LS2 interviews Plan B Plus Ellie Goulding and Metropolis
LEEDS STUDENT Guardian Student Newspaper of the Year
Vol. 40 Issue 16
Friday March 12 2010
Missing student found in river
Hyde Park killer gets life
Petition launched after second River Aire death in two years Matthew Power
A campaign is building to lobby Leeds City Council to improve safety around the River Aire following the death of the Leeds student Matthew Wilcox. Matthew’s body was found in the river by West Yorkshire Police divers on Friday after a week of searching the local area for the missing 19-yearold. The first year geography student went missing on February 26 after a night-out in the Mission nightclub, Heaton’s Court, with friends. Police say there are no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death. Matthew is the second student to have died after falling in to the river in the last two years. It is believed that the he fell in to the river in a similar place to that of Gavin Terry, a Leeds Met students who was found dead in the river after a two month police search in 2008. Gavin, also 19, had been on a night out drinking with friends before
he disappeared. Friends and family of the two students are now calling on members of the public to sign the online petition, appealing for Leeds City
CAMPAIGN: Matthew Wilcox’s body was found in the River Aire
Council to ‘secure our walkways near the River Aire.’ The petition already has over a thousand signatures. The campaign has also gained support from a local MP and Leeds University Union (LUU).
Greg Mulholland, MP for Leeds North West, said: “Matthew’s death is a tragedy and our thoughts and prayers go out to his friends and family at this very difficult time. “As there have been similar tragedies in the past, there is clearly a problem here, so all parties involved have a responsibility to ensure the section of river that runs through the city centre is made safer and do all they can to prevent any other tragedies of this kind.” The family of Matthew Wilcox are urging people to sign up to the petition through a Facebook group, set up in remembrance of the student. One member, Amy Higgins, commented on the group’s discussion forum: “I was a friend of Gavin Terry who lost is [sic] life the same way that Mathew has, it shocks and upsets me that it has been allowed to happen again. When the pain had eased from loosing Gavin we wanted to do something to try and stop this from happening again, as you have seen we did the petition to downing street but nothing was Continued on page 4 >>
Full story on page 4
18 SAFE?: Family and friends of Matthew Wilcox have started a petition to improve safety around the River Aire
The University and College Union (UCU) are set to strike for one day next week. Full story on page 6
Leeds Student Inside LS1 this week... LS asks is LUU divided? pg. 13, news extra
LS Sport uncovers football finanace pg. 20, sport
Friday, March 12, 2010 | www.leedsstudent.org | Leeds Student
Image: Luke Farookhi
S k e t c h was slightly disturbed this week by the tense nature of the Union Council meeting to decide which referendum motions go through to the student-wide ballot.
LS looks at coping with a friend’s depression pg. 16, features
Plus a three page comment special, page
one who forced this person to cry is thoroughly pleased with themselves. If the major decision making bodies in the Union can’t even behave with respect towards one another without resorting to tactics of fear and intimidation if someone deviates from the party line, then every campaign that LUU and the Exec mounts is based on hypocrisy. However Sketch really appreciated the reappearance of a bell at UC, if only for the comedy image of the Chair trying to restore order. It was like an episode of Knowing Me, Knowing You. And Sketch loves Alan Partridge.
Sketch was happy to have gone to print in time this week for the brilliance that is Poparazzi where Sketch could indulge in its secret obsession with Lady Gaga et al. Sketch, in homage to the Queen of Weird, is currently working a phone for head wear. You know it. Sketch was less than pleased however after purchasing an apple and Dr Pepper from LUU. Apparently someone at the head of LUU has arbitrarily decided that apples are more difficult to pick and that Dr Pepper is harder to carbonate. What on Earth is going on in the world?
Council delays passing verdict on Royal Park School site Eva Bearryman
LS interviews a student taking on a race across the South Pole pg. 15, features
UC is normally a drab affair where the glitterati of Union politics decide what is best for you, Joe Public. However, the boredom was shattered by an incident of intimidation, the antithesis of the inclusive attitude that LUU falls over itself to promote. After a discussion on one particularly nutty motion, involving much mud-slinging and snide remarks, there came the vote to decide whether to send it to the student vote. This is where things turned particularly sour: one member of a faction against the motion abstained from voting and was swiftly rounded upon. Sketch hopes that the
Leeds City Council has postponed their decision on the Royal Park School building. The Council has deferred its decision on what will happen to the Royal Park School building until further discussion with a local group which wants to renovate the building into a community centre. The Royal Park Community Consortium (RPCC) wants to see the closed school renovated into a community centre and put forward a bid detailing their proposal in March. Two other proposals have also been put forward from unnamed private investors however. The RPCC sought to bring as much attention to their cause as possible by staging two separate protests in the run-up to a council executive board meeting, which was to vote on which of three proposals to support.
On Monday March 8, the RPCC and those sympathetic to the cause protested outside the school building in Hyde Park. A further protest was held on Wednesday outside the Civic Hall in which the group protested with pots and pans in an attempt to get their voices heard by the councillors meeting inside. Their efforts were rewarded as the council postponed its decision on the Royal Park School and the issue was removed from the meeting's agenda. Charlotte Coleman of the RPCC was delighted that the council was open to further discussion: “This gives us more time to talk to the council and to the large number of funding and voluntary organisations involved.” RPCC’s plans for a community area in the school building include ideas such as developing studio space, a cafe, a community workshop and a gym, among many other facilities for local residents. The RPCC's bid was initially rejected on the basis of insufficient funding. Organisers are pleased at the
deferral of the council’s decision as it gives them more time to get together the financial support needed to convince the council to back their bid. The group fear the building will otherwise be sold to a private company planning to build more flats. The campaign to save the school as a community centre is supported by several local councillors including John Illingworth and Gerry Harper, the Labour councillor for Hyde Park and Woodhouse. Harper was pleased with the result of the meeting. HE commented: “This is great news for the RPCC as it gives them more time to put together a stronger bid. “But it may be that the reason the council has postponed its decision is because it is worried what effect a negative decision would have on the local elections this May.” Initial recommendations to the council that the building should accept the proposal from a private company had sparked high criticism among the community. Javaid Akhtar, from the GMB union who are fully in support of the RPCC’S campaign, represented
the views of many locally when he said: “The Council needs to listen to the local community. I believe there are more than enough student flats in Leeds.” A local mother, Adele Beeson, whose children went to the school up until its closure is angry that she has since been unable to find a school which can meet the needs of her autistic son, she said: “To lose the building as a community centre is an insult to the community.” The issue may be discussed at an executive board meeting in April. Alternatively, the Council may wait until late May after the general election as it is likely they will want to avoid any possible negative repercussions of decisions made around this time. The derelict school, located in the heart of the Hyde Park community, has been at the centre of the RPCC’s impressive campaign. If the building is ever successfully renovated into a community centre it will be a testament to the dedication of local campaigners who are representative of the strong community spirit in the local area.
10, this section
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Friday, March 12, 2010 | www.leedsstudent.org | Leeds Student
Possible Bank-sy in Union Joey Severn For the past week there has been a mysterious stain on the floor at the bottom of the stairs in LUU. There have been suspicions that it was work of some kind of rubbish Leeds based Banksy wannabe or that some hapless art student had forgotten how to hold a paint pot. But in an exclusive investigation by Leeds Student we can reveal the true reason behind The Stain. The cash boxes used to carry thpound notes that are put into ATMs are equipped with a special dye that if tampered with explodes and covers who ever is holding said money with a very difficult-toremove liquid. In this case the man carrying the cash box made a mistake and didn’t manage to de-activate the exploding dye trigger before it was too late. Gus Unger-Hamilton, a third year student who works at Essentials said cleaners have found it impossible to remove the stain: “They cordoned the area and spent all day trying to clean it up, and even called in a specialist cleaner, but they could hardly make a difference.”
Mongolian 999 adventure Laura Mackenzie
While their peers spend the summer sun-bathing in Spain or travelling round Thailand, two students have opted for the more unusual idea of driving a 14 yearold ambulance to Mongolia. On July 24, John Murphy and James Bavister will join 500 teams from across the UK, Spain and Italy in a 10,000 mile road-trip to Mongolia. With no set route, the two students, who will be accompanied by Leeds graduates Tom Gussman and Conville Stevens-Mccann, will be left to “make it up as they go along.” With an estimated travelling time of six weeks, the team plan to journey through Iran to reach their ultimate destination. John told LS: “I’m giving us a 50 per cent chance of making it home alive.” All being well, following their arrival in Mongolia the team will hand over the 1991 Ford ambulance to a rural community. They will then return home via the TransSiberian Railway. John and James have it lucky compared to most of their fellow Rally-ers, however. One of the Rally’s only three rules dictates that participants can only drive vehicles
with a one litre engine or smaller, unless they are emergency vehicles or an undersized scooter. All modes of transport must also be no more than ten years old. The team, who have named themselves ‘Yes We Khan’ after Mongolia’s most famous citizen, must raise £1,000 in sponsorship money before setting off on their journey. They have so far raised £373.50 but remain optimistic that they will reach their target before the deadline, offering advertisement on their vehicle and clothing in exchange for sponsorship. The Rally first began in 2001 after two Brits, then living in the
Czech Republic bought a Fiat 126 on a drunken whim and ‘pointed it towards the most stupid place they could think of on a map, Mongolia, and off they set with a pack of cheap cigars a hunting knife and no changes of clothes’. After failing on their first attempt the two men, now known as ‘The Adventurists’, swore they wouldd try again, and the Mongol Rally was born. It has now culminated in a massive event, with the 2007 Rally raising more than £200,000 for the affiliated charities. Team ‘Yes We Khan’ are taking part in the Rally in aid of Mercy Corps, a global charity that works in Africa and Asia to ‘alleviate
suffering, poverty and oppression by helping people build secure, productive and just communities’. John explained that they selected Mercy Corps from a list of affiliated charities given to them by the Rally organisers. He told LS: “We chose Mercy Corps because of the good work it does in providing education to children in Mongolia’s rural areas.” To donate to this appeal and help them reach their £1,000 target visit: http://www.justgiving.com/En gland-to-Ulum-Bataar
KHAN THEY DO IT? John gives the team a 50 per cent chance of making it home alive.
Student scheme praised Lizzie Edmonds A student Neighbourhood Watch scheme has been established in Leeds to improve the relationship between students and residents within the community. 12 Neighbourhood Watch Student Coordinators (NWSCs) are in place to fulfil this commitment. The NWSCs will also be working closely with the West Yorkshire Police in order to help prevent crime as well as providing support for those who have been affected. The strong link that the NWSCs have created between permanent residents has been beneficial to all. This scheme is the first of its kind in the country and so has been a good example to other universities thinking of following suit. Hannah Greenslade, Leeds University Union Community Officer thinks that the programme is a good thing for the area. She said: “The Neighbourhood Watch scheme is great because it helps inform students about the problems with crime in the area, listen to their concerns and creates the opportunity to volunteer and learn about local issues. “As students, we inevitably attract crime to the area, so it’s important that we stay aware and do our best to actively tackle the problem.”
In motion Joey Severn Peanut Gallery saved, and bottled water goes to the vote once again. Motion 4, which proposed to close the Peanut Gallery, was defeated at Monday night's Union Council (UC), meaning that it will not make it to the ballot at the forthcoming referendum. In a double blow for the proposers of the anti-Peanut Gallery motion, motion 6 to increase funding was passed by four votes. During the discussion on the motion Mike Gladstone, Education Officer, called those proposing the motion "disgusting" and wondered "how they could sleep at night". Despite these strong criticisms the motion was passed by a single vote, 11-10 for. The other motions that were in direct opposition to one another were over the issue of supporting the lecturers in strikes. The motion to support strikes was said to contravene a bye-law stating a motion fell by just one vote, 7/8 against. In an interesting note Jak Codd, Sophia James, Mike Gladstone and Madeline Harris-Smith all voted the same way on all but two of the final votes on motions, with only the advertising policy, where James deviated, and the motion that proposed that LUU should reduce their edible waste, where Gladstone went against the others.
Friday, March 12, 2010 | www.leedsstudent.org | Leeds Student
Student stabbed 15 times for £10 bike Tom Knowles
A serial burglar has been jailed for life for murdering student Joe Cook at his home in Hyde Park. Leeds Crown Court heard that heroin addict Gareth Brear, 31, was high on drugs and alcohol as he climbed through an open window into Cook’s house on Ebberston Terrace looking for valuables to fund his addiction. On encountering the student, Brear stabbed Cook 15 times with a kitchen knife. Joe’s body was found in his bedroom by police the next day. He had been repeatedly stabbed in his neck, chest, back and abdomen. Injuries to his hands and arms showed he had tried to defend himself. Brear had only been released in March that year from a three year sentence for burglary. When questioned by police over the murder Brear said: “I was very drugged up and very drunk and when I get like this my head's like a tenpiece jigsaw with five pieces missing and I can only remember little bits of that night.” Cook was about to start his second year in fine arts at Leeds Metropolitan University and was alone in the house on the night of the murder on August 30. He sent a message to a housemate at 11.46pm saying: “Theres sum 1 in the house,” but it was not read until the next day. Brear set alight Cook’s mattress in attempt to destroy evidence. The fire burnt itself out but triggered a smoke alarm which later alerted neighbours who called the police. Cook made off through the front door with another student’s BMX bike, which he later
sold for £10. Three weeks after the murder, Brear attempted to rob another house in Leeds. Leeds Student talked to students living in the house next door. Leanne Davies, a third year contemporary arts student at Leeds Met, has put another lock on her bedroom door for protection and says she gets scared when on her own in the house. “I think about my safety a lot more if I’m on my own in the house. And it’s weirdly more scary when you’re at the nearest wall to where it happened next door, I know that’s ridiculous but that’s how it feels,” she said. Davies’ housemate, Lottie Hunt, agrees: “I hate being here on my own, it’s horrible. I always lock my bedroom door when I go to sleep. “I don’t want to live in Hyde Park again – it just feels like nothing is very safe anymore really, I haven’t felt safe this whole year.” Hunt said she had to move out for a few weeks after finding out about the murder. “I was just mortified. It was horrendous,” she explained. Davies added: “The guy stole the bike and sold it for £10, so when you think of it like that that guy’s life has being put down as £10 which is horrible. But to him it was just a hit wasn’t it? And I guess if you’ve got a real bad drug addiction you’re not going to think about anything except your next hit. But it was just disgusting what happened.” The house on Ebberston Terrace has been boarded up since the murder in August, but Leeds Student has learnt that the owners are planning to renovate it and continue to rent it out. Leanne Davies said: “I saw some people going in next door who said they’re going to do the house up and make it all swanky
REMEMBERED: Flowers left by friends on street where Joe Cook was murdered photo: Joey Severn looking. I think some people unlikely to have offered much in the wrong place at the wrong time. wouldn’t be bothered by living in the resistance. The violence used by He was in the right place, in his bed, house.” Brear was completely unnecessary in his room, in his student house. He Lottie Hunt said: “I wouldn’t and unwarranted. should have been safe. want to live in the house if I knew, “Brear’s criminal lifestyle and drug “Joe never knew violence, he had but give it another year and many and alcohol abuse made for a deadly never been in a fight. Joe could offer won’t know about it.” combination which cost an innocent no provocation. He had no defence. Mr Justice Blair jailed Cook for young man his life.” Our gentle Joe had no hope against a life and ordered him to serve a “Joe was universally liked and murderer determined to stab him to minimum of 26 years. loved and had his whole life ahead of death. The judge said Joe Cook whad him. His death has left a gap for his “Gareth Brear did not bungle a been ‘an intelligent young man with a family and friends that will never be burglary. He chose to discard Joe's bright future.’ filled. A murder in these life and then to continue with his Detective Superintendent Bill circumstances is extremely rare but work. Shackleton, of West Yorkshire the tragedy still remains that a “When Gareth Brear took Joe's Police’s Homicide and Major completely innocent young man has life in the way he did, we believe he Enquiry Team, said: “This was a been murdered by an intruder in his showed himself capable of doing the particularly brutal killing where home.” same again. The prospect of him gratuitous wounds were inflicted on The student’s parents, Lesley and having the opportunity to do so in the victim after death. Nick Cook, from Newcastle, said in a our lifetime fills us with dread.” “Joe was physically small and is statement outside court: "Joe was not
Family calls for railings after death << Continued from page 1 ever done. We got passed from agency to agency when we tried to found [sic] out who owns the railings and we were told the waterways agency are responsible for there [sic] upkeep. It is time that they woke up to see that something has to be done.” A spokeswoman for Leeds City Council said: "We offer our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Matthew Wilcox during this difficult time and we will work with our partners, British Waterways Board, the police and the private property owners along that stretch of the river to see whether there is anything we can do to improve the situation. We will also seek the views of the Health and Safety Executive." However, Madeleine Harris Smith, Leeds University Union (LUU) Welfare Officer, told Leeds Student that she cannot understand why safety was not improved in the area following Gavin Terry’s death in 2008. “The death of Matthew Wilcox
is absolutely tragic and has affected every single student on campus and across Leeds,” she commented. “The lack of railings at the river’s edge, in my opinion, shows a shocking lack of neglect on the part of the Council and is a situation that cannot be allowed to continue. We will be launching a petition which I would urge students to sign and have already started work with a range of people to lobby the council until this is fixed. “It’s time that as students, we stand up and say that enough is enough - that we will not simply sit back and wait for a tragic situation like this to occur again.” Thousands of online tributes to Matthew Wilcox, who lived at the Clarence Dock halls of residences, have been posted since his body was found last week. A Leeds University spokesperson stated: “Students and staff at the University were desperately sad to learn of Matthew’s untimely death. The University’s heartfelt sympathies have been extended to Matthew’s
family and to his friends. A book of condolence is to be opened both in the School of Geography, and at Clarence Dock where Matthew was a resident. “Students affected by the distressing news have been reminded of the support that can be sought from the University’s Counselling Service.”
Sign the petition to secure walkways by the River Aire online at: www.gopetition.co.u k/online/34569/sig n Letter from LUU to Hilary Benn, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, calling for railings around the River Aire.
RIVER SEARCH: Diving teams found Matthew Wilcox’s body in the River Aire last Friday
Friday, March 12, 2010 | www.leedsstudent.org | Leeds Student
Leeds MPs pledge support for tuiton fee cap Jess Elliott
Local MPs are fighting against a proposed rise in tuition fees. The higher education sector is currently under review and it is believed that this could lead to a raise the cap on tuition fees from the current £3,240 to as much as £5,000. With a looming general election this year, Liberal Democrats and Conservative MPs alike are calling on Labour to clarify what their policy will be. MP for Leeds North West Greg Mulholland raised the issue in the House of Commons. After questioning Higher Education Minister, David Lammy, on heavy debts students carry after they leave university, Mulholland said: “In 2001 the Labour Party dumped top up fees from the agenda just before the election and then introduced them in 2006. They are no clearer on their tuition fee policy now. “Students across the country are leaving University weighed down with more than twenty thousand pounds worth of debt; students and parents deserve to know what the Labour party’s plans are for tuition fees.” Leeds University Union (LUU) has devised a pledge, similar to that of a National Union of Students (NUS), which asks all local Leeds MPs to vote against the raising tuition fees if they are elected in parliament. Mulholland is one of the signatories. “I have personally signed the Leeds University Pledge. All people deserve a fair chance at accessing higher
education and this will not be possible if students are increasingly subject to crippling debts,” he said. NUS President Wes Streeting (pictured left) said: “The vast majority of the general public is against higher fees, and although this review has been set up to report after the general election, voters deserve to know where their MP stands on this highly emotive issue. “I am delighted that Greg Mulholland has stood up for students and young people in Leeds North West by signing this pledge. He has demonstrated his determination to give every young person in his constituency a fair chance to go to university. “NUS believes that a university education should be free at the point of use, with graduates giving back to the system according to how much they earn. This would give universities double the amount of funding they currently receive, while allowing the children of poorer families to go to university without the fear of debt. It would also prevent the emergence of a market in higher education, where only the rich could afford to attend our most prestigious universities.” The opposition to the rise in tuition fees also includes local Labour candidate Judith Blake, campaigning for the Leeds North West seat, who has signed the pledge drawn up by the NUS that promises her commitment to vote against the rise. Councillor Matthew Lobley, prospective Conservative MP for North East Leeds, commented: “We’re getting to the point where hard working students can no
longer afford to go to university unless they are from wealthy families. This doesn’t seem right to me. In the 1990s I didn’t pay fees at all for my education.’ However, he backtracked saying: ‘As much as I’d like to see tuition fees reduced, the country is in such a desperate financial situation we cannot afford to make any expensive promises.” Whilst devising its pledge, LUU has been encouraging students to register to vote in the upcoming general election. Student make up nearly 15 per cent of the voting population. Jak Codd, LUU Communications and Internal Affairs Officer, explained: “We want as many students from Leeds as possible to register to vote and also to sign up to the voteforstudents.co.uk website.” The website asks students to use their vote to support candidates that would vote against the rise in the tuition fees cap. Codd said: “We want students to make tuition fees and higher education funding an important consideration when deciding who to vote for. We really want to get the message out to candidates that they need to take the student vote seriously at the next general election.” This week saw the Association of Graduate Recruiters, who represent the country's 750 largest graduate employers, say that the cap should lifted completely, which could lead to top institutions charging fees of £20,000 for some courses. The results of the tuition fee review are due to be released later this year after the general election.
PLEDGE: Greg Muloholland (right) raised the issue of tuition fees in the House of Commons
Library resources to be reduced by cuts Lizzie Edmonds Virginia Newman University of Leeds libraries are facing reductions to their materials fund in the region of £596k. The cuts are still in the planning stages and Margaret Coutts, University Librarian and Keeper of the Brotherton Collection, told Leeds Student that that it will be some weeks before decisions are reached. Coutts said: “It is inevitable that we will have less money to spend on books, journals and other information resources. The Library will be working closely with the Schools to look for every practical solution - whether it is using printed or online materials - to meet our students’ needs as far as we possibly can within our reduced budget.” Meanwhile the Edward Boyle Library Redevelopment Project, which was set to cost £22 million, has been put on hold. The project, which is specifically for the Edward Boyle, has been halted
along with the University’s capital programme. Coutts, however, emphasised that it is still a high priority. Speaking to Leeds Student, Coutts said that the libraries are at the heart of the student population, and especially this fund as it provides key texts for education. The library services will be asking for each school to provide them with reading lists earlier on in the term so they can assess which texts need to be bought and in what volume. It is hoped that this will make the process more efficient. There is a direct partnership between the library representative of each school and the library Faculty Team Librarians. This is used to decide the number of texts to be ordered, based on the Schools’ advice about their priorities and so that the library can know where more is needed. Schools have an allocation set from the Library Materials Fund each year and are responsible for advising on the priorities for purchase. There is also an alert system in place, which notifies the library if a book is taken out prolifically, allowing more copies to be ordered.
The library services are confident that they are doing all that they can and Coutts explained that there are several ways to adapt to the cuts. Nonetheless, there will be less money, and therefore less material will be bought overall. A solution that featured in some of
CUTS: Less resources will be available to students in the future photo: Sarah Greene
the prospective LUU Education Officer’s election campaigns and is likely to be popular with the student population is increasing online resources. Online delivery of student reading will be used as much as possible to compensate for the cuts, but there are restrictions due to, for example, copyright, Coutts told Leeds Student. “Online does get materials to students very quickly”, she said. This will include using the Online Course Reading service. The Library recently introduced the Reading List Editor within the VLE. This is an online programme that allows each individual school to submit their reading lists electronically as they go to help the process above. The Library can then identify quickly what new material is required. Coutts explained that redundancies will be made as with other departments. Staff expenditure, like the rest of the university, will be cut. It is hoped that this will be through the Voluntary Leavers Scheme, to avoid compulsory redundancies. But it is not
yet known how many staff may be lost as this depends on the outcome of the Voluntary Leavers Scheme which is currently running throughout the University. Coutts echoed Vice Chancellor Professor Michael Arthur’s statement that the University will do everything possible to avoid compulsory redundancies. She also emphasised that the new self check-in machines are not an indicator of staff cuts. It is a service the library has been using for a long time due to high numbers of students in the library wanting to check out at one time, not a scheme to replace librarians with computers On the continuing topic of extending library opening hours, Coutts explained: “We have already extended our opening hours in recent years, for example at exam times, and we are aiming to maintain these hours in our current planning. If further extensions are needed, we shall of course consider these in the future, but we have to put them on hold for the moment.”
Friday, March 12, 2010 | www.leedsstudent.org | Leeds Student
New strike date set as talks fail Guy Sewell
The University and College Union (UCU) plan to strike on Thursday after a breakdown of talks with the University. The announcement comes after eight weeks of ACAS talks between the UCU and senior management. The UCU believe that significant progress has not been made in discussions over reviews taking place in 13 departments. The strike stems from an incident in the School of English, one of the current schools under review, on March 3. Academic and support staff were sent a ‘School of English Review 2009-2010 Briefing Note’ outlining proposals for ‘restructuring, staff redeployment and disinvestment’. The UCU believe the document is ‘flawed, misrepresentative and possibly libellous’, and that it should first have been sent to the trade unions. Having been released during ongoing ACAS talks, it is a contradiction of agreements made after the cancellation of the first proposed strike. A strike was narrowly avoided on February 24 after an agreement was reached over planned staff
cuts in the Faculty of Biological Sciences (FBS). The UCU and the University released a joint statement, outlining ‘a disciplined framework for meaningful consultation with the trades unions throughout the review and restructuring process.’ The UCU believe the actions within the School of English reflect restructuring plans forced upon FBS and are in direct confrontation with the joint statement, which demanded meaningful consultation with the UCU over the review and restructuring process. Further controversy was caused after Vice Chancellor Michael Arthur, wrote to members of staff anticipating the strike: “Their decision flies in the face of a jointly agreed statement yesterday, that negotiations had not yet concluded, and that both sides remained committed to securing a negotiated settlement and believed that that was possible. Just over two hours later, UCU members were advised that their Union Committee was recommending strike action on Thursday March 18.” In response to Arthur’s comments, Malcolm Povey, Leeds UCU President, wrote to members:
“To reiterate UCU’s position, we remain committed to talks, any time, any place; we did not and will not walk out of talks.” “Unfortunately the ACAS session scheduled for today has been cancelled by the Vice Chancellor.” The UCU, under its own rules, is required to obtain permission from the leading officers of the national union for any industrial action, yet the process had not even begun when Michael Arthur
sent the letter. The proposal of strike was put at an Emergency General Meeting on Wednesday 10th March. A further EGM had been scheduled for the following Tuesday. The intention was to keep the possibility of industrial action alive, whilst scheduled ACAS talks continued. A statement on the UCU blog said: “Agreement was quite possible and the strike could be called off by the Tuesday EGM.
STRIKE: Protesters are likely to be out in force on March 18 photo: Richard Smith
Unfortunately, university management jumped the gun. The Vice Chancellor has demonstrated once again that he favours conflict over dialogue, to force through his restructuring plans for this university.” Gladstone, LUU Mike Education Officer, said: “I am extremely disappointed that the talks between the University and UCU, which were seemingly progressing well, have now broken down. “We call on both parties to get back around the negotiating table and work out their differences in a way that avoids the need for industrial action.” Concern within the student community has been raised over discrimination against students crossing the picket line. While some schools have agreed to not mark students absent on the day, others have stated that normal disciplinary processes will be put in place for absent students, regardless of their political position. The UCU believe this action is potentially unlawful. The UCU have called for all students to be treated consistently, and not discriminated against.
Campus Watch Adam Collins
Southampton The Carnage bar crawl, popular among students, had to be moved in Southampton last week after a Second World War bomb was discovered at one of the planned venues. Organisers used social networking sites, including Facebook, to re-direct the event. But students, police and the local community were all celebrating after the clubbing event took place successfully in Southampton last Friday without any serious incidents. Carnage is known for its combination of themed nights, branded T-shirts and heavy drinking and has attracted controversy in the past for promoting binge drinking among students. Chief Inspector Alison Scott said: “There were no arrests, no complaints, nothing negative to take away from the
evening at all. It was a very well run event.”
Royal National College for the Blind Maria Marchaqa, a 28-year-old business student at the Royal National College for the Blind (RNC), says she has been left feeling worried and cut off from the world after a thief stole her laptop during an over-night journey from London. Ms Marchaqa was told that the laptop was too bulky to take onto the coach and that she would have to put it in the hold from where it was stolen. The laptop was un-insured and she now feels that without it she will have difficulty communicating with others and may even struggle to pay the rent. Ms Marchaqa said: “I’m at a complete loss, now. I have no means of communication and feel completely isolated. It’s bad enough but I’m not going to be able to pay the rent much longer. This equipment was my
EDITOR Virginia Newman firstname.lastname@example.org
DESIGN ( i n c o l l a b o r a t i o n w i t h Sch ool of De sig n Soci et y) Laura Crane, Tom Jivanda, Tom Reilly, Katie Szadziewska email@example.com
ASSOCIATES Rob Heath Dafydd Pritchard firstname.lastname@example.org
SPORT Ifor Duncan, Michael Glenister, Joe Short, James Green email@example.com
LEEDS STUDENT: LS1
lifeline.” Miss Marchaqa is a part-time musician as well as a business administration student. She had reportedly been upset when she was told that she would have to put the laptop in the hold, and when the coach reached London it was gone. The laptop, together with its speech recognition and Easy Braille software, was worth over £1,000. It is not clear why she was asked to put the laptop in the hold. National Express, the company that ran her coach service, has agreed to pay some compensation, although it is unclear how much.
Oxford Fifteen male students at Hertford College, Oxford have been suspended after allegedly sending a series of sexually explicit emails. The students were all members of the Penguin Club society and are reported to have assembled a secret ‘list of fitties’ from among the female
PHOTOS Sarah Greene, Richard Smith firstname.lastname@example.org COMMENT Charlie Cooper email@example.com DEBATE James Legge firstname.lastname@example.org
undergraduates, who they were planning to invite to a drunken party and ‘target’ for seduction. The group exchanged photos of their ‘targets’ which were accompanied by suggestive comments such as ‘buy condoms’ and ‘only if we’re desperate!’ The affair has caused considerable embarrassment after the series of private emails were printed off and displayed publicly by an unknown person seeking to discredit the group. Phoebe Arnold, women’s welfare representative at the college said: “The actions and values of the Penguins are certainly not representative of anyone else at Hertford. I would loath for anyone to think that.” However, Laura Winwood, a student at the college said: “As it stands, we have not yet been informed by the college as to the events that took place, nor the basis for their decision to take disciplinary action and what form this will take. Nonetheless, there is a great deal of concern amongst some members of the JCR (Junior Common Room).”
