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march 7th 2012

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“Their platform focuses on opening the SRC to broader student involvement and scrutiny” our glasgow – 3

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Contributors Editors Sean Anderson Jean-Xavier Boucherat Oliver Milne Harry Tattersall Smith News & Views Oliver Milne, Dennis Barry, Euan McTear, Debbie White, Joe Trotter Culture John-Xavier Boucherat, Carolyn Westwater, Kate Hole, Louisa Hilda, Sean Greenhorn, Philip Hunter, Joe Trotter, Csenge Lantos, Dasha Miller, JoshSlater Williams, Andy King Sport Jannik Giesekam, David Lyons, Chas Stockwell, Rebecca Day, Martin Lennon, Marcus Peabody, Vicky Bichener, Harry Tattersall Smith Proofing &c Marcus Peabody, Harley Grant, Dasha Miller

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GUU & QMU David Lockhart and Colum Fraser elected as union leaders in March 1st polls Harry Tattersall Smith David Lockhart has won the GUU presidential election after defeating rival Christopher Bush by 727 votes to 219. Lockhart, who stepped in as libraries convenor in November after Michael Gray resigned from the position, was strong favourite throughout the race with his campaign being heavily supported by outgoing president Chris Sibbald. Bush, a present student member (PSM), competed against favourite Lockhart as the GUU experienced its first presidential contest in two years. The loss of the Hive and the development of a new social space has been the issue that had dominated election coverage and Lockhart will have to steer the union through one of its most dif-

ficult periods in recent years. Ally Farrell has been elected entertainments convenor after defeating James Kemp whilst Imogen Dewar has been elected debates convenor after edging out Paul Baird. Chris Sibbald spoke of the successful turnout for the elections: “Despite the rain, GUU has seen an incredible turnout of just over 1,000. All candidates have shown enthusiasm and kindness of spirit for each other, and the future of the union. The election is a reminder that the GUU is an incredibly vibrant students’ union and runs through the blood of many students at Glasgow University.” Meanwhile at the Queen Margaret Union, Colum Fraser was elected president in a landslide victory over his opponent Paddy Hughes. Fraser, who won with 71% of the

votes cast, will continue to serve as the union’s honorary assistant secretary before beginning his term as president on July 1st of this year. The election had been dominated over debates about the financial future of the QM with the union itself predicting heavy losses which could lead to its closure if the financial situation isn’t rectified in the next few years. Paul Kelly and James Ansell were elected as events and social convenor respectively in the only contested convenorship elections. Tom Kelly and Robin Callaghan were elected to the positions of publications and campaigns and charities convener unopposed. The elections for the positions of current student representative were hotly contested and Ruaraidh MacIntyre was elected to the position of former student member.

advertising@glasgowguardian.co.uk news@glasgowguardian.co.uk culture@glasgowguardian.co.uk sport@glasgowguardian.co.uk editors@glasgowguardian.co.uk Got thought? If you would like to provide anonymous tipoffs or articles, please get in touch by way of note attached to brick lobbed through our office window, just above and to the left of the Main Gate on University Avenue. twitter.com/glasgowguardian facebook.com/glasgowguardian

James Ansell, QM Social Con

Colum Fraser, QM President

Ally Farrell, GUU Entertainments Con

Davey Lockhart, GUU President

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Whose Glasgow? The “Our Glasgow” slate of SRC candidates Oliver Milne @OliverMilne This year’s SRC election sees a slate of left wing candidates under the banner of Our Glasgow vying for your votes on a platform of transparency and democracy. Our Glasgow are running nine candidates for positions, Lucky Dhillon for president, Megan Cowie for vice president learning and development and seven other candidates in various categories and positions under a manifesto which defines its agenda as to: “change the SRC into a truly representative body – one which is at the forefront of campaigning for student interests.” Their platform focuses on opening up the SRC to broader student involvement and scrutiny through more transparency into the council’s finances, student refrenda and petitions to engage campus in policy making and steps to tackle bad landlords and employers. Slates of left wing candidates have not featured heavily in many SRC elections prior to this one. In 2009 a slate named Reclaim the SRC, featuring Dhillon as a candidate for vice president learning and development, ran candidates for three of the sabbatical positions. The tactic was not an effective one with none of the candidates proving successful and its candidate for president, Phil Neal receiving only 21% of the vote and being eliminated in the first round. Left-wing slates can be successful

Robin Parker has been re-elected President of the National Union of Students (NUS) Scotland. Parker defeated Charandeep Singh, current president of Strathclyde University Students’ Union. • The Dialectic Society celebrated its 150th anniversary with a weekend of activities and of course a debate. The motion “This house has no confidence in Her Majesty’s Government” was defeated in a debate featuring Ann McKechin MP and debaters from the society both past and present. • Glasgow University Raising and Giving (RAG) week will be running from the 12th to the 16th of March. All four student bodies will be joining forces to raise as much money as possible for charities throughout the week. To get involved in the week’s events or vote for your preferred RAG charities go to facebook.com/GlasgowUniversityRAG or email vp-support@src.gla.ac.uk • Glasgow-based students are set to benefit from new Glasgow Housing Association (GHA) fund. The fund will help students pay for books, travel and even childcare costs if needed. 200 students will receive the £1500 bursary each year, and can apply so long as they stay in GHA housing, are over 17 years old and are going to be studying at one of the city’s higher education institutions.

in student elections, something which Defend Edinburgh proved last year at Edinburgh University Student Association elections. The group, formed through campus occupations and the university’s anti-cuts coalition, ran a hard-fought campaign which resulted in them securing one of the four sabbatical officers, vice president academic affairs Mike Williamson, and nearly half of the seats on the student council. Naomi Beecroft, a EUSA school rep who was part of the Defend Edinburgh slate described the effects as a radicalisation of EUSA’s behaviour. The shift saw them them actively supporting campus occupations and other forms student protest. Beecroft said she believed that the effects had been positive, especially on issues which would otherwise have been condemned but without any real action from the association: “If we weren’t there it would probably have been ‘Oh dear 9k fees, that’s really bad! Anyway lets talk about a graduate hub.’” Defend Edinburgh’s success may have provided some inspiration for Our Glasgow, but the situations on Scotland’s university campuses have changed radically since Edinburgh and Glasgow students went to the polls this time last year. Last year saw the UK government raise the cap on higher education fees in England to £9k, plan cuts to educational maintenance allowance (EMA) and execute budgets cuts in public services, whilst north of the border Scottish universities planned course

NEWS IN BRIEF Glasgow University has linked up with Irvine Royal Academy to allow student teachers and academics from the University to spend time teaching at the school. The “Partner School” looks to make the most of the opportunity to receive this teaching assistance from academics and experts from the University. • Glasgow University’s Centre for Public Policy for Regions (CPPR) has questioned Alex Salmond’s claim that funds from North Sea oil reserves could provide Scotland with £30bn, enough to keep an independent Scotland’s finances afloat. Scottish Labour have backed the report and claimed this further undermines the economic case for independence. The SNP rejects the group’s claims. • Beloved facebook page GU Memes passed into obscurity after gory and unpleasant images prompted a change in the admin policy. The page achieved campus wide success and 5000 likes in just a few days in mid February. • Edinburgh University has introduced a students’ housing charter which sets out the basic standards that the university would like landlords to commit to. A number of the largest letting agents in Edinburgh, including Southside Property Management, Your Move and Mansion have signed up to the scheme.

closures. Student marches in London attracted tens of thousands of students and for the period between September and March it was one of nation’s biggest news stories. Defend Edinburgh won with an anti-cuts message in a year when this was the biggest issue on every campus in Scotland. Glasgow was a hive of anti-cuts activity with marches on campus to protest the course closures being attended by thousands of students on more than one occasion and the Free Hetherington occupation. Even in this context, the campus left wing were unable to gain a foothold in the SRC, with anti-cuts presidential candidate James Foley losing by 4% of the vote. This year the issues have changed and the anger mellowed. University budgets are not at the same risk, but fees to students from the rest of the UK have risen with Edinburgh and St Andrews now charging £9,000 and Glasgow £6,825 a year. Similarly, courses are still closing, with Glasgow University’s ruling body court becoming embroiled in a legal scandal over the legality of its decision to close Slavonic Studies. At Glasgow the focus of anger has shifted and become less widespread. The election instead focuses on transparency and accountability in the SRC, which plays major part of Our Glasgow’s policy platform. But this left wing platform shares that concern with the majority of non-slate candidates in running for sabbatical positions.

A recently stolen sculpture has been returned to the Kelvingrove Museum following an anonymous tip off. The £20,000 piece, a bronze sculpture from the artist Gerald Laing was stolen on the afternoon of Sunday 19th February. Following the tip-off it was found five days later and is now back on display. The piece was the first work to be stolen since the reopening of the museum in 2006. • Glasgow University Sports Association will be holding their annual elections on March the 15th. 16 positions on the GUSA council are up for grabs including president. The elections take place in a time of uncertainty for the organisation with the closure of Kelvin Hall sports arena later this year. • Some part-time research students could now be better off after the SRC persuaded the university to introduce a new system of certification for the purposes of council tax exemption. Students studying for more than 21 hours a week are urged to contact the SRC advice centre for more information. • Security guards in the library accidentally failed to turn off the tannoy after an announcement, subjecting everyone in the building to the pop hits of Olly Murs. Embarrassment and shame was felt by all involved.

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src spring elections 2012 Wednesday and Thursday March 7th-8th will see the SRC’s spring election, the larger of its two annual polls. It will select the majority of council. This includes the president and three vice presidents, who are full-time sabbatical officers and play the most important role in terms of working with the university. Elections are taking place for 25 positions, four sabbatical officers, four college convenors, two postgraduate convenors, six welfare officers, and nine school representatives. Three of the five positions available to postgraduates are left unfilled as are the positions of age equality officer, international students officer and nine school representative positions.

Words Oliver Milne Photos Sean Anderson & Dasha Miller

A quick read of this year’s manifestos shows that transparency and accountability are the main theme in most positions. This is not surprising in the election following a year in which the organisation’s president, Stuart Ritchie, was forced from office following the release of email exchanges advocating RUK fees of 9k, unprofessional remarks about fellow sabbatical officers to university management and, after being forced to resign, taking £3,800 for the privilege. Although a question remains, outside of the major scandals that occasionally buffet the organisation, does your average student care enough about their representatives to hold the SRC to account?

Another thing to remember as you talk to the candidates, read these interviews, or pick up flyers on polling day is the financial context. The coming years are likely to be very tight financially for SRC and the higher education sector. Budget increases are unlikely. So when a candidate talks of improving a service or cutting off a revenue stream, how are they going to pay for it? Extended interviews and up-to-date elections coverage online at glasgowguardian.co.uk fb.com/glasgowguardian twitter.com/glasgowguardian

Candidates for the position of

President Chizzy Chisholm

Lucky Dhillon

A quick read of Chizzy’s manifesto quickly reveals that (shock-horror) somebody perhaps isn’t taking the entire process quite as seriously as everybody else. His comic leanings shouldn’t fool you though, having served as the QMU’s honorary assistant secretary he has a large support base. The chances of this joke becoming a reality aren’t to be ignored. Oh and just so you know – if he wins he promises to do the job.

Dhillon is part of the Our Glasgow slate and the candidate of the left in this election. Unlike many people who have held this position before Dhillon isn’t a divisive figure on campus, having built up a level of respect as a figure comfortable and capable both of negotiation and of moderating her own views. She was one of the key figures in organising many of the anti-cuts protests last year. Her manifesto focuses heavily on transparency and democracy within the SRC and on the council’s relationship with the university. Q&A

Q&A Guardian: It seems pretty clear from your manifesto that your big concern is about democratic accountability and transparency in the SRC. Is this lack of transparency deliberate or the result of an apathetic student body?

With Chizzy, we only had one question. Guardian: Your campaign is clearly a joke. Once you had published the manifesto online, got some publicity on Glasgow Hack and had a laugh, why did you then decide to formally stand?

Insider Odds ??/?? Whilst clearly a joke candidate this campaign has garnered the most responses online so far. Will this support turn out on the day? What would happen if he did win? Stay tuned to find out as this week progresses.

Chisholm: I submitted my candidacy just simply to see what would happen. The life of a postgrad gets quite boring and I think my manifesto gives a bit of comic relief from the whole election season. Its a bit of laugh really and instead of people hating my poor craic they were keen for me to run on the basis that this banter was fresh and moist. I am also running because I firmly believe party gondolas are the way forward and carrier owls instead of MyCampus just makes sense. That as we say is Chizzy.

Insider Odds 3/1 Being well-known and having a strong manifesto work in Lucky’s favour in this election. However a strong field and the electoral uncertainty of being part of a slate could work against her.

Dhillon: I don’t think we have an apathetic student body. Over the past 18 months students of Glasgow University have continually been involved in demonstrations, debates, etc. over the future of education and the wider questions of austerity. However, there is a level of apathy towards the SRC because students don’t think that they have a real opportunity to shape it and its policies. The petition calling a vote of no confidence in our now resigned president Stuart Richie set the tone for these elections and unless we transform the SRC it will become irrelevant on campus and students will become more and more disfranchised from it.

Nothing apart from total transparency, democracy and accountability should be accepted. Guardian: You talk of a setting up an agreement with university management. How do you envisage it working? Lucky: Currently, there is no clarity surrounding management’s plans for Glasgow University. Students are left in the dark until cruical announcements are made. Last year the student body refused to accept cuts and management had to retreat on a large section of proposals. However, management has not given the assurance that these cuts, or more of the same will not be implemented in the future. The agreement would put pressure on senior management members to make their position clear on the future of Glasgow University, and assure them that the SRC has a clear position against any future cuts or implementation/rise of fees. Guardian: Do you support the concept of the unions getting seats on court? Dhillon: Yes. Currently there are only two student representative on court which is ridiculous, considering court is where key financial decisions are made. I think the unions need to be given seats on court but also all SRC execs. Our ability to shape the decisions at university court level will be dependent on the strength of our ability to represent all students.


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James Harrison

Insider Odds 2/1 A lot of support on Facebook, insider knowledge of the SRC and a dedicated campaign team make Harrison the obvious frontrunner in this election. But with wellknown challengers and a joke campaign with lots of support, this won’t be an easy campaign.

