Liam Fox’s Glasgow Past
Scottish Unis most expensive in UK 3
october 13th 2011
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New sports building to be split with Union Glasgow University’s Senior Management Group has been forced to shelve its plans to demolish the Glasgow University Union extension this January in order to expand the University’s sports facilities after facing intense pressure from the union and its supporters within the University. In a joint statement, handed to the Guardian, co-written by GUU President, Chris Sibbald and University Principal, Anton Muscatelli they outlined the new criteria that must be met before the University would continue with the project: “The University will only commit the Sports Extension when we are also able to commit to a development of GUU social space that will sustain its activities” Speaking to the Glasgow Guardian, GUU president Chris Sibbald announced that architects were already in the process of drafting up designs for the new joint facility, ‘Currently we are looking at an 8 storey building split between the union and the Sports centre. It will be four storeys of a new union and four of world class sports facilities. It’s a really exciting time. The Extension needs to be rebuilt because it simply isn’t built to handle the amount of people we have coming through the doors. There will be a split though so you don’t need to worry about clubbing on a basketball court.’ The University’s original proposals had outlined plans to see demolition work on the Extension commence in January but now no work will begin on the building until at least September.
The University has long been home to a number of former GUU Presidents and Board Members, known colloquially as the “Old Boys”. A fact Sibbald is more than happy to acknowledge: “I find it amazing that David Newall thought he could force through this proposal even though three members of the Court are former GUU Presidents... It really could have been a success story for Glasgow University, the uniting of world class sports facilities with an historic union, but instead they have back tracked and come out looking pretty foolish.” With the decisions looking set to be finalised in December, one thing for sure is that with the future of the Hive ensured in one way or another the GUU will no doubt count this as a successful campaign, Sibbald certainly does: “I thought it was incredible that they thought we were just going to sit back and accept their decision. Of course we were going to fight.”
GUU President Chris Sibbald
Legal challenge to closure of Slavonic Studies courses at Glasgow University Glasgow University Court has been asked to reconsider the closure of Slavonic Studies at its next meeting on 12th October, after facing criticism from Glasgow University Senate. Two professors of the university’s School of Law have challenged the legality of the court’s decision to remove the course as an option for study. Dr Aileen McHarg and Professor Tom Mullen wrote a letter to David Newall, secretary of court, to restate their argument on the court’s decision to withdraw Slavonic Studies, stating that: “a decision to withdraw the degree programme can only lawfully be made with the agreement of the senate." The functioning of the university is generally divided between Court and Senate: the distinction between the two bodies is prescribed by the Universities (Scotland) Act 1966. The statute states that the court is responsible for the revenue and property of the university, whereas the senate controls academic matters. The two members of School of Law teaching staff consider that this division of labour has been ignored. The proposal to withdraw programmes, McHarg and Mullen argue, should be initiated on the recommendation and approval of the senate, as stated by the 1966 act. Speaking at the Scottish Grand Committee in January 1966, former Labour MP for Maryhill, Mr Hannon, acknowledged that the court seemed to hold a greater share of administrative power within the university, yet “the senate is the paramount governing body, and its powers and rights should be jealously safeguarded against any encroachment by the court, subtle or otherwise.”
In a response to Dr Paul Cockshott’s email to members of the senate, which initially raised this issue, clerk of senate Professor Caie defended the decision of the court, claiming it to be a matter of court discretion. Whilst the senate must give approval for degree regulations, Caie argues, the variety of programmes on offer is court’s concern. The closure of Slavonic Studies at the university would require amending the MA regulations, as there was no distinction between degrees and degree programmes included in the clauses of the 1966 act. At the most recent meeting of the University Senate on 6th October, Dr Mark Godfrey of the School of Law asked David Newall, secretary to court,
whether the letter from McHarg and Mullen will be presented. Newall said that his own letter and summary of the situation will be presented. Dr Jan Culik then asked Principal Anton Muscatelli whether the legal advice that the Senior Management Group has had, that allegedly sets out the legal basis for the court to override recommendations of the senate, will be made public. Muscatelli referred the question to Newall who said it will be made public, after it has been submitted to court on 12th October. Glasgow University Court meets on the 12th October after this paper goes to print, but you can find us online at glasgowguardian.co.uk for updates.
Glasgow University's decision to cut language courses was met with significant protest earlier this year. Photo: Sean Anderson
Hillhead Subway station revamp Hillhead station continues to lead the £290 million modernisation of Glasgow’s subway, but Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) promise that commuters will face no disruptions has already been broken. Work at Hillhead, the first of the city’s 15 Subway stations to see upgrades, began in June and should be completed by the summer of 2012. Throughout the process, SPT has said: “We want to reiterate to passengers that although upgrade work is taking place at many stations across the network, the Subway will remain operational.” On Thursday 29th September, however, Hillhead station was forced to close at around 8pm, causing difficulties in getting home to the many students who live in, or get trains from, the city centre. The Inner Circle had been out of action from around 5.30pm, easily the busiest time of day for the network, forcing passengers to squeeze into one of the Outer Line trains and take the long route home, or to find another means of transport. SPT did arrange buses to three nearby stations – Kelvinhall, Kelvinbridge and Partick – when the station closed completely, but there was a lack of clarity about the situation, and apart from those who saw the couple of messages on the @GlasgowSubway twitter feed, many students were unaware of the
closure or the availability of buses until arriving at the station. The tweet read: “Hillhead Station closed tonight due to upgrade works, please use kbridge or khall. Sorry for any hassle this eve.” The improvements to the actual station at Hillhead include: the relocation of the ticket office in order to create new retail space; the replacement of all material on walls, ceilings and floors; new signage for passengers; and the installation of two new escalators as part of a £5.6 million contract awarded to Otis to replace all of the network’s escalators, most of which function perfectly well without any problems. Additionally artist Alasdair Gray has been commissioned to create a new £12,000 mural at the station. There has been no confirmation as yet that opening times will be extended past the 11.30pm last train from Monday to Saturday, although, extensions to the 6pm Sunday closing time are expected to be introduced after the completion of the works around the system. MSP Sandra White commented that: “Closing the Subway at 6 o’clock on a Sunday and at 11 pm during the week in a city such as Glasgow is unacceptable.” White went on to say that an extension of the opening times would serve as a, “safe option,” for people travelling home at night. Given the Scottish government’s £6 million contribution to the project,
with the same amount expected to be given annually for the next nine years, Sandra White was not the only MSP calling for longer opening times. If the forecasts for the government’s contribution are correct, then we would see Holyrood fork out £60 million pound towards the scheme – £3 million short of the £63 million that was cut in Scottish university funding in the 2011/12 budget bill of February 2011. Given the outrage that those cuts have since caused, there have been many who question the cost of such a project at a time of austerity when a modernisation project, that most MSPs agreed was necessary at some time in the foreseeable future, could have waited until the next decade. The fact that a new branding and the replacing of escalators are widely agreed to be unessential upgrades should add to the anger felt by all those who have been affected through the Holyrood cuts. The cost of the project has not been the only controversy surrounding the revamp. Interestingly, the driving force behind the initial plans for the modernisation was Alastair Watson, former chair of SPT, who announced that he was stepping down early last year for health reasons. The project has been constantly linked with scandal, it was revealed that SPT officials claimed more than £100,000 in expenses between 2006 and 2009, with
a large portion of that sum spent on luxurious, “fact-finding” trips abroad. It also emerged that some officials had arranged a meeting with the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive, conveniently on the day of the 2008 UEFA Cup Final, held in Manchester. Sandra White picked up on this by also, saying: “All those measures (in modernising the Subway) can be implemented only
if SPT is reformed from its foundations. That means no more lavish expenses for councillors’ luxury trips and travel at a time when Subway services are becoming worse.” Current SPT chairman, Jonathan Findlay, is in support of the current project, saying: “We have the chance to deliver a Subway that will last for generations to come.”
october 13th 2011
Scottish Unis most expensive in UK Scotland is now the most expensive place in the UK to study, with the average cost of a degree for students from the rest of the United Kingdom (RUK) exceeding the maximum fees level in England. As of 2012, a degree from a Scottish university will cost students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland £27,803 on average, whilst a 3-year degree from an English University will cost around £25,179. All Scottish Universities have now declared their planned fees for RUK students, which will range between £6,750 and £9,000 per year. At £9,000 per year, uncapped, the Universities of Edinburgh and St Andrews – 16th and 3rd in the UK university league tables respectively – have become the most expensive in Scotland. With a degree costing £36,000, this surpasses the fees of even Cambridge, which recently moved to the number one spot in the world rankings. With 40% of RUK students opting to study at Edinburgh or St Andrews, NUS Scotland estimates that in reality, the fees increase will mean average fees of £30,628. The University of Glasgow last week announced its plans to charge RUK students £6,750 per year, with the exception of those studying medicine, dentistry, and veterinary medicine who will be expected to pay £9,000. A discount of £1,000 will be offered to those who start in first year, making the total cost of a four year degree £26,000. The Students’ Representative Council (SRC) condemned the fee increase, whilst giving recognition to the fact that the University had not opted for the maximum levels of £9,000: “The SRC is an anti-fees organisation, and we therefore condemn the fee increase at a base level. However, we recognise that the position the University finds itself in is not one of its own choosing … Neither the Scottish nor Westminster governments should escape the blame following the removal of the teaching grant for RUK students.” SRC president Stuart Ritchie urged
the University to provide details of support packages for students from lowincome households: “Further information is needed to prove that the finance packages are not merely tokenistic, and that the desire to widen access remains a long term vision for the University.” The University has said that it will offer significant fee waivers and further bursaries to students from low-income backgrounds. For some, this will be worth up to £12,000 over the course of a four year degree. With tuition remaining free for Scottish students, next year will see most RUK students at Glasgow paying £26,000 for their degree, whilst their Scottish classmates on the same course will pay nothing. Until 2011, students from the rest of the UK paid £1,820 per year, but the coalition government’s controversial trebling of the maximum fees cap in England provoked fears that Scottish universities would be inundated with ‘fees refugees’. The Scottish Funding Council also withdrew its grant funding support to universities for RUK students. In response, education secretary Mike Russell raised the limit which universities could charge RUK students to £9,000 to prevent Scottish institutions being perceived as the ‘cheaper option’. Mr Russell said: "To maintain opportunities for our students, and to protect our world-leading universities' reputation and competitiveness, we had no choice but to respond to the increase in tuition fees to £9,000 south of the border." However, NUS Scotland has called on the Scottish Government to intervene, to ensure degree costs are reduced and minimum standards for bursaries are introduced to protect access for students from the rest of the UK. President of NUS Scotland, Robin Parker, said of the fees increase: “It’s shameful that Scotland will be the most expensive place to study in the whole of the UK for students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
This system is one that simply allows principals to cash in on students from the rest of UK, and that’s unjustifiable.’ “Principals were given a huge responsibility to set fees, but they’ve shown that they can’t be trusted. Now that every university has set its fee level, we can see that Scotland’s fees system has gone beyond even what we’ve seen in England.” Universities in England which charge over £6,000 per year will have to sign an ‘access agreement’ with the Office of Fair Access, detailing grants and bursary schemes to be put in place, to allow access to students from lower-income backgrounds. No such regulations have been placed on Scottish Universities. Lawyers are currently considering the legal issues of the Scottish Government’s decision to allow universities to charge RUK students up to £9,000 per year, and have clients who wish to challenge the decision. Solicitor Jim Duffy of Public Interest Lawyers – who is also a Glasgow graduate – is leading the potential case. He said: “European, UK and Scots law prohibits discrimination in the terms on which higher education is offered. Charging students from Glasgow, Helsinki, Warsaw, Athens or Madrid nothing whilst subjecting those from Carlisle, Birmingham or Swansea to tens of thousands of pounds in fees seems to fly in the face of those equality laws.”
People 1st, October 1st Demo The Scottish Trade Union Congress organised a march through the streets of Glasgow in protest to the Government’s austerity measures on October 1. Police estimated that between 7,0008,000 people turned out for the march that started at Glasgow Green and ended with a rally at Kelvingrove Park. A wide range of trade unions, university Student Assocations and politicians were in attendance. Due to the poor weather conditions planned speeches by Mike Kirby, the President of the STUC and Reverend Ian Galloway, Convenor of the Church of Scotland, in Kelvingrove Park were cancelled. The only speech given on the day was delivered by Tony Benn, who was in Glasgow for the 40 year anniversary of the foundation of the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders Union. Benn emphasised the historic nature of the anti-cuts movement: “I never remember so much anger against what the present government is doing. And that anger has got to be turned into campaigns.” He went to to liken the movement to a “British Spring.” Speaking ahead of the march,
Graeme Smith, STUC General Secretary, explained the message that he hoped the march would carry: He said: “All the sponsoring organisations share major concerns about the impact of UK austerity measures on income distribution and services. We are
particularly concerned that cuts will be to the detriment of women, those with disabilities and the BME community. October 1st represents a serious commitment to build on existing initiatives to increase the pressure on Government at all levels to find a better way.”
Tony Benn spent some time meeting marchers and admirers.