RNC Oxford Southampton
NEWS Marcus Chippindale, Tom Knowles, Matthew Power, Joey Severn email@example.com
FEATURES Suisse Osborne-James, Evelyn Prysor-Jones, Adam Richardson, Chris Stevenson firstname.lastname@example.org
NEWS FEATURES Laura Mackenzie, Fliss Inkpen email@example.com
COPY EDITORS Mark Sellick, Stephen Beckett, Helen Brown, Ellen Paine firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, March 12, 2010 | www.leedsstudent.org | Leeds Student
Action on the streets in protest against HE cuts
A day of ‘Action Against National Education Cuts’ hosted by the Leeds University Union’s (LUU) Executive will take place on Friday March 12. The event has been advertised as an active day of campaigning to political parties and members of the general public. The attendees will march from the student union to Leeds Central MP Hilary Benn’s office and present him with a pseudo cheque for £950 million, before asking him to return it to Higher Education. Sophia James, LUU Equality and Diversity officer, said: “I think we [the Executive] can be perceived as being uninvolved with the student community. The day is to get students riled up, get them chanting and shouting, running around town talking to people.” But many members of the student community are critical of the Executive’s motives, viewing the event as opportunistic and an attempt to placate their ill-fated ‘Education First’ initiative, which opposed strike action. Hanif Leylabi, LUU Welfare Assembly Chair, commented: “I think our Executive has been a national embarrassment with their Education First campaign. There is a letter signed by various different
sabbaticals from around the country, as well as former sabbaticals at Leeds, condemning the Education First campaign. We should be looking to other unions and saying: ‘Look at what they are
Sophia James, LUU Equality and Diversity officer
doing, they are having real results through real unity with the lecturers’. Hopefully we can push forward.” Sophia James views the criticisms as inevitable: “I think to be honest whatever we do people will throw accusations at us, but it doesn’t mean we’re not doing it for the right reasons.” Friday’s event comes at a time when students around the country are taking more direct action. Around 50 University of Sussex students occupied management offices in protest of proposals to cut 115 jobs on Wednesday March 3. The occupation ended the same day, after an earlier confrontation between police and students resulted in two arrests. Six students have been suspended indefinitely. The suspensions were effective immediately, without recourse to the university disciplinary processes. Within hours of the decision being made, hundreds of students had signed a petition against ‘outrageous scapegoating’. Sussex UCU have backed the suspended students. The union sent a letter to Sussex University stating: “We believe that the summary suspension of students is a disproportionate response, serving to inflict significant harm to the education of the students concerned and restricting their civil liberties.” On the same day as the
The day is to get students riled up, get them chanting and shouting, running around town talking to people
Anti-cuts protestors at Sussex Uni Photo courtesy of Juliet Conway occupation, 76 per cent of Sussex UCU members voted for strike action. The strike ballot had a turnout of over 80 per cent, the highest in UCU history. The first one day strike will take place on Thursday 18th March. Two days before the Sussex occupation, over 200 students at the University of Westminster stormed a board of governors
meeting, before occupying management and administration rooms for three days. A student who took part in the Westminster occupation said: “Our aim was not to disrupt the education of other students, but rather to disrupt management's strategy of running this university as a business with no regard for the welfare of staff and students. “We stand in solidarity with all staff and students at this and other universities who are taking action against job cuts.” Student action in Leeds is continuing until the Easter break. On the Tuesday March 15, the ‘Really Open University’ are having their second participatory event at 5.30pm in All Hallows Church, Hyde Park. Having envisaged what a really open university would be at the first meeting, they will be discussing how that vision could be actualised.
Dramatic performances promote road safety Lizzie Edmonds
Drama students from the University of Leeds are attempting to help reduce fatalities and injuries of young people in car crashes. West Yorkshire Fire Service is specifically targeting school pupils to reinforce road safety. 916 people aged 17 to 24 were killed or seriously injured while travelling in cars on West Yorkshire roads in the last six years. Kate Fielden, road safety coordinator for West Yorkshire Fire Service said road accidents in West Yorkshire were one of the biggest killers of teenage boys. She said: "For every one person killed or seriously injured in a house fire, we pull nine people out a vehicle who has been killed or seriously injured. To help lower the number of deaths on the road, the Centre for Performance and Cultural
Industries (PCI), part of Leeds University, will be creating pieces of informative theatre in order to get important messages across in alternative ways. A group of about 50 students devise small plays incorporating the safety information in a way which is much more likely to appeal to the target audience of 14 and 15-year-olds. Laura Kirwan-Ashman, a second year theatre and performance student who has been taking part in the project, said: “Working with the fire department as part of my collaborative processes module has been so inspiring. “They came in to give us a presentation along with a family liaison officer from the police which was very hard-hitting and emotional but really helped to drive home how important it is to raise awareness of road traffic collisions and how easily most of them can be avoided.” The plays show the impact of the decision to ride in a car where
perhaps the driver has been drinking, not only on the victims but on their family and friends as well. Dr Philip Kiszely, lecturer in theatre and performance at Leeds University, said the project appeared to have a big impact on teenagers. "We do interactive sessions which might take the form of a quiz examining who is to blame. We rigorously examine the issue with the pupils and it works really well. The pupils tend to be more reflective. "They go into the room with a group mentality and afterwards they are thinking about the issues in a quite an individual way." Kirwan-Ashman stressed the importance of the work being done: “I’m not the only one who feels that this project is the most important thing I’ve done on my course so far, and the amazing work that the fire department does everyday to try and save lives has inspired me to make this project as powerful and effective as possible"
SAFETY FIRST: Drama students have been working with the Fire Service photo: Richard Smith
Friday, March 12, 2010 | www.leedsstudent.org | Leeds Student
- Fencing for river-
t is with great sadness that L S has to report the tragic death of Matthew Wilcox, who fell into the River Aire after a night out. This is heightened by the fact that it is the second such death that has been covered in two years. Back in 2008 there was the case of Gavin Terry who fell into the water in potentially the exact same spot and was found over the Easter break of that year. Gavin’s death triggered a campaign to put pressure on Leeds City Council to put railings around the edge of the river to prevent further accidents. It is difficult to report on a death in any circumstances, but what is most galling about this incident is the fact that this campaign stalled, with no definite answer, allowing further tragedy to strike.
his week saw the announcement that lecturers will take strike action. From the outside talks seemed to be going well this week, so it came as a surprise that they have suudenly broken down and a strike date set. The University has been the first to strike this time round with the most strongly worded letter to date from Michael Arthur being sent at 13.17, March 10, 2010 stating that the UCU had called for a strike. Nothing of particular interest of the timing, except that the UCU meeting that actually called for strike action did not finish until 14.00. The question everyone is asking: what the hell is going on? The position of LUU has been pretty clear on strike action: they have barred an anti-cuts group, (which has only just been made an official society), caused a mass email of lecturers with a standardised letter and are continuing
While two deaths in two years may not make this an epidemic, and intoxication may have played a role in both cases, it is still two too many. This is why the Editor of LS has put their signiture on a letter to Hilary Benn (which can be seen at the bottom of the page) to ensure that this issue is addressed. The effect that both of these deaths on all of those connected with Matthew and Gavin will have been dramatic and very harrowing. It is up to all of the authorities involved, and as Clarence Dock is nearby this includes the University, to find a solution to this problem and ensure the safety of all those that use the area. LS has learnt that the University may carry out a risk assessment of the riverside area. to pander to the University line of telling students to go to their lectures if they are on and if they don't then they are will be marked absent. This final point is particularly galling, it has been speculated that this could actually go against the LUU's own laws on protecting their students right to hold a political position. Then again this probably only goes for the political opinions that LUU wishes to endorse. It is a difficult time for Universities across the land. We are of course faced with a situation that will affect generations to come. Will you be able to face your children when they ask you what happened to an education system that they could afford? Arthur does not want to see Leeds become the battleground for anti cuts action, but the battle lines have been drawn and we must stand and fight in solidarity with those occupying around the country. The time to fight is now.
uts in libary materials is undoubtedly going to have an effect on all students both present and prospective. It seems clear that reductions in library funding will probably be some of the most hard hitting if they land. Vice Chancellor Professor Michael Arthur stated in his recent question and answer session with students that representatives from LUU play an important and influential Library Strategic Advisory Board. Hopefully our representatives will fight to keep the libraries at the standard that they are currrently. As the library does not budget for fines, as reported in last year’s Leeds Student, could these funds be used to fill the potential funding hole? The planned increased provision of online resources, in light of the cuts, however, will be welcomed. This idea was raised in the Student Execcutive elections. Year on year potential LUU Education Officer candidates have
also included increasing library opening hours in their manifestos, but the aims have never come to fruition. As revealed in this week’s interview it is hoped that current library opening hours will be maintained, but any plans to extend them have been put on hold in the light of cuts. The cuts are obviously going to felt right across the University, but the library is an important issue. For those students, particulary in the Arts, that use the library in lieu of extra contact hours the cutting of library resources will come as an extra blow on top of the cuts to their departments. They could effectively be hit twice and this is something that the University needs to take account of. The idea of ‘independent study’ is central to the higher education experience and it’s importance should not be threatened by the cuts.
email@example.com Just because it doesn’t happen to you, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist Two weeks ago I wrote a comment piece for the Leeds student, this was responded to last week and as a result I feel I ought to reply some of the comments and accusations made about my piece. My article was in no way meant to be patronising, however, it would appear as if a minority of LGBT members have misinterpreted my intentions. LGBT History Month this year has been the largest ever. In previous years, a large proportion of students and even staff who worked in the union building were not aware of the month existing. I have specifically worked in my time as Equality and Diversity Officer to mobilise the same support offered to Black History Month and I am pleased to say that this has been achieved. The entirety of the month was aimed at a celebration, a quick glance at a History Month flyer will inform you of this. However, the fact remains that during the month a string of incidents took place which reinforce the issues that LGBT people face. The intention of the comment was not to celebrate, the event itself did that, but purely to balance the positive, with the reality that homophobia, biphobia and transphobia still exist. I find it odd that David Langford has drawn his vastly generalised evidence from his own experience and a self admitted unscientific study of less than 10 students in Coffee Hour on one day. David mentions the fact that he has had no abuse since being at University, how fortunate for him, if only this was the case for many students. A year old study commissioned by the Equality Challenge Unit and led by academics Professor Gill Valentine and Dr Nichola Wood at the University of Leeds highlights the fact that ‘50 per cent of LGB students reported Open letter calling for railings Dear Mr Benn, As editors and station managers of the Leeds University Union media societies we have had the unfortunate task of reporting on the death of two Leeds students in the last two years. Matthew Wilcox and Gavin Terry both died after falling into the River Aire. The river currently lacks railings and barriers in many areas of the city centre and we feel that given the growth of the area in recent years it is time that this was rectified. The death of Gavin Terry in 2008 led to a petition to the government to improve the provision around the Aire but no action was taken. Just over two years later Matthew Wilcox suffered a similar fate. While we appreciate that intoxication may have played a role in both cases there is no doubt that two deaths in two years is indicative of a need to address the issue. Not only will those under the influence be protected but also those who may accidently trip and fall leading to tragedy. We the undersigned call on our elected representative to take this issue
significant levels of negative treatment on the grounds of their sexual orientation, from fellow students’ and although this number is lower for Trans students (22.6 per cent) they face
LUU Equality and Diversity officer Sophia James on LGBT History Month 2010, L S Comment, Issue 14
much harsher levels of abuse. The same research suggests LGBT students face ‘severe’ homophobic abuse in halls and one in five LGBT people take time off their degree. My own personal experiences support the above research, I have faced negative treatment both in gay clubs and from sports clubs at university, not to mention my extra concern of homophobia from members of my own ethnic community. I have also lived with other students who have alienated me as a result of my sexuality. I am immensely pleased for David that he has never faced abuse at University, that’s what I have spent four years fighting for but I find it a strange, though sadly increasingly common attitude, to assume that a form of discrimination does not exist if it does not affect you. To see the full text of the letter go to leedsstudent.org LUU Equality and Diversity officer Sophia James to the authorities involved and ensure that members of the public are protected when near our waterways. In this way we can prevent any more tragic deaths. Yours Sincerely, Andrew Cheetham, LSTV Station Manager James Palmer, LSR Station Manager Virginia Newman, Leeds Student Editor Supported By: Josh Landy, LUU Activities Officer Hannah Greenslade, LUU Community Officer Madeleine Harris Smith, LUU Welfare Officer Sophia James, LUU Equality & Diversity Officer Jak Codd, LUU Communications & Internal Affairs Officer Mike Gladstone, LUU Education Officer If you would like to add your own name in support go to: petitiononline.com/luumedia
British Muslims on media trial Sean McHale in his letter in last weeks edition expressed his surprise at the fact that some Muslims feel that they are being unfairly discriminated as part of a growing wave of Islamophobia. Quite what this surprise is based upon baffles me given the rise in Islamophobic attacks, the rise in stop and search and the increased attacks on civil liberties. Not to mention the shooting of innocent Muslims at Forest Gate by police or the murder of Jean Charles De Menezes wrongly thought to be a Muslim suspect. Just this year several Muslim students were stabbed outside their university in London and more recently, every member of the Islamic Society at LSE had their email addresses frozen and hacked. The BNP constantly demonises Muslims describing them as ‘wicked,’ and the English Defence League has attacked Mosques and the property of Asian Muslims. Just this week a speaker at an EDL protest declared ‘God Bless Muslims, they will need it when they are burning in hell!’ And even in government we have ministers like Jack Straw refusing to talk to Muslim women who wear a face veil when they come to his surgeries for help. Yet he is more than happy to debate homophobe and holocaust denier and Nazi Nick Griffin of the BNP. It is ironic that he attacks the Islamic Society for inviting controversial speakers when his own society Liberty@leeds has invited Anjum Choudhury to speak. Even more confusing is he distress at Islamic Societies giving ‘radical speakers and unopposed platform.’ This coming from a society which has spent much of the year putting energy and resources into making sure LUU is a safe space for the fascists of the BNP to come and use our institution as a platform for their hate speech and incitement to violence. The fact is that British Muslims are on trial every day in the tabloid media and as the main political parties compete with each other to be tough on terrorism. Islamophobia has become one of the last bastions of acceptable racism and to claim that ‘closer inspection,’ of the Muslim Community is ‘long overdue,’ is to deny reality and fall in behind a racist agenda which seeks to demonise Muslims at home in order to justify the erosion of our civil liberties and the continued occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. Hanif Leylabi Final year, Politics and Parliamentary Studies
Corrections and clarifications We would like to clarify that Nick Pearce is directing The Second Rule, not Nick Coupe as was previously stated (Friday March 5) We would like to clarify that the photo of rhubarb in Lifestyle last week was by Rosie Hogg, not Tom Courtney (Friday March 5)
Letters may also be posted to PO BOX 157. Leeds Student reserves the right to edit letters.
Friday, March 12, 2010 | www.leedsstudent.org | Leeds Student
Just a big turn-off?
The plans were finalised last week for the televised election debates between the leaders of the three major parties. Some say that will wake the electorate from its apathetic slumber, but some think they will have the opposite effect. So this week, we ask:
Will the TV election debates be good for democracy?
recurrent complaint of voters and political commentators (of all allegiances) is policy. What is it, and where is it in the convoluted rhetoric with which we as the public are presented with by our prospective leaders? Many who were not disinterested from the start, have now resolved that politicians are untrustworthy and that the differences between parties are negligible. Will Self, (journalist and nuisance to many politicians he encounters on numerous discussion shows) argues that an “anorexic cigarette paper” could not fit between the main parties on their approach to governing the country. With this dominating disaffection, why vote at all? Because as much as many of us would like to distance ourselves from politics, it isn’t possible. Therefore what is needed is clarity, for the parties to outline what they intend to do with regard to domestic affairs, foreign affairs, and the economy (which is the order of the topics for the debates). A form as direct as having the leaders put side-by-side, individually responding to questions is surely the best way to address the concerns of the nation. The questions themselves are to be contributed by the public (screened in advance by a panel of journalists) which presents an opportunity for political accountability. Viewers at home will then be able to scrutinize their suggested plans, which after all is crucial to informed voting. The importance of the economy at this time will surely spark debate over what form the cuts will take, something that is politically essential though often evaded. Many uncomfortable issues that are not part of the language of campaigns will be asked if the audience chooses to put them forward. It could be said that the limited number of people observing makes them unrepresentative. The conclusive results of these screenings will however be more significant than the reaction of those in the room. It could be the vote. Ballots will be sent out four days ahead of the first debates, and the impressions garnered will undoubtedly be influential. It has been argued that the TV debates could distort the approach of the parties, and a mirroring of the US Presidential approach has also been faulted for the possibility of ‘razzle
The Big Debate
Hugh Alderwick dazzle’. The distinct difference lies in the regulations attached to the UK debates. The formatting has been marked out stringently in 76 rules; time limits on opening remarks by the candidates, silence of the audience except for when addressing questions, and even the set lay out. With this in mind showmanship goes out of the window. If you abide by the idea that the role of Prime Minister is managerial, then surely gaining a perspective on the character of the competitors is essential. It is widely held that Gordon Brown does not perform well in the public eye, culminating in his appearances on YouTube described by one economist commentator as “cack-handed”. Maybe these debates present a chance for him to redeem himself, flash a smile (or not), and for the viewers to pass judgment on his ability to lead. David Cameron is expected to fare better, already seen as competent at presenting a new image of the Conservatives in the media (with the help of the Sun, which backs the Tories). But what about the Liberal Democrats? The fact that Nick Clegg has been afforded equal time is seen as a victory, which will hopefully dispel notions that despite the multitude of candidates, we as voters are constrained. That the exclusion of other parties is detrimental to democracy is already apparent in the opposition party system, revealing a systemic problem within the British parliamentary politics. However I believe the greatest contribution to democracy is the acknowledgement of the need for a change in how we engage. It’s time to move on from the vague statements of electioneering, and PMQs emulating a wrestling match in which the opponents throw figurative chairs, tagteaming cabinet members as they go. It’s time for some answers, and maybe even some good television.
ar from being a long-awaited progression in our electoral process, the introduction of live, presidential style television debates will deliver a massive blowtoouralreadyshakydemocraticsystem. They may make good television, but good televisiondoesn’tmeangooddemocracy. Actually, they probably won’t make great television. There are 76 rules of engagement - fair enough, we need rules, and at least we know them all in advance - but without interaction from the audience (apart from the preplanned, vetted questions), or even any noise, the debates will simply be scripted, airless and uninspiring. A chance for well rehearsed sound bites, but not really an arena for vibrant political debate. Feigned smiles and the same old hollow rhetoric of radicalism and progressivism, or whatever the Don’t forget to log on and new campaign buzzword is, but not anything really meaningful or have your say at spontaneous. Most probably dull then. leedsstudent.org However, this misses the point; being boring isn’t going to be the problem with the debates. They are far more troubling than just being bad news for our evening viewing, they are bad news for our democracy. The main problem with these debates is that they are wholly unrepresentative. Is our vote only credible if we hand it to Labour, Conservatives or the Lib Dems? What if I want to vote Green, or UKIP, or even for the BNP? Is that wrong? It’s not unlikely; a lot of us have voted for them, and will do again, so they surely deserve to be given an equal platform to express their views with the three ‘main’ parties. By excluding minority opinions, we fundamentally undermine our democratic system. 13 of the 76 rules of the debates concentrate on making the audience microcosmic of our society, yet the real focus should be on making the panel properly representative – especially as the audience might as well not even be there. Television is undoubtedly a huge advertisement weapon, so should not be limited unfairly in this way; minority views and parties which deviate right or left of centre should not be denied an equal opportunity to come before the voting public. Illustration: Becky Jones Especially parties who hold
Results from last week’s poll: Should assisted suicide be legalised? Yes: 59% No : 41%
seats in British and European assemblies. The debates simply highlight the centrism which exists within British politics, and go further, to reinforce it. The public are disillusioned because ‘politicians are all the same’, yet the debates will just give us the most similar views, and stifle everything else. While these debates dent our democracy by being unrepresentative, they also emphasize the modern political culture of personality over policy. Values get left behind in a competition to be the most likeable candidate. Will we buy into Conservative principles because Cameron’s skin glows on their campaign poster? Does being able to cry on television make you a better leader? On both counts I should hope not. But we might not be as rational as we think in our decision making process. Sweating and a lack of makeup was Nixon’s downfall in the first televised presidential debate in 1960 against Kennedy, which arguably turned the tide of public opinion against him, as he failed to impress the huge television audience not on policy, but on style. This resonates today, as image sometimes seems just as important to politicians as policy. It shouldn’t. The fact is, that policy and party should be the central focus of election campaigns, and they are both getting completely and utterly lost. This personality politics which will underline the debates has led to the diminishing of the principle of collective government, as more and more power is vested in a disproportionately powerful Prime Minister. Having a presidential figure works in the US because they have a completely different system, with an effective congress which can properly overrule and scrutinise, but our parliament is increasingly at the mercy of strong figures who aren’t really accountable to anyone. Think Blair or Thatcher. Emphasis should be shifted back towards local MPs, especially at election time. Town hall debates for all candidates standing within a constituency would offer us a much more valuable opportunity to enrich our electoral process than the debates that will happen this spring. The debates miss the point. Instead of promoting fairness, they are undemocratic, and serve to highlight and reinforce a modern political culture which sadly looks like it’s here to stay.
Friday, March 12, 2010 | www.leedsstudent.org | Leeds Student
Bruni, breasts and burkas Carla Bruni has faced criticism for ‘immodest’ outfit choices, but what right has anyone to tell a woman, any woman, what to wear?
Two alarming items in the news recently made me ask myself whether society’s perceptions of women are becoming increasingly philistine and prejudiced. The first was the farcical uproar caused by Carla Bruni hosting a state dinner without wearing a bra. France’s First Lady, alongside her husband Nicolas Sarkozy, welcomed the Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, wearing a floor-length Roland Mouret gown so tight that it exposed her lack of underwear. Bruni, whether intentionally or not, has divided opinion over whether her choice of attire was appropriate for the occasion. For many people the whole story, which has run in several major publications in both this country and France, is a bit of a non-issue. Who cares what she wears? And if anything, should she not be applauded for choosing to express her femininity and her right to wear whatever she chooses? Unfortunately, it would seem that we do not live in such liberal times as we would like to believe. Bruni’s fashion foes have criticised her for being ‘immodest’, in ‘bad taste’ and claiming that it is not only her
‘responsibility’ but her ‘duty’ to wear a bra. Yet what strikes me as being more revealing than Bruni’s dress, is how revealing society’s views towards women are. Women are continually and persistently being subjected to attacks and criticism over their freedom of expression through what they wear or how they behave. In this case, the media has turned the female form into something smutty and hypersexualised, which seems both unfair and unfounded. The second story was of the young mother, Amy Wootten, who was forced off a bus for breastfeeding her child in public. A passenger complained and the driver stopped the bus, accusing Miss Wootten of ‘indecent exposure’. In the same way that Bruni’s dress has led to accusations of appearing indecent, Wootten’s behaviour has also led to her being discriminated against for apparently acting indecently. In both cases, what the issue boils down to is the exposure of the breast. As Wootten herself commented, “I was showing a tiny bit of breast, but is it any different to showing your arm or your foot?” In this way, a woman’s inherent femininity, and in the latter case, the performing of a maternal duty, is in grave danger of being transformed into something filthy and indecent and something for which it is socially acceptable to cast judgement against a woman’s character or identity. I couldn’t help but compare both these stories to the ongoing debate in France over
Felicity Capon Fourth Year History firstname.lastname@example.org
whether the full-length burka should be banned. In June of last year, Sarkozy had this to say about the burka: “We cannot accept, in our country, women imprisoned behind a mesh, cut off from society, deprived of all identity. That is not the French republic’s idea of women’s dignity.”
Women are continually criticised over their freedom of expression
It strikes me that a sort of bizarre spectrum has been created. At one end we have women dressed in burkas, and at the other, we have women wearing revealing or more exposed clothes. It would appear that neither of these two ‘extremes’ are acceptable clothing options by society’s sanctimonious standards, which would ideally like to cattle-herd all women into the middle of the spectrum. Yet surely, the ‘women’s dignity’ that Sarkozy vaguely talks about, should be founded on a woman’s individual choice to wear what she wishes and not by what Sarkozy in particular and society in
general deems appropriate for her. Women do not, and indeed should not, fit into this middleground of perceived acceptability anyway, because this is precisely what is chipping away at their individuality. We would no sooner see Carla Bruni in a burka than we would see previously burka-clad Muslim women wearing skin-tight designer dresses. For many women, (in the cases where wearing the burka is a matter of personal choice and not something forced upon them) what they wear and how they choose to present themselves is part of their personal identity, and both choices of clothing should be proudly defended by the women wearing them. Why must women, all women, including First Ladies, Muslim women, and women who choose to breastfeed in public, be submitted to this constant barrage of criticism over how they choose to present themselves? Why don’t men ever get judged for how they present themselves? I would go so far as to say that even in cases where women are explicitly using their bodies to be provocative and sexy, (bearing in mind Bruni’s history of posing as a topless model) this is still their prerogative and fundamental right to wear whatever they want without being discriminated against. If I make the decision to wear a tight fitting top, or god forbid, leave my house sans brassiere for whatever reason (including, incidentally, reasons of comfort and practicality) I reserve the right not to have judgement passed upon my character or my identity.
Iraq’s lesson for the apathetic In Iraq millions defied terror threats to cast their vote in last week’s elections; a timely reminder to us never to take our vote for granted Chris Stevenson Fourth Year English & History email@example.com
While it may not have garnered enough attention to push it above the Oscars in the press stakes, an extremely important event took place last weekend; the second general election in Iraq. The voter turnout is still to be confirmed, but the figure should be somewhere close to 62% of the 19 million potential voters. While this is down on the 75% that was recorded in the first election of 2005, it compares favourably with Britain’s turnout of 61% in the last general election. Elections and the idea of voting is frequently looked down upon by people in Western states; those that don’t see how it affects them if they do fill out a ballot and so don’t see the point. Boredom appears to have crept in now that we take this freedom for granted. The argument that Iraq, as a nearly emergent democracy, should have a bigger turnout than Britain because of the new desire to actually cast their vote, is one that could in principle be applied. But it is the conditions that these votes are cast in that
should make anyone who is not planning on voting in May feel a pang of guilt. Reports coming out of Iraq claim there were at least 38 deaths on the day of the election, with 25 of those coming when an apartment block collapsed after a bombing in Baghdad. Many of the quotes coming from potential voters spoke about the fear of the danger they faced, but a determination to make their voice heard. One such quote in the Independent was from a man who said he was going out to the polls for the sake of his grandson’s future. Compare this to the usual trip to a polling station in Britain and the ease with which we can get our voice heard is almost laughable.
One man said he was going out to the polls for the sake of his grandson’s future
This is not about particular politics; if there is no party for which you want to cast your vote, then going down to the polling station and spoiling your ballot paper is just as valid. The argument that voting is futile because your vote won’t change anything, might be a fair reflection of the current political landscape in Britain, but it doesn’t hold true as a reason not to vote when you consider the realities of the political system in Iraq. There were over 6,200 candidates for the 325 parliamentary seats from 86 different factions. In the long run, a coalition must be sought in order to provide a government that is capable of running the country. The sort of stable governmental practice that has been present in Britain for many years remains a very remote possibility. So the idea that a vote may not mean much, won’t change much and in essence is a complete waste of time, could apply far more to the situation in Iraq than in Britain. The difference between the two sets of people is, however idealist this seems, that those in Iraq still see democracy as a chance to effect change in their lives. It doesn’t matter that the reality might not live up to the ideal, they realise that this is a chance for them to take control of something, at a time when there is upheaval all around them. That people will go to the polls in the face of rocket attacks is extremely
courageous and an example to us all. But the major thing I will take from the general election in Iraq is this idea of people wanting to take control. This May, there will be issues that will affect us all, and the example that was seen last Sunday in Iraq should be followed by everyone. However poor you think the political
Voters spoke about the fear of the danger they faced, but also of a determination to make their voice heard system is in Britain, it is episodes like this that highlight the reasons why the vote is so important. It allows us a voice, and you shouldn’t lose yours.
Friday, March 12, 2010 | www.leedsstudent.org | Leeds Student
Gagging orders in the Union Calls to shut the Peanut Gallery and the three-week ban of the Palestinian Solidarity Group suggest an anti-political Union Exec James Killin First Year English firstname.lastname@example.org
The recent events surrounding the LUU Activities Executive’s dealings with the Palestine Solidarity Group, and some of the proposed referendum motions, convey mixed messages. Not only those that contradict one another; for instance, advocating the closure or expansion of the Peanut Gallery, only one of which may be put to referendum; but also those that seem to fly in the face of a democratic and principled union. From the list of referendum motions, the Peanut Gallery issue has become one of the most controversial, challenged only by the proposed elevation of Jack Straw to Honorary President (I presume this will be somewhat like the position of North Korean ‘Eternal President’ Kim-Il Sung, who continues to preside eternally since his death in 1994). The main case brought against the Peanut is that it has become the intimidating domain of a ‘highly political clique’. Not only does the use of the word ‘clique’ belittle the sentiments of serious political groups that use the space, but it is an all too easy label to apply to a group that holds ‘asymmetrical’ views. Those who feel intimidated by it are likely to be those that wouldn’t use it anyway, but that’s no case for willing its closure.
The invocation of ‘intimidation’ is utterly arbitrary. Students will inevitably feel intimidated by the confidence of others, whether manifest in political activism or nights out in Fruity. The condemnation of the political nature of the Peanut – for one cannot and should not deny that it is the refuge of such groups – seems not only illogical but irrelevant. The Union is not an isolated entity, and the suppression of politics within fosters the kind of apathy that saw a minimal turnout of students in the Union Executive Elections. Though as stated at the outset, this is not the only gripe that I currently hold. As you may be aware, the Activities Executive moved to ban the Palestine Solidarity Group from using LUU facilities following protests that took place when the deputy consul of the state of Israel,
Ismael Khaldi, was invited by the LUU Jewish Society to give a talk at the university. The ban coincided with Israeli Apartheid Week, for which PSG had organised a series of events in conjunction with other societies, like People & Planet, Liberty at Leeds and Revolution, who decided to go ahead in hosting the events despite the ban. Yet in an ‘emergency meeting’ of the Activities Executive on March 2, to which none of the societies in question were invited to defend themselves, members came to the decision to cancel all the week’s events. Justification seems to revolve around the Executive’s unwavering desire to reprimand PSG, with the claim that allowing the events to go ahead would amount to undermining the original suspension of the group. The meeting’s minutes argue not only that ‘separate’ Facebook pages were not made for the
Liberty or People & Planet events, apparently enough to render them null and void, but that it was ‘dishonest’ of PSG to force other groups to ‘act on their behalf’. The Union embargo against PSG was made on the grounds of their behaviour at Khaldi’s talk; grounds not wholly without precedent. yet the motivation behind the events’ cancellation seem inane at best, and at worst, spiteful. The political messages to which the week sought to draw attention are in danger of being repressed: their occurrence under the mantle of a Liberty or P&P event would not have demeaned their importance, an importance now lost in the pursuit of needless one-upmanship. Their outright expulsion from the Union professes not only a vendetta against PSG but a further depoliticisation of the Union space. The presence of political sentiments within the Union should be encouraged, and under no circumstances quashed. As a physical space, the Peanut Gallery is far from perfect, but as a refuge for those who do wish to be explicitly political, it is something to be cherished. Improve, expand, but do not eradicate. The Union has a bank, a beauty salon, a hairdresser, three clothes shops, two bars, three music venues, and only one democratic cooperative space. The move to cancel the Israeli Apartheid Week events, events spearheaded by both PSG and fellow societies, has sent out the message to such societies that their use of Union space is conditional only upon the consent of a capricious Executive. Let us not allow the freedoms of a ‘highly political clique’ to be threatened by the whims of an anti-political clique.
