Police object to late licenses after last HIVE
APRIL 5TH 2013
APRIL 5TH 2013
Police object to late licenses after last HIVE
GLASGOWGUARDIAN.CO.UK GLASGOWGUARDIAN GLASGOWGUARDIAN
“FIRE! at the disco... oh, no wait, I mean University.” FIRE! – 5
“Chris Sibbald for one seems to favour a neutered and crude bureaucratic stereotype: a completely timid SRC.”
LETTER TO THE EDITOR - 11
“When I play Belfast, it’s like a homecoming. That’s beautiful. When I play Scotland, it’s like a home-fromhomecoming.”
FOY VANCE - 14
“Surely nothing can be considered a sport if you get better at it by spending more time in the pub?”
Bioshock Infinite CULTURE - VIDEOGAMES
A day at the track photoessay
SPORT - TRACK CYCLING
Silence of the LAMB HIIVE closure Hannah McNeill The Glasgow University Union has decided to suspend all single sex dinners whilst they conduct an independent review into the culture of the union. This independent review was announced after the Glasgow Ancients debate scandal caused the national press to question whether the behaviour of a few students at the debate highlighted an inbuilt culture of misogyny. The most recent Last All Male Board (LAMB) dinner took place in November 2012, whilst another had been scheduled to take place later this academic year. The bi-annual dinner celebrates the last Board of Management before the first female was elected, and is one of many single sex dinners that take place. Others include the John Mac dinner (male only) and the Harwood Ladies dinner (female only).
These dinners were previously considered to be private events by the GUU Board, which could not mandate who was invited to such events once the private function is arranged. Any members of the Board of Management who attended these events did not attend in an official capacity, it was stressed after November’s LAMB dinner. However, in a statement released shortly after the GUU Ancients competition, Gavin Tulloch announced: “the Board has decided to suspend all single sex dinners with immediate effect.” The GUU has also started consulting with various university societies in order to get suggestions into how they can foster an environment that is welcoming to all students. The statement continued: “We have also embarked on consultations with a range of crosscampus societies in conjunction with the Students’ Representative Council. We will take on board, with a view to implementing, any positive sugges-
tions that emerge from those consultations to ensure that any unacceptable behaviour is eliminated. “We will also review how our members and their guests are encouraged to draw unacceptable behaviour to the attention of the Board of Management, and we will make clear to our members, our users and our staff that they also have recourse to the University’s Senate Office in instances of unacceptable conduct. We will work closely with the University of Glasgow to foster an environment of inclusivity and mutual respect, where any actions incompatible with these values will not be tolerated.” Such measures as suspending single sex dinners and retraining the Board of Management are hoped to regain the trust of the University community in the Union after many societies chose to disaffiliate from the GUU after the Ancients scandal.
Reinventing higher education Imants Latkovskis Claire Diamond A leading think-tank has published a report suggesting that a radical overhaul of higher education is required to prevent the death of the university as we know it. The Institute for Public Policy Research, a UK based think-tank, claims that traditional models of higher education are no longer fit for purpose, prompting a former Downing Street adviser to admit that it wouldn’t be surprising if some middle-ranking universities were to close within the next decade. The report suggests that the rapid growth of technology and British universities failing to keep up with their
Asian and American counterparts by adapting in a changing landscape, specifically by not providing enough online courses. The rising cost of tuition at a leading institution above inflation, and student finance for England failing to keep up with the rate of inflation means students are poorer when they are at university and poorer when they leave, due to mounting student debt. Entering a jobs market where graduate level jobs are scarce and a degree is, for most jobs, no less than expected, has led leading think-tanks to call for reform of the university system in the UK before it is too late. Where universities are failing to deliver, online service providers are stepping in to fulfill the gap in the market. Coursera, an online service that al-
lows to access free academic courses, is just one example; the company is in partnership with a number of top US universities and currently boasts 3 million members worldwide. The site had teamed up with 33 institutions to offer free online courses for anyone to take, include the University of Edinburgh. With private companies vying for the business of universities, competition for students is fierce. Along with think-tanks and several other specialist organisations, new actors are reportedly breaking down the universities’ monopoly over awarding degrees and carrying out research. The Thiel Fellowship offers young people $100,000 and guidance to leave universities and pursue various projects, such as scientific research or social movements.
John Mac may be given to RIO Louise Wilson It has been revealed to the Guardian that the John MacIntyre building, predominantly home to the SRC, may be taken back by University management in order to rehouse Recruitment and International Office (RIO). The SRC, currently situated on both floors of the building, will potentially be restricted to the ground floor of the building after it’s main officers moving there earlier this year. However, no plans have been confirmed by the University yet. James Harrison, President of the SRC, expressed concern after these
plans were revealed to him and other prominent SRC members. He said: “Obviously we’re really concerned about this and we’ll be pressurising the uni to not do this, but numerous staff have been making advances on this issue. We think the decision is coming from people within estates and buildings. They were tasked with finding more space for RIO, and have set their sights on the John Mac as it is a central location. Our concern now is that we may have to abandon plans to redevelop downstairs (to improve our student services), for fear of the university taking some of upstairs for RIO as part of the price.” A University spokesperson have as-
sured the SRC that no plans will be made concrete until the SRC is entirely on-board, and that initial discussions had simply broached the possibility. The spokesperson said: “At this stage we are merely exploring possibilities, no more than that. No decision has been taken and meetings have been arranged between our estates staff and Bob Hay of SRC to discuss. This is because we are looking at additional accommodation for RIO staff who will be engaged in promoting international student exchanges. But be assured that we would seek the agreement of the SRC before proceeding with anything.”
Sam Wigglesworth Louise Wilson HIIVE nights at Glasgow University Union have been temporarily placed on hold after the evening events have not proved as successful as the Union Board of Management hoped. Instead, events such as the Post-Election Party and St. Patrick’s Day Extravaganza have replaced Hive branded events. GUU President Gavin Tulloch confirmed measures will be taken to assess the future of the Hive brand.He said: “As this year’s Board of Management has now taken office, we want to give new board members the opportunity to implement their own, fresh ideas into our Thursday club nights. For this reason, we have put the HIIVE brand on hold before we decide how, if at all, the HIIVE brand can be incorporated into our reviewed entertainments schedule.” HIIVE was the club night held on Thursday evenings to replace Thursday Hive that had previously been held in the now reclaimed Extension. The continuation of such events were designed to minimise the loss of profit whilst the GUU refurbishment was underway. It was hoped that HIIVE and other similar events would generate £125,000, whilst the University agreed to cover the ex-
pected £375,000 deficit. The decision to postpone the HIIVE club nights was made prior to the new Board of Management being elected. Former President David Lockhart previously told that Guardian that: “The GUU has no plans to end our current Thursday night events. Re-branding is, as always, a possibility but that is a decision for the newly elected Board of Management to take in due course.” The popularity of the HIIVE night has been questionable since they began at the start of February. The event took place throughout the Union building, which some students have expressed disliked towards. Beth Wakefield, a second year English Literature student, said: “It had no atmosphere, it was too big a space and generally too bright and exposed. I felt more self-conscious and for themed events at the Union, I personally wouldn’t be as comfortable dressing up.” The previous Hive club night and it’s bar sales accounted for three quarters of the £1.3 million turnover between 2009/2010 and so was the major contributor to the finances and profit of the Union. It is clear that the success of this new club night is paramount, though the University have agreed to cover any deficit of the GUU whilst the Union is being refurbished.
APRIL 5TH 2013
Unions denied late licencing Hannah McNeill The City of Glasgow Licensing Board is currently denying Glasgow University’s two student unions occasional extensions to their licences beyond 4am. This restriction will affect some of the biggest events for the two unions. This situation has developed after the police became involved at the Glasgow University Union’s event Final Hive on the night of 31st January. Concerns have since been expressed over the appropriateness of allowing the unions to have licences that extended so far beyond the usual licensed hours. The Queen Margaret Union was denied an extended licence until 6am for their Spring Break event on Friday 22nd March; instead a 3am license was granted. The decision was appealed and the Union was able to get it extended until 4am. However, this meant that the event, advertised as 10-hours, had to end two hours earlier than planned. As occasional licences for extended hours tend to be granted only shortly before the event starts, the Union were unaware the event would have to shut earlier than planned when selling tickets.
Colum Fraser, President of the QMU, has expressed his disappointment with the situation currently facing the Union. He said: “It is regrettable that our license was shortened last Friday, particularly that we had to argue for a 4am instead of 3am.” He continued: “[We] know for a fact that the full 6am extension was the result of a police objection. We have requested a copy - or at least summary - of the police objection. “Interaction with police thus far on the issue has clarified that - in future - a harsh view may be taken to late licenses in the vein of 6am and 8am events that have become regular fixed occurrences on the student calendar. This is obviously quite concerning to us, and an issue that we will be looking to both understand and act on in the months ahead.” On the night of Final Hive, the GUU chose to shut the premises four hours early, at 2am, after consulting with Strathclyde police. The police noted at the time that there would been significant safety risks involved if the event was allowed to continue. Four police vehicles and at least eight officers were needed to control the situation at the Union and ensure the safety of
students and staff. The police arrested one student for the alleged assault of a doorman. Former GUU president, David Lockhart, at the time expressed his desire for the police to give a positive report back to the licensing board about the handling of the situation by the board of management. Newly elected President of the GUU Gavin Tulloch said: “We have had applications granted with amendments in the past, including our Final Hive night in January, and in these instances we have worked to ensure that the night runs as smoothly as possible within the hours granted to us. GUU works closely with the Licensing Standards Officers to ensure that we operate a safe and responsible licensed premises, and we always seek advice from the community policing team before we submit an application for extended licences. Glasgow City Council Licensing Board has raised no concerns with us over our licensed premises or any specific events.” The City of Glasgow Licensing Board balances the commercial interests of the premises licensed with what is described as their “licensing objectives.” These include “preventing crime and disorder”, “securing public safety” and “preventing public nuisance” among others. The licensing board routinely consults various groups when they are deciding whether to grant a request for an occasional extended licence. In this case, the police have raised their concerns over the appropriateness of giving the GUU and the QMU occasional licences that extend beyond the normal licensed hours for the unions, after the
disturbance at Final Hive in the GUU. It was noted that the Licensing Board would usually consider licensed premises separate from each other, with each request considered by itself. Both student unions have enjoyed a good relationship with the Licensing Board in the past and have been granted occasional licences for extended hours several times. Some of the most prominent events in the calendars of the two student unions partly depend on being able to get an extended licence. For example, the GUU’s event Daft Friday and the various themed 10and 12-hour Cheesy Pops at the QMU.
NEWS IN BRiEF
A spokesperson for Glasgow Licensing Board noted that allowing the student unions to remain open until 4am was a two-hour extension on the usual licensed hours. He said: “The standard policy for late night premises outwith the city centre to be able to open to 2am. Queen Margaret Union was granted an extension on an occasional basis until 4am for an event that ran into the morning of March 23. The board had been concerned about the appropriateness of awarding an occasional extension to 6am when other premises do not receive such a licence.”
IN OTHER NEWS...
Early reviews of Anton Muscatelli’s one man dance show, scheduled to appear at this years Fringe, have been disappointing. The sequel to 2011s critically acclaimed ‘Lonely at the Top’, tentatively titled ‘Still Lonely, More Loaded’, has faced heavy criticism from Scotland’s most respected Dance Critics. “I just have no idea what is going on for most of it”, said The Heralds Jack Jump,”I mean it just appears to be three hours of awkward heavy breathing and macroeconomics.”
Thousands of students have been left without purpose after the annual March election fever has passed. Col...ehm...the anonymous editor of Glasgow Uni Election Watch told the Guardian:” At first I was traumatised, I just couldn’t think of any way to deal with all my pent up rage at the Universe for not taking me seriously. I’m fine now, I’ve discovered cock fighting.” Johhny Keenbeans, first year ExCos student told the Guardian: “I’ve eaten meals in halls completely undisturbed and yesterday I arrived at the top of Library hill 45 minutes early with only one flyer and no sweets. I just burst into tears.” •
• Student newspaper the Glasgow Guardian was unable to print the names of [REDACTED] who were accused of [REDACTED] several [REDACTED] at the [REDACTED] on the evening of the [REDACTED]. Legal actions were threatened by [REDACTED] if the paper chose to reveal any information confirming that [REDACTED] In summary, [REDACTED][REDACTED][REDACTED][REDACTED][REDACTED][REDACTED][REDACTED]. One student commented, “well you can’t just be famous for loving Lasagne, that’s Garfield’s job.”
Glasgow University have launched a 5-year Gaelic Language Plan which aims to incorporate the Gaelic language into the student experience at the University. The plan, which covers the period until 2017, will include wider availability of Gaelic in University communications and publications, a potential re-branding of the University using its Gaelic logo and encouraging staff to learn Gaelic. The plan was prepared under the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005, in partnership with Bòrd na Gàidhlig.
A fire that has caused considerable damage inside the Gilbert Scott building is suspected to have been caused deliberately. An investigation is now being conducted to determine its exact cause. Several calls were made to the fire brigade at 5:55pm on Monday, 1st April after the fire broke out in the second floor stairwell of the Gilbert Scott building, within the Adam Smith Business School. Four fire engines arrived at the scene. The fire had been successfully distinguished by 6:15pm. No one was harmed in the incident, but the building has taken some damage. The fire occurred outside the entrance of the new open plan Adam Smith Business School area, which was recently renamed, and marked by a
launch, in early February. The affected area has led to no electricity in the adjacent area and the lift being out of order. A spokesperson for the University of Glasgow said: “The alarm was raised promptly, the fire service was called and the fire was extinguished quickly and did not spread, however it caused considerable damage to the stairwell. Repairs to the area will be carried out as quickly as possible.” The fire is believed to be the work of willful fire raising. A spokesperson for the Scottish Fire & Rescue Service said: “A joint investigation between the Scottish Fire & Rescue Service and Police Scotland will be conducted into the cause of the fire. While we cannot comment on the specific circumstances surrounding this incident, we would be remis not to point out the vital need for every property to be protected by working smoke alarms.”