Harrison is the candidate with most direct SRC experience in this presidential election. His role currently is as the SRC’s vice president for learning and development. His support is strong online and his orange t-shirts have already started making appearances at campus events in the run up to polling, hinting at a well-organised campaign. Harrison’s manifesto’s main themes centre around democratic reform and building on what he sees as the organisation’s previous success. Q&A Guardian: MyCampus has been a major issue for much of this year. Do you think the worst problems, like difficulty

of access for the visually impaired, will be sorted? If not, what would you like to see the SRC do to bring forward a solution? Harrison: I am cautiously hopeful that the majority of software problems with MyCampus can be fixed by the next academic year, as the university have been putting considerable resources into fixing all problematic areas that have been highlighted. Over the summer months I’ll ask if SRC council members and our advice centre team can have a run through of the newly updated MyCampus to ensure that all problems have been dealt with. I believe the main problem that is still facing MyCampus however is the lack of training that many staff have been undertaking. Last year we had several staff just not bother with the training, leading to many of the problems that we faced during the registration period as there was confusion not only on the student side but on the staff side. Following the resignation of the last SRC president, I sit on a few of the committees that will be dealing with these issues and I will strongly emphasise now and over the next year the extreme importance of administrative and advisory staff undertaking the training required to use the system. While the implementation of the new advising system last year was a separate issue to MyCampus, the fact is that again many of the new advisors are not dealing with the system well, and many staff members who should be signing up to become advisors are not doing so after seeing the problems of last year. Many advisors of studies are now finding themselves responsible for hundreds upon hundreds of students, and we really need the university to act on making sure we have enough welltrained advisors of studies to accommodate our student population. Guardian: In what ways do you think being a current sabbatical officer helps or hinders your campaign? Does being in an office for a year limit your campus profile?

Harrison: Working as part of an executive team over the past year at the SRC has also allowed me to see what has been working and what hasn’t, and I think I’ll be a great help to the other vice presidents as they get settled in to their new roles. For me running freshers’ week was an absolutely terrifying prospect at first, but I know that if I’m president I’ll be able to help reassure the new VP learning and development about how to deal with some of the issues best. Overall, and especially following some of the internal problems last year, I know that to be SRC president you must know that you are an equal member of the team, and not merely the boss. I know I will work well with whoever is elected, and will be a confident voice to speak out on behalf of our students – I’ve already been doing it for the past year!

Jani Helle

Insider Odds 3/1 Well-liked and with a strong base after having been president of two campus societies. The big question though - with so many reform candidates in the race does Helle’s voice get drowned out?

Having led two societies and with a convincing win for SRC international officer in the spring elections last year, Helle is a candidate with a proven amount of campus support. However his reform-heavy manifesto risks being drowned out in a year in which almost every candidate is talking about democracy and accountability in the SRC. Q&A Guardian: You seem very concerned about transparency in the SRC, is the lack of transparency inherent in the organization or the result of an apathetic student body? Helle: The apathy and mistrust towards the SRC root from the fact that negative stories about the SRC outweigh the positive work, especially when the failings are systematic and structural. Realistically but unfortunately, I know the activities of the SRC are not of any interest to a portion of the student body. Whether this is because of a lack of caring, understanding, or frustration with the SRC, I don’t know, but in order to tackle the issue we need to find out. It may be easier to fix a broken system than it is to convince thousands of students, but I do believe the two are correlated. It is not an easy job, but we have to start somewhere. The SRC needs to engage with students more, not just during Freshers’ Week, but throughout the year, and not just in the John McIntyre building. The SRC needs to be completely open with those it represents. Transparency is just one of the reforms the SRC needs if it is to regain trust and support. Guardian: Do you think the kind of inherently political activity harms the ability to represent students effectively?

often divide this campus, as the past few years have shown us, and I believe it is a detriment to the students to elect a President who has a political agenda. I believe it to be a distraction from the larger issues. Everyone has political opinions and biases, and many belong to a political party or movement. There is no litmus test for SRC candidates, and there shouldn’t be, but I believe the candidates, particularly the sabbatical candidates, should be open about where they are coming from, politically. The SRC can be a powerful political force, and at times it has been utilized well. I believe a candidate with an agenda of concern for students will be the best equipped to effectively lead the SRC and campaign on behalf of students. Guardian: Do you think the internationalisation policy pursued by the university is being followed with enough consideration for the student experience for all students for the university? Helle: The university’s approach to student experience with its internationalisation policy is focused heavily on employment and placements, as well as providing for a diverse learning environment. While I believe all students can benefit greatly from this cultural diversity on campus and from the experiences to be acquired, we must not forget to actively tailor the services, events and experiences offered by the four student unions and the University to include and invite more International Students. The SRC, with a substantial portion of its services being used by international students, ought to be at the forefront of this push. I’m also encouraged by an increasing number of candidates in the QMU and GUU elections mentioning international students.

Helle: I believe the SRC is a political organisation, but only to the extent of campaigning and lobbying on behalf of students. The task of the president is to represent students, not to drive a personal or political agenda. Politics can

Candidates for the position of

vp learning & development Megan Cowie

Standing as part of the “Our Glasgow” slate, Cowie has an inbuilt base of support. However her relatively low campus profile and the slate itself could work against her. Main manifesto talking points are about transparency and accountabilty on the university Senate and the commercialization of Freshers’ Week. Q&A Guardian: It seems pretty clear from your manifesto that your big concern is about democratic accountability & transparency in the SRC, is the lack of transparency deliberate or the result of an apathetic student body?

Insider Odds 6/1 With a limited profile, this would be a tough race for Cowie to win. But with a field without a clear leader there is everything to play for.

Cowie: My big concern is democratic accountability & transparency in the SRC and the university at large. In the larger decision-making process of our institution, I believe there has been a deliberate attempt to push not just students but academic staff out of discussions. We saw that clearly when management attempted to push through

cuts and course closures last year. With regards to the SRC itself student apathy is obviously a problem. For many students the only engagement they’ll have with Council members will be attempting to dodge out of their way on library hill for two days of the year. This problem has been raised during every election I’ve witnessed here, and no one seems to have found a solution yet. I would argue that a radical change to the structure of the SRC, as well as the activity it engages in, will engage with students on new levels, at the same time as offering them something worth engaging in. The problem of student apathy isn’t what makes the SRC undemocratic, but a symptom of a lack of democracy and transparency. Guardian: You’re running as part of the “Our Glasgow” slate. Do you think the factionalization of an organization which has the representation of all students at its heart is really a good idea? Cowie: I don’t see it necessarily as a factionalization of the SRC, at least no

more so than already takes place. Alliances obviously already exist on Council. We would rather be open about ours from the outset. We’re openly running as a slate because as a group of people we share an understanding of the problems with the SRC; a lack of democracy, accountability, and transparency of process. With this being said, there are many more candidates that have highlighted these as key issues. Where the OurGlasgow campaign goes further than other candidates is the conclusion we draw from this understanding. We have pooled our brainpower in order to come up with the concrete policies we are now offering in our manifestos. I think it is the strength of these policies that are forcing others to resort to an anti-slate argument. Furthermore, I do not believe that any member of the slate would have difficulty working with others upon their would-be election. Guardian: Freshers’ Week commercialisation is another theme in your manifesto but the SRC has long claimed

that it is this sponsorship which allow them to fund other SRC services like the Advice Centre. Is that not a price worth paying? Cowie: The SRC Advice Centre is indeed a very worthy service, and one I know has greatly helped myself and friends. However, commercialisation is something students are having to fight at every level of their education. With privatisation posing such a threat, we have a duty to defend the services and societies on offer at Glasgow and I don’t believe we can do this without promoting these opportunities as hard as we can, and as often as we can. Freshers’ Week will be the first thing I have to organise should I be elected. Not only will it be my first shot at the job, it will be the first experience a whole new group of students has of our institution. To have a focus on external promoters is to do a disservice to that institution.


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src spring elections 2012 Dave Walker

Having spent time on both the QMU’s Board of Management and as the SRC’s School Of Biological and Earth Science Rep, Walker is well placed in terms of campus support. This plays out in the amount of support he’s received on facebook and appears to give him the slight edge in the run up to polling. Walker’s manifesto is concerned mostly with the importance of class representatives and improving the SRC’s volunteering services.

want to support them by providing the best training that we can, so that they are confident enough to take on the role and to do it well. I am under no illusions that this would be an overnight change but, in terms of seeing change “from the top down”, I hope that an enormous push for improving the Class Rep system will see students recognising how valued their input is for the University and taking a more active role in their learning.

Q&A

Guardian: You mention the university recognizing extra curricular activities. Do you see this being used as contributing to student degree credit ie 20 credits in involvement in the Glasgow Guardian or in the form of additional recognition on top of the degree like university blues in sport at Oxford or Cambridge?

Guardian: You talk about the Class Reps a lot in your manifesto and they feature prominently in your plan to increase the representation on the SRC but the election process for them is far from transparent and competitive can you increase the burden on them or expect to see different results from the top down? Insider Odds 3/1 An early lead for Walker bodes well for the rest of his campaign but in a race with a candidate who narrowly lost out last year, things are all to play for.

Razvan Balaban

Dave Walker: Class Reps are largely undervalued and underused by both staff and students. My main aim is to have a collaborative effort between the SRC and as many staff as possible,principally by utilising the School Reps and College Convenors, to emphasise how important Class Reps are. I want to see staff highlighting more strongly how the input of Class Reps is fundamental to the improvement of their courses and, more widely, Glasgow University as a whole. Students do not always see the immediate benefit of representation, so I also want to see a bigger push coming from the SRC to promote this aspect of their academic experience. Additionally, I Having come close to victory in last years elections for the same position Razvan is some what of a known quantity. The question is, can his campaign, both online and on the ground, go that little bit further this year? His manifesto talks about class representatives,SRC funded scholarships and improving essay and coursework feedback. Q&A Guardian: Having been unsuccessful before what made you consider running again?

Insider Odds 4/1 Having placed highly in last years poll Balaban has a fair chance of doing well again this year.

Razvan Balaban: Firstly I want to mention that the only elections that I have lost was last years VP learning and development by 13 votes in favour of James Harrison. Secondly I decided to run again as VP learning and development because I have a keen interest in education, in learning and teaching methods, also because I am eager to represent the views of my fellow students and to ensure that they received the best education. I consider running again because I think I am the best candidate for this position not only having the necessary experience but also the energy to bring actual change by following a plan and listening to students opinions. Guardian: When you look at learning and teaching policy across the university what is the one area where you feel that the most work needs to be done to improve the student experience? Razvan Balaban: The teaching staff at Glasgow University have to undergo a training course according to internal regulations in order to teach. One of the areas that I want to look at is improving the training offered to the academic staff in order to deliver the best quality of teaching.

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Dave Walker: The main point I tried to touch on by mentioning that was, again, increasing awareness of what you can do at this University to stand out and develop aspects of your character – it is perhaps unclear from my manifesto but my grand vision, if you like, is for more people to recognise these opportunities. The activities to which I was referring were things like being on the Board of Management at the Unions, decision-making roles within Clubs & Societies and so on. Inevitably, most people will improve their transferable skills by taking part in these areas and, although they can be mentioned on a C.V. I feel that having participation acknowledged by the University in some shape or form stresses the benefits of having taken part.

Guardian: You talk about the SRC Sabbs putting money together to form a sabbatical fund, is the SRC an appropriate barometer of academic achievement and how would you make the selection for who would receive the money? Razvan Balaban: SRC used to offer scholarships in the past to students coming from modest backgrounds. My proposal if accepted by the other sabbs will be to offer a scholarship to a student coming from a similar background. The decision and the analysis of the cases of students in need will be put forward to the entire SRC council to be debated and voted on. Guardian: You have a strong focus on volunteering and the importance extracurricular stuff in your manifesto, do you think this is currently undervalued by the university? Would you like to see if valued in the form of credit towards degrees like a number of universities have? Razvan Balaban: I think at this point it is undervalued by the leadership of the university and plays a crucial role in the employment market. Nowadays employers worldwide demand not only academic results but a strong extracurricular involvement; they ask for all-rounded students with the capability of finding a balance between their studies and extra activities. In order to encourage student participation this may be offer as university credits. The role of the university is not only to educate academically but to give rise to civic responsible graduates which can be achieved through extracurricular activities.

from 6pm 8th March 2012 SRC election results fb.com/glasgowguardian


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Candidates for the position of

vp student support Ellie Munro

Insider Odds 2/1 Munro is a strong candidate with a good understanding of of the role and a broad and well organised base of support. However McGrellis is a strong opponent and can’t be ignored.

Jess McGrellis

Currently the QMU’s Campaigns and Charities Convener and with a background in volunteering as long as an elephants trunk; Munro is the candidate with the most directly relevant experience to the position of vice-president student support. She is also unique in this in potentially having the support of two of campus’s most active constituencies for her campaign, both the QMU and of the university’s organised left. It is Guardians understanding that is was Munro’s candidacy that led to the broad left slate “Our Glasgow” into not putting up a candidate in this category. Guardian: A strong focus of your manifesto is on mental health provision - with the counselling service oversubscribed and money tight what do you think are the realistic and practical measures to improve student’s access to these services? Munro: It’s not just a problem at Glasgow, of course, but the difficulty of getting seen can have a real impact on people’s willingness to get help when they need it. Yes, funds are tight, but that’s no reason not to ask. It’s a key student service - a key service for anyone - and despite improvements with the lunchtime drop-in service, it’s currently Q&A Guardian: A lot of your manifesto looks at expanding the SRC’s services - notably buses for safety and the counselling service. Given the highly restricted budgets that both the SRC and the University are operating under what can be done to improve these services while spending very little or potentially less money?

Insider Odds 2/1 While not favourite going into the race McGrellis has a dedicated following in GULGBT and the capability to win if she can moblise her support well. However with a well organised and popular opponent in Ellie Munro she will need to perform well come the election. McGrellis is the outgoing president of Glasgow University’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender association but outside of this is a relative newcomer to student politics. This hasn’t held her back however with a good presence online and a lot of buzz around her campaign. Her manifesto has a strong focus on improving the counselling service and equality, talking specifically about an Equality Week and looking at how the SRC and the university deal with issues affecting transgendered students.

