OCTOBER 24TH 2012
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“For the first time the Students’ representative Council was involved in scrutinising the role of the Principal” MUSCATELLI RE-ELECTION – 4
“No graduate is going to reminisce about “the excellent minibus service“ or how pretty University looked with the addition of the SRC’s shiny new door.”
• University withhold £67k grant from QMU pending financial review
PROTECT THE UNIONS - 10
“The tattoos, coloured contacts and piercings of today are as yet only a small move towards what Delany already imagined in the sixties”
SCI FI FOR ALL - 18
Graeme Obree spotlight SPORT CULTURE – GRAEME OBREE
“Most people ridicule the idea of betting on a cartoon dog, and then they have twenty quid on their favourite.”
The Eurogamer Expo experience 12-14
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UKBA Visa Regulations cause chaos in Scotland’s Universities Hannah McNeill Changes to student visa restrictions for the UK has caused uproar throughout the education sector, particularly in Scotland, as they will significantly reduce the number of international students universities are allowed to recruit. The drop in international students is considered to be “the biggest cause of concern” by the Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI). They believe these tighter restrictions will result in Scottish universities becoming a less favourable choice for international students. The Scottish Conservative Party acknowledges some difficulties within the system with regards to SCDI concerns. A spokesperson for the Party said: “There is still more to be done to create the right balance between preventing situations where fake ‘students’
have been enrolled only to abscond from the terms of their visas and ensuring our universities can employ the very best students and staff from around the world.” The changes include preventing international students from bringing their dependants with them (unless they are partaking in a postgraduate degree for longer than twelve months) and creating more “selective” requirements for those students who may wish to remain in the UK after the completion of their degree. Proof of a starting salary of over £20,000 from a licensed employer must be provided. In addition, international students must also be tested to prove an at least intermediate knowledge of English, both written and spoken, at a cost of £125 per test. This is also now a necessity condition for all current international students. There are currently just over 3000 students attending the University of
Glasgow on visas and hence are affected by these new regulations. Universities and other higher education institutions are expected to carry out regular checks on their international students, as well as any prospective students. Glasgow University has had to work closely with the UK border agency in light of these new regulations. A spokesperson made clear that these new regulations were being followed and ensuring “that all visa requirements are adhered to, including the recording of necessary documents, monitoring of attendance, and ensuring that students are properly engaged with their studies.” All lectures and tutorials now have a sign-in sheet. If an institution fails to monitor their international students, the UK Border Agency retain the right to suspend the “sponsor” rights of any university. This would make the position of international students at Scottish universities insecure as well as impacting upon uni-
PDGE students denied placements
Luke Newberry Students taking the University’s Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) have missed two weeks of observation placements in Glasgow schools after an IT error by the School of Education. Placements are intended as an introductory experience in which students gain first-hand knowledge of the internal functioning of schools and interact with staff and pupils. While placements are not assessed components of the course, students have expressed disappointment and annoyance at missing out on valuable classroom experience. By way of replacement, the School of Education have approached professionals in the field to give a series of lectures. Often given in four-hour blocks, some students were reluctant to attend - arguing that they were of no use and a poor alternative to the introductory
placements they were promised. Students have also expressed concern over the attitude of course administrators toward the missed placements. Guardian sources requested anonymity due to concerns about what they described as the ‘political culture’ and fears of repercussions from course administrators within the School of Education. These sources maintain that staff were reticent in offering apologies until approached by the Guardian, causing some to feel that they have not appreciated the gravity of the situation. It is also alleged that attempts have been made to ‘spin’ the situation. It has been suggested to students that they benefit from the new arrangements, and that this year’s class is not the first to experience such difficulties. Students have complained of “shambolic” organisation characterised by the last minute event cancellations and poor department administration. On top of this, students have ex-
pressed concern about the degree of control staff exercise in shaping students’ experiences on the course. The Head of School and Head of Programme declined Glasgow Guardian’s requests for comment and a spokesperson for the university said on their behalf: “We would like to apologise to students undertaking the Post Graduate Diploma in Education who were expecting to attend two-week familiarisation placements in schools recently. Because of organisational difficulties, for which the school management accepts full responsibility, these placements did not take place. “No student will experience any disadvantage from this, it is not part of their core assessed placement, and we would like to stress that the first formal teaching block in schools will go ahead as planned from week beginning 29 October.” One student told the Glasgow Guardian: “I wish I’d gone to Strathclyde”.
versity budgets, a significant proportion of which many Scottish universities receive from international students who pay up to £18,000 per year. In 2011, Glasgow Caledonian University had their licence to sponsor students on Tier 4 visa suspended by the UKBA. This was after students attending their BSc Nursing course were discovered to be working nearly full-time on work placements. The UKBA does not distinguish between learning in a work-based environment, as is the case for BSc Nursing, and working to support oneself. However after Glasgow Caledonian addressed UKBA concerns, the license was fully restored. SNP MSP Joan McAlpine has written to Mark Harper, Minister of Immigration at Westminster, to discuss these issues. In a statement she said: “Scotland’s universities are responsible for 12.4% of UK research, punching well above our population share. That achievement has in part been made
possible thanks to the contribution of international students in Scotland’s universities and it is essential that Westminster’s approach does not stifle the sector.” The SNP regard these restrictions as another incentive to vote for Scottish independence. Ms McAlpine went on to say: “the only way we can ensure that Scotland has an appropriate visa system that does not disadvantage our universities is for these decisions to be made by an independent Scotland.” A report released by the UK home office estimates losses of up to £3.5 billion for the UK economy due to these student visa restrictions. Benefits resulting from these restrictions are expected to total just £1.1 billion due to reduced processing cost and reduced cost on public services.
Sam Wigglesworth Representatives from Glasgow University attended the STUC ‘A Future that Works’ march in George Square on Saturday 20th October. The protest was aimed at the programme of cuts being implemented by the Government in Westminster. These cuts are set to have a huge impact upon the public sector, as Osborne’s budget eliminates up to 710,000 jobs in the public sector, cuts a fifth of the public sector budget and slashes public sector pay. This is a topic many students feel passionately about as Nadia Alnasser, a First Year, stated: “I’m here because I’m angry and it’s important that we show this anger and know that we have a right to be angry.” Others, including Fiona Boyd, Fourth Year, commented on the importance
of people “uniting” against the budget cuts in the public sector. The impact of these cuts upon graduates was noted by Colum Fraser, President of the QMU. He said: “Students are going to become part of the public sector eventually, so these cuts are going to affect them...The STUC are showing that they care about students and that graduates deserve the same opportunities that they had.” James Harrison, President of the SRC, gave his views on why it was important that the University of Glasgow was being represented at the protest. He said: “We need to show that cuts to education are unacceptable. The Government needs to put more investment, not less, into education and job opportunities for graduates.” There will be a another protest march against the cuts organised by the National Union of Students in London on the 21st of November.
OCTOBER 24TH 2012
QMU Block grant suspended
The Glasgow School of Art has been discredited by the US Government as a higher education institute because GSA degrees are awarded by Glasgow University, meaning American students can no longer get student loans from the federal government.
First Minister Alex Salmond paid a visit to the University of Glasgow’s Campus in Dumfries and described the site as going from ‘strength to strength’. The First Minister said: “The Crichton Campus is an impressive example of how sites can transform to meet the changing needs of their communities and businesses, and having seen it for myself I can say it would be a fantastic place to go and learn.”
• The SRC’s Autumn elections have seen the highest turnout for over a decade with over 1000 students logging on to cast their votes. Despite being plagued with technical difficulties – particularly for first year students – 1176 students voted for representatives, the highest turnout since 1997.
IN OTHER NEWS...
The Glasgow University Confessions Facebook page launched and gained over 2000 likes in a matter of days. Confessions have include a fresher who thinks he may have slept with his distant cousin. The pages founder denied allegations that it was a cheap personal mastubatory aid telling the Glasgow Guardian “I intended it as a mastbutory aid for all the students of Glasgow University who are too creepy or loathsome to get actual physical intimacy. It’s also a way for those same students to live vicariously through the socially unacceptable drunken antics of others”
Professor Anton Muscatelli’s role as Principal of the University is to be extended for a further four years. His term will now expire in September 2019 after the decision was taken by the University Court to re-elect him. The panel, which was made up by representatives of Court including staff and students from the SRC, unanimously endorsed Muscatelli’s reappointment. For the first time the Students’ Representative Council was involved in scrutinising the role of the Principal. The President of the SRC, James Harrison, told the Guardian: “We had an opportunity to examine the Principal’s current and future priorities in seeking to improve the experience for students at Glasgow. We were satisfied by the responses to our questions. Our role will now be to ensure that the Principal follows through on these promises. We will continue
to scrutinise and hold to account the Principal and other members of university Senior Management over the years to come.” The Convenor of Court, David Ross, added: “Professor Muscatelli has led the University very effectively through difficult times since his appointment in 2009, and that he has a clear vision and programme of action to implement the University’s strategy of ‘Glasgow 2020: A Global Vision’ and to lead the University to further success in the years ahead.” Principal Muscatelli also expressed gratitude for the support of the University Court, saying: “It has been a pleasure to lead the University of Glasgow through the past three years. I look forward to developing our exciting plans for the future and in confirming and extending the world class reputation that the University of Glasgow has for teaching, research and a superb student experience.”
Glasgow University medical student James Morton has narrowly missed out on the title as Britain’s Best Amateur Baker, being beaten by Manchester University law student John Waite at the final hurdle. James, 21, from the Shetland Islands, spent his summer filming for the show in Somerset and claims it was his scientific approach to baking which got him so far.
NEWS IN BRiEF
funding had to be pulled at such short notice. It is a pretty direct way to attempt to get our attention, and one wonders sometimes what it is that they think that we do over here...The withdrawal of £67,000 has not as much focused our attentions as further frustrated and complicated our financial concerns.” He continued - making a direct appeal to the QMU’s members: “We really need your help now. This comes in the simplest forms: using the building and using our services. Only if the members of the QMU value and use the organisation and the services do we have cause to continue. Last year, a survey of campus opinion showed that 97% of students value the QMU and what it is that we do - that’s a lot of people who would miss it. We need your help.” A spokesperson for the University told the Glasgow Guardian: “The Student Finance Committee is providing QMU with external assistance to review the services it offers students. The intention is to help QMU be more successful at a time of sharp competition from other suppliers. The October tranche of QMU’s annual grant has been withheld while this review is undertaken.” The Student Finance Sub-Committee is due to meet again in late November.
• • A survey of students has found economics students to be the most promiscuous, with environmental science students at the bottom of the table. The survey, conducted at more than 100 universities, found that economics students had had on average nearly five sexual partners since starting university, in comparison to environmental science students who have on average of 1.71 partners. Surprisingly, more students ranked studying above sex in their priorities – with only 9% citing sex, compared with the 29% who voted for studying. •
Second Term for Muscatelli
£67,000 of the University’s block grant to the Queen Margaret Union has been suspended by the University Court’s Student Finance Sub-Committee. The QMU - who were informed of the decision on the second day of Freshers’ Week - were due to receive the second tranche of the block grant in October. The committee however has decided to delay the £67,000 until an external company completes a review of the Union’s business strategy and the submission of an updated sustainability plan. The decision has resulted in the Queen Margaret Union suspending any and all projects which were planned for the upcoming financial year, including projects which would have seen the Union increase its advertising and external signage in an attempt to improve revenues. Minutes of the Student Finance Committee meeting on the 14th of August show that the decision was made after members of the Student Finance Sub-Committee raised concerns about the sustainability of the QMU’s business model following financial losses in recent years. The minutes describe the Union’s recent strategy of cost cutting and using strategic reserves to fund an operating deficit as “not sustainable”.
The University has agreed that it will meet the reasonable costs of any external review of the Union, provided the plan is carried out by an approved University partner. It is understood that they initially approached consultancy firm Deloitte who did not feel they had the appropriate skill set to carry out the review. It is currently unknown who will carry out the review, and what the exact cost and focus will be. It is also unknown as to what effect, if any, this will have on the third tranche of the block grant which the Union would be due to receive in the Spring of 2013. Colum Fraser, President of the Queen Margaret Union, told the Glasgow Guardian: “I have mixed feelings about the decision. On the one hand, an offer of help from the Uni is a positive step - even if only to display that some people within the University are willing to try and understand our situation. As much as the committee works mainly in budgets, it is sometimes a challenge to portray that the QM is a lot more than a purely commercial operation. The volunteers and staff of the Queen Margaret Union primarily work to meet the daily needs of the students of this University. A lot of this work cannot merely be found in the income and expenditure columns of our annual accounts. “On the other hand, it is demoralising and worrying that such a level of
Glasgow City Council has launched a series of “Digital Incubators” to aid Scotland’s young app developers in developing the next big thing. Its rumoured that should the project be successful that the council will open a series of “Human Incubators” where Scotland’s best minds will attempt to breed a generation of super soldiers.
The official mascot for 2014 Commonwealth Games has been announced. Clyde the Thistle will entertain crowds in the city from now until the close of the games in the summer of 2014. Clyde’s success was troubling news for the other mascots who were in the running. Bucky the Tonic Tiger and Shakey the Methadone Dog who must - by the international laws governing mascot selection - be executed.
