is collecting more samples. Dr Kim, who has previously created two similar projects in Berlin and New Mexico, said: “Humming is a personal, intimate act. Usually when people hum it is either to themselves or perhaps to a loved one, maybe to soothe a child. Offering hums to others means that you are inviting others to enter your personal space.” “This project is designed to examine the relations between people and places, and how a
“Humming is a personal, intimate act. Usually when people hum it is either to themselves or perhaps to a loved one, maybe to soothe a child. Offering hums to others means that you are inviting others to enter your personal space.” Dr Suk-Jun Kim
person’s memory plays a role in this.” He added “The composition of the hums, which will be played through eight speakers at low volume, will not be manipulated, apart from the fade-ins and outs and some minor amplitude changes.” The project will run from the 14th of November until the 30th, and is supported by the Sound Festival and Aberdeen City Council.
University remembers those who fell By Dan Naylor The annual Remembrance Sunday Service took place last week. Reverend Dr Easter Smart conducted the service, held in King’s College Chapel, and the sermon was given by the Very Rev Professor Iain Torrance, ProChancellor to the University and Dean of the Chapel Royal.
Continued p.1 The University of Aberdeen, along with other Scottish Universities, will continue to make the case to government that university education remains an extremely good investment for a nation. “In England, however, the government’s funding policy is very different and the policy of students paying fees is now embedded. “It is certainly true that in future the nation will likely need more people with graduate levels skills rather than fewer. “Will this mean that fees will go up? It is certainly the case that one could not expect them to remain constant as, otherwise, in real terms they would decline and this would likely impact on the student experience. “Therefore, unless the UK government, in a climate of austerity, was willing to increase the public contribution to higher education, it is likely that fees will need to rise. “However, it is not possible to say to what extent, they would, over a period of twenty years, rise.” The National Union of Students earlier this month commented that the trebling of tuition fees had already outpaced rising costs, in doing so placing even greater strain on students and their families.
““The three talks will examine the many human tragedies and hardships endured during the First World War.” Professor Steve Heys A free lecture took place to further mark the event on Friday 8. ‘The Pity of War’ was held at the Suttie Centre on the Foresterhill campus, and comprised of three different talks. Speaking before the event, Professor Steve Heys Co-Director of the University of Aberdeen’s Institute of Medical Sciences, said: “The three talks will examine the many human tragedies and hardships endured by both men and women during the First World War. “I’ll be discussing the Battle of Loos which took place in September 1915 and was the most tragic battle fought by Scots during the Great War. With a disproportionately large number of Scottish soldiers, it was doomed to failure from the outset and should never have been fought.” Dr Anne Robertson spoke
about the creation of the Scottish Women’s Hospital, set up in France by female Scottish doctors who wanted to serve during the war but were not allowed on the front line. The final talk was given by retired orthopaedic surgeon Tom Scotland, who recited the works of various poets who fought in the war to give an insight in the tragedy of the conflict. The Antechapel is the University’s War Memorial, commemorating five hundred and twenty-four members of the University on the panelling around the walls.
Photo/ Ewa Czerwinska
Sir Ian Wood has recently rejected an invitation to sit on the Union Terrace Gardens regeneration committee. The city centre overhaul of Union Terrace Gardens have sparked much debate in council meetings. A price tag of £140m was initialised to transform the gardens, with £50m from Sir Ian Wood rejected. This donation was set aside for a “transformational” plan, but later he set an end-of-year deadline due to the council’s “lack of progress”. The City Garden Project (CGP) was initially planned to replace the Union Terrace gardens. Sir Ian Wood desired this in order to link Union Street with Schoolhill. In August, new proposals for the gardens were displayed. Architect John Halliday planned to raise the gardens and cover the dual carriageway and design a plaza leading down from Belmont Street on to the Gardens. This design has still to be confirmed. During budget reviews in October it was learnt that the council had set aside £20m to help transform the city. Oil tycoon Sir Ian has also hinted that his family’s trust is still willing to invest in a scheme that
could regenerate the city. But aside from bankrolling Aberdeen City Council, councillors hoped that Sir Ian would become the newest recruited member of the board and oversee the development. Sir Ian Wood was invited onto the committee,
“A price tag of £140m was initialised to transform the gardens, with £50m from Sir Ian Wood rejected.” but “declined that invite” said Councillor Willie Young who sits on Aberdeen’s finance committee. The CGP is made up of councillors, tourism experts and enterprise bodies (educators and businesses). He also stated that the council were looking forward to discussing the regeneration of Union Terrace Gardens with all its partners. However the council are keen to “press ahead with plans even without the guarantee of Sir Ian’s money”.
Twisting liquid crystal
Photo/ Ewa Czerwinska By Anna Katila Chemists from the University of Aberdeen are investigating the structure of the new nematic phase of liquid crystal as part of the international interdisciplinary research group. Technology using liquid crystals is familiar to most from digital screens of mobile phones, computers and televisions. The research team, which includes chemists from the Universities of Aberdeen and Hull, physicists from the Liquid Crystal Institute at Kent State University, USA, and electrical engineers from Trinity College in Dublin, have now reported the structure of the new phase of liquid crystal in the latest issue of Nature Communications. The University of Aberdeen spokesman explained the results: “The team has found that the molecules are arranged in a ‘twistbend’ structure with a periodicity of ~ 8nm - the length of two to three molecules, about 10,000 times smaller than the thickness of a human hair. “A technique called transmission electron microscopy was crucial to identify the new structure. The studies showed arch-like structures
and periodic arrays, which are not observed for conventional nematics, but are typical for this new liquid crystal phase.” Some nematic liquid crystals have been known for long now, and their peculiarity is based on the fact that even if the molecules are preferentially ordered in one direction, when electrical fields are applied, they can be switched to another direction and act as shutters which can either let light through, or not. Professor Corrie Imrie, Chair of Chemistry at the University of Aberdeen said: “Since the beginning of the 20th century only three nematic phases have been identified. It’s tremendously exciting to be involved in the identification of the fourth. “This new twist-bend nematic phase not only has fascinating properties which provide a demanding test of our fundamental understanding of condensed systems, but also has very real application potential. “These applications could be anything from really impressive fast switching display devices such as far improved colour TV screens and could even have benefits for biological sensors.”
Graduate success in international competition By Anna Katila Two recent graduates of the University of Aberdeen have been placed first and second in the Animals and Society ASIWAS Undergraduate Paper
“This is the first year that the More than Human has run and it’s fantastic to see Gioia and Hannah respond to the course with such skill and imagination.” Dr Andrew Whitehouse
Prize in Human-Animal Studies, an international essay-writing competition. Gioia Barnbrook, who won the competition, explored in her essay how people respond to wildlife films and how society thinks about animals and our relationships with them. She concentrated on a You Tube clip from the documentary called ‘A Lion called Christian’. Hannah Gray’s essay that came second focused on Tim Flach’s animal portraiture photography
series. Both graduates were thrilled to hear that work they completed as a part of their fourth year More than Human class succeeded in the competition. Gioia, who also was awarded with the Anthropology department’s prizes for best student and best dissertation at the graduation, commented on her win: “I was surprised - but thrilled that my paper did so well. How we think about and treat animals is such an important issue, so it is great to have been given the opportunity to explore this, both at Aberdeen and in the ASI-WAS competition.” Hannah was also delighted to receive second place: “I really enjoyed the whole project, so the opportunity to submit it for such a prestigious competition was brilliant.” Dr Andrew Whitehouse from the Anthropology department, who encouraged the students to enter the competition, said: “This is the first year that the More than Human has run and it’s fantastic to see Gioia and Hannah respond to the course with such skill and imagination. For those qualities to be appreciated internationally shows what is possible for Aberdeen students to achieve.”
University principal warns against complacency
Photo/ abdn.ac.uk By Rachel Clark The Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen, Professor Sir Ian Diamond, has spoken out on the issue of university efficiency. Sir Ian Diamond published a report in 2011 on university efficiency, which found strong evidence that universities in general are working efficiently, delivering high quality education and good value for money. However, Sir Diamond now
Art Science exhibition at the Sir Duncan Rice Library environmental topics, they mixed archive material with modern media to create installations portraying natural phenomena. For this project, the artists worked with Dr Schofield to create a sound installation, allowing visitors to experience Bennachie’s
“This exhibition is one of four works contributing to the Natural Bennachie project, which is a part of Year of Natural Scotland 2013.”
Photo/ Ewa Czerwinska By Louise Sloan For the past two weeks, the University of Aberdeen’s Sir Duncan Rice Library has been home to a unique exhibition about Bennachie. The installation combined art with science and was
19 November 2013
a collaboration between the art group ~ in the fields and Dr Edward Schofield from the University’s School of Geosciences. ~ in the fields was an artistic partnership between the artists Nicole Heidtke and Stefan Baumberger. Inspired by
environmental history. Bennachie is a range of hills found near Inverurie, around a half hour drive from Aberdeen. The artists were inspired by the ways in which the land has changed over time. They accompanied Dr Schofield to conduct on-site research, collecting peat and pollen samples to find out how old some of the land was to discover the shifting nature of the hills. This exhibition is one of four works contributing to the Natural Bennachie project, which is a part of the Year of Natural Scotland 2013. The Exhibition closed on Sunday, November the 17th.
claims that despite these positives, it is not “job done” on the issue. He argues that it is not simply about cutting the costs; it’s about finding better ways to do things. The importance of university efficiency is becoming realised as it moves up in terms of priority, mainly because universities need to justify what they spend their public funding on. The latest issues about university spending include on-going debate about salary of university leaders. Their pay in the UK on average is £219,681. This is a rise of 2.7% from last academic session. However, Chief Executive of Universities UK, Nicola Dandridge, claims that the salaries of university leaders are in-line with other countries and similar-sized organisations, both publicly and privately funded. Sir Diamond commented: “I could go on for the next five days providing examples of best practice in university efficiency. It’s communication within and outside the sector that’s so important. “It’s about understanding and sharing best practice and thinking why we don’t consider what [this or] that university did more efficiently? A senior colleague at Southampton once said something that has stuck with me ever since: ‘You’ve got to think why we are doing things the way we do? Is there a better way?’” Advertisement
Diamond claims that there is a problem in getting the wider message of what universities are and could be doing out to the general populace. Diamond, in a recent interview, was keen to touch on the subject of collaboration in terms of efficiency. He emphasises that collaboration for collaboration’s sake is not the right path: “It is a good thing, but not the only thing. Universities […] should only collaborate where this is going to improve the quality of student experience and research undertaken. However, he also added that sharing equipment and facilities encourages teaching and research across universities and creates opportunities and ideas on sharing best practice. He said: “There is a great need for increasing collaboration between universities and businesses. This is good for student employability, good for businesses, and it is good for ideas and research.” He also commented on everyone’s joint role in providing efficiency. He argued that it was not the sole responsibility of the vice-chancellor: “Collaborative procurement has to be the way forward. It is not up to the head to identify which colleagues to partner with another colleague, but to make their collaboration smooth and easy.”
19 November 2013
Features Editor: Konrad Wojnar
- John Bird The entrepreneur, the artist, the goon Gemma Shields talks to John Bird on reconciling the self and society with the issue of poverty
ohn Bird MBE is Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Big Issue, the UK’s most successful social enterprise for crime reduction. He is an exoffending, ex-rough sleeping iconoclast, universal father, artist and self-styled ‘ugly face of good’. Bird is forthright, warm and resonates with a worldly rougharound-the-edges charm when sharing his story. Trauma that provokes a person into homelessness and disaffection often occurs in early years, and Bird’s start in life, one of seven boys born in to abject poverty, was no exception. “When I was five” Bird reminisces, “we lost the place we were living in because we didn’t pay the rent and we moved in to my Grandmother’s cottage, which sounds very lovely but it was a slummy shithole in London, highest infant mortality rate than anywhere else in the UK at the time. My father would go out to the pub with my mother on a Friday night and they would drink themselves in to oblivion and then they would come back and my father would turn on my mother and scream and hit her. My brothers would scream with fear and I would comfort them. I didn’t have any fear. I thought my job here, even though I was five
“We moved in to my Grandmother’s cottage, which sounds very lovely but it was a slummy shithole in London” John Bird and they were seven and eight, was to look after them.” These early hardships defined his sense of self – “I think there is something kind of weird about me, from a very early age I was interested in the wellbeing of others. That’s why I’m a kind of universal father. I believe that the poorest people in society are our children and that we have a responsibility to look after them and to aid and abet them as and when they need and not to turn against them. So that is why from an early age I was cursed to stick my nose in the concerns of others” This sense of self-regulated justice stuck with him as he grew up “When I was older in boy’s prisons I would often confront bullies who bullied weaker people and on almost every occasion I
street vended paper. “One of the things we started was the Big Issue Invest which is taking the money from wealthy people who give it to us and investing it in preventative projects which prevent people from falling in to homelessness, crime and poverty.” Bird, a searing anti-idealist, is critical of the role of the state and society in setting out a responsible social model; he describes the current investment in the homeless community as superficial and insubstantial. “I’m very concerned
“Bird co-founded The Big Issue, a crime reduction programme which today boasts a circulation greater than titles such a Vanity Fair and Nuts.” Photo/ tedxoxbridge.com managed to defeat the bully, not by punching them, but by talking them down. I’ve never liked injustice, even when you have got the kind of mouth that I’ve got - which is a big mouth - I can be very aggressive if I so choose. I’ve probably been a bit of a bully myself.” His tone shifts slightly “I’ve bullied people in to doing things they didn’t want to do. So beware of your own purity, because sometimes you turn around and you think, **** me, I’m a bit of a bully myself.” Bird suggests how one can cope with the tragedies that befall them in their life, a way to fill in the chips and cracks entrenched in a sense of goodwill. A mantra he offers for this is “the greatest cure for grief, remorse and loss and the accumulated damage done by growing, is to aid someone other than yourself”. This particular grief, I found out, has a personal context for Bird who explains, “I was referring to myself when I lost a mother, when I lost a lover – who got crushed to death – and when I lost a brother: three seminal griefs that I went through. When I lost my brother I went drinking and fighting and walking on train lines. When I lost a lover I immediately devoted myself more wholeheartedly to helping others and I found it really enriched me and put in to perspective the loss of this person.” Bird then shared
a beautiful observation, “when you lose people, when you love somebody, it should increase your humanity.” In spite of his wrongdoing, Bird has negotiated the dichotomy between personal and public mortality and found an admirable bottom line. In a hangover of abject poverty, Bird co-founded The Big Issue, a crime reduction programme which today boasts a circulation greater than titles such a Vanity Fair and Nuts. He explains the enterprise, “what we’re trying to do is separate the relationship between crime and poverty, if you can have people who are poor you can support them out of poverty, then they will say goodbye to crime.” Bird’s efforts in social enterprise revolve around the idea of ‘a hand up not a hand out’, a social opportunity rather than social security, but it is not limited to the work with the
“So that is why from an early age I was cursed to stick my nose in the concerns of others” John Bird
at the half journeys that society takes the most dispossessed on, so I stick my nose in to care in the community for mental health issues, I stick my nose in to the pedagogy that we train our children in, I stick my nose in questions around children getting involved in crime and violence. I raise the argument ‘why is it that the most reduced of people in circumstances get the least support?’ I’m trying to get the government to face up to its responsibility for people on social security, because they have been led in to this trap, that doesn’t lead to university or to jobs, that leads to patent forms of dependency. If you don’t fare well on welfare you can’t say farewell to welfare.” On resolving this and dismantling poverty, he offers restructuring and some worrying statistics - “you would have to reinvent central government, because central government is the fly in the ointment. Why is it that 85% of the people in the prison system have come from a social security background? This is a dangerous indication that we’ve got a whole group of people that we part-invest in, that we don’t actually give them the tools and the means of moving on and becoming, like you and me, able to participate in democracy. The poor don’t get involved in democracy because the poor are stuck in a world of need.” Bird has reconciled himself with his life of crime and poverty “half of my life was spent costing the state and the tax payer an enormous amount of
money, that’s why I’m proud of the fact I pay tax. It’s redistribution, when I was fifteen I was in the reformatory and it cost £62 per week to keep me there, which doesn’t sound like a lot of money, until you consider my father was earning £10 or £11 a week. If they put me in to Eton it would have cost £45 a week. The cost of educating at Eton now is about the same as it costs to keep our young men banged up in prison. What an absolute fucking waste of money.” John Bird is also a particularly talented artist, who became obsessed after teaching himself to paint and draw, with a penchant for the female form, as his book entitled ‘Why Drawing Naked Women is Good for the Soul’ would suggest. “Art was always very important to me, when you’re rushing out to an art class to draw a naked lady, and you’re not there simply because it’s a sexual turn on but because you are obsessed with drawing, then you’re not going to have much time to go shop lifting or house breaking are you? When I got out (of institutions) I got myself a place in art school and even though that only lasted a year – I got thrown out because I met a girl in the lift and made her pregnant, not in the lift…” He smiles, and I am reminded of yet another anecdotal quip he had shared earlier, “I am
“Bird’s efforts in social enterprise revolve around the idea of ‘a hand up not a hand out’, a social opportunity rather than social security.” a devout ex-catholic, so I always marry my pregnant girlfriends.” He continues, “Art changed me and made me the posh geezer I am, and a useful geezer, because I can tap in to the passions of others. I am very interested in passionate people.” Now living happily in Cambridge with his third wife and two youngest children of five, indulging in his art and working hard in the continuous struggle to dismantle poverty, John Bird has not only reconciled himself with his own past, misfortune and misdemeanour, but has become one of the most relevant, wise and genuine forces for good of our time.
