INVESTIGATING THE TREND OF INITIATIONS ACROSS CAMPUS
inside zimbabwe IMPACT TAKES YOU WHERE THE BBC CAN’T
all for one
THE HIGHS AND LOWS OF FRESHERS’ WEEK
issue 192 nov ’08
1 Letters & Editorial 5 News
18 Mental Health
- Craig Cox remains in his job - Top-up fees set to rise? - Councils concerned over ‘studentification’ - The lingering gender pay gap
Sport - Impact talks to Olympian Jess Sylvester - Dodgeball: good or bad? - Focus on County Cricket
Feeling blue? Mental health problems at university are more common than you think.
30 33 37 40
Travel Style Spare Parts
Up and coming events from the Students’ Union
- New Theatre - The Penny Dreadfuls
15 Hazed and Confused
Impact’s Simba reports from Mugabe’s Zimbabwe.
22 Can’t be arsed? Is being apathetic as easy as everyone thinks? Frances Ryan finds otherwise.
- We interview Simon Pegg - The first movies you remember
23 Feeling the Crunch
Not your problem? Impact looks at how the credit crunch might affect students.
24 The Importance
- An interview with The Foals - The latest album and gig reviews
of Being Cool
Masturbating in front of your sports team? Having to down a pint of Pedigree Chum? Impact investigates the tradition of initiations across campus.
inside this issue 192
Cover Image: Caroline Wijnbladh and Charlie Walker
Being ethical can be the new cool. Read here to find out why.
26 Heckler and Koch
Imagine if one of the world’s largest arms companies had a headquarters near campus. Actually...it does.
- What you didn’t know about Einstein - The science of ghosts and ghouls
- The life of Easy Tiger - Impact Cocktails
Gratis Famous Last Words
28 Freshers’ Week Impact recounts the highs and lows of the first week of your university life.
Impact interviews Nathan Barley
ometimes, after spending endless draining hours in the Impact office, you’re tempted to feel as if you work at a real magazine. You have over eighty people contributing to each issue; a list of email addresses for over five hundred potential writers; a stack of sodden, unwashed but still usable coffee mugs; and an apparently limitless supply of garish promotional giveaways. This week, inconceivably, we even had someone here on work experience. Have we gone professional? Are we becoming, I wonder, perhaps more than just an amateurish rabble of students playing at being writers? I take a pro plus, sign out of facebook, and unwrap my kebab. Outside of our bubble, events have been moving at a remarkable pace these past few weeks. Banks are being nationalised. Lending is grinding to a halt. An entire country, Iceland, is on the brink of bankruptcy – its national debt amounts to more than £116,000 for every man, woman and child on the island. Even though I have less than no savings in the bank to lose, things are looking pretty grim. I don’t know what will happen by the time you read this, but I know it won’t be all sun and roses. Seeing the fruits of this wasteful, creditbased excess, some people might begin to question their own behaviour. And aren’t we students the embodiment of this extravagance? The buy now, pay later attitude. The racking up of debt. The “don’t worry, it’s free money” overdraft extensions. Will we eventually collapse under the weight of our own excesses? Should we, if we can, somehow mend our ways? At risk of sounding reckless, my answer is: not really. This is your chance to ignore the world and do what you want to do – and not many people have that opportunity. It’s your chance to have great times you’ll remember for the rest of your life, and even better times you won’t remember at breakfast the next day. This is not the time to worry. You might never get so much freedom again. So embrace the bubble. I’m off to eat my kebab.
Comments from impactnottingham.com Does the Student Executive not feel that the Student Body has the right to know what their decision to vote, either in favour of or against Mr. Cox, was based on? I feel that, not only are the Student Body’s requests being ignored, but we are not told why our requests are rejected. From what I have read it appears that only ethnic minority members voted against Mr. Cox (although I may be wrong). Another quite significant point is that the President of the Black and Minority Ethnic Students’ Committee (BME) was not given the opportunity to speak. This is quite interesting as surely he would have one of the most detailed accounts of the level of offence black students felt from Mr. Cox’s actions. I am further humoured by the fact that Mr. Cox can continue to claim the incident to be either a joke or a mistake, despite the President of the SU being at the meeting with him and actually being the one to propose the Vote of No Confidence. I find quite ridiculous the fact that TWO THOUSAND signatures are not enough to remove ONE individual from office. How important is a student, in comparison to a member of the Exec, if it takes SIX THOUSAND to remove ONE. Did we really expect better? I think on this occasion we did, but it seems once again that racism against blacks is never taken as seriously as racism against other ethnic minorities - for example, the Jewish. If the sign had contained an anti-Semitic statement (for example, not that it would have been relevant), I’m sure more would have been done.
Vanessa Brown Vanessa, making statements like that is not conducive to a resolution of this matter. I was over the moon to hear that Craig Cox was going to stay. Putting aside the NUS findings and the fact that he has a very important sabbatical position (which couldn’t be filled easily) - the whole episode is trivial. It is my understanding that Craig categorically denies any intent to cause offense. The other thing you should take into account is the nature of the Survey- those 2000 signatures are by no means divisive. The 2000 signatures make up about 6% of the student population whereas 6000 would be a fairer representation of the student population (18%). To take unreasonable offense over an act which was clearly nondeliberate is senseless, this is just another example of the student liberal population wanting to cause a scene as EVERYTHING is just soooooo unjust. To say that anti-semitism would be taken more seriously is appalling, what you say is completely unfounded. Furthermore, do you think it is a coincidence that the SU Pres is black and that he proposed the motion. Not forgetting that he is also a member of the BME and finds the fact that we aren’t being served bacon in the mornings offensive. He was also partially obliged to propose the motion under SU non-discriminatory practice. Considering this, it can’t be unreasonable to suggest that he could blow the incident out of proportion. Craig Cox is here to stay, get over it, and get on with your lives whoever sent the death threat to Cox is the person who should be expelled from this institution.
News Student’s Union Votes to Keep Craig Cox The Students’ Union Council has voted down the motion of no confidence levelled at Craig Cox, who will now remain in his job as Education Officer on the SU Exec. At an Extraordinary Meeting of Council, which lasted over two hours, a majority of over 60% voted in favour of Cox remaining in his job. Cox welcomed the result, and said: “I now intend to get on with the job that I was elected to do, and to represent each and every student at the University to the best of my ability.” Bayo Randle, President of the Black and Minority Ethnic Students’ Committee
“I now intend to get on with the job that I was elected to do” (BME), raised questions about the democracy of the event, and said: “I felt the chair lacked impartiality. I myself was not allowed to speak even though I put my hand up to speak at the same time as everyone else.” While there were around fifty protesters outside Council, no non-
Council members were allowed inside the chamber.
by Rob Barham we’re going to fight to remove him – regardless of whether he actually gets removed, the principle still remains.” There is still the possibility that a referendum could be called, were around 6,000 signatures in favour to be collected. While the BME have over 2,000 signed letters in favour of Cox being removed, there are concerns that these may be invalidated by a lack of printed names and student ID numbers on some of the letters, and multiple letters being signed by the same individuals.
The motion of no confidence follows allegations that Craig Cox held up a sign bearing the message ‘Bring Back Slavery’ at an NUS training course in August. While Cox does not deny these allegations, he claims that his actions were unintentional. An internal investigation by the NUS did not comment directly on this point, although it acknowledged that Cox did not write the sign himself.
The move was divisive within the SU Exec – especially since the President, Nsikan Edung, was the person to propose the motion. Edung said, “As I proposed the motion and it fell, obviously I am very disappointed with the outcome.” He said he had “no regrets” about his decision, and that he felt there “was a very strong case for Craig’s removal”; however, he emphasised that now “things will have to move forward and we shall see how the rest of the year pans out.”
The BME will continue to oppose the decision. Bayo Randle said, “If the students want Craig Cox gone, then
Though Cox won the motion of no confidence, Council did vote in favour of a motion of censure against him.
Isis and AU Officer Crackdown on ‘Hooliganism’ The University Rugby Club has been banned from Isis for four weeks due to alleged ‘hooliganism’ during Freshers’ Week. The AU received an email from the management of Isis - reportedly irate at the behaviour on the 1st October - warning that if there are any more problems they will be banning all AU Clubs as well as any wearing club ties. Details of what happened were not officially revealed, but undisclosed sources report that fights and general harassment of female students triggered the move. In an email to all AU clubs, Paul Lloyd,
Athletic Union officer, called for an end to this undesirable behaviour, stating that “Wednesday nights should be an opportunity for us to go out and show the university why they should want to play sports - the atmosphere that is generated, the team spirit that is built and how enjoyable the social life is.” Members of the Rugby Club have challenged the implementation of the ban and have blamed Isis bouncers for being too heavy-handed. One member of the team is alleged to have commented that their “banter and antics” were wrongly classed as hooliganism, and that Isis had overreacted.
by Lorenzo Manzai
The rugby club have got in a ruck with Isis
John Amble 05
187 Years Until Gender Equality In The Pay Packet New research suggests that it will take 187 years for women’s pay to exceed that of men. The findings are drawn from a survey of over 40,000 individuals that looked at the current levels and increases in pay for both genders. Carried out by the Chartered Management Institute, the report discovers a higher rate of redundancies, resignations and job transfers in the female work force. While rises in women’s wages have exceeded those of men this year, female executives still receive on average £13,655 less in annual income than their male peers. Current levels of pay increases lead to the Institute’s forecast that “it will not be until 2195 before female pay outstrips
men.” According to the findings, female directors will be the last to achieve parity, particularly within the IT sector and with those residing in Scotland. But the research also discloses that in the energy sector, junior executives are “bucking the trend” leading to a prediction that women in this line of work will gain pay equality as early as 2010.
“When it comes to equal pay, it seems that the glass is now opaque” Jo Causon, a Director at the Institute, comments: “At least with a glass ceiling it is possible to see through to the next level. However, when it comes to equal pay, it seems that the glass is now opaque.” She adds, “It is time that the lip service of the three decades since
High Earners To Pay Higher Fees? It has been proposed by Lord Patten of Barnes, the Chancellor of Oxford University, that middle-class parents who spend thousands on their children’s private education should be required to pay more for their university fees. In his view, the current cap, set at £3140 by the government, should be removed so that certain institutions are free to charge higher sums for their courses. His declaration has been widely criticised. The Students’ Union of Newcastle University, of which he is also Chancellor,
has deemed it deeply concerning that he should describe the current cap as “intolerably low.” Similarly, Secretary of
“Lifting the cap on tuition fees would improve the quality of academic research in Britain” State for Universities, John Denham, has accused Patten of having “outmoded” views and seeking to preserve the institution for a socially elite intake. Such concerns have also been reiterated by Wes Streeting, President of the National Union of Students, who fears such a move would result in “rich students being taught at rich institutions and students from poorer backgrounds being taught at poorer institutions.” Critics have argued that this would result in extensive polarisation of the quality of universities’ teaching and research, as the institutions which would be able to charge the most already receive the lion’s share of funding and tend to have wealthy alumni bases from which they receive contributions.
Lord Patten wants a new fee system
by Camille Herreman
An alternative stance has been put forward by Martin Neale, Director of the
Gender equality is still a way off
sex discrimination was first outlawed is transformed into action.”
by Sophia Hemsley National Institute of Economic and Social Research, who suggests that “lifting the cap on tuition fees would improve the quality of academic research in Britain.” As well as helping to maintain their position on the international stage, Neale argues this change would also benefit students, as by raising the cost of undergraduate degrees the top universities would be forced to reassess and improve what they were offering students.The controversy on the issue of fees extends to the proposals by some that graduates who reap high financial returns in the private sector should pay more for their education than those who find employment in the voluntary or private sectors. Many fear that this is a potentially dangerous situation as high levels of student debt divert good graduates from the public sector by offering financial incentives elsewhere. Streeting’s solution is that there is a “need to have an increased contribution from the State and from business and to ask those graduates who have benefited financially from higher education to pay that little bit more back.” If the decision is taken by the government to lift the cap on tuition fees it is certain disputes over who should pay for these changes will only intensify.
Bringing Art To The Masses On Saturday 11th October a new art gallery was opened on Station Street in Nottingham. A night of music and entertainment was put on to celebrate the opening of the Art Salon, the newest addition to the development by The Art Organisation (TAO). Since its foundation in 2007, TAO has enriched the local community by providing opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to get involved in art through classes, workshops and education programmes. Evening classes currently available include life drawing, photography, comedy improvisation and music, and over the summer the centre ran a photography course for teenagers leaving foster and social care. At the same time TAO has regenerated one of Nottingham’s most derelict areas by turning a disused former police station, a hotel and a nightclub into a centre for the
by Justine Moat
creation and exhibition of arts. In fact, the centre has proved to be so successful that its project manager, Rob Smith, has been nominated for a Reach Out award - a prize given out yearly to a resident of Nottinghamshire who has made a significant contribution to the local community through charity work or volunteering. Smith’s aim is to bring art into the community and he encourages anyone to drop in. He told the Nottingham Evening Post: “I want people in Nottingham to be able to pop in any time they like, if people are passing, I want them to just come in and take a look.” To find out more visit www.theartorganis ation.co.uk. ‘A Little Bit of Notts’ was the summer photography exhibition
New Laws To End Studentification Of Towns The government has proposed changes to current planning laws in an attempt to disperse student communities and end the ‘studentification’ of university towns.
take to reduce the dramatic effects of ‘studentification’, in which houses of multiple occupation (HMOs) cluster too closely together.”
On 26th September the housing and planning minister, Caroline Flint, published a report suggesting methods to reduce the accumulation of student houses in one area which then becomes empty during academic holidays. It is likely that these ideas will be put to Parliament in a green paper due to be published later in the year.
Under current legislation an HMO can be defined as “any dwelling of three or more people from two or more households”, and under stricter planning laws councils would be able to determine the frequency of HMOs in any given area, powers which
by Susannah Sconce
have already been enforced in Northern Ireland. President of the National Union of Students, Wes Streeting, expressed alarm at the idea of students being displaced in the middle of a housing crisis, stating: “we are also worried that added bureaucracy will discourage landlords from the HMO market.”
“Local communities are left living as ghost towns following the summer student exodus”
Flint stated: “It is not acceptable that current rental practices allow unplanned student enclaves to evolve to such an extent that local communities are left living as ghost towns following the summer student exodus. The report has identified a series of proven steps councils and universities can
Lenton is one area that is subjected to studentification
News In Brief Top of the Charts The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2009 has ranked the University of Nottingham as the 16th best university in the country. Nottingham has maintained its high standard with thirty-three of its schools and departments being rated as ‘excellent,’ an accomplishment only matched by Cambridge and Manchester.
by Emma Shipley
New Physiology Unit Unleashed
New Vice-Chancellor for University
A new physiology unit has been opened at the University of Nottingham. The David Greenfield Human Physiology Unit was officially opened on 30th September 2008. Research at the unit, based at the Queen’s Medical Centre, focuses on obesity, diabetes and muscle function, and is one of the leading centres of its kind in the country.
Professor David Greenaway has succeeded Sir Colin Campbell as the new Vice-Chancellor of the university, having previously held the position of Pro-ViceChancellor.
Shottingham? Gun shots fired in Nottingham have dropped by 84% in the five years since the murder of Arnold jeweller Marian Bates. Statistics have plummeted with only 8 shots being fired this year, a stark contrast to the 51 shots fired in 2003.
Full Steam Ahead for Parkway Station December 2008 was supposed to mark the opening of the East Midlands Parkway station, yet the project was delayed due to legal issues concerning a new access road and land use. However, a recent withdrawal of complaints regarding the access road means that there are now no more obstacles preventing the project’s completion. The station is now expected to open in early 2009.
University Vision for Bilborough Academy Plans to create an academy in Bilborough have been unveiled. The new academy, scheduled to open in September 2009, will be jointly sponsored and developed by The University of Nottingham and millionaire businessman David Samworth. Professor Di Birch, former Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the project, believes the university’s involvement can raise attainment and ambition in an area notorious for poor academic performance.
Disappointment for Robin Hood’s Merry Men An attempt to smash the world record for number of people dressed as Robin Hood in one place occurred at Nottingham’s recent Goose Fair. Despite assembling 993 Robins the record was not broken and the title still remains with the 1,119 Robin Hoods who gathered at Nottingham Castle in March 2008.
Noisy Neighbour Gets His Comeuppance A Nottingham man has had 33 items of electrical equipment confiscated after playing music so loud it made neighbours’ picture frames vibrate. David Myrie appeared shocked when Nottingham magistrates told him he had to forfeit the goods, including TVs, CD players, cassette players and speakers. Myrie, representing himself, urged magistrates not to take his electrical equipment; “I would like my things back,” he said.
Disabled Woman Fights Off Mugger with Crutches A woman, reliant on crutches due to a birth defect, used her walking aid to fend off a mugger while he attempted to steal her suitcase. The incident occurred at the Victoria Centre while she was waiting for a taxi. Although the persistent attacker had approached her only minutes before on Glasshouse Street, he still left emptyhanded.
Nocturnal Golf Arrives in Lenton The Riverside Golf Centre in Lenton is reportedly among the first in the country to offer night-time golf. In an attempt to make the sport more accessible all year round, the club is providing players with illuminated golf balls and glow-in-thedark markers pointing out the bunkers.
The Debate For the new system Josh Green
Social Secretary for the Filmmaking Society I was signing-up new members for the Filmmaking Society during Freshers’ Fayre and found that the new system of barcodes had many benefits. The queues at each stall were considerably shorter than in previous years. This meant that students could spend longer on each stand talking to committee members and finding out about their chosen societies. They could also get around more stalls, rather than being put off by long waiting times. The barcode system was simple to use by both committee members and students. Scanning did take a bit of time, but is inevitable with over 4000 new students and is just another long queue that students face in Week One: registration, health centre sign-up, in the dining hall, and outside clubs. Many students had filled up their yellow leaflets indicating healthy membership numbers for sports teams and societies. Overall, Freshers’ Fayre seemed a lot less crowded, except at the free pizza stall! It was a great benefit that stallholders didn’t have to handle money as this simplified the whole process. There was no need for a change float, and the transaction could be done in one go at the end. Another feature this year was that students could join mailing lists and pay for memberships online. I know that many second- and third-years did this, but perhaps many freshers were unaware of this option and seemed to think they had to sign up at the event. The online system was set up much like any other online shopping website, so students could simply and quickly add societies and sports teams to their shopping basket and then pay by debit card.
The New Freshers’ Fayre Sign Up System This year the Students’ Union decided to reform the system used at Freshers’ Fayre by which individuals subscribe to societies. According to Patrick ‘Crouchy’ Hopkins, “the main reason was to make clubs and societies more transparent and accessible. Also, similar Unions who have implemented this system found that membership revenue increased dramatically. We’re currently gathering feedback on the new system in order to improve it for the rest of this year and next year - we will have a lot more tills next year too! If you missed Freshers’ Fayre, don’t forget you can sign up online to both sports clubs and societies.”