MyCampus? MyBad... Two months after the disastrous launch of Glasgow University's new MyCampus IT system, university management has apologised to staff but the fallout seems to have only just begun. David Newall, secretary of court and chair of the Student Lifecycle Project (SLP) board, made his apologies in a letter sent to all members of the senate last week, in which he said: “I am sorry that the issues [with MyCampus’ introduction] have caused frustrations for students and have added to the workload of many staff.” He also revealed that only 70% of eligible undergraduates had fully enrolled- figures correct as of October 6th -while 93% are at least fully registered. This means that there are over 2,000 undergraduates required to enrol in a full 120-credit programme, that have not. As for postgraduate taught students, only 42% had fully enrolled in their 180-credit programme on MyCampus. The letter gave some of the reasons why the introduction of the system had encountered more difficulties than expected. One of the reasons given for the inconsistent and at times incomplete course information was that there were errors in the input of this data, a flaw which senate members were assured would be avoided next year. Other plans set to be implemented for the 2012/13 enrolment period include more “rigorous training” and for continuing students to begin enrolment before the end of the January to May academic session. An update for the system to adopt British English rather than American English is also planned. It is unclear at this stage, however, how much extra this will cost, with some fearing the university could now be “held to ransom” every time it asks its supplier for a modest update. On top of the anger directed at the SLP board from an online petition,
Students could design the majority of the software the board is also under fire from staff at the School of Computing Science. This week, Senate member Paul Cockshott in a letter forwarded to Senate expressed disbelief at the naïvety involved in the MyCampus roll-out. One member of the Computing Science staff told the Glasgow Guardian that the SLP team would have been wise to have run the system in parallel with WebSurf for one year before letting MyCampus go solo, stating that: “It is bad practice in general to attempt to switch from one software system to another overnight.” He explained that the decision to use the whole 23,000-strong student body as one huge group of guinea pigs was absurd, and that: “In industry, if someone made these types of decisions, they would be fired.” Another unnamed lecturer at the Computing Science department spoke to the Glasgow Guardian. He explained that the International Standard organisation (ISO 9241-11: Guidance on Usability (1998)) defines usability in industry by a software’s effectiveness, how few mistakes you make; efficiency, how quickly you can do something; and satisfaction, emotions invoked by the software. There seems to be little evidence, he suggests, that MyCampus passes these three tests. This lecturer also noted that if the idea behind the upgrade in software
was to allow more administration work to be done online, then this objective had not been met at all. He said that MyCampus has been so user-unfriendly that in order to work with the system he has had to rely on scribblings as he moved from page to page: “We have paper all around our machines, with
We have paper all around our machines, with jotted down notes on how to use the system! jotted down notes on how to use the system!” Lecturers around campus have similarly taken up the pen and paper method to circumvent the new system and communicate directly with students. This includes some lecturers telling students to ignore the timetables on MyCampus and instead follow their own lists on subject area notice boards. The reasons for this, the lecturer from Computing Science claimed, were: the “terrible use of interface”; and that the system is “chronically slow” and “rigid”. He also criticised the lack of flexibility, especially with regard to timetable clashes and students’ desire to fix these clashes. He went further to suggest that some of his final year students could design the majority of the software. Going back to the original proposal for the upgrade of WebSurf, one of the mantras behind the proposal was that an over-reliance on the in-house WebSurf meant ”Glasgow [was] losing ground to its Russell Group competitors.” However it has since been argued in various quarters – including by a 1,000-strong, WebSurf-supporting Facebook group – that an in-house system may have been the best option for Glasgow given that MyCampus’ rigidity does not seem to agree with the University’s philosophy of encouraging 1st and 2nd year students to take courses from varying colleges. Going back to Newall’s letter to members of the senate, he says : “The priority in the next few days is to ensure, as soon as possible, that all students are fully enrolled on MyCampus.” One of the methods the SLP team has been using to get as many students as possible enrolled has been the widely-advertised support sessions in the Reading Room, and in other computer labs around campus, but the organisation of these sessions has been criticised. Students, many of whom are stressed and confused first-years or international students concerned about important issues such as finances, had to endure up to two hours of spiralling queues around the Reading Room in order to sort out their issues. Student and Glasgow Guardian contributor, Amy MacKinnon, who had been assisting on the Help Desk at these sessions, told of how sorry she felt for the students affected, especially first-years: “The first few weeks of uni are bewildering enough without the added stress of being told by a computer system that you can’t do the course you were accepted to do.” With most students now finally enrolled and settling into the academic year, the focus will very soon turn towards the 2012/13 enrolment. Newall concluded in last week’s letter, saying: “I and the project board promise to ensure that the registration and enrolment exercise works much better in future.”
october 13th 2011
Tensions among Glasgow Uni SRC Sabbatical Officers Emails released as part of a Freedom Of Information Act request have revealed tension and mistrust amongst the SRC’s Sabbatical Officers. The emails of Stuart Ritchie, Glasgow University SRC President, show him attempting to keep VP Media & Communications, Iain Smith out of the loop with certain members of the University’s Senior Management Group (SMG). The emails, first referred to in qmunicate, the QMU’s magazine, show Ritchie discussing Iain in an email to Susan Stewart, Director of Glasgow University Corporate Communications: “Let’s try and meet more often – without Iain might be a good idea. I don’t always like the media man who lives [...] at the QMU to know everything under discussion.” Sources close to the SRC have suggested that tensions between the sabbatical officers had been running extremely high during the early months of their term in office, a position only bolstered by this collection of emails. Those same sources now speculate that their are serious “trust issues” at the top of the organisation. In addition to tensions between the Sabbatical Officers, the emails also suggest a close relationship between Ritchie and other members of the SMG. In an email to David Newall, dated 22nd July, Ritchie appears to have been passing information on the Hether-
ington Occupation to the Secretary oF Court, David Newall. It reads: “Just a quick heads-up. The hetherington. Intend to discuss and publish details of your meeting today.” The Free Hetherington in a statement to the Glasgow Guardian expressed their incredulity at the content of the email discussions between Ritchie and the SMG: “While thousands protested, Ritchie spent last year acting as an informant. We have seen nationally what happens when those meant to defend us get too close to power, and these chummy
Reamonn Gormley murder case
emails and lunches leave a sour taste. What can we do when the only “legitimate” representation we have is complicit in attacking us, and sees his interests as lying with managers, on whose behalf he would stab his colleagues in the back?” Iain Smith, the subject of Stuart’s email, told qmunicate that he was “unaware” of the emails. Both Stuart and Iain refused to comment to the Glasgow Guardian on this matter. To read the full emails, go to glasgowguardian.co.uk
The High Court in Glasgow met this week to hear the pleas of two men accused of the murder of University of Glasgow student Reamonn Gormley. Daryn Maxwell, aged 23, admitted murdering the nineteen year old, after having his plea earlier in the year for culpable homicide rejected by the Crown office. Maxwell confessed that while masking his face he had attacked Reamonn, demanding money and the teenager’s phone before fatally stabbing him three times in the body and neck. Barry Smith, aged 19, pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of culpable homicide. Maxwell and Smith are also accused of threatening and robbing Reamonn’s friend, David McFall, with a chisel during the incident. The High Court heard that both men had an extensive criminal past and had been released on bail for other offences at the time of the attack in February earlier this year. Maxwell had previously been convicted for stabbing a victim in a similar incident while Smith had prior convictions for both assault and theft. After the attack Mr McFall was able to carry Reamonn back to the Parkville Hotel where both men had previously watched the football that day. As patrons of the pub attempted to save Reamonn’s life he begged them: “Please don’t let me die.” He later succumbed to his injuries at nearby Hairmyres Hospital. A post-mortem found that Reamonn’s injuries would have been unsurvivable after his carotid artery – a major blood vessel – was severed, causing him to die of blood loss.
In the days after Reamonn’s death, both friends and family organised a commemorative walk through his hometown of Blantyre paying tribute to his life with over 1,000 people gathering in support. Prior to studying Psychology at the University of Glasgow, Reamonn had volunteered with the Good Child Foundation teaching disabled children English in Thailand. Children who had been taught by the teenager recorded an online tribute version of the anthem Just Can’t Get Enough in his memory. Celtic Football club also paid tribute to Mr Gormley who had spent two years at the Celtic Youth Academy. Detective Chief Inspector Robbie Allan, the senior investigating officer for Strathclyde Police, said: "Reamonn was someone who had so much to offer in life. He had a very bright future ahead of him. On the night he was attacked, he had just enjoyed a night out with friends and was walking home in the community he was brought up in and where he felt safe. Daryn Maxwell and Barry Smith, motivated by nothing more than sheer greed, viciously attacked Reamonn and his friend with complete disregard for the consequences." The Gormley family described their son as “a wonderful son and a loving and caring boy”. On social media sites people posted messages in honour of him. One read: “You live on because of your acts of kindness and commitment to others while you lived, you will never be forgotten.” Another simply said “RIP – Did not know you but watched you with the Thai Tims – you were a great lad.”
NEWSNUT: NEWS IN BRIEF
Skills for Work: Financial Services Thursday 1 November 2011 Book a workshop and register for the fair at www.glasgow.ac.uk/careers
11am –12 noon Employer Workshops 12 noon – 2pm Exhibitor Fair, Hunter Halls
The Glasgow University Palestine Society are launching a campaign against the Israeli water company Eden Springs Ltd. Their campaign aims for an end to the contract between the University of Glasgow and Eden Springs’ UK branch. They cite the School of Modern Languages and Cultures’ decision to forgo Eden Springs’ water on ethical grounds. • Glasgow University SRC is getting ready for Health Week. This year's Health Week Campaign will run from 14th-18th November 2011, and will pay specific attention to mental health matters. A range of events are currently being planned and more information will be posted on glasgowstudent.net •
www.facebook.com/GUCareers ©University of Glasgow 2011. The University of Glasgow, charity number SC004401.
The University has has been recognised for its efforts in reducing gender inequality among staff and students in the School of Physics and Astronomy. The Institute of Physics (IoP) has designated the University the first Juno Champion in Scotland. The Juno Code of Practice was set out by the IOP to address long-standing inequalities at the highest levels of academia. While approximately 20% of physics undergraduates and lecturers are female; the same can only be said of 5% of professors.
A new study by the Worldwide Palliative Care Alliance (WPCA), and co-authored by Professor David Clark of the University of Glasgow, has found that only 136 out of the world’s 234 countries have one or more hospice or palliative care service available to seriously ill people, their families, and their carers. The report, launched to mark World Hospice and Palliative Care Day 2011, raises fresh concerns that too many people across the world are living and dying without adequate care, support, and pain relief. • A series of short occupations were held at Scottish Universities in the wake of the announcement of fees for students hailing from the rest of the UK. The brief occupations included the University of Strathclyde, University of Edinburgh and the Royal Conservatoire (formerly the RSAMD). • Postgraduates at the University have a new opportunity to present their research and network with fellow postgrads. The conference Changing the World: a Conference for Early-Career Researchers aims to foster crosscollege links between research students. The conference will be held 7th November in the University Senate Rooms.
Thirty-eight candidates are standing in the upcoming Glasgow University SRC Autumn Elections. Vice president of Learning and Development, James Harrison, said: "I'm delighted to see so many people standing for election [...] it's great that Glasgow students are enthusiastic about representing their fellow scholars.” • The annual Movember effort is due to be launched in the coming weeks, with many local bodies taking part. Participants will seek sponsorship in aid of men’s health charities to grow moustaches for the month of November. If you want to get involved on a team, search uk.movember.com • The GU Amnesty group, an affiliate of Amnesty International marked ‘World Day against the Death Penalty’ with an awareness campaign on campus. the campaign was sparked by the recent international outcry over the execution of Troy Davis in the U.S and the fact that 60 countries worldwide still use the death penalty. The group advocate that the death penalty breaches two Articles the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; the right to life, and the right not to be tortured or subject to any cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment.
State of the Union Scottish Conservatives and Scottish Labour leadership contests.
Iain Franklin The Conservative leadership race was triggered by the resignation of Annabel Goldie, after what was widely agreed to be a poor showing in the 2011 Scottish Parliamentary elections. Goldie claimed the timing of her resignation was to allow her “successor to have the maximum time ... to shape the Party and its policies and to lead the opposition at Holyrood”. The four candidates who have entered the leadership race are Jackson Carlaw, Ruth Davidson, Murdo Fraser and Margaret Mitchell. All four are MSP’s, but all have the same brief: to improve the dismal showing of the Conservatives in the last election and rebuild the Conservative vote in Scotland which collapsed in 1997. Murdo Fraser’s idea to launch a new Scottish Conservative party has dominated the policy discussion of this leadership contest. He suggests that this will allow the party to become “distinctly Scottish” and attract “new supporters from all walks of life”. This attempt to make the Scottish Conservatives appear more “Scottish” to appeal to voters was also the conclusion of the Sanderson review, conducted by the party in 2010. However, a more convincing way to see this is as an attempt to detoxify the Tory brand, which has been severely tarnished in Scotland through issues such as the poll tax. If successful, Fraser would hope to emulate the success of the Welsh Conservatives who , despite remaining within the UK party, created a distinct Welsh identity and were able to gain seats in the most recent Welsh elections.
Ruth Davidson Davidson’s pitch for the leadership does not have an obvious signature policy. On justice Davidson is solidly conservative and argues for full life sentences, an end to early release and, implicitly, a more punitive justice system. However, while a commitment is made to the family as “the bedrock of society” the exact nature of the family is conceived of in a liberal manner. Davidson wants to support non-traditional family structures, such as siblings caring for one another, and strengthen the family within these bounds, but her policy ideas have been somewhat lost in the debate over whether to create a new Scottish party. When David Mundell backed Davidson for the leadership, it was a significant part of his role to deny that creating a new party was a “silver bullet” to solve the problems of Scottish Conservatism. Davidson has thus largely spent her campaign arguing against a rival’s policy rather than advocating her own. Jackson Carlaw Carlaw’s priority is to muzzle the SNP; the policy with which he launched his campaign was to demand an independence referendum before any more responsibilities would be transferred to the Scottish Parliament from Westminster. He has also opposed the SNP policy of a single national police force, suggesting that this would lead to a loss of accountability. Margaret Mitchell Again and again in interviews, Mitchell suggests that the Scottish Conservatives need to solve the problems of the people of Scotland. However, there is little detail beyond this. When asked by Holyrood magazine what the first thing she would do as first minister was, she replied: “Thank my electorate for voting me in, then gather my key team together and get on with sorting people’s problems in Scotland.” More concretely, she has opposed the proposed 10 pence tax varying power which has been suggested for Holyrood.
Oliver Milne Three candidates have announced their intention to run in the upcoming Scottish Labour Leadership Election, following the announcement made by Iain Gray that he intended to stand down in the Autumn. Gray decided to resign following last May’s Scottish Parliament election results, which he described as “disastrous and disappointing”. The result also sparked an internal review of Scottish Labour Party structure, meaning for the first time the party’s leader in Holyrood will also be the official leader in Scotland. Ken McIntosh MSP McIntosh is the current front runner in the race. He is the party’s education spokesman at Holyrood. McIntosh has identified his priority as full employment for Scotland. A former BBC journalist, he is an impressive media personality and has the support of the majority of MSPs so far who have anouced their allegiance. However, his profile outwith the party prior to this election hasn’t been as high as the other candidates Johann Lamont MSP Current Deputy Leader, Lamont is considered the establishment candidate having played a prominent role in the last Shadow Cabinet. However, this has led to many members questioning if she is the best candidate for the job after playing such a prominent role in Labour’s previous
administration and its defeat in May. Tom Harris MP Harris is a controversial figure within the party, considered to be on its right wing, and frequently irks members of the public and the party more generally with his often contentious Twitter feed. Harris has said the Scottish Labour Party risks becoming an irrelevancy if it doesn’t face up to the challenges of devolution. “Bomber Harris”, so named after being the only Glasgow MP to vote for the war in Iraq, may be unable to secure the necessary nominations from MPs, MSPs and MEPs to ensure he is able to stand.
Whoever ends up securing the leadership will face a number of challenges. The party is still recovering from its heavy defeat at the hands of the SNP in May. The Leader will need to rebuild the party’s confidence, support and implement the internal “Refounding Labour” review in addition to preparing for an independence referendum and future elections. Polling will close on 13th December, with the leader being announced on 17th December. For updates, follow us online at glasgowguardian.co.uk
october 13th 2011
Annabel Goldie Outgoing leader of the Scottish Conservatives talks to the Glasgow Guardian
Oliver Milne When you mention Annabel Goldie to people in Scotland the reaction you get is surprisingly positive. She is seen as a competent and trustworthy Tory in a country which can hardly be described as a bastion of conservative values. I met with her to discuss her legacy and the future of Scotland. At the last election. They lost two MSPs and 2% of the share of the vote but compared to the Liberal Democrats, who lost 9 MSPs and saw their vote share collapse by 11%, it can hardly be considered a disaster. But does Goldie agree: “We were in the jaws of a vicious squeeze. A coalition government in Westminister making cuts which I think are necessary but are not universally popular. The Scottish people were looking for someone to stand up for them and not seeing that in Labour and protesting against the coalition parties. It was perhaps predictable that Alex Salmond would do well.” Goldie is a very passionate defender of the Union, when asked about what, in her opinion, was the biggest issue facing Scotland her response was obvi-
Liam Fox is in the spotlight this month, but what did he get up to as a student at Glasgow University?
From the front page of the 11th February 1982 edition of the Glasgow Guardian. For the newspaper's full online archive, see gla.ac.uk/services/archives/guardian/
Annabel Goldie, outging leader of the Scottish Tories. Photo: Dasha Miller.
