NEWS UNION PAYS TRIBUTE TO NELSON MANDELA
B RU N E L U N I V E R S I T Y ’ S S T U D E N T N E W S PA P E R
FEATURES GENDER EQUALITY SPECIAL: DOES IT REALLY EXSIST?
THE FILMS TO WATCH IN 2014
George Bowden It hardly feels as though Brunel’s Costcutter cuts costs and now we know why after an investigation by Le Nurb found that the university charges up to 55% more for basic groceries when compared with an independent store just minutes from campus. The university was also found to be charging customers up to 200% more for items advertised as being on offer or promotion elsewhere in the Costcutter network of stores.
Among the everyday purchases found to be more expensive at Brunel, semiskimmed milk was found to be 55% dearer at Costcutter than the local store on High Street, Cowley. Brunel Costcutter charged £1.55 for the 1.27 litre, four-pint bottle, while the local store charged just £1. Eggs had a mark-up of almost 27% when compared with the nearby store - despite being the exact same size and brand. 6 medium sized, Heritage brand eggs cost £1.89 at Brunel and £1.49 at the local store. Among the other price differences were Pepsi 2 litre bottles - priced almost 24% dearer at Brunel, a
Ristorante frozen pizza - with a 14% mark-up, and a 1.5l bottle of Volvic mineral water - 11% dearer at Brunel. Out of the 10 everyday items surveyed, eight were cheaper at the local independent store and one was the same price at both Brunel Costcutter and the local store. It’s good news for sandwich fans though as the one item found to be cheaper at Brunel was a 100g pack of sliced ham. All of the products surveyed were directly comparable and only items with the same pack size were included in the research.
The local store is of a similar size to Brunel’s Costcutter and is already well known to Brunel students for its highly competitive alcohol prices. Differences in price were not limited to basic groceries, however, with many special offers advertised nationally by Costcutter not passed onto customers at Brunel. An offer on Maryland chocolate-chip cookies, which saw customers of other Costcutter stores benefit from a ‘buy one, get two free deal’, was not made available by the university.
SPORT JESS ANDREWS: GAINING MOMENTUM
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38 PLEASE RECYCLE
WELCOME TO ISSUE 2: DECEMBER SPECIAL
This Month... 04
Simply put, if you’re a current Brunel student, you can write for Le Nurb. There are a few things to bear in mind:
UNION PAYS TRIBUTE TO NELSON MANDELA
CREATIVE WRITING SPECIAL MYSTERY, HORROR AND IMAGINATION
FEATURES GENDER EQUALITY SPECIAL
MILEY CYRUS: LOVE OR LOATHE?
YOUR ARTICLE - Your article should be saved as a Word document (.doc or .docx). - Its filename should contain your name, student number, and a suggested headline. - We don’t accept PDF, Works (.wps), OpenOffice (.odt), Pages (.pages) or other formats. - Publisher files (.pub) are particularly horrific, beastly things. Please don’t send any, ever. - It may sound obvious, but please run a spellcheck before you submit your article!
EVERYONE HAS AN OPINION ON MILEY
YOUR IMAGES 26
CULTURE 2014 FILM RELEASES BREAKDOWN
SPORT JESS ANDREWS: GAINING MOMENTUM
Contributors Le Nurb would like to thank the following people for contributing an article to this months issue.
George Bowden Mariana Rocha Kirsty Capes Angela Shine Saqlain Suleman Ridafatema Hussein Malaika Oyortey Kat Clementine Jemima Khalli Alex Mitchell James Alder Emily Timmins Oliver Ronaldson Rowan Frewin
Arthur Toomer Aldo Scott Lucy Jane Gonzalez Eddie Leggatt Kirsty Capes James Alder Naz Ldn George Coates Lena Mistry Peter Richards Sheena Parmar Phoebe Park Jessamy Baudains Kerri Prince Stacey Lucas
Sara da Silva Gurpreet Sihat Will Moss Christina Wares Martha Salhotra Becky Collins Jasmin Nahar Antony Smith Damyana Bojinova Cam Griffiths Joseph Cornforth Baljit Padda Verity Agababian Robert Parritt Eddie Leggatt Inah Dela Cruz Natasha Levy Kris Miles Kieran Persaud
Ryan O’Donovan Antony Smith Alex Mitchell Katie Williams Gilbert Lewis Matt Cahill
- If you like, you can suggest specific images for your article, or take your own photograph and include it with your submission. They’ll need to be separate .jpg or .png files. - Don’t embed your images into the article document - this compresses them too much for use on the page. - Any image filenames and image credits (who the photographer is) should be listed at the end of your article. - Images you submit must not be copyrighted by another individual or organisation. - Please don’t just nick pictures off Google Image Search (we can’t use them 99% of the time!) please use Flickr Creative Commons instead.
Enquiries, advertising & complaints: Chadley - firstname.lastname@example.org Design queries and feedback: Jo - email@example.com News articles: Kat - firstname.lastname@example.org In-depth articles on a given topic: Angela - email@example.com Reviews and culture articles: Sheena - firstname.lastname@example.org Everything sport-related Ryan - email@example.com
Deadlines The deadline for the February issue is
Friday 14th February 2014. Please send articles to our new submissions email address,
Advertising Le Nurb is distributed eight times a year, across campus, to a network of 15,000 students.
Deputy Editor Xenia Rimmer
Jo Emma Gregory-Brough
Online Content Manager Eddie Leggatt
Section Editor Kat Clementine
Chief Sub-Editor Bryn Glover
Section Editor Angela Shine
Chief Sub-Editor Peter Richards
Section Editor Sheena Parmar
Chief Sub-Editor Mike Read
Sub Editor James Alder
Section Editor Ryan O’Donovan
Chief Sub-Editor Joseph Cornforth
DESIGNERS Rory Lewiston Jodienne Ball Wafa Salim Dan Antonio
PHOTOGRAPHY Chadley Richards
We offer great rates to advertisers, plus discounts for on-campus clubs, societies and organisations. Find out more at brunelstudents.com/lenurb or via the Editor. To book an advertising slot for February call Bonnie Crate on 01895 267215
All articles and pictures © their respective authors unless otherwise indicated. Views expressed are those of the writers and do not reflect the official position of UBS or Brunel University. All comments and complaints about content in Le Nurb should be addressed to the Editor in the first instance: firstname.lastname@example.org. Complaints will only be entertained where it can be proven that an article or graphic is: factually inaccurate; breaches the Press Complaints Commission’s Editors’ Code of Practice; breaches the National Union of Journalists’ Code of Conduct; breaks the law; or encourages readers to break the law. No complaint that fails to satisfy at least one of these criteria will be upheld. Published by: Union of Brunel Students, Kingston Lane, Uxbridge, UB8 3PH. Printed by: Harmsworth Printing Derby, Northcliffe House, Meadow Road, Derby, DE1 2BH.
NOTE FROM THE EDITOR
Editor’s Letter Kirsty Capes Editor 2013/14
Welcome back, Brunelians, to the second half of the academic year! I hope your Christmas break found you well and provided you with a long overdue distraction from coursework, dissertation and student living. After the massive success of the December re-launch issue, we were all keen to keep up the good work and high standards in this January issue. And (not to blow my own trumpet) I think we’ve done it. Overwhelming support and quality contributions from Brunel students have allowed us to produce yet another 40-page issue, eight pages longer than our usual offering.
The editorial team have been working super-hard to get the stories relevant to you in the paper and heard by the university’s decision makers. Our front-page story, which details the pricing issues in the campus Costcutter, is being addressed by UBS President Martin Zaranyika. We’ll keep you up to date with any changes in the story. Elsewhere, this month’s issue features some special opinion pieces on gender equality. We found that a lot of submissions for this issue focused on the recent Blurred Lines vote at Student Assembly, and as a result, a number of feminist issues that arose from it. Students have provided some evocative and informed opinions detailing their stances on the various facets of gender equality. Last month Brunel also saw the first-ever winter graduation ceremony for postgraduate students, as well as the re-launch of a fellow media outlet, Radio Brunel, and an inaugural guest appearance and special Christmas message from the Mayor and Mayoress of Hillingdon. This term we have so much to look forward to – elections, One World Week, Varsity – and Le Nurb can promise to continue to keep the student body well-informed for the rest of the academic year. If you’d like to get involved you can tweet us @ le_nurbonline, search us on Facebook; or email us at our new email address for submissions and enquiries: lenurb. email@example.com. To get the most out of your Le Nurb, make sure you’re keeping up to date with us on Facebook and Twitter – and be sure to look out for our website coming soon to an internet near you. Meanwhile, Le Nurb will strive to keep you informed and up-to-date on everything you need and want to know about Brunel life. We’ll keep you posted!
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This meant that, over the promotion period, every purchase of the cookies at Brunel saw a 200% difference in price when compared with other Costcutters and advertisements on TV and online. Customers encountered a 109% mark-up on the price of 2 litre bottles of Pepsi after a £1 deal wasn’t replicated at Brunel, and the absence of an advertised two for £3 deal on 1 litre bottles of Tropicana orange juice meant customers at Brunel paid 72% more. Responding to Le Nurb’s findings, the university says it would like to “reassure” students that it “works hard
to provide better value for money and improve the overall student experience.” However it said that the “challenges” of being a small retailer mean that it can’t replicate the pricing of other stores, including those in the Costcutter network. The university said its Costcutter store runs promotions “aimed at improving student welfare” such as a £3.49 meal deal, a range of halal foods and cleaning products. It pointed out offers available at its store, which was not advertised by Costcutter, included a two for £3 deal on branded bags of rice, a promotion on tea bags and a bottle of bleach for
£1. Costcutter Supermarkets declined to comment and referred Le Nurb to the university’s response. In a written response to Le Nurb, Tracy Strachan, Brunel’s Director of Commercial Services wrote: “We do value and act on the feedback of our customers and have recently launched an online customer survey… we will be addressing the concerns raised by customers through the survey and directly to us. “As a University Store, any profits we do make are reinvested into the University which works towards improving the wider services we are able to offer to our students.”
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF LE NURB? Last month Le Nurb re-launched with a vengeance, and was well received throughout Brunel. Copies flew out of the bins across campus and the online version of the December issue received over 2000 hits. Here’s what some readers said about the December issue across social media: Kieran Persaud @Kizaman Dec 6 @le_nurbonline what an awesome read! Cam Mckirdy @UBSVPSA 9 Dec Having a read of this months LeNurb, and throughly enjoying it! Pesty Magician @MuyTwo 7 Dec le nurb is brunel backward, yo. Martha _@MSalhotra 5 Dec Grab your copy of @Le_Nurb while you can! The latest issue is definitely worth reading! #TeamBrunel January Baby @temiloluwaxo 5 Dec I need to get my Le Nurb newspaper! Mike Read @MihillRead 5 Dec Just had a look through the latest issue of @le_nurbonline. It’s looking spot on. Let’s keep ‘em coming guys! #Brunel The re-launch also saw a lot of
support for our special Mental Health Awareness spread, collated by Victoria Wallace and the Mental Health Working Group: Erica @erica_lyndsay 6 Dec @robynfitz your le nurb article touched on my personal experiences as well. good to know I’m not alone in my frustration, thank you! (: Victoria Wallis @victoriawallis 5 Dec So chuffed with this in @le_ nurbonline. Makes the hard work for awareness so worth it, and it’s just the beginning. Thanks to everyone for tweeting us your thoughts and opinions on the December issue. We want your opinion! Let us know what you think of us by tweeting @le_nurbonline and liking our Facebook page. The best tweets will make it into the February issue!
PHOTO CREDIT: THE GARDEN LOBBY
POOREST STUDENTS SUFFER IN £200M THREAT TO FUNDS George Bowden A planned £200m reduction in a fund for the poorest students will ‘defeat’ the Government’s social mobility agenda, the Million+ Education ThinkTank has warned. The Student Opportunity Allocation could be reduced by as much as 60% in the next budgetary year as the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) trims its expenditure. Senior coalition figures met earlier this month to discuss the BIS budget,
with the Treasury thought to be keen to impose the deepest cuts at the department.
the same. This has contributed to a departmental shortfall at BIS. The Universities minister David Willets is said to be a supporter of the fund and has thus far resisted pressures from
to £327m – the total amount of the fund.
The fund is used to encourage those The BIS budget has come under from the poorest backgrounds to apply pressure as an for, and attend, “To lose this funding would be a real disaster especially increase in private university. This education providers following the recently annouced withdrawal of the £100m aims to increase has led to an social mobility from the National Scholarship Program” exponential rise in by empowering the amount of fees those who would paid by the department. the Treasury, and the Cabinet Office, otherwise be put off higher education to use the Student Opportunity by giving them additional financial While higher education has been Allocation to plug the gap. support. opened up to new providers, most of which did not exist eighteen months Meanwhile The Guardian reported that Next year’s spending ago, the central government allocation the fund is under threat in its entirety recommendations will be set out in of funds for tuition fees has remained with the figure being discussed closer a letter that confirms the funding
available to the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) for the academic year 2015-16. Any cut in funding would follow an earlier reduction in the National Scholarship programme, a similar scheme that aims to increase participation. Pam Tatlow, Chief Executive of the University Think-Tank Million+ said: “To lose this funding would be a real disaster, especially following the recently announced withdrawal of £100m from the National Scholarship Programme a year early.”
UNION’S SWIFT REACTION TO GOVERNMENT CUT George Bowden Brunel students’ union has negotiated new terms for a student scholarship programme after the Government announced a surprise cut in funding. The national scholarship programme is a scheme aimed at empowering
students from disadvantaged backgrounds to attend university. However, the Government cut around £100m from this fund at the end of November prompting union officers to seek assurances from the university. In an unattributed statement on the student union’s website, the union says that officers “negotiated with the University to get a better deal for Brunel students”.
The students’ union wrote, “The main difference was to provide the scholarships in cash; whereas before students were mainly offered a fee waiver. This means that students will be given meaningful choices, which will increase the money going directly into students’ pockets.”
FIRST TASTE OF SUNDAY DINNER FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS
PHOTO CREDIT: BRUNEL INTERNATIONAL
Ikran Dahir International students were treated to their first traditional roast dinner before the Christmas break. Rev. Sally Hitchiner made it possible for 50 international students to have a roast dinner with host families across the borough of Hillingdon. Brunel Chaplaincy organised the “Brunel’s Big Sunday lunch” event with support from Brunel International. The idea of the event was to allow students to practice their spoken English and to enjoy an experience of a real traditional roast dinner with a family.
The event was very popular, as many students where interested. The spaces filled up fast and some sadly missed out. Students went to the homes of local families in pairs and got to spend a while getting to know each other over a roast dinner. The host families took into consideration the cultures of the students before they arrived and displayed a lot of generosity. Some of the families had children whom the students bonded with and the students spoke to them about their experiences from other parts of the world. The occasion also gave an opportunity for the students to integrate into the
community and show the families of Hillingdon what the International students of Brunel are like. Rev. Hitchiner said, “The host families were extremely generous and often researched the cultures of their guests before meeting them.” She added, “When the families returned the students to the university campus they all had big smiles on their faces and were often carrying pictures that had been drawn for them by the children.” If you missed out and would have liked to taken part don’t worry as Rev. Hitchiner has said, “It was a big success and we are planning to do it again next year.”
BRUNEL MIDDLE OF THE ROAD FOR LGBT STUDENTS Angela Shine LGBT Charity Stonewall has assessed Brunel University on their detailed web guide to University lifestyle for LGB students in the UK. However, with a checklist of 10 things needed to support the LGB community, they list 5 missing criteria at Brunel. Stonewall, the representative charity estimate 5-7% of the population in the UK are lesbians, gay men and bisexuals. They also say in a recent report that one in six people within these categories are known to have experiences some type of hate crime or incident within the last three years with one in ten victims experiencing some kind of physical assault or attack. This is what Stonewall say Brunel are missing:
a bit earnest and only went to one meeting and it turned out that I didn’t need to be a member of any groups to make gay friends, anyway. There were gay people everywhere. As for making friends I’d suggest students put themselves out there as much as possible and do scary things like going to gay bars alone (if needs be)”. The University has over 15,000 students. From Undergraduate degrees to MA’s and PHD’s, it consists of a diverse community of cultures and ages from over 100 countries. Yet the Brunel LGBT society recorded just 81 registers of interest at the Fresher’s Fayre this year. Nathan Parsons, President of the Brunel LGBT society said “There is a large LGBT presence within the mental health working group and as a society we have a monthly drop in morning at the Chaplaincy on the 1st Thursday of every month.”
Anti-homophobic bullying policy and mandatory training
Stonewall do however give Brunel the thumbs up on the other 5 requisites:
Student sexual monitoring
Society for LGB students
Explicit welfare support and info for LGB students
Events for LGB students
Consultation with LGB students
Specific career advice for LGB students
LGB Staff Network
Stonewall Diversity Champion
Engagement with the wider community
The absence of an anti-homophobic The Stonewall University guide bullying policy and mandatory training 2014 gives a brief outline of Brunel is at the top of Stonewall’s list. NUS University: “The LGBT society hosts LGBT Officer Finn McGoldrick said in weekly meetings at the pub quiz on The Guardian “While homophobia Sundays in Loco’s. They also often and transphobia remain endemic on arrange clubbing nights out in London, all campuses, a n d u n i v e r s i t i e s “While homophobia and transphobia arranged a still do not coach trip remain endemic on all campuses, to Student recognise LGBT students as a in universities still do not recongise Pride target group in LGBT students as a target group in B r i g h t o n terms of access last year. and retention. terms of access and retention. With U x b r i d g e There’s this LGBT students they only see it as a i t s e l f wrong opinion doesn’t social issue” that you go to boast much university and of a gay suddenly you are free to be whoever scene, but it is on a tube line and Soho you want to be and that it’s really is only an hour away.” welcoming and accepting.” However, Brunel is by no means at She added “With LGBT students, the bottom of the London List; other they only see it as a social issue.” The London Universities fare much poorer Guardian also goes on to say “Finn on the 10 point listing and some only complains LGBT students are not score 2. To see Stonewall’s ratings on treated as a group which needs special all UK universities you can visit www. measures while at university, but she gaybydegree.org.uk. insists bullying and hate crime are a huge problem.” Plans are afoot to develop and enhance the services on offer at Eleanor Margolis writes a regular the Uxbridge campus with Parsons lesbian infused column called ‘Lez- adding: “Robyn Fitzharris, the Equality Miserable’ in the New Statesman. A and Diversity Chair along with the recent university graduate, she visited LGBT Working Group are combining Brunel this week to discuss her writing. to develop plans to improve facilities She said: “In my first year, I joined and support for LGBT.” an LGBT group so I could socialise with some other gays, but I found it
THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE COLLAPSE OF THE THEATRE Saqlain Suleman Disaster struck the West End’s famous Shaftesbury Avenue in December when part of the ceiling collapsed mid-way through a performance.
UNI MARKETING ‘MISLEADING’ George Bowden Marketing for UK universities is often misleading with institutions engaging in increasingly bizarre tactics to produce impressive statistics, a report into the validity of claims in prospectuses has found. In one instance, a university redrew the map of Great Britain in order to validate its claim to be “one of the top five Northern universities for student satisfaction”. Universities in Greater Manchester, Liverpool, Cumbria and Lancashire weren’t included despite all being in the north of England, a freedom of
information submitted by the report’s authors revealed. Not content with geographic alterations and semantic trickery, however, some universities surveyed used wholly inaccurate facts in order to produce the most impactful messages for perspective students. One university claimed to be situated in one of the most affordable cities in the UK according to a Natwest survey, yet it instead ranked well below the majority of those surveyed by the bank. Another claimed to have been crowned the friendliest university in the UK by “independent surveys”. The report’s authors found this survey was in fact an online poll on the Friends Reunited website.
In some instances, the phrase “ranks in the top ten” was used to convey a universities position in a category where less than a dozen universities can be compared. Being in the top ten, therefore, could equally mean being in the “third quartile” or “bottom half”. The report, Integrity in Higher Education Marketing, was published in the International Journal of Education Integrity. It concludes that “data-based marketing” can often be misleading and makes it difficult for readers to draw accurate comparisons when viewing different universities. Higher education marketing should reflect the expense and importance of the “product” being advertised, the report suggests.
LABOUR PARTY SELECTS BRUNEL STUDENTS TO CAMPAIGN IN LOCAL ELECTIONS Alex Mitchell
campaigning hard to convince them to vote in May.
On the 19th of December 2013, part of the ceiling collapsed, breaking off parts of the balcony beneath, 40 minutes into a performance of ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time’. After the collapse of the roof, in a room of more than 700 people, the emergency services acted quickly, arriving at the scene and quickly taking people to safety. A treatment centre was set up at the Gielgud Theatre and the London Ambulance Service has said that it treated 79 people but only nine had serious injuries. During the play, some actors upon the stage appeared to notice the cracks in the ceiling and pointed to it before running of stage. Some members of the audience have commented that they believed this to be part of the play. Despite the collapse of the ceiling and the panic that ensued most people managed to remain calm. Reports have shown that there was an orderly evacuation of the theatre, led by the wardens, out onto Shaftsbury Avenue.
The Society of London Theatre, the body representing all producers and theatre owners has said that, “The exact cause of the incident is still being investigated and the theatre owners… are working closely with the relevant authorities to establish exactly what happened.” However, it is thought that storms and lightning strikes in London the day before weakened the ceiling as water was seen dripping down before the collapse. Progress has been made with the reconstruction of the theatre, with Westminster council saying they would only allow the Apollo theatre to reopen when completely safe. A report into the structural safety of the building is expected later in January. While the theatre was planned to reopen on Saturday 4th January 2014, the owners of Nimax have said that the theatre will remain closed until Saturday 11th January meaning performances of Mark Haddon’s novel will not recommence until Monday 13th January 2014. The owners have paid credit to the extraordinary work of the emergency services at this time and have ensured that they’re thoughts are still with the families of the injured. The 113-year-old building, which was first commissioned by Henry Lowenfeld and opened on 21 February 1901, was the first Edwardian theatre to be opened in London.
want to hear their views about how we can make Brunel and Hillingdon an even better place to live.”
Hillingdon Labour Party Speaking after her selection, Kerri said, have selected Brunel student Kerri “I am delighted to have been selected Anyone wanting to get involved with Prince as one of their candidates to contest the Uxbridge South ward Kerri’s campaign can contact her by for the Uxbridge South ward in for the Labour Party in the upcoming email on firstname.lastname@example.org. the upcoming local elections in May. Kerri “Often in elections Brunel students don’t take the time The Labour Party to vote but as such a large group of voters we have a is a final year Politics has also selected student and was last students Arran chance to make a real difference” year’s Union of Brunel Griffiths and Rob Students’ Campaigns Pennington as two Chair. elections. Thousands of students are of their candidates for the South residents in the ward and I want to Ruislip ward, which covers the area The ward, which includes the ensure that their voices are heard by surrounding RAF Northolt north of Isambard and MFG complexes, is the local council.” the A40. a key target seat for Labour in the upcoming elections as they seek to She added, “Often in elections, Brunel The elections will be held on Thursday regain control of the Council from the students don’t take the time to vote 22nd May. You must be on the Conservative Party. but as such a large group of voters electoral register in order to vote. You we have a chance to make a real can visit https://www.aboutmyvote. Brunel students make up a large difference. Over the next few months co.uk/ to register or pick up an proportion of the ward’s population I will be talking to as many students application form from the Union’s and Kerri has said that she will be and local residents as possible as I reception.
PHOTO CREDIT: THE GUARDIAN
INTRODUCING UBS MEDIA
MEET THE UNION’S MEDIA TEAM
Go Green for
GREEN WEEK 10-14TH FEBRUARY
PHOTO CREDIT: CHADLEY RICHARDS
VIDEO BRUNEL Chadley Richards
LE NURB Kirsty Capes
RADIO BRUNEL George Coates
My name is Chadley Richards and, as well as being the UBS Media Chair, I am also in charge of one of its subsidiaries, Video Brunel. Video Brunel was founded almost 3 years ago by former Radio Brunel committee member Josh Robinson. Video Brunel was created out of students’ desire to capture and document some of the amazing events that happen in a student’s time here at Brunel. Video Brunel was formally integrated into the Union of Brunel Students in 2012 by myself and has been supported and funded by the students’ union. Video Brunel has given hundreds of students the opportunity to interview our guest acts at Academy, cover elections, and even just creatively express themselves. This year we have taken on two major projects: one being the Union of Brunel Students’ 50th Anniversary Project; and the second being the 2014 Varsity promotional video. We are looking for creative, driven and enthusiastic students to get involved in all areas of the production.
My name is Kirsty and I have the privilege and honour of editing the newspaper that you are currently holding in your hands. All student media is important to the growth and development of the UBS, but for me Le Nurb is a little bit extra special. Here at Le Nurb the fantastic section editors and their teams work tirelessly to collate and edit content submitted by the student body. For us, it’s essential that Le Nurb is consistently representing the student voice; and we therefore make sure that we ‘re always printing articles that are both written by and relevant to the Brunel population.
Hello all. For those who don’t know my name is George Coates, it probably says that somewhere above this inane ramble, hopefully accompanied by some dashing picture of me, half a page big. Kirsty? Half a page please? Oh right, yes, radio; I love radio, and Brunel is alright, I guess, so the opportunity to be station manager of Radio Brunel was an attractive prospect. We’re currently looking to improve wherever we can, but right now we just want the word to get out that Radio Brunel is back on the interwebs (www.radio-brunel.com), and get a more regular audience (that’s you!).