19 November 2013
Reaching the finish line but the race just began Jenny Holt discusses how the Millennium Development Goals have fared since their creation
ver the last two months, there has been a resurgence in the debate over the future of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Aimed at alleviating extreme poverty, they have been criticised for limited effectiveness. Specifically eight goals were set at the turn of the millennium: eradication of extreme poverty and hunger; universal primary education; promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women; reduction in child mortality; improvement of maternal health; combating HIV/ AIDS and malaria; environmental sustainability; and the creation of a global partnership to help achieve these goals. Large progress has been made, however some of the lowest income countries have been left behind in these advances. Now, almost at the end of the set period of time for achieving these goals, the UN have held a ‘Special Event’ in order to evaluate the reality of what has been achieved and the scope of what is still to come. Not only is this next year
“The rhetoric of “Yes” asserts that, as a country, Scotland has been historically committed to development.“ important for constructing the post-2015 Development Agenda, it is also pertinent in determining Scotland’s role in International Development. The debate over whether MDGs are actually being achieved has worked its way over from New York to Aberdeen. As the only university in Scotland to have a centre for development, many key
politicians involved in this area have travelled up within the past few weeks to submit a response to the UN evaluations. The university’s Centre for Sustainable International Development along with the
the campaign is whether Scotland would actually be able to continue this role as an independent state. While the government would become increasingly accountable, financial redistribution and shifts in prioritisation may necessitate
status led to DFID’s withdrawal of financial aid; however the same response has not been applied to Nigeria and Pakistan. What then defines the UK response to these different situations? According to Sir Malcolm he
“…but the elections are over so how on earth can we interact with AUSA and our almighty Sabbatical Officers?’”
Photo/ Ewa Czerwinska United Nations Association held a debate between numerous academics, as well as Rt Hon Sir Malcom Bruce of the International Development Select Committee, and Humza Yousaf, the Scottish Minister for External Relations and International Development. Despite the debate being focused on international affairs, it seems even in this setting the independence debate wriggles its way in. The rhetoric of “Yes” asserts that, as a country, Scotland has been historically committed to development and continues with this attitude now. A question that has been little contested outside of
aid programmes it is obvious that many of these loans and grants only succeed in creating more economic problems, serving to strengthen the hold of poverty and inequality. We do, however, find many success stories and these are what compel us to continue development. The NGO BRAC and the work they are doing in Bangladesh creates a framework which other development programmes can model. Although, in the final year of the MDG timeframe, there is much evidence that steps have been made towards achieving goals. There is, however, a long road ahead. Mixed motivation is universal but we cannot let this stop progress from happening. The only way to try to harness this and
Sustainable International Development taking a back seat. What would bring some perspective to this debate is whether the current UK development strategies are actually working. Presenting the UK outlook on International Development, it was clear from Sir Malcolm that inconsistencies exist within the UK’s approach. This highlights incoherent strategy or an ulterior agenda. As per capita income rises for countries submerged in extreme poverty, there is a crystallisation in the character of UK development efforts. In the case of India this rise to middle-income country
suspects the Nigerian programme is sustained due to strong links with the country. It is not clear, however, what these strong links are. Whenever there is contention over motivations it is often helpful to look at what the country has to offer, and of course in the Nigerian case we can assume oil. For Pakistan there is a clear advantage to having a hand in due to their proximity to Afghanistan. If mixed motivations are substantial in any act then surely this will skew the results. On an enlarged scale, like within development, it is vital to diminish this disparity as much as possible. Even now when we look at the multitudes of foreign
make development the best it can possibly be is through increasing openness and accountability. In the post-2015 Development Agenda this takes form in increasing Global Partnership, elucidating the responsibility entailed in development efforts. Coupling these elements together, we can attempt to help alleviate extreme poverty in a way that is not going to harm the real people on the receiving end. Clearly before we further politicise development through incorporating it into the independence debate, we should expand clarity and openness about all aspects of our current International Development programmes.
The Info Hub: a helping hand in Aberdeen Alasdair Lane takes a detour from the High Street to explore the other Info Hub and what it has to offer
tter the words ‘info’ and ‘hub’ to a student on campus and you’ll likely evoke nothing more than tail-back queues and misplaced ID cards. Little do most know, however, that there is a second nucleus of knowledge – another so-called ‘info hub’ – residing in our Silver City. ‘The Info Hub’, tucked snuggly away in the Aberdeen Indoor Market, does exactly what it says on the tin. Opened in 2011, this service endeavours to find solutions to people’s problems, primarily by signposting them to local or national organisations. Be the issue occupational, health related, or simply finding out what’s on in the city, nothing is too small, too seemingly insignificant
“Whatever your problem is, and how big or small it seems to you, you have to know that it is worth our time and you are not alone in your situation”. Aurelie Stutz, Info Hub Coordinator at Inspire PTL to merit a welcoming cup of tea and sit-down discussion. Speaking of the vast range of
issues The Info Hub attends to, Aurelie Stutz, a Coordinator with the organisation, noted that she had gone from sourcing one visitor’s stronger deodorant, to helping a victim of sexual assault. She added: “Whatever your problem is, and how big or small it seems to you, you have to know that it is worth our time and you are not alone in your situation.” With a footfall of three-tofour-hundred visitors per month, inclusivity is central to the organisation’s ethos. ‘Offers and Requests’, The Info Hub’s befriending scheme, exemplifies this pledge to equality. Providing the opportunity to befriend someone with a disability based on mutual interests has proven to be a win-win system.
From a purely financial perspective, popular activities – such as visiting the cinema or going to the gym – can be free for the pair if the disabled person carries an Access Card. On top of this, by having a friend to help with day-to-day tasks in lieu of a paid carer, a disabled person can save on their care budget, allowing them a little more financial leeway for the essentials. Above all, however, it’s the finding of friendship with someone you may otherwise have never met, which makes this scheme a real champion of community integration. The Info Hub also serves as a meeting place for groups, offering a drop in service with no registration, waiting time or referral. Again, inclusivity is at
the core of the initiative, with – among others – a professional led group offering autistic people the opportunity to chat about their experiences, share concerns and even just play some board games. Another group, the Job Club, caters for disabled people on the hunt for employment, providing professional help with CV writing and job applications. While the services provided by the University are fantastic, having an alternative place to turn during a time of need is never a bad thing. With its focus on inclusivity, welcoming approach and dedication to the visitor, The Info Hub (www.theinfohub.org) is definitely worth knowing about.
19 November 2013
Tinker. Tailor. Solider. The Spy’s been leaked. Thomas Nugent considers the government spying scandal that has engulfed world opinion “Reasons for spying have been to construct a solid foundation on which to build a concrete feeling of safety.”
Photo/ Ewa Czerwinska
pon learning of recent revelations surrounding breaches of public privacy, disclosed first by Julian Assange and more recently by Edward Snowden, courtesy of the Guardian newspaper, one fundamental question is given rise - should we be surprised by the damning exposé, or has this simply been a seed implanted in public subconscious for a while, waiting to be sown? Since Julian Assange set up Wikileaks back in 2006, confidential documents and images have become widely available in the public domain. Assange consolidated a view that
many of us have within the world. It’s that society as a whole should have access to private information kept from us by the government; it’s in our liberty to know what happens beneath the surface. The process revealing such information was further expanded by Edward Snowden, to an extent that crossed the confidentiality line to a point of no return. The ex-CIA systems analyst revealed information to the Guardian newspaper about the practices of NSA, America’s National Security Agency, and GCHQ, the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters. Both Snowden and Assange are
now in hiding, one in Russia and the other locked in the Ecuadorian Embassy. What was revealed, however, is important. The NSA was collecting the phone records of tens of millions of Americans on a “daily basis.” It shared such data with GCHQ, and vice-versa; in doing so America was able to undergo outright spying operations on its own public. As well as internal monitoring, 17 million French calls were intercepted, on top of 16 million Spanish calls within a single month. They tapped into Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo amongst others, subtly
engulfing the privacy of some of the world’s biggest firms like a deceitful mist of hauteur. The data collected, through a programme known as Prism, is available to GCHQ and therefore, in theory, both the UK and America can access details about whomever they wish. The feeling of surprise doesn’t arise upon learning of such breaches of privacy; the astonishment comes from the ease at which such agencies can access this information. Spying has occurred for years before now, but the vital point to understand is that technology has improved to a great extent. Reasons for spying have been to construct a solid foundation on which to build a concrete feeling of safety. The realisation that such a blueprint was needed came after 9/11; what happened allowed for the re-painting of the national security canvas. The new methods in the UK alone, since the 7/7 bombings, have foiled 34 major terrorist plots. This is proof, given by Andrew Parker, director general of MI5, that their “active detection and intervention” techniques work. However, such ways of tracking communication and spying on a vast population are now out in the open and, in light of their exposure,
have cast a shadow of doubt over a previously solid sense of national security. The disclosures of such procedures mean that Edward Snowden has, in reality, helped terrorist organisations worldwide. Sir John Sawyers, head of MI6, confirmed Britain’s enemies were now “rubbing their hands with glee” at the idea that they can now adapt around infiltrations to their communication methods. According to the UK’s foreign secretary, William Hague, “the Snowden allegations… certainly have endangered our national security, made it harder for us to protect our country and other countries from terrorist attacks”. For the vast majority of the population it has been subconsciously expected that we live our lives around the notion of a Big Brother society. We expect to be watched, day and night, therefore there was little surprise upon learning of such privacy breaches. Gone are the days of James bond style spying. Britain’s finest secret agent is likely to be that kid you all thought was a little odd at school, as now he hacks through your entire life reducing it to data. The question remains of whether or not it was worth finding this information out publically? We live in a world where in truth we’ve always expect the Government are watching us, we even created Big Brother to parody it. So while it is in our nature to be curious, it seems in truth we are happy to have the Government spy on us, to protect us, so long as they do it better.
The Angus diaries... Will St Andrew’s Day have the legitimate status of a holiday? Chris Cromar discusses the significance of St Andrew’s Day on the Scottish culture history and the economy
n 30 November, people in Scotland and Scots across the world will celebrate Scotland’s national day, St Andrew’s Day. Despite being our national day, very few people actually celebrate it, which, of course, is unthinkable in the likes of Ireland and the United States, who both fully celebrate their national days with numerous events and celebrations. Saint Andrew the Apostle is Scotland’s patron saint, and one of Scotland’s most famous towns is named after him, St Andrew’s in Fife. The national flag of Scotland is also commonly referred to as Saint Andrew’s cross. The St Andrew’s Day Bank Holiday Scotland (Act) 2007 was passed by the Scottish Parliament on the 29th of November, 2006, after first being proposed by the independent MSP, Dennis Canavan in 2003. The Act was given Royal Assent on 16 January, 2007, with the Act commencing one day later. The Act saw St
Photo/ Ewa Czerwinska
Andrew’s Day become an optional bank holiday across Scotland. Despite the Act, St Andrew’s Day is still not well celebrated across Scotland. In 2010, only four out of thirty-two local authorities gave school children an in-service day on the national holiday, these were Angus, Dumfries and Galloway, Renfrewshire and the Scottish Borders. Although there has definitely been more promotion of St Andrew’s Day since the Act passed, there is still a lot more to do to give the day the status that it thoroughly deserves. One idea is to make St Andrew’s Day a public holiday. This would see the day designated as a ‘nonworking day’ and would give the country the chance to celebrate its national day. The call for a public holiday on St Andrew’s Day will definitely face criticisms faced towards the effects on the economy the amount of holidays in place already. The fact is that most holidays produce a positive stimulus to the economy with
“For some it was a stark call for more rigorous procedures, for others it was a condemnation of the very process of the oil business itself.” more people on family outings celebrating the day and thus buying more. There will also be numerous celebrations across the length and breadth of the country. The holiday argument is simple; the UK currently has the joint lowest amount of public holidays out of all EU member states, with a measly eight per year. A public holiday on St Andrew’s Day will not only be good for the economy, it will also have major benefits socially and culturally. A public holiday will give communities up and down
the country the chance to come together and celebrate being Scottish. Culturally, a public holiday will see a rise in the interest of Scottish culture; this could be through great Scottish poets, or the Scottish Gaelic language. A public holiday will also boost tourism in Scotland, as St Patrick’s Day in Ireland is a major draw for tourists. On St Andrew’s Day this year, take the time to reflect what Scotland has given to the world. From rubber wheels to the bicycle, and the TV to penicillin, think what the world would have been like without Scotland. In recent times, St Andrew’s Day has been seen by some as a ‘political event’. On St Andrew’s Day, all Scots should come together, regardless of political views or affiliations and celebrate what our great country has given to the world in the past, and what it will give to the world in the future.
19 November 2013
To Frack or not to Frack? Sophia Black looks at the political and health issues surrounding hydraulic fracking
Oil and referendum: What happens if we vote Yes? Euan Johnston explains the hard facts about the fate of oil in an independent Scotland
ith less than one year to go until the Scottish independence referendum in 2014, things are starting to heat up. One of the main areas of debate has been about the financial implications for an independent Scotland and how the country would manage on its own. Even more central to the economic argument for and against independence is the issue of North Sea oil and how much of the oil would actually belong to Scotland in the event of a Yes vote. So who does it belong to and what will happen in the event that Scotland becomes an independent country? As a citizen of Scotland and a student who is studying geology and physics with aspirations to one day work in the oil industry, I feel I have a certain obligation to do my own research on the issue and approach the subject in a way that any good scientist would do, which is to be as impartial as possible. I want to know the facts as I am sure most people do, so here they are as I have found them to be. As things currently stand, oil tax revenues, like all taxes in Scotland, go to the UK government in Westminster where they are
then distributed throughout the UK. The taxes generated from oil revenue vary on a yearly basis depending on factors like the level of production, the market value for oil and tax rate that is decided upon by the British government. In the year 2009/10 the total tax revenue generated in the North Sea was £6,491 million. How much of that oil tax revenue is spent in Scotland is not clear but the percentage of all UK taxes generated that are allocated to Scotland according to the GERS report is 9.3% of the UK total. The current maritime boundary between Scotland and England stretches from Berwick outwards in a North Easterly direction that approaches the same latitude as Dundee. It was Tony Blair’s Labour government in 1999 that changed the maritime boundary between Scotland and England by annexing 6000 square miles of Scotland’s waters after devolution. The result is that seven of the oil fields in the North Sea that were once Scottish now belong in English waters. Since oil is a finite resource, meaning that unlike renewable sources of energy it cannot be replaced once it has run out, we must make predictions about
how long the resource might last. The most conservative estimates predict that the North Sea will still be producing oil for at least another 40 years, which is equivalent to a minimum 24 billion barrels of oil worth over £1 trillion. But as there are probably still undetected reservoirs in the North Sea, particularly west of the Shetland Isles, we don’t know how long the resource may last; all we can do is make predictions based on the data we have. If Scotland were to vote for independence it is generally considered that it would receive its geographical share of the North Sea oil which, according to Professor Kemp of the University of Aberdeen, is about 95% of the total production with a tax share of 90% of all revenues. This means that certainly in the short term Scotland would reap the benefits of 90% of all oil revenues generated but it would be up to whoever would govern in an independent Scotland as to how that revenue would be spent on its people.