Police launch Operation Fortress after Hillhead Break-Ins Louise Wilson
Glasgow Uni falls in worldwide uni rankings News Team The University has slipped thirty-seven places to 139th in the world in the annual rankings of universities as the UK struggles to compete internationally in levels of public investment in its higher educational institutions. The news will come as a major disappointment for the institution that had been hoping to break into the top 100 for the first time. The university had originally been placed 128th in the rankings’ inaugural year before climbing to 102nd in 2011. Glasgow’s falling position in worldwide standings is in keeping with a general decline in UK university rankings when compared to their international counterparts. Only ten British universities make the top 100, with Edinburgh being the highest ranked of Scottish universities in 32nd place. The California Institute of Technology tops the list with Oxford following in second. This year’s league tables have revealed increased competition from Asian institutions emerging as a major challenge to the traditionally dominant British-American dynamic. The reversals come as British universities face steep reductions in public investment as wide ranging cuts begin to bite. Scottish universities and colleges continue to face cuts of around 12%, whereas the UK government has slashed university teaching budgets in England and Wales by a massive 80%. The university faces problems in attracting investment for areas in research and development, while the trebling of tuition fees has brought difficulties in appealing to overseas students. This has been reflected in the tumble in rankings with Glasgow and other UK universities struggling to remain competitive in international circles. Glasgow achieved an overall score of 53.0, while in criteria areas such as research and teaching the university scored a mere 40 and 37 respectively. However, high scores of 78 and 69 were attained in the area of citations (which
looks at the impact of university research) and in the international composition of students and staff. The drop in position follows a turbulent year for the university as it has begun implementing plans to make savings of £20 million by 2014. These cuts, marking a reduction in expenditure of around 6.4%, have seen job cuts and the axing of programmes such as Slavonic studies and social work courses, while liberal arts in Dumfries has been scrapped. The Centre for Drugs Misuse Research has also been closed. Other areas such as student support have undergone spending reductions of around 15%. These measures have been undertaken to tackle the university’s budget deficit in time for the 201415 academic year. Such difficulties are exacerbated by the fact that the UK currently spends a mere 1.2% of its GDP on tertiary education according to the OECD, one of the lowest out of all OECD nations. In contrast, Korea’s rate stands at around 2.5% for higher education, well above the average of 1.5%. The Chinese government has also committed to spending an additional 4% of GDP on higher education. These figures, along with similar findings for American spending levels (standing at a huge 3.1% of its GDP), illustrate the key link between the amount of public investment and the quality and standings of universities on a comparative basis. The Scottish government has sought to allay fears of a continuing decline and maintain the prestige of its institutions by outlining plans in last year’s budget for an extra £135.5 million per year for the countries universities, focussing in areas of teaching and research by 2014-15. It is also hoped that more than £1 billion can be generated through additional investment and international sources. But the effect of such spending remains to be seen as areas of the Scottish and UK public sector continue to feel the squeeze and as competition within the international educational environment becomes greater.
Police have cautioned students to be vigilant after a series of break-ins in the Hillhead area, launching a campaign designed to reduce the number of crimes targeted towards students. Operation Fortress, as the campaign is to be known, began on October 1st. It will be a two month operation to increase safety and reduce the amount of break-ins in the West End. As well as extra patrols around the area, Strathclyde Police have released further advice on how best to stay safe. Craig Angus, VP of Media and Communications in the SRC, was a victim of an attempted break-in this semester. However, as he was in his flat at the time the prospective burglar was scared away. He said: “I’ve lived in Hyndland for the past 3 years, and never came close to any trouble with break-ins or safety. In our last flat, the front door was open all year from the street, and you could get in through the back garden, and yet we never had any trouble, and never felt like trouble.” “Having moved to Hillhead, I’ve noticed that there are significantly more people just hanging about for no apparent reason, and my nerves were heightened after a man threw a brick through our downstairs window, in an attempt to break in. Fortunately for us, two of us were in the flat upstairs. My flatmate just ran down screaming ‘What the fuck are you doing?!’ and he scarpered, but he’d come through the window - if we’d been out then we’d have lost a lot of stuff. My advice would be to lock up, invest in mini-safes if you’re going out fowr extended periods of time, and get insurance - without that you have nothing.”
Sergeant Ewan Logie, part of the Community Interventions Unit for Strathclyde Police, is pleased with the successes Operation Fortress has already had. He said: “We’ve had extremely good results so far, in terms of there being three arrests already.” One of these arrests has resulted in a 20 month sentence in prison, whilst the others are being remanded in custody pending trial. Strathclyde Police believe the reason behind the high number of crimes targeted towards students is in part due to them not knowing the area very well and therefore not being aware of what is or is not suspicious. A meeting with Glasgow University security resulted in the police and the University working together to create a much safer environment for students. The police urge students to report any activity they believe to be suspicious in their area. They have also reminded students to make sure all windows and doors are locked before leaving the house, due to the opportunistic nature of the crimes. Jess McGrellis, VP of Student Support at the SRC, encourages students to see SRC advice pages on how best to keep items safe. She says: “It is an unfortunate truth that the majority of victims of housebreakings in the Hillhead area are students. It is a terrible crime which can leave many victims shaken and can cause great losses. The SRC have been working with the Personal Safety Co-ordinating Group to establish how we can support the police’s ‘Operation Fortress’ initiative. There are some simple steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of being a victim of such crimes: Shut and lock your windows, even if you aren’t on the ground floor. Secure your building and
never let anyone into your building unless you know them or have seen their ID. Make sure all valuables are kept out of sight and are marked, the cheapest way to do this is with a UV pen. These are just a few of the precautions you can take. For a full list contact vp-support@ src.gla.ac.uk or check out the note on the SRC facebook page. If you discover that your house has been broken into, call the police and do not touch anything so they can preserve any evidence. If you arrive home and discover the door open or can see that someone has forced entry, do not enter alone and phone the police.” The University say: “Through the SRC we provide advice to students on how to keep themselves, their belongings and property safe, including highlighting the importance of locking doors and windows to prevent opportunistic thefts, as well as never leaving valuables unattended while out and about. To reinforce this message, and following a spate of house breakings affecting students, the University and its partners are about to launch an awareness campaign to highlight to students the importance of keeping their accommodation secure. However, crime levels on and around the campus remain very low and the personal safety coordinating group advises on a range of student safety and security matters.” Sergeant Logie went on to say: “The work is never done and we’re always looking for innovative ideas to prevent crime.” The two-month operation aims towards making the area, and Glasgow in general, a much safer area longterm. General advice and information regarding student safety can be found on the Strathclyde Police website
GUST anger over ‘Say Hello’ video Louise Wilson Members of Glasgow student television team, GUST have expressed anger over the University spending £15 505 oo the ‘Say Hello’ youtube video released in July. All forms of student media, including GUST, GUM and Subcity, are funded through the SRC using the budget the University provides. Over recent years, the amount received by such media groups has had to be cut, due to a decrease in the overall SRC budget. GUST receives just £1000 per annum, fifteen times less than was spent on the production of the ‘Say Hello’ video. Lisa Hogg, GUST Controller, was extremely disappointed in the amount spent on the video, despite GUST creating similar videos themselves. She said: “If the university had approached us about the video, we would have undoubtedly been able to produce it to at least an equal standard. It is very sad that we were not given the chance to do this.”
GUST is one of the oldest student television channels in the world, being part of Glasgow University for 48 years. However, they are currently unable to afford the new technical equipment needed to maintain the standard of their videos. Currently, GUST is relying on member’s personal cameras to shoot and produce much of their footage. Hogg went on to say: “GUST produces a number of high quality videos per year that represent Glasgow University in a fantastic light to prospective students, our “It Gets Better” promo video from last year being one such example. The University are well aware of the high quality content we are currently producing, as they promoted our “GUST Guide to Graduation” on their website and twitter back in May.” Craig Angus, VP of Media and Communication for the SRC, had previously expressed displeasure at the amount spent on the ‘Say Hello’ video. He said: “We weren’t consulted about the creation of the video, and that a figure of such magnitude was spent on the video
without our consultation is disappointing.” The University defended its decision to not involve the SRC in the production. A spokesperson said: “In this instance the SRC were not consulted about the creation of the video but have been involved in other videos the university has produced in the past. For this project, the design and direction remained in house.” Despite such a disappointment, Lisa Hogg remained upbeat about GUST’s future. She said: “We have a fantastic team this year, and we are doing as much as we can with what we’ve got to work with. No matter what, GUST will continue to work hard at producing high quality videos for students, by students.” Figures emerged recently indicating website traffic for GUST. Their website has received nearly 20 000 visitors in the last month, whilst the ‘Say Hello’ video has had just over 3000 views since it was released on July 20th.
OCTOBER 24TH 2012
£7m for Hive redevelopment Louise Wilson Plans for the £7m redevelopment of Glasgow University Union in collaboration with the Sport and Recreation Service have been released. The construction work, due to begin in January 2013, will be on-going until September 2014 when it is expected Hive will reopen in time for Fresher’s Week. The current Extension, which will be knocked down and replaced, was due to be reclaimed by the University to extend the current Stevenson building, after the long standing contract between the University and the Kelvin Sports Hall ended. The GUU had not been consulted about losing the Extension and instead were to receive remuneration of £250 000 per year. After much discussion between GUU Board of Management and University Officials last year, it was agreed that the University would help fund a redevelopment. The Hive brings in the majority of Union revenue, so it was feared the removal of the Extension, which has been leased to the GUU since the 1960’s, would lead to the closure of the Union. Initial investigation into the debt that GUU would occur during the time the Hive will be closed was expected to be £500 000 as a worst case scenario, but this has since been revised down to £375 000 assuming clubs nights and other events still go ahead elsewhere in the Union. The University has agreed to cover this deficit. The redevelopment will mean 18 months without Hive revenue, but is part of a long-term aim to become self-sufficient.
Russell Group Universities in UCAS Clearing Louise Wilson Six of the twenty-four Russell Group universities were available through UCAS Clearing this year, a rarity for the Group. Some members of the Group have never been offered through Clearing before. The Russell Group blamed this rise on the changes to the English funding system for universities. Universities would have been heavily fined had they exceeded their quotas, but the lower than expected number of AAB grades (80,00 rather than 85,000) has meant many students holding Conditional offers did not meet the required grades. The stricter than normal selection system from each university, in an attempt to avoid fines, has led to some students who hold the correct grades but were not allowed entry. Higher Education Secretary David Willets believed it likely the fewer people will now attend university. This could lead to a potential loss of funding for universities if they cannot recruit enough students. The University
of Glasgow, a member of the Russell Group, avoided Clearing this year. The University responded to the potential threat of losing funding in the future with confidence, not expecting the drop in students to affect Glasgow itself. A spokesperson for the University of Glasgow said: “We have not been involved in clearing for some years on our main campus site. We do offer a handful of place – this year fewer than 15 – through clearing on our Dumfries campus. We have no reason to believe that this position will change in the future.” The members of the Russell Group that entered into clearing included the University of Nottingham, Queen Mary’s, University of London, the University of York, the Queen’s University of Belfast, the University of Birmingham and the University of Sheffield. At time of going to print, according to The Telegraph University Course Finder, five of the six still have places to fill. Queen Mary’s, University of London is the only one now closed.
David Lockhart, President of the GUU, is happy with the result of the extensive discussion last year after it was leaked the Extension would be reclaimed. He said: “The current Extension Building, as many people know, is reaching the end of its life span. These plans represent a significant investment in the GUU. It is a signal of support in our services and our future.” Current plans for reconstruction, which were passed by the University Court on June 20th, involved a new building to replace the Extension, the ground floor of which will belong solely to the GUU, the first floor to the Sport and Recreation Service. The plan is to keep these entirely separate from one another. In addition, the GUU has managed to secure a remodelling for the Billiards Room and a new staircase to be placed around the back of the building which will allow easier disabled access. Lockhart went on to say: “We have maintained the style of separate bars, with a larger space acting as the nightclub. This will allow us to showcase a variety of atmospheres and to make use of the separate spaces during the day.” The Hive will in fact have a slightly smaller floor space than current, but it is believed the new design will make the space more efficient. Lockhart also stressed there will still be a podium within the nightclub. The new building will be a development on the 1930’s basement of the building, and will be built for the specific purpose of holding a nightclub and bar. The current Extension was built as a lecture theatre and bedrooms. At the members meeting outlining the Union remodelling, Lockhart
expressed scepticism over the timely completion of construction. He did state, however, that the University have pledged to keep the Union running throughout the period when the GUU will not house a nightclub. Fresher’s 2013 will also go ahead without a specific nightclub space, so most Fresher’s events will take place in the main building. The GUU has a reasonably sized floor space without the Extension, so Lockhart believes “the atmosphere GUU offers is our main selling point. We can recreate this in the short term in the Old Building. We have no plans to stagnate and still believe we will play an integral role in Fresher’s Week 2013.” Any disruption caused by construction will attempt to be minimised, with much of the work being done over summer. Lockhart went on to say: “We can all be proud of this project. From start to finish, it has be orchestrated by students, for the students.” The University expressed their satisfaction over the up-coming developments. A spokesperson said: “We are delighted to be working closely with Glasgow University Union and the University Sport and Recreation Service on the redevelopment of the Hive nightclub and the extension of the Stevenson building. Plans are now being finalised that will ensure that both facilities are enhanced for the benefit of our students. Further details on this exciting redevelopment will be released in the near future, and we will do all that we can to ensure that staff, students and the wider community are kept fully informed of the progress of the project.”
Fee loophole close for Northern Irish students Philip Simpson The Scottish government have acted to close the loophole open for Northern Irish students who had the potential to qualify as a non-UK EU nationals, thus having tuition fees paid for. Under European law, all non-UK EU students are entitled to the same funding as Scottish students. Starting from September 2013/14, EU students applying to Scottish universities will now have to prove they have lived in another EU country for at least three months to qualify for SAAS funding. Students from Northern Ireland will therefore now have to prove they have lived in the Republic of Ireland before starting their studies at Scottish universities. Previously, Northern Irish citizens with dual citizenship from both British and Irish governments were able to qualify as non-UK EU students. Northern Irish students were also entitled to maintenance loans of up to £3,630 through Student Finance NI on top of
tuition fees being paid for. Residents of Northern Ireland could only take advantage of their position with regards to fees if they had claimed Irish citizenship before they started their university studies in Scotland, but did not have to prove residency in Ireland. Northern Irish students who were already enrolled were not be able to register for SAAS tuition fee funding. Aaron Johnston, a second year Medic at Glasgow University, was last semester advised by SAAS that claiming Irish citizenship would entitle him to free tuition for his second year. He said: “I had paid for an Irish passport as advised by SAAS, but was disappointed when it was revealed I did not qualify for free tuition as I had already started university as a British citizen, not as a dual Irish-British citizen.” Due to the changes in legislation, this year was the last year the loophole will have been open to students from Northern Ireland. After initially playing down the loophole, the Scottish government decided to act after confu-
sion over who did and did not qualify for free tuition. There was potential for any British student to qualify for SAAS through EU ancestry, not just students from Northern Ireland. Robin Parker, President of NUS Scotland, welcomed the clarification for students applying under dual-citizenship. He said: “This will provide the guidance necessary for students from outside Scotland to make an informed choice when applying to come to University in Scotland.” Mr Parker went on to criticise Westminster for the confusion caused by the raise in tuition fees and potential loopholes for dual-citizen students. He said: “Ultimately, the confusion which has been caused over this issue is the fault of the Westminster Government. Its catastrophic policy of tripling tuition fees for students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is proving to be disastrous for student applications. Westminster should reverse its tuition fee policy and follow the Scottish Government’s lead.”