We’re always looking for student opinions and ideas; so if you’ve got something that you want everyone to hear, submit your article to Le Nurb! It’s not just all about writing though: we’re always looking for volunteers to help us with photography, design and illustration too. So, if you think you can help us out with making Le Nurb awesome, get in touch!
Radio Brunel has the potential to be such a huge part of the Brunel experience, but we need your help to make it awesome. If a radio broadcasts and no one listens, does it make a sound? Probably not, I dunno, I’m not a philosophiserer, figure it out yourself! And while you do that, tune in to Radio Brunel, cos we’re cooler than Le Nurb and Video Brunel. Obvs.
PHOTO CREDIT: CHADLEY LARNELLE
UNION HOLDS CANDLE-LIT VIGIL FOR NELSON MANDELA Jemima Khalli It came as a shock when one of my idols passed away last month. I was sitting in the library typing away when a well-known news site posted the status ‘Mandela dies aged 95’ on Thursday the 5th of December 2013. I didn’t believe it. You never imagine your heroes and inspirations to die. You expect them to live forever. That evening consisted of Whatsapp messages and exchanging emails as the Union of Brunel Students had to do something, especially for a man so close to our generation. We decided to hold a small candlelit vigil on the quad the next day for all students to attend, light a candle and say a few words; everybody pulled together to make the vigil a success and it truly demonstrated the strength and tight-knit community we as a university hold.
It was a minimal set up: a speaker, a microphone, tea light candles and a board to write messages on but personally, I don’t think it could have gone any better. Several students, and both UBS officers and chairs, took to the stage (or should I say steps of the quad) to read poems, readings and extracts from Mandela’s A Long Walk to Freedom on that cold Friday evening. The extremely talented singer Vivienne Isebor, a final year at Brunel, performed the heart warming song ‘Swing Low, Sweet Chariot’ to a crowd that was silent and alone in their own thoughts. Nelson Mandela touched the hearts of millions of people. He taught me to be the change and stand up for what you believe in. We really are the future and I truly think we can make a big difference if we believe we can. After all, this inspirational man went from prisoner to President…
PHOTO CREDIT: CHADLEY LARNELLE
BRUNEL HOSTS DANCE BENIFIT Malaika Oyortey December 2013 saw the first ever Brunel Dance Christmas Benefit, with over £300 raised for Childreach International. The night included performances from all disciplines with extra Christmas twists and a special festive Santa strip from the Rugby League Club. Members of the RAG committee were also on hand during the night selling raffle tickets and cakes. The show was organised by Millie Fortune, Vicki Ridgeway and Malaik Ovortey who all took part in the projects to raise money for Childreach International. Millie will be going out
to Nepal to take part in a project to build a school whilst Malaik and Vicki will be joining a record number of Brunel students climbing Kilimanjaro in August this year. Childreach International is an international development charity with projects in six different countries worldwide. They focus on improving children’s access to healthcare, education and rights. The Dance Benefit organisers would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who gave up their time to help make the show such a success. If you missed it, have no fear as Brunel Dance will once again be taking over the Howell building for their annual show, taking place on the 13th, 14th and 15th March.
BRUNEL’S NEW MASCOTS? EQUESTRIAN’S PONY FUNDRAISER MELTS HEARTS Kirsty Capes Brunel’s Equestrian Club had a treat for Brunelians last month when they brought two adorable ponies to campus to help raise money for their club and charity. The two ponies - a Shetland and a mule foal - set up shop next to HSBC on the concourse for a day of petting and fundraising. Students were invited to give the ponies a stroke or feed them a carrot or two. The ponies sported reindeer antlers and red bows around their necks, helping spread Christmas cheer in the gloomy December weather. The event raised £150, which was split between Equestrian Club and
their chosen charity, Blue Acre Horse Rescue in Windsor. UBS President Martin Zaranyika, VPCW James Ward and even the Mayor of Hillingdon Cllr Alan Kauffman all popped by to say hello to the special visitors. Club chair Clara Limpus called the event a “great success”, saying “Some of security even came over to stroke them, and the staff of HSBC very kindly did a collection for us. It was very nearly not possible due to permissions and paperwork, but myself, Blue Acre and the rest of the club are very thankful that it went ahead!” You can find out more about Brunel Equestrian Club by BrunelRiding; and Blue Acre Horse Rescue by visiting blueacrerescue.org
GLOBAL WARMING On the final Mega Global of last term, Brunel students had to be escorted out of the Academy nightclub and the Student Union building on two separate occasions due to fire alarms. The nightclub security asked everyone to leave the premises and wait until it had been thoroughly checked for any fire hazard before they let them back
in. A while later the same problem arose once again and for the second time of the night the club had to be evacuated. On both occasions it took around 15 minutes to re-escort clubbers back into the venue. Campus security is currently looking into what caused the fire alarms.
WHO IS HUSSAIN ? R. Hussein Hussain stood for: love, honour and sacrifice Hussain stood against: oppression, injustice and tyranny On the 10th day of the Islamic New Year, numerous Shia Muslims around the world weep and mourn the tragic death of the grandson of the Holy Prophet of Islam: Imam Hussain. A man of excellence and bravery, Hussain shows us how to make a stand against injustice and oppression. The Brunel Ahlulbayt Society launched its Ashura Awareness week on Tuesday 19th November 2013, whereby members of the society distributed water bottles and cards to convey the message of this revolutionary man. Essentially, the aim was to enlighten people about what happened 1,300 years ago and
how this universal message relates to modern life. The mission involved reaching people from all walks of life to circulate this holy message. By the sheer number of people that walked away with a water bottle and a card containing a very noble message, I can safely say that this campaign has been a very huge success. Although a few shied away, many wanted to know more and did their own research in order to implement the message into their own lives. With academic pressure and cold weather meaning many of us would rather be sipping hot chocolate in the campus Costa, members of the Ahlulbayt Society gathered to help out at this yearly event. It was a good chance to meet fellow Ahlulbayt Society members as well as working in a team to propagate the distinct and special message. Here is what Gandhi has to say about Hussain: “My admiration for the
noble sacrifice of Imam Hussain as a martyr abounds, because he accepted death and the torture of thrust for himself, for his sons, and for his whole family, but did not submit to unjust authorities.” AND “I learnt from Hussain how to achieve victory while being oppressed.” Hussain also inspired the English novelist Charles Dickens. Here is what Dickens has to say about this exceptional and distinguished man: “If Hussain had fought to quench his worldly desires…then I do not understand why his sister, wife, and children accompanied him. It stands to reason therefore, that he sacrificed purely for Islam.” Regardless of your beliefs, culture and background there is a universal message that can be learnt by humanity.1.5 Billion People around the world know about Hussain and the stand that he made. Do you? Ensure that you don’t miss out by visiting: www.whoishussain.org
PROPOSALS SLAMMED ON RAISING THE MINIMUM DRIVING AGE TO 22 Angela. Shine Brunel University’s Vice President of Community Welfare has slammed recent Government proposals for young drivers. James Ward, 22, made his comments in the wake of The Novice Drivers Report, commissioned by The Department of Transport. The Government has commissioned research which suggests that the UK should ‘slow down’ the driver training process, recommending following a step by step graduated driver licensing system, similar to the 4-year process currently used in Australia. The Community Welfare VP said: “I think it’s ridiculous, it’s utterly shambolic.” He added “Young people already have the burden of high insurance prices, so spreading the cost of driving over 4 years is just so expensive, young people will not be able to benefit.” The report, by the Transport Research Laboratory, also suggests the age of license applications (a provisional license) to rise to age 18, effectively making it impossible for a full license to be granted under the age of 22. So, if you had been toying with the idea of taking your test, it’s about to get a lot more expensive and will take you far longer, making it an especially
difficult financial burden on students. Emma Telford, 20, shows off her hard earned driving license, obtained at age 17. Emma, a third year Brunel BA Theatre student said “I had my first lesson a week after my 17th birthday and I passed two weeks before my 18th birthday. At that age, you really want independence and you have to rely on other people. It’s a safety thing as well, as it’s more dangerous to work late and use public transport at night. I now drive into University and work part-time as a Sales Assistant.” The DFT said ‘The report is expected to form part of a green paper currently being written and goes on to say that ‘Based on the evidence, it is recommended that licensing in Great Britain be based on a full Graduated Driver Licensing system.’ Mr. Ward himself has a particular passion for transport at Brunel University; he has recently petitioned for more scheduled services plus double decker buses in order to tackle the overcrowded U3 route serving Cleveland Road at the University. He is also in the process of championing Brunel’s own cycle hire system after The London Mayor’s office rejected his request to extend the London bike scheme to include the University areas.
Interestingly, applications to learn to drive are dropping. 5.2% fewer 17-20 year olds have applied this year than in 2009, according to the 2013 National Travel Survey. In fact, The Mail Online reported in 2012 that ‘Academics have found that the amount of driving licenses handed out to people in their teens, 20s and 30s has decreased significantly over the past three decades in nations where internet usage is high.’ Why then, review the learning process, stretching it over 4 years until a novice driver is given the metaphoric green light? Punam Varsani, 20, a Biomedical Sciences student at Bristol’s University of the West of England said of the scheme: “I would be really against that! Even though I don’t have a driving license yet it would make life so much more difficult. Coming from London, I have good transport links but people outside of London don’t have this. I feel I am mature enough now and to have to wait until 22 would put more restrictions and make younger people feel like they are not responsible or mature enough. But at the age of 22, they are responsible enough to live on their own, cook for themselves, pay their own bills and study for a degree.” With young people already put off by the increasing cost of learning, car costs, fuel charges and prohibitive insurance costs, our new drivers
10 UNION NEWS
POLITICS SOCIETY WHAT’S ON AT THE HOST WILL SELF ACADEMY IN FEBRUARY? AND PETER HITCHENS FOR CONTROVERSIAL RELIGION DEBATE
PHOTO CREDIT: UBS NIGHTLIFE
O. Ronaldson R. Frewin
issues to be inseparable from politics. Hitchens suggested that the Christian attachment allows everyone to reside on a “basic moral playing field”, perpetuated through the Church of England’s education system to all individuals equally.
Last month the Politics Society invited journalist Peter Hitchens and Brunel’s Professor of Contemporary Thought Will Self to a debate hosted in Academy. The motion argued was whether “In The truly engaging aspects of the contemporary Britain all religious debate came from the juxtaposition of faiths should be accorded equal two entirely opposite debating styles. respect and civil recognition.” The crux While Will Self flourished, drawing of Self’s argument was that the political the audience to him with displays power held by the Anglican Church is of humour and triviality, Hitchens “anachronistic”, its disestablishment reiterated his beliefs and main points critical as, ultimately, it is a “large and in a serious arguing style, which Self slightly rotten bough in the English undermined by playing to the crowd. tree”. To frame his counter argument After a question on the biased intake Hitchens of faith schools “To lose this funding would continued the from Jules metaphor, Roadknight, Self be a real disaster especially retorting that “we following the recently annouced exclaimed: we are still will have none of withdrawal of the £100m sat upon the that faith school branch of from the National Scholarship bollocks”, to the C h r i s t i a n i t y, amusement of Program” as “inheritors the onlookers of a unique but the tradition… it is very easy to throw dissatisfaction of Hitchens. Hitchens things away without understanding”. seemed unable to counter Will Self’s He suggested that the Anglican flippancy, which left his arguments Church is an integral part of our appearing slightly lackluster when society, and disestablishment would compared to the energy and bravado lead to the breakdown of our moral Self brought to the debating floor. and legal structures. Although, after a brief descent into Having established a squabbling, Hitchens clarified his premise, the debate was opened argument, claiming that if Christianity to the floor. The first audience did not have such prominence then contribution questioned whether we another religion such as Islam, the could still keep these moral and social “rival to Christianity” would take its benefits Hitchens place. Self “To lose this funding would believes exist q u i c k l y without religion. brushed this be a real disaster especially Hitchens was quick off like following the recently annouced point to step in with a the loose withdrawal of the £100m somber and stern tobacco from tone, focusing from the National Scholarship his cigarette, upon the collapse which he Program” in lifelong marriage carefully rates correlating r o l l e d with the reduction in religious through the entire second half of stability. Self quickly rebutted, the debate. His final point was that suggesting that Hitchens notion Hitchens was merely fear mongering, was of “wild syllogistic reasoning” and that there were in fact plenty – suggesting that during the height of happy secularist states. By the of puritanism less than fifty percent end of the debate it felt as though of Londoners attended church. He they were arguing slightly different presented other lifestyle changes as points – that Will Self was opposed its cause, rather than the increasing to religion having any effect on despondency with Christianity, saying government at all, while Hitchens that Hitchens was one of a minority believed that if a Christian-biased who “wants to see faith privileged in government wasn’t in power, then an our culture”. Hitchens said that in fact Islamic one would be. Overall, it was religion has no effect upon the wider Self that held the audience, creating view of the country, pointing out that an engaging debating atmosphere his personal view of Anglicanism where contributions from the crowd has “no bearing” on his wider view. were responded to and discussed, Self then pointed out that there are while Hitchens gave the impression of members of the House of Lords ignoring those questions to which he which are bishops, causing religious didn’t have a prepared answer.
Adam Philpot We kick February off with Quids In, playing nothing but cheesy pop and classics! Only £1 entry and drinks from £1.50! Then we have SuperBowl Sunday. With an American Football themed pub quiz to get you in the mood with American food being served all night, come down to watch the Seattle Seahawks battle it out against the Denver Broncos. Monday 3rd sees us bringing in the Chinese New Year celebrations with WTF. Tickets £3 in advanced; help us support your sports teams! Playing 80s, 90s, 00s and more! Kick off the night with the Drinks Exchange in Locos from 8pm and with cheap drinks all night! Tuesdays see our (really!) popular Karaoke night hit Locos! Come down and sing along to some classic songs. Whether you sound like Frank Sinatra or Jedward there is a song for everyone. Make sure to check out our £2 Tuesdays drinks offers! Wednesday nights play host to our brand new night GAMMA providing you the perfect way to kick off any night out. Come down from 7pm for ping-pong tables and some of the best drinks deals we have yet! Get your song requests in to our DJs and kick start your night out. After its highly successful launch back in January, Thursday 6th sees
the second instalment of our new House night Motus & Oratous. Expect nothing but House all night. Tickets £3 in advanced. Friday 7th kicks off the weekend with Global. Expect 2 rooms of music bringing you the best in pop, commercial, house, dance, hip-hop, r&b, bashment and so much more. Keep an eye out for our 6pm and birthday guest lists along with some great drinks offers! Keeping the weekend alive, head down to Quids In every Saturday. £1 Entry. Then on Sunday make sure to check out the pub quiz and open mic showcasing some of the bestundiscovered talent on campus. The basketball team host a Valentine’s Day Special at WTF on Monday 10th. Come down and support your teams. £3 in advanced. Drinks Exchange in Locos from 8pm. Thursday 13th hosts our second Post Grad night of the term! Throwback Thursdays! Our DJ will be playing the best in old school soul, funk, disco and more from 10pm. Friday 14th is our Global Valentine’s party with Club MTV. World famous MTV will be hosting its club brand here for Global. With DJ R3Wire and Varski this night is not to be missed and you never know, you may find love out on the dance floor. Get those Firemen and Police outfits out as Brunel Rugby host WTF 999 on Monday 17th. Tickets £3 in advanced.
MASH entertainment is bringing the Party Next Door to The Academy on Tuesday 18th. Expect the best in hiphop, R&B, Urban, commercial and more! Don’t miss Karaoke in Locos from 9pm. Thursday 20th, an alternative night for alternative tastes. Head to The Academy for our brand new Indie night, Locked In. Tickets £3 advance. Expect the best in punk, indie, rock and all things guitar. Friday 21st is none other than Global in The Academy. Make sure to check out our Global Warming pre party in Locos from 8pm. Dance Club host WTF School Disco on Monday 24th. Come down and support your sports teams. For those who like their music a little heavier, head to Rock Night on Thursday 27th from 10pm. DJs will be playing nothing but punk, metal and classic rock. Get those band T-shirts out and get pumped up for some serious headbanging. We round February off with none other than Global. Make sure you get your tickets in Advanced and get down earlier avoiding the queues. Watch out for the 6pm and birthday guest lists. Keep up to date with our events by heading to www.brunelstudents. com/whatson and join in on Facebook/ubsnightlife.
BRUNEL STUDENTS VOTE NO TO BANNING SONG ON CAMPUS Angela Shine Brunel University students voted a resounding ‘No’ to banning a controversial song on campus in an historic first ever ‘banning’ vote at the autumn student assembly. The vote to ban the song Blurred Lines by artist Robin Thicke caused controversy and mixed feelings on campus with even the question of whether the vote should be allowed in its original form being voted on. The motion fell with 6 for and 35 against the motion, with 4 abstaining. Martin Zaranyika, Student Union president presented the motion and Welfare officer James Ward presented a strong case for banning its allegedly offensive lyrics to be played at any venue on campus avoiding the celebrating of forced sex and possibly even rape. He said “The union notes that many students across the country as well as on this campus have found the contemporary popular music song ‘Blurred Lines’ offensive. There is a national campaign dedicated to banning this song in the student movement and many unions are taking similar actions.” The lyrics include lines like ‘But you’re an animal, baby it’s in your nature’ and ‘That’s why I’m gonna take ya’ plus ‘Good girl, I know you want it…’ He went on to say “The lyrics suggest a lack of consent to sex from women and suggests that it is okay for women to be harassed.” The motion was immediately questioned by Cam McKirdy VP of Student Activities who said “Yes, it’s a catchy song, it is promoting rape culture, but there are a lot of songs that people disagree with. Can we have a stance to look at this song negatively rather than ban it, would you amend the motion? I don’t think we should ban it or we will open up a can of worms”. Student Jack Rosies added “Sexism is bad but Lil Jon has been playing in Academy and that’s really misogynistic – why don’t songs about mugging get banned?” Student Andy Baker agreed “How many other songs could be offensive. We would have only one song playing. Why have we not looked at other avenues? Why have we taken the moral high ground?” Fellow student Liam asked “Does the song encourage rape culture?”
Brunel’s Societies Guild Chair Zion Zakari replied with conviction “Yesterday I spoke to a student who was raped. I stand against this being played. If it offends ANYONE, it should be banned.” The VP of Academic Representation Zein Owfar said “The Union is saying: not in any of our venues. What are we going to do about others which are not our venues on campus, what can we do about that?
STRIKES AFFECT LECTURES WILL EXAMS BE NEXT? George Bowden Members of the University and College Union (UCU), including lecturers and university staff at Brunel, will stage a series of two-hour strikes in their continuing battle for greater parity in pay and conditions. UCU members are reeling after recent revelations around the “inappropriate and unfair” pay of university vicechancellors. They say pay deals struck by senior university managers contrasts sharply with a 1% increase in salary offered to
academics and staff. The trade union also points out a recent Government announcement that budgetary surpluses across the higher education sector are projected to grow in the coming year. The UCU has alluded to future action which may involve strikes targeted around university exams. The UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: “Despite another round of embarrassing revelations about the very handsome pay rises those at the very top have enjoyed recently, universities are still refusing to improve a miserly 1% pay offer and are still oblivious to the hypocrisy of their actions.”
“Any kind of disruption is always a last resort but, after five years of pay suppression and members 13% worse off in real terms, we have little option but to escalate our action.” However, some students on campus won’t be supporting staff during the strikes after members of Brunel’s students’ union voted not to support striking university workers at last year’s annual union meeting. The strikes are scheduled to take place on Thursday 23rd January between 1100 and 1300, Tuesday 28th January between 1400 and 1600 and on Monday 10 February between 0900 and 1100.
ONE WORLD WEEK 2014
Olive Barton – President of the Feminist Society made an impassioned plea surprisingly against the ban “This song is disgusting, it goes against everything I believe in. 80% of female students experience sexual harassment. We need to use a zero tolerance for harassment but I don’t think banning ‘Blurred Lines’ does anything for the students of Brunel.” She continued “I need more for them than banning this song, I need security and real change. It’s taken my best friend three years to get up off the sofa after being raped.” Zara Shaen Albright looked at it differently “Why can’t we use the song to educate people about sexual assault and rape instead of banning it” The assembly applauded her. Student Sausan Hamawandy argued “There are people that are offended by everything. Play it after 11pm. Most people are out of their heads in Locos anyway.” But student Liam Walpole reasoned “Perceptions are different for different people. Some people may be offended, some may not.” The resounding no vote was decided after much angst over whether to ‘ban’ the song or merely ‘agree it wasn’t suitable’ with many students feeling that the latter would equate to just a discussion with nothing being done. With the motion falling, music and freedom of expression plus music choices that may cross sensitive boundaries stand unaffected across Brunel’s campus.
Mariana Rocha One World Week is a week long programme of events that aim to celebrate the cultural diversity of Brunel University, and this year it will be running from the 24th28th February. We want it to be bigger and better than ever before, which is where all of you come in… One World Week encourages staff, students and our local community members to come together and get involved in an extensive programme of activities. It encompasses over 100 different events over a five day period. The week aims to increase engagement and cohesion within Brunel’s community and to create a fun, inclusive and engaging environment to improve the student, staff and local community experience. One World Week is a great opportunity to try something new, so get involved! The week will be filled with events
organised by the Union, University and Clubs and Societies. These events include a World Parade, Give it a Go sessions and taster sessions, outreach community projects, International Food Fayre, World Fayre and World Evening, volunteering projects, and others. The International Food Fayre Be a part of something special, be a part of the International Food Fayre! This is your chance to represent your country at one of the best events of the year. Whether you are an international, EU or Home student, or whether you are part of a club or society, make sure you are a part of this amazing event. How can you get involved? We would like you to represent your country and culture through preparing food, drinks and decoration. You can either cook, bake or buy the food, offer a traditional drink or sweets, have decoration on your table, or country flag, a quiz well…
you get the idea! One dish or many, it doesn’t matter as long as you join us. If you would like to take part you will need to reserve a table by 4th February. You can do this by emailing email@example.com The World Fayre We are hosting the World Fayre on the 28th February between 3-7pm , the final day of OWW 2014.The World Fayre will be a huge event full of stalls promoting clubs, societies, etc. It gives you an opportunity to have a stall at this event which you can use to tell students about your club/society, do interactive activities to show people what you do. Performances are also welcome at the World Fayre. We want people to perform as the World Fayre turns into an evening event. Don’t miss the opportunity to be involved in one of the best weeks at Brunel University. More information about the week at http:// brunelstudents.com/oneworldweek/
12 CREATIVE WRITING SPECIAL
DILL THE SUPERHERO Aldo Scott The sunlight barely came through the hazed windows. A faint noise of pencils scribbling and the almost antique clock ticking on the wall could be heard as the children were quietly working on the exercises the teacher had set them. Every now and then she would have to interrupt the class to stop Billy from picking his nose and to tell Sam that the glitter was not, in fact, edible. At the back of the room, Dill was sitting at his desk. He had just finished the last exercise on the sheet of paper and was now kicking his feet against the legs of his chair and staring out the dirty windows. His hair was neatly combed back and his browline glasses rested on his small nose. The magnifying effect of the lenses made his eyes look jiggly, not unlike the Cookie Monster. The faint sunlight highlighted his pale skin and red, chapped lips. Dill was in the process of imagining a battle of the most epic proportions
in his busy little mind. Buildings were exploding, spells were being cast, dragons were being slain, and damsels in distress were being saved by the most noble of heroes who were driving around the land in their impressive sports cars, guns ablaze. The clockwork of Dill’s brain was jammed by a ball of paper that had been chucked across the room squarely into his right eye. This act of malice was accompanied by the ringing of a bell. School was over and it was time for the children to run along to their mothers and fathers. Dill promptly packed up his lunch box into his backpack, slung it on his back and sprinted home through the crowds. Dill greeted the postman right as he reached their letterbox and took the mail directly from him. He ran up to the front door and kicked it open and soon after apologised to his mother for doing so. In the kitchen, Dill dumped the mail in a heap on the table and reached for a bottle of milk from the top shelf of the halfempty refrigerator by climbing on a small stool. He opened the bottle and poured some into a small dish for Colby, their Jack Russell terrier.
For himself, Dill cracked open a bottle of chocolate milk and poured an extra-large serving. He tried his very best to drink it in one go, before his mother came in. Luckily no one heard the sound of choking or saw the splattering of milk on his shirt and on the floor. After finishing that glassful, he poured himself another one, put away the milk bottles and ran upstairs. The bathroom was a quiet haven where Dill could go to whenever he felt like he needed some time for himself. He lifted the lid on the toilet, removed his trousers and sat backwards. This way the cistern could serve as a handy table for his glass of milk. Completely oblivious to the health risks posed by spending too much time sitting on the loo, he contemplated his journey to becoming a superhero. As far as his innocent and naive mind understood, as long as he drank plenty of milk and helped his mum by lifting heavy shopping bags, he would eventually grow up to become the hero this world needs. Any suspicious noises would make him snap out of his thoughts and check the door for anyone attempting
to come in. Dill’s parents wouldn’t take kindly to the fact that he was helping himself to an abundance of regular milk, let alone chocolate milk. But how else was he going to develop strong bones and muscle mass? Superman didn’t get to where he is now by resting on his laurels. Dill hopped off the toilet and made his way toward the mirror. He pulled the string to switch on the light and positioned himself so that his reflection was in the centre. He carefully studied and evaluated himself. To become the saviour of the ladies, he would have to become significantly bigger. His shrimpy body was no good for acts of valour. His ribs were clearly visible and his shoulders were as sharp as knives; not bulky and muscular in the slightest. A look of despair almost crept onto his face, but he gave himself a good slap to regain his spirit. He accidentally knocked down his tall, and now empty glass of milk.
top and whose balding head could be described as a hair cul-de-sac, entered the bathroom in a fit of anger and cast the boy into the corridor. “Oh, for crying out loud! What did I tell you about breaking the crockery, boy? Now get out of here!” Dill ran to his room which was at the end of the corridoor, right next to the staircase. He jumped wildly onto his bed, which was covered by a duvet with teddybears on it. There he lay, eyes toward the ceiling. As well as sounds of the bathroom floor being swept, the hubbub of lasers zapping and swords clashing could be heard in Dill’s daydreams.
