EDINBURGH'S CITY NEWSPAPER - BY STUDENTS
WEDNESDAY 3 FEBRUARY 2010
INTERVIEW: STEPHEN POLIAKOFF » 21 The acclaimed playwright and director speaks to The Journal about his roots in Glorious 39
40 percent of subject staff could be made redundant • University slashes undergraduate numbers James Fidler STUDENTS, POLITICIANS AND representatives have accused the SNP of “storing up problems” after the government cut funding for teacher training courses. The University of Edinburgh last week announced plans to radically reduce places offered on teacher training courses at Moray House School of Education. The cuts, introduced by the Scottish government on university education courses across Scotredundancies. The decision led to demonstrations
“create more jobs for those teachers Scottish Parliament last Wednesday. The heaviest cuts are to places in the Primary Postgraduate Diploma in Education, which will fall from 280 to 66, mirroring a national reduction from 1350 to 400 places. The news coincides with reports of the university’s wider plan to cut total undergraduate intake by almost a third. This stands in contrast to the tution, which indicates total undergraduate numbers will be cut by less than four percent. A Scottish government spokesperson defended the funding cuts saying that the decision was taken to “reduce student teacher intakes to deal with teacher unemployment” in order to
However, shadow education secretary Claire Baker attacked the decision as damaging: “By reducing the number of places available for teacher education at universities you are storing up problems for the future. “We need young energetic, committed and talented young teachers to inspire and deliver a quality education to future generations. “This demonstration shows just how strongly students, teachers, lecturers and others in the sector feel about the SNP’s cuts to teacher education in the budget and cuts to places on teacher training courses.” The reductions stand in contrast to the Scottish National Party’s previous
IN NEWS >>9
IN COMMENT >>17
Banning the veil: the debate
The Journal reports on a controversial new website that allows students to bid against each other for jobs, sparking opposition from unions
With French and UK lawmakers considering banning Muslim women from wearing the niqab, The Journal asks two commentators on either side of the debate to weigh in
pledges to reduce class sizes. Average primary class sizes only fell from 23.3 to 23.2 from 2007 to 2008. A university spokesperThe Journal interpreted and presented in a variety of ways and in different contexts”. tinued growth in applications and unprecedented increase in the uptake of offers in the last two years” has resulted in unexpectedly high intakes. Additionally, it was “necessary for the university to address this and bring the total student population back within planned numbers as part of our commitment to the quality of
the student experience”. The university has also highcial penalties imposed by the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) on institutions with student populations that dramatically exceed funded places. Whilst Edinburgh currently does in subsequent years were admission restrictions not introduced. Thomas Graham, president of the Edinburgh University Students’ The Journal: “It is the right thing to do, the university is not funded to teach additional students... they are teaching 19,000 [students] Continued on page 10
IN MUSIC >>24
Young at heart Armed with his Yamaha Portatone, comedian David O’Doherty isn’t shocking, offending, surprising or upsetting anyone – an impressive feat for comedy’s funniest big kid
THE AXE FALLS ON EDUCATION
The Journal Wednesday 3 February 2010
HWU to lead » 6 astrochemistry consortium Scottish lands in
This week in The Journal E
Pending this year's general election, the Conservatives have laid out plans to trim the number of MPs in parliament, The Journal looks at which Scottish constituencies are likely to be affected
Scientists believe that icy dust, once a "nuisance", maybe the key to understanding the origins of life
Chris Grainger News
Anything goes The Journal looks ahead to one of the most eagerly anticipated productions to hit Edinburgh’s Bedlam Theatre
Edinburgh worldview The Journal brings together ECA Fine Art students justreturned from academic transfers to get their impressions on the biggest art events right now in Boston, Paris, Tokyo, Baden-Baden and Milan
Three Craws Fife supergroup and Fence Records stalwarts impress with their innovative folk sound
A HERIOT-WATT RESEARCH team have been awarded a place on a European wide cross discipline scientific study into the origins of life. The university is to lead LASSIE (Laboratory Astrochemistry Surface Science in Europe), an Initial Training Network funded under Marie Curie Actions within the European Commissions Seventh Framework Program. It will consist of thirteen academic groups in the UK and Europe, with the only other Scottish university involved being Strathclyde. LASSIE is intended to help earlystage researchers in astrochemistry embark upon a research career, but Professor Martin McCoustra, Chair in Chemical Physics at Heriot Watt and one of the researchers who helped secure this prestigious award, told The Journal why this area is so important: “This goes back about fifteen years, from conversations between chemists and astronomers.” Five industrial partners and one partner with expertise in outreach, Graphic Science, completes the team. He and a group of scientists have been investigating the formation and behaviour of molecules on dust in dense regions of interstellar medium since about the mid-1990’s, in a network called AstroSurf based at University College London. Prof McCoustra explains: “One question was: What role do these molecules have? Well, if you take the molecules out—particularly the
small ones—you can’t make small stars. Our sun wouldn’t exist. Small stars live long lives, and that gives the chance for life.” According to McCoustra, none of the chemistry taught at school can currently explain how molecules are made in the environment of these ‘dense regions’: they’re very cold, there is extremely low pressure, and—contrary to their name—there is low density compared to Earth. But surprisingly there is a very wide variety of molecules, which have been discovered since the 1930’s. Known chemistry of the interstellar gas especially has trouble explaining small molecules like molecular hydrogen, but “put icy dust there and we can make it and other small molecules crucial to star formation”. Many astronomers used to view the icy dust as a nuisance, but Prof McCoustra believes they could hold information about the origins of life. He says there were several questions which they present: “How do we accumulate ice on these dust grains? How does that ice then get processed by the radiation field in the interstellar medium? By the cosmic rays, by the light. If you take simple ice, and irradiate it long enough with ultraviolet rays and amino acids—the building blocks of life—are formed.” Prof McCoustra said that the goal of this research is to put together a picture of how the grains determine the chemistry of these dense regions and how it contributes to star formation. This may also tell us how it potentially contributes to providing a young planet with the building blocks for life.
Corrections & clarifications The Arts & Entertainment review section featured several errors in the star-ratings. The reviews for Stomp, the BP Portrait Award 2009, and the 2009 Photographic protrait prize were all listed as having three stars, when in fact all three were awarded four stars. The three art reviews on page 27 were listed under an incorrect heading, which read 'BP Portait Award 2009' - this should in fact have read 'Capturing the human'. The review of Off Kilter on page 26 incorrectly indicated that the perfomance was a theatre production; it should have stated that it was a dance production. The comic on page 19 did not include a credit to Tom Hunt, who produced it.
» 27 WWW.JOURNAL-ONLINE.CO.UK
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The Journal Wednesday 3 February 2010
Calls for paid internships to combat 'exploitation'
Forcing employers to pay interns could result in less places, as companies struggle to afford short-term employees FLICKR – SARAH G
Students are busy sending off CVs and applications as internship programme deadlines loom – but is it worth it?
Harriet Grecian AS GRADUATE NUMBERS increase, campaign groups have called for all internships to be paid in order to eradicate exploitation by employers. Intern Aware last week launched a campaign in response to a report chaired by former Labour cabinet minister Alan Milburn, on the accessibility of the labour market for young people in Britain. The report found that although higher education was now more accessible for people from poorer backgrounds, inequality existed within the internship system in Britain. Becky Heath, co-founder of Internocracy, an organisation aiming to increase the quality of internships across the UK, told The Journal: “It’s important that internships are paid because, firstly, it’s the law if you agree set hours and responsibilities with the employer. “Students can often be susceptible to exploitation through internships as, often, employers depict the opportunity as an investment in their future and a sure way into a career.” The group believe that all interns should receive the minimum wage for the work placements they undertake. “This tactic is increasingly being used as more organisations latch onto the idea of internships as a way to access cheap and willing labour.
“Internocracy exists to ensure that employers are clear about their responsibilities to interns, and interns are not needlessly exploited,” said Ms Heath. In the current job market students and graduates are feeling increased pressure to embark on work experience and internships in order to improve their CVs, but many are unable to support themselves through these voluntary placements. Ian Tasker, assistant secretary of Scotland’s Trade Union Centre, is concerned at the lack of remuneration that young people see from these internships. He said: “At the very least these positions should be treated in the same way as any other employment and paid accordingly, at least at the minimum wage rate applicable at any given time. “To do anything else is just playing on the naivety of young people entering employment. The United Kingdom government and the Scottish Government should be looking at how we eradicate student hardship and not increase the amount of young people living below the poverty line.” The introduction of an obligatory payment scheme could potentially result in fewer companies being able to afford offering placements, limiting the amounts of students being able to get work experience. The campaign comes at the same time as the government’s ‘Backing
Young Britain’ scheme, launched on 25 January, through which £40 million will fund over 20,000 internships and training schemes in conjunction with a number of British companies. Commenting on the aims of the scheme business secretary Lord Mandelson said: “Our national campaign to help every young person to find a job, training or work skills and experience is not just a response to the recession but an investment in our future as we build a stronger Britain.” Tom Richmond, Skills Advisor at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), spoke to The Journal about the importance that employers place on work experience. He said, “We want people to be coming through the door with lots of experience in the workplace but at the same time financial difficulties could be hindering the most talented from getting a position. It would be great if there were no financial barriers but there is always the worry that intern places will then decrease.” Statistics from a CIPD 2009 learning and development survey show that 61 percent respondents said that new employees from school, college or university are deficient in business acumen and lack a strong commercial awareness. 55 percent reported a general lack of work ethic among new employees.
Looking for work? Rob Runge, 22, Classics “I don’t think being paid above basic expenses is reasonable. Everyone should definitely have the right to travel/lunch expenses but should otherwise appreciate the opportunity to work with a highly reputable company. The experience is payment itself.” Ruth Stanley, 22, Ancient History and Latin “I feel incredibly pressured to have numerous internships on my cv but am not in a position to dedicate large sections of my holidays to unpaid work. The enforcement of a basic wage for work experience might have allowed me to get ahead in the job application market – as it is I am extremely concerned for my future job prospects.” Yasmeen, 21, Physics “I would say that as a student of science, I definitely feel the pressure to apply for and participate in internships. I suppose a lot of it is to do with the way that career paths can be so varied and stray far away from the original subject, as well as the fact that so many students I’ve spoken to have never actually had the intention to remain in their field of study, (myself included!). Rather, they plan to go and work in sectors such as finance etc. There also seems to be an air of expectation from prospective employers to have some form of internship on your CV. Even my older sister who is in her final year studying Medicince kept pestering me over Christmas about applying for internships. I guess it’s a form of validation of your interest and dedication to subjects which can be very dry.” Alexa Cohen, 22, Politics “I had an internship at Deustche Bank in Singapore. I was paid enough for transport and food. I put a lot of hours in, and if I was being paid minimum wage at another job, I would have earned a lot more. Unfortunately, it is something that you have to do to get your foot in the door. There is a pressure to do internships. I think that with the increasing demand for internships there needs to be a corresponding supply of opportunities. Not enough companies offer internships. Perhaps instead of forcing companies to pay interns, they should rather subsidise smaller companies to provide internships, so that more people can gain the experience that they need.”
Fred Reade, 22, Neuroscience “Yeah there’s definitely pressure to
do internships, Not so much from professors or anything but just in general people consider it a big thing for getting a job in the field. And especially for London based companies (a lot of the good ones) doing it without being paid costs a total fortune if you don’t live there normally! I haven’t done any for just this reason!” Ally Burns, 22, Neuroscience “If you give up an entire summer it sucks if you have to support yourself with your own money as well. I’ve been lucky in getting summer lab work through knowing the right people which is the only reason I was able to do it. A few labs offer summer projects on a competitive but I’m not sure if they’re paid at all. I’ve been incredibly lucky with jobs in labs so I’m probably not the best person to ask! I did some lab work in Vancouver last year which was initially voluntary after meeting a couple of people who worked in the lab while I was slightly drunk at a bus stop in town. I e-mailed one of them my CV and I got an interview with her boss about a month later. In the end they found a way to pay me through a work-study scheme for international students so for about half the time I was there I got paid. I think sometimes you just have to ask!” Charlotte, 23, French and Spanish “Internships are a fantastic opportunity to gain more experience and insight into a potential future career. However, unless you already live in London, or know people you can stay with, it is not feasible to move to the city and work for nothing.” Makela Milne, 21, History of Art “The whole point of internships is to gain valuable experience in a chosen field. This should be well-rounded and entail the positives and negatives of any specific role. One of the benefits of any job is payment, if you do the job why should you not get paid? By refusing to pay interns, the door of experience is closed to the majority of people who are unable to spend months working for free.” Calum Pratt, 20, Engineering “I know there is a lot of pressure on Engineers to do internships. Most of the big oil and pharmaceutical companies ask interns to stay on after graduation so it’s a good way to get your foot in the door. I’m looking for an internship now and it’s pretty hard to get one. All the engineering internships are paid at quite a competitive salary - sometimes as much as they pay a graduate engineer.”
The Journal Wednesday 3 February 2010
Black youths twice as likely to be unemployed as white counterparts New employment analysis released this January reveals the disparity in levels of unemployment across different ethnic groups. WWW.EPOLITIX.COM
Melanie Archer NEW EMPLOYMENT ANALYSIS reveals that black 16-24 year olds are almost twice as likely to be unemployed as their white counterparts. The analysis was carried out by the Institute of Public Policy Research, a think-tank often described as having close links with the Labour Party. Online commentators have afforded considerable focus to the contrast between the rate of unemployment of 48 percent for black people against a rate of 20 percent for white people, within the category of 16 to 24 year old men and women. On 14 January, the government published the related report ‘Tackling race inequality: A statement on race’, containing a foreword by John Denham, the communities secretary. In the foreword to the report John Denham, the communities secretary, stated: “Across government, our efforts to raise incomes, reduce poverty and promote equality—whether through the minimum wage, Sure Start or housing—has made a real difference to the lives of the most disadvantaged, including those from BME [black minority ethnic] communities.” Of those graduating in 2009, 17 percent are unemployed, an increase of 11 percent compared with the previous
"Denham's claim that substantial progress has been made on racial disadvantage and that consequently we must now turn to class, was a transparent attempt to pander to a BNP narrative.” year. Dianne Abbott, MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, in a recent comment piece for The Guardian, said : “Denham’s recent attempt to claim that substantial progress has been made on racial disadvantage and that consequently we must now turn to class, was a transparent attempt to pander to a BNP narrative.” The institute’s analysis was based on data taken from the Labour Force Survey, conducted every quarter with information taken from a total of 60,000 households.
Caledonian Mercury aims to coax media revolution north
Record rise in DoE Award participants
Former Scotsman editor launches online news site as Scottish newspapers suffer decline in sales WWW.CALEDONIANMERCURY.COM
Number of youths obtaining the Duke of Edinburgh award is on the rise as competition for jobs gets tougher Lisa Toner
Chris Berkin THE FORMER EDITOR of the Scotsman website has launched an online Scottish news site intended to challenge the traditional Scottish media. Stewart Kirkpatrick’s Caledonian Mercury offers Scotland’s first internetonly daily news outlet at a time when newspapers are struggling to adapt to the internet. Mr Kirkpatrick said: “Scotland needs an intelligent title that uses the internet, not fights against it”. He aims to utilise emergent internet techniques and a broad base of freelance journalists to provide highly specific comment and analysis on the breaking stories of the day. The site offers podcasts and twitter feeds in a prominent ‘heritage’ section, as well as web-acres of content tailored to the political and business intelligentsia. The paper takes its name from a Scottish publication that ran between 1720 and 1860. The launch comes at a time when traditional publications have struggled with a recession that hit particularly
hard on advertising revenue. Rupert Murdoch recently announced his intention to follow the Washington Post by placing much of his online news content behind paywalls, while the already-crowded Scottish news market has faced increasingly fierce competition from south of the border. Andrew Neil, former publisher for the Scotsman, commented that the decline in the fortunes of Scottish newspapers “could well be as fatal as it was for the shipyards of the Clyde”.
Yet Mr Kirkpatrick doesn’t think this trend is inevitable, arguing that “it’s the paper bit that ain’t working”. At the same time the venture, which has thus far been funded by Kirkpatrick himself and two partners at his consultancy firm w00tonomy, aims to promote itself entirely through viral, internetbased marketing schemes. The Caledonian Mercury project seems set for success, having surpassed its end-of-year target of 30,000 hits on its first day.
THE LAST TWO years have seen a massive increase in the amount of young people undertaking the Duke of Edinburgh Award (DoE), according to the programme’s organisers. 1,200 young people participated in the renowned award programme in 2008/2009, compared to the 1000 people who took part in 2007/2008 - an increase of 20 percent. A recent survey conducted by the United Learning Trust has shown that the award rates among the top three most important activities that an employer will look for on a CV. Dan Hawes, co-founder of the Graduate Recruitment Bureau, said: “The job market for graduates is extremely competitive. As well as your qualifications, any extra-curricular activities which can set you apart from the next applicant are very beneficial. “The Duke of Edinburgh Award requires a lot of commitment and skill, especially at Gold level. Activities like this can tell a potential employer a lot about a candidate.” Mr Hawes continued: “We have
actually had employers stipulate that they would like us to look for candidates with a Duke of Edinburgh Award when we are matching them up with graduates, and we have included a search facility within our computer system which enables us to do this.” The number of people picking up the bronze level award in 2009/2010 was more than double of that the previous year. Sixteen Edinburgh schools currently take part in the DoE Award scheme including Castlebrae High School, which runs a programme encouraging pupils at risk from exclusion to participate in the awards. 24 young people from the Adolescent Mental Health Unit at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital are also undertaking tailor-made DoE programmes that will enable them to build their self-confidence and develop their interpersonal skills. The award was created in 1956 as an incentive to inspire and support young people aged 14-25 from all backgrounds, promote their self-development and encourage them to fulfil their potential. It was established and chaired by Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh. There are over 275,000 young people undertaking DoE awards in the U.K. each year.
The Journal Wednesday 3 February 2010
Funding cuts could hurt UK culture, warn museum bosses
Cultural output of universities could be under threat as cuts loom for institution galleries WIKIMEDIA COMMONS - HYPERSPACEY
Constantine Innermée Student News UNIVERSITY MUSEUMS COULD face severe funding cuts in the near future as financial pressures mount on universities and government funding sources. Museum directors in Scotland and England have warned of the potentially devastating effects on their institutions if potential funding reductions go ahead. The distribution of resources for the running and maintaining of these museums is a combined effort between the parent universities and government funds being made available through the Scottish Funding Council (SFC). Mungo Campbell, deputy director of The Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery, part of the University of Glasgow, said a possible cut in funds from government could, in turn, damage the museum’s capability to raise funds from other sources. The Deputy Director’s comments come following a letter published in the Guardian last week, in which directors from some of England’s most prominent museums expressed their fears over the effects of possible funding reductions. Speaking to The Journal Mr Campbell said: “The future of earmarked funding streams has been under review for some time—both North and South of the Border. It is entirely a coincidence that their review has coincided with the economic down-turn. “The deeply unfortunate consequence for parent universities with major collections may be the double difficulty of the withdrawal of earmarked ‘core-funding’ at the same time as general funds are reduced. “As the writers of the Guardian letter observe, there could come a point when resources are so eroded that there is no longer any capacity to attract the charitable and other additional funds which are now so essential to our activities.” The allocation of money for the Scottish university museums is currently under review by the SFC, the outcome of which is expected to be announced in the first quarter of 2010. According to Dr Alan Knox, convenor of University Museums in Scotland (UMIS), the process should include more participation from the institutions most affected by the outcome. Dr Knox told The Journal: “UMIS did meet with the funding council about a year ago long before the review started, and we had a discussion about some of the main issues before it passed back into the hands of the funding council and we have no idea what has happened since, so we are waiting with a certain amount of trepidation for the grant letter which will be published in March.” The convenor of the representative body for all university museums in Scotland also echoed Mr Campbell’s concerns on the potential effects of diminished financial resources. “The amount of money that is coming in is not great in SFC terms, but it means a massive amount to us. The loss of these funds would have devastating
Recession or rejuvenation?
Hard times mean boom times for artists as weak economy opens up new creative spaces Rachael Cloughton Art
The Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery, attached to the University of Glasgow, is one of the oldest museums in Britain
effects on some of these collections. “It’s important to remember what these collections are for; they are increasingly used to provide enhanced teaching and it allows the universities to do things with their teaching that it doesn’t allow other universities to do; it allows for public engagement using the collections to reach out to the communities in which they are situated. “Most of the universities museums are funded on a shoe string and the loss of this money would be crippling.” Mr Campbell and Dr Knox both said the university museums provide a crucial service in the presentation and preservation of Scottish culture. “Universities with global reputations such as Glasgow increasingly acknowledge and celebrate the role played by their internationally
significant collections and their cultural programmes,” Mr Campbell commented. “In difficult times they will undoubtedly have to work very hard to maintain their museums as thriving places of learning and research, inside and beyond the campus. The potential removal of earmarked funding for major university museums would represent a serious blow to our national cultural infrastructure.” City museums and galleries recently welcomed a £750,000 capital investment from the Scottish department of culture and external affairs. Dr Knox said that although the funds are welcomed by UMIS, they are mainly aimed at the maintenance of buildings and collections and would not allow for staffing and teaching costs.
IN THE PAST year, whilst industries went bust, the art world has been experiencing a boom, the reverberations of which can be felt rippling through the most oblique and surprising locations around Scotland and through the establishment of new collectives and nonprofit organisations. ‘Pop-up’ galleries are emblematic of the crisis-led entrepreneurialism that comes to the fore within the art world upon each major recession. The formula is simple and effective; as retail and industrial spaces become vacant at an increased rate, arts organizations achieve notoriety through staging exhibitions within them. Liberated from the confines of a formal gallery and temporarily displaced into rent-free sites dotted randomly about the city, artists gain access to a wider, albeit unsuspecting audience and receive exciting new stages to project their work. Out of the flurry of the past two major recessions, Edinburgh received its leading contemporary art galleries; the Fruitmarket in 1974 and the Collective in 1981. Now it bears witness to a new wave of art groups; amongst which are organisations set for the same longevity as their predecessors when the economic dust settles. The Scottish Arts Council (SAC), in recognition of the long, as well as short-term potential these projects hold, have perspicaciously set aside a fund for ‘artist-led groups and collectives’ which has been available for the past three years. Stephen Palmer, from the SAC, could not confirm whether the fund would be available in 2010 but with previous support granted to increasingly well-established groups, such as The Embassy in Edinburgh and Transmissions in Glasgow the surge in new organisations this year makes the need greater and more relevant than ever. Tom Nolan, Edinburgh College of Art graduate and co-founder of the Rhubaba collective said: “The notion that a recession spurs creativity and initiative seems to be fairly well founded, and it feels as though there’s a lot of energy for this sort of thing at the minute. Clearly, none of us are leaving college to face blank cheques for our work, so we have to think laterally about how we can survive as artists and continue to make work and get it out there.” Rhubaba’s recent presentation of the emerging artist, Ed Atkins in the ex Edinburgh Copyshop employs the pop-up gallery trend as a platform.