Against the new system Dan Grimwood
Member of a Sports Society Unlike Freshers’ Fayre 2007, this year students were dealing with lengthy queues and system breakdowns when trying to join sports clubs and societies. Not only did it leave attendees frustrated, it also left many organisations with fewer members than last year. The general feeling toward queuing was expressed on the third day of the Fayre by David Talbot, a third year: “This is the second time I’ve come to try to sign up for wakeboarding and this is the second time I’m leaving because of ridiculous waiting times. There was nothing wrong with the old system, why did they change it?” Adding to the confusion was the option to sign up online, which was neither well-advertised nor fully understood by the majority of students. The old system of paying sports clubs and societies directly involved less queuing, less confusion and more members as a result. It is true that the new system had potential, but its problems need to be ironed out by next year in order to silence calls for a return to the old system.
The new system received a mixed reaction
Sport Getting to Know...Dodgeball, with Hans Krause Name: Position: Hometown: Course:
Hans Krause ‘Balls of Steel’ Treasurer Frankfurt Maths
First off Hans, dodgeball... why? Were you inspired by the movie? It’s mixed gender, and as a game it’s fun, fast and attracts a wide range of people. It can accommodate all abilities; we’re the current Dublin Tournament champions! I’ve never even seen the movie, though we’re watching it at our first social.
Other than German ruthlessness then, what makes a good dodgeballer? Ha, it’s very much a team game. It’s very tactical. Throwing together, at the same time, at the same target from all angles is the way to win. It’s quite mentally challenging. Your university team name ‘Balls of Steel’ has got me wondering. What is the dream dodgeball pain-inflicting shot? Intentional headshots are actually illegal, but I guess a straight shot to the thorax is the ultimate. Tactically you aim for the feet.
Nottingham Student Going for Gold
Jessica Sylvester was Rebecca Adlington’s Olympic room mate, and told Impact that she has set her sights on emulating the double gold medalist’s achievements in 2012. The Nottingham Bio-Chemistry student swam in the 4x100m relay final in Beijing where team GB came 7th but still took home a new British record which had stood since 2000.
Once given the opportunity to compete at the Olympics, the Nottingham student certainly made the most of it. “The atmosphere was like nothing I have ever experienced,” she revealed. “The Chinese team were in our final and had a medal chance so the crowd were going wild. It was quite an emotional moment as it all could have been so different had I not got into the team.” And it was not only in the pool that Sylvester got to experience the Olympic lifestyle. She said the Olympic village was, “like walking around Hollywood or LA! The USA basketball team were regulars at McDonald’s, I also met Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Usain Bolt.”
Yet Sylvester was almost left to watch the spectacle at home along with the rest of us. Although she finished in the top four at the Olympic Trials in April, Melanie Marshall (who was disqualified for not signing in for the final on time) was actually quicker on paper, making Sylvester only 5th fastest. “The management felt that they had to go with the fastest four swimmers on paper to make the final,” Sylvester explained. “[In Beijing] I had the opportunity of an individual time trial in the Olympic pool straight after the relay heats, to try and post a time faster than any of the heat swimmers. I swam a 0.5 seconds personal best and managed to swim faster than Julia Beckett so was reinstated for the final.”
The biggest name to come out of the ‘Cube’, from a British point of view, has to be Rebecca Adlington. Even though she is now a massive star, to Jess she is just one of the girls. “I was sharing a room with Becky and it was quite normal, to be honest! We know each other really well
“To everyone else she’s a double Olympic Champion, but to me she’s just Becky!” and I think it was nice for her to come back to the room and relax after all of her media commitments. To everyone else she’s a double Olympic Champion, world record superstar, but to me she’s just
by John Spinks
Right, so you have the opportunity to unleash at an unsuspecting victim’s thorax. Ideally, who is it? Hmm, one of the Leicester Ligers. They find loopholes in the laws and basically cheat. We’re pretty big rivals and it can get quite tense and aggressive. There have been scenes.... Finally, Patches O’Hoolihan - “If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball”. Your thoughts? Our training isn’t as aggressive as that - but I like to think I’d be more confident dodging a punch nowadays!
A New Year for University Sport As a new sporting year at Nottingham University begins, Impact decided to get the lowdown on what to expect from the new Athletic Union Officer Paul Lloyd. What are your main aims for the year as AU President? Obviously winning the Varsity series is high up the list, as is getting back into the top 5 in BUCS (formerly BUSA). I also want to improve the AU Ball and Christmas socials. Regarding intra-mural sports, I want to make them feel more a part of the AU. I’ve expanded the intramural programme by starting up intramural tennis and am running Superstars for the first time in 13 years. Is the job harder than you expected?
by Matt Edwards Becky!” For Sylvester, as for many of the young
I wouldn’t say it was harder, as that would insinuate that I wasn’t enjoying it as much as I thought I would. The hours are admittedly longer than I thought they would be, but I genuinely do enjoy each day.
From the University Swimming Centre to the Beijing Water Cube
British team who over-achieved, Beijing was just a taster of the real thing and a preparation for when the games come to our shores in London 2012. The downto-earth swimmer is looking forward to big things: “I am definitely aiming for a medal in London, whether it be in the relay or individual. Seeing what Becky has achieved has been so inspiring and shows that with hard work and dedication it can be done.”
How do you propose advertising university sport to the students outside of the clubs? This year we have more clubs and more teams than ever, so hopefully most students will have had a better chance than ever to already be involved in a club. As an AU we continue to promote our clubs throughout the year and events such as Varsity, Superstars and Refreshers’ Fayre help to achieve this. It is important that students realise that once Freshers’ Week is over, they still have the chance to join one of the 76 clubs and over 150 intra-mural teams we have.
by Max McLaren and Matthew Flower when it is open, multiple sports centres (including those in China and Malaysia if you are really keen!), swimming pool, and fitness centre. Varsity: which sport do you want to win the most? I played football for the Uni in my first two years, so admittedly I do have a soft spot for that. But being as competitive as I am, I don’t care which specific matches we win, as long as we regain varsity from the Poly down the road.
A number of students complain of having to pay membership fees due to their tight budget. What can you say to them? I completely empathise with them, as I still have to count the pennies in my wallet! But relative to what you can get outside of University, the membership is a really good price. For £195 you get free use of our astroturf pitches, 3G pitch
Is the sports centre good value for money?
by Ben Bloom
As a heavily rain-disrupted season came to a close, cricket’s First Division County Championship saw the title race go down to the wire as Nottinghamshire and Durham battled for victory on the final day late in September. Arguably, it was a decision made not by the counties, but by the England & Wales Cricket Board a number of weeks previously that was decisive. The Nottinghamshire side were weakened without their young England international star Stuart Broad.
After the introduction of ECB Central Contracts in 2002-03, the fate of the select band of players awarded the contracts has lain with their country rather than their county. Unlike the vast majority of county contracts that see players employed for nine months or less, Central Contracts run for twelve months and give power to the England coach to decide if and when he wants the contracted players to perform for their counties.
With victory against Hampshire required to wrap up the title, Nottinghamshire’s effort was to fall at the final hurdle. Broad – under contract with the ECB and with instructions not to play for his county for the remainder of the season – found himself free to enjoy some of Nottingham’s other entertainment. On two of the match nights he was spotted at Market Bar’s student nights. Meanwhile, Durham benefitted from the presence of their talismanic England international Steve Harmison, who claimed seven wickets against Kent to guide the youngest cricketing county to their first ever Championship title.
The compensation package in place ensures that counties are not left completely empty-handed when their national stars are unavailable. However, it must have been a bitter pill to swallow for those at Trent Bridge to see the title slip from their grasp while Broad was free to party with Nottingham University students. It is not that the reasons for Broad’s exclusion are not known – he is the youngest of England’s centrally contracted players and is in great need of a rest before England’s winter tours – but the sight of the fellow ECB-contracted Harmison leading Durham to victory showed the great influence that the
national governing body holds over the county game. Although the Central Contract system has undeniably seen a marked improvement in the national side, the Trent Bridge faithful will no doubt feel somewhat hard done by when they reflect on another near-miss for Nottinghamshire.
Nottinghamshire, with England’s Stuart Broad, came close to clinching the County Championship again this summer
dark room, a jeering mob. A young man, trousers around his ankles, eyes closed, teeth clenched, furiously rubbing himself to a climax. He raises his head and leans backwards, his mouth forming a perfect circle. Welcome to the world of the society initiation.
Advert An ad was meant to be placed here post-proofing by the SU, but they seem to have messed up. Instead, you have a blank half page.
It’s usually not this grim, of course. But they can be humiliating and extreme exercises, ones which rely upon stripping the subject of dignity and moulding them into some different kind of person. Last month the BBC released a video of an initiation ceremony at the University of Gloucester where a student in Nazi uniform paraded up and down in front of his troops, cowering drunken messes wearing plastic bags on their heads and slobbering vomit down their chests, marching through the streets, pausing only for squat thrusts and more beer. The national response was predictable. The university promised to “probe” the incident; the NUS President, Wes Streeting, said, “We are totally opposed to student initiations,” and called for a complete ban. Our own university’s policy is that, “Student clubs are advised that it is against Students’ Union policy to hold initiation ceremonies, to force any member to take part in an activity against their will, and to promote activities based exclusively around alcohol. These activities may not be used as a prerequisite for a member to be included or excluded from the club. The University will always seek to take appropriate action with regard to disruptive and anti-social behaviour, up to and including formal University disciplinary action.” There’s even the threat of the Police being brought in for particularly anti-social events, but judging from the continued popularity of these initiations these warnings can only have barely registered as credible.
Initiations For this article many anonymous students came forward with tales of initiations, both positive and negative, and various ‘solutions’ to any problems there may be. All of them were clear that they were told by their society heads never to mention the initiations to outsiders for fear of university repercussion, but similarly all of them spoke highly in favour of initiations, and pointed out that most of them are harmless and safe – all that official regulations and warnings seem to have done is drive any dangerously ‘extreme’ elements underground. But why? It may serve as an education to list some of the stories divulged by these tipsters – though we must clarify from the start that the anonymous nature of these stories mean that they are all, at best, allegedly true. Those motifs that repeat throughout these tales tend to be assaults upon the following – sexuality, rationality, and legality. There are variations and exceptions, but these seem to be the most common themes of the extreme, secretive initiation ceremonies. The first of these usually gives us the most severe and twisted scenes. As the initiations seek to damage and humiliate in the most effective ways possible, it is no surprise that they often attack the things most new members will hold dearest – their rugged sexuality. Again and again, tales were told of sexually themed initiations. One university rugby club lined its initiates up on the sports field in female underwear and nought else. A few years ago, another unspecified society allegedly constructed, “a human train of freshers with one thumb in their mouth and the other up the guy’s arse in front of him, gladly watched by many fellow members of the club. If the thumb came out of the guy’s bum the fresher had to lick it clean as a punishment for his bad behaviour and put it back in. Thus the train was back on its tracks, and continued.”
Then there is this year’s aforementioned grim masturbatory manifestation of some kind of mass sexual repression, as if the tight sweaty shorts and group showering drives some repressed members of these societies insane with erotic lust, unleashed when given the authority to control and abuse those willing to put themselves in their power. New members come to play a game, but the admission cost is to put on a good show. They appear to be subscribing to the theory that that which does not kill us only makes us stronger, more heterosexual, more manly. An inoculation. For only when confronted with another man’s penis, in direct and unhindered contact, and then neither flinching nor experiencing rising excitement, well. It is on that day that they become Men.
it was a picture of filth. All sorts of vomit, urine, excrement all over the bus
But really - why are so many initiations so gay? “I find myself asking that more and more every year, as initiations take one more step to fullon gay sex,” replies one anonymous informant. Never mind the grossly homophobic implications, that these sorts of initiations must stem from an assumption that homosexual qualities are somehow intrinsically inferior and less desirable in a comrade; that they must be weeded out. It’s that usually this obsession with sexuality and gender isn’t seen outside the pages of feminist academia. There must be a reason for this. Many initiations also focus upon the absolute and complete destruction of rational, independent thought, by soaking the members in enough booze to make Oliver Reed nervous. Dented buckets of flowing beers and spirits can make any party, true, but often the alcohol is the ends,
not the means. The most common foundation of any initiation, as any fool knows, is the dangerous levels of alcohol, and the attempts to repress initiations tend to focus almost exclusively on limiting the alcohol consumption in the assumption that this is where the problems stem from. Every year, dozens of students end up in hospital, most of them towards the beginnings of the year as they try to integrate into their new surroundings. The three deaths in the United Kingdom officially determined as being related to initiations were all drinking-related incidents. One example of drunken hi-jinks from recent university history occurred last year - the hockey society was reprimanded for the following incident, as recounted by one of our anonymous informants: “We played a match in Leeds, then went to a pub afterwards. The freshers were, well, not forced, but strongly encouraged to drink copiously – which everyone enjoyed. When it came time to leave we went into the car park and were lined up against a wall, and everyone had to, without anyone actively forcing us, but as close as you can get to being forced, to down a can of super-strength lager. But then we had a two-litre bottle of something strapped to our hands, which we had to drink on the bus. And generally, the bus was a picture of filth. All sorts of vomit, urine, excrement all over the bus. Then the freshers were encouraged to steal things from a petrol station, and that was when the university found out about it. You hear these things from every other university as well.” Without doubt this story has been mirrored across societies, across the country – including the conclusion, with several students in hospital with alcohol poisoning. This anecdote also brings us to the third trend – illegality. After snorting a line of powdered orange squash, one military-based society held a competition in a university bar over the most expensive stolen item. The winner grabbed a pair of horns from the wall, leading to victory and barring. Petrol stations have seen several societies strike after a particularly drunken initiation session. Challenges are issued – for example, the ‘Masterfoods Challenge’, to steal any item manufactured by the food giant. In practice, this meant five-finger discounts on Pedigree Chum and Mars Bars. So we have initiations where the greater the level of gender confusion the stronger it leaves the straight survivor; where alcohol is consumed to immense levels and near-death poisonings are trivialised; where petty crime is a petty amusement, all done in hunt of the elusive creature known as ‘banter’. Why is this the case? Why do so many head down these routes to humiliation year after year, smiling as they lose those qualities that define them as human?
Explanations “The more harrowing and the more painful (not necessarily physically so) an initiation rite is, the more likely the person is to rate that group as valuable, and one to which they wish to belong,” explains Dr Martin Hagger, a research psychologist at the University of Nottingham with a particular interest in the way group interaction affects human behaviour. Much research has been carried out in this area, and specifically on students in the USA, where ‘hazings’ are a much more common (and often, much more violent) affair – and the results are interesting and enlightening as to the reasons people endanger and degrade themselves. “We all have a sense of belonging, a desire to belong to a group,
because that’s how we define ourselves,” continues Dr Hagger. “We choose to join groups where we have shared or common interests. We all have strong attractions to groups because they feed into our selfesteem, so when someone criticises that group, or a member of that group, it is often taken as a criticism of ourselves. It is as if it is you that is being criticised. You can see this every day on different levels, from joining a hockey club to different nationalities.” This explains a key observation, the lengths people happily go through in order to belong to what is ostensibly a trivial team – and it’s echoed by people who have gone through these. When asked why he didn’t leave during a humiliating episode, one rugby team member replied, “I could have left, but no one does. It’s good fun and you don’t want to miss out. There’s also an element that if there’s 60 of you doing it and you’re the only one to leave you’ll feel a bit stupid, but no more so than with any situation like that.”
The more harrowing and the more painful an initiation rite is, the more likely the person is to rate that group as valuable, and one to which they wish to belong
But the nature of these tests and trials is still somewhat confusing. Why do we value painful or challenging ones over other forms of bonding? “There are arguments that we have a desire to join groups for evolutionary purposes,” says Hagger. “It’s likely to be sexual selection, where people select their mates on the traits they have. If someone is more successful in a group then they are more likely to mate and pass on that trait.”
Whilst it is true that initiations tend or tended to be quite severe in tribal societies – the Satere-Mawe tribe of Brazil traditionally make the young men place their hands in gloves containing 200 bullet ants, whose collective bites will render the arm useless often for days, before they could be called Men – I still feel the nature of the initiations is more determined by the broader culture. This could potentially explain the constant focus amongst male sporting societies on twisting gender as a form of humiliation – a shared definition of manliness, arrived at through a faux-homosexual trial by fire. It should be no surprise that those societies most associated with wild initiations are those with the most masculine traditions, where homosexual or feminine traits are rare and the team mentality is intensely cultivated through group activities like drinking and clubbing. Theft becomes a way of sticking two fingers up to wider society and declaring allegiance to the new team; getting collectively drunk lowers inhibitions, leads to shared stories, and the all-powerful ‘banter’. “To the question of whether it’s nature or nurture, the answer is a bit of both. The question is how much our attraction to groups is determined by what we learn from our parents and others,” Dr Hagger explains. “A lot of these are things that ‘seemed a good idea at the time’, but peer pressure does play a role. People will do things in group situations which, if you interview them beforehand, asking ‘would you do this?’ they often say that, of course, they wouldn’t. And yet, in the situation, they will do these things.” The Milgram obedience experiments from the 1960s showed that most of us would willingly electrocute strangers if ordered to, and in the bowels of Stanford friends were shown to quickly become ruthless bastards towards each other if given half a chance. The evidence points towards a simple conclusion – that people enjoy these things because we naturally want to join groups with similar
interests, but we won’t be truly integrated until we’ve paid some kind of physical or mental price that allows us to define ourselves in that group’s terms. Never mind if we don’t like it, the collective stares of ours peers are more than enough motivation to discard principles.
solutions Before discussing ‘solutions’, it would probably be more sensible to ask whether this is truly a problem that needs solving. “I think if initiations stopped the sports teams would definitely lose something. It really makes you bond as a group, and also it’s a tradition that it would be a shame to break,” says one informant. We’ve already seen that initiations are popular – much to my puzzlement, but then I’ve never played team sports. Yet I don’t want to condemn initiations, because for all the ridiculous stories they’re still primarily voluntary, and amusingly absurd. Recent attempts to limit the damage of extreme initiations have appeared to work to a degree – all sports teams have introduced an official ‘no nudity’ policy, society heads meet with the Athletic Union and (appear to, at least) tell them of their plans for initiations, and any sniffing out of truly shocking incidents tend to get dealt with quickly. There are entire generations of freshers who get to play team sports without seeing a single testicle, or downing a single pint, which must be called progress. Yet, from what we’ve heard in the course of investigating this, it’s clear that there are still issues to be dealt with. Our hockey team tipster gives some advice - “The power of a senior over a fresher is pretty massive because the fresher is desperate to be accepted, and the senior is the one with the power to accept him. It depends how the people with the power use it whether the initiation is bad or not. They’re not a bad thing, there just needs to be more control over how people wield their power. You want to keep it open and transparent. Some of the freshers were driven away last year because they didn’t feel welcome. We lost a lot of players, and that shouldn’t be what university sport is about. Maybe having a welfare officer who doesn’t drink and who can draw a line [is a good idea], and it’s pretty obvious where that line should be.” Alcohol is the central peg here – whilst it binds groups who enjoy drinking heavily, it’s just as much the wedge that can drive some away. There’s nothing wrong with drinking alcohol, but there is something intensely insidious in actively seeking to poison people for fun. And it’s not untrue that most problems that initiations are criticised for stem from a lack of an overseer, someone in a neutral position to calmly take the drink out of someone’s hand and tell them to get a taxi home. After all, most initiations are little different to a standard night out. Those that exceed these limits and approach lethality are hardly even then in the realm of the strict and brutal hazing traditions of the Russian army’s ‘dedovshchina’, where hundreds regularly die each year in ritualised beatings and intense torture sessions. This is just a group of young people, people who have more money than responsibilities, with intense lusts for power, inebriation and acceptance. They shall go out and get pissed, steal road signs, simulate sodomy and sing along to chart hits down the pub. In three years they will begin their jobs as accountants, retail managers, pastry chefs and soft-porn impresarios, and these experiences will be little more than a welcome memory in a quiet moment. It seems ridiculous to punish people for merely acting out their cultural and evolutionary programming, but when people are regularly picked out of the gutter, gin-soaked and unconscious for another night in the ward, then perhaps it isn’t unreasonable for those overseeing this to ask for some cooperation. How much each side is willing to give or accept is unclear.
s students, we are a relatively liberal group, especially when it comes to conversation topics, and yet mental health appears to remain a taboo subject. With such a glaring and relevant issue, one has to ask, “why?” Mental health is a subject Hannah Capocci, the current coordinator of Nightline, is often talking about. Hannah points out that people find talking about mental health difficult because the “taboos surrounding mental health issues have led to stereotyped opinions.” Indeed, individuals often comment that they would rather suffer in silence than risk being stereotyped. While sufferers find talking about their problems difficult, Hannah reminds us that listening can also be hard. “When you know there is no easy way out of an individual’s problems, it can often be difficult to go on listening. It is hard to refrain from giving advice and easy to offer your own solution, but if you step back you should see that none of us have any right to tell someone else what to do with their life.”