What PSG ban means to me
Individuals have been left feeling unrepresented and victimised by LUU’s three-week ban of the Palestinian Solidarity Group Lucy Garbett First Year International Relations comment@ leedsstudent.org
With Israeli Apartheid week drawing to a close and a banned Palestine Solidarity Group to contend with, I find myself dealing with domination. Again. Having lived in Jerusalem for most of my life, being classed as an Arab, almost all my memories are of a domination of one type of people over another. Aged four in an Israeli supermarket, my brother refused to speak Arabic to my mother because he said the looks he got made him scared. To any word of Arabic he would reply in a whisper: “you can’t speak Arabic here”. Aged six, I was continuously harassed at the airport and asked “what the purpose of my ‘visit’ to Israel was”. I replied somewhat naively at the time, saying that I actually lived in East Jerusalem, and no I did not speak Hebrew, but I did speak fluent English and Arabic - “with a bit of French too!”. They were not as impressed with my language skills as I was, and immediately I was sent to a special room to be searched for several hours. Aged 11, I watched a young man shot eight times in front of my eyes. They said he was a suicide bomber, but he had no weapons.
In early November this academic year, my flatmates and I went to a club. I was wearing nothing that would identify myself as a Palestinian, and my friends and I were approached by a guy and some of his friends. He was wearing a necklace with a Star of David. One of my friends was also Jewish, and small talk conversation between them both ensued. He then turned to me, and we began a Fresher’s style conversation: what University, what course? First year? Soon my reply was International Relations and Middle Eastern studies. He smiled and said, “Aha, so you know about Israel”. I smiled back and replied, “Yes, yes I do”. I hesitated for a second, awkward conversations have been a normal part of my life, but I decided to add: “ I live in Jerusalem actually”. I remember his face suddenly beaming, and he said “Ohh! You’re Israeli! You’re Jewish!” I
Israeli Apartheid Week was important to me personally
felt awkward, and I replied tentatively, “No actually, I’m not”. He then looked a little puzzled and said “But you’re pro-Israeli right?”. Again I hesitated, but went ahead and said “I’m half-English, half-Palestinian”. His face registered internal error, he stepped back from me and replied “ Palestinians don’t exist, you don’t exist.” Then one of his friends lifted his sleeve and exposed a tattoo on his shoulder, he then shouted, “How do you like that?!”, while advancing towards my face. The tattoo was of a Jewish star, and the word “Israel” written in Hebrew. Most distressing of all, a cigarette was turned out on my arm. As I tried to escape, they shouted after me “Israel will crush you! The Jews will prevail!” I did not take this and become a believer that all Jews would be racist or that it was a representative portrayal of Jewish thought at all. But a friend of mine also here in Leeds, also half-English, half-Palestinian was told that Palestinians were “a dirty little people, and would always be refugees”. There is a blurry line with this issue due to the ‘controversial’ nature of the topic, and many put it to one side and refuse to take it with the same seriousness as any other hate crime. Currently, my mother owns a house in the neighbourhood of Shiekh Jarrah in Jerusalem, an area where Palestinians have been evicted from their homes and replaced with Israeli settlers. A few weeks ago, our house was stoned by the settlers in an attempt to get Arabs to leave the area. My mother, while leaving the house,
was accosted by Jewish tourists visiting the houses and told, “This land was promised by God. So you should leave”. On March 6, 5,000 people consisting of Israeli peace activists and Palestinians demonstrated the evictions in the neighbourhood. The settlers had a counterprotest just outside our house. Signs read: “Sheikh Jarrah is for the Jews. Arabs get out!” and “Death to Arabs”. I am frequently hearing calls and accusations of anti-semitism, but I hear nothing of the discrimination of the other side. Israeli Apartheid Week was important to me personally, but I believe it was also important so that finally the discrimination many of the students here in Leeds face could be addressed. Unfortunately the Union decided to ban the Palestine Solidarity Group, and despite other societies taking on the events planned for the week, they were also banned, thus successfully silencing Israeli Apartheid Week. But a problem never goes away if you shut your eyes and stuff your ears.
Comment online Lucy Snow on the latest media witchhunt Minas Aslanian on the ‘rise of the rest’ Alex Pearson on USA right wing madness
Friday, March 12, 2010 | www.leedsstudent.org | Leeds Student
Why Fairtrade is far from fair It’s a mainstay of the middle-class ethical grocery shop, but the Fairtrade Foundation skews the market and creates poverty
In a remarkably candid moment for the Fairtrade Foundation, its patron George Alagiah summed up their goal as being to ‘take out some of the unpredictability of being a farmer’. Not a particularly lofty goal I think you’ll agree, and certainly not something that the majority of the movement’s armchair activists would associate with free trade. It is much more popular to latch onto sound bites like ‘make poverty history’ and fool oneself into believing you are making a difference. But if the Fairtrade Foundation simply wish to make farming in the Third World more ‘predictable’ I would like to pose the serious question of at what cost? We must first shine a light on Fairtrade’s rather dubious understanding of supply and demand economics and the resulting hardship this causes for the people they are trying to help. The Fairtrade Foundation begins by trying to create a basic floor price that is above the current market value for the product. This skews the market signals and the effect is encouraging over-production by those already in the market and an incentive to join the market for new farmers, which saturates the market and leads to
an excess supply. This wouldn’t be so crippling were it not for the fact that Fairtrade only support a small percentage of the whole market. So those who have not been lucky enough to be accepted by the foundation now find their prices being driven even lower because of the massive hike in supply. The effects become even worse when we note that because of these reduced prices farmers are now unable to grow and diversify, effectively forcing them to stay in a market that exists beyond its capacity. One doesn’t need an advanced knowledge of economics to understand this massive flaw in fair trade and it is baffling to me that people persevere in supporting a frankly lazy attempt to help the worst-off. I say the ‘worst-off’, but therein lies another problem with the Fairtrade Foundation's scheme; it doesn’t actually help those who need help the most. This is because of the areas in which fair trade is prolific; it tends to favor coffee producers in Latin America for example, and largely ignore those struggling in the African coffee market. I am not claiming that Latin America is perfectly developed, but it has a comparatively much more developed coffee industry than that which exists in Africa. In light of this the aforementioned price disparities between fair trade and non-fair trade producers are of greater harm practically, and the negligence of the foundation becomes particularly corrosive. Unfortunately, though the Fairtrade
Foundation aren’t contented with simply massaging market signals and harming the worst-off, it would seem that they have tailored the entire scope of fair trade to cause yet more irrevocable damage. The process to actually get Fairtrade certification is arduous, expensive and clearly politically motivated. Aside from the $3200 gamble that has to be taken by all farmers to start the process, there is obviously a
Those who have not been lucky enough to be accepted by the foundation now find their prices being driven even lower
politicized favoring of co-operative farmers because the foundation simply believes they’re better. Despite constant questioning this is as much justification as they are willing to provide. This ‘ideology of co-operatives’ (Alex Singleton) is problematic for two reason. Firstly, by supporting co-ops, Fairtrade doesn’t actually ensure money goes to those who need it most as those with little capital either have a small stake in the business, and therefore receive equally small dividends, or have such little capital that they are incapable of buying into the business and therefore receive nothing. Secondly, Fairtrade’s backing of co-ops actively discriminates against entrepreneurs in the industry, including large family business’ or single plantations. If the foundation had its way, truly beneficial groups like the Good African Coffee Company would never reach our shelves because they do not fit with its ideology. Finally, we come to the rather messy area of retail pricing. Many believe that Fairtrade is worth the extra cash because that is the cost of ensuring a more acceptable living standard for the poor. However, even if all the above were excusable, The Economist printed on December 7th 2006 that retailers deliberately add their own mark-ups to mislead consumers about profit distribution, and in fact only 10% of the additional premium goes to the co-operative, who then divvy it up amongst farmers. By this point it shouldn’t be surprising that this fits in with the foundation’s notion of ‘fair’ trade.
Oli Duggan Second Year Politics email@example.com
Anti-cuts movement needs you Leeds University Against Cuts, now an officially recognised LUU society, is no extremist movement: it wants to represent you Henry Raby Third Year English firstname.lastname@example.org
Cuts never seem to be out of the paper these days. Protests, sit-ins, strikes, demos, condemnations, arts nights; it’s all kicking off. The core membership of Leeds University Against Cuts are a dedicated band of individuals from very different political backgrounds coming together to offer the bulk of organization and effort into maintaining and running the group. But there’d be no point in us devoting our time to this issue if the mass majority of students weren’t behind us. In my experience, you chat to a student on the matter and you’ll find they oppose cuts, specifically job losses. No one likes cuts, who wants cuts? Only the villains over at Leeds University For Cuts. There’s probably a name for it, but for now I’ll call it the ‘just because’ argument. It goes as follows: 300 students sign a petition opposing job cuts and hand it to the Vice-Chancellor. He flicks through and shrugs. Just because a handful of students signed some paper doesn’t mean he’ll stop the cuts. The School of English organizes a night of protest poetry. The night is well-attended and many dynamic and inspiring poems are read by staff and students alike. Just because some poems were read in a building Lord Mandselson
isn’t going to stop cuts. A night of arts is wellattended and bands, poets and musicians perform in the Riley Smith Hall against cuts. Just because they yelled into a microphone doesn’t mean the government are going to suddenly invest in our education. Just because we’re shouting, doesn’t mean they’re listening. So what’s the point in us doing these things? Firstly, they raise awareness. Our stunts, our sit-ins, our performances, our petitions all get the word out there, engage students, build support and deliver information. It’s also a link in a great chain of events, arguments, protests and campaigning. So how do we get to the stage where the management can no longer offer the 'just because' rule? Where what we do really does shake them up? Protests, strikes and even occupations prove to management and even the government that education belongs to the ones being educated and not just the ones educating. The nature of Leeds University Against Cut’s protests have been, I would argue, pretty tame. It’s not 1968 where the French police attacked students with tear gas. It’s not the Miner’s Strike where the police sent in riot squads. Some people can be put off by an anarchist banner and a raised fist, but let me assure everyone that it’s not as bad as you might think. They might not be for everyone but they’re not destructive. They usually end up in important planning meetings and progressive discussions. Usually fun too. I would like to add that in Sussex, some students have been arrested and threatened with
suspension from university. Let me also make clear that their students have rallied round them in unity. We at Leeds have offered them support, others universities will do the same. They cannot threaten us when the response will be a wall of defence and unity. They will back down. I often think of Frank Turner’s lyrics from Love, Ire & Song: “We got let down again by some poor excuse for protest/ Yeah by idiot f***ing hippies in 50 different factions/ who are locked inside some kind of 60s battle reenactment/ and I hung up my banner in disgust and I head for the door”. It’s easy to think like this, easy to let the lefties get on with it themselves, to criticise and distance oneself. My argument is thus: this matter goes beyond politics. It goes beyond being a socialist/communist/anarchist; you don’t need these prerequisites. Many members of LUAC aren’t Marxists (though there’s nothing wrong with that). Cuts will affect everyone and everyone will be affected. On the subject of these dreaded ‘occupations’, what if I said we’d have live music, artistic endeavours with paint and canvasses, filmshowings, poetry, comedy, theatre, games and, best of all, parties? What if the doors were unlocked and anyone could come in and out whenever they pleased. Reclaiming of space in an occupation not only ideologically proves we run the university, it also builds a creative, fun, dynamic and progressive environment without the threat of violence, rage or unnecessary politicising. The management want to conform everything
to monetary gain. They want to streamline the University and focus on the economical potential. The dreaded bureaucracy of Franz Kafka’s work is becoming a reality. Well, maybe I’m biased as an English and Theatre Studies student (and proud member of the Workshop Theatre) but we can resist this oppression of faceless market ideology. Our words are weapons, ours numbers are legion, our poetry is in the streets and we’re not going away. They want education to mean we become customers in a system of certification where decisions are made for us by people we’ve never even met. Legendary American 1960s folk singer Phil Ochs wrote “Who say you must protest you must protest/ It is your diamond duty.../ Ah but in such an ugly time the true protest is beauty.” These are ugly times. So we'll combat their ugliness by making protests beautiful. We’ll make them mean something. With colourful banners, powerful slogans and music with the fresh scent of unity in the air. With sit-ins and occupations dotted with art and poetry. In Paris 1968 they declared ‘Poetry is in the Streets’ and we’ll put poetry squarely into our campus and in doing so paralyse the Mask of Anarchy Shelley railed against in his 1819 poem. Leeds is a battleground for Higher Education, but a battle that will be fought with raised voices, raised fists and the spark of creativity. So next time you get invited to a protest or event from Leeds University Against Cuts or a similar group, please come along for the ride please, we’d love to have you.
photo: Conor Maclay
Metropolis The XX The Oscars reviewed Plan B Ellie Goulding
...that you always see on the train journey home As students we are well acquainted with the monotony of the train journey home. I realised as I took my seat on the ‘14.41 train to London Kings Cross, calling at ...’ just how repetitive every train journey is...
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T h e o ne o n t h e p h on e The boredom of being sat on a train, rocking from side to side monotonously, can sometimes be too much and eventually you visit the land of nod! A great way to prevent the need for a sleep (ensuring you are actually awake to get off at your stop) is ear-wigging! On EVERY train journey, you can have a great ear-wigging session of another passenger’s phone conversation. Their embarrassing ringtone is the start of a trail that eventually enables us to establish a great deal of their personality traits, personal information and social calendar events! The most fun you can have is to make up the other side of the conversation, a hilarious, if a little childish, way to amuse yourself. This is except when they spoil your fun by having their phone SO LOUD you can actually hear the other side of the conversation. How inconsiderate people can be, spoiling our fun!
S m e ll y f o od Having someone chomping in your ear, whether it be on cheese and onion crisps, a homemade egg sandwich or a chicken sandwich smothered in garlic mayo is not good...there is literally no escape! The noise of people chewing, or in some cases, gnawing their way through any of the offending items is horrendous and the smell lingers like, well, like a bad smell. You would think that human kind had come to realise that cheese and onion crisps really do smell and therefore it is courteous to eat them in the privacy of their own homes, or at least in a well ventilated area! But no, on a crowded train, you always get a whiff of the dreaded flavour.
T h e d i r e ct or o f t h e w or l d There is always one who, if you were an alien from another planet, you would presume was in charge of the whole world! They march onto the train wearing their ‘power’ suit, emanating dominance and usually barking instructions down their phone to some poor skivvy on the other end. Without even being able to see this latest ‘leader of the world’ you just know there is not a hair on their head that is out of place, they are immaculate. With laptop on knee, Blackberry glued to their ear and a frappelattechino-double espresso coffee in one hand, they jabber on spouting business speak and tap away on their keyboards all the way home...
Litt le brats ...I me an s ma ll child ren Charging up and down, singing, screaming, constantly whinging and WHINING; we’re sure we were never like that, although as if you’d ever admit it if you were! Kids are so cute...when they’re asleep. But train journeys seem to be the equivalent of giving a child a few hundred bags of Haribo Starmix. They climb over the seats, pulling faces at you, until you can no longer resist the urge to pull one back, at which point they cry and their mother turns round and gives you a look of ‘you should know better!’ It is, however, quite amusing to watch the parents attempt to calm their little darlings down. A little bribery sure does go a long way!
T h e b e d r a g gl e d s t u d e n t a f t e r a h a r d d a y a t u n i . . . i n t h i s c a s e , m e ! Why is it always the most dismal of days that we decide to make the trek to the train station? By the time you finally reach your seat on the packed train; having been a money-conscious student, you have traipsed all of your stuff across a water-logged Hyde park, dragged your stuff around uni with you all day, and then discovered you have a giant hole in your shoe, making it more like paddling in shallow water than walking to the station. Then, just to top it off, your umbrella spontaneously inverts and commits brolly suicide! So, at the point at which you can finally sit down, you do in fact look like a drown rat...very attractive!
w or d s : L a ur a D a ub n e y
Recently my issues have be than to relate to the trivia en far more primitive politics. Rather, they ha lities of cluster ve metallic box known to mo resided in the small st as the elevator. A far cry from Roald Da anywhere’,which as we all hl’s ‘elevator to unrestrained around Wi know whizzed lly factory, the elevators I am Wonka’s chocolate the Edward Boyle librar concerned with are in y. think I should be referringIn fact, from now on I vernacular ‘lifts’. But if we to them in the ‘anywhere’ as ‘anywhere wants to consider fro think we can all agree tha m levels 9-13’, then I t is a happy compromise. the ‘lifts to anywhere’ In blunt answer to the gir l who I once overheard cry, ‘are there 13 floors in the library?’, I say ‘yes, there are mean for one minute tha ’. But that doesn’t t the exploration of them requires a lift. In fac of stairs perfectly equip t, there are two flights pe traveller to any of these d to take the happy de although they mainly con partments of delight, sis for that one time I found t of books. Except a box of Turkish delights discarded in the silent section. That was delightful. But to the point; don’t to go up a mere two floorsuse the lift if you want concept behind ‘Change . Must I reiterate the 4 makes a quick zip from Life’ again? Nothing Level 13 to the High
Demand section more exa than watching with bewil sperating de every button in the lift get rment as There is nothing to do bu s pressed. t the ‘close doors’ button angrily poke the moment the lazy student exits. Anyway – I implore eve about how much of a com ryone to think tit they look like going do plete and utter wn, DOWN, a single floor in a lift, and to stop this tomfoolery at once and wo thighs. You don’t lose we rk those ight reading, especially if you cram fis tfuls of pick ‘n’ mix down your throat as a time you turn a page. Lif reward every t yourself.
up a sweat any they’re hardly going to build sat in am I icle art s thi g tin wri of At the time time soon doing that. me is a queue of queue that a computer cluster and facing off my It’s this country’s tendency to the clubs get to ent me tin people silently willing exasperates me. On the con people don’t n a student at computer. Although I have bee years now and don’t open until Midnight and . There is no ee thr two ost alm for sity ver uni s thi bother rolling up until one or cold to get into t of time in its ng ezi fre the in ue que g I’ve spent an inordinate amounomplete essays lon r hou ght a ticket for. clusters staring woefully at inc ggling to get a night that you’ve already bou stru l stil during that period, I am It just doesn’t happen. cluster queue. In this very to grips with the politics of the busy recently, can work both ways though. a five It zy t, after The clusters have been cra same cluster I remember tha d someone was of deadlines and fin to ed urn ret I ak, bre I’m assuming this is because ute min write a last gasp what’s more he the like. Still if I was trying to my time sitting at my computer and nd spe account. He piece of work I wouldn’t hadn’t even logged out of my h it and ster clu the of s ter ime wit per e the issu standing around didn’t seem to have an lessly as everyone denly I wasn’t for 15 minutes, watching aim me to be the couldn’t see why I might. Sud Brit inside me to ms see else writes away. This sure whether to let the peeved or just give it n. You’re in the ue lowest form of procrastinatio ention to work, take over and demand he que audacious int the h gly wit y hin abl res ref sum pre his , for library to the man to the spot, would be a more yet you’re just standing rooted working. A five actions. Perhaps the cluster ts den e-for-all: people stu fre a ow fell was r it if you watching interesting place an ly bab pro st mo is g over printer minute walk away there fighting for computers, ruckin irs... Actually I l be a wil it r, ste clu r the cha ano vel in er swi unused comput paper, booby-trapping a snack... NO! It’s t. nice walk, you could even get se, I’ve seen probably would queue for tha ewi this cluster or no cluster! Lik into the gym get queues of people waiting to exercising that on ent int so ple Peo ly. recent Toby Ginsberg a one-in-onein l stil nd sta they are willing to haps purposefully out queue, unwittingly or per ation, I mean situ ir ignoring the irony of the
‘File it under beer’
‘If she wore a burkha, she’d be hot’
‘Was anyone else’s life more like The Inbetweeners than Skins?’ ‘I’m not being mean. I’m realistic. She’s going to die alone.’
Sandra Bullock’s Credibility Surely the competition at the Oscars wasn’t that bad?
Plain Pas Don’t you ta this Springknow it’s so in Ramsey’s a , Gordon it’s nothin ll over it. Yeah, the fact th g at all to do with the sauce.. at we can’t afford .
Four Tet Live t for this Tickets flew ou ing with very special evenuld it be Mr. Hebden, coder for an early conten year? Leeds gig of the
Going DOWN Coca Cola's new slogan. Open happiness? There better be some coke in that can or I'm taking it back. Haribo Kids and g so, but it a rown ups love it and grownlso makes kids crashes an ups have sugar headache. d get a
Princess The Secret BBC3s fly on Round 2 of that could be the wall doced 'Laugh at better nam ers say things how foreign wrong'.
The pet rat you adopted during the bin strike last November has finally given birth, leaving you feeling slightly maternal. However, tough decisions have to be made. How will you feed the 12 extra mouths on your measly budget? After a harrowing 48 hours of much soul searching and the odd tear, a cull is in order. You leave the room, sobbing uncontrollably into a tea-towel, while the ‘man’ of the house delightedly selects his favourite bread knife.
You try your hand at creating a university society, and run a Funk Dancing for Self-Defence class. You get far too many spectators, who are attracted in order to laugh at the monstrosity you have created. On the after session drink, you have one too many gin and tonics and go off the rails somewhat. You are humiliated after standing on a table and shouting to the whole bar that Genesis were nothing after Peter Gabriel left and you see Phil Collins leaving the bar crying.
Spring is well and truly in the air, the sun is shining and everything seems right with the world. That is until the bird that brought you so much joy with its song in the morning, craps on your new jacket. That’s the tipping point and all your anger about work boils to the surface. You are last seen running around campus trying to convince the squirrels to come and ‘dine in hell’ by joining your uprising against the ‘bird menace’.
Tommy Pockets is Jesus Incarnate Our world-renowned 6.02 x 1023 year old astrologer (seen here on the Titanic) lays down the secrets of your mystic week.
Once again, you have left an essay to the last minute, and you only have yourself to blame, as endless repeats of Scrubs and other dross on E4 has been distracting you for weeks. You become so sleep deprived you act out your own version of the Jeremy Kyle Show, interviewing the microwave about their affair with yesterday's copy of the Guardian, and give a tub of margarine a lie detector test to prove he is the father of one of your odd socks.
Having fallen asleep in your seminar you have a particularly vivid dream involving Alice in Wonderland. When you get to the Mad Hatter’s tea party, it seems to resemble your seminar and one of your housemates as the Cheshire Cat, grinning away in the corner. You wake to find you have been repeating ‘I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date’ for the last 15 minutes. Your obsession with Tim Burton has finally taken its toll in the sanity department.
Virgo You drop out of uni to go on a spiritual journey to find yourself, thinking the best way to do this would be to talk to the Dalai Lama. You spend weeks trekking to a remote hideaway where he is staying, with only a friendly elephant for company, who you name ‘trumpety’. Having finally being given an audience, all he tells you is ‘to keep plugging away’. Crushed, you and ‘trumpety’ head back to civilisation to seek solace in a plate of scampi.
Scorpio You create a new musical sub-genre this week by combining the noise of your broken washing machine with your screams of frustration. It is christened ‘wash-core’ by those bastions of good taste at NME. The resultant fame leads to collaborations with such ‘luminaries’ such as Fall Out Boy and a drug habit. Fame is fickle and you end up working in McDonalds looking like Ozzy Osbourne at the age of 27.
Capricorn You replace Adrian Chiles on BBC’s The One Show after he is sacked for his decision to grow a beard. However, your own quest to grow a beard in a position somewhat further south, and then unveil it live on national television, not only leads to a national debate on pubic hair, but also a downward spiral that eventually halts with a job presenting Cash in the Attic. Your name will go down in history alongside the ‘Brazilian’ and the ‘Hollywood’ to describe your new ‘style’.
Gemini This week’s highlight should be meeting one of your heroes, but it actually turns into quite a sobering episode. You bump into ‘Skippy’ from the childhood classic ‘Skippy the bush kangaroo, but find he is a prima donna who won’t stop for an autograph or a picture and whose demeanour portrays complete disdain. You later catch him taking pills around the back of his trailer, and while you can’t tell what he is clicking away at, the look in his eye says run…
You come into possession of John Terry’s coat and find a plentiful supply of paper in the pocket. Although it is impossible to tell whether what is written on them is girls’ phone numbers, his monthly wage or a fee for his latest tour of Chelsea’s training ground. Managing to track him down to hand it back he holds out his hand to thank you. Unable to resist, you pass over him and shake the hand of his son instead, whispering ‘That one’s for Wayne’.
Jam tarts become your new favourite food, you just can’t get enough of their sweet, sweet taste. But, finding you can only get them in those multipacks with the lemon curd ones, you develop a fear of anything yellow. This leads to you having to give up your superhero alter-ego, Bananaman, causing disaster to strike when Britain sinks under the weight of the extra fruit. That will teach you to heed the lesson ‘with great power comes great responsibility’.
Pisces You get a surprise call to join the Scooby Gang after Shaggy’s untimely death. Surprising in the way that Scrappy Doo should have gone first, the hyperactive little flea-bag. You don’t actually get much detective work done as the rest of the crew fight over the copious amounts of LSD, in the form of ‘Scooby snacks’, that Shaggy left in the back of the mystery van. The sight of Scooby Doo going through withdrawal is not something you will want to see again…
Chicken Laska It’s coming up to the end of term and life is starting get a bit hot under the collar. Everyone needs a little break from time to time and, for some, cooking is the perfect escape. Whipping up a culinary storm shouldn’t always feel like a chore, but sometimes it is hard to find that happy medium between throwing a tin of baked beans in a pan and preparing a feast fit for a king. This week’s dish has the answer though. It is full of cleansing aroma, powerful flavours and comfort and after one mouthful life seems that little bit easier. Yes, there are a lot of ingredients but once those are taken care of, all you need to do it chop, stir, simmer and serve.
Ingredients: 1 tablespoon of green thai curry paste 1 white onion/two shallots, finely chopped 400ml cocunut milk 1 stock cube 2-3 skinless free-range chicken breasts dash of soy sauce 1 tsp sugar juice of half a lime (keep the other half to serve) ½ courgette, shaved with a vegetable peeler 200g rice noodles (pre-cooked) handful of chopped coriander
1: In a wok or large saucepan, heat up a tablespoon of stir-fry or groundnut oil on a medium heat. Add the curry paste and fry for 2 minutes so that the flavours of the spices diffuse. Do not burn. 2: Throw in the chopped onion and soften before adding the coconut milk and stock cube. Stir so the stock has dissolved.
Make your own Egg Sock
3: Turn up the heat to boiling point, and add the chicken. Simmer on a medium heat for about 5 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Once cooked add the soy sauce, lime juice, and sugar and stir. Throw in the courgette. Continue to simmer for a few minutes.
East er is arou nd the co rner an d the c ry o f “ y o u ’ r e n e v e r t o o o l d fo r c h o c o l a t e ” c a n al ready be hea rd gru mblin g fro m l ent d e p r i v e d s t o ma c h s . E a s t e r e g g s , w h i l e s i m p l e , ca n b e c os t l y s o h e r e ’ s a n al tern ative gift to give t his Ea ster.
4: Add the noodles straight to the wok. If they are not pre-cooked noodles but dried, quickly cook them in a pan of boiling water, drain and add to the coconut mix.
You will need:
5: Add the coriander at the last minute and serve in a large bowl. Serve each bowl with a slice of lime. An instant and oh-so-delicious remedy for long days hunched over a desk. w o r d s a n d p h o t o : R o s i e Ho g g
the sock (while it is stillinside out), so you are sewing the head piece into place from underneath. When you turn the sock the right way, the head piece will now stick up like in the picture! Step 4: Once it’s back the right way in, sew on the eyes, and then fold the triangle into a beak shape and sew onto the sock to make a 3D nose. Step 5: Pop on top of your boiled egg and Tada! You have your egg warmer! w o r d s a n d p h o t o : E l i z a b e t h Ho l l a n d
One clean sock (preferably not black) Red felt Black felt Scissors Needle Thread (Black and red)
Instructions: Step 1: Cut off the heel and ankle of the sock so that you are left with only the toe and the part that would cover the ball of your foot. Step 2: Cut out two small circles of black felt for the eyes, a triangle of red felt for the nose, and a red piece for the hair. (These colours are only a suggestion, please feel free to use whichever colours you like) Step 3: Turn the sock inside out,with the red hair piece inside the sock and right up to the toe hem line. Sew along the top of
Ethics losing out to consumerism: some of the main boycotts in today’s society E v e r w o n d e r e d w h y yo u c a n ’ t b u y N e s t l é in an y o f t he un ion sho ps? Su rp ris ingly, i t ’ s n ot a p l o y t o a n no y Ki t K a t f a n s , b u t a d e mo c r a t i c a l l y a p p r o v e d b o y c o t t . Although we all appear to have a recollection of things like this somewhere in the outer realms of our minds, and know that really we ‘should’ support such protests, not many of us have taken the time to find out why. Instead, we are more bothered about the lack of our favourite chocolate bars, rather than how to ethically ‘use’ our consumer choices. It seems that despite being aware of other, more moral people giving up their Rolos and Aeros, we find ourselves alienated by our ignorance to the situations being addressed. This means that for most of us, our love of sugar, and desire not to feel depressed every time we go to the supermarket takes priority. So here are some of the frequently boycotted companies and controversies that lead to boycotts.
N es t l e In 1977, a worldwide boycott was launched against Nestlé on account of their sales of baby formula in third world
countries. According to the World Health Organisation, bottle-fed babies are between six and 25 times more likely to die of diarrhoea in areas where the water supplies are unsterile than in places with sanitised systems. Amongst the things they are accused of are under-informing mothers of the sanitation methods required when preparing bottles, not labelling the products in the correct language of the countries where they are sold and giving away free formula in hospitals and maternity wards so that a mother’s breast milk supply dries up and then charging extortionate prices for the powder once the family are dependent on it. Nestlé deny allegations of any unethical methods in the sale of their products.
C a n a d i a n t ar s a n d s This project, to extract oil from the tar sands in Alberta, Canada, poses a carbon threat to the planet. It is claimed that the development of Canadian tar sands will push the amount of carbon in the atmosphere to the point where the planet can no longer cope. Ethicalconsumer.org encourage a boycott of all companies that have
invested in or have links to the Canadian tar sands. This includes a huge number of multinational companies, such as banks like RBS and Natwest, as well as others such as Hutchison Whampoa who run Superdrug, the Perfume Shop and 3 mobile.
B u rm a The UK Burma Campaign has been running since 1991, following opposition in Burma to the election of Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy (NLD). Burma is currently run by military rule who suppress the NLD. Aung San Suu Kyi has been under house arrest for a total of 14 years since 1991. UK Burma Campaign keeps a ‘dirty list’ of companies or businesses affiliated with Burma’s current regime. This list includes the Lonely Planet Guides and Hutchison Whampoa. Already companies such as PepsiCo, Carlsberg and Levi’s have pulled out of ventures in Burma, often as a result of boycotts against Burmese investment.