Today’s student’s lack of science knowledge may harm future generations Katarina Poensgen inquires into the importance of science amongst university students
ou’re probably familiar with the phrase “science is fun”, but how much do you really believe in this unless you’re studying a science degree? Across Europe, a minority of students seem to have a solid knowledge of science. Unfortunately too many students seem a bit ignorant of major scientific problems we are facing such as climate change. This is probably due to the fact they don’t have a good enough science background, and therefore don’t understand the seriousness of the issue. To make young people more interested in science, social media is more important than ever before in trying to engage young people to get more involved, as well as develop a deeper knowledge of science. The Facebook page I f***ing love science, is an example
“It is quite important to realize that in fact it is the current students (the millennium generation) that will have to work towards the 2030 and 2050 emission targets” Malgorzata Olesiewicz Chair of European Student Energy Summit 2014 of this. The page is run by Elise Andrew, who delivers general
science in a humorous way. Here you can find funny jokes and cartoons about the most important scientific principals and happenings. This page is now considered a “grassroots movement”, as people from all different backgrounds are coming together to share their knowledge in many different ways. However if science humour isn’t your cup of tea, there are also other, and more serious, ways to get involved. You could for instance become a member of a science organisation. If this applies more to you, then you’re in luck! An energy organization for students has decided to come to Aberdeen. Check out thegaudie.co.uk for the rest of the article!
overnments and oil and gas company owners say that fracking is the new, revolutionary way for supplying energy and fuel for the world. Environmentalists say fracking will bring humanity to its end in just two – three years. But before we jump to conclusions, lets have a closer look at fracking? “Fracking”, or hydraulic fracturing, is the process of drilling into the Earth’s crust in order to extract shale gas, or natural gas by directing a high pressure water mixture at the rock, fracturing it and releasing the gas trapped inside its pores. The mixture consists of sand, salt, citric acid, benzene or lead, and water. Shale gases are trapped in impermeable shale rocks (mudrocks) and not free flowing like conventional natural gas, which is in permeable rocks such as sandstones. The gas cannot flow easily through the shale, thus drilling a well, as one would for conventional gasses, will not be sufficient. The topic of fracking produces political and scientific debates around the world, causing increased safety and regulatory provisions in many producing countries and an outright ban in France and Bulgaria and the US state of Vermont. Even though oil companies claim that this process provides very low risk for the environment, low risk is not the same as no risk. The extraction of shale gas is said to lead,
according to environmentalists, to possible earthquakes, water and
“The United States leads in shale gas exploitation but the process is quickly spreading to the United Kingdom and Europe.” soil pollution, as seen in the US and Australia, along with the chemicals from the water mixture going up into the atmosphere, polluting the air and leading to possible future rises in temperatures. Because of the complicated nature of shale gas extraction, as compared to the conventional gasses, the potential consequences can be much greater. There have been many discussions concerning health issues associated with fracking chemicals...
Check out thegaudie.co.uk for the rest of the article!
Free Lectures and Events Future connections in the fluvial environment: floods, forests, fire and fish Meston 118 19 November 2013 12pm A talk by Dr Jaime Goode Careers in Earth Science Our Dynamic Earth Edinburgh 20 November 2013 12pm A talk from various industry companies and industry representatives (registration necessary at geolsoc.org.uk)
Quaternary hot-spot activity beneath the Australian continent fuelled by edgedriven convection Meston 118 26 November 2013 12pm A talk by Prof Nick Rawlinson Seismological snapshots of the birth of a new ocean in Ethiopia Meston Lecture Theatre 1 28 November 2013 6:30pm A talk by Dr David Cornwell Dynamic porosity in rocks Meston 118 3 December 2013 12pm A talk by Dr Florian Fusseis
19 November 2013
Editor: Sofiane Kennouche
When should the Christmas festivities begin?
fter downloading my Christmas countdown app and being told we are still over 40 days away from St. Nicholas’ flight of fancy, it’s safe to say I was shocked. John Lewis, Marks & Spencer and Coca-Cola have released their Christmas adverts, most cities have switched on their lights and town centres will be packed full of shoppers until the close of business on December 24th. Whilst it is disappointing that we are still so far away from Christmas, the onslaught of festivity cannot possibly be a bad thing. Walking through Aberdeen on a cold, dark and rainy November afternoon can be a depressing and arduous trudge, but stepping into
“If you see Halloween and Bonfire Night as the beginning of a period culminating in Christmas and New Year, November is not too early to start getting excited” any of the shops that have already got their Christmas displays and decorations up will warm even the coldest heart. Early retail decorations do no harm to anybody and those who complain merely have nothing else to worry about. Rather than cold depressing nights in front on the telly watching
Photo/ Swiv (Flickr) Scandinavian murder mysteries, we have heart-warming family entertainment which occasionally gets interrupted by adverts that reduce anyone of a sensitive nature to tears. Christmas music cannot help but do the same thing to us. At
this time of year everyone starts to think about each other, rather than themselves. Come November, the world gets a little less selfish. Whilst I understand the sceptics’ view that this is just another capitalist marketing ploy and
Christmas merely encourages us to purchase things that we cannot afford, I don’t particularly sympathise with them. The lavish meals out, numerous Christmas parties and even the Gingerbread Lattés dreamt up by Costa coffee
are things to look forward to. We live in a capitalist society; traditional celebration is bound to be hijacked by big corporations out for fat profit margins. Christmas is the biggest and best of these celebrations and at least the ideals behind these marketing campaigns remain the same as they have been for years; the celebration of love, peace and family. We all just need to remain sensible and try to remember that a thoughtful gift is better than an expensive one. Now, I’m not advocating that anyone follows electrician Andy Park’s lead and celebrates Christmas every day of the year (although I do urge everyone to Google him for a nice, eccentric British Christmas tale), in fact I would even go as far to say that December the 1st is the earliest time that you should put up the decorations. If you see Halloween and Bonfire Night as the beginning of a period culminating in Christmas and New Year, November is not too early to start getting excited. I’m man enough to admit that I recently watched Love Actually, purely because it is a Christmas film that includes a five week build-up which, in my mind, justifies my early obsession. Christmas now begins in November, and not only do I disagree that this can be in any way interpreted as a bad thing, I actually think it may be a cure for the winter blues. I’m soon to start work on a 55-day advent calendar as a result! By James Higgin
Michael Kusznir and James Higgin examine the contemporary commercialisation of Christmas and its premature arrival in the high streets of the nation
hate Christmas. There, I said it. Like most cynics, my bitterness is born of love gone wrong. I used to love Christmas: the food, the gifts and the lights. Of course I was about 12 and thought cashback when paying by card meant you could get free money! Despite this, I still love the seasonal showing of Love Actually, but who doesn’t? In the UK, Christmas has become a largely secular affair, yet despite (or because of) this, it has acquired an almost sacred and unassailable status. Characters that dislike Christmas are generally vilified as being ill-spirited and inhuman; The Grinch or Ebenezer Scrooge. In spite of their flaws they should be our heroes in the consumerdriven orgy that Christmas has become. If holidays were diseases, Christmas would be a fast spreading pathogen destroying everything in its wake. Long ago
it began attacking Halloween and Guy Fawkes Night, and symptoms of its arrival are now present as early as September. That is nearly
“Long ago [Christmas] began attacking Halloween, Guy Fawkes Night and symptoms of its arrival are now present as early as September” one-third of the year devoted to preparing for a strange imitation of a religious holiday now brought to us by Christmas plc. for their profit and our debt. Thankfully this doesn’t seem to apply to putting up decorations:
stockings, trees and over-sized light-up figurines for the garden, which are rightly de rigueur and by their very nature could not go up earlier without worrying glances from your family or Mr. and Mrs. Jones next door. This is not to disrespect the minority who take Christmas seriously, whether that be for religious reasons or for whom it is an occasion to bring the entire family round one table; these are important parts of anyone’s life and this minority should be applauded. However, these people really are the minority as Christmas trudges down the path to becoming nothing more than a holiday for the noisy new culture of power, self and greed. We should challenge and seek to roll back this commercialised nature of Christmas the early appearance of which is only one minute piece of the problem. This
grotesque commercialisation is so contrary to the nature of Christmas that it would make even Caligula blush. Don’t just take my own agnostic religious views as precedent, but look at the late 16th and early 17th century when many people came to frown upon this celebration of Christmas. Aside from a dislike for Catholicism, repugnant to all non-bigots, these pious individuals disliked all the waste, extravagance, disorder, sin and immorality of the Christmas celebrations. Likewise they saw it as a popish festival with no biblical justification – nowhere in the Bible had God called upon mankind to celebrate Christ’s nativity in this way, they said. No doubt you will fall into myriad categories such as supportive, critical or ambivalent, but what is otherwise certain is that we now pray at the altar of consumerism
– an unhealthy addiction which has taken an occasion with alleged meaning and made it vacuous. There are reasons to enjoy and frankly love Christmas, but alas it is increasingly unclear what these reasons are. Christmas is controlled by a consumer-driven monster with even ‘Christmas’ cards now bearing the moniker ‘Season’s Greetings’, as society erases any reference to the Christian origins of Christmas. If ‘A Christmas Carol’ were written today Scrooge would rightly say “Bah Humbug” to the facets of Christmas described above, for as long as they are present, Christmas will continue to be a holiday for the sake of presents. By Michael Kusznir
19 November 2013
That’s Nor-way to speak English Alicia Jensen advocates the benefits in eloquence and expression for those who know multiple languages
would not claim that English is my second language, but I do have two other ‘second languages’, as my English is far more fluent than either of my native languages, Finnish or Swedish. One of the most important things I’ve learned is that when it comes to expression of a thought or an idea, someone speaking in their second language can have a far more interesting perspective than many believe. Many will dismiss an ESL (English as a Second Language) speaker due to nonconformity with the English grammatical structure, or just because they think what they’re saying doesn’t make any sense. Yet, although an ESL student may not be able to express an idea with the same fluency or coherency that a student with English as their mother tongue could, the added linguistic barrier can be a benefit. The advantage of having a second language that you’re translating in your head means that you have multiple ways of thinking, metaphors to apply, and expressions that are completely different from the ones used in the English language, thus adding a whole new level of richness to communication. I’ve come to love expressions that originate from different languages. My Finnish friend Elina has taught me some of my favourite expressions, translated from the
Finnish language. Rather than saying I’m putting some makeup on, she told me ‘I’m putting my face on’. ‘Eyes at half-mast’ means you’re pretty drunk, and when a Finn tells you you’re ‘speaking fluent Norwegian’, it means you’re just talking drunken gibberish. These are just a few examples of how ideas can be translated, but paint a picture in such a different way from common English expression. An ESL speaker will also pay more attention to word usage and vocabulary, which is why nonnative English speakers seem to have a more varied vocabulary. Richness in expression, in addition
What do you do to manage your workload and social life? Harrison Rafferty, Third Year Management and French
Photo/ Screenpunk (Flickr)
“Not only is your ‘self’ broadened by new friends and literature, but you can have different personalities as well’” to importing comparisons drawn from their native tongue, can differentiate their way of speaking from classic colloquialisms that really just are a broken record. An interesting article in the Economist on multilingualism
showed that people with more languages have different worldviews in each of their language and different personalities. Not only is your ‘self’ broadened by new friends and literature, but you can have different personalities as well. Asymmetrical ability in multilingualism of course affects your confidence in a language and fluency. ‘Priming’, where a choice between two languages connote different meanings for a person, could be their native language reminding them of home and their second language reminding them of work, for example. According to this logic, anyone with a second
language has a broader ‘self’, another personality that they can draw upon – adding to language and expression. It will be difficult sometimes for someone who isn’t a native speaker to express themselves in a clear and coherent way all the time. I certainly have that problem when I’m speaking Finnish or Swedish, and often struggle especially when I’m trying to explain something or tell a story. But next time you’re ready to dismiss someone who’s less fluent in English, remember that they may have some interesting things to say and some great ways of saying it.
In an ideal w o r l d , everything would be mapped out in advance and I could work towards it at a steady pace. In reality, I’m going to Amsterdam this weekend so I’ll have loads to do for when I return! For my ERASMUS exchange I taught kids English in France, but it wasn’t too hard to organise as I worked for two days a week and spent the other days skiing. Hayley Webb, Second Year French & German
The revolted reveller
I don’t really manage my workload! I tend just to do things as and when they need done, as I feel that I can’t work well when I’m not under pressure.
David Paterson warns students against the violence in Aberdeen’s clubs and bars
ny discussion of contemporary Aberdeen’s nightlife has a very ominous elephant in the room. While it is relatively difficult to argue the alleged murder of Craig Grant outside Tonik three months ago is indicative of an institutionalised issue with bouncers, it is yet more evidence in what is increasingly looking like a string of reasons for avoiding a night out in the Granite City. Recently, a local fireman has been jailed after an assault on a night out. Surely, we can expect citizens to be responsible enough not to beat someone to the extent where they either die or the attacker is imprisoned for 18 months? On a personal level, there are countless stories I could tell of being squared up to ‘for looking like a posh ****’ (outside a club with £5 drinks and entry), or making the mistake of going out on a Saturday night and witnessing locals beating each other whilst the police struggle to prevent Aberdeen descending into anarchy. I recall a story from last year, where my two flatmates decided to go out after the annual Law Ball and witnessed a local man punching a woman repeatedly in
the face. Only when another man decided to rugby tackle this man to the floor and hold his face to the ground with his knee did the
“I have taken several law courses, but I must conclude that the people of Aberdeen have adopted a legal system on nights out that I have not studied” assault cease. Needless to say, this has put off both of them ever going out on a Saturday night again. Another story takes place at only 7 o’clock, when my parents were visiting me. Whilst walking down Belmont Street we witnessed a man blind drunk, with a slash from elbow to wrist, arguing with his girlfriend. From what little I could deduce behind the plethora
Garreth Brown, Fourth Year Economics and Finance
Photo/ BritishAirways (Flickr) of obscene language, his girlfriend was blaming him for being stabbed, repeating over and over to passers by; ‘It’s his ******* fault!’ In my one and a half years at this University, I have taken several law courses, but I must conclude that the people of Aberdeen have adopted a legal system on nights out that I have not studied. Apparently, the law of Aberdeen stands that if one is stabbed in the arm, it is possible for it to be ‘your fault’ and the method of dealing with women is to punch them repeatedly in the face. Furthermore, if you are adjudged
to be ‘too posh’ in an expensive club, this is legitimate grounds for a fight. Are students involved in this violence? Perhaps, although all my aforementioned tales involve locals or offshore workers, with the students being the dumbfounded victims or onlookers. I write this after one of my close friends was punched last night for drunkenly saying hello to a local. Regrettably, my advice to students of the university is: go on a night out and have a good time by all means, but don’t expect to feel safe.
It’s all to do with organisation; it’s not that hard. Normally, you know your deadlines at the start of term, and the lecturers can give you an outline of them. Don’t be afraid to email them if you have questions. If your course has choices, choose options you’re interested in. Organisation is key for your social life too - if you set yourself small goals and achieve them, you’ll have more time for your friends.
Look for the red polo shirts on campus!
19 November 2013
The poisoned chalice in British foreign policy Christopher Bacon discusses the double standards inherent within UK foreign policy following the recent killing of an Afghan insurgent
ecently, a Royal Marine was found guilty of shooting dead an injured Afghan insurgent in violation of the Geneva Convention. I do not want to write about this case specifically, other than in what public opinion of it reveals about the UK’s moral standards. David Cameron referred to the murder as an ‘appalling story,’ before going on to comment that the country must not allow the murder to ‘besmirch the incredible work of the Royal Marines’ that they have carried out ‘over not just decades but centuries.’ The Royal Marines themselves denounced it as a “truly shocking and appalling aberration,” as The Guardian reported it. Lord Guthrie, the exChief of Staff, stated the truism that ‘murder is murder’ and that ‘if some crime is committed, like everyone else they should pay the price.’ Generally, the response has been one of horror - ‘murder is murder’ - and murder is wrong. If we look at recent British foreign policy, however, we see a picture not
quite agreeing with the general observation that murder is the same for everyone. The Guardian reported that UK ‘granted arms export licences to Saudi Arabia worth almost £4bn over the past four years,’ part of which included ‘crowd
“Either ‘murder is murder’ for everyone […] or murder is murder, with the clause that British state murder is not murder.” control ammunition grenades’ and ‘components for military aircraft and combat vehicles.’ In total, ‘more than £12bn’ of arms and military equipment has been approved for 27 countries classified by the Foreign Office as
Financial fun during playtime
‘of concern’ because of their poor human rights record, with the majority going to Israel, a serious human rights violator in the view of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. It does not take much imagination to see what the arms, equipment, and services will be used for. Secondly, the UK has condoned US drone strikes by providing intelligence used in targeted killings in Pakistan and elsewhere by failing to publically denounce them. These strikes ‘have killed civilians in violation of international law’ and may constitute war crimes, according to Amnesty International. To take a specific example, on 23 June 2009, US drones attacked the funeral of a mid-ranking Taliban commander, which drew crowds of around 5,000 people. The attack killed ‘as many as 83 people’, with 18 – 45 of them being civilians. Thirdly, and most obviously, the invasion and occupation of Iraq was estimated to have claimed 650,000 lives by 2006, with the UK bearing a huge responsibility
Photo/ NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan (Flickr) for that. Historian Mark Curtis remarked that the invasion was ‘the supreme international crime for which Blair and other ministers might be judged as war criminals’, if we were to be consistent and bring them to trial. Each of these cases counts as an ‘appalling story’ much more than the murder of one Afghani insurgent. However, our reactions to them are radically different, highlighting a double standard.
Either “murder is murder” for everyone, (in which case, to quote Justice Robert Jackson at the Nuremberg Trail, to pass the Marine a ‘poisoned chalice is to put it to our own lips as well’) or murder is murder, with the clause that British state murder is not murder. This is the choice we face; either we remain silent and complicit to British state murder or we put the poisoned chalice to our own lips.