The resulting sound of jagged shards whizzing through the air and scraping across the stained floor alerted the parental units in the next room. Dill’s father, who was sporting a white tank
THE FAMILY Lena Mistry England, late 1315 They came when they were asleep. That particular night the sky was too dark, too cold, the family too alone. It was a silent ordeal. In and out. One, two, three, gone. The animals in the shed were as good as dead, nobody wanted them. The children, on the other hand, were fresh game. Soft, and young, and most delicious. The children were in the stables sleeping on the hay where horses once lay down. The horses had perished there. The family threw them in the river. Bad move. They were hungry for months. The children did not awake, they did not know, they could not fight. Little Thomas, little Anne, little Catherine. One, two, three, and they were gone. It was Miles who woke up early the next morning. The world around him was silent. He could not hear the rustle of trees as they quivered in the wind, he did not hear their swine grunt in long, everlasting agony, and he did not hear the sound of the little stream trickling past their hut. He did not hear because no one and nothing had the energy to make a noise. Miles forced his skinny body off the hard ground and walked out into the fresh, morning air. Sunlight splashed over his pale skin. He stood squinting up at the sun. He could not remember the last time the sun had greeted him with such tenderness. It felt like a
lifetime ago. For months on end the rain crashed down on them, flooding their lives with misery. One after the other families had left the village and all signs of humanity escaped their grasp. They had the farm, and the animals, but the endless rainfall soon killed everything that they had. No one could believe they were still alive. Miles had left his wife sleeping in the hut, her limbs tangled into a thin sheet of fabric, hardly breathing. These days it felt like they were dead men walking. In fact, it was as if they had all died and gone to hell. The Devil was their saviour now. Miles made his way over to the barn where the animals were. The door was slightly ajar. It didn’t matter, the animals had no notion to move, no fight in their bodies live anymore. Rays of sunlight filtered in through gaps in the walls and the animals blinked in surprise. Miles took delight in watching the golden dust float around in the barn. Perhaps the angels had come down to save them. The soft warm breeze licked his skin in hungry anticipation, as if the famine had killed the air too. The song of summer filled his ears as a bird began to squawk weakly in the trees. Beautiful, he whispered, the word so unfamiliar now he almost forgot how to speak. Beautiful, he said again because he never wanted to let go of the moment. And then his eyes focused again on reality. There was only one cattle, and the old swine which had slumped on the floor in
the corner. There was also the rotting carcass of a fox at the rear of the barn. Miles had no choice but to pick up the dead fox and bring it outside. He dumped it on a rock, and then stood looking at the spotless blue sky while stretching his back. His arms felt worn out from carrying the fox.
Find the children, she whispered and looked back down at the source of food she was clutching. Miles heard her stomach grumble, almost as loud as thunder. A dark, crimson liquid rolled off his fingers and landed on the ground.
Miles started to skin the animal. He used his nails and a dagger made out of stone. It was hard work, and by the end of it his eyes swam with metallic spots. Bits of the fox remained, its meat scattered with dark, hollow bruises scavenged by stray animals. As he got up, his knees buckled. The fox’s head lay on the ground, its eyes burning into him. An ant crawled through its fur. Eventually, Miles dragged himself off the ground with the skinless animal in his hands. He moved away and didn’t look back.
It did not occur to Miles to see to the children.
Mary! He limped into the hut, hands and fingers sore. His wife was sitting on the floor with her head cradled in her arms. She looked up as Miles’ silhouette filled the doorway and heard him shout her name. Her eyes were tinted with spots of red, almost hauntingly. She blinked slowly, the sun shooting into her pupils. Miles threw the fox at her feet.
Time was stalling. He stepped into the stables, his eyes taking a long, heavy minute to adjust to the piercing darkness. It became immediately cold. His fingers froze. Moving slowly, he looked left, right, here, there, under piles of ancient, broken hay, in dark, endless corners, in the ceiling and behind the doors. He glanced once everywhere and scratched his head, his body moving with exaggerated slowness.
Dinner. Mary grabbed the hairless meat with her dirt-caked hands, and looked up at Miles with large, breathless eyes.
Miles took great time in walking to the old wooden building which had once been the village stables. It was shrouded by shadows from the ring of nearby trees. There were no sounds coming from the inside, as if the black shade had swallowed up everything inside. Not a sound at all and he delightfully drank in the peace and quiet. If only his children could sleep forever and never wake up.
Miles laughed. And then stopped. With one last look he stepped backwards, out into the open air. An emptiness filled his eyes as he stood
outside, looking into the black abyss of the stables. The place did not exist anymore. It would have to be forgotten, just like everybody else. Miles went back to his wife. She had set some plates out on the floor, becoming restless at waiting for the meat to cook. When Miles went in she looked up excitedly. The children? Her eyes asked and Miles stared at her, hard. All they could hear was the bubbling of the fox. Gone, he croaked, so quietly as if nobody should have heard him speak. His wife blinked. She was still for a moment, and then got up to kiss him on the cheek. And then turning back to the circle of plates on the floor, she removed three and left two by their feet. We shall dine comfortably now. Now and forever. Her voice was louder. Less afraid. Brave, and wise. And suddenly very strong. Miles could not do much but smile and shrug. It had taken a while for the plan to work, but now it had, he could not feel anything inside. Perhaps it was just the hunger in him. But he sat down all the same and held his wife’s hand. It is for the best, she said and squeezed his hand. He smiled back, and soon the mighty feast began.
PHOTO CREDIT: BIOGRAPHY.COM
IN POLITICS, DEATH IS A TIME FOR REFLECTION: NOT GLOSS Peter Richards The global PR machine has found itself in full swing in 2013. All manner of respected public institutions have watched their reputations wither away, struggling to tackle growing public disenchantment with the powers that be. Problems ranged from widespread sexual deviancy to a scandalous abuse of trust with our most personal and intimate information. Mistrust became the buzzword of the year. In the midst of these organisations’ turmoil, Britain has at least managed to find comfort in reflecting upon the lives of admired individuals; the excuse of one ‘only following orders’ or being ‘completely oblivious’ has become enough to dismiss even the most heinous offences, as long as someone else can be made a scapegoat. The public needs a face putting to a name: the BBC’s succession of director generals are a particularly poignant example of new blood finding themselves in the gallows at the concession of their inexcusably negligent predecessors, much like our politicians – however one can admit the less said about the efforts of the incumbents’ efforts, the better. At least with the BBC, there was an active and positive effort to improve. A progressive agenda. Of all figures who have featured in 2013’s news, who better embodies the idea of a progressive agenda, a revolution even, than Nelson Mandela? The South African champion of anti-apartheid passed away at the end of last year, and his passing was met with almost universal
mourning. South Africa remembered Madiba, who freed their people Britain said goodbye to a man whose influence and message was distorted for so many years before we finally embraced his victory, and America said goodbye to someone who until 2006 was still considered a terrorist threat. But who could blame them? Without any doubt, Nelson Mandela was a terrorist; he organised bomb threats, and for years preceding his imprisonment (and many during his incarceration), he was the head of the ANC’s terrorist wing, the political party classed by the United States’ Homeland Security as a terrorist group. But where was the coverage of this, beyond the vitriolic opinion driven columns of the Daily Mail? No one picked up on his bomb plots orchestrated from a prison cell, or his willingness to sacrifice human life to drive his righteous revolution. You would be forgiven for thinking Mandela was a squeaky clean perfectionist, who overthrew a tyrannical government with no harm done. The truth is far from the papers’ version of events. This isn’t a piece critical of Mandela. He was a revolutionary – a freedom fighter. But a fighter nonetheless. The media’s problem is that they were as willing to mention his terrorist programme as they were his Ground Force appearance. Mandela has a story, not just an end result. To say South Africa changed overnight would be a great injustice to the two decades he spent in prison, for doing the right thing the wrong way. But politicians and newspapers have been very keen to make it seem that Mandela just dropped his hat and things changed:
Senator John McCain, the Republican candidate for the 2008 US Election, paid tribute to a courageous and inspiring individual (his words), a full 28 years after he voted to support the continued incarceration of the future President. What McCain, and indeed any politician will find hard to do is explicitly proclaim that Mandela was a terrorist; albeit he did so for what were right reasons. There were no deaths from Mandela’s bombs, but a number of murders are connected to the ANC. Can this ignorance and manipulation of the facts be forgiven? If you believe that politicians and newspapers have a right to save face as much as they are obliged to stand by their professional decisions, then yes. If not, then the mainstream media really isn’t for you. I feel the need to point out with certainty to anyone who believes that there is liberal, Zionist, or fascist agenda in the media that there is no such thing. The fact of the matter is that no individual, collective, or otherwise is perfect, and using someone’s passing to not only gloss over their shortfalls for the sake of abiding by the consensus of the mourning, but also to cover up one’s own mistakes is a scandalous and cheap offence. At the same time, it has to be considered that standing by your ground too strongly can cause substantial embarrassment. Margaret Thatcher’s death resulted in much more divisive and at time vitriolic coverage; the Guardian happily published Steve Bell’s illustrated thoughts on the subject, and that was reprinted by the Daily Mail under the headline ‘Lefties spewing bile’. Despite this joshing, across the
board Thatcher was projected as an influential juggernaut of politics. Her uniqueness as a female Prime Minister and unmistakeably firm personality meant that it was perfectly fair to bask in her former glory for a few days, but for some reason the dozens of protests north of Wolverhampton were swept under the carpet. Was it because they chanted about her murder of 323 Argentinians on the General Belgrano, her careful and structured plan to economically destroy the city of Liverpool, and her scandalous ignorance surrounding the Hillsborough disaster and its subsequent police investigations? Elsewhere this year, the Mail did little to cover their own backs with the pernicious ‘The Man Who Hated Britain’ piece on Ralph Miliband, which made a mockery of their own alleged journalistic standards. Rather than inviting debate and contemplation, the Mail had gleefully published an outright hate piece, much like the ones Peter Hitchens writes for them on a weekly basis (including his piece on the ‘cult of Mandela’). It’s true that critical voices were still heard during Thatcher’s time on this earth, but upon her demise they went from well respected, legitimate political arguments to being viewed as alternative, radical dissent. Likewise with Mandela, those who genuinely questioned the legitimacy of his methods to overthrow apartheid were suddenly in fear of being cast down as racists. Of course, if one gazes too far down the Mandela criticism spectrum, real racism and bigotry is to be found (even on the hands of David Cameron, whose name was printed on ‘Hang Mandela’ leaflets). However, the death of a figure should
demand sensible reflection and debate: with any person, deified or not, it is not the media’s responsibility to think for the population, and lavish praise over their numerous spreads in a shameless pandering to populism. Politics is a game of mistakes, driven by personalities who whilst justifying a certain degree of respect, still exist to be criticised and discussed in a manner devoid of personal sentiment. Is that really too much to ask, considering that newspapers are there to be purchased by anyone? Unilateral praise is never justified nor pleasant; it only vindicates the vacuous culture of celebrity consumption that we as a country have spiralled in to, completely of our own accord, and dangerously blurs the line between such a mentality and that of the intricate world of politics. What seems to happen in the event of a death is newspapers pick their side, and wilfully ignore facts in order to drive home an agenda, good intentions or otherwise. Thatcher, despite her revolting attitude and policies (look up Section 28 or spend the day in Liverpool), deserves respect. Mandela, despite his clandestine methods, will always be a hero of the world, and absolutely demands respect. The magnitude of these figureheads on the pages of our history books is both staggering and reassuring; even in this fast paced, interconnected world, we have time to admire those who made a difference. What we, as an educated and pragmatic population need to do, is use this vast realm of connectivity and information to face the facts, and understand that mourning is no excuse for a whitewash.
DANIEL HUGHES: A BRUNEL GRAD SUCCESS STORY Antony Smith The student lifestyle is easy to acclimatise yourself to and forget about the real, outside world. The concept that you don’t need to worry about a full-time job or career path for the next 3-4 years and enjoy life in a Fresher state-ofmind (establishing new friendships, a game or 20 of pool in Loco’s, going to flat parties before they are shutdown by security, playing Beer Pong and waking up the next morning in someone else’s kitchen in a completely different set of halls to your own) can become routine for those not taking residence in the library posting their stalking habits at 11 o’clock at night on ‘Spotted: Brunel’. However, with the loan cost of £9,000 per year to study, it pays to be proactive and consider why you are actually at university and deliberating what will happen to you in the future... during sober moments. Let’s be honest, ‘Veni, vidi, vici’ is a far more inspirational motto and reflection of your undergraduate degree... instead of ‘Veni, vidi, vino’. With this in mind, please allow me to introduce you to Daniel Hughes. Following his graduation from Brunel last year in Games Design and Music, Danny has already accomplished an impressive amount within a mere 6 months of bidding farewell to campus and establishing himself in the industry he became intrinsically passionate about. “When I started university I thought that being a games designer would be cool, but the time I realised that without a doubt I wanted to pursue a career in the games industry was at the start of third year”. After positive feedback regarding the pitch idea for his dissertation (Danny’s favourite studying moment) and previous work to date, this boosted his self-esteem and helped in affirming his desired vocation. Upon completing his further education at college, Danny decided to take 3 years out of education to work and dedicate his creative concentration on his band. However, the joint honours course at Brunel eventually attracted him to enroll and embark on combining his academic and practical experience with his music and his recreational past-time of video game appreciation. In light of the stigma that is synonymously attached to School of the Arts students (jokingly mocked for taking a ‘Mickey Mouse’ course) Danny states he has only received praise and encouragement in his personal life: “My family have always been a great support to me; encouraging me to pursue what I want to do and letting me decide on my own. My friends are great too, always showing an interest in what I’m doing”. Now comes the success part. In
PHOTO CREDIT: BRUNEL UNIVERSITY FLICKR
June 2013 ‘Octopus 8 Studios’ was launched, having evolved from an idea during a Skype chat while online gaming between the company founders, including two of Brunel’s very own lecturers in Games Design: Justin Parsler (‘Octopus 8 Studios’ Chief Creative Officer) and Chris Cox (Chief Operating Officer). Part of the virtual company’s credo and service outlines “We’re here because we believe there is a strong need for a studio to support those wishing to join an industry which can be tough to break into”, acknowledging the difficulties and challenges Games Design students face to attain their dream job. Justin personally drew attention to the adversity games designers encounter: “If we can help some good graduates get out there as its difficult to get the credit [for their work].” Due to Danny’s proven excellence
and forte in the understanding and creation of game worlds, he was promptly offered a position. Justin also shared his respect and adulation for Danny, defining him as: “easy to work with, good eye, good work ethic, focuses the mind to get it done.” Danny has since been subsequently involved in the production of the recently released iPhone game app from Octopus 8 Studios on 13 December 2013 (and soon to be available on Android devices) in the varied areas of Design, Programming, Music and Sound. Nevertheless, he remains humble with his recently acquired accolade: “I count myself fortunate to have worked with the guys at Octopus 8 because without them our game wouldn’t have gotten as far as it has”. The app is called ‘Oddlight’, described
by ‘148apps’’ as “a quirky arcade adventure game”, focusing on its USP: “It’s different from the other games that flood the App Store, which gives it an edge that helps the game stand out”. Reviews on the App Store include: “Fantastically addictive, stupendously charming, inevitably a best seller”, “Very creative game”, and “catchy soundtrack = win”, awarding the app five stars. Therefore, fellow Brunelians, show your support for one of your brethren and play the ‘Oddlight’ app on your SmartPhone. Tell your friends and everyone you know about the funky, cutting-edge new game on the market. Good stuff. So, with the incredible beginnings of a career as a professional nerd (affectionately christened... but, come on, we all know the reputation Games Design students have... and they
know it too) how does the Brunel Wunderkind intend to follow-up his debut act? “In the future I intend to continue to improve my experience in game development because I still have a lot to learn and I believe I still have a lot to offer. I wouldn’t be here without Brunel University and its staff and I cannot recommend the Games Design course highly enough. It was a wonderful experience that I miss greatly!” Well done, dude. Keep doing Brunel proud and all the best for being an illustrious alumnus. Visit Danny’s personal website on: http://hugehandsgames.com. Plus ‘Octopus 8 Studios’ website on: http://octopus8studios.com.
HOW MUCH DO YOU ACTUALLY OWE? PHOTO CREDIT: HUFFINGTON POST
Eddie Leggatt Way back in the depths of time, in the first few months of – generally – your A2 year, you ticked a series of boxes. Endless hours of UCAS and Student Finance forms terminated in frustration, tears, frantically clicking F5 and, hopefully, eventual success. You completed everything! Now just to pass those exams… But what did you actually agree to? Here is the worst case scenario, where our ‘Student A’ takes a maximum £9000 Tuition Fee Loan (which pays for his lectures) and a maximum £9000 Maintenance Loan (to pay for his food, and finance the allimportant Pub). These two loans make up what is usually called the “Student Loan”. To examine how much debt he’s going to have, I’m going to set up a hypothetical situation, apply the current interest rates and repayment rates, and walk through each step until our subject is two years out of
Uni. This will give a ball park figure that will be applicable to many of us. The figures will be slightly rounded down, to provide nicer numbers and a conservative estimate.
to the first year’s loan. He’s not too bad, casually adding £1016 onto the loan you’ve not had an opportunity to pay back yet. (For the Economics students, that’s RPI+3%, 6.6% for 2012/13). £16,416 pounds in, let’s begin our second year. Refreshers week! After a year of diligent training, your body is ready. Despite a minor insurgency in the liver region, you
privilege. Worth every penny!
Year Three of university. £31,816 of repayable debt, that’s not too bad. BOOM! Taxman again! Add on our 6.6% interest, that’s £33,915 worth of Year One of university, into the debt. This year, you meet the library student debt pool goes £9000 of in its true, Cthulhu-esque form. Those tuition fee and £6400 of repayable airy days of falling into the pond Maintenance Loan, that’s £15,400. dressed as a Vietnamese mountain And our lemur are “Now then it’s time to shatter the Holy Grail and pay back your student is long gone, loving life, student loan. Now the interest rate thing has been pretty repetitive and it’s all doing a degree graft. so it’s time to spice it up with payment terms! You pay back 9% of hard that isn’t But you make what you earn over £21,000 a year” philosophy as it through, I want him to taking you up be employed aged 23. He survives power your way through and, again, to £49,315 quid worth of debt. You Fresher’s week – one incident in survive. Either the damage is minimal, wear the funky hat, Ron Weasley’s Academy, and an embarrassing or you can’t remember it – does it dress robes, and shake many a hand. bikini picture with the Brunel statue. matter? Suddenly, a wild work load Happy 21st by the way! Best wishes He also, later on in the year, gets appears! The summer job you’ve from Mr. Taxman, who waves his thrown out of the library for spinny- held on to wants you doing 35 hour magic stick in your debt-ditch and up chair jousting and sets foot twice weeks for Christmas, your five pieces it shoots to £52,569. Gulp. in the gym, despite his £235 gold of coursework for this term are membership. clamouring for attention, and every Year One of life. You work a now and then you’re supposed to be placement, it’s the field you want to Year Two of university. Introduce “social”, whatever that is. Oh, by the be in, but as it’s a starting job you get Mr Taxman, here to apply interest way, that’s another £15,400 for the £18,000 a year. It’s fun, and you’ve
introduced spinny-chair jousting to the workplace! Health and Safety are after you, but we all know the first rule of Joust club. Just as a passing note, you don’t have to pay anything back. Interest rate of 3% applied, £54,146. YES! Success! You’ve earned a proper salary! £30,000 - paid straight into your bank hole. Now then, it’s time to shatter the Holy Grail, and pay back some Student Loan. Now, the interest rate thing has been pretty repetitive, so it’s time to spice it up with payment terms! You pay back 9% of what you earn over £21,000 a year. So, if you earn £21,100, you pay back £9 of your loan over the year. Subject A, who is currently on crutches after a nasty bout at the All-London Indoor Office Jousting Championships, pays back 9% of £9000, or £810 for the year. Awesome! It’s heading downwards, finally! Except Mr Taxman pops back up, applies 4.5% interest. So you actually…. oh… £55,699 after payment. That sure looks like more than before.
10 WAYS TO BEAT THE POSTCHRISTMAS BLUES
PHOTO CREDIT: THE GUARDIAN
with important dates for the new year.
L.J. Gonzalez So, it’s all over for another year. Time to stop humming Christmas songs and eating more food than you thought possible. It’s 2014, everyone is heading back to work or university, looking quite depressed. Here are some tips to get you over the post-Christmas blues and get you feeling motivated for the year ahead. 1. Delete the Christmas songs The last thing you need is Miley Cyrus’ version of Santa Claus is Coming to Town suddenly blasting through your headphones because you forgot to remove it from your iPod. 2. Take down the decorations Nothing is more depressing than sitting on the sofa in January, staring at the wilting Christmas tree and the vast empty space underneath it where presents once lay. 3. Buy new stationery or work supplies Get down to your local supermarket and pick up new pens/folders/ highlighters/pads in the sales. There’s nothing quite like colourful pens to get your work head back on! 4. Get a 2014 calendar Take down your calendar or wall planner from 2013. The last thing you need is to see days marked with saying ‘Winter Wonderland!’ or ‘Christmas Party!’ .. on a rainy Monday morning. Instead, put up a fresh one and fill it
5. Eat or dispose of the leftovers If you’re still tucking into turkey sandwiches and mince pies, it might be time to stop. Start a new healthy diet or, if that’s not your thing, just go back to normal food! 6. New Years Resolutions These don’t need to be things like old favourite ‘New Year, New Me’. Make them realistic. What didn’t you manage to do last year? They could be to do with anything from spending more time with your family, to being less reliant on your iPhone. 7. Plan a ‘Summer Holiday’ Give yourself something to look forward to that is the complete opposite to cold Christmas. This also gives you a great excuse to start holiday shopping. 8. Put away your presents That new perfume? Use it. Those new shoes? Wear them! Books? Read them! Don’t let them lie around gathering dust. 9. Realise its still okay to have fun Just because it’s January now, it doesn’t mean you can’t go out for a drink or relax watching a film. Just don’t watch a Christmas one. 10. Realise it will be around again before you know it! Apparently, the years go by faster the older you get. So don’t dwell on the Christmas that’s just passed. Why not start preparing for the next one!
AFTER SOME 2000 YEARS HAS CHRISTIANITY PASSED ITS SELL-BY DATE? the Romans wanted as it would deter anyone else from stepping out of line.
ArthurToomer Few people would dispute the fact that the book we refer to as The Holy Bible is one of the most important books ever written. It can be divided into two parts the Old and the New Testaments. It is somewhat strange that the Old Testament can be backed up by facts from Jewish history. Sadly, this is not the case for the New Testament, as there is only one person in the four gospels, which are the most important and widely read part of the New Testament, that we can prove existed. That man is Pontius Pilate. Excavation in Israel revealed to archaeologists an engraving with the name Pontius Pilate and the objects found nearby showed that he lived two thousand years ago. As a Roman and a governor of the area we now call Israel he had tremendous power and his decisions were a matter of life and death to the people. He was appointed by his political superiors in Rome, and was expected to keep order in a distant province populated by a sometimes violent and rebellious people. The standard way to punish any miscreant was to crucify him by nailing him to a cross. This was the most painful way to kill someone, as the victim took on average three hours to die and in that time would be screaming in agony. This is just what
Like many politicians over the centuries Pontius Pilate made an error of judgement. As a fair minded man he did not believe that the man brought before him, named in the Bible as Jesus Christ, was guilty. He could let him off. Pilate said to Jesus, “I have the power to crucify thee or release thee”. Pilate sought to release him but the Jews cried out saying “If thou art Caesars’ friend whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar”. But they (the Jews) apparently cried out “away with him”, crucify him, we have no King by Caesar. Pilate as a politician wishing to keep favour with the people he was governing gave way to their demands and Jesus Christ was crucified. According to the Holy Bible the people shouting “crucify him” were the Jews. They mocked Jesus Christ and are consistently portrayed in the New Testament as a bad lot. Before the meeting with Pilate, it was a man, Judas Iscariot who betrayed him to the Roman authorities. This has had terrible consequences for Jews for the last two thousand years, during which Christians taking revenge on Jews who were usually a minority group. The giants of literature from before and since Shakespeare’s day have portrayed Jews as evil moneylenders like Shylock in The Merchant of Venice. There must surely have been Christians who lent money but we don’t hear much about them. Another example of the power of the Holy Bible is the names we choose for our children. All over the world there
are thousands of children named Matthew Mark Luke and John after the four apostles. Another name from the Bible, Paul, is also very popular, but to be called Judas would be considered insulting. It would seem that we only use the Holy Bible and Christianity when it suits us. For the last two thousand years, there has been one war after another, each one worse than the preceding one, yet we are told in the Holy Bible “Thou shalt not kill”. Unfortunately this beggars the question, how many people can the world support and maintain? Christianity seems to be divided on this issue. Every minute, of every day, a child dies somewhere in the world from starvation or malnutrition. It can hardly be the child’s fault; it must surely be the fault of the politicians, the rich and the wealthy who for generations donated money to build churches and ornate cathedrals believing this would ensure them a place in what they considered to be heaven. It would seem to me that it is not Christianity that has passed it sell-by date, but rather it is mankind. In two thousand years we have become more and more destructive and unless we change our ways will eventually destroy what could and should be a very beautiful world.