A n i m a l c r u el t y Unfortunately, there isn’t enough space on
the page to document every company accused of animal cruelty, whether through animal testing or use of fur. A few of the big names include: KFC, for the cruel conditions its chickens both live and die in; Herbal Essences; Procter and Gamble, who own a huge number of products including Head and Shoulders, Fairy liquid and Ariel; L’Oreal, for animal testing; and Harrods, for stocking fur products. This list is only a microcosm of the numerous reasons people choose to boycott companies. Boycotting doesn’t need to be as daunting as it seems, and the reasons behind it show that often those who choose not to buy certain products are merely using the wide spectrum the market provides to make a statement about their beliefs. But hopefully this list has reduced the seemingly complex and intimidating world of ethical consumerism, and will start you on your way to the free karma points that using your money to make a statement can bring. w or d s : V i ct o r i a G r a y
Technology: yesterday, today and tomorrow Most people rely on gadgets in day-to-day life. LS2 explores whether this is leading us to dangerous amounts of technological complacency
Whether it is better communication, better entertainment, the easing of everyday life tasks or even technologies for things we never even imagined we would need or even want, the idea of living without a lot of the advances we've witnessed in the last century now seems unfathomable. I think you can prove our dependency on technology through the simple question of “Would you rather?” Ask yourself, would you rather live a month without your mobile/ internet or a month without a shower? Less than two decades ago, this question wouldn’t even make a lot of sense and yet now the latter would be more of an inconvenience whereas the former would cause something ranging between meltdown to utter mental breakdown!
Maps vs. GPS
GPS is only a recent technology and now that we have it the thought of having to use a paperbased map to direct ourselves through those unknown streets, asking strangers for directions (that we never actually listen to properly and that 99% of the times are entirely wrong) doesn’t bear thinking about! That soothing voice telling us in advance the directions and then repeating it at the turning point, with such utter patience, definitely beats all those family holiday arguments over missing the turning and adding an extra hour or so onto the journey.
Of course if you like to walk, carrying a GPS unit is much easier than a paper map or book. And, once you have found your destination, you can turn the GPS unit off and put it in your glove box, backpack or pocket. Try doing that with the latest mapping directory. Then again, the problem is what happens when the batteries run out? Or it breaks? The simple skill of being able to read a map is essential if you ever do need to get yourself out of somewhere, I don’t think we should be ‘oh so’ willing to entirely write-off this old technology.
Letters vs. Email
Letters have a much more personal touch than emails, they take that much more effort and therefore it means so much more to get a letter than it does to get an email, especially if it’s that sort of message you’re trying to get across. On the other hand, emails are so quick, you get a response almost instantly and it makes things infinitely easier. When applying for a job, for example, or getting information you need for getting in contact with people. A lot of the time it’s laziness that causes the lack of productivity however, because of the unbelievable ease of emailing, being too lazy to email is practically impossible. If you are that lazy may I suggest that you should not even attempt to get out of
bed in the morning. STOP before you get carried away with awe and gratitude you may have towards email; it does have a downside. It is riddled with privacy issues for example, governments now have the power to hold and view all your emails for up to six months, not to mention if you happen to have confidential and important information on your email, a hacker from anywhere in the world could access it. Finally you can no longer cushion that blow of disappointment if you don’t get a response, the age old excuse: “It must’ve been lost in the post” bears no relevance.
Film Camera vs. Digital Camera
Whatever happened to just waiting to develop photos before you could see them? I still remember the excitement at seeing (and holding) photos that were taken up to months before and reminiscing over the memories captured in them. Now you take a photo, have a look, conclude
that you all look hideous, delete, take again, until picture perfection is achieved. Geez! Film cameras definitely beat digital cameras, not to mention the picture quality; if you get a good one, the pictures are amazingly authentic and beautiful compared to digital photos.
Brain Memory vs. Memory Chip
Ever wanted a Google type brain? Well now a group of laboratories across America are working on creating a series of micro-chips that can be used to make the human brain that bit more efficient. Its functions will have similarities to those of a computer. Supposedly these memory chips will make it impossible to forget things that you have learned, or certain events: anniversaries, birthdays, appointments etc. Straight out of a sci-fi movie this new technology sounds very exciting and forward thinking however once you go past the skindeep marvel of it the terrifying nature of it begins to crack through. Professor Theodore W. Berger, the director for neural engineering at the University of Southern California, is working on the development of a silicon chip that would replace the hippocampus; the area of the brain responsible for creating memories. The medical advances would be immeasurable, in terms of treating Alzheimer’s sufferers however, there are various problems with it. Not only are we trying to create ‘indestructible humans’ in an increasingly overpopulating world but also this introduces privacy issues. Professor Berger has even mentioned the potential for commercial and military applications of this technology; their research is partially funded by the DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency). It may seem like another of those grand conspiracy
theories that are based on nothing but pessimism however; the past activities of DARPA suggest that this is exactly the technology it is after. In the past they tried to introduce LIFELOG, a form of technology which seeks to gain multimedia: digital records of everywhere a person goes and everything they see, hear, read, say and touch. Is it very possible that eventually a technology will be developed that will be able to directly read thought, see memories and even instil thoughts. Disturbingly, technology currently exists to micro-chip ID humans, there are companies around the world whose employees must be micro-chipped in order to enter secure areas, government workers in Mexico must be tagged in order to track where they are, and enter certain areas, all justified by “security purposes”. There has been much controversy as governments around the world have considered ID chipping its citizens. Currently society’s resistance to the loss of privacy is acting as a barrier preventing this from happening, but is it possible that one day we will have our every moves, thoughts, memories and locations on a database somewhere? Technology my be something we cannot live without, but to what cost? words: Mel Rideout
CHART-TOPPING POP SENSATION ELLIE GOULDING LS: Congratulations on the show and on your debut album. How are you finding the massive amount of hype surrounding you lately? EG: It was quite intense perhaps only like a month ago, but it’s kind of died down now. Everyone’s being really positive about the album, it’s less about the hype, more really positive vibes, now that the album’s out. Yeah, it’s a difference because before people were expecting, and now the album seems to have done well. LS: You started off playing guitar, and write your songs on guitar and transfer them into a more electronic sounds did you always want to go that way? EG: Yeah I think I always knew that my songs weren’t just going to be guitary songs because I always had a feeling that they’d be something different. When I first wrote them I always imagined a big landscape in the background - so when I found Starsmith [producer of her debut album] I realized that was how I wanted them to sound... it was like we met for a reason. LS: There was a rumor going around that you were going to collaborate with Burial for your album - any truth to that? EG: I mean we know each other but I don’t think we were ever going to do that... maybe in the future.
LS: On a similar note, what do you make of all the remixes of your songs that are going round? EG: I bloody love them! I can’t get enough of remixes. I love hearing my songs in a different context. I think it’s really important and generally really cool. You know, the possibilities are endless with remixes. I mean I get good ones of mine, like with ‘Starry Eyed’. At the moment we’ve got loads and they’re all really incredible. The Jackwob in particular sounds great. Everyone seems to love that one, yeah! Banging. LS: Is there anyone that you’d like to work with in the future? EG: Everyone asks me this and I’d quite like to... I mean further obviously Jay Z no, only joking. I’d quite like to write with Björk but I think that our two voices together might annoy people (laughs).
LS: Presumably she was an inspiration for the way you sing? EG: Yeah massively, massively. I’ve been trying to think who I’d like to collaborate with but haven’t thought of many yet, trying to concentrate on my own stuff I suppose. LS: On Radio One recently you played a cover of ‘Sweet Disposition’. Why that song? EG: I don’t know, it stayed in my head for ages and I couldn’t really get rid of it, and so I wanted to just offload it... so I did it on Radio One! LS: How have you enjoyed your recent support slots? EG: I guess I’ve only really supported Little Boots and before that my minitour, but she was a really nice girl and with Erik Hassle who was really good fun. And now it’s a whole new chapter with these guys [Passion Pit], so we’ll see! LS: Are you excited for your headline tour which starts this month? Up for the festival circuit? EG: Yeah! Sold out now, it’s going to be weird people actually knowing my songs! I will be doing some festivals, although none confirmed yet. interview: Dan Lester
When Mark Thompson announced the intended closure of quality programming provider 6Music, he swiftly marked himself out as indie kids’ biggest enemy since, well, other indie kids. Web 2.0 soon exploded with outrage as the Twitterati, foaming at the mouth as a result of hastily-ordered Starbucks lattes, fired masses of hipster artillery. Meanwhile, celebs like Phill Jupitus became manic street preachers on the issue, and the Manic Street Preachers weren’t very happy either. But why all the fuss? The outrage is rife because the station is a vastly underrated bastion of high quality music culture. Yet Sir Richard Eyre states proposed cuts affecting 6Music are “long overdue changes” that show “cultural initiative.” But surely axing the much-loved 6Music would be nothing short of self harm in this respect. The issue is this: the Beeb believes it must make pre-emptive cuts to areas like digital radio and online services in order to prevent potentially-damaging budget cuts from a looming Tory government, in order to please bosom-buddies Murdoch & Sons. As polls show a closing margin against Labour, however, why is the BBC hanging itself in the face of a hung parliament, even if the Murdochs will never be appeased? An article from Murdoch’s Times Online stated that “if the BBC were serious about reform, it would consider selling Radio 1 and getting out of the pop music business.” In light of this, it’s plain to see that 6Music is nothing more than a preemptive sacrifice upon the altar of damage limitation. Political cynicism aside, if we accept that the BBC does indeed have to make cuts, the next question that should be asked is “Why 6Music?” Paxman posed exactly that to Mark Thompson in a Newsnight item that, intellectually, resembled a boxing match between Mike Tyson and an anaemic squirrel. Thompson showed a chronic ignorance of its demographic by stating that in a new streamlined BBC, “6Music listeners could be served by Radio 1 and 2,” perhaps in the same way that healthy sexual desires can be served by a breezeblock or a firework. Paxo highlighted the anomaly of letting the lesser-consumed 1Xtra survive whilst 6Music perished, pointing to a statement in which even uber-hip dad-at-the-disco Tim Westwood admitted no bugger was listening to his hours of dross. Thompson argues that 1Xtra remains unmutilated, as it “serves its niche” yet when it comes to 6Music, we find it’s being unfairly axed for serving its niche too well. If the BBC aims to “enrich lives with services that inform, educate and entertain,” then why can warbling gobshite Westwood stay when Gideon Coe must go? Although, speaking of warbling gobshites, 6Music has its own offender in George Lamb. And at the end of all this, you really must question the validity of an argument that prevents sending Lamb to the slaughter. words: Simon Radiobotham
GIG OF THE WEEK
IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE
The xx Stylus 08/03/10
In his lifetime, legendary country musician Gram Parsons strived to write ‘cosmic American music’, awash with pedal steel, trippy lyrics and earthbound acoustic guitars. Mark Linkous, better known as Sparklehorse, may have been the closest purveyor of that sound since Parsons passed on. Sadly, last Sunday, word got out that Linkous had committed suicide at the age of 47, just months after collaborator Vic Chesnutt did the same. It’s a devastating blow for music fans and a tragic way to lose one of the best American songwriters of recent times. More grounded than the Flaming Lips, less openly miserable than Eels and with a Neil Young-esque whisper of a voice, Sparklehorse worked as a middle ground between all of those artists. Across his four albums, Linkous’s lyrics were littered with references to horses, crows and dogs - the ghostly beasts which haunt the landscape of the best Southern Gothic literature. Linkous may be as famous for nearly dying in the mid-nineties as anything else; after ODing on heroin, he fell asleep in such a way as to cut off the circulation to his legs, leaving him technically dead for five minutes, and wheelchair-bound for six months. This pivotal event informed the writing of his second album, 1998’s beautifully brutal Good Morning Spider, which featured both his most heart-rending and ear-splitting songs to date, most notably its opening track, the psychotic rave-up ‘Pig’. For anyone in need of an introduction to the sad and beautiful world of Sparklehorse, a trip to Spotify is advised. Your first port of call should be 2001’s peerless It’s a Wonderful Life. Smothered in spooky mellotrons and optigans, it’s his most concise and accessible work. It’s also a testament to his appeal amongst other musicians, featuring memorable cameos from Tom Waits, PJ Harvey and the Cardigans’ Nina Persson. After that, patience is advised - after many months of legal wranglings, the last album Linkous finished in his lifetime, last year’s stunning collaboration with Danger Mouse and David Lynch, Dark Night of the Soul, finally gets a full-scale release on EMI later this year. Tributes from esteemed admirers have flooded the internet, and few are more worthy of having the last word than indie rock godhead Steve Albini, who was recently working with Linkous on a new Sparklehorse album: “I have no idea what brought Mark to this decision, and I'm sure there's nothing I can say that will enlighten anybody about his death. I just wanted to say I thought he was a good dude and his art was genuine. I don’t think there’s a lot more you can ever ask of anybody.” Mark Linkous - 1963-2010 “May all your days be gold, my child...” w o r d s : A le x W i s g a r d
Glasser begin the evenings proceeedings pretty weirdly; the band’s lead singer, a girl who looks like a scared fifteen year, yelps and jumps about, backed by two blokes in bee-keeping hats and white cloaks. Next are These New Puritans, whose last Leeds show was rated eight out of ten by this very paper. Fuck knows why; never has a band been so in need of a melody. The lead singer adopts Liam Gallagher’s sports coat and swagger, but had forgots that his ability to sing with passion. Hidden behind a white curtain, The xx open with ‘Intro’, producing an effect completely in keeping with their dark and mysterious sound. The band’s vocals are as entrancing as on the album; it’s easy to tell that the band’s two lead singers, Romy Madley Croft and Olivers Sims
have known each other since the age of three,and their voices are practically as one. Pretty much a straight live rendition of the album, with one or two covers thrown in for good measure, it’s a captivating performance. Yet, Mick Jagger this ain’t. At one point Romy smiles at Oliver, and they dispatch the occasional “thank you” to the crowd, but otherwise, their black clothing reflects the tone of the evening: introverted to the extreme. “Stop just standing! Why aren’t you dancing? Take some fucking pills, you boring twats,” one disgruntled audience member shouts, but it seems he is in a minority, as the crowd are hypnotized by the darkly eerie vocals. ‘Infinity’ shows off the band’s sense of rhythm to the full. The drums of third x Jamie Smith slowly build in time with Romy’s angry screams of “I can’t give it up,” reaching an overwhelming crescendo as Oliver whacks the hell out of two cymbals. Suddenly, it all stops dead, as the keyboard pulls the song back into a meditative shoegaze drone. And that’s how the gig ends - with a sudden stop and a wish from the crowd for something more. To be mesmerised that little bit longer. words: Tom Knowles photo: Virginia Newman
MORE GIGS Yeasayer The Faversham 22/02/10
Poor Yeasayer seem to have suffered with the success of their Brooklyn peers, looking like Dirty Projectors’ weird younger brother who never quite made it. 2007’s All Hour Cymbals was great, but strange as hell; now they’ve grown up, abandoned the Middle Eastern madness and embraced a heap of pop for a corker of a new album, Odd Blood. The rammed Faversham proves that it’s getting a lot of people excited. Not that this stops them from freaking out the MGMT-fanciers in the audience. Support act Javelin are clearly just an elaborate musical joke, delivering bizarre self-help voodoo nonsense over old cassette samples with terrifying enthusiasm. They’re actually pretty good....at least in between weird rap breakdowns. Yeasayer’s set opens, as Odd Blood does, with ‘The Children’, with Chris Keating’s vocals twisted like some kind of industrial preacher only slightly less scary than it sounds. With ‘Madder Red’, however, it’s clear that things have changed; in come the ridiculous vocal hooks and thumping percussion - pure pop bliss. The rest of the set provides more revelations. On ‘Rome’, they grow an ego, and in ‘O.N.E’ they deliver one those inescapable ‘summer hits’. Even Anand Wilder steps up as a more-thancapable vocalist, displaying a seductive drawl, akin to a serpentine Al Stewart. Running out of time for an encore (thus depriving everyone of ‘2080’), it’s left to closer ‘Ambling Alp’ to show how cosmic Yeasayer’s ambition has become. Its swirling mix of tribal rhythms, falsetto hooks and boxing references sounds like the most bizarrely accurate definition of ‘epic’ ever. Nevertheless, it puts Yeasayer up there amongst their Brooklyn peers. words: Ben Taylor
Cymbals Eat Guitars Cockpit 22/02/10
I don’t know what I expected Cymbals Eat Guitars to look like but I certainly didn’t see this coming: a lost King of Leon, a Sonic-Youthbobble-hatted bassist and Newcastle United central defender Steven Taylor on guitar, doing a weird tongue-sticking-out thing whenever he was concentrating. Maybe I expected them to be all New York City rock’n’roll, or maybe geek chic, but they just look disappointingly normal. The classic cliché to never judge a book by its cover has never been truer, however, as the live performance itself is anything but disappointing. For a band whose debut album (Why There Are Mountains) sounds so chaotic, the band are impressively tight, and all instrumentation is executed perfectly. ‘The Living North’ and ‘...and the Hazy Sea’ are undoubtedly highlights and, with the small crowd in agreement, Cymbals manage to summon a degree of energy which a more than half-empty venue would normally sap. There are also a couple of new tracks which sound promising ahead of the 2010 release of their sophomore record. A broken E string threatens to bring proceedings to an early close, but a helpful audience member came through for the band. Thank god, too, because the band go on to put that string to good effect. The encore of Elliot Smith’s ‘Ballad of Big Nothing’ is an amazing finale, with Joseph D'Agostino showing a cleaner side to his vocals and the band showing a much more measured approach. When all is said and done, a good band with great songs played a good gig. The poor turnout is a shame, as it’s easy to imagine Cymbals really putting on a great show to a larger, more lively crowd. words: Ollie Claxton
Passion Pit Academy 04/03/10
Marmite synthpop sensation Ellie Goulding enters to a mixed reception, but displays a thrilling confidence, her commanding vocals never missing a note. It’s hard to know why people describe her music as ‘folktronica’, as the acoustic guitars are all too often drowned out by layers of electronics. Goulding rounds off her set with an excellent rendition of ‘Starry Eyed’, filled with dubstepesque warbles, and in the second half of the song she takes to the drums for a pretty exciting rhythmic section. The jury’s still out on whether or not she’s the female second coming that critics might have us believe, or just a fairly bland amalgamation of all of the other lady synth-poppers of the past year, but tonight’s performance certainly hints towards the former. Soon enough, the five boys from Boston take to the stage, brimming with a relentless joy that would bring a smile to the face of all but the very glummest of emos. The band themselves have the energy to suit; lead singer Michael Anglakos bounces around the stage, swinging his microphone to match the hyperactive keyboards of ‘Make Light’ and ‘The Reeling’. Mild technical issues threaten the performance, but such is the atmosphere that it’s hard to notice or care. The set’s highlight is the glorious ‘Smile Upon Me’, its chorus bringing to mind LCD Soundsystem’s ‘All My Friends’, before storming into a raucous ‘Little Secrets’ - a balls-out pop gem, the effect of which is similar to pumping the audience’s veins with glucose. An encore of ‘Sleepyhead’ caps off the show wonderfully. One week since their show, the sunshine still hasn’t let up. Even the weather seems to love Passion Pit. words: Dan Lester
9 RECORDS Natascha Sohl Dirty Little Word Granite Are you tired of your pop acts being not only more contemporary than they were in 2004, but also more interesting and less nasal? Natascha Sohl’s second album Dirty Little Word is an album that quickly, and horrifically, transports the listener back to a mid-noughties dystopian past, in which Avril Lavigne’s ‘Sk8er Boi’ is once again the soundtrack to the life of every insipid, charmless teenager in the country. ‘Naked’ sets the tone with flaccid rock guitars providing the soundtrack for Sohl’s unnecessary “ooh-ahh”s. Her emaciated overdriven guitars invoke the predictable tropes of just about every passionless pretend-punk pop-girl song that ever existed, quickly receding and leaving breathing space for the only kind of moodily strummed minor chords that can make pre-
teens girls weep “Only Natascha Sohl gets me, Mum! Natascha Sohl wouldn’t make me clean my room!” As horrendously melodramatic lines such as “You’re making me nervous, I wanna die” flow out of her mouth, you can’t help but feel that this album is far closer to a endurance test than a pleasant sensory experience. Speaking of detestable lyrics ‘If I Was a Boy’ has to take the biscuit - in this case, a biscuit made of shit. In terms of instrumentation, it’s
the most bearable thing on the album, with a syncopated and palm muted guitar riff that comes close to becoming catchy. Unfortunately, its lyrics undo decades of feminism faster than a sorority girl can undo her bikini at Spring Break: “If I was a boy, I’d be a big CEO...a girl can dream, if only that could be me.” Any feminists out there gnashing their teeth at such sexist lyricism may find respite in Sohl’s statement that “we all know it’s all about the girls.” This solitary consolation does little to consolidate the exaggerated gender hegemony inflated by Sohl. This song would actually be less offensive if it was re-written as ‘Where Women Belong (The Kitchen)’ by Miss Ogyny. The album is dreadful and Sohl-less, but it isn’t necessarily a complete waste of money. Use your imagination: it could make a shit Frisbee, a shit compact mirror, a shit placemat or a useless and shit shuriken (martial arts ed.: that’s a throwing star, kids) capable of doing less damage than actually playing the CD. A word of caution though: as the album closes, you may be left with one very Dirty Little Word in your mouth. Mud. Actually, no. It’s cunt. words: Simon Rowbotham
MORE ALBUMS North Atlantic Oscillation Grappling Hooks Kscope
Edinburgh trio North Atlantic Oscillation do, at first, appear about as exciting as an evening at Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow’s place. However, beneath the surface, their debut album Grappling Hooks subtly entwines futuristic Four Tet style bleeps and glitches alongside colourful and expansive textures. It comes as no surprise, then, that the band first bonded over a shared love of “unusual time signatures and Squarepusher.” The studio in which this vibrant record was made surely reeked of sweat and tears, as this is very obviously the sound of a band who have thrown every melodic idea they have into the album, with some wonderful results. The ambient soundscapes and cluttered effects do at times sound muddled and monotonous, and the album gets of to a eerie start with the downtempo atmospherics of ‘Marrow’. The track neatly creates a collage of sweeping vocals and layered synths which certainly wouldn’t be out of place on an Enya record. ‘Hollywood Has Ended’ and ‘Cell Count’ both display an ethereal quality and a level of energy which transcends much of the album, with the latter being a masterpiece of psychedelic prog-pop with catchy hooks. The main dilemma which future fans will encounter when listening to Grappling Hooks is that a third of the album is just bland enough to incur minimal excitement in the listener. Still, it’s a great debut album from a band riding in both the wakes of Sigur Ros and Animal Collective and, unless the trio have exhausted themselves of ideas, I am sure North Atlantic Oscillation have plenty in store for the future. words: Fred Pritchard
ALBUM OF THE WEEK
Shy Child Liquid Love Wall of Sound
New York duo Shy Child return with their fourth studio album Liquid Love. In a world crowded by electronic two-pieces, you have to produce something pretty special to be acclaimed and Shy Child have come close very close - to being just that. Liquid Love falls firmly in the everpresent genre gap between electronica, indie and, for want of a better name, ‘nu-gaze’. Shy Child have produced an album that will appeal to a wide audience and provide great headphone material for anyone pulling an all-nighter in the coming weeks. In sevenminute epic ‘Criss Cross’, already released as a free download from their website, short synth sequences repeat in ever more detailed ways, which proves to be the highlight of the album. Lead singer Pete Cafarella appears to float above the electronic melee providing order to the chaos; unfortunately it comes either side of sample of an irrelevant interview, the only black mark in an otherwise brilliant piece. The track builds and builds into crashing finale, which reveals a more sophisticated side to the overabundance of chart-friendly electropop available at present, giving more than a nod to fellow NYC residents LCD Soundsystem. ‘Disconnected’ takes the band on a more indietronica leaning and wouldn’t sound out of place on a Cut Copy album, albeit with a more rough-and-ready feel to it. A catchy chorus can take a song a long way, and it’s no surprise that this has been chosen as the first single. Original it is not, but Liquid Love is a complete listening experience, and not just an adhoc collection of tracks. words: Simon Rollison
Dan Le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip The Logic of Chance Sunday Best
Notoriously hard to label, Dan Le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip fuse spoken word with a myriad of samples. Their ingenious early ‘lap-hop’ mashups had MySpace fanatics stuck on caps lock for months and The Logic of Chance, the follow up to cult debut Angles, has big shoes to fill. Scroobius Pip takes his provocative ‘thinkhop’ beyond the tongue-in-cheek; gone are the offbeat witticisms and roguish delivery. Here, Pip’s vocals are unapologetic and militant - a political animal sinking his claws into Britain’s “broken society”. At first refreshing, the political stance begins to overpower everything else on the LP. We hear about teenage pregnancy, binge drinking, the state of democracy: there’s no relief. On ‘Great Britain’, he even lists Britain’s knife crime stats, year by year. Is it music with an agenda, or an agenda set to music? The Logic of Chance is a self-conscious move away from the mainstream, but with no cohesive sound and a tangle of influences, the album often feels schizophrenic and aimless. Le Sac’s contributions are often overshadowed by Scroobius Pip’s political leanings. The wobbly bass of ‘The Beat’ feels half-hearted and awkward in comparison with other dubstep artists, while closing track ‘Cowboi’ is practically tuneless. Despite its flaws, the album does contain a few real gems; the charming ‘Cauliflower’ is a lighthearted, boy-meets-girl interlude, juxtaposing Pip against delicate female vocals. Meanwhile, the guilty pleasure of ‘Last Train Home’ is a four-minute funk moan. No longer outsiders, Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip can no longer make self-consciously ‘outsider pop’. Instead of finding an agenda, they need to find their sound. Third time lucky, guys? words: Grace Caffyn
Vampire Weekend ‘Giving Up the Gun’ XL
Armed with an impenetrably star-studded video, featuring the RZA, Lil Jon and Jake ‘He’s So Dreamy’ Gyllenhaal, the Vamps take the good sense to release Contra’s best track as its second single proper. A rapid-fire synthpop gem, it doesn’t quite work as well in isolation as on the album, but it’s still as absurdly joyous a musical experience as 2010 will likely produce. words: Alex Wisgard Wild Beasts ‘We Still Got the Taste Dancin’ on Our Tongues’
With falsettos galore, ‘We Still Got the Taste Dancin’ on Our Tongues’ incorporates all that is decadent about Wild Beasts: the wonderfully hedonistic and downbeat melody, an ability and style with which a lot of people will be well acquainted. words: Anna Conrad Lady Gaga ‘Telephone (feat. Beyoncé)’
Cacophonous synths and grotesquely autotuned vocals grind against the inside of your head from the moment the song begins. Later, gimmicky telephone sounds are left to painfully ring in your ears. Multiple listening is only advised for the maschochists amongst us. Will you be left hanging on the ‘Telephone’? Perhaps...if you strangle yourself with the cord. words: Simon Rowbotham Cosmo Jarvis ‘Crazy Screwed-Up Lady’ Wall of Sound
A mad infusion of pianos, guitars and even an errant string section, Cosmo Jarvis’s latest offering is a mess of metronomic drumbeats and soprano yelps to create three minutes of infuriating indie. The unnecessary instrumental version on the b-side is actually better than the original. Kind of says it all, really. words: Jacob Mignano Prince ‘Cause and Effect’ Self-released
This new effort from Prince lies somewhere between an eighties sitcom theme and a seventies cop show theme (complete with car chase sequences). The backing singers sound rubbish, and the perversely clinical production and impotent guitar tone make the song sound like a MIDI file of itself. The guitar solo melts your face with how lame it is. words: Michael Waters
Preview System presents Ricardo Villalobos & Cassy The Mint Club, 01/04/2010 Ricardo Villalobos
One of the original instigators of the microhouse and Latin-infused minimal techno genres, Ricardo Villalobos began djing in his native Chile in the early 90s, honing his unique take on electronic music to create the original sound he is widely-revered for today. Villalobos’ productions typify his Chilean roots, and he has been credited with creating a fresh perspective on a flailing scene, with key releases on Playhouse, Perlon, Contexterrior, Cocoon and his own Sei Es Drum label. Quickly gaining notoriety and praise amongst his peers, notably Sven Vath and Richie Hawtin, Villalobos soon joined rank and became a figurehead of the international electronic community, headlining festivals and clubs across the world. A rare UK appearance from one of the most in demand and critically acclaimed DJs of our time.
Songstress turned DJand Panorama bar resident, Cassy is known for her tastemaking house and minimal sets earning her the honour of mixing the very first cd in the Panoramabar series. Production wise Cassy has collaborated with Villalobos and Mathew Jonson and her own creations have been snapped up by the likes of Perlon, Cocoon, Uzuri and more recently her own self-titled label Cassy! After her debut System appearance last year, Cassy left a lasting impression on the System team and regulars— we’re delighted to welcome Cassy back to Leeds and the Mint Club.
System presents Luciano Mint Club, 06/03/2010
onto the dancefloor. Maintaining the energy set down by the residents before him, Luciano wasted no time in moving the music towards more familiar territory. An early, personal edit of Blaze's timeless House classic 'My Beat' raised the energy in the room to boiling point, the vocals combining with the hazy, fluorescent atmosphere to send the place into a wild frenzy. From here Luciano was in total control, manipulating and engaging the crowd with considerable ease. With rapid, faultless mixing and astute selection, he moved effortlessly between tracks, showcasing both his ability and versatility as a DJ. Moments of Detroit House ('Moodymann-Shades of Jae') were interspersed with tougher, Techno records, all set within a body of past and present Cadenza anthems. Unfortunately at times Luciano's cult status shone through, his edit of Lumidee's 'Uh Oh' (a veritable YouTube sensation) slightly compromisng his musical integrity. Aside from a couple of issues with the event (£25 to get in at 4am!), it proved to be another successful foray for System. To be honest, these days failure is not an option. Their bookings alone attract revellers from all over the UK and with Techno luminaries Ricardo Villalobos and Sven Vath scheduled to play in April, this will undoubtedly continue. The promise of such rare extended sets is providing the perfect selling point. Personally however, I find the prospect of these Superstar DJ's less and less enticing – or at least, the events themselves less satisfactory. The hype, unfortunately, lends to over-ambitious expectations. Yes, Luciano was good – but then what did you expect?