Gilchrist Postgraduate Club opens Michael Comerford On the 26th October the University opens the new Gilchrist Postgraduate Club, the only one of its kind in Scotland and one of only a handful in the UK. The club is open until 11pm most nights and features barista coffee, a bar and a different menu from what is currently available around campus. It’s a place to relax and socialise with friends and colleagues. It is hoped that eventually the Gilchrist will be shaped by the character and ethos of the postgraduate and staff community, a process that can only happen with time, and so here are some suggestions for how it could develop, why the name is important, and why community is king. The University is an academic community; the community’s body of knowledge is fluid and constantly evolving, and in its DNA are the papers that we write, the theses we construct, the presentations we give and the feedback we receive from other community members. Fundamentally our community is built on networks, a connection of enquiring minds that send out information, which is in turn digested and fed back into new networks both here in Glasgow and further afield. We may all be categorised into subject areas,
Schools and Colleges, but these sometimes hide the unifying aspects that University-wide organisations like the Gilchrist will bring to the fore. By establishing the Gilchrist Postgraduate Club, the University is recognising the need for neutral ground on campus, a space where we can make social and academic connections between these networks and strengthen those that already exist, hopefully making the College or School boundaries less significant. We all bring different skills, experiences and questions to this community, but if we collaborate we can improve our own experience of University life and help generate the ideas and research of the future. What is in a name? The fact that the University chose to attach a prominent figure to a new postgraduate space instead of some benign and impersonal corporate tag is positive, not least because there is an absence of University buildings honouring prominent Glasgow women. By naming it in honour of Marion Gilchrist, the first female to graduate from the University of Glasgow, the hope is that the club will come to embody her progressive spirit and foster it within our community of postgraduates. After graduating in 1894 with a Bachelors in Medicine and a Masters in Surgery, Marion Gilchrist went on to serve
the local community as a prominent ophthalmic surgeon and ran her own practice in the West End, not far from where the club is situated. Gilchrist also took part in a wider social cause as a suffragette and was willing to put herself forward in the name of sexual equality as a member of the Glasgow and West of Scotland Association for Women’s Suffrage, the Women’s Social and Political Union and the Women’s Freedom League. She also represented her community in the British Medical Association and took a prominent part in many clubs and societies during her days as a medical student. As the example Marion Gilchrist shows, community and the building of associations on the basis of equality is key. As members of this community we all bear responsibility in ensuring that the new club is a success. At its heart it is a grassroots organisation where you get out what you put into it. Do you think the space is lacking something? Contribute your ideas. Is there an event you’d like to see? Organise it. Don’t like the services on offer? Show the club how to make it better. It is not every day that the University commits its energy and resources to such a positive end this is our opportunity to show them it was money well spent.
Muscatelli should not have been reelected Kezia Kinder Sarah Watson Gavin Lavery Between now and 2019, under the terms of his newly extended contract, Anton Muscatelli will be paid £2.25 million of University funds. This huge figure will be spent retaining the position of a Principal whose past record shows little regard for the welfare or future of the students he represents. This is a Principal that has attacked the basic values of education. His plans thus far have included attempting to enforce cuts to Slavonic Studies, Nursing, Anthropology, and the Department of Adult and Continuing Education. Despite these being partially halted by mass student and staff opposition including ‘Free Hetherington’, the longest running student occupation in British history, and the biggest demonstration in Glasgow University’s history, with over 3000 participants, this has merely changed the method and not the outcome of Muscatelli’s vision. The strategies undertaken by Muscatelli are not confined to Glasgow, but are reflective of a much wider and farreaching attack on the formative principles of education itself. Free market ideology creeps further into the system of higher education on a global scale. This has been seen most recently in Quebec, where students led, and won, the fight against the raising of university fees by 75%. Increasing costs of higher education, both proposed as in Quebec, and implemented in the case of the UK, show an increasingly hostile attack on the principle of meritocracy on which many so-called liberal democracies lay their foundations. They
University management have demonstrated not only ignorance to the sheer scale of the problems potentially created by their policies.
also indicate a further shift towards a system based on marketization and profit over the needs and rights of both the individual and society as a whole. Moves like these suggest that implementers such as Muscatelli are either blinded by their own ideologies, or so divorced from reality that they fail to understand or even acknowledge the needs of the majority. Former Glasgow University Rector
Jimmy Reid had a very different view of education than our current Principal holds. He argued that the whole object of education was to “Equip and educate people for life, not solely for work or a profession. The creative use of leisure, in communion with, and in service to our fellow human beings can and must become an important element in selffulfilment.” This is simply not possible in a society in which education is increasingly becoming a market system, in which universities and colleges are being run and managed as businesses rather than institutes of development and creativity. The market is incompatible with the social need for education and we should not be rewarding those responsible for placing the market value of universities, six figure salaries and extended contracts over this vital social need. This difference is fundamental to how we want our universities to run. On one hand we have Muscatelli who is happy to force thousands of pounds worth of cuts on our departments in return for a multi-million pound salary. On the other hand we have a vision of education as a valuable right which will shape the kind of society where we can all realise our potential, and in which individuals learn to debate, to question and to analyse, rather than simply turning out graduates for the sake of the market. The only way to guarantee a vision of education which works towards these social goals rather than for the profits of ‘Glasgow University Ltd is to have students and staff representation on the governing bodies of the University Senate and Court. We cannot leave the future of our education to a manage-
ment team who are more concerned with profits than people. Currently, the Glasgow University Court, essentially the governing body of the University, includes just two student representative. This body effectively monopolises the governing of an institution made up almost exclusively of students, yet such little representation is given to us, our views or our welfare. University management have demonstrated not only ignorance to the sheer scale of the problems potentially created by their policies, but also a huge level of incompetence concerning finances and bureaucracy. Just last summer, £14million was spent on the installation of MyCampus, replacing an already efficient enrollment system
with one which encountered numerous problems, the same year Muscatelli announced a £20million cuts package which would see courses disbanded and merged and numerous members of staff facing redundancy. The instalment of the MyCampus system directly contradicts not only Muscatelli’s claims that departmental cuts are needed but the motives behind the cuts, suggesting that University funding is being invested anywhere but in improving the system for students. The regression of democracy within the university is a deliberate move by both Muscatelli and management to develop an institution, not run by and for its students, but as a business for cold profit.
OCTOBER 24TH 2012
Amy’s Choice Oliver Milne talks to a student escort about choice, safety and selling sex.
“I sleep with people for money. I gave up on being coy about sex a while ago.”
Oliver Milne “Hey, I’m just going to start work but I’ll only be few hours so I’ll give you a call then.” This is the first voicemail I receive from Amy after being introduced through a mutual friend. In the vast majority of cases this innocuous message would be a simple courtesy to a student journalist who is about to parachute into your world, ask a few question and leave. With Amy however things are different, because Amy’s job is a little bit different. Amy is a 22 year old Arts student at the University of Aberdeen and like many students she works part time to fund her studies. Some of us work is bars. Some in shops. A growing number of students find work as sex workers to finance their education. Amy is one them. Amy is a high class escort, selling sex - and occasionally short term companionship - to individuals who can meet her price tag.
“I’m expensive,” she laughs “ a couple of hundred pounds an hour and much much more for overnight stays or longer trips away.” We talk about how she found her way into sex work and her answers are frank and are devoid of tales of woe, money problems or quiet desperation you might first expect. “I had a reasonably well paid job as a barmaid and while the pay wasn’t great, I wasn’t in a situation where I couldn’t pay my bills or afford to eat. I wasn’t a drug addict and I wasn’t some kind of jumped up nymphomaniac,” she laughs again - slightly more uncomfortably. She’s keen to stress it wasn’t circumstance that led her to her job, but choice. “The idea was put to me by a friend, who had been working with an agency for a while, that this was a good way to make money - if you could handle the work. I was introduced to some people who were incredibly upfront about the kind of work I would be doing. I spent a long time thinking about it. It’s difficult to make a choice like that when you
can’t really approach family or loved ones for advice.” Amy began working for the agency - which found her work and took a top slice of her fee - and stayed there for nearly two years. Six months ago she left and went ‘freelance’ finding her own clients and keeping all of the money she earned. “It was a good group of people I worked with. They would ensure that the people you were going out to meet were who they said they were. They’d pick you up after the appointment ended. They made the whole process as safe as it could be for the girls.” So why leave? “I began to see several clients on a fairly regular basis and realised I could be making more money if I cut out the middleman. It’s difficult to get new clients who you know are safe but the money is better and I don’t need new clients that regularly.” In an email a few days later she sends me some links to various adult dating sites where she maintains profiles to attract new clients. The descriptions
are riddled with euphemism like ‘deep massage’ and ‘extended company’ accompanied by tasteful (read: fully clothed) photos of Amy and the links to the various ways you can get in contact with her. I call back to ask about using this impersonal way to attract potential customers. “I’m very selective and insist our first meeting is an entirely non-sexual meetup in a public place, like a Starbucks or Costa Coffee. To be honest I try not to think about this kind of safety too much. I’m paranoid about certain things - despite being on birth control and making clients wear condoms I always fear my time of the month or the wait to get tests back. I try not to worry about other things more than I have to.” We talk safety in a roundabout way for awhile before moving the topic closer to home. Does she feel safe? “Yes. Mostly. I mean you hear some horror stories and the media don’t generally help. When you read about a crime against an escort the subtext is that they deserved it. I’m scared of STDs, murderers and rapists, but what scares me more is my family finding out. I’m anonymous and losing that anonymity scares me.” The conversation peeters out and a long silence descends on the phone line. “So when are you going to ask what it’s like?” What? I ask. “Having sex for money.” She’s right - the experience at the heart of Amy’s profession is something I’ve wanted to ask about but I’d thought it too indelicate to blurt the question out to a relative stranger over the phone. When I confess this to her she laughs for a good thirty seconds. “I sleep with people for money. I gave up on being coy about sex a while ago.” We start to talk about the process. The vast majority of clients are ‘inhouse’, meaning they come to her flat. Because of this Amy lives alone, and is incredibly hesitant to have friends or family arrive at her flat unannounced, “when the door bell rings and I’m not expecting someone a kind of blind panic takes over,” she tells me. “The people are normally far more awkward about the whole arrangement than I am. Emotionally though its feels kind of empty. Sometimes the sex is great but there’s nothing else between you. Even one night stands have a kind of frenzied energy. This is work and it feels like work. Sometimes you can have a great day at work but that’s really all it is. Work.” Amy’s name has been changed to preserve her anonymity.
Study Abroad Fair 6 November 12 noon-3.30pm For information please visit www.glasgow.ac.uk/abroadexchange The first 50 people to attend the fair will receive an exclusive Study Abroad rucksack The University of Glasgow, charity number SC004401
OCTOBER 24TH 2012
The Eurogamer Expo experience Joe Trotter visits the Eurogamer exposition, it mostly sucks... apart from the games.
Eurogamer Expo Presentation: 8.0 – Lots of shiny
stands, but the toilets, my god the toilets. Gameplay: 7.5 – Exceptional games, some terrible organisation. Value: 8.5 – Lots to see and do, but expect to pay handsomely for anything. Overall: 8.2 – A good performance, but much to improve on for next year.
Joe Trotter It’s 9am and the London Underground is stale and busy. Although I don’t regret drinking with the Brazilian pilots the night before, I do regret the hostel’s subsequent breakfast, a mixture of hard toast, stewed bread and disappointment. Tired faces stare sullenly ahead contemplating the new day as I turn to Corey, my partner in gaming crime and mumble something about queues. He nods. Queues had become the bane of our existence, that staple of videogames exhibitions, and Eurogamer was no exception. If I could split the Eurogamer experience into a pie-chart it would be approximately 15% playing games, 50% queueing, 25% getting lost, 5% eating shit food and 10% failing to understand how pie-charts work. I think I visibly aged ten years in the various queues which took up the majority of our two days in Earl’s Court, and we didn’t even attempt to hop on to the Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 juggernaut. Now, queueing is an understandable and expected aspect of any event with a large amount of people. 50,000 people attended the four day extravaganza, a huge amount even by the standards of a Nuremberg rally organiser. However, a select few (hundred?) had something the rest of the plebs could only dream of: a press pass. ‘Anyone with a press pass come this way!’ cried one Eurogamer helper, like an enthusiastically geeky Pied-Piper, leading a small and smug band (and I am both small and smug) through the tumultuous and scattered crowd with the promise of early-early entry, leaving us by the entrance. ‘W’at you doin’ ‘ere?’ greeted the head-bouncer nearest to us, the only person who appeared to have a modicum of control over the situation. After several members of the congregation calmly explained that we had been led here in search of the promised early entry, we were told in no uncertain terms that no such early entry for press existed, that we had better just wait here as it was tantamount to queue jumping and that ‘some kid has probably just got a bit big for his boots’. Said
kid just shrugged his shoulders, muttered that no-one had told him otherwise and walked into the convention centre, leaving his forlorn followers to watch the majority of the early entry holders squeeze past them before they could enter (I assume; Corey and I unashamedly nipped under the rope and strolled in long before this). This overall sense of confusion and contradiction is something we soon got used to at Eurogamer. The army of Eurogamer Helpers, to a (wo)man, were friendly, enthusiastic and entirely useless at their jobs; not one seemed to know where anything was, or been given any training in, you know, actually helping, so we quickly turned to the helpful and shiny looking programme to aid us in our quest to find games and developer’s stands. Looks can be deceiving. The programme, despite being packed full of vainglorious blurbs about a number of the bigger games available at the show, failed to actually include either a useful map which pointed out anything but the bloody obvious (the +18 section is the bit with the big walls which say ‘+18’ like a crap Berlin Wall, you say?) and didn’t feature a full list of exhibitors, which is frankly criminal for an exhibition the size of Eurogamer. The result meant that not only was it unclear which games were actually exhibiting, it was also impossible to subsequently find them if they did happen to exist. Allegedly confirmed games like Castlevania: Lord of Shadows 2 - one of many I had set aside for preview - were lost in the hangar, and I have absolutely no idea if they actually exhibited or not.
The army of Eurogamer Helpers, to a (wo) man, were friendly, enthusiastic and entirely useless at their jobs.