McGrellis: As the budget is so restricted it is encouraging to think that money is not being wasted by this institution. However, I wholeheartedly believe that any money put towards expanding these services would be money well spent. With regards to the bus service after Hive or Cheesy Pop, I think the SRC could plausibly be charging a small fee (as little as it can afford) for the use of this service as it would still be cheaper than getting a taxi and undoubtedly safer. As far as the Counselling Service is concerned, this is a crucial university service and they are not being funded as well as they could be. They have a great staff who have made a great deal from what is available to them, but problems such as their long waiting list cannot be solved without further funding. This does not have to be a great amount, but any money available would be well used and make significant changes to this valuable service. Guardian: Given the relatively low attendance of both RAG and Health Week, do you think an appetite exists for another SRC theme week? McGrellis: I don’t think the low attendance during RAG Week is to do with student apathy. I think if you turn to examples of RAG Week at other universities it is apparent how big this week could gradually become with more advertising and direct appeal at

not meeting student needs. But it’s also a service that exists in a wider context. There should be signposting to other services across Glasgow, ones that cater for specific needs, and ones that might have more availability. Guardian: With the Fraser building doing home sexual health kits, condoms and leaflets on a range of sexual health issues from around campus what can the SRC do to improve it’s services in this area? Munro: It’s about normalising what there already is and looking at where there are gaps in the services currently offered. I don’t think take-home testing is particularly well publicised, and if it’s hidden way, it does nothing either to encourage use or to tackle stigma around sexual health. There are other tests that can be done in a clinical setting, that are quicker and easier than what’s currently available -the 15 minute fast-test for HIV springs to mind- as well as other options that can be explored. Then on the health promotion side, well, I’ve currently got one leaflet for men who like men and women, next to nothing for gay women, and nothing for bisexual women or trans people at the Free Condoms stall at the QM. I’m sure that there’s something out halls of residence for example. Health Week is slightly different. I know from running a social, welfare and campaigning Association on campus that the sad fact is that the welfare events are always going to have the lowest turnout. I would therefore suggest scaling back Health Week, not because it isn’t important, but because it has greater limitations. One of the great things about my vision for Equality Week is that while the events would concern the welfare of our students, they would also be political and topical and this would spark interest. Furthermore, I am confident that working with welfare societies across campus would immediately increase turnout, as there would be a obvious groups of students to directly advertise to, and I’m sure they would support their society by turning out. Guardian: With the Fraser building doing take home testing and condoms and leaflets on a range of sexual health issues available from around campus what can the SRC do to improve it’s services in this area? McGrellis: You can never have enough places to obtain free condoms on campus. I say this with a wee smile but in all seriousness it’s very true. The SRC should most certainly be promoting their own free condom service; it is simple and effective, it doesn’t cost anything and is not particularly time consuming. Moreover, the SRC should be ensuring that the range of information available on campus, covering all aspects of sexual health and relationships and guaranteeing it is representative of the needs of all our students.

there that I’m missing, but if there’s not, we should use the expertise that we have on campus to make sure there is. Guardian: You talk about housing issues in your manifesto, what can the SRC realistically do to stop poor landlords exploiting students when groups like Kohli Properties & Grant Management seemingly ignore its public condemnations? Munro: This is a long-game issue. The expiration of certain bits of housing legislation in 2014 gives us a really good opportunity to campaign for something better. Something that actually works. I’ve been in touch with a couple of housing campaigns recently, who are really keen for student involvement in compiling case studies of bad landlords, to put to the Government, to lobby for change. We need to make sure that we’re engaging with these sorts of campaigns, and with those against illegal registration fees demanded by landlords and letting agencies, as they often disproportionately affect students. We need to make sure that all students are aware of the issues and the support that they can get, through the SRC and other organisations.

Guardian: On increasing transparency, do you think that the SRC is limited in its ability to be transparent by student apathy? Munro: There are some people who come to Glasgow just to get a degree, and feel that the SRC doesn’t affect what they do. There are some people who get stuck in the bubble of student politics, at whatever end of campus. And of course there are some in the middle who dip in and out, when there are events that are relevant to them or exciting news stories. The key thing for me is to be completely upfront about what we do, make sure that everyone knows what we offer, and how we bridge the gap between students and management, and to involve students as much as possible in key decisions, be that what charity we’re supporting, or what changes we should make to key services.

James Orr

Orr is the definite outsider in this race. While having been part of the running of campus societies he doesn’t appear to have had the same directly relevant experience of either McGrellis or Munro. His manifesto focuses on improving support for clubs and societies and a reevaluation of how the University handles student debt. Q&A Guardian: In this election you appear to be the candidate with the least obvious background in the issues of student support, what do you think you bring to the role that the other candidates do not? Orr: I believe that during my time at university and my involvement in different societies and sports clubs I have met and engaged with a large group of students with a variety of backgrounds and needs. I haven’t been solely involved in one society or one student body on campus but had a part in many. I feel this makes me the ideal candidate to be VP student support. I understand the needs of a wide cross section of students, and after all, isn’t the SRC there to represent all students? Guardian: You talk about student debt, what would you like to see the University do to approach to student debt more constructively? Orr: I would like to see the end to a catch 22 situation where students can’t register for their next year when they are in debt, but can’t receive any funding from SAAS or the SLC until they have registered. This is a particularly important point for students from low income backgrounds who really are reliant on their state funding. It is imperative to make sure students, especially first years who may not have had to manage their money before, are

Insider Odds 20/1 With a smaller campaign in the run up to polling days and what appears to be a smaller base of support on campus the chances of winning look slim for James Orr. educated about debt and spending. I would like to see the SRC provide education both in the form of classes and literature to inform students about personal finance. Guardian: What can be done to improve the average students understanding of the SRC’s services, RAG & Health Week etc? Orr: In my opinion, the SRC has got a lot better at communicating with students through social media and the internet in the last few years but I think they have come to neglect traditional forms of communication. For example, using notice boards and the student printed media to inform students of upcoming events. I think it’s important for a timetable to be drawn up before September and released to students at the start of the year so they know when events are happening. I would also like to see the introduction of a SRC PR team who take the time to go around campus and publicise SRC events. This is an idea used effectively by the other student bodies on campus.


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VOTE 7TH/8TH MARCH

www.glasgowstudent.net SPRING ELECTIONS 2012

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march 7th 2011

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views 10-13

CULTURE 14-20

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sport 21-24

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Candidates for the position of

vp Media & Communications Douglas Aithie

Insider Odds 5/1 A long shot in a category with such a strong front runner, but a nonetheless knowledgeable candidate with a lot of student media tech experience.

different models involved in student media but the model that Subcity uses is very efficient. By focusing not just on campus but also in the local community there are more opportunities to widen the scope of programming, creating new audiences and perhaps more importantly increasing the likelihood of advertising revenue. My thought is this: the SRC will argue that student media is a waste of money and resources. If it can be shown that student media does have the capacity to support itself with the financial limitations placed upon it then that will be a point in our favour. Obviously nothing will be changed if the relevant student media heads thought this would be a step far but it came up at last year’s hustings and I didn’t feel it was addressed properly, so we should spend some time talking about it. I would never force it upon the media. Having a group conversation about the upcoming review of media is necessary – the ‘community problem’ will need to be talked about. Craig Angus

Craig Angus: Of course. I really enjoyed putting on gigs while I was Entertainments Convener, and I also wanted to offer to donate part of the salary to Cancer Research. I had a brainwave that I could do the two together, and if elected I’ll stage regular events in both the QMU and the GUU for the benefit of national and local charities. I’d also like to directly involve the students in this, people that are interested in getting involved with running events, and people who hold particular charities close to them. Hopefully this way as well as raising some money we can raise some awareness at the same time. Also for the duration of Movember I’ll shave my head like Ross Kemp/Greg Wallace.

Craig Angus: I’m committed to a full redesign. The website isn’t dreadful - but it could be better. It’ll be the first port of call for many people who want to find out more about the SRC at Glasgow University and should be impressive and easy to navigate. I want to talk to the clubs and societies and find how they would like to be represented on the SRC website as well. Hopefully with some good communication everyone will be happy with the results.

Guardian: Whats been your favourite bit of content produced by one of the four SRC supported media bodies this year?

Guardian: You talk about solving the community problem, how can this be done without disrupting the contributor model of some of the media groups, notably Subcity? Douglas Aithie: I respect that there are

Guardian: You’ve talked about using part of your salary to run events in the unions for charitable purposes, fancying telling us a bit more?

Guardian: You talk about redesigning the website - are you looking to superficially change the site or are you committing to a full redesign?

With a strong background in student media, currently as GUST’s head of tech, Aithie has perhaps the strongest manifesto of all the candidates in this category showing an understanding of all the vagueries of the position.

Douglas Aithie: While It Gets Better was a definite highlight the driving force behind that was the wonder Drew McCusker, we helped him with technical things and editing but he was the reason it happened, so GUST cannot take full credit for it. My favourite content this year has to be Savifest – a seven hour rock concert in the Barrowlands ballroom for Savi, a great charity that works with victims of sexual abuse. There were members old and new helping out, students who were directing pros, first years who had never held a camera before ... everything worked, the entire broadcast was perfect. Although I only had two weeks to plan the event (the original broadcast team dropped out) with the help of GUST we pulled it off with flying colours. Two years ago GUST couldn’t have ever done anything like this – I spent two years turning the technical side around, bodging cameras together and training up a tech team. On a purely personal level it was a massive achievement but I felt so proud of everyone involved. It has led on to good things to – we gained a platform that has attracted investors, we are currently planning to film the upcoming local council elections. Good times.

say is that i’m confident in my ability to capture the imagination of the students in new ways. If I’m elected I’ll take an original approach to promoting events - not just regurgitate loads of memes (although some of them are funny) and make loads of KEEP CALM AND DO THIS THING posters.

Insider Odds 1/2 A firm favourite running up to the election. If things carry on as they are at the moment he should getting the promo material ready for Freshers’ Week .The only question is, can anybody close the gap to enough to make it a race?

Adam Campbell

Angus’s background in campus politics is as a former GUU events convener. Facebook has him as the clear front runner in this election. Although he lacks the obvious experience in student media of the other candidates in the race his experience in events promotion has the potential to bring an interesting skill set to the job. Guardian: You have a background in event promotion and design, do you think that this gives you an edge over the other candidates and do you think this is a key skill for VP-Comms? Craig Angus: The ability to design inventive promotional material is crucial towards being able to do this job properly. There’s so much that happens in the life of a Glasgow University Student, you’re really having to fight to get the attention of people. What I will

of the SRC’s internal working is unparalleled in this contest. But without a firm base of support on campus does he have the resources to make a dent in this election?

Adam Campbell: I think that there are many channels of communication open to the SRC; whether they are all used effectively is another matter. What I would like to do is target the communication more, the student body should not be treated as homogenous and so different methods of communication may appeal to different sectors. I don’t have any magical answer to solve this issue, I will ask students for their opinions on the matter, to see if together we can find an answer.

Pete Samson is a former qmunicate editor and has designed many of the SRC posters around campus in the last year. With a good chance of picking up the QM vote and a solid history of design Samson should put up a good fight. Q&A Insider Odds 6/1 With a background in media and a unique experience from amongst the candidates on how the SRC actually works you can’t rule Adam out, but strong competition make a victory unlikely. A former Glasgow Guardian news editor and currently a member of the SRC reception staff, Campbell’s knowledge

Pete Samson

Guardian: Do you think the SRC is effective in communicating with over 20,000 students and if not what needs to be done?

Guardian: The SRC is beginning to discuss separating itself from the student media bodies and setting them up as clubs & societies, This will ensure editorial freedom but place them in a less secure position in terms of finances and resources. Do you think this is the best course of action? Adam Campbell: I think there is an issue with that question: editorial independence is something you either have, or don’t have, it doesn’t increase by degrees. I think this was demonstrated by the Glasgow University Guardian this year, as it was highly critical of the SRC in the wake of Stuart Ritchie, something that wouldn’t have been possible if student media at the SRC was anything less that editorial independent. I can see the benefits to the SRC as an organisation of putting student media in the same bracket as clubs and socs, but I am against it. The SRC’s student media is some of the finest in any university, and I feel this should not be hampered by imposing tighter financial constraints on them. I am aware that the student media will face budget cuts in the coming year, but I believe that this awareness will enable the incoming media heads to prepare for this. The media groups are unlike any other Club or Society in the traditional sense, as they can attract extra income through advertising and events. Ultimately I feel that the guidelines for Clubs and Societies would not fit any of the media groups.

Guardian: You don’t have much experience in the four SRC supported media bodies. If elected what will you do to bridge this gap in your knowledge and ensure the highest degree of support for Glasgow’s Media Bodies? Pete Samson: My first step will be to ask questions, and I feel this should be the first step for anyone undertaking this role. Even if I were to have ex-

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Insider Odds 6/1 A candidate with a background in a lot of the relevant areas of the job but in a field with such a strong front runner the odds are against him. perience in the Guardian, for example, this would not give me any greater insight into the other media bodies. The Guardian is not the same as GUST, and Subcity is not the same as GUM. Each body is distinct in its identity and methods, and so it’ll be essential to make use of the information and experience that is available. My experience to date is limited to qmunicate magazine, but I have a critical eye and there may be a benefit in coming to this role from an outside perspective. It allows me to assess the student media bodies equally and without any kind of prejudgement. Guardian: You have a background in design, do you think that this gives you an edge over the other candidates and do you think this is a key skill for VPComms? Pete Samson: I have a background in design but I also have a background in language, and in communication in general. This should give me an edge because I am comfortable in using different media to convey ideas, and able to choose the right way to say something. Experience in design is not a prerequisite for the role but it does make a far better candidate. Most design work can be freelanced out, and I have nothing against using freelancers, but sometimes it is not the best option. If a fast turnaround is needed then it’s a benefit to have someone in-house who can complete the project; it’s quicker and often more effective as the work is being carried out by someone with direct understanding of the task and its audience. Design should not be something alien to the VP Media Comms; candidates should have at least a knowledge of design – I can’t imagine commissioning work from others without some concept of what works and what doesn’t.