Tickets available on the door
System. Courtesy of soonnight.com
It's no secret that System are fast becoming one of the most revered and respected Techno imprints in the North of England. Their 'Desolat' Records showcase in early February brought longstanding friend and favourite Loco Dice to Mint, for what proved to be another enjoyable, marathon session; March's edition brought with it the prospect of yet another potentially mouth-watering encounter, in the shape of superstar DJ Luciano. Over the course of the last two years, the Chilean-born Swiss maestro has been elevated to near cult status, in part due to an overwhelming degree of fashion-conscious media hype. Owner of the ubiquitous 'Cadenza' Records and protégé of sonic visionary Ricardo Villalobos, Luciano has been at the forefront of the European underground House scene for countless years. A major player in the recent rise and evolution of Minimal, Luciano's sets are the thing of legend, famous for his incorporation of percussive, Latin rhythms within a framework of traditional House and Techno. Not surprising then that expectations were high in the run-up to Saturdays extended performance, especially when considering this could quite possibly be Luciano's only appearance in Leeds in 2010. With a proposed headline set time of 2am, it was left to resident duo Bobby O'Donnell and Annie Errez to lay the foundations for the early Mint crowd. Playing two records each, back-toback, the duo soon settled into their stride, their tough, rolling grooves providing the perfect soundtrack for those early, slightly timid forays
words: Carlos Hawthorn
Metropolis photo: Conor Maclay Metropolis LUU, 06/03/2010 Tonight Metropolis descends upon Leeds University Union with an absolute behemoth of a line up. Sub Focus, Krafty Kuts and Joker leap off the flyer and assure that tonight is going to be no different to any other Metropolis night: absolutely massive. As I arrive on a bitterly cold Saturday night, I enter into the sounds of DJ Hazard smashing up the Terrace. His trademark jump up drum’n’bass relentlessly pounds through the impressive system filling the room to bursting point. Not letting the early set time hold him back, Hazard effortlessly double drops tune
after tune asserting his status as one of the best-hyped drum’n‘bass DJs in the world. Next up is Distance. His unique metallic sound has made him one of the most sought after producers in the genre, and his DJ sets are arguably some of the heaviest around. Inducing a mosh pit by opening with Mr Larger’s ‘Tell Me’, Distance set about smashing the dance floor to pieces with cutthroat intensity. At times the brutality of his approach is too much for the audience to handle, but coming towards the end of his set the crowd amass for the entrance of DJ N-type. DJ N-type is one of the most well known DJs in the dubstep scene for good reason. His input helped pioneer the genre alongside
Hatcha, and their Sin City event down in London is going from strength to strength. Comprising all angles of the dubstep sound in his sets, N-type brings the party together. He absolutely smacks it from start to finish, ending on Coki’s monster of a tune ‘Tree Tank’. After such excitement I had to take some down time and what better way than to go and see the funky sounds of Buraka Som Sistema. These guys have been making music for a good while now and have recently been receiving the praise they deserve. Their stage show lit up the intense arena of Mine and really managed to get the crowd up and jamming on their feet. I quickly ran across to the main arena to
catch the chart topping Sub Focus track ‘Rock it’ (sorry, had to be done). With the room absolutely rammed and every one of his tunes sending the crowd into a frenzy, you can see why Sub Focus is the name on everyone’s lips when it comes to drum’n’bass. His passion bounds out as you see him jumping around the DJ booth, hyping the crowd up as much as possible as tunes like ‘feeling like this could be real’ and ‘Rock It’ tear through the speakers. Tonight Metropolis absolutely smashed it, with all four rooms going off from start to finish. When it comes to parties, Metropolis really know how to throw them and long may they live. words: Oliver Gibbons
LS2 interviews... Plan B Anyone who is a loyal listener of Radio 1 cannot have avoided hearing ‘Stay Too Long’ by Plan B in the last few weeks, and why would they want to? Firstly, as Zane Lowe’s record of the week and then Fearne Cotton’s, his voice has been gracing the radio waves soulfully since January 11. For those familiar with Plan B this sound may have come as a surprise due to its drastic difference to the music that launched his name back in 2006.
Evelyn Prysor-Jones spoke to Ben Drew i.e. Plan B about his this change of direction and ambitions for the future. LS: Your first albumWho Needs Actions When You Got Words was rap and a harsh violent sound while the second, The Defamation Of Strickland Banks, to be released April 5, is soulful, deep and emotional. What led you to the change? Plan B: I was making music like this from the start, the rap music was the change, that’s why I called myself Plan B, I flipped it on its head then, and I’ve flipped it back now. Behind the scenes I was always making this music and I just didn’t show it to the public. When I decided to make this album, the idea was that it was a double disc album. There was this album that I’ve got now (The Defamation of Strickland Banks) and also an album called The Ballad of Belmarsh which is the same story as Strickland Banks but told in a hip-hop way, which is Plan B narrating what is happening to Strickland Banks. It goes into the details of who he met in prison and all the things he went through in prison. The hip-hop I make is better suited to an independent record label, and Atlantic are not one, and they felt it didn’t make sense for them to put a lot of money and promotion into an album that radio wasn’t going to play. So I was asked to split the albums in two and they wanted to push The Defamation of Strickland Banks. And the deal we made was, I could have ownership of the darker hip-hop one to do what I want with. So they’ve got their album that they can promote to the masses, which I love and really enjoyed making and it was my idea to do, but then we’ve got this hip-hop album which I’m probably going to release on Pet Cemetery quite soon after this one comes out, hopefully in the next six months. So I’m still catering for the old hip-hop crowd but I can also show the world that I’m a proper song-writer and I’m a singer as well. You find a lot of barriers doing hip-hop, with the kind of hip-hop I like doing there are ways of getting your music out to the masses and with those ways you usually find someone standing in front of the door. They’re saying “you’re not allowed to do this, you’re not allowed to say that” so instead of me making a pop-rap record, I decided if I’m not allowed to make the kind of hip-hop I want to make then I wont make hip-hop. For me, The Defamation of Strickland Banks is supposed to be an accompanying CD to the hip-hop. It was supposed to be a way of saying ‘this album is for the radio and the TV and all the stores that someone is normally standing in the way of, and the other album is for the fans’. In hindsight, splitting the albums was the best thing I’ve ever done. This album was supposed to come out last September, that’s when we were first aiming to finish it, but if I had put an album out back then I wouldn’t have been happy. It has literally taken me until now. I mean last week I had my last mastering session to get the mixes right and to get it sounding right, just on these 13 songs, so if I was trying to do that with two albums at the same time it would have been really hard to get that kind of quality. This is the first instalment of the Strickland Banks saga, there’s more to come.
LS: Everything you do is telling a story, like the life story of Strickland Banks, all the songs you make are stories and you’re also interested in films, so would you ever want to turn your album into a film? PB: I feel like it is a film already. I coined the phrase ‘a film for the blind’ a long time ago; I wanted to make my music more than just music. When you go to see a film, the music is just the soundtrack, it’s important but it’s not the main thing, it’s like a bonus, a sideline. That’s what I wanted this (his new album) to be, a sideline to the whole story. It’s the story that’s important. I’ve decided to tell it through Motown because the character in that story, in that film, is a Motown singer. But for me, what’s important is the story telling, the struggle that happens to this guy. We’re trying to show that through the videos now. All the
It’s about showing people that music doesn’t just have to be linear, and so easily understood. It should be seen more as a film
I knew that the majority of people out there has written me off as an angry, white, wigger from a council estate
videos are episodic, and once all the campaigning is done, you can watch all the videos back to back, like a film. If I get the opportunity to make a short feature film about one of the videos then I will. Then hopefully we’ll be in the position, with all the extra footage we’ve been getting and we plan to get during the course of this campaign, to put it all together as a DVD, as a film, like a Michael Jackson Moonwalkerstyle music-based film that the fans can buy. Then after that you’ve got the hip-hop version of events, the hip-hop album which is almost like the out-takes that were too gritty for the movie, that will be there for the real fans. LS: You’ve recently stared in Harry Brown opposite Michael Caine, playing a hoodthug and you’ve got Plan B and Strickland Banks, where do you fit into it? PB: I think Plan B is just my stage name. Instead of Plan B becoming an alter ego of Ben Drew, I think the whole point of saying Plan B Presents The Defamation of Strickland Banks is that I’m trying to show everyone that Plan B is more than just a rapper, Plan B is also a singer, a song writer, an actor and a director. Plan B is Ben Drew. I don’t like to even think of Strickland Banks as an alter ego, I think of him as a character in a film that I’m portraying. It’s not like I’m going to keep on playing Strickland Banks forever, I’ve got these two albums that I will be playing him in, these two films for the blind that I’m playing him in and after that it’s on to the next project and the next character. LS: Have you got any ideas about the next sort of character you are going to create? PB: There’s a song I did years ago with Scribe called ‘How’s it Feel’ and me and him starting writing this project, this film for the blind project called Easily Led which is
based around that song. We started writing a whole album’s worth of songs, which are scenes in this little film. It’s really underground, the beats are really low-vibe and kinda hip-hop based and it really is straightforward dark hip-hop. But you need money to do it, it’s not going to be commercially viable, it’s not going to be one of these things where I could take it to a record label and they could make money out of it, it is purely artistic expression. So in order for me to fund that project I’m going to need money and I think the project I’m doing now could be successful and could get me some money, therefore, with a bit more time and a bit more power I’ll be able to go and do all the other projects I want to do. But, at the same time, once I started this project I knew it has to be something I would feel proud of, proud of the end result, and I try and do that with everything. I’m directing a film at the end of this year, I’ve written a feature film and I’m just doing all the preparation now to direct it. The reason I wrote this film is because I’ve actually written another script, this big gangster script, that I had a bit of interest in and the company asked me who I wanted to direct it and I said, well, me. They then got cold feet and didn’t want to make the film any more so I knew I had to go and prove myself as a director. I took four grand out of my bank and I hooked up with this guy, who is a producer and who works at a camera company called Aimimage in Camden and we went and made this short film. Now this short film was only supposed to show the world that I could direct so I could go back to working on my big gangster film.
Then I realised that this big gangster film would have to be made on a very big budget, I’m talking millions with the way I wanted to shoot it. So I decided to extend my short film into a feature film and the reason I did that was because we knew we had kinda nailed the short film; it was good. It was a good concept and a good story and I felt like if I’m going to show the world that I can direct then I need to do it on a small budget with a good story. Ultimately, the short film is called Ill Manners, that’s the short film I’m making this year, and it is supposed to be a calling card, it’s supposed to say I can direct, give your money to me and I’ll make a good film. That next good film will be the original gangster film that I set out to make. But that doesn’t mean with Ill Manners, that I’m going to rush it, that I’m not going to put my best into it, I’m going to make it the best it can be. I am going to make it a priority and I’m going to obsess over it until I get it right. It’s the same as The Defamation Of Strickland Banks. I knew that the majority of people out there had written me off as an angry, white, wigger from a council estate and I knew if that perception of me carried on it would only make my life harder and it would make all these other projects I wanted to do much harder to make. I knew I needed to make a record that a major label like Atlantic who I’m with, could sell. I knew I had to do that but I didn’t want to make a record that I wasn’t proud of or was uncomfortable performing. If I had made a pop-rap record, that would have been me selling out. So if I couldn’t make hip-hop the way I want to make it I would make a whole new type of
music that I could still be proud off and stand up for and that’s what The Defamation of Strickland Banks is. But then it wasn’t premeditated. It wasn’t like we sat there and said “right, how are we going to do this?” It was more like I got in the studio, started playing a load of music and thought wow this is fucking great. Then during the making of the album, me and my band would look at it and go “you do realise this has potential to be played on radio, this has potential to be really big” and we’d be like “yeah” but that wasn’t why we were making it. We’re doing it because we enjoy making it. It has just been a natural progression man. Other people aren’t going to see it that way, other people will just see it as Plan B has changed his style, for what reason has he done this? But, you know, fuck them. When all the other albums come out, when The Ballad of Belmarsh comes out, people are going to see the bigger picture and I think that’s what I’m about now. It’s about showing people that music doesn’t just have to be linear, and so easily understood. It should be seen more as a film, I’m a director making a film, it’s just you can’t see it, it’s a film for the blind. LS:What do you think you’d be doing if you weren’t making music? PB: Directing. I went to college, and my mum and sister said you need something to fall back on, and the only other things I enjoyed were films. So I went to college and did a media production course, and AS film and was learning about films. I went to university to do film but I got half way through and thought that even if I came out
of uni with a degree in films it’s not going to get me a job as a director. It’s all about talent and so I thought the only way to do that was to go and make films and I’ll need money to do that so for now why don’t I just focus on the music, try and make money out of that, fund my own films and show people that I can direct and that’s what I’ve done. LS: So it really has been a natural progression, rap, to soul, to films. PB: Yeah, like if I wasn’t doing this I’d be directing, but it’s like what comes first, chicken or the egg? But for me, music was my key to doing all the other things but they’re all as important as each other. Plan B begins his tour on April 8. Tickets available from: www.time4planb.co.uk www.gigsandtours.com www.seetickets.co.uk The dates: Thu Apr 8 Fri Apr 9 Sat Apr 10 Sun Apr 11 Tue Apr 13 Wed Apr 14 Thu Apr 15 Fri Apr 16
Anson Rooms, Bristol Oxford Academy Birmingham Academy 2 Brighton Concorde 2 Classic Grand, Glasgow Cockpit, Leeds Manchester Academy 2 Shepherds Bush Empire, London
For further information please contact email@example.com / 02079385562
2010 Spring Essentials for men
Item of the week This simple flowing dress from French Connection is a beautiful piece for this spring. The neutral colours and Athenian shape are complimented by the sequined embellished shoulders which transforms the dress from a basic garment to party piece. It could be complimented by a waist belt to add some extra shape or worn with jeans to give a more casual feel. Either that or you could add some class to a toga party! words: Tomas Jivanda image: frenchconnection.com
Graingers Glitter Dress, £170, French Connection
As the cold slowly but surely subsides and UGG boots once again become totally unacceptable, wardrobes everywhere are due a spring clean. Here a four basic items that will help see you through the season. Trench coat Inevitably it will piss down for most of April. Styles from Burberry and Daks are well imitated these days, so it doesn’t have to cost you the world. It is however worth spending a decent sum of money on a new trench coat, as it is a timeless staple of British fashion. French Connection’s current trench is worth a look at £150. White collared shirt A classic white shirt is one of the most versatile garms a man can have in his wardrobe, and definitely a worthwhile investment. Spend some time finding one that fits or even consider getting one tailored. Tan lace ups For the ultimate preppy look combine brogues with twill. As with the trench coat, its worth splashing out on leather lace ups. For shoes with class and prestige visit Church’s in the Victoria Quarter. Alternatively wear deck shoes with cream and navy tones for a ‘nautical but nice’ theme. Also compatible with shorts, a good pair of deck shoes will add sophisticated dimension to your summer wardrobe. Chinos Clashing trousers are a focal point of 2010 spring trends. Uniqlo offer no less than 13 colour options, including green, burgundy, orange and pink. Hardcore fashionistas won’t be afraid to roll them up and show some ankle as the weather warms up. words: Tom Purdie image: frenchconnection.com
Fashion for the Avatar age “We came from water and now, with the help of stem cell technology and cloning, we must go back to it to survive. Make no mistake, this is not sci-fi, this is evolution…” The above is taken from Alexander McQueen’s show notes for his final collection, an environmentally apocalyptic vision of science-as-art, where the models were both beautiful and frightening, with hair plaited into fins, wearing shoes like monstrous claws and graphic prints so eye-popping, you couldn’t work out if they were animal or machine. McQueen may have been at the helm of this new movement, but there is a whole wave of designers who are pushing technological boundaries to create digitally manipulated prints. James Cameron changed the face of cinema this year with Avatar, and now a new generation of fashion designers reared on computer graphics and Xbox imagery are transforming scientific know-how into beautiful clothes. For spring/summer 2010, Peter Pilotto tweaked images of fireworks to make explosively abstract minidresses, while Mary Katrantzou was inspired by the curving lines of perfume bottles. Matthew Williamson’s vivid geometric florals looked like they had had a happy accident with a tempermental inkjet printer. Donatella at Versace showed graphic, almost robotic prints in the form of supermini skirts and leotards in a kaleidoscopic of colours. Graphic prints have been popular in fashion since the seventies, but what makes this trend different is the sheer complexity of the prints, so highly worked that their mostly humble beginnings as close-ups of familiar objects are quickly forgotten. The prints at McQueen were at turns both organic and manmade, wherever the fish scales, butterfly wings and snakeskins had collided on the computer screen. A look at the recent autumn/winter 2010 collections also reveals that this is not just a seasonal fancy, Avatar fashion is here to stay. Cameron and McQueen’s evolution is a revolution through clothing. words: Imogen Wright
Is Lent stil religious, or has it become a social convention? As we move towards Easter, some students will have valliantly given up one of their many vices for Lent. But is this in a quest or self-fulfilment, or do they still have a religious spine to their act? Detox can be worth it
A self satisfying quest
Nowadays, in an overindulgent society Lent is usually used as a way to detox or as a way to exercise some self control. All religious traditions adapt and move with the times, a period of fasting is commonly found in all the major religions, some of which observe it more than others. In the immortal words of Robbie Williams in his song Millennium: “Overdose at Christmas, give it up for Lent”. We have to ask ourselves, is it okay to cut out one thing only to overindulge in another? Okay, so maybe unlike Orthodox Christians you’re not giving up meat and dairy products for practical reasons and most probably because you couldn’t survive 40 days without. This is true of most major religious events such as Christmas and Easter, it becomes the norm to celebrate in the conventional commercial way. Do people really follow religious traditions with religion in mind? A flatmate of mine decided to give up sweet things for Lent, and is rather impressively sticking by it (even when offered a large slice of chocolate cake). I suspect this is more do to with self control than an ultimate religious reason. Self control and abstaining from those things that you want, but not necessarily need might not always be a bad thing, especially if it’s the bad things you are abstaining from. Religious festivals are always used to teach us something, and it is up to the individual whether the self satisfaction of abstinence due to religion or convention will ultimately teach them a way of long term self control, or will just make that oh-so good feeling after sinking your teeth into an Easter egg even better.
Lent used to be a time of repentance and reflection upon the year that has passed before; a time to, in the traditions of Christianity, gain forgiveness for your sins and become a better person. Not any more. In today’s modern and fast changing world people seem to have little time for established traditions whether religious or not, and it has become socially acceptable to ignore the meaning behind the practice they are participating in. In the case of Lent, giving up vices such as smoking or chocolate is supposed to reflect Jesus’ deprivation for 40 days and 40 nights and be a test of self discipline. Self discipline it may be, but in truth how many people really stick to their original goals? Are they really serious about giving something up for the greater good or are they simply following the crowd, following the social convention which Lent has now become? This can be compared to those promises we make at New Year, those changes that we strive to achieve but in the majority of cases fail. Personally I don’t give up anything at Lent as I honestly know I will never stick to it. Lent is simply another social convention that people flock to in order to rectify any past behaviour which may not have been so saintly.
Anna Pintus A religious lesson to be learnt There is no point denying that the religious motivation behind Lent has diminished, but that doesn’t mean it is no longer religious at all.
Sadly this is just yet another sacred event that has been hijacked by popularity and transformed into an all inclusive event to provide us with something else to whinge about. It’s an opportunity to do something to make you feel like a better person and allow you to whinge daily about the fact that chocolate is everywhere and you can’t have it. Of course people were going to jump on the bandwagon, especially us Brits. For the few who actually stick to their promies and do give up something they enjoy for the full 40 days, a lesson is still learnt regardless of whether that was their intention in the first place. Even if I were to give something up to be part of the crowd, I would still have a greater appreciation for whatever I had missed for 40 days. It’s just a shame that for some people this reflection is limited to themselves and the trivial things they’ve restricted themselves from rather than being grateful for the lives they have in comparisson to those who are far less lucky.
Genevieve Osborne-James I just don’t care I don’t care. I’ve never understood Lent. If you’re going to do something just because Jesus did something similar why not crack out the sandals and start wearing robes? If you’re going to do it just ‘to prove something to yourself’ try doing something that would really test your normal behaviour, like giving a beggar a fiver or doing something selfless every day. How is you
Across 1. Conditions (7) 8. Guided (7) 9. Fruits (7) 10. Meat product (7) 11. Sponger (5) 12. Mean (7) 14. Demonically evil (7) 19. Norse goddess (5) 20. Fast (in music) (7) 21. Course at the beginning of dinner (7) 22. Assortment (7) 23. Far away (7)
Down 1. Quiver (6) 2. Yearly (6) 3. Idea (5) 4. Country (in the East) (6) 5. Bellowed (7) 6. Fleet of ships (6) 7. Hold fast (6) 13. Re-arranging of letters (7) 14. Leather (6) 15. Gift (6) 17. Greek goddess (6) 18. Vegetable (6)
The answers to last issue’s crossword: Across: 1.Concentration, 7. Owned, 8. El Misti, 10. Lea, 11. Calve, 12. Tired, 14. She, 15. Oasis, 17. Patio, 20. Rumor, 22. Oscar, 23. IPV, 24. Riot act, 25. Erato, 26. Sandwich board. Down: 1. Choice of words, 2. Nonplus, 3. Endless, 4.Theater critic, 5. Armor, 6. Neighbourhood, 9. Sad, 13. Era, 16. I O U, 17. Proverb, 18. Toccata, 20. Rio, 21. Miaow.
not eating chocolate going to help anyone? I’ll admit, I used to do it too, until I realised what a huge slap in the face it is to those who can’t have luxuries. You’re basically saying “yes I can eat all the yummy things that you can’t, but I’m not going to, and you still can’t.” It really is a lose lose situation. Ignore Lent, eat chocolate and give someone a hug. That’s what Jesus would do.
Evelyn Prysor-Jones It IS a Christian event As someone to whom the real value and morals behind holidays such as Christmas and Lent are very important, I find it disappointing that so many people cheapen these events for the sake of commercial gain. Lent may be subject to this much less than Christmas – which has become Santa’s holiday – but I believe, nonetheless, that it is blasphemy and makes a mockery of what I believe in as a Christian. To me this is like turning up at someone else’s funeral for the free food served afterwards. I am guessing that if you were to ask most people who have given up superficial things for Lent this year they could not even give you a valid reason why. So I am understandably at a loss to explain why they bother at all. Lent should be preserved as a Christian holiday and respected as such by nonbelievers as well as all other holidays in the Christian Calendar.
Did David really beat Goliath?
Does The Hurt Locker’s Oscar sweep signify a new direction in the Academy’s pickings? Or is it still refusing to reflect popular consensus? And should we care anyway? The Oscars are often criticised for being less a celebration of the creativity of filmmakers and more an opportunity for the Academy to congratulate itself, with awards usually going to those that sway the most Academy influence. This year however, the close of the 82nd Academy Awards saw Kathryn Bigelow’s stunning Iraq war drama The Hurt Locker storm the show despite returning a mere $21 million, making it the lowest grossing Best Picture winner ever; beating James Cameron’s Avatar, the highest grossing film of all time. The problem is not that The Hurt Locker won, but why it won. Was it really the David and Goliath tale it has been made out to be? Does the film’s success mark a shift by the Academy towards recognising more relevant films or is it just as out of touch with popular opinion as ever? One fact that cannot be overlooked here is the issue of genre. It is rare that the Academy gives recognition to sci-fi, horror or comedy films. In 1977, Star Wars was beaten to the Best Picture accolade by Woody Allen’s Annie Hall. It is just not the Academy’s way to give the Best Picture award to films they don’t consider “serious”. The question is, was Cameron’s effects-driven sci-fi epic ever really in the running? A closer look at The Hurt Locker reveals that it shares a number of characteristics with the typical “Oscar film”: a socially-relevant context, an in-depth character study and an opportunity to satisfy the Academy’s need to appear “artis-
tic”. In light of this it is not all that surprising that it was picked over Avatar. The second contributing factor to consider is the matter of hype. The Academy is notorious for simply picking the films with the most buzz surrounding them. As more critics got excited about it, and the pile of smaller awards mounted up, The Hurt Locker was carried on a wave of hype towards a landslide victory. Every year the awards are dominated by one or two overhyped movies. While this year it was at least deserved, it was, as usual, blown way out of proportion. So what does this mean in the grand scheme of things? Well, for Avatar, nothing. The lack of Academy recognition to accompany its enormous box office gross will be only a minor grievance. The real victims, however, year in year out are films like Neill Blomkamp’s incredible District 9 and the Coen Brother’s A Serious Man, nominated as a formality with no real hope of any result. These quirkier, more creative films contin-
ue, despite being widely praised by film fans, to be lost in the buzz surrounding critically acclaimed dramas like Precious and The Blindside. There has always been little relation between Oscar success and the opinions of “real people”, only 8 of They Shoot Pictures, Don’t They?’s Top 100 Films of All Time received the Best Picture statuette. It seems that the films we remember are often the ones that the Academy forgot. As tastes continue to diverge, with new media making independent cinema ever more accessible, the Oscars remain detached from the opinions of movie fans, who now turn to films bearing the “Spirit Awards” badge over the Oscar stamp. The Hurt Locker’s success is a step in the right direction, but only time will tell if it represents the Academy taking a new perspective on film, or simply a continuation of old habits. www.theyshootpictures.com www.spiritawards.com words: Benjamin Holmes illustration: Meghan Allbright
Magic and Impossibility stage@leeds
17/03 - 20/03 Rachel Harvey talks to co-designer Jess Molloy and actor Chloe Uppington. Magic and Impossibility is directed by Anna Fenemore. Wa s it diffic ul t to brin g t he wo rld o f magic i nt o t h e t h e a t r e ? It was very difficult. In terms of designing and creating this magical wonderland, it has been tricky. We’ve tried to transform the space so that it’s unrecognisable. Wa s it a very c lo se gro up ? Often during the rehearsal process, performers are given their script and the designers are given ideas and they then go off and work on them, but we were always working together. It’s come about really nicely. The devising process has been really organic, in that up until a week ago we didn’t really know what was going to be in the show!
Wh a t k i n d o f ma g i c c a n w e e x p e c t t o s e e i n the pl ay? Is it t he fairytal e magic that we’re famil iar with from ch i l d h oo d , or a d a r k e r k i nd o f m a g i c ? We’ve taken a lot of inspiration from 19th century illusionism. It’s not about fantastical magic, it’s more about trickery. It’s very much about the impossible; confusing concepts with a bit of magic thrown in. There is a lot of sleight of hand, but also a few really spectacular moments, which will hopefully live up to everyone’s expectations. Ar e y o u d o i n g a n y t h i n g s p e ci a l w i t h s e t a n d co s t um e ? Compared to the other projects that our director Anna Fenemore has undertaken, this one has gone over-
board! The costume is also inspired by 19th century illusionists, but with a lot of twists which tie into the set. A n d fi n a l l y , w h y s h o u l d s t u d e n t s g o a nd s e e M a g i c a n d I m p o s s i b i l i t y? I think it’s different, which is what people often say about a performance, but it is truly like nothing I’ve done before: it’s not a musical, not a straight play. I think it’s impossible to say!
Tickets £6.50/£8 .50 from www.stage.leeds.ac.uk or call the box office on 01133438730.
words: Rachel Harvey flyer design: Ali Knowles and Jess Molloy illustrations: Chris Brake
Riley Smith 09/03 - 13/03 Bonnie Tyler hits, dance bonanzas, retro clothing – SMS’s Footloose should technically have been everything you could want from a musical, and more. Sadly, a protracted script coupled with some dubious singing left me feeling little of the euphoria that the performers clearly were. Set in 1980s southern USA, the musical follows the rebelliously toe-tapping Ren (Ian McGill) and his struggles to adjust to life in Bomont, a small town characterised by its prohibition on all types of raucous fun. The result is a group of restless teens, tired of curfews and over-protective parents, and itching to dance. This instictive desire to move is captured energetically by the SMS cast and maintained throughout the performance, while Amy Brown’s and Elan Isaac’s choreography is complex, precise and performed with panache. Moreover, the cast keep perfectly in time throughout the musical, imbuing the show with great professionalism. The singing, however, fails to match up to the brilliance of the dancing. When in chorus, the cast do manage to excite the audience, but there are too many solo performances that leave you wishing for something, well, silent. The unnecessarily lengthy script adds to the overall sense of restlessness, and the performance drags especially through the first half, leaving a lasting impression. What the actors lack in song, they make up for in enthusiasm. Particular praise must be given to the conflicted preacher, Shaw, played convincingly by Will Dickson. Additionally, Ekow Quartey as Ren’s best friend, Willard, is one of the few actors to successfully exploit the comedic potential of his situation. The effort put into the costumes by Tom Ellery and Coral Baker, along with the set design by Penny Bourne’s team certainly pays off. The bright 80s colours and abundance of denim all contribute to the frantic energy that the production sustains throughout. But despite SMS’s best efforts, the dance and design is not enough to counter the script-induced boredom and often questionable singing abilities. Perhaps the film version, with Kevin Bacon’s fantastically gyrating hips, was always going to be too much to live up to?
Tickets £5.50/£8 from the Riley Smith box office. words: Shirin Marker photography: Dan Winer
Alice In Wonderland The announcement that Tim Burton would be directing a new reworking of Alice in Wonderland was met with cries of happiness and horror. This was the man who made such greats as The Nightmare Before Christmas but who also all but ruined Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. His imagination knows no bounds, at times his bizarre antics taking his films to an all too surreal and uncomfortable place, but luckily, in Alice, Burton manages to mix the fantastical, surreal and wonderful to an almost perfect balance. The story takes place some ten years after Lewis Carroll’s original tale of a young girl falling down a rabbit hole. Now 19, and believing her former travels to be no more than a mad dream, Alice runs away from an impending engagement to a snooty aristocrat and instead follows a waistcoat-wearing rabbit (Michael Sheen) down into the mysterious ‘Underland.’ But the once picturesque world has become a destitute wasteland under the tyrannical rule of the Red Queen (a hilarious Helena Bonham-Carter) who has overthrown her sister, the White Queen (Anne Hathaway). It is now up to Alice to defeat the Red Queen and return Underland to its former glory. Few were surprised when Burton cast his long-time friend and frequent collaborator Johnny Depp as the hilariously insane Mad Hatter. Creating a disarmingly mad and absurd character, Depp pleases the child in us all as he lisps and laughs his way through the film, but
there is an undeniably darker edge too. It is with the Hatter that Burton really lets loose his creativity, placing him in a scary and sometimes violent world. Even so, at times it does feel as if Burton has had to rope in the truly dark world he envisaged. The film delights with its curious creatures and humorous moments. Barely five minutes go by without some appearance by a fabulous British actor, whether in voice or in person, most notably from Stephen Fry as the Cheshire Cat and Matt Lucas as Tweedledum and Tweedledee. At times, though, the pace drags and the story lacks direction. For the most part Burton manages to resist the cheesy and weird
moments that infected Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – except for a last-minute dance by Depp reminiscent of the squeamishly embarrassing Oompa Loompa scene. In these final minutes, the film slides past the silly and into the stupid. True Carroll fans will delight in the absurdities of language and imagination that remain in Burton’s film. But while visually spectacular, Alice in Wonderland lacks a compelling plot and instead fumbles around a bunch of entirely bonkers characters. But as Alice herself says, ‘all the best people are.' Mad, that is. words: Fiona Lamont
So m ni a
stage@leeds 28/04 - 01/05
photography: Dream/Play Company
Strawbs bar 08/03
Dr e a m /P l a y
This new show, an assessed piece by third year Performance and Cultural Industries students, is set to be an explosion of imagination, interaction and energy. Using A Dream Play by August Strindberg (arguably one of Sweden’s most influential writers) as a stimulus, PCI’s Dream/Play branches off from its source, adding the group's own interpretations, dreams and reactions to create an entirely new experience. Natasha Hamilton-Ely (group manager and PR officer) describes it as “going to the extreme with experimentation,” while Elena Hewett (one of the production’s performers) hopes to “achieve that sense that anything can happen.” Both emphasise the production as being “design-led” and “visually appealing,” a culmination of lighting, projection, voice-overs and performance helping to create a chaotic playground where surrealism can breed. Within this there is also an interactive element in which
Sticks and Stones
Ben Styles “audience members are invited to play.” But do not start eyeing up the exits in fear of being picked from the audience kicking and screaming, as both fervently insist that the aim is to create an experience that is enjoyable. “It’s not going to be forcing the audience out of their comfort zone. We’re not looking to frighten anyone!” With this in mind, both insist that the audience are absolutely essential to the production, not only to fill up seats but also to be interactive observers. Speaking from an acting point in particular, Hewett cannot wait. “Even within a straight play the audience bring it to life, because there is that give and take of energy. But with Dream/Play, it is particularly exciting as the energy transaction is that much closer.” Running three shows each night for four consecutive days (at 5pm, 7pm and 9pm) will be a big challenge, showing the commitment of both cast and crew to creating an entirely new experience within performance. And for such a show, there is really no point in having preconceptions, as accurately expecting anything would be impossible. It is the epitome of something entirely different. Hamilton-Ely sums it up: “It’s not the usual ‘sit-down-andlook-at-the-stage’ format; the barrier between the audience and performers has been completely broken. It’s a huge experience. Expect the unexpected.” We wouldn’t expect any less.