THE A - Z OF BEAUTY JARGON S is for Shellac Shellac is a resin secreted by the female lac bug, on trees in the forests of India and Thailand. It is processed and sold as dry flakes, which are dissolved in ethyl alcohol to make liquid shellac, which is used as a highgloss varnish. Shellac is usually applied in a salon and provides up to 14 days flawless non-chipping nail varnish.
Phoebe Parke The world of beauty can be a very confusing place, full of complex jargon and branding designed to baffle you into parting with your money. This A-Z is designed to help you navigate the world of beauty and figure out exactly what you’re putting on your skin…
T is for Tinted Moisturiser Many people use tinted moisturiser in the same way as foundation, for sheer coverage. Tinted moisturiser, though, is less likely to dry out the skin and only has a slight hint of colour.
A is for Ayurveda Ayurveda is an ancient Indian philosophy and type of alternative medicine, which aims to guide people so they can live a healthier lifestyle. Ayurvedic products have been springing up all over the place such as supplements, massage oils and beauty products made of herbs, minerals and metals, some of which should not be used without the instruction of a practitioner.
U is for Urea Urea is a compound found in urine which is used in beauty products as an antibacterial preservative, and can be found in most of the products in your bathroom, especially hair removal creams.
B is for Brow Gel Brow Gel is used as a final grooming step for eyebrows to keep them in place. It works just like a clear mascara, keeping the brows in shape and should be used after eyebrow pencil.
V is for Vajazzle *sigh* beauty novices always ask me about this term which has even made it into the Oxford Dictionary. A vajazzle is an object which “adorns the pubic area (of a woman) with crystals, glitter, or other decoration”. Just don’t. Google It.
C is for CC Creams We all know what BB Creams are right? A ‘BB Cream’ or blemish balm is a light foundation that also includes healing properties such as antiinflammatory serums to make skin look younger. The difference with a CC or ‘colour correcting’ cream is that they address issues such as redness or sallowness (they usually contain lightdiffusing particles). D is for Dry Shampoo Dry Shampoo is a powder used to absorb dirt and oil on the hair and scalp for use between hair washes. Sold in a can, it is applied as a spray and forms a powder which needs to be brushed through the hair (lots of people use talcum powder instead). E is for Eau de Toilette These words are written on the side of most of the bottles we spray on our bodies, but what does it actually mean? A direct translation is ‘toilet water’, you can see why they use the French can’t you? Eau de Toilette is a weak, diluted perfume whereas Eau de Parfum has a higher percentage of oils, sometimes up to 20%. F is for Foaming Cleanser Cleansing your skin is very good beauty practice. Foaming cleansers are just cleansers which come out of the bottle already foaming. Many of these contain sodium laureth sulfate, a detergent which make lots of foam, which we have been conditioned to think equals being clean, it doesn’t! G is for Gotu Kola You may have seen Gotu kola on the back of bottles in your bathroom, it is a common ingredient of skin creams, lotions, hair conditioners and shampoos. Gotu kola comes from the perennial creeping plant, Centella asiatica which is a member of the parsley family, native to
W is for White Petrolatum A close relative of petroleum jelly, white petrolatum is made from crude oil. Petroleum jelly is used to prevent moisture loss, in hair grooming and skin lubrication. White petrolatum and petroleum jelly have close relationships with non-renewables, along with unconfirmed reports linking them to breast cancer.
India, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Africa, Australia, China, and Indonesia. H is for Hypoallergenic This is a term made up by the cosmetics industry with no medical definition. The term is used to refer to cosmetics which are claimed to cause fewer allergic reactions, but the cosmetic companies are not required to meet any regulations or do any testing to use this label. I is for Illuminators With all the highlighting, shadowing and contouring going on in the trend pages of magazines, it is easy to get confused. Illuminators are used on the cheekbones and under the brow to reflect light and give the impression of glowing skin. J is for Jojoba Oil The beauty industry loves an exotic sounding oil to add to their ‘natural’ products. Jojoba oil is used in body and face creams, shampoos and conditioners as a replacement for whale oil. The oil is the liquid produced from the Jojoba shrub which is native to Arizona, California and Mexico. K is for Kohl It has been said that Kohl is where the beauty industry started. Kohl is an ancient eye cosmetic and mascara’s
great grandmother, traditionally made by grinding lead sulfide and other ingredients. L is for Leave in Conditioner We all know how to use conditioner, but people get confused by leave in conditioners and the differences between the two products. Normal conditioners are very dense and contain oils that we wash out, leave in conditioners use ingredients such as glycerin instead of oils which can prevent frizz and make the hair more manageable. M is for Microdermabrasion A very expensive cosmetic treatment in which the face is sprayed with exfoliant crystals of aluminium dioxide to remove dead epidermal (skin) cells. N is for Non-comedogenic A term which applies to creams and oils which do not block pores. The theory behind this cosmetic industry term is that products which do not block pores are less likely to lead to acne. O is for Ombré If you weren’t paying attention to beauty trends two years ago, it’s likely that you woke up one morning to find a large number of women walking
around with two tone hair. Ombré or dip dyed hair, where the hair gets lighter gradually from root to tip, was a huge trend a few years ago, and ombré nails, clothes and accessories still appear on the catwalk. P is for Parabens Parabens are man-made chemicals which are used as preservatives, and also have bactericidal and fungicidal properties, meaning that they increase the shelf life of products. Parabens can be found in shampoos, moisturisers, shaving gels, make-up and even toothpaste. They recently caused panic in the industry because of their links to breast cancer and early puberty in girls. Q is for Quaternium-7 A toxic substance which causes the release of formaldehyde. A 2009 report by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics entitled No More Toxic Tub, presented laboratory results showing that many baby care products are contaminated with this hyper-toxic ingredient. Best avoided, just in case. R is for Retinol Retinol is one of the animal forms of vitamin A. Retinoic acid, confusingly called Tretinoin in cosmetics, is used in acne cream.
X is for Xanthan Gum Xanthan gum is a type of fermented glucose which thickens substances, and is used throughout the beauty and food industries. Should be avoided by anyone with a wheat allergy. Y is for Ylang Ylang Another exotic sounding ingredient that beauty companies love. Its scientific name is Cananga odorate and it originates in the Philippines. The essential oil from the plant is used in aromatherapy, and is believed to relieve high blood pressure and regulate sebum levels. Z is for Zinc Acetate Zinc Acetate is another ‘beauty baddie’. Although, as with most of these ‘bad’ ingredients, there is no absolutely conclusive evidence against them. This substance can have a negative impact on the immune system and can cause asthma attacks. Zinc Acetate is often used in acne treatments and nappy creams. Check your labels before buying!
PHOTO CREDIT: HEALTHFITNESSTIPS
10 MONEY SAVING BEAUTY TIPS (THE BEAUTY COMPANIES DON’T WANT YOU TO KNOW) Phoebe Park The Beauty Industry is a business like any other. Executives sit in endless meetings trying to find new ways to sell us the same old products, for new problems we didn’t know we had. Behind the glow of photoshopped celebs and miracle elixirs, it is a business which relies on us believing in its magic to succeed. Allow me to reverse the spell, just for a short while, in the interest of saving you a penny or two… 10. Put your mascara to work Strong brows are a huge trend at the moment with models such as Cara Delevingne allowing hers to practically take over her face. Picking up on this, a product called brow gel has sprung onto the market. Please don’t be fooled, this is clear mascara with a different label. Normal black/ brown mascara also works just as well for taming brows.
9. Painting by numbers You may have noticed little tub symbols with numbers on them appearing on your cosmetics in the past few years, this is the beauty industry’s universal system of ‘use by’ dates. The number on the product corresponds to the number of months before you should throw it away. I personally pay little attention to them, but I don’t want to be responsible for anybody’s ill health so follow the guidelines if you wish. One thing you can do to increase the longevity of products such as nail varnish, is keep them in the fridge. This really does work (tried and tested).
mags encourage us to throw away our berry red stains and deep wine nail varnishes, only to be told to go out and buy a shade lighter/redder/bluer next year. No. Most of us know what suits us and work it perfectly successfully each year. If you are tempted to try out a new trend, work it gradually into your standard seasonal look and master one new product before buying another.
8. Water baby! Supplements, creams and cleansers promise to ‘refresh’ our skin and keep it baby soft and moist, but nothing beats drinking fresh (free) tap water.
5. Think like a man Shops show women absolutely no respect (bear with me). They firmly believe that because they display oceans of pink, floral bottles, we won’t go down the aisle and check the price of the men’s version of the product. Men’s shaving foam, disposable razors, bath bubbles, shower gel, and
7. Out of season? Just as fashion has its seasons so now does beauty. Each summer the glossy
6. More Water, baby! Want to open up your pores? Use warm water and a flannel. Want to close them? Use cold water and a hand.
body sprays are often cheaper than women’s, and smell a lot less like pot pourri. 4. Sugar and spice Exfoliating your skin is really important. But if the price of exfoliating products is making you wince, invest in a pair of exfoliating mitts which are usually under £1 and use the soap you already have. Or make your own scrub by mixing sugar and baby oil together, and spice it up by adding essential oils. 3. The Big Squeeze Getting the very last drop out of products can require serious elbow grease, but you would be surprised how much product we throw away when we discard our bottles. You can now buy beauty spatulas, companies such as Mahi Naturals include them with their products, and they allow you to squeeze out every last drop. 2. Placebo effect A recent study by the University
of Warwick showed that dietary supplements have no effect on health. These can be very expensive, so maybe swap these for a bunch of grapes until more research is done. 1. Make Vaseline your BFF Multi-purpose products are the enemy of the beauty industry. Just some of the uses for Vaseline include: eye shadow (pop a little on your eyelid for some sparkle), lip balm (duh), deep moisturising treatment (slather on hands/feet and put into old gloves/ socks overnight), cheek highlighter, nail cream, and emergency hair gel (just kidding… kind of) Yours, the Beauty Detective P.S. Always look at the ingredients label on a product before you buy it, not least to check if any nasties are lurking in there, but if there are only a few main ingredients which are widely and cheaply available, why not try and make it yourself?
MILEY CYRUS SPECIAL
PHOTO CREDIT: SALON.COM
YES, MILEY! THE RISE OF A FEMINIST ICON Kirsty Capes Miley Cyrus was probably the most under-fire celebrity of 2013. When commenting on Miley’s victimisation by the media, her management, and the overwhelmingly male bigwigs of the music industry, people are missing a glaringly obvious and reiterated fact: Miley Cyrus knows exactly what she’s doing. She knows more about what she’s doing than her management and entourage – both of whom had no forewarning of what I’m sure the future will call the “VMAs incident”. When Sinead O’Connor wrote an
open letter condemning the industry for sexualising Cyrus and turning her into an object, Miley bit back. Wrecking Ball was Miley’s idea. We Can’t Stop was Miley’s idea. Adore You was, you guessed it, also Miley’s idea. Of course these moments of sexually graphic behaviour cannot be excused simply because Miley Cyrus says NO ONE MADE ME DO IT. Meanwhile, we can’t just dismiss Cyrus as a pawn of the music industry. Once you wade through the graphic nature of Cyrus’ 2013 body (of work), you start to realise that this young, autonomous human being has a lot to say. And it’s not all crap, either. Having grown up as a beloved child star, Miley seems to be frozen in the public eye as a
fifteen year old girl on a Disney show. She’s not that girl anymore. I know it’s a cliché but Cyrus has grown up. Critics fail to realise that she is now an adult and is able and entitled to create adult material. Her fans, who were her age when they watched her on Disney Channel, are now also in their late teens and twenties. And they still love her music. Probably because Cyrus shares so much that girls can relate to. Not only do Miley’s lyrics chart her movement from childhood to womanhood under the relentless glare of the limelightthey also express her assertion of independence in a male-dominated world. And it seems that Miley’s fans – not the panting adolescent males and
four year olds the media would have you believe – respect and commend her honesty, and still love her music. Women in the music industry have, over the last few years, begun to express a sexual autonomy and awareness of their own desire that was never previously addressed. Female love ballads of the past have evolved into articulate and bombastic explorations of sexuality, a topic upon which male artists have always had a placeholder. Now, in the twenty-first century as a new feminist consciousness is arising, women like Miley, Rihanna and Beyoncé are realising that they can be sexual in their music in a way that they have
never before felt comfortable to do so. What Miley is doing is exactly what male singers and rappers have been doing for years – in her behaviour, her words and her music. I applaud Miley Cyrus and her kinswomen for catalysing a shift in social attitudes towards women and the way they display their sexuality. The power balance between men and women is shifting and music (and Miley) shows it. Women are now allowed to talk frankly about their sexuality without being labelled as whores and sluts – the idea that they ever needed permission in the first place is laughable.
MILEY, NO! THE FALL OF A DISNEY PRINCESS James Alder Miley Cyrus was probably the most talked about person of 2013. She is the face of the ‘twerk’ and was one of the most controversial and provocative celebrities of the year. As the daughter of country-singer Billy Ray Cyrus she first came into the public eye on the Disney Channel’s TV show Hannah Montana where she played a schoolgirl who had to balance ordinary life with being a famous recording artist. But since the final episode around three years ago she has become famous for more, shall we say, adult reasons. Please ignore the cliché but it seems that Miley is like Marmite, you either lover her or hate her. Personally,
I’m one of the haters, I think she is known just as the sweet, young girl turned sour. over-rated and her recent music is from Hannah Montana. For me, the There is the argument that her sudden only successful because she uses only knowledge I had of her was due change is all a publicity stunt and her sexuality and image to promote to my younger sister being obsessed Miley Cyrus is actually a genius who it. Take her song Wrecking Ball for with her and all of a sudden she is has tricked the public into buying example, her records “I think she is over-rated and her recent music is only successful I knew with the use about the because she uses her sexuality and image to promote it. Take her song of a short ridiculous and wrecking ball, for example, I knew about the ridiculous music video haircut music video the ability where she rides a massive concrete ball and gives sexual favours to to perform w h e r e she rides a sexuallyhammers before I knew how the song went.” a massive provocative concrete d a n c e , ball and gives sexual favours to all over my TV screen again wearing and this could be true as her recent hammers before I even knew how skin-coloured leotards and waggling album Bangerz has been her most the song went. Of course she is not her bottom in my face. If you compare successful release to date. But if this the only female artist that does this, publicity photos for the Disney show is the case then for one, how bad is the foundation of Rihanna’s pedestal to those taken by Terry Richardson, in the music industry if a girl feels she is solely made from her sexual that very revealing red thong leotard has to completely sexualise her image prowess, but the reason it’s shocking back in October, you can see the to be popular, and two, how bad a to see Miley as she is now is because massive image change she has made, role model Miley has become. Many for most people she was previously it’s too hard to pinpoint where it all young girls grew up idolising Miley
Cyrus and her life in Hannah Montana, dreaming of getting ‘the best of both worlds’ and now they see Miley using her body to get what she wants and promoting her over-the-top, partying lifestyle, this can’t be a healthy influence on them. Of course Miley believes that she is in fact being ‘the biggest feminist in the world’ but just look at her controversial performance at the MTV Video Music Awards last year. How rubbing your behind into Robin Thicke’s (who is probably the most anti-feminist figure of 2013) crotch is a public show of feminism I do not know. It will be interesting to see what 2014 has in store for Miley, but if it is anything like 2013 it isn’t going to be pretty.
PHOTO CREDIT: BLOGGER.COM
FEATURES DOES GENDER EQUALITY EXIST FOR WOMEN IN THE MEDIA? Jessamy Baudains Sexism – that uncomfortable phrase we often assume belongs to a bygone era – is still rife in the media and deeply embedded in our cultural beliefs. Recent reports suggest a number of concerning facts about the opinions of women and men in Britain. I think this is an issue people often push aside. “O god not the ‘woman’ issue again”. Many insist we live in a world where women have more agency and freedom to do what they want. Of course this is true to a large extent. Women go to university, have successful careers and juggle motherhood along with conference meetings. But this is not the case in every country, let alone for all women in Britain or in the ‘west’ as it were. Western media condemns how women in Saudi Arabia cannot drive and the recent cases of extreme violence towards women in India. However, a huge amount of sexism exists right before our eyes. An increasing number of girls and young women in the UK are unhappy with their appearance, think sexual harassment is commonplace and feel their abilities are undermined. A recent study suggests half of girls in Britain are victims of sexual taunts and a quarter say they have been touched inappropriately. We are constantly fed socially conditioned representations of what
a woman should be in terms of her physical appearance, intellectual capability or life goals. Of course we have examples of strong, independent women in the public eye –Michelle Obama, Angela Merkel, Kate Aide, Jessica Ennis, Caitlin Moran, JK Rowling - the list goes on. BUT these women are still seen as exceptional, in-ordinary – special because of their ability to succeed as a woman in a society which is still very patriarchal.
“We need to carry out more psychological research into the impact of negative media portrayals. Then get advertisers and media companies to act on the findings” We are so used to living in a world where men are the political heavy weights, the presidents, the prime ministers, the war reporters or sports superstars that when a woman does the job there is extra focus or ‘gaze’, to see if she can handle the pressure or juggle her work along with her biological clock.It is not surprising that only 9 out of the 72 people listed on Forbes most powerful people of 2013 list were women. Gender equality? I don’t think so! Women are often represented through a series of stereotypes. From the glamorous sex kitten, to the sainted mother, the weak damsel in distress to the deceiving bitch, we can’t escape these typecasts in the media which discriminate women as the ‘other’, able to be categorised
and thus suppressed. “Laziness is a key here, and pre-conceptions”, said guest editor of Wannabe Hacks Natasha Clark. She added: “We need to try and leave all this behind, though that’s easier said than done”. It is not uncommon to see young, attractive female presenters sat next to men twice their age on television news shows, reinforcing the idea that male age suggests wisdom, but female age isn’t ‘aesthetically pleasing’ for viewers. Appearance for women – rather than their aptitude – seems to be what counts. Of course, this ignores the stereotypical images of men shown in the media, that they should be strong, aggressive or unemotional. The prejudice works both ways. According to a survey by WorldPay Zinc, 40 % of the UK population believe men should not be midwifes, nurses, nannies or beauticians. The same survey claims more than a third of us say women should avoid certain jobs and that 40% of Brits believe women should not for example be a soldier, pilot, mechanic or surgeon. “The study shows that some stereotypes are hard to shift,” said Managing Director of WorldPay Zinc, Geraldine Wilson. A report from charity Girl guiding revealed that 75 % of girls feel sexism is so widespread in UK society that it affects most areas of their lives and many worry that gender discrimination will curtail their future choices.
The overall proportion of those surveyed who were not happy with their looks rose to 33% this year, from 29% last year and 26% two years ago. The report proves that media and advertising is influencing some girls to spend serious amounts of money on beauty products. 80% of 11-16 year olds say they shave or way their legs and 60% wear make up to school. Girl guiding’s Chief Executive Julie Bentley said: “We believe girls should be allowed to fulfil their potential to be leaders in all walks of life. But to do this they need to live in an equal society.” She added: “This cannot simply
“This cannot simply be dismissed as something that girls and young women just have to deal with as they grow up” be dismissed as something that girls and young women just have to ‘deal with’ as they grow up. This is an ambitious, resilient and hopeful generation of girls who are capable of achieving so much – we must not let inequality get in their way.” Are things improving? Yes, on some levels. For example, from 2015 men will be able to share parental leave – making things far more equal following the birth of a child. But the 2013 report by the Women’s Media Centre predicts it will take until 2085 for women to have as many leadership roles as men. At the end of last year, Cambridge students received
sexist heckles while they attempted to present their arguments in a Glasgow debating competition and BBC commentator John Inverdale suggested Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli “was never going to be a looker”. These examples confirm that sexism is still prevalent in our society. Air brushing, size zero celebrities, botox advertisements, supermodels posting ‘selfies’ on social media and unattainable bodies promoted in magazines are contributing to girls and women having unrealistic ideas of what constitutes femininity and what it means to be a woman. “We need to carry out more psychological research into the impact of negative media portrayals. Then get advertisers and media companies to act on the findings and modify the type of content and messages contained in their promotions and products,” said journalist in training Liz Jackson. Collective and positive action, taken by editors of the most influential titles, would set an example that media is a powerfully suggestive tool that should be used with care and consideration. Yes, we have strong women in the media. But, we still have a long way to go. The 2013 Status of Women report found that women hold only 5% of clout positions in mainstream media. Huge issues need to be addressed.
RE-BRANDING AN ANTI-FEMINIST ATTITUDE? Mehdi Punjwani Russell Brand has once again attracted scrutiny in the shape of a feminist’s scorn. Will he never learn the surely obvious lesson that voicing your opinions, no matter what they may be, will upset someone who has the luxury of being paid to write articles for major newspapers? In this instance, the scorner is in a contributor to the Comment is Free section of The Guardian; Ellie Mae O’Hagan. The columnist argued that Brand’s “‘Love of a good woman’ is not what feminism needs.” This was the title of an article that would go on to question Brand’s motives for declaring an end to his own personal sexist virtues. I can understand, like most that this is perfectly reasonable considering Brand’s previous history; however, I believe O’Hagan is searching for a sub-atomic needle in a sizeable farm. It seems that Brand is simply standing for what he now believes in,
a trait surely commendable by those affiliated with any activist movement, but O’Hagan dissects his words and reflect the interesting idea that the lady’s-man-come-revolutionary is merely holding “her up as a Madonna figure who is not permitted the complications and imperfections that men are.”
As an advocate for sexual equality in most aspects of society, I cannot see the sense in a feminist, or indeed many feminists, focusing their attention on a man’s apparent and numerous social shortcomings when there are matters such as equal pay in the workplace to tend to.
“Love of a good woman is not what feminism needs” Perhaps it was in a moment of senseblinding irritation that I tweeted her article, calling it “awful, needlessly trying to find anti-feminism when there isn’t any.” I thought this was a fair, if mildly abrasive statement, and I sought to right any wrongs by telling
her that I was simply, as Brand was, offering my opinion. Sadly, I fell into a similar trap: “@MissEllieMae: @mhp94 it’s cool. As a rule I ignore men’s opinions on feminism. Not trying to offend you, obviously.”
PHOTO CREDIT: FFFFOUND.COM
Is this a rule-of-thumb that all women hold? And is it only opinions that make a reasonable argument against feminism that are ignored, whereas any publicly significant statement must straight away be analysed and attacked as a matter of national security threat level urgency? I cannot help but be mystified by this approach; is it extreme feminism in a mild manifestation or is it common belief that men’s opinions are now not important? Can I start a masculinist movement now? (Outstanding, I think, that Word gave “masculinist” a red underline.) In any case, I hope O’Hagan was acting in haste, because she does make many fair arguments for female equality, yet it seems this haste is becoming all too familiar for men who feel they may have something to say for feminism.
ROBIN THICKE’S “BLURRED LINES” RESTRICTIONS ON YOUR PORN FLAKES SPARKS FEMINIST OUTRAGE Sheena Parmar Blurred Lines featuring T.I. and Pharrell; the biggest-selling single of 2013, has caused feminist campaign group, Rewind&Reframe, to call on the government to slap ageratings on music videos, films and video games. The feminist war comes after the controversial pop video as well as others (including Justin Timberlake’s Tunnel Vision, Calvin Harris’ Drinking from the Bottle and most certainly not forgetting Miley Cyrus’ Wrecking Ball) show highly explicit and sexualised images of women, particularly Black women, prancing around (topless in the explicit version) in flesh-toned thongs around fully-clothed men – an image that has become all too familiar in our media landscape. What’s more, Critics have labelled the song as misogynistic and even “rapey” for its boundary-pushing lyrics with “I know she wants it” and “I’ll give you something big enough to tear youre a** into two”. However, the Blurred Lines hit-maker himself took to defend the song on The Today Show claiming it has all been a bit “misconstrued” since it’s a “feminist movement within itself”. Yet, this did not appear to bode well, Since more than twenty UK universities up and down the country have taken action by banning the video from being played within union spaces, including UCL having recently followed suit.
Rewind&Reframe, Set up by End Violence Against Women (EVAW), Imkaan and Object, funded by Rosa; a UK fund for women and girls, is calling for change of women’s portrayal in music videos. Although such types of music videos would not be shown before the watershed on TV (before 9pm), they are freely available to watch online – anytime, anywhere.
Kerri Prince PHOTO CREDIT : SOURCEFORGE
Such initiatives part of the campaign have involved writing David Cameron, BPI (British Recorded Music Industry) and Vevo concerning regulations of music videos with sexist and/or racist material online. The government has already stepped up with an agreement to introduce age-ratings to music videos sold in shops (expected to come into effect in 2014),while online content continues to remain unfiltered.