Likewise, I could not find a particular stand where I had arranged an interview, and only found out where the stand was just as I was leaving on the last day and nipped into the toilet. I had asked and pleaded with staff, helpers, receptionists and even other developers where the various stands might be and none had a clue, aimlessly pointing to information apparently in the programme they had clearly not read. Frankly, much of the organisation of Eurogamer 2012 was completely inept, far worse than last year, and whoever was in charge of logistics and the organisation of the programme and helpers needs a massive, firmly planted kick up the arse. Still, being a games expo, there were still plenty of things to do (nearly all involving games). I got beaten in a variety of different games by a wide selection of the gaming populus, including two demon nine-year old girls who flogged me to within an inch of my life on Joe Danger 2, whilst the only game I showed any real skill in was a quick thrashing on FIFA 13, though my insistence that the guy write me a letter (5 goal rule people) was met with incredulity. However, I did manage a go on the best releases, including Far Cry 3, Assassin’s Creed III and Dishonored, my personal game of the show and probably game of the year, whilst Nintendo’s fantastic Wii-U stand was the best exhibit to be found. Beyond the new releases were some tournaments, which were cool despite being predictably dominated by monstrously talented ne’er-do-wells, whilst the retro
gaming area boasted a range of old and rare games consoles, including a 10 person version of Bomberman, possibly my highlight of the whole thing. Some of the freebies were decent too: the Agent 47 bobbly head I received at the Hitman: Absolution stand has been staring at people in my toilet for days. The thing is, once you get into the Expo it is undoubtedly really, really good fun, but that’s because games are great full stop. What’s not great, however, is £8.00 for 9-inch ‘pizzas’ with two slivers of cheese and an olive on, the most expensive water outside of the Falkland Islands, and absolutely no-where to sit down (unless playing, of course). Seats are a commodity in such events and must be fought over like fuel in Mad Max. As such, Eurogamer Expo 2012 was a chaotic and immensely enjoyable mess of an event. For every clear lack of organisation or useless staff member (and, urgh, the toilets), there was a real community spirit and refreshingly diverse audience of all types and ages. The sheer quality of the games available to play was exceptional, if you could find them, but the apparent inability to provide for a quantity of human-beings in one space was exasperating, whilst the lack of a quality map or games list was unforgivable for an event this size. Still, I did really enjoy it, and I do really want a press pass again for next year, so I will describe it thus: it’s like watching The Who at Glastonbury – you know you will really enjoy it, but you might have to stand in shit to get a decent view.
CONTRIBUTORS Editors Dasha Miller & Oliver Milne News & Views Oliver Milne, Claire Diamond, Louise Wilson, Joseph Trotter, Jess McGrellis, Luke Newberry, Michael Comerford, Sarah Watson, Gavin Lavery, Kezia Kinder, Chris Sibbald, Philip Simpson, Hannah McNeil, Sam Wigglesworth, James Harrison. Culture Dasha Miller, Kate Hole, Caig Angus, Eryn Katsikea, Ross Hetherington, Patrick Peter Goldie, Franziska Seitz, Tom eaton, Dan Gocke, Eryn Katsikea. Sport David Robertson, Claire Flynn, Holly Maxwell-Stevenson.
Glasgow University is unique in many ways, not least in its the number and character of its student bodies. Some love the variety it brings our campus. Others would rather a single student association take their place. Regardless of your views in this debate what should be self evident is that the current policies pursued by the university with regards to our student body structure are unsustainable. The decision to withhold sections of the QMU block grant whilst simultaneously spending several million on a refurbishment of the GUU hints at this disjointed thinking. If the University is seeking to maintain the status quo it must ensure that - in addition to the redevelopment of the GUU - the QMU is supported fully as it attempts to regain its profitability. Conversely, if the University would like to see a single students association it should say so publicly and begin this debate with it’s students. The current policy leaves our unions underfunded and hobbled. It’s time a decision was made.
Photography & Illustration Dasha Miller, Sean Anderson, Gavin Reynolds, Paul Calver, Franziska Seitz, Karoliina Pulkkinen, Creative Commons.
Proofing, Layout & Copyediting Dasha Miller, Oliver Milne, Dan Gocke, Claire Diamond, Louise Wilson, Nook Harquail, all stupid questions were answered by Marcus Peabody and Shaun Murphy. Got thought? If you would like to provide anonymous tipoffs or articles, please get in touch by way of note attached to brick lobbed through our office window, just above and to the left of the Main Gate on University Avenue. Contact email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com twitter.com/glasgowguardian facebook.com/glasgowguardian
pharmacy Auntie Jen A new campus travel clinic has been launched to help meet the travel healthcare needs of students. The Travel Clinic, located within Reach Pharmacy, Fraser Building, opened its doors to the tune of Brazilian salsa dancers and a troupe of Bollywood performers. Clare Henderson, a travel nurse with The Travel Clinic said: “From Latin America to the Asian SubContinent, more and more people are choosing to travel further afield, to seek that once in a lifetime adventure. The new campus travel clinic is a one-stop shop for anyone who is planning such a trip, or to another foreign destination, where there is a requirement for vaccinations or services that are not available on the NHS. Cholera, malaria, meningitis and hepatitis are just some of the health risks that our specialist travel nurses can advise on and offer protection against.” The new Reach Pharmacy Travel Clinic, which is also a registered Yellow Fever centre, aims to meet the growing specialist travel needs of holidaymakers
and those seeking a holiday adventure. Sandra White MSP for Glasgow Kelvin, who launched the new Reach Pharmacy & Travel Clinic service, said: “The pharmacy offers a great service. More and more people travel to very remote places all over the world and at times they are not aware of the health risks this might bring. Having the opportunity to pop into the travel clinic for some professional advice such as vaccinations or protection against malaria is very handy and might prevent serious health implications.” Arvind Salwan, Reach Pharmacy added: “The new campus travel clinic service recognises that destinations such as Africa, Asia, the Far East and Latin America are more accessible than they’ve ever been, yet the specialist travel advice and medication required to protect your health when abroad isn’t routinely available on the NHS. From vaccines to anti-malaria protection, the new campus travel clinic seeks to bridge this gap and will also offer subsidised services and travel aids to students who enjoy international travel or where this forms part of their degree.”
From the SRC...
Last year saw GUSA disenfranchise students from the Glasgow School of Art from their annual elections for the first time in years. Their arguement was a solid one. By their constitution Art School students weren’t full members. It was apparently the first year that the constitution had been read. In a similar case this year GSA students are being told that they can no longer compete for GUSA teams. Many are valued members of their clubs. Many are team captains. All were told at the time of their enrollment that they would be allowed to compete in team sports for this university. GUSA and Sports and Recreation services should ensure that the necessary changes are made to allow GSA students to compete for this University. Now that you have taken the time to read your constitution it is time you changed it.
James Harrison So we’re approaching the end of October all ready, and by now I hope you’ve all been able to settle in to campus life by now (if not, the SRC Advice centre is always there to help). Our Autumn SRC elections on October 18th have now been and gone, and we’ve welcomed 17 new students to our Council! These elections saw the highest turnout for an Autumn vote since 1997, so well done and thank you to everyone that put themselves forward. There’s less than four months to go until nominations open for the next SRC elections, and I really recommend you consider it! It’s a great chance to make a big change to the university. The next few weeks also see several
really exciting developments from the SRC coming up. Firstly, if you’re a Postgraduate Student, the SRC’s Gilchrist Postgraduate Club is launching on Friday October 26th, with business as usual beginning on Monday 29th. It’s been in development for several years and finally postgraduate students will have a place to socialise and work in a friendly atmosphere. The space was named after Marion Gilchrist, a Postgraduate student and the first ever female graduate of the University. You can find out more information on its website at www.gilchristpgclub.org From November, our reception will also be moving downstairs in the John McIntyre Building to the new Welcome Point. There you’ll be able to find out about all our services, volunteering opportunities and representation that we do for you. We also have our campaigns supporting Movember coming up, as well as our big SRC Welfare Week. The Poppy Fundraiser Challenge will also be taking place, where students from Glasgow and Edinburgh will both aim to fundraise across both Glasgow and Edinburgh campuses. There are still spots available so if you’re interested so get in touch! Nominations for the third annual Student Teaching Awards (STAs) will also launch in November. The STAs are a real opportunity for you to nominate your favourite teachers and tell the university what makes a good teacher. As always if you want to get involved or want to find out more information on any of the things mentioned above, you can always drop us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on our Facebook and Twitter pages.
OCTOBER 24TH 2012
GUSRC Welfare Week Jess McGrellis As temperatures drop and winter creeps upon us, I’m sure I’m not the only one who wants to spend my evenings snuggled on my sofa, watching re-runs of QI with coffee in my Beauty and the Beast mug and a bourbon biscuit to complement it. Of course, in reality I can’t have my heating on for long enough to warm my flat because of the hard-hitting rise in energy prices and another coffee after a long work day (along with another chocolate biscuit) is not the healthiest way to recharge my brain to QI-level. Rising energy prices and healthy eating are just two of the issues that we will be addressing during Welfare Week. Amidst the demands of essays, dissertations and exam revision I hope that you will find Welfare Week a pleasant diversion. That is not to say it’ll take up your precious time but can hopefully offer you the support you may need to keep going during this week. That may be some healthy brain food at one of the catering outlets on campus, or the all week free gym access for those of you who haven’t yet ventured to the Stevenson this year and could do with letting off a bit of steam. You
Amidst the demands of essays, dissertations and exam revision I hope that you will find Welfare Week a pleasant diversion.
may want to pop by the mental health drop-in, or explore some positive affirmation or yoga in the Williams Room. You may want to attend a workshop on how to build up your confidence or stop by the Hillhead Pharmacy to top-up your health supplies while it’s 10% off. You may wish to come to a discussion about the ‘We Can Stop It’ campaign, which addresses the issue of consent in sex, or get involved with the Boob-Team’s ‘Coppa feel in the shower’ campaign, raising awareness on how to detect breast cancer. You may want to exercise your brain by attending our Welfare Week debate, or stop by the Health Week Advice Stall to see what varying support we can offer each day. If you are stressed about getting your deposit back at the end of your tenancy then it just so happens that the 13th November is the date by which most existing tenancy deposits will have to be protected in a third party scheme. This is brand new legislation so the SRC Advice Centre can offer you the information you need to stop worrying about this and any other problems you may be having with a pesky landlord or letting agent. Finally, if you are a Postgraduate student you may be interested in recharging your brain at the first ever Welfare Week event in the new Gilchrist
Postgraduate Club. However, if you don’t feel up to leaving the library or your computer you may wish to get involved with our ‘studying music blog’. Music is a very personal thing but is also something to be shared. Getting the right playlist in the library or at your study space can be a tricky business. Personally, I like to go for something motivational but with not too high a tempo to make my heart race and anxiety build. It is unfortunate that I now have songs I can’t disassociate with essay writing in the library (mainly Johnny Flynn if I’m being honest). Join our blog to tell us what you are listening to and to discover more tunes that can get you through your study session. But not too much procrastinating... These are just few of the things we have lined up for this week. Welfare Week (12th-16th November) has a bit of something for everyone so keep an eye out for our promotional material and full line up of what’s going on. If you don’t want to miss out make sure you like the GUSRC facebook page and stayed tuned to the SRC website, www. glasgowstudents.net, in anticipation of more to come. If you are interested in helping out please email vp-support@ src.gla.ac.uk.
A £7m development? Now is the time to protect the unions. Chris Sibbald Confirmation of the University’s investment in Glasgow University Union (GUU) was welcome news to this writer: partly because of my affinity with the aforementioned institution as exPresident; but more importantly, because it signalled a tangible investment in student services. In my time at University (since 2008) the Senior Management Group have mastered the art of spending significant sums of money. Rather, they have become masters at spending money where the results are not obvious. Ever heard of MyCampus? Do you like that you are now a member of a College rather than a Faculty? No, I can’t tell the difference either. Therefore, with that in mind, the thought of investing £7m – half the sum it cost to introduce MyCampus – in one of the student unions is a pleasing thought. But it leads to a much bigger question: what are the long-term intentions of the University, with regards to the student bodies? In 2005, the University severed the block grant funding of the two student unions by 50%, reducing their annual subsidy from £300k to £150k. At the time, it was said that the Unions needed to become more efficient and reduce their financial profligacy. To an extent, I am inclined to agree. Assuming both Unions are popular and attract students to buy their services, there is no reason why they cannot sustain themselves. After all, their raison d’etre
However, in 2005, whilst the Unions watched their bank balances grow substantially smaller, the Students Representative Council (SRC) saw theirs increase by over £150k.
is to break even and rely on the generosity of involved students to run events and to do so free of charge. However, in 2005, whilst the Unions watched their bank balances grow substantially smaller, the Students Representative Council saw theirs increase by over £150k. In 2011, their annual block grant from the University totalled £478k, whilst they maintained savings of over £380k. If you ever question the level of subsidy the SRC receives, ex-
pect to hear a generic response of, “it all goes on students”. Let us be reminded then that £66k of the £478k is spent on paying for four student sabbatical officers. At the same time, let me remind you that David Lockhart, President of GUU, works for an annual salary of £0 and performs his role in conjunction with studying for a masters degree. I do not intend to marginalise the hard work of the sabbatical officers at the SRC, nor am I looking to inflate the head of Mr. Lockhart. Moreover, I wish to demonstrate the importance of the four-student-body structure at the University of Glasgow. The set-up on Gilmorehill is unique in its diversity and its organisation. It results in specialised services being delivered by students to a degree of excellence, not found at any other higher education institution across the United Kingdom. The longevity of the two unions, the sports association and the SRC is a result of their success and their significance in the lives of students and graduates. However, I am willing to wager that in twenty years, no graduate is going to reminisce about university and think of “that great game of badminton”, “the excellent mini-bus service” or how pretty university looked with the addition of the SRC’s shiny new door. In my view, the greater force on people’s memories of this University will be the time spent within Glasgow University Union and the Queen Margaret Union. The best time at University was the after-class drink in the Beer Bar/Jim’s Bar or the post-sports games social. The most memorable occasions
will be Daft Friday to some and Christmas Cheesy Pop to others. These are the moments where we socialise; these are the places where we make friends. This University talks incessantly about the “student experience” and the ‘National Student Survey’ and quite rightly, as both are facilitators to attracting more students to the University. However, the University would be well reminded to remember that
No graduate is going to reminisce about university and think of “that great game of badminton”, “the excellent mini-bus service” or how pretty University looked with the addition of the SRC’s shiny new door.
“cheap-photocopying” and “student focus-groups” are not the entirety of said “experience”. The SRC does a lot of good, but it is also the institution that the majority of students cannot relate to, tell you what it does and after last year’s experience, can on occasion do anything but “represent”. This University has a great history. It has character and it has soul. Students affiliate themselves to one of the Unions out of pride, not animosity. Glasgow University is described as a ‘political university’ because it is so. People care about their institutions and what they represent. The demise of the Hetherington Research Club is still fresh in the memory of many students and the new postgraduate bar will not suffice. Why? Because it isn’t in the old house on University Gardens: it doesn’t have that character, it doesn’t have that soul. If troubles lie ahead for either of the two university unions, then it is our duty – whether we are students or graduates – to stand up and fight for their continued individual existence. It was the right decision for the University to save GUU in 2007 and it is right decision to invest money into GUU now. Equally, if the QMU enters trouble, they should be supported too and the first to defend them will be the GUU. The identity of the unions is what makes this University great. Their tradition instills strength; and as we have seen from ‘The Hive’, the will of the students will eventually persevere. Let us never forget of the places we will come to remember.