However, Rhubaba are not the trailblazer’s of such artistic fashion; in March, the Embassy Gallery staged ‘Boneless Box’ in St Margaret’s House; then, a redundant office block. October saw ECA students install ‘7MINUTEMEN’; an eclectic inter-media exhibition within an empty retail unit on Lauriston Place. Hyperground, an artist run initiative, followed suit, presenting a solo exhibition by the sculptor Keith Farquahr entitled ‘Nudes in Colour’, in the front room of a Bruntsfield flat in December. Such arrangements are symbiotic, artistic stimulus results in a new appreciation of the property along with the works installed within it which is as good for the owner as the artist and as such, fuels the popularity of these nomadic exhibitors. Rhubaba’s heavily publicized exhibition attracted almost 100 people to its space on the opening night alone; an impressive figure for a unit that would have otherwise stood empty and invaluable advertising for the owner. Unsurprisingly, these projects have seen support from Edinburgh’s council. Speaking to The Journal, Councillor Deidre Brock, culture and leisure convenor said: “Edinburgh is brimming with artistic talent, with new and exciting arts spaces popping up all the time across the city. The council is delighted to help out up-and-coming artists wherever it can, by providing advice on setting up and running studio/exhibition spaces and suggesting possible venue locations.” In Glasgow’s East end, the recently established David Dale Studios and Gallery profited from the recession’s fallen property prices and ended the block’s 12 year hunt for a new owner. Filling the derelict space with 21 artist’s studios the group have set up a permanent base from which to disseminate their work. Max Slaven, one quarter of the directorial team describes the recession as an indirect prompt for such projects: “The current economic situation encourages established galleries to dilute and tailor their programs in order to maintain the funding already squandered on them, it is encouragement to do it yourself,” he explains. Approaching the recession with creativity and opportunism allows for the art world to refresh and regenerate itself in the present whilst providing a stepping-stone for emerging arts organisations to establish themselves in the future. “As will always happen when artists become disenfranchised with the previous wave,” says Slaven: “artists will find ways to overcome.”
6 General News
The Journal Wednesday 3 February 2010
Scottish charities 'delighted' with public response to Haiti disaster The Journal speaks to Edinburgh charities contributing to the Haiti relief effort WIKIMEDIA COMMONS – DANIEL BARKER
SCOTTISH CHARITIES, NON Governmental Organisations’s (NGO) and politicians have rallied together to manage a unified relief effort for the victims of Haiti’s earthquake. Fiona Hyslop, Scotland’s minister for culture and external affairs, met with twelve NGO’s north of the border to co-ordinate how best to organise aid from Scotland to the disaster-struck people of Haiti. Gerry McLaughlin, chair of the Disaster Emergency Committee Scotland Haiti Earthquake Appeal, told The Journal that he was pleased that the Scottish government had taken the scale of the disaster seriously and that they had talked about the agencies receiving additional funds. On the relief effort already put in place, he said: “Logistical challenges are huge but hundreds of thousands of people have already been reached in the worst affected areas of Port-au-Prince. Some hospitals and clinics have also started to receive medical supplies, food and water. After the immediate emergency response, these agencies will remain in Haiti to deal with the long-term needs of its people. The Journal also spoke to Edinburgh-based charity Mercy Corps who, as well as meeting with Ms Hyslop, are working in conjunction with Edinburgh city council in order to establish a
fund-raising scheme across the capital. Part of a larger global network, Mercy Corps have sent a team of 14 relief workers out to Haiti with the intention of identifying the areas in which funds need to be distributed most quickly. The initial response is to deal with health, clean water and sanitation as priorities. The Haitians are also in dire need of food and ‘non-food’ items such as toothpaste, which has been in particular shortage due to people using it to cover up the smell of decomposing bodies. Mercy Corps’ Ross Hornsey explained that the situation is particularly difficult due to the fragile infrastructure in place even before the earthquake struck. The charity had in fact planned an assessment of Haiti in February to establish their need for international aid. Along with the initial aid to help survivors, NGO’s are looking at the long-term requirements of the country. Mercy Corps and others understand that an investment must be made in the communities affected by such disasters to ensure that they can better deal with such incidents in the future. For this to happen, ongoing aid must be supplied. Edinburgh City Council approached Mercy Corps after the 2004 tsunami that caused devastation in Asia. The council wanted to initiate a scheme to co-ordinate the civic response to such disasters and to
The aid efforts in Haiti have received huge public support
galvanise administrative bodies to deal with donations while also providing clear information to Edinburgh residents. With the help of Mercy Corps, both individual and corporate sponsors can identify where their donations are being used. Edinburgh’s Lord Provost, George Grubb, chair of the Edinburgh Disaster Committee, said: “For our part, we will be looking to the longer-term and trying to provide assistance for the rebuilding of those communities devastated by the earthquake. “Our staff and people in the Edinburgh area have a long and proud tradition of reaching out to those in less fortunate circumstances. I’m sure they will act with the same compassion and generosity in response to this tragedy.” Mercy Corps workers praised Edinburgh’s strong response and commended Labour and the Conservatives for agreeing not to cut funds in aid relief. Hornsey believes that Britain’s international development is globally admired but he feels that the Scottish government has a little more to do. He said: “Scotland could come forward with more developed international development policy, there is none in their remit. It would be a credit to the government and the rest of Scotland if they co-ordinated better with NGO’s.” To donate, go to www.DEC.org.uk/ haiti-appeal For more info on Mercy Corps, go to www.mercycorps.co.uk
On hamely fare Edinburgh picks up fifth all the UK dines Michelin star Haggis, neep and tattie sales on the up as 21212 becomes the city's latest to win a Michelin star Scotland's bard is celebrated across Britain
BURNS NIGHT HAS seen a huge increase in popularity following last year’s Homecoming Scotland campaign according to sales figures. Leading haggis maker MacSween reported a 20 percent rise in sale figures for 2009, with their product’s popularity spreading outside of Scotland. Director Jo MacSween told The Journal: “English people seem to be becoming more curious about haggis and we now sell more in England than we do in Scotland.” Meanwhile, supermarkets and butchers have reported that sales of Burns night delicacies have soared during the last year Asda reported a huge increase in sales of Burns Night essentials this year. Sales of Scottish Kestrel potatoes and pre-packed “neeps and tatties” soared by 700 percent. Sales of haggis, the traditional dish of stuffed sheep’s stomach and
oats, rose by 200 percent in general sales. Experts say the recession has pushed consumers to become less squeamish about unusual cuts of meat, like haggis, pig trotters and ox cheeks. However, Ms MacSween said that sales began to rise before the recession. Meanwhile, rumours are rife that America may be ready to end its 21 year ban of the food. Haggis was banned in the U.S. during the BSE outbreak of the 1980’s and ‘90’s. But following a recent ruling by the World Organisation for Animal Health that sheep organs are safe to eat the U.S. Department of Agriculture has been prompted to reconsider its position. Initial reports that the USDA were in the process of drafting new regulations sparked excitement amongst haggis-deprived American Scots. However, the organisation released a statement last week saying that, although the product is under review, haggis is still banned in America and there are no concrete plans for this to change.
EDINBURGH IS NOW the best place to eat in the UK outside London according to the Red Michelin Guide, which has awarded a Michelin Star to the city’s eight-month-old 21212 restaurant in its latest edition. The coveted award—the fifth attributed to the capital’s restaurants— moves Edinburgh into second place behind London in terms of the number of city-wide Michelin Star accredited restaurants. Paul Kitching, owner of the 21212 restaurant, claims Edinburgh could even hold claim to the best culinary offering in the UK. Kitching, who runs the restaurant with partner Kate O’Brien, told The Journal: “I certainly think, while quantity wise London is ahead, that you could argue we have the best quality wise. The great thing about Edinburgh is that everything is about food, restaurants, drinking, celebrating and having a great time. It’s a huge culture. “I actually think you could argue we are better than London. If you look at the size of London and then the size of Edinburgh and break that down as a ratio, I would suggest it’s at least pretty even.”
Kitching, who also held a Michelin Star at Juniper, his Manchester restaurant, before moving up to his current Royal Terrace premises, explains his repeated success centres around two basic principles. “It’s quality with consistency. That is what the Michelin Guide is all about. And to be honest, when we found out, it was a relief more than anything else. “You know, we love Edinburgh, and loved it every time we came to visit. It’s like having twenty cities in the one city. It is one tiny yet huge city and there really is a great freshness about it. “We’ve spent a lot of money, changed location up here and this is really a validation, or a stamp to say ‘yeah, these guys are pretty good’.” Kitching explained the restaurant’s
unique menu: “We offer two starters, two main courses and two desserts, plus two appetisers, and change them on a weekly basis. “It is really to take away all the pomp and circumstance surrounding these posh restaurants with twenty starters on the menu - to avoid all this ‘a la Carte’ rubbish. “This way, the customers are there to talk about themselves, and enjoy their meal and not sit and talk about the restaurant.” Malcolm Duck, chairman of the Edinburgh Restaurateurs’ Association, told The Scotsman: “Edinburgh already has a great reputation for its restaurants but it’s good to see another one in the Michelin guide... I’m very glad for Paul. It’s the best new place in town.”
Local News 7
The Journal Wednesday 3 February 2010
Scottish Defense League plan Edinburgh demonstration The controversial anti-Islam group is planning a demonstration in Edinburgh next month after claiming a success at the Glasgow rally Olivia Dobbs
ANTI-RACIST CAMPAIGNERS HAVE organised a series of counter demonstration tactics for next month’s Scottish Defence League (SDL) protest in Edinburgh. The controversial anti-Islam group is planning a demonstration in the capital on 20 February. Edinburgh Anti-Fascist Alliance have asked central pubs and bars in Edinburgh to ban the SDL from their premises before the demonstration. The SDL is a sister organization of the English Defense League who describe themselves as anti-Jihadist and anti-Islam extremists. “We are ordinary, non-racist citizens of England and supporters who have had enough of being treated as secondclass citizens to the Jihadis in our own country,” the English Defense League (EDL) state on their website. Opposing parties, such as the UAF (Unite Against Fascism), disagree. In a statement released on 20 December 2009, the UAF describes the Scottish Defence League as “a racist group with links to the fascist British National Party (BNP). “The SDL is an offshoot of the English Defence League, which has a track record of whipping up race hatred against Muslims and against Asian MITCH MCCABE
Onward and upwards:
UoE library first floor reopens
The University of Edinburgh Main Library opened its redeveloped first floor last week after six months of construction. The university is investing an estimated £60 million on a new high-tech Learning Resource Centre. The new-look ground floor boasts a café with computer facilities similar to those already at Appleton Tower. Signs that the project is coming along as planned will be a welcome relief for staff and students wishing an end to the interruption still being caused by the development. During the summer students successfully campaigned to have study spaces created in areas unaffected by the noise of the construction work at the Main Library. The final completion date is set for August 2011 with the refurbishment of the fourth floor.
people in general.” In response to such classifications, Mickey Smith, who is the Cardiff Organiser of Casuals United (the online web portal of the English, Welsh, Irish, and Scottish Defense Leagues) says: “SDL has been set up as a non-sectarian protest group to protest against militant Islam in partnership with our English, Welsh and Irish partners. “The people who have launched their vile accusations or racism at us are hardcore Communists, enemies of Britain. We are non-racist, non-political, we are simply against radical violent Islamists, and we demand that the government protect us from these people.” The SDL held a demonstration in Glasgow on 14 November 2009, which they reported to be a success. However, Unite Against Fascism, a campaign against the BNP and other far-right groups, reported that the attempted demonstration in Glasgow was a failure as the SDL “was heavily outnumbered by anti-fascist protesters taking to the streets.” Among these protesters was Scotland’s Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who spoke at the Glasgow SDL counter-rally and said: “To the BNP, to the Scottish Defense League, to the English Defense League, to any racist Defense League, you are not welcome in Glasgow. You are not welcome anywhere in Scotland.” The UAF invite the public to email
Authorities stuggle to evict coal protestors
Protesters fortify positions in final days of the coal protest camp
Anne Fenton Local News
or text in to add their signatures to the statement, which further reads: “There is no place for racists or fascists in Edinburgh’s multi-racial, multi-cultural and multi-religious community. That is why we stand in solidarity with Edinburgh’s Muslim community and against the poisonous bigotry of the SDL.” The EDF and SDL alike have recently opposed groups such as Islam4UK which is led by Anjem Choudary. Recently on their website, “UK
Casuals United,” the English, Welsh, Irish and Scottish Defense Leagues posted an open letter to Anjem Choudary and the members of Islam4UK, offering to fund his relocation to a Middle Eastern country where Sharia Law is practiced and urging him to give up his British passport and citizenship. The EDF further insists that they are not a fascist or racist organization, however video tapes from past marches and demonstrations show EDF protesters making Nazi salutes.
THE EVICTION OF protesters at Mainshill solidairty camp began last week. The South Lanarkshire camp has been in this place for over seven months, in opposition to the Scottish Coal’s plans to extract 1.7 million tonnes of coal from Mainshill Wood near the village of Douglas. Barry Cada, one of the group said: “There’s about fifty people still in the camp. “The bailiffs started work evicting people on the frontiers yesterday, 19 people were arrested, and one person was evicted from the ground. Many people are still down in the tunnels, and they’re dug in pretty deep”. About 700 villagers in nearby Douglas and Glespin objected to the proposal, but their criticisms were rejected by South Lanarkshire council. Many camp members remain behind barricades, fortified towers and tree
"There's about fifty people still in the camp; there’s people down in tunnels and up in the trees around the site." houses. The two main barricades, the bunker, and the communal area have been knocked down. Numbers at the camp have grown in the past week as people arrive from across the country to support the protest. Although exact numbers aren’t available, there are still many protestors chained high up in the trees. Mr Cada said: “The entire point of taking a protest is to cost the company money, and waste them time so it becomes economically unviable to them to remain; we hope that ultimately this site will not be successful for them.” Mining in the Douglas Valley is expected to help feed Britain’s dependency on coal as an energy source. Opposition groups say that the Mainshill site, along with other proposed mines in Scotland, could impede Scotland’s environmental targets to cut CO2 emissions by 42 percent by 2020, and contribute to climate change. Another objection to the site is its proximity to the Lady Home Hospital, a minor accident unit, which also functions as a nursing home for elderly and terminally ill people. The hospital is named after the Home family who have given Scottish Coal permission for the use of the site. “Realistically there is a potential that it could take 3 weeks to completely evict the site, at the quickest a week,” said Mr Cada.
8 Local News
The Journal Wednesday 3 February 2010
New Millerhill waste site gets mixed Binmen docked response from local community pay as
Criticism focused on potential impact on local wildlife
ARGONNE NATIONAL LABORATORY
Anne Fenton Local News PLANS TO BUILD a residual waste disposal site at Millerhill encountered a mixed reception last week as developers gave a presentation to locals. The project is being run by Zero Waste, a joint venture by Edinburgh and Midlothian councils which is considering ways to reduce the amount of waste going to landfills. Local residents met with the project planners at Danderhill Community Centre to find out more about the details for the site. Billy Steedman, a landscape worker in the area said: “I’m totally opposed to the idea on the basis that there’s quite a lot of wildlife in the area. I’m there half a dozen times a week, so I know the lie of the land. “There’s a wider issue at stake here. We should be looking at aspects of packaging as a whole, the bigger picture. Having an incinerator, yes it’s zero waste, but its not zero emissions and it still has an environmental impact.” Local councils already operate a number of waste sites within the vicinity of the capital and Midlothian. The project has identified the site at Millerhill as being suitable, but the bidding contractors brought in to run the project may also propose sites. The number, location and
configuration of facilities, as well as a choice of facilities will be determined by the tendering process. The presentation at Danderhill Community Centre contained vital information for local residents about the nature of the proposed project, including the potential technologies used, and the environmental impact. There were many representatives from the Zero Waste project on hand to answer the questions and criticisms of local residents. Many people at the meeting seemed convinced by the plans, and happy for the site to go ahead. However, some remained sceptical. Local resident Allan Thom said: “I was worried about the site being a problem, with things like smell and traffic. People worry about the smell that you get from Seafield. But this won’t be an issue, I’ve been told. The traffic will flow through the A1, and not through these local villages. “The fines that the EU are putting on landfill are just going up and up. Maybe we should have been looking at it years ago.” Lorraine Paris, another resident, asked: “What happens if there’s a strike? All the rubbish will just be dumped here in our backyard.” Planning permission alone could take many months, so the project itself would not be up and running for several years.
Health and safety disagreements cause wage loss
The facility at Millerhill is part of the council’s ‘zero waste’ ambitions
Hotel could dodge £5m cut from local £250,000 in tram fees fire budget
Developer claims discount is essential to its ability to deliver Leith project
New cuts will be made in 2011 after previous cut backs are made
EDINBURGH COUNCIL HAS postponed its decision on whether to discount the levy of the planned Shrub Place development. The proposed 121-bedroom aparthotel in the Leith Walk area received attention last week after it was revealed the developer may receive a £250,000 discount on its contribution to the tram construction. A council spokesperson said that there was no decision as talks are “being continued to allow for further information to be gathered”. The council’s scheme obliges developers building along the tram route whose projects are set to benefit from the infrastructure improvements to contribute towards the tram system construction. The bills for large developments can reach up to six figures; commercial developments are expected to pay more than residential projects.
It is believed the developer was unable to meet the full £917,947 council planners expected. As well as considering the type of development when calculating the level of contribution required, the council also assesses its size and the walking distance from the tram route. A council document details that the money is then used for the construction of the tram system, particularly road and pavement surfacing in order to facilitate movement between new developments and tram stops. The council has said that reductions in contributions will only be considered in extraordinary circumstances. Head of Planning, John Bury, has already said the developer’s proposal of paying the discounted rate is “considered acceptable”. Developers will have to wait at least another two weeks to learn whether the discount is given the go ahead.
dispute drags on
FEARS THAT THE level of public safety will drop have been sparked by council plans to cut Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue’s (LBFRS) budget by £5 million. It is thought that in order to make the savings the service will have to offer staff early retirement, voluntary redundancy and share services such as the fire control room with police or ambulance. David Millar, director of corporate services said: “There is very little wriggle room, because we have made substantial savings already” adding that cutting costs would risk the service falling below government guidelines. Speaking to The Journal, councillor Michael Bridgman, convener for LBFRS, defended the cuts: “We run a highly efficient service and we have made efficiency savings over the last couple of years. “I therefore have great confidence in our officers to bring back to our scrutiny committee all the evidence needed for us, as board members to make decisions on any further savings
that can be made whilst protecting frontline services as a priority. “Public & Employee safety has and always will be a priority.” However, online responses have expressed concern over the impact this will have on the service and the practicality of money saving resolutions such as sharing backroom services. Members of the public questioned the escalating costs for the construction of Edinburgh’s tram networks which has had predicted costs of up £600 million. Councillor Bridgman showed no defence for the budget allocation when asked about the trams responding: “Being a member of the SNP group we have never believed in the Tram project.” Exact figures for the cuts will not be available until later this year but current preparations are being made to save £4.83 million between 2011 and 2013. This follows previous cuts being made over the last six years which have brought costs down by £6.2 million. A review has been launched to investigate areas where savings can be made without compromising the service.
A THIRD OF Edinburgh’s bin men have had their wages docked this month amid deteriorating relations between workers’ union Unite and the city council. Rubbish across the capital was left uncollected when 160 employees refused to work on 7 January, citing health and safety risks posed by the freezing weather conditions. The move angered those council employees who did work in the snow, while bosses have treated the walk-out as an unofficial strike and cut a day’s pay from each of the workers involved. However, Mark Turley, director of services for communities, told The Journal that he was disappointed with Unite’s actions. He insists it is ‘not the case’ that the council has been reluctant to meet with union leaders, and that he is optimistic a settlement can be reached. “There has been a great deal of communication between ourselves and the Union, aimed at a resolution. We have also been running focus groups with our staff directly and have made good progress. “I remain committed to finding a solution that will help to overcome the issues that both sides face so our workforce can get back to normal working.” The bin men’s refusal to work came just a day after staff received letters about the beginning of a 90-day consultation period on changes to the council’s pay structure. Renewed anger about the plans is thought to have encouraged many employees to stay at home. Tensions between Edinburgh City Council and Unite have been running high for months, with refuse collectors working-to-rule since the council’s new pay structure proposals were first unveiled last June. Though bosses claim the modernisation process is geared towards improving fairness and simplifying the system, their proposals have proved controversial. The union has consistently argued that the majority of workers face a significant pay cut, and a threat of industrial action has persisted throughout the negotiations. Although there were hopes late last year that a resolution was near, union-council relations have hit a new low. Plans for both sides to meet and finalise proposals have stalled, prompting a new war of words over the lack of progress. Last week Unite’s Edinburgh convenor Stephen MacGregor publicly admonished the director of services for communities and council administration for their unwillingness to engage with the union.
Student News 9
The Journal Wednesday 3 February 2010
Recruitment website criticised for fuelling 'black economy' jobs Controversial student site attacked by Unions for encouraging low wage recruitment Nick Eardley Deputy Editor A NEW STUDENT recruitment website based in Edinburgh has been launched amid a raft of criticism from unions and student leaders, who have described it as “immoral and exploitative”. Usefulstudents.com advertises jobs which students apply for based on a personal statement and, controversially, the wage they offer to work for. This has attracted skepticism from the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) and the National Union of Students (NUS), who have warned that the ‘bidding’ process may encourage students to offer low rates for work. Liam Burns, president of NUS Scotland, told The Journal: “I’m pretty worried about the idea of an ebay for student work and I’m even more worried of how this website interacts with the minimum wage. “The site is right to say that securing part-time work has become far more difficult over the past year, and some innovation in helping students to find work isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I’m sure the intentions behind the site are good. “Nonetheless, the idea that we
should be pitting students off against each other to see who can be taken advantage of the most is pretty awful.” Employers on the site highlight the maximum wage they are willing to pay, and then applicants are asked to state what they would be willing to work for equal to or lower than this maximum. Evan Beswick, vice president academic affairs at Edinburgh University Students’ Association, echoed Mr Burns concerns: “Usefulstudents.com is a website which encourages students to ‘outbid’ each other for jobs. Essentially, whoever is prepared—or has the parental support—to work for the lowest wage gets the job. “It’s elitist, immoral and exploitative.” The service was founded by two graduates of Edinb urgh University, to offer student specific job opportunities which they describe as “hardly catered for”. Co-founder Andrew Howes has defended the site, saying whilst value for money would be a key element of decisions made by employers, the lowest quoted price would not necessarily lead to employment. “The site offers students a convenient, user friendly way to apply for one off or part time jobs which allow easy access to extra money whilst at
university,” said Mr Howes. “The job provider can make an informed decision based on the combination of the quote, the students experience and the previous feedback the student has been given.”