Photo: Matthieu Chauvin
Down in the dumps? Nicola Byrom asks if we talk enough about mental health. 18
If listening is hard, understanding is even harder. This is something Jenny, a recovering anorexic, knows well. She has just started university at Nottingham. Along with all the usual trials a first year student faces, she needs to think about how to manage her history of eating problems. Putting yourself in her shoes is not easy. “Anorexia,” Jenny explains, “has been a way of blocking out the bad things in life. By becoming thin, I thought I would be more popular. It is a feeling that starts as just a small niggle but before long takes over all your actions and decisions.” Though Jenny is clearly on her way to recovery, relapse is something she has to consider and she does not feel that she could easily discuss her past problems with new friends at university. So, perhaps we have a resolved situation: Individuals with mental health problems generally find it easier not to talk about their difficulties and the rest of us are relatively happy to let the silence continue. Jenny would be quick to point out the problem here. Sufferers need support. As she highlights: “with your family away, if you were really ill, I am not sure who you could turn to. I think that battling alone would be really hard, if not impossible.” Too often university students, attempting to manage mental health problems away from the support of their family and old friends, either find themselves slipping until their situation reaches a point that
health care professionals will term critical, or are forced to drop out of university to return to the support of their families. Facing such high costs of keeping problems secret, we might ask why individuals with mental health problems are not more open about the struggles they face. Anna attempts to explain why she has often chosen to keep quiet about her problems with depression. “Mental health is generally misunderstood and so sufferers often feel alone, isolated and outcast. When people have a physical illness, it is something tangible and far easier for people to see and understand. It is not like that with mental illness. Making yourself understood is difficult. I am tired of going through life constantly having to justify myself. People are fearful of what they do not understand and so I have to be careful about what I tell people. I am only honest about my problems if I feel sure that the individual I am talking to will not judge me or change the way they act around me because of what I have said.” We would be amazed to know how many people, like Anna, run active lives whilst keeping quiet the problems troubling them. Earlier this year, James learnt that a friend of his had been hospitalised after a failed suicide attempt. James explains how shocked he was to learn about her problems. “She had been running a very active life at university, seemed happy and was literally the last person who you would have thought would be in that sort of trouble.” It is clear that individuals facing mental health issues would rather keep their difficulties quiet because they fear a lack of understanding and being labelled by their problems. The silence surrounding mental health however means that many individuals struggling do not turn to others for necessary support. This silent struggle is painful; it is exhausting to maintain a pretence and a double life. The problems with this run deeper still and lack of communication allows the problems surrounding care for individuals with mental health problems to be all too frequently overlooked. Take for instance the University Counselling service. Whilst it is fantastic that the university provides such a service, the length of the waiting list is depressing. Visiting the counsellors is not something people talk about, and yet if we did, students may be saddened to realise that individuals with acute problems at times have to wait upward of two months before their sessions. Rebecca explains what effect this had for her. “I have had problems with selfharm for a long time. At my worst, I was
cutting myself many times a day. Though I have generally been doing okay, in the autumn term last year, I felt myself falling backwards. I went to visit the university counsellor, hoping that if I could speak to someone, I might be able to avoid turning back to self-harm. I had a very helpful initial session. This was such a relief. In the time however before I was able to start regular sessions, I started self-harming again. I left university early for the Christmas holidays, hoping the security of my family around me would avert a complete crisis. Back at university in January, I still had no news about starting sessions.” While there are limitations in receiving the support of counselling, we might hope that individuals facing long term and more severe problems might find support in the medical profession. At a recent conference on eating disorders, I was reminded that the Nottingham Primary Care Trust is only able to support individuals with eating disorders when their condition becomes severe. This usually means that their BMI has fallen below 15 kg/m2.
If we want the treatment of mental health to change, we have to start talking In response to the lack of NHS care for individuals with eating disorders, a group of students are running a self-help group to support individuals struggling with eating disorders. Training with B-eat, they joined over 70 other such voluntary groups to provide peer-to-peer support. This offers a confidential setting for sufferers to speak openly about life with an eating disorder. The group is run so that individuals do not have to suffer in silence. This level of support however is not enough. More needs to be done to support individuals with mental health problems before they reach that severe stage of illness. With eating disorders, the longer an individual’s duration of illness and the lower their BMI falls, the less likely they are to make a full recovery. Hope for recovery lies in beating the problem before the disorder fully develops. Knowing this, one should feel disgusted that more is not done by the National Health Service to support individuals before their illness becomes severe. If we want the treatment of mental health to change, we have to start talking. It is time individuals with such problems were listened to and understood.
Returning to Zimbabwe Impact’s Simba reports on the troubles of his home country. I grew up in Zimbabwe, but having not been there in nearly six years I was needless to say very nervous. I was travelling with Air Zimbabwe, and despite the excellent service, and relatively good safety record, I couldn’t help but wonder how their planes were still flying. This is a country with 12.5 million percent inflation and an intermittent fuel supply. How were they even sourcing the parts to service the airplane? The Zimbabwean lady seated next to me sensed my fear. “Don’t worry, Air Zim can’t afford to have any of their planes grounded. They have the best engineers, building the parts at a warehouse in the airport.” This was not as comforting as she had intended it to be. That inflation figure was mind boggling, but something I would have to get used to since I was working with an international bank in the capital, Harare. This was also going to be an opportunity to see for myself what was happening in the country I had grown up in. It couldn’t be as bad as people were saying, could it?
Supermarket shelves are empty
As we landed (safely!) at the Zimbabwe National Airport, the first contrast with England was clear to see. Having flown in from the hectically busy Gatwick airport, the once crowded Harare international airport was stiflingly quiet. My dad, who still lives and works in Zimbabwe, was waiting there for me. I see him every other month when he flies to visit us in England. It was surreal hugging him back in Zimbabwe. I threw my heavy suitcase into the car - 28 of the 30 kilograms in it was food. “It’s good you managed to bring all that,” he said. “I haven’t seen pasta in the shops in weeks, and whenever you find it it’s outrageously expensive.” My mind worked overtime on the drive home, recalling all the places I had forgotten since I was last there. It was the same city, albeit a little run down and tired. My dad swerved to miss another set of potholes in the road. “They say that the police stop you if you are driving in a straight line here,” he said. “You’d have to be drunk to drive your car straight with all these potholes!”
Driving through Harare
“Just a quick detour, you have to see this for yourself,” he said. My dad
pulled up next to our old local store, and motioned towards it. I walked apprehensively towards the doors, and braced myself as I entered. My jaw dropped. It was empty. Row upon row of empty shelving, in a store where you could once buy anything you ever wanted. I took out a camera from my pocket and took a few hasty, hidden shots. I had heard too many stories of foreign reporters being detained and ‘manhandled’ to want to suffer this fate myself.
I was going to be working in the front office of the global markets division of the bank. As I got a tour around, it struck me as very much like an average western office. The people here were hard working and intelligent. Most of them had Master’s or second degrees. Zimbabwe’s biggest export is said to be its brains; in the 1990s it had an adult literacy rate of about 90% - among the highest of all the developing countries. Sadly, since troubles erupted, this rate has steadily decreased.
As I walked to the tills I saw the only merchandise available: three dishevelled iceberg lettuces, a 2-litre bottle of coke, and stacks upon stacks of condoms. I glanced at the prices and got another shock. To put the inflation into perspective, when I left Zimbabwe six years before 10 Zimbabwean dollars (Z$) could buy you a 2-litre bottle of coke. That bottle now cost Z$400 billion. A pack of condoms was Z$200 billion - twice the weekly wage of a labourer. It was unsurprising they were still on the shelves; this is not something that bodes well for a country in which one in seven adults are living with HIV.
The front office was busy, but a lot less hectic than in most countries. Although many businesses still run at a profit (albeit a reduced one), few want to put much cash into an inflated money market, and most prefer to put their funds into fixed assets like cars or property.
I ate breakfast watching Gordon Brown’s antics on BBC World News. It felt like looking at another planet. It was the only way to get something near to a balanced news story. The media on the state-controlled ZBC was heavily censored, and the entertainment viewing is even worse than Channel 4 on a Friday night. As we pulled onto the main road off to work, we promptly got stuck in a traffic jam. Here was the proof that, against all the odds, the country was still managing to function. Even ordinary car owners were giving lifts for cash to the many hitchhikers dotting the streets. It wasn’t unusual to see five or more people in the back of open pickup trucks. Health and safety in England would have a field day!
The person I was working with was your average twenty-something guy, talking about football and movies. He wanted to know how bad the recession was in England, how it was being affected by all the terrorist activity of the past years, and why Juande Ramos was selling off all his strikers. I had to constantly remind myself I was sitting in an office in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwean Dollar was revalued. A total of 12 zeros were crossed off it, so that 100,000,000,000,000 (100 trillion) became Z$100. This was a move by the government to counteract the inefficiencies in the business and banking sector. Many balance sheets were by now running in the quadrillions and quintillions.
people still got to work, sent their kids to school, fed themselves and their family despite the great odds stacked against them. Zimbabwe is a beautiful country, with vast natural resources, captivating wild beauty, and some great infrastructure - dams, roads and buildings. One has only to see Victoria Falls, or Mosi-oa-Tunya (the Smoke
Due to the revaluation, for the first time in 10 years the black market rate of purchase of USD was equal to the inter-bank rate of Z$100 to 1USD. This was only temporary, though, as the underlying inflationary issues had not been tackled by the revaluation. Just three weeks later, after I had left Zimbabwe, the black market rate had jumped to Z$6,000 to the USD – or 60 quadrillion to one US dollar before the revaluation. On the day of the recent power sharing deal, I had a view of the real mood of the public. For the first time ever I heard open, public jeering at Mugabe. They laughed at him, mocked his age and jeered at his oftrecited hatred of colonial enemies in Britain. This would have never happened years ago when I had left the country. For the first time I felt things were changing for the better.
It took me a Inflation in Zimbabwe is astronomical while to get accustomed to working in billions By the end of my three weeks in and trillions of Zimbabwean Dollars. Zimbabwe I had seen and heard a lot. I even got used to seeing people It was clear to me: the Zimbabwean carry money in plastic bags, due to public has had enough of Mugabe. This the quantity needed for even basic was not the country I had left nearly six commodities. However, at the end of years before. There is great hardship, the first week I would have to get reand things are run down and chaotic, accustomed to a new currency, as the but I was humbled to see how many
The Victoria Falls are just one of Zimbabwe’s natural attractions
that Thunders) - by some measures the largest waterfall in the world - to envision the potential brimming in the country. Zimbabwe takes its name from “Dzimba dza mabwe” meaning “Great House of Stone”, after the aweinspiring Great Zimbabwe ruins from around the twelfth century. Zimbabwe is a sturdy house of stone that has been severely shaken, but has somehow not completely toppled. I’m back in England now, and although I hear ever more worrying headlines about the fragility of the power sharing deal, I am happier. I think times are changing. The deal was a step in the right direction. I feel the Great House of Stone, Zimbabwe, will soon return.
Can’t be arsed with
Impact’s Labour student, Frances Ryan, finds being apathetic isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Giving a shit isn’t going well. Following the Jed Bartlett ‘decisions are made by those that show up’ philosophy hasn’t been working out as of late. I’ve been showing up and that doesn’t seem to be having a benefit for anyone involved...especially me. All this time the politically active have sat smugly (it felt good), but in these recent difficult times smug has turned into more depressed than satisfied. In a moment of particular darkness, I indifferently latched upon the idea that it might be time to join team Apathy. Being an ‘Apathite’ doesn’t promise happiness, but then it should avoid tragedy too. Just a nice middleof-the-road ambivalence. Oh how that would be adequate. The first test for someone that used to care is not going to the Labour Party conference. Luckily I’m busy contracting freshers’ flu after one minute of being in the same area of a human under nineteen, and the bugs in my brain infect liberal idealism with a (un)healthy dose of lethargy. It helps me get through the cold turkey days and resist thinking of worrying about Gordon and dreaming of slapping Dave. So-called friends send me messages whose sole purpose is to consist of a blow by blow account of what almost got John Prescott arrested that day.
By Frances Ryan A vegetarian is protesting outside the venue (the fact that it was vegetarians – possibly bottom of the extensive list of groups feeling aggrieved by Brown at present, who were the aggressors – and that they had chosen the Labour Party to target when they could have thrown a stick and hit a carnivore as soon as they left the house, only added to the feeling of longing), to which he was told to “Fuck off!” by a wandering Prezza, they say. These are the type of people who should be deleted from my phonebook if I ever find myself addicted to crack, I make a mental note. After a few days I was doing so well at being apathetic that I forgot to care enough about the task to switch the television coverage off or ignore the paper reviews the next day. While I was busy caring about not caring, I discovered a Cabinet member had resigned so she could spend more time with her family and the Prime Minister had bought his family out so he didn’t have to resign. Stories of a wife used to support Brown and children used as an excuse to attack him were the manic ups and downs I was trying to avoid. I’ve always thought it was inappropriate for politicians to sacrifice their children to politics, and now I was beginning to put myself in the same category. I was definitely too sensitive for it all and the mood swings giving a damn brings with it suggested it was a habit I was right in trying to kick.
Fear & Loathing in Lost Wages
Regardless, I find myself pining for a rousing speech from a Miliband. Not even the good one. The boringly loyal one, with the odd job title and the funny looking head. I look to people in the street for a motivational pep talk. But no one gives me one. Apathetic people, I discover, seem to not be all about the motivation. A few days into it and it was becoming apparent apathy wasn’t the lifestyle choice I had hoped it would be. Sure on paper it seems all lethargic fun and indifferent games, but in the cold light of day apathy doesn’t seem to translate into the carelessness it had promised. I was hoping for it to come out physically in the form of the occasional nonchalant shrug, teamed with the carefree spirit of a child or hippy. Turns out indifference isn’t so much a feeling of not caring about what is being presented to you, it’s more of a feeling of not caring for absolutely everything that is presented to you. Common re-usable phrases tend to be “that’s rubbish” and “that’ll never work”. It’s exhausting. Being miserable and finding fault in everything presented by everyone turns out to need more of a commitment than supporting something. At the end of it all I’ve fallen on hard times. I’m back caring about life and people around me. I’d be more rational about it, but I just haven’t got the energy or motivation to be apathetic...
Credit crunch, financial crisis, liquidity crisis, the apocalypse; however you describe it, it’s hitting the headlines and dominating just about every political debate around the world. The numbers alone are terrifying. At the time of going to press, the US stock market had lost 20% of its value in two weeks and the FTSE was down 2,000 points from its peak. The US government had launched a $700 billion rescue package and the UK had pumped billions of pounds into the banking sector. 159,000 Americans lost their jobs in September. A hundred billion here, a hundred billion there; no matter how you add it up, this is starting to look like real money. But what does this mean for the average Nottingham student? Surely the crisis is only really an issue for Wall Street bankers and the odd saver with dodgy Icelandic banks? Perhaps now is one of the best times in history to be a student. We don’t have mortgages to worry about or City jobs to hold onto. Neither do we have savings locked up in banks teetering on the edge. Instead, we have Ocean Fridays and lectures to get to. When we eventually turn our minds towards getting a job we’ll do what everyone did last year: if there’s nothing that takes our fancy now, a gap year beckons. Maybe we’ll spend some time in Thailand and Cambodia. Full moon party in Koh Phangan anyone? Anyway, we don’t need to think about
that yet. We have much more important things to consider, like what we’re going to dress up as for 7-legged. We can just wait out this crisis for a year or so and then ride the recovery, delighted that house prices crashed just before we started wanting to buy. However, the reality is slightly more sinister. We may all like to pretend that life after uni is a million miles away but we’re secretly terrified. We can feel the breath of harsh reality on our necks. Parents ask us about our future plans; we notice that the final day of interest free overdrafts is getting closer; some mental arithmetic gives us the total amount we owe to credit card companies, banks and the Student Loan Company. The total is a pretty scary prospect. In order to remedy this, many of us (third years in particular) are hastily applying for jobs and internships. This is carried out in secret, desperate to hide our eager beaver desperation from our friends. The trouble is, we’re finding it significantly harder than in years past. With the City apparently going up in flames, the traditional refuge of graduates looks a lot less appealing than at the height of the boom. At the same time, the grapevine yields tales of the graduate who thought she had landed a plum job at a major firm only to be told that the firm didn’t exist any more just weeks before she was due to start. But surely that’s just an issue for the geeks and wide-boys charting
careers in investment banks and hedge funds? Not so: as opportunities in the City dry up, pressure builds up in the rest of the job market. Moreover, the feared recession will bite into everything from architecture to environmental technology. If the current situation continues, no country or industry will be spared from what is tantamount to a global financial heart attack. Gone are the days when a graduate with a solid 2:1 could expect to eventually stumble into a job like they used to stumble from Ocean to the burger van. So what can be done? As we’re not blessed with the ability to buy our own bank, we have to find some other way to ride out the storm. Many people are turning to postgraduate study as a way of delaying the inevitable. With the job market looking sketchy, a Masters looks like a great way to “differentiate yourself” (for the parents), or to “stick your head in the sand, have a couple more years of fun and hope the problem solves itself” (for everyone else). But with an army of ex-City workers beating down the doors of Law and Business schools, how can we be sure we’ll get in? These questions this writer cannot answer. Perhaps the only thing we can do is hope, file applications, pray a little bit, then work on sourcing our Isis tickets. James Torrance Image: Matthieu Chauvin
purpose, but many years on it has left the stereotype of the unkempt, fashion-challenged environmentalist unhelpfully marked on the collective consciousness.