OCTOBER 24TH 2012
Graeme Obree Dasha Miller The Flying Scotsman is certainly a fitting title for Scots cyclist Graeme Obree today. His life achievements extend beyond professional cycling into engineering, something few professional cyclists really engage in. Professional cyclists opt for a team of sports science specialists and the latest technologies that come out of the big bicycle manufacturers. Obree's style is unconventional in comparison: he builds his own custom bikes out of whatever he can find and runs not on performance enhancing drugs but on jam sandwiches. All this certainly hasn't put him behind other professionals in the field, breaking the world hour record twice and gaining the individual pursuit title twice. His first attempt at the hour record was a phenomenal test of strength and belief in scientific rigor. Failing the hour record on his first attempt in Norway, he decided to attempt it again the very next morning. To stop his body seizing up he drank pints of water beforehand, resulting in several lavatory visits during the night. He would stretch his muscles on getting up and would go back to sleep. To everyone's surprise, this worked and he took the hour record that morning merely half an hour after waking up. His time as a record holder was short lived, however, as Chris Boardman beat it less than a week later on a rest day whilst cycling in the Tour De France. Obree reclaimed the record from Boardman, but this was also short lived when he was beaten by Miguel Indurain later that year.
His short record holdings are not a detraction from his ability as a cyclist. At the time of the world hour records, he was racing on his own custom built bike that he nicknamed 'Old Faithful'. Old Faithful revolutionised the traditional cycling position placing the arms under the chest for a more compact and this aerodynamic riding position. Other, smaller changes to the bike allowed for a more accommodating ride: smaller cranks so that the feet were closer together; only one front fork and no top tube to stop the knees from hitting the frame. Most famously though, the bike used bearings from a washing machine to allow the cranks to spin faster and smoother. Unfortunately the riding position was so significantly different that the International Cycling Union banned the use of it. Obree came back with a different cycling position, nicknamed the 'Superman'. This time the arms were outstretched in front. Obree won the world champion pursuit in Italy with it and it was adapted by various other riders that year, including Chris Boardman, before being banned by the ICU. Despite the two bans, Obree continues to innovate and engineering amazing bikes. After a long hiatus, Obree is set to break the human powered land speed record on his new steed. The bike this time is a custom built prone bike one where the rider is lying flat with the head at the front and cranks at the rear. As per Obree's style, its components aren't necessarily bike parts - the shoulder rests are bits of a saucepan. Obree must go faster than 82mph to beat the record. It is still to be decided when he will attempt it.
Laugh or Die This is the Laugh Club. Would you like to join? No? Can I interest you in The Death Club?
Eryn Katsikea The Laugh Club is a cloth banner hanging from a tree in a neglected park somewhere deep in central Athens, Greece, and a dozen, or occasionally more, people in a circle on the ground taking turns laughing as hysterically as possible. Some people finally got tired of talking about the recession and instead, stricken by the reality that laughter is indeed contagious, thought to spread the joy. Literally. It is fairly simple, when surrounded by cheerful people, you are inclined to become cheerful as well, when seeing and hearing people laugh, after a while you start laughing as well. Whether because some people’s laughter sounds ridiculous or even because you are faking it, eventually, your laughter will gradually become genuine and will be enough for your body to produce “the happy hormones” and all the relevant substances, thus making you happy. There is an actual science based system, I am very carefully avoiding using the word “science” on its own here for the reluctant readers, taking all this to the next level, Laughology; more or less a philosophy encouraging positive thinking and humor into every minute of our lives for the sake of personal health and
wellbeing, teamwork and leadership. The Death Club is a coffee house, a pub, somebody’s house, in Great Britain, lately in the U.S. , where people get the chance to talk about the one thing they are most afraid of, Death. Without inhibitions or any restraints whatsoever people of all ages reflect on the one thing that is responsible for half the psychological complexes of the modern man, a somber issue that normally belongs only to psychotherapist’s offices or to Irvin Yalom’s book signing events. This one is not as simple. The so called “legacy motive” urges people who are aware and unafraid of the reality of their mortality to use wisely their short time they have, being charitable towards others and respectful towards the earth. This way, sharing with others their thoughts about death and their pertinent experiences, not only do they relieve death and mortality of their taboo status and help one another carry the weight of their fears and sorrows, but they actually make the world a better place, by making themselves more aware and more responsible of their own fates. Lately there are lots of clubs and societies spreading the word out on the internet to resist Zuckerberg’s selfimportant world and socialize like they are real people for a change. People are
devoting their time and effort to bringing into life groups like “Philosophy in Pubs” or “Art History in the Pub”. There is an apparent tendency for people to get together, around a coffee table or over a bottle of beer and just try and stimulate their minds for a while. These groups are virtually reigniting the social contribution of public venues such as pubs and coffeehouses, places that have traditionally served as centers of social interaction since the dawn of urban culture. Places where one can read, write, talk, debate, get drunk and have a laugh, under the roofs of which the most immediate and basic form of socialization and actual cultural interaction, along with the trade of coffee itself, have flourished throughout the centuries from the Middle East to the cosmopolitan cities of Western Europe, London, Paris, Vienna, New York City. When Vincent Van Gogh, contemplating his famous painting “Night Café”, said “the café is a place where one can ruin oneself, run mad or commit a crime” it was only the absinthe talking, even though in a modern context he might have said the same thing walking into a Starbucks. However, this might as well be the best thing that has happened since Facebook made us forget how to shake hands. So, log off and, as always, enjoy responsibly.
OCTOBER 24TH 2012
CULTURE 14-21 12-21
Addressing America Dan Gocke runs through a history of the nuttiest political campaign videos in America
Dan Gocke With the U.S. Presidential Debates coinciding with dissertation writing season this year, I’ve been the lucky recipient of a flurry of U.S. politics related Youtube videos sent to me by the group of dedicated workophobes that I call my friends. These videos range from classic footage of Republican nominee gaffes to impeccable opening questions from debates past (try ‘Mr. Dukakis, if Kitty Dukakis were raped and murdered, would you favour an irrevocable death penalty for the killer?’ from the 1988 Bush-Dukakis contest). The most recurrent form, however, has been the great political campaign ad. After coming across Lyndon B. Johnson’s infamous ‘Daisy Girl’ ad from 1964, in which a six-year-old girl, her civilisation, and her daisy are blown
to very small pieces, I put together a selection of the best and worst of these ads for the Guardian website for those of you who don’t have friends who are as continually inventive in coming up with new distractions from work as mine. While trawling through sixty years of ads to prepare this piece, it became clear that while many of them seem at first to have been devised by slightly unhinged types, they are all excellent encapsulations of the moods and concerns of the eras in which they were produced. In 1952, the first of these ads were created in support for the Dwight D. Eisenhower election campaign. In an America engaged in a war in Korea and with an unstable economy to boot, the Eisenhower campaign sought to win the nation’s hearts and minds with a series of short black-and- white clips of the grandfatherly ex-military man
sternly answering questions from assiduously representative members of the general public. Perhaps anticipating difficulties arising from Eisenhower’s lack of charisma in these videos, the campaign team also produced a more endearing musical number in which cartoon characters marched to the polling station singing “Ike for President” (“Ike” being an old family nickname for Eisenhower) in perfect barber-shop harmony. The makers of these early ads had quickly perceived the potential in the rise of television media, and eight years later the boy-wonder John F. Kennedy would use the medium to full effect in his 1964 campaign against Richard Nixon. With celebrity backers such as Henry Fonda, a wife who could publicly address some of America’s minority groups in Spanish, and a famous rout of the pallid and uncomfortable look-
Review: On The Road Tom Eaton For all those that have read and enjoyed Jack Kerouac’s countercultural quest for personal independence, spiritual fulfilment and exalted being, Walter Salles’ interpretation is likely to make no more than a visual impression. The post-war American landscape provides the viewer with a vivid and moody presence absent in any of the main characters. Shots of expansive roads, plains, trees, bridges and gas stations are beautifully shot and work well in illustrating Kerouac's tale of pure hearts and lost souls. The surfaces, colours and textures of the period are also rec-
reated in brilliant detail. Crucially, however, Sam Riley’s performance as Kerouac's alter ego, Sal Paradise, is light and unnatural. He fails to animate the tensions consuming the writer and that imbue the novel with sadness and longing as much as excitement and optimism. Instead, Kerouac's character is left looking affected and naive in a performance that lacks any human authenticity. Nuggets of wisdom and honesty come courtesy of Carlo Marx - played by Tom Sturridge and based on beat poet Allen Ginsberg - provide points of interest, and both Kirsten Dunst and Steve Buscemi do great jobs in their small supporting roles.
However, these positives are lost within a general performance style and character study that overwhelmingly lacks understanding and subtlety. Sal’s attraction to Dean does not seem to make sense. While Dean’s character might ring true with the alcohol-fuelled soul-searching of the Beat generation, there is no sign of the ‘holy’ street maverick with an appetite for life. Instead he comes across as a restless and selfish womaniser. This is a good looking film, but it does no justice to the Beat generation. On the Road is in cinemas on October 12th
ing Nixon in one of the most famous televised debates of the 20th century, Kennedy’s campaign marks the era when television started to become a hugely influential force in electoral strategy. Nixon’s videos were a far more drab and stripped-back affair than his younger opponent, with a series of simple face-to-camera monologues the best effort his campaign could muster. Now, television and the celebrity of the candidate mattered, and in realising this and delivering an effective and appropriate televised campaign, the Kennedy team saw the man from Massachusetts clinch the seat in the White House in what was a close-run race. After the confident, media-happy election of 1960, things took a bleaker turn as the decade wore on. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, relations with the U.S.S.R. grew increasingly hostile and the country was still caught up in its violent conflict in Vietnam. The campaign videos of Lyndon B. Johnson in the 1964 election illustrate this general mood of paranoia and unease; his plugs revolve around nuclear catastrophe scenarios, the growing popularity of the K.K.K., and the dire conditions imposed by urban poverty. His Republican opponent, Barry Goldwater, chose to highlight the threats of Communism, crime, and a supposed nationwide dearth of moral integrity. Similar themes and the ongoing issue of the Vietnam War would permeate the campaign ads of the 1968 race, although Frank Sinatra did show up in one of Democrat Hubert Humphrey’s ads to give the election that little bit of showbiz glamour and lighten the mood. With growing public desire for political accountability of presidential candidates in the 1970s and ‘80s, issues of trust, honesty, and integrity are of central concern in the campaigns of the period. By this stage, the cult of the celebrity President was crucial, and assertions of the moral character of nominees were at the heart of electoral
success. Here the ‘attack video’ starts to appear more frequently, and it was common to see candidates calling into question the suitability of their rivals to govern the country. Economic growth and free market Capitalism were stalwart themes of the Reagan campaign in 1984, while family values were integral to George H. W. Bush’s platform. After the collapse of the Soviet Union and with an increasingly robust economy, America arrived in the 1990s with self-assurance. A reunion with traditional American values was on the agenda for most candidates, while Clinton’s campaigns discussed aspirations, accomplishments, and selfbelief. This reverted back to miserable type at the turn of the millennium, and the first ads of the 21st century were characterised by the war in Iraq and the terrorist threat. The battlegrounds were thus drawn until the historic campaign of Barack Obama in 2008, who famously stressed change, an ambitious national destiny, and courage in the face of economic adversity, all helped along the way by a clutch of celebrities and public figures. The later years of this age also saw utilisation of online formats, revolutionising the way in which the campaign ad could be circulated and viewed in front of an ever-growing international audience. This year, the polished videos of Romney and Obama address issues in health care, the difficult labour market, and even gay marriage. Both candidates are drawing on the hallmarks of campaign ads past: emphasising honest personalities, commitment to working Americans, and the supposed inadequacies of their opponents. And so, while political pundits may argue about the likely results of various battleground states, what emerges most clearly of all is that presidents are always made or undone in the great American living room.
OCTOBER 24TH 2012
CULTURE 14-21 12-21
Review: The Hanoi Bike Shop (NB. It’s not a bike shop) Kate Hole It doesn’t take a marketing expert to work out that The Hanoi Bike Shop isn’t the best name for a restaurant. However, this bike shop/restaurant ambiguity hasn’t stopped this new Vietnamese ‘canteen’ just off Byres Road - where Stravaigin 2 used to be, though still run by the same lot - packing out every evening. So what with all the hype and the fact that I just spent a month in Vietnam so think myself quite an expert on this cuisine (yes, I know I’m being a prat), I decided to see what all the fuss was about and check out the authenticity of the place. Walking in, you’re instantly hit with the quirky charm you come to expect from small west-end places. With bright colours, clever bike themed décor and cosy tables and stools, it’s obvious that the owners – not Vietnamese but well-travelled apparently - wanted to take the time to make this somewhere special. The menu is also very welcoming with a vast range of student-
friendly choices at £5/6. This price covers ‘Street Food’, which was always a bit hit and miss over in Vietnam - will I catch salmonella, will I not - but is extremely tasty here. They’ve tried to fit in as much of the real deal as they can with yummy egg pancakes with pork and shrimp, and fresh spring rolls that are a world away from the crispy deep fried parcels of mystery so often found in British-Asian restaurants. Make sure you also get some of the peanut and chilli dip –a couple of quid well spent. For £7/8 you can get more meaty pot dishes such as curry with chicken or the vegetarian option: aubergine and their big-deal homemade tofu. I’ve never quite been one to understand the purpose of tofu as anything other than strange squidgie squares of little purpose, and I’m sad to report that this experience - homemade and organic as it may have been - didn’t really sway me. Nevertheless, I gobbled up the aubergine quite happily and tofu-lovers will no doubt have a wail of a time. Elsewhere on the menu is ‘pho’: a noodle broth with strips or meat and
lashings of herbs and beansprouts; the cheapest thing available in Vietnam, and yet puzzlingly the most expensive option here. Although you get an enormous bowl, there’s not an awful lot of meat and noodles to go round if you’re sharing everything in true Vietnamese style, so it’s not really the best value for money. However, what with such tasty street food, specials and ‘banh mi’ lunchtime sandwiches - a nice reminder of the mark French colonialism left in Vietnam - let’s brush over that one… Ultimately, most of the authentic staples are there. As are prawn crackers, which arguably aren’t the most common Vietnamese snack but such a crowd pleaser who even cares. What with the tasty cheap delights, handy late opening hours (open past midnight Thursday to Saturday), friendly staff in town and quirky, busy atmosphere, they’re onto a winner. They’re just not going to fix your bike for you, sorry.
lowed to drink the exhibitions in this museum. In fact you'll have trouble trying to decide what to drink because the place has 30 different beers on tap, nevermind them changing every week. If you really can't choose what to have they offer taster glasses, all about a quarter of a pint. All the beer here is from small microbreweries, so you get to try the niche beers of Prague as well as the big names served in the city. Once you've had enough to drink and never want to see beer again you can have a wander around Pragues museums and galleries. One of the highlights was a Dali and Mucha exhibition right in the center. It is a lot larger than you think at first so it's worth taking out a good hour to look through it. The Dali floor has some of his lesser known work as well as the popular stuff; it makes for an interesting contrast. The Mucha ex-
hibition ranges from pencil drawings to large posters. The transition between the intricate pencil drawings and the huge graphic posters with bold lines is fantastic. If just looking at things does not satisfy you then the Chocolate Museum is worth a visit. Although by itself relatively boring - but informative - you do get to see how chocolates are made. You even get a small taster at the end. The best part is the gift shop of course! Apart from containing pretty tasty chocolate you can mix the two best things from the trip: chocolate and beer, and buy chocolate in the shape of a beer bottle. So visiting Prague in 48 hours, you can easily have enough time to stare at the architecture, go see some great art and then spend the rest of your time eating and drinking as many of the 30+ varieties of beer as you can muster.