Students registering on the site are asked to provide a photo and personal statement before being able to apply for advertised positions. They are then asked to ‘bid’ for jobs and provide brief explanations of why they would be
suitable. It offers both paid employment and work placements. Amongst those bodies currently offering positions are nightclub Electric Circus (up to £20 per hour) and The Edinburgh International Science Festival (unpaid work placements). The STUC has also warned that the casual nature of some employment offers will mean that students are not given the normal rights given to parttime employees. Ian Tasker, STUC assistant secretary told The Journal: “While appreciating that casual employment maybe attractive to working students having to sell their labour in what amounts to nothing more than a web based slave market, this is astonishing in the 21st century. “These workers will not have protection offered by permanent part-time employment including the duty every employer has to provide a contract of employment and ensure that their workers are insured against injury through Employers Liability Compulsory Insurance. “Students seeking employment in this way should be very wary of taking employment in the black economy as they will have little or no legal comeback if things go wrong.”
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10 Student News
The Journal Wednesday 3 February 2010
Virus shuts down Exeter University computer network Malicious attack forces lecturers to return to more traditional teaching methods Marcus De Wilde
A MAJOR COMPUTER virus attack at the University of Exeter has sparked warnings at campuses across the country. The attack on 18 January saw the entire university network temporarily shut down to prevent the virus from spreading. Stuart Franklin, a spokesman for the University of Exeter, said: “We were attacked by a virus. It was a malicious
attack. It is the first time I have known an attack to succeed. It affected everyone, staff and students.” Arthur Clowes, an undergraduate politics and economics student, told The Journal: ”The attack was so sudden. The IT department had issued a blanket message warning everyone. The network went down and no one knew what had happened.” The attack forced lecturers to abandon electronic whiteboards and projectors and return to more traditional marker pens and blackboards.
Mr Clowes added: ”Some of my lecturers have shown themselves to be too dependent on computers. There are those for whom the loss of technology has proved to be no problem while others have struggled without it.” Ian Hill, security manager for Kcom, which oversees the security measures for Exeter internet company Eclipse, said: “Viruses that come out these days we tend to generally refer to as malware. “It’s difficult to say what it was or where it came from. These things are coming out all the time. The virus almost
certainly came in either via email or via students browsing affected websites. We do the best we can, but no system is 100 percent secure.” The university’s computer network has returned to normal as The Journal goes to press, with 95 percent of the network functional and the virus isolated to 5 percent of the system. The university has warned all users of Windows Vista Service Pack 2 to be on their guard. The Information Technology team at the university recommends the use of security programs to cover
potential vulnerabilities. A warning was issued to all Edinburgh Napier University students shortly after the attack, warning of the potential hazards to the Vista operating system. In the email the attack was described as “the first in the world by a new particularly nasty virus and so far none of the antivirus packages can detect or fix infected machines”. The attack came at the same time as a warning issued by the German government against Microsoft’s Internet Explorer web browser.
Uni cuts staff and student numbers STUDENTS ONLY £2!
LUIGI DALLAPICCOLA Tre Laudi CONDUCTOR WILLIAM CONWAY SOPRANO SILVIA SPINNATO 21 FEBRUARY 2010, 2:30PM Reid Concert Hall, Edinburgh Tickets available on the door £5 (£2 student/child)
Continued from page 1
with funds for 18,000. “There’s a thousand students for which [the university] receives no money to teach.” Despite the increase in funding awarded to Edinburgh University by the SFC of more than five percent on last year’s allocation, Mr Graham was clear with regard to culpability for the cuts: “It is not the university’s fault. The government has failed to provide sufficient university funding... the blame lies firmly with them.” The move will affect domestic student applicants most; despite the cap on undergraduate numbers, the trend of increased international admissions is expected to continue. There is no limit to the tuition fees that Edinburgh may charge to students from outside the EU. Average tuition fees for international students are over six times those of domestic undergraduates, and are a vital revenue stream for the university. Edinburgh is amongst a number of universities across the UK that are implementing similar measures to curb their student populations. Institutions in England have been forced to cut numbers following the £915 million cut on higher education funding announced by Business Innovation and Skill Secretary, Lord Mandelson. The decrease in the number of university places across the UK and the significant rise in applications are expected to result in higher admission requirements for those places offered for this September. The news comes whilst student applications and admissions soar across the UK. The university admissions service, UCAS, released figures last year showing that the number of students starting degrees in 2009 was 20,000 higher than those who started in 2008. Applications to university rose overall by 50,000, implying a significant increase in the number of students rejected.
Academic News 11
The Journal Wednesday 3 February 2010
'Minority Report' technology becomes a reality at Napier £150,000 boardroom paves way for futuristic file transfer NAPIER UNIVERSITY
EDINBURGH NAPIER UNIVERSITY have launched a sci-fi look boardroom that is inspiring comparisons to Minority Report and Bond film Quantum of Solace. The £150,000 boardroom, or Interactive Communication Environment, comprises five multi-touch screens on the wall and a multi-touch table. It interacts with touch in a way similar to an iPhone, using an impressive array of technologies. Oli Mival, head of the Centre for Interaction Design and the ICE project said that the initial response to the system had been positive: “The biggest user issue is distraction, people tend to start playing around with something on the table. They’re doodling, they’re gesture doodling rather than using it to it’s full capacity.” The table is backlit by an infrared projector according to a principle called “diffuse illumination”. This allows infrared tags to be put on objects such as mobile phones so that the table can “recognise” them and connect to them wirelessly. This allows for a seamless transfer of audio, video, and text files straight onto the surface. It was designed and laid out to be as intuitive to users, using technology
called Digitally Augmented Analog Mainstays. The ICE uses familiar objects such as markers, whiteboards, and touch to shape itself around users’ needs. All of the screens on the walls are able to track movement and allow users to write on them as though they were ordinary whiteboards, with the advantage that the writing can be digitally captured, copied onto the table and passed around by touch. One of the screens uses a “multitouch cell” which is the same as diffuse illumination but on an LCD screen. Theoretically it could process as many touch points as it has active pixels. Despite the number of cameras and projectors, the processing demand on touch detection is minimal. What is demanding is the software for the interfaces. Notwithstanding, the table is run from two Mac Minis that split the tasks of detection on and projection onto the surface. In an exclusive interview with The Journal, Oli Mival said of the price: “If you think about it, it’s the same price as a lot of boardroom tables,” adding that prices for most of the components have been “dropping by 10 percent every year and we expect that to continue. Within three to five years it should be something that most businesses can think of putting in their offices.”
Tom Cruise will not be solving crimes in Merchiston
New study shows solo living is increasingly detrimental to social and mental health with men are faring worse than women JACK DAVOLIO
BACHELOR PAD: Single men are less capable of looking after themselves than women
educated to a higher level and in professional jobs whereas almost a third of men living alone are in jobs
UoE biotech company signs £50 million partnership deal
Women living the bachelor life better than men
MEN WHO LIVE alone are more likely to suffer social problems than women according to a study by University of Edinburgh researchers. In recent years, there has been an increasing trend in the proportion of those choosing to live alone. Over two years, the research team assessed the living standards of 140 men and women, aged between 25 and 44, who live alone. Professor Lynn Jamieson, who led the research at the Centre for Research on Families and Relationships, said: “With the predicted increase in the proportion of one-person households there are implications for a range of social provision such as income support, pensions, health and housing.” The new research has shown a stark contrast between how living alone affects women and men. Men are more likely to suffer from financial and health difficulties, they are also more likely to feel isolated and socially outcast than women. Women living alone tend to be
Firm calls in big Chinese order
earning less than £10,000 a year. However, the majority of those living alone were found to have rich
social networks aided by strong friendships, social networking sites and ties to their local neighbourhood. Half of the women and a third of the men taking part in the study were in long-term relationships with both partners choosing to live separately. Living alone can have a severe impact on the mental health of those with long working hours, health problems or limited disposable incomes, which according to the study is more often men. The research, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, focused specifically on living standards and how living alone can cause disadvantages both in terms of income and housing. Men living alone are particularly stigmatised in the housing market. Single people, bar those in need, are more likely to find it difficult to find social housing when they are not seen as a priority by the government. The general registrar office for Scotland has predicted a rise in single households to 44 percent by 2031. With this rise there will be increased pressure on the housing markets and those on lower incomes will begin to miss out.
A BIOTECH COMPANY launched through the University of Edinburgh in 2007 has signed a multi-million partnership agreement with China’s biggest cosmetic and pharmaceutical company, Sinopharm. Burdica Biomed, which produces a personal lubricant that improves fertilization, expects huge product sales in China with revenues of over £50 million. The company launched with the aid of the university’s Edinburgh Pre-Incubator Scheme (EPIS), which provided accommodation within the university, as well as business mentoring support and an interest-free loan of £10,000. Despite being an invaluable aid in helping budding entrepreneurs to achieve success, Adrian Smith, EPIS director, told The Journal: “We support entrepreneurs through EPIS but we don’t have a financial interest in the companies. What we hope is that they will flourish, build strong academic and commercial relationships with the University and become customers in the future.” Sinopharm will apply for regulatory approval and will distribute the products. The EPIS scheme aims to promote and support innovation by awarding entrepreneurship places, 62 of which have been awarded to date with 48 companies and partnership formed by its successful applicants. Since being established the scheme has grown rapidly in reputation and provides a significant boost to the UK-wide economy with fresh initiatives continually developing with its support. EPIS has helped the university to create 26 companies in the last financial year alone, the most formed by any university in Scotland. Adrian Smith has acknowledged the EPIS’s success. However, future achievements may be affected by the country’s precarious economic circumstances: “We know the portfolio of EPIS companies are having success in a number of sectors, however EPIS was a project launched in 2004 and is currently funded until September this year. “The programme itself is wholly public funded so our capacity to support more entrepreneurs in the future will depend on the state of public finances,” said Mr Smith.
12 Student Politics
The Journal Wednesday 3 February 2010
EUSA to allow personal cash in elections Candidates to be allowed to spend up to £120 of their own money
EDINBURGH UNIVERSITY STUDENTS’ Association (EUSA) have announced rule changes to elections allowing candidates to spend their own money on campaigns. The student body also introduced re-opening of nominations (RON) for the election giving voters the chance to actively not choose a candidate. Even if a candidate faces no opposition, voters can choose RON. If this option attracts the most support, nominations will be opened once again for new candidates until someone is voted into the position. EUSA president Thomas Graham said: “Similar systems are used all over the country and are one of the most popular models for student elections. “We only decided to implement the new system after being asked by the students’ union for changes to the existing model used for past elections.” The new budget reform allowing any student running to use up to £120 of their own money has led to claims that some students will be given an advantage based on personal financial status. When asked about this, Graham
defended the change, saying: “The rule has been brought in to reflect that people have spent their own money before.” Mr Graham spent over £300 of his own money during his election campaign. The money can be spent on any area of the candidates campaign that they wish. Before the change candidates could only spend their own money on ‘homemade materials’. Now the £120 figures covers all personal contributions. When questioned on the possibility of putting potential candidates off running Graham acknowledged that “it may be off putting having such a figure in the rules but it is an upper limit not a lower one”. He stood by his original point: “Most people would have spent a lot more, as proved by past years. This new limit will at least provide some sort of level playing field.” Graham added that the new budget may attract innovative ideas: “Another reason for the new budget is to allow for and encourage innovation and original thinking from future nominees in their campaigns.” Candidate nominations take place on 8 February with the election being held on 3 and 4 March when Edinburgh University students can cast their vote online via MyEd.
O WE’RE WELL into week four now… not much going on? Think again. While your average student may be relaxing in Starbucks, peaceful in the knowledge that deadline’s are still many weeks away; hacks are eagerly planning the next month of their lives as the highlight of their year draws ever nearer: the EUSA elections. ‘But wait’ I here you say, ‘they aren’t until March!’ True, but count my words, hacks will be hurriedly designing posters, strategising, and bitching about opponents right this second. For some, in fact, these elections have been coming for what seems like forever. Presidential hopeful Liz Rawlings has been set on re-running ever since her unfortunate miss last year. This time however, she’ll be armed with best-friend and Vice-President Academic Affairs candidate Stevie Wise, with whom she’s planning on sharing a slatelook out for their matching fonts, colours, campaign teams! Squaring herself up to give Liz a run for her money is the last Freshers’ Week Coordinator, Laura-Jayne Baker. Laura’s already gathered together a campaign
team of over 40 so expect to spot her leading them round campus like the Pied Piper of Hamelin. The only other potential candidate for President right now seems, curiously, to be the incumbent Thomas Graham. Could what seemed to have started as joke speculation, meant simply to excite EUSA-geeks, have turned into a real possibility. From what I’ve very reliably heard, he’s “seriously considering” re-running. Maybe he just desperately wants to bring us that on-campus dentist he promised? Well, I’m sure it’s not all ego… Other races seem a little slower in the offing. Stevie Wise is leaps ahead in the VPAA race, with Calum MacFadyen and Ross Stalker looking like tortoises to Stevie’s hare. Sadly for them, I doubt the story will end quite the same here. The position of Vice-President Societies and Activities, however, is pretty hard to call. Amy Woodgate of the Ballroom Dancing Society has come out early, and should fare well with the help of the more experienced James Garforth. Amy is certainly very passionate about societies, but appears much
weaker on the welfare aspect of the VPSA job. Nothing a good campaign can’t gloss over though! Her competition as it stands looks like Neil Pooran of The Student. If you ask me, Neil doesn’t seem to have the charisma you need to win a sabbatical campaign—think the Spice Girls without Girl Power—especially in contrast with the rather angsty Amy. A latecomer to this race could really throw things up in the air here, watch this space. Fourth, but by no means least, is the race for Vice-President Services. Current VPS James Wallace has been attempting to get people to stand for this race in a manner that makes it seem like some sordid conspiracy, something which I think may have frightened off potential VPS wannabe Ellie Price. The only dead-set candidate is Bedlamite Sam Hansford, who seems pretty well organised and is sure to have a fierce campaign planned. Beware VPS aspirants, rather you than me. So there you go - I’ve called it. Start prepping yourself for a chorus of ‘Vote for me’s’ and being force-fed ugly fliers; silly season is here.
Student Politics 13
The Journal Wednesday 3 February 2010
EUSA launches probe into alleged Big Cheese bribery
Investigation is launched after security staff at EUSA's biggest club night are accused of accepting bribes
Megan Taylor Student Politics EDINBURGH UNIVERSITY STUDENTS’ Association (EUSA) have launched an investigation following a complaint that door staff were accepting bribes in return for queue jumps at the popular ‘Big Cheese’ club night. The alleged incidents occurred on Saturday 23 January when the Potterrow venue hit capacity and the door staff implemented a ‘one in one out’ system. An Edinburgh student, who wished to remain anonymous as he is a key witness in the investigation, spoke to The Journal: “We arrived in the queue about 1am where one in one out was still ongoing. Although annoying, this policy as far as I’m aware is to ensure the safety of students, which is why I was surprised to see door staff overruling this policy in return for cash, on several occasions. “On seeing this, we decided to challenge the bouncers, who were more than prepared to offer us queue jump
and a personal escort to the door in return for £10 each. “Asking if he was serious, the member of the door staff said that it happened ‘in clubs all over the city’ and proudly added that ‘in fact, I started the policy myself’ - as he munched on his hamburger. “At this point, another group approached the guy from the back of the queue, handed over cash—no secrecy required—and were shown straight in.” “In his absence, I asked a female member of the door staff if she’d be happy to take money just out of interest, to which she responded ‘Give me a tenner and good things will come your way’. In addition, I saw ‘gold card’ holders being turned down.” This incident came in the same week that it was revealed Potterrow and Teviot have defied national trends and enjoyed record profits. The anonymous student continued: “I think it’s disgusting that this kind of practice is taking place under the noses of students. Overriding the one in one out for cash seriously undermines not only the safety concerns
FLICKR – STEVE HODGSON
MORE MONEY THAN SENSE: EUSA officials are shocked that students would be willing to pay £30 to get into the Big Cheese
Unis hope for better showing in 2010 NSS
Edinburgh University and Edinburgh Napier hoping for improvements on last year's disappointing results
THE NATIONAL STUDENT Survey 2010 (NSS) was launched last week with Edinburgh’s universities hoping to improve on last year’s poor results. In the 2009 survey, institutions in the capital recieved poor results for feedback in the exercise which gathers final year students opinions on the universities at which they study. When asked about the quality of feedback on their work subjects the results were as low as 34 percent for Edinburgh University and only 56 percent for Edinburgh Napier University. Vice-president of academic affairs at Edinburgh University Students’ Association, Evan Beswick, told The Journal: “I am not happy at all about last years’ results. This year we have tried to give the university some breathing space in order to give them time to improve the results rather than being negative.” More active measures have been implemented in order to rectify the lack of feedback from courses. “There will be a campaign later in the year to encourage students and staff to engage in dialogue about the feedback. Hopefully discussions will take place and big improvements will be made,” said Mr Beswick.
EUSA bars get big profits boost Potterrow and Teviot prove exceptions in recession after massive profit increase Lucea Spinelli
Herriot-Watt, Edinburgh and Edinburgh Napier universities all took part and did well when students were asked about the overall quality of the course receiving over 80 percent satisfaction rates. In previous years there has been a disappointing response rate meaning that actual conditions are not presented accurately. Mr Beswick continues: “Even if huge changes do not take place I hope for at least some improvements. If not it will demonstrate a lack of management and we will have to be more forceful in the future.” This is the sixth annual NSS but Edinburgh Napier University only
participated for the first time last year. According to Napier Students’ Association’s campaigns & representation officer Stuart Campbell: “Our response rate was just below national average and obviously this year we are aiming for a much higher response which will allow for a much more detailed and representative set of results. “We have been working with the university to create a more consistent approach to feedback provision, to raise the quality and timeliness of feedback to all students.” NSS targets students who are in their final year of their course at university. The feedback will be published on the ‘unistats’ website in August.
which are used to justify it, but also the trust of students who wait for often over an hour for entry into the union. “It appears in this case that the interests of students are secondary to staff lining their pockets at the expense of students. Not quite the image of student democracy that EUSA is only too happy to pride itself upon.” EUSA President Thomas Graham told The Journal: “The bouncers we employ are from an external company called ‘Option 1’. We have passed on the complaint to the senior manager for trading and estates, Sam Mason, who will investigate the matter.” Our source concluded: “I have emailed EUSA since, who have assured me that a full investigation on the matter will be taking place. “Obviously, this is an internal matter for EUSA to deal with itself, and all we can do as students is alert them to such issues. I only hope that EUSA is prepared to act swiftly, otherwise students will continue to suffer for those who are prepared to pay well over the odds for a slice of the Big Cheese!”
EDINBURGH UNIVERSITY STUDENT unions, Potterrow and Teviot Row House, have had record profits allaying worries about the effects of the recession on union facilities. Potterrow has recorded a 14 percent increase in revenue from last year’s £190,693, with profits at £217,511 this year. Similarly, with £314,040 profits in contrast to last year’s £287,423, Teviot has surpassed their expected budget mark of £304,784 recording a 9 percent increase. Peter Macnab, EUSA’s support services manager told The Journal: “There has been a 10.75 percent increase of overall spending at student union bars in comparison to last year. This may reflect some of the efforts done to improve the unions and prices for students in the past year.” Some of these improvements include a renovation done in August 2007 on Teviot’s library bar, and free entry before 10pm introduced last semester at Potterow Saturday night Big Cheese club. Vice President of Services, James Wallace, told The Journal: “The free entry to Big Cheese before 10pm introduced last semester has achieved it’s aim of boosting revenues at Potterow as students arrive earlier, enabling the night to continue to grow in strength.”
Mr Macnab praised the variety of venues: “EUSA has a brilliant contrast of unions. Teviot’s old character and Potterrow’s popular musical events gives students a lot to choose from in terms of how they spend their leisure time.” However, even in the face of these promising figures, Mr Macnabb added: “Pressure’s from the economy effect students just as much as everyone else; this is a concern of the students’ association, as their goal is to provide products at a value to students”. “In this sense EUSA has done a lot to mitigate the effects of the recession,” he added. This can be seen through EUSA’s recent absorption of the 2.5 percent VAT tax increase, allowing prices to remain the same at student outlets. Mr Macnab explained: “The students’ association doesn’t pay a dividend to the government, so everyone is a member. This enables the association to recycle money spent by students, giving it back to the community in ways which will hopefully continue, if not increase spending.” Positive efforts to enhance the ways in which EUSA recycles student money includes the creation of a new ‘Director of Trading and Estates’ position held by Sam Mason. According to Macnab this will “contribute towards finding new ways of investment and providing more provisions for student unions”.
14 National Politics
The Journal Wednesday 3 February 2010
Conservatives ponder further cuts to number of Scottish MPs David Cameron's party plans to equalise representation throughout the UK Matthew Moore News Editor THE CONSERVATIVES HAVE reiterated policy plans to cut 10 percent of MPs and set a fixed UK electoral quota as part of their parliamentary reforms. Should he become the next prime minister, David Cameron plans to push for a constituency boundary review which could save up to £15 million in public funds. Speaking to The Journal, Lucy Gilchrist, head of Westminster communications for the Conservative party, said: “If we win the general election, we would like to cut the number of MPs in Westminster. In accordance with this, it would entail an average UK constituency size in the region of 77,000.” If the plans are made a reality, it would affect Scottish constituency boundaries. Based on Scottish government figures from 2006 the average voting age constituency population is 71,102. An average constituency population of 77,000 could mean that five of Scotland’s 59 MPs could be cut. The cuts are expected to negatively affect Labour heartlands in Scotland and Wales. The Conservatives have promised to seek independent expert advice from the Boundary Commission, which normally undertakes a review every eight to 12 years. “We are sensitive to the complexities of the issue, such as how to represent the Highlands and Islands effectively, and also to the fact that the size of seats in Scotland has already been increased
to English levels [in 2005],” said Ms Gilchrist. Mr Cameron announced the plans to “end the wide disparities between UK constituencies” by implementing a fixed electoral quota, with room for marginal differences. The SNP’s have criticised the plans saying that “boundaries do not win elections”. SNP Westminster candidate for Edinburgh North & Leith, Calum Cashley, told The Journal: “This debacle exposes the anomaly of Scottish boundaries being decided in London by parties for whom Scotland is of secondary importance.” The reform plans come three weeks after an independent campaign group Power2010 held a deliberative poll in London for members of the public to vote on reform pledges. The pledges were initially submitted by members of the public before a cross section of the population discussed the best and most realistic changes that should be made. These changes, which include fixed parliamentary terms, removal of whips and increased scrutiny powers are being held to a pubic vote on the campaigns website. Guy Aitchinson, a campaigner for Power2010, said: “At the height of the expenses scandal last year Cameron spoke fine words about giving ‘power to the powerless’. But with the general election in sight and power within his grasp, all we are offered now are these populist and cosmetic changes that will do nothing to address the fundamental imbalances of power in our society.”
