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Credits Editor: Ben Moxey

Editorial

A word from the brain of Ben Moxey, Union of Brunel Students Media Officer. A new year, a new chance to bugger things up once more

vomiting child/sneezing man of

asinine questions about ‘did you

your choice. Then fly for 8 hours

pack this bag?’, ‘has this bag ever

over the ocean, watching low rent

News:

this editorial space is a whining

left your sight?’, ‘Anything

movies and trying not to move to

portal for me just to vent, and over

valuable in the bag we can lose for

much, hoping the DVT will kick in

Sub Editor: Donna Law

the Xmas period there have been

you?’. Once that faff is over, you

and you will be unconscious with

a few such things (and if you don’t

have to get through the best bit,

a blood clot by hour 3.

want to read the ramblings of an

security

Contributors: Mara Arts Lucy Palmer

As is becoming customary,

you are promptly asked a series of

egit, then turn over the page to

Once you arrive in the US,

Now, while I don’t want to be

there waits a 2 hours queue (really,

the news and the brilliant paper in

detonated in mid-air by some

not kidding) where people with

store for you)

wimp who thinks that his death

large guns and no humour ask

will benefit the world (correct) and

you silly questions, in a ‘laugh-

decided to take a trip to America

he will be rewarded with 32 virgins

and-I-will-kill-you’ way. The little

Sub Editor: Mike Ryder

to see the land of the free and the

for taking

home of the blah blah. This was all

innocents with him

very good and I have to say I love

(incorrect, you

Contributors:

New York and it’s bustle, and

dolt), but do I have

ever part of the Nazi party in

Melissa Harrichand Charlotte Murphy John Vear Amankwa AnnorbahSarpei Helen Murdoch Jon Bye Kirsty Langley

equally I love Portland for the

to remove my

Germany...”

exact opposite. But. Going to

shoes? Really? You can spot the

they asked me if I was ever part of

America, means you have to fly

shoe-bomber a mile away, he’s

the Nazi party in Germany during

there, which means you have to

the one on tip-toes!

the 30’s and 40’s. Me, the 22-year

Features:

Sport:

Over the holiday, my family

go through an airport. Now I love

Once you have got

favourite question is when

old, from Scotland. Too right, Zieg

undressed, redressed, scanned, poked, prodded, frisked and

HATE airports. Full of…people.

generally touched up in a manner

lovely, and I enjoyed it, but I think

Blergh.

similar to a medical by a blind

in the end Mr T hit the nail on the

octopus, you have to get on the

head when he said ‘I ain’t getting

plane, sit next to the lardy git/

on no plane, fool’

First you queue for 45

Contributors:

Contents Le News

p.4

Sarah Francis Your Bars, Your Questions

If you’d like your name to appear here, get in touch with the editor at media.officer@brunel.ac.uk

My

rollercoaster ever), but I hate,

minutes to get to the desk, where

Design:

minxes…

flying (especially turbulence, best

Sub Editor: Ben Vallely Dan Ross

“...My favourite question is when they asked me if I was

p.5

Facebook: You can see me, I can see you! p.7 Ask Dr. SHAG - your sex questions answered p.8

Can Romance exist at University?

Hiel, moron All in all the holiday was

Arts: Reviews

p.14

Campus Hustle

p.16

New Year’s Resolution or New Year’s Rationalisation? p.11

RAG: What on earth is it?

p.18

Student Life

p.12

Le Sport

p.19

2nd Term Survival

p.13

Write for LeNURB

p.20

p.10


Le News

the new Community Safety Accreditation Scheme (CSAS) by the Met Police. Then again, you may suspect whether they had any ‘power’ in the first place… They now hold the right to confiscate alcohol from anyone drinking in a controlled drinking zone, as well as demand the name and address of anyone behaving in an anti-social manner. Officers were deemed to have ‘reached approved standards of competence, training, supervision and accountability,’ though this begs the question, were they not adjudged to be competent before?

Sign of the Times

Ice Ice Baby

For anyone coming onto campus via Kingston Lane, you’ll

The holiday season in Uxbridge was greeted amidst a

no doubt have noticed the all-new welcome sign on the

swarm of flashing blades and cheesy music. Yes, the ice rink.

roundabout at the Sports Centre. It isn’t the first new sign seen

Situated outside the Civic Centre, and open up until the 4th

on campus this academic year, what with the new zoning of the

January, it provided students with a great way to unwind after a

campus maps. (Do you know where Zone E is? More to the

first term of hard work (for some) – not to mention blackmail

point, do you know anyone who’s going to ask where it is?) Of

opportunities against friends with no sense of balance! At

course, it’s good to know that the credit crunch isn’t standing in

cheaper prices than central London rinks, plus no need to buy a

the way of vital marketing by the University. People visiting

Travelcard, it was a hit with many strapped for cash but still

campus next year for UCAS days and the like will be reassured to

looking for some festive fun, and will hopefully return next year.

know that, whilst they may not be able to find where they should be going, they are very much welcome to be there.

NORAD to Santa, you are cleared to land Santa may be able to fly round the world, creep into peoples

Two’s Company

houses and leave them presents without waking anyone up, but

We are not alone, Brunelians, or at least not for much longer.

even he can’t avoid NORAD! For the last 50 years, the North

Yes, soon Uxbridge is set to be invaded by another set of

American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) had used its

university students. From September 2009, Buckinghamshire

sophisticated missile tracking system, designed to warn of an

New University will base their nursing students and staff on a new

incoming Soviet attack during the Cold War, to watch the Skies

site in Uxbridge, with up to 500 students expected to attend.

for Santa and his reindeer chauffeurs. It became part of the job

Currently based at the university’s High Wycombe campus, the

when, in 1955, the department store Sears put an ad in the

purchase of the lease for a site on Oxford Road, near the Fitness

newspaper telling kids to ‘ring in and speak to Santa’. Sadly, due

First centre in town, is all part of Bucks University’s

to a misprint, it wasn’t Santa (or Sears), but NORAD. When the

redevelopment of their facilities. As if traffic isn’t bad enough

CO of the time, Harry Shoup, got a call from a young boy asking

around Uxbridge already, it also brings increased concerns for

if Santa was there, instead of acting the Scrooge, he told the kid

the availability of housing for students in the local area. However,

“I’ll check the radar”. Nowadays, its an online affair, where kids of

I’m sure we’ll be happy to welcome them and let them know

all ages (and myself) can load up a Google earth map of the route

there’s only one version of “Oh West London” in this town – and

Kris Kringle flies every year. And with user-uploaded pics and

it’s ours!

‘Santa-Cams’ nearly 11 million people watch the jolly old saint deliver presents to the kids of the world. Google NORAD Santa

‘Allo, ‘allo, ‘allo; pass the vodka, sir

for more information.