Porn is an issue that pretty much most people would have an opinion on. One of the latest legislators to throw their opinion into the mix is none other than Prime Minister David Cameron. Jumping on the hysteria of children accessing porn sites, he’s made a reactionary move to ban access to porn in households, and to force customers to opt-in to view their favourite busty blonde babes. The libertarians are outraged, the authoritarians are gleeful – it seems that David Cameron doesn’t trust parents to make sure their children are not looking at inappropriate material. The vast majority of people reading this will have seen porn before they turned 18. Whether that be graphic porn films, topless page 3 models, or even the anatomy of female genitalia – we all probably saw something by accident. I remember when certain sites masquerading as different words were spread around. I mean, why would I not be interested in an island of pens?! David Cameron can put down all the blocks that he wants, because people are always finding ways to break these and use proxies to access what they want.
This is where Rewind&Reframe come in. Having set up an online petition, Rewind&Reframe hope to kickstart the revolutionary change for Cameron to introduce age-ratings both online and on hard-copies. So far, the petition has reached 15,000 signatures, yet a further 8,900 signatures are needed. To get involved and be part of this movement towards women’s change, sign the petition now at change.org/ rewindreframe, where every signature counts.
There is also the argument that it will deter paedophiles from accessing images online – which is simply not true. Paedophiles tend to operate in chat rooms – not on recognised porn sites. All that will happen, and already
is happening, is that young people will not being able to access material important to their development. When I was in secondary school, the Stonewall website was blocked under the banner of ‘alternative lifestyle’. As if access to information about LGBT issues are damaging to children! If this unnecessary crusade against anything David Cameron classes as immoral continues, we’re moving one step closer towards a state where politicians are telling us what we can and cannot get off on. Next month in Le Nurb: David Cameron is watching you masturbate.
PHOTO CREDIT: WIKIMEDIA.COM
GET INVOLVED: RADIO BRUNEL
George Coates Long before utorrent and bitcomet and whatever else you rapscallions are using nowadays it was radio that had the pirates. If you’ve ever seen The Boat That Rocked then you know what I’m talking about, if not, then here’re two
things for you. ONE: go watch The Boat That Rocked, like, now. TWO: When I say pirates I don’t mean ahoy matey and all that, I’m talking about illegal, unregulated radio broadcasts, usually for entertainment or political purposes (like the Weasley twins in Deathly Hallows, Potter Watch, remember that? Where was that in the film, eh?). Let’s get a bit of context to this, shall
we; I’m George, Station Manager of it is antiquated, it’s lashing out and the newly returned Radio Brunel, and suing anything that moves. Well done I’m so excited for 2014. We’re seeing the rebirth of something every I want to talk about why radio is pretty music industry, you likable pricks. university should have, on-campus damn cool. We live in a time that will be looked back upon as a technological Radio is something that still has a media. Video Brunel is an exciting revolution, we’re moving forward so place in our new tech based world. approach to immortalising some of quickly that it’s difficult to know what It’s still used in cars, showers, and for the really cool visitors we get here at technology will hold for us in just five background noise. For football fans Brunel, Radio Brunel is a wonderful platform for those who years time. The main “I’m so excited for 2014. We’re seeing the rebirth of have something to say, reason for this is the internet, although something every university should have, on-campus and I hear you can pick up a Le Nurb now or hardware is being media. Video Brunel is an exciting approch to improved all the time something… too (4K televisions immortalising some of the really cool vistors we have look awesome, and I I can’t talk for Chadley here at Brunel” am currently in a love Richards or The Dark affair with my new Lord Kirsty Capes (just PlayStation 4), it very rarely makes the it is still one of the only ways to get Capes to her mates), but I know just same leaps in the amount of time that the 3.00pm commentary live. And it how excited I am for Radio Brunel, the internet is able to do. hasn’t had to deal with torrenting at what a great way for us to engage all; therein lies it’s big advantage. The and listen to one another, a genuine British television has reacted quite internet has done nothing for radio chance for student media to thrive in a well; services like BBC iPlayer and but improve it. The fact that Radio multitude of ways: Sport, Music, Chat, 4oD make it fairly pointless to torrent Brunel is able to broadcast via an and so much more. I implore you to television from the UK. America, internet streaming service increases keep an eye on the Radio Brunel though, has yet to catch up, with it’s potential audience. My mate Sam Facebook page for when shows are shows like Breaking Bad being heavily and I managed to get people from going live and give everyone who is torrented rather than watched live America to listen in to our show broadcasting a listen at www.radio(Netflix is changing a lot of that - (MonkeyMac, tune in, Tuesdays and brunel.com. although while it’s still a paid service Fridays, 5.30-7.00pm!) because I was it’s avoided by those wanting a able to just post a link to the site on I hope to hear you there. Or completely free option). Tumblr. something. I dunno, that sounds a bit That sort of advantage is something weird, like I’m listening to you listen Music is suffering a lot. It can’t deal with that has helped radio not only to us. Ignore that last part. Go listen torrenting, and like a stroppy child, maintain, but gain an audience over to the radio safe in the knowledge I’m instead of adapting and accepting the last decade or so. not listening to you. Peace out.
BE HAPPY IT’S GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH! Stacey Lucas It will improve your health - externally, professionally and internally. You develop your immune system, move quicker, and potentially lower the risk of seasonal viruses. You have the energy for exercise, spend more time with loved ones and grab new opportunities. Naturally, your mood is uplifted when you are happy. The happy hormones are there, released from having more energy. When you are happy, do you notice that you take better care of yourself? Your self-esteem and confidence grows, you believe you can achieve and you do! This approach could potentially have a positive effect on
OVERHEARD AT BRUNEL Naz ldn 1. Girl comes up to a guy smoking in front of lecture centre with a cigarette in her hand and asks “Do you have a light?” Guy takes out a torch and turns on the light. 2. In the IAC during exam conditions: Woman on Mic: Please note that students doing paper ‘123’ the question 2.a, there is a misprint. Instead of turnips, please replace with the word carrots. There is an error where it says turnips instead of carrots.
your ability to be successful in your personal and professional life. Being happy not only benefits your life, personally and professionally, it could also benefit the people you chose to surround yourself with. When did you last say hello to someone, listen to them, help them see the positive element of a negative situation? How did you feel when you knew they were happy from what you did?
3. Two girls by the statue of Brunel: Girl 1: go on, look sexy Girl 2: I can’t be sexy next to Isambard 4. Girl: “You know I bought glue to fix the hole in my shoe?” Guys: “Yeah” Girl: “I glued my shoe to my foot”
Do you know that you have a world of possibilities and events to experience; you may have had some experiences already, travelling, getting married, having a baby, meeting heroes; there is more to come. Finally, you learn every day, new information, new knowledge, new people. The world is not just your oyster, and it’s your place to take opportunities.
5. “Oh well, if I die at least I’ll get mitigating circumstances.” 6. Two guys (both Formula students). One of them is wearing a suit. Guy 1: “Why are you in a suit?” Guy 2: “Phone Interview”
7. Girl in Subway, clearly drunk: “I thought Brunel was in Bristol and then on moving in day I put it into the satnav and it was like in London, I couldn’t believe it.” 8. Guy: “I really can’t tell one from the other when I’m entering from behind.” Girl: “What?!” Guy: “I’m talking about the towers.” 9. Guy 1: “That guy in the BMW just swore at me.” Guy 2: “Look at him though, he’s probably someone f***ing uneducated like a builder Guy 1: “My dad’s a builder....” 10. Two girls walking back from Uxbridge with food shopping: Girl 1: “Do you have to keep eggs in the fridge?” Girl 2: “I dunno, if you kept them out wouldn’t they get too warm and then a chick might hatch out?” Girl 1: “Oh yeah coz chickens keep the eggs warm for the chicks to grow.... fridge it is!” Psst. join the Facebook Group ‘Overheard at Brunel University’ for hilarious quotes overheard in and around campus... you heard it here first!
BRINGING MINDFULNESS TO EDUCATION
LE NURB’S ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO BRUNEL BLOGGERS Kirsty Capes Here at Le Nurb we love to sink our teeth into a juicy story. That’s why we love to see so many of Brunel’s best and brightest spreading their wings and making their mark in the Big Wide Web. Brace yourselves for our picks of this year’s best bloggers from Brunel: Xenia Rimmer:
PHOTO CREDIT: GROWING-HAPPINESS.COM
Kary Stewart Could introducing mindfulness meditation in schools be the antidote to escalating mental health problems in children? In December 2013 Labour MP Chris Ruane called a debate in Westminster on mindfulness meditation in education. “Our children are in health crisis” said Ruane addressing the Under-Secretary of State for Education, Elizabeth Truss. “There’s a crisis in education, crisis in mental health and I believe a crisis in society,” he later added, before going on to suggest mindfulness in schools as a conceivable antidote. In 2013 the wellbeing and mental health charity Young Minds found that 1 in 10 children and young people aged 5 to 16 living in the UK suffer from a diagnosable mental health disorder. That is around three children in every class. The World Health Organisation forecasts that by 2030 mental health will be the single biggest health burden on the planet ahead of cancer or heart disease. According to Ruane, the causes for the decline in mental health in children are not too difficult to pinpoint. In his address he proposed that a combination of information overload, digital distraction, lifestyle and the speed of modern life are all to blame.
“Mindfulness can boost concentration, learning, focus and emotional regulation” Ruane first came across meditation in 1987 when, as a school teacher himself, the resident nurse taught staff how to deliver meditation sessions to exam-stressed children. The positive effects he witnessed were enough to convince him to take introduce meditation into his classes, later becoming an advocate for mindfulness and eventually a prolific government spokesman. “Mindfulness can achieve increased wellbeing in a generation dealing with huge social, educational and physical pressure,” says Claire Kelly
from the Mindfulness in Schools Project. The project, which was set up in 2007 runs the.b [dot b] programme and trains schools teachers on how to apply the practice in their schools at primary and secondary level. In a 2010 Mindfulness Report published by the Mental Health Foundation mindfulness intervention was found to significantly reduce attention problems, anxiety and depression in children, with 61 per cent of parents reporting that their children had fewer behavioural and anger management problems after the course. “Mindfulness’, reads the promotional material on the Mindfulness in Schools Project website, ‘is not boring, hippy dippy, religious or therapy’. Originally stemming from Buddhist and Eastern traditions, the use of mindfulness in the West has seen a huge surge in popularity over the last decade, particularly in the USA where the practice is already widely integrated into the workplace of government agencies, hospitals and schools.
spiraling depression in young people that this should be being taught in schools?” Through the work of campaigners and mindfulness organisations, many schools are becoming aware of the benefits to learning of mindfulness meditation for their pupils. However, cuts in funding, an already crammed syllabus and over extended resources can often make it near impossible to find a way to integrate it into a school day. In addition staff must be trained to teach it, and, in order to engage children and stand the test of authenticity; they must also practice it themselves. All in all this represents a huge cultural shift across the educational spectrum. Mindfulness has however been quietly and gradually taking hold in the UK over the last few years. The Mental
“Mindfulness can achieve increased welbeing in a generation dealing with huge social, educational and physical pressure
Utilising visualisation, breathing and relaxation techniques, mindfulness aims to bring awareness to what the subject is experiencing at that moment, directing them away from the anxiety of what may happen in the future or what has happened in the past.
Health Foundation estimates that as many as 30 per cent of GPs now refer patients to mindfulness training. In 2012 mindfulness was introduced into Olympic preparation for athletes, and it is now available to employees of Transport for London, Google, the NHS and even in Parliament.
Salma Darling, a psychiatrist who has been integrating mindfulness techniques into her practice since 1992 explains that, “Mindfulness can boost concentration, learning, focus and emotional regulation.”
In 2009 the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Wellbeing Economics, an officially recognised cross-party group of MPs and Lords, was set up to provide a forum for discussion in Parliament and promote wellbeing as an important government goal. Mindfulness is rumoured to be imminent on their agenda.
“The younger the student, the more readily they seem to engage with the practices,” adds Kelly. “If they can acquire mindfulness skills early on in life, they can carry them through with them, drawing on them whenever they need them.” As yet mindfulness is not part of the official school curriculum. In his 2013 TEDx talk Richard Burnett, co-founder of Mindfulness in Schools commented to the audience, “Isn’t it a total no-brainer, that with the
Following Ruane’s Westminster address the Under-Secretary of State for Education responded positively commenting that, “teachers should have freedoms to try new approaches”. She warned however that they should not be expected to stand in for mental health professionals. The key, she said, was for education and mental health professionals to work together.
The Day Off Diaries (www. thedayoffdiaries.com) fashion/lifestyle/culture Le Nurb’s own deputy editor Xenia provides insight into her fashionable life as an aspiring journalist and student here at Brunel. Xenia offers advice for any aspiring fashionista career girl, with rose-tinted glimpses into her own life and wardrobe. Best read while drinking a chai tea latte on your lunch break at your internship. Rebecca Chambers: Life of a Law Student (www. lifeofalawstudent.blawgs.co) lifestyle/special interest Rebecca’s fledgling blog gives insight to her own endeavours in the field, and provides a few tips and home truths for other law students. Don’t expect Rebecca to go easy on you; her career tips are just as ruthless as her profession. Best read on the tube along with your morning broadsheets. Mike Read: 19London (www.19london.blogspot. co.uk) music/lifestyle As a Lincolshirian moving to London, Mike Read negotiates the culture bomb, providing us with some of his favourite music along the way. His sophisticated taste translates well onto page / screen, and you can be sure to get a well-informed recommendation from Mike. Best read if you want to find the “next big thing” in music. Gurpreet Sihat: Interlude Unscripted (www. interludeunscripted.com) film/literature/opinion Gurpreet casts an analytical eye over film and literature, in this sophisticated and in-depth site that provides everything you’ll ever need to know about the latest releases in the cinema and the e-library. Her critical approach to the disciplines provides a thoroughly interesting and engaging perspective. Best read before you decide how to spend your Orange Wednesday
Blog: Temmy Odumosu (www. temmyodumosu.wordpress.com) fashion/current events If you’ve ever met Temmy you can tell that she knows her fashion. Her knowledge translates perfectly onto this stylish, minimalist blog, which features Temmy’s wardrobe and her picks from the high street. Temmy’s blog also spotlights current events, TV and on-campus issues, and features her work from urban music site Grime Daily. Best read while getting ready for Global. Martha Salhotra: Bigmouth Strikes Again (www. marthainafewwords.wordpress.com) lifestyle/personal Martha’s blog is a bit like a glimpse through her window of vision. Martha’s personal and poignant posts provide insight as she tries to negotiate the trials and tribulations of life - and learns a few lessons along the way. Engaging and often funny, Martha’s voice is a blast of fresh air, providing a uniquely refreshing outlook on life as a young person growing up in London. Best read on a rainy day with a whole tube of Pringles and a rom-com for company. Katie Williams: Katie Williams (www.katiewilliams94. wordpress.com) current events A glance at Katie’s blog shows immediately that she has an eye for a good story. Casting a critical eye over current events in the media, Katie takes no prisoners in her debateprovoking blog, tackling controversial topics like plastic surgery, gun politics and capital punishment. Katie invites controversy, doesn’t take BS and clearly knows her stuff too. Best read before going on a date - you’ll have loads to talk about. George Bowden: Brunel Verb (www.brunelverb. wordpress.com) current events/special interest Many now know George Bowden’s Verb across campus as a news source that also asks questions and challenges management. Over the last year or so, Brunel Verb has gained a reputation as a reliable news source and opinion column that sheds light on the less savoury goings-on around Brunel. George’s fair and informed approach allows Verb to remain a beacon of independent media on campus. Best read after Student Assembly.
CULTURE ARTS CENTRE BRUNEL PRESENTS D. Bozhinova Acting, dancing, singing and rehearsing again and again and again…That is what musicals are all about, especially when you have to prepare them within only two months.
PHOTO CREDIT: STEPH DICKENSON
THE PRODUCERS at Brunel as a first year student. Taking part in this exciting process of trying to deliver to the audience something amusing, art-worthy and unique can really make you believe that you are capable of so much more than you give yourself credit for. Nevertheless, I have met new, friendly and truly amazing people. I hope that we will keep in touch after the show because sadly enough for most of them this is their final year in Brunel.
The Producers: The Musical was presented by artistic students of However, you are aware that Brunel University on the 28th, 29th everything worth achieving is not and 30th of November and was so easy to achieve after all. The directed by Eileen Pinkarchevski great outcome requires a lot of hard with the musical direction being work, long rehearsals (most of the led by Sally Goodworth. Both of times rehearsing for more than ten them have put a great effort into the hours), and an aching head, back and show, making it unforgettable for the feet (especially the tiring Sunday actors and the rehearsals “Taking part in this exciting process, w h e n audience. it can really make you belive that a l m o s t Taking part in everybody the show was you are capable of so much more had a tough a challenge for than you give yourself credit for” S a t u r d a y me because night) but I have never done anything like what is inspiring is the devotion with it before. I was unsure about my which these young people have shown acting, singing and dancing as well by coming to the rehearsals and (concerning the fact that I have two promoting the production. The cast left feet). However, this was the most (most of which are theatre students wonderful experience I have had so far or have had similar experience before)
are students from all over the UK and the world and this musical turned them into a small family for a short period of time. Behind the scenes here is what some of my co-actors and friends shared for what they found particularly challenging or exciting in creating ‘The Producers: The Musical’ absolutely from scratch: “I have taken part in every musical in Brunel so far. I think it is a great place to build friendships and learning skills while having fun.”- Joanna
for Hitler’). I have studied musical theatre and tried different roles in musicals but when you get the chance to teach people (most of
THE MUSICAL whom without experience) in dancing and the progresses they show in the end makes you feel the greatest satisfaction.” – Toni (choreographer / actor)
“I love musicals… I loved The Producers long before our show. I just love the music and the story… I am also really passionate about singing and harmonies. I was up for it the minute I heard about it.”- Natallia “I have never been in a production with such a talented cast. I can really imagine these guys being on The West End…The friendly and warm atmosphere made me feel like I am part of something big even though we are only students.”- Sarah “The main thing about the dancing in the musical wasn’t about the techniques… It was all about the easy, cheesy, fun steps (the ‘High School Musical’ dance in ‘Spring time
PHOTO CREDIT: STEPH DICKENSON
THEATRE: THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME R. Parritt & E. Leggatt The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is one of the most spectacular shows I have seen. It had immaculate physical theatre, astounding technological effects and truly superb performances by the cast. In fact, there were only a few minor disappointments in the entire show. Firstly, Rakie Ayola (from Dr Who: Midnight, Silent Witness), who played the psychologist, was slightly jarring in what was otherwise a very physical performance. She narrated parts of the story to the audience, a bit like someone standing still with a dance going on around them. This effect was nice, but a bit weird, and it didn’t fit with the physical tone of the rest of the play. Also I found the very end annoying with Christopher, played by Mike Noble (from World War Z), repeatedly asking the same question of his psychologist: ‘Can’t I do anything? Can’t I?’ .While obviously an attempt to make the audience ask themselves: ‘Can he be normal?’, the end scene would have been more effective if the question was asked outright and not hidden within another question. Now I have to embark on the monumental task of picking the best moment of the performance. I already mentioned that the physical theatre was amazing, choreographed by Scott Graham & Steven Hoggett of Frantic Assembly. Every movement was filled with purpose and added so much to
the performances. Frantic Assembly are always amazing and this show was no exception, with spectacles such as walking on walls and creating outer space as an environment with only physical theatre - this show was a feast for the eyes. If ever you get the opportunity to see any of their work or anything they’ve worked on, take it instantly, or give it to me. Either way, I never say no to free theatre tickets! The book, for anyone that hasn’t read it, is brilliant. Having read it myself, there were definitely moments where it added to the performance; the most powerful one of which was when Christopher went to London and became overwhelmed by the crowds and noises. The performance was simple yet astoundingly effective. Christopher was immersed in a crowd and was beginning to panic, shown by high-paced, panic-driven physical theatre. He then put his head down, hands over his eyes and begins counting the prime numbers. The technician then muffled the soundscape, which I imagine to people who haven’t read the book would simply be a slightly cool effect. But to me it ran back to the point in the book and became an incredibly powerful moment. So if you do go and see this show, it’s well worth reading the book first. It has been adapted perfectly by Simon Stephens - one of my most favourite playwrights of all time. He captures the awkward eccentricities of Christopher brilliantly while creating new and entertaining characters such as the neighbours. Stephens truly surpasses himself with
the new direction he takes with the parents, creating new motivations and reworking their personalities into compelling opposites of each other and allowing new and incredibly enjoyable interactions with Christopher. Within this show, Marianne Elliott, the director, places just enough importance on silence to make several moments very special. One of the most powerful theatrical images I’ve seen in a long time is that of Christopher and his father, played by Trevor Fox (from The Pitmen Painters, Billy Elliott: The Musical) both touching the tips of their fingers together while a group of policemen look on, all in silence. These beautiful silent images last only a few seconds but have left huge impressions on my memory. This show has one of the most powerful simplistic technical setups you could imagine, with nothing but a series of lights on a grid in the floor and walls and a few coloured lights inside some plastic boxes. Walls are implied with sharp- edged lighting, with the careful numbering giving us another hint of Christopher’s mental processes. When it comes down to it, I would not have liked to have been behind that tech desk, as incredibly intricate and well-timed lighting was used throughout the play to give the virtually prop-less stage an amazing sense of life. This is a show anyone would regret missing, so go see it now. It’s important. Go!
THEATRE: RICHARD II Becky Collins Gregory Doran and David Tennant are once again reunited in the Royal Shakespeare Company production of Richard II. Directed by Doran, this is Tennant’s first Shakespearean role since Hamlet – and what a difference! Tennant swaps his boyish pride for a God. Well, he may as well have been a God! With his Christ-like demeanour, long hair, flowing golden-embroidered robes, and not to mention his chorus of female choir singers serenading his entrance, you could not deny his majesty. Although his design and direction “laid it on a bit thick”, I feel it was perfect for the character and fit well with the production; everything about the king screamed theatrics and nobility. But of course, Tennant’s reign was not as majestic as his character. Tennant’s ultimate contrast and usurper lay in
Bolingbroke, played by Nigel Lindsay; a brutish, rough character of royal descent, who returns from exile to “seize the crown”. The contrast between them plays out beautifully in their conflict; Bolingbroke is favoured much more for his humane and blunt nature, whereas Richard II is self-righteous and pathetic with a weak command. Tennant’s masterful performance lay thereafter; the human transformation of Richard II was the performance to remember. From detached and aloof, Richard II grows more humane and down to earth, quickly winning sympathies with his downfall. To the end, he retains his nobility and “tragic dignity”, teasing Bolingbroke with whatever power and life remain – a truly inspiring performance of strength. But it wasn’t all doom and gloom, tears and ambiguous sexuality – oh no. Oliver Ford Davies, also in Hamlet, played the Duke of York, providing sardonic relief and much needed
normality! However, the stand out aspect of the production for me was the set. Stage designer Stephen Brimson Lewis transformed the large, lifeless space to pure magnificence. The feeling of a grand palace was portrayed through projected columns and structured balconies, with lowerable staging centre stage for the throne. The higher levelled throne room and the dungeon trap door were my favourite aspects, as they clearly symbolised status and power when inhabited. The dungeon especially was effective, as the inside of the trap door was cracked reflective glass, which not only made the lying down Tennant visible, but also represented the destruction of him and his rule. Overall – a wonderful production, and far more enjoyable and sympathetic than the reviews had made out, even with Tennant’s extensions!
THEATRE: SCOTTSBORO BOYS Joseph Cornforth “I don’t tell people stories. I tell the truth.” The famous quote from The Scottsboro Boys said by Haywood Paterson is one that will touch hearts forever, as will the true story of a group of black youths who are arrested for their involvement in a fight between white and black young men. Rape charges were added for the black youths as they were accused of rape by two white women, Ruby Bates and Victoria Price, and the youths were tried, convicted and sentenced to death at Scottsboro Jail. The staging of the production had an interesting use of chairs, particularly as they were used to create different sets such as the freight train and the prison cell. Set designer Beowulf Boritt deserves enormous credit for the set design on the show, plus the lighting direction from Ken Billington is very atmospheric, particularly with the scenes in the prison cell. The use of limited lighting and the spotlight focusing on the prison cell creates an isolated atmosphere that engages with its audience. The approach to The Scottsboro Boys is a comical one, this being particularly surprising as the production deals with a very delicate issue. However, the show does maintain heart and the importance of racism is maintained as a prominent issue. The show does have black actors portraying white characters and doing so in a
rather exaggerated way, making their portrayal seem comical. For instance, the white prison guards portrayed by black actors move in an exaggerated way physically, which is humorous to the audience at first, but as the production continues, the humour element of the characterisation dies down and the serious side of the story overshadows the light-hearted side of the show.The musical numbers are extremely tuneful and are sure to stick in your head on the way home. The harmonies are very soulful and engages with its audience, particularly in sounds such as ‘Commencing in Chattanooga’, ‘Go Back Home’ and ‘Chain Gang’. Kyle Scatliffe steals the show as Haywood Paterson, and the vocals delivered from the character are absolutely stunning. It is very rare to witness an engaging character in musicals nowadays, but Scatliffe gives one of the most engaging, soulful performances seen in musical theatre in such a long time. The Scottsboro Boys boasts plenty of heart and spirit, and delivers a feelgood feeling to its audience, just what you would want from every good musical. It is very refreshing to see a musical that can really engage with its audience, and educate them too. The Scottsboro Boys is a masterstroke and delivers a very important issue in the most entertaining, yet structured way possible with a show-stealing cast and proves to be an uplifting retelling of a tragic story.