words: Corin FaiFe In this month’s edition of AdBusters, the self-proclaimed ‘Journal of the Mental Environment’ and a magazine dear to cultural and political activists, the hipster was declared to be “The Dead End of Western Civilization” (that’s hipster in its American sense of ‘scene-kid’, rather than the popular 90s trouser cut). The author of the article lamented our generation’s inability to produce a meaningful counter culture, claiming instead that all hipsters have done is to appropriate the styles, values and symbols that went before and rework them into an unthreatening and disingenuous hybrid. Now, I’ll hold my hand up and admit to being one of the AdBusters faithful, but I think this is not only wrong but self-defeating. Granted, it falls in line with a fairly standard radical left-wing doctrine: culture can never be truly be subversive any more, because as soon as anything genuinely subversive comes along it is appropriated by the capitalist machine, and sold back to the hordes of thirsty consumers in a new form which mimics the style but
without the substance, thus defusing all potential threats to the stability of capitalism itself. Blaming this on our desire to be cool though is like blaming a religious conflict on someone’s desire to be a good Christian: the problem lies not in the intention but in other processes surrounding it. Due to their objections to the millions, even billions of dollars spent by large corporations on publicity campaigns, to the thousands of hours which advertising executives spend dreaming up the next marketing scheme to give their brand ‘meaning and identity’, and due to the very valid objection that most of this money and time is devoted to selling us things we don’t need, too many young radicals have mistakenly become opposed to the idea of cool itself. As an ideological stance, being anticool has about as much chance of success as being anti-electricity. You can embrace it on an individual level, but it’s just never going to catch on. Look at any time period over the last, say, two thousand years and you can identify evolving trendcycles, be it in art, music, clothing, architecture, even scholarly learning,
whereby a new idea or method is first created by a few pioneers at the periphery, gradually adopted by others, eventually accepted into the mainstream and finally, in some cases, phased out as it is replaced by the next trend. The word ‘cool’ may be a twentieth-century invention but the concept is far from it. Rather than trying to row upstream then, how about if we could go with the current but steer the boat in the right direction? Maybe the most productive use of energy is not to rail against the tyranny of cool but to make what we see as cool coincide with what is right for the planet. Since the 60s, the environmental movement has been strongly tied to hippy culture. At its inception, as with any subculture, it was important for adherents to adopt styles which would mark them out from other social groups – in the case of hippies, the long hair and flowing garments which would distinguish them from both the suits, shirts and professional attire of those in the ‘square’ world and the jeans, leather jackets and greased hair of the rockers. During its creation the positioning of the movement as outside of mainstream culture served an important
Today there is no reason that those who care about the environment should be obliged to renounce fashion, and more to the point, there is no reason that what is commendably green and cutting-edge cool should be a contradiction. In fact, the world of fashion and design already abounds with proofs that the two spheres can overlap. Probably the most famous (though not necessarily the best) example is the designer Anya Hindmarsh’s ‘I’m Not A Plastic Bag’. Although the bags themselves became somewhat overhyped, selling out globally and later being resold at greatly inflated prices on eBay, the message was trumpeted across the world: re-useable canvas bags COOL, polluting plastic bags UNCOOL. There are many other versions of the same phenomenon, though none of them have achieved the same degree of mega-stardom. Take Freitag, a Swiss company that makes great looking bags from old truck tarpaulins (the big sheets of vinyl plastic stretched over the side of lorries), bike tubes and seatbelts. Because they only ever use recovered materials, no two bags will ever look the same, and by buying one you’re putting to use material that would otherwise be scrapped – very cool. The branding of the Fairtrade movement also provides a great example of putting the tips and
tricks of marketing firms to better use. The fairtrade logo is instantly recognisable, a swirling, stylised black figure with arm raised (presumably) in solidarity with the world’s workers. Numerous adverts and campaigns - some centrally funded, some grassroots - have helped create widespread awareness of the Fairtrade mark and what it stands for, developing what within the corporate sphere would be called a ‘brand identity’. Faitrade chocolate, or coffee, or clothing, now says something about you as a person: that not only do you consume, but you care. A triumph of branding if ever there was one. Whilst various processes are working to make it cool to do the right thing, the same thing is starting to happen in reverse. Around the turn of the century, 4x4s were the status symbol for the rich and famous; now they are widely regarded (at least in the UK) as a selfish extravagance which indicates that the owner couldn’t care less about the welfare of those around him or her, and ever more celebrities are turning to hybrid cars. Even David Cameron never misses an opportunity to be photographed riding his bike to work, and why? Because zero carbon emissions = maximum cool points. ‘Cool’ is a notoriously fickle mistress, and how to harness it is a problem which advertising executives around the world are paid obscene sums to answer. However, the great thing about cool is that it is not something that can just be imposed from the top down. Though corporations selling any product have an interest in trying to make people want what they sell, they must also try to sell people what they want. Consumer demand is a powerful force, and if we can incorporate ideas about sustainability, energy efficiency and environmental design into the very definition of what we want from a product, then the whole field of product design will begin to change.
So how to do it? Well, more concretely, if you ever have to make a choice between two similar products, use environmental impact as your deciding criterion. If you see a gadget that provides a neat solution to one of the many problems relating to efficiency, waste, pollution etc., buy it – you’ll probably be saving yourself money in the long run anyway. Buy a bike, or more specifically buy a bike that looks great, so that other people will want one too. Pick up clothes from vintage shops, and if someone compliments you on them make sure you let them know where they came from; even better, learn to alter your own clothes and you can transform any found fabrics into a oneoff garment. In short, display all of your green credentials with pride and others will start to do the same. The revolutionary idea of our generation could be to take environmentalism and re-imagine it as something which is no longer an ‘alternative lifestyle choice’ but just as much part of the fabric of youth culture as a cameraphone or an ipod. Within the next 10 years we need a generation of young people that consider pollution and wastefulness as not just bad for the environment, but criminally un-hip; where kids show off not about how much they spend on things but how little. Those making the cultural waves will be those that varnish their environmentalism with a coat of hipsterdom, activists far more likely to wear ties than tie-dye. If you’re still not convinced by all that, then just try repeating to yourself ten times every day: bikes are cooler than cars, re-used is cooler than new, and Natalie Portman only wears vegan shoes. Fact.
Guns have no place at all in our community – not in Nottingham, not in my city, nor any other city in Britain Lord Mayor of Nottingham
Corin Faife Impact’s columnist, Corin Faife, talks about the University’s response to the arrest of Hicham Yezza.
” Image: Corin Faife
By Harry Woolner Little do many Nottingham students or residents know, but there is an unmarked unit on an industrial estate not far from University Park campus where the world’s second-largest small arms manufacturer has a global sales headquarters for many non EU-countries. That company is called Heckler and Koch. Heckler & Koch entered the business register in 1949 and since 1958 - when prohibition of the Heckler & Koch G3 assault rifle was lifted – has grown and grown into the huge company it is today. In a 2002 small arms survey it was found that Heckler & Koch weapons are in use in at least 90 countries and their biggest selling gun, the G3 assault rifle, of which 7 million have been sold, is in use in over 60 countries. Heckler & Koch’s total military sales in 2001 amounted to 130 million euros – all made with fewer than 700 employees. Clearly this is a successful business, but the source of its success is rooted in endless misery. A recent and high-profile example of this was this summer, when breakaway forces in South Ossetia used Heckler & Koch G36 rifles - even though the German government never authorised the sales as Georgia was a conflict zone. It would seem that these rifles were sold illegally. The American mercenary group, Blackwater, which is reported to have slaughtered no less than 25 civilians in Iraq, are armed with Heckler and Koch weapons. In Darfur, crimes against humanity have been committed by the Janjaweed Militia using G3 assault rifles in a war that has left 400,000 dead since 2003. This list is by no means exhaustive but the point is evident. Wherever there are arms manufacturers and guns in demand, there will be bending and breaking of laws that will result in profit for one powerful party, and death and misery for the poorer majority. The arms trade works as any business does, with
one sole aim: to make profit. It is interesting to note how arms companies never have allegiance to any particular country or ideal except to that of making money. Many will argue that this is often a side-effect of business and capitalism, and that if one company did not sell these arms then someone else would. This merely legitimises the trade in their eyes, and seems to pass the blame onto the system rather than any individual. Before we take such a one-dimensional view it might be prudent to analyse how the guns are traded. In the UK the government has certain restrictions on which countries guns can be sold to. This is supposed to be in place to stop what we perceive as brutal regimes getting their hands on weapons and using them for genocide and ethnic cleansing. However, this is often circumvented by selling weapons to countries which have no such restrictions on the same regimes, which can then sell those weapons on. This was exemplified by Heckler & Koch when 500 H&K MP5 sub machine guns were sold to MKEK in Turkey, only to then be sold on to the Indonesian armed forces in 1999 - when the East Timor massacres were still ongoing. This story is not all doom and gloom, however. There is a movement that is rising in Nottingham which is called ‘Shut Down H&K’. This is a group who are unified in bringing attention to the issues of the small arms trade, as well as raising awareness of Heckler & Koch’s presence with the main aim of shutting down its Nottingham headquarters. The reason this issue has gone by unnoticed for so long in a city such as Nottingham (well-known for its gun problem) is that Heckler & Koch have kept a very low profile. Their hopes to go unnoticed were crushed about a year and a half ago when five local people found out about the company’s presence and decided to pay them a visit. They were swiftly escorted away from
the industrial estate by an armed Police response unit! This did not put the group off however and it was from this incident that the campaign began to grow. At the Easter Park industrial estate, where the headquarters are based (closer to campus than Lenton!) all the units are labelled except Heckler & Koch at Unit 3, where their sign simply says ‘LET’. When Nottingham residents tried to raise the issue to a local paper, the local media allegedly received a phone call from Nottingham police telling them that publishing the story was not in the public’s interest. Heckler & Koch refuse to confirm or deny whether there is Heckler & Koch merchandise (i.e. weapons) stored at the industrial estate, and I would hasten to add that this question is definitely in the public’s interest given this city’s record of gun crime. It seems that these are issues which are in all our interests; as the Lord Mayor of Nottingham said in 2004, “Guns have no place at all in our community – not in Nottingham, not in my city, nor any other city in Britain”. Although Nottingham students feel they have nothing to do with the arms trade and that it is not our problem, it would seem that we have the opportunity to make a huge difference in supporting this campaign and standing up for those who cannot get their voices heard around the globe and who suffer at the hands of this business. There are monthly demonstrations outside Heckler & Koch every 2nd Monday of the month. There are also plans for a demonstration in the city centre in coming months. For more information visit the ‘Shut Down H&K’ website: www.nottsantimilitarism.wordpress.com/heckler-koch/
Hopefully readers will already be aware of the events surrounding the arrests of Hicham Yezza and Rizwaan Sabir as publicised in last month’s issue. Although there has been, to my mind, no single event at this University more deserving of political discussion, much has already been said on the matter, so let’s ignore that aspect entirely. Beyond that, the whole case has brought another matter sharply into the focus, namely the extent to which the University is prepared to stand behind its students and staff once such serious accusations are levelled against them: not at all. It is by nature only drastic and unforeseen circumstances that bring about this kind of insight; suddenly processes which had operated quietly in the background are brought to light, and turn out to be far uglier than imagined. Many of us had naively assumed that the institution to which we pay many thousands of pounds every year, and to which we entrust the job of providing us with the skills to be successful members of society, was also somehow “in our corner” - would champion our rights and, at the very least, presume us to be innocent until proven guilty. Unfortunately, this has been shown to be far from the truth. In Hicham’s case the University first played down the significance of the job that he was employed to do, referring to him in press releases as a “clerk” when he was in fact Principal School Administrator of the School of Modern Languages. It then proactively submitted a number of items and documents to the prosecution team which were meant to establish, among other things, his links with “radical” politics; his long track record of leadership and commitment to numerous organisations within the student body was not enough to earn him any benefit of the doubt. To this day, Hicham is yet to receive any offer of support from the University. Likewise, the University has failed to give any form of apology to Rizwaan for the fact that they allowed materials relating to his Master’s studies to trigger the involvement of Counter-Terrorism police squads, earning him six days in detention. If this is how the University supports its own, then God forbid that anyone else on this campus should be wrongfully accused.
A Look Back on Week One The Week One reps and yellow buses may be gone, but there’s many a fresher out there who still hasn’t quite recovered their voice. The mind-numbing blast of Nottingham’s Week One (which, incidentally, is by far the best in the country) is a hell of a way to start your uni career. Being a fairly laid-back individual, I approached the beginning of university as I did most things in life – unprepared, unresearched and barely aware of what was going on. Under the
impression that freshers’ week consisted of finding my way round campus and something called freshers’ flu, arriving at Nottingham was a pleasant surprise. A weeklong party is exciting enough, and the fact that it was all done in fancy dress made me sure that I’d definitely picked the best uni in the UK. Fond memories of a week dressed in interesting combinations of borrowed clothes, screaming undying loyalty to a hall I hadn’t heard of a month or so before, made me wish I was back on the buses with the rest of them.
While the tattered remnants of your fancy dress may be useless as anything but dishcloths now, Impact were there recording some of the choicest moments of Week One 2008. Has your picture made it into the collage? Manage to find a pic of yourself and you’ll be enjoying a warm glow inside yourself as you realise that yes, that’s what you look like when you’re drunk and that yes, that’s been printed in several thousand copies of Impact.
Week One 2008 kicked off with Funked Up at Ocean – which, though retaining its characteristic smell and oozing carpets, had upped its game by giving over part of the danceflooxr to a stage. A fairly impressive funk band gave a refreshing alternative to the usual Ocean staples of Bon Jovi and the Baywatch theme tune, and the freshers showed admirable determination to dance on the podiums, despite the bouncer’s best attempts to stop them.
The Tuesday night events included a caveman-themed Isis night, a chance for those lucky freshers to familiarise themselves with some pole-dancing moves they will doubtless perfect as the year goes on. Enthusiastic waltzer-ing and dodgem battles led to the partial destruction of some pretty impressive costumes, but with double vodka red bull at £1.50 it’s safe to assume a good time was had by all.
The ‘Traffic Light’ themed Oceana of the Wednesday night always strikes me as an interesting concept. I generally assumed anyone to don the ‘come get me’ green attire was much more confident, outgoing, and presumably attractive than I will ever be. However, a vicious anonymous text into one URN show raged that it was ridiculous for… Ahem… “Fat social rejects” to think they can pull just by putting on a green t-shirt. Calm down guys. It’s not meant to be taken seriously. Cripps Hall definitely had a good deal of it on Wednesday with their own uniformity party in the hall bar and marquee. Hall parties have gained something of a reputation for being the less exciting Week One nights, but here this definitely wasn’t the case. The Cripps-residentsonly party was an invaluable chance for all of them to get to know their hallmates, and perhaps some of them can even remember it despite the free bar organised by their lovely JCR committee.
by lucy hayes THURSDAY
Along with the various club nights, Thursday saw something slightly different come to the Venue. The Moonlighters big band played to a full house – there were obviously a fair few freshers who didn’t fancy another night at Ocean! Despite only having had a week to prepare, the crowd absolutely loved it and the Moonlighters definitely came out swinging.
Friday night’s Silent Disco in the Freshers’ Fayre marquee began as a bit of a shambles. The headphones didn’t arrive on time, so that when they did the crowd surged forwards with literally hundreds of people pushing towards the front. With no available exits, those near the front of the crowd began to be crushed. Thankfully the gallant Willoughby Week One reps kicked out some of the side panels of the marquee, allowing those being trampled to get out to safety. Many people gave up and left, but despite the unpromising start the silent disco eventually took off and proved a good night for those who persevered.
Things slowed down considerably on Saturday night, with a poorly attended indie night at the Venue. It seemed this was the evening many freshers chose to have a night off to get their energy back up for the next day – either that, or the daytime trip to Alton Towers had proved too much for them.
The Week One party was, as always, of epic proportions. The Week One exec didn’t fail to deliver, with sets from Audiobullies, Reggie Yeates and Reverend and the Makers in Rock City getting the crowd going. The ‘Basement Boudoir’ delivered more on décor than performance, which isn’t that much of an insult to the performers as the Moulin-Rouge-style decoration was an impressive sight. With rooms ranging from the UV aura surrounding the Hoodoo set to the camouflaged hip hop and R’n’B stage, there was something to suit every taste. Firefly and Detonate at Stealth were enough to get anyone dancing, not that the freshers would have needed much encouragement (holding up remarkably well after a week of all-out partying). The only complaint of the night was that on such a large site, it’s impossible to stay with your friends, and once you lose them you’re fucked. But it was still freshers’ week, and so more than acceptable to wander up to a stranger and greet them like a long lost friend.
As another Week One drew to a close, the sad realisation dawned on thousands of freshers that they are in fact at uni to get a degree. Perhaps beginning to do some work would be a step forward – never forgetting the first year’s mantra. Forty percent, forty percent, forty percent…
Going the Extra Mile A Rough Guide to Finding the Real Lonely Planet You’ve booked your flight and, much to your wallet’s disgust, are heavily insured. Your passport sits neatly atop your backpack, from which clothes, gadgets and insect repellent are protruding at every angle. Excitement courses through you. The only things lacking from your hand luggage are those coveted possessions you can’t do without for the next ten hours: your toothbrush (one must start every epic journey with fresh breath you know) and, of course, your Lonely Planet guide to lull you to sleep as you continue to clue yourself up before bed. As a reasonably well-travelled person, I appreciate the awesomeness of the Lonely Planet guidebooks. In the case of all guidebooks, in fact, whether they are Lonely Planet, Rough Guide or Footprint publications, there are few occasions that they’re without a helpful hint or suggestion to assist a wandering soul along the way. But during my travels, I discovered that Lonely Planet is often met with animosity amongst hardened backpackers; and as I considered their arguments, I began to understand why. The Lonely Planet company came into existence in 1973, when a newly-wed British couple celebrated their honeymoon by travelling overland from the UK to Australia, and were encouraged by their friends to put that journey onto paper. The company has always been known to encourage independent travel, yet in recent years once devoted followers have come to criticise the books and lament the loss of “the good old days” when travelling was truly exploratory, and not just along the same well–trodden track.
I Went on Holiday and I Took: A Packsafe anti-theft bag device Chloë Painter
There is no doubt that Lonely Planet guides have sparked off an intriguing travel culture. One could even call it a cult. Whilst having breakfast in Cambodia I overhead a trio of fellow Gap Year students ponder at where one of them had “put the bible”. On looking up from my banana pancake, I saw a Lonely Planet: South East Asia on a Shoestring guide emerge from under the table, and they swiftly began to plan their day.
Are the guidebooks making travellers far from lonely?
Perhaps the biggest downfall of the guides is that whilst they may be encouraging independent travel, they are encouraging it en-masse. But far from just affecting the backpacker experience, Lonely Planet has a substantial effect on more than just the lives of its consumers. What its authors recommend and what the publishers print potentially hold the power to ignite tourism, create jobs and bring stable income to entire towns.
increase tourism exists, the ability to rein it in does not. One sunny afternoon in Thailand I was happily suspended in a hammock and nattering to Darren, a 30-something who was educating me on the Ao Nang area in its pretourist trap years. Apparently, the beautifully pristine beaches of those days sharply contrast the concrete promenade strip and murky, polluted water of the present. The difficulty lies in where to draw the line. Ethical travel can mean a lot of things, but can we really slate an award-winning company for providing an exceptional service where there is demand? It seems to me that a strange conflict of interest has arisen between the backpacker and the guidebook. While we long to have an aid to our great escapades, we don’t want too many others to be in on the same thing; and though we crave to experience authenticity, we still want to be able to grab a Dairy Milk and a coke every now and again. Perhaps, then, rather than writing off travel with guidebooks as unethical, the time has come to embrace ethical travel as individuals. Rather than checking “the backpackers’ bible” for a good place to grab a bite, ask a local. Instead of jumping onto the Oz Xperience bandwagon, use a share-a-ride website – a safe and easy way to meet some real life Aussies!