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comment & debate

The Sun is out, the Ewoks have lost

A harsh place for asylum seekers Debbie White

Euan McTear Last month we discussed the dismissal of ‘Lad’s Mag’s from the QMU shop. Now shelves have been joined by a new villain. By the time this newspaper passes through your hands, you’ll have witnessed the birth of a new newspaper. I use the word “new” here, but I shouldn’t. It’d be like if I’d said that Vince Vaughn had a “new” movie out. Yes, it may be “new” in the sense that I’d not have seen it before. But, I’d already know exactly how it goes, from lazy Vince sitting lazily in his apartment being lazy, to Vince winning over the girl, roughly five minutes from the end. In that same way, we saw a “new” newspaper last Sunday, creatively titled ‘The Sun on Sunday.’ But we’ve seen it before. Just seven months since the ‘News of The World’ was sent to its grave, Rupert Murdoch announced NOTW 2.0, his “new” Sunday extension of The Sun, a paper under investigation and with 10 members of its staff recently arrested. One might ask how Murdoch could let this “new” paper hit the shelves amid such investigations and less than a year since the phone-hacking scandal. What I want to know is how we, the public, let him… Cast your mind back to Star Wars Episode IV. Yes, the good one. It finishes with a party, albeit a very organised party, with the Rebel Alliance stood there in straight lines as Han, Luke and Chewbacca receive medals for destroying the Death Star. The party lasted around 98 seconds, then they got

back to work. When the NOTW closed we also had a party. Again, it was very formal and organised, with all the attendees having to take an oath before answering some questions from Lord Leveson. It has lasted four months and continues. Whereas the Rebel Alliance were able to set up a snow base, navigate the insides of an asteroid monster, defeat Jabba the Hut and still destroy the new Death Star before it was even finished, we were all busy partying at the Leveson inquiry, leaving Emperor Murdoch and Darth Mohan to put together the plans for their new Death Star, The Sun on Sunday. While any inquiry into media ethics is clearly important, perhaps we should also have been recruiting our own set of Lando Calrissians to defend the nation from an extension of The Sun. As much as any new publications must be welcomed to at least some extent at a time when digital media chases print journalism down a back alley pointing its rusty virtual sword at what’s left of it, The Sun is one of a few newspapers we could probably do without. As well as its bullying, enemy-making and generally pissing off all women, you’d probably find more culture in a yogurt than in a copy of The Sun. But we found no Lando, there was no father versus son lightsaber duel between Rupert and James and Lord Leveson and his team of Ewoks at the Leveson enquiry have failed to stop the NOTW rising from its ashes. The Sun on Sunday is already out. We’ve lost. As Chewie would say, Gnnnnarrrggghh.

glasgowguardian.co.uk

Destitution is a major issue affecting the asylum seekers of Glasgow; according to a report by the Joint Committee of Human Rights, the Government practises a ‘deliberate policy of destitution’, by forcing people into a state of complete poverty in order to persuade them to ‘voluntarily’ return to their country of origins. These countries are places where they have experienced, and are at risk of continuing to experience, persecution. The estimates for the number of destitute asylum seekers in Glasgow vary wildly, from as low as 30 to as high as 3000. It is difficult to quantify the number because so many drop off the radar; once their asylum application is refused, many asylum seekers are wary of contacting organisations for assistance for fear of being forcibly deported or detained, and so these people are unknown to such groups. Despite this, there are organisations which can and do help those in these circumstances; 50 people present themselves to the Red Cross each month seeking advice and support, and the Unity Night Shelter sees three people each night. There are several reasons why asylum seekers find themselves destitute. In order to gain Section 4 support, which is the only income available to them once they have had all their appeals rejected, they must obtain an appointment. These appointments are difficult to book and involve travelling to Croydon. For someone living in Glasgow, with limited funds, and usually with a first language other than English, this is often incredibly difficult. Even those who are successful in their

asylum case are at risk of destitution due to delays in the bureaucratic system, for example, processing National Insurance numbers often takes time, during which they are reliant on friends or charity. Section 4 support is not paid in the form of cash, rather, the qualifying asylum seeker is given a card which is topped up weekly. This can only be used in certain shops and on certain products. This causes major problems for those with religious dietary requirements; halal meat, for example, is often difficult and expensive to access in mainstream supermarkets, and yet the cards are not valid at specialist stores and cannot be exchanged for cash, or be used to access cash at ATMs. Only a limited number of asylum seekers are eligible for this support in any case; they must have had their case refused, be destitute and meet at least one of a list of criteria. This list includes being unfit to travel, for example due to a severe illness or late stage pregnancy, or if you can prove that you are attempting to return voluntarily. Aside from the lack of financial support available, a major issue for destitute asylum seekers in Glasgow is housing; while there are companies that provide accommodation, often this is problematic. The situation is due to change in the near future, as Serco take over the contract. Serco are a security company that currently operate detention centres; several groups who work with asylum seekers in Glasgow have expressed outrage at the inappropriateness of this company being contracted to deal with the housing of asylum seekers. Currently asylum seekers are housed by Y-People (formerly known as the YMCA) and the Angel

Group. While Y-People have a non-harassment policy, and so will not forcibly evict people due to distressing suicides that have occurred in the past, the Angel Group operate no such policy. The Angel Group will clear people’s rooms of all their belongings once they are no longer entitled to stay in the accommodation. It is uncertain exactly what will happen once Serco take over the contract. Other options do exist, including groups such as Unity, which is the QMU’s Charity of the Semester, and Positive Action in Housing, a group which Glasgow Student Action for Refugees and GU Amnesty International fundraised for by holding a sleepout on the 2nd March. Unity is a part of the Glasgow Destitution Network, which operates a night shelter, providing food and a place to sleep for a small number of destitute asylum seekers. PAIH offer support, legal advice, shelter and emergency funds. The work that these groups do is invaluable in tackling the problem of destitution, however, the government system is highly flawed due to the underlying intention of persuading people to return to their country of origin. For destitute asylum seekers the future often looks bleak; they are faced with the option of struggling to survive while remaining in the UK, with all the problems of housing and lack of funds that this entails, or attempting to return to a country in which they were persecuted. Neither of these options is appealing, which is why the work of charities and campaigning organisations is vital to improving the quality of life for those caught in the trap of destitution.

idea of higher education that of planning for the future, instruction on how to live better and think deeper? Are we not daily being urged, nudged, prodded and shoved towards the goal of becoming a foresighted, thoughtful society? Towards a better life for ourselves in the future? Yes these lofty ideals are still being rigorously nurtured at the university, but these seem the kind of ambitions that must be cultivated in every aspect of student life as consistently and relentlessly as possible. This is the truly puzzling nature of the policy. The message seems inconsistent. One common piece of financial advice given to students is to make their own food. The benefits are as manifold as the costs are minimal: healthier, thriftier, more organised. It isn’t right for everyone every day, but it is a healthy and affordable option on which destitute and malnourished students can rely. Such sage advice must now be qualified: students are prohibited from eating or drinking in the library and lecture halls, and as outside food and drink can no longer be consumed in the university food halls and cafes, bring your lunch, sure, just find somewhere else to eat it. The very ethos of higher education is now jaded; plan

for your future, so long as those plans don’t inhibit the universities ability to increase profits. This is a small issue, granted, but it means it’s easy to ignore. There are probably many other instances of similar practices which go unnoticed, which is why they are so insidious. This is not to say the university shouldn’t be operated like a business. But the characteristics of a good business are common to universities: providing affordable and quality products/services which consumers want in an efficient manner. However, decisions cannot be made only from the perspective of a business. The criteria should be whether a decision makes business sense, sure, but more importantly whether it makes educational sense. Not only is this policy financially unsupported, it is educationally flawed. This is not meant to, nor ever could, cause the sort of outrage witnessed during the various cuts protests and occupations. It is simply a call to arms to beware policies and decisions which compromise the very spirit of university.

This seating is for paying customers only... Dennis Barry Amid all the controversy surrounding the expensive implementation of MyCampus, proposed course cuts, cross-border tuition fees and general anxiety over university funding and the cost of higher education in Scotland, the University of Glasgow has begun this year to quietly institute a rather puzzling little policy change. Though seemingly innocuous and unimportant this change speaks to the heart of the greater issues facing universities in Scotland, as well as higher education institutions the world over. Throughout the ubiquitous university cafes, the evidence of this change can be found upon tables or festooning the walls on posters. If one looks closely they will find that in all university food halls and cafes seating is for paying customers only. This may not seem very disruptive, controversial or really important at all, however this recently adopted policy has far greater implications. There can be no question as to the motivation behind this rule; it is made clear in the phrasing paying customers only. Money. Most conscientious

patrons of food service abide by this principle without the need for explicit instruction, perhaps occasionally eating one’s own sandwich in Tinderbox having, of course, purchased a coffee or cake. But the university is not a privately owned, for-profit business, which is why this policy seems out of place. Yes, but (the devil’s advocate might counter) the university cannot be expected to run its ancillary operations if they are losing money! Surely this policy is there to ensure that the hospitality service can at least break even to continue to provide the convenient food service all students and staff desire. This would be a valid argument…if it were true. According to the university’s published financial statements for the year ended July 31 2011, the income generated by Residence and Hospitality Services stood at £22,586,000, a 9.7% increase from 2010. If we deduct staff costs and operating expenses stated in the financial reports, we arrive at a rough profit figure. In 2010 this rough profit measured almost £2.7m (that is £2,699,000). In 2011, this figure was £3,250,000! That is an increase of 20%! Knowing this, the real question is why? Why implement a policy which appears intent on augmenting sales when

the services are already profitable? And growing in profitability? One could argue that this is for the benefit of those students who don’t bring food from home, who want to buy their lunch from the uni but cannot find a table at which to sit. One could sigh with grief at such a fuss caused over a policy which the good natured hospitality staff would rarely if at all enforce. Yet these arguments are not complementary, and individually they’re not convincing. If students choose not to buy from the university because there is not enough seating, is not that their own economic choice? When did the university begin to treat students differently based on spending patterns? Again if this were a for-profit business or a university service which was haemorrhaging money, it would make sense. As demonstrated above, this is not the case. Second, this rule is enforced. I have seen it enforced vehemently and unashamedly. This is all, however, just nit-picking. The real issue is whether, in the name of higher profits, the university is implementing changes which, aside from seeming to value dosh more than students, are actually counter to the very ethos of a university. Is not the very


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video games

The Darkness II

Joe Trotter It’s fair to say that Jackie Estacado is not a happy man. Consumed by an allpowerful, dominating force known as the Darkness which he has managed to control for now (surprise plot device coming up), he finds himself in constant mourning for his girlfriend Jenny, murdered during the last game. Now the don of the Franchetti crime family, Jackie is attacked in a well-organised hit, and after unleashing the Darkness to defend himself, he sets out to avenge himself upon the attackers and find out who is behind it. So begins a fantastically paced adventure of intrigue and illusion, tightly harnessed into a terrific storyline. The only shame is that, like Jackie’s ability to keep the Darkness in check, it ends too quickly and is lacking any real replay value. It is difficult to describe without verging into spoiler territory just how refreshing and effective the storyline of Darkness II is. Written by British comic book veteran Paul Jenkins, the story oozes quality; well-paced, shocking, gritty and always interesting, it’s fantastic to see a game built around a story rather than a story built around a game. Consequently, everything from the graphical design to the gaggling, pottymouthed minion (now a sole central character), to even the way the combat mechanics play out are built around the concept - in short, a world remarkably well held together by a narrative. Dark, twisted, often hilarious and with a brutal body-count, the Darkness II’s narrative is a credit to the imagination and drive of 2K and Jenkins. Continuing with the intrigues of the original

and its undertones of despair and confusion, but now with added psychological disambiguation, it’s still really built around the tragic relationship between Jackie and Jenny. Not since Shadow of the Colossus has a relationship been depicted so sympathetically, so humanely; as you slowly waltz with her shade around a café, gazing into her eyes as they share the meaningless words that make a relationship so effective, you, like Jackie, feel your heartbreaking. Of course, this is a video game, not some psychological gothic-noir thriller, and all this would be nothing without the gameplay to match the narrative. Thankfully, The Darkness II is an absolute blast from start to finish. The gameplay has changed since the original inline with the storyline. The confusion and adventure of the original is gone, replaced by the kind of violence you’d expect from a hit-man in full control of a force of darkness, who’s coincidentally out for revenge. Combat is sharp and effective; each shoulder button corresponds to an arm, i.e. two guns on the triggers with the two bumpers for the Darkness powers. Ammo is scarce, meaning that you rely on the far-morefun abilities of the Darkness. The left arm is used for grabbing, which can mean anything from picking up cardoors to use as shield to flinging them at your unwitting enemies. It’s also used for eating the hearts of victims to regain health, a useful but disorientating move during the heat of battle. The right arm is used for a more basic slash, used for mutilating enemies and slashing control panels. As such, there is a great deal of variety in what you can do, although most enemies are pretty thick,

wading out like lambs to the slaughter. And my, is there a lot of slaughter. The violence is gratuitous and gratifying, a satisfying mix of gore and extravagant executions, with heads, limbs and enough body matter to confuse an anatomist spraying across the screen. Levels are basic but effective, with a decent amount of environmental interaction to aid the massacre (impaling some poor soul with a snooker cue never gets old). Jackie gains experience points when he gets a kill, which can then be spent on an extended skill set selected from an intuitive skill-wheel. These add depth to the gun-play; although some are the obvious extended clips and the like, others are far more imaginative. For example, you can unlock the ability to explode projectiles on touch, including your hilarious cockney minions. Others allow you to send swarms after enemies, vital in tight situations. These upgrades are well thought out and entirely necessary; without the Darkness powers, the game would be a pretty average shoot-fest, but with them it becomes furious, frantic and fun. Unfortunately, the pace of combat

It’s also used for eating the hearts of victims to regain health, a useful but disorientating move during the heat of battle

has its downsides; it allows little time for consideration of the rich universe it’s based in, effectively rushing you from scene to scene. Because of this and the two ‘hub’ areas (Jackie’s mansion and a spoiler area), the game plays more like a series of stages rather than the continuous narrative that they were perhaps aiming for, à la Half-Life 2. These areas, although full of characters, feel mistimed and seem to break the pace. Of course, someone else could argue they add to the universe and are entirely necessary to building a believable world, so it can work two ways. What cannot be defended however is the length of the game; as a pretty average and untalented gamer, I still beat the game without breaking a sweat in around 8 hours, and that’s including the hub-packing, so realistically you can strike an hour off that at least. Although a multiplayer co-op mode is included, Vendetta, it’s pretty poor. Without the intrigues of the central plot and without really adding anything to the main event it becomes a pretty dry experience quickly, which is surprising considering how fun the combat is in single-player. Whilst the original had a more straight-forward artistic style, 2K and new developers Digital Extremes have gone for a cel-shaded look more tuned to its comic book origins. The experiment works well; the style is detailed and vibrant, with lots going on and real character to boot. Character models are firm and individual, although lipsynching suffers on minor characters. Lots of the game is unsurprisingly dark, but this is well considered; Jackie loses the Darkness when he emerges into light, justifying the chiaroscuro light-

The Darkness II Platform Xbox, Playstation, PC PEGI 18+ Release Out now Developer Digital Extremes Publisher 2K Games ing and making it a key gameplay mechanic. The sound, meanwhile, is deep and controlled; all the sound effects, cries, bangs and crashes are over-thetop but not out of keeping with the tone of the work. The voice-acting is fantastic; believable and in character, it adds a lot to the narrative, whether it be the grit of Jackie, the soothing Jenny or the tough but encouraging Auntie. Minor characters chatter in the background, revealing details or troubles when they think their boss is out before standing to attention and enthusing his health when he makes his presence known; a little, but crucial, touch to make the world believable. The Darkness II is a fantastic video game, with one of the greatest and best noir-based narratives ever realised on a console. Tender and brutal, violent but serene, it’s a mass of paradox which, nine times out of ten, works perfectly. The graphics are extravagant, the characters believable, the fighting fun and the story fascinating; for six hours, it’s gripping. But it’s only for 6 hours, and has little replay value and a poor multiplayer. It’s a real shame, a crying shame, but perhaps it’s the price you pay for such a tight, well-ordered narrative. Is it worth it? Probably. My heart breaks every time I think of Jackie and Jenny’s dance; that is a type of value that cannot be measured in hours.


“Glasgow University moved from its crowded city centre location to the then-suburban Gilmorehill in the West End in 1870. The magnificent Gothic Revival building was designed by George Gilbert Scott and opened by Queen Victoria. Part of it is now getting a new roof, so, well…” -Ben Cooper, Glasgow transientplaces.co.uk


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c-41 zine

Why did we start this project? I have been feeling for a few years now that the creative atmosphere at Glasgow University has been a bit dry. Our generation has gotten lazy. We have been bombarded with so much information, opportunities and demands which forced many of us to coil right back into our shells. I wanted to create a relaxed platform for creative expression where both members and non-members alike can showcase their work without any pressure or guidelines. Even in terms of the student publication environment here C-41 is different. The fact is that we are the only completely independent publication at Glasgow University. Because we fund ourselves, we do not need the SRC to monitor our content. Neither do we have to add any disclaimers because we are not representing the university's views - only those of our contributors.