Fewer than 80,000 80,000 - 90,000 90,000-100,000 More than 100,000
Church claims bill contravenes the European Convention on Human Rights
Joe Pike National Politics THE CATHOLIC CHURCH in Scotland has promised to fight the rightto-die bill launched by MSP Margo Macdonald. The bill—in its early stages of consideration in the Scottish Parliament—aims to legalise assistance for those wishing to end their lives, and could lead to suicide clinics opening in Scotland. The Catholic Church has said the legislation would “cross a moral boundary”. A spokesperson said: “It would completely invert and threaten the relationship between patient and doctor and undermine the role of medicine in society. “More importantly, such law is not needed. Physical suffering can now be controlled and alleviated with appropriate palliative care. Passing an assisted suicide law would threaten the
Population of Scottish Westminster Constituencies
Holyrood campaigners highlight domestic violence against men Male victims of domestic abuse given parliamentary time under Scotland's public petitions system Joe Pike National Politics MALE VICTIMS OF domestic abuse have told MSPs about their experience of abuse, neglect and torture as campaigners brought their concerns to the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee last week. The two men, identified as Mr A and Mr B to protect their privacy, tolds MSPs that male victims of domestic violence had little support and felt they had no one to talk to. Mr A told MSPs that his ex-wife threatened him with a knife: “On one occasion she told me if I went to sleep I would be stabbed. “She threw a hot deep-fat fryer at me, as well as various cups, ornaments, etc. all of which left holes in the walls. I hate to think what would have happened if she had managed to catch me with one of them. “She was manipulating. I couldn’t see my friends. She isolated me from my family. She attacked me: kicking me in the groin, spitting on me, scratching my face and arms until they bled. I had to take
time off work because of the injuries. “When I did contact the police in the early years of our relationship, and social services, she had a letter sent out to her asking if she was OK. She was treated as the victim.” Mr B told the committee: “For 17 years I endured physical violence, physical neglect, psychological and emotional torture, manipulative behaviour, gross financial irresponsibility, pathological and wholly unfounded sexual jealousy, virtually unrelenting verbal aggression
Catholic Church to fight assisted suicide
and disdain until I broke. He continued: “A problem ignored is not a problem solved.” Alison Waugh, who submitted the petition alongside Jackie Walls, told The Journal: “We’d been picking away at this for a while trying to raise awareness, yet little was changing and we kept hearing through friends and acquaintances about more men in this predicament.” Ms Waugh highlighted the fact that government initiatives on educating children on domestic abuse rely heavily
on the gendered analysis approach, and ignores the fact men are victims too. “We are concerned about this approach in educating children and realised something needed to change soon,” she said. Explaining her reasoning for bringing the campaign to the parliament, Ms Waugh commented: “We could have tried to set up services—and we still may—but we would be a tiny organisation swimming against a tide of indifference, struggling to get funding. But they can only reach the tip of the iceberg. The culture change needs to come from the top.” The Scottish Parliament’s public petitions process allows individuals, community groups and organisations to participate in the policy scrutiny process by raising issues of concern with a dedicated parliamentary committee. Commenting on her experience of the process, petitioner Alison Waugh told The Journal: “We have received a generous amount of guidance and support from the Petitions Clerk, Fergus Cochrane. “He and members of the committee have been very welcoming and approachable. It is a feature of our parliamentary system we should be proud of.”
“It would completely invert and threaten the relationship between patient and doctor." weakest and most vulnerable among us, especially the elderly and the terminally ill. “It would be a dramatic breach of Scotland’s longstanding commitment to protect and care for those most in need,” the spokesperson added. Mrs Macdonald, who suffers from Parkinson’s, has estimated that if approved the legislation would be used by 50 Scots a year to end their lives. Using figures from countries where assisted suicide has been legalised, it would account for one in every 2,000 deaths. Under the bill, to be eligible a person would either have been diagnosed as terminally ill, or be permanently physically incapacitated to such an extent as not to be able to live independently. The church has also questioned whether the Scottish Parliament has the power to legislate in this area, suggesting that it would not compatible with human rights law. A spokesperson said: “The European Convention on Human Rights recognises the right to life as inalienable, that it cannot be removed by any authority or relinquished by any person.”
National Politics 15
The Journal Wednesday 3 February 2010
Parties push for student voter registration to revive falling electoral rolls Students staying in Edinburgh University accommodation are automatically placed on the electoral roles whilst EUSA has sent registration forms to all second year students CARLOTTA MATHIEU
Joe Pike National Politics LOCAL POLITICIANS AND student leaders have united in an effort to increase voter registration in advance of the general election. This pressure comes as figures show that since 1998 voter registration in student-strong residential areas such as Marchmont have plummeted. According to figures obtained by Fred Mackintosh, Liberal Democrat candidate for Edinburgh South, the number of voters in Marchmont has dropped from just under 7,000 in 1998 to around 4,000 voters registered in 2,000 households. Mr Mackintosh told The Journal: “I am horrified by the collapse in the number of students registered to vote in areas like Marchmont. I have been out with my team calling on voters in Marchmont twice a week this month and huge numbers of students are not registered to vote.” He continued: “I would encourage all students to register at their university address. They can then decide where their vote will have most effect and choose to vote in Edinburgh or at home.” The easiest way to register is by visiting www.aboutmyvote.co.uk which creates a personal registration form which then must be printed, signed and
posted to the Lothian Valuation Joint Board. At Edinburgh University, all students living in halls are automatically registered on the electoral role. Edinburgh Universitys Students’ Association (EUSA) has also posted voter registration forms to every single student in second year. EUSA President Thomas Graham told The Journal: “It is absolutely vital that students register to vote in the 2010 general election: the review into higher education will decide if fees go up in England will have a massive impact in Scotland. “We need to make sure that our MPs are committed to vote against increasing fees south of the border and the best way to do this is make them aware that you’ll be registered to vote and voting for the candidates which will vote in favour of students, their constituents, and Scottish universities.” Liam Burns president of NUS Scotland told The Journal: “We will be working to get as many student registered as possible, and ensure their vote is a student vote. Our focus will be on making Scottish candidates come clean with their views on top-up fees. “The vote on whether or not to charge English students top-up fees was lost by just five votes. That was when the government had a majority of 160. All 46 Scottish Labour MPs voted for fees.”
Students are being encouraged to register in Edinburgh’s tightly-contested constituencies
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The Journal Wednesday 3 February 2010
Comment Unveiling British identity Discussion&Debate
A face-to-face debate
Not afraid to be equal
Muslim women who chose to wear the niqab are closing themselves off from society, but that doesn't mean the law should cut them off, too
Nigel Farage explains why banning the veil is a necessary measure to be taken in Britain
Gaffar Hussain News
HE NIQAB ISSUE seems to have become a defining one, symbolic of Europe’s growing apprehension about the new ‘other’, namely Muslims. It is part of the new Muslim identity that some Muslim women in Europe are asserting in opposition to wider society, an identity that seeks to distance itself from the mainstream and emphasise differences over commonalities. It is inevitable, then, that there should be a debate about the niqab. Interestingly, we are also starting to witness a similar debate erupting in many Muslim majority countries, most notably in Egypt where the Grand Mufti himself declared that the niqab was not a part of Islam. Thus far, however, all discussion about the niqab has been very polarised. On one side there are calls for the niqab to be banned, whilst on the other, claims that niqab-donning women cause no harm or negative impact on society. I want to start by getting past the idea of imposing legal bans on items of clothing. I think people should be allowed to wear whatever they want. As such, I support women’s legal right to wear a niqab believing that it is a religious “good” thing to do, just as I support women’s legal right not to wear a niqab. I don’t think we should be discussing this issue in terms of legal bans, which would be a denial of basic civil liberties we enjoy as British citizens. Nor is this particularly a religious issue. If the aim of the niqab is to protect chastity and modesty then it fails miserably in a 21st century context since a woman wearing it is likely to attract more attention, not less. Some fringe Islamic schools of thought do encourage the niqab, but the vast majority of scholars and schools have never considered it to be obligatory. I think the niqab in 21st century Europe does have a negative social impact and is largely impractical for anyone who does not seek to be isolated from society. In certain contexts for example, people’s faces need to be seen, they cannot conceal their face with a balaclava or motorcycle helmet and a thin piece of cloth
should be no different. Teachers need to be able to see their pupil’s faces and vice versa. Banks and shopping centres need to be able to see the faces of their customers, as do jewellery shops and airport security personnel.
We live in a society where people often communicate via facial expressions as well as language. People strike up conversations at bus stops, outside schools and in queues. We live in a society where people often communicate via facial expressions as well as language. People strike up conversations at bus stops, outside schools and in queues. Wearing a niqab makes that much more difficult. At a time where people are drifting further and further apart, we need more communication and not more barriers. So the debate needs to be about practicalities and common sense, with national cohesion in mind, not about legislation. We should continue to support people’s right to dress as they like, but with legal rights come practical consequences. A woman who chooses to wear the niqab is also choosing to close down many avenues for herself in terms of career choices and social interaction. That, coupled with the negative social impact and other restrictions it imposes on oneself, should be the central issues of concern for those who promote the practise. Ghaffar Hussain is the Head of Quilliam Outreach and Training Unit.
WOMAN WALKS into an airport, she is clothed from head to foot, and her face is not visible due to her facial covering. What happens next? It entirely depends. If the woman in question is wearing bike leathers and a helmet then, as normal, somebody would come and request that the helmet be removed. The woman in question would in most cases remove the helmet, understanding that in this society we operate in accordance with a system of facial identity. However if the woman was wearing either a niqab or burkha there would be a problem. Would any security guard or policeman in modern Britain have the guts to do their job properly - that is, the strict application of the basic rules? The equal application of the rules? Or would they, as I suspect is the case, decide that discretion is wiser because they fear being denounced as a racist? Why risk having their reputation in tatters and their prospects blighted? I shouldn’t have to remind anybody that the key distinction of the legal system is that of ‘Equality in Law’. No man, woman, or group should be a victim of discrimination. Nor, crucially in this case, be favoured by dint of their background, race, religion, culture, or indeed aesthetics. Through cultural cringe, and the application of years of a failed multicultural ethic, we are in danger of dismantling the very laws that protect our liberties. This situation has to be redressed and a firm message sent to all British citizens that we are all equal under the same laws. In accordance with this, the UK Independence Party has formulated a policy on face coverings in public and private places that will inevitably impact on the wearing of veils and burqas. We are of course not opposed to the wearing of religious symbols and do not propose the banning of face coverings on the public highway - that would be
back to front, and a contradiction of our traditions of liberty. In case anybody mistakenly thinks that the covering of the face is a religious requirement like the Sikh turban, be assured that this is not the case with Islam. The Grand Mufti of Cairo, Ali Goma, tells us that “The niqab is not only not a religious obligation, but also an outfit blatantly in contrast with the Prophet’s teaching, and can be banned in places of work like banks and hospitals.” The Egyptian Minis-
Through cultural cringe, and the application of years of a failed multicultural ethic, we are in danger of dismantling the very laws that protect our liberties. ter for Religious Affairs has banned it from ministerial offices. Equally, in Tunisia, the Religious Affairs Minister, Aboubaker Akhzouri, has said the hijab is “counter to the country’s cultural legacy”, and that it is a “foreign phenomenon” in society. It is apparent that facial coverings are divisive even within Islam. UKIP’s policies amount to a simple restating of the principle of equality. Both in the law and between the sexes.
Nigel Farage is the former leader of the UK Independence Party and UKIP Member of European Parliament for the South East.
The Journal Wednesday 3 February 2010
Government's illiterate education cutbacks Katherine McMahon explains how budget cuts to the Edinburgh University's Education department have grave consequences for society as a whole WIKIMEDIA COMMONS – ASHLEY REED
S A THREE year-old I demonstrated against the closure of my nursery. Masses of parents put their children in their pushchairs and marched around a main roundabout, stopping traffic for a considerable amount of time. Those in charge were surprised to see “ordinary” mums taking such vocal, radical action. But it shouldn’t be surprising: education – from pre-school to higher education – is an incredibly important public service. And yet it is typically the first thing to come under threat when times get hard. There is an unfortunate notion of nursery and primary school teaching as “women’s work”. Work, which despite the considerable gains of feminism, is chronically undervalued. Universities are increasingly linked
to the economy, and dependent on the value subsequently allocated to education as a whole. This makes education departments incredibly vulnerable during economic recessions. In general, the rhetoric of profit doesn’t translate into education, and as such attempting profit-maximising in the sector becomes a problem. As soon as education is commodified, the parts of it that focus on personal development and education for its own sake, get crushed in the cogs of the economic machine. All these things have been epitomised in the current cuts at Moray House School of Education. The SNP promised to cut class sizes in schools. There is a dire need for this: the fewer children in a class, the more attention individuals get from the teacher, thus, the better they learn. The more individual attention a child gets, the more the teaching can be tailored to their needs - stretch them if they’re particularly clever, help them if they’re struggling. But the government has decided not to make good on this promise. The consequence of this is that fewer teachers are being employed, and that funding
to Moray House and other teacher training institutes is being cut. This is obviously a problem on all the levels of education sector. Moray House does important research into educational development – for instance, how best to help children with autism and ADHD. Staff at Moray House who are likely to be made redundant will take their knowledge and skills with them when they leave. Funding absolutely must be directed into education. In order to deliver this message to the government, we held a 200-strong demonstration last week, consisting of teachers and students from all areas of the university. The next step is to join up with the parents whose young children’s education is threatened. These cuts are not just a question of self-interest, but a matter of concern to everyone. No-one is isolated from the damage that cuts to education do to society as whole. Katherine McMahon is the External Convener for EUSA’s Students’ Representative Council
Is cancer research The Great Firewall failing women? breaks Google's will
REAST CANCER CAN kill you. This simple fact means that screening is eminently sensible - a message which has been driven home to most women. But what happens to the 7,000 women out of the 1.7 million screened who are misdiagnosed? The Cochrane Center in Copenhagen has published a report revealing severe overdiagnosis in the NHS breast cancer screening scheme, resulting in healthy women being told they have cancer when in fact they don’t. This problem isn’t easily solvable. Doctors looking at mammograms—the standard scan for breast cancer—are currently unable to differentiate between invasive, cancerous lesions around the milk duct, and benign lesions. These lesions, also known as ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) have a very small chance of developing into invasive cancer, though mostly lie dormant and rarely cause the slightest of symptoms. To date, it remains impossible for doctors to discover when or whether DCIS will turn out to be cancerous. The Cochrane Report and former NHS patients have criticised the government for not being informative enough when it comes to DCIS. Shockingly, of women who had a mastectomy after being advised to do so when diagnosed with DCIS, many later found out there was no need for it. Many of them say they would have opted for a ‘wait-and-watch’ tact had they known that was an option.
The lack of knowledge and information concerning DCIS is causing many women to undergo treatment for invasive breast cancer—often an unnecessary pre-emptive strike. This uncertainty has countless associated problems. Not only do these misdiagnosed women undergo chemotherapy and other treatments which pose a direct health threat, but the psychological trauma of the ordeal is equally gruelling. The personal stress and anxiety that accompanies a possible death sentence no doubt has a devastating effect on everyday-life. Then there are the social costs in the form of medical expenses and working hours. There is clearly an imminent need for medical research to reach the next level in the case of DCIS. The government must focus on the importance of spreading information to women who choose to take up the NHS offer of free screening. It is a matter of respecting the individual’s freedom of choice, which can only be done through knowledge. If diagnosed with breast cancer, options like chemotherapy and a mastectomy might save someone’s life. The same medical options, however, seem like grotesque hardships should the diagnosis prove false. The facts are cruel, but simple: due to a lack of medical advancement in the field of DCIS, healthy women are being pumped with poison and having their breasts cut off. With all the money and expertise going into cancer research every year, one can only hope that a way of distinguishing benign lesions in the breasts from malignant ones becomes available sooner rather than later.
Marthe Lamp Sandvik is Comment Editor of The Journal.
Google have reaped praise for their recent stand-off with the Chinese government - too bad they don't deserve it
S THE STAND-OFF between Google and China draws on, it’s becoming difficult to see how Google can protect both its business interests and its good name. Google first announced it would be “reviewing the feasibility” of its business operations in China just over two weeks ago, citing a “highly sophisticated and targeted attack on our corporate infrastructure” originating from Beijing as the reason. In a post on its official blog, the search engine claimed that it had “evidence to suggest that a primary goal of the attackers was accessing the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists”. The obvious implication was that the Chinese government had attempted to hack into the personal affairs of those conspiring against it, and that Google was unwilling to maintain a position as a medium for espionage. Google also took the opportunity to declare its unwillingness to continue censoring search results on its Chineselanguage search engine, stating that it would be “discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search
engine”. Google’s blog post was met with both criticism and support from around the world, and has prompted a formal complaint from the US government and a pointed speech from US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Concerned Chinese netizens left bunches of flowers outside Google’s Beijing office, although this practice was swiftly curtailed by police. Two weeks on, and the Chinese government has not only denied the attacks, but has also pointed out US data showing that China was the biggest victim of cyber-attacks in 2009, the majority of which originated from the US. As to accusations of censorship, Beijing released a statement affirming its commitment “to encourage the healthy development and expansion of the internet”. Such a response is indicative of the party’s predictable reluctance to allow unfiltered searching. Now, however, Google is reported to have begun “delicate” reconciliatory talks with the Chinese government, in addition to reinstating its search filters, resulting in confusion amongst analysts. While the fate of its search engine is uncertain, The Press Association reports that Google is seeking to retain its research centre, its fledgling mobile phone business and its lucrative advertising sales team in China. Having taken a very public moral stand against the Chinese government, Google – which owns roughly 30 percent of the Chinese market share – now faces a choice: pull out, or make a deal.
Economically, Google’s bargaining position is weak. Should it withdraw completely it will win media praise, but such a public denouncement is likely to mean that it will find itself blacklisted in China for a long time. Google must realise that it would be unwise to deny itself future access to a market of 700 million mobile phone users. Some see Google’s indecisive actions as cynical and hypocritical. A recent edition of the state-run China Daily newspaper commented, “If it is [about human rights], the move should have come much earlier or the Web giant should have never entered the Chinese market in the first place.” Whilst Google wasn’t the only foreign company to suffer the cyber-attack, it stands alone in its protest. The other 33 firms affected have either chosen to accept such issues as a tolerable difficulty when doing business in China, or to keep their negotiations private. Given the pervasiveness of internet censorship in China, which Beijing stresses is “key to social stability,” it is unlikely that Google will convince the censors to allow unrestricted searching. Ultimately, whether or not Google remains in China will depend on its willingness to endure the allegations of hypocrisy that a compromise with Beijing would attract. Alex Taggart is a fourth year Chinese student at the University of Edinburgh, and New Media Editor of The Journal.
The Journal Wednesday 3 February 2010 TOM HUNT | WWW.MISPRINTCOMICS.COM
The Yanks are coming James Fidler
South Africa's World Cup 'jitters' Media sensationalism and stereotyping puts an unfair damper on South Africa's World Cup. WIKIMEDIA COMMONS - TSUTOMU TAKASU
THESE PEOPLE ARE carrying valuable things, US dollars, jewellery,” says one of a pair of South African criminals, cradling a handgun as he assesses his prospects at the forthcoming World Cup. “For us it’s a very big opportunity.” The interview, screened on the eTV network a couple of weeks ago, sparked a national outcry. There were furious police accusations against the journalists responsible of “fraternising with criminals”, and threats of charges if they refused to reveal their sources. As journalists and media analysts raged at this apparent assault on freedom of the press, one came up with a succinct explanation: “2010 jitters”. “2010”, in South Africa, is synonymous with the World Cup—an event that this country has been anticipating ever more eagerly since it won the right to host it six years ago. If the 1995 Rugby World Cup was an exhibition of racial reconciliation after apartheid, this year’s festival will give this G20 member a chance to put on a show that demonstrates its credentials as a leading emerging economy. Just look at how the Chinese basked in the PR triumph of the Beijing Olympics. There’s an unmistakeable nervousness mixed in with the excitement, however; a defensiveness linked to the fear that, as Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein put it recently, “Brand SA overseas is crime.” However vocal South Africans might be about their own problems, and with an average of 50 murders a day, many seem desperately worried that foreign anxiety about crime could taint this year’s carnival atmosphere. Both sets of fears came to the fore after the machine gun attack on the Togo football team at the African Cup of Nations in Angola. Hull City manager Phil Brown spoke for many ignorant foreigners when he claimed the atrocity
South Africa’s footballers are hoping that attention will be focused on the pitch “throws a question mark against next summer’s World Cup”. Never mind that the attack was committed by separatist fighters whose quarrel seems exclusively with the Angolan government; that the country’s team did not qualify for the World Cup; that the two nations do not even share a border. The Dark Continent appears, to many outsiders, as a homogenous blob of violence, famine and despair, where such horror can occur anywhere, at any time. Tournament chief organiser Danny Jordaan reacted seriously to the absurd leap of logic, scrambling to tell reporters that “if there is a war in Kosovo and a World Cup in Germany, no-one asks if the World Cup can go on.” That he should have bothered to make such a point speaks volume; South Africa is keenly aware that Africa is not yet judged by the same standards as other continents, and that this World Cup will be judged differently too. The murder of a single fan this June—a random tragedy if it had happened in Germany or Japan —will surely be blown by international media into evidence that the event should never have been brought to a continent which has yet to get its act together.
It’s the terror of such a disaster that prompted the iron-fisted police response to eTV’s film. But the inverse of that scenario should also prove true. One regularly hears politicians going on record to say this will be “the best World Cup ever”—and why not? This is a culturally vibrant, overwhelmingly friendly, broadly football-mad country that has invested huge sums in world-class stadiums and accompanying infrastructure. Football is traditionally a black game here, but almost the entire nation is bursting with pride to be hosting this event—a stark contrast with the ambivalence that has greeted the forthcoming arrival of the Olympics in London. And police presence will be ramped up to such a degree that no fan who isn’t actively looking for trouble—of course, some will be—should have much to worry about. Those hoping the World Cup will be a panacea for the ills of South Africa’s recent recession will be disappointed. The last tournament boosted Germany’s GDP by just 0.3 per cent, according to government figures—and that was with four times the number of visitors expected in South Africa. The arrival for
a month of half a million free-spending foreigners will do little to change immediately the underlying mechanics of a country where unemployment is consistently around the 25 percent mark. But the long-term impact—both for South Africa and for the continent as a whole—could be profound. How often do good news stories from Africa hit foreign front pages? Provided all goes smoothly, we could see the beginning of a real shift in the international perception of Africa. Blanket coverage for a month of a slick, well-managed global festival, suffused with the warmth of African hospitality, would go a long way to counter the trickle of images of hunger and war to which the West has grown accustomed. Over the years, the whole continent could see a pay-off in increased investment and tourism. Just pray—along with all of South Africa—that isolated incidents of violent crime don’t give sensationalist foreign media a chance to kill the party.
A former deputy editor of The Journal, Simon Mundy is a reporter at the South African newspaper Business Day.