How far would you go out of your way to save the environment? Going as far as the end of the room to turn off the light? Going to the bottle bank at the end of your road? How about going as far as Croatia on a coach just to save carbon dioxide admissions? This notion at first glance seems completely ludicrous. However, on her summer travels, this is exactly what my friend, Katie Silverman, did. Sceptical about Katie’s actions, I proceeded to interview her to discover exactly why she went so far out of her way to avoid taking an aeroplane. The result of this conversation led me to the conclusion that Katie’s actions are actually rather sensible. Not only did she leave me wondering about my own blasé use of aeroplanes but she also led me to question the “plane ethic” in our society. Aeroplanes have become so accessible to us now that people have begun to take them for granted and give using them about as much consideration as taking a taxi...
Oh, and those beautiful quiet beaches with pristine waters and squeaky sands that no one knows about? They still exist – I found a few. But, unsurprisingly, I’m not telling you where! Here’s a hint though: they’re not in the guidebook!
The ethics behind these observations are obviously cloudy. Although the ability to To be able to cover your bag in lightweight metal netting that will prevent your belongings from theft in principle sounds fabulous for the cautious, overwhelmed traveller. However, in practice walking around with a slash proof stainless steel net ile over your rucksack is a rather host on inati dest ge stran a in e arriv to manner ect resp and trust and suggests you lack in your hosts. It also indicates that within your bag lie hidden treasures r such as iPods, passports and othe on goodies awaiting their inevitable sale g bein from y denl Sud ket. mar k the blac bag, by shab a with just another traveler
h you have highlighted yourself as wort did I , ever How k. attac an of t the effor on have piece of mind whilst sleeping hing anyt had r neve but s buse trains and ds stolen - though neither did my frien s it without the entrapment. At 600 gram e, spac of unt uses up a substantial amo ent prev ainly cert ld wou this except the someone from slashing your bag in ered teth bag your ing leav but street, At somewhere is out of the question. ll sma a as and d price over is it £49.99 pair of wire cutters would release your goodies within seconds, this certainly won’t prevent a determined attack.
Why not take the bus?
Me: Just for background information, where did you get the bus to and from, how long did it take and how much did your complete journey cost? Katie: On the way there I took the bus from London to North Spain which was my first destination. The trip cost £70 and took eighteen hours. To come back home, I took
3 buses via Frankfurt and Paris which took three days and cost approximately £125.
emergency, I would fly home in a heartbeat but otherwise I just don’t think it’s necessary.
Me: One of perks of travelling is the people that you meet on the journey. Did you meet any one of particular interest?
After this interview, I was interested to discover exactly how much fuel Katie managed to save by taking alternative transport to Katie: an aeroplane. Unfortunately not. Whilst flying I did meet two from London Americans but they Heathrow to were rather dull. Split in Croatia No one on the emits a total of coach was a free 0.458 gallons spirited traveller. return, driving Is it really wor the same distance th sitting on a coach for days Me: What was your only emits 0.150 ? main reason for not taking an Gallons. Doing the aeroplane? calculations, if as few as four students decided to fly to Croatia Katie: The most obvious reason was to from London and back on four different contribute as little carbon dioxide to the days, their total carbon footprint would be atmosphere as possible. It seems a bit of a approximately a whopping two tonnes of contradiction to spend my life saving energy CO2 contributed to the earths atmosphere. by not driving and recycling everything, and blow it all by getting on an aeroplane which One could argue that planes take more is a whole lot worse. people than buses so the relative Carbon dioxide per person is negligible. However, Me: Wouldn’t it have been better to not according to statistics gathered in January have gone abroad in the first place if you are 2008, the number of seats sold per flight on that concerned about CO2 admissions? EasyJet airline flights have dropped to 78.9% full as of last December. Katie: Of course but you need to find a balance. I am being realistic and doing Although Katie’s travel methods do seem what I can to help the environment without a little extreme, she does provide us with driving myself completely bananas. I was in food for thought that maybe we should not the position over the summer that I had a bit continue to take aeroplanes for granted. extra money to spend on travel as well as lots If you are not willing to go thousands of of time. It took three days to come home but miles out of your way to do your bit for the I had nothing to rush back to so flying just environment, don’t forget your ‘bag for life’ didn’t seem justified. on your way to Sainsbury’s Local. It is also worth considering if you are planning next Me: Does it make a difference to you on year’s summer excursion, Blackpool is the the purpose of the journey? For example, new French Riviera. would you fly to Africa to volunteer in an orphanage for the summer for example? Is this more justifiable than travelling simply for a good tan? Katie: mmm, no because there will always be some other means of getting there. There will always be some good cause more locally to England so flying to Africa isn’t really necessary. Of course if there was a family
In the Kitchen
Keeping up Appearances Stuffed peppers with squash, mozzarella and mint Serves 4-6 3 red peppers cut in half with stem on (71p - £1.42 for 6) 100g butternut squash cut into small 3cm cubes (13p – £1.29/kg) 1 red onion cut into thick slices (36p - £1.09 for 3) 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (around 18p - £1.75 for 250ml) 2 cloves garlic cut into slices (around 8p - 34p for one) 3 tbsp olive oil (around 12p - £1.00 for 250ml) 15g fresh mint, stems cut off (around 45p - 75p for 25g) 1 ball mozzarella (47p) 1. 2. 3. 4.
Preheat oven to 180˚c/ fan 160˚c/gas mark 4. Evenly divide the squash, onion, garlic and half the mint leaves in the pepper halves. Place on a baking tray and drizzle with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Season well with salt and pepper and then bake for 30 minutes until golden at the edges. Drain the mozzarella ball and rip into 6 pieces. Place on each pepper and add a few mint leaves before serving.
Vóila! You’ve created a beautiful meal for a very reasonable £2.50. Not bad.
Metallic feather necklace - All Saints
Photography Bruno Albutt Styling Nikki Osman and Laura Sedgwick Styling assistant Paul Barlow
There’s a stereotype that us skint students survive on beans on toast, or if we’re even lazier, Dinos. But there is hope for all you aspiring gourmet chefs: you don’t have to be rolling in it to make a meal look expensive. We’ve carefully selected the cheapest ingredients you could pick up on a trip to Sainsbury’s, so if you’re not too proud to buy Basics then try this out.
Fashion Victim: Rahs on the Rampage Before launching into my rant against the Rah epidemic, I would like to begin by assuring readers that normally I am fairly tolerant of these pretty-preppies; watching them stroll nonchalantly around campus is curiously pleasurable. Almost like observing a gathering of flamingos – beautiful in their own way, but ultimately bloody stupid-looking. As the hair becomes bigger however, my patience with these creatures is becoming smaller and smaller. Not only are the industrial-sized cans of hairspray needed to perfect that justrolled-out-of-bed-after-a-night-of passionwith-a-fellow-rah look creating a new hole in our o-zone layer (“all the better for tanning dahling”), but by appearing in traditional Rah uniform outside of student territory, Rahs perpetuate the image of student snobbery that make us resented by members of “the real world”. Case in point: in a much needed visit to the mainland after having spent too much time on student island, I was enjoying a refreshingly pashmina- and bodywarmer-free afternoon when, like the ghostly apparition of a Jack Wills advert, he appeared. Flipflopping, rugby-shirted, Rah. Wearing pyjama bottoms. And to add insult, not dashing home after realising that he had forgotten to get dressed, but casually waiting for the Rainbow 5; presumably because his VW Golf was being serviced. Now, I’m all for being comfortable – the last thing you want after a night of hedonistic behaviour is to feel the confines of jeans and, lets face it, underwear. I myself am not averse to wearing my pjs to Jacksons; this is charted student country, where the lazy and hungover may mingle in peace. But the borders of studentville end at Canning Circus; from there on you are entering a world where people get up before midday, brush their teeth and actually get dressed before leaving the house. In this world the Rah no longer reigns supreme; they are ridiculed and serve as constant ammunition for Trent chants at Varsity games. The “luxe-loungewear” (100% cotton, 100% pretentious) is bad enough, but when pants are replaced with pjs for a trip to Nottingham town centre, it is a step too far. It’s like when you see Carol Vorderman wearing the latest catwalk trend – you know it’s time to bin it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m under no illusion that Rah fashion will be rebuked any time soon; but to all the Rahs out there today, I would like to offer these words of wisdom:
From left to right: Metallic bangle - River Island Skinny wooden bracelet Flower detail bracelet Chunky woodaen bracelet - all Freedom at Topshop Metallic heart bracelet - New Look
Grey lace-ups - Faith Brown woven lace-ups - Topshop
There is a fine line between looking like you don’t give a toss and just looking like a tosser. Don’t cross it by wearing your Jack Wills pyjama bottoms to go shopping. Wooden bead rope necklace - Diva at Miss Selfridge
Springwatch: The New Hits of London Fashion Week
OUR MAN IN NINGBO
by Nikki Osman September saw the 25th anniversary of London Fashion Week, the bi-annual celebration of the best of contemporary British design talent. While New York fashion week is famed for its glamour and Paris for its chic, London has long provided a transitory platform for new design talent to break onto the scene. And with hot new designers queuing up for their turn in the spotlight and new young talent graduating onto the London fashion scene every year, this year’s attendees were in for a fashionable treat in the form of the Spring/Summer 09 collections. Some of the big names to watch out for this year were the winners of the recently established design grant offered by the British Fashion Council: the Fashion Forward award. This generous sponsorship for a London Fashion Week catwalk production provides the press
coverage and the eye of the industry that up-and-coming designers need to get noticed. It certainly worked for one of this year’s winners, Erdem Moralioglu, the design talent behind Erdem. Although established in 2005, it has taken until 2008 for the industry to take significant notice. Erdem’s self confessed signature “hyper-romantic” look was perfectly in keeping with the classic Spring vibe, updated with this year’s almost mandatory trends of sheer fabrics, layering and subtle frill details. Also to benefit from being a Fashion Forward recipient was St Martin’s graduate Roksanda Illincic. Building up her brand since 2003, Illincic’s SS09 collection had her best reviews to date. With a focus on silk and satin she added an element of luxe to the classic Spring nudes and pastilles and her use of dramatic silhouettes has led to the
frequent and flattering label of “couture esque”. But the third and arguably most deserving recipient of the grant was a relative newcomer to the London scene, Christopher Kane. His label, only established in 2006, has witnessed acclaim on the back of the Fashion Forward grant and his SS09 showcase was very well received, making numerous editors’ Top Ten lists. His collection, based on an unusual Jurassic theme, stood out from the crowd by the use of oversized geometric shapes. The hints of safari and use of stand-out colours was in keeping with many Spring collections, while his insistence on maintaining his “prehistoric” stance irrefutably set him apart. Despite the ready-to-wear tag, his dinosaur designs will inevitability lack the wearability achieved by other designers for next season, but in terms of establishing himself as a serious design talent Kane was certainly successful.
It was nothing special. When I walked into a shabby restaurant on Luting Street, all I wanted was a quick lunch. I walked out an hour later confused, and slightly tipsy. Somehow I had been invited to eat with five loud, tattooed men. None spoke English, and my natural assumption as I was downing beer bottles they’d been opening with their teeth, receiving cigarettes and eating their food was that I would end up paying. They all went before me leaving me with nothing to pay for. At the university, a replica Trent building proved as far as the similarities go. The campus is tiny and in an education zone no-mans land. Chinese students have to be back in their gender-segregated dorms by 11pm. Four people cram into a tiny room with a bed suspended above the desk. Facilities are sparse. Outside the library, among other photos of dignitaries, hangs a large picture of
John Prescott with his arms around a group of Chinese girls. When the other international students arrived we celebrated the inimitable Pachoo’s birthday with Asia’s favorite cultural institution: Karaoke. Thirty people crammed into a room complete with comfy sofas, two plasma-screen TVs and a balcony screaming into microphones in an orgy of cheesy music, vodka and birthday cake. The size of Chinese cities is silly. Their answer to this is the E-Bike, an electronic bike that looks more like a moped. It provides a cheap and lazy way to get around for those willing to risk the manic traffic. At the busiest times the sensory overload becomes intense. It’s no exaggeration to say that in one moment you can have people crossing the street from both directions, cars turning into you to avoid them, buses pulling out into the road, people running to call the bus, E-Bikes coming against the traffic and yourself consumed in a swarm of other E-Bikes and bicycles all swerving around
to avoid it all. Best of all, though, is that it gives you the chance to explore the surreal phenomena of the city, such as people running their outdoor shops in their underwear. More to come on these next time.
By Chris Berragan
Hey Scenesters! by Laura Sedgwick A boy sits in the corner avidly reading a copy of Dazed and Confused, wearing a pair of white skinny jeans, battered plimpsoles and a checked shirt; a girl searches for a free table, wearing a colourful, retro dress with brightly coloured tights and an oversized cardigan. It’s a common sight in Nottingham’s kooky Lace Market hangout, Lee Rosie’s. We’re in the crucible of Nottingham cool as the room buzzes with clones of Johnny Borrell and Agness Deyn. It seems we’re attempting the scenester bingo; trilby, converse, geek glasses, retro tattoo… bingo, full house. The Agness Deyn’ Do, Vintage flannel shirt and trilby are no longer items of individuality but instead have become the norm. This ‘Indie’ genre of fashion is not just restricted to Nottingham but to other areas of the country and even the world. This look has become an
international phenomenon. Whether you’re in London’s Camden, the birthplace of ‘Indie’, or in Nottingham’s Hallward library, a global style consisting of the past half a century has arrived. A strive for individuality is seen and achieved by shopping in numerous vintage shops which are being filled more and more with jumble sale clothing. Any dresses likely to be seen in a grandma’s wardrobe have suddenly gained this cult status of ‘vintage’ when actually most of it is ‘tat’. The handle-bar moustache and its pervert connotations should be left
a global style consisting of the past half a century has arrived
in the 70s and not revived no matter how kooky and good-looking the guy is. Don’t get me wrong: I am a believer in celebrating fashion from different eras, but I think our perceptions of what is quality fashion may have been distorted. If it was not a hit the first time round then don’t revive it. The narcissistic Nathan Barley character is perhaps no longer a satire but instead a documentary of this self-obsessed image conscious society. If the ‘Indie’ icons such as Johnny and Agness started wearing boxers as neck scarves then half of Hallward café would be sporting this look the next day. I am pleading with you aspiring scenesters out there to throw away those scenester bingo cards and no longer follow the crowd but think for yourself and bring back the real meaning of independent fashion.
IMPACT GUIDE TO... THE WALK OF SHAME Walking through Lenton at 9am you can’t miss the hordes of girls tottering home. The mortifying traipse back to one’s own residence the morning after a night of drunken debauchery is more commonly referred to as the ‘walk of shame’. It must be said that the boys do of course regularly undertake this activity too; however, this is largely only distinguishable by their cocky saunter that screams ‘I just got laid’. In their case, the ‘stride of pride’ seems somehow more appropriate... but the girls get the raw deal. The guide to this simple term can in fact be deconstructed further still… The In-Hall Sprint By far the simplest and easiest to complete with one’s dignity remaining intact. Having both scrambled hand in hand out of the taxi from Gatecrasher and arrived at
hall, all that’s required is a short return to your own room to find sensible shoes and change into pyjamas. You could also grab a towel and in the morning, when caught wandering down a corridor obviously not your own, present the excuse that the shower in your own shared bathroom is flooded/broken/busy (although problematic in the case of en-suite room). The Inter-hall Hotfoot Depending on distance across campus the difficulty may vary. If this is performed at an early hour it is manageable. Choose your time wisely and you could avoid seeing anyone at all; otherwise, take the back routes. For example, if hotfooting from Hugh Stu to Nightingale, avoid the crowds and meander through the Millennium Gardens. Derby Road Dash In the case of this option, attempting to
beg, borrow or steal some warm clothes is always a clever tactic, promising their return in due time. Then, you’re only left with the problem of tripping over the tracksuit bottoms which are a mere six inches too long and clearly display the logo of the Nottingham University Rugby Union Club. Lenton to Campus Widely considered the hardest and least practical journey to make. If your chosen one has a car it’s possible to avoid the WOS entirely (but you’re still left with the awkward morning-after-chat, so you’d better hope the traffic’s good). Otherwise, the prospect of a half hour walk in last night’s tiny dress and heels facing a barrage of beeping car horns from the rush hour perverts is somewhat less than appealing.
By Hattie Hamilton
a mattress This stuff happens One Tree Hill Special K is right phallic to other people Why even bother giving it a name, especially one like e! so she said “what’s my daughter doing with paninis never mind in a year, I hate it now Fourth wall, peopl p him, but she IS crap that blonde kid?” I was really missing you She said dum
I think psychologists would be fascinated by our nights out like
h a walk as More than a no why would you go to Cardiff?! It’s not so muc to her againMy a form of transportAnd that’s why I’ll never speak
ys chest is as smooth as Bet you get that a lot Gash is a gash word More than alwa other way
Nice Cover Image: Nicole Samuels
OVERHEARD IN FRESHERS WEEK’
knees bent the
Something about Korfball He’s a Pooka I was just standing there If my A really loud violin bit Fresh then yeah that would be fine And then it’s like conversation over It’s probably for the best is not how I’d describe it Aren’t you two related? It makes it look like I
No shaving of
the eyebrows It’s almost like he thinks he’s not that into himself Wish
exactly sent out a search party Slippers or I had that memory thing If I am dead my parents haven’t to caffeine The North sucks
no slippers It can’t be great that I’m allergic t pot is there to be for so many more reasons than that If the plan
with You’re not half wrong, but you’re not half right And no one stolen e Why why please explain to me any self-respect will try and break-danc
why I didn’t know stuff in my body was that colour And it tastes goooood Don’t look now, but there’s an oompa-loompa on the lose. Oh wait. No. It’s just another frightenin g fake tan job. Sadly, this bizarre trend seems to have been floating around for a while, and judging by the amount of girls (and some guys!) that have been varnishing various shades of orange, clementine and traffic-cone to their skin, it seem s as popular now as when it first became a majo r must-do for all the cool kids.
by Oli Holden-Rea
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a sexy glow in summ er. Some, however, take this to a somewhat scary level. Introd ucing: the Orange People. You may have seen them; indeed they are hard to miss, and frankly it is tricky not to stare at their carrotlike complexions. For these people, the future is bright and, yes, very much orange. Possibly due to influential figures in the media such as Jordan and Paris Hilton, the Orange People have come to genuinely believe that applying unnatural shades of fake tan and foundation really is the way forward. Surely nothing is more sexy than a ‘you’ve been tangoed’ victim, with streaky legs, white armpits and dirty brown knuckles where the dye has clump ed, right? Wrong. When asked if this is an attractive qualit y in a female, many guys guffaw at the ridiculousness of such a notion. One even commented on the annoying need to check their clothes after hugging an Orange Person, due to the serious issue of orange transference. Harsh but true. If you think such scathing comments are a tad too callous, let’s take a peek at the flipside: Admittedly, there is no crime in wanting to look good. A healthy glimmer is attractive, and nowadays the pressu re from the media to look buffed and bronzed is enormous. Perha ps, then, fake-tanners and foundation-wearers should be cut some slack. However, there really is no justification for some of the more extreme cases of fluorescent skin tone out there. There is a line. No, it’s not the one between your facial foundation and your neck. It’s the one you draw when you start to resem ble wood stain. by Emily Adams dfgfdf
Comedy Time: The Penny Dreadfuls
If Sherlock Holmes had cloned himself and formed Monty Python before anyone else had thought of it, he might sound a little like The Penny Dreadfuls. But we can’t clone humans yet. And Sherlock Holmes didn’t exist. But these chaps do...