We can publish whatever we feel like publishing without any censorship or anybody telling us what to do. The zine is named after a colour print film developing process: C-41, which makes sense as its primary focus is photography. There are two versions of the zine: the full online version which can be read on c41zine.co.uk and then the standard zine version which is first printed black & white on standard A4 paper then trimmed, folded and stapled. As the case is with most zines, this is all done by hand. The print run will vary depending on our finances, but we hope to print about 200 copies per issue. We try to avoid having specific themes or expectations about each subsequent issue. People can submit to us whatever they feel like and if it's interesting visually or conceptually we'll include it. The deadline for issue 02 is April 1st. Submissions can be made directly to our inbox: c41zine@gmail.com

Please, do try to view as anasart, "Please, photography do try to view photography an art, not asgear. execution and is gear. Thisais car not a car not as execution and This not chase." chase.

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TUTORIAL

TIME-LAPSE O

ne of the things which has always fascinated me about photography is its ability to capture moments, instants, memories – freezing the fast pace of life onto a piece of paper, or, more often these days, a screen. Timelapse is the magic which happens when you put lots of these instances together into a film. Chances are you’ll have seen a timelapse before; films of clouds moving through the sky at seemingly breakneck speeds, a stage being set up for a gig, or the construction of a sky-scraper. The process is amazingly simple to do yourself using a digital camera. What you’ll need:

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A camera An intervalometer (or a stop-watch) Several memory cards A computer (the software I’ll use for this tutorial runs on modern versions of Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux)

The process of making a timelapse is really pretty simple: you take photographs at regular time intervals, and put them together to make a video. The rest’s all experimentation and practice.

The next stage is to frame the image, and check composition, just like you would for a still photo. If you can, use manual exposure settings and manual focus so that there’s no change in brightness or focus over the set of photos.

individual photos into frames in an animation.

The event I’m using as an example is the Anti-cuts march on October 1 2011. The route went right by my flat, and was very colourful. Therefore it was an obvious choice. It’s not a brilliant piece of art, but it’s quite a good illustration of concepts.

Now take the photos. If you have an intervalometer on your camera (some higher end Nikon models have one accessible from the menu, for other cameras you’ll need a special type of remote release) you can set that to take photos every five seconds (for example – the actual intervals you’ll use will vary depending on the subject, and the best way to find out is trial and error). Otherwise you’ll need to use a stop-watch and use it to time the exposures manually, and press the shutter release.

To open the image sequence, go to File>Open, navigate to the folder your images are in, and select the first image in the sequence. Click OK and all will open automatically. AVIDemux is setup for a default frame rate of 25fps. You can change this under Video>Frame Rate. Play around with this to get the best effect for your timelapse.

First I set the camera on a tripod – it’s important that the camera shouldn’t move during the ‘filming’, because even slight movements will look incredibly jittery when the images are put together.

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Glasgow University’s latest arts magazine C-41 zine, curated and published by the GU Photo Society Andy King www.andykingstudio.com

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Once you’ve taken all of the photos you need to put them together to form a video. The software I’ve used for this is called AVIDemux, and is available on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. It’s a fairly powerful piece of video editing software, but what we’ll be using it for is fairly simple – turning

Once you’ve installed AVIDemux open it. Now we’ll need to load the images.

Now all you need to do is export the video: File>Save>Save Video will do it. Enjoy your timelapse!

Photos & text by DANIEL WILLIAMS.

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glasgow film festival 2012

The GFF: an unlikely success Jean-Xavier Boucherat On paper, Glasgow’s seven-year-old film festival really shouldn’t work. Consider the format: eleven days of mainly pre-existing titles at eight pounds a pop, screened across some decidedly unglamorous locations. That isn’t a reference to the structurally questionable Glue Factory, or the ‘workhousechic’ that SWG3’s got going on just now. Those two are fine, being full of the kind of urban decay that violently middle-class cinemagoers like myself get off on. No, I’m referring to a Cineworld that’s so bloody tall that it lets you see thirty years into the past as you enjoy a panorama of Glasgow’s deindustrialised north. And then at the

warm heart of the festival, the GFT; a wonderfully self-conscious, pokey affair just yards away from some of the world’s most incessant buskers, and the ruins (quite literally the ruins) of the Art School. Unsurprisingly, it turns out none of this matters. The festival announced yet another successive rise in box office admissions for this years run, hitting almost 35,000. As BBC Scotland’s Pauline McLean points out, that’s a serious step up from the 6,000 punters the inaugural 2005 event brought in. So, they must be doing something right, and I even have an idea what it might be. It’s not entirely unfair to say that a trip the mainstream cinema these days is more of a social occasion, something that you do with friends, and not to appreciate the

craft’s nuances. The festival recaptures the screen for the city’s cinephiles, and when they’re all together, it’s a warming experience – even if they do all sit as far away from each other as possible. This year’s event followed some of the same patterns utilised in previous years, with a particular focus on Fred Astaire as well as German cinema, the inclusion of the FrightNight mini-fest (featuring the return of the torturous lobudget sci-fi Death Watch, shot largely in Glasgow). The Film and Music fest was back too, featuring a particularly brilliant performance from italo-horror junkie Umberto, who accompanied the Spanish grindhouse ‘classic’ Pieces with a live synth-drenched soundtrack. Below you’ll find some highlights from across the eleven days.

photo: Eoin Carey

Silver Tongues Carolyn Westwater Glasgow filmmaker Simon Arthur’s accomplished first feature was shot, in the long haul, between Fife and the US. The film initially began life as a short film (also Silver Tongues, 2006), which forms the central part of tonight’s feature. This short was used to successfully secure funding for his extremely watchable creation. Arthur decision to turn to America has helped gain him some well deserved recognition in the Scottish film industry. If you’ve seen any of Arthur’s earlier efforts, such as Stramash (2001) which he directed under the name Simon Beal, you’d be forgiven for expecting a Glasgow-centric, car crash extravaganza, but Silver Tongues is entirely different. As a series of episodes exploring the falsity of the human face, it delves into the alternative persona we present in different circumstances. Arthur captures a sense of longing in

“The film follows the couple through a selection of set pieces in which their games become more disturbing and disruptive”

each character and asks the question: what is deceit? He lets the subject hang, encouraging self reflection through the film’s sordid narratives. In a move to abandon the Hollywood formula of the young couple getting married and facing immediate challenges to their fidelity, Arthur switches the focus from the young bubble-eyed pair to a more weathered middle aged partnership, who spice things up with intrigue and games. The film follows the older couple through a selection of set pieces in which their games become steadily more disturbing and potentially disruptive. The pace pulls you in and never quite expels you, largely due to the skillful editing of the director himself, wearing a producer's hat as well as both a writer and director’s already. It would seem that although it was a move to the US that may have secured the budget that went towards producing this excellent debut, his Scottish sense of frank exposition is still intact.

At Night I Fly Jean-Xavier Boucherat The prison documentary is a hard one to get right. As charming bumbler Louis Theroux demonstrated perfectly in his 2011 documentary Behind Bars, the incarcerated are among the easiest human subjects in the world to alienate. By merely appearing in the program, Theroux’s documentary immediately presents the prisoner as the other, and try as he might to fight their corner, the whole thing quickly becomes an affair centered on Theroux’s own problems, perceptions, and sentimentalism. With this in mind, Michel Wenzer’s offering achieves something genuinely magnificent, breaking from the voyeuristic modes usually found in similar endeavors. There are long stretches of this movie where you forget you’re in New Folsom Prison at all, a truly incredible feat for a film where within ten minutes of sitting down you’ve already seen raw CCTV footage of a man getting stabbed to death, and been informed by security that should you be taken hostage whilst on your visit, the state will not exchange your life for an inmates freedom. You won’t find the Swedish-born Wezner in any of the shots, nor will you hear him asking questions. With the exception of a brief phone call with in-

mate and poet ‘Spoon’, now over thirty years into a sentence, Wezner is completely absent from the dehumanized, de-centered microcosm he has created. The brutality of the institutional racism inherent in the prisons day-to-day operation, the violence between warring gangs, the moments of terror that perpetuate the boredom and isolation that defines a prisoner’s life, these are issues that speak all too well for themselves. Most heart wrenching of all is the film’s parting message, unveiling just one of the consequences of a global assault on funding for the arts – having spent time following the trials of a particular group of prisoners involved in the ‘Arts in Correction’ program, a group whose members take their life in their hands by merely belonging to it, it is revealed that due to the funding cuts the program has since been cancelled. In a revealing Q&A session following the screening, Wenzer revealed that the prisoners themselves were yet to see the movie as the entire complex was now on lockdown, following a particularly violent riot which took place last November. It will remain this way until at least May, hindering Wenzer’s desire to find out what his subjects think of the film, and truly measure the success of his endeavor. Certainly from out here though, his decade long effort can’t be praised enough.


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Breathing Jean-Xavier Boucherat Markovics’s directorial debut is a claustrophobic exploration of guilt, suffused with the sweet stench of death. The previously unknown Thomas Schubert plays the orphaned Roman Kogler, an inmate at a Viennese juvenile detention centre with an imminent parole hearing. Having been turned down in the past, and given the seriousness of his crime, he’s less then optimistic about his chances – without giving it away, Roman’s transgressions run deeper then spraying up a few trains and shoplifting a few beers. The film follows Roman’s attempts to get a meaningful job to support his application, playing the part of the reformed citizen. After a few false starts, he’s given a break as a coroner’s assistant, a clinical, no-nonsense affair in Austria with all the hallmarks of cold, state-run efficiency. Dressed in dreary, branded grays, Roman and his colleagues dart around the city in truck full of tin containers, emptying the morgues and dressing the dead. On day release, Roman’s time away from the detention centre’s iron bars, electric cord kettles and strip searches

is borrowed, filling the film with a palpable tension that pervades the film’s ninety minutes. As well as his guilt, we see Roman quietly grappling with the both the pain of being a motherless child and a young man – Breathing features one of the most gut-wrenchingly awkward boy-meets-girl scenes you’re ever likely to see on screen. Despite all his problems, we only see the subdued Roman explode on two occasions. For a film shot in such an suffocating, explosive environment Markovics’s piece demonstrates a remarkable maturity. This is a slow and beautifully shot piece that expertly constricts the viewer to the threshold of discomfort, whilst simultaneously revealing a freedom granted by an awareness of the proximity of death. Remarkable.

“Breathing features one of the most gutwrenchingly awkward boy-meets-girl scenes you’re ever likely to see on screen”

Your Sister’s Sister Josh Slater-Williams Lynn Shelton’s follow-up to her mumblecore hit Humpday retains both frequent collaborator Mark Duplass, and a focus on the types of dynamic you can find between a small group of people. In Your Sister’s Sister we meet Iris (Emily Blunt), Jack (Duplass), and Hannah (Rosemarie DeWitt). At the heart of Humpday’s character exploration was a fairly high concept premise: two straight male friends decide to make a porn film together for an art project, testing their boundaries in the process. Your Sister’s Sister can’t be summed up quite as neatly, but by not relying on any farcical narrative developments alone, Shelton avoids any sitcom-like tendencies, instead opting to bolster the film with grounded, engaging characters who you can enjoy spending time with. Duplass’ Jack is having trouble recovering from his brother’s death a year after the event. Iris, his best friend and a former girlfriend of his brother, offers him the opportunity to spend some time alone at her family’s secluded cabin, where he can try and clear his head. Upon arriving, he discovers Iris’ sister Hannah is actually there to clear her own head following her recent separation from a long-time partner. Despite having never met, the pair spend a night commiserating each other over heavy alcohol consumption that eventually leads to a brief bout of regrettable lovemaking. The next morning the two find themselves in a predicament when Iris turns up unannounced for a brief stay. They attempt to conceal their tryst to prevent any feelings getting hurt

and stop relationships from potentially souring, but as the desires and longings to be found in each character are slowly revealed, this proves to be troublesome. Your Sister’s Sister utilises a partscripted part-improvised approach, resulting in naturalistic dialogue that balances genuine hilarity with sincere emotion, all skilfully communicated by a trio of highly effective actors. Duplass successfully manages to portray a man masking his insecurities with outer frivolity, and a luminous Blunt is wonderful as the charming, spirited Iris. Their interactions in their scenes alone together have an especially playful and tender brand of loveliness that doesn’t feel manufactured. DeWitt has perhaps the most complex role: full of love, but very different from her sister, she deftly alternates between amusing abrasiveness, graceful introspection and reckless immaturity. The film loses its footing in the final act, in which certain revelations provoke disbanding and an eventual reconciliation that doesn’t necessarily feel as authentic as what we’ve seen thus far. Additionally, Shelton seems a bit lost as to what to do with Jack in this final stretch, having him wander off out of the main setting to mope around in a montage scored by bland acoustic guitar. There is, however, still some charm to be found in the conclusion – given its absorbing, well-embodied and honest feeling characters, it’s not hard to forgive its minor failings. Your Sister’s Sister is a frequently hilarious, warm comedy with some sober, dramatic exploration of an almost equal potency. Your Sister’s Sister was the opening gala film of Glasgow Film Festival 2012, with director Lynn Shelton in attendance.


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85A presents: Jan Švankmajer the ad-hoc restaurant (ask the waiter), and projections of various other works scattered all over the place. As well as this, there’s all manner of installations on show, including an apparently possessed violin case and an automated string quartet, a celebration of the life that Švankmajer has given to any number of inanimate objects in the past. Ticket-holders spend the fourhour session drifting in and out of the screenings, variously transfixed by the unsettling magic that 85A have imbued the Glue Factory’s cold concrete halls with. Above all, Švankmajer’s earlier shorts are playful affairs. Johann Sebastian Bach – Fantasia G-moll sees a worldshattering organ performance bring the walls of a dreary Soviet-era apartment to life, the rioting dust perfectly synchronised with Bach’s composition. 1965’s A Game Of Stones draws our attention to Švankmajer’s masterful use of bizarre audio textures - a clock with a tap fixed on top periodically releases sets of stones into a bucket that hangs below. Once inside, the stones erupt

Words Jean-Xavier Boucherat Photos Stuart Crawford Glasgow-based oddball collective 85A are responsible for what could easily be the most thrilling event the GFF12 had to offer this year – a dimly lit ‘expanded cinema’ event celebrating the works of Czech filmmaker, animator and artist, Jan Švankmajer. Raised in the USSR, Švankmajer’s particular brand of surrealistic and often nightmarish stop-frame animation couldn’t have received a better start, with his original children’s films being subject to unique grants under the party’s guidelines. Then in 1972, he was banned from making films and was ruthlessly suppressed until his name broke in the West in the 80’s. Tonight’s event saw the entire Glue Factory transformed into a loving homage to the man, featuring multiple screenings of earlier, shorter works in the painstakingly decorated cardboard cottage and stage; secret screenings in the basement; a visual feast in

into life, dancing and forming shapes we recognise, exploding into gravel and reassembling, before being dumped onto the floor. Like many of his shorts, the whole thing is accompanied an exaggerated series of other worldly blips, beeps and twinkling that’s ultimately responsible for bringing a smile to your face. Other works include the relentless Et Cetera and the joyous Historia Naturae, which features one male actor eating his way through the entirety of the animal kingdom, finishing in a naked act of cannibalism. Intense and enjoyable constructions of a world that exists only in fever dreams. A true labour of love, 85A have thrown the gauntlet down so hard it actually hurts to think about it, cementing the reputation of the Glue Factory as one of Glasgow’s most exciting spaces. ‘Expanded cinema’ is a world they have navigated excellently, with wonderful secrets and details hidden in every corner. Flawless. Expect more with a similar event dedicated to German Expressionism and Soviet propaganda coming up in April.