Glasgow has been shortlisted for the European Green Capital award 2015, making it potentially the first British city to gain the title. The three other cities shortlisted are Brussels, Bristol and Ljubljana (Slovenia). The award is given each year to the city with the highest environmental standards, and it judged on sustainable employment and water consumption, amongst others. The winner is due to be announced May 25th.
Fire in Business School may have been deliberate
University Marine Biological Station Millport will close despite various campaigns to stop this, it has been announced. Financial support was removed by the Higher Education Funding Council in England, leading the University of London to have to shut down the Station. Talks between the Board of Trustees, the government and funding agencies were taken in an attempt to keep the station open; no solution has been found, though a Trustee did state the board will continue to search for ways to prevent the Stations closure.
Money laundering scam targeted at students Hannah McNeill Fraudsters are offering students jobs that appear to give excessive amounts of money for very little work in “money mule scams.” These scams in fact involve students and people with low incomes in illegal money laundering. The charity Crimestoppers has started a nationwide campaign to make students and staff at universities across the United Kingdom aware of the signs of these scams and the legal problems that will face anyone involved in them. Money launderers target students by placing adverts in local newspapers and by dropping leaflets through doors in areas with high volumes of students. Online methods are also used to gain interest, placing adverts on genuine recruitment websites as well as creating websites themselves. Once students register interest, they are asked to transfer large amounts of money through personal bank accounts to offshore bank accounts, leaving themselves a cut for commission. This money may have come from various illegal activities including trafficking and drug dealing, or even fraud on another bank account. Banks have high levels of security against fraud and students can have their bank accounts fro-
zen, as well being charged for criminal behaviour, for taking part in this activity. A survey of 1014 students taken by ICM research on behalf of Financial Fraud action found that 15% of adults in the United Kingdom had been approached with an offer of working as a money mule. Of the students surveyed, 19% of those offered a job as a money mule took it. Crimestoppers has launched a twofold campaign against this scam. Firstly, they want to make students aware of the criminality of these scams and how to avoid being involved in them. Secondly, they want to give students an anonymous outlet to pass on names and information without getting themselves in trouble. Glasgow is one of the cities they are focusing on, and they have already had a day talking to students and staff at Glasgow Caledonian University. A spokesman for the University of Glasgow said: “Students should always be wary of any money-making schemes that seem too good to be true or involve no actual work, such as the ‘money mule’ scam highlighted by Crimestoppers. Any student aware of suspicious activity on campus of this nature should contact Security or the police.”
Korean and Scottish Unis: best buds? Sam Wigglesworth On the 6th of March, Scottish Universities, which represents Scotland’s 19 higher educational institutions and the Korean Council for University education, which represents 201 of South Korea’s University institutions, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to foster stronger ties between the two countries at Edinburgh University. This Memorandum of Understanding aims to promote development partnerships and collaborative research between individual universities in Scotland and Korea. In a statement released by Universities Scotland, it was also cited that the collaboration between the two also aims to explore “avenues of cooperation in student mobility, dual degrees and joint research” Professor Jonathan Cooper is International Dean in East Asia for Glasgow University commented that the MoU would help strengthen the University of Glasgow’s” already significant links with South Korea” and “increased interactions” with Korea will allow activities such as studies in Synthetic Biology
to grow. The University of Glasgow has benefited in the past from connections with Korea. Professor Frank Pollick supports the Memorandum of Understanding as a way to “open up new opportunities” between Korea and Scotland and spoke of the “wonderful experience” he had while working on 3 year joint project between Psychology at Glasgow University and the departments of Computing Science and Psychology at Yonsei University in Seoul. A spokesman for the University of Glasgow said: “We hope the MoU signed between Universities Scotland and the Korean Council for University Education will enhance our academic links with institutions in South Korea and create more student exchange opportunities. “Glasgow has been a popular choice for students from South Korea since 1880 and we have an active Korean student society. We have close links with many of the top universities in the country, including Korea University, our Universitas 21 partner, with which we already have an established exchange programme.”
Students unsatisfied with university counselling waits Louise Wilson Recent research into the mental wellbeing of students has cast doubt on the availability of proper help for those suffering from mental problems at higher education institutions. The research, carried out by Dr Anthony Seldon of Wellington College, sent questionnaires to the ex-head teachers of students now enrolled at university and revealed that many are unhappy or unconfident in the pastoral care provided for students. 80% of those surveyed felt such pastoral care was not good enough. The University of Glasgow, though it does provide counselling services, has been been criticised by students for their own failures in looking after the well-being of students. One student told the Guardian that, when she tried to get a counselling session through the University, she was told there was an 18 week waiting list for an appointment with a counsellor. The Counselling & Psychological Service, based on Southpark Avenue, offer meetings with individuals to talk through any issues students may be facing - particularly first year students who may be struggling to adjust to university life. An assessment is offered within 2 weeks of contacting the service, but subsequent session appointments take much longer to book. Another student, who wished to re-
main anonymous, told the Guardian about her own experience with the Counselling & Psychological Service. She first contacted the Service in her first year, after feeling low and feeling unable to adjust to life away from home, in the second semester. After she was initially assessed, she was placed on the waiting list but was not contacted with an appointment time until slightly before the Spring exam period. She decided to cancel the appointment as she would be returning home for the summer, recalling: “It took the entire term for me to get an appointment. Because my mood swings are not constant, I did not feel like I should go in the end of term - also because I did not really see the point anymore obviously. In my second year I was quite bad again, so I decided to go and because I already went through an assessment, I think I only waited for like 3 weeks or so. I asked them if they could give me an appointment quicker as it was so stupid the last time and they did.” She has since stopped going to sessions after feeling much more comfortable living in Glasgow, but her experience highlights a problem with the Service at the university. She continued: “The point of this waiting issue is that people like me really struggle and it is not an easy thing to go to see a therapist, particularly if you are usually a proud personality. Because let’s face it, there are so many stigmas attached
to it, and if you see people around you who are absolutely fine and you end up home sick, depressed or you develop anxiety issues, you feel something is wrong with you. For me it was horribly hard to make the decision to go in first year because it is just not something that I like and that fitted into the selfimage I have of myself. Then you go and you feel really uncomfortable and they make you wait for ages, which is just annoying. But when people decide to go to something like this, it is urgent - or at least it feels urgent to them. Because you do not just go to see a therapist for leisure.” Dr Seldon criticised the lack of funding towards such service in his report. He told the Independent that money was one of the larger issues facing pastoral care at universities: “They might also argue that there is not the money to provide better support. They are putting what they have into academia and there is arguably not enough for that.” The SRC does however provide help for student suffering from various mental problems, including Nightline, the night-time telephone service for those who need to talk, and Health & WellBeing Week, aimed to increase the awareness of issues and help available across campus. A report released in December 2012 by ChooseLife, the Scottish programme aimed at preventing suicide, found that 4.2% of all suicides were committed by students in 2009-10.
Glasgow sees incearse in postgrad applications Sam Wigglesworth Glasgow University has reported a 3.1% increase in postgraduate applications, despite Scotland experiencing a 2.6% decrease of applicants on the whole according to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA). The HESA figures also reported postgraduate applications have fallen by 3.4% for the UK as a whole, meaning many potential postgraduates prefer to study in Scotland. The University of Glasgow already has a good reputation with helping their students deal with the cost of postgraduate study. When student Charlotte Rosser was asked why she had chosen to apply to the University of Glasgow, she stated that she had been interested in studying in Scotland in particular and it was the “financial support provided” at the University which had been the major contributing factor in her decision. In addition, the quality of education received here at postgraduate level has been cited as another influencing
factor. Another postgraduate student located in the School of Humanities remarked that she chose the University of Glasgow because: “It is one of the best schools for Art History. While St Andrew’s and the University of Edinburgh also have incredibly strong courses, there were particular teachers based here who I wanted to learn from.” The release of these figures coincide with the Scottish Funding Council provision of funds to Scottish Universities and granting the University of Glasgow the ability to support 122 extra postgraduate places, the most of any of the Scottish Universities. These places are aimed at supporting industry by encouraging links between the universities and business. It also aims to ease the financial burden associated with postgraduate study. James Harrison, President of the SRC, commenting on the recent figures, said: “It’s great to see more people applying for postgraduate courses at Glasgow”. Harrison continued to praise the “improvement of facilities available for students to socialise and study”, in
particular the opening of the Gilchrist Postgraduate Club last October, which has further enhanced the experience of postgraduates at the University of Glasgow, “providing postgrads with a dedicated social space for the first time in many years.” A spokesperson for the University of Glasgow said: “The University of Glasgow has always had a commitment to providing a world-class teaching and research environment. We have a vibrant community of postgraduate students working across a huge range of disciplines. We welcome these figures as showing that Glasgow remains a popular destination for people around the world who wish to take up or continue their postgraduate studies.” The HESA report also noted a 2% drop in undergraduates enrolling in Scottish universities, and a 12.5% drop in part-time undergraduates. 3.5% less of these students are coming from within the UK, whilst other EU students have seen a 7.1% rise and non-EU students a 8.1% rise.
APRIL 5TH 2013
VIEWS 6-11 8-9
NUS: That’s what she said! Rosannah Jones Louise Wilson An NUS study published almost in conjunction with events that unfolded in the GUU debates chamber has shed light on the widespread nature of campus sexism and ‘laddism’ at universities across the UK. The study found 50% of study participants identified “prevailing sexism, ‘laddism’ and a culture of harassment” at their universities. The University of Glasgow suffered considerable criticism in the national media and was labelled as having a “misogynistic culture” as a result of the incidents that took place. Glasgow remains unaffiliated with the NUS but this report suggests sexism is part of a wider issue at many UK universities. The report, titled ‘That’s What She Said: Women students experiences of lad culture in higher education’, shows a strong correlation with charges made against the type of behaviour that has been ascribed to the GUU. These findings include the ways in which the majority of students surveyed defined ‘lad culture.’ The study states that: “‘Lad culture’ was defined by our participants as a group or ‘pack’ mentality residing in activities such as sport and heavy alcohol consumption, and ‘banter’ which was often sexist, misogynist and homophobic.” Such activity that has been excused under the term ‘banter’ is common within the university setting. On the ‘Sexism at GUU’ page on Facebook, one anonymous poster recalled: “On a night out at in first year, my flatmates tried to get us to play a ‘game’ called Fat Girl Rodeo. The objective was to grab a girl on the dancefloor, tell her you were going to rape her, and see how long you could hold on.” This type of behaviour is often seen as a joke, despite its sexist overtones.
Another research conclusion was the increasing potential of sexism in such environments as extra-curricular and sports to spill over into sexual harassment and humiliation. Nightclubs and their promoters were also blamed for such behaviour, as groping was considered to be part of a ‘normal’ night out and events such as ‘Booty Call’ held last year at Garage encourage such behaviour. Heather Whiteside, GUU Debates Convenor, stated the findings of the NUS report matched her own experiences. She said: “I had a girl tell me that she expects to be groped when she goes to clubs, and that for me was the most upsetting thing. All the horrible things that have come out on campus, and on the internet, that was the most upsetting thing because I realised that I do too. I was ashamed of everybody in society and myself for not feeling comfortable speaking out about it, and not feeling like it’s something that needs to be talked about.” These attitudes and behaviour are by no means confined to university campuses but there is a connection in the traditional activities the GUU facilitates and those that have been blamed in the report for encouraging ‘lad culture.’ The sexism debate scandal at the GUU has been presented in the press and particularly through social media as the culmination of a history of misogyny within the Union and the common perception being that such an event was predictable, if not expected to occur. The reaction of University of Glasgow students following recent events has shown that there is a strong degree of campus consensus that sexism has become normalised in the GUU or at the very least something to be expected. The response to the student-led ‘Rally Against Misogyny’ held on the same day as the release of the NUS report also conveyed anger that
such behaviour has become accepted and widespread in circles of the GUU. First-year student, Roanna Simpson, was involved in the rally and was also behind the creation of the ‘Reform the GUU’ Facebook group which has now attracted over 900 people. Roanna said that despite not having been the victim of sexism at the GUU she had numerous reasons for her involvement and stated: “I wanted to be in a position where I could help those women who have experienced sexism. I think quite a lot of people are very apathetic about it, but I’ve always been of the strong opinion that we shouldn’t just accept things. The reaction from the student body has shown that people do care and I do genuinely believe that if we can keep the momentum up with the campaign then we can change things.” The ‘Reform the GUU’ group has gained a considerable network of firstyear student support and this further validates the claims that even for students in their first year of university, often unaware of who control student unions and societies, sexism and misogyny is an all too familiar culture at university. The NUS report proposes a summit to discuss the problem of ‘lad culture’. This idea has been supported by a number of bodies used to defending women’s interests, such as The Everyday Sexism Project, The Equality Challenge Unit and the British Universities and Colleges Sports. As a result of the events at the GUU Ancients competition, the University Senate are now investigating the events and such culture within the University. The in-house disciplinary hearing at the GUU, which was due to take place on March 20th, was postponed in order to allow University management to complete it’s own investigations.