Brunel students must have been delighted to hear the news that campus security has been awarded additional powers under

Arise Sir [insert name here] With the heroics in Bejing, it was hardly surprising that the GB Olympic squad would clean up in the New Year honours list. 1 knighthood, 5 OBEs, 5 CBEs, 14 MBEs have been given to the Olympic athletes and coaches, but more on them in LeSPORT (see back pages). In the world of the arts, author Terry Pratchett is awarded a knighthood for services to literature

and his charity work for the Alzheimer’s Society (himself a sufferer); and rock star Robert Plant picks up a CBE along with saxophonist Courtney Pine. 87 year old Liz Smith, known to millions as Nana in the Royle Family, will pick up an MBE and Michael Sheen, who played Tony Blair in ‘The Queen’ and David Frost in the excellent ‘Frost/Nixon’ picks up an OBE. He says ‘It will be nice to meet the real Queen at last’. Child protection campagner, Sara Payne has been honoured with a CBE for her tireless

work battling for better safeguards against sex offenders in the community, after her daughter was abducted and killed in 2000. These honours (and many, many more besides) are a good way to round off 2008. For some it was a great year (Hoy, Hamilton, Obama), for others bad (Mosley, Labour, anyone with a bank account). But however your 2008 shaped out, we at LeNURB would like to wish you a very happy 2009!


Cheaper drinks & a bigger club... is it possible? Ben Vallely writes: Right. For this month’s edition, we, the noble LeNurb editing squad, decided that something needed asking of your Student Union. More specifically, questions that we hear being bandied about the bar after you’ve had a drink or two... (or perhaps three or four knowing some of you out there in readerland!). Your editor and I therefore decided that Raj Patel (RP) - Vice President for Services and Marketing, and Craig Lithgow (CL) – The Union of Brunel Students Business Development Manager needed to be sat down and asked for the reasons why certain

regarding getting everyone out in fire, which limits the capacity about 650, as opposed to the existing space, which is 600. There were options to expand into the space where the John Crank Garden is, however, toilets are very expensive things to move, as a result, this option is not worth it. LN: So what about expanding upwards, to the Newton Rooms? You do it every now and then for a MegaVenue. CL: There are two issues with the Newton Room expansion idea. One, we don’t own them, they are university owned and are one of the university’s main sources of income. (Apart from bleeding students dry – Ed) Also, again, the upstairs space would give us access issues with regards to fire evacuation among other reasons. LN: Not even by making an internal balcony area? CL: You would have to take out the entire Newton Room itself to achieve this; and the building just isn’t strong enough, structurally. You also have to look at the reason for expanding. At the minute, we are losing Wednesday nights because our venue isn’t big enough. 1000s of sports guys wanna

things are the way that they are. The following party in the club and we can’t fit them all so Liquid and Central steal em. However, outlines the main points that we managed to excluding Freshers’ and Returners’ weeks in pick from their brains, and the first – and the first term of this year, we only sold out The largest – question we asked was… Academy about 6 times. If we had sellouts

LN: Why can’t The Academy be expanded? CL: There are two main things that can answer this question. The first is that, a long time ago, about seven or eight years ago when the plans were first drawn up for the redevelopment of the student union, several different plans were made in collaboration with the University itself. One of these involved The Academy actually being placed where More is now, upstairs. This fell through however, for two reasons, one – because the university had pledged all the money for the redevelopment and they wanted the bigger space; and two – when we were looking at the capacity and safety issues, we initially thought that a bigger venue would equal a larger capacity. With it being upstairs however, there are issues

every night, I’d be at the front of the queue saying ‘Gimme a bigger club!’. The Monday night average attendance is 400 and the Tuesday and Thursday average attendance is between three to four hundred people. Fridays are the only night where the Academy is near full LN: Yeah but unions like Oxford Brookes and Kent have bigger venues, so what’s stopping us? And if we make a bigger one, we’d be able to fill it no probs, with external gigs? (for example Oxford Brookes recently had the Kaiser Chiefs) RP: We as a Union don’t actually own the building, whereas the Student’s Unions that you’ve mentioned do. We do run bigger events as often as possible, by obtaining Temporary Event Notices, however we are limited to 12 of these per venue per calendar

Your Bars Your Questions


year. When we do run the bigger events, like the Mega Global we

week for months, and this is why we get different, possibly

had at the end of term, our capacity is raised to about 1300.

slightly less experienced staff to work with us on a Friday night.

Means we just have to balance out when we use these, as a

Its difficult as a manager and difficult for the students, at least we

couple are used during Freshers’ and Returners’ weeks;

agree on that

Re:Freshers week at the end of the year; Carnival etc so we only have a few to spread throughout the rest of the year.

LN: Is it possible to extend the licensing hours for Loco’s? The Hub seems to be open later sometimes, as do pubs in town”

After this discussion we decided to move on to a few of the other pressing questions…

CL: One of the main problems that we have with this is that, in the community, if anything goes wrong, we get the blame. Even if it’s members of the public or students being noisy on their

LN: VAT’s come down, why don’t we do “Pound-a-Pint”?”

way back from Liquid, the union and its customers e.g. Academy

CL: Well, that’s a lie, VAT has come down, but duty has

customers get the blame. We have good contacts within the

gone up. Gordon Brown is a sneaky bastard in that he dropped

community, and sit on the Brunel ward police panel. One of the

the VAT and while everyone was distracted he raised duty on

problems we have however is that that ward ends at Cleveland

things like alcohol.

Road, and on the other side, we don’t sit on the Cowley panel,

So quite simply…we can’t afford to. We pay approximately

not allowed to. We have good contacts with a local resident who

sixty pence for a pint when we buy in the stock. By the time VAT

does sit on the panel, and we converse with her as often as

and duty are added on, we’d only make about 20p profit per pint.

possible on all issues. As public opinion is so divided, even

This isn’t factoring in staffing costs, maintenance of the bars,

though we like the idea of staying open longer, it isn’t necessarily

A and Screen Shot glassware, cleaning products and the yearly very valuable the upprofits that the bars give straight back to theof students via the coming game budgets of the clubs and societies and the ARC etc, so at a

going to happen, as going from 600 students leaving The

pound per pint, we’d actually make a loss, student activites

the community and we have to respect that, as we all have to live

would take a hit and we simply can’t afford to do it!

round here together. Except me!

LN: Why don’t you use Wednesday’s as an ‘Urban Night’ to avoid competing with Oceana and Liquid on Tuesdays and

Academy at 2am, to near 900 students leaving the whole place, along with the Hub, at a later hour isn’t going to go down well in

Ok. These all seem fair enough, and so we bring the interview to a close with one last question…

Thursdays? It worked on the last Wenesday before Xmas CL: You’re right, we trialled this for the first time on the last Wednesday of term. RP: Yeah and it was reasonably successful and we have a

LN: Why don’t we do any drinks promotions in The Academy on a Monday night? CL: There is a financial margin which we need to maintain,

lot of things set in place which mean we could go down this route

and over the last few years, business has dropped dramatically.

in the future, but we shall see.