Granite city shows grit
BBC Scotland’s show ‘The Harbour’ portrays Aberdeen in a positive Payday lending companies have the attention light, argues Sofiane Kennouche of impressionable children. Richard Wood s the last big city before the no wonder that the cost of living 34-year-old, 81 metre-long vessel investigates solitude of the Highlands, can be high: Aberdeen’s taxi prices replete with helipad, in for repairs.
ayday loan companies such as Wonga and QuickQuid have faced intense scrutiny from politicians recently. The focus of their attacks have been the supposed ‘grooming’ of children by these loan companies, who advertise during daytime and children’s TV. The allegations derive from MPs quizzing payday loan bosses on the Commons Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee. Such accusations are valid and somewhat alarming. As well as showing the advertisement at times when children watch TV, the companies have used adverts which explicitly focus on children. For example, much criticism has been levelled at Wonga’s cartoon puppet-like characters, as well as other firms’ catchy jingles, as a way of ingraining payday loans in children’s minds. A survey produced by MoneySavingExpert. com illustrates that 3 in 10 under 10 year olds repeat slogans from these companies. Furthermore, 14% of parents have said that their own children tell them repeatedly to take out loans, showing that this ‘financial grooming’ of children through the medium of television has had an impact. But is there anything we can do about it? Ed Miliband has come out strongly against payday loan companies for placing their adverts during the day when children are watching. In an interview with the BBC, he indicated how easily
children can be influenced by adverts. He went on to say that ‘I don’t want payday lenders taking advantage of the cost of living crisis and targeting children in this country.’ He also said that a future Labour government would encourage the regulator to ban these advertisements at these times, and in a move showing his commitment to this, then said the party would rightly try to pass legislation. Indeed, Labour are contemplating backing a cap on the interest rates charged by payday loan companies - a move which would do a lot to help struggling families. We should consider the benefits for the public in light of Wonga’s Head of Public Affairs commenting that 3% of the company’s customers fail to pay back their loan within two months. Furthermore, a banning of the ads during daytime TV would reduce the number of people using payday loans, thus reducing the number of those struggling to pay back. Although payday loans can be beneficial if the borrower can repay, the existence of high interest rates in a ‘cost of living crisis’ and the targeting of children by these companies portray Labour’s solution to the problem as the right step forward. These loans can be tempting for students needing some short term cash you can pay them back. As a result, targeting children to encourage their parents to take out payday loans is completely unjustified.
Aberdeen is often grossly misinterpreted by those who don’t come from Planet Granite. ‘It’s in the middle of nowhere!’ shriek my work colleagues used to the overcrowded streets of southeast England. The city itself also receives a raw deal from the rest of the nation, not least in mail charges by companies who believe an ‘AB’ postcode constitutes the
“Aberdeen’s social stability, rising house prices and plentiful opportunities for engineering students especially could not exist without the imposing swathe of land given over to Aberdeen Harbour” same levy as remote and isolated Orkney. Nevertheless, the city does have a unique life of its own, often insulated from other social problems that are prevalent in the rest of the UK. Drill into almost any social element in Aberdeen, and the social, economic or even political influence of black gold will well up: no wonder the city has many premium bars, bespoke clothing outlets and even a Porsche dealership. With this in mind, it’s
are second highest only to those of London. In my personal opinion, the high quality of life in the city is a product of world-class marine infrastructure. Aberdeen’s social stability, rising house prices and plentiful opportunities for engineering students especially could not exist without the imposing swathe of land given over to Aberdeen Harbour. Over 8000 ships a year pass through the port, generating trading opportunities through the oil industry, fishing, transport to the Islands and cargo trade. The Harbour, BBC Scotland’s TV documentary focusing on the men and women who keep everything running on a daily basis, is a refreshing diversion from the usual gloom about dwindling oil reserves and corporate doublespeak about simultaneous expansion and redundancies. As a (nearly) lifelong Aberdonian, it’s a bizarre experience to hear the local accent through my TV speakers. Despite the difficulties some claim in understanding Doric, I think the show illustrates the city in a good light. Instead of faceless representatives from oil companies, we see the local people in their labours which have been part of Aberdeen’s heritage for centuries. Regardless of their shipping purpose, the show follows the plight of ships coming into Aberdeen’s dry dock for repairs and maintenance. Episode two saw the Skandi Inspector, a
The amount of work involved in making her seaworthy again is just spectacular – the cameras follow the yard’s crane operator, dock master and various engineers, illustrating the amount of elbow grease needed for such a job (and the often unique Aberdonian banter that accompanies it!). There are many who say that Aberdeen, a pokey little city in the North-East of Scotland, doesn’t have much to offer the UK other than oil and an expensive taxi ride back to the airport. When the oil does eventually run out, we will still have a worldwide reputation as a premier destination for ship maintenance and trade. Following the recent news about the shipyards of the Clyde, this can only be a good thing for the city and Scotland as a whole. The Harbour, in my view, is a great way of showing the city’s respect for those who keep it financially afloat through the business opportunities that the port offers.
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
Editors: Alasdair Lane & Emily Thorburn
The Miley CyrusHaiyan conundrum O
n the 7 November 2013, the single biggest storm to make landfall in human history tore into the Philippine coast, leaving in its wake carnage
19 November 2013
scholarly traditions, and political policies, has followed a perpetual path of ‘othering’ Asian and Middle-Eastern states, regarding their societies as inherently
Said’s work. To avoid echoing one journalist, who writing for the Mirror suggested, distilling public opinion into: “but they’re brown people, right? They live in stupid
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Photo/ CAFOD Photo Library (Flickr) of meteoric proportions. Typhoon Haiyan, a category 5 super typhoon, has – at time of writing – left almost four-thousand people dead, displacing upwards of 1.8 million. In the same week, Miley Cyrus smoked a marijuana joint on stage to the vociferous delight of the world’s press. How can these two events, so intrinsically different on just about every level of human experience, attract a similar level of interest? Is our society so thoroughly preoccupied with the material, meaningless triviality of the celebrity vogue that we genuinely just don’t really care about thousands of people dying in abject misery? Before you brand this article nothing more than self-righteous screed, I’ll level with you – I haven’t donated to any disaster appeal, nor have I really sat back and contemplated what hellish conditions those thousands lost their lives in. What I have recently done, incidentally, is studied Edward Said’s seminal book Orientalism, which I feel holds the answer to the above questions. The Western world, through its culture,
“Unable to relate to their lives, we feel a sickening emotional detachment from their deaths. Casualty figures are perceived as statistics, not shattered existences, and even the horrific images which trickle out of ruined landscapes illicit little more than silent relief that it’s not our own back garden.” inferior to those in the West, Said argues. While I will not go as far as to suggest that rampant racism is behind our relative ambivalence towards natural disasters such as Haiyan, there is definitely a precedent which can be taken from
places where these things happen.” Through the gaping cultural divide (not to mention sheer geographical distance) we are alienated from Philippine fishermen, farmers and citydwellers. Unable to relate to their lives, we feel a sickening emotional detachment from their deaths. Casualty figures are perceived as statistics, not shattered existences, and even the horrific images which trickle out of ruined landscapes illicit little more than silent relief that it’s not our own back garden. I don’t hold anything against the media outlets that relegate Haiyan to page three, choosing instead to lead with something relatable, entertaining, and above all escapist, like the Cyrus affair. If anything should change it is us, the consumers of information, that must alter our outlook, and insist that reporting priorities be altered. In doing so, we might just regain a bit of faith in humanity. By Alasdair Lane
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19 November 2013
The Silver Tongue
Editor: Hamish Roberts
‘Pimp my ride’ rolls into Aberdeen Lovelines International
eather seats, free wi-fi and T.V. screens, what more could a public transport user want in life? First Aberdeen have obliged in turning a dozen of their buses into a luxury fleet of ‘Platinum’ vehicles after a poorly produced film trailer-like stunt at their headquarters in Aberdeen. ‘Bus boss’ Duncan Cameron described the move as ‘radical and innovative’ (Read: ‘We messed it up the first time, so let us mess it up again’) for bus services in Scotland. Others say ‘it’s just a huge waste of money’, and this writer concurs. Bus prices in Manchester are at a more affordable £37 per four weeks and £40 per 4 weeks in Edinburgh. Ironically, First is the main operator in Manchester and offers a plethora of frequent services around the much bigger city. This is emulated in a similar sized city in Glasgow, where First have put prices at £38 per four weeks. In comparison, First have been advertising to students a pass which is ‘still only £50 per four weeks’. How could anyone refuse? How could anyone complain? Thanks be to His Holiness that the First Bus bosses have rolled out their luxury fleet of doubledecker show boats. Hopefully First will raise fare prices further in the future and spend the profit on installing swimming pools and stripper poles on top decks. Possibly even blacked-out windows, tailgates, go-faster stripes and a
couple of sub-woofers under the back seats would be preferable in an attempt to get the bus improvement market on the ‘pimp my ride’ map. Who cares about making travel affordable for students in a city already hard to live in? Not us meager students. There is an upside to First’s catastrophic attempt to lure the public back into the long dead publictransport love affair; as part of extra training to drivers concerning customer service, the option will be given to issue passengers with a
‘free trip if they are unhappy with any aspect of the journey’. If free travel won’t be offered due to ‘aspects’ concerning fare prices, why not be petty and pedantic? Complain about how bad day-time T.V. is or how the leather seats are just a tad too slippery or the view going through Tillydrone was just a bit grim. Express yourself this week on the number 19 service Tillydrone - City Centre - Culter. By C. Swift
Telephone: 0894 111 9233
First Bus luxury: Windows and wheels guaranteed. Photo/ Alexander Cunningham (flickr)
As of December, us lucky Aberdeen University students will have a variety of options available to us to pay back our dues. Depending on the degree of sin, your are fined accordingly. It does not stop there. The library now offers, especially for heavy demand items late by two hours or more, full scale repossession and eviction from our often-wet granite clad dwellings. Less vital bookage amounts to three-week stints as window cleaners and very minor fines amount-
ing to just standing directly outside the library for more than ten seconds at a time during ‘the winds’. In addition and digression and procrastination, the library will offer subject related fines. Physics and engineering students, on the rare occasion that they take out a book, or find the library at all, will be forced to read the said book and write an essay of over 50 words. Philosophy students will be ‘told to get a grip with reality’ really quite forcefully. Divinity students will be offered the chance to either serve three months in purgatory or ‘really get a feel for god’ by being fired out of a cannon off the top of the library’s roof. For Sixth Century course-takers the library will embrace your studies by offering 16 lashes with the whip or a mere day on the rack, there have been discussions about elongating this period however. A library spokesman said: ‘we feel that students will embrace the new options in paying fines, purely because it’s that or effective bankruptcy.’ The student population has generally agreed with the expected changes, stating that ‘anything is better than the extortion we’re usually subjected too.’ By Hamish Roberts
Dine à la mode, au Cafe Escargots, avec BERNARD de LACY. For those who favour super-slick seduction, our French-Canadian homme d’amour is the natural choice. Smooth to the point of oleaginous, Bernard has an encyclopaedic knowledge of chat-up lines and is intimately versed in Hepburn-Tracy-style banter. With his caramel voice (which can be modulated to a Barry White basso profundo on request) his is a service you will return to time and again. Irrésistible!
Fineally, relief on the student pocket! olicy on fines in the Sir Duncan Rice Library will be altered as of December this year. Students have been expressing their contempt, displeasure and utter dislike for the really quite extortionate levels that the library charges. One student who ‘really likes books and to read them sometimes’ said that he racked up a fine close to one billion pounds (sterling) and that it was very high time that changes were made. The library has obliged.
If you’re looking for y look no further!
Cartoon - Improvement
Sure an’ begorrah, if it isn’t PEADAR McARDLE! As Irish as the pigs of Drogheda and every bit as clean, Peadar is the dictionary definition of the phrase “housewives’ choice”. Solvent and conventional, this simple but solid citizen is beloved by our more mature callers. Let Peadar’s lilting and persuasive Tipperary brogue transport you to a sensual world of traditional values, where constancy and parsimony are still prized. To Brussels with a begging bowl? Not this Celtic Tiger! Telephone: 0894 111 9235
19 November 2013
Life & Style
Editor: Alicia Jensen
Style On Campus
Christopher Thomas is studying for his PhD in Philosophy. He thinks comfort is a really important factor in what he wears. He likes vintage pieces, such as his coat. ‘My girlfriend helps me a lot with my fashion choices’
Megan Craig is an English student showing personal style with tartan patterns and a denim jacket. ‘I get my fashion inspiration from 80s music videos’.
Oluwarotimi Alabi is a Geology student who likes classic looks and nice shoes. The bright scarf is eye catching paired with a double breasted peacoat. He likes mixing in accessories to change things up and loves shopping in TopMan.
Sofia Black stays cosy chic in her long coat and beanie. She likes to wear lots of layers. ‘My friends call me Grandma Sofia because I love wearing cosy jumpers. I’ll either dress in all black or all bright colours’.
Stefan Bonchev His fashion inspiration comes from movies and celebrities, but no one in particular. ‘I like to take ideas from what I see in movies and magazines and put a personal twist on it’. His favourite shop is Zara.
Photo/ Carmelo Establier Sanchez
Guilt free indulgences and philanthropic spending: Charity Shops in Aberdeen Jo Polydoros explores the hidden gems of Aberdeen
eing a student can be incredibly difficult. Each day we deal with a huge amount of pressure by juggling a part time job, participating in whichever sport or society we love and still making it to lectures and keeping up with deadlines after that one last VK in Institute. But that’s not even the worst of it. Keeping up appearances is hugely important at university, especially when it comes to what you’re wearing. Waiting around each corner is a mass of fellow students waiting to judge you on your daring combination of colours or highly weather-inappropriate choices. Looking your best is a vital part of student life, but it’s never easy to keep up with Topshop’s ever changing trends when living on a budget. This is where the hipsters are actually doing something incredibly right. Charity shops are a saviour in today’s economy
for grannies and undergrads alike. And in an affluent city like Aberdeen, it’s not worn out tat that you’ll find, but a treasure trove of unused designer bargains ranging from Ralph Lauren cardigans to bespoke wedding dresses. However, that isn’t to say that you’ll find a pair of Armani sunglasses in the first shop you pop into. Finding these items can be hard and tiresome, but knowing where to look is essential. With an abundance of charity shops all over Aberdeen, there’s enough hidden gems to keep you occupied for days. However if you’re pressed for time it’s best to stick to Aberdeen’s charity triangle where you’ll likely be able to find everything you need from a new book to read in Oxfam on Back Wynd, wedding dresses in CLAN on Rosemount Place, to a brand new bed in British Heart Foundation on Union Street. For the especially savvy shoppers
out there, it’s a good idea to get to know the staff and find out when new items get put on the shop floor. Most charity shops in the area will turn around their items every two weeks and occasionally hold onto big labels to try and push. However, if you’re really keen to get some dirt cheap clobber, head down to Clifton Road on a Tuesday at 10am to raid through CLAN’s bargain basement of unsold goodies. Charity shop triangle based within Back Wynd, Holburn Street and Rosemount Place is definitely the place to update your look on a budget whether it’s your wardrobe or your home. There are plenty of bed sheets, table cloths, dresses and antique accessories to make sure you get the nod of approval from your fellow peers. But there are a few rules to abide by when attempting to bag yourself a bargain. 1. Be prepared to spend a lot of time hunting out the best deals.
And by this I mean weeks, as quite often the good stuff is gone within seconds of reaching the shop floor. 2. Don’t be afraid to haggle. Okay it’s a charity shop and it’s for a good cause, but if you don’t think the item is worth the money on the label, don’t be afraid to speak up. 3. Don’t try to rip them off either. While it’s okay to haggle for something a bit subpar, don’t try and weasel money off everything. They are fundraising for the needy after all. 4. Get to know the workers in your favourite shops; they may just help you uncover the finest treasure. 5. Always look in the window as they quite often display their best items. 6. Don’t be afraid to pick up something wacky, quite often that “out there” item will become your go to piece for the next few months. 7. Always try things on. Simple. 8. Don’t expect miracles. Some
“This is where the hipsters are actually doing something incredibly right. Charity shops are a saviour in today’s economy for grannies and undergrads alike.” trips will just be completely futile and reap no rewards, but don’t let that deter you either. With these simple tips and rules, setting trends on campus could not be easier or cheaper. And always remember that this is guilt free shopping with all your money going to a fantastic cause.
19 November 2013
Life & Style
Aberdeen, Scotland: Finland’s Fourth Largest City
Tips for surviving winter in Aberdeen Why Finns are so comfortable in Aberdeen, explained by Arttu Närhi
By Clare MacCalllum
Don’t be scared to put the heating on
Most students try to stoically hold out against the cold, and refuse to put the heating on: Don’t. You live in the North. Very, very far north. It’s going to get cold, very very cold. You CAN put the heating on. The best way is to use a timer, an hour or two in the morning and evening should keep the icicles off the end of your nose without breaking the bank.