Gender imbalance on university court is worse than average Claire Diomnd Glasgow University Court is made up of just 24% women, slightly worse than the 25% average most university governing bodies have. Despite the fact that females represent more than half of academics, there are just six women sitting on Glasgow University’s governing body. The University Court, consisting of 25 members, is responsible for all University decisions which are not academic. Academic matters are left to the University Senate, where only 23% of members are female. Figures released by NUS Scotland show that on average, most university courts are made up of 25% women. This figure was criticised for the low representation of women, with Glasgow’s being below average. Earlier in the Spring, the group that represents University Court chairs was criticised for its poor representation by the Scottish Parliament’s Education Committee. Labour MSP Neil Findlay suggested they appeared to be “like an old boys’ network”, a phrase which in the weeks that followed struck nerves close to home at Glasgow University after the debating scandal at the GUU Ancients competition. The Scottish Parliament’s Education Committee has since listened to evidence from Education Secretary Mike Russell. The Committee will later suggest measures to improve representation on university governing bodies. The Post-16 Education (Scotland) Bill will advocate a quota of 40% for female members of governing bodies. Frances Bell, SRC Gender Equality Officer, agreed with the idea of a mandatory quota for governing bodies. She said: “It’s very concerning that female representation on Court is below average, especially when the average of 25% is already far too low. Diversity is essential to effective university management – a wide range of experiences and opinions are necessary in order to care for students and staff, and to decide what’s
best for the university as a whole – and Court (and all of senior management) should aim to be as diverse as possible. If the university wants to show that it’s serious about gender equality, it should take the initiative and adopt the 40% quota for university governance that’s currently being considered by the Scottish Government.” Glasgow University is currently implementing the Athena Swan Action Plan to improve gender representation on Court and Senate. This plan intends to encourage women to apply for senior positions or run for the elected positions on Court, as well as monitoring gender representation on University committees. It is as yet unclear whether academic year 2013-14 will see an improvement in gender representation on Court, but should staff remain the same the election of Jess McGrellis as SRC President will in fact increase the percentage to 28%. A spokesperson for the University said: “The University is committed to gender equality and aims to eradicate gender discrimination in its work, learning, teaching and research environment. We have made significant progress in the last few years but recognize we have a long way to go to ensure gender equality is embedded within the culture of the University.” Despite such efforts, the percentage of female members on such governing bodies is still low - a trend repeated across the country. Currently, all Scottish university chairs are male - a fact which attracted criticism from some. Stacey Devine, NUS Scotland women’s officer, said: “This gender inequality is right out of Victorian times and certainly shouldn’t be tolerated in the 21st century by world-class Scottish universities serving diverse communities. Universities should be at the forefront of creating a fairer, more equal society that is representative of Scottish society, yet almost 75% of board members are men, despite women making up a majority of our campus populations.”
Please mind the pay gap Franziska Seitz A recent study published by the Higher Education Careers Services Unit indicates that despite gender equality efforts in the working environment, female graduates are still earning less than their male counterparts. The unit’s study, named “Futuretrack”, is the third longitudinal analysis examining graduate job ambitions at university and actual career developments after graduation. According to the results, average graduate salaries of women range between £15,000 to £17,999 per annum, while men are likely to earn up to £6,000 more each year. Replicating previous results of reports on graduates of the years 1995 and 1999, these numbers do not come at a great surprise. Similarly, unequal salaries amongst women and men have been lying in the public focus for years. In 2012, the Fawcett Society has
identified a 14.9% salary difference between both genders of older generations. While explanations for salary differences amongst genders in older generations were usually related to factors such as women’s motherhood, the study conducted by HECSU indicates that differences must start earlier. The results suggest a closer look at subject differences that already start at High School, with men being more prone to science professions involving mathematics of engineering, while women are more likely to study artsrelated subjects or sciences such as biology. According to prospects.ac.uk, salaries of engineering graduates can consequently start at £18,000 per annum, while design students can earn as little as £14,000 in their first job. Although some differences could be explained by these subject choices, men were still found to earn more across all disciplines, including those dominated by women. The most ap-
parent pay gap was particularly present in law practices, in which, although equally represented to men, women earn as much as £8,000 less than their male colleagues. Notably, only the notfor-profit sector was identified as providing equal starting salary opportunities to both genders. Razvan Balaban, VP Learning & Development, said: ““The SRC were concerned at the findings of the “futuretrack” survey and the fact that they seem to point to continuing pay inequality between male and female graduates. We believe that the UK Government should take stronger action on this issue in particular against employers found to be discriminating on the basis of gender.” The published data calls for a wider investigation in gender-related salary differences, which appear to have its roots in other factors than for instance female maternity plans.
Editors Dasha Miller & Oliver Milne
This past academic year I have edited six issues of this newspaper, but it feels like I’ve edited six years worth. This sounds like it dragged on, but it didn’t it went by faster than I could have imagined, yet I wouldn’t change that if I could. It has been a hectic year, organising how I spent my time was half the battle, but I feel like I’ve come out of the experience a significantly better person. Editing the Glasgow Guardian has given me more skills in a short space of time that anything I have ever taken part in, and I loved every minute of it even the bad ones. I fell in love with the energy that comes with journalism last year, this year has taught me that you don’t have to write to enjoy producing a newspaper that you can feel proud of. The backstage editorial decisions are just as exhilarating as seeing your work in print. Finally, I didn’t go into the editorship alone and I’m glad I didn’t, I wouldn’t have made it. Work can split people up and therefore I’m surprised I don’t despise Oliver now that we are have come to the end of our editorship. I’ve become a small part of the history of this paper and I couldn’t ask for anything more. Oliver
A year of editing this newspaper has been a privilege. It gives you a unique perspective of the University and the community of academics and students who dedicate large sections of their lives to it. You understands its problems, you examine and publicise its biggest failings and attempt, where appropriate, to speak truth to power. The issue will be the last edited by Dasha and I and the experience of editing this paper have been my most rewarding in my four years at this University. I began in my first year as a music writer, clubbing together reviews of obscure folk music which were as unread as they were unreadable. The experience of seeing my name in print however was a rush unlike anything I have ever felt before. It is one which has never gone away, each article creates a rush reminiscent of the first. I have been involved in writing stories about occupations and protests, finance, prostitution, crime, artists and politicians. I’ve met talented writers and photographers and had experiences which journalists twice my age would kill for. All of this came from a single decision to get involved. It’s why we have written this editorial, to encourage you reading this to do the same. In the next few weeks applications for nexts years Editorial team will open. We’ll be recruiting section editors for News, Sports, Music, Film and Lifestyle amongst others. Even if you don’t feel like you have the experience to apply for an Editorial position we’d still like you to get involved and are always looking for writers and photographers. No experience is necessary, only a willingness to learn. If you had any questions we’d love you to get in touch editors@ glasgowguardian.co.uk It’s been a pleasure, Oliver Milne & Dasha Miller Editors 2012/13
News & Views Claire Diamond, Louise Wilson, James Harrison, Hannah McNeill, Franziska Seitz, Rosannh Jones, Imantis Latkoviskis, Katherine Tomas, Samantha Wigglesworth, Michael Comerford. Culture Craig Angus, Beatrice Cook, Kate Hole, Joseph Trotter, Tom Eaton. Sport David Robertson, Beatrice Cook, Dasha Miller, Adam Williamson, Chris Day, Jamie Melrose. Photography & Illustration Dasha Miller, Sean Anderson, Franziska Seitz, Flickr Creative Commons.
Proofing, Layout & Copyediting Dasha Miller, Oliver Milne, Louise Wilson. 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 I hope you all had a great Easter break... er, not that it’s much of a break, given that exams are just around the corner. It may be an age thing but I just can’t believe that it’s already the final term... I’ve still got unused ‘2 for 1’ vouchers from Fresher’s Week, hey, a girl can try! Isn’t it great that the clocks have changed and that there’s more lovely sunshine to enjoy? Talking of lovely sunshine though, it also means the start of hay fever symptoms, which can start in the early spring, depending on which pollen(s) you’re allergic to and caused by breathing in pollen particles or these getting into the eyes. The pollens most likely to cause problems in early spring are those from trees such as ash, oak, silver birch and the London plane, as well as from grasses pollinating from May onwards. You can ask at the pharmacy if you would like advice on how to manage hay fever, particularly as the condition starts in the early teens and tends to occur in - and here’s the science bit - atopic allergy-prone families, where there is a history of things such as asthma or eczema... thanks mum and dad! Hay fever usually begins in childhood or during the teenage years but you can get it at any age. Hay fever is also more common in boys than in girls but, in adults, men and women are equally affected - it’s good to see some health equality. Although hay fever doesn’t pose a serious threat to health, it can have a negative impact on your quality of life and people with hay fever often find that it can disrupt their focus at university or work... or both, if you’re doing a post-doc! There are a number of things you can do to reduce your exposure to pollen, including avoiding areas such as parks - not the easiest in the West End - where there are lots of grasses, keeping your flat’s or car’s windows closed whenever possible and by wearing wraparound sunglasses to prevent pollen getting
into your eyes. You can also adopt some lifestyle measures to help reduce any hay fever sysmptoms, including getting some regular (indoor) exercise as this can make sysmptoms milder, eating a diet that is rich in certain types of fruit and veg, such as nuts and oily fish and reducing your stress levels and getting a good night’s sleep. There’s currently no cure for hay fever but most folk are able to relieve symptoms with treatment. There are various remedies available, as the last thing you want when you’re head down in the books is hay fever, itchy, watery eyes, a runny nose or a sore throat. Remedies range from antihistamines, which can help prevent an allergic reaction from happening and steroids (corticosteroids), which can help reduce levels of inflammation and swelling. Another common complication of hay fever is sinusitis, an inflammation of the sinuses. Many cases of hay fever can be controlled using over-the-counter medicine available from the campus pharmacy. But if you’re symptoms are severe, it’s worth speaking to your GP, as you may well require prescription medication, which again the campus pharmacy can help you with, no matter which GP you’re registered with. Irritable eyes reminds me, extra hours staring into your computer or lecture notes puts a great strain on your baby blues (that’s eyes, to you and me); undiagnosed poor eyesight can cause painful headaches and other problems and it’s best to get a quick check if you’ve got exams coming up. You can now arrange to see an optician at the pharmacy, as it has teamed up with Vu Eyecare, located on Park Road. By the way, the campus pharmacy tweeps came up trumps last month, and won two national awards, including the coveted Health Promotion award! So, it’s official - the uni has a national, multi-award winning pharmacy and how good is that to know. Right, now where did I leave my wraparound sunglasses? Go well, my lovelies.
From the SRC...
James Harrison So the end of term is fast approaching and exams are about to take place, how did this all happen so fast? This will be the last Guardian for the academic year, and the last time I get to write this column. The elections have been and gone, and Jess McGrellis has been elected as next year’s SRC President. If you saw the elections taking place and felt like getting involved yourself, the next elections for the remaining vacant places, plus the 4 General Representative positions, will take place in October! Even though we still have three months left until the term of the current SRC officers’ ends, a huge amount has
been achieved in the past 9 months. We were successful in stopping the plans by the Medical School to severely cut the opening hours for the Wolfson Medical Library; we successfully secured cheaper double-sided printing for students in the library; we have also had great progress in developing university policies on exam feedback, and lecture recording by students. In addition to that, we successfully launched the new Gilchrist Postgraduate Club; the SRC Reception finally moved to downstairs in the John McIntyre Building after 5 years of negotiations. We also completed our review of the sabbatical structure which resulted in new positions being up for election this March. That’s just a tiny taste of what we’ve been up to over the past 9 months, you can find out more on our website www.glasgowstudent.net. Despite the end of teaching, the SRC will remain open throughout the rest of the academic year, so services like our minibuses to halls, cheap printing and binding, volunteering services and The Advice Centre will still be available for you to use! Good luck to everyone with your exams, and thanks for letting me steer the SRC ship for the past year, it’s been a blast!
APRIL 5TH 2013
To the Editors: In your last issue Chris Sibbald (Page three exposing the SRC, 7th February 2013) raised some important issues about how the SRC chooses to represent our student community and what campaigns it supports. However, the false prospectus he seems to be pushing can’t go unchallenged. As an aside I wanted to say how glad I was that Chris is “happy to recognise the that their [the elected council members] decisions are made by virtue of them having been elected”, his acceptance of the principles of representative democracy is a humbling example to us all. So what is the problem with the SRC choosing to support the ‘No More Page 3’ campaign? Is the process of deciding policy broken? In this case the process went like this: After an elected Council member brought a motion to a Council meeting, which was debated and supported by a majority of other elected representatives (that represent a series of broad constituencies across our campus) the campaigns petition signed. Calls from critics included: Why did they not consult more widely? Couldn’t they ask everyone for their opinion?. Let’s assume no organisation is perfect, and yes, the SRC could be far more innovative in the way they communicate and interact with the community. However to suggest that instead of being representatives that are elected by us to put in the hours, do the research and form opinions on issues on our behalf, Council members should be tightlipped delegates unable to do or say anything without consulting all 27,000 of us is frankly ludicrous. The mechanics are simple; feel strongly about something? Contact your representatives, start a debate, and who knows the SRC’s policy might be changed or overturned. Having questioned the process the disgruntled change tack, and argue that in fact the process is irrelevant because the SRC should not take political positions like supporting ‘No More Page 3’ at all. They would rather Council members restrict themselves to the specific promises made in their manifestos. The SRC like all representative bodies has to react to events, we can’t expect Council members to predict all of the issues that might occur while they are in office. What they do have to guide them however, is the SRC Constitution the document that binds the organisation together. What does it expect from the Council? It mandates Council to represent and promote the general interests of students; to advance civic responsibility; and to promote equality and challenge discrimination. The decision to debate the ‘No More Page 3’ campaign is a pretty good example of these principles in practice.