This is due to all manner of reasons, including the smoking ban itself which came into effect a couple of years ago. Also, student

LN: Why do we bother using wristbands? You can’t leave

fees are higher and as a result, you sods all are being a lot more

and come back to get money out of the cash-point, bouncers are

careful in how you spend your money! For the same reasons why

reluctant to believe you if you have only been out to the smoking

we can’t do the Pound-a-Pint, we can’t run promotions on

area!

Monday nights as well as those that we do at Global on a Friday

RP: We use the wristbands as a way of knowing who we

night, which is easily our most successful night of the week. Also

have let into the venue, who have been searched on certain

everyone would demanded these prices to stay, or expect that

nights, have paid entrance etc. This way, in the event of an

this is the norm for a pint or a cocktail. This would kill whatever

emergency, we know who to let back into the venue.

business we have left on the midweek nights.

LN: Which links in the next question actually: Why are the door security so different on a Friday night to the rest of the week? CL: Well this one is a point that pisses me off too. Friday nights are good business for every security firm, including Frontline (who supply us with door staff). We provide the more experienced staff with a job for traditionally quieter nights in the week, Sunday through to Thursday, so we tend to have the same, familiar faces night after night, and week after week. On Fridays however, these staff we have, tend to be head door staff at other pubs and clubs where they have worked week after

This is the point when we decide to call it a day, it’s been an informative little meeting, and despite both your Editor and I having worked on the bar at some point in our time at Brunel, we learned a lot too. Hopefully this has helped to answer some of the more important questions which plague your wallets and minds when you’re out for a drink, if there are any more that you feel need asking however, email Ben Moxey at media.officer@brunel.ac.uk or Ben Vallely at me06bbv@brunel.ac.uk and we’ll see what we can do!


presumptions over the lives of our so called Facebook-friends, and compare whether their problems are insignificant to our own or not. This is combined with the masses of uploaded and tagged pictures:

You can see me, I can see you! Now we are all familiar with the

evidence for the world of events we have attended while lying about our whereabouts, or the types of people we socialise with so people can speculate and criticise each other, forming predictions on the types of relationship and lifestyle people have and then commenting about it within our immediate circle of friends. Facebook encourages us to act as spies and peeping toms into the lives of others... regardless of whether we’ve set our profile to private, because someone will always be watching, either as an admirer, a hater or just your typical ‘nosey parker’. Another aspect of the Facebook spying

unprecedented phenomenon of Facebook, and

glass is the beloved relationship status which

the universal socialising domain it provides for

provokes the largest response when an

its users, allowing us to keep in contact with

individual has declared themselves single or in a

friends from the past that we’re either too lazy

relationship. This sparks nosey friends who

to call, or ones that we wouldn’t go out of our

want to know who dumped who and why or

way to get the numbers of. It seems, also, to be even who the new guy is in someone’s life, allowing them once again to speculate and pass a means for our poking religiously for the attention of those we admire from afar, or

judgement. And just what does ‘It’s

instigating a persistent poking war to the

complicated’ mean anyway?

annoyance of others. Apart from this, Facebook

Whether it’s documenting one’s life in

serves a vital purpose as a distributor of gossip

riddles, reading the numerous wall-to-wall

within the university and a chance for people to

conversations between people, or the flicking

be nosey, and have a glance into the lives we all appear to have

“...just what does ‘It’s complicated’ mean anyway?..”

through of tagged pictures, there are many and various ways in which Facebook allows us to expose

over the internet; finding out the current campus goings-on

ourselves to those of good and bad mind alike.

without the user having

Although your profile may be set to private

to leave the comfort of

allowing only 500 of your closest friends can

their own room.

see, to be truthful they are your friends or

The constant telling

acquaintances you can hold a conversation

of our life stories and the

with, therefore you don’t know whether there

woes which trouble us

analysis of you profile is for good or bad

from day to day through

intentions, for the latest campus gossip. All I’m

the forever-changing of

saying is don’t document your whole life story

status names allows the world to comment and

truthfully for peeping toms and haters to find

analyse all our life-events ranging from those

entertainment from, because you will inevitably

who have wronged us (our latest outlet of

be talked about and this may not necessarily be

frustration) to every minuscule movement we

in a good light causing more drama then

make in a day, which the majority don’t really

needed. So remember if you can see me, I can

care about, but still read. The status bar,

see you?

alongside the millions of wall-to-wall conversations, encourages us to make

- Amankwa Annorbah-Sarpei


Ask

Dr. Shag I shag 4 times a week. Is it harmful to my health? Is it true that I will run out of sperm? What can I do to stop shagging? Having regular sex is not harmful to your health and is perfectly normal for some people which higher sex drives, and don't worry, you will not run out of sperm either. Why not try masturbation if you don't want

Brunel’s Resident Agony Aunt

to have full penetrative sex?

My boyfriend always climaxed after 10 minutes into sex, it's killing me! are there any methods to improve his stamina? Don't worry, this is a very common problem. Why not try one of these possible solutions: Experiment a little by trying different positions. This will keep your boyfriend aroused but also focused on pleasing you rather than worrying about when he is going to climax. Try the 'pinch and hold technique’, this is suppose to reduce the urge to ejaculate. Just get him to squeeze the base of his penis between his thumb and first finger for five seconds when that tingling starts. He should be good to go for another few minutes! Get a C ring to place at the base of his shaft. It's supposed to help delay the ejaculation (while simultaneously intensifying it). They have them at any sex store. Try the ‘squeeze technique’, this is when, just as he feels an orgasm approaching, he removes his penis and gently squeezes the end of it until the need to orgasm subsides. Try the ‘stop-start technique’. During masturbation or sex with a partner stop penetration when he feels he is nearing an orgasm, and start again a while later when he feels slightly less aroused. Or have a wank before sex because some men find masturbating to orgasm an hour or so before having sex can help but it’s no guarantee that he won’t come quickly when he is with you afterwards.

I do not have a girlfriend and I like sex very much, this is making me stressed and I cannot concentrate when I’m studying. What can I do? Sex isn’t the only way to beat stress. Here are a few stress busters: Positive Thinking: Changing the worry word to concern, issue, problem, dilemma or challenge instead will begin to make a real difference and also start to modify your thinking style to being a more positive healthy one.


Talk to friends: Worry can be a habit, a ‘reality check’ by talking with others who may be able to suggest a possible course of action or solution can really help you change your thinking from negative to positive. Improve your diet: Reduce your caffeine intake, coffee, tea, cola even chocolate if worry is a real problem for you, especially in the evening. Alcohol and smoking both affect your mood too, so consider reducing or even stopping. Eating well and regularly is essential for a calm mind as unstable blood sugar levels lead to jittery feelings that contributes to your overall state of mind. There are loads more tips at brunelstudents.com/campaigns. Hope that helps!