Put your clothes on the radiator
There is nothing worse than getting up in the winter. You have to leave the sanctuary of your warm bed, brace the artic conditions of your bedroom, and race into freezing clothes… unless… before you go to bed at night, you put your clothes for the next day on the radiator.
Invest in wellies and thick socks
Wading through left over snow slush to sit in a lecture with cold wet feet, knowing that just when your socks have dried out, you’re going to have to splash your way home again, is miserable. Buy some good wellies and thick socks, happy feet means happy students. Another added bonus is that you can now stomp in the puddles!
As heart breaking as it is, it’s time to put away your favourite hula-skirt or Bermuda shorts. They were questionable in Aberdeen over the summer anyway, and now winter is here, a definite no. A vest, a T-shirt, a jumper, a coat, a hat, gloves, and a scarf – get as many clothes on you as you can. Wear two or even three pairs of leggings. Winter is all about the layers, the more you resemble the Michelin Man, the better.
Get a hot water bottle
Or even two. They are your best friend in winter. Before you head out to class, wrap one up in a blanket. When you get home, you have a cosy warm blanket to snuggle up under. A couple of hours before you want to sleep, nest it in your bed, with your pyjamas, and not only will you be as snug as a bug in a rug, but your pyjamas will be toasty too.
owadays, Finnish students are becoming more and more of a familiar sight at higher education institutions abroad. Most of the younger students especially will probably spend a single semester or year abroad as part of an Erasmus exchange program. However, thanks to the financial support offered by our government, students are finishing their entire degrees abroad in virtually any city with a university. The most attractive countries are the ones within Europe offering courses in English. It’s probably for this, that Aberdeen has seen a great influx in enrolling Finnish students. “Aberdeen University in particular does a lot to encourage international students to come here,” says Josefine Björkqvist, the former President of Education and Employability for AUSA, who happens to be Finnish, too. “We have 120 different nationalities of both students and staff at Aberdeen University and it creates a great international atmosphere on campus.” According to the school registry, there were 147 Finnish students enrolled in spring 2013. “Working for AUSA I have found that Finnish students are great at adapting to university life in Scotland,” Josefine remarks when asked about the Finnish students specifically. “They organise cultural events in Aberdeen to
Photo/ Ewa Czerwinska celebrate occasions such as the Finnish Independence Day, Vappu and St. Lucia’s day.” While many Finns are eager to express the subtle differences between the local folk and themselves, they always find a way to put it into a positive light and how the meaningless differences have nothing on the large similarities of the two peoples. Cross-cultural communication is often helped by the activities arranged by the university for incoming foreigners, which include whisky tasting, hiking in the Highlands, and traditional Céilidh dancing. All of these have caught Finnish fancies one way
or another, making the migrant students feel right at home. The reality of being in Scotland is also punctured periodically when one can hear a complete stranger talking in Finnish on the street any day of the week. So why do the Finns flock to Aberdeen specifically? The city’s tourist board is not running targeted ad campaigns anywhere in Finland nor does Scotland seem to promote its universities there at all. An answer might be found by exploring several not-so-obvious factors. The University of Aberdeen does have a reputable résumé of pioneering departments in
European higher education, and one of the oldest in Europe, having been established in 1495. Five Nobel Prize laureates have researched their work at the university and the School of Law was ranked 8th best in Great Britain by The Times in 2010. “Aberdeen City is also one of the best cities in Britain for employment,” Josefine adds. Even with these things considered, the city does not stand out much against other major student hubs in the UK. This is not entirely a bad thing though. Many smaller UK universities are attaining new found interest from abroad because of reduced international student quotas in the better known institutions. Scotland even has a slight advantage over England in economic support for their students: their government supports foreign EU students in tuition fee payments just like they do for Scottish nationals. Why would a Finnish student want to pay for education as they have had it for free up until now anyway? In the end, Scotland has everything necessary covered to attract Finns for a prolonged stay. If one can suffer the transition from Lavatanssit to Céilidh dances, any young Finn can immerse themselves in the natural beauty and folk traditions of the country with joy. Scotland for many of us is a real home from home and will be for many in the future.
Adopt a Turkey Day Ashley Sevadjian shows why we should import the tradition of Thanksgiving
hy the UK should consider jumpin on the band wagon! Thanksgiving Day is largely associated with American culture: big, loud, and overdone. But to most Americans the day is very meaningful, and the prospect of time off work paired with a reason to eat lots of food kind of adds to the appeal! Not to mention the Macy’s Day Parade, football, Black Friday (Thanksgiving’s answer to Boxing Day), and the general buzz of excitement in the air. Hues of red, orange, yellow, and brown mark the coming of a day celebrated by masses on the fourth Thursday of November in America. Suddenly trees change colour, everything smells of freshly baked cookies, and the seasonal shift to autumn takes its course. Thanksgiving is so closely intertwined with the idea of the autumn months that even though it’s only one day, the holiday seems to envelope the entire month of November. Kids are more prone to class time craft-making, finger painting turkeys and pilgrims - they’re all a given. It’s pretty much like Christmas with different origins; think more food and less presents. The story of the first ever Thanksgiving in America is engrained into the minds of children from a young age. In
Photo/ Aurostar739 (flickr) second grade my teacher came to class dressed as a Pilgrim bonnet n’ all - and told a group of awe-inspired seven year olds what is probably more of legend than fact. Even so, any self respecting American kid can relay an embellished account of the Plymouth feast between the Pilgrims and the Native Americans. The day revolves around a moral code of being kind to others, appreciating what you have, and the importance of hard work. You can see why people try to keep the tradition alive in a modern world!
Although there are religious connotations attached to the day, many Americans celebrate in a secular manner. The religious roots of the holiday can actually be linked to the sixteenth century Protestant Reformation in England. Puritans (an extremely devout faction of Protestants) recognised days of fasting and days of thanksgiving. The Pilgrims of the early seventeenth century were Puritans, so when the Plymouth Feast took place, perhaps the idea came from feast days noted by Puritans in England (although
days of fasting were probably not on purpose for early settlers!). In fact, cultures around the world have similar pastoral or religious celebrations which centre on being thankful, but don various names. For example, Japan celebrates Labour Thanksgiving Day (Kinrō Kansha no Hi) which takes place November 23rd. The holiday was established during the American occupation in World War II, but it actually has roots in an ancient harvest ceremony celebrating hard work. Today it’s easy to see the holiday as a tradition swallowed up by corporations and spat out in the form of greetings cards and decorations. But ‘Turkey Day’ is a time of year to look forward to for all! And let’s face it, introducing Thanksgiving to the UK could maybe postpone the mid-October explosion of Christmas tinsel and wrapping paper. No matter what your religious background or nationality may be, I think that marking one day a year to reflect on all that you appreciate in life is a moving notion which should be recognised in more countries around the world. To me, the day is not about being American or even religion. God no! It’s about taking a moment to surround myself with the people I love and to give thanks.
19 November 2013
Life & Style
Icelandic adventures and 20€ soaps Rachel Clark picks an uncommon holiday destination on a whim - and it paid off
know that many students at Aberdeen are adventurous, self-confessed and intrepid explorers when it comes to travelling, but for me, the Mediterranean seems to be my limitation. And many others similarly struggle to venture past the bar crawl in Magaluf. This particular holiday began at 2.30am on a Saturday morning. We were drunk. Very drunk. And
outside Keflavik. We took the car that we’d hired to get to it, but many coach transfers to Keflavik airport stop off at the Blue Lagoon as well for the afternoon. This is pretty expensive if you are on a student budget, with basic entry coming in at €33. Although some may see it simply as an outdoor swimming pool, it is much more than that, and it is one of the country’s most iconic tourist attractions, so it’s worth a visit. A lot of things in Iceland are expensive; however, there are ways of seeing the sights cheaply. There are walking tours around Reykjavik that you can do yourself, which take in all the important sights. There are a number of different routes, so you can pick one that interests you, whether it’s history, nature or churches. We did one of the general walks, which took in the harbour, concert hall, parliament house, the Viking settlement museum, and City Hall amongst other places. There are also cheaper places to eat, which nicely accommodate a modest student budget. So there are ways to see Iceland without spending in excess. I personally cannot wait to go back to Iceland – I was there for such a short space of time and there was so much that I didn’t get to see. I never saw the
“First misconception about Iceland – it’s really not that cold.” somehow, we got this “brilliant” idea to book a holiday. So, we went on the Easyjet website and clicked on the first thing that we saw. Which was a flight to Reykjavik, leaving in two days. It turns out Reykjavik is the capital of Iceland, which I didn’t realise until the morning. But that wasn’t going to stop us! We booked an apartment fairly close to the city centre, meaning it was only five minutes to walk anywhere. We also hired a car at the airport. To rent a car abroad, you do often need to be 21 and have a year’s experience behind you, which unfortunately excludes many students, but if you can it’s a really good way to get around the island. First misconception about Iceland – it’s really not that cold. I thought with a name like Iceland and with the Highland interior being virtually impassable for 49 weeks of the year due to glaciers that it would be freezing. So I packed my suitcase with woolly gloves, scarves, jumpers and thermal socks. However, when I went (April), it was actually warmer than Scotland. So I didn’t actually need all the winter gear I’d anticipated. The average
“Check the exchange rate before you go. I know it sounds like an obvious point, but I thought I had it sussed, and then I ended up spending £20 on a bar of soap.”
famous icebergs in the southern coastlines, or the West Fjords, apparently a hotspot for cliff birds and magnificent views, owing simply to time constraints. Due to the time of year that I went, I also wasn’t able to go inland into the Highland interior. There is so much that this country has to offer that many people simply aren’t aware of. There is something to please almost everybody. Iceland can definitely be a great holiday destination and somewhere that I have since fallen in love with. So the moral of the story: sometimes wine and bad judgement can lead to the best experiences!
Photos/ Rachel Clark temperature for November is 5°C. Another tip if you plan on venturing to Iceland – check the exchange rate before you go. I know it sounds like an obvious point, but I thought I had it sussed, and then I ended up spending £20 on a bar of soap. The exchange rate at the moment is around 193 Krona to the pound. We went on the Golden Circle Tour. There are many tours that go around this route, and most of them leave from Reykjavik. We booked ours through the city’s tourist information, and I’d
definitely recommend it; we were only in Iceland for 3 days, and this tour packs a lot in. The tour included the hellisheiði geothermal power station, Haukadalur geothermal valley, which includes the famous Geysir and Stokkur geysers (Stokkur goes off every 5-10 minutes), Gullfoss waterfall and Þingvellir National Park, where the tectonic plates meet, and where the first parliament of Iceland convened until 1798. The other highlight of the short trip was our venture to the Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa, just
Parents: Travel Companions or Travel Dictators? Melissa Smith and Elizabeth Glen consider: to travel with parents, or not to travel with parents?
t one point in all our lives, nothing in the world offered more excitement than being bundled onto a plane with our parents and various siblings, and spending two weeks of our summer holidays in some distant corner of Europe. Holidays where one is encouraged to do nothing more than swim in the sea and eat ice-cream all day are tailor-made for kids. What could be better? However, as the years move on and we all make that delightful transition into adolescence, the appeal of these holidays is no longer quite as strong. All of your hormones get together to decide that being dragged around yet another little quaint fishing village or grand old art gallery is just not your idea of a good time anymore. And by that, I mean it starts to
slowly resemble your definition of hell. It is at this point where we all begin to consider the idea of going on holiday with people that we actually like: friends. A trip abroad with your friends or even on your own, offers the luxury of copious amounts of freedom, probably unlike any of us have ever experienced before. Suddenly you are calling the shots. Where to eat, sleep, visit during the day and visit at night? The world (or your chosen destination) is your oyster! For many of us, the first independent holiday is an invaluable experience that we remember fondly, if with slight blurs around the edges as a result of an occasional night out… You are handed two weeks where you can do everything you want, or nothing at all. Feel like taking loads of pictures? Or wandering around
for hours with no-one to force you home? Maybe even blasting your music and dancing in your hotel room? We do it because we can.
“Now that you are a starving student, the idea of a family holiday should definitely be revisited.” Never underestimate the sweet taste of liberation you can get from living out your own life decisions. Undoubtedly, we all have memories of that one particular family holiday that tested your
relationship with your parents to the absolute max, or the one that you sat angrily on the plane home, promising yourself: never again. Despite this, now that you are a starving student, the idea of a family holiday should definitely be revisited. Things are a lot different when you begin to grow up and realise that maybe getting a little bit of culture isn’t the worst thing in the world. Being a student comes with countless responsibilities: be it paying your own bills, cooking for yourself, or organising your own life. We should all jump at the chance of being able to put our feet up for a couple of weeks and not have to worry so much about everything. Letting your parents climb back into the driver’s seat for a while won’t hurt. Most parents will provide an economic safety-
net that just isn’t there in solo travel. Plus, you may even find that you have more in common with them than you originally thought. Admittedly, you do have to relinquish some of your new-found freedom, and this will undoubtedly lead to twenty minute disputes about which restaurant to visit that night. There are so many pro’s and cons to both types of travel and it really depends on your individual situation to determine what type of holiday suits you better. Just don’t rush away from the idea of family holidays because you feel you are too old for them: your parents may turn out to be better travel companions than your teenage self gave them credit for.
19 November 2013
Life & Style
Sexpression - ‘K’ is for Chlamydia Jack Fletcher and Calum McPherson tell us how to be safe in the bedroom
ow I have your attention. That was easy! Sex is a natural part of life, alongside other pleasurable functions of the body such as playing sport and eating, but is something that is not talked about enough in society which only exacerbates the stigma attached to many issues of sex. Yet, it remains a very popular topic in gossip and bar talk, but are we talking about the real issues? One such important one is sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Many are aware of the names of gonorrhoea and chlamydia but do you know how they can occur and what it can do to you? STIs are very common in the UK and especially in students, with hopefully everyone at University knowing about the importance of contraception so I will not lecture on about that, yet only 75% of sexually active young people in Grampian use condoms. But there are still many either ignoring the risk, being ignorant to them, or not using a condom due to being drunk or ‘caught up in the moment’. So what do you do when this happens? The problem is that most STIs will go without symptoms. “But I’m fine!”, I hear you protest. I’m happy for you, but 50% of men and 75% of women with chlamydia also feel fine and the huge problem with this is it affects fertility silently. This may not be an issue currently but now is the time to give some thought for the future. So what are the symptoms? • Pain on urination • Itchiness • Red and sore to the touch or persistently
Drawing/ Arne Wern • Discharge • Lower abdominal pain • Bleeding during or after sex or between periods • Testicular tenderness • Formation of small painful blisters
These are for men and women, with some specific ones of course, and the bacteria or virus that is passed on through genitalia contact can happen in vaginal, anal or oral sex. Dang. If there wasn’t a condom used then it’s
guilty until proven innocent, I’m afraid. To be tested is easy and many people don’t realise this, it is also quick and free so don’t wait for symptoms to develop: For women AND men it involves: Step 1: Attend a local sexual
health clinic (Denburn or City clinic at Woolmanhill Hospital) Step 2: Blood being taken and urinating into a tub in your own privacy. Step 3: Wait for results to be sent in the form you have requested to be contacted in. If you have symptoms a swab will be taken but this will be done by a professional that has done it many times and only wants to help you, there is no judgement applied. So men, grow some balls and women, don’t be a big girl about it; just get tested to ‘be on the safe side’. Treatment is available for all ailments and it means you won’t pass it on to others. Your own health should be important to you, and what part of you do you want to keep in order more than your genitals? The ‘Show me your genitals’ video comes to mind. But then aren’t a lot of issues about sex trivialised? From rape jokes to ‘just pulling out will be ok’ and thinking having sex in water or standing up will mean pregnancy is not possible. Yes the pill will help prevent pregnancy but your genital health matters, too. “Oh it won’t happen to me” was said by many in the past that got a brain aneurysm or HIV too, now is time to take action and confront fears or embarrassment and visit the sexual health clinics in Aberdeen, of which there are 4 and all free with drop-in times available. As one student puts it- “some places you can get a home testing kit for free too so you all literally have no excuses. Don’t be embarrassed to get tested - it’s great because you get free condoms too!”