85A presents: Jan Švankmajer

Finisterrae Dasha Miller @jeeves_ _ The blurb in the GFF programme on this film sounded exciting: “Two Russian ghosts embark on a surreal, dreamlike journey... to the end of the world”! How could anyone pass up this surreal journey with striking imagery and some comedy thrown in there, just in case a film with no living humans is just a bit too hard to handle? The premise of the story is the journey of two Russian ghosts as they try to find the doorway to the human world to become alive again. I say premise, singular, because it’s the only one. We get no other background information, nothing to give the story weight. It all feels a little bit one-dimensional. The story does however take off and the characters of the two ghosts develop quite well thoughout the film as they hike though beautiful scenery,

meeting strange characters (a singing hippie, some deer, a creature from the underworld, a wise owl ...) and finding weird objects (a tree that screens videos from the 80’s, a rock that plays music, deer antlers sans deer...). Expecting humour in a film so obscure is usually too much to ask but Finisterrae delivers. Although crude at times it adds humanity to the characters and gives layers to the film without revealing too much, keeping the surreal and weird tag firmly attached. Although the film utilises its small budget relatively well most of the time, using some great camera tricks for difficult scenes, it is spoiled when you realise the beautiful mountain scenery in front of you is actually a painting-a fact clearly established through a stationary waterfall shot. The visuals in general were somewhat disappointing, perhaps not but because of any choice or failure by the filmmaker: the picture was blurry, had a dead pixel and was

being played from a DVD projected to ten times the size it should never be. If care and effort had been put in it to the projection it may have been a stunning film to watch on the big screen as the sweeping landscape was the main attraction throughout the picture. I wouldn’t have expected any less from Eduard Grau, the cinematographer responsible for A Single Man, but this was quite disappointing. Finistarrae was not all unpleasant although a little too long, at times feeling a bit drawn out, with scenes fitted in seemingly because they may be pretty to look at (or at least would have been if projected properly) rather than to advance the story or any point. This distracted from the narrative a little too much to ignore. I wouldn’t recommend this unless you’re especially into this kind of thing, but at least the film gave us a lot to chat about afterwards - which is not at all a bad thing.

Finisterrae


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Blackthorn Sean Greenhorn There is a popular myth surrounding the legend that is Butch Cassidy AKA Robert LeRoy Parker; that the notorious train/bank robber and leader of the Wild Bunch Gang survived beyond his officially documented death on November 3 1908. Using this myth as the basis, writer Miguel Barros constructs a narrative that depicts an aged, grizzled Cassidy (played by Sam Shepard)- now living under the pseudonym James Blackthorn - as he is forced to saddle up and ride again. Most people are familiar with Cassidy, and his partner ‘The Sundance Kid’, through the Newman/Redford film from 1969; which spent a major portion of its runtime with Cassidy and Sundance in Bolivia. Barros’ script picks up many years later but does not change the location, allowing for director Mateo Gil and cinematographer Juan Ruiz Anchia to set their action on magnificent Bolivian landscapes and vistas. The scenery both complements the set-

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it, his money). The subsequent scuffle leaves both men without a stead and so begins their long journey together, as Eduardo promises wealth whilst warning of his pursuers. As Blackthorn/Cassidy Shepard provides an appropriately grizzled and world-weary, the cocky and sarcastic Butch audiences are familiar with still alive but with a welcome hint of True Grit's Rooster Cogburn. The engaging plot takes several interesting turns but for a large portion assumes the form of a buddy-western. This format is unwise as the back and forth between characters draws immediate comparison to the original Newman/Redford patter; of which it pales in comparison. This distinction is further demonstrated through flashbacks to a younger Butch and Sundance. On both counts the writing is there, but the chemistry is not. As great as Shepard is, the dynamic of old and experienced versus young and ambitious never feels natural between him and Noriego. Ultimately the film is interesting only in its subject. Whilst it is fun to see Cas-

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This March sees the inaugural outing of a brand new Glasgow based performance festival. Buzzcut Festival was born out of a cross-institution graduate collaboration between Royal Conservatoire of Scotland alumni Nick Anderson and Rosana Cade with help from graduates and students from Glasgow University and The Glasgow School of Art. The festival was initiated as a positive response to the loss of New Territories, and the absence of an Into the New festival from Glasgow’s performance calendar this Spring. Buzzcut will showcase contemporary performance work from across Scotland and the Europe. The festival has been programmed to showcase contemporary performance, ‘live art,’ video art, dance and installation. This cross-disciplinary spectacle will take place from the 14th to the 17th of March in The Old Hairdressers and on the 18th in the cavernous Glue Factory (who will also be hosting the closing party on the 18th). There is also talk of an artist run cafe at the Glue Factory, giving audience members no reason to leave. Initiated and led by local artists, this is a celebration of all that’s inspiring about Glasgow’s cultural potential and

will be an excellent opportunity to see cutting edge work from a wide variety of emerging performance makers.True to Glaswegian DIY-form the festival is ticketed, but with a pay what you can policy. Over 51 artists will be taking part; many travelling from across Europe. These international performers will be supported by a key local contingent of RCS graduates, GSA graduates and Glasgow-based performance professionals. The breadth of the programming is impressive, and we've pulled out some highlights below. Glasgow School of Art graduate Andrew Houston's tongue-in-cheek exploration of expanded cinema will examine the frustration recent graduates have trying to 'climb the ladder.' The piece is set within the narrative of

The festival has been programmed to showcase contemporary performance, ‘live art,’ video art, dance and installation

an abstract job interview, and will be performed both on film and live. Sedated by a Brick whose self-proclaimed performance style is 'quirk' will be presenting a non-verbal piece If Destroyed Still True. The piece is thematically dark posing “a series of images acting as reflected and refracted narratives, which simultaneously hint at a murder, a suicide, and the manifestation of a split psyche/personality.” (see attached image). Rachael Clerke is an artist who best finds her voice through performance. Having spent the last year in Istanbul working with theatre company Chasing the Green Man she is now turning her attention to working on her own. After a recent performance outside Ranger's Ibrox stadium a fan (that's a Ranger fan, not a Clerke fan) told her to 'either learn to paint or sculpt or fuck off.' She decided to ignore this advice, and is presenting a piece entitled 'How to achieve redemption as a Scot through the medium of Braveheart' in which she argues that becoming William Wallace is the answer to everything. Another highlight will be Katy Baird's one-on-one performance CAM4. Exact details of the show's content will only be available to audience members, but it promises to be an unmissable experience. glasgowbuzzcut.wordpress.com

Aye Write Kate Hole Now in its seventh year, Glasgow’s biggest book festival ‘Aye Write!’ is once again upon us. With an impressive array of authors taking part and a number of interesting events, why not have a glimpse at what’s on offer before being entirely put off by the cheesy wordplay? Run by Glasgow’s libraries, the festival has assembled an exciting selection of 157 writers to discuss their latest works with an audience. These include the likes of A.C. Grayling, Carol-Ann Duffy, William Boyd and many significant others. Flicking through the listings, there is certainly something of interest for everyone, whether you’re interested in literature, film, current affairs, science, politics, or music, or just about anything else! This is not just a festival for fiction, covering a wide span of topics and writers. Those interested in improving their own writing will find talks and workshops courtesy of Strathclyde University, covering topics from creative writing to interesting and welcome ad-

ditions like graphic novel workshops. However, if you think you’ve got the material but lack the platform, you’ll find events hosted by publishers, novelists and screenwriters about pitching your work, finding an agent and getting noticed. Many of these events are priced at £12 for students; a reasonable expense for anyone looking for some knowledge and inspiration to get things rolling. Other events of interest include Aardman Animation talking about the company’s latest film, The Pirates! alongside the author of the original novel the film is adapted from - a fun event for anyone interested in animation or screenplay adaption, priced at £7. If you’re looking for something a bit more traditional, The Scottish Poetry Slam Championship brings together the winners from live poetry competitions around Scotland for a climatic final on the 9th. The winner will go forward into the World Series in Paris, so there’s a lot at stake – tickets are currently at £5. Meanwhile, The Herald is hosting a panel debate on the future of the media, exploring issues affecting the industry, such as

the hacking scandal; a worthwhile opportunity for anyone looking to work in journalism, priced at £7. If money is tight, there is a selection of free events, such as a performance of work by participants recovering from addiction from the 10 week AddART program, with the support of a drama practitioner and professional playwright. There is also a selection of evenings chaired by Amnesty International exploring the worldwide plight of persecuted authors unable to express their own opinions freely. On the 17th, a night focusing on the work of Glasgow University’s creative writing students and teachers is also taking place free of charge, including the presentation of the Sceptre Prize for the most outstanding student of 2011. Given the wide range of opportunities taking place across the festival, you’d be an idiot not to give the program a quick look. Most events are held in the Mitchell Library, and tickets are available online. 9th-17th March ayewrite.com

Blackthorn pieces and informs the narrative, ever changing to emphasise the journey. The story revolves around our anti-hero deciding to leave his remote life of Bolivian seclusion and return to America to visit the now grown son of his former girlfriend. He withdraws all his savings from the bank (met by the cute remark about how he has never been treated so well inside such a place) and saddles up for the long journey. However, not long into his travels he is ambushed by Spanish thief Eduardo Apodoca (Eduardo Noriega) who attempts to steal his horse (and with

sidy onscreen once again and handled by a character with as much charisma as Shepard, the rest of the movie feels empty. For instance, the introduction of Stephen Rea's lawman feels unsubstantiated and frustratingly forced. The whole conception of the tale feels this way; forced, unnecessary and created for all the wrong reasons. If one is to return to such a character as Butch Cassidy then there should be reason to do so, an ending or a message. The film delivers the icon saddling up for one last great journey but forgets to tell him where he is going.

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Father Sculptor Philip Hunter Worrying trends have emerged en masse in the much vaunted Glaswegian music scene. The Pavement revival has led to many local bands seemingly believing that they are indeed from Santa Monica and affect such delusion in their vocals. Similarly, a tendency amongst others has been the strange need to conform to a classic Scottish stereotype. Thus, the admirable emphasis upon folk music in Glasgow has instead created a hideous amount of utterly bland groups. Snow Patrol was quite enough thank you. Whilst Father Sculptor pay homage to the legacy of legendary local label Postcard Records, they avoid the total deference afforded by many of their peers. The English quintet perhaps owe more to the grey slate of Manchester than their adopted home. The as yet unreleased recordings are rich but dark; pop sensible yet downright bizarre. One track, recorded and produced deep in the grumbling bowels of Father Sculptor's bedroom is a per-

Tom Hall dazzles the crowd with both his tropical dress sense and David Byrne affectations sonal highlight; thundering drums and OMD keyboards interspersed with Mia Farrow quotes complete a sound which is hard to hold with a united fist. Supporting media darlings Spector to a sold out King Tuts provides the perfect platform for a debut gig. Up close & personal Father Sculptor is a far more muscular and brooding beast than on record. The brief nature of the set is tempered by how emphatically frontman Tom Hall dazzles the crowd with both his tropical dress sense and David Byrne affectations. The rapturous applause offered to the saplings was testament enough to the undoubted potential of this cultured, if remarkably ugly, quintet. fathersculptor.com

glasgowguardian.co.uk

An experiment that should have stayed in the studio Joe Trotter @JosephTrotterV2 “Well you know, we did this to fuck our label” bantered Rodrigo, leaning out over the crowd, apparently jokingly. “But, as the project grew, we decided we wanted to take it on tour.” The project Rodrigo of guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriella is talking about is new album Area 52, produced in conjunction with Cuban music collective C.U.B.A to give it that big band sound. This is a fine, creative idea for a studio album, but it destroys almost everything that makes Rodrigo y Gabriella an extraordinary live couple. Sad to say, tonight’s show is a loud and slightly hollow experience. From the off, the show seems illthought out; rather than start in their normal style with some acoustic heavy metal to get the crowd going, they leap straight into a few big band numbers. The poor sound balance is immediately apparent - the brass section are far louder than anyone else, particularly the twin guitars, thus blasting away any intricate subtleties in a fanfare of horns. This carries on for 45 minutes or so, the crowd becoming more and more restless, before a 20 minute surge of acoustic material brings them back to life. This is then sandwiched between some more Cuban material, before an encore of even more Cuban re-interpretations (and an inexplicable bass solo). What was offered was saturated and deafeningly underwhelming; the intricacy and intimacy of the guitars, the awe-inspiring company of talented musicians, these little things which makes Rodrigo y Gabriella such fascinating viewing were mercilessly shoehorned by the relentless noise. Little coherency was apparent in the set, let alone an explanation from the vocalshy entertainers; song names might of helped in discerning each brass blast from the next. It wasn't awful, but that certainly doesn’t excuse the puzzling, ill-fitting dullness of it all.