PHOTO CREDIT: TENNANT NEWS ON BLOGSPOT
BILLY BRAGG: LIFE’S A RIOT W/ SPY VS. SPY Will Moss Thirty years on from his debut, if you asked someone what sort of musician they thought Billy Bragg was, the chances are they would say he was a ‘protest’ singer. What people often forget is that Britain’s favourite leftist often wrote about what most musicians do: love and the banal facets of everyday life. In the words of the man himself, “I’m not a political songwriter. I’m an honest songwriter. I try and write honestly about what I see around me now”. Never is this as true in his discography as with the 1983 seminal debut, Life’s a Riot with Spy VS Spy. At only 15 minutes and 57 seconds long, it really is a lesson in how to be succinct. With this still being relevant, this remastered anniversary edition sounds just as good as it did thirty years ago, only this time backed by a superb live recording of a recent gig at London’s Union Chapel.
PHOTO CREDIT: KRIS KRUG ON WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
It’s the commentary of the everyday that really touches; The Milkman of Human Kindness is a letter of devotion to a loved one, and encapsulates the essence of what makes Bragg so
special – simple sincerity: “If you’re lonely, I will call, if you’re poorly, I will send poetry”. The album’s standout is unsurprisingly A New England, a song that soundtracks the folly of youth, of putting your heart before your head and not caring about anything else. But of course, Bragg’s socio-political commentary is where he made his name, and for a good reason. Although not being as politicised as later albums like Talking with the Taxman about Poetry and Life’s a Riot… still has its fair share of disgruntlement with Westminster. To Have and Have Not reflects on the prejudices of the job market, while The Busy Girl Buys Beauty questions sexual prejudice in society. What’s so shockingly apparent when listening to these songs though is how relevant they still are: many still are jobless under a government of tory public school boys, class divides are prominent as ever and patriarchy seems to prevail in company boardrooms. He can’t really sing, the guitar riffs aren’t exactly groundbreaking, but it’s his relevance that makes Billy Bragg just as important today as he was 30 years ago.
RIP IT UP AND START AGAIN: WHY YOU SHOULD BE LOOKING FURTHER THAN THE FRONT PAGE OF ITUNES Cam Griffiths Rip it up and start again. That’s what I say. It’s a depressing fact of life that the contemporary forefront of the stagnant and unimaginative music industry is pressed into most of our faces on a daily basis. It’s also highly exploitative and seeks only to create money for those at the top. Young talent is wasted; they’re packaged up, turned into one of Simon Cowell’s moneyspinning puppets, and then churned out onto an endless conveyor belt to be aimlessly consumed. It wouldn’t surprise me if X-Factor winners from two years back, that people once thought were ‘well good’, are now working in a suburb chippie with no claim to fame other than the occasional sing-song at a Christmas lights switch-on. It’s this sort of thing that reflects the humdrum state of contemporary musical taste. The modern music industry is just not fair. Bands with compelling lyrics and craftsman-like music get paid barely a grain of sand compared to the record companies that plaster the top ten slots with lip-syncing boy bands, which are no longer people, but rather a brand used to sell bags, hats and other dream-
sapping commerce. Launched on the TV screen in front of gullible children, this consumerism distastefully enforces these children’s so-called need for such things and wouldn’t be seen as a true fan of the group unless without a badly-made t-shirt. As a musician, it pains me to see people admiring music that’s bland, insipid and a cheesy façade acting as nothing more than a cash cow for record labels. Mainstream music seems a domain where, not only is creativity lost, but inspiration and a true message seems almost completely scarce. If only people would search a little deeper than the empty, pithy arrogance that surrounds this popular culture, and the fact that most people only seem to appreciate what’s popular mirrors the ignorance of our contemporary society. People often say to me when I mention I’ve been listening to music from the 70’s (I’m particularly liking post-punk at the moment) that I should stop being such a snob and listen to ‘modern’ music. When I ask for examples it’s the same stuff; David Guetta, One Direction, or some half-arsed attempt at house music that sounds like GCSE Music coursework. These ‘artists’ sing about love, ‘popping sweet drugs’, downright misogyny, or …simply a day of the
week. New bands such as Temples, a British psychedelic band, and Jacco Gardner from the Netherlands, in my eye are worthy of being called artists. This is because there’s more to music than the auto-tune monstrosities I’ve heard a thousand times, or the electronic 4X4 beat that sounds like someone sat on a school keyboard. What I refer to here is not electronic music as a whole, but the bilge you hear flooding out of your average club at who knows what hour in the morning. Yes, having a good riff or melody will get you far (look no further than The Beatles) but let’s not abuse this thought. If we look back to the 70’s, you’ve got bands like The Clash and Gang of Four dismissing love songs as trash, and writing about things that really matter: unemployment, an awful government, and the socially abusive nature of capitalism. We need a return to the time where you could rage over four chords and not be regarded by the ‘sheep-like’ conformists as weird or boring. What we need is a strip-down to the bare necessities of music, rather than piling on endless computer-made melodies or ‘sick beats’ for people to bob their heads to like cattle.
Yes, I’m proudly sat on my musical pedestal, but if you advance further than the home page of iTunes, you’re more than welcome to join me in this sadly exclusive club. Whilst well-
made, talented and meaningful music should be for everyone, I daresay I’m amongst this minority for now.
PHOTO CREDIT: 9TO5MAC.COM
VOLCANO CHOIR: LIVE REVIEW Will Moss
passion and honesty that we are accustomed to albeit through vocal effects on every track. But there is a definite sense that, unlike Bon Iver, he doesn’t want to be the focal point of the performance. Most of the between-song chat comes courtesy of guitarist Chris Rousenau, who takes much of the role of what you might call a ‘frontman’. The vocal
Not many artists could sell-out the lofty halls of the Barbican centre in their first ever London show, especially after only their second album, but Volcano Choir aren’t your average four scruffy blokes with 3 guitars and a set of “It is the combination of Vernon’s comforting drums. Their murmurs and simple acoustic guitar playing and sophomore a l b u m really not much else that stuns the 2000 heavyRepave saw audience into complete and utter silence as they the 6-piece fall under Volcano Choir’s spell. ” collective step out of the shadows of the icy Wisconsin winter effects that Vernon uses turns his and become a fully-fledged band, voice into more than just an emotive set to steal the hearts and minds of element of each song, but into an the world in a way only Justin Vernon instrument in its own right, sounding knows how. expansive and intimate at all the right moments. The Bon Iver frontman is understandably the centre of The night’s proceedings see a fairly attention tonight. Also taking to a even spread of material from both lectern to preach to his devoted albums. Island and Still prove to be masses, Vernon sings with all the the finest moments from 2009’s
Unmap, but it’s with newer tracks that Volcano Choir really hit their stride. Interestingly, it’s often the more intimate minimalist moments that sound the most powerful, most noticeably with Alaskans from the second album Repave. It is the combination of Vernon’s comforting murmurs and simple acoustic guitar playing and really not much else that stuns the 2000 heavy-audience into complete and utter silence as they fall under Volcano Choir’s spell. In contrast, Byegone has the exact opposite effect. It’s glorious build and release is the most powerful moment of the evening, as a wall of sky-high guitars and crashing cymbals smash the already stunned audience in fullforce right in the face. A two-song encore of Almanac and the avant-garde noise of Youlogy aren’t quite the triumphant ending to proceedings that Volcano Choir can and deserved to do, but it doesn’t matter. This is a band whose horizon-stretching soundscapes have outgrown small venues, and have started to outsize even the likes of the Barbican.
PHOTO CREDIT: DANIEL JORDAHL ON FLICKR
PHOTO CREDIT: LILIANE MAINARDES ON FLICKR
Verity Agababian SURPRISE! Beyoncé Knowles decided to surprise her fans with the shock release of her fifth studio album. Her new self-titled album, which consists of 14 songs and 17 videos, was released as a visual album. The singer released it on December 13, 2013, on iTunes with no promotion. The album has been ranked as the best album of the year (2013) by Billboard, Houston Chronicle and Los Angeles Times, and has even been compared to Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’. Her album has also been the fastest-selling album in history on iTunes, peaking at number one in 104 countries. ‘BEYONCÉ’ features collaborations from many high-profile artists,
including husband Jay Z (Shawn behind each song on her album. image of a trophy and me accepting Carter), Frank Ocean (Christopher Knowles battles with the idea that these awards, and kinda training Breaux), Drake (Aubrey Graham), and a women are under too much pressure myself to be this champion and, at the more personal collaboration with her to be perfect, in her song ‘Pretty end of the day, when you go through two year-old daughter, Blue Ivy Carter. Hurts’, which The Independent all of these things, is it worth it?” Knowles also works with renowned labels a “noble attempt to boost artists, writers and producers such as female morale”. She also fights with Knowles openly reveals a lot about her Justin Timberlake, Timbaland personal life with her husband. “Beyonce’s self-titled album has been In the visual for the provocative (Timothy Mosley), Pharrell Williams, The Dream (Terius referred to as a ‘global phenomenon’ song ‘Partition’, Knowles is seen Nash) and Sia, to name a few. sitting in the back of a limousine Various celebrities also took and even earned her a Guinness World with husband, Shawn Carter. to Twitter to share with the Knowles has been criticised for Record.” world their positive reactions her sexual dance moves and song to Knowles’ effort, including pop star her critics in the song ‘***Flawless’ lyrics in her new album from sources Katy Perry who said “don’t talk to me where she tells them to “bow down”, such as The Independent, where “the today unless it’s about @Beyonce and samples a Feminist speech by rest of the album is an unashamed THANX,” on the day of its release. Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi celebration of the very physical Adichie. Knowles states “my message virtues and the ultimate fulfillment In Beyonce’s five-part documentary behind this album was finding the of sexuality…” In ‘Liberation’, part four ‘Self-Titled’, she explains the message beauty in imperfection. I had this of her documentary, Knowles adds “I
PLEASE RECYCLE RECYCLE PLEASE
wanted to show my body... I wanted to show that you can have a child, you can work hard, and you can get your body back,” cementing her position as a positive role model for women and girls all over the world. Beyonce’s self-titled album has been referred to as a ‘global phenomenon’ and even earned her a Guinness World Record. The 17 time Grammy winner stole 2013 in its last month with a record-breaking album, which she supposedly recorded 80 songs for. Digital Spy’s music editor, Rob Copsey, says ‘BEYONCÉ’ is “...a smart, defiant and emotionally strippedback album that thankfully lives up to its superstar billing.”
FILM: THE HUNGER GAMES CATCHING FIRE
PHOTO CREDIT: LIONSGATE
Antony Smith Three-finger salute for the Battle Royale meets The Running Man franchise for the 12A generation. When I went to see the first instalment of The Hunger Games I was not expecting much. In fact, I’m pretty sure I was dragged to the cinema under the impression it was a family-orientated film, very much in the same vein as Harry Potter. Following this initial skepticism I couldn’t help but think of what possible comment this may have had due to its release months prior to the 2012 Olympic Games or whether it was just a marketing ploy. Despite the somewhat cringing and disturbing row of twenty-something girls in
front of me squealing with delusional delight at the blossoming love affair between Katniss and Peeta, as well as overenthusiastically saluting the screen on multiple occasions (I kid you not), I thoroughly enjoyed it… and again with the sequel almost surpassing the first (very nearly a Godfather Part II occurrence). The film begins back in District 12 with Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) adapting to her new elevated life as a champion and coping with the impact of the carnage she experienced in the 74th Hunger Games. Due to her ongoing defiant attitude during her victory tour and challenging the rules of the surviving ‘tributes’ from the previous Games, President Snow (Donald Sutherland) devises the 75th ‘Third Quarter Quell’ to ensure Katniss returns to the barbaric arena in a ploy to get rid of her... and along with the
encouragement of uprisings and resistance reverberating throughout the districts against the Capitol. Once again Katniss and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) are trained and pitted against the other tributes. However, this time they are not fresh-faced kids; they are past winners. And it soon becomes apparent that their fellow opponents are not entirely adversaries. The first act of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire reflects the original in that nearly half of the film is spent on character and story development rather than relying on the SFX and action sequences in the Games themselves. The new ensemble cast is impressively studded with a feisty Johanna Mason (Jenna Malone) as Katniss’s counterpart, intelligently resourceful Beetee Latier (Jeffrey Wright) and Wiress (Amanda
Plummer; similarly idiosyncratically unhinged as she was in Pulp Fiction). There is considerably more violence on-screen this time around... and even more phantasmagorical costumes and hairstyles from the Capitol elite, including Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks). The relationship between Katniss and Peeta at the start is particularly amusing as it satirises the celebrity gossip tabloids and reality TV shows: the couple being paraded around (on camera and throughout the districts) and forced to exaggerate their alleged profound love for each other after rocketing to ‘stardom’ from winning a televised, artificially manufactured Big Brother/ Survivorstyle tasked environment against competitive rivals. Or as ‘Bloomberg. com’ summarised the novel as “”Gladiator” meets “Project Runway””. And with the Third Quarter Quell
involving previous victors the sequel can be considered to be the celebrity version (minus Evander Holyfield’s attempts at philosophical opinions). I haven’t read any of the books (and most likely won’t) but from what I can tell the films have been predominantly faithful to Suzanne Collins’ vision of a future dystopia. ‘Time Magazine’ highlights “The Hunger Games and Catching Fire expose children to exactly the kind of violence we usually shield them from” which transcends the story from just another blockbuster hit. What I can say is expect a cliffhanger at the end (standard practice of the second chapter to a trilogy), sarcastic wit from Woody Harrelson and Lenny Kravitz’s gold eyeshadow. I give it 4 out of 5 stars, 2 thumbs up, a couple of jazz hand waves and a Whoop-whoop!
TV: SHERLOCK Becky Collins EPISODE ONE Sherlock returns! And with it comes all the drama, comedy and the beautiful subtext we’ve missed in the last two years. Written by Mark Gatiss, this first episode of series three after a maddening hiatus and even worse cliff-hanger does not disappoint. Despite the plot having a slight backseat, Gatiss gives us the playful episode with three theories of Sherlock’s survival to sink our teeth into that was desperately needed! But that’s it – they were just theories. Sherlock’s confession was not painted as the truth, but another deceit. Anderson himself pointed out various flaws before saying “I’m the last person you’d tell the truth to” and thereafter having a mental breakdown, leaving the audience on par with Anderson for the first time. But despite going a bit crazy and destroying my own wall of theories, I do agree with Gatiss’ decision to keep Sherlock’s survival a mystery; it would have sucked to be
Martha Salhotra EPISODE TWO As if episode one wasn’t packed with enough tension to send you rocketing off your chair, episode two of Sherlock arrived in a markedly different manner as we celebrated the wedding of John and Mary. I must admit that halfway through the episode, I couldn’t quite get my head around what was going on, but this was exactly the appeal of it. With Sherlock fondly telling stories of John’s role as a life-saver and partnerin-solving-crime, it was very difficult to guess what direction Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss were heading in with the episode. However, what emerged was something truly beautiful. Carefully crafted and masterfully played out, audiences were able to see a remarkably different side to Sherlock - one of heart-felt emotion and genuine feeling for John, which was a surprise for anyone who has followed the series from the start.
Becky Collins EPISODE THREE Accumulating the most loved aspects of the show, Steven Moffat tore it all apart and tortured the audience for ninety minutes. With a “truly detestable villain” and some real shocks throughout the episode, it’s unsurprising that it drew in an average audience of 8.8 million. The only criticisms the episode received seemed to have a recurring theme – that the episode felt quite forced. The surprise ending especially (no spoilers, I promise!) was rushed and eye-rolling, as if it were almost shoving a cliff-hanger in there just to keep the tradition – and the audience’s
given a disappointing answer after two years of waiting. The perhaps permanent secret also keeps Sherlock a mystery – much better than writing him as human and predictable. ‘The Empty Hearse’ also introduced us to the much anticipated Mary Morstan, played by Amanda Abbington, and a brand new shiny villain. Both characters move the show in a new direction without losing its essence or making it seem like a downfall after series’ two finale. Abbington especially brings new life and dynamics to the show, completely turning it on its head. She’s been very well received, but this only brings trouble, of course – she’s now yet another character to worry about! Overall the episode felt like a huge nod to the fandom, and every little detail and inside joke a massive recognition to the fans. From Sherlock’s “surprise” to John’s hedgehog Hell, from that one particular theory which could have easily been fan-fiction to Sherlock and Mycroft’s game of ‘chess’, the whole episode was a big thank-you and a hug – or otherwise ‘the calm before the storm! Shifting away from his rather sarcastic, sometimes rude and always blunt demeanour, Sherlock opted instead to recall the drunken shenanigans of an alcohol-fuelled night about town with John, giving us an insight into a far more humane depiction of the eccentric detective and reminding us of his appreciation of John. In turn, audiences were given the chance to laugh out loud as Sherlock was left vomiting on the floor and John was handed my favourite line of the episode: “he’s clueing for looks”. Despite these digressions however lurked a mystery which needed solving, and Sherlock did not fail to deliver us the heightened drama we wanted. With every loose end tied up within the episode, The Sign of Three ended up being one of the most tense and fruitful episodes of Sherlock thus far, giving fans the perfect accumulation of highs and lows and promising a finale that will most probably, blow our minds.
interest – going; it felt far too familiar to Moffat’s ‘shiny’ Doctor Who episodes, resembling an empty box covered in glitter. Aside from the controversial cliffhanger, the rest of the episode was still brilliant, engaging and full of tension – definitely worth a watch. Or re-watch, it’s not like we’ve got degrees to do. And we’ve got plenty of time to do so before series four! favourite line of the episode: “he’s clueing for looks”. Despite these digressions however lurked a mystery which needed solving, and Sherlock did not fail to deliver us the heightened drama we wanted. With every loose end tied up within the episode, The Sign of Three ended up being one of the most tense and fruitful episodes of
TV: THE FOLLOWING Martha Salhotra After the incredulously abysmal series finale of Dexter I was in search of a new TV show to take my mind off such a disappointment. As a Film and Television student, Netflix has assimilated itself naturally into my life (and onto my laptop) and one of the new recommendations listed in the ‘Top Picks for Antony’ caught my eye: The Following, a show about a cult of serial killers which stars Kevin Bacon and James Purefoy. Fans of shows such as Doctor Who, Twin Peaks, Star Trek, The X-Files and Game of Thrones often come to mind when the term ‘cult’ is mentioned and classified under such a categorised umbrella as a cult audience. The Following examines the idea of a cult that signifies a collective, brainwashed horde, aggressively challenging the mainstream and societal norms. The scary (well, scarier) kind... The psychological thriller centres around former FBI agent, now ‘consultant’, Ryan Hardy (Bacon) as he is forced to participate in the investigation and apprehension of escaped serial killer Joe Carroll (Purefoy), a professor of literature whom he arrested 9 years prior for slaying a slew of college girls he taught in the macabre style of Edgar Allan Poe. In present day, Hardy is a functioning
alcoholic fitted with a pacemaker (the result of an altercation with Carroll moments before his capture) and renowned author of ‘The Poetry of a Killer’, documenting Carroll’s killing spree. Carroll’s sinister objective is to torment Hardy as he involves him in his endgame: to write his own bestseller about his murderous revenge. The show’s creator and co-writer Kevin Williamson draws on from his Scream slasher signatures in the first episode (no spoilers!) including the use of metafiction and supporting characters within the cult: young aspiring, impressionable, copycat killing acolytes. There are clear comparisons that can be made to Manhunter and Red Dragon (a charismatic psychopath and his controversial symbiotic relationship with an FBI agent) as well as Seven (a ‘cat and mouse’ game containing literary references to the murders). The paranoia questioning who is ‘one of them’ from the unknown extensive network of cult members operating within society adds to a suspenseful alternative ‘whodunnit’ (minus the use of Halloween masks) and also reminiscent of classic Science Fiction alien invasion films which allegorised anxieties of Communist Soviet indoctrination, such as Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Bacon plays Hardy with a hint of Jack Bauer: the role of a man battling his inner demons. Sometimes his
rebellious nature, angry outbursts and trigger-happiness can be amusing... but it is good to see him back on TV without any mention of the ‘EE’ network. His developing relationship with younger FBI agent Mike Weston (Shawn Ashmore) embodies an affably impressionable contrast to Carroll and his followers. Purefoy’s attempt at being seductive and malevolent can seem somewhat hammy and a caricature of a villain from Murder She Wrote at times but he tends to downplay any extreme hostility by maintaining a well-spoken, composed demeanour. One scene when he kills a member of his cult who emotionally and voluntarily offers his life for failing him portrays a bizarrely touching moment, juxtaposing the scene to be read by the audience as tragic martyrdom, accompanied by a classical, poignant swelling score. Therefore, we are given an insight into key cult members: their feelings and perspective to attribute more of a substance and dimension to their characters, despite their preposterous rejection of law and humanity. Unlike Dexter I was appreciative of the last episode climax of the first season. The second season is due to air in the US on 19 January so you have plenty of time to start watching the first. And if you are anything like me you will be flying through the 15 episodes in half as many days.
TV: THE BIBLE Baljit Padda Can we take a moment to acknowledge Channel 5’s extraordinary mini-series - ‘The Bible’ - please? Yes? Okay, good. In our increasingly secular age, what a pleasant surprise it was to come across some Christmas viewing that was actually related to the entire life and times of Jesus Christ, King of the Jews. I was rather surprised to see the story of God, creation and the Son of Man adapted for television as opposed to a one-off movie or film. That’s not to say I’m complaining though! Hats off to executive directors Roma Downey and Mark Burnett for embarking upon such an adventure in which they invested their time, patience and passion to create what has now become, according to Channel 5’s website “ the fastest selling TV show on DVD since 2008”. Chronicling the narrative in a
entire Christian condensed but
spectacular five episodes, the series commenced with the Book of Genesis, and indeed opened with epic proportions. Episode one unleashed with a grand depiction of God’s creation of the world in seven days interspersed with chaotic scenes of Noah’s Ark fighting for survival all amidst the tumultuous Great Flood. Also featured are the devout lives of Abraham and Sarah, the trials they face, and the beautiful, miraculous moment when barren Sarah discovers she is with child despite being past child-bearing age. Abraham proceeds to be a father and ruler of many nations as prophesied. Episode five, the conclusive episode which logs Passover and Jesus’ crucifixion, is intensely moving as would be expected. No matter which adaptation it is, the lump always finds its way up my throat during this phenomenal sacrificial moment in history! Perhaps even more moving are the recurring instances of forgiveness, passionate love and steady faith winning over all of the
‘bad guys’. To give you an example, take cynical Paul of Tarsus who was adamant on destroying all of Christ’s followers until he himself experienced a spiritual encounter that changed his life and worldview, and ultimately led to him becoming one of Christ’s Apostles. Okay, okay I won’t spoil it, I’ll let you go and watch the series for yourself. For all of you action and adventureseeking fanatics, there is definitely an element of terror in ‘The Bible’ series. Perhaps I am a little too sensitive and squeamish, seeing as I can’t even view a punch being thrown on Eastenders without flinching! Well, anyway, there are plenty of beheadings, sharp swords, scythe-like weapons and fist-throws to keep you entertained. ‘The Bible’ TV Series is a mustsee no matter what your religious background or worldview. It’s great too if the thought of picking up that dusty leathered book gives you nightmares. There is definitely something in it for everyone, so what are you waiting for? The box-set is out now, order a pizza, go buy and happy viewing!
2014 FILM RELEASES MONTHLY PICK Gurpreet Sihat
PHOTO CREDIT: FOUNDTHATFILM.COM
January Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit [Action, Drama, Thriller]
February The Monuments Men [Action, Biography, Drama]
March Noah [Adventure, Drama, Fantasy]
Director: Kenneth Branagh Stars: Chris Pine, Kevin Costner, Keira Knightley For January, we’ve picked none other than Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. Based on the character created by Tom Clancy, Shadow Recruit, unlike its five predecessors, is an original story initially conceived by The Wings of The Dove screenwriter Hossein Amini. The film revolves around the title character who accidentally discovers an imminent terrorist attack led by Viktor Cherevin (Kenneth Branagh) and realises that it might be too late to stop it.
Director: George Clooney Stars: George Clooney, Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon George Clooney adds to his directing/ writing/acting accolades with The Monuments Men, a true story about an allied platoon in Germany during the final stages of World War II whose orders are to reclaim famous pieces of art work from the Nazis and return them to their owners.
Director: Darren Aronofsky Stars: Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connolly, Emma Watson Darren Aronofsky has been trying to go biblical since 2007, and it’s finally happened. Based on the story of Noah’s Ark, and starring Russell Crowe in the title role, Aronofsky tells the story that had him captivated as a child. Even despite there being six fully armed angels, producer Scott Franklin has promised that the film stays true to the source material. It’s definitely one to look out for.
April Captain America: The Winter Soldier [Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi]
May X-Men: Days of Future Past [Action, Adventure, Fantasy]
June Transformers 4: Age of Extinction [Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi]
Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo Stars: Chris Evans, Frank Grillo, Sebastian Stan The first avenger is back, and so is his best mate Bucky Barnes! Set two years after Loki tried to destroy Manhattan, Steve Rogers becomes entangled in another S.H.I.E.L.D. mission. Recruiting the Black Window and the Falcon, the Captain must face one of his most powerful adversaries yet – the Winter Soldier.