Sometimes I don't enjoy sex, it feels hurtful, recently it has been hurtful. what is wrong with me? I’m female. Many women may suffer pain during intercourse at some point, so you are not alone. For most, it's a passing discomfort, however for some, the pain becomes a regular feature of love-making. This could be due to a lack of sexual arousal. When a women's body is ready for sex, the vagina expands both lengthways and widthways. While this is happening, your vagina becomes moist and lubricated to avoid any friction. The vagina wasn't designed to be penetrated in its unaroused state. If you're sure you're fully aroused but still experiencing pain, check with your GP that you aren't suffering from an underlying condition. Self-help techniques: • Relax. Have a bath, use deep-breathing techniques or buy a relaxation tape from your local health shop. • Work on relationship issues. You need to be sure that your head and heart are in the mood for sex as well as your body. If you're unhappy about something with your partner then sort it out first. • Exercise your pelvic floor. This will increase the blood flow to your genital area and make you more conscious of any sensations of physical arousal. • Try using fantasy. Get yourself in the mood by slipping into a favourite fantasy. • Enjoy being sensual before you're sexual. Take your time and let your body really focus on the pleasurable sensations of touch. • Lubricate. It's hard to stimulate a dry clitoris. Use lubrication to speed up the process; keep a tube by the bed. • Stimulate your sympathetic nervous system. Exercise, watch a scary movie, go on a roller coaster - in fact, do anything that will speed up your heart rate. Research suggests that your body will be more sexually responsive 15 to 30 minutes later. If none of the self-help techniques work for you. It's likely that whatever is causing the pain is treatable once appropriate help has been found. You might want to ask your GP for advice.

Dr SHAG was really popular during SHAG week last term and we were surprised by the number of people who emailed in for advice, so she’s sticking around for a while.

Ask Dr. Shag your questions and more at www.brunelstudents.com/sex


Can romance exist at University? While living in Halls I saw people enter and exit other

have the time to commit to each other? Other people i.e.

people’s room and it occurred to me that with hundreds of

temptations from the opposite sex are also an important aspect

excited teenagers liberated with new found freedom and a private

in any relationship, but in an environment in which everyone has

space to indulge in any sexual desires, was there any hope for a

the potential to know everything about anyone, can you be

hopeless romantic like me? How could I be sure that I would be

completely sure that your business is your business?

the only girl entering and exiting my beau’s room for romantic reasons and vice versa? With all the promotion

In many cases, people don’t go to university in search of a lasting relationship, but if you are that way inclined then how can

“...with hundreds of excited teenagers liberated with new found freedom and a private space to

you be sure that this is the

check your sexual health, I

indulge in any sexual desires, was there any hope

have friends that have tried

began to question whether

for a hopeless romantic like me?”

about SHAG Week around campus and prompts to

or not real relationships (as

right atmosphere to start anything with anyone? I to start something and, because of a lot of

opposed to sexual ones) could really be maintained in university

interference from third parties, they were not able to maintain it.

and if they could, where were they? I had heard countless stories

Therefore, the reason they ended wasn’t entirely their own fault. If

of this person leaving that person’s room at four o clock in the

they had met outside of university, would they still be together?

morning, but if we had known they were in a relationship would they really be worth talking about? Many say that you find your best friends in university but

Largely, these questions will remain unanswered as the only way to know if a Uni relationship can be successful is through trial and error. I believe that to maintain any relationship whether in

what about boy/girlfriends? Can a solid and meaningful

university or anywhere else takes maturity and consideration from

relationship really be started and sustained in such a contained

both parties. Whether or not a couple can do this in Brunel – the

environment? There are various factors that can be taken into

social university of the capital – is still questionable.

account; for example: what course each person does; will you

- Charlotte Murphy


New Year’s Resolution or New Year’s Rationalisation? Well, the party favours have been put

cream diet. Hey, who knows? It might

at work. (This sounds way too familiar –

to rest and the champagne glasses are

even help me lose weight. I say screw

Ed)

back in the cabinet. Another year has

this vegetable and fruit nonsense: my

come and gone. Once again, the

size 2 goal lies at the bottom of a pint

• I’ve heard all the horror stories of people who’ve quit smoking only to

countless parties, endless food and the

of good ol’ Ben and Jerry’s Vanilla

find that they’ve put on some extra

heaps of fun with family and friends have

Toffee Crunch!

pounds. You know what that means? I

come to an end. For some of us, the end

• A beer isn’t really a drink you

of the holiday season and the ushering in

know. Ok, fine, a shot might be, but

of a new year marks the beginning of a

maybe not if I chase it with a beer. Oh,

• I’m bogged down with loads of

fresh start – or the hopes of one, at least.

and now just wait a minute: a glass of

work right now. I don’t have any time

Empowered with our resolutions, we

red with my linguine with scallops and

to cook. I’ll just order-in from now until

charge into January filled with energy,

scampi is absolutely essential to

the work dies down.

enthusiasm and determination, but let’s

enhancing the flavour of the meal. It’s

be real – most of those feelings are

an experience I cannot miss, so sorry

• My friends really like to eat desserts so I don’t want to make them

usually non-existent by February! With all

to say, that doesn’t count either.

feel bad by turning down the awesome

hope gone, those ‘lists’ then get dumped in the back of the closet until they make their next cameo appearance next January. But why do we do it? Why do we purchase that gym

• Hmmm, I’ll run faster tomorrow if I rest today. Okay, maybe this is true

“...my size 2 goal lies at the bottom of a pint of good ol’ Ben and Jerry’s Vanilla Toffee Crunch!”

membership and go consistently

sometimes, but only if “today” does

for two weeks, only to keep our workout

NOT turn into “this week” or “this

clothing locked in our drawer for the remainder of the year? Why do we retire those cigarettes on Monday, only to find ourselves employing them again by Thursday? Let’s face it, it seems like there’s always some justification or rationalisation for breaking our New Year’s resolutions merely weeks after we’ve just begun. Why do we do so? Well, here are the top 10 ways people convince themselves that it’s okay to break their existing resolutions: • I used to eat loads of ice cream as a kid, and I was skinny as a toothpick back then, so surely, I wouldn’t gain that much weight, if any, from an all-ice

month”! • I can eat this whole pepperoni and cheese pizza if I work-out tomorrow.

need to keep smoking so I can keep myself from gaining weight.

cakes (and pies, and cookies… mmm!) they make. How would they feel? I wouldn’t be a very nice friend if I did that, would I? • I can stop stressing about everything once I get everything done! • My homework can wait. If I miss this episode, I won’t know what’s going on when I watch next week! Come on people. I bet at least a couple of these sound familiar: they