Bingo! Harry Tattersall Smith As addictions go, my problem on a scale of nought to rock’n’roll is hovering dangerously close to Barry Manilow. Of late I’ve developed a rather damning social affliction: A taboo so frowned upon that I’d probably have an easier time revealing I had a penchant for snorting Class A drugs off prostitute’s midriffs. I’ve recently taken to spending evenings seeking the company of elderly ladies; I, Harry Tattersall Smith, have become addicted to Bingo. It’s a miserable Glasgow October night, as we make our way to the bingo hall in Partick. The alcove outside is packed with tiny old ladies huddled together, furiously chain smoking whilst chatting simultaneously at such break neck speed that words merge together to form a sort of high-pitched buzz. Battling our way through the smoke and clamour, a noticeable hush descends
Fantastic Dr Fox
ous but well reasoned: “The constitutional question is the overshadowing issue. I think the broad trend of opinion strongly suggests their isn’t an appetite for independence.” When we the Union further she becomes animated and combative, seeking to dispel the myths of unionism as simply the boring status quo: “Alex Salmond turns around when you question independence and says you are doing down Scotland, I don’t buy that. ” Goldie also argues that the SNP in their relentless pursuit of more powers and greater autonomy could be damaging Scotland’s economy. “If you persist in talking about powers you don’t have, the overall effect is zilch.” With the future of the Conservatives and the United Kingdom at a crucial turning point in the next few years it is difficult to see how the Conservatives can shape the Scotland of tomorrow with their current image. However, they’ll put up a valid fight and regardless of its outcome you can be sure of at least one thing- their efforts will be solid Goldie. To read the full interview, see glasgowguardian.co.uk/views
amongst the clientele; bemused faces eyeing up the new opposition . Once inside we are almost apologetically asked to show I.D, with the puzzled worker joking, ‘I can’t really remember the last time I had to do this,’ Being one of but a handful of players not currently collecting a pension and with a finely tuned academic mind at the peak of its intellectual prowess I arrived with the romantic notion of patronising a few ‘old dears’ before ruthlessly hustling them out of their cash. Yet sadly this probably couldn’t have been further from the truth. They may carry with them the demeanour of sweet old ladies but scratch beneath the Werther’s-Original-giving façade and you’ll find that the Blue Rinse Brigade truly are the Bingo-ing force to be reckoned with. A recent study by the British Psychological Society claimed that playing markedly improves the memory and speeds up the brain in the elderly. Now you may be a sceptic who views the ‘brain training’ fad as merely a gimmick invented by Nintendo, but even if this study was commissioned by some Bingo overlords, I cannot help but feel slightly ashamed for so fecklessly underestimating the sharpness of
the bingo sorority. Seating it becomes fast apparent is fiercely territorial; so much so that you get the sense that if it was a Mafia run operation sitting in an ‘taken’ chair could probably get you shot and here at any rate, make that sort of faux-pas and you’re on the right path for some very dirty looks. Suddenly three burly security guards surge past but barely anyone takes the any notice. The great bingo heist? Hardly. Rather the slightly over the top security operatives who charge to and surround any potential winner. Perhaps a tad unnecessary, especially when you consider that the majority of would-be assailants are impaired by a lack of ones own hips and by a lifetime of chain smoking. Being there I feel like I’ve stumbled upon a sort of cult. The caller at the front holds a strangely hypnotic power over her room of disciples. Crying out the numbers in a sort of perverse never-ending lullaby; a giant numerical sing song interrupted only by the throaty squawks of winners and subsequent groans of losers. Numbers rain down on the room like something out of the Matrix, and it's almost impos-
Beloved Glasgow alumni Dr Liam Fox has launched an inquiry into himself and will present his findings to the PM. It will most probably focus on why his friend and former flatmate came with him to meetings with the Sri Lankan President and Defence Secretary, what he was doing posing as an advisor to Fox, why he attended a “Security” conference in Israel, and how exactly this friend came to be accidently sat in the same restaurant as Mr Fox in Dubai when sensitive new technologies for the Ministry of Defence (surely Ministry of Arms Trading, Ed.) were discussed. Hard times for Dr Fox as the countdown begins on the possible end of his career, and so I would like to delve into its archive and bring you a story of the young Liam Fox, before he moved on to bigger and better scandals. Always a leading light in the political scene; Liam Fox was in early 1982 both an Ordinary Council Member in the SRC and a leading member of the Tory Club – all was calm and quiet. However, in spring, division seized the campus. The GUU refused to allow the Gay Society to affiliate with them and Liam Fox prepared to launch into the debate. Before Fox could make his stand, the then President of the GUU, Vince Gallagher, made this statement: “We just do not want poofs in our union; I wish they would just bugger off and give us peace.” Universities up and down the country were shocked and other Unions began a scramble to distance themselves from the infamous DownThe-Hill-Boys-Club. Dr Fox was ready. The SRC passed a motion condemning the GUU’s decision and its ‘bigoted explanation,’ and the right honourable Liam Fox stood up as the motion was overwhelmingly passed and declared that the SRC’s decision was: ‘unacceptable.’ He then resigned from the council. sible to keep up. I struggle to strike a few numbers off my grid-which frankly for all my failings might as well be in Chinese, whilst all around me the vast hall is eerily silent but for the sound of pens furiously scrawling. Any time I think I’m even remotely close to getting anywhere a call echoes up from some far corner and I to join the grumbling masses. Then somehow amongst the numerical carnage I have a moment of Zen; My bingo epiphany. Four correct numbers in a row. Chance. The fifth? Surely some sort of blessing…"Line?!" My cry sounds almost apologetic, with the confidence of a man expecting to be exposed as a fraud. The caller looks around shocked and stunned, as if the shriek came from a player whose heart simply could no longer handle the drama and tension. Almost instantly I’m surrounded by security guards, who after an agonising few seconds confirm I haven’t been cheating. Heartpounding and exhilarated I’ve done it. I’ve won a tenner but it probably feels just about as good as winning the lottery. The rest of the night is simply a blur. My winnings are reinvested and squandered on yet more bingo but it seems
Liam Fox, UK Defence Secretary, in a photo accompanying a 2006 Glasgow Guardian interview. He later clarified to the Glasgow Guardian of the time that “The SRC is totally unrepresentative and speaks only for minorities. I feel they are becoming a tool for the QM… I am actually quite liberal when it comes to sexual matters. I just don’t want the gays flaunting it in my face, which is what they would do.” The issue was rounded up by Fox’s Ally in the SRC, A. M. Russell who wrote a thoughtprovoking response piece a few weeks later for the Glasgow Guardian entitled “Homosexuals free to ponce about at QM.” One can only assume that Liam Fox had a radical change of heart before becoming a cabinet minister, and no longer strongly supports apartheid. There are almost certainly other reasons why he was reportedly part of the Gang of Three that turned the party whip and forced Conservatives to vote against gay adoption and why he voted against lowering the homosexual age of consent to 16. One can also assume that he has never publicly apologised or recanted his views because he has been busy with other things. I hope for Dr Fox that the current scandal engulfing his life and career fades away just as this one did, and that no one has any reason to doubt his integrity or opinions, or in any way consider him a homophobic, mendacious, honourless, master of war.
an irrelevance: the seeds of a lasting love have been sown. Trudging out I get chatting to Kathleen, a Bingo devotee who once won £29,000 on the Nationals, but is still as regular as ever. “Good things come to those who wait, love, but all my friends are here and so am I" Whilst Bingo might lack the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas, there is an amazing sense of community spirit and comradery that is so lacking in the vacuous and soulless world of casinos. And if you are someone of a gambling persuasion, it's a far more satisfying way to fritter away your cash than to watch it instantly vanquished in one cruel spin of the roulette wheel.
Contributors Cryptic Crossword Editors Sean Anderson, Harry Tattersall Smith Michael Comerford, Gareth K Vile News Oliver Milne, Iain Franklin, Michael Comerford, Sean Anderson, Euan McTear, Adam Campbell, Molly Conway, Emma Baxter, Vivian Shen, Amy MacKinnon, Claire Diamond, Kirsteen Fraser, Harry Tattersall Smith Views Henry Bell, Oliver Milne, Sean Anderson, Harry Tattersall Smith Layout Sean Anderson, Emily Tilbury, Dasha Miller Culture Jean-Xavier Boucherat, Jassy Earl, Ellen Gallagher, Mira Yankova, Sean Greenhorn, Mary Hill, Csenge Lantos, Phoebe More Gordon, Kate Hole, Alex Raynbird, Jennifer Duff, Gareth K Vile Sport Petya Todorova, David Childs, Joe Trotter, Adam Siewert, David Robertson Illustrations Andy King Photography Gavin Reynolds, Sean Anderson, Harrison Reid, Jonathan Nicholson, Paisley Walsh, Jani Helle Proofing Harley Grant
No1 by Maxton Across
2. Shop for expired permission (3, 7) 10, 14, 34. Prince has indigestion tablet for overcoat designer (7, 6,10) 11. Old citizens suggest Weegie totalitarianism no mess at all (5) 12. Number left, net. (3) 13. Cross dragon sounds a little chilly (3) 15. Motto of resistance? (3) 17. Very musical! (5) 18. Standard housing for a battalion (4) 19. A little data, if no disorder occurs (4) 21. Bay for headless Education Secretary to be thrown towards sea (4) 23. He chose, in part, to repeat (4) 24. Bank of Scotland infiltrated by ring of vagabonds (5) 26. Jane sounds like a dear! (3) 27. Speaking very highly of former small change, ending with the shilling (6) 29. God, pizza everywhere (3) 30. Married to a pillar of the community? (3) 32. Place of birth (5) 33. Left-handed Brian broadcasts century at former lake (4, 3)
1. Conceal chervil spilt on deputy head (4, 10) 3. Covering dark Frenchman’s escape in the fog, for example. (4, 4) 4. Hiking outsoles hidden lead offcourse (4) 5. Following our leader? (4,6) 6. Vinyl only obscures other plastic (5) 7. At first, executive assistant led to severe direction (7) 8. Nosy animals listen to bootleg recorders (6) 9. The holiest time of the year? Unlikely! (5,3,7) 16. Principal arrangement of e-mail cults (10) 20. So much hot air in that place leads to attack on the rise (8) 22. Country where all strive suits upwardly-mobile chap to a tee (7) 25. Confused asps by getting around it (6) 28. Finch no longer represents us under the roof (5) 31. Philosopher, we hear, has a secret language (4)
First complete submission to firstname.lastname@example.org wins a pair of tickets to the Stand Comedy Comedy Club Glasgow, on a Thursday night of your choice.
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Illustration on opposing page » Andy King www.andykingstudio.com
A message from our benefactors Senate is the academic governing body of the University of Glasgow. Its membership comprises all professors, Heads of University Services and academic units and schools as well as members of the SRC and elected academic staff.
Stuart Ritchie GUSRC President The first Senate of the academic year is always quite exciting; there is an energy and enthusiasm from the membership to embrace the start of the new academic year and perhaps to pick over the changes which have occurred during the summer recess. Thus the Senate Room was unusually busy - however any engagement by academic staff in the business of the institution is always welcome. We started on a positive note with the induction of six new Professors to the Senate, then quickly returned to the pressing matters at hand, namely: • MyCampus • The findings of the Senate Communications Working Group • Approval of the Revised Ordinances of Senate Senate is chaired by the Principal, who began the formal business of with a synopsis of his recent activities including some thoughts on the government's decision to invest greater funds in the higher education sector. This could be one to watch in the future as the funds were taken from the further education sector budget. It's a move which could signal the end for colleges? Graham Caie was up next with Convenors business, including a report on the recommendations from the Senate Communications Working Group and its findings thus far in regards to how senate engages with its members and the wider academic community. There is a long standing conflict between the Senate and the Court of the University, as expected considering Court takes responsibility for University governance,
whilst Senate retains authority over academic matters. The working group, which I am a part of, is designed to strengthen the effectiveness of Senate, so I'll be keeping you updated with any progress made. The Secretary of Court, David Newall, followed suit talking to his report on the June meeting of the University Court where much of the discussion was around the findings of the consultation process in last year's academic spending review. Senate often considers a wide range of business at its meetings and more information in the work and its many committees and working groups, as well as the papers including reports can be found at on the Senate web pages. The Secretary of Court also gave an updated report on MyCampus, speaking as chair of the project board. He addressed the problems which have been encountered around registration, enrolment and the user interface. Senate members expressed wide spread anger and frustration with the system and sought assurances from the Project Team that work was being carried out to resolve these concerns and insisted that all students and staff affected received a formal apology from the Senior Management Team, to which agreed. It's worth noting that this discussion was instigated by a rebuttal to D Newall's report from Dr William Cockshott in Computing Science, which has been reproduced online by the Glasgow Guardian. Ending on a high, the Senate approved the revised University Ordinances which have been amended to take into account for the new academic shape of the University, replacing the now archaic ordinances which refer to posts which were renamed following the University's Academic Restructuring. Amongst these new ordinances was the formal acknowledgement of GUSRC's 16 voting members of senate, for which elected representatives have been campaigning for some time.
october 13th 2011
Glasgow University's Principal Anton Muscatelli posing for a photo-op with the First Minister.
Spirited away by fashion Alex Raynbird & Jennifer Duff Forget Essex – these days it’s all about Glasgow. The city’s best newcomer designers proved just that at the fundraising fashion event ‘The Only Way is Glasgow’ as they showcased their latest collections all in aid of the children’s charity,
Spiritaid. The catwalk was alive with an array of styles: from Gothic to romantic, formal to tribal, we saw it all. The exceptional designer of the night was Sophie Hodge who described her collection as “Gothic but glamorous, and simple but edgy”. Her inspiration came from studying the Glasgow architecture at night time, mirrored in the dark colour palette she used; rich purples, black, grey and white. Body-con, midi and maxi skirts and dresses demonstrated a sexy,
contemporary take on office wear. Katerina Lambrou’s green silk shorts are definitely on our wish list, fantastically wearable yet incredibly individual. Her collection oozes glamour whilst being playfully romantic. Nutmeg’s ‘Goddess’ collection provided us with a sneak peek at the Christmas party season with an assemblage of formal wear seemingly inspired by some of fashion’s most important decades. The striking, 80’s influenced, electric blue dress with black netted detail contrasted beautifully with the girly white 50’s-esque piece, which had a hint of the modern-day in its black visible petticoat and matching waist-belt. The white evening gown with lace detailing emphasized the much-desired hourglass silhouette similar to the Stella McCartney dress worn by Kate Winslet at the Venice Film Festival. Jenivieve Berlin demonstrated that hats can steal the show. Her ‘Lace and Chain’ collection inspired by Bohemianism, seemed to scream bigger is definitely better as gold chains and autumnal-coloured feathers, jewels and trinkets were piled on top of each other to
create an extravagant accessory which demands attention. Our must-have pieces of the night came from Nancy Mitchinson with her ‘Urban Warrior’ collection, inspired by “the vivid graphic beading and traditional dress of Kenyan and Tanzanian Maasai warriors”. Her collection was innovative, as a consequence of “the juxtaposition of the precise digital prints against the relaxed printed mini and maxi dresses”. The strikingly bright colour palette was accessorised with an abundance of tribal-influenced, matching necklaces. For good measure, she threw some Scottish patriotism into the mix with a stunning tartan, high-waisted skirt falling effortlessly into a train: a new trend seen at the Alexander McQueen show at Paris fashion week. Spiritaid is the Glasgow-based charity which in 2010 won ‘Scottish Charity of the Year’. The organisation’s humanitarian projects are based in Scotland, but stretch to countries such as Afghanistan, Kosovo and Sri Lanka. They aim to help and support children and young people living in difficult circumstances. The event raised £2700 for the charity. spiritaid.org
Hannah and Charlotte students/young entrepreneurs; What are you wearing? Hannah wears blue Topshop Maxidress; Charlotte wears tie-top and maxi skirt from her own boutique Onceuponatime, found on Asos.com. Style icon? Edie Sedgwick and Eliza Doolittle. Who would you most like to dress?: Alice Dellal.