Everything you wanted to know about... the New Theatre
Who are The Penny Dreadfuls? Each year, the University’s unique New Theatre gets bigger and better! Impact interviewed Laura Free, a member of the New Theatre Committee, to get some inside information... Francesca: The New Theatre becomes such a well-known aspect of university life for students each year, why do you think this is? Laura: Actually within the New Theatre we want to get it more well known - there are still lots of people who have no idea that there is a theatre on campus! The New Theatre does become a very important part of uni life for lots of people, since there is no drama department at Nottingham I guess it’s the one of the few places to show off any dramatic urges! F: If people are looking to get involved with the theatre, how would they go about this and what sort of things could they do? L: We’ve just had our AGM and auditions for this semester’s plays so unfortunately there aren’t any opportunities for acting or directing this term. However, there is so much more to every production than what goes on stage and the theatre always needs new recruits for lighting, sound, set building and of course costumes and props! The best thing
to do is to check out the New Theatre website and then email the committee member in charge of the particular aspect of theatre which you are interested in. For next semester, all budding directors should attend the proposals meeting and actors need to attend the AGM which will follow and where they can sign up to audition. F: So there are lots of ways to get involved! What does your particular role within the NT entail? L: I am one half of the New Theatre costumes and props team, and in general my role involves a lot of tidying. My colleague Lauren and I have completely cleared up the costume and props cupboard, which previously looked like a bomb site, and have now got it to be a working resource for directors looking to furnish their plays. We also help set up anyone who is interested in costumes/ props or make-up with productions that need their help. F: It must be satisfying to showcase the NT productions on a wider scale, how did NT get on in Edinburgh this summer? What was your highlight? L: Fantastically. We had two shows go up - ‘Crossing the Rubicon’ and ‘Cross-stitching’, both of which did the
New theatre very proud. They were very different productions and really show-cased the variety of talent the New Theatre houses. There were some excellent reviews and both productions got some great audiences. My Edinburgh highlight was probably seeing Paul Merton trip up on a cobblestone in Pleasance Courtyard in front of a big queue of people who were all too polite to laugh!
Humphrey: We’re three...men. We’ve done three shows at the Edinburgh festival to reasonably satisfactory levels of acclaim, and two radio series for BBC7. To stand out at the Fringe, where there are so many sketch comedy acts, [we’re] setting everything we do in the Victorian era. That’s the way we roll.
F: Sounds like a great success! On that note, what sort of things can we expect to see from NT this year? L: There’s a great season coming up this year. We’ve got a real mixture with three very different new student written productions and then some famous pieces like ‘A Clockwork Orange’, ‘Look Back in Anger’ and ‘Accidental Death of an Anarchist.’ We’ve also got a promenade piece, ‘Fall of the House of Usher,’ which is a first for the New Theatre and promises to be very innovative.
Be sure to visit the New Theatre website and check out the upcoming productions.
H: Try to get involved as much as you can around the university, fill your days with something of worth. Also, I’m not joking, literally, any chance you get to fuck someone, do it. Because you’ll regret it for the rest of your life. For sure. Fucking is key. Stay safe, and all that...
H: Which is knobs.
Finally, what one thing would you reinstate from the Victorian era?
Do you have any wise words for new Nottingham freshers?
Francesca De Feg
Any other cheery words of advice?
David: We met at Edinburgh University, and got involved with an improvised comedy troupe called The Improverts. That was our training, doing deeply disposable short form comedy. [It means] you don’t get precious about stuff; it helps you not to try and reach above yourself and lose sight of what is actually funny.
D: And occasional digs at the Pope.
As both my parents are artists, I was encouraged to draw from an early age, and do recall trying my hand at a few naïve cartoons. In the ensuing years I laid this outlet to rest, as more ‘‘important’’ matters took up my time. That is until my first year of studying Architecture, when due to the strong emphasis on hand-drawing, I rediscovered the power of image to create emotive situations. Once started, I began seeing potentially comedic situations in a whole plethora of everyday scenarios. My inspiration was especially piqued when I read Nicholas Gurewitch’s gripping book; ‘The Trial of Colonel Sweeto’, and also when I noticed the curious Stickman graffitis that where dotted around Derby Hall…
D: I think time at university is invaluable because you’ve picked a degree you’re going to study for three or four years and yet you’re still not sure that’s really what you want to be doing with your time. It’s a fantastic place to meet people in the same boat as you and find out what you do want to do with your life.
H: All that, obviously, but if you’re carrying protection... Sounds like a gun! H: Yes! Put a gun to their head! Just have fun!
H: I’d quite like everyone to still wear hats and doff them to fine ladies. D: Pocket watches - people should have more than just wristwatches.
Visit www.impactnottingham.com/arts for the full interview. You can discover more about the chaps at www.pennydreadfuls.co.uk and find their radio show, The Penny Dreadfuls Present: The Brothers Faversham at BBC iPlayer. Esther Croom
Do not refreeze Photography Behind the Berlin Wall @ The Lakeside Arts Centre
The Lakeside Art Centre has delved into the depths of East Germany with its latest exhibition, Do not Refreeze. The display of photographs from the 1950s-1980s capture the everyday lives of East Berliners living during the Cold War in a personal yet detached way, unveiling what life was really like on the other side of the wall. The collection is by both professional and non-professional photographers whose work has been mainly exhibited publicly post-1990, after
being ‘frozen’ out to the rest of the world at a time of intense political turmoil. Included in the exhibition are works from Ursula Arnold whose photographs document snapshots of ordinary people; disillusionment shown on their faces as they go about their daily routines. In comparison, Helga Paris’s images of the deserted streets capture the same sombre mood using East Berlin’s rundown buildings instead of figures to construct a sympathetic narrative. Some of the most poignant and hardhitting photographs are those of Gundula Schulze Eldowy. Her collection bears a striking resemblance to a family album in showing images of what could easily be elderly relatives, yet with a seemingly distressing twist. On first impressions one
can be forgiven for assuming the innocent nature of the photographs, for it is only on further study that the true message of the image is revealed. Each photographer has a distinct technique for portraying the hidden but true mood of the period and ultimately, in our opinion, they succeed in conveying East Germany in a sympathetic light and its citizens as victims of the Cold War. One must admire the photographers’ attempt to document the reality of life behind the iron curtain, even if it has taken nearly twenty years since the wall came down for their images to be unveiled to the world. Do Not Refreeze is on until 2nd November. Rebecca Laing
films with Impact We asked our contributors to reminisce about the films that, in some way, changed their life. This is what they came up with.
Jaws IV: The Revenge
square pegg, round hole Young was supposedly banned from the set of the film and was described, by Weide, to be like when, “someone brought their five-year-old-child on set, you had to sort of put him in his chair and give him a time out and tell him not to speak to people.” When preparing for the role Pegg, “hung out a couple of times [with Young] before shooting but made the decision quite early on not to play him.” This is probably just as well; as anyone who has read the best-selling book would vouch, it would have made for an extremely unlikeable character.
Sitting in the exclusive Soho Hotel in London, I place my chunky recorder on the press table only for regular Curb Your Enthusiasm director Robert Weide to declare: “This is analogue, we want this out of here. Digital only! Come on people get with the times!” - to which we all laugh and my recorder whirrs on defiantly. All is worthwhile when it sits strategically in front of Simon Pegg, star of the recently released How To Lose Friends and Alienate People. Based on the memoirs of the renowned, and reportedly obnoxious, Toby Young, the film charts the journey of Pegg’s character as he tackles New York’s young and fashionable.
Director: Steve McQueen Cast: Michael Fassbender, Stuart Graham, Brian Milligan, Liam Cunningham The debut film of Turner Art Prize winner Steve McQueen is nothing less than stunning. The film depicts the struggles of Bobby Sands and fellow IRA members during the 1981 hunger strike, which resulted in the death of ten prisoners, as they fought to gain their status as political prisoners. The whole experience feels like a sensory deprivation experiment that suddenly shocks its patient by immersing them into a pool of extreme sound and
One can easily draw several parallels between the film’s aspiring protagonist and Pegg’s current career trajectory as there are no signs of slowing down in the foreseeable future. Filming has been completed for the forthcoming Star Trek remake/prequel flashback (information on the film is kept almost airtight) where he plays the beloved ship’s engineer Scotty. This is alongside rumours that he is to star in Steven Spielberg’s production of Tin Tin, as one half of the Thompson twins, with long-time friend and collaborator Nick Frost. When pressed about whether he can confirm the role, his reply is simply, “I can’t” (I read this as a coy yes!). One of the many pop culture references made in the film is to, “the greatest film in the world: Con Air”. This isn’t Pegg’s own opinion, he confesses - “One of the films that convinced me that film-making could be funny not just in terms of the
intense but beautiful lingering visuals. One such stunning scene, between Sands and Father Dominic Moran, lasts for an uninterrupted, 22-minute dialogue scene. The film pulls no punches as the audience is thrown into the experience of living in a prison dominated by extreme violence from both prisoners and guards. The cast should be commended for the realism, humanity and sheer torture that they bring to their performance. But it is Fassbender, who reportedly starved himself for two months for the role, who turns in an incredible performance that is comparable to the dedication shown by Christian Bale in The Machinist.
scripts and the direction and the camera work was Raising Arizona by the Cohen Brothers. Best comic movie of all time.” It comes as no surprise then that he enjoyed working with Jeff Bridges, also a Cohen Brothers alum (The Big Lebowksi). “I remember going to see Tron when I was seven, you know. Acting alongside him was amazing!” Their partnership on screen is arguably the best aspect in an otherwise average film. His feet are, however, stuck firmly on the ground as he refuses to be star stuck - “That kind of thing happens all the time in LA because you are in the centre of the industry, everybody is there, you constantly find yourself in those situations but it is never not surprising.”
There is a lot wrong with the final installment of the Jaws franchise and you do not need a degree from Nottingham to realise this. As my earliest memory of cinema it has to be my most influential for it had everything. A hungry monster shark; Michael Caine; a genuinely standout performance by Lorraine Gary; a very slight (but oh so very sumptuous) Freudian subtext that comes to explosive fruition when the shark quite pathetically but very symbolically impales itself upon the very boat he is attacking. The result is a penetrative probing of our very human nature as we ask ourselves - are we really any better than a giant killer shark with a limited conscience? Charlie Phair
Many of us uni students can relate to a kind of teetering sensation. Stuck somewhere on the bridge between teenage parental reliance and independent adulthood. My “life changing film”, Garden State, speaks to all of us who are hovering in this foggy place. I’ve watched this film a million times. I’ve cried, laughed and philosophised. It dips as dark as disability and death but sustains its positivity through offbeat humour and quirky romance. And I’m not alone - I’ve seen its success reflected across the spectrum; from the eyes of my most sentimental girl friends to my cynical older brothers. Jennifer Gibson
As a naïve 12 year old sick of schmaltzy Disney bile, Con Air was something of an enlightenment for me - it was the moment I realised that if a film is badass enough, plot, dialogue and acting are superfluous; the film is still brilliant. Between the explosions, ridiculous names and general prisoner skulduggery, my pre-pubescent face was transfixed into one of awe; here was a film where you did not need to concentrate at all, and where not one iota of emotional commitment was needed - and yet the film was awesome. Besides, any film where you’re glad the convicted paedophile/rapist/murderer gets away has got to be ticking some boxes, hasn’t it? Robert Frost
Stand by Me
Stand by Me caught my attention on TV when one day when I found myself bereft without Power Rangers to watch or a Goosebumps book to read. Not featuring either a city-terrorising monster or ninjas meant that it wasn’t the usual for me but I loved it. It was the first film in which I could see myself; bike rides with friends, chatting about trivial things that seemed incredibly important at the time. It was the first time a film wasn’t just escapist fun, it left me thinking and the themes of friendship and growing up only resonate more today. Stuart Thorniley
As a child I was taken through the magic of cinema to a different world, where the impossible became reality - at the age of four I saw The Fly. My earliest memory of watching a film was seeing Jeff Goldblum’s wang fall off. Childhood neglect aside, David Cronenberg’s masterstroke was to exemplify our fear of unwilling metamorphosis in Goldblum’s mental and physical abasement thanks to his interference in dangerous experimentation. This reference to the consequences of drug abuse makes the apprehension seem well-placed, but it is the visual effects of his mutation into a man-fly which will keep you awake.
With such a busy slate Pegg remains humble about his opportunities as “it always is amazing and I hope that I never get tired of it or find it boring, you know?” In a film that marks his second foray into the romantic comedy (Shaun of the Dead’s Rom-Com-Zom doesn’t count) genre it seems as if the title for Funniest British Male lead can finally be ripped from the cold and clammy clasp of Hugh Grant and passed on to a brighter, mumble-less future. The King is Dead. Long live the King!
Having a brother that is seven years older than me, I immediately learnt from birth that I had no say in the most important things in life - the biggest bedroom, the front seat of Dad’s car, and the TV. So whilst any normal child watches Care Bears or Little Women growing up, I got Fight Club. This didn’t quite change my life for the better. Not saying that it turned me into a manic schizophrenic who actually beat herself up when she thought it was her brother, but I was probably the most scared little girl that Brad Pitt had entertained for a number of years after it.
How to Lose Friends and Alienate People is out now and is reviewed on the Impact Website Upon much reflection the piece feels more shocking than the recent spate of “horror porn” films as it demonstrates that the real horror lies in history and what man can do to fellow man. James Warren
The Dark Knight
The Jungle Book
Finally! I don’t have to be ashamed. Comic books are cool. They’re taken seriously and one film has empowered me to “come-out” as a comic book geek: The Dark Knight. Clichéd? Obvious? Yes. But undeniable. Forget Adam West and the Exploding Shark. Christopher Nolan proves that comic books are more than just adolescent fantasies, catering only to the minority of stereotypical Simpsons’ “Comic Book Guys”. They’re a legitimate literary and artistic medium that can engage the masses. With the film’s critical and global success everyone is a comic book geek now. So say it with me people: “Best. Film. Everrr.” Alfie Liu
Just as Mowgli is ushered from the jungle into civilisation – yep, another of Kipling’s insufferable colonial metaphors - Disney’s dystopian dance-fest drove this Impacter ever closer to an awareness of Sex (altogether shattered upon hearing Dad do strange things to Mum one night). At the picture’s close, our premature protagonist wanders off in pursuit of the female flesh, after the little hussy has deliberately dropped her pot of water and waited for Mowgli to fill it. An abandoned Baloo watches on, alone. This ending infinitely frustrated me, and continues to do so: possibly because my own life continues to bear astonishing resemblance to Baloo’s. Rob Chute
I think it’s safe to say I was not expecting a life lesson from a high school comedy, let alone a film starring Lindsay Lohan; but it has to be said that Mean Girls does carry with it an important message. It stresses the point that it isn’t popularity that is a crucial factor, but happiness, and that happiness is found within people that you get along with and trust. it made me stop trying the weasel my way into the popular crowd, in which I wrongly thought happiness destined, and accept the freaks that made me giggle… kidding. Hannah Marshall
album reviews Album of the Month
Interview the foals
E: Most of Foals are from Oxford, do you think Radiohead are one of the main inspirations for the music scene there?
Foals gambled their university education for a career in music. It seems to have paid off; they have since signed two major record deals, and released debut album ‘Antidotes’ earlier this year. Impact’s Elise Laker and James Ballard caught up with 22year-old front man Yannis to find out how the band is doing, and what the future holds.
No, Radiohead don’t really belong to Oxford anymore, they kind of belong to the world. The Oxford music scene is small and self-satisfied. People smoke a lot of pot, so they seem to get on and just make experimental music. I really like being in a pop band surrounded by much weirder bands in Oxford.
J: The bonus disc on your album was recorded in Nottingham, what do you think of the place?
At the moment I’m listening to a lot of surf rock like Dick Dale, The Ventures, and The Shadows. I’ve been getting into Krautrock, particularly Can, Harmonia, and Neu! We were listening to some Alan Lomax last night too. I like music that has its own sphere that is different to the one that we are in.
I like it, my brother went to university here. He used to take us out to Liars Club. I like the other side of it too; Gringo records and bands like Wolves of Grease when they were around. I’ve got an innate respect for Nottingham, and it’s also got Sherwood Forest and DH Lawrence as well. J: I read somewhere that you didn’t like Late of the Pier. Is that right? Where did you hear that? I like them a lot more since reading their interviews. Have you seen the feud they have got going with [TV presenter] George Lamb? That’s pretty funny. It’s really important to have a band as courageous as them. I just don’t listen to many new bands out of choice, because we play so much in a contemporary environment.
E: Who do you cite as your influences?
E: Do you think that the current music scene isn’t being progressive enough? There is some really good stuff; I just need some time away from it. I really like Panda Bear, Deerhunter, Atlas Sound, and TV on the Radio. That’s the sort of modern guitar music that we find exciting. To be honest I don’t find the bands that are currently on the cover of NME to be genuinely that exciting. E: You mentioned TV on the Radio and you produced your album with Dave Sitek. I heard a rumour that you fired him?
We try and do loops, but it’s quite difficult for us on tour as we can’t really sit down with an acoustic guitar. After our tours we are going to write together. I’m assuming there is always going to be a distinctive quality that will be recognisably Foals. I don’t want to scramble the chemistry between us too much, but I don’t want people to put on the new album and feel instantly comfortable, I want people to put it on and feel a bit weird. All we have been thinking about is the new record. E: Have you got any collaborations on the horizon? Any side projects? We’ve got side projects and stuff. Jimmy and Walter have this band called Infinity Penis which is like this weird thing they do and then me and Andrew from Youthmovies have this band called Bins are for Bombs. As for collaborations, we’re going to try and do something with Cornelius, it’ll tie in with how we do the next record. J: The incident with John Lydon has been put down to drunkenness, do you have any last words? It wasn’t just a bit of a drunken misunderstanding. I think the way they behaved was pretty disgusting. It was more Lydon’s company, but I got arrested by Spanish police. E: Mathrock or krautrock?
He mixed ‘Antidotes’. We didn’t like the mix so we remixed it. He still produced the record. We have no regrets. He is an outsider genius, he thinks of music in a totally different way. He thinks if you listen to Górecki’s Third symphony, then your molecular structure changes forever. J: You’ve been touring a while now, are you
working on new material? Are you going to be moving on from the sound of ‘Antidotes’?