Yeah, that’s what I’ll do. After all,

certainly do for me! It’s funny to see how

everybody knows that stale pizza does

surprisingly good we are at rationalising

NOT taste good. No matter how much or how little you re-heat it, it just doesn’t taste the same! Right, even if

almost anything. It’s Ok to slip up on our New Year’s resolutions once in a while, but we shouldn’t make it a habit. We

you do work out–which you know you

shouldn’t allow a few mistakes to serve

wont–it’s not too likely you’ll burn off

as our excuse to stop trying. I know we

every single one of those calories you’ve just taken in, unless you happen to be competing in an Iron Man or something of the like. • I’ll spend more time with my family as soon as things slow down a little bit

all need a little nudge at times in making them stick but I’m certain that if we put our minds to it, we’ll surely succeed. Yeah right. New Year’s resolutions are meant to be broken…Just who do we think we’re kidding? - Melissa Harrichand


Student Life

‘Best-laid plans, comic- book heroes and the Irish invasion.’ This last

was able to pull himself off the floor

greater sin in Bellclose Road than

month or

where he had, in some astounding

getting between three grown men

so has

act of Karma, injured his arm in his

and their Power Rangers night. The

seen much

laughing and so was rendered

fury that was vented and the uproar

drama

temporarily speechless until I finally

that was caused by myself and

disturb the

got it out of him that he had in

Barry especially, at the cancellation

quiet

actual fact been lying about the

of Power Rangers night was not

equilibrium

David situation, and the whole

something I would wish on

that has

previous waxing conversation was

anybody, so do all please take note:

come to develop in Bellclose Road

actually completely unknown to

the Power Rangers are not to be

of late. Firstly, there were Barry’s

him. I was of course, left slightly

trifled with. You take on the Power

birthday celebrations, and then just

red-faced; though this did not in

Rangers at your peril. (FYI Pink one

when I thought things were all back

any way diminish my righteous fury

all the way – Ed)

to normal and the house was free

at said David for cancelling on me

You also, as I have recently

from madness once more, I get told yet again for reasons as trivial as

found, take on the Teenage Mutant

David has arranged to have his

seeing his girlfriend. He clearly

Ninja Turtles at your peril. Again in

private areas waxed. Not such a

knows where his priorities lie.

this instance a girlfriend was

strange occurrence as you might

And speaking of priorities, Tom involved, and in this case it was

think; especially given the fact that

is no less at fault for prioritising his

David has in the past stated a

girlfriend over his friends than David source of the ‘excitement’ in

desire to have the said waxing done (see

“...the Power Rangers are not to be trifled with. You take on the Power Rangers at your peril..”

Tom’s lady-friend who provided the

is. Only

Bellclose road. In this case it was

last

with the provision of a set of four

weekend complete fancy-dress outfits for we had

those loveable turtles who, since

arranged their ‘funky’ new re-launch, just

previous articles). The problem

to sit down and watch the Power

don’t go away. I consider myself

here, of course was that he had

Rangers movie while engaging in

fortunate indeed to have been

specifically arranged to do things

some household banter over the

feeling under the weather on the

the following day with yours truly,

expected debate that comes up

night when my housemates

so in typical Mike fashion I then

whenever Power Rangers are

decided to give the outfits their first

proceeded to embark upon a rant

mentioned as to whether or not I

outing at the Academy and have

of such epic proportions that it

am in actual fact Alpha 5, when

been more fortunate still, since

actually left Dave blushing, and Tom Tom decides that he’s actually

there has yet to be another suitable

rolling on the floor laughing.

going to take away the house DVD

opportunity for the outfits to receive

player and lend it to his girlfriend! I

another airing.

This actually lasted for a good five minutes before eventually Tom

warn you now ladies, there is no


Outrageous is certainly one word to

Not so for Barry. For some strange

change) and had spent the previous day

describe them. Outrage is perhaps another. I

reason, and due in part to a good deal of

baking a veritable army of gingerbread men to

must say I had the shock of my life when

failed arithmetic on the Irishman’s part, his

feed the famished mouths of the Irish

Barry knocked on my bedroom door on that

birthday weekend was marked most notably

occupiers. Eventually all things accounted for,

fateful day to walk in looking like the fifth

with the arrival of something like ten of his

there were actually more gingerbread men

Tellytubby in his green outfit and face makeup

fellows arriving from across the waters on our

than there were people!

devoid as he was of shell and distinguishing

doorstep on the Friday with sleeping-bags

It took then, something of a monumental

coloured face-mask. To think they all actually

and bedding in tow. When he said he was

effort on the part of the Irish and my good self

thought they looked good in their outfits was

having ‘a few friends over’ we weren’t quite

(a self-confessed glutton for gingerbread) to

something quite beyond me. No wonder

expecting anywhere near as many people as

stem the tide of the gingerbread uprising and

people feel the need to drink when they go

eventually showed up. To make it worse, even

quell the numbers down to a manageable

out in fancy dress…

more people showed up the following day! It

level. Such was the effort on my own part, and

was certainly a tight squeeze.

the effects of the vodka jelly, the rum truffles

And so finally we come in a nice roundabout way back to my first intended

And then my friends, there emerges the

and of course my poison of choice, cider, that

topic for this article, and an issue I have no

question of how one actually feeds all these

I decided to do what any other sensible

doubt will find itself recurring time and time

people. Barry certainly hadn’t considered this

person would do in the situation: I slipped up

again in these hallowed pages. This issue of

question in his birthday party ‘plans’, which

to my room to spend the rest of the weekend

course, is the Irish.

were, as far as I can tell, to invite over half of

digesting the products of my hard labour.

Now if one Irishman wasn’t enough for

Ireland and buy a few creates of beer in the

one stressed student to deal with you’d think

hope that it would all sort itself out in the end.

a whole house of them would be out of the

Fortunately enough however, Tom had

question entirely.

thought ahead on this one (which makes a

A weekend well spent? I’ll tell you when I’ve recovered. - Mike Ryder

2nd term survival So basically this is a short article to all you first years out

failing exams. Now this is no fun at all come August when you

there. One term down – the longest of the year and arguably

have to travel so many miles to do re-sits in a hall full of

the most daunting – so the age old question: how was it for

students who have tried, but for various reasons, have not

you? I’m sure the collection of answers varies from “it was a drunken blur” to “I’m sick of the sight of the library,” but the

succeeded knowing full well that you have nobody to blame but yourself. Not a nice experience I can assure you.

general consensus, I hope, would be that you enjoyed it.