Laura Fashion Marketing student What are you wearing? Top - H&M, Trousers - Zara, Jacket “borrowed”. Style icon? Alexa Chung. Describe your style A mix of both vintage and high street.
october 13th 2011
Hats off to Glasgow talent Women Women Student budget - H&M headband - £2.99 Splash out - Topshop silver cable knit hat - £16 Loan day- Whistles felt wide brim hat - £50 Men Student budget - H&M rib-knit hat - £2.99 Splash out - Topshop grey Fair Isle bobble beanie hat - £12 Loan day - Ted Baker wool trapper hat - £40
Fashionable dates... don’t be late! Granny would be proud @ Hillhead Bookclub - 16 &30 October In the company of wolves fashion show @ Subclub - 26 October
VOTE! WEDNESDAY 19TH OCTOBER www.glasgowstudent.net GUSRC AUTUMN ELECTIONS 2011
RESHAPE YOUR SRC
Mental health through art and film Sean Greenhorn Now in its fifth year, the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival is bigger than ever. This year sees close to 270 events taking place throughout the country, we cast an eye to what the festival has to offer in Glasgow. The festival runs from the 1st October until the 24th with events taking place in many of the city’s top artistic and creative venues.
The aim of the festival is to explore and enlighten our society’s attitude towards mental health. A positive stance is achieved through celebrating both the artistic endeavours of those with experience in the issue and relevant works that can be both enjoyed and serve to get people talking, especially about everyday stigma and societal injustices. The creators of the festival have chosen the themes of dreams and memories, what these mean to the individual and our community at large. Everyone
involved is keen to make sure that everyone can join in and as such most of the events are inexpensive or free. They range from concerts, plays, film screenings, workshops and exhibitions, with highlights including Catherine Wheels stage adaptation of ‘Kes’, a performance by Marry Waterson and Oliver Knight (the children of celebrated folk singer Lal Waterson) and poet Jackie Kay in conversation.
grandparents. The use of video in KIN also supports the audience’s identification with the topic. Video is integrated into the live performance where the audience is crystallised in an arousing realism, infused by poetic discourse, recognition of the audience and talking-heads technique. KIN is a platform upon which we are able to stand next to the problem of the fixed familial ideology and address this in our own way. It teaches us to stop auto-censoring change of something unavoidable. Rutherford takes us to a strange and fresh place which holds a significant relationship with time. We can expect KIN to be a fruitful liberty, enriching a topic which is so often bypassed and rarely pre-considered.
What exactly are the aims of this showcase and the Re:Mind event? The aim of the RE:Mind event is to bring together creative organisations and artists which push boundaries and explore ideas through film, theatre and words. The event has grown out of the Cafe Improv event run at the CCA in previous festival editions and this year is focused on exploring the themes of memory, identity and dreams. Diversity Films’ Starting Block showcase brings a series of personal narratives, both drama and documentary, to the event which explore diverse identities through film. Was the idea of contributing towards the Scottish Mental Health Arts & Film introduced at the start of the projects or are these select films that bear relevance from a wider range? The Starting Block films were made independently of Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival through our training and mentoring programme which provides first-time filmmakers with the opportunity to receive their first short film commission. Having worked with SMHAFF since its inception, we were invited to contribute, and felt the Starting Block films were the most relevant to the programme. Some of the films deal specifically with mental health issues, such as living with Asperger’s and alcoholism. Others touch on the theme in a broader sense, celebrating human resilience and determination and showing an insight into daily lives of people who face challenges in their lives, families and work. What is the connection between mental health and the arts? In terrms of exploring mental health through art, I don’t think it needs to be a conscious thing or necessarily is a conscious thing when people make work, but in a sense, art and creativ-
Reconnecting to Kith and Kin Mary A Hill
An exceptional addition to 2011’s SMHAFF, one particular performance artist focuses on a relationship rarely considered: the relationship between middle-aged adults and their parents. KIN, the brainchild of Donna Rutherford, is a theatre performance which draws in on this relationship. Five performers, including actress, Alison Peebles (The Acid House, River City) work together to share their own thoughts and fears in regard to such relationships. A wealth of emotions is confronted, both positive and negative, including the performers’ concerns about their own ageing in parallel to their parents’ ageing. During the course of the performance, Rutherford acts as an interface between the performers; an experimental dovetail linking experience to experience. Rutherford has worked as an independent performance and video artist for 21 years, probably the average
Photo: Donna Rutherford.
age of those reading this. “It took me a long time to place myself in my work,” Rutherford says. “I was intimidated to open my mouth and reveal my origins (accent, class, nationality). I hid behind humour, keeping busy by challenging national stereotypes”. Rutherford feels that her own relationship with her parents has now metamorphosed from the conventional parent-child relationship and has witnessed the same among her friends. “I am 42 and my parents are 75 years old. And I have very much felt the shift in relationship with my parents - having to reassure them, console them, support them, make difficult decisions alongside them.” Rutherford wants to test the water of this relationship taboo and actualise a positive sensibility towards change. Albeit a relationship which very much involves middle-aged adults, Rutherford has ensured that younger adults are also able to identify with KIN. She describes KIN as being “very much in front of you,” allowing younger adults to reflect upon familiar situations involving their parents and
KIN is performing at the Eastwood Park Theatre on 11th October as part of the SMHAFF, and thereafter independently. Visit www.donnarutherford.org for more information.
Sean Greenhorn As part of the festival the CCA in Glasgow is home to Re:Mind- a two day affair composed of multiple free events. Billing itself as ‘a melting point of creating organisations, and artist pushing boundries and exploring ideas through film, theatre, dance and words’ Re:Mind promises to be a vital part of the festival; Abigail Howkins of Diversity Films talks to GU Guardian about the Starting Block Short Film Showcase and Re:Mind as a whole.
ity and mental health are inextricably linked, which is why such a wide range of work has a place on a platform such as SMHAFF. This becomes clearer when you cease to think about mental health as mental illness, and look at it in a broader, deeper sense of exploring identities, perceptions of the world and different people’s experiences and understandings and how this affects us, as individuals and wider society for the better and sometimes for the worse. What can film in particular contribute to the festival? I think, in many cases, films can be a very accessible way for people to participate in the festival and its themes, particularly those who might otherwise feel that art events or mental health issues aren’t for them. They are also a great way to touch people with personal stories and a range of emotion. How do the films within the Starting Block Showcase engage with the festival's themes of dream and memory? The films are primarily about identity, how experiences and memories, past and present, shape our identity and what people hope for and do to follow their dreams and ultimately change their lives. The Starting Block films aren’t specifically about mental health. They are really interesting and engaging stories, often fun as well, which anyone can watch, regardless of their knowledge about mental health. There is common misconception that mental health is about mental illness and that it’s a clinical, serious thing to talk about or engage with which isn’t always the case. More broadly it’s about life, potential, experience and how all people can play a full part in society. What’s good about RE:Mind and is that it’s also about broader themes – identity, dreams and memory. These are themes everyone can relate to. The festival has always been good at programming diverse and accessible events, including feel good films you would see at the multi-plex alongside independent and mental health focused events. That helps provide something for everyone whilst also staying true to its aim of raising awareness of mental health and well-being messages. The Starting Block films kick off the second day of RE:Mind at the CCA from 11.30-1.15. The filmmakers will also be there to discuss the films with the audience.
october 13th 2011
For the common guild Solar Bear Mary Hill
Phoebe More Gordon
After SMHAFF requested a psychodrama event to be in this year’s programme, therapeutic theatre company, Solar Bear flourished through with a piece central to the festival’s theme of dreams and memories. The Courage to Dream is a workshop in which individuals who seek help from mental health services work in collaboration to challenge their own understandings of reality, memories and dreams. Psychodrama is a form of psychotherapy which focuses on helping individuals through a fusion of dramatic techniques, such as role playing and self-representation. The title of the piece holds close to the words of J.L. Moreno, founder of Psychodrama in response to psychoanalyst, Sigmund Freud, “I start where you leave off, you analyse peoples’ dreams, I try to give them courage to dream again”. The project allows those who access mental health services to employ dramatic and more specifically, psychodramatic techniques to create a system of selfexploration of dreams and memories, which in turn acts as a form of therapy. Emma Hagen, Therapeutic Theatre Coordinator and a great driving force behind The Courage to Dream, explains that that Solar Bear “combines skills in a creative fashion to work with a particular group of people experiencing long-term mental health problems”. The initial trust between participants is born through trust-building games which provides free movement into a psychodramatic mentality in which participants share their stories of dreams and reality. The Courage to Dream is performed on an anonymous level by participants replicating each other’s stories in a way exclusive to each individual, generating a very pure and rich environment for both the participants and audience. Upon asking Hagen for some examples of the mental health disorders which participants may have, she explained that The Courage to Dream does not follow a diagnostic creed, but rather concentrates on the individual. Even though many participants will be referred from mental health services and will carry a diagnosis, this is not the chief focus of therapeutic theatre. However, Solar Bear does work in partnership with mental health services, with a great support from Hagen’s co-worker, Ian Gidley, psychodramatist and psychotherapist. Hagen says that we can expect to find a body of individuals who will gift us with a collection of their own dreams and memories. These will include everyday occurrences and dreams as well as nightmares, which will all be nourished by humour and strength. The Courage to Dream has been so successful that St Andrew’s University gave Solar Bear a Research Grant to support the project’s Strategic Planning. This event is just one of the therapeutic theatre workshops provided by Solar Bear, and will give an absorbing rendezvous with the surreal and real happenings of a large group of individuals. The Courage to Dream can be seen at the Stalls Studio Theatre, Citizens on Wednesday 19th and Thursday 20th October at 7.30pm. Please contact Solar Bear for ticket information: www.solarbear.org.uk
Situated on Woodlands Terrace is a gallery known as the Common Guild, a handsome building that boasts a magnificent view of Kelvingrove Park. Recently, I met the communications manager Kitty Anderson, who told us about the gallery. I started by asking her how the Common first got started. Firstly, how did the Common Guild first start up? Can you tell us about its history? The Common Guild was established in 2006, with the first project taking place in 2007. The organisation was established by Katrina Brown, former deputy director and curator of DCA, Dundee. It began as an independent initiative, originating from the development of The Modern Institute. The Common Guild is a charitable, not-for-profit organisation supported by Creative Scotland and Glasgow City Council. The Common Guild presents a dynamic, international programme of contemporary visual art projects, exhibitions, and events. These include gallery-based exhibitions at our current premises as well non-gallery, oneoff projects, talks and collaborations. We are committed to presenting artists’ work in interesting and engaging ways and aim to offer access to world-class contemporary art experiences and discussions. Since 2008 we have been working in partnership with Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art on the Art Fund International scheme, building a new collection of international, contemporary work for the city. To date we have acquired works by Emily Jacir, Matthew Buckingham and Lothar Baumgarten, amongst others, many of which are regularly on display at GoMA. In addition to our own programme, The Common Guild is responsible for the artistic direction of the Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art 2010 and 2012. During a talk you gave, you mentioned the significance of the name, as representing the best being made available to all. What would you describe as the Common Guild's vision? The Common Guild is dedicated to the delivery of high quality contemporary visual arts projects, events and exhibitions working with artists and others both Scottish-based and international. It seeks to offer widespread access to high quality programmes that engage with our visual culture, and introduce voices form elsewhere. Our commitment is currently to programme over premises – to undertaking and realising projects that will define our identity and broad awareness and understanding of what the Common Guild is. Through working in collaboration with various existent bodies, as well as developing our own independent programmes, we intend to become a dynamic and wholly positive force in contemporary cultural provision in Scotland. The Common Guild seeks to pursue an ethos of artist-centred practice in the realisation of projects of scale, quality and ambition as well as national or international significance. I have described the Glasgow art scene as extensive; how would you describe the Common Guild's relationship to and place within Glaswegian
art, and its venues? In its public focus and international programming, the Common Guild compliments the work of other Glasgow-based visual arts organisations, especially those more accurately geared towards artists support, studio provision and production facilities, and aims to extend awareness and debate. In a city with an widely acknowledged, international reputation as a viable centre for visual artists, the Common Guild seeks to establish a new model of working with artists and audiences that avoids exclusive focus on either gallery or non-gallery based practice. The Guild aims to truly reflect, and therefore support more appropriately, the current nature of artists’ practice, with a more integrated approach to work across different types of spaces and places. Artists increasingly pursue gallery-based practise in parallel with, and complementary to, project working and/or public commissions, events and productions. We believe that the ultimate location of an artwork need not be the premise on which the institution is founded. What have been the Common Guild's inspirations, and what are its ambitions? Inspiration has been taken from a number of models across the world, and the ongoing ‘Detours’ talks series has been crucial to developing our ideas and ambitions. ‘Detours’ aims to introduce views from elsewhere by leaders in the visual arts, and explores the relationship between practice and context: how institutions and professional practice develop in response to specific situations, both geographic and cultural. The aims of the organisation are: • To develop awareness of contemporary visual culture through the work of artists on a long-term, sustainable basis. • To increase public access to contemporary art through the ongoing presentation of exhibitions and projects. • To support the work of artists, local and international, through exhibition, commission, publication and discussion. • To promote a strong, confident im-
age of contemporary art and artists in Scotland. • To foster long-term approaches to education around contemporary art and culture, and an environment in which it can occur. • To work with the relevant partners on the development of contemporary collecting. • To establish a sound financial basis
and relevant business plan. • To work closely with relevant partners and potential partners locally, nationally and internationally. • To ensure dynamic internationalism as a key part of the visual arts provision in Glasgow and Scotland.
One More Tune Q Who are you and what is One More Tune all about? AOne More Tune began in August 2003 by Mathew Craig and Ralph Thomson who met whilst studying guitar at the BA Applied Music Course at Strathclyde University. Ralph & Matthew had recently started DJing have very similar interests music-wise and wanted to start our own club night. One More Tune began at Blackfriars basement, growing and moving to the Glasgow School of Art and has just began throwing parties each thursday night in The Buff Club. OMT is about throwing excellent parties, merging styles and genres and over the past four years have had guest such as Mosca, Brackles, James Fox, Jackmaster, Craig Smith & many more top djs grace their decks. Q What can punters expect from your nights? A One More Tune does not follow any rules, has no set genres and always tries to deliver eclectic music styles although always maintaining a thread through each night. Anything goes (as long as its good) is the music policy. From Prince to Plastikman, Bjork to the Beastie Boys. If its good you’re likely to hear it at One More Tune. Downstairs in the Buff Club we now have David Stone who plays rockabilly and rock & roll which gives a nice contrast to the music upstairs. Q How do you fit into the broader glasgow scene? A One More Tune has always been about music, community & art and has always had many talented people working with Ralph & Matthew behind the scenes whether it be graphic designers, visual artists, pr's et cetera. OMT is more than a club night its a family of people working together to make the night a success & its about providing a great night for everyone, its not cliquey and everyone from art school students, music students, rock/ metal fans, dub heads, and average punters from the street attend and get down for the night. One More Tune runs on Thursdays at the Buff Club and run a regular show on Subcity Radio.