Facebook anonymous: technology addiction and you Grace Balfour-Harle and Anastasia Cojocaru try to answer the question of how to stay off social media
echnology is all around us. It’s impossible to escape it in today’s society. Our lives are dominated by it, with sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram becoming a way of life for students. A study by the Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change and the International Centre for Media and Public Agenda, showed that students are literally addicted to technology, with the same side effects as a recovering drug addict or alcoholic when forced to go ‘cold turkey’ from their technology for a day. The study, performed on 1,000 students from ten countries across five continents, required students to try to go technology-free for a full 24 hours. Four out of five students were unable to make it through the whole 24 hours, finding it too difficult. One student from the USA described their withdrawal symptoms as like a drug addiction, “I was itching, like a crack-head, because I could not use my phone.” Students spoke about the loss of their social lives they felt when cut off from technology, and how they were used to being instantly connected to media events around the world. When forced to be cut off from the media, they found that they reverted back to ‘simple pleasures’, and fully realised how much technology dictated
their lives, whether in contacting usage so it doesn’t take over their people, or merely passing the time lives. surfing the web. Here are some tips in order to What are the consequences of help curb your technology habit: this addiction to technology and Unplug yourself for 30 minutes. media for students today? Perhaps Try and do this every day after it can be said that students are you have finished everything you merely becoming more informed had to do for your coursework. about news from around the world Turn off all your with easy access to all the media platforms, but there are downsides to this. Many students rely on social media sites to create a social life for themselves, substituting these online relationships for real ones. The study ‘ripped back the curtain on their hidden loneliness’ forcing them to make substantial changes to the way they viewed their life; becoming more proactive in making arrangements to meet friends face-to-face. The recommendations from this study for universities was to help make students understand the media around them, what is a credible and trustworthy source of information for essays and how to stop them from being completely overwhelmed and distracted. The advice for students was not to ditch Photo/ farm9.staticflickr.com technology completely, but to curb
electronics and spend some time relaxing with a book, or some meditation to calm yourself down. This is especially useful to do before bed as it actually helps you sleep. The light that comes off phones and laptop screens actually wakes you up, as it mimics the blue light from the sun which stops your brain from producing a hormone called melanin that helps you sleep. Pay attention to the people around you. Try and have an actual conversation with your friends rather than texting or emailing someone else. Make an effort to talk to your flatmates every day, whenever you pass them in the hall. Don’t try to substitute online relationships for actual relationships. If you realise that you’re spending more time chatting online than actually having a conversation, then try and arrange to meet up with some friends, or go have a chat with a flatmate or family member. If you feel that you can’t do this, and that it is affecting all
areas of your life, then talk to the Student Advice and Support Office, they will try to give you advice on how to deal with it. Balance is very important. Technology has many benefits but try to balance the time you spend on your digital devices with other parts of your life. Don’t let your computer take over your life. Think again if it’s really necessary to take your phone with you to the toilet or if you really need to check your Facebook during the lectures. Don’t sit and talk to people online rather than chat to someone. Even talking on the phone is better than sitting glued to your screen. Prioritise your actions Make a list of tasks that you need to get done, and prioritise them. Try and do as many things without using technology as far as you can. Allow yourself breaks to check your Facebook, or play a game, but be strict with yourself. Don’t try and do more than one thing at once as you will accomplish neither task particularly well, and you will get distracted. Use this idea with relationships as well: ask yourself if you really need to try out the newly released version of your favourite game right now or if you can spend a bit of time with your family and friends.
19 November 2013
Editor: Elizabeth Ozolins
INTERVIEW Dr Katherine Groo
David Robertson speaks to Dr Katherine Groo about SCRATCH, recycled film and the impact of new media on film making
r Katherine Groo is a lecturer and Head of Research (2013-2014) for Film & Visual Culture at the University of Aberdeen. She recently acted as curator for SCRATCH, a series of workshops and screenings which ‘introduce participants to the traditions of handmade, recycled, and found footage cinemas’, as part of Aberdeen Sound Festival 2013. What was it like participating in SCRATCH? It was a first venture in trying to bring something like this to the university. The first workshop in particular I think was very new for a lot of participants, and that’s striking because we have a film program here. But most of our film students graduate without ever actually having touched celluloid. And so, one of the things I’m interested in – for the future – is integrating more celluloid practice into the film programme. We brought Joanna Byrne and Mark Pickle from the OKO Film Lab in Leeds to introduce students as well as members of the broader Aberdeen community to 16mm film. Joanna and Mark are themselves experimental filmmakers. So, everybody got together, and we were working with 16mm and we were painting on it and scratching on it and attaching things to it and creating little animations. I think what was interesting was it seemed so easy when we were working on the film material. But we worked for hours on these film projects, and, when we finally
“I’m interested in the way these kinds of films— recycled, found footage, handmade film practices— challenge major streams of film production, exhibition, and distribution.
projected our individual works, they went by in 30 seconds. All of a sudden, everyone realised how incredibly difficult it is to work with 16mm. But the screening events were also great. We had a good turnout – twenty to thirty people each week – for what I think was a very challenging set of experimental films. And then we had discussions after each of the screenings. I love having post-screening discussions because you get a really broad mix of people who may have no idea what film is all about, or, in this case, may be completely unfamiliar with experimental cinema.
Photo/ Joanna Byrne A common impression of Film Studies is that we just watch quirky films; what arguments do you make to non-students who are sceptical? One of the things we talk about in the first week of Intro to Film is that most students have a very personal relationship to cinema. It’s one of the very few disciplines where students will come to university already having seen lots of material, having already established a sense of what cinema is. So, one can get lots of resistance from students because they say ‘no, this is what film is,’ film is this popular practice, it’s entertainment, something they do on the weekend, something they do with their friends. And I think people feel really uncomfortable and alienated when they start seeing a broader spectrum of films that they may not be familiar with or that they may never have seen before. But I think that’s one of the purposes of university. It should introduce students to things they’ve never seen before. It should challenge the category of film they’re carrying around with them. I wouldn’t deny that I teach some challenging, quirky and strange films. But there are also lots of crowd-pleasers; there’s Singing in the Rain, we teach Hollywood [practices], there’s something for every taste. But I don’t think film studies should
be entirely familiar. I don’t think people should feel really comfortable with cinema because there are so many ways to approach what a film is and what qualifies as a film practice. And even today, film scholars are struggling with that definition: what is cinema? How has the reach of the term expanded when we have films circulating on YouTube? And when every student can make a film? Do we study those films? Do those films qualify as something that ought to be taught? I say yes. I think the more expansive the category the better, and the more theoretically and conceptually interesting. If we were just to import some very rigid rules — it’s got to have narrative, it’s got to make narrative sense, it’s got to have character development — these are just categories that speak to some ideology about what cinema should be, rather than what it actually is. What is it about recycled footage that intrigues you? On the one hand, it is the connection to a film-historical past. These films tend to produce a kind of nostalgia among viewers, for different technology and for past practices. For my own research, I’m interested in the way this particular formation of recycled cinema speaks to other moments in film history, moments when film practice started to become something that was in the
hands of amateurs. I’m interested in the way these kinds of films — recycled, found footage, handmade film practices — challenge major streams of film production, exhibition, and distribution. It’s just one instance that overturns the way we tend to think about what a film is, and can be, and how cinema operates. What do you think the impact of new media has had on the discipline? That term can be quite ambiguous and it can include all kinds of things. But I think it’s radically changed the discipline. I mean, what is a film now? The simple way in which we conceptualise a film object seems to have changed. If we just consider the phenomenon of the crowd-funded film project, this development is changing what a film looks like, how films are made, how they circulate. It gets back to what I was saying about amateurism. There’s been a significant shift from film production power being in the hands of major studios and those with money, to being in the hands of everybody who wants to make a film. And that is an incredibly exciting aspect of contemporary film practice. But, I think it changes how we teach the discipline, so we need to start thinking about our students not just as a body of individuals who need to learn a canon,
but we also need to frame them as users, as producers, as filmmakers themselves. I think it also changes things for a programme that’s interested in practice. It changes how we approach our students. In the past, I think, film programmes have tried to train students to work to an industrial standard. I am not sure if that’s the skill set students need any more. I am not sure if that’s where the jobs are going to be. Most students nowadays know how to make a film; they already know the basics of the technology. So, now we have to consider: what can a university give to a student that already has the basics? What can we offer to a student who’s been doing this since they were ten years old? To me, I think the responsibility of the university becomes training students to become critical and conceptual thinkers. I think that we are capable of training students to not just go out into the world with a camera and gather stuff up, but to think carefully about what purpose film is serving. What kinds of work are they producing with film? And why? Everybody has a camera nowadays, but how are people actually using them? Cameras are in the hands of the masses, which is great, but what are the masses doing with them: are they starting a revolution, or are they just repeating what they’ve seen on Channel 4?
19 November 2013
REVIEWS Music Avril Lavigne Avril Lavigne Album Release: 1 November 2013
By Fraser Walker
Has Avril finally moved away from teen-pop? No, no she has not. Once again, I have mixed feelings about Avril. Originally, I did have high hopes for this album, but the tracks in the album represent something of a haphazard musical variety show. They just do not match up and there is not much
musical consistency. This does not mean to say that it is a bad album. I am merely pointing out the fact that this album is not consistent throughout. It opens with ‘Rock n Roll’ and ‘Here’s to
The Speed of Things Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr Album Release: 8 October 2013
“The usual guitar rhythms, punchy rap and ‘bad attitude’ are still present. Ultimately, the guitar work is the strongest feature.” By Anastasia Cojocaru Never Growing Up’ but as we go on we enter the classic teen-pop that Avril is best known for. However, it appears that she has tried (once again) to break free from her teen pop traditions with ‘Let Me Go’ with Chad Kroeger and ‘Bad girl’ featuring Marilyn Manson which has to be the most bizarre mix. I feel that this album has elements of every other album that Avril has produced and it is certainly limited in terms of new material. The usual guitar rhythms, punchy rap and ‘bad attitude’ are still present. Ultimately, the guitar work is the strongest feature about the album and to her credit; she does have a great voice. However, this album is distinctly average and has failed to impress me. I can safely say that Avril still remains in a teen-pop world. Better luck next time, Avril.
Demonstration Tinie Tempah
The debut album, ‘It’s a Corporate World’, highlighted the Detroit electronic pop duo as a prominent new force in modern wave. Just like their first album, the sophomore one, ‘The Speed of Things’, is full of sweet lyrics and playful rhythm but it also brings up a thematic frame of dreaminess, letting go and a sound of polishing and fine-tuning. Joshua Epstein and Daniel Zott describe their record as one that ‘focuses on the size and speed of the world today’. The album reveals some of the lighthearted charm of their first LP and successfully incorporates heavyhanded elements of new wave and dance with numerous instances of alt-folk and indie pop. Listening to their album you would be amazed by the catchiness, dynamics and funky sensibilities of their songs. They stand out because of their unique airiness and delicate
The Marshall Mathers LP 2 Eminem
Album Release: 3 November 2013
Album Release: 5 November 2013
By Danny Strasser Well, it’s taken him nearly 3 years, but it’s fair to say there is nothing Tinie about ‘Demonstration’, so mind your Tempah and allow him to disturb London and Aberdeen. No pressure for the 25 year old, but winning the Brit Award for Best Album for ‘Discovery’ and the Best UK Hip Hop/Grime artist MOBO Award, meant that this new album had to be something very special to grab the attention of the UK charts amongst a flurry of new artists including Lorde, John Newman and Foxes. Having started to write on the album at the beginning of 2011, it would seem that Tinie Tempah was in for the long haul, reaching featuring artists such as Big Sean, 2 Chainz and close friend Labrinth for some of his hits. So in early July, Radio 1 premiered the single ‘Trampoline’ featuring 2 Chainz that would peak at number 3 in the charts. Whilst this hip hop/ dance anthem was playing in clubs all over UK, famous collaborator with Swedish House Mafia, John Newman, met up with Tinie to start working on another single ‘Children of the Sun’ which was
melody backed by heavy-drum beats. The first single, ‘If You Didn’t See Me (Then You Weren’t on the Dancefloor)’, brings up a variety of dance-oriented swirling synths and ’80s electric guitar. The band adopts a Beach Boys approach when it comes to their vocal harmonies which evoke the pleasantness of the past just like the track ‘Beautiful Dream’. This track seems to be telling a story which brings people together and creates a universe separated from
Postrock albums 1Emperor Godspeed You! Black – Slow Riot For New Zero Kanada. Or you can replace this top spot with the GY!BE album of your preference. If you have not tried the genre before, in which case give ‘Blaise Bailley (etc)’ a spin. It’s a 17-minute long, orchestral build-up featuring a man ranting about, among other things, the prejudices of the court system and the end of the world. Trust me, you’ll like it.
Ascent of Everest – How 2 Lonely Sits the City. Rather like our No. 4 record, this one
the modern world in which they can escape. The dreamy poetry of ‘Knock Louder’ appears to be a timeless composition which fits into modern frameworks. Their album slows down things slightly and represents a light-hearted pop release.
hard to objectively discuss his work without addressing recent controversies surrounding the ninth track ‘Rap God’ and its use of homophobic slurs. To offer an example for those unaware, Eminem raps during the track about breaking a “muther******’ table / Over the back of a couple of ******* and crack it in half”. In his interview with Rolling Stone, Eminem argues that he’s never equated such insults as referring to homosexuals; rather, to him there’s little distinction between
does not shy away from the awareness that it’s a postrock record. But when a band still manages to keep to their own personality and pull out all the stops as well as any contender then the complaint that post-rock is a repetitive genre starts to look a little bit silly.
Mogwai– Come On Die Young Not ‘Young Team’? Yes, this is their debut’s weirder, unstable cousin but there’s a kind of narrative to this one that makes it the more pleasing repeat listen. Or at least it starts out that way before ending with a crushing, noisy, manic halfhour stretch. It is awesome.
By Andrew Parker
“Winning the Brit Award for Best Album for ‘Discovery’ and the Best UK Hip Hop/ Grime artist MOBO Award, meant that this new album had to be something very special” later released on 12 September, coming in at sixth on the UK charts. In this writer’s opinion, I would still class ‘Discovery’ as his better album. To have such a young artist come out of the blocks so aggressively, taking not only the UK, but also USA and the rest of the world by storm, can’t be overlooked. Nevertheless, the album still resides very highly in opinion and with a favourite of mine: ‘Lover not a Fighter’, I think Tinie can afford a few weeks off to celebrate this excellent album.
As the title might suggest, The Marshall Mathers LP 2 is the closest thing to a sequel you’re bound to see in an artist’s discography. Eminem is here at his most reflective, whether in the album’s opening, ‘Bad Guy’, a continuation of sorts of the 1999 hit ‘Stan’, or in ‘Asshole’ where he offers a frank discussion of the many criticisms that have surfaced over the course of his career. Tracks such as ‘Legacy’, where Eminem raps his audience through the motivations in pursuing a rap career, and ‘Headlights’, an open letter of forgiveness to his mother, continue emphasising this theme of reflection. Guest collaborations with Rihanna (‘The Monster’) and Sia (‘Beautiful Pain’) offer a brief interlude from the usual torrent of words, and, in the case of the later track, interjects an uncharacteristic ray of hope within Eminem’s usual soliloquy of anger, cynicism and sarcasm. Of course, regardless of what is said of the quality of Eminem’s newest release, it’s
Pg. Lost – It’s Not Me, It’s You! It’s about as postrock-y as post-rock gets. Give ‘The Day Shift’ a listen: it’s ten minutes of taking the loud/quiet formula to new extremes. It’s made of the same stuff as the genre’s heavyweights and certainly bears up against the best of them. these and any other slur. Can the art be separated from the views of the artist himself? Eminem, in his latest work, conveys through his lyrical prowess an entertaining album with moments of genuine emotional resonance. On the other hand, we have an artist unwilling to adapt to a changed society where use of words like ****** aren’t something to be thrown about haphazardly for the sake of manufactured controversy.
Maybeshewill – Sing 5 The Word In Four-Part Harmony. The only post-rock
band that I’ve been lucky enough to see live. That they were recently back up north supporting The Dillinger Escape Plan tells you all you need to know about how intense these guys are. Recommended if you’re into heavier genres like post-metal and math rock. By Scott Reid
Arts News The British composer John Tavener passed away last week, aged 69. His compositions include Song for Athene, which was sung at Princess Diana’s funeral, and The Protecting Veil.
Film Gravity Starring: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, Ed Harris, Orto Ignatiussen
McFly and Busted have announced they will be touring together, as McBusted. The first show will be on Friday, April 18, 2014 at Glasgow’s SSE Hydro. Lily Allen’s new single, ‘Hard Out Here’ has garnered significant controversy and charges of racism, over its highly sexualised use of black female dancers. Paul McCartney has written an open letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin, calling for the release of 28 Greenpeace protesters and two journalists who were detained after a demonstration against oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean. A painting by Francis Bacon ‘Three Studies of Lucian Freud’ has become the most expensive work of art ever to be sold at auction. Fetching $142m (£89m), the painting took the title from Edvard Munch’s The Scream, which was bought for $119.9m (£74m) at auction last year.