Having offered us strait-jacketed delegates the suggestion is also to restrict their field of vision. Surely there’s no reason for our Council members to look beyond the campus boundary? Tell that to students spared the graduate endowment in Scotland or those of us that benefit from the tenancy deposit scheme, to name just two campaigns that came to fruition after both national, and local campaigning organisations, like the SRC, came to together to make things better for their communities. Ultimately we’re being offered a simplistic choice between an SRC that spends its time engaging in national political debate on the whim of it’s elected officials, run by a grand-standing president only interested in enforcing their own view, while disregarding local concerns like safety on campus; on the one hand. Set against an SRC that dogmatically pursues the letter of their election manifestos, paralysed by a constant need for approval by the community for even the slightest change in policy. An SRC filled with Council members heads bowed unable to look beyond their own feet, operating within the strict confines of their portfolios. Chris Sibbald for one seems to favour the latter case of a neutered and crude bureaucratic stereotype: a completely timid SRC. One that mechanically fulfils its role, training course reps, driving minibuses, and attending management committees. One that keeps its head down without fostering the real community spirit called for by the constitution or by the diverse community we have here. Let’s reject this false choice, it is nonsense to suggest the SRC can not engage in public debate and put serious effort and resources into specific local issues. If anything the SRC already suffers from too much of this quiet mechanical plodding. You don’t get many students enthusiastic about representation by giving them copies of learning & teaching committee minutes or senate papers, you do it by talking to them about issues they are passionate about, connecting the dots, and putting forward campaigns that improve the lives of their fellow students. The SRC should be raising issues that their members feel strongly about, they should encourage debate and support national campaigns, whether that be about tuition fees, street lighting or Page 3. We are a university community that shares a passion for knowledge and debate that enriches our lives locally and the state of society as a whole. If we can’t engage with ideas, and develop ourselves as active citizens, why are we even here? Michael Comerford
Organ donation should be opt out
Katherine Thomas Well, perhaps that headline was misleading. What I really meant was penny for your brain. Or maybe you could just give it to me for free? Maybe I’ll just take it when you don’t need it anymore? But then what’s stopping me from taking it before then? What if someone, sorry, better than you needs it? With the SNP considering an opt-out system of organ donation and the Welsh assembly currently reviewing a bill on it, your organs may be up for grabs. The facts are that in the UK there are 7,450 people on the waiting list for organ transplants with around 3000 helped last year due to about 2000 donors. But recent campaigns to increase donations have faltered. Since the Organ Donation Taskforce was set to increase donations 5 years ago, statistics remain steady as four out of ten families reject requests for their relative’s organs. If 96% of people agree that organ donation is morally commendable action, but with only 30% actually signed up, maybe an opt-out system would save that other 66% the admin. However in a system where your consent is presumed it seems as if your body is just ‘on loan’ and when you’re done using it
the state can reclaim it for its own purposes. What’s to stop them from taking your lovely healthy heart valves a little earlier than expected! The idea isn’t intended as further state intervention but to prevent 3 people a day dying waiting for an organ: Particularly as the vast majority of people would take an organ if they needed it. But this change would be a colossal change in NHS philosophy. The NHS was effectively founded on the principle that there would be freeriders. There will be some who overcontribute and barely use the service, which will allow people who cannot contribute to still enjoy state-of-the-art healthcare. Organ donation provokes a lot of strong emotions. It calls to mind the worst, or last, day of an individual’s life. With so much riding on your choice it is something that is worth looking at from a different perspective. Controversial change to the current system is one way to force people’s hands. But another may be just thinking about the issue in a different way. What else of your body have you given away? Not abstract things like time, or trust or love but actual bits. Have you given blood? Have you signed up to the Anthony Nolan Bone Marrow Trust during one of the campus drives?
Maybe a pregnant friend or relative gave away their umbilical cord to harvest stem cells for research into regenerative therapy. If they didn’t, they may have donated spare breast milk to help premature babies. Would you give sperm, or a healthy egg, to a sibling or friend that was struggling to conceive? Perhaps you’ve had an operation where your tissues have been used for research. (Four years ago my tonsils were sent to the Anonymous Tonsil Archive; well I figured I didn’t have anywhere to put them.) Oh, and all those dentistry students, medical students and anatomy students would you donate your body to science? There are hundreds of ways in which we give away parts of our bodies, and receive parts from others. 96% of people would take an organ if they needed one but only 30% are signed up to the register. So put aside you’re totally natural instinctive ‘yuk’ moment at bits of your corneas and lungs and tendons flying around the country and really think about what you already have given away. Think about what you would take. Then tell your friends and family, whatever your decision. So that no one misses out on the chance to a better longer life. Or the more amazing chance of facilitating it.
A day at the track, photoessay by Dasha Miller Taken at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome during the first ever Taxis Cup track cycling competition. Glasgow, Strathclyde and Caledonian Univerities compeated in six diffirent races. Strathclyde came in as the overall winner, with Glasgow close behind. The photos showing the preparation and drama throughout the day, piqued just as much interest as the races themselves.
APRIL 5TH 2013
10 minutes with: Foy Vance Beatrice Cook Foy Vance brings unmistakable Irish charm and soul to his own take on gospel-style folk music; hailing from the Northern Irish town of Bangor, County Down. Vance’s music, influenced by his childhood move to the southern belt of America, is deeply emotive and soulful, whilst his onstage banter is sure to amuse all. Not one to do things by halves, the singer-songwriter’s recent gig at the atmospheric Oran Mor on the 3rd of March was a sell-out, and with the release of more tickets for the night, the venue was unsurprisingly packed out. After his support bands, comprising of crowd-pleasers Farriers and Foreign Slippers, left the stage, Vance stepped up to the mic to a loud and ecstatic reaction from the room, his dapper tweed jacket, recently acquired from the £10 Thrift Store up the road from the venue, acknowledged by a humorous rendition of the Macklemore track ‘Thrift Store’. ‘The Joy of Nothing’, title track from his forthcoming album, silenced the crowd, with its soft and earthy tones creating a feeling of reminiscence and summer days long since passed. Vance’s infectious banter was seen following the audience’s positive response to the song, saying ‘Don’t be too excited, it might be shit yet,’ drawing a further laugh from the already entranced audience. Rousing performances of ‘Janey’, a song dedicated to a friend of Vance, and ‘Indiscrimate Act of Kindness’ evoked a feeling of melancholy and poignancy, both songs showcasing Vance’s incredibly powerful Irish accent, whilst undoubtedly bringing a tear to many an eye. Expressing his love for Scotland, Foy revealed a recent move from London to Aberfeldy, saying that it was ‘nice to be an honorary one of yours!’ to which many members of the audience voiced their approval. Vance went on to dedicate his final song in the set, ‘Homebird’, taken from his debut album ‘Hope’ released in 2007, to his daughter Ella, who, after a superbly tender and loving performance, joined him on stage whilst the crowd sang in unison, making for a moving and unforgettable experience for all. Foy Vance is a man of many talents, his rapidly growing popularity all over the UK showing that his music, as soulful and emotive as it is, has touched the hearts of many a person, and with the release of his next album ‘The Joy of Nothing’ this summer, we will undoubtedly be seeing more of this guy in the coming year. The Glasgow Guardian was also lucky enough to grab an interview with the man himself just before the gig: G uardian: How would you describe your sound? Vance: I don’t know, hopefully true? That’s the main thing for me, that it’s articulate. Listening to the songs and seeing what they need and trying to articulate that as clearly as possible. I’ve never been one for trying to make it sound one thing or the other. I think it’s better to go in with a blank canvas and see what happens, go with whatever feels good. G uardian: Do you think that where and when you grew up influenced your music? Vance: It can’t not, really. The first few years of my life were spent in Oklahoma; my Dad was a preacher and it
was this strain of church that didn’t allow musical instruments, which I find very weird. The good thing about that was that everybody used their voices in interesting ways, so you would have people singing bass, baritone, soprano, alto and all that, so I think that influenced me a lot. G uardian: Where you a choir boy then? Vance: No, it was a very American strain of church; it wasn’t choral, more like old hymns, hymnal stuff. That music still impacts me, irrespective of what I think of the lyrical content. G uardian: Gospel music has religious influences- do you feel that this is still relevant today? Vance: There is that whole era of gospel that, like Mahalia Jackson for instance, informed R’n’B, that’s why we have R’n’B. All that old stuff’s got real nuggets in it, real gems, chorally and lyrically; blood soaked lyrics. I think [today’s youth would still be connected] if they were exposed to it; there are people who expose them to that sort of sensibility, like Jack White. He’s got that same gospel-spirit if you ask me. The Black Keys too. There are people who have got that old, early sixties R’n’B style, bands who are harking back to that. Mostly R’n’B and gospel aren’t great, aside from that Macklemore, “I’m gonna pop some tags…” I went and popped some tags today actually, at the Thrift Shop next door, good stuff. G uardian: The new album ‘Joy of Nothing’ is released this summer- is there a set date? Vance: It’s a bit generic at the minute; I recorded three new songs just before this tour which we need to mix and all that craic. It will come out when it’s ready, there’s no mad rush. The single ‘Joy of Nothing’ is available now. The song, to me, is a bit like in early America when the pioneers, or whatever they were, staked out the land, it sets out the parameters for the record. It’s not that it is my favourite song on the album, it just made sense, the album is the ‘Joy of Nothing’, most of the songs tie in with that song one way or another. G uardian: What are your expectations for the tour? Vance: I’m feeling good about it; I mean it’s an interesting tour in that I don’t have the album yet. I’m just doing this to kind of see people again, to meet up and hang out for a night, sing some songs and have a bit of fun. G uardian: You supported Ed Sheeran live late last year- how does that compare with this tour? Vance: It’s completely different. My crowd have been built up over years and years and years, Ed’s at that stage now where he’d built up a really great following, people would come to his gigs and tune in to what he was doing, and then he burst through the barriers and he became ‘pop’. Not necessarily him, but he became popular, you get football hooligans coming to his gigs, “He’s on the radio so we’ll go and see
Recommended Listening Joy of Nothing
Joy of Nothing (2013) Be the Song
Melrose EP (2012) Indiscriminate Act of Kindness
him,” that kind of thing. G uardian: Ed covered your song ‘Guiding Light’- how did you feel about that? Vance: It was a lovely tip of the hat. If anyone wants to do one of your tunes, it is lovely, that’s what they’re for: sharing. G uardian: Describe yourself in 5 words. Vance: I wouldn’t really like to. If you can describe yourself in five words you’re living life wrong. G uardian: Do you think you’re music is received differently depending on where you’re playing? Vance: I think music is received differently by every single person, I don’t think any two people hear anything the same way. I mean this is to do with visual but, (points to the wall) we call that brown, but you might be seeing a different colour to what I’m seeing. I think music is similar in that, you might describe a band as folk, but someone might describe them as something completely different. There are pockets of places where it goes down bet-
ter. Glasgow and Scotland, I’ve always done well here gig-wise, [tonight’s gig] sold out, so we had to open up the back bit. Last time there were people at the bar, screaming and drinking pints all night, and we thought “Well this is kind of spoiling it for everyone.” I don’t mind people talking at all, it’s the fact that other folk have paid and want to listen. I’ll happily look like an arse for those people. G uardian: Do you have a favourite venue to play in the UK? Vance: Ah, that’s too hard; they’re all good for different reasons. When I play Belfast, it’s like a homecoming. That’s beautiful. When I play Scotland, it’s like a home-from-homecoming. With places that are akin to where I’m from, there’s sort of an unsaid...we played Newcastle last night, it’s a very working class town even though it’s very up and coming, very affluent, it’s still essentially very working class. They’ve got a similar sense of humour to what you have here, and what I’d have back home. There are certain places I’ve played where you’re kind of watching
your p’s and q’s because of the area. G uardian: How do you start the song writing process? Vance: Generally speaking, it just comes from a vibe, like, feeling a certain way. I like it to happen naturally; I’ve got a lot of friends that are songwriters for a living, they sit down at nine in the morning and break at eleven, and then work until teatime, that’s what they do, day in and day out. They make it happen. I wouldn’t be as cold-faced about it. For me personally, its better if I just live life, go around doing what I’m doing around the house, school runs, making packing lunches, hoovering. [Family life] has influenced it, just from a muse point of view. Its better if I only write songs when I feel like I can’t set my guitar down, can’t stop playing this one section on the piano, playing it over and over again, and suddenly a song comes out. I don’t like to push it or force it. Foy Vance will be joining Bonnie Raitt on tour in the UK and Europe this summer. www.foyvance.com.