HE ROLE OF the US military in the international relief effort in Haiti has come under increasing flak in the three weeks following the catastrophic earthquake. The leaders of Nicaragua, Bolivia and Venezuela have portrayed the US military presence as occupational, a criticism which resonates with those of the French Cooperation Minister Alain Joyandet. The Italian civil protection chief has called the operation “pathetic” and the NGO Medecins Sans Frontières, has accused the US military of diverting their planes carrying emergency medical supplies to the Dominican Republic. Are these allegations valid? Some certainly are. The bottlenecks at the airstrips of Port-au-Prince that prevented 85 tonnes of vital medical supplies from landing in the capital between January 14th and 19th are at best a logistical error, at worst a gross failure in prioritisation on behalf of the American military. The cargo of one rejected plane was an inflatable field hospital which would allow for MSF medical staff to treat more patients without the fear of the building collapsing during subsequent tremors. Here the criticism seems warranted. Yet here too must it end, at least for now. If US military presence does not decrease in the longer term, then the accusation of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, that the US is “manipulating the tragedy to install North American troops in Haiti” may be proved right. However, to portray the military’s “operation unified response” as an occupational effort after so short a period of time is to ignore the context of their intervention in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake. On 12 January, Haiti was left without any useable infrastructure, and without someone to coordinate the incongruent aid groups that immediately offered their assistance. The United Nations was equally ill equipped to direct relief efforts. Amongst the large numbers of UN staff dead or unaccounted for, the head of the UN stabilization mission in Haiti, Hédi Annabi and his deputy, Luis Carlos da Costa, were both killed in the collapse of the Christopher Hotel, the UN headquarters in Port au Prince. Before the catastrophe, the Brazilian peacekeepers on Haiti were a security force, ill-equipped to lead humanitarian efforts. Which other organization can mobilize more than 10,000 personnel in both rescue and distribution operations within so short a period? The rapid assessment and rehabilitation of Haiti’s airports to receive aid and the mobilisation of US hovercraft to bring supplies to shore despite the country’s ruined harbours have been vital for the relief effort to this point. Planes could not land, nor would they be able to transport their cargo to those in need from the runway without US repair crews and transport vehicles. The USS Carl Vinson, anchored off the Haitian coast, desalinates 400,000 gallons of fresh water a day. An Unmanned Global Hawk drone has mapped the island to better direct the delivery of emergency supplies. The hospital ship the USNS Comfort provides the most advanced medical care available for the worst injured quake victims. The aid effort thus far has cleary been fraught with some difficulty. But after three weeks, allegations that the US fosters occupational plans for Haiti appear both misconstrued and unappreciative of the US military effort.
The Journal Wednesday 3 February 2010
EDINBURGH’S STUDENT NEWSPAPER
In bed with the boss THERE CAN BE no doubt that funding cuts are posing a legitimate threat to the higher education sector and all peripheral industries. Westminster is slashing the higher education budget by a third with the unreasonable expectation that universities will continue to function without devastating effects to their students and the quality of teaching. The announcement of these cuts has been met with considerable anger from the academic community, eager to stand their ground and protect the future of their industry and those they represent.
The Guardian has been the recipient of heated letters from umbrella group leaders, student representatives and politicians determined to voice their concerns and plead their cases. If all this correspondence was part of an engaged public debate aiming to limit the damage of the funding crisis, paving the way forward with ideas, compromises and solutions, then it might have some value. Unfortunately, this debate has instead been replaced by motives of self preservation and complaints offering no alternative solutions. Whilst some organisations have
taken an explicit stance against the systematic asset stripping of the higher education sector others have been more complacent. There are those bodies who remain unwilling to bite the hand that funds them. Universities Scotland works extensively with the Scottish government to ensure the sector is not neglected, and rightly so. However, their reluctance to to join this debate explicitly is thwarting the wider campaign to secure the quality of research, teaching and students that this country has a proud history of producing. Universities UK president Professor Steve Smith was quick off the mark to announce that a cut in funds would undermine the government’s own strategy of getting us out of a recession by allowing higher education to “adjust to the demands of an increasingly global, knowledgebased economy”. What the erudite professor neglected to stress is that his umbrella organisation represents the vice-chancellors; the top earners within the academic community. Prof Smith himself earned a respectable $261,000 (including benefits) in
2007-2008, compared to the average lecturer’s pay of $38,105. How then can we listen to accusations, justly, directed towards a government showing little tact in their approach to the overhaul of university funding, from a body representing those who consume such a liberal portion of the cake. The responses from those affected by the cuts, both North and South of the Border have been largely forthcoming. Russell group representatives, the National Union of Students and individual universities have all stood on the soap box and expressed their frustrations without showing that they are willing to offer solutions and compromise. The righteous aspiration to protect higher education and students needs to be accompanied by ta willingness to act as a collective and offer alternatives for a problem that cannot be ignored. Funds are tight and cuts are inevitable. What higher education representatives need to do now is cooperate at a time when the sector needs them to do so more than ever.
It's not you, it's me READING THE OPINIONS of Nigel Farage MEP and Gaffur Hussain in this edition of the Journal, it would appear that the dominant reasoning behind proposals to ban the veil worn by Muslim women—either the niqab in its purely facial manifestation, or the burqa when it covers the entire body—from some elements of public life would be the facial character of human interaction.
Those making that point must face up to this reality. Not only is their argument nonsensical—their lack of regard for the true motivations which underpin such moves across Europe is a dangerous selfdelusion, concealing the degree to which western society has, over the past decade, whipped itself into an irrational fear of all overt displays of Islamic faith and culture. The claim that such policies are to do with guaranteeing security at airports and the like is ludicrous. “What happens next?” asks Nigel Farage, imagining a veiled woman approaching airport passport control. What has always happened, of course: security procedures are carried out with a modicum of sensitivity; in most cases, veiled women are led to a private room and identified or searched by another woman. There have been numerous terror plots attempted and carried out by Muslims in the past decade; none of these were carried out using a burqa to conceal weapons, explosives or someone’s identity. It would less ridiculous a leap of logic for
authorities to have banned shoes after Richard Reid’s attempt to blow up an airliner, or underwear following Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab’s Boxing Day misadventure. Security is far from absent in countries where use of the veil is more common than in the UK— places such as Egypt, where the Grand Mufti of Cairo is right to identify it as a habit outside of Islamic scripture. But it would be a dark irony indeed if his judgement, made in a country known for its wilful disregard of civil liberties, were used out of context to deny the rights of British residents, all in the name of ‘equality’. The entire veil debate itself out of context in the UK, where roughly 2.6 percent of the population consider themselves to be Muslim. The scale of the ‘problem’ and the disproportionate response is illustrated in France, where despite finding that just 1900 women wear full veils, MPs nonetheless recommended a ban should be imposed in hospitals, schools, government offices and public transport. “The wearing of the full veil is a challenge to our republic. This is unacceptable. We must condemn this excess,” said the President of the French National Assembly, Bernard Accoyer; he may wish instead to reflect on the excess inherent in his colleagues proposals, given that the proposed ban has been watered down out of concern for its constitutionality.
A society that cannibalises its own laws out of fear is dangerous; one that creates its own nightmares is ridiculous. The ghettoisation of Muslims and other faith and ethnic communities across Britain means that this issue only affects the country beyond certain urban areas via the front pages of certain newspapers. Much like the issue of foxhunting was presented as the urban wellto-do forcing an unwanted liberal agenda on the countryside, so we find Outraged of Tunbridge Wells deciding the social makeup and breakdown of Britain’s towns and cities. If the necessity and importance of a ban on the Muslim veil are both circumspect, then one has to question the motives of those advancing the debate. Only the most recondite commentators would deny that there is an element of highly targeted xenophobia inherent in calls to limit the freedom of expression of one religious and cultural group alone. There are no demands from the residents of Golders Green to ban the traditional religious garb of the community’s Hasidic Jews; nor do the people of Birmingham or Leicester make the news in calling for a ban on Sikh turbans. This retrograde national debate says far more about the instability of British identity than it does about any member of the Muslim community’s failure to adapt to it.
Re: Controversial Scottish pylon project gets the go-ahead Great article! As a Scot I think it's important to preserve the landscape's natural beauty. However, perhaps electricity supply is more important... don't we already have lots of pylons around anyway? Gemma Re: Does Santa visit detention centres? Dear Sir, Ministers should not require a medical study to tell them that treating children like dangerous criminals is wrong, but there is such a study, so devastating that the Border Agency has taken the trouble to misrepresent its findings to Parliament.Nearly 400 doctors have signed the petition calling on the government to stop detaining children and families, and more than 3600 people have signed the public petition. Please, join them and force the government to end child detention now. Sincerely, Clare Sambrook End Child Detention Now www.ecdn.org Re: Dignity is not the same as choice Absolutely! "Dignity is not an abstract concept, but manifests itself in respecting people for who they are, not their abilities. Persons do not lose their dignity if they suddenly become ill or dependant on others." We need to understand that human value is not instrumental - how much one can interact and contribute with society - nor is it capacity-based. Rather, human value transcends all these things and at all stages the human person is ontologically prior to its parts and retains its discrete identity and value whatever happens to those parts. D. Nixon Dear Sir, Here we go again: the deeply sectarian, Christian, and utterly misnamed Scottish Council for Human Bioethics and its minions are at it again. Our conservative councillor aims to add gravitas to his predictably
anti-choice line of reasoning by wheeling in bioethics as opposed to saying 'my religion'. The thing about 'human dignity' is that both the pro-choice as well as the anti-choice campaigners try to take ownership of the term. Neither camp can be proven right or wrong in their respective quests, because there is no agreement on the moral basis of 'human dignity' or its meaning in the context of end-of-life decisionmaking. That is where this debate ends. 'Human dignity', as I point out in a February 2010 editorial in the journal Bioethics, constitutes little other than a kind of 'wooly uplift' in public debate, no more. Sincerely, Udo Schuklenk, PhD Ontario Research Chair in Bioethics Joint Editor-in-Chief Bioethics Re: In need of attention Dear Sir, May I, as a British expatriate living in Australia, suggest that instead of giving any more publicity to this warmonger Choudary, you bring to your readers' attention just what is happening in Egypt to the Coptic Christian community? There was a massacre there over Christmas; I have not seen much attention given to this from the West. Is it because we are treading on eggshells, afraid of upsetting the Muslims? Or is it a case of out of sight, out of mind? As someone that helps Muslim women that have been abused, I find it absolutely disgusting that you and other media would give the time of day to someone that is totally against non-Muslims while ignoring what is happening around the world, all in the name of Islam? If you have not read the Quran, may I suggest you do: you will find over 150 verses preaching hate and advocating the killing of non-Muslims. It would be good to get some sort of dialogue going over this; I for one don't want to see the UK, my homeland, fall into Muslim hands. My ancestors fought for my freedom, and I will do the same for my future generations. Sincerely, Chrissy Allen
EDINBURGH’S UNIVERSITY NEWSPAPER Editor Paris Gourtsoyannis Deputy Editor Nick Eardley
Deputy Editor (Arts & Entertainment) Marcus Kernohan
Lead designers Daniel Buxton, Dorothy Butchard Design team Joe Pielichaty, Shannon McLean, Tom McWilliam, Cecilia Jane Stamp Deputy Editor (News) Matthew Moore General News Emma Towers Local News Anna Fenton Student News Constantine Innemée Academic News Chris Grainger Student Politics Megan Taylor National Politics Joe Pike Deputy Editor (Comment/Features) Iman Qureshi Comment Marthe Lamp-Sandvik Features Eloise Nutbrown Profile Marion Sauvebois, James Fidler
Music Ray Philp Theatre Amy Taylor Art Rachael Cloughton Fashion Helen Broadfoot Food & Drink Jane Maddison Deputy Editor (Sport) Liam McCabe Photography Editor Silvia Foteva News Carlotta Mathieu, Mitch McCabe Comment & Features Gioia Forster Arts & Entertainment Janek Mann Web Editor Eoin Greensmyth New Media Alex Taggart Copy Editors Polly Dallyn, Jessica Abrahams, Duncan Kennedy, James Fidler, Alex Taggart Sales Manager Katy Allison
The Journal Wednesday 3 February 2010
The appeasing Mr Poliakoff Playwright Stephen Poliakoff talks to The Journal about his latest movie and his early stage career in Edinburgh.
ICKED OUT BY The Times as the next great British playwright whilst he was still in his teens, Stephen Poliakoff’s ensuing success is hardly surprising. His latest triumph is the pre-WWII drama Glorious 39. With an idyllic setting, historical prevalence, and a juicy conspiracy theory, Stephen Poliakoff hammers yet another goldstone into his 30 year-old tower of achievement. Something of a prodigy, he wrote his first play at the age of fifteen— ”sixteen actually, I was a bit older”, he interjects with wry modesty. “It was a passion. I was drawn to the theatre from a very early age. I used to write stories as a child. I always loved writing. I originally wanted to become an actor but I had absolutely no talent. I was kicked out of the school play because I was so bad.” Nonetheless, his early career was nothing short of “impressive”, a term he himself shrugs off in casual agreement. Since then Stephen Poliakoff has written several films both for cinema and television, including The Lost Prince starring Michael Gambon and Bill Nighy, and Capturing Mary with Maggie Smith in the eponymous role. After ten years of intense work for the BBC, Glorious 39 heralds his return to the cinema. “I wasn’t planning on focusing on television for so long. I wrote a film and because it was successful they told me to write another one and then another and I just did it for a few years. It was very satisfying work. I always wanted to return to the cinema but the problem, especially in the 1990s, was the bad distribution of British films; there wasn’t enough money. It is changing now. Things have become easier in the past five or six years, but it’s still very tough.” Thanks to this new headway made by the British film industry, Poliakoff was finally able to write and direct a WWII film in a way that, he claims, “has never been dealt with in the cinema before”. Focusing on the appeasement movement both in the year leading up to and during WWII, Glorious 39 centres around Anne, played by the increasingly popular Romala Garai. As the adopted daughter of a Tory MP, she lives a sheltered life, dividing her time between her burgeoning acting career and family life in a beautiful country mansion. Initially oblivious to the rise of Nazism in Europe and the imminence of war, she is forced to face its realities when one of her friends—a young MP, played by David Tennant—is found dead. As Anne begins to suspect foul play, the plot spirals out even further to suggest that her own family might be conspiring against her. “I got interested in the subject of the appeasement relatively recently.
British films and documentaries deal with the Holocaust but not the appeasers—the people who wanted to strike a deal with Hitler and stop the war. I wanted to show what a close run it was that we stood up to Hitler
and that Winston Churchill became Prime Minister. Things could have easily gone the other way. We avoided becoming a Vichy state by a whisker.” In order to portray the event in an “interesting way”, Poliakoff constructs
his plot with a Hitchcockian atmosphere of suspense and mystery. “People know that we won the war so I had to create suspense in a different way, surprise the audience, and challenge their expectations. They had
to wonder what was going to happen next.” The impressive cast— Tennant being joined by Bill Nighy, Jeremy Northam, Romola Garai, Julie Christie and Christopher Lee—is a distant fantasy for many other drooling British directors, but all in a day’s work for Poliakoff, who is used to working with the big names of British cinema and television. Of course Romola Garai might have appeared as an obvious choice after her acclaimed performances in Atonement or the latest BBC drama, Emma—a series written by Poliakoff’s wife Sandy Welsh. “The film was made immediately before Emma actually. I didn’t choose Romola. In my previous work, Capturing Mary, Ruth Wilson played the part of the young Mary, and she had been in Jane Eyre before that, which was also written by my wife. There are always two or three actors at the top and so they tend to be in demand. I was very lucky that Romola Garai was in vogue when we made the film.” However, he did choose Bill Nighy, and even phoned him to offer him the part of Sir Alexander Keyes, Anne’s father. Not only so, but Poliakoff wrote the film with Bill Nighy in mind to play the role. Without knowing it, the actor was part of the adventure before it had even started. “We had worked together before on the set of The Lost Prince. It was a very happy collaboration. The film got three Emmys and his performance was fantastic. I wanted him to portray this man who is lovely and charming, and appears so to everyone including his daughter, but who is also hiding something.” For Poliakoff, Glorious 39 almost sounds like old news. He is already working on his next project: a stage play. An acrobat with his talents, Poliakoff is constantly flitting between writing and directing for television, cinema and theatre. He sounds a little nostalgic when he looks back on his early career and one of his first professional plays, LayBy, performed at the Traverse Theatre during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 1971. If he cannot exactly remember what the play was about—”the rape of a woman and the trial of her attacker” is his brief plot summary—it remains engraved in his memory as the trigger to his career as a professional playwright and the beginning of adulthood. “It all started in Edinburgh really. First at The Lyceum and then later Lay-By was performed at the Traverse. I was eighteen when I co-wrote it. It was a rather pornographic play, sexually explicit. I was the youngest writer and was a fairly innocent eighteen year old boy (he laughs). I had to look up words in the dictionary because I didn’t know what they meant.” Is he going to be back in Edinburgh to present his next play? “Why not?”
Glorious 39 is out on DVD on March 29.
shake eusa up Student General Meeting 2 Tuesday 23rd February 7pm, McEwan Hall To submit a policy motion email: email@example.com Policy motion deadline: 9th February 2010 Motion amendment deadline: 16th February 2010
Teviot Row, Bristo Sq Debating Hall Wed 17 February 10.00am – 4.00pm
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The Journal Wednesday 3 February 2010
An undeclared Apartheid
The Journal examines the ethnic divide that is trapping Roma ‘Gypsies’ across Europe in cycles of poverty and persecution
N 2004, ROMANIAN municipal authorities evicted more than one hundred “gypsies” from their homes in the central region of Harghita County and relocated them to isolated, squalid, land on the outskirts of nearby towns. Resettled in a series of small, metal, cabins, Roma families and young children were cramped together in close proximity to the hazardous waste from a sewage plant. As far as lobbyists at the time were concerned, this was just one of a series of human rights violations that had taken place across Europe in recent years, specifically targeting the Roma population in acts of so-called “anti-gypsyism”. One year later, on 2 February 2005, eight European governments – including Romania – gathered in Bulgaria’s capital, Sofia, to sign the Declaration of the Decade of Roma Inclusion. Responding to realities of Roma poverty and segregation – particularly in the Eastern states of Romania, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, and Hungary – prime ministers pledged that the next ten years would be characterised by visible improvements to the social and economic welfare of Europe’s largest and most marginalised ethnic minority.
In part, what the promisingly-titled initiative was supposedly trying to change, through international collaboration, was the stigma attached to a largely enigmatic ethnic minority. Yet, for some, the programme could only ever be a boon to events organisers and political think tanks faced with the task of reversing a history of persecution, and transforming the profile of a group still pejoratively labelled “gypsies” both popularly and politically. Undoubtedly, the “gypsy” figure continues to produce paradoxical stereotypes in the popular imagination. On the one hand, we tend to indulge in the notion of exotic and romantic travellers - women dressed in bright colours and gold jewellery, telling fortunes in archaic painted caravans. On the other, however, it has become the universal brand of threatening “tramps and thieves” who wander Europe begging and stealing. Both have tended to attach themselves to Roma communities and their culture. The image of the rootless vagrant has endured despite the historical fact that for centuries they have been citizens of their countries of nationality. To bring clarity to the myths: Roma ancestry is commonly traced to India, from where a nomadic culture is believed to have brought them to Europe as travellers over 1000 years ago. Whilst they were initially welcomed as the harbingers of exciting new culture and trade, this very quickly succumbed to suspicion and exclusion. The recent history of the Roma is undeniably chequered with
(Top right, above) Roma Protest for equal rights (Bottom) Anti-Roma demonstrators in Hungary
discrimination. They were victims of early enslavement, repression under the Soviet Union, and also the Nazi Holocaust, during which 500,000 Roma were killed. In the early 90s Roma women were also disproportionately subjected to a governmentsponsored family planning programme in the former state of Czechoslovakia. Sterilisation was pushed as a solution to reduce what they saw as a worryingly high gypsy birth rate. Financial incentives encouraged Roma women to sign-up to the scheme, whilst social workers used violence and threats to force reluctant women to undergo the medical procedures that would prevent them from having more children. Although it was swiftly culled as an official policy one year later, after the Human Rights Watch expressed outrage, the practice continued covertly. The police were sent complaints claiming Roma women were now being asked to sign their consent whilst semi-conscious, in the midst of labour. Accusations were also brought against doctors believed to have tied the fallopian tubes of women whilst they were undergoing caesarean section. There were no prosecutions, however, and it is only recently the Czech Republic has officially acknowledged that the illegal sterilisations took place. Guests on the European Council’s first Human Rights talk show, View Point unanimously agreed that the Roma were being used as the European “punch bag”: scapegoats for any social ills. The program launched this month with a discussion of the racial problems close to home and a mixture of panellists exchanging perspectives with remarkable consensus. An “undeclared apartheid” was going unacknowledged, it was concluded. The refusal at all levels to view Roma as authentic members of a nation state kept them at a permanent social
and economic disadvantage: denied the education and employment that would allow them to participate fully in society or even to have a public voice. Instead, the Roma were confined to insular communities in the growing ghettos seen on the outskirts of many European cities. Michael Guet, Head of the Roma and Travellers Division of the Council of Europe, even suggested that local politicians built on the problem by exploiting segregation - evoking negative gypsy stereotypes in the circulation of anti-Roma “hate speech” to account for social problems in small municipalities. Incidents of violence and miscarriages of justice, directed against the Roma, have been continually recorded across Europe in recent years by organisations such as the European Roma Rights Centre. Yet, it is in Hungary that campaigners observe the most dangerous social climate of ‘Roma-phobia’. On 23 February 2009, the home of a family of four on the outskirts of Tatárszentgyörgy in Hungary, was set ablaze. A Roma man and his four-year-old son were shot dead as they fled the building, which had been set alight in a drive-by attack. Since then, cases of violence against Roma communities have increased rapidly. The most isolated homes on the outskirts of towns have been targeted in a spate of shootings and murders. Upcoming elections are expected to see support bolstered for the ultraright-wing Jobbik Party, which has close links with an outlawed neo-Nazi militia, the Hungarian Guard. The group, who wear fascist-style uniforms and are armed, have been convicted of many of the recent killings. Members of the Jobbik Party have also made explicit statements against Roma, Jews and other minorities, and in last year’s European Parliamentary elections they won 15 percent of the Hungarian vote.