If, for example, the Cuban songs were sandwiched between the more rounded, well thought out acoustic sections, then it might have worked. If, instead of marketing it as a Rodrigo y Gabriella gig, it was presented as 'Rodrigo y Gabriella y Friends' in a seated concert setting, that would have worked. If the concert happened a month earlier, tying in with Celtic Connections as a World Music piece with a subsequent concert tour, that would have definitely worked. Instead, what we’re given is a half-way house, an enviable experiment that just does not work in a livegig setting, which at nearly two hours was far too long, with many of the soldout audience not bothering to wait for the traditional will-they-won't-they encore tease and instead making for the Glasgow night. It wasn't all bad though. The axemassaging duo are still extraordinary and mesmerising talents, their sheer skill enough to carry most efforts. When acoustically focused, Rodrigo's melodies dancing with the slap-rhythms of Gabriella, the results testify to two of the most outstanding musicians in world music. This intricacy, immediacy and humility of tune, harnessed by the tight connection between audience and musician, both stripped down to the bare essentials of rhythm and soul, is what makes the band essential listening. Remove this, and you have nothing; add to it and you have too much. The C.U.B.A experiment, fine in a studio with take-after-take refinement, restricts and over-complicates the experience; extra noise and rhythms saturate the majestic simplicity, and the lack of focus removes the intimacy of two people, two guitars and an enraptured audience. In effect, what you are getting is the Rodrigo y Gabriella name, but not the soul or the performance. This is not Rodrigo y Gabriella, but rather a hollow shell with no real identity, and for people of such raw talent, that's a waste. rodgab.com

Curry in a hurry Csenge Lantos csengecooks.blogspot.com Thai green curry with prawns! A nice, spicy dish to warm you up. You can substitute the prawns for chicken, tofu or even just some more veggies. And for a lighter version of this dish try using reduced-fat coconut milk. If you feel up for it try your hand at making your own green chilli paste, check out csengecooks.blogspot.com for instructions. Ingredients (Serves 2) 100g prawns- raw/cooked 75g mushroom, sliced thickly 1 spring onion, chopped 1 garlic, finely chopped 1-2 handfuls of spinach (1-2 frozen spinach leaf balls) Handful of sugar snap pea / mange tout ½ ts grated ginger 200 ml coconut milk +50 ml water/ stock 1 ½ ts fish sauce 1 ts brown sugar 2-3 ts Thai Green Curry paste 3-4 cm lemon grass stalk (optional) 3-4 strips of lime zest Dash of lime juice Chopped coriander (optional)

Method 1) Heat a medium saucepan to medium heat. Saute the garlic for 2-3 minutes with a bit of oil, but be careful not to burn it. Add the green paste, ginger and mushrooms and fry for a minute. 2) Turn down the heat down, and add the coconut milk and water. Stir. Add the sugar, fish sauce, and lemon grass stalk. Cook for about 5 minutes 3) Add the prawns (make sure they’re cooked to a pink colour), then add the spinach, spring onion, mange tout, lime zest and juice. Cook for 2 minutes. 4) Sprinkle with chopped coriander and fresh chili and serve with rice or noodles.

glasgowguardian.co.uk

Dates For Your Diary

AYE WRITE BOOK FESTIVAL 9-17 MARCH

Exciting array of Scottish and international writers descend on Glasgow for a series of talks, debates and workshops. BUZZCUT FESTIVAL

Performance art festival led by local talent jam packed with live performances installations, video art and plenty of suprise acts MUSCLES OF JOY w/ RKST + WOUNDED KNEE, 10/03, CCA

Guaranteed magic courtesy of Cry Parrot. Muscles of Joy are one of Glasgow’s finest experimental ensembles, who’ve cultivated a loose, playful breed of pop, with roots in improvisation, storytelling and performance. Expect tremendous visuals and fantastic support from Swedish folk-drone audio-visual experience Rad Kjetil Senza Testa and Edinburghbased single man vocal orchestra Wounded Knee. GLASGOW COMEDY FESTIVAL, 15/03 – 01/04, VARIOUS VENUES

Your best chance to spend some time with some of the nation’s favourite time-wasters, workdodgers, coke-addicts etc. aka Stand-Up Comedians. A host of names return to venues throughout Glasgow to essentially perform material from last years Fringe, perhaps with some recent references chucked in at the start if you’re lucky. Genuine funnymen this year include Henning When (17/03, Oran Mor), Susan Calman(29/03), Late Night Gimp Fight (31/03, Tron Theatre), Keith Farnan (18/03, The Stand) and Stewart Lee (23/03, The Kings). See glasgowcomedyfestival.com for more details. HYPE WILLIAMS, w/ SILK CUT + NACKT INSECTEN, 23/03, SWG3

No, not the Hype Williams responsible for 2010’s Runaway (a fascinating documentary providing valuable insight into Kanye West’s otherworldly dayto-day grind), but the mysterious Berlin based duo whose ethereal lo-tech swagger will be getting a release on Hyperdub come April. If you haven’t yet encountered the duo’s particular brand of whacked out noise pollution before, consider this description of 2010’s Find Out What Happens… opener Rescue Dawn a starting point – the sound of a baby crying, auto-tuned over a mix of fractured dub, sparkling crystal synths, and a menacing recitation of the goddamn Pokemon theme song. Way to go lads. Features support from exquisite anti-internet party lovers Silk Cut. ARIKA FESTIVAL EPISODE 3: COPYING WITHOUT COPYING, 23/03 – 25/03, TRAMWAY

Tramway present ‘3 evenings of events that are about what happens when we speak, or when we hear someone speak on our behalf, when we share a collective moment of hearing and maybe understanding’. Following on from the last two installments which laid the focus on topics like film and nihilism, this installment features an intensely eclectic mix of film, performance, and even a musical. All events free!


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Impressive Tigers fail GU squash glory to halt rampaging Raiders David Lyons @D_F_Lyons

Glasgow University Squash Club’s Mhairi Charlton won the Scottish University Individual Squash Championships, hosted by Heriot-Watt University, with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Robert Gordon University’s Lindsay Ackers. Charlton’s 11/7, 11/8, 11/5 victory means she retains the title she won as a fresher last year, and went the entire tournament without dropping a game. The Glasgow player looked comfortable throughout the final. Ackers struggled to keep up with Charlton’s athleticism, and resorted to going for difficult attacking shots. Her eagerness to force the pace of the game lead to Ackers making a lot of unforced errors, which allowed Charlton to concentrate on staying solid and hitting a good, tight length. Although Ackers managed to stay close to Charlton on the scoreboard until the midway point in all three sets, when it came to the important points the Glasgow player moved through the gears and never really looked under any threat. The only brush with elimination Charlton had was in her semi-final against Elaine Duncan. Duncan accidentally caught her opponent in the face with her racket at the end of their second game. The umpire warned her that if her lip continued to bleed she would have to forfeit the match, Charlton applied some ice, quickly recovered

her composure and battled through to win the third game 12/10. “It’s really good to win again. I was pretty nervous because this year I was expected to win so there was a lot more pressure.” Charlton’s win capped a generally successful weekend for the Glasgow squad. Costanza Ronchi finished second in the beginners’ draw, whilst two players got into the last eight of the men’s competition. Unfortunately Peter Halliday and Liam Dickson were drawn against each other in the quarter finals. Halliday won the hard-fought game 11/3, 11/7, 3/11, 11/8, before being beaten by Heriot-Watt’s Ewen Urqhart in the semis. Oliver Blakemore, Glasgow Uni Squash Club captain, who finished 13th, said: “Having played alongside Mhairi all season and watched her improve her game in a very tough league I feel this is a fully deserved and well earned victory. In terms of the club’s performance, we also had two players finish in the top five in the men’s draw and the largest number of entries since I’ve been at the club. It was a very successful weekend.” The men’s draw was eventually won by Edinburgh University’s Iain Tennant. It was also Tennant’s second consecutive win, although his third overall having missed the 2010 tournament because it clashed with the BUCS individuals. After the final Tennant said: “I’m very pleased to have won my third Scots Uni’s. It means a lot. It’s always good to grind out victories.”

Rugby stat attack Scotland under Andy Robinson  Scotland under Andy Robinson lt Re su

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27 games, 23 tries, 12 wins, 1 draw, 14 losses 4   m0-60 ins

Needing to get points on the board and fast, Glasgow came up disappointedly flat as an incomplete pass to Crymble, an Ojei run and a Beesley reverse failed to make the first down. A stubborn Newcastle continued to take their chances as their offensive philosophy converted two first downs. However, the Raiders deviated from their game plan once more to try and throw the ball on the unsuspecting Tigers. Figuring they were a perfect pass away from another six points, the Raiders threw the ball on first down only for Halfpenny to break up the play and cornerback Connor McSharry to stab the ball out of the air. Suffice to say, Newcastle did not throw again. Newcastle, with the ball just outside Glasgow’s half, preceded to systematically work their way down the field running over Tigers as they went. On a first down on Glasgow’s 29, the Raiders stormed to within the ten yard line only to be denied yet another touchdown by the imperial Nick Halfpenny. A flag on Glasgow gave the Raiders the ball on the 4, but then the referees let another ambiguous decision slide with lineman Jeff Pawlikowski apparently forcing a fumble in the pile but to no avail. A late Glasgow interception by Ellen gave the Tigers a chance to end their touchdown drought but Armes’ hail Mary pass fell into Raider hands however which brought the enthralling game to a close. Newcastle’s offensive superiority proved to be the difference, if only for the first two drives of each half. Glasgow, unable to play spoiler to Newcastle’s perfect season, must take solace in the fact that they were able to slow down Britain’s third highest scoring offense. They have supplied the blueprint for the bigger teams down south on how to face the Raiders in the championship playoffs; a fact the Tigers must take great pride from.

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With perfection and a conference championship on the line, the Newcastle Raiders visited the Glasgow Tigers for the first time in years. Before the season even began, this game was earmarked as a decider, as the clash of the Border Conference. Last year, Glasgow wrangled victory away from the Raiders in Newcastle, as the fiercest rivalry in the conference went to triple overtime. Welcoming their auld enemy back for seconds, Glasgow knew this was no ordinary contest. Averaging over 40 points a game, and possessing a stingy defence, the Raiders posed the greatest challenge to the Tigers to date. Beating Stirling in the fashion that they did gave Glasgow hope that when it came to elite offenses, they could handle themselves better than most. To win this game however they would have to stunt the power of an offense that carved up the Glasgow defence for 40 points in the epic encounter last year. Not having the high powered offense that they used to possess, Glasgow knew that if Newcastle scored early and often, the game could get out of reach. On an cold but mainly dry day, except for the conditions underfoot on the fast Garscube pitch, the Raiders kicked off to the hosts and immediately forced a punt, repelling rookie runners James Crymble and Michael Sinclair and pressurizing quarterback Andrew Armes into throwing an errant pass that was a diving catch away from being intercepted. Newcastle went straight to work utilising their so far ultra-efficient double wing t-set that places emphasis on an ugly yet extremely hard to slow down style of running football. Starting on their 20-yard line, the

Raiders advanced 16 yards in two plays. However their next two plays were not as successful, as the Tigers forced a third and five situation on Newcastle’s 41. Undaunted, the Raiders stuck to their game plan and converted the down by galloping all the way to within the Glasgow five yard line. Stunned, the Tigers were too dazed to stop the touchdown as Newcastle scored on their first drive. The Tigers recovered however to keep the score to just six as they successfully defended the two point conversion. Safety Nick Halfpenny sparked Glasgow to life as his return set the Glasgow offense up in Raiders’ territory, but incomplete passes and solid Raiders defence saw Glasgow once again forced to punt. Newcastle, backed up at their 15, continued to pound the ball and gain yards and would have had another long run on third down, this time for a touchdown, if not for an excellent oneon-one tackle by Halfpenny. It was a first half which saw the offence of both sides dominated by two sets of resolute defence. Newcastle however came out swinging in the second half, ruthlessly advancing (after a great kick-off return) to the Glasgow five yard line where they found the endzone once again, deflating any momentum Glasgow had built up. Once again their two point attempt went unsuccessful, but only through the immense efforts of Halfpenny who again stepped up to win a one-on-one encounter close to the line. Halfpenny continued to show the Raiders his talents as on the resulting kick off the safety shredded the cover unit and with one stationary defender left to beat, Halfpenny unluckily slipped on the wet pitch which cruelly wasted Glasgow’s best scoring opportunity.

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Chas Stockwell Glasgow 0 – 14 Newcastle Raiders

France Wales England

RWC 2011

Key

England

No tries in period

Argentina

One try in period

Georgia

Two tries in period

Romania

Win

Italy

Loss

Ireland

Draw

Italy

6 Nations 2011

England Ireland Wales France Samoa South Africa New Zealand Argentina Argentina Ireland

6 Nations 2010

England Italy Wales France Argentina Australia

14 November 2009

Fiji

Graphic Jannik Giesekam Words Harry Tattersall Smith What does it all mean? The stats make for depressing viewing regardless of Scotlands undoubted improvement in this year’s 6 Nations. In 16 matches in major championships Scotland have won 3 and drawn only 1, defeating a team ranked higher them only once and scoring only 11 tries- five of which came against Romania.

The year’s 6 nations have highlighted Scotland’s psychological deficiency of stepping over the victory line. They have repeatedly been guilty of failing to turn possession into points, as is evident in viewing the galling figures of this year’s campaign. Against England they made 238 passess compared to 72, against France 212 to 137, and against Wales 254 to 154. In every match they dominated possession, had a 100% set piece record and still ran out losing ...


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Sun salutations ... in Glasgow? T

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Guardian check in on the yoga phenomenon that’s sweeping across campus Rebecca Day When I told friends I was taking part in a yoga class, the age old quips were thrown back at me with a wry smile: ‘Are you a 45 year old fruitarian?’ ... ‘That’s not a proper sport!’ Yet, I was determined to enter the Williams room for my first taste of Laura McCrimmon’s yoga class with an open mind and a free spirit. I was instantly impressed by the turnout, considering the class is run and organised entirely by Laura, a third-year English Literature and Business Studies student. The class started with a short meditation, in which we were encouraged in soothing tones to forget the stresses and pressures of everyday life, and reassert our inner strength. Feeling relaxed and content we plunged into our first core exercise, the dreaded and unforgiving plank. We held this position until my trembling forearms almost gave way, and swiftly moved into the downward facing dog. A succession of agonising positions followed, in which bodies were pushed to the upper limits of pain endurance. Laura took care to give a variety of options for each move, depending on the skill and experience of the student. This was quite a relief in the momentary lapses of physical stamina by my weak neophyte’s body. At one point in the class the group took five minutes to try a head stand. Short cuts such as kicking were strictly forbidden, and as I took the challenge head on and tried to lift both legs off the ground, they quick-

ly came crashing back to the mat with a colossal thud. It seemed an impossible feat but some keen yogis managed it, and Laura’s unrelenting optimism convinced me that I too would one day, despite the odds, reign supreme and proudly stand tall on my own head. This was the most enduring aspect of the class: Laura’s friendly and positive attitude helped explain the overwhelming turn out, and the students’ determination to push themselves, ignoring the weary cries for help exerted by their strained bodies. Laura was first introduced to the sport herself when, studying in Canada five years ago, she participated in a class out of personal curiosity. She says she never looked back, and hasn’t gone a day without practicing the discipline in some form ever since. Laura commends both the physical and spiritual aspects of the sport, saying the latter has helped her in her own personal life.