APRIL 5TH 2013
CULTURE 10-17 14-21
Where are all the creative movie soundtracks? Craig Angus I'm watching MTV France, they're counting down the 'best rock bands on the planet' - using the only secret formula in the world that can possibly separate Lars Ulrich, Jack White and Jimi Hendrix. For the Radiohead entry, MTV have opted for 'Creep' - that mid 90s smash hit of self loathing. You know the one, "I'm a weirdo, what the hell am I doing here?". This was Radiohead before they became (probably) the most progressive 'rock' act on the planet, before OK Computer and it's paranoia, before the Ondes Martenot and Kid A, before the masterpiece that is In Rainbows. Before all that, they were a rock band - and Creep is the quintessential rock song. Right before the chorus, Jonny Greenwood has his air guitar moment - and it's not an angular riff, it's not an indulgent solo, it's a scratchy, muted assault on the old six string. You could probably take it out, but you'd be left with a much less interesting song, just another anthem for doomed youth lost in an ocean of similarity; the atmosphere and identity of 'Creep' is located right there in that half-second of non-conformity. Enough about 'Creep'. Enough about Radiohead as well, for as wonderful and unpredictably brilliant as they are, this is old ground - and like Greenwood, I want to look at something new. Lets turn the page - ever heard of A.R. Rahman? Born in Chennai, India in 1966 - Time magazine describes him as the '"worlds most prolific and popular" film composer. He did the score for Danny Boyle's 127 Hours and Slumdog Millionaire, and let's just say he nailed them both. The score for the former was crucial, given the rather minimal setting that it played out in. For the latter, he won an Oscar in 2008. Now what the hell has this got to do with Greenwood? Greenwood scored a film of his own in 2008, There Will Be Blood - and was only prevented from being nominated for the Oscar due to a small amount of pre-existing material making it's way into the score - getting in the way of the award for Best Original Soundtrack. A shame for Greenwood certainly, but look at that attention to detail, blossoming from angsty-rebellion to accompanying the evil, murder-
ous rampages of the Daniel Day-Lewis. He's in good company too - another bona-fide rock star, Mr. Trent Reznor, scooped the Original Soundtrack award for his collaboration with Atticus Ross on The Social Network in 2010. Scoring movies seems like a perfect match for Reznor, who's always been a bit of a thinker - recording Nine Inch Nails The Downward Spiral in the house where actress Sharon Tate was murdered by the Manson family is a fairly intense way of committing to the creative process. Of The Downward Spiral, Reznor said: "It was a conscious effort to focus more on texture and space, rather than bludgeoning you over the head for an hour with a guitar." Texture and space versus bludgeoning. Movies are a massive business, and the reason why filmmakers want to snap up men like Greenwood and Reznor is that they will add that subtle texture to the film, an accompaniment rather than a soundtrack, and more often than not it's a partnership that yields critical acclaim. The Academy Awards are so conscious of the importance of soundtracks, that they give out an award for it - and hand on heart it's one of the first results I look for the morning after the ceremony. For every Ben Affleck and Scorcese there's a Hans Zimmer or John Williams. With that in mind then, why do so many people in Hollywood completely neglect the importance and value of the musical accompaniment? Case study 1: Flight, starring Denzel Washington - a film which I had quite low expectations for, but actually ended up enjoying. A solid 7 out of ten. Nothing incredible, just entertainment. Washington performed admirably and was nominated for Best Actor at the Oscars, but the soundtrack would have been absolutely nowhere near any sort of awards ceremony - it was a brutal assault on an otherwise enjoyable picture. Flight was a blockbuster, big budget - check, explosions - check, but beneath all that there was real substance on a human level, narcotic abuse and dependency really drove the film forward. How the makers of Flight managed to vandalise their picture with a series of unforgivable musical clichés I'll never understand. Kelly is having an overdose! Better
fire on Under the Bridge by the Chili Peppers - that's about drugs. She's leaving him! Ain't No Sunshine by Bill Withers - thats… erm, about her leaving him? More drugs! This guy needs shelter… Gimme Shelter? His friends are helping him! A little help from my friends? That's the ticket. And so on. Somebody, somewhere allowed this to happen. I actually like all of those songs, and when I say like I basically mean I don't passionately hate them, they're all listenable despite being ubiquitous. In this context though, they just don't work. Playing Under The Bridge over footage of somebody having an overdose is the equivalent of telling a really average joke, and then explaining the punchline of the average joke. Why the average joke is funny. Why it's construction should lead to laughter. Why the average joke functions as an ironic statement. Case study 2: Broken, starring Eloise Lawrence, an actress so young she's sans wikipedia page. One of the finest films of the past 12 months - and along with What Richard Did a big hit
for independent cinema - Broken is an emotional rollercoaster, a film about community in a broad sense, and the community within households, and I'm not afraid to admit that I welled up a bit at its close. This utterly magnificent picture was made all the more enjoyable by an original score by The Electric Wave Bureau, headed up by none other than Damon Alburn. The score evokes desolation (Why Rick?), that junglelike perception of the first day at the big school (Skunk School Day), a party kicking off (Party Music 1) and then grinding to an abrupt halt after something terrible happens (Party Music 2). It is completely tailored to the needs of the film, and dedicated solely to enhancing the viewing experience. These aren't so much songs you'd take home and listen to, with the exception of 'Colours' - a song originally performed by Blur and written around the time of the Think Tank sessions - where Alburn was influenced by Moroccan and other world music. For the film it's sung by Lawrence (who has the voice of an angel), and it develops an entirely new dimension - a child's voice singing: 'Now
I know so many things!" is always going to provide an alternative perspective to one of a middle aged man. Conclusion: Ultimately, the appreciation of film is subjective, and while I found the Flight soundtrack unbearable, somebody somewhere probably cried upon hearing Frusciante's Fender kicking in. What's difficult to argue against is that a film score constructed specifically for the purposes of illuminating the key moments in a film is more likely to resonate emotionally than something that was written by somebody else in another place at another time, even if the thematic concerns are similar - in this case, "I've taken too much heroin - give us a hand yeah?" For now, we can take the modern phenomenon of pop musicians turned composers and embrace it. Alburn, Reznor and Greenwood have all served their time performing immediate crowd pleasers, but if they want to journey into texture and space, film accompaniment is the perfect fit for both parties.
Radio Spotlight: Diversion Kate Hole Diversion’s name reflects its style – every monthly episode is a 2-hour tour through a different musical theme such as Funky Love, the music of the SNES, and the vastly-populated world of Beatles covers. There are also showcases of bands and artists such as jazz organist Jimmy McGriff and funk-rock masters Mandrill. It’s the perfect place to try new musical avenues and discover your new favourite songs. Here are five of presenter Tia’s top tracks:
The Monkees – Take a G iant Step I’m on a real Monkees kick at the moment. There are rich veins of experimentalism in their late stuff especially, but even the early tunes like this with its tight 1960s harmonies and poppy arrangements are still a delight to listen to. Pep Torres – Meter Maid Hot and cool at the same time, there’s no delay in getting this pure burst of rock ‘n’ roll into high gear, drums and horns not letting up from start to finish. A perfect example of the wild, raw, record-buying, car-driving side of the 1950s.
Psychedelic Shack – The Temptations
Who could have thought that one of the straightest doo-wop pop bands could produce one of the most wigged-out slices of funk known to humanity? Using the vocal ranges of each member to magical harmony perfection, this song is a testification to music so high you can’t get over it; so low you can’t get under it. G olden Stone – Mandrill Mandrill were one of the most eclectic bands of the 70’s, playing with styles ranging from calypso to jazz to fuzz-
rock to just good old funk, sometimes all in the space of one song. This track is an overture of sorts to all of the above, with sing-along lyrics to boot. Sona Mi Areru Ec Sancitu - Saori Kobayashi & Mariko Nanba This is an exquisite piece of music, an unusual mix of Western choral work and Japanese main vocals accompanied by tribal, alien orchestrations. That it comes from a video game makes it even more special, as the memories of playing and experiencing Panzer Dragoon Saga come back to anyone fortunate enough to play it.
West end vintage wear Beatrice Cook The popularity of vintage clothing and charity shop bought attire has been on the increase of late; with the recent opening of the £10 Thrift Store on Great Western Road, as well as the release of the annoyingly catchy track ‘Thrift Store’ by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, there has been a noticeable surge in the need to wear the cast-offs of a previous generation. Make no mistake, there is a difference between the more refined vintage shopping, and its close (and cheaper) relation, the charity shop, but out of this has been born a hybrid of the two, the thrift store. Cool clothes, at more or less half the price; for those on a student budget, this is particularly ideal. The West End offers a wide selection of clothes shops for all pockets and purses, from the charity shops that line Byres Road, including the staple Cancer Research and Oxfam, to Vintage Guru and the Glasgow Vintage Company on Great Western Road. Not only that, but the online market is everexpanding, with the launch of the new, Greater Glasgow-based Vintage Point at the forefront of all things fashionably vintage. Vintage Point sells vintage and retro clothing and accessories, with all items advertised personally selected for its value, as well as its affordability for potential customers. Owner Karen Darragh travels to local fairs up and down the country with the aim to bring the vintage clothing buzz to as wide an audience as possible. The Glasgow Guardian spoke to Karen Darragh and asked for her thoughts on the increased popularity of vintage-wear, and what inspired her to get involved in such a project: G uardian: What inspired you to start up a vintage-wear store? Darragh: I would say that I have always loved vintage. It has always proved popular throughout the years. G uardian: Your business is largely online; is there any particular reason for this? Darragh: The online store attracts a wider audience, but it's not all about
being online. I sell a lot at vintage markets and fairs, and actually meeting the customers is far more satisfying. It means I can pick up some tips and get loads of feedback about what people are looking for. I always post on Facebook or the online shop where our next fair will be. G uardian: Do you think there has been an increase lately in the popularity of vintage clothes, particularly with the youth? Darragh: Yes most definitely; when I was 18, there were only a few vintage shops in Glasgow that we could visit. The choice is much greater now due to demand and the students and young folk that I have met have a passion for vintage and retro. G uardian: What have been your influences with regards to the kind of items you sell? Darragh: I am mostly influenced by quality, I don't want to sell something that doesn't look or feel good. It has to stand out! G uardian: Who would you say is your target audience, and why? Darragh: My target audience is absolutely anyone who wishes to pop along to our fairs, or just simply shop online. Vintage doesn't have just one kind of audience, it's for everyone, I do however get a lot of feedback from students, but I think that is because there is a higher volume of students going to vintage markets and fairs, and I get to chat to them more. Launched in March 2012, Vintage Point has previously attended fairs including ‘Granny Would Be Proud’ at Hillhead Book Club in the West End, as well as Cabaret Voltaire in Edinburgh and a pop-up shop on the second Saturday of every month at Au Bar in the centre of Edinburgh, with more planned for the coming year. On a more local level, Vintage Guru and the £10 Thrift Store offer up a veritable assortment of vintage-wear; Vintage Guru, based on Byres Road, began life as an online store 15 years ago, with the move to a physical shop signifying the increased demand for all things vintage. Open 7 days a week, this quirky store stocks women and menswear, as well as shoes and accessories,
all of excellent quality, and friendly staff providing helpful advice and service. Open till 9pm on Fridays and Saturdays, Vintage Guru undoubtedly provides the West End of Glasgow with the opportunity to satisfy our vintage-wear desires, with a range of prices suitable for all budgets. The £10 Thrift Store, however, is a fine example of does-what-it-says-onthe-tin; clearly distributed stock and a spacious shop floor ensures you a stress-free browsing session, with the masses of items guaranteeing you’ll find something to add to your already bursting wardrobe of alternative attire, or to wear to the next fancy dress themed party or flat-crawl, all at a fraction of the original price. Be warned;
amongst some of the truly vintage and retro clothing, I did find items dating from far more recent years from high street stores such as H&M. The £10 Thrift Store is well worth a rummage, and you’ll undoubtedly find yourself an achingly hipster outfit at a cut-rate price; in the words of the illustrious Macklemore, ‘One man's trash, that's another man's come-up.’ Shopping in the West End has never been easier; the variety of stores and price ranges means that everyone can enjoy a new outfit without breaking the bank. With the growing popularity for vintage clothes comes a new wave of alternative and kooky shops, with both online and high street stores vying for attention from students and profes-
sionals alike. Vintage Point, the £10 Thrift Store and Vintage Guru are simply a drop in the ocean when it comes to the world of vintage-wear, but we expect the fashions from all these shops to be gracing the veritable catwalk that is University Avenue any time soon.
and enters a destructive triangle of sexual longing in which he is compelled to help Van Wetter but is confused and disgusted by the spell the abusive inmate holds over the woman of his dreams. Jack is the Paperboy; the gobetween, but with Van Wetter’s release from prison and Jack’s unwavering infatuation, the young protagonist attempts to protect his first love from Van Wetter’s crocodile libido, taking centrestage in a film that slowly morphs from crime drama to coming-of-age, psycho-sexual tragedy. Paperboy is bursting at its polyester seams with trashy innuendo and unruly desire (in one scene Kidman fights off female competition to urinate on a jellyfish wound Jack picks up on the beach; in another she performs simulated sex with a handcuffed Van Wetter in full view of her male colleagues). But this is a film of tender longing too: Jack requires a substitute for his dead mother and distant father; Ward is an alcoholic with secrets he wishes were easier to reveal; Charlotte’s heart of
gold is squandered on a domineering psychopath; and Yardley (David Oyelowo), a black American journalist also working on the case, is forced to speak with an English accent to be accepted in his profession. Like Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights, Paperboy has a desperate, human pulse, even if it spends a lot of its time in the trousers. Stellar performances are had by all (including Macy Gray, the likable family cleaner, omniscient narrator and all-round voice of reason), giving a slightly chaotic and outrageous narrative a credible crutch. Zac Efron, a sensitive Adonis, all tortured male gazes and solipsistic bedroom reveries, cuts a convincing love-sick puppy, and Nicole Kidman takes to the role of freespirited, kind-hearted temptress with finesse. The body might rule the mind in Lee Daniels’ knowing, ironic and poignant tale of swampland lust, but beneath the violence, sleaze and lazy, porno-kitsch soundtrack, there is plenty to think about.