Building the market ket Gallery, we can observe the special development of the artists’ project. “During three weeks, we will observe the transformation of materials into artworks and from artworks to their exhibition.” The exhibition is open from Saturday 8th October until Sunday 30th October. Depending the date, the viewer will be presented with something quite different: indeed, it’s a surprise.
Phoebe More Gordon On the evening of Friday 7th October, a group of us gather in one of Market Gallery’s rooms to celebrate the opening of the new exhibition: The Builders. But, as we are told by the pamphlet: it’s not just an exhibition, it’s a surprise. The room in question is soon to take on a totally different appearance to that which it has on this night. Arranged in a decidedly orderly and precise manner is a multitude of building materials, all of which are ready for use. Among these one finds cement, s c re w s, a
Photo: Martin Craig, Market Gallery. heavy duty propane blowtorch, wood glue, slabs of timber, a carpenter’s pencil... The list goes on. For this project, the artists Heather & Ivan Morison have outlined such a list, creating a workshop for the artist Neal Beggs to produce artworks for the next seven days. In order to do this, he is to use the specific resources available within the designated space. The aim is to reveal the potential resourcefulness that the modest builder displays when made to improvise and to find solutions for a problematic con-
struction. In this case, he is presented with vast limitations – both spatially and materially. Furthermore, the artworks that are accordingly produced after the seven-day period are then to be displayed by artist Nick Evans, thus creating a final exhibition. For this last process, a neighbouring room – which is almost identical to the workshop – has been assigned. As a result, the process of transformation of these materials is brought forth in a rather unique way. Thanks to the space that is specific to the Mar-
Market Gallery: 334 Duke Street, G31 1QZ; Heather & Ivan Morison, Neal Beggs, Nick Evans ‘The Builders’, 8 October – 30 October 2011
Passing the mic Kate Hole For budding musicians, Glasgow can be a tough city due to its overwhelming opportunities and range of talent. Here are the best sessions and open mic nights West-End has to offer.
Oran Mor: Tuesdays from 8pm This relatively unknown, acoustic open-mic night provides a great opportunity to perform in one of the West End’s best music venues. Whether it be to play some of your own songs or just a cover of Snow Patrol, host Ross Clark (Three Blind Wolves) will ensure you feel welcome and the crowd will clap encouragingly. Clark’s impressive opening to get things warmed up is a quality free gig if nothing else. However, don’t be put off by the high standard he sets: performers range in ability and style and, as long as you’re game, they are happy to have you. Make sure you check the website beforehand, as sometimes gigs take priority in this venue, and this great opportunity may not be running for much longer. oran-mor.co.uk/whatson.php
Brel: Mondays from 9pm If Celtic music is your thing then head along to this casual and unimposing ‘Traditional Folk Jam’ on Monday night. Tucked away in the bar’s conservatory, this buzzing weekly session is already alive with Freshers so don’t be scared to get involved if you’re new to Glasgow. Players simply join in when they recognise the tune and can nip to the bar as often as they want, though bear in mind the drink prices aren’t exactly cheap. Spectators are welcome, but seating is limited in the conservatory due to the healthy number of musicians. Don’t be surprised to find yourself singing along to a tune you don’t know and itching to join in. The Celtic music community is, after all, one of the friendliest you can find. brelbarrestaurant.com/entertainment
Hurting the love Mary A Hill
Photo: Alan Morgan (flickr.com/dvlx)
For the third time, theatre company, Random Accomplice is performing at Glasgay!, Glasgow’s annual celebration of queer culture. This time, however, we will not be spending any time with Little Johnny, but will experience a show of murder and frustrated desire. Like RA’s Little Johnny shows, Love Hurts is a one-man performance written and directed by Johnny McKnight. Yet, Love Hurts is not “a gay man show about a gay man”, rather an examination of sexuality in general and its place
and drive in everybody. McKnight explains: “I think we underestimate the power of feeling sexualised and how exciting and dark a road that can take you on”. The main and sole character, Susan (Toni Frutin), is a sexually-oblivious woman whose sexuality is brought to light during the course of the play.” Susan regularly observes others while creating backstories for them, an idea very much found in the psyche of McKnight, who confesses to doing the same: “I once lived in a flat that looked opposite another block of flats and I used to create back stories to everything that happened”. Although con-
sumed by others, Susan is dislocated from sexuality, an idea resulting from McKnight’s query into the result of someone not engaging sexually or trying to make a relationship work. Even though Love Hurts takes a more serious stance to McKnight’s earlier work, the artist assures us that we can expect the performance to be “rather camp with a wicked sense of humour”. Love Hurts is performing at the Tron Theatre from 18 – 22nd October. For tickets and more information, visit glasgay.co.uk
october 13th 2011
Spotting the past Sean Greenhorn When walking down the busy, noisy Trongate one voice will often boom above and over all others. The voice will be emanating from a man dressed in a large coat and a top hat, beckoning you to enter a building that is seemingly home to simply just an arcade and a sweet shop. Written large on the building are the words ‘BRITANNIA ARCADE’, and unless you are privy to Glasgow’s history you would be forgiven for taking this to be in reference solely to the house of slot machines blaring at street level. However, this is actually in reference to the Britannia Panopticon: the world’s oldest surviving music hall. The word ‘Panopticon’ meaning “to view everything”, derived from the Greek ‘Pan’- meaning “everything” and ‘Opti’-meaning “to see”. It was given this name in 1906 by new owner A. E. Pickard as he built upon the work of previous owners to offer the poorer working class in the East End of Glasgow a place to go to forget their
daily troubles and enjoy some entertainment. Pickard acquired the venue from a succession of owners stemming back to 1857, when it was converted from an old warehouse by architect Robert H. M. MacFarlane. Each owner brought a unique vision to the music hall and this freshness served to keep it alive, in 1896 it was graced with the appearance of the ‘Cinematograph’billed as ‘the marvel of the nineteenth century’. Indeed, it ended up being larger, purpose built film houses such as the ‘Cosmo’ (now known as the GFT) or the ‘Salon’ (now Hillhead Bookclub) that went some way to finally extinguished the Panopticon’s once bright spark- or so it was thought. For the last fourteen years a small but dedicated group have formed a trust and have sought to rebuild the music hall, to maintain its cultural standing within Glasgow’s history. In order to do this, they are reviving the very traditions that the hall was once famous for- a glance at their programme reveals performances of Broadway gems, fortune telling, ma-
gicians, bazaars and screenings of classic silent movies. Many of these movies featuring the talent of one Stan Laurel, whose very first performance was at the Britannia Panopticon before he left to make his mark on world cinema history. The phenomenological sense of vibrant history that one gets simply by ascending the narrow staircase to the hall allows complete immersion and wonder at these shows and the history of the place. The replication of time and place goes as far as the heating, and during the winter months the Panopticon must unfortunately close due simply to being far too cold! As an important part of not only Glasgow’s cultural heritage but also as a testament to the evolution of modern entertainment
it must be experienced, whether for general viewing or for one of the many events. Admission is free of charge for all. britanniapanopticon.org for more information.
Respecting the Help Mira Yankova In the 1960s, the population of Jackson, Mississippi was 144, 422 people. White, black, mixed race, children, mothers, maids. The ones who clean the toilets and the ones who use them. Those who sit at the front of the bus, and those who get thrown in jail if they do. In 1961, more than 300 people are arrested for protesting against bus seating segregation. Two years later, civil rights activist Medgar Evers is murdered next to his home. The town is written in headlines and block capitals. And then, amongst the shock and chaos, there are all those
other people, living in between the newspaper articles, getting up in the morning and going to work. The Help by Kathryn Stockett gives us a more intimate view of Jackson. A home town, where children are born and raised, though not always by their busy, disinterested mothers. Eventually , you will find this worries you. Racial problems and general intolerance slip in through the pages in an almost unnoticeable way. There is no excess of bitterness or preaching of ideas and world views. The narrative is subtle, its world revolving around the characters’ day-to-day problems, not all of which are a point of social interest - some peo-
ple just want to learn how to make pie, really. It may seem mundane at places, but the strength of the book lies exactly in the comfort of everyday rituals. ‘God is in the mundane’, people say, and even if the slightly religious tone of that statement creeps you out, it’s still truemystery floats with the undercurrent secrets and is, ultimately, found in the routine of the help (the maids know everything!). Stockett’s narrative is confident and quickly lures you into a state where reading feels like going home for the summer- it’s hot and sticky and you fill your days, meeting up with old friends, not all of which you’re particularly fond
Mary A Hill of. Despite the grim topic and overall setting, the book has a friendly feel to it. It has a sense of humour and belonging and, most of all, it has managed to avoid being unbearably pretentious (an author’s search for authenticity can be a slippery slope). It’s a real gem of a story. And it’s not because it’s fast-pace or breath-taking, but, because, reaching the end, you’ll find that the back cover is surprisingly difficult to close and let go of. The Help is available in all good book shops & the film is in cinemas on general release from October 26th
Stripping the Soup Csenge Lantos The name of this tiny place already tells what you can come to expect- soups at their very best. There’s a soup for everyone at this splendid family run bistro. Offering over 50 varieties (expect it all from the classic to the more experimental), check the black board next to the entrance for the daily options- chunky, creamy, spicy, with meat or without it, you name it, they have definately got a soup for you. Even if you aren’t in the mood for a soup, fresh sandwiches, toasted paninis, salads, casseroles andcurries are available daily. Different home baked cakes, smoothies, organic and herbal teas, coffees are all there for you to choose from. The seating is contemporay and comfortable but the place is usually packed over lunch time, so it can be tricky to always get a seat, but trust me it genuinely is worth the wait. Fortunately if you are ina rush they can handle take away to. Their lunch deal is reasonably priced, £ 4.95 isn’t bad for a soup, a sandwich/salad, fruit and a drink . I went for this option- good but better still I managed to find a seat, so it all started pretty well. I go for the lentil, sweet potato and coconut soup. It is smooth and silky soup and whilst somewhat lacking in coconut, it is still very tasty. Another option on the specials board was a
Partying for Charity
roast tomato dahl. The texture and the flavours were just amazing; the different components assembled perfectly, a filling but delicious soup. As I went quite late and the sandwich/salad options from the counter were almost gone, I took a tuna mayonnaise with red onion and coriander, tomatoes& rocket sandwich. Big thumbs up for the wholemeal bread and as for the sandwich itself, it was light and refreshing. But if you want to ensure a greater selection make sure to get down early to beat the inevitable lunch time rush! Soup lovers of Glasgow , this is definately a must try! Well worth a visit for a quick lunch between classes (at the end of Kersland Street, just off of Great Western Road.) Fed up with the chains and want a change from the uni over priced café options? It’s like a little calming retreat away from the hustle and bustle of university life so if you need a break from it all, get down there with a book and nestle in on one of the comfy chairs. Their breakfast menu looks pretty tempting too -pancakes and waffles galore- so chances are there is probably going to be a next time… Naked Soup 6 Kersland street Glasgow, G12 8BG tel. 0141 334 8999 Open until 5pm daily
It’s nearly that time of year again which encourages a flash of tartan and more than a flash of whisky in celebration of St Andrew’s Day. Where better to celebrate than our well-loved Òran Mór? And all in the name of charity. This year, the Òran Mór welcomes a fantastic evening of entertainment to raise money for the charity, Rhythm of the Celts (ROTC) in the Community, hosted by LpC Events. With a wee dram on arrival followed by a not-so-wee finger buffet, you’ll definitely be able to crack a loose on your belly by the time you’re done. But not to fear, you’ll be able to work it off with a fearless cèilidh as well as enjoying capital entertainment from full stage production, Rhythm of the Celts, which will Gift Aid funds to the charity. ROTC in the Community is a registered Scottish charity which provides workshops to young people from underprivileged areas of Glasgow, while educating them about their Celtic origins. Founded by Ciaran Devlin, former principle dancer with Michael Flatley in Lord of the Dance, ROTC in the Community teaches young people about heritage, culture, marketing, PR, and many other advantageous skills. Irish-born Devlin lives in Castlemilk and recognised that young people needed to get off the streets and engage in a healthy and educational project. Devlin also created and performs in the production, Rhythm of the Celts. Linsey Cox, Managing Director of LpC events and Director of ROTC in the Community says, “Ciaran wanted to give something back to Castlemilk. The change in the young people was incredible as they took ownership, responsibility, shared ideas and grew in confidence”. After a Londoner friend asked what St Andrew’s Day actually was, it’s safe to say that this will be a night of discovery as well as fun. Students of the Celtic and Gaelic department, you don’t really have an excuse not to celebrate this year, and it’s unlikely that you’ll be doing otherwise. And for the rest of you, there’s always an excuse for a cèilidh. Wednesday 30th November, 19:00 – 0 Tickets cost £25. www.lpcevents.co.uk email@example.com.
Scottish Ballet’s autumnal dance Ellen Gallagher The final weekend in September welcomed the change of the seasons with the Scottish Ballet’s autumn doublebill, Kings to Ends and Pennies from Heaven. The two pieces mark also the autumn of the company’s critically acclaimed artistic director, Ashley Page, who will be leaving the company next year. Kings to Ends, the work of Finnishborn Boston Ballet choreographer, Jorma Elo, opened and offered a curious mix of classical ballet and modern dance, juxtaposing balletic curve and fluidity against contemporary angles and rigidity. Set to two contrasting pieces of music, this contradiction was furthered; swinging arms and a sense of weightlessness characteristic of classical ballet was accompanied by contraction, ripple, even head isolation, features firmly rooted in modern dance. This made for an exciting and spontaneous aesthetic, erratic but well structured. The piece was fast moving, offering an opportunity to appreciate and acknowledge the strength and agility on display, accentuated by uniform black leotards. Subtle, sparkling tiaras were a gracious nod to the classical genre. The performance then turned to Pennies from Heaven, a narrative specifically intended to be an ‘end-of-theevening work,’ proved easily digestible and visually charming. Placed in a bar of 1930s America, it offered more of a
From classical elegance to forceful modern drama, Scottish Ballet are always willing to challenge the format. fly-on-the-wall glimpse at the characters and couples escaping the rain and seeking refuge in smoky corners, than a satisfying, thorough anecdote. The bell boy and the waitress spin and scamper as they take a pause after a long shift, while the tweed-clad office workers remedy a long day with a couple of cocktails. The lounge singer croons observing the crowd, failing to succumb to the efforts the siren dancing circles around him.The accompanying songs of the 30s with their gentle, smooth
lyrics complimented the setting and the individual stories alike making this second piece one to be observed and enjoyed. The Autumn Season was a reawakening of Pennies from Heaven, which was choreographed in 2008 by Ashley Page himself. Page, previously a principal dancer and choreographer for the Royal Ballet, replaced Richard North as artistic director in 2002, promising a brand new attitude and new approach. Although drastic, this was widely wel-
comed and soon the fruits of his innovative labour were to be enjoyed: new dancers were introduced from all corners of the globe, the company undertook new tours far and wide and delighted in international plaudits, nominations and awards. The company’s move to a brand new headquarters, Tramways, followed in 2010 and they now are privileged to a call the custom built, largest dance rehearsal space in Europe home. Surprisingly to all, the board of directors
offered Page just a single year extension as artistic director rather than the five year extension expected, which he promptly refused, favouring the scheduled contract end in August 2012. Page’s artistic direction has seen SB strengthening its relationships with international choreographers and evolving the company’s repetoire. In many ways, this double bill is a fitting statement of Page’s vision of contemporary ballet. It moves away from the expected frills of the romantic classics without sacrificing the foundations of technique and posture. Yet while this reprisal of an existing piece might suggest a gentle conclusion to his energetic leadership, the current American tour and imminent appearance at London’s Sadler’s Wells beg to differ. Beyond this tour, ever productive Page’s presents the company’s Christmas performance, Sleeping Beauty, to be staged in various British cities, while his next project for the company is that of A Street Car Named Desire, a full length narrative to rival those of the likes of Matthew Bourne. The progression of the seasons will see in the summer of 2012 bringing with it Page’s swansong and final curtain with the Scottish Ballet. Sleeping Beauty runs at the Theatre Royal, Glasgow 17th – 31st December 2011 and A Street Car Named Desire 11th – 14th April 2012.