By Christian Robshaw Ugh, space is creepy. Have you ever had that nightmare where you’re an astronaut on a spacewalk, and an exploding satellite causes debris orbiting Earth faster than a speeding bullet to shred your shuttle to pieces and leave you to drift endlessly in the dismal, crushing void? The one where you are all alone and hopelessly adrift because your communications are severed and all there is left for you to do is continue to orbit the planet like some hopelessly silly moon until either the aforementioned debris shears your face in half or, worse, your oxygen slowly runs out on you? When you are utterly, utterly alone: the loneliest and the
Thor 2: The Dark World furthest from home any human has ever been? Yeah well, I hadn’t either until I watched this sciexistential-horror. And while it may have the odd Hope Spot or two, for the most part it blindsided me, because I had gone in expecting a bit of a fun, old-fashioned space adventure. Not that I minded, though – the performances are powerful, and the visuals utterly awe-inspiring (how on Earth – or out of it – did they film Sandra Bullock in zero-G?), in the old sense of ‘awe’ as in ‘utter dread’. My only real complaint here is that the script is extremely mediocre; relying on a couple of naff clichés instead of characterisation – even where it only has two characters to characterise – and offering up some fairly predictable speeches about human strength and endurance and all that uplifting stuff.
“My only real complaint here is that the script is extremely mediocre; relying on a couple of naff clichés instead of characterisation”
Photo/ Cea (flickr) Open auditions are currently being held for the new Star Wars film, looking for a teenage girl and a man in his early-20s. There is speculation that these will be Hans Solo and Leia’s children. Norwegian musical comedy duo Ylvis are bringing out a children’s book version of their viral YouTube hit, The Fox. Russian performance artist Pyotr Pavlensky was arrested and detained in Moscow after nailing his testicles to Red Square as a protest to the ‘apathy, political indifference and fatalism of Russian society’. The Goldsmith’s Prize for Literature went to Irish-British writer Eimar McBride, for her novel A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing, which went unpublished for 9 years for being too “experimental”. The prize is worth £10,000. Bob Dylan has been awarded the Legion of Honour, France’s highest award. Others who have previously won include Aung San Suu Kyi, Vladimir Putin and Paul McCartney.
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Stellan Skarsgård
By Gordi McColm
Disney/Marvel’s sequel for their Norse superhero Thor is bound to please. The film is a desired return to form for the studio after Iron Man 3’s mixed reviews. Director Alan Taylor does well to strike a good balance of light-hearted humour and dramatic build-up led mainly by the excellent Tom Hiddleston. The Dark World pits Thor and company against the Dark Elves, aliens thought extinct some 5,000 years previous after their war with Asgard. Led by Malekith, played by former Doctor Who star Christopher Eccelston, the Dark Elves return and intend to use the Aether to return the nine realms to darkness. However in his own spider. More painfully, Twelfth Night was the inspiration for Motocrossed! A Disney Channel Original Movie about a girl who just loves motocross but whose father won’t let her do it because she is ‘just a girl’. Although these films are pretty bad, that does not stop them
By Jess Johnson
19 November 2013
Twelfth Night by Josh Bircham
here is little need to put forward in an argument for Twelfth Night’s relevance today. With its tale of a woman’s independence in a world ruled by men its themes still sit closely with contemporary opinion. However, most importantly, it just cannot fade into obscurity because it has been reinvented so many times. Often it is recalled by the clever and scholarly: the philosopher Nietzsche himself refers to it in one of his essays. It is also furthered through the dramatic arts: Helena Bonham Carter played a fantastic Olivia in Trevor Nunn’s 1996 film and the play has been reworked for stage countless times,
particularly in musical theatre. However, Twelfth Night has also been ‘re-envisaged’ multiple times in ways that would perhaps make Shakespeare turn in his grave. She’s the Man starring Amanda Bynes and Channing Tatum follows the tale of a teenage girl who cross-dresses in order to play on the boys’ football team. To really beat the dead horse, the writer has attempted to keep the same names Shakespeare used. This is all fine and well for Olivia and Viola but it does result in the male lead having to have the first name ‘Duke’ and, because ‘Malvolio’ is a name that nobody could possibly have in this day and age, it is given to a pet
Photo/ southwestern.swau.edu from being so enjoyable. Twelfth Night was a play performed at the end of the winter season to cheer everyone up, the renaissance version of the never-ending run of Home Alone films we watch
film Hemsworth’s Thor is often overshadowed by his own brother Loki. Hiddleston steals the show as Loki maintains his untrustworthy trickster antics. Despite this, the interaction between the two is frequently entertaining and their descent from argument to petty squabbles is sure to have audiences laughing. Supplemented by laughs from Thor’s allies, chiefly Zachary Levi’s Fandal (fans of Chuck are sure to see parallels) as well as Cif and Volstagg, the film prevents itself from slipping too far into its darker undertones. The only
issues are that Natalie Portman’s character becomes a Princess Peach-esque damsel in distress and at times the light-hearted humour does detract from the sense of danger and tension which never really has an opportunity to build momentum. It means the final battle does not bear anywhere near as much weight or importance as it should. Even if you have not watched any of the other films (though how could you not have?), Thor 2 is definitely worth a watch. Look out for a surprising cameo (i.e. not Stan Lee) and some iconic UK locations.
“With its tale of a woman’s independence in a world ruled by men its themes still sit closely with contemporary opinion.”
every Christmas season. The play is packed full of fun: we watch as the agonisingly snooty Malvolio receives his comeuppance, laughed off the stage resplendent in yellow tights and cross garters. More prominent is the main theme of a woman dressed as a man and the sexual jokes which surround it. The play is a romantic comedy, its main purpose is to make the audience come away happier. In a way this column does offer a slight word of warning: reinventing the classics could go slightly wrong (envisage Vinnie Jones reciting with aggressive passion ‘Some are born great…’) however, the reason why this play in particular continues to prevail is because its main point is just to have fun, and that hopefully won’t be losing importance any time soon.
19 November 2013
Is Albert Camus an Outsider on his 100th Anniversary? 100 years since the birth of Albert Camus, Petra Hanackova reflects on his life and work
he works of Albert Camus form an integral part of the canon of French as well as world literature. French students are during their studies asked to read at least one of Camus’s books, usually his novel L’Étranger (The Stranger). This famous work holds first place in Le Monde’s list of 100 best books of the 20th century. It tells the story of an emotionally detached man who is not touched by his mother’s death and murders a complete stranger in cold blood. However, behind this famous novel there lies a unique, inspirational story of its author that should be remembered on the occasion of Camus’s 100th anniversary. Albert Camus was born in Algeria on November 7 1913. His father died in the First World War and Camus was raised by his mother in a very poor environment. However, the lack of financial means did not prevent him from successfully pursuing formal studies. Thanks to his diligence, Camus won a scholarship to enter the lycée (high school) in 1923. Subsequently, he was accepted into the school of Philosophy at the University of Algiers. His studies were interupted by tuberculosis but he later recommenced studying in 1930. Finally, he got a degree whilst earning money in various jobs such as
“Despite the the author’s significance in the wider field of literature, it seems that he will never recieve the respect he deserves in the countries he engaged himself in – France and Algeria.” working for the Meteorological Institute or selling spare car parts. During his life, Camus distinguished himself as a political journalist, writer and philosopher. All his work is permeated by pacifism and a belief that human life is sacred. His poverty-stricken origin caused his leftist tendencies, be it, for example, establishment of the Workers‘ Theatre that intended to produce plays for the Algerian workers. His open criticism of war in Europe gave Camus the status of ‘threat to national security‘ and he was forced to leave Algeria. Camus found exile in Paris where, in 1943, he joined a clandestine resistance
Photo/ Mitmensch0812 (flickr) newspaper Combat. He created a false identity in order to travel to the French occupied territories, collect war news and delivered it to the Parisian public. Albert Camus’s literary endeavours brought him the biggest appraisal. He was awarded the 1957 Nobel Prize in Literature for his contribution to French and world literature, being the first Africanborn laureate. Besides L’Étranger, he is an author of numerous nov-
“Camus distinguished himself as a political journalist, writer and philosopher.”
els, short stories, essays and plays. Although many call Camus an existentialist, he himself rejected the label and rather inclined to the philosophy of the absurd. This philosophy is further explored in his essay The Myth of Sysiphus which is rooted in the idea that mortality makes human life meaningless and it is impossible to rationally perceive one’s experience. Despite the author’s significance in the field of literature, it seems that he will never recieve the respect he deserves in the countries he engaged himself in: France and Algeria. As for Algeria, the reason may be his audacity to place the murder of an Arab into one of his most popular works and hypothetically – it depends on the interpretation of his work – side with France during the postwar independence struggle. There were no grand celebrations and, in France, no one urged to transfer Camus’s body to the Panthéon on the occasion of his 100th anniversary. Fifty-three years have passed since he died tragically in a car accident. However, his legacy remains current even nowadays. Camus’s humanistic view of the world, defence of human rights and determination to make the world a better place shall never be forgotten.
The Bechdel Test: a feminist future for film? Local bands endure despite mid-semester lull
think I have noticed a bit of a pattern regarding seasonal gig frequency in the couple of years that I have been living in Aberdeen. There is usually an autumn boom where everybody puts on and goes to loads of things, possibly due to the post-festival live music buzz. But as it nears December, other things tend to take priority, and there is a bit less going on. Nevertheless, there is still loads to get excited about in the coming weeks if you are following local music. Marionettes are finally releasing their debut album with a launch gig at The Blue Lamp on 7 December. There is a limited number of tickets, so get on that quickly - £10 gets you entry and a copy of the album. There’s a lot of expectation for this, as they have been one of the country’s smartest, tightest and subtly infectious indie bands for years, (‘subtly infectious’ is clearly a compliment in this context). Daniel Mutch has been rabidly gigging away this year, and his song-craft has fiercely improved. He is now matching his intricate guitar-playing with lovely, melancholic melodies, and early listens of his next EP – hopefully out in December – suggest a maturity rarely seen so early in a
career. He has also rounded out the production values a little, so the tracks retain the charm of an acoustic singer-songwriter while adding the occasional flourish to keep things fresh. December also sees the debut performance of electro-pop producer Amanti, under his new guise. The stupidly talented Stonehaven native played some shows on his own earlier in the year, but when he hits Tunnels on 13 December, he’ll have a backing band beefing up his diverse range of un-indulgent electronic melodies. His songs were already mesmerisingly good, it will be nothing if not interesting to see how he makes use of more live instrumentation. The gig is also acting as a launch for his debut single, ‘Neutron Star’, which will be available for free download afterwards. It is also worth mentioning that the support acts, Miaoux Miaoux and Fiona Soe Paing, are equally brilliant in their own right, making this one of the most impressive line-ups of the year (especially for £5) and indicating something of a step up for the fledgling Headache promotions. By Alan Henderson
With the news this week that Swedish cinemas will be the first to pioneer a feminist rating system for films, Michael Cameron and Elizabeth Ozolins discuss its application
ichael: The Bechdel Test is, quite frankly, ridiculous. The idea of giving a film a rating based on how it performs based on three questions, quite simply doesn’t stand up to any kind of scrutiny. The rating is a response to the question of whether or not there are two or more named, female characters in the film, and whether or not they have a conversation about something that isn’t men. These questions don’t actually ascertain anything about how misogynistic, or otherwise, the film is. Zach Snyder’s ‘Sucker Punch’ is essentially comprised of five scantily clad women, leaping across the screen in action pack fight scenes, according to the instructions of the male director. Despite this, ‘Sucker Punch’ passes the feminist test with flying colours as there are five women and they all talk to each other and things other than men. On the other side of the spectrum, there are films such as part two of the seventh Harry Potter film which fails the Bechdel Test without being even slightly misogynistic or portraying women in a negative light. Harry Potter, in fact, portrays women as intelligent, empowered and very much equal with men. The intention behind the Bechdel Test is correct: Hollywood is run by men and most
Hollywood films predominantly feature men; but surely a more significant issue is the actual portrayal of women in Hollywood? A film can pass the Bechdel Test even if the women in the film are awful stereotypes that feminists certainly would not approve of. In short, it is approaching something that does need to be changed, in entirely the wrong way.
lizabeth: While the portrayal of women is certainly an issue which needs to be addressed within the film industry, I think what the Bechdel Test aims to highlight with its three criteria is the fact that many films do not even achieve the bare minimum of what would equate to gender equality. The idea, which came to fame through a comic strip by feminist cartoonist Alison Bechdel, was first presented as a humorous comment on female representation which later went on to be discussed within academic film courses. The test was not initially intended to be a rigorous screening process, rather a subversive remark which highlighted something which had not necessarily been discussed and certainly not addressed before. However, I do agree that if positive
“The idea of giving a film a rating based on how it performs based on three questions, quite simply doesn’t stand up to any kind of scrutiny.”
steps are to be taken in terms of female representation, the rating system needs to evolve, but the fact that there are such an overwhelming quantity of films which continue to perpetuate a fundamental gender dichotomy, perhaps such a basic rating system is sadly appropriate for our time. Despite the fact that the rating system is clearly not a comprehensive system to distinguish the complex issue of gender representation, what the test certainly has done is open up a global dialogue, one which can be built upon and will hopefully lead to fewer stereotypes and establish a more well-rounded representation of the feminine experience.
Editor: Josiah Bircham
DF Concerts Presents: Editors Music Hall
Music University of Aberdeen Symphony Orchestra Elphinstone Hall 21 November 2013 7.30pm Entry: £8 (concessions students & U16s £2)
Come along and support Aberdeen University’s Symphony orchestra as they perform Britten’s Soirees Musicales op.9, Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No.1 op.107 and Britten’s Sinfonia da requiem op.20. Conducted by Christopher Gray with Mark Bailey on the Cello it is sure to be an impressive concert of modern and exciting music. Jyotsna Srikanth - Bangalore Dreams The Blue Lamp
25 November 2013 7pm (Doors) Entry: £22.00 inc. b.f. Returning to Aberdeen’s Music Hall after a spectacular Glastonbury set, and with a new album, The Weight of Your Love, under their belt, the alternative rock band Editors are sure to impress. The group consists of Tom Smith (lead vocals, guitar, piano); Russell Leetch (bass guitar, synthesizer, backing vocals); Ed Lay (drums, percussion, backing vocals); Justin Lockey (lead guitar); and Elliott Williams (keys, synthesizers, guitars, and backing vocals). Supporting Editors is the new alternative and indie rock band, The 1975, performing as part of a UK tour promoting their selftitled debut album.
DF Concerts Presents: Tinie Tempah AECC
Leo Holding: From Amazon to Antarctica Lemon Tree Lounge
2 December 2013 6pm (Doors) Entry: £28.25 inc. b.f.
21 November 2013 7pm (Doors) Entry: £14.00 plus b.f.
One of the UK’s most innovative artists, Tinie Tempah will be hitting the road this December in support of his highly anticipated new album Demonstration and one of his stops will be the AECC. His new album is a bold, surprising and pioneering piece of work with an eclectic mix of collaborators and the showcase of it in concert is highly anticipated. Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult.
A climbing prodigy who started by scaling the Old Man of Hoy at just ten years old, Leo Holding is always in search of greater adventures, last year travelling to the least accessible and most contrasting corners of Earth: the Amazon jungle and the centre of the Antarctic. In his new talk, Leo will be talking about his adventures including climbing Ulvetanna, a 4500ft cliff situated in Queen Maud Land, the hardest summit to reach on the harshest continent on Earth. Accompanied by world-class photography and film-footage shot by the multi-award winning filmmaker Alastair Lee, this is a rare treat.
21 November 2013 8pm Entry: £10 (Concessions £8 / Students £5) As a part of Jazz at The Blue Lamp and Sound Festival, Jyotsna Srkanth, a leading exponent of Indian jazz and experimental music, with a technique rooted in Western classical music, is performing her latest jazz-fusion tour “Bangalore Dreams”. A veteran of WOMAD, the BBC Proms, eight albums and nearly 200 Bollywood films, she is a huge name in Jazz. Come along to experience something entirely new!
Events Ceilidh With Clachan Yell Music Hall
22 November 2013 7.30pm Entry: £29.50+ booking fee (b.f.)
Often referred to as one of the best ceilidh bands in the world, Clachan Yell are coming to Aberdeen’s Music Hall to perform an evening of ceilidh music. Come along for a post-essay celebration, or escape from university work and dance all the worries and disappointment away!
23 November 2013 7pm Entry: £15.00 available)
Red Hot Chilli Pipers Music Hall 30 November 2013 7.30pm Entry: £22.50 plus b.f.
The World’s No1 Eric Clapton Tribute Band will be making a welcome return to Aberdeen Arts Centre Theatre on Saturday 23 November as the Arts Centre celebrates its 50th Anniversary. The band have performed numerous sell-out shows as well as at The Royal Festival Hall and Glastonbury Festival. The show will journey through Eric Clapton’s music with classics such as Wonderful Tonight, I Shot The Sheriff, Lay Down Sally, Crossroads, Tears in Heaven and Layla.