For more info on the shops mentioned, visit their websites or find them on Facebook: Vintage Point - www.thevintagepoint. co.uk £10 Thrift Store - www.facebook.com/ thetenpoundthriftstore Vintage Guru - www.vintageguru.co.uk Glasgow Vintage Company - www. glasgowvintage.co.uk
Review: The Paperboy Tom Eaton Sweaty, sexed-up and set in the summer of ’69, Lee Daniels’ The Paperboy begins with idealistic reporter Ward Jensen (Matthew McConaughhey) returning to his Floridian home to investigate the trumped-up murder charges levelled at local redneck Hilary Van Wetter. Ward is joined by the southern, tarty male-fantasy Charlotte (Nicole Kidman), who shares an interest in the rights of crime suspects and writes dirty, sympathetic letters to jail prisoners. Through her correspondence, Charlotte has fallen head over heels with the violent Van Wetter (played by a frothing-at-the-mouth John Cusack), and is working with Ward for his release. However, with Ward’s younger brother Jack joining the fold - a horny, misty-eyed college drop-out played by a resourceful Zac Efron (Highschool Musical) - things start to get more complicated. Jack also falls for Charlotte,
APRIL 5TH 2013
CULTURE 10-17 14-21
Review: Bioshock Infinite
Joseph Trotter Ambition is the greatest strength a human has, and yet also their most crippling folly. How can ambition force one man to build a religion, another to gamble, and a young girl to dream of Paris? Bioshock Infinite is an ambitious game. Like its name, it offers limitless potential; but infinite is only as big as the mind can comprehend. This is a game of so many themes, styles and ideas that a lesser force could have lost grip on what holds the collective together; ambition. Ken Levine, Creative Director of Irrational Games, has not just rewritten the rulebook for sequels but ripped it page by page and thrown it in the air to be scattered as far and wide as possible. The result is an impossibly gripping adventure, a narrative of high ideals and low morals draped over the framework of a pacey shooter and magnificent environment. The aim was ambitious; the result: irrepressible. The premise of Bioshock Infinite is really very simple; find the girl, escape and pay your debt. This, at least, is the assumption of Booker DeVitt, gambler, Private Investigator and survivor of Wounded Knee who ascends via a lighthouse rocket-chair to the proverbial heaven of Columbia, the quintessential (literal?) American dream. Floating high above the U.S.A, the gleaming Columbia, originally a set in the 1893 World Fair, seceded from the United States after destroying Peking during the infamous Boxer Rebellion. Set in 1912, Columbia is a utopia of high Western ideals built on the back of exploitation and racial hierarchy. Red, white and blue tapers drape from ArtNouveau buildings, the wealthy skim through life on a flotilla of pleasure enforced by religious devotion, while
the under-classes, the Irish and ethnic minorities, clean up unseen after them. The architect of this ultra-America is Zachary Hale Comstock, a man of wellmeaning but brutally flawed evangelical ambitions who created this whiterthan-white zealot state to offer a better life to his followers. Typically, it is to the detriment of everybody else. Like the recent Dishonored, Infinite offers a mixture of caricatured observations and steam-punk sensibilities in its linear yet apparently enormous game-world. Propaganda looms over the citizens, guards herd workers, roller-coaster esque rail-links zig-zag the map and fantastical machinery powers the city. As an environment, Columbia is remarkably well-developed, full of wonderful details that give the city real personality. When you stand still, the screen sways slightly. Held up by a mixture of propulsion and balloons, Columbia floats in the air and is thus constantly moving, represented by the constant motion of the buildings. Flattered by sunlight, Columbia is remarkably bright, creating an entirely different atmosphere to the previous Bioshocks. Columbia features an alternative American history and lore, created by Comstock, in which George Washington is a prophet foretelling the rise of Columbia and Thomas Jefferson a war-mongering badass (think Charles XII of Sweden mixed with Arnold Schwarzenegger). A surprisingly huge city, the best way to progress is via the rails of the local transport system, clinging for dear life to a claw-like device which also serves as a particularly brutal weapon. As you progress from the gleaming streets into the underbelly of the city the inequality of Columbia becomes apparent, with immigrants and nonwhites brutalised. The Vox Populi, an
anarchist movement, stands up for their rights in a guerilla war against Comstock, but whose interests they are actually furthering remains unknown. But my, what a beautiful world they are fighting over. Bioshock Infinite, even on the ageing Xbox 360 is a magnificent achievement, a sparkling mix of detail and careful style. Characters are wonderfully emotive, with suitably big expressions to match their words. There are subtler moments too; Elizabeth shudders when her heritage is mentioned, while even the most fervent of believers can be seen to doubt their words when challenged with reason. The near constant sunlight shows off the fantastic lighting dynamics of the engine, matched by the shadows of the indoor areas. Wrapped in political misgivings, shrouded by the spectre of popularised, suffocating religion, the real heart of Bioshock Infinite is in the relationship between DeVitt and the girl he eventually rescues, Elizabeth. Locked in a national monument for her entire life, Elizabeth is a bright and fascinating character. As a companion, she is even better. With wide-eyed wonder she observes this new world, peers at new objects, asks the right questions and slumps impatiently when you take too long. Her enthusiasm is infectious; you discover the world with Elizabeth, and admire the simplicity of her ambitions â€“ to see Paris. For DeVitt, she is a valuable ally in combat too. Elizabeth can open 'tears', alternative realities which can be placed into this world. This can mean an opening to explore new areas, a turret in combat or merely an invaluable health pack. Tearing adds a real edge and sense of choice lacking in other areas of the game; blast your way through, or kill with ingenuity? Meanwhile, the relationship between the two
main characters keeps the breakneck narrative ticking along. Like every character, DeVitt and Elizabeth have distinct flaws, but come together to bring out the best in each other. Come the end, the magnificent finale, you won't know whether to laugh or cry. Within this thematic pondering does indeed lie a videogame. A heady mix of adventure and shooting, Bioshock Infinite attempts to match exploratory endeavour with expansive shooting. Somehow it works. Weapons are basic and possibly too effective, but the inclusion of tears keep things interesting. Vigor gives DeVitt supernatural abilities, similar to Plasmids in the earlier Bioshocks. These could have been used better; electricity and fire has been done many times before, while others like the firing crows are utterly useless. Not so Possession. This allows the player to gain control of an enemy to use for their gain; when the time runs out, the foe commits suicide. Very useful, very funny. Greater enemies require a combination of Vigors to defeat them, but most can be seen off with a mere shotgun blast, at least on the lower difficulties. For those who like a challenge, '1999' mode is like a kick-in-the-teeth; difficult, but suddenly the potential of the Vigors and weapons opens up. Somewhat against the vogue of freedom in games, Bioshock Infinite is undoubtedly linear, but all the better for it. Think of it like a director taking control of a film; anybody can move a camera, but only those who have planned, researched and imagined the angle can really pull it off. Although there is little real choice of movement, except arbitrary backtracking and the occasional opportunity for choice (typical RPGlight kill/spare moments), the result is a masterpiece of linear narrative. It's not how you do it, but why you do it. At no
point does the player ask why they cannot go over there; instead they respect the fact that they go where they do to serve a greater purpose to the narrative. That is an achievement. Not all, however, is quite as sunny. Although the inhabitants of Columbia add much to its character, their actual implementation is bizarre. When you pass a NPC (non-playable character) they generally say something, or take part in a conversation. So far, so normal. However, the problem is not that they say one thing, but that they only say it once. As soon as they finish the music cuts, and they stop and stare as if you've eaten their lunch. It is utterly unnerving, and I almost gave the game credit for it until it became clear it was a design mistake. The argument that the game is moving you on is understandable, but when such a detailed world has been created, one that actively encourages study, why effectively block off further interaction? At one beautiful point, Elizabeth discovers dancing. A wonderful moment, sure, but after ten minutes of her revolving it becomes worthy of a meme. It probably goes without saying that Bioshock Infinite is one of the great games of this generation. Any prior knowledge of the series is necessary; Infinite stands as a beacon to its own glory. Proof that ambition and imagination can be successful in video-games, Infinite mixes a sweeping, grandiose narrative with gritty details, tough themes and a sly sense of humour. Fun to play and majestic to explore, highly polished with huge production values, Bioshock Infinite presents not just a great adventure but probably the best linear-narrative game of any generation. It could possibly be even better, but for the sake of my dictionary of superlatives I'm glad it isn't. Unmissable.
Rangers: not so bad?
Adam Williamson Make no mistake about it. I am biased. I have been a season ticket holder at Ibrox since 2004 and have experienced the euphoric highs and crushing lows of being a Rangers supporter since the turn of the millennium. From the glory of a European final under Walter Smith to abject embarrassment under Paul Le Guen, the one constant is that it´s never been boring. I have however, tried to view what has happened to my club over the past 12 months with a degree of objectivity. As the anniversary of Craig Whyte, standing like a cornered rat outside the Ibrox doors, through which have passed so many great men, revealing to the world that Rangers were in crisis, we can now examine the causes of the club´s plight more fully. It is an incredible state of affairs. HMRC took a total of two and a half years to reach a conclusion on the so-called ´Big Tax Case.´ The question must be asked, why did it take so long to find Rangers not guilty? After all, the verdict was hardly a complex one. It was ruled that EBTs are non-repayable loans and as such are not subject to taxation. That is one sentence. What really angers anyone with Rangers at heart, however, is why the verdict was released just 4 months or so after the club was forced into liquidation, as a direct result of the impending threat of a substantial tax liability? It also seems extremely strange to me that HMRC decided to allow Rangers to waste time and resources formulating a CVA proposal when they intended to reject it in any case. I don´t think it´s being paranoid to suggest that something stinks about the actions of the tax authorities. Probably an even clearer indica-
tion of this is that they have recently announced their intention to appeal against Rangers´ victory. This is, bizarrely, despite the fact that there is no possible way to recover any outstanding debts in the very unlikely case that the verdict is overturned. Any liability rests with the now defunct old company which HMRC helped force into liquidation as described above, stating that: “Liquidation provides the best opportunity to protect taxpayers, by allowing the potential investigation and pursuit of possible claims against those responsible for the company’s financial affairs in recent years” They thereby renounced any claim on potential unpaid tax. It would therefore appear that HMRC are intent on conducting an expensive campaign of persecution against Rangers, at the tax payer´s expense may I add, which in the best possible scenario for them will result in saving face. This is apparently ´the best possible outcome´ for you, the taxpayer. It is quite difficult to understand why large multinational corporations such as Starbuck´s and Google are able to get away with paying as little as 1% tax in this country despite a profit that would make your eyes water whilst HMRC use funds to chase a defunct company for the sake of changing a verdict on a bit of paper. But they are doing it for us, so it must be for the best. Convinced? Even if there was money to be gained from the litigation, it would be a paltry sum in the big picture of things. After liquidation was confirmed in June, what we witnessed in Scottish football was nothing less than a bear pit. Almost every manager and club in the land saw it fit to spout forth their views and opinions about Rangers. Al-
most without exception they seemed solely interested in what punishments Rangers were going to get. This was despite the fact that the club had already lost somewhere in the region of 20 players in a 6-7 month period, been docked ten points for going into administration, given a 3-year ban in Europe for going into liquidation and a one year transfer embargo. It was apparent that nothing was going to satisfy those who had a thirst for blue blood. All of this, however, was based on a myth perpetually pumped out by the media that Rangers were ´cheats.´ They hadn´t paid their taxes, they had used dual contracts and tax evasion to gain success on the football park. It was, we were informed by so many, an affront to ´sporting integrity.´ Now there is a fascinating phrase. It was used lazily by anyone who wished to disguise their dislike or, dare I say, hatred of Rangers as they attempted to justify calling for every sanction under the sun. There was one element missing though. Unfortunately it was the most important element of all: a guilty verdict. This minor inconvenience, as I recall, was never actually highlighted by any journalist, any pundit, any manager or football executive. Even Rangers own supporters could be forgiven for thinking that they had already been found guilty. The result was this, Rangers were voted out of the SPL almost unanimously with Kilmarnock the only club to acknowledge the financial suicide this entailed by abstaining. The responsibility was unceremoniously dumped on the SFL and their leader David Longmuir. Despite a hypocritical bid by the SPL to have Rangers placed in the first division, thereby facilitating a speedy return to the SPL and minimal financial damage for them,
both the SFL clubs and Rangers themselves agreed that starting in the third division was the only option. Rangers were consigned to the basement. As if this was not enough for the club to suffer, even on the eve of their first match of the 2012-2013 season, in the Ramsden´s Cup at Brechin City, the club still had not been granted a license by the SFA. They were, in the end, granted a temporary one at the last minute in order for the fixture to be fulfilled. But this once again demonstrated the shabby and undignified treatment meted out to Rangers. This is a club which has done more for Scottish football than any over the years by representing it in Europe´s flagship competitions and exporting the national game throughout the world. And yet when Rangers asked for some dignity, some fairness (nobody was asking for assistance or help), the governing body spat in their face. Whereas the English FA make a point of helping clubs who go through insolvency, with Portsmouth a prominent example, the SFA seemed intent on humiliating and stripping Rangers of any ounce of dignity. Most clubs would have folded under similar circumstances. The SPL, too, continue to this day to investigate Rangers use of EBTs despite the fact that they have been proven to be legal in a court of law and let´s not forget the small detail that Rangers are no longer an SPL club. There is still talk of stripping Rangers of some of their world record 54 league titles for what at worst would amount to a possible administrative error. Perplexingly, many who claim that Rangers are a new club and have not won a single trophy in their history are simultaneously big supporters of title stripping. It is a challenge to understand, to say the least.
In the past few days I have read a number of newspaper articles in some of Scotland´s leading publications calling for Rangers fans and officials to ´stop playing the victim card´ and to ´get on with it.´ One journalist branded Rangers fans ´po-faced and resentful creatures.´ The club have been accused of lacking class for backing a boycott of last week´s Scottish Cup tie against SPL side Dundee United. Charles Green has been criticized numerous times for ´playing to the gallery´ and being ´aggressive´, his behavior a ´raging bull act.´ Is it not the case that Rangers are still being persecuted? Have they no right to take action to defend themselves and to make their opinions clear? Is this not a democracy? It seems to me that many people don´t like the fact that after 12 months of getting their kicks by sadistically plotting the next ´sanction´ or ´punishment´ for Rangers, the club finally have people who are standing up for it. They don´t like the fact that maybe, just maybe, Rangers are not the sickening cheats and criminals they painted them as. Rangers spent money they didn´t have under Dick Advocaat. But the top clubs in the English Premier League at the moment have debts running into the hundreds of millions which dwarf any debt Rangers ever had. David Murray made the biggest mistake of his life in selling the club to Craig Whyte. So Rangers are not, of course, absolved from playing a role in their own downfall. But to those who think the fans should suck it up and get on with it, I hope you can understand why, given all that has happened, that may not be possible for a long time, if at all.