Basically I scraped through the first year with a

As a second year I can safely say I loved my first term: Halls were awesome, the social life was non-stop, and the

“conditional fail” that will blot my record at this university for the remainder of my time here. Therefore I want to impress a

work was hard but manageable.

simple message to everyone just finishing up for Christmas,

All well and good you might think, but before you know it the second term is upon you (as it is now) and you find that this

young and old, first year or master’s student. I am a testament of how not to do it.

is where the fun slows down and the real work begins. What

It sounds old and boring and very old fashioned, but hard

you have to remember is that you’re paying for university so

work is rewarding. Getting work done early means you have a

really, you have to make the most of it. The social life at university is incomparable to anything else you will ever

lot more fun and can enjoy life without the pressures of deadlines and things. Make use of all the facilities on campus.

experience, however you need to remember that it has to be

I can really recommend the library: in fact I’m using it right now

taken in moderation. The reason I am writing this article is to inform all those readers out there of how not to conduct the

to write this article. Whether you take this on-board or not, I’m not really

final two thirds of your first year.

bothered, but this snippet of my life is there to tell you how not

I, like I said, loved my first term and had good attendance and kept on top of my work, whilst also going out and enjoying

to ruin your time at Brunel. I still enjoy an active social life and can be found in Locos most Thursday’s enjoying myself, but

the variety of bars and clubs that were offered to me. However,

now I’m on top of my work and feel much better for it. By all

after Christmas, it all fell apart for me: I ceased going to

means, if you want to chat to someone about how not to carry

lectures and seminars, and instead began to lead an excessive lifestyle that seriously affected my studies. I sit here writing

on as a university student I will be more than happy to share my experiences with you.

this, knowing full well that I failed to apply myself in the second and third terms. Basically I started missing deadlines and

- John Vear


Arts

High School Musical 3 Review Without a doubt, High School Musical 3: Senior Year was

It was clearly a rushed idea in order to get a third instalment of the film out due to high demand, though younger fans wouldn’t be conscious of this cheat against them. The film attempts to show the now grown up cast of HSM in a more personal environment with scenes at Troy and Gabriella’s

going to be a hit. From the success of the previous two films,

homes as well as the much-anticipated announcement of their

HSM had a cult-following of all ages and HSM 3 attempts to

love for each other. It is packed with songs that the younger

cater to this audience through the new songs and romantic

generation can memorise and terrorise their parents with, but at

relationships within the film.

times, despite being a musical, the songs seem unnecessary and

Senior Year opens at the championship basketball game for

rushed. They are of considerably less quality than the previous

the East High Wildcats and once again Troy Bolton (Zac Efron) is

two films, with the exception of maybe two and feel a bit hurried

in two minds about where he should be and what he should be

in their composition.

doing with his life. He is torn between his girlfriend Gabriella

Overall, HSM 3 ticks all the boxes for a movie with which to

(Vanessa Hudgens), who is about to leave for college, and his

silence the kids for an hour and a half. The memorable

jock team mates, who want him to join them on a mass

characters are all back to add to their roles and make Senior Year

basketball take over. The plot seems rather unnecessary as the

the most exciting year of their lives, definitely one for the kids.

gang get together to perform an end-of-year musical entitled

- Charlotte Murphy

Senior Year, reflecting the events of their last year of high school.

Arts Centre Production ‘Lucky Stiff’ Review Every year the Brunel Arts Centre puts on a musical and every year it is only seen by a minority of Brunel students. I think that this is a tragedy as a great deal of effort goes into each production and there are some fantastic performances both on and off stage. This year’s musical was Lucky Stiff, a farcical musical comedy revolving around the hapless protagonist Harry Witherspoon played by Richard Butt, a newcomer to the drama scene whose musical performance was phenomenal. The story follows Witherspoon as he is handed the task of holidaying with his recently deceased Uncle Tony in Monte Carlo in exchange for six million dollars; if he is not successful in this task then the money will go to the Universal Dog Home of Brooklyn. He is closely watched throughout these escapades, by Dog Home employee, Annabel Glick, played by second year Drama and Music student Meera Shaunak. Meanwhile, in Atlantic City, an optometrist, Vinnie Di Ruzzio (Yeukayi Ushe), is visited by his legally blind sister, Rita La Porta (Jenni Wyatt) who reveals to her brother that she has accidentally murdered her lover, while

not wearing her glasses, that the six million dollars in diamonds she and her lover had embezzled from her gangster husband is gone, that her lover was Harry's Uncle Anthony, and that the heart-shaped box full of jewels is now en-route to Monte Carlo! Together, they embark for Monte Carlo to find Harry and retrieve the money before Rita's Mafioso husband finds out. The plot of “Lucky Stiff” becomes even more convoluted and flamboyant but one would expect nothing less from a musical. The performances by the main cast and chorus were superb with only a few faults; I found that the part of the “drunken maid” was dragged out by the actress and in this case less would have definitely been more! The performance by Drama graduate Peter O’Regan as the dead Uncle Tony was fantastic: being able to sit completely still throughout the entire production and being thrown around the stage like a rag doll definitely increased the comedic value. The female lead played by second year Meera Shaunak was superb and her shy character was refreshing against the flamboyant Monte Carlo backdrop. I think that the stand out performance of the night was the character of Emcee played by third year Solomon Onibeju. His performance before the interval was refreshing and added a new bounce of energy into the performance; the same can be said for the character of Dominique played by Catherine Page.


I enjoyed “Lucky Stiff”, however my only fault with

Uni, in their fit of building, remember the value that the

the production was the theatre itself. The Howell

arts bring to the lives of its students and see fit to

Theatre is not suitable for a dramatic performance as

construct a real theatre

the stage is too narrow and the acoustics just do not

Remember you don’t have to be a drama student

work. Special mention must go to the technical crew

to audition for the plays and there will be auditions in

of the production who did a fantastic job with the

the New Year. Anyone interested in should contact the

space, time and funds they were given. I think that

Arts Centre and more information about future

more funding is needed for the Arts Centre so that

performances is available from them as well.

productions can be made better and so that better

- Helen Murdoch

known plays can be performed. One hope that the

Culture Review: ‘Taking Liberties’ Exhibition, British Library, Kings Cross

contrast the important work of the Suffragette movement there is a voodoo doll of a dour looking woman with pins sticking in it. And anyone made to study John Stuart Mills’ groundbreaking book ‘On Liberty’ might smile at it being slated in a review by Vanity Fair of all places. If all the documents become too much there are video and audio exhibitions as well. Famous politicians mingle with kitch NHS public information films. Where

The reading material you might find in the Kings Cross area isn’t normally of the high class variety – more likely to be served in a brown paper bag and with a wry smile. It’s thus an odd place to find the British Library, and even more so the ‘Taking Liberties’ exhibition, which is a far more important exhibition than its surroundings suggest. This free, interactive exhibition focuses on one very basic idea too often taken for granted: freedom. Taking a nine hundred year glance at history of individual rights of people in the UK and around the world, the exhibition collects some of the most

else might you get the chance to hear audio recordings of influential suffragette Christine Pankhurst. The high point of the exhibition is that it’s also interactive. By (ironically) putting on a free bar code wrist-band at the start of the exhibition and with the use of scanners and computers, you can vote on a range of issues. These range from the serious of whether smokers should pay more for the NHS, to the barmy of whether there should be a separate parliament for Cornwall. At the end of the exhibition there’s giant screens

important texts and documents that have granted us

showing the spread of votes that day. While the

the freedoms and liberties that we have today.