Tramway: home of the brave Jassy Earl For artists and art lovers, hungry theatre fanatics, critics and thespians alike, there’s a plethora of activity bubbling away waiting to be discovered at the Tramway. Since its birth in 1988, the former redundant tram shed has stood on the forefront of innovative contemporary Scottish Theatre, hosting internationally renowned theatre companies and developing as a largescale venue that constantly challenges the boundaries between theatre, visual art and dance, redefining performance as we see it. This is combined with a uniquely rich history: a legacy grounded in Peter Brook’s Mahabharata, astounding architecture and its unrivalled scale places it as a central venue in which to experience the very best of international art.
The recent NTS production of The Missing was a reminder of how Tramway is an ideal venue for theatre willing to break away from the naturalistic, middle class bourgeois realism of conventional historical theatre. This exploration of installation and performance delved into a harrowing adaptation of Andrew O’Hagan’s requiem of loss, mourning, unrecorded and memory. The piece received critical acclaim as an ‘arresting, genre-defying work.’ This was not merely for John Tiffany’s (Blackwatch) breath-taking direction but for its profound vision: a partnership between the National Theatre of Scotland, The National Scottish Gallery and the Glasgow-based drama group Unheard Voice and the Scottish Psychodrama Network. Accompanying the main house performance was a video exhibition by Graham Fagen; an exploration of destination and the
Tatham and O’Sullivan, better known as visual artists, respected the Brook Wall - built for the Mahabharata - to give resonance to their stand up monologue
notion of being left behind. This along with an site-specific audio tour offered audiences the opportunity to rediscover ‘the missing’ within the Hidden Gardens, combining historical fact and urban myth, and indeed rediscovering what is deemed to be a theatrical experience whilst engaging viewers with powerful stories through multiple art forms. It’s a formula that will go far in achieving an extended audience beyond theatre goers and demonstrates an intelligence within a sphere that can, indeed ignorantly, be deemed factious. Since its inauguration during the 1990 City of Culture jamboree, Tramway has contributed a policy of risk-taking, boasting collaborations with Robert LePage, Les Ballets C. de la B, and has been augmented by exciting new international work from Zero Visibility, Victoria Theater, Akram Khan and Needcompany. Visual art programming has a similar pedigree: just a few of the internationally renowned artists exhibited in the past six years include David Mach, Cindy Sherman, Barbara Kruger, and Rosemary Trockel. The theatre recognises talent that contributes to an international base with theatre/performance companies such as Suspect Culture, Theatre Cryptic, Theatre Babel and Boilerhouse benefitting from support through Tramway’s Dark Light Commissions programme and thus achieving critical acclaim. Theses have been followed by a new and even younger generation of companies and individuals such as Vanishing Point, 12 Stars, and Anna Krystze. The future itself holds great things in terms of forging new relationship with The National Theatre of Scotland ex-
Cryptic’s artistic director Cathy Boyd was not only inspired by Tramway’s 1990 programming, but became a familiar creative force in the building. Her Orlando began life in Tramway, before hitting the Fringe in 2011
tending their fruitful relationship with the venue after producing their first major work for the stage in 2007. It does too, still remain as one of the key venues for Glasgow International Festival of Contemporary Art. The Tramway’s footprint will be enlarged by providing a base for Scottish Ballet, reforming further derelict areas of the building to house the company. This is without Vanishing Point’s Saturday Night (8 -15 October), the long awaited world premieres of Elmgreen and Dragset’s Happy Days, a visual art spectacular starring Joseph Fiennes and certainly, the collaboration between David Shrigley, David Fennessy, Nicholas Bone and Magnetic North in the cookery-opera, Pass the Spoon, in November. It’s also worth consider-
ing the significant role the theatre has played in regenerating the Pollokshields area as a vehicle of community development. The Hidden Gardens which started life as a commission by NVA is a testament to the lasting legacy that Tramway continues to provide for its local environment, the community, the City and further a-field. And the upstairs Mezzanine of the cafe has become a haven for the knitting community and itinerant artists using the free internet connection. The Tramway is a venue that goes beyond theatre, performance or art. It’s a catalyst of social change, the cultural growth of Glasgow and is pragmatic in delivering work of international prominence and transcendence. If you go anywhere to widen your field of cultural vision, go to the Tramway.
october 13th 2011
Student theatre gets fresh Mira Yankova STaG is the Student Theatre at Glasgow society . The catchy abbreviation has only been on society posters since 1995, but the general aim of STaG has changed very little: “We often get people complaining ‘But I can’t act’ to which I reply ‘Well, neither can I’,” says STaG president Cerne Felstead. “I never really considered joining a theatre society in the beginning, but STaG has been great. Apart from acting or directing, there are a lot of behind-the-scenes people, who are just as important. As someone who joined without being a ‘theatre person’ so to say, I always try and stress the fact that anyone can become a part of STaG.” Cerne explains that STaG is constantly busy: “We try and do as many things as possible. We’ve been to the Edinburgh Fringe and the St. Andrews ‘On The Rocks’ festival. We do smaller, campus-based productions and devising theatre as well. We have recently started working on a ‘found spaces’ project, where we look for places that were not meant as performance venues and then try and book them.” What about socials? It’s a big society,
We’ve been to the Edinburgh Fringe and the St. Andrews ‘On The Rocks’ festival. when do you actually get together? “Socials are a regular thing. Every month or so we have themed ‘STaG room’ nights, we organise scratch nights and theatre trips, where we see a play together and then discuss it. It’s really just about like-minded people meeting up and talking about what interests them. Recent things we’ve starting doing are fortnightly Reading and Writing groups, both of which are very informal- tea-and-biscuits type of thing. All the information about the events we have can be found on our
STaG new talent nights Mira Yankova I met the directors for both plays just before the deadline and all three of them looked exhausted, but are seemingly proud of their work. I talked to Mabli and Charlie, whose play leads on the 10th, after they had just had a 3-hour long rehearsal and the first thing they did after coming out of it was to arrange tomorrow’s one. “It’s so tiring” they say, “but so worth it at the same time.” It sounds like a line, but the truth is their eyes start to sparkle when they talk about their work. “We’ve learnt so much doing this. How to deal with stressful situations, organize people and develop leadership skills.” The two of them have obviously spent a lot of time together around the play- they’re constantly finishing each other’s sentences and agreeing with one another with a sympathetic smile. “I’ll still be calling you every day after the end,” Charlie laughs, “asking how your day has been. It’ll be so weird not
having to spend all our days together.” I expected Dom, the director of the other play, to be somewhat lonelier in comparison, but, on the contrary, he seems really happy with his cast: “They’re great. I was slightly worried, because everyone gets in and I didn’t know how difficult it’ll be to organize a cast that’s had very little screening process. It’s been great though, I’m really pleasantly surprised by the quality of the work everyone’s doing and the interaction between us. I feel like I’ve been very lucky with my cast.” “I wanted to step away from the usual, satiric pantomime and show the more real, human aspect of the story,” Dom explains. “The actors don’t wear face paint; the characters are more grotesque than funny. I think it’s a logistically difficult story to portray, but that doesn’t stop us from having fun while making it.” Mabs and Charlie, on the other hand, seem more chilled about the whole thing: “I love the idea of Wind in the Willows,” Charlie says. “It’s easy to approach and the cast as a whole could
website- firstname.lastname@example.org and by signing up for our newslettereverything’s in there” And now, on to the main topic- New Talent Nights. These began straight after freshers week and the basic concept is for everyone who auditions to get a job. People are then divided into two groups, which put on two consecutive shows - on the 10th and 11th of October. “The point is to get the freshers involved with STaG,” says Cerne, “Show them that it’s fun. With NTN we mainly hope that the cast will enjoy themselves, though not at the cost of quality, and that will show in the performance. It is very challenging to make everything work well when the majority of the cast is inexperienced though. The directors in particular need to carry most of the load on their shoulders.” STaG’s plans for the rest of the year involve: “There is still the Main Stage night coming up. We try and do two, more professional, big productions a year, so people can see what it actually is to work in a proper theatre. The play this year is ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ and is going to be a modern look on Shakespeare. Rehearsals on that are just about to start and there’s still room for backstage people to get involved. That comes out on November 30th at ‘the s.p.a.c.e.’ on Princes square. Another thing, during the first semester is STaG Nights. That will start on November 16th at ‘The Flying Duck’, where there will be three twenty minute plays each night and the theme is ‘Belleville Rendezvous.” Auditions for STaG Nights are coming up for backstage crew as well as acting parts, more info can be found on the newsletter. Then, second term, there will be the New Works event, where eventually one of the plays put on will be chosen to go to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. It used to be called New Writing, but we wanted to include devised theatre as well, so we changed the name. We’re trying to expand, include more things to our lit of activities.”
A fresh point of view allow themselves to have more fun with it.” “Exactly’, Mabli agrees. “It’s a familiar story and that gives us more freedom to work with it. When you don’t have to worry about conveying a convoluted message to the audience, that enables you to sink your teeth more into the actual acting.” On STaG, Dom explains: “It can be intimidating, because it’s a big society and it’s true that there is a smaller group of people that are more dedicated, but that’s normal. There is a place for everyone and I think the New Talent Nights show just that- everyone’s welcome to join or watch the shows.”
Jassy Earl My name’s Jassy Earl, 19 and I’m studying English Literature, Theatre and Film. One of the main reasons I came to Glasgow is because of its thriving theatre and arts scene, and in particular the reputation I’d heard StaG had already cultivated for producing exciting theatre pieces as well as actively encouraging new talent. I encountered the concept of the New Talent Nights at the Fresher’s Fair. It’s a platform for ‘newbies’ to showcase what they have, and our production of Wind in the Willows has focused on the actors on stage, rather than any spectacular set and lighting design. It’s a gentle lead into the society and University life. It places you in a situation with other freshers and includes you in a community. That’s not to say it hasn’t been a challenge, a delightful one at that. Interacting with a set of people forges great friendships. Working intensively on my character, Rat, for 3-4 hours a day was
a great opportunity. The test of humanizing an animal and creating a character, equipped with a level of integrity proved an on-going development; the definition of finer details is still happening now. The fact that Wind in the Willows is staged separately over two
It places you in a situation with other freshers and includes you in a community.
nights is particularly exciting, especially as we have no idea of the other director’s intentions. Of course differences will arise from the scripts their selves; ours is written by Alan Bennett, and the other by AA Milne. It’s been an invaluable experience in both social and artistic terms, and I hope it will be one of my many involvements with STaG.
People That Have Won a Contest by Eating Pies & other pressing matters Jean-Xavier Boucherat This doom and gloom does a fantastic job of ignoring the power that the same technology has granted people to get things done for themselves. Glasgow’s Cargo Publishing group are a fantastic example – a writer-centric organization where the profit made goes straight to the writers, with recent releases ‘The Year of Open Doors’ and ‘Wasted in Love’ garnering much praise. Glasgow is also home to a number of independent stockists, such as the recently renovated Aye Aye books in the lobby of the CCA offering all the anonymous, revolutionary theory you could hope for, or GMBH with magazines for every lifestyle and fetish conceivable. The newest addition to this list is Good Press, a project initiated by the small publishers Museum Press. Currently based in Mono next to Monorail, the bookshop-cum-gallery specializes in zines and publications from other small publishers. The zines are a treat, ranging from painstakingly decorated visual feasts to a selection of photocopied booklets with titles such as Rappers in Fur Coats, Shit Tattoos, Puppies in Hats, and my favourite, People That Have Won a Contest by Eating Pies. There is a playfulness at work here which you’re unlikely to encounter in Waterstones. I had a chat with Matt and Jessica, the people behind the project, about what they were up to, the logistics behind the project, and the nightmares involved...
Q Explain yourselves. What’s this all about? Matt: We just moved here from Manchester, obviously we’re doing museums press, we got here and we knew of Aye Aye books and GMBH, but none of them really stock what we do. Jessica: Yeah, and it’s the same with the galleries we’ve seen here too – the bookshops don’t sell the kind of things we do, and the galleries aren’t displaying the kind of work we publish and show. Matt: I would say there are maybe four or five places in the country showing this kind of work, and it’s important it does get shown. Q If there is a focus, it looks like it’s art zines, what is it that attracts you to these? Maybe a disposable quality? Matt: See, I would never say the zines are disposable! I’ve got zines from when I was 14, 15, initial prints and that. Jessica: They’re such a nice thing to have! I treasure them more then my regular reading books! Imagine you’ve gotten an art-book you couldn’t think of spending the money on for Christmas - it’s hard covered and nice and amazing, but there’s the zine which is small and affordable. Q The weekly. Jessica: Yeah! It’s yours. YOU can afford this and YOU can have this. Matt: It’s a total reference point for us as artists- as museums press we do a lot of design work, poster work and things like that, and when we start on something the zines are easy to pull out and have a look at. Jessica: If you find someone’s work who you like and who you think can influence you, the zine is an affordable way to own that work. Q Things like punk and hardcore fanzines have been around forever, but what about art zines? Matt: Art zine culture is fairly recent, last fifteen years or so. There are independent publishers who’ve been around maybe ten years who have done serious ground work for the art zine, like Nieves, and Kagummi, or Café Royale who are based in this country. And there can be that kind of snide ‘we were here first’ attitude, but I suppose it’s similar to what you occasionally
encounter in punk! I’ve got a Negative Approach t-shirt so I must of liked them first, that kind of thing. Jessica: But there’s the reverse of that too because you’re still involved in this community of publishers who’ll talk with each other or get in touch with each other to collaborate, and they’ll turn out to be so nice! Matt: It’s the only reason we did it. To make friends. That sounds totally geeky doesn’t it? Q Not at all... Jessica: In a way though it’s such an important part of it because that’s how the community sustains itself and how people keep on making things. If someone was to e-mail you with an idea, and you and that person work together, but then suddenly you’re like ‘Ok well that’s done now’ and the communication stops, you’d get really disillusioned. But if people are super-friendly the communication carries on, and then you end up working together again. Matt: And some of the people we work with whose stuff is here tonight have turned out to be so nice. Like Innen who are a publishing house in Budapest, or Medium-Rare press, there’s a mutual appreciation that you wouldn’t of known about if you hadn’t of got in contact! Q So did these people initially feel a bit unapproachable? Matt: Maybe. There’s a big emphasis on making yourself look professional, regardless of the fact that all you make is a photocopied booklet. Where you are has to be fashionable and the websites gotta look slick. Or minimal. Maybe it’s just that they’re like us and can’t do much with web design! Q The website does look quite ‘DIY’. But then so does everything about this. Maybe that explains why you’re in Glasgow Jessica: Actually we’re here because, I’m studying here! But yeah, why not, this is quite clearly a DIY operation. This is totally the right city to do it in. Things happen here that don’t happen in Manchester. Matt: Originally the plan was to set up the shop and gallery across a number of venues until you set up a permanent venue, like a pop-up shop.