The growth of right-wing sentiment has produced a surge in refugee applications from Hungarian Roma families visiting Canada. After the murders in Hungary began, the number of applicants for asylum increased almost fivefold, to 1,353, and the figure is now expected to be even higher. According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Hungary is now Canada’s third-largest source of refugee claimants. Despite evidence of persecution, however, all of the 2009 asylum applications have been rejected. Canadian officials argue that Hungarian citizens are not considered legitimate asylum claimants. Their EU status means they are free to live in any of the other 26 member countries. The influx of Roma has so alarmed the Canadian government that immigration minister, Jason Kenney, personally visited Budapest last summer to lobby the Hungarian government to respond to anti-Roma crimes. Despite this international pressure, there is little reason to hope that discrimination against Roma communities is nearing its end. In Life on the Edge, a recent documentary commissioned as part of the Decade of Roma Inclusion, Roma film director Arpad Bogdan concludes that prejudice against the Roma on account of criminality, although wildly disproportionate, was not entirely unfounded. The social segregation of ghettos, he claims, trap the Roma in cycles of poverty that force some into lifestyles of begging and thieving. A recent survey showed 85 percent of Hungarians feel negatively about Roma “due to personal experience”. The threat of a pogrom hangs over those Roma communities living in the 650 ghettos across the country, and this vicious cycle is only suggestive of more violence and discrimination to come.
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The Journal Wednesday 3 February 2010
The big kids are alright The Irish comedian and Fringe favourite talks to The Journal about his 'low energy musical whimsy' WIKIPEDIA
“What I do is a tiny bit weird”, claims cult audience-trailing David O’ Doherty. “Not everyone’s going to be into it but then hopefully people who are into it, they tell their friends.” Critics’ tongues have been wagging since O’Doherty, armed with his trusty Yamaha Portatone, stormed Channel 4’s So You Think You’re Funny in 1999. Taking on the notoriously cynical comedy circuit his ‘very low energy musical whimsy’, the decorated comic has subsequently charmed a host of judging panels into submission, and in 2008 won the Fringe’s If.comedy award. True to his innocently melodious comedy, O’Doherty maintains a humble perspective. He’s currently on “pretty much the least glamorous tour” of the UK and Ireland, and though it’s certain the venues will be teeming with fervid singersalong, O’Doherty believes it’s his job to seek out his sporadically devoted audience. “It’s a question of travelling around and finding those people and playing to them. So that’s what I spend a lot of the year doing - going to the States, Australia, New Zealand or the UK or around Ireland or wherever it happens to be and... yeah, some places I’ve played a few times, the crowd’s sort of growing each time.” Onstage, O’Doherty blends childlike inanity and subtle wit, backed with synthesized keyboard riffs. Plucking subject-matter from apparent obscurity, he attributes his technique to a youthful admiration of songwriter Randy Newman. “He had sort of beautiful songs, but then
talked just a lot of nonsense between the songs and did a cool thing of playing the piano and talking at the same time. And that interested me because it makes everything you say about six times more profound, even if you’re talking about laundry or whatever.” Laundry-themed or not, O’Doherty admits his off-the-wall observations date back to childhood. “I don’t think my sense of humour has changed since I was about 7 or 8. I remember watching Monty Python and things like that then and they’re still things that I really really enjoy.” Elements of O’Doherty’s affably inoffensive material smack of kids’ entertainment - unsurprising considering his own forays into children’s literature. “I worked in a care home for a bit... That’s kind of where I got the writing children’s books from.” he explains. “It certainly all comes from the same place, it comes from the same brain... that said, I do try and keep the two fairly separate.” Keeping his projects separate is likely to be something of a juggling act for Dublin’s Renaissance man, cramming under his belt an album, radio and TV series, two plays and an acting role in his brother’s film A Film With Me In It. Perhaps the most recent prompting of the comic’s creative juices is the release of 100 Facts About Pandas, a book co-written by O’Doherty detailing false facts about pandas. “I have a few television notions at the moment that I’m working on.” O’Doherty tells us. “I’d love to try and do something with panda facts, try and make a fake nature programme, which is nearly possible. Photoshop and video technology is such that you can really manipulate film to do anything at all.” But, prolific as he may be,
O’Doherty is not about to let his standards slip for the sake of fame, asserting that he’s “prepared to sort of wait it out and see if anyone wants to make my stuff and then if not then that’s fine.” Live, O’Doherty exudes schoolboy contentedness, shunning the limelight in favour of his gentle, personal variety of entertainment.
In person, he similarly avoids the world-wearied scepticism of standup counterparts, and when asked what the future holds O’Doherty characteristically modest - hints that he might be approaching a stylistic turning-point. “I sense I’m getting closer to talking about the things that I’m actually
interested in talking about, though I don’t think that day will ever come. But if you don’t really know what it is you do then that makes the writing practise much more interesting.” David O’Doherty plays The Stand, Edinburgh on 16 February.
ON THE HORIZON MUSIC Etienne De Crecy HMV Picture House £17.50 6 September Superior beats from French touch maestro Etienne De Crecy Miike Snow Stereo, Glasgow £8 4 February Swedish electro-pop trio give it yaldy in Glasgow. St. Deluxe, Peter Parker, Licker Doors Stereo, Glasgow £6 New music showcase from promising Glasgow quartet St. Deluxe and pals Hot Chip HMV Picture House 13 February £17.50 Daddy or Chips? Thought so. Pearl & The Puppets Cabaret Voltaire 14 February £7 Glasgow singer-songwriter brings her melodic indiepop to the capital.
CLUBS Go Ape The Hive Thursday 4th February £4(£3) Drum'n'bass Fuse (Kissy Sell Out) Radio 1 Berlin Friday 5th February £10 advance Electronica, dubstep, techno Gumbofunk The Voodoo Rooms Friday 5th February Free Funk, afro, Latin grooves Beep Beep Yeah Speakeasy @ Cab Vol Saturday 6th February £3 Retro-funk Fourcorners Bongo Club Friday 12th February £4(£5) Deep Funk, Jazzy Breaks, Afro Latin, Dub Reggae
ART Toby Paterson Fruitmarket Gallery Until 28 March Free Toby Paterson makes paintings, reliefs and constructions that explore the relationship between abstraction and reality. Meet Your Maker National Museum of Scotland Until 14 March Free Taking you behind the scenes of the Scottish contemporary crafts scene. Storylines Patriothall Gallery 20 February – 2 March Free An exhibition of new and recent work by three artists on the MFA progarmme at Edinburgh College of Art. The High Ground Sleeper Gallery 1 – 26 February Free A wall-based installation reflecting on the absurdity of dogma and the beauty of nuance, by ECA lecturer Charlie Stiven
THEATRE Le 7 doigts de la Main Festival Theatre 1 - 3 February £13.50 - £21.50 Following their success at the 2007 Festival, the troupe returns to Edinburgh for their first UK tour, showcasing their unique blend of circus acrobatics, street and contemporary dance. Anything Goes Church Hill Theatre 6 – 13 February £12.50 (£6.50) Edinburgh Footlights start 2010 with their production of Cole Porter's Anything Goes, adapted from the book by Guy Bolton and P.G. Wodehouse. The Woman in Black King's Theatre 15 – 20 February £16.00 -£26.50 Stephen Mallatratt's faithful adaptaion of Susan Hill's terrifying novel comes to Edinburgh as part of a UK tour to celebrate its 21st year on the British stage.
The Sound of Music Edinburgh Playhouse Until 20 February £23.00-£46.00Starring Connie Fisher as Maria, the classic musical comes to Edinburgh from a run at the London Palladium.
COMEDY Laughing Horse New Act of the Year Competition 2010 Beehive Inn Friday 5th February £5 Scottish qualifying rounds for new talent competition. The Thursday Show The Stand Thursday 11th February £8(£7/£4) Four up-and-coming acts, hosted by Billy Kirkwood. Russle Kane & Daniel Sloss Pleasance Theatre Saturday 13th February £9(£5) Festival favourite opens new Pleasance venue with support from Frankie Boyle protege Sloss
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The Journal Wednesday 3 February 2010
Versus: Found, eagleowl, Oates Field
The Heart of the Great Alone
Scots folk rockers face-off at Versus, but it's mostly friendly fire EDMUND FRASER
R. J. Gallagher Live ‘duels’ have been a staple of the hip-hop scene for decades, yet rarely has the format transcended the boundaries of electronic, turntablebased genres. This is perhaps for good reason: technical restrictions dictate that it’s far easier for two rappers to plug in a microphone and ‘battle’ over a loop than it is for eight musicians to take to a stage awash with guitars, drums, amplifiers, and effects pedals: a sound engineer’s worst nightmare. Versus, the Voodoo Rooms’ bimonthly music night, seeks to prove that it can be done. Rather than a ‘battle’ however, the format consists of each band playing a couple of songs before making way for the next, giving a feel that is more variety show than confrontation. The evening begins with two songs from eagleowl, who churn out their brand of chronically somber yet undeniably poignant alt-folk with the kind of zeal that is usually only found at a funeral. Oates Field then takes his turn, promptly ripping in to a couple of foot-stomping, distorted guitar numbers without pause for breath. Up next are Fence Records favourites Found, who take a while to get going—not until halfway through their second visit to the stage do they
really hit their stride—and just as they start to peak, they’re off again to be replaced by Debutant, whose massive soundscapes seem unfortunately constricted in the small space. The highlight of the evening, however, comes from Jamie O’Connor, assuming the pseudonym of The Wee
Rogue. Armed with only an acoustic guitar and lyrics as beautiful as any you are likely to hear O’Connor, in a little over three minutes, is the answer to the prayers of 1,000 sound engineers. Without an effects pedal in sight, he chants into the night a simple ballad that could hardly be
anything but the soundtrack to a dream. With an innovative format and some strong acts, Versus provides one of the more interesting live music experiences to be found in Edinburgh.
The Voodoo Rooms | 21 Jan | £8
The Price New production of Arthur Miller's drama is a pertinent commentary on recession, past and present TIM MOROZZO
Amy Taylor Theatre FOLLOWING THE LYCEUM’S journey into the world of eternal youth in Peter Pan, the theatre starts its Spring/Summer season with Arthur Miller’s The Price, a tale of two brothers and the dire financial circumstances that led to the choice between following their dreams and keeping their family together. Set in 1967, The Price follows middle aged cop, Victor Franz (Greg Powrie) as he attempts to sell the furniture that belonged to his late father, a man who lost everything in the Great Depression. But as he comes to an agreement with furniture dealer, Gregory Solomon, (James Hayes) the unexpected arrival of his estranged younger brother, Walter (Aden Gillett) brings both painful memories and startling revelations. Directed by John Dove, who also directed the Lyceum’s production of Miller’s The Man Who Had All The Luck in 2009, The Price initially seems well-suited to our current financial climate; as we slowly crawl out of the recession, times are still uncertain. While
the play appears to be dominated by monetary problems, namely the consequences of the 1929 Wall Street Crash, it’s Miller’s underlying story of the Franz family’s broken dynamic that emerges as the play’s true message. Peppered with themes of sacrifice, nostalgia, guilt and ultimately, betrayal, The Price deals with the influential patriarchal legacy of a long dead and unseen character,
who still dominates the lives of his two adult children. In a world governed by media coverage of the financial catastrophe, this play reveals the emotional and much more human cost of a recession. Dove’s direction, combined with Michael Taylor’s simple but effective set, consisting of piles of forgotten and dusty relics of another era, creates the most believable platform for Miller’s carefully
constructed plot. The cast excel in their emotionally-demanding roles, especially Powrie, whose turn as the kindly but embittered police officer makes for compelling viewing. This is a production is a triumph and a testament to the longevity of Miller’s work. Venue: Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh | Dates: Until 13 February | Price: £9.00-£27.00
“HAD WE LIVED I should have had a tale to tell of the hardihood, endurance and courage of my companions which would have stirred the heart of every Englishman. These rough notes and our dead bodies must tell the tale” wrote Robert Falcon Scott shortly before he eventually succumbed to hunger, exhaustion and the bitter cold of the Antarctic. His death and the deaths of the four men who followed him to the South Pole prompted a period of national mourning, but the extraordinary photographs taken by Herbert Ponting ensure that the memory of the intrepid explorers and their battle with the Antarctic live on. The Heart of the Great Alone, marking the 100th anniversary of Scott’s doomed journey, uses photographs taken by Herbert George Ponting and Frank Hurley to tell two stories of exceptional endurance; one which ended in tragedy and the other in remarkable rescue. The exhibition is laid out in a narrative format so that we join these adventurers on their emotional journey, and the audio guide provides an excellent accompaniment to the images. Ponting, an accomplished travel photographer, was employed by Scott to record the Terra Nova expedition of 1910-13. His photographs demonstrate his artistic eye and clear talent for composition. The Ramparts of Mount Erebus is a visual representation of the enormity of the task facing Scott and his men; a gigantic ice cliff dominates the scene with a volcano above it, while the tiny silhouette of a man is only just visible in the bottom left corner struggling with a sled. Hurley was the official photographer for Ernest Shackleton’s Imperial Trans-Antarctic expedition of 1914-17. His primary purpose was to provide documentary photographs, giving him less artistic freedom than Ponting. However, this did not prevent him from producing iconic images like The Endurance in the Garb of Winter in which the ship, cloaked in ice, emerges from the pitch black background like a ghost. Hurley used torches in the dead of winter to achieve this ethereal effect. The Heart of the Great Alone will appeal to anyone with a taste for adventure, and offers an insight into a time when exploration and death were intertwined. The photographs capture the immensity and all-consuming nature of the Antarctic landscape, and the capability of human beings to overcome great adversity. Item: The Heart of the Great Alone: Scott, Shackleton and Antarctic Photography | Venue: Queen's Gallery, Holyrood | Dates: Until 11 April | Price: £8
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The Journal Wednesday 3 February 2010
Rhubaba: Ed Atkins, 'Spoiler'
War and Peace Jonathan Goat
Hannah Knights RHUBABA ARE AN emerging force within all that’s legitimate and significant in the emigrating margins of art in Edinburgh; the outsiders becoming the insiders. As a collective of recently-graduated Edinburgh College of Art disciples, their religious devotion not only to the progression of their work but also their cherry-picked contemporaries is admirable. With our ears to the ground, we begin to hear the incoming onslaught of their impact. Rhubaba ordained the Slade graduate Ed Atkins to show in the temporary Cowgate gallery space for their first curated solo show. Atkin’s epilogue is the precursor to the exhibition, the ‘spoiler’; an ominous tale of the death and intricate disposal of a dog beguiles us into an uncomfortable scenario. Assembled through mediating on the appropriated ‘dead dog’ performance, that initial flash of reality pursued into Atkins personal and fictitious incarnations becomes the subject of the show. This lingering myth enlivens the initially droll outlook we first witness, with the large photocopied screenplays seeming potentially laborious. In attentively devoting
to this directed narrative, the wit and humour with which it dictates makes for a technicolor inauguration to the exhibition. From this point the surrounding work comes forth as multi-dimensional, furthering the reach of this conceit in attaining our emotive response. The persistent audio from the neighbouring room bleeds into the first gallery space heavily. Shots of fractured noise erupt then settle; a filmic score to the work we’ve been perusing. Taking over the second room and stealing our gaze, the power of the image and audio in the video piece ‘Cur’ are immersive. A dark narrative of ambiguous direction pools beautiful images of isolated moments, quietly embroiling
us in an unknown journey. The blackest moments are never such, as the screen is mottled with grey, just as the black and white of the photocopies revealed to be awash with a unsuspecting vivacity. The collaboration of these young talents politely places a gauntlet to the established galleries in how successfully these sprouting collectives can begin to flourish. Accomplished in every way, Rhubaba and Ed Atkins have heightened the expectations of what can be achieved by the new generation. Item: Rhubaba presents: Ed Atkins, 'Spoiler' | Venue: 303 Cowgate, Edinburgh | Dates: Until 27 January | Price: Free
LAST WEEK SAW the opening of Rita McAllister’s revision of Prokofiev’s War and Peace into its original, intended format. The story goes that Soviet meddling left the opera bastardised and less human: tonight, we are told, the integrity of the initial vision will be reclaimed. However, McAllister’s venture only serves to highlight the lengths to which the work was already fouled with its contemporary political climate. In composing this propaganda-flushed opera, Prokofiev has sacked and pillaged the essence of a truly great text for the sake of a transient political ideal. The libretto deliberately exploits singular aspects of Tolstoy’s magnificently three-dimensional characters as banners for his dull patriotism. It’s Pierre that hurts the most: robbed of his bestiality, alcoholism and burning rage, he is raised instead as a cartoon paradigm of selflessness. The character of Kutuzov is similarly updated, appearing not as the battered Atlas of Russian reason but rather a smug, selfsatisfied prig, warming his hands on the effortless annihilation of his enemies. There were two moments in particular where the changes became unbearable: the perversion of Pierre’s bumbling attempt at assassination into an act of high tragic
heroism, and the final chorus’ slow, disgusting laughter at the fate of the French forces. Tolstoy’s sensitive investigation of humanity’s infinite complexity is frequently replaced by action-movie style sequences. Aside from these fundamental and inescapable differences, the opera faces difficulties in its layout. Originally conceived as a sequence over a number of nights, the piece was ruthlessly downsized. The steady pace and personal immersion of the original is lost, and the libretto instead peppers itself with references to events that quickly become meaningless; the fact that we only meet Prince Andrei twice before his final duet with Natasha robs one of the most touching moments in literature of its vital emotional resonance. The music isn’t bad, but the organisation of musical ideas is difficult. The themes of the title are teased apart into separate acts: ‘Peace’, lyrical passages full of strings; and ‘War’, dramatic passages full of brass. There was some fine singing from Maria Kozlova and Michel de Souza, and the idea for the set was sensitive and intelligent. Not enough, of course, to compensate for this horrific adaptation. Perhaps of interest to students of political history, but definitely not great art. Venue: Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Dates: 22 - 23 January | Price: £13.50 - £21.50
London dance trio tighten their grip on Sneaky Pete's electropop enthusiasts, nearly choking them in the process EDMUND FRASER
Myke Hall MY TINY ROBOTS, tonight’s nominated preamble, are an appropriate act to kick things off, if only in name. The Leith ensemble give a rather awkward and self-conscious account of themselves, switching between instruments—guitars, bass, synth, drums, trumpet, melodica, maracas and ukulele—at every opportunity, but the phalanx of instruments fails to disguise their lack of showmanship. Only their lead singer, Dylan Childs, possesses the charm and charisma to warrant the audience’s attention. Conversely, Glasgow four-piece Boycotts present themselves as a well oiled indie-disco machine. The female vocals have the requisite altrock toughness without being angry or angst-ridden, and are backed by snappy high-hat beats and overdriven, fidgety guitars, with bassy disco-funk rhythms. The songs are designed to get the heart pumping and the foot tapping, and they duly succeed. By the time London-based Chew Lips arrive on stage, Edinburgh’s smallest venue is packed, sardine style.
The band is comprised of lead singer Tigs, flanked by Will Sanderson and James Watkins. Drums and bassline, most of which are pre-programmed and sequenced, are augmented by glitchy, 8-bit synthesisers for the duration of the set, although Sanderson and Watkins will find occassion to pick up a guitar or bass to add some buzz and errancy. Tigs’s vocals exhude a pop appeal in keeping with presupposed peers like Little Boots, or a latter-day Kylie Minogue. More than any other instrument, the use of drums can affect the on-stage energy of a band, and although programmed drums blend well with synthetic music, the atmosphere ultimately suffers without having someone banging the kit. Fortunately, that’s the only area where the band lack energy. Tigs skips happily to cyber-bleeps, while the boys convulse to the beat as if receiving well timed, miniature electric shocks. The stand-out song from the set is Salt Air, the uplifting melody of which provides a refreshing contrast to the dance-punk claustrophobia that dominates much of their set. Amongst all of the blips, bleeps and squelches, the chance for some breathing space is welcome.
Venue: Sneaky Pete's | Dates: 27 January
Marcus Kernohan Arts & Entertainment YOU CAN TELL a great deal about a comedian from how they dispatch hecklers. Tonight’s host, the abrasive Bruce Devlin, favours the barrageof-abuse technique for dealing with lairy audience members. Unfortunately, the Scottish comic’s entire act seems to consist of crude, sexualised jabs at audience members, which produces a palpable sense of ‘thank god it’s not me’ laughter. Devlin’s routine is built around ‘outrageous’ statements, and always seems to be playing for the cheap laugh. The first act, however, takes a very different tack. Irishman Jarlath Regan’s nice-guy stage persona is disarming, and his wry observational comedy is a pleasant change of pace after the compére’s more confrontational style. In a further contrast to Devlin, Regan’s slightly victimised response to a poorlytimed heckle makes him an endearing presence. Proving the point that tonight is a night of extremes, Regan is followed by the angry left-wing stylings of Rick Molland, whose extended diatribe against the BNP—culminating in an attempt to recruit an audience
member to commit a highly illegal sexual act on a BNP organiser—mirrors popular feeling and grants big laughs and a definite feeling of support from his audience. Ro Campbell’s eclectic commentaries at first meet with a subdued response, but a few well-placed barbs on Scottish culture quickly win over the crowd to the Australian’s erratic set. Robin Ince has been a presence in the UK circuit for over a decade, and has garnered a loyal following. His urbane charm and grandfatherly manner prove uniquely winning in a setting as intimate as the Stand; “I’m wearing a new cardigan - how about you?” serves admirably as a left-field opening gambit. Common-sense attacks on ignorance and prejudice are carefully interspersed with lighthearted anecdotes from everyday life, like his two-year old son’s penchant for Nick Cave. While Ince at times seems absent-minded, he is also a shrewd judge of his audience and a very polished performer. So enraptured are his audience that he is notable as the only act tonight not be heckled, which should certainly tell you something about his ability as a comedian. Venue: The Stand | Dates: 28 January | Price: £10
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The Journal Wednesday 3 February 2010
The Three Craws
The Fence Records trio have their cake, eat it, then offer some to the audience
...Out of Here: The Veterans Project
Ray Philp Music Editor FENCE RECORDS, LIKE all venerable Scottish institutions, inspires a fair degree of pontificating on its behalf. Widely perceived as the standard-bearers for hyphenated, revivalist folk (see: nu-folk, alt-folk, faux-folk, electro-folk), the predominant tag bestowed upon them is that of ‘real’ musicians - that dowdiest of tropes that only seems to befit the more earnest and wet eyed in the singer-songwriter spectrum. The Three Craws, then: James Yorkston, The Pictish Trail and King Creosote (Fence label founders Johnny Lynch and Kenny Anderson, respectively), mindful perhaps of such connotations, tonight exemplify exactly how to serve convention with a weathered slap on the chops. OLO Worms, the Craws’ Bristolian labelmates and this evening’s support, are similarly disinclined to obsequious posturing. A hypnotic churn of willfully obscure samples, wild non-sequiturs and off-key dubstep rhythms reveal a taste for subversion and mischief. Neither traits, though, are the sole preserve of the opening act – the Craws define themselves by their capacity for brutal self-deprecation, to the extent that tonight feels like a bit of an existential wheeze: they titter amongst themselves as they consider their seemingly haphazard setlist; King Creosote invites the audience to try his cherry and coconut cake before mocking their reticence (“you Edinburgh lot: ‘eww, I’m not eating your cake’”). Yorkston pauses for a moment of cutting
introspection: “What the fuck am I doing playing a solo?”; and so the curios persist. But then they start playing. Amongst a breathless list of highlights, an extended rework of Beta Band classic ‘She’s The One’, replete with techno motifs, is nothing less than inspired, while a rendition of Adam Crowley’s ‘Walk On Part’ encourages a silence that approximates reverence. An impish grin spreads across Lynch’s face as he returns the compliment by gently ribbing onlookers with a series of deadpan asides, without ever appearing arrogant or egoistic. The Craws exhude self-effacement, but unlike so many peddlers of humility—an often disingenuous ploy to disguise callowness or a lack of ambition—their deep distaste for aggrandisement stems, simply, from experience; with that, it becomes apparent why they feel no need to take themselves, or any of the hoopla that surrounds them, too seriously. Sincerity is instead reserved for their two hour medley of modern Scottish classics, employing tenderness and levity in equal measure to wonderful, exuberant effect. OLO Worms, during a between-song ramble, offer a parodic summation of one of their songs: “Imagine Biggie Smalls, Kurt Cobain, Marc Bolan... all of the heroes of class music.” Outwardly, The Three Craws wouldn’t acquiesce to this sort of towering hyperbole, but even musicians as grounded as the Fife supergroup are owed the indulgence of such flights of fancy. The Caves | Dates: 22 January | £13
Vivian Girls Chris McCall
Back in the olden days, guitar bands were so mystical that they might as well have been beamed down from space. Today it seems that every band member is on Twitter, reminding us that they’re as mundane as the rest of us. The exception to reality’s onslaught is American indie bands, who by virtue of geography manage to keep some sense of other-worldliness. Fans will drool over anything that Pitchfork rates 8.967 or above, no matter how spirit-crushingly dull it sounds. Take the Vivian Girls, for example. In 2008 they released a couple of charming singles and played a few enjoyably shambolic shows, much like the seemingly bottomless pit of other bands that year. But the Vivian Girls come from Brooklyn, automatically giving them a fashionable, jaded-hipster edge.