The Hannoi Bike shop is located on 8 Ruthven Lane, 0141 334 7165
Prague in 48 hours
Dasha Miller The first thing that comes to mind when you step foot in Prague is 'Wow this city is beautiful!' But once you get over the beauty of the architecture you realise that you should probably find your place of accommodation. This proves difficult because Prague is made up of circular streets. Applying logic to getting around the city is almost impossible. The best way is probably to wander around the city and take mental photographs of what each street looks like, then follow that. After you've found where you'll be staying you'll want to find food. That's easy. It can be found in almost every city center restaurant, presented on a laminated menu filled with huge pictures of the food and translations for
almost every language. But look past that and you'll find some perfectly cooked beef, amazing gravy and the best dumplings you'll ever eat. With most cities you'd have to walk out of the centre a little to find a nice meal - usually at a lower price - but Prague has it all in the city centre. Most of the food is traditional Czech cooking with lots of beef and great fresh bread. I couldn't complain but you'll be hard pressed to find much variation if you happen to be vegetarian, vegan or a beef-hater. Whether you managed to find a good meal or not, you can drink on a full stomach or feed your hunger with some fantastic beer. It comes mostly in light varieties and can be found everywhere, including small convenience shops, and it is far superior to Tennants. If you look a little further than the obvious places you'll find small pubs that
serve a wider [colour] range of beers. Although a very touristy thing to do (and something I'd usually avoid) go on a walking tour, and there is nothing better than one that involves beer as well as history. The Beer Tour is possibly one of the most informative and tasty tours I've been on. You explore a few places in the city centre and get a wee half pint of the best beer in each place while they tell you how it's brewed and what's special about it. The tour lasts for about 2 pints, then the instructor leaves you with a paper certificate telling you you're a beer expert and a beer map. The beer map contains about 25 of the best pubs all around Prague so you can continue to get pished or save it for a later date. One of the best highlights of Prague and something not to be missed is the Beer Museum. Thankfully you are al-
Science Fiction for all In this series of short, personal pieces on science fiction, Ross Hetherington hopes to bring to wider awareness the suitability, for anybody who loves literature, of a selection of premier sci-fi authors. In this issue he talks about Samuel R. Delany.
Ross Hetherington We, in Some Strange Power’s Employ, Move on a Rigorous Line – I first read this title in 2009. It was only after some period of time that it ceased being a regular visitor to my mind. I would be walking on an errand, or taking in a Saturday afternoon. I could be at the summit of a rise, seeing a distant crane, or on a street neither full nor empty. Then, a voice would speak the line in a quiet but purposeful measure, and I would think of … I would think of the devils, those behind everything, working the hidden, ceaseless bureaucracy of the world. The title is that of a short story by the American science fiction and fantasy writer Samuel R. Delany. Delaney is many things: a literary critic, creative writing professor, black homosexual (perhaps bisexual) and an essayist; now at the age of 70 he sports a huge white beard. I am not the kind who, upon getting a certain author on their palate, gobbles down all they can find. My reading of Delany is selective, and as I know none of the extensive criticism applied by or to him I will also pass over most of his early work. Only the third volume of The Fall of the Towers trilogy (19631965) has real style, whilst The Einstein Intersection (1967) won the Nebula award for best novel; it’s interesting, ambitious, and overrated. In 1966, however, Delany had already published Babel-17. Clever, funny, deep, un-cynical, subtly political and leagues ahead of its time (it reads like it could have been written yesterday), Babel-17 will be focus of this arti-
cle with occasional reference to Triton (1976) and its similar themes. A Poet, linguist, and polyglot, Rydra Wong lives on Earth in a galaxy divided between The Invaders and The Alliance, where her poetry is read by both sides. She is commissioned by The Alliance Administration to crack the Invaders’ new code, ’Babel-17,’ which has been used by the enemy in a series of ingenious sabotage operations. But Babel-17 isn’t a code, it’s a language: a language like no other previously developed or created. To pursue its origin, Wong requests a ship, hires a crew, and heads out to try to reconstruct the language’s structure, and thus the Invaders’ plans. Babel-17 is an unapologetic thrillride and is space opera (think Star Wars here, not 2001) at its finest. No scene outstays its welcome, whilst the five ‘parts’ of the book are each episodically watertight. The writing is dialoguedriven, interspersed with just the right number of Delany’s characteristic jewel-studs of scene-setting. As a book Babel-17 is short, light-hearted, playful and has a glow of optimism about it that unhurriedly reasserts itself after darker sections. The read is permeated, even more thoroughly, with a sense of wonder at the possibilities of human beings. In Delany’s world(s), human development through the sciences (all the sciences, as I shall soon emphasise) may be ambiguous (Triton is subtitled an ambiguous heterotopia), but it is never merely destructive. Physical, mental and social modification are essentially humanising forces; as they reveal more about the possibilities of human beings, they delineate more
The tattoos, coloured contacts and piercings of today are as yet only a small move towards what Delany already imagined in the sixties
clearly what human beings are. What the human beings find out about themselves (individually or collectively) in Delany’s stories may not always be pleasant, and is sometimes harrowing, but it is never pointless nor meaningless. In Babel-17, for example, cosmetic surgery is commonplace. Not for the attaining of a stereotyped beauty, but in the service of a carnival-like selfexpression. The tattoos, coloured contacts, and piercings of today are as yet only a small move towards what Delany (amongst others) already imagined in the sixties, but the bodily modifications he envisages (unlike ours) combine truly outrageous form with working functions amongst his space crews and planetary colonists. We have to look for other writers to see the human spirit cancerous with grafts and adaptations. One worry one might have with Delany is that he does not take science seriously. Technology is always loosely described in his work, and often verges on the speculative extreme. Whilst accepting that Delany is never going to get into the nuts and bolts of the sciences as other science fiction writers did (and do), it can be suggested that Delany is more careful than some authors to take all of the sciences seriously. Moreover, he is interested in the interconnections and interactions between the sciences and between them and the humanities. I look in vain for a clear dividing line between ‘science’ and ‘art’ from his perspective. Finally, I think he is more interesting and plausible than most in his imaginative explorations of what such a holism about human inquiry might achieve. A fundamentally practical person, to my reading, he never heads off to the transcendentally mys-
tical, whether its source be Big Science or The Great Beyond. This fascination with science and art, and the permeability of their borders, is clear and characteristic in Delany’s treatment of Babel-17’s principle theme: language. Babel-17 is a language like no other, and a recurring theme in the book is that the acquisition of a new language leads to the acquisition of new ways of not just thinking but of perceiving, problem-solving, doing, and so on. These changes are not conceived to be a surface matter. Delany makes it clear that the difference strikes to the social, cultural, psychological and neurological levels. Babel-17 makes a big difference, because there is a big difference between it and other languages. But the difference is one of degree, not of kind. Language pervades the plot of Triton as well, albeit less prominently. There, it has to compete with the whole host of sociocultural phenomena which Delany is moving meticulously away from our own, as he explores a world which is in many ways more fraught, and perhaps more weary, (and certainly less swashbuckling) than that of Babel-17. Babel-17 is a hearty, endearing adventure, bedecked almost to decadence with sumptuous scenes. Delaney avoids this pit-fall through a display of welcoming, provocative, sensitive and intelligent sci-fi literature. The great white beard would no doubt be pleased how his sageful lines still transgress the minds of those who have appreciated his work in all manner of situations; is that not surely the purpose of sci-fi?
OCTOBER 24TH 2012
CULTURE 14-21 12-21
Rainbow Nation Franziska Seitz When asked about different cultures across Europe, it is simple to name typical national dishes, music or customs for at least some countries. English breakfast, French chansons, German Lederhosen - it is quite easy. Even though each country is becoming more culturally diverse they don't yet compare to the ethnic diversity of Africa‘s most southern nation. There is no single way to describe the vibrant cultural life of South Africa, currently the home to more than 50 million people of various backgrounds, cultures, customs and languages. It is currently the most diverse country in Africa, inhabiting the largest populations of Europeans, Asians or racially mixed on the entire continent. Amongst these populations are Indians, Coloureds, Afrikaaner and English - descendants of Dutch and English colonial immigrants - as well as black Africans from numerous tribes. To accommodate such diversity, South Africa has eleven official languages, of which English, Afrikaans and Zulu are most commonly spoken across the nation. In retrospective it is easy to understand why the country was fondly called the "Rainbow Nation“ by Desmond Tutu after its first democratic election in 1994. South Africa‘s rainbow of culture becomes particularly apparent in its music scene, which is composed of many different styles of music and due to the
various ethnic origins within the country somewhat fragmented, as every culture likes to listen to music in their own language. The most popular styles of music range from traditional African sounds over Hip Hop or Rap to Rock and Alternative or more recently, House music. One of the most popular styles to name, particularly amongst black South Africans, is Kwaito, which is a unique sound made up of slow house beats, percussive African sounds and usually male vocals which are either chanted or shouted. When the sun sets over the African-dominated suburbs surrounding Johannesburg, it is likely to see young kids gathering on the streets dancing to the sounds of Mandoza, who is one of the country‘s most famous Kwaito musicians. Particularly in townships, most people did not have access to formal music theory or instruments, making it sound somewhat unrythmic at times . After the end of Apartheid, Kwaito became the voice of formerly discriminated groups, with its lyrics often containing political messages. South Africa‘s contemporary music scene is about as unique as Kwaito in the world, as many artists try to push the boundaries between the different genres that became popular within the country. Crossover bands have become more common throughout the last years and while there are many of them, one of the most famous ones at the moment is probably Freshlyground. Composed of artists from
When the sun sets over the African-dominated suburbs surrounding Johannesburg, it is likely to see young kids gathering on the streets dancing
South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, Freshlyground blends traditional South African folk sounds with blues, jazz and indie rock elements. The band‘s music is a mixture of guitar, flute and violin sounds with elements of percussion and influences from tribal music, such as Zulu or Xhosa. Lead singer Zolani Mahola describes the band‘s aim as reuniting cultural backgrounds from all over the country, so that they do not only exist next to each other but with each other. This is what makes Freshlyground‘s music special and due to its cheerful sounds also distinctly South African. Like many other South African artists, the bands‘ songs are catchy and thought-provoking at the same time. Chicken to Change for example satirizes Zimbabwean politics, while their famous song Doo Be Doo draws an idealistic picture of society and possibly post-Apartheid South Africa. Similarly to Freshlyground, the Cape Town-based music duo Goldfish also manages to unite different music styles into exciting, unique tunes and has begun to successfully complete several international tours across Europe. When asked about their musical orientation, Dominic Peters and David Poole, who play various instruments on their own, describe their sound as jazz against the machine. Their style becomes very evident during their exciting live performances, in which the DJ-duo mixes dance and electronica sounds with multiple live instruments strongly reminding of jazz music typi-
cal to the Southern Cape, such as saxophones. While some songs are purely instrumental, Goldfish also cooperates with other local African artists or more recently, with UK band Morning Parade in their song Washing over me. Peters and Poole, who started performing as Goldfish after finishing college, explain that their aim was to try and do something different from the usual and thus started to mix different genres into something new. And they quite successfully did so, having toured with acts such as Fatboy Slim or Paul Van Dyk. When asked what role their South African heritage takes in their music, Goldfish explains that due to South Africa‘s history and it being so diverse, the country still has to deal with many problems that other countries do not experience in that way. But besides that, it is also full of happiness as well as hope and all these elements reappear in their music, which is uplifting and quickly turns their live acts into ecstatic parties. As societies across the entire planet become increasingly diverse, the South African music scene puts forward a great example how such diversity can enrich any aspect of societal life through the mixture of various cultural influences. Although the country still struggles with many aspects of its fragmented society, it is South African bands like Freshlyground and Goldfish that reunite people of any race during their concerts, making them one.
that blends traditional Zulu music with contemporary hip-hop. MAAMi focuses on the struggles of an impoverished single mother to raise her son in urban Nigeria, who ultimately grows up to become a national footballing hero. Restless City, which made a smash at the Sundance Film Festival last year, closes the festival on the 31st. It depicts the efforts of a young Senega-
lese migrant to make it big on the New York City music scene.