Cinderella His Majesty’s Theatre 30 November 2013 - 5 January 2014 Various Times- see website Entry: £25 - £19+bf Family Tickets £90 - £64+bf This year, His Majesty’s theatre will be staging as their Christmas pantomime Cinderella. Celebrate the end of term and come and laugh at the abundance of comedy and be amazed by the flying horse which transports Cinderella and her coach to the ball! Make sure you book early as the tickets will sell out fast. Aberdeen Performing Arts and Qdos Entertainment have worked together to produce a ‘relaxed’ version of the panto on Friday, January 3, at 1pm, subduing the more extreme elements of the show such as pyrotechnics, loud noises, and strobe lighting. They are specifically designed for people with an autistic spectrum condition, learning disability or sensory and communication disorders.
23 November 2013 2pm - 6pm Entry: £4
29 November 2013 8pm Entry: £11.00 inc. b.f.
Classic Clapton ACT Aberdeen
Yoga Tea Time Small Hall and Bookends at Butchart Centre
60’s Gold: 50th Anniversary Show at the Music hall Music Hall
I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t want to go to this star line-up of Gerry & the Pacemakers, The Searchers, P.J. Proby, The Fortunes, Brian Poole and Chip Hawkes grooving away to classic sixties music at Aberdeen’s Music Hall. Feel free to come along for a dance while listening to the greatest hits of the century and be taken back in time.
19 November 2013
These are bagpipes with attitude and drums with a Scottish accent. The Red Hot Chilli Pipers have been rocking the world from New York to Beijing with musicianship of the highest order and a passion for pipes that will leave you breathless. They rose to fame after they entered and won the BBC talent show When Will I Be Famous? And, since then, have appeared on the main stage at T in the Park with the headline band The Darkness. Also, a track from the new Red Hot Chilli Pipers CD was recently played on BBC Radio 1 when they appeared on the Greg James show in July 2013. Adding a dash of rock to your typical Scottish movement, you have to see them once in your life.
Enchanted Castle Crathes Castle 20 - 24 November 2013 5pm - 9.30pm Entry: £12.10 inc. b.f. (concessions £9.90 inc. b.f. children £5.50 inc. b.f. U5s free) Scotland’s leading sound and light artists take you on an all new night time journey in and around Crathes Castle’s wooded paths. Experience the sights and sounds of the woods as never before! The ticket prices include entry to the castle and all other activities. All under 16s must be accompanied by an adult at all times.
The Trickery Snafu Nightclub 1 December 2013 7.30pm (Doors) Entry: £11.00 inc. b.f. From mind readers to exotic dancers and from stage pickpockets to close-up magicians, this show promises to be an evening of magical wonder, breath-taking burlesque and hilarious comedy. The headline act this month is Dave Forrest who has performed all over the world and had a special invite to perform at the illustrious Magic Castle in Hollywood. Also performing is ‘Woody The Magician’, coming from a hugely successful Enterteasement night that he runs in Glasgow. Burlesque will be provided by Miss Helles Bell, the producer and director of ‘The Great Gatsby Club’, Scotland’s largest 1920s themed cabaret and club night.
Come along and combine doing yoga with drinking tea or coffee and consuming various baked treats, what some say to be the perfect mix… This is a meeting of minds between the Yoga Society and the Tea and Coffee Society and there are only a limited number of spaces available for members of either society, so make sure you reserve a spot.
French Film Festival The Belmont Picture House
Breakneck comedy Featuring: Ron Vaudry / Gus Lymburn (mc) plus guests The Blue Lamp
21 November - 7 December 2013 6.30pm - 10pm Entry: £8.50
23 November 2013 8pm (Doors) Entry: £10
The Belmont Picture House are hosting a French Film Festival and will be starting with La Tendresse (Tenderness) on Saturday 23 November. Come to the viewing and convince yourself that you’re a cultured and sensitive individual. Aberdeen University’s French Society has reserved tables in the cinema bar downstairs for a drink and a chat after the film.
Breakneck Comedy is the most dynamic and fastest growing comedy club in Aberdeen and the North East of Scotland, and on Saturday 23 November Ron Vaundry, a forerunner on the Canadian comedy scene, will be headlining.
Theatre APA and Oran Mor present A Play, a Pie and a Pint: Guilty by Rona Munro The Lemon Tree 26 - 30 November 2013 26 - 29 November 6pm 30 November 1pm Entry: £11.00 inc. b.f. New to Aberdeen from Glasgow, this show is exactly what it suggests. Come along, grab a pie and an alcoholic beverage (available from an hour before the show) and enjoy some of the country’s best talent. For more information about this event, check out their website.
Breakneck Comedy Featuring: Mark Nelson Snafu Nightclub 26 November 2013 8pm (Doors) Entry: £6 / £5 concession Snafu’s weekly comedy night featuring comedians from the Scottish circuit and beyond features headliner Mark Nelson. The winner of the inaugural Scottish Comedian of the Year Award in 2006, about a year after his first-ever open-spot, Mark Nelson is a powerhouse mix of dark humour, cutting observations and superb one-liners.
19 November 2013
Aberdeen Squash 1sts battle their way to BUCS spot in Edinburgh
In other news...
Aberdeen University Squash Club captain Hannah Garrick reflects on the club’s performance at the SSS Team Championships in Edinburgh
hen the word ‘squash’ is mentioned usually one of two things pop up in your mind. Either you think of the concentrated fruit juice or you think of the racquet sport that involves hitting a little ball against a wall. It is hard to argue with the latter opinion, especially since Scottish Squash’s tagline is ‘bashing a ball against a wall’. Some may think it’s a sport enjoyed by elderly gentlemen at the country club. However, squash is much more than that. It is a physically demanding, intense sport which can be, and is, enjoyed by all abilities. The Aberdeen University club is proof of that. On the first weekend of November every year, the finest of Scottish university squash players gather together for a demanding weekend of intense competitive squash. In a break from tradition, this year’s competition was held at Colinton Castle Sports Club in Edinburgh. The stakes are always high as only the top six teams in the competition advance through to the BUCS rounds of the Team Championships. Ten of Aberdeen University’s finest male squash players headed down to the capital earlier this month. The competition was stiff this year with a total of 14 men’s teams being entered into the competi-
tion. Each team consisted of five men and, with only ten players from Aberdeen University entered, there was no rest anticipated for anyone. The competition was run
Glasgow University 2nds. The Aberdeen boys demonstrated some solid squash to convincingly retain their ranking of fifth seed. Unluckily for Aberdeen’s second team
Photo/ takethatphoto in a Monrad system, with Aberdeen’s first team entering the competition ranked fifth and the second team ranked ninth. The first round got under way early on Saturday morning with Aberdeen’s first team taking on the
they were drawn against a strong Edinburgh 2nds but they fought courageously and deserve to be proud of their results. In the second round on Saturday, Aberdeen 1sts met the eventual winners of the tournament, Edinburgh 1sts.
The match was undeniably tough but all the boys played admirably. Ken Filigiano deserves a special mention for his first cap for Aberdeen University; he triumphed over the number one seeded Edinburgh player who was undefeated the whole tournament apart from his match against Ken. As Saturday drew to a close, both Aberdeen teams could be content with their performances, with the first team still within the top six of the competition. Competition started back early on Sunday morning with the Aberdeen 1sts match deciding whether they progressed through to BUCS. With some slightly sorer heads than the day before, the boys battled hard to come out victorious and secure a spot in BUCS. Aberdeen 2nds also played well on Sunday but were unfortunate not to progress through to BUCS. BUCS matches commence early next year for which we are sure the boys will do the club and University proud. The squash club is always open to new members to join, whether you have played squash before or just fancy giving it a try! Club training times are Wednesdays 14:30 16:30 and Sundays 14:10 - 16:10 at ASV. For more information, check out the club’s Facebook group.
Men’s Shinty’s perfect start to season spoiled by Glasgow Duncan Liddle reports on a hard fought match against Glasgow earlier this month
berdeen Uni 1 – 3 Glasgow Uni Had the rules from last weekend’s shinty-hurling international been in force, Aberdeen might have won this encounter, pinging more shots over the bar than one can count in a match where missed chances and sloppy defending cost the home side. Aberdeen started strongly, dominating possession and territory but despite not getting too many shots it appeared that if the midfield could ensure regular service to the forward line, goals would come.
“The second half was kinder to Aberdeen, who pressed the Glasgow defence but a combination of poor luck and poor shooting meant Aberdeen’s forwards sent shot after shot over the bar.”
Inevitably, Glasgow settled down, got themselves back into the game
heads seemed to go down after this point and Glasgow, smelling blood,
Photo/ Aberdeen University Shinty club and made it clear that their for- pressed for another. Eventually, wards’ passing game was the match quick passing in front of goal left of Aberdeen’s and after a period Aberdeen 2-0 down and a frustratof pressure a disorganised Aber- ed defence wished for half time in deen defence left Glasgow’s wing- order to regroup. forward with the ball in space. His The second half was kinder to Ablow shot appeared to have been erdeen, who pressed the Glasgow stopped by keeper James Hop- defence but a combination of poor kinson, yet somehow managed to luck and poor shooting meant Absneak past an extended foot and erdeen’s forwards sent shot after find its way into the net. Aberdeen shot over the bar. Under pressure,
Glasgow’s panicked goalkeeper kicked the ball and Mark Fraser converted the penalty. Aberdeen continued to press but Glasgow again got back into it and during a final twenty minutes of thrilling end-to-end shinty Glasgow caught Hopkinson off his line and put the result beyond doubt. Hopkinson would make amends shortly after when he conceded a penalty for a kick, only to stop the shot. Overall, Glasgow were the better side but Aberdeen have every reason to be disappointed with themselves after a frustrating performance in a match that on another day they might, and maybe should, have won. If you are interested in joining Aberdeen University Shinty Club check out their Facebook group.
Following last Wednesday’s BUCS results, Aberdeen have amassed 158 wins so far this season, with 274 defeats and 20 draws, making their win rate 35%. As a result, Aberdeen have fallen to 39th position in the overall BUCS table, sandwiched between York and Brighton. Whilst in the Scottish table, Aberdeen lies in 5th just behind Glasgow. Fencing, Lacrossse and Rugby Union have been Aberdeen’s top performers so far this season. Check out http:// www.bucs.org.uk/homepage.asp for more information. All information is correct as of 14th November.
Rifle Last weekend saw the first SSS league competitions of the 2013-14 season. Aberdeen stormed into the lead on Saturday, winning four out of six categories thanks to Jonty Barron who took first place and also won the pairs with Ian McDougall. The ladies Tri consisting of Marie Dolor, Alison Young and Sophie Fraser took second place. The Sunday saw Jonty Barron claim second place with Martin Georgiev winning the novice event.
Rugby Union Aberdeen 1st XV claimed a fantastic win over league rivals Edinburgh last Wednesday with a 10-3 win in what was a tense and tight encounter on King’s pitches. Elsewhere, the 3rd XV lost in the last minute to Edinburgh 2nd XV 19-17 and the 4th XV were beaten by 40 points to 10 against a strong Heriot Watt 1st XV. Also, the Women’s 1st XV were awarded a walkover against Stirling due to their opponents failing to field a team.
Badminton Aberdeen Men’s 1sts lie in second position with a game in hand in Scottish Division 2A following a 7-5 win over Heriot-Watt. However, the Men’s 2nds were unable to replicate the 1sts form as they were undone by St. Andrews earlier this month.
Water Polo Last week saw the Men’s side grab their second victory of the season as they beat Granite City rivals RGU 13-7 whilst the Women’s side narrowly lost their Scottish 1A encounter 11-10 to Edinburgh 2nds.
19 November 2013
Editor: Stuart Bill
The week in tweets
Men’s Football 2nd XI knocked out of BUCS Cup by Granite City rivals
@serenawilliams – the US tennis star on the recent typhoon that has hit the Philippines -
My heart, thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of #Haiyan. They have a long road to recovery and need our support. @sachin_rt – Sachin Tendulkar, the iconic Indian batsman thanks his supporters after a stellar career I am really touched with #ThankYouSachin messages. Your support all these years have inspired me to give my best. @AussieGrit – Mark Webber congratulates Marquez following his MotoGP Championship victory – Was a special little bloke when I met him the 1st time. congrats on the world title @ marcmarquez93 #redbull @J_Ennis – the Olympic athlete congratulates World squash champion, Nick Matthew – Congratulations to @ nickmatthew World Champion Absolutely brilliant performance! @andy_murray - the Wimbledon champion gives an update on his rehab programme following back surgery off to miami on monday to step up recovery and get out the cold weather which does not agree with my back!! @mattyrussell3 - the Scottish Rugby League full-back looks forward to the WC QFs – Can’t wait for Friday, Scotland v New Zealand
Video of the Week
Globetrotter breaks backboard! http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/ basketball/24923841
Ewen Reid reports on AUMFC 2nd XI’s exit from the BUCS Cup following defeat by Robert Gordon 1st XI
very year as part of the Granite City Challenge the University 1s have the opportunity to get one over on their Robert Gordon counterparts. However, last week, the 2s were presented with the rare chance to play RGU outside the Granite City Challenge after being drawn with their 1s in the BUCs cup. On this occasion the game was played on RGU territory at Garthdee. The 2s travelled to Garthdee on the back of three defeats on the bounce in BUCs matches and skipper Robert Guyan was looking for an improved performance from his men with an almost full strength side to pick from. RGU kicked off the game and as expected the 2s set up with a compact 4-5-1 formation, leaving Sean MacDonald with a thankless task as the lone striker. As expected, RGU had the majority of the possession in the opening exchanges but struggled to break down a very disciplined AU side. However, unfortunately the 2s goal was breached as a breakdown in communication between keeper MacArthur and left-back Barnett presented RGU’s centre-forward with an open goal to aim for to break the deadlock leaving AU feeling partic-
Photo/ AUMFC ularly hard done by. The response from the 2s was immediate with a good passing move down the right culminating in a Paul Spence header being flashed over the cross bar after he got on the end of a dangerous Guyan cross. Shortly into the second half, Guyan made an attacking switch, bringing top goalscorer Neil Moir off the bench and withdrawing Michael Fruish, who put in a great
shift in the centre of the park. It proved to be an inspired substitution as Moir equalised for the Strollers less than ten minutes after being introduced. A long free kick from centre-half Ewen Reid appeared to be safe in the gloves of the RGU keeper but Moir gambled on a mistake and was rewarded for his persistence, prodding the ball away from the keeper as it was spilled before stabbing it home.
With the match balanced on a knife edge both sides had chances, MacArthur was forced into a splendid save to tip an audacious lofted attempt over his crossbar and Mike Barrett at the other end was thwarted by the onrushing keeper when he found an opening in behind RGU’s defence. With ten minutes to go it was RGU who bagged the winner. RGU’s classy centre-midfielder jinked in and out of three AU defenders before calmly slotting under MacArthur from 12 yards sending the home support into raptures. This forced Guyan to make some changes to chase the match but with the game opening up, RGU’s pacy wide man took advantage of the space, driving into the heart of the pitch from the left before beautifully curling a right footed shot in off the post to end the game as a contest with minutes to go. All in all it was a promising performance from an AU side that went into the match as clear underdogs. This proved to be a very competitive affair, which has only added to the anticipation surrounding the AU 1s GCC match to be played at the Hillhead Stadium in March next year.
Aberdeen Archers kick off indoor season with impressive display Steven Seagull reports on AUAC’s second place finish in opening indoor SSS league match
ast weekend, Aberdeen University Archery Club travelled to Edinburgh for a 9am start for the first league match in the Scottish Student Sports indoor season. There were six Scottish universities taking part and there were some impressive results on the day. Aberdeen claimed second place with a total team score of 2227 points with individual scores of (Véronique Heijnsbroek) 586, (Rebekah Tipping) 565, (Simon Garrett) 564 and (Amy Bode) 530. Véronique and Rebekah also came first and second respectively in the individual ladies recurve category and Simon came fourth in the gentlemen’s category. The round shot was played in the ‘Portsmouth’ format, meaning the archers shoot 60 arrows at a 60cm target from a distance of 20 yards with a maximum score of 600 points up for grabs. The competition was fierce and Aberdeen were determined to put in a fine display after winning both the Indoor and
Outdoor SSS Championships last year. However, Edinburgh pulled in front with a total score of 2241, the highest score that has been shot by a Scottish club since 2008, with Edinburgh Napier finishing in third with a score of 2222. Not only was this a very tight encounter with the top three teams being separated by a mere 19 points, it was also the first time in over 13 years that three teams had shot over 2200 points in a league fixture. The following day (Sunday 10 November) saw team members Rebekah, Amy and Simon also compete in the Lasswade Remembrance Sunday Portsmouth. All three shot fantastic scores once more. Rebekah topped the ladies recurve scores and won a gold medal and trophy with an impressive 579, beating the second and third place archers by 12 points. The total team score was 1667 points with Simon and Amy shooting 563 and 525 respectively. This score would have won them the
team gold last year but a strong Edinburgh team stepped up again to take the title. There were impressive performances all round
from AUAC and they will hope to replicate their good form as they progress through the season.
An Editor falls in our penultimate edition of the year.