Tonight they manage to pack out the Captain’s Rest - which doesn’t take much considering some Glasgow kebab shops are more accommodating, but a sold-out show is still a sold-out show, and expectations are high. Sadly, the trio are limp tonight: they seem nervous, and never really find their stride. Three-chord thrash pop like this only really works if it’s done with a bit of energy and flair, and on this occasion, they lack both. It’s a shame, because “Wild Eyes” and “Second Date” do have a wistful charm to them, but they get lost in a set full of substandard Ramones rip-offs. Such is the painful similarity of their songs, it is a real struggle to tell when one ends and another begins. A troubling question arises: if the Vivian Girls came from Birmingham rather than Brooklyn, would they have gained anywhere near as much critical and public approval? Answers on a postcard. Captain's Rest | Dates: 20 January
Rachel King ALTHOUGH THE INSTITUTE of Contemporary Art in Boston claims to present the most significant national and international contemporary art to its audiences, a recent offering left this reviewer rather underwhelmed. …OUT OF HERE: The Veterans Project is a small collection of video-based artwork made specifically for the ICA. Clustered into a modest two rooms, the artist presents a collection of works created from interviews and encounters with the veterans of the most recent conflicts in Iraq. Documenting his findings through a series of projections, Krzysztof Wodiczko aims to highlight the physical and psychological effects on both military personnel and civilians living in wartime. The main feature of the exhibition is a multi-channel video installation that takes place within the typical black cube setting. Projected on three of the walls within the space are computer-generated images of windows. The audience is placed in what mimics a shelter or hiding place during combat. Although the room is filled with sounds of distress and chaos the overall atmosphere created seemed more like a computer game than a reflection of real life destruction. A combination of poorly arranged sound samples and unconvincing visuals did not do justice to the magnitude of the concept and almost mocked the devastation of actual warfare. Although some of the smaller, more intimate pieces were engaging, overall the show lacked power and substance. Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston | Until 28 March | Price: Free
Cao Fei: RMB City Ben Hoare
BEIJING-BASED EMERGING ARTIST Cao Fei started the ongoing Internet project RMB City in 2009; an online artwork public community existing through the 3D world Second Life. Users participate by adopting an online personality, exploring and interacting in a hyper-real art world. Her work is both an expanding platform for public creativity and discussion, and a metaphor for the rapid expansion of Chinese super-cities.
Fei is both creator and participator, overseeing the work in the real world while living vicariously through her avatar Tracey China in her e-world. We see RMB City in the Shiseido Gallery through projected works. Cut-and-pasted clips from the artificial utopia create videos, dominating entire walls of this Tokyo gallery where we receive a soaring tour of Fei’s architectural dreamscapes. The otherworldly seems both monolithic and shockingly intimate. ‘i.Mirror’ shows Fei’s character exploring the twisted metropolis, and in ‘Live at RMB City’ she guides her son on a journey through the landscape. Her skillfully crafted videos are an intriguing presentation of the computer-generated environment. These works go far beyond simply offering us a glimpse of Fei’s artistic community. She simulates, through metaphorical incarnation, a discourse on the liberalization and economy of China. Her virtual escapism cunningly conjures images of a ‘Red’ society, level and equal within an expanding urban network. Fei’s success through this digital veil is both exciting and expansively avant-garde.
of the fierce attacks inflicted during production, the scarred wood invites you to touch its surface but also to recoil from it. These sculptures have an immediacy not always found in the painted works; instead of labouring over compositional techniques, Baselitz can focus on the elements and let his chaotic destruction speak for itself. That innocent little connecting corridor turns out to be one of the cleverest moments of the exhibition. While moving, one could digest those famous pictures that shot Baselitz to fame, and take a deep breath in time for the emotional onslaught of the sculptures beyond. Baselitz: A Retrospective | Museum Frieder Burda and Staatliche Kunsthalle, Baden-Baden | Until 14 March Price: 10 Euro (students)
Hugo Tillman: Impressions of Being
RMB City is online at www.secondlife.com until 2011. Shiseido Gallery, Tokyo. | 27 October - 20 December 2009 | Price: Free
Georg Baselitz: Retrospective
IMPRESSIONS OF BEING, which opened at Milan’s CorsoVeneziaOtto last week, is English photographer Hugo Tillman’s first solo exhibition in Italy. The show, offering a broad introduction to the artist, brackets two separate bodies of work: Film Stills of the Mind, a series of photographs shot in China, and Daydreams of Mine, a body of work based in Cuba. The starting point for Film Stills of the Mind are the “inner hopes, fears and dreams” of 76 contemporary Chinese artists, nine of which are displayed here. Each photograph is what Tillman calls an ‘inverted portrait’ as the images are, in intention at least, less a physical portrait and instead more descriptive of the ‘psyche’ of each artist. In Daydreams of Mine Tillman offers us an equally constructed representation of contemporary Cuba, in an attempt to record the contrast between ‘progress and exoticism’. Though each body of work is effective in its own right, together they form an awkward sort of antagonism. The justified explorations of the internal and the surreal in Film Stills of the Mind make the same forays in Daydreams of Mine descend into ridiculousness; the comment on Western conceptions of the ‘other’ in the latter in turn make the viewer realise there is something uncomfortably encyclopaedic about Tillman’s examination of the ‘Chinese psyche’. Both series may be levelled by the criticism that the portrait is not of either China or Cuba, but instead of Tillman himself. This is not original, but then neither is Tillman’s—very Western—approach to photography.
One suspects the decision to hold a Baselitz retrospective in Baden-Baden had much to do with architecture. The modernist Museum Frieder Burda and its neo-classical partner, the Staatliche Kunsthalle, lie adjacent, connected by a suspended corridor. One half hosts 50 Years of Painting, the other 30 Years of Sculpture. Renowned for his innovative painted compositions, Baselitz is a formidable figure in contemporary art. The exhibition tracks his career’s trajectory, from the early Heroes works with their courageously brutal imagery, to the famous Inverted Motif works. Other means of fracturing the picture plane are exhibited, as are some interesting finger paintings; the intriguing Dolores is particularly clever in its use of the inversion motif, with the conflicting gravity perplexing the viewer. The recent series Remix, however—in contrast to the powerful gestures of earlier work—seems to lack conviction with its bright red splashes across Moderner Maler (Remiz). There is little uncertainty in the sculpture-focused Kunsthalle: with the exception of the early Model for a Sculpture of 1979, the sculptural work of Baselitz gains the capacity to involve and surprise. G.-Kopf simultaneously attracts and repulses: seeing the remnants
CorsoVeneziaOtto, Milan | Until 10 February | Free www.hugotillman.com
The Journal Wednesday 3 February 2010
Van der Sloan Meet the student designers rethinking what the T-shirt means to the wearer.
AN DER SLOAN are one of Edinburgh’s new wave of upand-coming fashion brands. With products designed from scratch they promise to offer the best fitting tees on the market. Their ethos is simple; “clean lines that fit around you.” The brand’s emphasis is on quality of fabrics and the fit of the t-shirt on the body form. Added to this are unique black and white designs with inspirations from both literary and musical backgrounds. It seems Van der Sloan has found a niche in the market, pushing the standards in quality above what you might find in other high street stores. Gregor Wilson, designer and creator of the label, studies Law & Business at the University of Edinburgh and is currently on an exchange in Sydney, Australia. I met with him while he was back in the country for a quick chat to find out more.
Q. Tell me about yourself and your brand; when did it start out and why? A. I originally started my studies at Glasgow University. When I decided to switch to Edinburgh University it gave me a six-month gap in which to occupy my time. It was in this time that I started to make some prints and apply them to t-shirts and it all started from there. Having links with a club in Edinburgh, Cabaret Voltaire, I would approach the bands playing each night and give them the opportunity to wear my t-shirts. I found this was a great way to promote the brand. I guess things really started to kick off when I was approached by the Shanghai government. They were seeking small brands and offering them the opportunity to visit a number of Shanghai factories. For them it was a strategic plan to boost their reputation as a creditable manufacturing region, for me it was a goldmine opportunity to source the best factory to produce my designs. After a series of ‘speed dates,’ I found my perfect match. Q. What aspects of the design are important to you? A. We believe that our t-shirts are one of the best fitting on the market. The cotton is thicker than most other t-shirts making them sit perfectly around the body. Our tees are unisex and so we have to make them right for both male and female. Currently, we are getting a huge response from our female customers who find the length looks good with leggings or skinny jeans. Q. Who shot the prints? Any personal favourites? A. The new Spring 2010 Collection entitled ‘face value’ features three iconic portraits named ‘Leiden’, ‘Katie’ and ‘Homme’. Sarah Saleh photographed Homme and Katie and I shot the images for Leiden. Photographer Kai Z Feng and myself took the collection shots. Personal favourite would be the ‘Katie’ image. Q. What’s going on with the brand at the moment? A. The Spring 2010 Collection that I mentioned before has just been launched, and as well as this we are currently in talks with a prominent store in Glasgow which we hope will stock this and future collections. This would be a very promising and exciting step forward for us. Q. How do we get our hands on them? A. Visit our website at www.vandersloan. com where you can purchase your chosen T-shirt along with information about the collection and photos of the various pieces. For the time being we only sell online but we hope to be selling in stores soon. photos by Van der Sloan
Retail: State of Mind The Edinburgh boutique bringing streetwear exclusives to the capital Roisin Watson
NEW ERA, 10 deep, Maharishi/MHI, Acapulco Gold, Mighty Healthy, The Hundreds and Rocksmith are just some of the brands found in State of Mind, “Edinburgh’s freshest urban retailer”. Situated on St Mary’s Street, the shop opened in April 2009 having found a niche in the market. Focusing on streetwear and skatewear and mixing this with higher end brands, the owner is bringing something new and exciting to Edinburgh. Stocking brands from around the world: from New York to Tokyo, State of Mind boasts two collections which
are exclusive to Scotland: Mishka, from New York and Crooks & Castle, from L.A. It also has Edinburgh exclusive styles by Levi’s and Vans. Here, men are able to find their streetwear essentials at reasonable prices; eye catching t-shirts are priced at £30, chequered shirts, well-fitting jeans as well as jackets and shoes are all to be found for under £100. While the entire shop is menswear-focused, girls still shop here and footwear runs in girls sizes. Accessories including scarves, neon coloured laces and eyeball cushions are dotted around the place. The fresh vibe is also apparent in the layout and design of the shop. A black floor is brightened up by contrasting purple walls. Pink shelves are
stocked with shoes, caps and t-shirts enabling easy browsing. However, its most striking attribute is without a doubt the long glass countertop filled with jellybeans. This is likely to be adorned with cupcakes and beer on the 1st April this year to celebrate the boutique’s one-year anniversary. If interested in streetwear, I highly suggest you pop into State of Mind as soon as possible to take advantage of their exclusive stock and offers which include 10% student discount and £15 t-shirts by Pyknic and trinotron, both London brands. State of Mind Boutique, 20 St Mary’s Street, Edinburgh
Food & Drink 29
The Journal Wednesday 3 February 2010
One of the capital's finest mixologists show us what their drinks are made of ahead of the cocktail world cup
L'Artichaut hearts restraint
“Kiwi and Strawberry Mule”
2 measures 42Below Kiwi vodka Dash of ginger beer 1 measure fresh lime Handful of strawberries Dash of sugar syrup Ice Mint for garnish Chill a large Sling and prepare the mint garnish. Muddle the strawberries in a shaker, add the vodka and shot of fresh lime, finish with the sugar syrup and fill with ice. Shake and taste. Strain over a tall glass with a single strainer (so you get some bits). Top up with ginger beer and garnish.
DINBURGH IS IN the spotlight. Eat your heart out London; New York do your worst. The number of superior cocktail bars this little city has to offer is enough to keep even the most avid cocktail connoisseur busy. How did it come to pass that Edinburgh is consistently producing excellent bars? The Bon Vivant’s and 42Below Cocktail World Cup entrant, May Kongsrivilai, believes it might have something to do with the passion and enthusiasm bartenders in Edinburgh have: "Everyone is friends up here, we learn and feed off one another." May, along with teammates Joey Medrington (Tigerlily) and Paul Graham (Bramble), have managed to secure a place in round two of the competition, taking place in London next month. If they get through, they can wave goodbye to the winter for a while as 42Below takes them to New Zealand to compete against teams from across the world. 42Below is shaking up vodka’s image, bringing it out from the shadows as an alcoholic accompaniment to age-old mixers. As a premium vodka, May is finding that bartenders and customers alike appreciate the taste and quality. Before I begin my cocktail master-class, I have a chance to enjoy some of the vodkas from 42’s range. Served with a dash of water to open up the flavour, drinking vodka straight has never been so pleasurable. All the choices are intrinsically New Zealand: kiwi, feijoa, passion fruit and manuka honey, and all release strong fruit flavours. Choosing one of the more tricky
"42 Times above Average"
1 ½ measures of 42Below vodka 3/4 x lemon juice ½ measure of sugar syrup ½ measure of Aperol Dash of orange bitters Fresh egg white Pour all the ingredients into a shaker and dry shake first (shake without ice). Then add ice and shake, Double strain over a cocktail glass. The egg white will create light foam around the rim of the glass and gives the drink a smooth texture. The Bon Vivant 55 Thistle Street, Edinburgh
vodkas in the range to mix, May prepares her own invention, 'Four Two the Floor'. She begins by giving me a lesson on the importance of garnish and how it should be prepared. Garnishes such as mint and zest open up the drinker’s palette as "the first taste is with the eye". As my lesson continues, it is clear that the art of mixology is much like cooking: May 'builds' this cocktail in the glass, with no shaker required. A measure (25ml) of fresh lemon juice is added to a chilled glass followed by a half-measure of sugar syrup. In go two measures of feijoa vodka, and
next comes something a bit different: tea. May uses a jewelled apple tea she found in Covent Garden, already brewed and chilled. After the two measures of tea are added, half a bar spoon of absinthe is tipped in. The drink is completed with cubed ice followed by crushed ice that is added to the top to insulate it. Back to the garnish, May tops off her creation with slices of lemon and orange, before twisting a slither of lemon peel over the glass to release those delicious citrus aromas. The result is a cocktail both warming and refreshing; just as it was built,
the drink unfolds taste by taste. Each flavour tickles the taste buds: the aniseed, smoky apple tea and feijoa. While this drink isn’t the simplest, May’s philosophy is 'the simpler, the better': “That's how classics have become what they are. I like to create cocktails that can be easily replicated in every bar without having to produce a smoked horse hoof marinated orange foam type thing…." Edinburgh’s bartenders are proving they have both the creativity and the talent. As far the 42Below World Cocktail Cup goes, the rest of the world better be prepared.