£6.50/£8 tickets at www.stage.leeds.ac.uk or call the box office on 01133438730. words: Hannah Astill
Is this night A sleepless one? Or is the world in fact Asleep? A dream that catches flies And continents Is small enough to fit inside my head. Listen... Can you hear it? A whisper of a turning world... It turns and settles back To sleep
illustration: Meghan Allbright
From vampires to peanut butter, doing the dishes to life’s disappointment, Sticks and Stones presented a night of profound poetic thinking, once again showing that poetry is something that speaks to our day and age, and about all issues imaginable. The unique words spoken resounded within the four walls of Strawbs bar and echoed determinedly. The highlight of the evening was undoubtedly special guest Gerry Potter, one of the most respected performance poets in the UK. Growing up in “the roughest part of Liverpool,” Potter had to rely on humour to get him through the constant “twattings” he received from the local “dead ‘ard” bullies who picked on him as a “homosexual kid who had a thing for Doctor Who.” Poetry offered a form of escapism. Having spent the past 15 years performing as Chloe Poet, which entailed cross-dressing for the character (highly believable when you see him), Potter has killed her off, adopting a poet that is truer to himself. His gritty Scouse accent captivates, his non-stop hilarity leaves little room to breath between laughter, and his thought-provoking poems about everyday issues make Potter utterly fantastic. Some might be squeamish at the idea of a whole few hours of poetry, but this poetry is about as far removed from the dusty anthologies that we might remember from school. When broken down to its organic form, music (which I am confident in saying is an activity the majority of us partake in and enjoy doing so) is poetry: poetry is the spoken word of a song. From stand up poetry and intensely rhythmic slam poetry to poet of the page, this night offers a diverse exhibition of the medium. Of course there were serious poems exploring issues of love etc etc, but with poems like Potter’s ‘Homage To The Dead ‘ard Scally Girl’ the lasting impression is of the hilarity of these stand up poets, some of whom deserve to be dually classified as both comedians and poets. Still unsure? As one poet said, “leave your shoes at the door, along with your preconceptions.” words: Danielle Sheridan photography: Stephanie Silk
Rum and Coca-Cola
West Yorkshire Playhouse until 03/04 Rum and Coca Cola, by Mustapha Matura has been circulating around theatres for the past 25 years, and from its performance at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, it is clear to see why. It’s a play full of charisma, attitude and cheeky comments about the government and Americans; two subjects people love to laugh at. The play focuses on two men, one old Calypsonian professor (Victor RomeroEvans) and his young protégé (Marcel McCalla) who he has saved from a life of selling crack-cocaine on the streets of Trinidad. Their days are spent living and learning the beauty of Calypso music, in the hope of creating the next number one, and making real money, unlike the petty tips they receive off tourists. Set on a beach in Trinidad, the simple set is a run-down beach hut, which contains nothing but the necessities of life- a small guitar to woo the tourists with original Calypso songs, two rugs to sleep on, bottles of rum, and an 80s poster of Whitney Houston. The minimalist set reveals two things- two laid back men who need nothing but each other’s company in life, and the more pressing fact that they are broke, earning nothing, and spending whatever money they do make on rum. The elements of spontaneous Calypso makes the play come alive. These cheeky,
photography: Richard Hubert Smith
Starting with Robin Hardy’s unforgettable 1973 thriller The Wicker Man and continuing with the chillingly haunting Don’t Look Now, Leeds’ favourite cinema presents a classic cult horror double bill. With “themed treats and classic delights,” this late night tribute to the quintessential British horror double feature is guaranteed to please all fans of horror. www.hydeparkpicturehouse.co.uk The White and the Red Exhibition The Arches, Granary Wharf 25/03
charismatic men tell us about their lives through comedic songs that contain such organic rhythms that one would believe they were being improvised on the spot. The only instruments used are a ukulele and a homemade shaker that appears to have been woven out of dried banana skin. They are there simply to provide a beat, not detracting from the actors’ voices which are truly fantastic. The ‘protégé,’ Marcel McCalla, who
the audience might recognise from Footballers Wives and Grange Hill wows us with his voice, bringing the paradisaical island of Trinidad to the streets of Leeds. A genuine relationship akin to a father-son bond is present on stage, strengthed by their humorous lines, making you feel endearment for the characters, and a genuine hope that they will succeed in life. words: Danielle Sheridan
LUU Dance Show
The Last Station The impassioned life and prolific writings of Russian novelist LeoTolstoy ought to provide even the most incompetent filmmaker with enough material to produce a respectable work. Woefully, however, director and writer Michael Hoffman’s lacklustre attempt at historical drama plays out more like a Pythonesque sketch, in which neither the subject nor the artist emerge with any credibility whatsoever. The plot of The Last Station, if there can be said to be one, focuses on the ebbing days of Tolstoy’s life (Christopher Plummer), and his devotion to a radical form of pacifism and communal ownership: the ‘Tolstoyan Movement.’ Vladimir Chertkov (Paul Giamatti), a sycophantically devoted follower of the movement, hires Valentin Bulgakov (James McAvoy) – a young man overawed by the renowned author and his ideologies – as Tolstoy’s private secretary.
Horror Double Bill: The Wicker Man / Don’t Look Now Hyde Park Picture House 13/03, 11pm
Riley Smith 17/03-20/03
The growth of Tolstoyanism causes great distress to Tolstoy’s ever-suffering wife, Sofya, (Helen Mirren), particularly as Chertkov surreptitiously moves to try and convince the ageing writer to relinquish the copyright of his works to the public domain, thus leaving the family without any of the profits. The feud that consequently erupts between Tolstoy and Sofya eventually causes the frustrated man to abandon his country estate and seek a life of solitude. The rest, as they say, is history. Quite how Tolstoy’s sensational final years have become the subject of such a pitifully poor production is the only element of wonder in this work. The calibre of the distinguished ensemble cast is such that one would think them capable of salvaging even the direst of productions, but sadly they seem unable to avoid being dragged down into this pile of cinematic morass. Plummer looks remarkably similar to the ageing Tolstoy, but that is where the accolades for his role ought to stop; his characterisation of the famed author descends at times into farcical pantomime. McAvoy exhibits a sustained look of loathing which betrays the deep regret he evidently feels for signing up to this doomed project. The alwayseffervescent Helen Millen is the only one to emerge with her dignity intact, her poignant portrayal of Tolstoy’s tortured wife Sofya serving only to highlight the gross inadequacies of those surrounding her. words: Joe Miller
Committee member Charlotte Jennings tells us what to expect What can we expect from the LUU dance show? There’s something for everyone. Originally set up by Ballet society, the number of societies involved has increased yearly, with this year being the biggest ever. With over ten different societies, there are hundreds of students involved in the production. Sounds like a logistical nightmare! How has it been organizing the show? Organising the show is a huge task. A LUU Dance Show committee is set up and we have to start planning as early as September. Obviously it's pretty hectic at the moment, with only one week left! I've been on the committee for the last three years because its great fun to organise and satisfying when you get to see everyone's hard work paid off. What’s the theme for the show? With the dance societies being so diverse it’s hard to have a theme for the show. The idea is to showcase each society and what they have learned and achieved this year. Dances range from beginner to advance. Some of our dancers have been at it since they were four and some started only four months ago! What’s the best thing about being in the LUU dance show? Opening night is always really nervewracking but once you're off the stage you just want to get back on. Luckily I'm in more than one dance so I get the chance to! Tickets available at the Riley Smith box office. NUS tickets are £4.50 and non-NUS are £5. words: Nali Sivathasan
Celebrating the creativity of young artists from both sides of the Pennines, The White and the Red exhibition showcases pieces by emerging designers and illustrators from Manchester School of Art and Leeds College of Art. Entry is free. Exposure Leeds: Portrait Photography Event Old Broadcast House, Woodhouse Lane 20/03, 10am-4.30pm Exposure Leeds hosts an all day workshop and group discussion on portrait photography, with an opportunity to improve your skills, voice your opinions and debate the subject in an open and environment. Far from a rigid formal workshop, you can share your thoughts with other photographers as well as get advice. www.exposureleeds.org Accidental Death of an Anarchist The Carriageworks 17/03 – 19/03, 7.30pm When an anarchist 'falls' to his death from the window of a police station, Milan is thrown into uproar. TG present their tense production of Nobel Prize-winning dramatist Dario Fo's searing satire on police corruption. www.carriageworkstheatre.org.uk LUU Dance Band Live The Library Pub 19/03, doors 8pm The award-winning LUU Dance Band bring some old-time glitz to Leeds’ favourite watering hole. Expect these 22 hyper-talented musicians to blast through the likes of Frank Sinatra, Tom Jones, and Michael Buble with their characteristic energy. words: Benjamin Holmes
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Why doesn’t the success of sci-fi in the cinema translate to TV?
Dan Lester tells us to put our social credibility on the line and give sci-fi television a chance Already James Cameron’s painfully overrated CGI-fest about aliens and a distant world has become the most successful film of all time, Avatar having racked up a gross revenue of over £2.5 billion and counting. Last year millions flocked to see the bromance-centric Star Trek reboot, the allegoric apartheid inspired
District 9, or Zowie Bowie’s brilliant low budget Moon. But whilst recent months could only be described as a stellar period for sci-fi on the big screen, our TV sets and computer screens have seen quite the opposite effect, seeing series cancellations and failed series pilots, despite sci-fi shows on TV having received equal amounts of critical acclaim. It’s partly down to sci-fi shows still having a dated reputation that seems stuck in 1970s Star Trek episodes. Aside from the bizarrely successful pantomimey Doctor Who, the majority of sci-fi shows on TV tend to come attached with some sort of social stigma. Robots? Lame! Aliens? Grow up! And it’s all too often as a result simply of their names. If there a title more tediously geeky sounding than Battlestar Galactica then I haven’t heard of it, which is a shame, being at heart a gripping post-apocalyptic tale that was one of the most consistently gripping, politically relevant, and yet completely character driven programs ever to air on TV - the Guardian, for instance, have on more than one occasion debated whether it is even better than ‘best thing on TV’ The Wire. Recently the US network Sci-Fi changed its name to SyFy, in an effort to distance itself from the ‘space aliens and future’ reputation. Clearly, then, it’s a reputation that networks and producers are going to great
Pick of the week
City of God
Film & TV
lengths to attempt to change, notably by dwindlingly low viewing figures, whilst Lost mixing genres in an effort to attract itself is coming to its final run of episodes, audiences to sci-fi shows. Most recently, and FlashForward, having been created to the Battlestar Galactica spin-off of Caprica fill the Lost shaped gap in ABC’s has given us a bizarre mash-up up of programming schedule, has failed to take robotics and virtual reality with soap opera off and find the audience that had been and politics to partial success, while hoped for. To say that sci-fi is completely similarly but less successfully, last year saw dying would be wrong - there is still a the premiere and subsequent cancellation decent amount of good lower-budget of Defying Gravity, which was billed as programs. But nonetheless it’s certainly a ‘Grey’s Anatomy in space’ but sadly failed to massively undervalued genre. To return do either genre much justice. once again to Battlestar, it was certainly the But look at the major TV drama program that proved the potential of sci-fi successes over the past decade, and it’s as a method of exploring contemporary clear that the best way to get a sci-fi with an politics - the whole series was practically a audience on the small screen isn’t so much huge allegory for the war on terror, to combine it with other genres as to exploring prisoner torture, religious completely disguise it as something fundamentalists, and sleeper cells in a way different. When Lost premiered it began as that other big budget dramas wouldn’t dare. a straightforward character driven, Lord of Such was the success in doing so that the the Flies-esque plane crash drama, but as cast and crew were given the chance to the seasons have worn on the writers have speak at the UN last year. shown their true colours, unveiling time Yet put all the political commentary, and travel, Egyptian mythology and, most the space battles aside and, much like the recently, parallel universes to be an integral other great space saga of recent years, Joss part of the show. In other words, they Whedon’s Firefly, they’re also as flat out tricked us, and although many dropped out watchable as anything else on TV - all too along the way, it’s still attracting a healthy often the best that sci-fi has to offer is as 11 million viewers stateside alone - the gripping as 24, complex as The Wire, and tactic worked. even as emotionally engaging as Hollyoaks. But the big budget science fiction is a Well, probably more so. Anyway, its time to genre in danger of dying out. Battlestar put social credibility on the line and give finished its run earlier this year, to sci-fi a chance. Are shows such as Gossip Girl and Sex and the City promoting acceptable role models to young people today? Find out online at www.leedsstudent.org
14/03/10 at 12.45pm Channel 4
Often billed as the Brazilian Goodfellas, City of God is a cinematic masterpiece that charts the highs and lows of gang life in the Rio de Janeiro slums from a brutally realistic perspective. While subtitled foreign films may not appeal to all, City of God has been widely recognised as one of the best in its genre and shuns Hollywood’s big-budget filming in favour of a gritty, realistic style with a juvenile amateur cast. That is not to say the quality of acting is anything below-par; the character of Rocket is portrayed brilliantly as the main protagonist who dreams of escaping the slums, while the unrelenting assaults from Lil Ze make you genuinely fearful of such a volatile child. At first glance, a subtitled film shown in the early hours of the morning may not seem appealing but this is definitely worth a watch. It may not convert you into a foreign film enthusiast but it is the possibly the best that the foreign film market has to offer. Director Fernando Meirelles’ depiction of the inhumane crime-ridden slums sits perfectly against the breathtaking backdrop of the Brazilian sun-drenched sky and the interaction between characters is incredibly realistic. It is brutal at times, with the bloodthirsty Lil Ze often ruthless and methodical in his crimes, yet addictive and easily watchable. If there is one film you must watch that the rest of the world has to offer, make sure it’s this one. wo r d s: B e n H e a th
03/04/10 TBC BBC1
Still mourning the loss of your favourite time-travelling alien, David Tennant? Fear not friends of Gallifrey, this feeling is reminiscent of when Christopher Eccleston regenerated into the tenth Doctor, and that was a colossal success. I have a feeling that Matt Smith will turn out to be a rather wise choice for Doctor if his brief New Year’s stint is anything to go by. The Easter episode is suitably entitled ‘The Eleventh Hour’ in honour of the eleventh Doctor. The time is yet to be announced, but it has been confirmed that the fifth series will be 13 episodes with Steven Moffat as new head writer. Moffat has written previously for the Doctor: the episode ‘Blink’, in which killer ‘weeping angels’ could move towards their victims at incredible speed when unobserved, which forced me into trying to sleep with my eyes open. We last left the Time Lord crashing towards his favourite planet, Earth. If you haven’t caught up with the TARDIS before, give in this Easter and let the Daleks exterminate your bewilderment. words: Melissa Welliver
This video is essential YouTube viewing if you want something silly and light-hearted to boost your mood... well it certainly works for me anyway! The Midnight Beast’s remixing of pop diva Ke$ha’s club anthem Tik-Tok is hilarious with genius lyrics (although mainly if you find schoolboy humour funny which may well only be myself and er, schoolboys...) but it’s definitely worth a look! It works particularly well on a musical level as they include a Lady Gaga medley as well as some rather dodgy dance moves which
you may find yourself copying on a (drunken) night out. The lead guy’s hair and vintage, multicoloured clothing add to the students-on-a-budget-but-we’re-goingto-make-a-film feel, which is worth a giggle in itself. It’s daft, it’s ridiculous, but it pokes fun at Ke$ha something rotten! Aside from all of this, it is annoyingly catchy, so you probably will find yourself playing it on repeat even if you don’t want to. I definitely recommend checking this out and I challenge you to hide a smirk! words: Hannah Watte
Watch online now at http://bit.ly/aJmRcJ Any favourites? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Books for Bookworms
Introducing Mr Herbert
A Year in the Woods
Luke and Jon
With illustrations, a glossary of forestry terms and the main body of writing being divided into the months of a year in the ranger’s life, this is not your average autobiography.This cute, almost pocket-sized book written by the Dorset forest ranger Colin Elford, provides refreshing and natural snapshots of his daily adventures in the Woods. It functions more as a handbook – easy to dip in and out of – as Elford guides the reader through the forest to encounter a diverse and abundant display of wildlife. He offers intelligent and knowledgeable insight into the animal activity of everything from the butterfly to the fox, as well as getting caught up in it himself with close encounters with sparrowhawks hunting, badger cubs playing and male deer fighting. However, most of Elford’s engagement with the forest wildlife seems to involve dispatching the deer, and sometimes the odd squirrel, though the latter manage to craftily dodge his rifle more often than not. Perhaps it’s not a read for the fainthearted, though he does at least admit, ‘I never liked shooting anything on my birthday’! A Year in the Woods is certainly a delightful and engaging read, but if you’re not an animal or nature lover this book will probably not float your boat.
A story about friendship and grief, Luke and Jon is a strong debut from Williams. 13 year-old Luke narrates the story in deceptively simple prose, recounting the death of his mother, his family's move to a bleak and shabby house in an equally bleak and shabby northern town, the development of his friendship with eccentric loner Jon, and how they overcome their difficulties together. The novel’s subject matter is frequently gritty and gets darker by turns, but this is counterbalanced with enough humour and warmth that it never becomes overwhelming, and every twist of the plot is entirely believable. However at times the narration falters and Williams is unable to resist the occasional bit of evocative description unlikely to come from a teenager. And regrettably, the ending felt a little anticlimactic. However, the mark of a good story is whether it makes the reader want to keep on reading, and I found myself racing through it in a single sitting. It is a slim novel, and once I had finished I felt disappointed that I couldn't find out more about what happened to the two of them. This is a book suitable for adults and teenagers alike, a quick read that contains a surprising amount of depth.
words: Emily May
words: Tim Boden
Moscow born writer Olga Grushin's second novel after The Dream Life of Sukhanov is a mixed affair for a Russian book. As ever, depicting the strife and difficulties of the Soviet period is an essential element, but it does show some earnest promise for the American based writer. The story centres around a local schoolteacher Anna, who on her way home sees a long queue outside her local kiosk, where people can request luxury items such as flowers, cakes and new dresses. That day it promises to see tickets for a famous exiled composer who will be coming to town to play his last symphony, thus ensuing one long obsession of Anna and her family to get hold of tickets, which are very hard to come by. Captivated by the dream of hearing this majestic musical opus and the idea of escaping to the west with the composer scales the dizzy heights of wishes for Anna, a woman bound by the dullness of her life. This obsession soon
turns to heartbreak amidst a culture of repression against any hope of leaving their homeland. Grushin's style is engaging enough with regard to the simple plot, but that itself is not enough to sustain the novel for 300 pages without any dramatic tension. The author obviously knows the era well, it is an accurate depiction of the inner turmoil within a culture of mundane routine and illicit desires, yet Anna's family's plight is nothing compared to what other families had to live through. You can certainly empathise however with the ultimate desire to get what you want at times when we are without, and Grushin's charming style is evocative of the time when Russia was almost on the brink of change, yet it does drag on like a long soviet film. All in all, intriguing, but nothing remarkable.
The Concert Ticket Olga Grushin
words: Jack Stringer
Everyone who is a real book-lover knows that feeling when you buy a new book. The shiver of excitement, those great expectations. And then, paradoxically, with the advent of online bookshops the feeling has become more intense; waiting for the parcel to arrive, unpacking it, almost like a Christmas present! So you can imagine my state of mind last Friday, when I finally got a highly awaited book. Actually you will be quite surprised: it was not a new book. Nor a bestseller. In a sense it was a book I already own. But in order to explain all this we have to travel far back in time and space - to Lvov, in the then-eastern Poland, where in June 1924 its author, Zbigniew Herbert, was born. You are not deceived by his surname; he was a descendant of English emigrants and while he was one of the most important poets of the 20th century, he was not well known in England. And so, I would like to take the pleasure to introduce him to you. Let us return to here and now. Thanks to Atlantic Books a near-complete edition (a near complete, because even in Poland there is as yet no definite edition of his works) of Herbert’s poems has been published. As you might have guessed this was the book that I have been expecting with such impatience. I was eager to read the poetry in their English translation in order to see whether they keep their powerful effect on the reader while preserving a tender lyrical tone when conveyed into a foreign language. They do. It is somewhat hard to write about poetry these days. Especially if this poetry is not somehow concealed under a veil of music, even more when the poet is dead and was not, at first glance, a protestwriter. So I will start from drawing a quite an unexpected connection – Herbert was only 17 years senior than Bob Dylan. Like him he was of a multicultural background. And in a way they both send a similar message. Why then, you may ask, should one read Herbert? Neither an English language poet, neither a rebel and far from school and university curricula. There are several reasons. First, his poetry is of extraordinary quality and lyrical vibrancy. The beauty and craftsmanship of his stanzas is in a way similar to those by T. S. Eliot and Cavafy. There is, though, an even more important issue. Reading Herbert, and especially reading him in a chronological order, gives you a fabulous insight into the contemporary history of Poland and
Central Europe. Such is the characteristic of literature of this region that, often deeply concealed, the historical facts, but also emotions and reactions, are enwoven into it. And there is no better poet in that craft then Herbert. His poems were read by three generations (including mine) and shaped each of them. You will find traces of Herbert’s poetry in modern Polish language, culture and, most importantly, in the people minds. Herbert’s best lyrical creation – Mr Cogito, an alter ego of the poet – is very much a hero for the modern times, an individualist in the crowd, faithful to his own values, always in defence of lost causes, to quote Slavoj Zizek. This is poetry, which is not afraid to take sides, to be involved, to be faithful to one’s values. For sure, verses which helped to shape the consciousness of a nation and to survive under most dire circumstances of dictatorship can have a powerful impact here and now. Deciphering the deep meanings of these works, made into one of the best lyrical achievements of the century, will give you great pleasure. And if you still feel it’s not enough, there are also fabulous essays by Herbert, some of which can be read in the tome Barbarian in the Garden. Let yourselves travel with the god Hermes through the desolate paths of Ancient Greece after the other gods have perished. Visit the Besieged City, whose siege lasts for centuries. Ponder into the doubts of Fortinbras, when Hamlet is dead and Denmark waits in expectation. Follow the Dutch Old Masters in their search of inspiration in the flat fields of Flanders. Go into the dark rooms of Paris mansards to listen to the whispers of Russian émigrés preparing a conspiracy. Interested? If so, it is now my great pleasure now to turn the floor over to Zbigniew Herbert... w or d s : M a t e u s z F a f i ns k i i ll us t r a t i on : Me g h a n All bright
Get conviction or get out
Noise Annoys Studying: Law & European Law Favourite artist: Edvard Munch Supports : The dog tax Celebrity Crush: Sylvia Plath
Studying: English Literature and Language Loves: Emily Dickinson Favourite Club: Subculture Hates: Pretentious Observations
Chris D ietz
peaking as someone who spends a lot of time in the library, my superpower is definitely the ability to sense approaching deadlines. Just as Superman jumps into action when there’s a cat stuck in a tree, I quiver uncontrollably when I estimate that the next batch of unassessed essays are due in on Friday. The only difference is that I don’t require any spider-senses to perceive this tragedy – only hearing (blame the fact that I’m too old to read comics for the fallibility of this analogy). This week, the decibel levels in the Boyle have been exceeding those at your average zoo, with students begrudgingly confining themselves in the vain hope that they’ll eventually get something done. This is all well and good, but they never spare a thought for those of us who simply enjoy the library as a haven. The latest highlight of my life outside the library was the vivacious production of The History Boys that’s just ended at the West Yorkshire Playhouse. Bennett’s characters pursued knowledge as a means to an end (to pass Oxbridge entrance examinations) and I suspect that many of the pompous procrastinators have a similar ethos, only their ultimate goal is employment. Like Posner (who is rather apathetic when confronted by the reality of Cambridge), those who aspire to wealth may wonder what to do when they have attained it. And while the play predicted a bleak future for these students, it also asked whether it is possible to find shelter on one’s intellectual peak? For those who learn to become learned this is a worrying proposition. Mentally conjure up an image of someone you consider a genius. Now draw back the curtains of your admiration and look again – can you find happiness in their gaze? Knowledge is considered a common burden for geniuses, supporting the old adage that ‘ignorance is bliss’. The plights of Marquez’s Aurelianos in One Hundred Years of Solitude exemplify this, along with the untimely deaths of past innovators from Van Gogh to Virginia Woolf. Indeed, when I inquired over a gifted acquaintance’s sobriety, my good friend [Ed, see left] ironically surmised “of course he’s unhappy – he’s read too many books!” That having been said, I’ll never embrace vacuousness. What if Chekhov was right when he wrote: “We have no happiness. There’s no such thing. It’s only something that we long for”? Any endeavour to be happy places too much emphasis on the end, whereas the path to knowledge is strewn with the potential for little victories en route. So, whilst I retain hope and vitality, I’d like to get on with my reading – only I’ll never be able to concentrate with you blabbering on ceaselessly about: what you had for tea last night, what you’ve given up for lent, or how much you hate your degree. So be quiet and go away – the library is not the place in which to convey throwaway titbits about your mundane life. That’s what twitter is for.
23 The cowards’ guide to library etiquette Studying: French and History Loves: Spring Favourite place: Yorkshire Celebrity Crush: Penelope Pitstop
Ed Dod son
friendofmine(andaco-observationist)recently challengedafellowseminarstudent:“whydoesyourvoice persisttoriseinpitchattheendofsentences?”Bluntly adding,“Couldyoupleasestop;Ican’ttellwhetheryouareasking aquestionormakingastatement.”FollowingPhilipDickinson’s excellentobservationonseminarability(ormoreoverinability) lastweek,Ithoughtthiscontentiousissueneededaddressing. Although I’m sure many people share this, perhaps pedantic, annoyance, I had better justify it. Questioning intonation is the antithesis of conviction. Under such a yearning tone, the words of a statement veer hesitatingly towards questioning. In a seminar, one’s major role is to discuss and debate ideas; ideas expressed as boldly asserted statements. If somebody has a view, particularly and hopefully a contentious one, I want it to be displayed with authority, with a sense of importance. In so doing I will acknowledge the idea with a respondent sense of importance, indeed I may be convinced to this viewpoint or stimulated to counter it; there is a tonal urgency to intellectually engage. Instead, the lingeringly vague sentiments of intonated comments merely provoke annoyance and perhaps even pity; I feel sorry that these people are not able to assert their views. They do not believe their ideas worthy of the status of a statement; instead they feel the need to turn their very purpose and being into a questionable existence. I am left thinking: yes indeed, why do you exist, why are you here, why are you suggesting this idea, is it even an idea, is it your idea, do we need to agree with this idea for it to be an idea? In the midst of this embarrassing uncertainty the conversation has (hopefully) moved on; another person is ready to probe a meaningless semi-question into the dead atmosphere of the room. Why do people perpetuate such uncertain and weak expression? A lack of self-confidence, I believe, embodies this hesitating tone. There is a tragic need for someone, somewhere, to jump in and back up the speaker’s uncertainty, to turn the ideas into a shared consensus, to make the statement ‘real’ in some sort of objective sense. Yet, in seminars, one may believe completely in their own views. It is a moment of mad subjectivity perhaps, but a fruitful madness, recalling Ken Kesey’s maxim: ‘it’s the truth, even if it didn’t happen’. I am not suggesting a solipsistic world in which we all think that we and only we are right; but, in the competitive and discursive space of the seminar, I am willing for anyone to believe they are correct.This is not arrogance or stubbornness. I just want to be challenged and the way to challenge is not to linger vaguely questioning words at me. What can I do with that? The idea has dissolved into what is no longer an idea, but a musing, a meaningless, ‘don’t blame me if it’s shit’, suggestion; from which the speaker can nervously retreat.
Ed Prio r
his week I wanted to write something intellectually stimulating and humorous to aid you on your bus journey, your lunch break or the few dead minutes before a lecture. Something that would help make the time pass more quickly, show you a lighter side to the world perhaps, brighten your day. Alas, it was not to be. Poised and ready to bring forth a veritable torrent of witty observations I, like so many, had to endure the scourge of the university computer user: the cluster-muncher. You know the score: the deadline is rapidly approaching while you struggle with a seemingly endless essay/presentation to sort out. You arrive at the library and all appears well. Work begins and then suddenly, to your horror, someone nearby decides it’s time for food. To your amazement, you discover that the person sitting next to you appears to have been brought up by wolves or on the Moon, and eats as if the food might at any moment disappear before they can finish. Such people, who noisily masticate their crisps for hours on end, who delight in sandwiches that—judging by the smell—must have been made at least a year ago, who feel no guilt in cutting through the serenity of the cluster to use their phones, these are the bane of the average student. You know who you are, you gobblers of pasties, you munchers of scotcheggs, you who know no shame. Even as I write this, desperately trying to use the force and prevent the gobblers taking over, I am being tested by these dark ones. The girl next to me, who I presume was only rescued from the forests of deepest Siberia mere weeks ago, seeks to try our patience by noisily consuming here outrageously potent smelling sandwich. Whatever possessed her to make her meal from what I can only presume to be the rotting corpse of a cat she found on her way home last night? Why does she insist on eating it in such a manner that suggests she has not eaten in months, if not years? In what manner was she dropped on her head as a child that so prevents her from noticing that there is precisely NO ONE ELSE in the room undertaking such a culinary exploration as she, putting her life on the line by eating such a foul smelling creation? Such are the questions we must pose to the smoothie –spillers, the greasy-fingered-crisp gobblers and the pasty-porkers. Another girl turns, looks at me and pulls a face: for a splitsecond we share solidarity of those who have deadlines and know that, however disgusting the culinary habits of this individual, we have no choice but to stay. Naturally, neither me, nor this fellow sufferer, nor anyone else in the cluster will actually say anything. We have all resorted to being terribly British about it. There is, without doubt, no one in this entire cluster who cannot smell whatever it is she is eating, or hear her gurgling as she does. Well now I’ve said it. Anyone still with me?