Jessica: Yes, originally we were going to be based in empty shops, this is an easy set-up to shift about and we were really up for it. There are plenty of empty spaces not being used right now which we wanted to try and temporarily set up in. Matt: Unfortunately the council are quite unhelpful about it! And I mean, if you try and go through estate agents, explain that you know about this space that isn’t being used, they’ll try and charge you some astronomical amount for a three week rent, plus paperwork etc. It’s a nightmare. For now though we’ve found Mono which is beyond ideal. Speaking with the arts council about setting up a permanent space was wonderfully unhelpful as well, at first you have all these casual chats, they were really nice over the phone, but then you show up and you’re surrounded by suits and speeches. You have to actually e-mail them a list of questions so that they know what kind of thing they’re dealing with when you show up, but as it is that list never got passed on! When we finally did get around to our proposal, explaining that we wanted to operate out of empty spaces, they just couldn’t see a way it could be done. You have to be building your own space, or you have to take out a twenty-five year lease, there’s a three month advance to be paid on a lot of the spaces we looked at, and we just don’t have the money to do that! What we don’t want is to be taking out a loan from the bank and put on shows where the artists should be getting the money, but instead it goes to the bank and the interest that comes with that. What we’re doing is not for profit. Jessica: The kind of thing we do is on a community level. It’s not on the scale they want. Q At least you know what you don’t want! Matt: It totally did that. Absolutely. What we’ve got here, yes it’s funny and it’s playful but it’s still contemporary art, and as far as offering it to other people goes, it really is a case of do it yourself. The other thing of course is I didn’t have a bloody job when I got here so yeah, if you want a short answer, it was this or temping in an office.
october 13th 2011
Another year, another Fifa: 2012 dazzles but fails to delight Joe Trotter A new season, a new FIFA. As the follow up to what many deem to be not only the best FIFA ever but probably the best football game to date, FIFA 12 has a lot to live up to. Whilst the new incarnation has the usual spoils of a yearly update; a facelift, increased roster, better animations and the like, EA Sports, the developers, have taken an unusually brave step and decided to make fundamental changes to the engine, in particular the art of defending. Unfortunately, the results are decidedly mixed. The idea behind the new defensive
manoeuvres is admirable; by creating a system of jockeying, harrying, containing and pulling, they are attempting to add greater skill to what was previously simply colliding shirts to see who ended up with the ball in the fallout. This works fine against the computer, whose pre-designed runs into channels are perfect opportunities to jockey and then dispossess. Against a human, who has no intention of putting themselves into a contained position (i.e. everyone with an ounce of skill), it becomes immensely frustrating. Players are used to the kick and rush style of play encouraged by practically every other football game ever, and
thus the space which the new system requires you to leave an opponent is exploited to devastating effect. By making slides and block tackles more erratic, the game is effectively forcing you to play in this compromising and flawed way. An option to change the settings would have resulted in a far more even style of play; instead, players become frustrated quickly, and enjoyment of the game is greatly hindered. Nor is that the end of the problems. Goalkeepers have a mind of their own, stumbling out of the box like Rene Higuita on hallucinogenic drugs. The new physics engine, though effective for crunching tackles, needed a month of
extra development; players collide softly before cartwheeling grotesquely into the air as if the ball was a grenade. The crossing mechanics are slack and loose, with the ball often spinning harmlessly out for a goal kick whatever the ability of the deliverer. Referees now give penalties for a defender even approaching an attacker in the box, to unanimous frustration. Though not disastrous by themselves, together they are indicative of a hastily put together product, with far too many bugs, nuisances and poorly executed ideas to be wholly satisfactory. That is not to say it is terrible though; far from it. It is still a wonderfully fluid game of football, way ahead of its nearest rival Pro Evolution Soccer 12. There is a more marked difference in top quality players; whereas before the best in the world were simply a little bit faster, now the difference between Darius Vassell and Lionel Messi is far more apparent, both in ability and vi-
sion. Talking of vision, passes are far more precise, with through-balls going where you want rather than where the computer thinks you want them. Players move with far more grace and purpose, leading to some exquisite dribbles and swashbuckling attacking endeavour. The new online modes are well handled, with some well thought out new ideas, and are more engrossing and balanced than ever before. Make no mistake, FIFA 12 is still a brilliant game of football, and is worthy of any football fan’s investment. However, it just feels like a missed opportunity; the new features are flawed, some of the presentation is sloppy, and often the play is just downright glitchy. Despite all that was promised, it barely feels like a step-forward from last year; in-fact, in many ways it is a regression from the cultured FIFA 11. What should have been the best football game ever is not even the best in the FIFA series; a bitter pill to swallow.
“We make games”
Image: EA Sports
OutRAGEous new shooter Joe Trotter It's fair to say that RAGE has quite the pedigree to live up to. Developed by id software (Doom) and published by Bethesda (Elder Scrolls series), and featuring the début of the new 'id Tech 5' engine, there has been a lot of expectation placed upon the post-apocalyptic first-person shooter. Thanks to a mix of great combat, a unique character and a stunning environment, it not only reaches the heights expected but exceeds them in almost every way. As a survivor of the Ark programme, an attempt to save the best of humanity from an impending asteroid collision (the spectacular intro scene), you awaken years after the disaster to find an earth broken by the destruction, now a wasteland of ruins littered with bandits and small settlements. Overseeing this 'society' is a shady group called The Authority, who collect bounties on Ark survivors and are a source of hindrance throughout the game. It's hardly an original storyline, but it sets up a believable world of stunning character and real, real grit, whether it be the fractured remains of once great cities or the inhabitants themselves, grizzled folk whose only aim is to survive. It bears plenty of resemblance to the recent Borderlands and stable-mate Fallout 3, although in character it bears more of a likeness to Mad Max 2 than anything else; pessimism and desperate desolation is everywhere. The new engine itself is really quite something; RAGE is easily one of the
best looking games of this generation, with detail and solidity in the environments (though I recommend installing the game onto the system as the console struggles straight from the disc, so make sure you have space available). This solidity extends to the combat itself, a potent mixture of brute-force and tactics. The shooting mechanics are brutal, chunky and oh so satisfying. When you hit an enemy it feels like you have caused them damage, unlike other games where shooting is akin to spitting bubbles at your victims. Each individual character has a specific physics layout, so depending on where they are hit and what weapon you use they will react and die differently; a nice touch. An even nicer touch is the imaginative array of weapons at
Image: ID Software
your disposal, from the normal assault rifles to the brilliant wing-stick, a lethal boomerang which decapitates opponents upon impact. Also worthy of particular note is the hallucinogenic crossbow bolts, which allow you to take control of an enemy and guide them, homing missile style, into his allies before blowing them all up spectacularly. And boy, do they blow up; grenades result is showers of gore, shotgun shells smash through rib-cages and assault rifles rip off limbs convincingly. You need to use the weapons well, as ammo is scarce and necessary. Enemies are very well crafted, and their intelligence suits the character of the individual; the dim-witted Wasteland clan poke idiotically at cover, The Authority soldiers flank and utilise their
Could you tell us a bit about yourself and your company? We’re the Reality Council. There’s two of us. We make games. Tell us a bit about your games? So far we’ve released a couple of webbased distractions: Obtain Hats for Glory! tinyurl.com/obtainhats and Stop! Engage Muffin Contraption! tinyurl. com/muffincontraption. Our main project right now is Dragonfly, a first-person adventure-RPG for Android devices. How did you get into independent video games? I’m not sure it’s something you need to ‘get into’, really: literally anyone can
advanced weapons, whereas mutants just dive for your face. Each poses a unique and varied challenge in itself, and soon enough you may find yourself dead. But, as Nick Cave once sang, 'death is not the end.' A mini-game pops up, requiring several stages of button pressing and analogue stick twiddling to get your defibrillator working, blasting you back to life and electric-shocking all enemies around you (particularly handy when one is stealing your boots). Although most missions are either find-and-collect or basic reconnaissance, the levels are well designed and multi-layered, keeping you on your toes at all time for fear of ambushes. The wasteland itself, however, is disappointingly barren, and serves as little more than a more entertaining way of getting from A to B. They do serve the basis for the buggy racing, which strangely for a great shooting game makes up the multi-player. This consists of frenetic races around dusty tracks and handles similarly to Mashed and Mario Kart, with boosts, jumps, slides and volatile weapons the main fare. Still, it does not detract from the overall experience. RAGE is a wonderful effort; a brilliant, visceral, satisfying adventure of charm and imagination built around a superb and advanced engine, which would fit impressively into anyone's collection. Oh, and the ending leaves plenty of manoeuvre on a sequel; a superb opening to what is sure to be a popular and illustrious series.
make video games. You could be making a video game, right now! Our intention behind starting a studio was to move up from hobbyist development to creating real, viable products, while simultaneously evading the clutches of a real job. Why do you think that indie developers find it such a struggle? Is it possible to make a profit, or is it just an element of luck? It’s definitely possible to make a profit - just look at Mojang or Rovio - but there are so many factors to take into account that it can look like sheer luck sometimes. There’s been an explosion of new people coming into the scene in the past couple of years, so it’s very competitive at the moment. Standing out can be hard, especially if your game is part of an established genre (although ‘niche’ genres can be profitable if handled carefully). And I think a lot of indies underestimate how much work it takes to promote their stuff, and tend to under-think the boring fiddly realities of QA and distribution. What do you think is needed to make indie games a success? What works, and what doesn’t? The big strength of being independent is that you can have a direct connection with your audience, in a way that you maybe can’t when there’s a publisher or a PR guy standing in the way. Use that connection. Talk to the people who are playing your game: find out what they like, what they don’t like, what’s annoying or confusing or dull, and what stuff really excites or intrigues them. Understand how your audience sees your game, and use that understanding to improve it. Of course, to get that audience in the first place, you need to make yourself visible. Get on Twitter and Facebook and Reddit and talk about your game you’ll find the people who are excited about it. Oh, and you need to exploit the press whenever possible.
Stop! Engage Muffin Contraption!
Black and Gold derby day delight Joe Trotter Glasgow 3 - 1 Strathclyde Glasgow University Women’s Football Club began the new season with a hard-earned victory against local rivals Strathclyde University at the Garscube, fighting both spirited opponents and awful conditions on the way to a solid start to the campaign. Strathclyde took an early lead before Glasgow responded with a brace from Mariel Kaney, leaving a wonder-strike from Vivieka Moricz to settle the tie late in the second half. The fixture was the first of the season for both teams but any rustiness was not evident as the sides got stuck into each other from the off. Glasgow had the first opportunity, with smart work on the wing by Moricz resulting in a chance for striker Jane O’Toole, who shot straight at Strathclyde’s keeper but should have done better with the whole goal at her mercy. Meanwhile, both teams started to by-pass the midfield in an attempt to utilise the erratic weather. Countering quickly, they were thwarted by a mixture of solid defending and poor decision-making.Whenever the ball did find its way into the central battleground, the strength and calmness of the skilful Kaney was a steady influence, ably aided by the industriousness of Katherine Jaycock, who did well to deny Strathclyde’s lively no.10 a clear shooting opportunity. It was this same striker, a fine, athletic presence, who finally broke the deadlock, breaking between the Glasgow defence and calmly firing past the on-rushing Saara Mastinmaki into the far corner. Shell-shocked, Glasgow launched into action, almost equalising immediately as Rachel Holt’s prod past the keeper was desperately scrambled clear off the line. The home side didn’t have long to wait however, as a fortunate ricochet left the ball at the feet of the impressive Karney, who guided the ball into the top-corner from 20 yards. Once again at stalemate, the game slowly devolved into a battle of attrition between the two combatants; their endeavour was not helped by the weather taking a turn for the worse, leaving the playing surface wet and slippery. As
Photo: Gavin Reynolds. the holding of possession became a mixture of error and chance, Glasgow’s full-backs Paula Salmi and Sarah Sine started to impress for the home side with some forceful tackles, whilst Strathclyde’s gobby centre-midfielder energetically patrolled the midfield, putting herself about to great effect, utilising a repertoire of tugs and pulls to stop the flow of attacks. Clear cut chances were at a premium; a free-kick flashing narrowly over from Strathclyde was the closest anyone came as the half drew to a close before a moment of controversy stirred the teams into animosity. The troublesome Strathclyde 10
got herself behind the Glasgow defence and rounded keeper Mastinmaki, who seemed to touch her before the nimble striker eventually stumbled and fell over theatrically. No penalty was the referee’s decision, despite Strathclyde’s vocal protestations. Glasgow started the second half the stronger and quickly got the breakthrough they deserved. Moving to the byline, revitalised winger Moricz found Karney, whose weak shot inexplicably slipped underneath the keeper’s body and apologetically into the net, much to the delight of Glasgow’s supporters on the touch line.
World Cup not quite such a rude awakening David Childs When I was a young boy, trawling through the joys which a primary school education supplies, waking up in the morning was not something I particularly enjoyed. Then for a brief few weeks in 2002 this no longer became a chore. I was eleven years old and in Primary 6 when the football World Cup was held in Japan and South Korea, and due to the time difference between Fort William and South-East Asia the matches were all on at about 7:30 am. Looking back, those were the best mornings of my life. This year’s Rugby World Cup has reminded me of those simpler times. Waking up to New Zealand hammering anyone in their path and Ireland’s shock defeat of Australia has made my mornings far more bearable. Is it the best alarm clock you could ask for? Well, it would be the best alarm clock if you weren’t Scottish. As per, the Scottish rugby team has
fitted in to the mantra of glory in defeat, of losing when winning seemed more likely. Like the football team against the Czech Republic at Hampden last month, who managed to gain and lose a lead within the final eight minutes, another characteristic of Scottish sport appears to be leaving it far too late to crawl themselves back into a winning position. Like the Scottish football team, who blew it against Lithuania and away to the Czech Republic (remember the infamous 4-6-0? ) , their rugby counterparts loss to Argentina means that they are the only member of the top eight (the original five nations in Europe and the tri-nations of the Southern Hemisphere) not to reach the quarter finals. The 16-12 defeat to England was defiant, and arguably the Scots should’ve won, but it was again too little too late. An aspect of following a team or a country which is pretty rubbish at sport is that, because of the Internet and Facebook sledging is unavoidable. Where as in the past school or
work could be negotiated via avoiding attention, the Internet offers no such hiding place. And, as Chris Ashton’s try hammered the final nail into Scotland’s World Cup hopes, it opened a can of patriotic patronisation across the social media networks. Of course, losing to your biggest rival in any sport and in any context can be a gutting experience. To lose to the Auld Enemy in the dying minutes, and subsequently being eliminated from a tournament which has taken four years of preparation, is far from ideal. However, a sense of perspective is probably needed here. England is a country roughly eleven times the size of Scotland, with twenty four professional teams. Scotland in comparison only has two (Edinburgh Rugby and Glasgow Warriors). So there is no shame in losing to try from a vastly superior rugby nation. And besides, had we won by the required eight points, we would’ve been facing New Zealand on their own patch. Maybe glorious defeat isn’t so bad after all?