A taster of the quieter side of Edinburgh's nightlife on Chambers Street. Rebecca Monks
T IS A curious thing to hear a musician you’ve paid to see say, “I don’t think we’ve ever played together before.” You could be forgiven for feeling confused, bewildered; perhaps even wondering if the musician was exploring the semantics of ‘playing’ further than your innocent mind might allow. Fear not: at The Jazz Bar the phrase is a mark of professionalism and skill. The Saturday night 9-12 slot for instance, is rarely populated by the same five musicians twice—the Quintet consisting of different home players every week —but the standard is extraordinary. Be it the nature of jazz or the quality of musicians, the evening is seamless. Not bad for a first time playing together. Amidst an evening of solos, experiments and banter, the Quintet perform a set of two halves, playing jazz in the hard bop vein from start to finish. House player Keith Edwards, originally inspired by such jazz legends as Cannonball Adderley and Cedar Walton created the arrangements for the evening, and to see such talented
musicians collaborating on a seemingly improvisational basis explains in itself the beauty of jazz. It is both original and traditional, and that makes it classic. While talking to Edwards, it becomes clear that his aims for the evening are to transcend the realm of modernity. When asked to comment on his style, he says that he likes to “play fun arrangements, like the hip music they played forty years ago.” Everywhere, feet are tapping in subtle appreciation of drummer Bill Kyle’s rhythm, whilst solos from musicians Tom Findlay, Ed Kelly and Colin Steele are met with rapturous applause. Edwards’ aims were achieved; the spirit of traditional jazz was alive. It is the spirit of the evening that explains the nuance of this great venue. “No other place in Edinburgh plays this much live music”, claims Edwards, “it gives musicians like us a chance to play the music they love and to create a good vibe.” To aficionados well-versed in the jargon of jazz, it is the perfect venue to enjoy professional music, moderately-priced drinks and the essential good vibe. The Jazz Bar, 1A Chambers Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1HR
Franco-Scottish veggie-fare of which both maman and nan would be proud Ben Kendall Food and Drink
NIVERSALISM IS VEGETARIAN food’s greatest obstacle. It seems incongruous for a restaurant when stripped of the butcher’s offerings to have the versatility fundamental to good cooking. What would a painter be bereft of half his palette? The question is not of things lost, but those gained by omitting meat. In the herbivorous kitchen, the clarity of the food is that which appeals. Know thy limits, humble eater; take nothing in excess. Nothing about L’Artichaut is excessive: no exaggerated non-conformist showiness here. The service is classically French: omnipresently formal, conscientious but reserved; polite, not mawkish. To a fault-seeking eye, the décor might first seem a flamboyant victim: neither excessive chic nor artfully self-conscious ‘rustic’, the touches simply diverging from expectation. The colour scheme is two-tone: aubergine and avocado for the walls, black and white for the crockery. The tables’ edges are not square, but sigmoid; the chairs Picassoan with eccentricity. The food, too, is elegantly restrained. It is delicious but in a unsurprising way. Everything was distinguished by soft melting flavours and textures punctuated with sharp interludes. The Lapsang Souchong barley risotto (£5) was smokily evocative of the East, creamily smooth and toothsomely al dente, and came studded with softest, sweetest butternut squash inking the palate with warm nuttiness. The means of accentuation: alpine grassland leaves, zingily fresh and mustardy. The Shiitake mushroom and Polenta terrine with red chard (£11.50) followed a similar tenet: lusciously soft fleshly body imbued with subtle savouriness and cut-through by some mystifying sharp-sour cadence, awakening the tongue from its mollifying slumber. Pudding: classic Scottish Clootie dumpling (£5.50) roused with pomegranate-festooned ice-cream. The blueprint is obvious. If I seem to belittle the dignity of L’Artichaut, that is not my intention. The formulaic character is simply revelatory of the constraints placed upon vegetarian cooking. It was not unsuccessful in its delivery of an excellent dinner. We didn’t leave in want of carnivorous gratification, but newly enlightened as to the value of culinary restraint. This reverent pseudo-convert is most thankful. 14 Eyre Place, Edinburgh, EH3 5EP www.lartichaut.co.uk
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HOW TO USE THE LISTINGS Meadows
Area Agent phone number
Buccleuch Street, 750, 2, 2D W CG Z, 0870 062 9434
Bedrooms Monthly Rent Location
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Marchmont Thirlestane Road, 2000, 4, 2S 2D, 0844 635 3700 Roseneath Terrace, 1950, 5, 5D, 0844 635 3700 Findhorn Place, 1800, 5, 5D, 0844 635 3700 Marchmont Road, 1450, 3, 3D, 0844 635 3700 Warrender Park Crescent, 1345, 4, 1S 3D G CG Z, 0844 635 2418 Marchmont Crescent, 1250, 3, 3D, 0844 635 3700 Marchmont Road, 1200, 4, 4D W CG Z, 0844 635 9322 Thirlestane Road, 1200, 4, 4D G CG Z, 0844 635 9478 Marchmont Crescent, 1050, 3, 3D, 0844 635 3700
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Morningside Leamington Terrace, 1800, 5, 5D, 0844 635 3700 Morningside Road, 1800, 5, 3S 2D, 0844 635 3700 Morningside Road, 1800, 5, 5D, 0844 635 3700 Morningside Road, 1750, 5, 2S 3D, 0844 635 3700 Morningside Road, 1700, 5, 5D, 0844 635 3700 Morningside Road, 1700, 5, 5D, 0844 635 3700 Maxwell Street, 1450, 5, 5D, 0844 635 3700 Morningside Road, 1450, 5, 2S 3D, 0844 635 3700 Morningside Road, 1440, 4, 4D, 0844 635 3700 Morningside Road, 1440, 4, 4D, 0844 635 3700 Belhaven Terrace, 1400, 4, 1S 3D, 0844 635 3700 Morningside Road, 1400, 4, 2S 2D, 0844 635 3700 Morningside Road, 1400, 4, 4D, 0844 635 3700 Morningside Road, 1380, 4, 4D, 0844 635 3700 Morningside Road, 1360, 4, 4D, 0844 635 3700 Comiston Gardens, 1200, 4, 4D, 0844 635 3700 Balcarres Street, 1050, 3, 3D, 0844 635 3700 Bruntsfield Place, 1050, 3, 3D, 0844 635 3700 Steels Place, 1035, 3, 3D, 0844 635 3700 Balcarres Street, 1020, 3, 3D, 0844 635 3700 Balcarres Street, 1020, 2, 2D, 0844 635 3700 Morningside Road Edinburgh, 990, 3, 3D G Z, 0844 635 9324 Comiston Road, 960, 3, 3D, 0844 635 3700 Ethel Terrace, 960, 3, 3D, 0844 635 3700 Falcon Avenue Edinburgh, 900, 3, 3D G Z, 0844 635 9324 Morningside Road, 900, 2, 2D G CG Z, 0844 635 9478 Balcarres Street, 800, 3, 3D G CG O, 0844 635 9688 Maxwell Street, 750, 2, 2D, 0844 635 3700 Springvalley Terrace Edinburgh, 675, 2, 2D G O, 0844 635 9324 Balcarres Street, 600, 2, 2D, 0844 635 3700 Craighouse Gardens, 600, 2, 1S 1D W, 0844 635 9560 Springvalley Terrace, 540, 1, 1D G CG Z, 0844 635 9334 Springvalley Gardens, 525, 1, 1D G CG Z, 0844 635 2418 Balcarres Street, 420, 1, 1D W CG O, 0844 635 9688
Murrayfield Roseburn Street, 550, 1, 1D G CG O, 0844 635 9456 Roseburn Street, 525, 1, 2B G O, 0844 635 9679 Guardianswood, 495, 1, 1D W P, 0844 635 9594
New Town London Street, 1750, 5, 5D G PG Z, 0844 635 9320 Hanover Street, 1600, 5, 5D G Z, 0844 635 9326 Canon Street, 1280, 4, 4D, 0844 635 3700 Grindlay Street, 1100, 3, 3D, 0844 635 3700 Grindlay Street, 990, 3, 1S 2D, 0844 635 3700
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St Stephen Street, 930, 3, 1S 2D, 0844 635 3700 Dundonald Street, 900, 3, 3D, 0844 635 3700 Great King Street, 890, 3, 1S 2D G PG Z, 0844 635 9688 Barony Street, 630, 2, 2D W CG Z, 0844 635 9688 High Riggs, 475, 1, 1S, 0844 635 3700 Barony Street, 460, 1, 1D G O, 0844 635 9679
Newington Lutton Place, 2050, 5, 5D, 0844 635 3700 South Clerk Street, 2050, 5, 5D, 0844 635 3700 East Preston Street, 1925, 5, 5D, 0844 635 3700 Parkside Terrace, 1900, 5, 5D, 0844 635 3700 Rankeillor Street, 1900, 5, 2S 3D, 0844 635 3700 Dalkeith Road, 1850, 5, 5D, 0844 635 3700 Dalkeith Road, 1850, 5, 5D, 0844 635 3700 South Clerk Street, 1800, 5, 5D, 0844 635 3700 East Preston Street, 1775, 5, 5D, 0844 635 3700 Bernard Terrace, 1750, 5, 5D, 0844 635 3700 East Mayfield, 1750, 5, 2S 3D, 0844 635 3700 West Preston Street, 1750, 5, 5D, 0844 635 3700 Dalkeith Road, 1725, 5, 5D, 0844 635 3700 Newington Road, 1700, 5, 5D, 0844 635 3700 Dalkeith Road, 1695, 5, 2S 3D, 0844 635 3700 Clerk Street, 1675, 5, 5D, 0844 635 3700 Clerk Street, 1675, 5, 5D, 0844 635 3700 Rankeillor Street, 1675, 5, 5D, 0844 635 3700 South Clerk Street, 1675, 5, 5D, 0844 635 3700 Mayfield Road, 1650, 5, 5D, 0844 635 3700 Newington Road, 1650, 5, 5D, 0844 635 3700 Dalkeith Road, 1380, 4, 4D, 0844 635 3700 Dalkeith Road, 1380, 4, 4D, 0844 635 3700 St Patrick Square, 1380, 4, 4D, 0844 635 3700 West Nicolson Street, 1380, 4, 4D, 0844 635 3700 Dalkeith Road, 1360, 4, 4D, 0844 635 3700 Dalkeith Road, 1360, 4, 1S 3D, 0844 635 3700 Macdowall Road, 1350, 4, 4D, 0844 635 3700 South Gray Street, 1300, 4, 4D, 0844 635 3700 Parkside Terrace, 1280, 4, 4D, 0844 635 3700 Dalkeith Road, 1275, 4, 4D, 0844 635 3700 Rankeillor Street, 1240, 4, 4D, 0844 635 3700 West Nicolson Street, 1230, 3, 3D, 0844 635 3700 West Nicolson Street, 1230, 3, 3D, 0844 635 3700 Dalkeith Road, 1200, 4, 4D, 0844 635 3700 West Nicolson Street, 1200, 3, 3D, 0844 635 3700 West Nicolson Street, 1200, 3, 3D, 0844 635 3700 West Nicolson Street, 1200, 3, 3D, 0844 635 3700 West Nicolson Street, 1200, 3, 3D, 0844 635 3700 Oxford Street, 1160, 4, 1S 3D, 0844 635 3700 Oxford Street, 1140, 4, 4D, 0844 635 3700 Buccleuch Street, 1140, 3, 3D, 0844 635 3700 Montague Street, 1125, 3, 1S 2D, 0844 635 3700 Montague Street, 1080, 3, 3D, 0844 635 3700 Newington Road, 1080, 3, 3D, 0844 635 3700 Rankeillor Street, 1080, 3, 3D, 0844 635 3700 Sciennes Road, 1080, 3, 3D, 0844 635 3700 Potterrow, 1075, 3, 3D, 0844 635 3700 Causewayside, 1060, 3, 3D, 0844 635 3700 St Patrick Street, 1060, 3, 3D, 0844 635 3700 Dalkeith Road, 1050, 3, 3D, 0844 635 3700 Dalkeith Road, 1050, 3, 3D G CG O, 0844 635 9324 Spottiswoode Road, 1050, 3, 3D, 0844 635 3700 St Leonards Street, 1050, 3, 3D, 0844 635 3700 Blackwood Crescent, 1010, 3, 3D, 0844 635 3700 Mayfield Road, 1000, 4, 4D G O, 0844 635 9334
S Single D Double T Twin B Box G Gas Central W White Meter E Electric PG Private CG Communal Z Zone O On-Street P Private UF Unfurnished
South Oxford Street, 1000, 3, 3D, 0844 635 3700 Montague Street, 990, 3, 3D, 0844 635 3700 West Richmond Street, 990, 3, 3S, 0844 635 3700 Montague Street, 975, 3, 3D, 0844 635 3700 Montague Street, 975, 3, 3D, 0844 635 3700 Buccleuch Terrace, 950, 3, 3D, 0844 635 3700 Macdowall Road, 930, 3, 3D, 0844 635 3700 Dalkeith Road, 930, 2, 2D, 0844 635 3700 Dalkeith Road, 900, 4, G, 0844 635 9384 Buccleuch Terrace, 900, 3, 3D, 0844 635 3700 Blackwood Crescent, 890, 3, 1S 2D W CG Z, 0844 635 9688 Nicolson Street, 885, 3, 3D, 0844 635 3700 Dalkeith Road, 825, 3, 1S 2D, 0844 635 3700 Oxford Street, 800, 2, 2D, 0844 635 3700 Coachmans Gate, 700, 2, 2D, 0844 635 3700 Nicolson Street, 690, 2, 2D G, 0844 635 9302 Dalkeith Road, 675, 2, 2D, 0844 635 3700 Dalkeith Road, 650, 2, 1S 1D G CG O, 0844 635 9558 Lindsay Road, 650, 2, 2D G CG P, 0844 635 2154 Dalkeith Road, 640, 3, 1S 2D G CG O, 0844 635 9326 Buccleuch Terrace, 600, 2, 2D G CG Z, 0844 635 9328 Prestonfield Terrace, 600, 2, 2D G CG O, 0844 635 9592 Blackwood Crescent, 595, 2, 1S 1D G Z, 0844 635 9424 West Powburn, 590, 2, 1S 1D G CG P, 0844 635 9434 Blackwood Crescent, 550, 1, 1D CG P, 0844 635 9324 Spittalfield Crescent, 550, 1, 1D G Z, 0844 635 9424 New Johns Place, 520, 1, 1D, 0844 635 3700 Parkside Street, 510, 1, 1D G CG O, 0844 635 9558 Parkside Terrace, 495, 1, 1D W P, 0844 635 9320 St. Leonards Street, 495, 1, 1D W CG, 0844 635 3920 St. Leonards Street, 450, 1, Z, 0844 635 9679
Old Town Parliament Square, 1600, 2, 2D G Z, 0844 635 9300 Bank Street, 1180, 4, 2S 2D, 0844 635 3700 High Street, 1150, 3, 3D, 0844 635 3700 High Street, 1150, 3, 3D, 0844 635 3700 High Street, 1150, 3, 3D, 0844 635 3700 Bristo Place, 870, 2, 2D, 0844 635 3700 St Giles Street, 800, 2, 2D, 0844 635 3700 Pleasance, 600, 2, 1S 1D G CG Z, 0844 635 9320 Drummond Street, 550, 2, 2D E O, 0844 635 9558 Blair Street, 495, 1, 1D, 0844 635 9316 South Bridge, 450, 1, 1D E Z, 0844 635 3780
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Fowler Terrace, 575, 1, CG, 0844 635 3880 Ritchie Place, 550, 2, 2D, 0844 635 3700 Bryson Road, 550, 1, 1D 1B G CG Z, 0844 635 2418 Watson Crescent, 450, 1, 1D W Z, 0844 635 9560
Stockbridge Carlton Street, 1400, 4, 4D 1B G CG Z, 0844 635 2627 Learmonth Grove, 1200, 4, 4D G CG O, 0844 635 9446 Cheyne Street, 1100, 3, 3D, 0844 635 3700 Dean Park Street, 960, 3, 3D, 0844 635 3700 Marys Place, 900, 3, 3D G Z, 0844 635 9388 Raeburn Place, 775, 2, 1S 1D W Z, 0844 635 9324 Dean Bank Lane, 750, 2, 1S 1D E Z, 0844 635 9558 Raeburn Place, 725, 2, 2D G Z, 0844 635 9594 West Silvermills Lane, 680, 2, 2D E P, 0844 635 9302 Dean Park Street, 525, 1, 1D G Z, 0844 635 9320 Dean Park Street, 525, 1, 1D W CG Z, 0844 635 9424 Dean Park Street, 495, 1, 1D E CG Z, 0844 635 9312
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Viewforth St. Peters Place, 475, 1, 1D Z, 0844 635 9320 Horne Terrace, 425, 1, 1D CG Z, 0844 635 9334
Willowbrae Northfield Grove, 550, 2, 2D G CG P, 0844 635 8696
The Journal Wednesday 3 February 2010
An Irish repeat? Shane de Barra looks at what each side brings to the table as we approach the RBS Six Nations 2010
Shane de Barra
WHEN BILL MCLAREN passed away a few weeks ago a massive void was left in the rugby world; one which will never be filled. For decades McLaren was not just the voice of rugby but rather, the voice of a sporting generation, not just in post-war Britain but in post-war nations the world over, where the oval ball is a fabric of national identity. No man better personified the fine ethos of fair play and diversity across all spectrums of sport than the PE teacher from Hawick. He lived to see the game he loved transform from an amateur pastime to a professional pursuit and being ever open-minded could see the benefits of both. That his passing should occur so close to the start of this year’s Six Nations Championship, I feel it necessary to give mention to the man and all his achievements – he will be missed. Whenever you listened to McLaren commentate his enthusiasm for the game was obvious. When Scotland were involved this was especially noticeable. You had the sense, however, that such was his love for the game, the man had almost equal time for players of rival nations who put up a damn good fight. Looking ahead to the forthcoming Championship, with most teams in transition, he would relish the fact that no obvious winner sticks out, and the element of surprise that this brings. The Six Nations is one of those events that brightens-up the dreary opening months of a new year. Why? The answer is excitement. For all the arrogance of the southern hemisphere, no tournament run there can compare with the passion and colour of the Six Nations. The rugby may not be as fast and furious but it is unquestionably absorbing. With the World Cup in New Zealand looming next year it will undoubtedly be an experimental tournament but, despite this, no less competitive. Looking ahead to the opening weekend, there are only two definites: Ireland are good – very good – and Italy are poor – really poor! Let’s start with the Irish. Since winning the Grand Slam last year, Ireland haven’t taken a backward step.
Unbeaten in 2009 and rounding it off with victory over world champions South Africa, to say they’re in rude health is an understatement. On the club scene the same is true: both Munster and Leinster have dominated the Heineken Cup and Magners League for a number of seasons, demonstrating how success at club level can translate in the international area. In winning the Grand Slam last year, after a decade of near misses, Ireland
shifted a massive monkey from their backs – it may prove just the medicine required by the likes of O’Connell, O’Gara and O’Driscoll to fully achieve their full potential which is surely more than a single Grand Slam. But Ireland have been hampered by the favourites tag in the past and remain to be tested as defending champions as opposed to throne pretenders. Declan Kidney will need to instil a Munster ethos of disdain for second-place in his squad to
keep intensity bubbling in sufficient quantities. Italy sadly are the polar opposite to the Irish. While they’ve huffed and puffed in seasons past, they’ve never quite managed to blow the house down. Treviso didn’t disgrace themselves in Europe but you’re really scraping the barrel for compliments if this is a highlight. Outside of No.8 Sergio Parisse, and the ageing Bergamasco, they are at their lowest stockpile of talent in a
decade – and those stockpiles were never particularly large. The woodenspoon seems the only item heading in a definite direction. It’s the remaining four teams that make the competition interesting this year. Scotland looked great against Australia (in defence at least) and abject against Argentina, but there seems to be an altogether more positive vibe coming from Andy Robinson’s men. They have a pack that can compete with all that is on offer in the Championship and potential in the backline but the complete lack of options at out-half hinder the squad no end. We need to ask if the real Scotland would please stand up? If they are the Scotland that frustrated and denied Australia, they won’t win any Championships just yet, but will get chances and create a platform to build from. If the Argentina game was a true representation, then the miserable past seems to have set the tone for a bleak future. England remain as inconsistent as ever under Martin Johnson and in similar fashion to Scotland seem beset by a Jekyll and Hyde persona. They will be relieved to welcome Ireland and Wales to Twickenham as opposed to meeting them on the road. Wales for their part have failed to kick-on from their Grand Slam success two years ago and didn’t make any great shakes in the Autumn but with the quality of players they have at their disposal, writing them off is perilous. Should Shane Williams and co. click, they could prove a handful most would find hard to live with. And France? Judging them is always a chore as the French word for inconsistency probably translates in English as “French Rugby Team”! No team on the face of the planet can inspire and gall so much in equal measure. They could conceivably beat Ireland and Wales in Dublin and Cardiff, then falter at home to Italy. In terms of flare and raw talent they will always be number one but the fragility that plagues them following great victories makes them impossible to rate. Doing this based on talent alone however makes them Ireland’s biggest threat. Shane de Barra is a sports writer for the Scotland on Sunday
Edinburgh defeated in Newcastle Team Northumbria too strong for short-handed Snowsharks Liam McCabe Sport Editor Northumbria 83 UoE Men's 1st 62 TEAM NORTHUMBRIA 83-62 University of Edinburgh Men’s 1st The final match of Edinburgh’s maiden season in the Northern Premier League saw a depleted Snowsharks squad make the relatively short trip to Newcastle to do battle with Team Northumbria, who had defeated Edinburgh by eighteen points (5169) in the only other meeting of these teams this season. The under-strength Edinburgh team was outmatched by a taller and
more athletic Northumbria side, with both Gert Merisalu and Drew Crenshaw conspicuous by their absences. Edinburgh struggled to penetrate the Northumbria defence with any regularity, an area in which Merisalu has considerable ability, while Crenshaw’s strength and hustle under the boards were sorely missed as the Geordies racked up point after point from second shot opportunities. The match began at a frantic pace, before Pearce registered the first points of the game after several missed shots from both teams; picking off a loose pass across the top of the key, the Northumbria captain shot up court for an uncontested breakaway dunk. Glen Thompson hit back for the
visitors, with a tough lay-up, driving right into the teeth of the defence. Had it not been for Thompson’s efforts, Edinburgh would have been in trouble early on: the guard scored the team’s first six points, settling Edinburgh’s collective nerves. Helped by five points from Ian Black in the first stanza, and a put back from Yuri Haumer, Edinburgh found themselves down by only six points after ten minutes, 19-13. Northumbria then stretched their lead to sixteen points before an Edinburgh time-out and a defensive adjustment put a temporary halt to their scoring spree. Edinburgh’s first basket of the quarter came through a fearless drive to the hoop by Club Captain Dougie Taylor, who got right to the
rim and laid the ball in over the top of Northumbria’s 6ft 10 centre, Liam O’Mahoney. Taylor followed this up with a three-pointer, bringing an end to the first-half scoring for the visitors, and Northumbria reached the halfway stage with a lead of 36-21. Edinburgh came out with fire in their bellies and a steely determination in their eyes at the beginning of the third period. A 10-17 scoring run by Edinburgh cut the Northumbria lead to 46-38 with 2:55 to go, forcing the home bench to call a time-out to plug the gaps in their formerly stingy defence. This break had the desired effect on the Northumbria players, who steadied the ship from then on, winning the remainder of the period
9-7 to take a twelve-point lead into the fourth quarter, despite ten points from Edinburgh’s Thompson in the third quarter alone. An 11-2 run from the home side to open the fourth quarter put any thoughts of an Edinburgh comeback to bed and as Edinburgh pressed in attempts to regain possession quickly, Northumbria began to rack up transition points to extend their lead. Two threes from Ian Black were not enough by way of a response from the visitors before the final buzzer sounded, with the scoreboard showing a comfortable victory for a Northumbria team who made the most of their advantages in size and athleticism to earn an 83-62 win
The Journal Wednesday 3 February 2010
City leave Edinburgh out in the cold Edinburgh City took three points off their University rivals at a frozen Peffermil MATT DALE
weeks to go
Andy Edwards University of Edinburgh 0 Edinburgh City 2 SECOND HALF GOALS from Ian McGarland and Douglas Gair were enough to secure Edinburgh City a surprise victory at Peffermil which was inspired by an impressive display from Jordan Caddow, who tormented the University’s defence all afternoon. The first half was something of a non-entity as both sides found it hard to get going in the near sub-zero temperatures and on the unforgiving playing surface. The game was scrappy initially as both sides looked to long balls from deep to provide the breakthrough; for the University this nearly paid off, Lee Deans turning and firing a volley past the post from a flick on in the 11th minute. Deans threatened again in the 19th minute when he closed down Duncan Montieth’s goal kick only to see it ricochet wide of the goal. Aside from the occasional long ball, City had so far presented no attacking threat until the 38th minute, when Ian McGarland played a clever one-two with Jordan Caddow down the right wing before darting in to the penalty area. As McGarland looked up to pick someone out for an easy tapin, Mark Tait, Edinburgh University goalkeeper, smothered the ball at his feet. This proved ominous for the University as the half time whistle blew. A much needed change of pace was injected into the second half as the deadlock was broken in the 47th minute. Caddow supplied the cross; McGarland supplied the finish, driving a shot into the bottom left corner of the net from the right side of the box. At 1-0 a University fight back was expected but failed to materialise. Instead, City supplied the attacking threat, Caddow surging up and down the right wing whilst Daniel Denholm
dominated the left. The University back line defended admirably in the conditions but could do no nothing to prevent the second goal of the afternoon. A slick move saw a lofted one-two played through the University defence by Douglas Gair and Steven Clee before the former struck the ball over the keeper and into the net from outside the box, it was a clinical finish. City pressed forward again in search of a third goal, this time
Caddow latched on to a pass from Clee yet could only put his shot past the post from 25 yards. Caddow’s performance was worthy of this goal, and even deep into the final minutes he chased and harried every player on the pitch as he strove to put his side further ahead. Edinburgh University refused to let the game peter out and for the last five minutes kept City penned back in their own half. Michael Hazeldine, on as a substitute for Lee Deans worked
tirelessly across the front line until the final whistle, teeing Keer Dodds up for a rasping shot in the 92nd minute that was deflected past the post. It was a result that left Edinburgh University frustrated but they certainly could not be faulted for a lack of effort and will be hoping that this was merely a one-off. City however will hope to build on this surprise victory and their second half football showed no reasons why they shouldn’t start moving up the league table.
Watt take 3rd spot Heriot-Watt secure 3rd place in Scottish Basketball Conference 1A after victory in decider at Riccarton Liam McCabe Sport Heriot-Watt Men's 1st 88 Strathclyde Men's 1st 85 THE MEN OF Heriot-Watt took on a talented Strathclyde team last Wednesday night, in a match to decide third place in Scottish Conference 1A. The home side came out on
top by a narrow margin, earning an 88-85 victory at Riccarton through inspired play from Bastien and Dentoux, who contributed 22 and 24 points respectively to the cause. In spite of the efforts of Ali Hornell (21 points), Ifedade Thomas (22 points) and Jamie Frew (20 points), Strathclyde could not withstand an inspired home team, who secured third place, and qualification for BUCS competition, on the
back of this result. With Stirling and Glasgow the run away leaders of this division, this was a match between the “best of the rest” in Scotland, with the Watt team earning that title through a fast-paced, high-scoring brand of basketball which has seen them rack up an average of 81 points per game in Scottish Conference play this season. After a poor start to the season, which saw the Watt drop their first
five games, things picked up towards the end of the season, with a fivepoint victory away at St. Andrews proving to be the catalyst for this change. A three-game win streak, including Wednesday’s victory over Strathclyde, has propelled this Watt side into the post-season, and, with memories of hugely successful Heriot-Watt basketball teams fading fast, this team has a chance to make a bit of their own history this season.
FIVE WEEKS TO go people! Watch out for the student launch night in association with The Journal on 9 February in the Speakeasy, Cab Vol. Discounts off entry fee will be available for those who sign up on the night! For more details, check out the Facebook event and look out for our flyers and posters. Training Tips - You should be running 10 miles this Sunday, and continuing with regular runs throughout the week. - It is best to run on similar terrain to the Meadows Marathon, pavement or even dirt paths rather than the treadmill. - It is also better to run outside because it gets you used to running in different weather conditions and not just a sweaty gym! - And finally, you should stay hydrated. Our rule is under 90 minutes stick with water, over 90 try a sports drink to get some electrolytes. If you can’t run the race, why not volunteer! We need about 50 volunteers to help us out on the day. All you need to do is come to a briefing about a week before the event and then on the day. Volunteer work looks great on your CV! If you are interested, email Lizzie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Charity Showcase: Age Concern and Help the Aged in Scotland Even in 2010, older people in this country are faced with issues such as poverty, isolation, loneliness, discrimination and abuse. Age Concern and Help the Aged in Scotland have a vision of a world where older people flourish as valued and equal citizens. The charity campaigns, provides information and works in the local community with older people and older people’s groups. Through listening to their needs the charity hopes to give older people a voice and enable them enjoy a better later life. By running for this charity, the money you raise can be used in all sorts of ways to give older people the quality of life they deserve. After all, they have earned it! To run for this charity please contact Martin Munro: 0845 833 9358 - email@example.com. uk Spread the word about the Meadows Marathon!
To register and find out more details, go to www.meadowsmarathon.org.uk