MINI OBSERVATIONS “Am I an abnormal student if I lose the will to live whenever ‘Mr Brightside’ gets played?”
“When giving an UCAS open day tour the other week, I walked in on Hadouken practising in Stylus before their gig later that night - I think that definitely made an impression on the applicants I was showing around!”
“Deciding houses and rooms in houses can completely destroy the one you are in. Be Warned.”
“The world seems to lack sympathy these days. It’s either the weather, the recession, or I really did have it coming.”
Friday, March 12, 2010 | www.leedsstudent.org | Leeds Student
Seismic Schools go international Leeds University Earth scientists, involved in geoscience outreach project ‘Seismic Schools’ have recently expanded their efforts to the geological museum of Hong Kong University. Led by Phil Murphy, the Seismic Schools project has been funded £120,000 from the Department for Children, Schools and Families. The project, which started in schools in Leeds, is becoming an increasingly international collaboration. Professor Lung of Hong Kong University said: “this is a fantastic addition to our geophysics outreach programme in Hong Kong. We look forward to our gifted and talented school groups working with the UK schools via the project.” “The project is to place a seismic monitoring system in the schools around Leeds.” explains Murphy. “A relatively simple but robust functioning seismometer is
supplied to each school…the software provided enables quakes to be recorded, analysed and located by the students. A minimum of three seismometers are needed to locate a quake.” Eight Leeds schools already have seismometers installed and two schools are about to join the project. According to Murphy, “Its objectives are to bring inspiration and global science into the classroom, and enable school students to contribute to the world seismic monitoring wide network.” Murphy believes that the project will help to build a “geophysically literate community and inspire people into science or environmental career pathways, providing the scientists and engineers of the future”. Due to the project’s success, Seismic Schools are also “deploying one in the high school on Montserrat in the Caribbean home of the Soufrière Volcano.”
duration of the whole operation by 80 per cent. Professor Ben Varcoe, who is leading the research, claims that the truly novel aspect of the team’s work is how they have been able to bring together existing technology from the areas of atomic physics and medical physics in a completely unique way. He modestly explains that the discovery came as quite a shock, as the team were undertaking quantum physics research in a completely different area. “The real breakthroughs were bringing in a student, Melody Blackman, from a medical physics background, and attending a conference in Australia, where it came to my attention that [a scaleddown version of the original] magnetometer could also contribute to healthcare.” The team also features researchers from electronics, precision measurement and optical fibre technology backgrounds. Teams of researchers from different universities have already tried to find ways of reducing the size of magnetometers, but without success. Professor Varcoe’s team overcame previous obstacles by taking the inspired decision to separate the sensor from the detector. In this way, the detector is placed within a magnetic shield, in order to protect it from unwanted magnetic noise. The sensor placed over the area being examined remains outside of the shield and transmits signals to the detector. Professor Varcoe explains that persistence was a key element of the research and that eventually, a series of coils was used to surround the sensor head in order to cancel out
Critical Analysis Science Commentary with Fliss Inkpen
It’s a funny old world
Two undergraduates get to grips with the seismometer. Photo courtesy of Phil Murphy Murphy also hopes to deploy seismometers in Ethiopia, however, the project needs more funding to expand and give more children the opportunity to interact with science in an innovative way. With the catastrophic
earthquakes in Chile and Haiti, the pioneering work of the Seismic Schools project has achieved new poignancy. There is plenty of promise that the project will grow, sowing seeds for future science enthusiasts. Peter Nickell
Quantum physicist gets to the heart of the matter A professor from the University of Leeds’ School of Physics and Astronomy is the latest academic to demonstrate the University’s potential to reach the world’s top 50 research institutions before the end of 2015, through an innovative cardiac scanner, which could lead to earlier diagnosis of thousands of patients suffering from heart conditions. While the science behind the scanner is nothing new, it is the speed and size of this new device that is exciting scientists and health care experts up and down the country. The cardiac magnetometer, to give the scanner its full name, works by detecting magnetic fields emitted by the heart. The technology is, in effect, the same that is used by large offshore drilling firms to find oil or gas, and on spacecraft for planet exploration, albeit on a much smaller and more portable scale. As with every part of the body, the heart emits its own unique magnetic field, known as its ‘signature’. Any deviation in the heart’s signature can point to a cardiac condition, and while existing cardiac magnetometers are capable of revealing such variations, this new innovation boasts unprecedented sensitivity to magnetic fluctuations. The new magnetometer will take significantly less time to diagnose heart problems than currently available systems such as ultrasound and electrocardiograms. Taking the example of arrhythmia, a very common condition where the patient has an irregular heartbeat and which requires several hours of surgery to be cured, the use of this new magnetometer could reduce the
unwanted signals and amplify the signals that were needed. He goes on to say that the ultimate aim of the research was to find a way of making the device suitable for hospital use and robust and easy enough to be used by nurses and doctors not trained in the depths of physics. As well as contributing to a reduction in the number of victims of cardiovascular heart disease in the UK (approximately 200,000 according to the British heart Foundation), the new scanner should also greatly reduce hospital waiting times by enabling heart scans to be conducted in patients’ wards or at home. They should not even be required to undress, as the scanner is powerful enough to work through clothes. The initiative is funded by the
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the overall project has received just under half a million pounds in total. The scanner is expected to be available for routine diagnosis within three years, and in the future could be used to research and diagnose conditions including epilepsy and complications in the brain. James Strother
Got a story for News Extra? Email your stories to newsfeatures @leedsstudent.org
Just when you think there’s nothing left to surprise you, along comes a half male, half female chicken. The chicken in question, named Sam, is exactly split down the middle, with his/her left side being all cockerel, and his/her right side being, well, her feminine side. Sam and his/her gynandromorphic friends are just another example of the natural world throwing up the unexpected and leaving scientists stumped. But really our collective ignorance should never come as a shock. The world’s leading cosmologists estimate that we still don’t know where most of the universe is hiding (only about five per cent is accounted for in what we can see), and new discoveries challenge our models of how the world works everyday. The thing is, the more you know, the more you realise you don’t know, and the more overwhelming the vastness of your ignorance becomes. As Donald Rumsfeld coherently explained, “There are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns - the ones we don’t know we don’t know.” Sir Issac Newton, godfather of physics, once famously said: “I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore...whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.” When even the greatest minds in history admit bewilderment, what hope is there for the rest of us? But to indulge in scientific endeavour is to submit to the ignorance itself. Confess you know nothing, accept that your views can be scattered by a gender-confused chicken and go out and see the weird and wonderful world for yourself.
Friday, March 12, 2010 | www.leedsstudent.org | Leeds Student
Minority rule: has your Union been hijacked by a political elite? Year in, year out it seems that whatever LUU’s Democracy and Campaign Support (CDS) staff do, the problems of low voter turnout in elections remain. But is it as simple as students not caring or is the idea that they are being put off by overpoliticisation of the Union closer to the truth? Despite the Union’s efforts to target students from outside the traditional political and campaign groups for this year’s Executive elections, many still felt that there was not much point in standing without the backing of a group of politically affiliated societies, otherwise known as ‘voting blocs’. But in a student population of 30,000 does the support of a small minority of politically-minded students really carry that much weight? Emily Spurrell, who ran for the position of Welfare Officer in last month’s Executive elections, believes it can do. She said: “The winning candidates won by huge margins, seemingly excessive given the comparable nature of the campaigns and that was down to having a bloc vote support. “I would suggest that there were certain situations where some candidates had better policies and expressed those policies in a much more coherent manner and yet the bloc votes made sure that this was not a deciding factor in who won the election.” Hanif Leylabi, who came second in the election for Welfare Officer, made use of his links to union societies: “I did get the support of student groups. The groups I went to were ones I had specifically worked with in the past. There are some groups that are very powerful on campus, if they are strongly backing one candidate it can be very difficult for any other candidates to get in. “But at the same time I don’t think that necessarily means that certain groups automatically support candidates from their own organisation. There are independent candidates who have not really had any involvement with groups who have gained their support through things like hustings. It’s not like you have to be a member of the Islam Society or the Jewish Society to get elected, but it does help to get their support. “Those two societies are amongst the most well organised, the biggest and the most well funded on campus, but that doesn’t mean that they are all sheep and will all vote the same way; that view is quite patronising.” A foregone conclusion? LUU’s current Activities Officer Josh Landy argues that a good campaign is ultimately more important than the backing of a voting bloc, however: “Bloc voting has an effect to some extent but, in reality, out of the 4,000 votes needed to win in an Executive election, at most a ‘bloc’ will only secure you the first 1,000 votes; securing the remaining 3,000 depends on the strength of your campaign. “In terms of bloc voting there are two main sides, obviously I want to stress, however, that if you do not have the support of either of these two sides,
you are not ‘turning up to lose’. If bloc voting is ever to the detriment of people standing then that’s a bad thing.” Chris Belcher, President of LUU’s Labour Students, agrees: “The strength of an individual’s campaign matters more than bloc voting; it shouldn't be seen as such a big issue, it's not a determining factor.” Whether such ‘blocs’ really exist, however, appears up for debate. Chris Lovell, President of the Leeds University Liberal Democrats, believes they do and agrees with Josh that there are two main groupings. He told LS: “I believe that the two blocs consist of the ‘moderate’ bloc, comprised of Labour
Yacoub Al-Ouri, Co-President of the Palestine Solidarity Group (PSG), not only denies that his group are a part of any voting bloc but also disputes the idea that there is a bloc system at all. He told LS: “There is not a ‘bloc system’or ‘slates’; this idea has probably come about from the fact that it is generally always the same students who put effort into elections and Union politics. PSG endorses candidates only where they have views in common. It is too simplistic to say that the low-turnout in Union elections is linked to bloc voting.” Yacoub believes that the support of societies does make a difference in elections, however: “I agree that the
that no area of the Union was safe from politicisation. The Executive made the decision following a complaint it received regarding PSG’s conduct at a protest in January. Although PSG were asked to write an email outlining their view of events, they were not given the opportunity to speak to the group in person. Yacoub criticised the Activities Executive for the way in which it had reached its decision: “I think the decision was made quite arbitrarily. PSG did not have a chance to defend itself in front of the committee they did not give us a chance to explain the situation properly. At present there are no guidelines
most objective.” Tim recognises that there is currently a lack of transparency within the Union, however, partly as a result of not enough students being involved in the decision-making processes. He added: “It would be good if more students knew who the Activities Executive are, then it would seem less that decisions were coming out of nowhere; we want more societies to get more involved. “I think there is definitely a perceived political clique. The average student might not have even heard of Union Council, and if they have they might not know who the people are that are on it.” And perhaps this is the real problem behind the perceived overpoliticisation of the Union’s decisionmaking structures and its elections: a lack of wider student participation. A minority representing the majority
A DIVIDED UNION? Political infighting between factions has been blamed for low voter turnout and student disinterest photo: Virginia Newman Students and the Jewish Society, and the ‘left’ block, comprised of the Islamic Society, Palestine Solidarity Group, People and Planet and sometimes socialist political groups also.” Chris does not think that these blocs should be blamed for the problems of low voter turnout and student disinterest, however. He added: “I don't believe the bloc system alienates the student population; I believe it offers them a clearer choice in the same way that political parties in mainstream politics do. People with similar political ideas will always band together and I don’t believe this is a bad thing.” Joe Miller, the Jewish Society’s Interfaith and Campaigns Officer, denies that J-Soc are involved in any kind of voting ‘bloc’, however. He said: “There are two ‘factions’ in Union politics, a ‘left’ wing and a ‘left-er’ wing, but J-Soc is not involved in these at all. It is a religious society not a political society.” He admits that J-Soc candidates have appeared on ‘slates’ in past elections, however: “J-Soc and Labour Students candidates often appear on the same slate but there is no 'coalition' with Labour Students; it just so happens that their candidates are often good on Jewish issues.”
endorsement of certain groups has huge sway in getting candidates elected.” Hanif goes further, hinting that it is not only the endorsement of certain societies that aids political success, but the resources that are available for those strongly associated to particular group: “Although a lot of the people who won had the best campaigns, it was easier for them to run the campaigns because they had access to organisations that could bring full time staff members up to help. It was easier for some candidates to be high profile if they have three or four full time campaigns people. That was something that I witnessed. I’m not saying that necessarily changed the course of the election, certainly I don’t think it changed the course of mine; the other candidate won by a clear 300 – 400 votes, but I think generally people can be put at a disadvantage and I think it can demoralise people.” Politicisation gone too far After LUU’s Activities Executive took the decision last month to temporarily suspend the Union’s Palestine Solidarity Group from room bookings (‘Palestinian society banned’, Issue 14), some students saw it as further proof
for what constitutes ‘appropriate’ protest though Josh Landy has said that this is something the Union will be looking into. Chris Belcher, who is also Chair of the Activities Executive, remains convinced that the group was objective in its decision-making: “The decision wasn’t made in any haste; it was given a lot of time and consideration. We are not ‘fascistic’ as we have been called. We acknowledge the right for societies to protest but it’s about common sense. We don’t always expect protests to be peaceful but they should be respectful and not prevent another society from carrying out an event.” The Activities Executive is made up of a group of student representatives from all ‘categories’ of the Union’s groups and societies who are elected by an assembly of societies from their category. Tim Mortimer, current Volunteering Rep on the Activities Executive and the successful candidate in last month’s Activities Officer election, refutes any claims that the group is a politicised decision-making body: “I don’t think the Activities Executive as a whole has any political bias. I think it is probably one of the most apolitical parts of the Union. Chris agrees: “We are the most representative and democratic group in the Union at the moment, as well as the
Dr Ed Gouge, a senior teaching fellow in the school of Politics and International Sciences (POLIS) and an expert in elections, told LS that whenever there is low voter turnout and disinterest, political systems are susceptible to becoming dominated by an unrepresentative minority. “When political interest is low there is always the danger that organisations become controlled by small unrepresentative groups. In the 1970s Constituency Labour Parties where few members were active were taken over by extreme left Trotskyites and more recently there have been allegations that fundamentalist Christian or Islamic groups have been able to get undue influence in local Conservative and Labour parties.” Whether or not Leeds University Union has become dominated by political extremists is up for debate but where everyone that LS spoke to seemed to be in agreement was on the fact that at present it is only a highlypolitical minority representing a largely disinterested student majority. A viscious circle If this is true then it would seem that voting blocs or no voting blocs, such debates only detract from the real issues at hand; until the Union is able to work out a way of involving a larger majority of students in its decisionmaking structures and elections, it is more than likely they will remain trapped in a vicious circle of low voter turnout, politicisation and student disillusionment. Emily added: “The majority of students show little if any interest in Union politics and I think part of this is due to the political biases currently controlling it. In my opinion, the Democracy Review that is currently going to referendum will go someway to addressing this issue but until we engage the wider student body these political biases will continue to control the Union.” Laura Mackenzie Additional reporting by Fliss Inkpen
Friday, March 12 2010 | www.leedsstudent.org | Leeds Student
‘The toughest endurance race on Earth’ Hoping to be the youngest man to complete a race across the South Pole, Christian Moor is not your typical student. Not wanting to be left in the cold, we caught a brief word with our polar explorer. 40 days to cross 430 nautical miles of the coldest place on Earth at 3,000m, in the harshest weather conditions known to man. Could you do it? Christian Moore reckons he can. The South Pole Race, described as ‘the toughest endurance race on Earth’, was set up to replicate the original race to the geographical South Pole between the British and the Norwegians. The geographical South Pole was discovered almost 100 years ago. After several failed attempts to reach the pole by many explorers, Captain Scott in June 1910 set off determined to make it to the South Pole first. However, at the same time Norwegian explorer Captain Roald Amundsen decided he would attempt to beat the British explorer to the pole. In December 1911 the Norwegian team made it to the South Pole, 33 days before the British team. Disheartened, exhausted and slowly dying from starvation and hypothermia, the British team eventually made it to the South Pole. The expedition would cost every member of the team their lives. In December 2012, Christian Moore, will be the youngest person to undertake this challenge. The race involves temperatures as low as -50°C, navigating and skiing while pulling a 70kg sled and climbing up to 9300ft. This is all while being in the driest, windiest, coldest place on Earth. Antarctica is home to the most extreme weather conditions on the planet, meaning this is not a race for the faint hearted. Only the toughest will survive. Taking all of this into
consideration, it does not sound like something that the typical person would undertake. Last year, Christian spent almost three months in Svalbard, in the Arctic, mountaineering and researching glaciology. Only a few months after returning from his first polar expedition, Christian heard about the South Pole Race and decided to take up the challenge.
Sleep deprivation is one of my biggest worries Despite his lack of experience, he is already feeling confident: “I’m intent on winning, it’s not just the taking part.” To be selected, Christian had to undertake a series of interviews, including an assessment day with the organisers of the challenge. Despite admitting “I’ve never really done any altitude sports”, he was selected. His project in the Arctic developed a passion within him for polar climates. “When I see photos and videos of it, something about it just gets my heart going... it’s such a beautiful place.” On Thin Ice, broadcast in 2008 on BBC2 documented the explorers Ben Fogle and James Cracknell’s experiences of the South Pole Race. Both had no previous Antarctic experience, but their team managed to finish
second overall. However, the challenge took its toll upon them, both mentally and physically. James Cracknall lost three stone throughout the course of the race. Christian cites them as inspirational to his choice to take up the challenge: “I thought, I could do that, it doesn’t look too hard.” Although a series of preparatory courses will take place in Austria and Norway throughout the run up to the challenge, as well as an acclimatisation course directly before the race with a 24 hour checkpoint halfway through, there is little way to prepare for the endurance required. Christian said: “You can’t prepare yourself for that sort of physical endurance without wearing yourself out before the actual race.” He is planning to run two marathons per year until the race, already taking part in the London Marathon, in preparation for the 30-40 days of solid skiing. The race obviously will require an extraordinary amount of stamina and Christian anticipates the difficulties. “James Cracknall’s team skied for 16 hours a day, slept for four and spent the other four melting ice and cooking food; sleep deprivation is one of my biggest worries.” The nature of the race means teams ski in straight lines one behind the other, and therefore are barely able to speak to each other for up to 16 hours at a time, which he feels will be “mentally grinding”, yet the strength of the team will be “pretty paramount”, as they all need to have the same goals and can-do attitude. But how does a 21 year-old
student motivate himself to such feats? Christian has little experience of polar climates, his gap year project in the Arctic being his first journey of this kind. The huge jump to this sort of a race of this kind seems almost superhuman, but he modestly states: “You don’t often get the opportunity to go to the South Pole.” Does being a student explorer make a dent on his Leeds experience? “I don’t really mention it unless it comes up, and generally get two reactions. Some people don’t understand and say ‘why
Just one of those boxes ticked off
THIS WAS THE EASY ONE: Pictures from Christian’s previous trip
photos courtesy of Christian Moore
would you want to do that’, and others understand.” One great challenge he is facing at the moment is finding sponsorship. The total cost of the race will run into tens of thousands of pounds. Getting funding and sponsorship is tough in a normal economic climate, however Christian has found it much tougher due to the tightened drawstrings and cutbacks companies have made due to the
current economic climate. He has spent his entire student loan for this year on the deposit for the race, and needs to raise £22,000 by August. Apart from the obvious difficulties during this race, the age difference within the team will be testing, it is vital that all members of the team get along together and feel comfortable around one another. This will not be a walk in the park, and it is crucial that all members of the team can rely on one another for support. Keeping up morale, at the end of the day, will probably be the difference between coming first and coming second. Christian points out that “James Cracknall’s team with no experience came second to a Norwegian team who were probably the strongest out there.” However, companies should be snapping up the opportunity of publicity, especially if their brand is going to be represented by the youngest partaker in The South Pole Race in history. If Christian achieves all that he has set upon himself, to not only complete the race, but win, this will go down in the record books. His very own Wikipedia page is only the beginning, and world media coverage is a guarantee. “Just one of those boxes ticked off.”
Victoria Gray and Melanie Rideout
Friday, March 12, 2010 | www.leedsstudent.org | Leeds Student
Depression: More than Depression affects different people in different ways, but is not always just to sufferer who gets caught up in its grasp. Sometimes it’s the people around us that are our rocks, and depending upon them for support can be thing that keeps people going. Leeds Student looks into the issue of dealing with someone else’s condition. Depression can affect one in four people during their lifetime, so the chances are that if you are reading this in a group, someone has had or will have depression at some point. However, can you talk about depression if you’ve never suffered from it yourself? The answer is yes. The friends, housemates or
coursemates of a sufferer can burdened with dealing with the condition too. Regardless, it is a tough time for all involved. Depression is a word used by lots of people. Some use it to describe low moods which last for a short time, but others use it to describe a prolonged period of time of feeling unhappy or at
worst, potentially suicidal. The trouble is, no matter how much you support someone, it’s hard to know what is going on inside their head. Being there for someone can make a huge difference, but it can also be incredibly difficult and stressful, despite being a good deed. Everyone is aware of the warning signs of depression, but what would you do if someone you knew or cared about started to develop these symptoms? Could you be their main go to person? Speaking out Leeds Student spoke to Lucy* about her battle with depression, and the effects it had upon her life and that of her friends.
She said: “At the time I was embarrassed to admit I had depression, studying Psychology I was quickly able to diagnose myself and although it was beneficial, knowing exactly what was wrong with me, it was also very dangerous to know in such detail, that I would continually diagnose myself.”
I really do not know what I would have done without them Lucy saw her problems starting while she was on her gap year, where she admits having the time of her life. However, upon getting home, she started to feel low, but pushed herself to get to University. “I left for University with great anticipation but with the view that I wouldn’t actually be staying long. With this idea in mind I didn’t make much effort with my flat mates or the people around me. The place was the bloody pits. Set in one of the roughest areas of Leeds, there were muggings and stabbings. We were like caged animals, only 15 minutes away from Uni, but trapped not being able to walk in the dark.” However, Lucy had one lifeline. “Thankfully one of my best friends from home was coincidently in the same halls as me and was my absolute rock. Although we both struggled in our first year, she pulled me through it all, and I don’t know what I would have done without her.” Bella, described the onset of Lucy’s illness: “If Lucy had not confided in me, I never would have guessed anything was wrong. To see your usually happy friend in such a state makes you feel incredibly helpless, however together we had many chats either having a moan or chatting about how, by taking small steps we could try to overcome it. I am extremely glad she told me, not only so I could be a support unit as we were living in each others pockets, but also so I understood Lucy’s some what erratic behavior in certain situations.” Lucy also befriended another girl in Leeds, who she describes as an “absolute star.” A cliché “During my low points my family and friends, as cliché as it sounds, really pushed me through it, although it took a lot to initially tell them how I felt, every one
especially my parents were incredibly supportive, I really do not know what I would have done without them. “Although this was understandably hard for them to deal with, never did they vocalise this or make me feel in any way like a burden on their happy lives. And yes, although professional help also helped a lot, knowing that close friends and family had my back gave me a warm and comforting feeling during a time when my depression made feeling emotions almost other inconceivable.” Upon returning for her second year, things started to go wrong again for Lucy. She decided to see a councillor and has been on antidepressants. Isolation One of the biggest problems facing students suffering with depression is how to talk to someone. People can feel isolated, and fear that people might think their problem is trivial if they talk about it. Lucy was lucky in having people around her to talk to, but not all students are so lucky. Eleanor, another student suffering with depression, told LS: “Only a select few of my friends know about how I really feel because I always put on a happy face and actively hide my problem from most people. Most of them wouldn’t have a clue because they only know to look out for the really obvious symptoms like ‘tearfulness’ and ‘feelings of worthlessness’ but not all people feeling depressed are going to openly express it like that. Signs of depression vary from the obvious to those that you would only realise through talking to somebody. Symptoms include tearfulness, changes in mood restlessness and weight loss. However, some you would not recognise unless you were explicitly on the look-out. These can include feeling of hopelessness and guilt, feeling low and thoughts of death or suicide. The need to talk about mental health issues was recognised by a group of students who in 2008 set up the The Mind Matters society. The society attempt raise awareness of mental health issues on campus. Nick Almond, the outgoing President of the society said: “If your housemate is depressed it can be quite stressful because you are concerned about the person, but they might have also become less social and more isolated. This can have an impact on the whole household and friends.” “Some friends may notice the symptoms and try and intervene which is great, but it is not always welcomed by the person with
Friday, March 12, 2010 | www.leedsstudent.org | Leeds Student
a one person struggle depression. It can also be associated with other problems such as drug/alcohol abuse or an anxiety disorder which bring their own difficulties. “If friends and housemates do not realise that the person has depression they may just feel that the person is being rude or unsociable which can be upsetting for both parties. “Although not everyone who says they’re depressed literally are, it would really help if people took it seriously. Nothing makes you feel worse than being told you’re over exaggerating but it’s an easy assumption to make when it’s coming from someone like me who always comes across as a happy person.”
Useful information Student Counselling Centre 19 Clarendon Place www.leeds.ac.uk/uscs 0113 343 4107 The Counselling Centre offer a range of different services. There are drop-in sessions, appointments and workshops. They also provide information on mental health. www.studentdepression.org This website offers a wide range of information on depression, case studies and student experiences. Nightline www.leedsnightline.co.uk 0113 380 1381
Be a good friend Nigel Humphrys, Head of the Student Counselling Service emphasises the importance of being a good friend. People can be a good friend, it’s what they know about. Wherever possible, try and listen. Try to understand how they are feeling. They might feel
COUNSELLING CENTRE: There for all
group sessions on a range of issues. It is important to remember that the service is also there for supporters of friends, not just students with mental health issues.
photo: Gael Welstead
As a friend, you may feel compelled to help someone as much as you possibly can. However, if you decide to help someone, Nigel advises that you decide from the outset what you
People can be a good friend, it’s what they know about. isolated, so reach out and assist. He emphasises that being a help could be something as simple as just giving your friend a piece of information, such as a website address or some conatct details of useful services. The student counselling service located on Clarendon Place offer a free, confidential service to students with a range of issues. They offer drop-in sessions, as well as individual counselling and
Common signs of depression Courtesy of the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust
can and can’t do. Boundaries are very important. Don’t suffer in silence Lucy is managing her depression and is upbeat about her chances. “The illness itself is a taboo topic, and is generally overused in conversion and misunderstood. But please do not suffer in silence if you do feel you are depressed. “I have reached the conclusion that I am almost grateful for the lows I experienced, as cliché as it sounds, it really does make you a stronger person and appreciate the highs. Despite this, Lucy believes reaching out to friends and family really helped: “Reaching out to family and friends initially is extremely beneficial in the short run, before seeking any professional advice.” If life is difficult, do not hesitiate to get in touch with one of the groups who can help. Being a good friend can make a huge difference to the person struggling in your life.
Nightline is a listening and information telephone line run by trained students and volunteers for students. They are happy to talk about anything, ranging from the best pizzeria in Leeds to feeling unhappy. Leeds Student Medical Practice www.leeds.ac.uk/lsmp 0113 295 4488 All the doctors at the medical practice are experienced in dealing with mental health illenesses. They can offer help and advice. The Mind Matters www.themindmatters.co.uk LUU’s Mind Matters society website. Containing useful information on mental health issues.
Adam Richardson * All names were changed at the interviewee’s request
Friday, March 12, 2010 | www.leedsstudent.org | Leeds Student
LS Sport COMMENT THE WEEK IN
10 Medal target set by UK Sport for the forthcoming European Athletics Championships.
The age of Raqibul Hassan, the Bangladesh batsman who has retired from international cricket, after not getting picked
Portsmouth troubling Joe Hart in the opening 10 minutes here. Decisive punditry from ITV’s Peter Drury, after Pompey take a shot on goal 12 seconds into the game against Birmingham.