It is soon apparent that this is not just a hobby for Laura, but an outward manifestation of her entire philosophy on life

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She feels like a stronger, calmer and more self-assured person because of it, and in moments of stress or anger turns to yoga to preserve a level head. She is equally enthusiastic about the physical benefits, and feels her previous studies in anatomy mean she has a great understanding of the practical aspects of the sport. She has since changed her degree course to English and Business Studies, in the hope of one day establishing her own yoga centre. It is soon apparent that this is not just a hobby for Laura, but an outward manifestation of her entire philosophy on life. I asked her what advice she would give to novices, like me, who may feel intimidated by the prospect of a mixed ability class. She explained that she is always willing to help out anyone who is struggling, and it is important to not compare yourself to others, but to be aware of the possibilities that can be achieved through dedication to the practice. Laura is already half way there in reaching her lifelong goal, running a twice-weekly class at Dance Glasgow for £4 an hour, and the Friday class which is free to students as part of her affiliated SRC club. Laura talks of exciting future prospects for the club: she will be holding a charity fundraising class for RAG week on March 13th in the Williams Room from 12-1pm. If you want to get involved in this fantastic class, try it for yourself, and like Laura McCrimmon Yoga Teacher on Facebook for info on event times and location updates.

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United Glasgow: fighting friction with football Martin Lennon Set among the boarded up shops and post-industrial rubble of the former shipbuilding centre of the world, I found United Glasgow FC’s training ground with a wee bit of difficulty. Enough street lights are out in this part of Govan that even a lifelong Glaswegian can find it hard to keep his bearings. But if my temporary sense of displacement was a little frightening, it is hard to imagine the sense of isolation hundreds of asylum seekers experience every year as they arrive in Glasgow. On a floodlit primary school fives pitch I find a group seeking to make that experience a bit better. United Glasgow FC grew out of casual games of 5-a-side that were put on by Unity in the Community, a Govan based charity working with asylum seekers. As the charity’s work grew and developed, so too did the football. Its various incarnations began entering one day tournaments put on by antidiscrimination and anti-racism groups throughout Glasgow. Last summer the now-manager Alan White, along with others, took the leap to form a formal team and joined the Scottish Unity League. Their first season has not quite brought them rampant success on the pitch. United Glasgow currently sit bot-

tom of the table with an impressive zero wins and their last match found them on the receiving end of a 7-4 thumping. But White sees the team’s successes off the pitch as being much more important: “Me and the other guys who are running the team at the moment are more concerned by that fact that there are guys in the team who 6 months ago might never have met an asylum seeker, who now know stuff about it ... who now consider people from Zambia and Somalia friends of theirs. It’s all about people meeting each other and breaking down barriers. ‘It’s good for asylum seekers as well because there is this discourse around migration and asylum in the UK that is incredibly negative, and it’s good for them to see ordinary day-to-day Glaswegian people who don’t think differently of them because they’re migrants: who don’t think differently of them because of where they come from.” This sense of breaking down barriers is immediately palpable as I walk out onto the pitch. Though I came as a spectator, no sooner am I on the grass than spare boots and tracksuit bottoms are thrust into my hand. As I quickly change on the pitch I overhear jokes and small talk in multiple languages. Players greet each other in their mother tongues one second before immediately breaking into English as other players join the conversation. By the time

the warm ups have started any sense of being the new guy has already disappeared. Leading the training is Max, the club captain. Originally born in Cameroon he moved to Glasgow when he was three to be with his mother. Confident and assertive, Max motivates the rest of the team and sets up the training drills. A football fanatic who plays for multiple sides, I ask max why he got involved with the United Glasgow: “One of my pals was an asylum seeker, and he started telling me what Alan was doing for asylum seekers: trying to help them through sport ... and I just thought ‘That’s great. I’d be so glad to join you.’” Having experienced racism on the pitch himself Max was drawn to be involved with the team, as he sees it as part of an effort to combat racism. Although the Scottish football media are never short of commentary on sectarian issues, racism in the Scottish game is seldom if ever discussed. However the experiences Mark Walters, Jason Scotland and various others point to an ongoing problem and at the amateur level where the game is less regulated, there seems to be a culture where racism is acceptable. Alan White: “Junior football has always been the preserve of the kind of white working class male. Even university teams can find it quite difficult to play there. I don’t think that everyone

who plays junior football is an out-andout racist. I think that people pick on a physical characteristic to wind up an opposition player. And someone from Cameroon or Nigeria playing juniors and they’re the only person on the park that’s not white, invariably it’s gonna be their skin colour that gets picked up on. It can become a very distressing thing for the player if it happens over and over again” United’s players aren’t ones to shy away from winding up opponents (or fellow teammates for that matter). What distinguishes the club from others in lower reaches of the Glasgow

footballing system is the lack of posturing or ‘preserve’. The bonds of the team are formed by stressing a shared love of the game, rather than the tribal rivalries. Glasgow is a city not yet famed for using football to bring people together. The Dear Green Place is renowned in the footballing world for a pronounced, passioned and petty rivalry. It is a city where conversations about football are all too often divide friends rather than bring together strangers. The Scottish Unity League, and in particular United Glasgow FC, might just be beginning to change that history.

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the tops Glasgow climbing talent shines through Marcus Peabody Glasgow played host to the second round of the Scottish Student Sport indoor Climbing competition on the 15th of February, with more than 100 competitors travelling in from across Scotland. First place went to Glasgow’s Alex Gorham, who climbed the hardest route after almost no time at the wall. Edinburgh University’s Natalie Berry finished in similar style, showing up less than two hours before the call in for score cards, but still achieving the top score in her category. Each climber was scored on three attempts on each of the 20 progressively harder routes. The field was well separated with a wide range of abilities and experience present. Hopefully this event served as a good warmup for the BUCS climbing competition in March. The competition is run under the banner of SSS - Scottish Student Sport. However, this round was organised entirely by students from various mountaineering clubs across Scotland after SSS were entirely unresponsive to calls and emails during the planning and organisation stages of the event. As a result there is discussion about whether future rounds will continue to operate as part of SSS, or if instead the competition will become an independent entity. At present it is not apparent how affiliation to SSS benefits Scottish student climbers.

SSS Climbing Round 2 Rankings

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Jeez, yet another thing to cheer about

Men’s 1st Alex Gorham Glasgow Uni 2nd Nick Duboust Strathclyde 3rd Paul Williamson Glasgow Caledonian Women’s 1st Natalie Berry Edinburgh 2nd Holly Rees Glasgow Uni 3rd Clara Vergez Edinburgh

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posf the ared ribal

photo: Katie Moore

Vicky Bichener

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Alex Gorham on his way to winning round 2 of the Scottish Student Sport Climbing Competition. Photos: Marcus Peabody

Ready ... Okay?! I bet when you hear the word ‘cheerleading’ the first thing you think of is vacant-looking girls holding shiny pom-poms and smiling as if their lives depended on it. Or perhaps those bitchy ones that strut along corridors in American teen movies. The girls of Glasgow University Cheerleaders are nothing like this. We may play hard … but we train harder. To give you an idea of what I mean here’s an average training session: fifteen minutes of cardio warm-up with fifteen minutes of stretching. One hour working in your stunt group (that’s where four people work together to throw the fifth in the air). Half an hour tumbling (gymnastics) followed by fifteen minutes of conditioning and then fifteen minutes of jumps. By the end of all that the jumps section is a killer. Getting off the ground at that point seems impossible, let alone whipping your arms around for a double straddle. Cheerleading is split into divisions – levels 1-6 – based on an increasing scale of difficulty. For example, we have a stunt called a basket toss where the flyer is thrown into the air and caught again in a laying down kind of position.

At level 2 all she is allowed to do is go up and then come back down again. At level three she can do a trick; so either snap up a pike or wrap around for a twist. At level four it gets harder and double tricks are brought in; something like a switch-kick or double twist. By the time you’re at level 6 you’re looking at full-twisting inversions and fully leaving a stunt group for another one waiting meters away. Most university teams only reach the middle levels before having to start again from scratch in freshers’ week. We enter both a level 2 and a level 3 team. At Glasgow we also run a pom-dance team. This does involve pom-poms but it is nothing like what you’ll have seen on the side lines of a football or American football match. It’s a technical style of dance similar to jazz or ballet with loads of leaps, turns and pirouettes. It’s intense, and GUC are pretty much the university pom team to beat. In fact, at the FutureCheer University Nationals, held every year in Loughborough, we have remained undefeated for an incredible four years. So now you have an idea about what competitive cheerleading really is. On February 18th-19th the Cheerleading Club competed for the first time this year at University Nationals down in

Loughborough. The competition grows every year and this year there were 45 teams competing. Our divisions had doubled since last year which many of the squad found slightly discouraging. The standard had simply taken off too, with some teams now throwing an inexplicable number of tumblers onto the mat. Despite the huge increase in competition we defended our titles, winning our fourth consecutive national championship in pom and also placing fifth in our level 2 cheer division and sixth in our level 3. Although we work towards our competitive routines for pretty much the whole year; its only a part of what the Cheerleading Club is really about. We are really close as team and trust is a pretty big thing for us. Cheerleading accounts for more catastrophic injuries in women than any other sport. When we throw a girl up she has to know and trust that we’ll catch her on the way back down. So forget all about the stereotypes you believed. Remember that if you think a cheerleader is looking at you funny it’s probably because she had training 7:30-9am before uni and can’t actually keep her eyes open. And smile at her – she did your university proud last weekend.


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24

Cage Rage

photo: flickr.com/dvlx

Harry Tattersall Smith The cage fighting revolution has well and truly begun. A little helping hand from Hollywood is useful but the seeds of fascination had already been sewn long before The Warrior blasted the sport into public consciousness. No longer is it a sport resigned to the graveyard shift on obscure pay-per-view cable TV, a sport more readily associated with angry, testosterone fuelled sadomasochists than professional athletes. Cage fighting or Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is flourishing and with each and every boxing scandal increasingly leaving a bitter taste, disillusioned fans are switching over to a sport untarnished by greed and corruption The sport has descended upon Glasgow for the Ontop4 championships at Kelvin Hall. It’s the pinnacle for the sport in Scotland and somehow due to a combination of coincidence and an insistence on waving my press press at lots of people who really couldn’t care less I find myself sitting in arguably the best seat in the house. I’m meters from the cage next to the fighters’ runway, sandwiched bizarrely between the family zone and the scantily-clad ring girls. The close proximity allows for an incredible insight into the razor sharp intensity of the affair. The dramatic entrances the fights make to the Arena feel almost like part of the fight itself. Spectacular visuals give the effect of the fighters ascending from the darkness,

emerging shrouded in smoke. As they swagger up to the cage it’s like watching a procession of the people you’d least like to meet down a dark alleyway. Nearly all are sporting skinheads and decorated with an impressive arrays of scars and tattoos, yet it is the look in their eyes that is perhaps most frightening. Focussed is one thing; these guys look almost maniacal. Beady eyes fixed seemingly into oblivion, or if their opponent is already in the cage engaged in pre-fight rituals then the combatants’ mind games can truly begin. They all start to madly eye-ball each other with penetrating looks so intense that they seem to be boring into one anothers souls searching for a weakness or vulnerabilty to exploit. This build up is played out to a soundtrack of beating hearts and the ultraemotive ‘Eye-of-the-Tiger-and-the-like’ fight music ensemble. So much so that by the time the fighters have been given the once over by the doctor – although maybe it should be a psychologist – the atmosphere is truly electric. You may be of a pacifist persuasion but it’s almost impossible not be swept away by the gladiatorial prestige of the occasion. I find myself arbitrarily picking sides and by the end I’m so into it I’m practically baying for blood. It’s easy to be swept up by the furore of the hugely partisan home crowd. Scots are treated like heroes whilst foreigners arrive to the chorus of boos more readily associated with a pantomime villain. It would be easy to expect MMA to

just be full-on fisticuffs but the fights all seem to follow a certain pattern. A couple of well-aimed kicks and a few punches before the opponent’s lunge grappling to the floor. Rarely it seems are fights won with a hail Mary knockout blow but rather in the homo-erotically charged wrestling that inevitably seems to follow suit. You know the are trying to inflict some serious damage but its hard to think they’re not just having a big cuddle. At times it’s like watching a pair of first-time lovers clumsily attempting the Kama Sutra as they wriggle and grasp with each other on the floor. The manner in which the actions veers from the gung-ho to the methodical is probably the most compelling aspect of MMA; the delicate balance of brains and brawn needed to be champion. Just because you’re 7ft tall and built like a James Bond bad guy doesn’t necessarily mean a thing, although to be fair it probably helps because MMA is like chess for the abnormally tough. It’s so methodical and tactical in fact that it’s easy to misjudge who seems to be winning. Just because someone is inflicting apparent mortal damage on their opponent doesn’t necessarily mean they are heading for victory. At one stage a fighter seems to be unceremoniously tipped onto his head but no sooner have I turned squeamishly away to wince expecting a horrific crunch than he’s wildly bounding around the cage celebrating. Turns out in falling he had trapped his opponent in a leg lock

and forced his opponent to tap out to avoid a leg break. The unbalance of some the early fights at times verges on the ridiculous. At times I feel a bit like I’m watching in on the scuffle of two warring siblings, with the outcome like all fights between big and little brothers, inevitable. Yet they do serve to answer any doubts sceptics might have over the authenticity of the sport as the first fight is prematurely stopped due to a suspected broken foot, whilst the second sees the defeated depart forced to take oxygen. The event staged at Kelvin Hall marked a landmark event in Scottish MMA with the first professional female fight. Sadly the build up was somewhat tarnished by the ill-chosen words of MSP Sandra White, whose ignorance caused unnecessary controversy as she suggested that the fight was geared more to the hyper-sexualised tendency’s of a largely male audience than to a watershed moment in women’s sport. She claimed: “There are sexual connotations of having women cage fighting. I just think it sends out completely the wrong message to the general public” before going on to add “I think it’s degrading to women.” The fight sees Scotland’s Joanne Calderwood face the French challenger of Noelia Molina, yet no sooner has the booming voice of the host finished highlighting the historical significance of the fight, than it’s over. Calderwood is brutal in her efficiency. Within seconds she has her opponent locked

helplessly on the floor and is pummelling her with such frenzy that it sends an awed hush across Kelvin Hall. Whatever people expected from Scotland’s first professional female fight, I’m not sure it was this. Eventually the referee is forced to stop the fight with Molina dazed and bleeding badly from a head wound. It may be an inherently sexist comment, but watching this fight made me far more uncomfortable than in the viewing of men in similar positions being just as equally beaten senseless. I realise those sentiments are patronising when dealing with professional athletes, and at the centre of all things Calderwood demonstrated a ruthlessness that reflects that there is no reason why she cannot go on to compete with the very best in the sport. Top of the bill is the fight between home favourite Martin Delaney and Mamour Fall for the crown of On Top lightweight champion. It’s the fight the event deserved. Five gruelling rounds of combat fail to separate them before the Scot eventually narrowly claims the title on a judge’s count. Queue jubilant celebrations as the crowd surge into the cage to carry out the new champion aloft. Having recently watched coverage of England’s 1966 World Cup victory, I can’t help but draw comparisons with the iconic image of Bobby Moore held on the shoulders of his team. Sex, greed and race scandals may be robbing football of its heroes but tonight in Martin Delaney, Glasgow found one.


Glasgow Guardian - 2011/12 - Issue 6