Krautrock definitely. J: Best or most memorable show? Last night, it’s the only one I remember. All the shows on this tour have been great; they have all been super violent. J: How is the hair growing pact going? Who’s winning? Pretty Badly. Is there any winner? How can someone win? I’m definitely not winning! Elise Laker and James Ballard
Gang Gang Dance Saint Dymphna (Warp Records, 20th October) Album of the Month Saint Dymphna is known as the Patron Saint of those who suffer from mental illness and nervous disorder, although it must be said you do not need to be mentally ill to enjoy this album, far from it. The New York quartet have taken almost 3 years to create their follow up masterpiece that challenges the very idea of genre in ways few others have yet dared to experiment with. Whereas in ‘God’s Money’ their sound was much more influenced by tribal rhythms and sprawling cadences, the long awaited Saint Dymphna overtly stresses their abundance of different musical influences and takes us on an ephemeral voyage across a spectrum of dance genres from the Dubstep-infused African fanfare sounding “Inner Foot” to electro sing along “Heart Jam”. “Princes” featuring Grime MC Tinchy Stryder might come as a shock to some but fits in perfectly with the entire album despite it defying the laws of genre convention. Even though their new album is focused towards a more electronic sound, Gang Gang Dance’s original mystic charm still prevails, proving their dance floor potential as well as experimental success. Elise Laker
Conor Oberst Conor Oberst (Wichita Recordings, 25th August) Conor Oberst, whose various projects are beloved by people who get their musical taste from The Sunday Times, releases the long-awaited solo record that all band leaders come to make at some point. You know, the eponymous one. The one that says “This is me, take me as I am.” Right? I mean he’s even put himself on the cover for once. Well, yes and no. There are signs of Oberst trying to shift in a new direction. The album’s sound owes a great deal to 70s swamp rock and early 90s Americana. So too lyrically, as this is very much an “escape” album. From space travel, through the well-worn yearning for the open road, and finally death, everyone is going somewhere. Vocally, Oberst appears to have consciously backed away from his usual pubescent tremor and replaced it with a much more understated (and effective) delivery. However, Oberst is still writing songs that need to soar occasionally, and so some are left rather flat. That said, apart from the pointless “Valle Mistico (Ruben’s Song)”, and the idiotic “NYCGone, Gone”, this is a solid album. Standout tracks are the brilliant and politically-charged “Lenders in the Temple”, the lively “Get-WellCards” and the obligatory slow closer “Milk Thistle”. If this is the new/true Oberst, it may be only the beginning.
TV on the Radio Dear Science (4AD, 22nd September) The first song, “Halfway House”, alone justifies giving full marks to ‘Dear Science.’ Hand claps like explosions and those ‘ba ba ba’s,’ mean you probably won’t hear anything catchier this year. Their beats are fast paced, which makes an interesting contrast to Tunde’s mellow voice. However, he steps it up a gear in “Dancing Choose,” matching the pace of the beat but then slowing down the pace again in “Stork and Owl,” with plucked strings comprising of violins and cellos. He continues this on in “Golden Age” adding the horns which they were more famous for using in ‘Return to Cookie Mountain’.
‘Dear Science’ is perhaps a more complex album than their previous works but just as rewarding, giving you the opportunity to delve further into the complex web of TV on the Radio. If ‘Return to Cookie Mountain’ was a sunny day, Dear Science is a graveyard shift about death, dying and dread.
David Holmes The Holy Pictures (Canderblinks/Mercury, 8th October) The Holy Pictures is an intimate and personal account of David Holme’s life going back to the time of his mother’s death in 1996. It has been in development for most of his career and the results are perhaps one of the best rock albums of the year. He has commented that he wanted to make an album about his life, love, loss, friends and family. The intimacy of his lyrics and ambience of his guitar shows the beauty and delicate nature of his life, which is both soothing and uplifting. The album features many collaborations, in particular with Martin Rev from Suicide who cowrote the lyrics to the emotionally-charged “I Heard Wonders.” Holmes seems to pay a sort of personal homage within his music to bands like the Velvet Underground and Brian Eno to name a few, incorporating these vast influences into his work. The final product is an atmospheric and well-constructed melodic soundtrack which reflects the beauty and delicate nature of his life. Chris Jones Sienna A Pure Lead (Abon records, 17th November) ‘A Pure Lead’ is Japanese artist Sienna’s debut album. Her sound is described as “electronica-jazz” which is certainly an interesting combination in theory, although most of the emphasis does seem to edge towards the “electronica” side of this. Sienna adopts a minimal beat in her songs, mixing them together with some synths and the occasional pretentious line of pseudo philosophy, which, unfortunately, gets quite repetitive, not to mention that some of the lyrics are pretty cringe-worthy. I can however see this album working in certain situations. The general sound of the album is reminiscent of the hypnotising music played in Amsterdam coffee houses that often makes you feel more stoned then you actually are. If your evening plans involve lighting up, chilling out, and staring at a lava lamp, this album would be a great accompaniment. Generally, however, the tracks are fairly ‘samey’ and not particularly engaging. Alex Fernandes
live review the melvins
Rescue Rooms 2nd October
Grunge (for want of a better label) pioneers the Melvins are raucous, but they have a wry twist to their anger. Witness, tonight, the smile on King Buzzo’s face as they crack through most of their latest two albums, ‘Nude With Boots’ and ‘(A) Senile Animal’, plus the obligatory career highlights of songs like ‘Boris’ and ‘Honey Bucket’. But it’s hard to get lost in the sheer drone, for the volume seems somehow muted. Let’s face it. If you’re at a Melvins gig you’re not there for delicacy. You’re not there to hear something fragile. You’re there because you want your ears to get fucked up, the kind of damage that you’ll bitterly regret in the care home years. And it’s never been so clearly evident how quiet the Rescue Rooms are. I could still hear dropped change tinkling on the pavement outside after, so chalk that up as a disappointment. Still, the dual drummer display kept those of us not in the mosh pit rapt with attention - Big Business, the support for the night, are also currently technically member of the Melvins after their album collaborations, and drummer Coady Willis joins Melvins mainstay Dale Crover and the two drum up something wicked and frightful and powerful. The set ending cover of country classic ‘Okie From Muskogee’ went down a storm. They’re not hippies, they don’t take no LSD nor burn their draft cards. They don’t need to. They make the white lightning excitement for themselves.
the hockley hustle 5th October
With 120 bands playing in almost every venue that has electrical plugs, The Hockley Hustle is a great way to see all your local bands from the East Midlands at a cheap price whilst raising money for charity. The Hockley Hustle crams all of this into one day, giving promoters a tough time of making sure things run smoothly. With so many places to go to, I decided to join the Drowned in Sound stage at Bunkers Hill to witness what I thought would be the most enduring but entertaining night of the week. Bands started as early as 4pm, but with some time delays due to missing PAs the event was pushed back an hour. ‘Dom Keller’ was the first band I managed to see at 5.30pm. They mixed the loud atmospheric sound of A Place to Bury Strangers with the distant vocals and keyboards of Spacemen 3. In an interview afterwards, they explained their love of the blues and
60s psychedelia and their influences on their sound. I Concur followed next with jangly guitar hooks and political stories about Able Archer and Sobotka, managing to make enough noise to get everyone’s attention. This was only the beginning as The Recovery played next, proving to be a fan favourite as a group of rowdy youths shouted and screamed to their songs, eventually climbing onto the stage to finish the last song with them. Their energy was not unexpected by this time as Bunkers Hill was beginning to fill up and the room got smaller. Normally playing an electrical gig, Mint Ive stripped it down this time to an acoustic set playing only a few songs because their drummer recently left. They
had to borrow the guitarist from Model Morning to keep them going. I’m pretty sure that neither band minded sharing members because helping each other out is what they said Nottingham bands should be doing. Model Morning finally hit the stage at 11pm, bringing epic, gun blazing guitar sounds to a sleepy but determined crowd wanting the final slice of the pie. The end result was one of the most enjoyable shows thanks to all the efforts of the promoters and bands. Chris Jones
getting chatty with natty On a surprisingly sunny, serene October afternoon, I sit opposite one of Britain’s most refreshing and soulful young musicians, who goes by the name of Natty. His laid back demeanour and astute sentiments regarding music, life and society reflects the vibe of his impressive debut album, ‘Man like I.’ His name and dread locks encourage many to assume that his music can be defined as reggae; however the eclectic mix of influences displayed throughout the album stem from his musical diversity. When I questioned him about his childhood idols he explained that five of his major influences were Jimmy Hendrix, Neil Young, The Streets, Common and Bob Dylan. As I find him with his feet up, staring thoughtfully over the city, the man displays an undeniable air of self-confidence – something he describes as “my biggest strength, and my biggest weakness.” At the mention of the inevitable pressure of success he casually reasons that “No, I’m not really bothered by pressure, that doesn’t faze me.” His perceptive, narrative and insightful observations of both people and society display wisdom beyond his years. When
I inquired about this he admits, “I’ve bin doin’ things I shouldn’t be from the age of eleven,” and having left home at 17, he grew up fast. He explains: “I was always searching, so I’m a little bit old for my age I guess.” His voice provides a commentary on “social injustice” throughout the album, and while some might argue that at times he perhaps takes himself too seriously, his music is “mine but it’s also yours,” as it’s certainly easy to listen to and contributes to his desire to “help the vehicle of change.” Having released ‘Man Like I’ at the age of 24, he will not be resting on his laurels. He is already writing his next record. Despite his undeniable talent he can, like the rest of us, struggle for inspiration at times. “Sometimes I might need a quarter bottle of rum and then things just come to me, then other times I could be just sitting there focused.” The North Londoner is content provided he has a platform where he is in a position to “sing, MC, harmonise or be able to do whatever I need to express myself.” He recognizes that he has a voice, and he certainly has something to say. When I put to him the question of what he might abhor most, he is clear in his explanation: “what really vexes me is social injustice”
Making a Break with Syllabus will Syllabus be able to survive whilst only taking 15% of their artists’ profits? “I am not unrealistic and understand that we are a business but the most important thing for us right now is to provide the best deals we can for our artists.”
and in particular “institutional racism.” Specifically, he draws attention to the way this country suffers from such accusations, citing various examples including the behaviour of Boris Johnson. This is a relevant topic for Nottingham students when we consider the furore over Craig Cox’s alleged “Bring Back Slavery” banner. Whether you explore the album for its musical or political prowess, Natty is one who seemingly makes “the music I wanna make,” blending “a bit of reggae, bit of folk, afrobeat soul, indie and hip hop.” And as for the future? “I got big plans.” Andy Whitelaw
Starting out in the music business is a difficult task for anyone. Gifted musicians can struggle to be noticed amidst the zillions of bands peddling their material on myspace. But fear not talented types, the answer to your prayers is here in the form of Syllabus Music Platform, a new scheme designed to enable creative and driven students to access all areas of the music industry. The Syllabus team is solely comprised of recent graduates and student interns, who understand the difficulties of life as a student musician and insist on the artist controlling 100% of their rights. Gideon Smith, MD, is particularly sympathetic with the plight of student musicians. “The main point here is that artists should not have to give up a massive majority of their profits just so that the labels make loads of money.” A noble sentiment, but
Seems like a solid deal for the artists then. But it is not simply musicians whom Syllabus offers aid to, a point which Smith is keen to emphasise. “We run a number of projects including helping students who want to target areas such as A & R, design, events and management. This is what we call our Syllabus Network and the number one thing that drives the network is work ethic.” Indeed, the effort which has gone into Syllabus is the most encouraging part of the project. The first Syllabus compilation, ‘Sounds Like Syllabus Vol. 1’, is available for download on iTunes now. Whilst obviously not all the artists on the record are world-beaters, there are a few bright prospects. Let’s Tea Party’s infectious bounce-pop surely has the Bristol band destined for greater things, while London rapper Master Shortie has already earned himself a support slot for Hadouken! on their recent tour. However, the album highlight has to be Kerry Leatham’s ‘Run Dry’, a melancholy tale of a broken relationship which featured on the soundtrack to Adulthood. Joseph Hendry
The Science of . . . Ghosts and Ghouls
A holiday out of this world: space tourism
As a new generation of freshers arrive at Nottingham, the possibility that a lucky few of you will go on to become budding entrepreneurs, wealthy businessmen or extravagant investment bankers is sky high. So it may be with a hint of arrogance that you’re already asking yourself, “When I have it all - the ten bedroom mansion, the private jet and a garage full of the most expensive supercars that money can buy - what will be the next outrageously ostentatious thing I shall do with my millions?” Why not turn your attention to the increasingly fashionable world of space tourism? You might decide to fly with Virgin Galactic, in their originally named “Space Ship Two”. Virgin are already taking deposits for the £120,000 payment, which will give you a suborbital flight comprising six minutes of weightlessness and unparalleled views of approximately 1/200th of the Earth’s surface. However, Virgin Galactic refuse to say when they will be ready to start taking passengers up into space. Currently, if such an excursion is not exclusive or substantial enough for you, for £12 million you can visit the International Space Station onboard the Russian Soyuz spacecraft, courtesy of Space Adventures. NASA, on the other hand, takes a more cautious approach to the matter of space tourism - the
first space tourist, Dennis Tito, was rejected by NASA before he went to Russia. Besides, with the shuttle set to go into retirement, NASA will be too busy trying to remain a competitive space agency, with its next generation of Orion spacecraft not scheduled to get off the ground until 2014. Yet there is a new kid on the block when it comes to the juggernauts in space innovation. The relatively young Chinese National Space Agency (CNSA), despite having got off to a slow start, is a force to be reckoned with. On the 27th September this year, pilot Zhai
Zhigang became the first “Taikonaut” (Chinese Astronaut) to space walk, a major step for the space administration. After such a successfully orchestrated Olympics, if China decides to switch its attention to the space race, one can only imagine what heights will be reached. In fact, NASA administrator, Michael Griffin, has reportedly said that China is more than capable of putting a man on the moon before the United States goes back (they plan to return to the moon in 2020). Although we have to be sceptical that China has no timetable to reach the moon, and such a statement can be seen as a plea for more funding, it is with a certain degree of authority and clout that the CNSA believe a lunar excursion to be inevitable. The question now is whether or not China will follow in Russia’s footsteps in allowing tourism to become a regular occurrence. A lunar trip will require significantly more training and money, if possible at all, to take an astronaut to the moon. Despite this, where there’s a will there’s a way, and if China does decide to follow in Russia’s space-trails then undoubtedly the CNSA will become one of the main attractions for a new kind of extreme tourism. Christopher O’Donovan
“Anyone who thinks the Large Hadron Collider will destroy the world is a twat....” Those were the sage words uttered last month by the ‘Rockstar of Physics’, Professor Brian Cox of Manchester University, in response to the news that scientists working on the Large Hadron Collider in France had received death threats. There are fears amongst a vocal minority of environmentalists that the search for the mysterious Higgs boson particle in the world’s largest particle accelerator will create a black hole that will “swallow us all”. In Hawaii, the LHC has been creating quite a stir too. A lawsuit submitted by a concerned local imploring the US
government to shut down the Collider was thrown out of court last week. The native Hawaiian Judge ruled that the 27-kilometre-long tunnel on the FrancoSwiss border funded by European Government grants was, surprisingly, “outside her jurisdiction”.
2009 for something to talk about - a welding error led to one tonne of liquid helium leaking over critical equipment, and repairs will take months. Fear not, though - if the end of the world is nigh, Impact Science will be the first to bring you the news.
Whilst the LHC has undoubtedly scared the “twats”, the more physics-inclined amongst us are aquiver with spotty and bespectacled excitement at the prospect of revolutionising our understanding of particle and quantum physics. However, doomsdayers, devotees, sceptics and supporters alike will have to wait until
More information about the LHC is available in rap format (yes, lab-coat adorned particle physicists droppin’ beats, you read correctly) at http://tiny.cc/ cernrap. Henry Blanchard
Engineer Vic Tandy was a level-headed, sceptical university lecturer. One day whilst working in his lab Vic began to feel eerily uncomfortable. He later described seeing a strange grey shape out of the corner of his eye and feeling as though he was being watched. When he turned to look at the spooky floating blob, it had vanished. Unnerved, Vic promptly left for home. The next day he noticed even more unusual goings on in the laboratory and openly admitted he was terrified. Possessing an inquiring scientific mind, Vic needed an explanation. From then on he set about investigating what was causing his ghostly experiences. It turned out that the extractor fan in the corner of the room was likely to be to blame. The fan emitted a very low frequency sound wave, the middle of which crossed the centre of the lab,
precisely where Vic had felt so uneasy. Extremely low frequency waves – known as infrasound - cannot be heard by the human ear, but scientists believe the effects can be felt. Experiments have shown that infrasound typically induces feelings of anxiety, sorrow or even the sense of a presence in the room. The frequency of the waves can also cause the eyeballs to resonate creating optical illusions, such as the eerie grey blob that Vic saw. Studies in numerous supposedly haunted places around the country have detected high levels of infrasound, giving weight to Tandy’s theory. Other researchers have suggested that fluctuating magnetic fields might also be giving people the creeps. Magnetic fields have been shown to stimulate
an area of the brain known as the temporal lobe. This can cause similar feelings of nervousness, dizziness, and hallucinations as those induced by infrasound. This theory may explain why more people report experiencing paranormal happenings at night. The Earth’s magnetic field is affected by solar winds, and because the Earth rotates, the part of the world experiencing night time is always positioned furthest away from the sun. Therefore, on this side of the planet the field is distorted and stretched out. It is thought that this expanded magnetic field interacts more strongly with the brain, resulting in the more intense discomfort and uneasiness often attributed to hauntings. Laura McGuinness
What you didn’t know about Einstein! Surely the name Einstein is as familiar to our ears as is the sound of rain falling in England. And for the benefit of the minority who think ‘Einstein’ is the name of some planetary object from a sci-fi film, allow me to enlighten you. Albert Einstein is an award-winning physicist best known for his theory of relativity and mass-energy equivalence, E=mc2. But you can heave a sigh of relief; this is not going to be a repetition of his successes. Instead, here are just a few remarkable (if perhaps obscure) things Einstein got up to when he wasn’t busy fathering modern physics… - He had early speech difficulty. - He did not complete high school. - Contrary to popular belief, he did not fail school, meaning you can’t use that myth-conception as a crutch anymore, you’ll just have to work harder! - He was known for his antics in the classroom; for example, during a lesson on quadratic equations he released two bats that he had captured the previous night in his attic. The consequences of
that are another story altogether. - He had a daughter by the name of Lieserl, with his first wife. The daughter’s fate was never known. - He smoked like a chimney.