Not so spectacular?
ue sera, sera. Whatever will be, will be, the entire country seems to be going to Wembley. Semi-finals of the FA Cup are now routinely held at the new ground, along with the finals, and many are critical of the FA’s policy of not saving the stadium for the final. 14th April 1999 witnessed one of the greatest football matchers ever played, featuring the holders of the FA Cup Arsenal, against the Premier League leaders, Manchester United. The game was itself a replay, after the first game had finished goalless, but the second game saw a Dennis Bergkamp penalty saved in stoppage time by Peter Schmeichel, and then a Ryan Giggs winner in extra time. This moment, enshrined in Manchester United folklore, would not have been any more special if it had been held at Wembley, and maybe less special if it had not been at Villa Park. The decision has been made for the FA by the fact that they still
need to pay off the money spent to build the new 90,000 seater stadium. In order to pay off the £798 million it cost, the venue now holds anything, from American Football, music concerts to motor racing, in order to recoup as much money as possible. Notwithstanding this, the hosting of the semi-finals at the same venue has ruined the unique occasion which is an FA Cup final. Being able to play at Wembley should be a reward to the finalists, not given out to every team that wanders out, just so the FA can
earn more money. Some have counter argued that holding the semis in a 90,000 capacity stadium means that more fans can get tickets, and this is true. Yet I prefer the atmosphere in a more tightly packed stadium such as Villa Park, rather than a soulless mausoleum, where you can hear a pin drop. Meanwhile you have to share the occasion with the prawn sandwich-eating brigade, those individuals who miss the first ten minutes of each half, leave ten minutes before the end either to beat the traffic, or to nip back to
form in the Champions League of the former greats of European football that of this year’s remaining twelve teams only four have won the competition and from the others only Chelsea and Arsenal have made it to the final. Does this spell some brand new age for the upper echelons of European football or is it just the gap between those in European competition has got smaller? Over the last decade, of the five most successful teams, only Ajax have failed to win a Champions League title, while Manchester United and Barcelona have, because of their recent successes, gained membership to the exclusive club of successful European teams. So the latest decade has shown some change in the command of European football but perhaps it will be this year that power will truly shift. And maybe we will see a new team crowned kings of Europe. But let us not weep for these fallen giants; their loss is most certainly our gain. The European competition whilst diluted in the group stages is now more competitive in the knockout games. The Champions League is a much better competition as a result of the decline of these once great European teams. James Green
t doesn’t matter how much you think you know about sport, there’s always those times when a curve ball is thrown at you. Today I experienced a completely unwhackable pea-roller; in the form of a BBC Sport headline ‘Chester league results expunged’. You think you’ve got a grasp on life, and then a word like that slaps you in the face. I’m fairly sure Chester City fans will be waking up over the next week in utter horror of the expunging they’ve received this week. The confusion I felt when reading this headline was an experience I often had to endure in Canada’s Winter Olympics in February. Watching the skiing, there was the slalom, giant slalom, and, of course, the super giant slalom. I had to ask myself as I watched the nineteenth Austrian take to the slope: what is a slalom? For someone who has never skied before – and has no real desire to dislocate any ankle or shoulder of mine – skiing events aren’t really my forte. The snowboarding produced the same effect, with admiring comments of following fall lines, busting heelside turns and plentiful traversing by Scandinavian’s in
ednesday night’s Champions League football saw the defeat of two of Europe’s greatest teams. AC Milan and Real Madrid crashed out in the last sixteen and it begs the question whether there has been some sort of revolution in European football, with the old powerhouses being overthrown by the new and upcoming clubs. Real Madrid are the most successful team in European Cup history, winning it nine times and Milan are second having won the tournament seven times. The third most successful team in European Cup history however is Liverpool, who failed to make it past the group stages of this year. Despite their rich history, and sickening transfer policy, Real Madrid have been knocked out in the second round of the Champions League six years in a row. Even when they spent fortunes to acquire Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka and Karim Benzema, glory on the highest stage has been elusive at the Bernabeu, while even with the wealth of experience on the A.C. Milan bench at Old Trafford (Seedorf, Beckham, Gattuso, Dida, Zambrotta and Inzaghi), they could not compete. At least Milan has made three finals in the last decade. In fact so poor is the current
their suite for a flute of champagne. Playing in an FA Cup final should be a pinnacle, that players across the country dream about, and having the previous round’s matches played there takes something away from the achievement of reaching the final, and Wembley. The first semi-final to be held at Wembley was in 1991 between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal, and this happened again in 1993, 1994, 2000, they were held at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium in 2005, before moving back to Wembley in 2008. Their policy on this seems confused, inconsistent and influenced by lining their own pockets, rather than what the fans want. Players and managers came out against the FA’s decision before Everton played Manchester United last season, claiming that ‘It’s great to be in the semis but I'd prefer the match was away from Wembley.’ Josh Powling
Expunging the mind
space suits almost forcing me to turn over to the curlers. I felt the same confusion when a Swedish ice hockey player smacked the puck(?) onto the post of the goal. The following commentary of “Wow! Straight off the pole!” made me wonder if Sweden’s immigration laws have suddenly slackened this January. I was possibly in my most confused state, however, during the Olympic games in Beijing. Here, gymnastic, equestrian and windsailing events I barely knew existed suddenly beamed at me proudly out of the television. The diving, however, was the most baffling. With every twist and flip, an expert commentator would verbally ejaculate a stream of pikes, tariffs and towers; which all meant nothing to me. What we need when we view sport, especially these freakishly unorthodox ones, is a small banner at the bottom of the screen – like subtitles – deciphering whatever the commentator is spewing. Otherwise, come 2012, we’ll have a country reeling under terminology completely alien to us. How embarrassing that would be if we came across as a nation that can’t speak any other language than our own. Joe Short
Friday, March 12, 2010 | www.leedsstudent.org | Leeds Student
‘Football’s future is very dire’
Football finance is in turmoil, but cases of administration and winding-up orders often leave us with more questions than answers. How and why do clubs enter administration? Can they recover? And how bleak is football’s future? In a special Leeds Student investigation, Dafydd Pritchard speaks to the administrator Gerald Krasner to uncover the truth. When Portsmouth became the first ever Premier League team to enter administration, the state of football finance reached a new low. Administration is a term that has been used constantly this season, yet beyond its dire connotations, the precise nature of the administration of a football club remains somewhat of a mystery for the majority of fans. Fortunately, Gerald Krasner is a man who knows all there is to know about administration, as he is an administrator himself. Krasner is a financier who specialises in cases of insolvency, and he is also the former chairman of Leeds United, the archetypal cash crisis club. The recession – and the subsequent insolvency of numerous businesses – means that Krasner is a busy man, and he is well versed in the process of administration. “A football club is treated the same as any other business, in terms of entering administration,” Krasner says. “Firstly, the club must be insolvent, which applies to the vast majority at the present time. Secondly, there must be a purpose to the administration, and three purposes are set out in the appropriate resolutions.” These three purposes, Krasner explains, are: “Rescuing the company as a going concern; achieving a better result for the company’s creditors as a whole than would be likely if the company were wound up; realising property in order to make a distribution to one or more secured or preferential creditors.” It is a reasonably straightforward, but ruthless, process. Administrators take control of clubs to ensure one thing: survival. Survival is an absolute necessity, and this means selling the club’s assets, such as its best players. The ultimate aim is then to sell the club on to a new owner, who represents new financial investment and a fresh start.
Survival is an absolute necessity, and this means selling players And while there may be light at the end of this dark tunnel, administration is a fate that clubs are desperate to avoid. It is, after all, the recognition of a club’s insolvency, a cry for help from owners who have chased unrealistic ambitions and mismanaged their clubs so badly that they are no longer viable businesses. The most significant example of ‘living the dream’, and paying the harsh costs of not realising those ambitions, is the spectacular demise of Leeds United. Peter Ridsdale, the club’s chairman from 1997 to 2003, took out enormous loans to finance lofty
aspirations, but the club’s on-field shortcomings had dire consequences. Krasner took over as Leeds chairman in 2004. “I bought the football club in 2004, when it was £103 million in debt and sold it to Ken Bates in 2005, with only £23 million of debt.” Leeds’ £103 million debt was primarily accrued through a gung-ho approach in the transfer market and a bloated wage bill. Ridsdale had his sights set on winning the Premier League, the Champions League, the FA Cup and the League Cup. Unfortunately for Leeds, their chairman had also calculated the club’s budget on the premise of winning all these competitions. Over £50m was spent on buying Rio Ferdinand, Robbie Keane and other big name players, but the signing that represented the profligacy of Ridsdale’s tenure was Seth Johnson. The £7m fee raised eyebrows, but it paled into insignificance when compared to Johnson’s contract.
ADMINISTRATION FOR BEGINNERS 1. Ensure the club’s survival, avoiding liquidation at all costs 2. Make the club a viable business 3. Sell the club to a new owner Johnson and his agent were said to have entered negotiations hoping to secure a deal with a weekly wage of £20,000, but were staggered to hear Ridsdale make an opening offer of £40,000 a week. Johnson was released from his contract in 2005, having made only 54 appearances in an injuryravaged four-year stay, embodying the misery that was engulfing the club as a whole. Ridsdale has since admitted that these brazen outlays may have been misguided. “Looking back, I would do things differently. I would challenge the manager more, run things tighter. I still don't regret taking the amount of debt on we did, but I regret spending the amount of money on footballers.” For Ridsdale, this may constitute humility, but his regret of spending “money on footballers” may rankle with Leeds fans when they consider the fact that Ridsdale spent £20 a month looking after goldfish in his office. His yearly salary of £450,000, meanwhile, would hardly have eased the agitation. Krasner, a Leeds supporter, explains that this financial resuscitation was a labour of love, and one which he engineered as a chairman, not an administrator. “This was not done through an administration process, but rather through an informal restructuring process.” This ‘re-structuring process’ was difficult, and Krasner has had to undertake such procedures at numerous clubs and businesses. The
Krasner took over as Leeds chairman in 2004, when the club was £103m in debt. He sold it in 2005 with debts of £23m. administrator is often caricatured as a grim reaper figure, a harbinger of gloom for the football club in question, but Krasner is keen to make one thing clear about administration: “Administration is the lesser of two evils – liquidation being far worse.” Leeds took on the huge debts in the hope that Champions League qualification in successive seasons would boost their gate receipts. When this plan failed, the ‘dream’ began to slip away, and Leeds embarked on a fall that would symbolise the spectacular boom and bust of football finance in the twenty-first century. This fatal cycle seemed to have been repeated this season when Portsmouth went into administration. With debts of around £60m, the club, like Leeds, had budgeted well beyond their means as they tried to build on their success of winning the FA Cup in 2008. A solitary, unsuccessful season in Europe coupled with mediocre league table positions, however, meant that Portsmouth were taking grave risks, as they spent vast sums on players such as Lassana Diarra and Sol Campbell (pictured). Despite raising close to £100m by selling such players, Portsmouth are still in deep trouble as they lie at the bottom of the Premier League, braced for further punishment. When I ask Krasner about Portsmouth’s future, hope is at a premium. “The first thing that will happen is that they will now be relegated to the Championship. If they are unable to agree a Company Voluntary Arrangement with their creditors, the Football League are likely, from precedent, to impose a 15 to 20 point penalty next season, which may put intense pressure on them to stay in the Championship.” “You will recall that Leeds United had a 15 point penalty after administration for this very same reason, and although they managed not to be relegated again, they missed out on promotion. If Portsmouth do take a second points penalty, their immediate task would be to avoid relegation to League One.” Krasner stresses the importance of patient rebuilding, but unfortunately
for Leeds, prudence was not a feature of Ridsdale’s tenure. As a result, administration was inevitable. Leeds entered administration in 2007, which led to relegation to League One, where Leeds remain. Southampton, another former Premier League side, are also languishing in the third tier of English football after entering administration in 2009. Krasner, however, is of the opinion that a brighter future may yet await those consigned to administration. “If a club is prepared to consolidate its position and not expect to bounce back to its previous position immediately, they have a good chance of recovering over a three to five year period. What will have been learnt is the need to have proper finance.” As Champions League ties with Valencia have made way for Johnstone’s Paint Trophy fixtures against Carlisle, the reality of financial ruin has hit Leeds hard. Ridsdale, however, does not seem to have learnt his lesson. He is currently the chairman of Cardiff City, and he is as unpopular in South Wales as he was when he left Leeds. Cardiff faced a winding-up order this month, regarding £1.75m owed in taxes, and the club’s supporters are unanimous in their attribution of blame. Thousands of Cardiff fans marched before their 1-0 win against Middlesbrough on March 6 to voice their dismay at Ridsdale’s running of the club, and to express their feeling of betrayal. Over 10,000 fans renewed their season tickets last December, expecting the estimated £3m raised by these sales to be spent on players in the January transfer window. Ridsdale, however, reneged on his promise and instead used the money to pay back some of the debts owed. The Cardiff City Supporters Trust rejected the chairman’s apology, and the club now finds itself on the brink of administration. Cardiff are not the only club to have faced a winding-up order this season. Southend United and Notts County also both faced hearings at the High Court, and remain unsure about their futures. No Football League club has been forced out of business yet this season, but the worst case scenario did become reality for Chester City of the Conference, who were wound up at another High Court hearing this week. A year after their relegation from League Two, Chester’s liquidation is proof of how serious and rapid the fall is for a financially ruined club. As well those struggling in the lower reaches of English football, even the supposed giants of the sport are
currently facing uncertain futures. Manchester United, who have acquired debts of £716m under the ownership of Malcolm Glazer, have faced intense financial scrutiny of late. Amid speculation of a takeover of the
In theory, Manchester United could enter administration club, some have even dared to utter the words ‘administration’ and ‘Manchester United’ in the same breath. Krasner, however, is doubtful of such a conclusion. “In theory, Manchester United could enter administration, but that would only be if they failed to get into Europe and they had a massive wage bill, with a massive loss of income. Notwithstanding this, I think there would be somebody, somewhere, who would bail them out, although the Glazers would not see much of their money returned. So, the principle is ‘yes’, but the reality is ‘no’.” Asked how likely it is that a winding-up order will actually force a Football League club, such as Southend or Cardiff, out of business, Krasner seems glad to be the bearer of some good news. “I do not think we will see any liquidation of football clubs this season, as they can always opt for the administration route, which gives them a lifeline.” Optimism is tempered, however, by the unavoidable gloom. “The problem is that if nobody wants to buy the club from the administrator, he may have to put it into liquidation.” While the immediate future of clubs such as Manchester United may be secure, the plight of Portsmouth and Chester serves as a stark warning, and Krasner does not offer much hope. “In my opinion, the future of football is very dire, especially whilst success is always trying to be bought. What is needed is for everybody to sit down and try and sort out the problem but unfortunately, there are too many vested interests.”
Friday, March 12, 2010 | www.leedsstudent.org | Leeds Student
big debate: Brits will make it work
hen Jenson Button lifted the coveted and bizarrely shaped Formula One trophy aloft last November, few would have predicted a man, who had reached the pinnacle of his sport after nine years of disappointment, would soon be once again behind in the pecking order. Button’s puzzling move to Mercedes McLaren, where the newly crowned World Champion became number two driver behind compatriot Lewis Hamilton, may look a bad move on paper, but in my opinion it isn’t something that will hinder Jenson’s quest for back-to-back championships. Both drivers will be looking for the F1 crown this season; both have done it before, and both are British. They will be able to offer advice and help each other on the way, and there is no evidence that number two drivers cannot possibly win the championship. Formula One stalwart Rubens Barrichello, Button’s partner last season at Brawn, finished the season in third place off the back of 14th and 20th with Honda in 2008 and 2007 respectively; and at one point looked likely to mount his own title charge. F1 is all about the cars, and the chance to prove who is the best British driver in a British team will be a challenge both Button and Hamilton will relish. Hamilton: the darling of McLaren since he burst on to the scene in 2007, the enigmatic challenger to playboy Button’s crown. The latest odds give Button little chance of retaining the title, so where better to be than with a compatriot and friend to offer guidance, though I suppose Hamilton’s first concern will be his own campaign. Yet the 2008 champion can also benefit from Button’s switch. Hamilton’s 2009 season started badly and was only
Takes two to tango? The new F1 season begins this weekend with British world champions Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton spearheading the McLaren team. LS Sport asks: Can a F1 team have two world championship contenders without disruption? salvaged by some impressive races in the second half. With the honeymoon of his debut season and subsequent win, sobered by 2009’s fifth place, Hamilton could really benefit from Button’s more cautious, patient and ultimately successful approach as the 25year-old looks for a second world title. And after years of mismatched pairs, finally Britons will be able to cheer on two of their own in a truly British racing team, in stark contrast to bookie’s favourite Fernando Alonso. The troublesome Spaniard, who resides in Oxford, has joined Brazilian Felipe Massa at the Italian-based Ferrari team. With two such exciting British drivers as Hamilton and Button now racing for a British team, we can welcome back an injection of patriotism into a sport which has been increasingly defined by who has the biggest budget. July’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone will be a spectacle to enjoy for British fans, providing Button and Hamilton are still in the hunt, which together, I fully expect them to be.
Only one can win the Championship
s it became abundantly clear that Rubens Barrichello would not secure the points needed to keep his World Championship campaign alive, his compatriots began to file out en masse of the Autodrome Jose Carlos Pace, not even bothering to watch the conclusion of the 2009 Brazialian Grand Prix. A puncture inadvertently inflicted by Lewis Hamilton's front wing ended what might have been his last chance to join Emerson Fittipaldi, Nelson Piquet Sr, and the late great Ayrton Senna as the only Brazilian winners of Formula One's World Championship. After playing second fiddle to Michael Schumacher for so long there is no doubt it must have galled the Sau Paulo native to finish behind his teammate Jenson Button, a man eight years his junior. Tension between the two was evident throughout the season, with Barrichello accusing the Brawn team of having lost him the race in the wake of the German Grand Prix. The four teams in contention for the world title this season: McLaren, Mercedes (formerly Brawn GP), Red Bull and Ferrari, are fielding four former world champions: Felipe Massa, Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber have all been in championship races, while Mercedes will hope Nico Rosberg can step up in a competitive car. And yet, the talent of drivers in these teams is going to cause problems in 2010. No Formula One team, whatever they may say, can treat both drivers fairly. Just look at the saga that erupted when Fernando Alonso joined L e w i s Hamilton at McLaren.
The same is bound to happen as he takes over Kimmi Raikkonen's seat in joining Massa at Ferrari, while Button will also discover to his chagrin, that Hamilton will be placed above him in the eyes of the McLaren teams. It is not in the interest of the teams, who want to see one of their drivers become World Champion, to have their two drivers at each other’s throats. The Constructor’s Championship is just icing on the cake, as only once in the last decade has the team whose driver finished first not won the constructors title as well. McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh told the press that “we will do everything as fairly as we can with our two drivers,” and yet he has known Hamilton for fifteen years. The only way a team can function is if one driver is placed above another in the race for the title. This was evident with McLaren when Mika Hakkinen won back-to-back titles in 1998 and 1999 with David Coulthard, with Ferrari when Barrichello played second fiddle for six seasons to Schumacher. Whitmarsh also hinted that “the speculation that [Mclaren] is a Hamilton team” had been created by the tabloid press over the last few months. However, the last time a British one-two started the team together with one of them going on to win the World Championship was 1968, when Graham Hill won the title in his Lotus, but only after team-mate Jim Clark had died mid-season. If Button and Alonso feel like their chances of winning the title are being sabotaged by their team favouring their teammates, then there will be tension within the team. While it is clear that you cannot have harmony in a team with two championship contenders, it has created some incredible drama in the history of Formula One. The clashes between Senna and Alain Prost in the 1980s are testiment to that. The contests between Hamilton and Button, and perhaps Alonso and Massa, will see sparks fly, as they all have the chance to win the most coveted prize in world motor racing.
Friday, March 12, 2010 | www.leedsstudent.org | Leeds Student
Leeds moving up in the Christie Cup
The Universities of Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester took part in the Christie Championships on Wednesday with the Mancunians coming out deserved victors after a variety of top sporting events. The Christie Championship is a sporting competition that goes back 124 years and this year saw more events than any previous year. Manchester, hosts of the tournament, stormed to a points victory of 169, overturning Leeds (124) and Liverpool (112) yet it marked a clear improvement for Leeds from last years third place. The scoreline belies the quality of Leeds’ performance in certain sports, as they excelled in the badminton against Liverpool, while beating Manchester in the basketball and convincingly winning the rugby union.
Incredible performances from the women’s tennis team saw two whitewash victories against their opponents, while the women’s Lacrosse team, inspired by Nikki Briant, overpowered both challenges. Manchester were just too strong however, winning all their fencing and squash events, while beating Leeds comfortably in the women’s rugby union and badminton match ups. LUU Activities Officer Josh Landy said “I’m really proud of the efforts from all the teams and the improvement from last year makes me confident that next year, as hosts, we can expect to challenge for first place.”
Key Results Basketball (M): Netball: Leeds 55 - 51 Manchester Leeds 29 - 24 Manchester Leeds 55 - 51 Liverpool Leeds 29 - 24 Liverpool Football (M 1sts): Leeds 2 - 7 Manchester Leeds 1 - 2 Liverpool Hockey (W 1sts): Leeds 1 - 2 Manchester Leeds 4 - 0 Liverpool Lacrosse (W): Leeds 10 - 5 Manchester Leeds 16 - 2 Liverpool
Rugby Union (M): Leeds 15 - 5 Manchester Leeds 12 - 12 Liverpool Rugby Union (W): Leeds 0 - 53 Manchester Tennis (W): Leeds 5 - 0 Manchester Leeds 5 - 0 Liverpool
Wednesday 10th of March Football Leeds Gryphons Men’s 3rds 0 4 Northumbria 4ths Hockey Leeds Gryphons Women’s 2nds 2 - 4 Sheffield Hallam 1sts Leeds Gryphons Women’s 3rds 1 - 0 York 1sts Leeds Gryphons Men’s 4ths 0 3 Newcastle 2nds Leeds Gryphons Men’s 5ths 0 2 Leeds Met 2nds Lacrosse Leeds University Women’s 2nds 11 - 3 Manchester Met 1sts Netball Leeds Gryphons 4ths 34 - 29 Huddersfield 2nds Leeds Gryphons 5ths Leeds Trinity and All Saints 3rds Squash Leeds University Men’s 1sts 0 5 Newcastle 2nds Leeds University Men’s 3rds 1 2 York 2nds
Leeds come to cross-Rhodes in promotion race Gryphons
Leeds Gryphons 2nds 2 - 4 Sheffield Hallam Josh Powling Leeds were given a lesson in clinical finishing by Sheffield Hallam, made all the more poignant because the home side squandered a whole host of chances throughout the game. The 4-2 loss in the penultimate game of the season ended the Gryphons’ title challenge, guaranteeing Hallam the Women’s 2B Conference title. The team failed to bounce back from defeat to second place Sheffield University last week, and now have a tenuous hold onto the second playoff place, with Leeds Met now level on points with the Gryphons, but behind on goal difference. Looking to keep their season alive they will face York St. John next week, needing to equal the
Met’s result against Newcastle to secure promotion. The home side undoubtedly started the brighter, forcing a short corner with the first move of the game, but Katie Thomas failed to do anything meaningful with the ball. Lucie Mitchell made two smart saves in the Leeds goal, before Hallam scrambled in an entirely innocuous goal to break the early deadlock. Gryphons then suffered another blow as striker Hannah Rhodes was forced from the field with a hand injury. Christie Walsh should have put them level, and two subsequent short corners should have resulted in goals, as Emily Febbron missed a glorious chance at the near post, while Thomas shot wide again. Leeds’ carelessness in front of goal was punished by Hallam as they doubled their lead after Uni gave away the ball deep in their own half. After the mistake, India Gibbs turned and threw her stick away in disgust and frustration at their first half play. Two more chances came to the Gryphons before the break, another one falling to Thomas, and a first for Beth Heath. Neither could make anything of their opportunity however, and 2-0 down they incurred a half time
WAR: Leeds and Hallam scrap for possession Photo: Matthew Rutley rollicking from the coach. framework denied the home side The team talk served its again, this time Walsh hitting the intended purpose, with Leeds post. fastest out of the blocks, winning a Leeds looked like a potent short corner within a minute of the threat coming forward, with Heath restart. Gibbs hit the post before an and Laura Duckworth breaking almighty goal line scramble resulted down the left and right respectively, in another Leeds short corner, and and Thomas acting as the target up from the second one Thomas made front. Walsh then had another no mistake with a clinical finish, chance, before Gibbs inadvertently halving Hallam’s advantage. deflected an attempt from a short Frustratingly however, they corner into her own net to bring conceded from Hallam’s next the score to 4-1. attack, before the Gryphons The Gryphons poured forward appeared to have pegged one back in search of a goal to cut the deficit, straight away, but the goal’s but Hallam proved adept in soaking
up some long spells of pressure, forcing Leeds wide whenever they attacked down the right. Thomas grabbed her second goal of the game, set up by an incisive pass by Walsh, but it turned it to be merely a consolation. They might have missed Rhodes, injured for the majority of the game, but they could, and probably should, have beaten top of the table Hallam considering the amouth of chances that came their way. Emma Swimmerton and Walsh may have dominated the centre of midfield for large stretches of the game, but it was a clinical finisher the Gryphons needed. York St. John should be an easier proposition, considering Leeds thrashed them 6-0 earlier in the season. Composure in front of goal, on a day when the fourths celebrated winning their league, cost them the game on Wednesday, and may yet cost them promotion.
Player of the Match Beth Heath
Agile, determined and swift on the left, Heath provided the Gryphons cutting edge in midfield.
Friday, March 12, 2010 | www.leedsstudent.org | Leeds Student
Injury gifts York vital win Men’s Squash
Leeds University 3rds 1 - 2 York University 2nds Jamie Presland Leeds Uni Mens Squash 3rds were consigned to a fourth straight league defeat at the Gryphon Centre on Wednesday as Sam Smethurst’s withdrawal due to injury cost them dear. Smethurst retired whilst leading his game, and despite Richard Moffatt’s 3-1 win, York’s Matt Johnson sealed a priceless 2-1 win for his side, who are now level on points with Leeds at the bottom of the Men’s Northern Conference 2B. It all started so well for the home side: Smethurst grinding down opponent Will Wainewright to take the first game 11-4, and building an 8-3 lead in the second. Then disaster struck as an innocuous point led to Smethurst
Then disaster struck as an innocuous point led to Smethurst aggravating a knee injury aggravating a knee injury and immediately forfeiting the match to prevent any further damage. It was a blow to the hosts with Smethurst playing so well, and clearly affected them as Richard Moffatt slumped to a 7-11 defeat in the first game of his match. Moffatt soon recovered, however, blowing opponent Alex Leigh away 11-4 in the second
game; some fantastic shots tying the match at 1-1. And Moffatt continued in the same way in the third, leading from start to finish and taking a comfortable 11-5 win. The fourth saw the Leeds man storm into a 6-0 lead early on, who held his nerve to win the game and match, setting up a tense finale to the day. Mark Cowan went into his match against Matt Johnson knowing only a win would do for Leeds, who may have already won had Smethurst stayed fit. Yet it did not start well; Cowan falling behind to his sprightly opponent, and voicing his frustration at several disappointing shots. But with Johnson on game point at 10-5, Cowan mounted a sensational comeback to tie at 1010, forcing a two-point tiebreaker, that he was unlucky to lose eventually 10-12.
Cowan got back on level terms with a resurgent display in the second game, winning 11-8, but fell to a 6-11 loss in the third, often trying to do too much with the ball when a simpler approach
I knew as soon as I had to retire we would probably end up losing. would have been more sensible. His York opponent sealed the win when he eased to a final game victory, racking up a 5-0 lead before seeing the game out 11-7. Smethurst was frustrated by the final score line after his injury
gifted York the first match: “I knew as soon as I had to retire we would probably end up losing 2-1, and I think I would have won that game, so it’s a disappointing result”. Leeds will be hoping to gain revenge as soon as possible with the game away to York being the last game of the season and therefore the last chance for the Uni side to maintain their Nothern Conference 2B status.
Player of the Match Richard Moffatt
Dragged Leeds back into the competition from a match and a game down, giving his opponent no chance with some inspired shots, and unlucky not to be on the winning side.
Northumbria clip Gryphons’ wings Gryphons
Leeds Gryphons 3rds 0 - 4 Northumbria 4ths Simon Sandison A miserable afternoon at Weetwood left the Men’s football 3rd XI involved in a relegation battle that they would surely have preferred to avoid. Their rivals in an impending dogfight came to Leeds in the knowledge that anything other than victory would condemn them to the drop. This Wednesday’s result extended the side’s poor run, and was their seventh game without a victory in all competitions. Northumbria’s fear of relegation was palpable, but they employed it positively, as is so often the case for teams in their position. As a result, they were energetic and aggressive, determined to force whatever initiative they were given into something tangible. In contrast to their guests, the Gryphons’ play seemed unimaginative and lacked a creative or assertive presence in front of goal. However, the home side began strongly, and the first fifteen minutes’ play suggested that they would not struggle to control the game. Mark Claremont, drifting to the left wing, was particularly
energetic in the early going, but the 4-3-3 formation did not allow for the exploitation of his natural width and he was left chasing futile long balls, repeatedly hit too long. Their failure to capitalise on this early pressure allowed Northumbria to claw themselves back into the game. In the twentieth minute Leeds fell behind to the simplest of corners, maybe because of a lapse in concentration, or perhaps a hint of complacency at how easily they were controlling the game had begun to creep in. The defence were rooted, and the unchallenged
Leeds repeatedly conceded whilst enjoying their best play. Two quick fire chances suggested that Leeds could come back from 2-0 down. The first came as the two substitutes Mike Kelly and Drew Tyler linked through a wonderful cross-field pass from Kelly, allowing Tyler to deliver a threatening ball across goal that was cut out at the near post. Minutes later Johnny Rogers
skipped past three Northumbria defenders on the edge of the penalty area before being challenged unfairly – the ref played a poor advantage as Matt Cowan was unable to get the ball under control. Northumbria then scored from the resulting break. As in the first half, Leeds started the second promisingly, chasing at this stage only a one-goal deficit. Their formation, however,
Leeds’ failure to capitalise on early chances allowed Northumbria into the game header was well placed low to the right of Dida, the Gryphon’s keeper. If at this point they could feel a little hard done by, the fourth of Northumbria’s goals – scored in remarkably similar fashion – simply heaped on the suffering. To a man the defence were caught at a standstill as the Northumbria centre-half was allowed to get a run on the ball at the back post, forcefully driving the ball home completely unchallenged.
BULLY: Northumbria get tight to Leeds
Photo: Matthew Ruttley
continued to work against them, leaving Cowan isolated up front, and nominal wide players Rogers and Claremont caught between positions; neither committing to the wing nor pushing forward in support. Midfield control, asserted in no small measure by substitute Mike Kelly, was continually squandered as Leeds failed to mount an assault of any kind on the opposition goal. Any glimmer of hope was short lived, however, as some woeful defending left three Gryphons players on the floor in their own penalty area having failed to clear their lines. The resulting chance was a real gift, and Northumbria pounced on it with clinical accuracy. It was only after this second goal that Leeds brought on Drew Tyler and switched to a more conventional 4-4-2. The difference was immediate, as strength down the wings and good service allowed for Rogers to glance a header just wide with the first move following the addition. It was not enough, however, and to add injury to insult, Gryphons were forced to see out the last twenty minutes with ten men. Rogers was forced off the field with an eye injury and Leeds had no substitutes left to replace him. With him missing, Leeds were a desperate team, woefully out of ideas, and resorted to hoofing long balls to the increasingly lonely Cowan. One must hope that their season doesn’t become similarly desperate, but they sit now only two points ahead of Northumbria, and Wednesday’s form suggests that it is them, not Gryphons, who hold the ascendancy.
Feature: The truth about football’s financial crisis. Page 20
Leeds Ryder to Shield glory Gryphons
Men’s Rugby League
Leeds Gryphons 1sts 22 - 6 Edinburgh Napier Jonathan Brewer
A man of the match performance from Adam Ryder sent Leeds to victory over Edinburgh in a feisty cup final. With the game evenly poised at 8-6 in Leeds’ favour at half time,
the Gryphons dominated the final 20 minutes to claim the BUCS shield, and ultimately deserved to do so. The first half was an even contest, with both teams’ games hampered by penalties, and some dubious refereeing decisions. Leeds were first to score, though, just ten minutes into the half. The ball was shipped out wide and Michael Beakin broke the defence to score in the right corner. Ryder’s first telling contribution of the day came just ten minutes later, as a flowing passing move saw Ellis set up Ryder to score in the corner. These tries asserted Leeds' dominance, although Edinburgh posed a threat to the Uni defence throughout the first half, and a
kick over the Gryphons back line saw them gain their first points of the day in the 30th minute. This Edinburgh try saw an end to a period of strong defence from the Gryphons, though they made it to half time without conceding again, narrowly missing out on scoring a try themselves after a neat dummy from Scott Warner almost sent Ryder through. Tensions threatened to boil over in the second half, as both sides showed their passion for
ROUTE TO THE FINAL R1 - Leeds Uni 44 - 20 University of Durham 1sts R2 - Leeds Uni 44 - 0 Northumbria 2nds QF - Leeds Uni 56 - 6 Nottingham Trent University 1sts SF- Leeds Uni 84 - 1 MMU Chesire 1sts
victory, and this resulted in Warner being sent to the sin bin. However, rather than hampering Leeds’ performance, it galvanised it.
Tensions threatened to boil over in a passionate second half For this was a turning point in the match, as just two minutes after Warner’s yellow card, a Leeds breakaway try from their own try line saw Uni gain the ascendancy. A breakaway dash from Freeman, a characteristic driving run from Ryder, and neat passing from Billy Parker, saw Ben Slater score in the corner. From this point onwards, it was Leeds applying the pressure and
LAST GRASP: Edinburgh try in vain to stop another Leeds attack
Edinburgh’s inability to deal with a high kick from Joe Causer allowed Plumbridge to gather the ball and secure the game with Leeds fourth try of the day. A final try from Ryder rounded off what was a superb day for the Gryphons, and Ryder himself. In a similar vein to Leeds first score of the day, Ryder crossed the try line in the right corner. Post match, Gryphons coach Neil Harmon commended Ryder’s outstanding contribution, hinting at a possible career in the sport. “You haven’t seen the last of this guy,” were his words. How Edinburgh must hope they have.
Player of the Match Adam Ryder
A constant threat to the Edinburgh defence all game with his driving runs. The man who made the difference for the Gryphons.
Photo: Ian Edmondson