Africa in Motion
Patrick Peter Goldie October 28th - 31st sees the arrival of the seventh annual ‘Africa in Motion’ film festival in Glasgow. Given that most people’s experiences - including my own - of African cinema are limited to 2009's clunky sci-fi allegory ‘District 9’ it's only fair to wonder why
you should be even remotely interested in AiM. The festival is specifically designed to give African films a wider international audience. Its co-founders, Lizelle Bisschoff and Melissa Trachtenberg, wanted to counteract the under-representation of African culture in the UK. So if you want to brush up on your knowledge of African cinema Africa in
Motion is a perfect opportunity to do just that. The movies themselves promise to be excellent pieces of filmmaking, and taken together they illustrate the diversity and vibrancy of contemporary Africa. The opening film - Uhlanga - is a coming-of-age tale set in rural South Africa and promises beautiful visuals alongside an electrifying soundtrack
The festival will be held from October 28th 'til the 31st, at the GFT. Details can be found at www.glasgowfilm.org
5 songs for Plagiarism and Cryptonesia Craig Angus Listening to Kanye West's masterpiece My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, it occurred to me that West has built his empire not only on talent, and hard work, but the ability to recycle the material of others, transforming it into something new and refreshing. From Curtis Mayfield to Bon Iver, Kanye has played with samples and melodies, and his back catalogue is full of collaborations which enhance his work. The line between borrowing and stealing is a fine one though, and while Kanye - for once - has been a good boy, asking permission from his friends, there are a few artists out there whose biggest hits have been plagued with accusations of plagiarism. With musical theft comes great financial punishment, bands can lose all their royalties - and in modern times accusations get thrown about by every Tom, Dick and Harry who can be arsed. Sometimes it's fun to just pretend people have stolen something. Stuff like humming the theme tune to 'A Question of Sport' over 'This song is about you' by The Enemy; did they really mean that…? Flaming Lips - Fight Test “What kind of weapons have they got? / The softest bullet ever shot” cooed Wayne Coyne on ‘The Spark that Bled’, a great moment on The Soft Bulletin, an album packed full of gorgeous metaphor, a psychedelic labyrinth compared – by many – to Pet Sounds. Following up a career highlight often sucks the life out of the artist – but with Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, the Flaming Lips did a stellar job. It all kicks off with ‘Fight Test’, one of the most accessible tracks the Lips ever wrote. It also sounds exactly like ‘Father & Son’, by the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens. Coyne, unsurprisingly, heard from Yusuf Islam’s lawyers. One non-contentious settlement later, 75% of future royalties for ‘Fight Test’ song go to Stevens, who originally wrote ‘Father and Son’ back in 1970. It’s a cracking tune though, and while the conceptual Yoshimi never reached the formidable heights of The Soft Bulletin – ‘Fight Test’ was well received by the public, who probably assumed Wayne’s brain was way too addled for him to even comprehend what was going on. Hey, that melody sounds kinda familiar... “If anyone wanted to borrow part of a Flaming Lips song, I don't think I'd bother pursuing it. I've got better things to do. Anyway, Cat Stevens is never going to make much money out of us.” Wayne Coyne Nirvana - Come As You Are 'Welcome to Aberdeen - Come as you are', a sign reads at the road entrance to the town in Washington state, USA. It's a fitting tribute to the late Kurt Cobain, who along with bassist Krist Novoselic, called Aberdeen his hometown. The song was initially intended to be Nirvana's crossover hit, a song that could take the band from their underground roots to a bigger audience. 'Smells like teen spirit' changed all that though - 5 minutes that altered rock music forever, and completely transformed Nirvana, turning them into superstars - it was played all over mainstream radio, and the band did a fantastic 'performance' of the song on Top of the Pops, with Cobain in jovial form.
Post global super-hit, Nirvana and their management had a decision to make, should the second single from Nevermind be 'Come as you are' or 'In Bloom'? At the core of the dilemma was the similarity between the former, and a song called 'Eighties' by Killing Joke, a similarity that Cobain had admitted and acknowledged to his nearest and dearest - the main difference seemed to be Cobain's trademark 'Small-clone' chorus pedal at least personalised his plagiarism, 'Come as you are' floated where 'Eighties' buzzed. Despite the obvious similarities, the case never came to the courts - Killing Joke citing 'personal and financial reasons'. Cobain's death in 1994 pretty much signalled the end of the dispute, and these days Killing Joke get on swimmingly with the remaining members of Nirvana. Jaz Coleman from the band appeared on stage with Foo Fighters back in January, singing 'Requiem' from Killing Joke's self-titled debut. Honestly, could Dave Grohl just quit music and just spend his free time stopping wars? "I was trying to write the ultimate pop song [Teen Spirit]. I was basically trying to rip off The Pixies" - Kurt Cobain Johnny Cash - Folsom Prison Blues Ah, Folsom Prison Blues, an openmic staple and one of the most iconic songs performed by the man in black. Cash was big on his prison songs, and wrote this particular one after watching a 1951 drama Inside the Walls of Folsom Prison. Cash's knack for hitting the nail on the head is prevalent here, the protagonists matter of fact confession "I killed a man in Reno/Just to watch him die" is pure evil, but also villainy born out of hopelessness and disconnection from humanity in general. Cash himself stated that the inspiration was found after thinking of 'the worst reason to kill somebody'. Inspiration lay further afield though, and it ended up costing Cash $75 000. Back in 1953, little-known songwriter Gordon Jenkins, from Missouri, wrote a song called 'Crescent City Blues' - a song about cabin fever, about escaping from a small town. The lyrics went something like this: "I hear the train a' comin/It's rollin round the bend/ And I ain't been kissed lord since/I don't know when." In the pre-internet age, no-one noticed that Cash's latest hit had stolen a melody and a lyrical framework from a small-fry composer. After Cash performed the song live on television in 1969, things changed. Jenkins called his lawyer, who laid-down the copyright law to team Cash. The case was settled out of court, for a sum that was quite remarkable back in the early 70s. Cash carried on, his reputation pretty much unharmed, continuing to record music right up until his last days. "Shortly before the trial was beginning, Cash's manager asked if we could meet. He wondered if I had any 'material' that could substantiate our claim. They were acting like they didn't know what we were talking about. So I had Gordon make a tape of his song, and right behind that, Cash's song. And I played it for the guy. Dead Silence. He never said another word except 'We'll call you back'" - Harold Planet, lawyer for Gordon Jenkins. Black Eyed Peas - My Humps It took about 15 years to get Johnny
Cash to settle, but the Black Eyed Peas haven't been so lucky. At one point, 3 separate lawsuits had been filed against them, accusing them of infringing copyright law for their songs 'Boom Boom Pow', 'I Gotta Feeling', and of course - the classic - 'My Humps'. DJ Lynn Tolliver claimed to have written a song called 'I need a Freak' back in 1983 - for a 'concept group' called "Sexual Harassment' - lovely stuff. Tolliver laid down the beats with James McCant of Heat Records, registered it as his own creation - and agreed in principle to take 75% of future royalties from use of the song, presumably not thinking that 20 years down the line, it would inexplicably become a super-hit. He then went back to being a radio DJ in Cleveland, being all eccentric and asking his readers to bring in giant cockroaches in exchange for prizes. It's a far cry from Clyde FM, I tell you. When he heard 'My Humps', Tolliver was so pissed off that he pulled out his gun and got trigger happy with all haters. He took McCant to court, civil gentleman that he is, and after McCant offered the Jury a concoction of contradictory evidence - they told him where to go. Tolliver was paid an initial $1.2 million for being the genius behind 'My Humps', and to this day he's STILL entitled to 75% of all royalties. Lynn, come spend all yo money on me… "I'm extremely happy. This case took 10 years. God was on my side" - DJ Lynn Tolliver "My hump, my hump my hump my hump, my hump my hump, my lovely little lumps. Check it out" - Black Eyed Peas Band of Horses – Laredo Band of Horses used to have a real purpose. 2006 debut Everything all the Time was a record full of passion – ‘The Funeral’ is a truly stunning track, and the future looked promising for these hairy chaps from Seattle. Cease to Begin spawned a couple of mega-hits (remember Cee-Lo Green covering ‘No one’s gonna love you’? ), and when my Dad invited me to see the band play at the Academy in January 2011, I went along willingly, with the promise of some quality ‘father and son’ bonding (thanks, Cat), even though I’d heard nothing from 3rd album Infinite Arms. After a promising, tight opening (and some spectacular visuals from South Carolina) the band started playing Laredo, which to my horror, borrowed the melody, chord-structure, tempo and rhythm from another song. A song called ‘Weed Party’, which can be found on a record called Everything all the Time by Band of Horses. It’s a completely average song as well, humming and hawing about being ‘at a crossroads with myself’; frontman Ben Bridwell at one point delivers the line ‘I don’t got no-one else’, and he sounds a wee bit inbred, which is fitting for a song that was caught fucking its handsome, charming and more interesting older brother. Band of Horses settled out of court, after a brief conversation with Band of Horses. "With its midtempo stroll, crunchy Southern guitar, and Ben Bridwell's silky vocals, 'Laredo' sounds like a younger cousin of 'Weed Party" - SPIN Magazine "Laredo" is practically more 'Weed Party' than 'Weed Party'" - Pitchfork
PAWS: Craig Angus I'm at the album launch for PAWS debut album Cokefloat!, and we've just been treated to some comic relief courtesy of drummer Josh Swinney. "Ev-
OCTOBER 24TH 2012
CULTURE 14-21 12-21
Radio Spotlight: Earthly Matters
ley's improvised meditative tape loops and organ patterns.
Our new regular feature zones in on small radio shows - from Subcity and beyond – asking them to explain their influences and love of music through five tracks First up is Subcity’s Earthly Matters: an experimental fortnightly show that claims to ‘come across no boundaries, just appreciation.’ With such an eclectic mix of genres we didn’t know existed, we asked hosts Fergus and Gareth to explain their top tracks so you know what kind of thing you can expect from their Monday night slot.
Frams Torners - He's Perfect! This is a Glaswegian synth pop duo from the instructional media collective who have a penchant for VHS sounding hazy nostalgia. This track is a favourite.
Gareth Dak - T'ssmolnagst Hailing from Los Angeles, the birthplace of The Low End Theory, Dak from Leaving Records stems from the weirder mutated side of the beats scene. This one is an extra-terrestrial sounding leftfield synaesthesia abstraction. Terry Riley - Desert Of Ice Minimalistic and intrinsic modern classicism from 1980 composed in California. Immerse yourself amongst Ri-
Luke Wyatt for the label Long Island Electrical Systems. Label boss man Ron Morelli plays La Cheetah club on Saturday the 27th October, which will be unmissable.
JD Emmanuel - In Movement On The Rings Of Saturn Subdued spirituality and a keen sense of tranquillity emitted via transcendental reverb.
Martin Denny - Enchanted Sea Martin Denny utilising the moog for the purposes of psychedelic Hawaiian lounge music. Recorded during the mid to late 1960s, it was apparently frequently listened to by service members in Vietnam at night on their transistor radios. Tip.
Cupp Cave - Transparent Obstacle Idiosyncratic 16-bit videogame shenanigans from Vlek's Cupp Cave released in 2008 that involves layers of synth squelches and unconventional crunching beats.
Unit Moebius - Penetrator Raw and blinding acid madness straight out of The Hague, made on faulty equipment in 1992 with funding for distribution coming from selling LSD tabs at squat parties.
Fergus Chris & Cosey - Love Cuts A dark and scarce industrial jam by Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti, circa 1984. An absolute favourite.
Diane Cluck - The Turnaround Road Haunting and melancholic acoustic beauty from Pennsylvania; everything modern folk music should be and more.
Torn Hawk - A Piece of The Storm A tremolo heavy, ambient/not-ambient tape hiss from Brooklyn video artist
Catch Earthly Matters on Subcity every second Monday, 6-8pm or listen anytime at Subcity.org/shows/earthlymatters
COKEFLOAT! eryone having a good time? 'Cause if you're not, I'll come and get you, and make you have a good time", growls a voice from behind the bass drum. Thankfully, no one at the CCA needs to be forced to enjoy themselves tonight. The capacity crowd spend the
duration of the set either singing along to every word, or crowd-surfing, and there's nothing but good vibes floating around the venue. PAWS ability to play a mesmeric gig has never been in doubt though, having risen to prominence with little more than a series of delightful lo-fi cassette volumes and the buzz generated by gigging everywhere. An early blurb said the band were free to play 'Bar Mitzvahs…Bathrooms', and they probably weren't fucking about. Cokefloat! is a different animal however. 13 tracks, recorded in a studio how is this going to pan out? Well, you better read on - hadn't you? Firstly, Cokefloat!, feels like an album, and not like a collection of 13 tracks. Bookended by 'Catherine 1956' and 'Poor Old Christopher Robin', it's a journey of sorts. The former is a touching tribute to singer Phillip Taylor's mother, who passed away after a battle with cancer (Life goes on/you can't live your life in fear/do something for me and get out of this town/there's nothing for you here). The latter is probably the best thing that the band have done in their short time, 5 minutes long, and a departure from the 'Haribo Thrash' mooted in a Skinny interview last summer, by the band themselves, I should add. It's
reminiscent of Blue Album/Pinkerton era Weezer, with a restrained verse that builds to the best chorus in an album of great choruses. Taylor sings, 'Phillip stop crying, you've got to keep trying' - there's nothing overly metaphorical here, just raw emotion delivered honestly. It's a show-stopping moment, disarming and uplifting. What about the singles? 'Jellyfish' took the lead here - no surprises, it's definitely the 'poppiest' track - like a sugar-coated Dinosaur Jr. Even better is Sore Tummy, which features a delightful guest vocal from Alice Costelloe of Big Deal. Propelled by Swinney's offbeat percussion - the closest thing you'll ever hear to a drum hook, it even gets to hog the limelight a bit at 2:07 - the clean(er) guitar tones and harmonies offer a stark contrast to the likes of 'Bloodline' - which delivers it's message in around 2 minutes of real ferocity. Elsewhere, I was absolutely ecstatic to see 'Miss American Bookworm' appear on Cokefloat!, after making it's debut on Volume 1. The studio treatment has served it well, accentuating the power of the opening riff and the drums at the chorus - again terrific innovation from Swinney. 'Bird inside Birdcage…' pushes Christopher Robin
for the best chorus of the album, and if they manage a third single from the record then this should be it - to call it infectious would be an understatement. So far so good, right? Well, mostly. Maybe it's the company they line up with, but 'Homecoming' and 'Boregasm' fall flat. The former is a distant cousin of Pavement's 'Kennel District' - and musically it works, but the lyrics send a conflicting message. Boregasm starts promisingly, the guitars fly around like a kid on a bouncy castle - but somewhere around the chorus it gets a bit lost. The two are by no means bad songs - they're just not as inspired as the rest of Cokefloat! Harsh? Perhaps. Well a couple of words for the rest of the tracks. 'Tulip' was my favourite on listen one - in short it's an absolute monster, the song on this record that sounds most like Nirvana - and that's a great thing. Upon reading the inside of the CD, I see the song was co-written with Catherine Taylor, and it all comes together (Someone cares a lot for you, wherever you are). Live favourite 'Winners Don't Bleed' is the penultimate track - a screamy behemoth that won't get played on the radio, but is all the better for it. 'Get Bent', is even more of a departure than Christopher Robin.