APRIL 5TH 2013
Snooker BUCS final
The weekend of the 14th to 17th of March saw ten Glasgow Uni students hit the Northern Snooker Centre to compete in the British Universities & Colleges Sports competition. Glasgow haven’t managed to achieve any silverware in Snooker-based tournaments within the past decade but nevertheless, two relatively inexperienced teams made the 3-hour gone 6-hour minibus journey down the M6 to Leeds. Glasgow’s first-string team of five was led by Club Captain- Peter Rafferty, a second year student, debuting in the high-pressured and unforgiving scene of BUCS Snooker. The team also included former captain Ruairidh Kemmet, and further BUCS newbies Shawn Carranza, Andrew Simpson and Chris Day. Glasgow’s second team included a well-experienced Calum Munro along with newer players Finn Maclean, Scott McGoldrick, Alan Black and Tim Bäckström. The individual competitions passed Glasgow by as no real threat came from players from either teams. The most notable performances came from Peter Rafferty and Calum Munro, who both made it into the second and third rounds of their knockout stages respectively. However, it was Friday afternoon and a brisk Saturday morning that saw a turn of fortunes for both Glasgow teams at the beginning of the group tournament. A mixture of both comfortable and tricky group games saw both teams make it automatically into the quarterfinals of the Plate competition. Quarterfinals brought with them straight knockouts all the way to the final. Each player of the team would play one frame against a corresponding player of the opposition team. The first team to three frames would win the match and progress to the next round of the competition. At this stage, spirited performances by the second team players were too little for them to continue, who got beaten by a good Southampton side. Revenge was soon to be had though as Glasgow A-team met this same Southampton side in the semi-finals after thumping Roehampton's first team 4-1. Southampton posed a strong threat,
with a particular player having played in the women's Snooker World Championships, but the team managed to scrape by with Shawn Carranza, Ruairidh Kemmet and ‘Sneaky Pete’ all winning their frames. Glasgow had rapidly found themselves in the final. The Plate final would see Glasgow firsts meet a well-supported, confident and experienced Nottingham team. Same rules applied- first team to win three frames would win the tournament. First to step up was vice-captain, Shawn Carranza. A tough fought match ended in a defeating black ball game (one ball remaining on the table for the win). Shawn was unlucky to lose this one. Next up stepped up first-year hotshot, Andy Simpson. This game also went to the final ball and ended up as another narrow Glasgow loss. This left Ruairidh Kemmet needing to win the next frame. Scarily, this also went to the final black ball. The former captain managed to keep a cool head and slot home the black to put Glasgow back in it with scores sitting at 2-1. Captain Pedro, took it on himself to make sure Glasgow won the next frame. This frame again, was a tight one but Rafferty, after a very composed start, managed to hold on to bring the scores back to 2-2. This left it up to Chris Day to attempt to seal the match in a final frame decider for the title of UK University Plate Champions. No pressure. Chris found his stride and keeping as cool as a cucumber managed to hold-off a late Notts comeback to hand Glasgow the final frame, match and Championship. It was a great achievement for all 10 players to win something at Leeds. The Snooker and Pool Club is a rapidly growing club on campus and can be found on the top floor of the GUU. Club Captain, Peter Rafferty wants to see Glasgow entering more competitions and winning more trophies over the coming years. The side are young and show promise to bring back more silverware back to Glasgow. Peter, Ruairidh, Shawn and Chris are all representing a Scotland team at Nationals in Dublin next month. Keep an eye out for how they get on! You can find Glasgow University Snooker Club on Facebook to keep up to date with what’s going on.
Club profile: Tennis Jamie Melrose
CULTURE 10-17 14-21
Amongst the clamour and commotion made by hundreds of boozed up athletes at GUSA ball, one club remained silent. As individuals and teams received their awards, a group of 35 people sat in nervous anticipation. The ‘Club of the year’ award is the last to be announced, its prestige unmatched. As the secretary noted the many attributes of the recipient club, subtle grins began to creep across the faces of tennis club members. ‘Club of the year goes to… TENNIS’! The announcement was met with almost premature celebrations, screams, hugs and even some tears. Last year’s captains accepted the award and were greeted on return by the warm embrace of 35 finely dressed tennis players. Countless congratulatory texts and phone calls soon flooded in from tennis members, past and present. The ‘Club of the year award’ at GUSA ball 2013 had been a long time coming. Tennis at Glasgow has grown from strength to strength over the past few years. But, like most things great, the tennis club came from humble beginnings. It was in 1881 that the tennis club was officially formed as one of the four founding sports of GUAC (today known as GUSA). The club’s founding members numbered only 12 people, smaller
than today’s committee! In more recent history the club has entered into an era of administrative excellence. The employment of full time coaches and the use of hired courts close to the University made tennis more accessible. The club became dedicated to socially integrating members, running recreational sessions and developing tennis at all levels of ability. The success of the club has been reflected in a membership boom, from 130 members in 2010, to 160 in 2011 up to a membership of almost 200 people today. The club has a strong set of traditions, solidified by providing quality tennis to students for over 130 years! The tennis club is now one of the largest student-run organisations at Glasgow University and one of the biggest and most active sports clubs on campus. The club is run by an elected committee of 13, headed by a joint presidency of a Women’s and Men’s Club Captain. The club trains 4 times a week on hired courts, this includes one indoor session. The sessions are ‘drop in’ and members are encouraged to come down anytime that suits them. Sessions are on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 1-4pm at Dowanhill courts and on Sunday from 7-9pm at David Lloyd in Anniesland. The club employs three coaches, led by Head coach Dave Birrell. Everything needed to play tennis is provided (rackets, balls
etc.). The Tennis club has five teams, two ladies and three men’s. Together they have made significant achievements in both the British and Scottish University leagues. Highlights from last year include the men’s 2nd team making it all the way to the 2nd league final. This year the men’s first team successfully battled to stay in the top division of the Scottish league whilst both of the ladies teams are 2nd place in their respective leagues. The new men’s 3rd team is testament to the Clubs emphasis on development. The third team serves primarily as a rotational team and has allowed many an advanced player to try their hand at competitive tennis. All teams compete in the Scottish cup and Scottish trophy events in the winter season. The club also managed to secure a clear win in this year’s Glasgow cup. Headed by Team Captains, Cameron Alexander and Seona Grant, the club has managed to field teams for every match. Despite its competitive track record the club is, more than anything else, recreational. Over the past few years there has been a focus on getting new people to try tennis, to enjoy the health and social benefits of club sport at Glasgow and generally to enhance the university experience of members. With three coaches on hand, individual coaching slots, sessions dedicated to beginners and free equipment for members the club has managed to get a record number of people playing tennis, many of whom had never picked up a racket before! Every year many dedicated tennis players graduate, sad to bid farewell to their beloved club. This has given the club a very strong link with past alumni and the club shows its appreciation to past members by holding an alumni tournament followed by a ceilidh. The club’s strong affiliation with the Lawn Tennis association, established last year, and the resources gained from this special relationship have been effectively utilised in developing tennis within the University community. The tennis club is a big player on the club social scene. With a membership body spanning over many different degrees, ages and cultures there is always someone new and interesting to meet. The tennis club provides many a night out and social adventure to allow members to get to know one another off the court. Socials to look out for include the sub crawl, pub golf, the alumni ceilidh, mini tours, the end of year tour to Portugal and many more! The club is now considering expanding into disabled tennis, introducing new health and fitness activities such as cardio and touch tennis, organising more competitions, bringing in new equipment, developing new coaches, affiliating with more organisations and strengthening links with other clubs and societies on campus. With all this in mind it is hoped that, with a dedicated committee, the club will be able to overcome any future problems and will continue to develop tennis and enhance the ‘University experience’ of many more students to come.
GUSA: A Y 10 minutes with: Chris Millar, GUSA President Beatrice Cook Following on from the recent GUSA elections on the 8th of March, to which over a thousand students voted on who will take on the mammoth task of running Glasgow University’s sport, the Glasgow Guardian got to chat to outgoing GUSA President, Chris Millar, and asked him about his thoughts on the past year. G uardian: What were your personal sporting highlights of this year? Millar: It would be stupid not to mention the Glasgow Taxis Cup. We’ve won it three years in a row, and five years out of nine that it’s been running, which separates the tie between Strathclyde and Glasgow. The [winning] margin was one point in the last two years; it really came down to the line. G uardian: Was there a big student turnout at the Glasgow Taxis Cup? Millar: It was down in the Emirates Arena, and we put on buses for folk to get there and back, so there was quite a few hundred who came down. It’s the biggest inter-varsity tournament in the country, which is something to be proud of in itself; 3 different universities, over 700 students, with the programme getting bigger and bigger every year, getting more students involved. It’s getting massive, the media coverage this year has been huge, and it’s recognised as being one of the biggest events in the student sporting calendar. One of the cool things was that we had some of the events held in the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, where you’re going to be seeing the biggest superstars in the sporting world taking part in a couple of years in your city, and you’re in there before them, getting a feel for it. It’s hard to compare ourselves directly to the City of Glasgow College, Caledonian or Strathclyde. It’s great that
we can take the title of best sporting university in the city, I’m sure they do things just as well as we do, but getting the bragging rights and the upper hand over your local rivals is pretty awesome. G uardian: Will Glasgow University be getting involved in the upcoming 2014 Commonwealth Games, held here in this city? Millar: Yeah, one hundred per cent; the legacy aspect of 2014 is massive, and we sit on a working group on how 2014 will work hand in hand with the University of Glasgow, whether that’s going to be visits from competing athletes, or hosting other countries in our student halls, or even having tickets or volunteering opportunities for students. It’s very exciting. G uardian: What, if any, pressures will the incoming President face in the approaching academic year? Millar: There is the closure of the Kelvin Hall, but there are strategies in place for overcoming that so members can use other facilities, and with the transport we have, we can accommodate that, as well as having the gym extension is on its way. There’s still no closure date, but it is probably going to happen this year. G uardian: There has been a definite focus on health and wellbeing this past year – why the drive behind that? Millar: There has been a bigger recognition in the importance of health and fitness, as well as physical and mental welfare within sport. It’s not all about performance sport, competitions or leagues, there’s so much more outside of that. So, alongside the new council structure, with our welfare convener and health and fitness convener, there’s more of a say on the strategies to include everyone, and it’s gone really well. For instance we have the buddy system, dietary information, as well as a constant reviewing of the ex-
ercise classes on offer at the University of Glasgow; if members are saying they are happy, we’ll try and develop that, if they’re not, we would try to change it. We try and do everything as well as we possibly can. G uardin: What is your opinion on the Stevenson Hive Building Project? Millar: I’m very excited for the developments and shared space we’re going to have at Glasgow University. I would say that there certainly will be an increase in membership price, but that will be matched with increased service levels and facilities, as well as having the latest equipment and space to train, instead of having to queue and not get into an exercise class. There will be a lot more to offer, and I think we will still have the most competitive membership price in the whole of Scotland, if not the UK. Value for money will still be right up there. G uardian: What are your final thoughts as outgoing President? Millar: This year we had the Glasgow Championships, which introduced recreational leagues for clubs including squash, football, badminton and hockey, where staff and students could get involved on a weekly basis, and we had huge levels of members using that which was great. GUSA have got club level, recreational level and elite athletes as well as a health and fitness push, and our members seems really happy and engaging with us a lot. I think that this year for GUSA, having just won the Glasgow Taxis Cup, has gone from strength to strength, and with new facilities on the way, as well as the Commonwealth Games in 2014, it’s exciting times for sport in Glasgow, we’re in a good place right now.
10 minutes with: Calum Nicol Beatrice Cook Following on from a fantastic year of sport at Glasgow University, the Glasgow Guardian managed to grab an interview with up and coming basketball star, Calum Nicol. G uardian: What have been your personal sporting highlights in the past academic year? Nicol: My highlights have been being selected as a co-captain for Glasgow University Men’s Basketball Club, and getting to the Cup final. Also, I have been selected for the Scottish Universities team, as well as the squad of twenty-two for the senior men national team. But most of all, I received the Bob Wilson Award for most outstanding athlete at Glasgow University for my first year performance, which I am truly thankful for being nominated for in the first place. G uardian: What has GUSA, as an entity, done to help support you with regards to the sport you participate in? Nicol: GUSA offered me a sports bursary so I could afford equipment. Also, a free gym membership, as well as them helping by funding the club in various ways. They also help with our
BUCS games organisation. G uardian: Could you briefly describe your club, and your involvement in it? Nicol: Our club (Glasgow University Men’s Basketball) is built from three teams which compete in several competitions, from Premier League in BUCS to SLBA at different levels. I am co-captain of the first team, as well as the social convener for the committee. G uardian: How do you think the University of Glasgow can become more involved in sporting events such as the forthcoming Commonwealth Games? Nicol: I think the university should just keep helping to develop individuals through different sports. Events such as the Glasgow Taxis Cup help promote the university’s involvements in sports. G uardian: Any predictions for the coming year, both with regards to your club and/or GUSA sport as a whole? Nicol: Predictions for our club are that we have been gradually getting better with games results, and hope that we can attain another appearance in the Cup Final and try and win, as well as aiming to win the play-off series for national league. We have been doing great as a team and have consistently reached our targets, so will aim higher for the next season.