This seemed to spark both teams into life, resulting in a flurry of good chances for both sides which with greater composure should have been finished off. The game became more stretched as both teams sought to resolve the fixture, and as the defences tired they dropped back, leaving more room for the driving runs of the wingers to exploit. These gaps would soon prove pivotal to the outcome of the contest. Moricz, a thorn in the side to Strathclyde all afternoon, was given far too much space, and, latching onto a bouncing ball with the instep of her foot, she guided a won-
derful lob into the top-corner of the net from 25 yards, leaving the Strathclyde keeper spitting in frustration. With this final blow, Strathclyde seemed to lose hope, and Glasgow comfortably saw out the last 15 minutes of the game out, confirming their first victory of the campaign. The team now travel to Stirling where they are certain to face a far sterner test. The university hosts Scotland’s Academy of Footballing Excellence, and with 7 of their squad also playing for Champions League newcomers Glasgow City, Glasgow Uni will be looking to upset the odds.
The Glasgow University Surf Club were preparing for the upcoming BUCS Championships in Newquay with an intensive training camp in the remote village of Machrihanish. Photo: Paisley Walsh.
october 13th 2011
Napier Knights put sloppy Glasgow to the sword Adam Siewert Glasgow 3 - 21 Napier Knights It was a tale of two halves for Glasgow University. After a promising first period they were lacking structure and discipline as they were out muscled by a physical Napier side in miserable rain and sludge at the Garscube. It was a real grudge match between the two teams as they sparred for the first time since their last game was overshadowed by an off-field scuffle between the two side’s benches. The air of tension was heightened as the early exchanges were spattered with insults flying as many of the players became embroiled in an on-field slagging match. The game started promisingly for Glasgow, controlling the game deep in Napier territory and dominating the away side up front and in the tackle despite the visitors very noticeable size advantage. There was also some very nice ball carrying from number 8 Robbie Shedden and flanker Richard Murdoch with, some good deep runs from the fullback Scott Mckean, who repeatedly broke the game line, driving his team forward through the treacherous conditions. It must be said despite the majority of first half being played within Napier’s territory; Glasgow never made the best of their opportunities. A smart grubber
kick from Glasgow scrumhalf Guy Fairburn almost released Sean Thompsonbut unluckily the ball just slipped out of the makeshift winger’s grasp. Glasgow seemed to lack composure at the crucial moments. They seemed to miss their regular fly-half Andrew Warnock’s decision making and creativity with the distribution of the ball. The half ended, 3-0 to Glasgow after a converted penalty. The Glasgow lads agitated they weren’t a couple tries up based on their dominance in the first half but were confident they could work out the kinks after the break. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. It became apparent throughout the second half that Glasgow were struggling in the conditions and failed to capitalise on any chances or overlaps. This played into the hands of the bigger Napier pack and in the muddy conditions they were able to exploit their size advantage to gradually turn the game in their favour. In the second half no one seemed on the right page and sloppy distribution and play, prompted injured fly half Andrew Warnock to state, “it’s going sour.” A few converted penalties by the Napier fly-half later and it seemed the injured fly half’s prophecy was becoming increasingly truer. The game was marred be several controversial refereeing decisions, with the man in the middle making a number of dubious calls in favour of the away side.
A poor decision on the position of a Napier penalty kick saw the Knights gain a lineout five meters from the Glasgow try line. One missed tackle later, and the Napier number 9 was able to touch down for an easily converted try. As it got deeper into second half, it became Glasgow clear lacked the composure and structure to haul themselves back into the game. They started to lose their heads as they continued to concede silly penalties and make elementary errors. All hope for a late rally was dashed when the Napier number 9 practically strolled to the Glasgow try-line after. more missed tackles. It must be noted that his try was aided by dirty play in the ruck from the Knight’s forwards missed by the referee, but it was a score that seemed inevitable considering the state of play. The game ended fittingly with Glasgow ending in a manner that sadly reflected their second half performance: with a sloppy error that was booted gleefully into touch by the Napier number 10. Although, it was a disheartening second half performance from the Glasgow team they can rally knowing if they can replicate their first half performance with a bit more consistency and luck, they have a great chance of getting a first win of the season when they travel away to Stirling in their upcoming match
Photo: Gavin Reynolds.
Glasgow sentence Edinburgh to some capital punishment David Robertson Glasgow 3-1 Edinburgh Battling against the elements and an unfortunate early error, Glasgow came from behind to record an ultimately comfortable 3-1 victory against Edinburgh 2nd in their opening game in the BUCS Scottish Conference Men’s University League. Trailing after 45 minutes and shooting into a treacherous wind in the second half, Glasgow made their domination count with three welltaken goals in the space of ten clinical minutes. At one point, however, it was feared the game would not go ahead. A 15 minute delay in kick off was brought about because of a clash of colour between Glasgow and the referee’s shirts. While the players and managers joked that the real reason for the delay was because the referee didn’t fancy running around in such terrible conditions, Edinburgh immediately demonstrated just how crucial a part the weather might play in the game by winning the toss and electing to swap sides to have the advantage of the wind in the second half. With the usually pristine Garscube pitch resembling more a war field than a bowling green, there was a real fear that this may hinder Glasgow’s usual style of play. and they would not be able to heed deputising manager Har-
ry Nolan’s words of ‘pass, pass, pass.’ These worries were realised after only two minutes. An Edinburgh free kick was floated into the box and claiming the ball, Glasgow goalkeeper Jamie Macfarlane came rushing out, only to find he had misjudged its flight. It soared over his head and into the path of the grateful striker, who had the simplest of finishes to send Edinburgh into the lead. Glasgow spent much of the first half proving that the Edinburgh goal had been, in their manager’s words, ‘a fluke.’ Ten minutes after conceding, Glasgow sensed the Edinburgh goalkeeper could be vulnerable if put under pressure after he blundered a simple back pass from his centre half by kicking the ball straight out of play. Striker Aaron Scoular immediately set to work by testing the keeper’s mettle with a string of ambitious efforts, and whilst they were comfortably saved, Glasgow were certainly threatening. There were probably none more threatening than winger Ross Gallacher. A constant pain for the Edinburgh centre half and left back, he worked tirelessly in the first half jinxing past the Edinburgh defence and crossing balls into the box. Troubling the goalkeeper with a shot from close range after twenty two minutes, Gallacher’s partnership with marauding right back and captain Neil Buchan was the most potent of the entire match and throughout the 90
minutes they drew fouls and corners from the Edinburgh defence. Though these crosses into the box were usually effectively dealt with by the towering Edinburgh centre halves, Glasgow weren’t pouncing on the second ball enough and too many times the ball was dropping in just the wrong places. This was a shame, especially given the abundance of crosses into the box that Glasgow were afforded; at one point, four corners coming in the space of two short minutes. The half time break probably came too soon for Glasgow: as the game progressed, they looked ever closer to breaking the Edinburgh defence. However, it allowed Nolan the opportunity to instill in his players the importance of composure in the final third. It took only six minutes for his words of wisdom to take affect. Having won a free kick outside the Edinburgh penalty area, midfielder Gavin Ferguson curled the ball past the wall and into the bottom left-hand corner of the goal. It was no more than Glasgow deserved. A second soon followed, when the substitute Andy Pender latched onto a lofted through ball from Man-of-the-Match Ewan Rothnie and exhibited that composure that was lacking in the first half by emphatically scoring. Glasgow were on the up, and when Scoular was given time to turn and shoot just minutes later, there was only going to be one outcome. With
Photo: Jonathon Nicholson Glasgow now 3-1 up, there was only going to be one winner. With confidence in their high defending line in the rare occasions Edinburgh made it out of their half and in the excellent possession skills of Rothnie, Glasgow went on the attack again. Using all three substitutions to allow trialists an opportunity to impress for the team, Glasgow were unlucky not to make it four when Pender nearly beat the goalkeeper with a speculative lob from outside the penalty box. Ironically, however, it was Edinburgh who came closest to scoring when a curling
shot was rebounded off the bar. However another goal would have truly flattered them. Suggesting why Edinburgh couldn’t make a comeback to match Glasgow’s, goal scorer Ferguson said, ‘it was Edinburgh’s second team and not their first, so when the goals started going in, I think their heads just really went down.’ He added: ‘Despite the horrible conditions, didn’t give the ball away. I was really impressed with the performance today.’ For Glasgow Men’s football the future’s bright, even if the weather’s not.
Glasgow run riot in the rain against sorry Strathclyde Petya Todorova Glasgow 5 - 0 Strathclyde Glasgow Womens Hockey Club hosted Strathclyde in the first BUSC game of the season at the Garscube, with the home side securing an emphatic victory over their city rivals. They went into the match as firm favourites having hammered the same opposition 7-0 in a friendly during in the pre-season and on an miserable Glaswegian October afternoon there was only ever going to be the same outcome. It was the best possible start for Glasgow with Rachel Scott firing home after just five minutes,a goal which both settled nerves and marked Glasgow’s first goal of the season. After the goal the home side continued to dominate possession of the ball. Scotland international Nicky Skrastin orchestrated proceedings at the heart of the relentless Glasgow attack alongside Katie Wood and Jenny Morris as they refused to allow the visitors defence any chance to settle. For all the Glasgow pressure, Strathclyde were always dangerous on the counter attack but were unable to capitalise on a series of chances as the final ball repeatedly went astray in the Glasgow ‘D’. Yet the home side always seemed in control and furthered their lead after a fluid passing move was smashed home by Catherine Bailey to give Glasgow deserved breathing space. Strathclyde continued to create chances but were unable to penetrate the Glasgow defence and in Lucy Hems they found a goal keeper in superlative form. Glasgow effectively killed the game off shortly before half time as the persistent efforts of the Glasgow attack were rewarded with a third goal. A well worked short corner allowing Katie Wood to slot home. Strathclyde refused to let heads drop however, and almost pulled on back deep into injury time at the end of the first half but again their strike force were found wanting. The second half continued in the same relentless fashion with Skrastin and Moore continuing to lead Glasgow’s dynamic attack, as the home side continued to pile on the pressure. Strathclyde simply could not cope with the onslaught and started to lose both shape and discipline. A series of fouls led to Glasgow being awarded a short corner and from it they added a deserved fourth. Gwen Morton-Lloyd saw her snap shot smartly parried by the keeper, but the Fresher was quickest to react and was on hand to smash in the rebound. Moore completed the rout with a clinical finish after an incisive Glasgow attack, on a day where the only frustration will be that they failed to score more. Strathclyde continued to seek an elusive consolation goal but it was to be an afternoon where Glasgow’s defence were to be just too solid. The game continued at a frenetic and frantic pace with both sides playing with fierce tenacity in the seasons first derby. The win for Glasgow provides hope that they can reach high levels in the BUSC league and go on and push for the Championship. Alex Mercer, the Team Captain was proud of the performance. She said: “In the 2nd half I think we played better than in the 1st half; we held our structure better. We played together as a team which was good as it was our 1st BUSC game of the season. It is definitely an encouraging start.” The team now face a trip away to St Andrews which promises to be a far sterner test.
october 13th 2011
Dundee late show sees Taysiders snatch a draw at the Garscube
Photo: Gavin Reynolds
David Childs Glasgow 1 - 1 Dundee Glasgow University Men’s Hockey Club 1st XI started their BUCS league campaign with a hard-fought 1-1 draw against their arch rivals from Dundee. Having had an abundance of talented new players at their disposal, the Glasgow squad that took to the pitch at the Garscube failed to resemble that of last season’s National Three champions. Six Freshers’ were in the squad on a day which did not make ideal conditions for a debut; although the pitch was slick from the usual bout of autumn rain, the chilling gusts of wind and almost horizontal rain meant a tough day’s graft for all involved, including the hardy supporters huddled on the touchline. It might have been the advantage of the strong winds behind Dundee backs which helped them dominate the first half. Glasgow, due to a combination of the abhorrent weather and skilful hockey from the visitors struggled to escape from their own half. The defence of Duncan Robertson, Andy Nicoll, An-
drew McGucken and Dom Lambert coped well with the pressure however, and even on the few occasions when Dundee managed to create an opening goalkeeper Mark Hutchinson was more than capable at keeping them at bay. Unusually tall for a hockey goalkeeper, Hutchinson has the ability to cover nearly the entire goal; an asset which was needed for much of a first half in which Dundee accumulated eight short corners in comparison to Glasgow’s two. Although it could be argued that Dundee had the upper hand in the opening thirty five minutes, that is not to say that Glasgow were not without chances. With one of Glasgow’s short corners Dan MacAuley’s drag-flick forced a good save from Dundee’s goalkeeper in the ninth minute. Struggling to gain possession, Glasgow’s main threat in the first half was from counterattacks; with pace up front from Neil Morton Lloyd, Leo Howes and Rory McCann, they offered a release ball when the midfield were being pressurised. Despite their threat, and Dundee having a few cracking opportunities, at half-time the rain-soaked
crowd had yet to witness a goal. As the rain quietened down and the wind decreased during the half-time interval so did the venom in Dundee’s attack. Glasgow recovered from a relatively poor start and in the second half started to show some of the form which defined last season’s successes. Less than a minute of the second half had been played before MacAuley showed Glasgow’s intent with a shot which went just wide. A superb aerial lob pass from Mark Campbell to McCann ten minutes later lead to a shot which produced a fine save from the visitors’ goalkeeper. It was a sign of better things to come from Glasgow, who with fifteen minutes left took a deserved lead. A fine passing move involving Neil Morton Lloyd and MacAuley lead to an opportunity for Poids Scott. Scott, left with a shot from an improbable angle outrageous attempt from the by-line, somehow managed to find the top right corner of the goal with an immense strike to give Glasgow something to show for their improved second half performance. Having done so well to get themselves back in to the match and take
the lead, it was with great disappointment that the one goal advantage was so short-lived. Four minutes after taking the lead a rare defensive blip from Glasgow left a Dundee striker at the back-post unmarked to give Dundee an equaliser which they will argue is the least that they deserve from their trip from the River Tay. 1-1 is how the match finished. On reflection captain Rory McCann was philosophical about the result and the performance. McCann said, “I was going in to the game obviously hoping for a win, but was aware that it would be a tough ask with it being our first game of the season. After the onslaught of the first half we were very relieved for the score to remain 0-0 at half time, and we have to give a lot of credit to the short corner defence team there.” McCann did recognise the positives from the game however, such as the solid performances from the fresh faces of the team. “Once the guys had gelled, every one of them marked their debut with a spirited and energetic performance” McCann said, “at this stage of the season I really couldn’t ask for anything more”.
Published on Oct 12, 2011