- In a letter to Max Born, he wrote: “I, at any rate, am convinced that he [God] does not throw dice.” - He gave a lecture at Nottingham University in 1930. A blackboard displaying his notes is preserved in C14 in the Maths and Physics Building. - He died of internal bleeding, and took with him to the hospital a draft of the speech he was preparing for a television appearance - one that he did not live to complete and deliver. - His brain was removed for preservation without the consent of his family in hopes that futuristic neuroscience approaches would decipher what made him so intelligent. And these little snippets of his life are, in fact, just the tip of the iceberg. This father of modern physics had much more going on up his sleeve… Rabab Kas Image by Sophie Stammers
One very unique Freshers’ week Scouring the racks of cheap potential fancy dress outfits in Primark paid off at the first freshers night in Nottingham’s most popular student club, Ocean. The “funked up” theme gave us all an excuse to get dressed up 80s style with big hair, bright colours, neon war paint and oversized glasses. With a live funk band playing and the club completely packed, it was a great way to start our freshers’ week. If we had the choice, Wednesday’s traffic light party at Oceana would have been top of the list, but instead our night consisted of sand, sweat and questionable ‘hoff’ shots at Walkabout. We were excited by the ‘Baywatch’ theme as we thought it had the potential to be an interesting night with a beach and inflatables promised. What we actually got was more of a sand pit than a beach, and our shoes took most of that home with us. To be fair,
though, we’re still wearing the free flip flops and t-shirts the DJ was throwing out, and the music was exactly what you’d expect from a ‘Baywatch’ themed night. Thursday night’s pink theme at Snug really lived up to its name - attempting to fit hundreds of drunk freshers into the club was an ambitious move. However, the downstairs bar proved to be a success with an acoustic set playing which gave us a welcome change and a more relaxed atmosphere. The on-campus party, a silent headphone disco, was held in the huge freshers’ fayre marquee. Taking the headphones off and watching the other freshers dancing and singing in a silent hall was an experience in itself! Unfortunately, it wasn’t a great night for all as the number of tickets sold was greater than the number of headphones available and many had paid for the entry and left disappointed. The final night of the week was the Week One freshers’ party, held at Rock City and Stealth. The line up included Audio Bullys and Reverend and the Makers which both went down well, and Reggie Yates also performed a DJ set. The party ended with a bang – literally – as confetti showered the dancers on the main floor. It was definitely a great way to end freshers’ week! Caitlin Jones and Emma Martin
Easy Tigers on the ‘Protection’ Prowl If you have ever volunteered as an Easy Tiger, you will probably be sick to death of hearing: “So… what do you look like under all that tiger make-up?”, “Yeh, I’ll have a sticker… right here”, “A condom… is that for us?” and of course, the ever predictable: “Easy, Tiger!” And the SU has the nerve to tell us that we’re not allowed to stick stickers on the freshers for fear of being accused of sexual harassment. As a decaying 4th year, I did not need telling twice that I was not allowed to scam on the freshers, who seem to get more baby-faced every year. In many ways, though, it felt a lot like my own freshers’ week - now three whole years ago. (And in case that made me feel old, my Dad included in an e-mail the other day the awful trivia that his own freshers’ week was now a terrifying 41 years ago.) Our night started at 7pm in the Portland
building, with a quick brief from the Welfare officer and the trowelling on of much orange and yellow face paint, probably around the time that the freshers would have been starting proceedings in halls with a round of ‘ring of fire’. It was Monday, and the first night off campus for most freshers. It was bound to be hectic. I’m not sure what the theme was exactly, but if NuRave had had sex with the 80s in an Ocean toilet and given birth to hundreds of drunken freshers, it probably would have resembled the scene I had before me. Oh my, it was beautiful. In between giving out vast quantities of condoms (apparently 11,000 were ordered in especially for you freshers) I had the odd moment to reflect on my four years. Did I envy this
new batch of sparkly, cheeky, excitable, (and thanks to us, STD-free) bright young things? Not loads. I knew all too well how they were going to feel come next Monday morning. Suzy East
Market Bar and Brownes, The Midweek Hockley blowout The highs and lows of freshers’ week are well and truly over. The Oceana, Isis and Ocean combo has taken its toll, and you feel it may be time to check out what lies behind the super-clubs in Nottingham nightlife. Well all is not lost; there are many great bars in Nottingham, with two of the best weekday nights held by Brownes and Market Bar in Hockley. These two can provide an anticheese upgrade to your week. Brownes is a bar, restaurant and club, combining every good student’s needs of food, alcohol and dancing. Looking particularly impressive after a summer refurb, its highlight is the new Tuesday night MNSTR, run by the spectrum and detonate guys. This means high-end DJs playing breaks, electro, hip hop and drum and bass. It’s free entry, however there are cheaper drinks deals to be found out and about. Go for the music and enjoy the new atmosphere, but wait for your Thursday nights to really get the drinks in. Thursday night in Nottingham is one where many bars have tried to stake a claim, but the proud winners of “Nottingham’s best club award 2008” are the Dive team at Market Bar. Dive has grown massively in the last year and become the place to be for students yearning for something a little different. It’s known for the £1.50 Jagerbombs and huge electro sounds out of its incredible sound system, with some of Nottingham’s best young talent on the decks. On a Thursday the queues can be long, the club sweaty, but once inside, you’ll forget all this and get lost in one of Nottingham’s best nights. Matthew Bradburn
High Spirits If you’re looking for something a bit more chic than a dip in the ocean, ‘High Spirits’ is the night for you. ‘High Spirits’ provides the perfect opportunity to escape the cheese, grime and sweat of the standard Nottingham student night. Held in a more luxurious location than the retail park of Isis, ‘High Spirits’ dominates ‘The Brass Monkey’ in Nottingham’s Lace Market for one night a month only. Reserve a table, and you can chill with your friends in an exclusive seating area where you can indulge in the copious amounts of vodka, mixer and cigarettes that accompany the tables which means no queuing at the bar! If your standard vodka mixer isn’t enough and you have a yearning for a more stylish drink then an array of cocktails can be retrieved at the bar, from ‘Cosmopolitans’ to ‘Raspberry Mule’ and ‘Tom Collins’. It doesn’t stop there. The bar is laced with sugary goodies from sherbet sticks to drumstick lollipops and the decked heated smoking area promotes a great ambiance, regardless of the temperature outside. ‘High Spirits’ is a night that is only growing and is the ultimate combination of sophistication at student prices. For only £20 a night for girls, £25 for boys for all you can drink it is definitely one of Nottingham’s best bargains! Tamrah Woolfe and Charlie Higgins
Detonate It’s 5am. I stumble out of Stealth still sweaty and disorientated, my stomach feels like it’s been pummelled and I take my first gulp of oxygen for a while… Having not been to many Drum and Bass nights, Detonate was certainly a good place to start. Famous for bringing the best Drum and Bass, Hip Hop and Dubstep artists together to produce stellar line-ups, the arrival of Detonate at Stealth was one of the first big nights of term. Transforming Stealth into a sweaty pit of bass heavy madness in with Hospital Records cohorts High Contrast and London Elektricity, among others, and with Scratch Perverts in Rescue Rooms, just as if the line up wasn’t big enough! Stealth and Rescue Rooms were opened together which made for an entertaining maze of different sounds. Upon struggling into the already packed room one the bass churned my stomach and shook the floor. Virtually a scrum on the Dancefloor signalled High Contrasts arrival. He didn’t disappoint and seemed to be the most popular act of the night whipping the crowd into a frenzy with his particular brand of Drum and Bass. Although Rescue Rooms wasn’t perhaps the ideal setting for Scratch Perverts, they were, as always, a crowd favourite mixing great tunes as only they know how. Nathan Bransden
Drink ‘n’ Drive
Place Your Bets
Even if you are not much of an ‘Isison-a-Wednesday’ kinda person, it is worth making at least one trip this year. Its recent addition of dodgems has increased Isis’s novelty value, their bright lights enticing the university student Isis-goer to devote a portion of their loan to whizzing around in them. Money well spent is what I say. These nifty bumper cars go fairly fast and the breeze whipping past your face as you drive is a refreshing change from the sweaty heat inside the club. Girls wishing to drive alone are at risk of being denied that pleasure as groups of lads often are seen to disperse so as to ride with a female. Dodgems at Isis are one of the few legal ways to drive under the influence people. Make the most of them.
Located just two miles outside the city centre, a trip to Nottingham Greyhound Stadium is £6 entry on Friday and Saturday nights and a fun alternative to clubbing. Drinks are cheap and the minimum for making a bet is 50p, thus making a visit to the dog races well within the average student’s budget. When it gets chilly, you can come inside and buy a pie or any other junk food you can think of to warm up, and view the races from the clubhouse. Oh, and losing doesn’t make the evening any less fun – trust me, I know! Call 0115 910 33 33 for more information and here’s hoping the dogs you bet on win!
WIN TICKETS TO A SCREENING OF ’CHOKE’ !
The Debutant at the Bag O’Nails A ‘debutant’ is someone making their first appearance before the public and so is aptly named for the drink chosen to begin this ‘cocktail of the month’ column. Milk-based but still refreshing, Lenton’s ‘Bag O’ Nails’ does a killer ‘Debutant.’ The butterscotch and chocolate schnapps combine well whilst the crushed ice makes sure that the milk does not make this cocktail heavy on the stomach. At a reasonable £3.25, the ‘Bag’ does not disappoint with this sweet, foamy drink. Anisa Kadri
Restaurant of the Month With its ‘World Tour’ of food, each month Nufood will be bringing you the best of international cuisine in Nottingham. We start in France, a.k.a French Living. A visit to French Living is a truly Gallic experience; from the interior which mimics a provincial French brasserie, to their menu on which everything is homemade and prepared using simple but undeniably fresh ingredients. The set lunch and dinner menu is particularly good value with three courses coming to just £16.50. One dish especially worth noting is the Onglet à l’Echalotte, which was not only perfectly cooked but well-priced at £10.50; and for dessert, the crème brûlée with Tahiti vanilla should not be missed. Perhaps the service was a little too laid-back, but I suppose it goes with the territory. However, for just over £20.00 for a three course meal and half a bottle of wine this is truly one of Nottingham’s little gems. Sara Ferrity, NuFood
Cafe of the Month
he isn’t busy being a put upon Pilgrim, gagging violently or visiting the mother who doesn’t recognize him, Victor is cruising sexaholic recovery meetings for action.
The Plot: Victor (Sam Rockwell), in an effort to pay for his demented mother’s (Academy Award® winner Anjelica Huston) private healthcare, engages in a brazen scam. While dining in upscale restaurants, he deliberately chokes on his food, allowing himself to be “saved” by wealthy good Samaritans who grow so close to him in the wake of their heroic Heimlich Maneuvers, they lavish him with cheques. His day job at a historical theme park is no more conventional; and when
The Tower of Excess
Entries to magazine@impactnottingham .com. Correct entries received a week before the screening will be entered into a draw, and the winners contacted via e-mail.
Last month we offered a giveaway of a DAB digital radio, in association with Galaxy Radio. However, we failed to mention who it was who was actually giving us the radio – it was the lovely, lovely people at www.getdab.com - check their website to find out what else you can listen to on DAB in your area. One person in particular, Michael Fisher, has more reason to be grateful seeing as his was the winning entry (the answer, if you didn’t know it, was ‘Radio’).
Editing and designing Impact can drain the brain, mouth and stomach. £50 of Dominos, 25+ Wispas and a mountain of Ubuntu kept the six of us alive on the design Saturday.
With the faceless, repetitive, American-styled coffee shop that appears to have sprung up on every street throughout the UK over the last 10 years, it is a real joy to rediscover a true English tradition, afternoon tea! Hidden away in a tiny backstreet of Nottingham, away from the hurly burly of multinationals and conglomerates, you will find a quirky yet sophisticated teashop, The Walk. Catering for every tea drinker, whether it is breakfast, herbal or green, the Walk has a tea to suit every need. Individually served in antique teapots, with matching cup and saucer, you really feel taken care of when you go for tea at The Walk. But don’t despair, for those who do not like tea, there are many other drinks available, including creamy hot chocolate and frothy cappuccinos, as well as tasty teatime snacks. Crust-less finger sandwiches as well as scones, tea and jam are just some of the scrumptious delights. With a cosy outside courtyard, it is nice to enjoy afternoon tea al fresco (weather permitting obviously!). One downside is arguably the price; a single pot of tea is £1.95 and tea and scones £6.75; however for a special occasion or even a rare treat, this place is definitely worth it. Alice Prevezer
The Prize: On November the 19th, Nottingham Cineworld are putting on an exclusive preview screening of the film ahead of its 21st November general release. We’ve an unspecified number of tickets available (first come, first serve, basically) so if you want this then best get onto it pronto. The Question: In Fight Club, what is the first rule of Fight Club? a) You do not talk about Fight Club. b) No smoking. c) No dogs, except guide dogs.
The Walk - A Taste of Tranquillity!
If you don’t know who Chuck Palahnuik is, you’ll surely be familiar with the most famous adaptation of one of his books, Fight Club, a journey (with a predictable twist) through the mind of a psychotic Ikea critic slash anarcho-syndicalist. Choke is the latest of Palahnuik’s novels to be adapted for the big screen, and early indicators are that it’s a doozy.
Editor-in-Chief: Rob Barham Editor: Ian Steadman Managing Editor: James Sanderson Associate Editors: Sophia Levine, Lucy Hayes, Emi Day Design Editor: Amy Bell Associate Design Editors: Charlie Walker, Anna Vickery, Sam Evans Image Editors: Nicole Samuels, Caroline Wijnbladh Website Editor: Phil Morton News Editors: Susannah Sconce, Camille Herreman, Sophia Hemsley Sports Editors: Charlie Eccleshare, Ben Bloom Arts Editors: Lotty Clifton, Clarissa Woodberry Music Editors: James Ballard, Elise Laker Film Editors: James Warren, Oli Holden-Rea Nights Editors: Steph Aldrich, Louise Fordham, Kirsty Taylor Science Editors: Henry Blanchard, Sophie Stammers Travel Editors: Bruno Albutt, Samuel Selmon Fashion Editors: Nikki Osman, Laura Sedgwick Publicity Manager: Scott Perkins
quotability ‘I would happily let someone wank over my CV’ ‘Without racism, paedophilia and misogyny, what are we?’ ‘To be honest, my first choice is to be Hispanic’ ‘In fairness, my parents actually knew Ian Huntley’
Gary Cully SU Marketing Tel: (0115) 8468742
To Wispas and Ubuntu, we enjoyed your company this month very much.
images and design Annie Herlihy, Vicky Carter, Adam Kelly, Ellie Wilcox, Lara Trimming, Esther Croom, Corin Faife, Phil Morton, Matthieu Chauvin, Bruno Albutt
apologies We apologise wholeheartedly to anyone who has emailed us in the last week. We will reply very, fairly soon.
To James Grayling for letting us pour milk over his head. To Caxton FX, for offering us a free holiday, even though you decided the “recession” meant we couldn’t have it.
COntact us The best way to contact us is via email, on firstname.lastname@example.org Failing that, you can find us using whichever of the following details takes your fancy: Impact Magazine, Portland Building, University Park, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, NG7 2RD Tel: 0115 8468716
Email: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Our office is on the top floor of Jack Cooper Portland, room D9.
Famous Last Words Impact Interviews Nathan Barley (Nicholas Burns) It’s like Christmas when someone grants an interview to Impact, but when it’s actually someone reasonably well-known we touch cloth - or rather James Sanderson did. Nicholas Burns is best known for playing Nathan Barley, but has also appeared in The Mighty Boosh, The I.T. Crowd, Nighty Night and a host of theatre productions. He is now starring as the Hotness in ITV’s No Heroics and Tom in the Neil La Bute play Fat Pig...
What is your favourite comedy series? I used to watch Blackadder and The Young Ones when I was growing up, those where my first comedy loves. In recent years I have been a big fan of Chris Morris’s stuff, the Office and the Mighty Boosh. Over in the US things like Curb Your Enthusiasm and Arrested Development.
When you first devised Nathan Barley, did you ever think it would be such a cult hit? Well, no, we didn’t really, we didn’t know what kind of impact it would have, but it really has a very devoted, small cult following. I can’t walk around certain areas in London without people shouting Nathan-like idiocy at me, which is quite bizarre at times, but good fun. It is something I am really proud of and really loved doing. Were you worried at all that you would be typecast as Nathan, do you think he has closed any doors for you? I don’t think so, he is quite different to a lot of the parts I have played. I don’t think he has but who knows, it’s not really for me to say. I hope I am far enough away from Nathan that people
“Those are the people who absolutely deserve to have the piss ripped out of them” can see there is other stuff going on and that I can play other characters. I hope it hasn’t typecast me - the part I am playing at the moment is very different.
Are you more comfortable treading the boards or in an Air-Conditioned studio in London? They are very rarely Air-Conditioned! I love doing both, they are just completely different and offer real variety. Before this play I hadn’t done one in 3 years. It’s nice to be back doing something that I did when I started out. What attracted you to Neil La Bute’s Fat Pig? They came to me and asked me about playing the part of Tom. I went to see it and then read the play. It was a great play, a good part and threw up interesting ideas. I thought, lets have a go. It is a real challenge, I haven’t played an American professionally before and Tom never leaves the stage so it really is an exercise in focus. I thought it was the right thing to do at this moment in time.
“I canʼt walk around certain areas in London without people shouting Nathan like idiocy at me ” Barley and Benidorm both seem to take the piss out of idiots, people with websites and working class holidaymakers respectively. Is this a hidden agenda? I think Barley does take the piss out of those people, but I am not sure that Benidorm does. I don’t think it’s sneery, it just presents a funny situation for a comedy. Barley absolutely definitely did, it was lampooning all those idiots who have websites who do nothing apart from produce videos and graffiti shit. They think they are Banksy or some kind of urban guerrilla. Those are the people who absolutely deserve to have the piss ripped out of them. What is the easiest way to get on TV? Be a bit mental and go on the X-Factor. If you are really bad at singing and completely deluded about your ability, they will definitely broadcast your performance. Who would win in a fight, Howard from the Halifax adverts or Stephen Hawking? Stephen Hawking, definitely. He would laser Howard with his computer. If you could do it all again, what would you do differently? I don’t think I would do anything differently. I think I have been very lucky to play some really great parts and I hope I continue to be. By James Sanderson
Are you looking for an opportunity that offers a good wage, an excellent CV addition and a chance to enhance your employability skills? Are you considering a career in teaching? Furthermore, would you like an opportunity that you enjoy, an opportunity that makes you feel good and an opportunity in which you’re most definitely appreciated? If so, then we could have just what you’re looking for! Student Associates Scheme As part of an exciting national project, Student Associates work alongside an established classroom teacher in a primary or secondary school. Associates undertake activities such as helping small groups of pupils with class work, working 1-1 with pupils to improve attainment and some experience of non teaching aspects such as planning and preparation. The scheme allows individuals to gain experience in the classroom environment, help local young people and explore teaching as a possible career.
Commitment required Phase 1- Phase 1 will run from November to June. Associates are expected to attend their placement for 15 days, which equates to two half days or one full day per week. The exact timing of the sessions is negotiable. Phase 2- Phase 2 will run as a block placement at the end of the academic year, during June and July. Associates are expected to attend their placement for 15 days, which will be undertaken full time for 3 weeks. NB. Students are only allowed to undertake phase 1 or phase 2, not both.
Who can apply? The scheme is open to all year groups, postgraduate and international students. Part time students are also eligible to apply provided they are registered students. Applications are welcome from students of all courses*, although subjects with some relation to those taught in schools are at an advantage for secondary placements. Applications are particularly welcomed from students studying maths related subjects, science, modern languages, design and technology, religious education, music and information technology. *Unfortunately applications cannot be accepted from individuals already on a course of Initial Teacher Training. Please note that the scheme is delivered by Nottingham Trent University but HE students from any institution are welcome to apply.
How much will I earn? Associates earn £40 per placement day.
How do I find out more? To be eligible to apply you must attend an Awareness Raising Meeting: Thursday 23rd October 10am-11am University Park: Senate Chamber, Trent Building Tuesday 28th October 1pm-2pm University Park: A1 Coates Building
If you are unable to attend any of these dates, there are also several meetings taking place at Nottingham Trent University which you would be welcome to attend: please visit our website for more information www.ntu.ac.uk/progpart For further information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or telephone 0115 846 8115 or 0115 848 4203.
Impact is the official student magazine for The University of Nottingham. For more see impactnottingham.com