It ha for th ciati cent for th been of cl Wom defe Colle since Univ natin ing a to fig is no spor A re wellb seen tion’ the well at th ter. I been club ation up s has equa ing c Hive gym for a neve spor GU mem thou facil stati socia cam and to fu influ of tw their body and
APRIL 5TH 2013
A YEAR IN SPORT
cribe n it? rsity hree come in I am ell as tee. Unimore s the es? d just duals such mote orts. the your e? that betthat ce in well s for oing ently gher
Beatrice Cook It has been yet another successful year for the Glasgow University Sport Association; alongside the University’s recent triumph at the Glasgow Taxis Cup for the third consecutive year, there has been consistent victory in other areas of club sport, with Glasgow University Women’s Football team remaining undefeated in the British University and College Sports (BUCS) Championships since February 2011, and the Glasgow University Netball BUCS team dominating over Edinburgh seconds, securing a place in the Conference Cup final to fight to retain their title. However, it is not all about club and competitive sport here at the University of Glasgow. A recent drive to focus on health and wellbeing at the University has been seen in the restructuring of the association’s Council with the introduction of the position of Welfare Convenor, as well as the Sports and Wellbeing Week at the beginning of the second semester. In addition to that, emphasis has been placed on recreational sports and clubs, with the creation of the Recreational Sports League in 2012, opening up sport to a wider collective. GUSA has strived to remain an open and equal institution, and with the coming construction of the new Stevenson Hive Building Project meaning more gym space and increased service levels for all members, it seems that there has never been more of an exciting time for sport at the University of Glasgow. GUSA has over fifteen thousand members, with approximately two thousand of those students using its facilities on a daily basis; from this statistic alone it is obvious that the association is extremely popular across campus, its partnership with the Sport and Recreation Service (SRS) serving to further strengthen its reputation and influence, whilst its Council, made up of twelve university students elected by their peers, acts on behalf of the student body to ensure a bright future for sport and wellbeing. This popularity was
clearly seen at the recent GUSA Council elections, where 1066 votes were cast to decide on who would take up the mantle for one of the seven remaining opposed positions; this is in stark contrast with the other Union elections occurring at the same time. Whilst the Glasgow University Union garnered a respectable 878 returned ballots, the Queen Margaret Union only managed 476 votes, with the healthy turnout for the GUSA elections, where many senior roles within the council were largely unopposed, showing the solid level of support that the association has gathered over the years. Furthermore, by comparing the Student Representative Council (SRC) sabbatical hustings with the GUSA equivalent, the latter having double the turnout, it is evident that students feel they can actively engage and be involved with the association, as well as influencing the future of university sport. With 48 different clubs and 83 sporting teams affiliated to GUSA competing in BUCS, it is no wonder that this academic year has arguably been the biggest and best yet for the University of Glasgow. The wealth of choice and variety has given new and continuing students the opportunity to get involved in a sport they’ve never tried, or to indulge their competitive side. With groups ranging from the more competition-based hockey, swimming and rugby clubs, to their recreational counterparts, including surfing, ski and snowboarding, as well as canoeing and kayaking, there is a great deal on offer sports-wise. Also, with gym membership at just £50 for the entire year, this is yet another reason to get involved with GUSA. Moreover, this year has seen the commencement of a recreational sports league, the Glasgow Championship, so for those of us who don’t want to feel under pressure to perform at club level, you have to the chance to participate in regular sporting fixtures in badminton, football, hockey, rugby and squash alongside people of a wide range of performance levels and abilities. This fantastic concept further wid-
ens the pool of potential new members, affording students and staff alike the opportunity to get involved in sport in an entirely new and unrestrictive level. Although this year has seen a distinct move away from the stereotypes of sport, the University of Glasgow still retains its sporting prowess when it comes to the competition stakes; the university’s recent win at the 2013 Glasgow Taxis Cup evidently shows that GUSA has developed a finely tuned machine of sporting excellence, their success adding to Glasgow’s four previous victories at the same competition. In comparison to the previous year’s nail-biting finale, when Glasgow reigned supreme with only a point separating them from rivals Strathclyde, this year’s competition resulted in unparalleled success for Glasgow University, finishing with 49 points overall, compared with Strathclyde’s 35 points and Glasgow Caledonian’s 23. In addition to this latest victory for the University of Glasgow, GUSA continues to oversee the nurturing of extremely talented sportsmen and women with elite athlete funding. These funds include sports bursaries and the Winning Students scholarship; whilst the former gives those honoured with the bursary both sporting and academic support, as well as taking care of them throughout their competitions and student life, the Winning Students scholarship, Scotland’s national sports scholarship programme, ‘supports student athletes with annual scholarships up to £5,500 to help them achieve their sporting and academic goals.’ Furthermore, this year’s GUSA Ball, held on the 9th of February at the Hilton Hotel, gave the University the opportunity to award these dedicated athletes with a recognition of their achievements; the Rebecca Cooke Award for female athlete of the year went to Ruth Dunn of the prestigious Boat Club, the Bob Wilson Award for best male athlete went to Calum Nicol, a rising star in the field of basketball, while the Glasgow University Triathlon Club were awarded best up and coming club. Dunn and Nicol are
amongst many names to look out for in the coming years, and with the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games rapidly approaching, it will undoubtedly be the time for Glasgow University’s finest athletes to step up to the mark. On a more grandiose scale, the Glasgow University Boat Club, established in 1867, is one of the oldest clubs at the university and arguably the most prominent. Based off-campus in Glasgow Green, it competes on both a Scottish and National level, but certainly the most exciting event in its calendar is the Edinburgh-Glasgow Boat Race. The race, taking place for the first time in 1877, is the second oldest in the UK, with only the famous Oxbridge Boat Race preceding it. According to the Glasgow University Boat Club website, ‘Winning is euphoric, losing – despair…The race is a blur. Heart rates soar, muscles scream with the effort and minds are locked in concentration… Perseverance through all adversities differentiates the winning crew.’ This year sees the race taking place on the 25th of May, and on that day, the media’s attention will turn to see which of the rival Universities will take home the highly sought after title. GUSA’s support has unquestionably helped in GUBC’s success thus far, with access to training facilities at both Glasgow Green and the Stevenson Building allowing the club to harness their full potential. The general welfare and health of students has always been of great importance to the University, and the introduction of a Welfare Convener in the Council, taken on this year by Leah Tomlinson, as well as the Buddy System and Sport and Wellbeing Week demonstrates GUSA’s continuing dedication to look after its members. The purpose of the newly established Welfare Convener is to ‘provide support in the planning and delivery of welfare associated events and initiatives such as the Sport & Wellbeing Week, [being] responsible for the administration and accreditation of the Healthy Body Health Mind award programme [and] works closely
with Sport & Recreation in raising the awareness of the benefits of leading an active and healthy lifestyle to the University community.’ The success of the Sport and Wellbeing Week at the beginning of the second semester emphasises GUSA’s commitment to providing a better service for all students, with keynote speakers including the inspirational Scottish track cyclist Graeme Obree and activities ranging from free exercise taster sessions, personal training, to talks on healthy eating and eating disorders, there was something to interest everyone. Starting university is a life changing experience, and GUSA strives to ensure that each and every member is given the best possible opportunity at living a healthy student life by promoting a healthy and happy lifestyle. The Buddy System, where disabled students wishing to get involved in sport are specially paired up with GUSA volunteers and given the chance to participate without any physical or mental barriers. This has proved a vital addition to GUSA’s growing list of achievements, further displaying the association’s ability to provide an open and fair service for all students at the university. GUSA is a strong institution at the University of Glasgow; its drive to secure a bright and fair future for sport has meant that it not only remains a dominant force in competitive sport, but it also provides an open and diverse foundation for new and continuing students by promoting health and wellbeing, as well as equality within sport and a variety of clubs and leagues to interest both staff and students. From its numerous victories at BUCS, the Glasgow Taxis Cup and on a national level, as well as its creation of a recreational league and the Sport and Wellbeing Week, Glasgow University Sports Association has forged a strong relationship with its members, and continues to provide a sports and wellbeing service of unparalleled quality. As an anonymous source once told me, ‘Glasgow University Sports Association IS sport.’
Throwing pieces of metal at a board made of cork
David Robertson I’ve got a friend who’s fond of reducing sports to their basic, root functions to show how ridiculous people’s pursuit of them are. For him, the world’s most popular game is about “overpaid prima donnas kicking a pig’s bladder from one side of a patch of grass to another for an hour and a half.” The noble sport of cricket involves “someone dressed all in white throwing a ball of leather at someone standing in front of some pieces of wood.” When I told him I was going to spend some of my spare time during a trip to Belfast at a darts tournament, he stopped what he was doing, paused for a moment, then said, “Ah, darts. Overweight men who live in their local pubs throwing pieces of metal at a board made of cork. You have fun.” But if ever there was a sport that defies a simple definition, it’s darts. As British a sport as horseracing or snooker, darts is a rowdy blend of oldschool ritual and polished, Sky Sports razzmatazz; a dizzying night out where excessive drinking and fancy dress is all the rage and moderation goes out the window. If you threw together a football match, a wrestling show, a stag do, an episode of Bullseye and staged it in your local, I imagine it’d resemble something similar to my night in Belfast. The first thing I notice when I enter the Odyssey Arena for the first week in the Premier League Darts season are dozens of long banquet tables taking up the entire floor space. They’re similar to the house tables you see in the Harry Potter films, only instead of the seats being taken up by wizards and
witches, it’s armies of boisterous young men, most of whom are aged between 25 and 40. Attendance at some sport events require a designated dress code. For football, it’s a strip or scarf. For a cricket match at Lord’s, it’s a jacket and tie for the men and dresses for women. And you won’t get into Ascot’s Royal meeting in June if you’re not wearing a top hat and tails. But darts operates under rules that are a mixture of a child’s birthday party invitation and a rugby club initiation ceremony: costumes, along with lots of alcohol, are prerequisites. Since I don’t drink and neglected to pack my best fancy dress costume, I look as conspicuous as someone wearing a green hooped jumper at Ibrox. There are men dressed up The Mask, Sonic the Hedgehog, E.T., and the Honey Puff Monster. Ironically, I can also see a man dressed up as Where’s Wally. In the toilet, I have an awkward moment standing next to someone dressed as Kermit the frog, and back at our table I watch a man try to ingest a cup of beer through his Mr Blobby costume. And to think that the last time I was at the Odyssey Arena was for a Taylor Swift concert. The darts players themselves are every bit as charismatic as the fancy dress costumes. Every player has a nickname, entrance music and shiny outfit. There’s James ‘The Machine’ Wade, who enters to ‘Bonkers’ by Dizzee Rascal and Simon ‘The Wizard’ Whitlock, an Australian player (with an admittedly wizardesque beard) who comes on to the song ‘Down Under.’ There’s also the characteristically stoic Raymond van Barneveld, whose nickname ‘Barney’ goes to show that unoriginality doesn’t
need to hinder your search for another moniker. But perhaps the biggest cheer of the night is reserved for darts legend, Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor. Having won a record 16 world championships, he’s easily the best player of all time and is to darts what Pele is to football or Jack Nicklaus is to golf. His records in darts have definitely helped lend an air of legibility to the sport - he’s finished runner up in the BBC sport’s personality of the year awards a couple of times - and he’s as characteristically stereotypically a darts player that you could get, with tattoos covering both arms and a rotund belly. Bing Crosby once moaned, “Frank Sinatra is the kind of singer who comes along once in a lifetime – but why did it have to be my lifetime?” In the darting equivalent, Sinatra is Phil Taylor. I’ve got a theory that the reason darts is so popular is because it’s replacing football as the sporting outlet for working class men. Fifty years ago, football was a multi-functional game that could supply the working man with everything he needed to celebrate the end of a hard, working week. Thousands of men would descend upon stadiums to stand, sing and swear together. But in the aftermath of Hillsborough Disaster and the Taylor Report, football was sanitized and domesticated. Standing sections and alcohol disappeared, and the middle class fan was born. Darts, on the other hand, is really just that stable pub sport given a facelift. It’s been described as “pure working class theatre”, and watching crowds of young men standing on tables, drinking beer and singing along to the darts anthem, “Chase the Sun”, it’s hard to disagree.
Phil Taylor may be a millionaire, but he wouldn’t look out of place sitting in the corner of a pub moaning about his missus moving his shiny shirts. During a break in the action I strike up a conversation with the guy next to me. Besotted by George Best growing up, he tells me, “I support Manchester United, and I’d love to have a season ticket. But supporting a club doesn’t make financial sense these days. Traveling from Belfast to Manchester every other week to sit next to strangers, in a stadium as quiet as a church mouse to watch a bunch of foreigners? That’s just madness.” He goes on to say, “Tonight a group of my mates have come down here and got tickets together, something you can’t do at the football. They didn’t cost much and we’re planning to get as drunk as possible. And these guys we’re watching look just like us. Footballers wouldn’t piss on you if you were on fire, but these guys just look like folk you’d see down the pub.” For myself, the darts is interesting enough without having to resort to drinking. As expected, the night’s best match is a barnstorming encounter between Taylor and the young upstart, Michael van Gerwen, their first match since Taylor beat him in the PDC world final. During the match, Taylor nearly throws a fabled ‘nine darter’. In a game of darts everyone starts with a score of 501; the aim is to get to zero as soon as you can, and the shortest number of darts you can do this in is nine. Similar to seeing a hole in one in golf or a 147 break in snooker, Taylor’s hit two 180s and is en route to a memorable moment, before he fluffs his lines and we get back to our drinks. Fittingly, the match ends in a draw and the night
ends. On the way back into the city centre my friend and I debate the sporting merits of darts. “Surely nothing can be considered a sport if you get better at it by spending more time in the pub?”, he asks. I can always remember my PE teacher telling me that if you could smoke during a game, then it’s not a sport. Admittedly, no darts player stops for a fag tonight, but some of them look as if they’ve struggled to make it up the stairs. But let’s not get carried away over a semantic debate about the worth of darts, I tell him. Tonight, thousands of people from across Northern Ireland have been amazed by an eclectic range of entertainers. Sky Sports have beamed the event live across the entire nation to millions watching at home. There’s been glamour girls and pyrotechnics. Who cares if it’s a sport or a game? Well, the Olympic International Committee for one. Having included rugby sevens and golf as part of the Olympic programme for the 2016 games, darts is being touted for inclusion in 2020. If enough people play it, and its governing body follow the IOC charter, then it can be incorporated. And most people have played darts at some point in their lives, but I imagine that very few children have some spare discuses hanging around the house. So in nine years’ time, don’t be surprised to see Team GB’s track and field heroes standing next to some plumper counterparts. After all, there’s already a game at the Olympics where “you throw a pointy metal stick as far as you can.”
entre rting n be er at ub?”, my ould not a tops look p the
over th of ands Ireectic have ntire ome. pyroor a
onal uded the 2016 ncluay it, IOC ated. ts at gine pare e. So rised hemper eady “you you
APRIL 5TH 2013
APRIL 5TH 2013
GLASGOWGUARDIAN.CO.UK NEWS 4-7
TH FEBRUARY SPORT718-22 2013