Director: Bryan Singer Stars: Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart Unfortunately for Captain America, the Winter Soldier won’t be his only opponent in 2014, the X-Men and Magneto are back and Bryan Singer has made sure that they’re going to make millions. Following on from The Wolverine, the X-Men are forced to fight a war across time. We luckily don’t have to choose between two different Wolverines, but now it’s time for Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart to go head to head with Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy…
Director: Michael Bay Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Nicola Peltz, Jack Reynor For all of those who hated the first three films, it’s time to celebrate! Michael Bay is back but this time with an entirely new cast with the exception of the epic Optimus Prime and the lovable Bumblebee and Tyrese Gibson possibly making a cameo as Epps. The film revolves around Mark Wahlberg’s mechanic protagonist and his daughter who make a discovery that will bring the Autobots, the Decepticons and the government after them.
July Hercules: The Thracian Wars [Action, Adventure]
August The Expendables 3 [Action, Adventure, Thriller]
September No Good Deed [Thriller]
Director: Brett Ratner Stars: Dwayne Johnson, John Hurt, Ian McShane The Thracian Wars is one of two Hercules based films to be released this year, and all my money is on The Rock starring in the better one (no offence Kellan Lutz). Set after the death of his family and his twelve labors, Hercules’ life is tested when the King of Thrace and his daughter ask him to help them defeat a tyrannical warlord.
Director: Patrick Hughes Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li Bringing back Jet Li, and introducing badasses Wesley Snipes, Antonio Banderas, Mel Gibson and Harrison Ford, Stallone and the crew are back with Expendables 3. This time the gang come face to face with their cofounder, Conrad Stonebanks (Gibson), who has made it his life’s mission to kill Barney Ross, who was hired to kill him years earlier. They may not be the best movies in the world, but you can’t doubt that with
Director: Sam Miller Stars: Taraji P. Henson, Idris Elba, Kate del Castillo Nope, this isn’t the Samuel JacksonMilla Jovovich 2002 film. This time No Good Deed is the story of a wife and mother whose family is threatened by a stranger who talks his way into their home and leaves her fighting for her family’s survival. Idris Elba was hot in 2013, so here’s to him kicking more butt in 2014!
October Dracula Untold [Action, Drama, Fantasy]
November Dumb and Dumber To [Comedy]
December The Hobbit: There and Back Again [Adventure, Fantasy]
Director: Gary Shore Stars: Luke Evans, Dominic Cooper, Samantha Barks Idris Elba isn’t the only one that’s been in the spotlight for 2013. Luke Evans showed up with Owen Shaw in Fast 6, Bard the Bowman (and his ancestor Girion) in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, and Bruce Reynolds in The Great Train Robbery, and now he’s the title character in Dracula Untold. The film mixes vampire mythology with the true history of Prince Vlad, to tell the story of Vlad Tepes, the man who would become the mythological bloodsucker better known as Dracula.
Director: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly Stars: Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels, Laurie Holden Jeff Daniels and Jim Carrey are back this November for the sequel to Dumb and Dumber. Set twenty years after their last adventure, the nutty best friends head out to search for Harry’s long lost child in hope that she’ll give him a new kidney. On the way they’ll be meeting old and new friends. As Jim Carrey tweeted, they’re “BAK BICHEZ!”
Director: Peter Jackson Stars: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage The final pick for this year is none other than the final part of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy, There and Back Again which is possibly the most awaited film of the year. We left Thorin Oakenshield and his company in Erebor with the dragon Smaug heading down to massacre the people of Dale, now unprotected as Bard the Bowman is locked in a cell. Will Thorin be able to fulfill his destiny? Or will everything fall apart around him? Find out on Christmas 2014.
NETFLIX A REVOLUTION Inah Dela Cruz When you get back home from lectures, trying to avoid research and/or writing an essay, chances are you’re probably on Netflix. The online streaming service for both films and television programs has been synonymous with procrastination in the past couple of years for university students as it offers an extensive amount of material. From Cult Classics to Musicals, Netflix offers every film and television genre you can think of. However, although the service has films ranging from the 1948 film Bicycle Thieves to last year’s Safe Haven, it was Netflix original programs that dominated in 2013. Netflix has been distributing original programs since 2012, but it was not until last year when Netflix original programs elevated the status of online-only web television. Netflix’s most popular original programs House of Cards, the fourth season of Arrested Development, and Orange Is the New Black has received much acclaim in the past eleven months not only within the Netflix audience but also film and television critics. House of Cards is an adaptation of the BBC miniseries of the same title released in 1990. The show follows the life of South Carolina Democrat Congressman Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) as he tries to avenge himself from those who have betrayed him. In addition to Spacey,
the political drama program stars the likes of Robin Wright and Corey Stroll, all of whom have been nominated for their portrayal of their characters in the show. House of Cards is the most critically acclaimed Netflix original program. Out of the many accolades the show has received in the past eleven months, it includes nine Primetime Emmy Award nominations, three of which it won and it also received four Golden Globe Award nominations and won one. Perhaps the most anticipated Netflix original program to come out was Arrested Development, a show about the highly dysfunctional Bluth family starring Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Portia De Rossi, Jessica Walter and others. Arrested Development was already an established program that received praise from critics on its first run: it premiered on the American network Fox in 2003, but was unfortunately cancelled in 2006 due to a lack of popularity. In its first three seasons, Arrested Development gained 22 Emmy Award nominations, of which 6 were won and it also won one out of the three received Golden Globe Award nominations. Throughout its three seasons, the show gained a cult following, of whom campaigned for years for the show’s re-instalment after it was cancelled. After Netflix announced the revival of the show, they focused on a heavy marketing and promotion to gain more viewers that had no prior knowledge of the show before. In addition to promotional stills released all over
the web, Netflix also launched reallife Bluth’s Original Frozen Banana stands in major cities worldwide such as London, New York and Los Angeles. According to Procera, a networks and Internet service providers monitoring company, one in ten people who watched the show on Netflix watched all 15 episodes of the fourth season in the first 48 hours of its availability. Arrested Development’s fourth season received 3 Emmy Award nominations and one Golden Globe Award nomination for Jason Bateman’s portrayal of Michael Bluth.
television as we know it. Online-only web content is slowly emerging as a key player in the film and television industry – there is also a huge amount of original mini-films and programs available on Youtube including the award-winning The Lizzie Bennett Diaries and WIGS, both of which have also been praised by critics.
The innovation of Netflix proves to be a force to be reckoned with and with how popular online-only web content is right now; I would not be surprised if there came a time when online television programs became more popular than regular television programming.
Orange Is the New Black centres Piper Chapman, played by Taylor Schilling, who is imprisoned for drug trafficking, a crime she committed ten years prior. Problems occur for Chapman as she has to leave the upper middleclass life that she has been living with her fiancé in New York for a women’s federal prison that also houses her ex-girlfriend, an international drug smuggler who she worked with. The program also stars Laura Prepon, Jason Biggs, Michael J. Harney, Michelle Hurst and Kate Mulgrew and has proven to be very popular with Netflix viewers. The show has been well received by critics alike, as it holds 89% of positive reviews in Rotten Tomatoes, a film and TV critics’ site. Taylor Schilling was nominated for her portrayal of Piper Chapman in the 2014 Golden Globe Awards and the program won a Satellite Award for Best Cast in a Television Series. As proven by these three programs and others, Netflix is starting to change
PHOTO CREDIT: NETFLIX MEDIA
BRUNEL’S MUSICIANS TAKING OVER LONDON D. Bozhinova Most students at Brunel are not focused only on the degree they are studying. Brunel‘s main purpose for the Arts Centre is to give students an opportunity to discover and improve their extra-curricular skills and get involved in something more interesting. Many of these students took up this opportunity in the music field. It is one of the toughest agendas to get involved in because it requires a lot of hard work, devotion, talent and a whole lot of luck. But now some of them are already performing all around London! Le Nurb caught up with some of them about their experiences through their years as students and how they have developed further in their strive for success. Moreover, we were interested to find out how the university influenced their development, how they decided to pursue music as a career and what guided their passion about music into this career… Matt Wright “The idea of making it for myself”: that’s the key according to Matt who is now playing his own music around London. Only 21 years old and having
graduated Brunel last year, his passion for music had him trying to break into the hostile music industry. Matt is originally from Kent and when we met he said he is “the most English man” I can ever possibly meet because he has never left the UK and knows London pretty well. Through his university years, and having graduated last year, he never abandoned his passions: writing and playing music. Matt taught himself guitar when he was 16 and states he hasn’t stopped playing and writing since. Nevertheless, Matt, thanks to Brunel, has been given him the opportunity to perform his work. ‘Open Mic’ in Loco’s and ‘Battle of the Bands’ in Academy were some of the places where he first started. Being talkative and outgoing, Matt met a lot of new people and encouraged a wider audience to his gigs. His flair for performance doesn’t end here however; he’s also taken part in some of the Brunel’s musicals as well, such as ‘Cabaret’ and ‘Zombie Prom’. Eventually, after graduating he asked himself which path of personal development to take. And it had turned out that the answer was just that easy. “Once you start to believe it gets exciting!”…However, Matt doesn’t
miss to mention that, like all musicians, it is all about constant sacrifice and continuous improvement. Matt writes his own lyrics, arguing this to be the best way one can express feeling and thought. Thus, he states that his biggest motivation is when people pay attention to his lyrics and how his songs hold meaning to his listeners; “the more people listen…the more I want to write and develop…that is what makes me see it is not about the competition but the personal satisfaction”. His current band is called “King Compass” although he prefers to call it a “collaborative group”, mainly because the people he is playing with are not always the same in every gig or concert and they change the instruments they are playing as well. Matt describes his band’s work as ‘Indie-folk’ and ‘Rock’, mainly taking influence from the prominent artists Radiohead and Bon Iver. For Matt, being a successful musician is not about the fame and money – although this is undoubtedly a great plus! –, but just so that people can enjoy his music and think “Wow! How have I never listened to this before?!” And before he thinks he’s genuinely made it, he has three points to complete; Play the Wembley stadium
Win a Mercury Prize Guest-star on Later…with Jools Holland. Mars Bras, Mras Bars or Mars Bars… whatever, sadly it’s not about chocolate bars. It is about the soul and funk band: Mars Bras! They became widely recognized around Brunel’s campus through their Academy performances and winning Battle of the Bands in December. Their representative Cam Griffiths (bass) shared that the decision to form a band was made slightly before Battle of the Bands, so they didn’t have a lot of time to prepare and just ‘jammed’ and tried to have fun. According to Cam, what brought them together was their mutual love of funk among the other genres. The band’s name was a spontaneous decision as well: their guitarist messed up saying ‘mars bras’ instead of ‘mars bars’!
Griffiths, 18 (bass), Alex Heane, 20 (guitar), Juan-Diego Snell, 22 (trombone), Andy Gilyead, 18 (trumpet) and Alex Short, 19 (drums), all being aspiring musicians. Cam says that ‘Success is what you personally see it as‘, arguing it possible to be a successful musician without being famous; if sharing your music makes you happy and it “makes people boogie” they consider themselves successful in what they are doing. All band members aim to continue to develop their music skills, no matter if they have to be session musicians, play in various groups or teach music. They are determined to ‘ make it ’ in the music industry and, for them, “the Key to success is to collaborate and play with as many people as possible, opening your ears to all kinds of music so you become a well-rounded and in-demand player”.
With the band being fairly new, and considering that the members are all first year students, they plan to develop their music further and therefore worth bearing in mind. Especially considering that, even though they are still at the very beginning of writing songs and rehearsing, Mars Bras have already been offered to play around London and Guildford! The members of the band are Cam
Whether you liked Mars Bras during their successes in the Battle of the Bands, or whether you’re a funk and soul fan, don’t forget to give them a ‘like’ on Facebook and to keep up to date for their future gigs around London. Whilst initially a spontaneous pursuit, Mars Bras now aim to stay a proper band and are even considering a name change!
PHOTOCREDIT: ON FLICKR
INTERNATIONAL CES ROUNDUP Kieran Persaud The first week of January is a big week in tech journalism; reporters from around the world make pilgrimage to Las Vegas for what could be described as the biggest event in gadgetry for the whole year: the International Consumer Electronics Show. Each year the biggest companies in the industry stand shoulder to shoulder with a legion of start-up businesses trying to have the most interesting and outrageous piece of technology on display (apart from Apple of course who are too cool and hipster for sharing the spotlight). This year’s event has had its fair share of newsworthy happenings; with Netflix announcing 4K streaming, Toyota unveiling their hydrogen powered car and more wearable technology than you could fit on you all at once (don’t bother trying, they all do the same thing) there’s plenty to talk about. By far the biggest story from CES this year was Michael
Bay’s on stage meltdown during the Samsung keynote. The famed director of the Transformers film franchise lost his place in the autocue midway through an already awkwardly staged mock interview in front of Samsung’s new range of curved TVs. After a brief attempt at “winging it” he hung his head and walked off stage apologising. The show went on without him of course and Samsung announced their new 12.2 inch line of tablets that nobody paid attention to because they were all still furiously tweeting about Bay. Gamers have a lot to look forward to in the coming years with big product announcements from Valve, Occulus and Razer for PC gamers and Sony showing off their upcoming Playstation Now service. Playstation Now is a game streaming service for PS4 users that will allow them to play PS3 games (and hopefully some PS1 and PS2 classics) by streaming the games from a far off server straight into your PS4 in HD quality; it’s not the first time something like this has
been done but it’s certainly a big deal for Sony in their battle with the Xbox One. Occulus, a crowd funded company that has been developing and perfecting their prototype for what seems like an age, showed off their latest virtual reality headset: an HD, 3D, super responsive ski-goggle screen combo thing that (from what we hear) really puts you into virtual worlds and lets gamers take their compulsive escapism to the next level. The new Occulus “Rift Crystal Cove” is able to track users’ entire upper bodies and is said to induce much less motion sickness than previous prototypes. Valve, the company behind the increasingly popular gaming platform Steam, unveiled their much anticipated Steam Machine PC console hybrids with no less than 13 partners each producing their own machine with unique specs ranging from $500 low end devices to $6,000 supercomputers. The Steam Machine was met with a lukewarm
reception however, as they were all quite pricey for what you get, but the general public doesn’t have its hands on the mysterious steam OS that the machines will be running on so there is definitely hope.
nice and affordable. Every year CES is inundated with fresh off the Kickstarter bright eyed entrepreneurs proudly displaying their life’s work praying to get enough media attention to finally turn a profit and this year was no exception. Terms like “wearable technology”, “smart home” and “the quantified self” were thrown around like VKs on the dance floor in Liquid and of course, of COURSE, someone finally invented Bluetooth socks- the nightmare is over folks, Bluetooth socks are here.
Back in non-gamer news Netflix announced that they would be starting to stream in 4K, a level of ultra-high definition detail that is said to make your TV seem more like a window than a screen, but of course nobody in the real world has a 4K TV yet so this is more of a home cinema nerd’s wet dream than anything else CES is so very cutting edge that for the moment. 4K TVs did make a honestly we won’t see most of this huge appearance in this year’s show, technology for a good four to five with everyone and their grandmother years, if we see it at all, and based on announcing their new curved TV’s and what we saw this year the future looks trying to convince us that their curved to have all of our homes, watches, TV is much better than the curved PHOTOCREDIT: TV glasses WARNER and socks BROShooked PICTURES up to the just next door- what’s so great about Wi-Fi and making sure that the kettle curves anyway? There is some good is boiling and our giant curved TVs news for us though, as 4K screens are are on and already showing House starting to drop below the thousand of Cards in obscene detail as we walk dollar mark, so hopefully by the time through the door. Sounds like fun to we’re all rich graduates sitting on piles me. of cash, ultra-high definition will be
THE NEXT GENERATION OF GAMES CONSOLES Kris Miles E3 2013 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) was a big one last year. The ever-anticipated gaming showcase held in L.A. demonstrated a few badly coveredup surprises; the two main ones being the announcement of the Xbox One: Microsoft’s all-in-one entertainment system, and Sony’s PlayStation 4: an assortment of a slightly more powerful gamers’ paradise in a box. But for the average person who doesn’t read into the industry like a rabid animal, including myself, it can all seem a bit overwhelming when it comes to choosing your poison. The simple answer: neither is worth buying at this point in time. Both machines are still rolling out their hurried launch titles to entice and hold onto quick buyers - and that means there isn’t much that yet defines a strong seller on either device at the moment. The PlayStation 4 has Killzone: Shadow Fall, an exclusive franchise that is particularly uninspiring this time around, almost certainly due to time restraints around its release, whilst the Xbox One has Dead Rising and Ryse: Son of Rome. The former is lacking, on a technical level, considering it is run on such a powerful machine, while the latter looks phenomenal but lacks in the gameplay department. There are many other titles - Forza 5, Gran Turismo 6, Knack… but none are going to blow you away just as the next generation should do because they
still play like last generation games just a little shinier. PlayStation 4 is undoubtedly outselling the Xbox One at the moment, and although they are both doing fantastically well in terms of sales, Sony especially got their marketing right. They appeal to the gamers, citing their support to the indie developers with their focus on core experiences, whilst Microsoft initially centres much more on the entertainment side as opposed to just games. I am keen to stress however, that the Xbox One got a very bad rep that was mostly based on foolishness. Let’s be clear, the Xbox One has some brilliant looking exclusive games coming out: The next Halo in the franchise, which is something I am a big fan of, is sure to be promising since it allows time to fully get to grips with the technology, whilst new names such as Project Spark: Microsoft’s 3D answer to Little Big Planet, Quantum Break and Titanfall are all set to be a hit. Xbox One: Pros and Cons What you get with the Xbox One is an entertainment hub; it should be your all-in-one for your room. Want to watch the football? You tell it to. Want to watch something on 4OD or Netflix? You tell it by simply stating what you would like to watch on those services. Want to Skype your friend whilst playing a game side-by-side? Xbox One does that for you too. Hell, you can even plug in an Xbox 360 or a PS4 into the back of it and play that from the Xbox One. But what you don’t get with the Xbox One is the
heightened power of a PlayStation 4, and it is a higher price because of the mandatory inclusion of Kinect. Kinect has been vastly improved now, the voice recognition system is almost border-line perfect and users are frequently amazed at being able to switch between stuff so simply, but you’re paying £80 - £100 more for it. PlayStation 4: Pros and Cons What you get with the PlayStation 4 is a much more powerful machine, for a lesser price, that has dedicated itself to games. Whether that will change in the future is down to Sony; there are likely to be evolving strategies involved in the near future, but for the moment their focus is on selling PS4 to the point of becoming the ultimate games device. This means you are likely to see increased support for original games by indie developers coming out on the PlayStation network, though you will also be able to access most of the streaming services just like you can on the current generation of consoles. The controller itself also has a touchpad in the centre which opens up the door to new realms of gameplay possibilities to play around with, but I will say this: Overall: It’s worth waiting until at least spring before picking one up, as games such as Titanfall (on Xbox One) and Infamous: Second Son (on PS4) will be released. But whichever you choose, they are both fantastic consoles and their power far outweighs their price when compared to the equivalent of a PC for that kind of money.
BOOK: MARRIAGE MATERIAL Jasmin Nahar After the unexpected death of his father, Arjan Banga finds himself being dragged away from his life in London as a graphic designer and back to his family’s Wolverhampton corner shop. His family home represents exactly why he wanted to escape: a life of slow days and narrow views, like those of his mother who disapproves of Arjan’s white fiancé. But the longer he stays, the more hesitant he is to leave. Life in London is waiting for him but being back at his old home has thrown up some big dilemmas and discoveries. Arjan needs answers. Not just to what to do about his impending marriage, but to the whereabouts of his Aunt Surinder, someone his mother had always told him had passed away. He sets about finding her, and is in for a surprise as he attempts to track her down. His time in Wolverhampton is further complicated by the supposed befriending of childhood familiar Ranjit. A wannabe gangster who hoards samurai gear, smokes an excessive amount of weed and believes Arjan should be getting “hench”, Ranjit is only unlikeable at first however he later develops into something more sinister. Throughout the novel you see Arjan change and regress the more he stays in Ranjit’s company. Interspersed with Arjan’s tale is the background of his mother, Kamaljit, and her sister, Surinder, set decades before when they were young girls.
Much like Arjan, young Surinder is longing to one day be free from the confines of the corner shop. With the looming fear of an arranged marriage hanging over her, she elopes with an Irish travelling salesman. The story of Kamaljit and Surinder enriches the novel, playing on the backdrop of a 1960’s multicultural Britain. Marriage Material handles several serious issues such as caste within Punjabi culture and a humorous approach to racism that nonetheless doesn’t neglect the importance of such issues. It also highlights, culturally speaking, how little has changed. Caste still proves to be an issue long before Arjan is born and is something he has to deal with when he comes back to Wolverhampton, and the prevalent racism throughout the story’s narrative makes you think about how far things have come in the past fifty years. In London, Arjan had never really encountered racism, and it shocks him, as it shocks the reader, when he then experiences it in Wolverhampton. Yet, regardless of race and religion, the narrative manages to relate to everyone through a common theme: that of wanting to leave the shackles of your hometown and make a life for yourself, without losing who you are. An epic tale of love, betrayal, loyalty and family, Marriage Material is a beautifully told story that spans generations yet is set in the most unassuming of surroundings. Sathnam Sangera tells the story with a deftness of hand that makes this warm, witty tale give you something to really chew over afterwards, not unlike a toffee one might buy in a Wolverhampton corner shop.
DO YOU DARE DREAM DISNEY STYLE Christina Wares If you are a Disney fan and have not had the opportunity to see some fantastic Disney stories unfold on ice then you are truly missing out. The most recent production was Disney on Ice: Dare to Dream, performed at the London O2 arena. The O2 is such a magnificent venue, packed with a variety of restaurants to visit before the performance. The Disney on Ice production of Dare to Dream is produced by Field Entertainment, and is fit to be viewed by all ages from young to old. A truly captivating show which features four of the Disney princesses ranging from the earliest ones like Snow White and Cinderella to the most modern ones like Rapunzel from Tangled and Tiana from Princess and the Frog. At the end of the show all the Disney princesses and princes arrived on the ice to give one last stunning spectacle of ice elegance. Each tale was cut down from the film’s
original length, focusing on the key points of the tales. Also there were key songs from each of the princess’s films as well, so there was plenty to sing along with. There was a wide range of truly beautiful skating and remarkably similar costumes to the films. A key part that was enjoyable was the soldiers skating in the Cinderella section of the show due to the fact that they had cross over patterns to create which were executed with such precision. Also in the Tangled portion of the show, Rapunzel’s hair was used to perform artful dancing in the air which was beautiful. Even the horse Maximus appeared realistic in the costume used. Overall a great show for all ages, with laughs, romance, an exuberance of colours and action and songs! Unfortunately I saw the last showing, but they might be back next year. So keep an eye out and you could be experiencing the magic and dreams that Disney stands for unfolding before your eyes.
THE PRINCE CHARLES CINEMA
PHOTO CREDIT: PRINCE CHARLES CINEMA.COM
Antony Smith Ever wanted to watch The Rocky Horror Picture Show dressed as Frank N. Furter singing along to “Dammit Janet” with a beer in your hand surrounded by like-minded jovial folk? Well... you can. As Uxbridge is not exactly a metropolitan hub that boasts an eclectic range of culture and entertainment venues beyond Liquid or Wetherspoons, one must utilise living in a town with a tube station as a means of adventure. When you’re not busy with exams or assignments don’t forget you can hop on the overground/ underground and be in central London somewhere between 39 & 52 minutes (depending on the colour of the line). Of course budgeting an evening out in the ‘Big
Smoke’ goes without saying... and a trip to The Prince Charles Cinema spells for a delightfully thrifty escape from campus as a well-earned break from essays and library all-nighters. The Prince Charles Cinema (located just off Leicester Square) is ideal for students to flock to and not just because of the cheap prices or the fact that you can enjoy a beverage of beer with your salted popcorn... although, it does help. Another major USP is the various themed screenings on offer: Q&As with filmmakers, Double-bills, ‘Sing-A-longs’ (Rocky Horror, Muppet movies), ‘Quote-Alongs’ (Anchorman, Bridesmaids), the Labyrinth: Masquerade Ball, ‘Pyjama Parties’ and Movie Marathon allnighters to name a few. My personal favourite past experiences have been the John Carpenter All-Nighter, Park Chan-Wook’s ‘Vengeance Trilogy’ back-to-back, and the Empire Records’
‘Happy Rex Manning Day’. The latter involved an intro by a cheesy Maxwell Caulfield impersonator, followed by cheering, quoting and singing along to the film dressed as Robin Tunney’s character Deb (with a faux shaved head). Sadly I did not win the Best-Dressed competition despite my authentic apparel courtesy of frantic eBay purchases. As you can possibly deduce - dressing up is strongly encouraged. Going in groups or gaggles of friends will only benefit the fun and upbeat atmosphere and is a perfect way to exploit the venue’s promotion of a great social scene formulated for fans and film lovers to appreciate movies in an interactive context. The balance of classic, current, cult, nostalgic, art-house entertainment and pure trash-value films add to the novelty of the cinema and its diverse selection of genres means you’re bound to see something you like.