illiberal views represented are a little disturbing, it’s

At one end of the exhibition there’s the stuff of history books. It’s one thing to learn about the history of the Magna Carta. It’s another to actually see it.

good to see that the majority are liberal. It’s fascinating to see what people really feel on issues. When I visited, 67% of people thought it was justified to break

Equally other famous documents stand out. Charles

the law in order to change the law. Equally 53%

I’s death warrant and one of the original copies of the

believed feared the abuse of the stop and search

American Declaration of Independence are equally as awe-inspiring. You are then able to take a walk to the other end

powers held by the police. As an exhibition representing the rights of every person, it’s particularly suitable that you

of the exhibition and take a look at modern

leave the exhibition to the words of Thomas Paine:

controversy with books that broke the Official Secrets

“We hold these truths to be self evident…that all men

Act, magazines that contravened pornography laws and a focus on gay rights. Each display provides an affirming example in how far we have come as people in the creating an equality of rights for all, yet all the while the organisers have taken care to show this equality has been hardfought, with every new idea of liberty strongly contested. Just to emphasise this point and to

are created equal”. Clearly from our lives today that isn’t necessarily the case. Yet from the contents of this exhibition it’s clear we’re getting closer all the time. ‘Taking Liberties’ is free at the British Library and runs until March 1st. Nearest tube is Kings Cross/ St Pancras. See details at http://www.bl.uk/ takingliberties - Jon Bye


The Guillemots and Nokia: Connecting People The new Nokia 5310 sounds good…..you know what else sounds good?

The way the Barbican hall is laid out; all the seats feel in the front row and part of the action, creating an intimate feel to the

The Guillemots.

gig. Throw in banter of the highest quality from the band and of

Early last month, this writer got the chance to see the

course the insane short films in the first half, and you have a gig

Guillemots live at the Barbican in London, courtesy of Nokia. The

that no other band could recreate.

show was unlike any gig you will ever see. The first half was a

The whole reason this gig was possible is because of Nokia

collection of films from FutureShorts, which were scored entirely

and their Connectors. The deal here is that you find a Connector

by the Guillemots (who, it turns out, are disgracefully talented).

(they lurk on the streets, at festivals, gigs like this) and give them

As the sometimes odd, sometime funny, but always excellent films wound to a close, the screen was removed and the

your name and number. This is then put into a wee raffle and the winner gets a Nokia 5310.

Guillemots were revealed in a blaze of music.

This is a Comes with Music phone. Where you get unlimited

Play such hits as ‘Kriss Kross’ and ‘Get Over It’ the quartet

downloads, that you can keep….and they are free. Sounds good?

from Birmingham and London, tore up the decades old stage in

Then get to a Carphone Warehouse…and HMV to get a

the Barbican to deliver an eclectic gig for the waiting audience.

Guillemots album - Ben Moxey

Campus Hustle Amankwa Annorbah-Sarpei discusses student finances and money making schemes... Happy New Year, and welcome back to all those who enjoyed stuffing themselves with Xmas trimmings or

craze is, or the latest trends from TopShop and Ed Hardy. Now though the sales look

Student living has become extremely difficult with the price rises, and though we put in the extra hours,

splurging out on the Boxing Day sales.

incredibly appealing – like chocolate

we still, to an extent, have to budget

As we return to the strain of our last

cake to a fat kid, with added sprinkles

our income for the essentials of

term’s academia, we students regain

on top due to the new 2.5% cut it tax –

student life: and by essentials I don’t

momentum and resume the ‘Campus

we should not get carried away and

mean our fraudulent conceptions of

Hustle’ of slaving away in retail

indulge ourselves in extravagant

the latest fashion accessory or a night

conditions the likes of which would

shopping sprees, even if we walk

out clubbing. The main point is that

send most to the psychotherapist or

down aisles full of price-cuts

we all came to Uni to receive a

at the very least give a serious dose of

screaming at us like supporters at a

degree, and the relevant experience

H.B.P from dealing with impertinent

football game. Let me remind you we

alongside it to make us ready the

customers. All this in order to stack

are in the middle of a recession and

competitive real world. Now I’m not

some P’s, cheddar or green for the

acting thrifty with our money will only

saying let’s not look good or enjoy our

latest A3 or whatever the latest car

benefit us in the long run.

nights out, but our overdraft is not there to be spent frivolously: it’s

16


emergency money! Otherwise we’ll end

lifestyles, and those that do actually

wisely and don’t work to hard for we

up like that poor bloke on BBC Three’s

need financial aid can get advice on how

don’t need money to achieve pure

How to Rob a Bank whos credit rating

to receive more money. What we all

satisfaction as it can lead to indulgence

prevents him from opening a phone

need to consider is that it is not

and debt, so if you’re going to take part

contract, let alone owning a house. I

necessary, or indeed acceptable, to go

in the ‘Campus Hustle’ make sure that is

mean just imagine that!

to the lengths which some of us go to

done in moderation and for the right

just to make that extra little bit of

reasons, because you may pay for it

cash….. only to blow it in a day or two.

later.

The ‘Campus Hustle’ does not need to be taken to the extreme of nightly shifts or working 15 hours plus that

The hustle students take part in

prevent you from turning up for lectures.

throughout the course of university is

There are many opportunities for work

not completely bad. However we should

at the Job Shop in the Bannerman

devise a budget so that we can live

Centre (what a plug! – Ed.) that provide

without the added strain of finical

reasonable pay and hours in

problems on top of the many problems

consideration of most students’

we go through as young adults. Spend

Some tips for finance: • Don’t contract yourself for more then 15 hours a week in your job. • Avoid Credit cards and owing money. • Use your overdraft for Emergencies only. • Try to limit spending on clothes, boozing and clubbing. • Try cooking instead of resorting to take-outs. • Avoid getting a car unless necessary and opt for an Student Oyster Card to save as much as possible on public transport. • If you need more help, pop into the Advice and Representation centre in the SU. They can help with money, debt and budgeting problems.

More advice? If you need more help, pop into the Advice and Representation centre in the SU. They can help with money, debt and budgeting problems. The Advice & Representation Centre (ARC) offers guidance and advice regarding your rights and responsibilities at work, the taxes that you may have to pay and

17

any refunds that you may be entitled to, how to get the national insurance number if you haven’t got one and employment rules for international students. The ARC produces a regularly updated Employment Guide in conjunction with Brunel’s Jobshop. We can provide also you with help and guidance regarding all of your financial queries, whether you are managing your money for the first time or coming to University with a complex financial history. The ARC can help you to deal with your creditors and provide you with skills that you can use throughout your life in that area.