One man, a spanish guitar, some cheap keyboard, and lyrics about the decline of a family. It finds Taylor at his most defiant (Fuck you! I don't need you anyway), and in a way it's a suitable place to sum things up; strength in the face of adversity. Finally, big props to Rory Attwell (formerly of Test Icicles, who were brilliant), for bottling the energy of PAWS live show and translating it onto the record - no mean feat. For a debut record, this is really impressive stuff. PAWS have turned the shit things in life into something positive, and while the album has it's inconsistencies, weaker tracks, questionable lyrics, it's completely outweighed by the positives, and the honesty. Nothing here is phoney, and while some lazy critics have suggested that this is nothing new musically (90s American Grunge regurgitated), theres enough versatility here to disprove that assessment. A record choc full of personality, and if you like your music served up nice and loud give it a spin, throw yourself about a bit. Otherwise we'll have to force you to have fun.
On o spor the c spoi appa Don ing e terfli The mina petit
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OCTOBER 24TH 2012
SPORT 22-24 23-24
Spoilsports Some fans, they just want to watch the other team burn.
Holly Maxwell-Stevenson On observing some of the recent major sporting competitions, I was struck by the concept of sportsmanship or rather spoilsportsmanship’ so disconcertingly apparent. Don’t get me wrong, I know that sporting events are not all rainbows and butterflies. The point of a competition is the determination to be better than your competitors; the drive to outshine them and
win.The PC Brigades might disagree – you know, the type that ban school sports days because it makes everyone bar the winners feel inadequate. But what of the sense of ambition to be first competition also breeds? When I was eight-years-old, my mother told her friends it was ‘the taking part that counts’ as I took my position on the start line for the egg and spoon.As she looked on in disbelief as I edged to pole position towards the finish line, she left said friends to sprint along with me and shouted so loudly, she all but
lost her voice. Taking part is good – it keeps you fit of body and mind and blah, blah, blah but there is only one winner and who does not want to be it? Determination, competitiveness and drive to perform to your full potential are on the whole beneficial and admirable qualities to possess. Let’s turn to the fans. Dedicated devotees put their heart and soul into showing their support for the chosen sportsperson, team or country.When I think of the infamous Tartan Army who
travel the globe to watch Scotland play football, my heart swells with pride. Other fans take the form of pushy parents driving their children all over the country to compete in their chosen sport – or indeed, screaming like a banshee at the unexpected egg and spoon victory. And then there were the Ryder Cup fans. Upon switching channel to watch the European comeback, I was appalled by the scene unfolding. The American fans were booing the European golfers as they teed off. The basics of golf etiquette lies in the tradition of respecting the golfers’ in a game that requires intense concentration. Ergo, for this to be happening at the No1 matchplay tournament in the world was head-scratchingly baffling. I’m a patriotic Scot and Brit, but would NEVER dream of yelling things such as “hit it into the water” or “whack it into a tree”.It was downright rude and on this occasion in danger of sabotaging the golfers’ games. Being a spoilsport was taken to a new level in the Olympics this summer. Patriotism is beautiful at its full at such an event and enhanced as a result, but deliberate sabotage can never be justified. Philip Hindes, for example, deliberately fell off his bike after getting the British cyclist team off to a bad start in his first leg of the race.If a cyclist can claim that their bike was at fault, the race has to be restarted, which it was and the British team then went on to win the heat and ultimately the race. Hurrah for Britain: another gold. How-
Club profile: Basketball Club Claire Flynn. The Basketball Club is one of the more recently formed sports clubs at the University. This makes its stories of success all the more impressive. The Glasgow University Sports Association (GUSA), or the Glasgow University Athletic Club (GUAC) as it was known then, went into the post-war years with just 20 affiliated clubs. However, by the 1980s it had twice that number. The earliest of the new additions was basketball, which was affiliated as a section on the 12th March 1947, although a club had been in existence for some time. The basketball club performed well in its first few years of affiliation, winning the league for three years running and producing internationalists in J. R. Davis, D. Quayle and J. Hutchison, although the club’s best player was arguably Clayton Roberts, an American. In 1952 to ‘53, devoid of their American and Canadian stars, the team fell to the bottom of the league. However, victory was again achieved in 1961 to 1962 and in 1975 to 1976 when the club rose to the top of the league once more.
Fifty-five years on from the original affiliation with GUSA the club has gone through much expansion and growth, and a women’s club has also been added to the mix. Arguably the last few years have been the most successful in the club’s history. The men’s club entered the senior national league in 2010 for the first time. They finished in fourth place in the regular season and gained a playoff semi-final spot. In 2010, the first team also won their first BUCS title in over twenty-five years and secured a place in the BUCS northern premier conference, becoming the first team in Glasgow’s history to reach this standard. The second team has also performed well winning a BUCS conference in only their third season of existence and finishing in third place in the regional Strathclyde league. The success of the club has meant that the popularity soared so that a third men’s team has been launched to cope with the demand. The women’s club has similarly had much success in the last few years. Again due to increasing popularity
and demand a second team was entered into BUCS Division 3 in 2011. The team placed well for the first year in the competition. In 2011 to 2012 the first women’s team did incredibly well. They placed at the top of BUCS Division One and only lost to Nottingham by one point in overtime in the Premier Division playoffs, narrowly missing out on promotion. The first team also placed second in the SLBA league, in the same season. However, there is also a more recreational side to the club. The women’s training sessions which cater to all levels- training is on Tuesday and Friday evenings. The men’s club offers a drop-in session on a Friday afternoon in the Stevenson building, for players of all abilities. So even if you’re more of a Bugs Bunny than a Michael Jordan you can still get involved. Hopefully the Glasgow University Basketball Club will continue to be a dominant force in British University basketball in the future. We have come a long way from the original affiliation in 1947 and the club, with increasing popularity and membership, becomes stronger every year.
ever, if Hindes had been a good sportsman, couldn’t he have simply tried to catch up and admitted defeat? That said, he played within the rules, using them to his and his country’s advantage. In terms of Games legality, he did nothing wrong. Where do you draw the line? Four different country’s women’s teams deliberately tried to lose certain badminton matches to draw with easier competitors in the quarterfinals. Surely this took tactics to a new low. If those people at the top of their game, paid handsomely for doing something they love, are not prepared to put in the hard work to win, or even play by the rules – they should be out on their ear and thankfully were. The sporting world is all around us, in Glasgow, Scotland, Britain and beyond on a daily basis - from a nursery school sack race to an Old Firm game. Perhaps we should take a look at what our ‘competitive streak’ and ‘patriotism’ is coming to and remember that whilst we all want to win or back a winner, we can’t all the time – otherwise Ladbrokes would be bust. Sport is meant to be fun and more importantly, fair. So next time you’re at an egg and spoon race and you see a boy powering past everyone with his thumb ‘illegally’ over the egg, or hear foul-mouthed abuse on the terraces don’t be too surprised. They probably watched the Olympics or the Ryder Cup.
GLASGOWGUARDIAN.CO.UK SEPTEMBER 4TH 2012 24
Bet your bottom pound be discussed in Holyrood later this year. He reaffirmed Harriet Harman’s confession that the legislation had been too liberal in changing the role that betting shops perform in a community: ‘Councils have the power to stop sex shops, or fast-food restaurants, but they don’t have any say over the number of betting shops. They consider themselves retailers, but they’re not really selling anything. It the money wasn’t going to the bookmakers it would be going somewhere else in the community. They’re siphoning money away from other, more essential amenities.’ While pointing out Shettleston is a similar size to Scotland’s most wealthy constituency, West Aberdeenshire, yet has 25 more betting shops, he’s also quick to locate betting shops as part of the bigger picture. ‘Online gambling and organisations like the National Lottery also play their role in providing hope for people in desperate lives trying to make ends meet.’ He cites the example of a member of his constituency who had won £10,000 in a bet, was having problems withdrawing the money from his online account, and so gambled it all away again. It’s for people like these that he tabled the motion, and his campaign has already received positive feedback in its attempt to give power
David Robertson The next time you’re in Glasgow city centre, I’d like you to play a game. Count the number of betting shops you can see. Start at Driftwood and walk up Sauchiehall Street, passing Rose, Cambridge, Hope and West Nile Street along the way. Turn right onto Buchanan Street, walking down until you’re on Argyle Street. Turn left, and keep walking onto the Trongate. Stop when you reach the start of London Road. In total I reckon I saw 20 betting shops during my walk along Glasgow’s self-titled ‘Style Mile.’ Some streets have three or four of them clustered together; on others there are two betting shops owned by the same bookmaker less than 100 metres apart. Along the route I also counted a shockingly high 10 Greggs, but their monopoly on high street baking is an article for another day. If you think that the outrageous number of bookmakers dotted across Glasgow’s three premier streets is limited to a city that has always identified with a strong, working class society – one that’s more likely to gamble than any other social standing – then you’d be wrong. The proliferation of betting shops on high street shops is part of a wider, nationwide colonisation. Across Britain betting shops have been springing up in hundreds of buildings and units formerly occupied by banks or building societies, with the eclectic range of figures who have condemned their explosion – Mary Portas, Ken Livingstone, Paolo Nutini – a testament to the malaise felt over their quick and quiet assimilation into our cities and communities. The rise of the number of betting shops can be attributed to Labour’s 2005 Gambling Act. Though introduced to provide control and restriction for problem and underage gamblers, the act also allowed for the first time bookmakers to advertise on television and radio and have four Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (or FOBTs) per shop, a high stakes gambling machine where customers can place hundreds of pounds on the spin of a roulette machine or the dealing of a deck of cards and which
makes the bookmakers about a billion pounds a year. Rather than introducing more social responsibility, the liberalisation of the rules facilitated the bunching together of betting shops in deprived areas and a rise in the number of gambling addicts. The fallout from the relaxing of the rules has been so catastrophic that two MPs who helped introduce the act – Harriet Harman and David Blunkett – have since admitted that they misjudged the effects the alleviation of the law would bring. Outside of the high street, betting shops have a tendency to congregate in areas with high rates of crime, unemployment and immigration. In the entire stretch of Byres Road there is one betting shop: a shabby-looking William Hill near Dumbarton Road, its small, plastic seats and brown interior making the place look incongruous and out-ofplace next to the west end’s fashionable restaurants and bistros. (There’s also a sneakily hidden William Hill shop on Ashton Lane next to the Ubiquitous Chip that I had no idea existed until I
They’re the crack cocaine of the gambling world. I’ve seen students fritter away their whole week’s wages in seconds, but they still come back – they’re used mainly by the 1824 demographic.
started writing this article.) Walk the distance of the similarly sized Victoria Road - an area on Glasgow’s south side that faces well-documented economic and social challenges - and you’ll encounter seven betting shops, including three William Hills and two Ladbrokes less than two hundred metres apart. One of my friends has recently started working for a bookmakers and he took me on a tour of some of the betting shops on Victoria Road. When I asked him whether he regularly encountered trouble from customers, he said, ‘Of course. We’re dealing with people losing money, so that in case we’re no different from banks. But here you’re paying money for a bit of paper that could potentially be worth a lot in the amount of time it takes a horse to run around a track. When your iPod breaks, you simply return to the shop with your receipt and ask for another one. If you’re gambling, you can’t ask for your money back to place another bet.’ When we enter the first betting shop I immediately realise we’ve made a mistake. It’s only midday and racing hasn’t started yet. But this doesn’t matter – there’s always something you’re being encouraged to bet on. On one of the screens there is cartoon dogs racing; on another, a race from South Africa. There’s also a live English premier league match being shown on a widescreen television that has attracted a large number of customers, all of whom are sipping a complimentary cup of tea or coffee on luxuriant sofas. ‘As you can see, bookmakers try to create a home from home for their customers. And once they’ve settled in, bombard them with betting opportunities. To be a profitable gambler you need to work hard and research thoroughly. Few punters have any knowledge of South African racing, but bet on it anyway. And most people ridicule the idea of betting on a cartoon dog running around a cartoon track in front of cartoon people, and then have twenty quid on the favourite.’ As expected, most punters are assembled around the FOBTs. One customer who can’t be more than 20 has bet, and lost, hundreds of pounds in the space of a few minutes. All of this is taking place in front of a wall with racks of GamCare
and Gamblers Anonymous pamphlets, making the whole scene seem more poignant, sad and futile. It’s something my friend agrees with: ‘the FOBTs are the reason you have three or four bookmakers next to each other. If you go in one shop and they’re all being used, you just go next door. They’re the crack cocaine of the gambling world. I’ve seen students fritter away their whole week’s wages in seconds, but they still come back – they’re used mainly by the 18-24 demographic. We offer an escape from people’s mundane lives and the chance of something glorious. In that respect we’re no different from drug dealers. We’re conmen selling a dream.’ There’s an historical precedent for selling dreams during financially troubled times. One of the only industries to prosper during the Great Depression was cinema, as millions of poor, unemployed and struggling people sought release and freedom in fantastical films like The Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind. In our economic slump escape doesn’t come in the form of flying monkeys or epic Civil War romances, but in the shape of bookmakers, casinos, pawnbrokers and money lending shops. The industry is enjoying a newfound acceptance that it has never experienced. Casinos are no longer only the preserve of high stakes gamblers more at home in Monaco than Mount Florida: they’ve became an essential part of a night out. Pawnbrokers are no longer dingy, uninviting shops used by people as a desperate last resort: Ramsdens sponsor the Scottish Challenge Cup, and perma-tanned geezer David Dickinson is the (albeit very orange) face of the Money Shop. And money lenders aren’t shadowy gangsters who’ll break your legs if you fail to pay back your loan with 1000% interest: they’re respectable business sandwiched between our butchers and bakers, their names emblazoned across Hearts, Blackpool and (later next year) Newcastle’s football strips. Recently I spoke with John Mason, MSP for Glasgow Shettleston, about the growing legitimacy of betting shops in his constituency and throughout the city. In August he tabled a motion to parliament about challenging the number of betting shops in poor areas, set to
Most people ridicule the idea of betting on a cartoon dog running around a cartoon track in front of cartoon people, and then have twenty quid on the favourite.
back to the councils in deciding what shops they should have on their streets. As Mason reiterated throughout our conversation, few people are arguing for the abolition of betting shops. Having a bet is a ritualised pastime in Britain, whether it’s buying a weekly Lotto ticket, a weekend flutter on the football or the yearly stab in the darkathon that is the Grand National. What’s causing consternation is the disproportionate and inappropriate number of betting shops on our streets, and the social, personal and financial problems that this causes. Like independent bookshops, encyclopaedias and movie rental stores, the internet should be condemning betting shops to history – Bet 365, the company endorsed by Ray Winstone’s disembodied, floating head, is worth nearly £700 million, and has no physical shops – yet they’re growing at an incendiary rate. So the next time you pass a boarded up shop and moan about the fact that it’s not open, just you wait: it’ll be a betting shop in the time it takes that cartoon dog to run around that cartoon track.