How much, you ask? Well, getting a membership will entitle you to a discount on all films (£2.50 minimum - the equivalent of a student discount) and a 10% discount at the bar. An annual membership costs a mere £10. Whereas, a lifetime membership will only set you back £50. Even if it suggests the average lifespan of a lifetime member of a Prince Charles Cinema patron is 5 years... don’t be scared by the pricing structure. It’s not meant to reflect that interpretation. Single film tickets range from £4 - £8.50, any ‘A-long’ event are approximately £15 and Special Screenings/ All-Nighters are £10 - £25. I would also recommend waiting a bit longer to go and see new releases, as within a few weeks they are screened during a second run at the PCC and can be significantly cheaper if you go to a weekday matinee showing.
So, if you like the sound of a cost-effective idea of fun with an informal twist on the cinema-going experience (rather than just sitting in the dark and facing forward with a bunch of strangers sharing your breathing space) mix it up and find yourself another regular haunt for your viewing pleasure. Website: princecharlescinema.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ PrinceCharlesCinema Twitter: @ThePCCLondon YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/ ThePCCLondon
FAST FOOD FRESHERS Antony Smith Welcome to my Fresher Fusion: Zesty Zingers for fellow crusty students to enjoy on a budget. Not just baked beans... but, of course, baked beans are included. This isn’t posh nosh, people! The first term being in halls can be remembered for consuming a vast amount of red meat, most of which began life as a pig. And as quick and delicious as Pot Noodles are, I’m sure you want something a bit more substantial in your diet which doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg (of lamb). But you will soon be amazed at how incredible the smell of broccoli and cauliflower boiling on your stove can be. Honestly! You can even put two and two together and mix a bowl of Super Noodles (one step up from the humble Pot) with a bag of Birds Eye Steamfresh frozen vegetables from the microwave and - voilà! - A meal in itself. Here are some tips to consider: 1. Naturally, it’s best to shop around for bargains. With Sainsbury’s, Iceland, Tesco and the likes of Lidl, you never can be too sure where the best quality, value and BOGOFs (Buy One Get One Free) are. So take time to check out before you checkout. Luckily for your legs, all of the aforementioned supermarkets are in the centre of Uxbridge... or a relatively short walk from campus for the colourfully thrifty Lidl. 2. If you are a carnivore, beware of the plumped up breasts that will shrivel and shrink as soon as you start to stir fry them. Go to the butcher for poultry such as chicken the quality is noticeably different, as is the price. ‘Chris Blake’ in The Pavillions is recommended and there are generally good deals. If breasts usually
get your juices flowing, I side with Nigella and big up the thighs. They are tastier and work well in curries. 3. Portion control. A student belly will creep up on you and hold on for dear life if you carb the cr*p out of your three meals a day. Also, by refraining from gorging on the contents of your numbered cupboard and shelf in the fridge, you can control how often you need to visit the supermarket. Don’t get lazy and order online for a delivery for a month’s load of food. It will disappear in a week... or two at the most. A weekly shop may be better – grab your bag for life and hot-foot it to the shops. Your waistband will thank you later. 4. Make a list of what you need. Re-write it until only the necessary items are remaining. You’ll be surprised how frugal you naturally are – particularly on a student budget! 5. In light of Tip No.4, factorin luxuries and snacks every so often. These don’t have to be too expensive, but will help to keep a smile on your face instead of seeing shopping as a chore and cooking as a joyless mastication. To keep things on a shoestring, the shelves of Poundland might be worth scrutinising... 6. Never visit the supermarket on an empty stomach. Your eyes will be bigger than your stomach... and your wallet. Your basket will turn into a trolley of junk for you to eat your emotions with. Avoid like the plague. Incorporate these into your routine and you’ll be laughing... with your mouths full. If that’s the case, next time you’ll be ready for me to put together some tasty, easy-to-make and filling dishes to stifle those hunger pangs and line your stomach before a night out at The Academy... or Liquid, if you’re brave enough.
SCREENWRITING LECTURE SERIES
Gurpreet Sihat For the past four years, BAFTA and the BFI have been joining together with the JJ Charitable Trust to present the Screenwriting Lecture series, celebrating the work of internationally acclaimed film and television screenwriters, and inspiring and equipping aspiring screenwriters with tricks of the trade. In the fourth series of the world-renowned series, discussing the genesis of their most famous scripts, were Richard Curtis (Notting Hill, Love Actually), Hossein Amini (47 Ronin, Drive), Susannah Grant (Erin Brockovich, Ever After), David Goyer (Man of Steel, The Dark Knight) and Tony Gilroy (the Bourne Films, Michael Clayton). I had the privilege of sitting in on the latter three. “It’s rejection. If you can’t deal with it, if you can’t pick yourself off the floor after someone has completely crushed your soul, if you can’t continue onward, then you probably shouldn’t be trying to write for a living.” - David Goyer Believing that today is the most exciting time to be entering the film industry, already with a number of award winning screenplays under his belt, David Goyer led the illuminating talks with his lecture on the important on getting life experience (this is a man who dropped everything to go travelling through Africa, Asia and South America) and how persistence pays off. Goyer could not emphasize enough to the audience to never give up. As a twenty-two year old man
with nothing to lose, he spent fortyfive consecutive days calling his agent until his first script was finally read. And it paid off, for not long after he wrote the B movie Death Warrant for Jean-Claude Van Damme which led onto the Blade trilogy, the moment that Goyer says was when he first really felt it right to call himself a writer. Goyer’s final message to his audience was one that everyone can take away: write what you feel passionate about and not what you think the market is dictating, after all, good writing is passionate writing. “No matter what amount of genius you have, you still have to work very long and very hard.” - Susannah Grant Considered to be one of the most versatile screenwriters currently in the industry, Susannah Grant puts her love for the job down to her love of film and devotion to the industry. Listening to her speak, it is no wonder that she is extremely protective of her work, as she describes screenwriting as an extension of herself, and reveals something personal about each of her scripts designed to mesmerize her audiences. Putting such risk and emotion into her scripts is a risky move, but, for Grant, “anyone who tries to illuminate the human experience is opening themselves up to failure” so if it is already inevitable, why not just take the risk? Throughout the talk, the audience was left in no doubt about Grant’s gratitude for her career. Nothing said this more than her closing lines that her career had been
“an enormous blessing that [she does not], for one moment, take for granted.” “Whether you’re writing orcs or Anne Boleyn, it makes no difference. The quality of your writing is absolutely capped by your understanding of human behaviour.” - Tony Gilroy Of all the lectures in the series, none had me more captivated than Tony Gilroy. Right from the outset, Gilroy made you feel on par with him, opening the lecture by drawing on his roots: how although his father, brother and friends are all screenwriters, he, himself, only went to college for “fifteen minutes” and then spent the following years as a musician and working in bars, writing scripts for years with no success before getting his break at the age of thirty. Nothing had me more fascinated, though, than Gilroy treating the audience to insight into his writing and editing methodology. As a writer suffering from OCD, who speaks to herself often, sometimes even talking to inanimate objects and posters on the walls, and often avoiding her entire workspace when a dreaded deadline is looming, I was more than ecstatic discovering that Tony Gilroy, one of the most sought after screenwriters in the film industry, is exactly the same. I have found the BAFTA and BFI Screenwriters’ Lecture Series 2013 extremely inspirational. Be sure to check them out. The audio for each of these lectures, including those given by Richard Curtis and Hossein Amini, can be found on the BAFTA website along with the Q&A Podcast.
LCM: WEIRD, WONDERFUL BUT MOSTLY WEARABLE Natasha Levy On the first day of the London Collections for Men (LCM), Topman Design sent its models down a dark, gloomy catwalk where rain was literally falling from the ceiling. With the models sporting soggy hairdos, floor length anoraks and chunky jumpers, Topman seemed to have captured the attitude towards fashion for autumn/winter 2014: Practicality. This need for clothing to be authentic and functional reverberates through the remainder of the 3-day LCM event, a yearly
opportunity for all the style-savvy boys of the city to get together and see what the best of British design has to offer for the season ahead. And it’s not just the fashion industry insiders that get to delight in the shows either - the event was spangled with some of the most well-dressed celebrities including Mark Ronson, Nick Grimshaw and Tinie Tempah. The following day of LCM, designer Christopher Raeburn showed his typical mastery of outerwear by playing on classic styles, creating puffer and duffle jackets in quilted or highly reflective fabrics. Many of his looks also touched upon the image of the explorer as the models’ looks were paired with hiking boots
and utilitarian backpacks. Astrid Anderson’s collection hinted that the urban sportswear trend is here to stay but with an injection of colour as she produced football jerseys in bright blue and mustard yellow, matched with comfortable tracksuit jogger-style trousers. New and young designer duo Agi & Sam encouraged that it’s all about a basic colour palette and oversized layering to stay stylish and warm for the upcoming cold months - each of their models took to the catwalk on the last day of LCM wearing numerous garments in graphic black and white linear prints. However not all of the designers took to the theme of wearability, and instead went in with a much more
fashion-forward direction. Brand KTZ (Kokon To Zai) appeared to reference space-age tribal goths (to describe the clothes as unique would be an understatement), J.W. Anderson embraced androgyny and created interesting lace-up platform heels for men, whilst Katie Eary threw dull winter wear traditions out the window and put her models in giant Mickey Mouse heads and bold red cheetah print separates. Though I can’t guarantee that those latter pieces will be ideal for running between lectures on campus, these collections for men most definitely brought back to the spotlight the raw fashion design talent there is in London. Chic menswear was once
exclusive to the suits and boots of Saville Row, but LCM 2014 proved that casual clothing with everyday sensibility is making a powerful and exciting comeback.
PHOTO CREDIT: DNADABALLADA.COM
HOMOSEXUALITY IN SPORT Antony Smith Is it really a big deal? Is it newsworthy material? Lets take a look and see what all the fuss is about... The ‘coming out’ stage is an important event in every gay person’s life which is often feared for the gutwrenching anticipation that you will be ostracised and even abused for your sexuality. Despite living in modern times (compared to when homosexuality was still regarded as a psychological disease and not fully declassified as such until 1990 by the World Health Organization) prejudice and ignorance still abounds as seen with the horrific restrictions condemning homosexual acts to be illegal in places such as Russia and Nigeria, in contrast to a more liberal Western culture. Retired American boxer Evander Holyfield recently debated in the Celebrity Big Brother house proclaiming homosexuality as a ‘choice’ and compared being gay to a handicap that should be ‘fixed’. Yes, he is entitled to his opinion and censoring his view (which he later apologised for) is not the best way to handle such radical, uneducated comments but is another prime example of the prejudice that holds people back from accepting who they are. Nevertheless, the sports industry is currently making the headlines by challenging homophobia. Who can (and shouldn’t) forget the much publicised ‘coming out’ of
British diver and 2012 Olympic Team GB Bronze medalist Tom Daley. On the 02 December 2013 the 19 years young and successful athlete released a very open and honest YouTube confession announcing his sexuality. While Daley did not outrightly label himself as gay or bisexual his concentration was on the here and now, focusing on his flourishing love affair with a man, later confirmed to be Hollywood screenwriter Dustin Lance Black. With celebrity support
“Tom Daley is the most significant British sportsman to come out” in the form of Tweets, from the likes of Stephen Fry, Piers Morgan, Neil Patrick Harris and Kylie Minogue commending him for his candid act of bravery, prove Daley’s message can be an inspirational feat to follow for others to take the plunge. Former German International and Aston Villa midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger also decided he was ready to publicly profess his homosexuality to celebrate the New Year on 08 January 2014, making a stand as the first footballer to come out after having played in the Premier League, acknowledged by Gary Lineker on Twitter. In an interview with ‘Die Welt’, Hitzlsperger noted that while it is difficult to definitively confirm an anti-gay, homophobic atmosphere surrounding the football federation, derogative remarks shouted from fans and avoiding the discussion of personal subjects within the team
may reflect on his statement that “gay football players don’t exist officially”. He hopes that by announcing his sexuality “it encourages some others because they see they can still be professional football players, they can play at the highest level and be gay. It’s not a contradiction as I proved”. With Hitzlsperger’s nickname of ‘The Hammer’ (coined from the strength of his kick) he further argues the image of weakness that can be associated with homosexuality and, especially related to football, can shape people’s perceptions of masculinity and may cause issues with maintaining a successful and harmonious career in competitive sports. From an alternative angle, Ben Cohen MBE (gay icon in the LGBT community and notably heterosexual) retired from the England rugby union in 2011 to pursue his passion in combating bullying and antisocial behaviour through ‘The Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation’ supporting charities including Stonewall UK and the LGBT Sports Summit in the US. The Foundation is still a prominent source of grant funding to date. Cohen’s message on his Foundation website expresses: “To become a rugby world cup champion required a strong body. To remove bullying from schools and sports, requires all of us to have strong characters”. This strongly echoes Hitzlsperger’s theory of the characterisation of being gay as a hindrance or a reason not to be taken seriously. And Cohen’s advocacy from a heterosexual position accentuates how homophobia should not be
tolerated, as with any other bigotry. Newsworthy or not newsworthy? That is (or seems to be) the question. There may in fact be generating backlash or negative opinions about the utilisation of the celebrity status to consider the story newsworthy. However, is this not judging the content too severely and being transgressive about it? After all, the point of using the media and your own recognition with the general public is to create a platform to enable others to ‘come out’ and be comfortable with a sympathetic and understanding audience. This can only be done through continued exposure if the concept of acceptance is to become ingrained in society. An article in the Daily Mail outlined that Hitzlsperger felt gratified to make his announcement following Daley’s bold stance, and The Telegraph declared that “Tom Daley is the most
significant British sportsman to come out”. Similarly, Gus Van Sant’s film Milk (written by the aforementioned Dustin Lance Black) chronicles the career of US gay rights campaigner Harvey Milk and involves a significant sequence urging people to come out en-masse to their family and loved ones in an effort to “once and for all break down the myths, destroy the lies and distortion” as a way to tackle the majority opposition and redefine the perception of ‘haters’. To answer the initial questions posed: Is it really a big deal? Is it newsworthy material? Yes. And Yes. It shouldn’t be. But acceptance and equality is a basic human right that is not available to everyone... as is the freedom of speech. So, go on, athletes: be who you are, be happy and continue to play ball... and make a splash!
PHOTO CREDIT: UK HOME OFFICE
Brunel Handball Students in European Cup Drama
SCHOFIELD DOMINATES BUCS WILD WATER RACING CHAMPIONSHIPS Ryan 0’ Donovan Jon Schofield picked up two gold medals and tamed the BUCS Wild Water Racing Championships at the end of November for Brunel. He won both the classic and sprint events in the Single Kayak class to ensure that Brunel will remember their first championship fondly.
Elsewhere, Rachel Jones navigated her way to a fourth placed finish in the women’s sprint while a majority of the Brunel team also finished in the top ten. Throughout the event the Brunel team managed to rise to the challenge of taking on rival clubs Durham, Newcastle and Loughborough. Alice Shute, Vice Chair of the Brunel Canoe Club told Brunel, “It was a brilliant event, and great to see our club paddlers and the world class
athletes join forces to represent Brunel University. “The support we got from the Student Union and University management helped make this the success that we had all hoped for.” The Brunel team was made up by Jon Schofield, Rachel Jones, Alice Shute, Charlie Harrison, Stephanie Roberts, Joe Beevers, Nicholas Kirschstein Smith, Matthew Roberston and Marton Simon.
PHOTO CREDIT: MANJA KOENIG
Gilbert Lewis Oli Barton and Gilbert Lewis competed in the European Challenge Cup in Varna, Bulgaria for Ruislip Eagles West London Handball Club last December. Following a fourth place finish in the 2012/13 English Super 8 League, Ruislip Eagles qualified for a spot in the opening round of the European Challenge Cup, which included teams such as IK Sävehof, who had reached the Champions’ League group stages the previous year. The Eagles’ opposition, Spartak Varna, were a professional team meaning the Eagles were always looking to cause an upset. The opening game, watched by almost 1,500 spectators ended 24-22 to Varna, following a
superb fight from Ruislip, including a goal in the final second of the game. The second leg, played the following day, and broadcast on Bulgarian National Television ended in a 2620 win for the favourites, the Eagles unable to match the fitness of the home team; however, both Brunel students managed to get onto the score sheet. The 50-42 defeat is by far one of the best results for a British team against the professional teams of the continent, and is proof that the gap between them is closing. Following Oli Barton’s cup performances, he was also selected as first reserve for the GB U20s, and travelled to Finland in January for their opening 2014 squad camp and matches. He made two appearances, both against Finland U20s, making him the first Brunel Handball player to represent England and Great Britain.
BE A GOOD SPORT Katie Williams Sport and exercise may not be at the top of every student’s list of priorities at University, but it’s a great way to work out and meet new people. Here’s our pick of the top reasons for why every student should get involved in a sports club or society this year: YOU’LL MAKE NEW FRIENDS Joining a club is the best way to meet new people, and what better way than when you’re sweating it out, running laps of a track? You’ll meet students from different levels and courses, as well as making friends for life. IT’LL KEEP YOU FIT Having joined the Cheerleading club as a fresher in September, I can already feel that my body is starting to shape-up. Here at Brunel, they do not slack on exercise: 200 sit ups may sound like hell to some students, but with a few body conditioning sessions a week, you could go home by the summer and look like a fitness model!
IT’S SOCIABLE It won’t be all work and no play. Outside of the training sessions, most sports clubs throw socials for their team members. It could be anything from Pub Golfing around every bar in Uxbridge to a few drinks in Locos. Either way, they’re a great way to get to know the people on your team (and maybe break the ice after a few drinks...) IT’S A GOOD BREAK FROM WORK If you ever feel like things might be getting on top of you, or you’re feeling down and stressed, going to your club’s training sessions and doing a bit of sport with the friends on your team is all it takes to relax. Honestly, a little sport on a rough day can do the world of good! IT’S MOTIVATIONAL Usually having a lie-in will sound like a better option than getting out in the cold to do some exercise, but joining a sport will keep you motivated. You’ll have a clearer head and a healthier body if you get up to do a few laps of your halls in the morning, rather than lying in bed eating junk and watching TV. Give it a go! #TEAMBRUNEL!
ALUMNI HEARTBREAK IN US COLLEGE SOCCER FINAL Alex Mitchell The perfect fairy tale ending just wasn’t to be for former Brunel student Duncan Foster as his side Carson-Newman Eagles lost out to Southern New Hampshire 2-1 in a thrilling NCAA Division II Soccer final in Evans, Georgia on 7th December. Foster’s unranked Carson-Newman side had defied all the odds to reach the final. Following a dramatic last minute goal in their first ever semi final, Carson-Newman lined up to take on the New Hampshire side with the best performance record in the entire country - coming to the final on the back of a 21 game unbeaten streak. Southern New Hampshire slightly edged the first half but both teams failed to take their chances, both hitting the bar early on while CarsonNewman cleared off the line just before the break ensuring that the sides went into half time level. In the second half, Southern New Hampshire finally made the most of their superior shot count as they scored the game’s opening goal after 73 minutes, striker Miguel Carneiro finding a gap to slot home passed a sliding keeper and defender. Carson-Newman didn’t give up and pressed forward looking for an equaliser. Unfortunately after a quick counter attack, Southern New Hampshire were awarded a penalty as Eagles’ keeper Rumwald Le Guevel was controversially adjudged to have brought down the Penman’s striker. Replays showed the keeper had made clear contact with the ball. Pierre Omanga stepped up to score the penalty make it 2-0 with less than five minutes to go, seemingly ending Foster and his teammates’ hopes of clinching the title. Tensions were running high after the
penalty and with just two minutes to go tempers flared and a scuffle broke out following a foul on half way. Three players were shown a red card for their involvement. Just seconds from the end, the Eagles showed one last glimpse of the determination that had taken them so far in the season as Welsh forward, Ross Frame scored to pull one back for the Eagles. Unfortunately it was too little too late for Carson-Newman as the final whistle was blown almost immediately after the restart. Speaking after the match, Foster said: “It’s devastating to lose the way we have done. We didn’t lose the game, the game was taken from us. “I am so proud of what we have achieved, we wrote history and advanced two rounds further than any other CN team has ever done before. To come 2nd in the nation out of 207 teams is an incredible achievement, especially considering we weren’t expected to even make the national
tournament. “We have created a legacy for the soccer program here that will never be lost. Lots of people from Brunel have contacted me and supported throughout so I’m grateful for that.” Duncan graduated from Brunel in 2012 with a degree in Sports Science. Whilst at Brunel, he was a captain for the Men’s’ Football Team, being awarded club colours and was also a part of the Union’s Sports Federation Committee. He is now at CarsonNewman University, Tennessee studying a two-year Masters in Business Administration alongside his football scholarship. To keep up with Duncan’s progress next season follow @CNUSoccer on Twitter.
PHOTO CREDIT: ADAM GREENE PHOTOGRAPHY
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GAINING MOMENTUM – JESS ANDREWS Ryan O’Donovan
Brunel is famous for producing and housing future and current sports stars, and now it has another name to add to that list. Jess Andrews recently won team gold at the European U23 Cross Country championships for Great Britain in Belgrade, Serbia and the Sport Sciences undergraduate has high hopes for the future. Hailing from the Isle of Wight, Jess picked up the bug for running cross country at an early age, first competing for her school in Year Five before moving on from there. “I started running when I was in Year Five when I was asked to do a cross country race at school. I had no idea what Cross Country was but I just ran it and did really well! I think I came second and from then on I just started doing it at school. A coach (Geoff Watkin) noticed me in Year Ten when I was about fifteen so I moved to him and that’s when it really started to pick up. I was 17 when I got my first England vest and then I was 21 when I first ran for Great Britain and its progressively moved forward from there.” Jess’ first coach was Geoff Watkin on the Isle of Wight and he continued to coach her until last summer, when Jess changed coaches to the renowned long distance coach Mick Woods, who works with some of the top athletes in the country, as Jess explains, “location had a bit to do with moving coach, obviously moving up to London means it’s a lot closer because I now train in Aldershot. A lot of his athletes are the top athletes in England and Europe so I knew to progress in my running I needed to be training with these types of athletes. I was the only female athlete with my coach on the Isle of Wight so I had no one to really push me forward in that sense. I wanted to experience new things and I saw what Mick was doing was working and that made me want to give it a go and take that jump to move to them.” And that jump seems to have paid off for Jess, who got her first ever Great Britain vest back in December, meaning that she would have to chance to represent the nation in Belgrade in the U23 Cross Country Championships. She said, “to qualify you had to finish in the top four of the qualifiers and I came fourth. I finished the race but at first I didn’t know if I had came fourth or not, because you run with the seniors too in the trials. When I found out that I had finished fourth I was speechless – and I’m never ever speechless, but this time I
ALUMNI HEARTBREAK IN US COLLEGE SOCCER FINAL
EUROPEAN CUP DRAMA FOR BARTON AND LEWIS PHOTO CREDIT: MARK SHEARMAN really was and a couple of hours later I just burst into tears because I knew how hard I had worked. I put 100% into training so when I had made the cut it was almost too much for me - it was just overwhelming.” “The European Championships are so different to anything I’ve done before,” she continued. “The competition is at a completely different level. You’re doing all these races in England and think that you’re getting prepared for the European’s but you can’t explain until you’re actually in that situation what its going to be like. Luckily my coach was the team manager for the senior men’s team and he was staying in the same hotel. He was always with me so we’d sit down together a couple of evenings and talk about the race and he would try to prepare me, but it wasn’t until I was on the start line and the gun went off that I found out what it really would be like.” It was another learning curve for Jess, explaining, “its so quick because a lot of the races in England start off slower and pick up gradually. There’s different tactics but I was warned that it was going to start off quick and would be quick the whole way through and it really was, so that was quite different from racing in England.” Jess herself finished 16th in the event but her performance, added with
those of her team mates, ensured that their Great Britain team finished ahead of Russia and the Netherlands to earn Jess a first gold medal at her first European Championships, something she said will live with her forever. “To win a medal in my first European championships was amazing. When I was stood on the podium and the national anthem came on I was just in tears - its what you work for and to get that your first time is sensational. Its difficult to explain just how amazing it feels but its every athletes dream to get on the podium and get a gold medal and sing the national anthem, so I feel really privileged that I got to do that.” But a first GB vest and a team gold isn’t enough for Jess, not by far. “Making it to the European Championships was always my main goal but now I know I need to keep going to make it. That was U23 so I need to make it to the seniors next – that’s my next aim. I made it to Edinburgh on the weekend as senior but I have a couple of more years at U23. I want more though - I haven’t got enough yet.” Athletics is generally seen as an individual sport, but the support that Jess got from her team mates was invaluable to her and helped her settle any nerves she had straight away. “There were six of us at the
Championships and we were just so close. We all supported each other and because it was my first time I was like ‘this is the best day ever’ but a few of the others had competed before. They even gave me the trophy to hold! Everyone cares about each other so much so you’re not just thinking of yourself, you’re thinking of the team. When you’re racing and your legs hurts you’re thinking ‘I just have to keep going’ because it’s a team event as well as an individual event, so we have a really close bond because of that.” As with any aspiring young sports star, Jess has inspirational figures that she looked up to, but for her the most important inspirations are her friends in her group. “There are a lot of people in my group that inspire me and that are doing really well. Someone like Mo Farah is a great inspiration, especially seeing where he came from because when he started he wasn’t at the top or anything. He wasn’t winning all the English championships and he had to work hard as well. I think people like that who have to work for it I think should be an inspiration to everyone.” Jess has just competed at the Bupa Great Edinburgh cross-country run where she finished 17th and is aiming to compete in the 5 and 10k track events over the summer.
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