RAG -

What on earth is it? RAG stands for Raise and Give, the

On Saturday 6th December, 50

union’s channel to raise money for

Brunellians transformed into pirates and

different charities. Students get to

set sail to invade Reading University’s

organise different activities, ranging from

Student Union! No plundering was carried

cake stalls to “cream the exec” (not as

out but it was a fantastic night, where

enjoyable for us as it sounds – Ed), to

everyone had fun. Capt’n Niall and his

raise as much money as possible. With

mateys raised over £400, as well as

new RAG officer, Niall Murray, and a brand representing Brunel with some good old new RAG executive committee, this year

fashioned banter. If you wanted to come,

is going to be the best year yet!

but missed out, don’t fear as we will be

During Fresher’s Week, Freshers and Contacts managed to raise a whopping

holding another Pirate Invasion next term. So maintain eye peeled status and look

£2700 for The Peggoty Foundation, Mind, out for the posters! Brompton and Harefield NHS hospital trust, British Liver Trust and

“...The chosen charities are Changing Faces, Great Ormond Street Hospital, Meru, Multiple

Breakthrough

Sclerosis Society and the

Breast Cancer.

Peggoty Foundation...”

This year, the charities were decided by you, using

Over the next few weeks you will see RAG Mags flying around. These detail all the different Charities and what they do, as well as different events

which will be taking place during RAG

brunelstudents.com. The chosen charities Week. As ever, we will be doing our are Changing Faces, Great Ormond Street annual duck race in honour of our Mascot Hospital, Meru, Multiple Sclerosis Society

Izzy Brunel the Duck (add her on

and the Peggoty Foundation.

Facebook!), as well as a RAG ball, where

Since September, clubs and societies many different, weird and wonderful things have also been doing their bit to raise money. Netball’s Pink Night, on 20th October, was SOLD OUT and they raised

will be happening to raise money! If you see people walking around campus with RAG tins or selling cakes or

money for Breakthrough Breast Cancer by doing random things, please give selling Pink Visors and spreading

generously as we want to make this the

awareness of the Charity. Football’s

best year yet!! We sell glow sticks at every

School Disco was as popular as ever and

Global, 50p each or 3 for £1 so dig deep

RAG were there, selling sweets which

and let’s get glowing!

were sold out by 1am! Snow Club and

18

If you want to get involved with RAG

Hockey both baked cakes and sold them

this year email Rag.Officer@brunel.ac.uk

to you all during lecture breaks to raise

or contact us via our mini site on

over £200, while Dance Club raised £80

brunelstudents.com. Let’s make a

with their tombola.

difference together! - Kirsty Langley


Le Sport Premier League Mid-Season Review Usually as we move into the Festive Football period, the League is starting to take shape. More often than not, the

Knight Rider As you may have seen in LeNEWS there are have been awards a-plenty for the British sports stars. The most notable is Chris Hoy, who receives a knighthood after becoming the first Brit in a century to take 3 golds in a single Olympics. The Hoy family also had an MBE to celebrate, as his mother picked up the award for her work into sleep-related illnesses. Reading Chairman, John Madejski also received a knighthood for his charity work. Rebecca Adlington grabbed an OBE for her double gold in the pool in China, along with Steve Williams Ben Ainslie, who bagged a gold medal in the last 3

table has been nicely split into fifths: Title challengers; Euro

games, becomes the most successful British sailor and a CBE

hopefuls; those stuck in mid-table mediocrity; the dogfighters;

to boot, he is joined by Bradley Wiggins, paralympic swimmer

and of course, the relegation favourites. Yet here we are at the

Dave Roberts, Lee Pearson and cycling coach David

half-way point of the tightest Premier League season in years,

Brailsford

and it seems impossible to predict. At the time of writing, there are only two small gaps opening up – one at the very bottom, the other at the very top. Both West Bromwich Albion and Blackburn Rovers are hoping Santa brings them some results over Christmas, with

Lewis Hamilton grabbed an MBE, as current F1 world champion (in case you didn’t know). He is joined by Christine Ohuruogu, Pippa Wilson, Victoria Pendleton, Rebecca Romero, James DeGale, Nicole Cooke and Eleanor Simmonds, who is the youngest-ever recipient at 14

woeful form meaning they’re propping up the table, at least 5 points behind the rest. Blackburn have attempted to rectify the problem by sacking Paul Ince and appointing Sam ‘OhSunderland-don’t-want-me-then-I-guess-I’ll-take-Blackburn’ Allardyce. Well don’t hold your breath, Rovers faithful. West Brom, meanwhile, haven’t done anything about their situation. As long as manager Mowbray continues to try ‘sexy football’, the Baggies will continue to lose in an ugly fashion. A hamstring injury left a Torres-shaped hole, but unbelievably Liverpool still top the table, with Chelsea and Manchester United snapping at their heels. Title predictions seem impossible as this ‘big three’ continues to play ‘tit-fortat’ stealing points from each other when necessary. It says something for the standard of the League this year that Arsenal have beaten Chelsea and Man Utd (who are, at the time of writing, conquering a draining World Club competition in Japan), and those victorious Gunners are still languishing in 5th, 8 points behind Liverpool. With Hull City and Aston Villa surprisingly good, and Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur surprisingly bad, these last few months have made for exciting viewing. Besides the small aforementioned gaps, the league is bum-squeakingly close. Fans’ cheeks are clenched across the country as they look for the results, knowing that with a mere 5 points separating manager-less Sunderland in 18th and Portsmouth in 8th, a win or two could turn relegation battlers into Euro contenders. If nothing else is clear, it’s obviously going to be a nervous 2009. Still, if the tension we’re all suffering is bad, I wouldn’t want to be a Ref this season... - Dan Ross

19

Knocked for 6 On the 6th of November, England’s cricketers arrived in Rajkot to begin the start of a winter tour of India. The first ODI, on the 14th, saw them lose by 158 runs. This kinda set the tone for the rest of the series. However, the Mumbai attacks brought the country to a standstill and the ECB and the Home Office brought the team home. Talks in Dubai between the ECB and the BCCI (India’s Cricket Board) agreed on 2 5-day tests in Chennai and Mohali. Now here was a chance for England to show the Indian team what cricket was!.......Apparently cricket is about losing, hard. In the Chennai test, a minutes silence was held for the deaths of 100s in Mumbai, and then the crowd continued in silence as they watched the English cricket team flail at everything. Sachin Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh hit 163 not out to leave the English 6 wickets adrift at the close. Tendulkar said the century was bittersweet, and dedicated it to his fellow Mumbaians. "Whatever we can contribute, we've been able to do that. We're right with the people who have lost their dear ones”, he said In Mohali, things didn’t improve. India posted 453 and England could only respond with 302. When the Indians took to the field and posted another 251 for only 7 and declared, many knew that England had lost once again. They bravely held on, under a barrage from Harbhajan and Zaheer, to draw the test.


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