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Pick up your FREE copy of QMessenger from any of the QMSU outlets. These include QMotion and Drapersbar, Ground Coffee Shop, The Blomeley Centre, and The Village Shop. You can also grab a copy from the library.

06 Oct ‘09 • Issue 14 • FREE Editors Editor: Sam Cunningham editor@qmessenger.co.uk News: Sam Creighton news@qmessenger.co.uk Comment: Bradley Downing comment@qmessenger.co.uk Science & Environment: Richard Dodwell science@qmessenger.co.uk Anna Hiscocks environment@qmessenger.co.uk Reviews: Gitika Bhardwaj & Rebecca Wynter reviews@qmessenger.co.uk Film: Alex MacDonald film@qmessenger.co.uk

Radical overhaul of HE funding system

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UK’s higher education system plummets in world rankings Sam Creighton

The NUS has issued urgent calls for politicians to shore up the UK’s higher education system after a report has shown it plummeting down the world rankings. The research published by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) placed the UK 14th out of 27 in a list of developed countries showing the number of school leavers achieving a degree in 2007. This placed it below countries such as Poland and the Slovak Republic. Even more wor-

rying, the report released figures showing the number of young people in the UK who are enrolled in neither education or employment is four times that of France and twice that of the US. The 39% of UK school leavers who went on to get a degree in 2007 is actually up 2% since the last OECD report in 2000 where the UK came in at joint third, but since then British education has been outstripped. Analysts are warning England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland that it is their lack of “dynamism” that has seen them slip down the tables. Continuing practices of sexual discrimination are also highlighted.

While the average male graduate in a western country can expect to earn £113,000 more across their lifetime than a non-graduate, their female counterparts can only hope to earn £81,000 more than someone leaving education at 16. The findings also report that the comparative increase in income a UK graduate can expect has been falling. Wes Streeting, NUS President, said of the findings “In spite of the successful expansion of higher education during the past decade, further expansion is required for the long-term social and economic good Continued page 5...

SPORT: Freshers Crew win team of the month

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ENIVRONMENT: QMUL welcome bees to The Hive

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GAMES: Suduko and crossword

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FILM: Dorian Gray, Fish Tank + more!

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News And the award goes to... in Brief Philip Keech

Club - Society Scuffle A small ruckus erupted in Drapers last Thursday between some members of the KEG society and the rugby team. It allegedly kicked off when a small number of rugby players decided to hide the shirts of the KEG society after they disrobed during a society social event. Bystanders tried to quell the altercation but it had escalated to such an extent that several members of both groups were ejected from the venue. There are also reports that the dispute spilled outside with a physical confrontation erupting between a rugby player, who does not wish to be named, and a member of the KEG society. The situation has since been calmly resolved.

NEW PRINCIPAL TAKES REIGNS Last Thursday saw a changing of hands of the reigns of our university with Professor Simon Gaskell taking over as Principal. Formerly Vice President for Research at the University of Manchester he is a leading mind in the field of mass spectrometry for the biomedical sciences. He is replacing Philip Ogden who has been acting principal since Adrian Roberts stepped down from the position in 2008. Gaskell’s academic career has seen him work at institutions in both the US and UK and, according to Sir Nicholas Montague, chairman-elect of QM council, this experience will “enable him to build on the colleges successes and strengthen our position as one of the UK’s leading institutions”. The change comes after the success of QM in the RAE over the last two years and Gaskell says he “feels both excited and privileged” to be joining such a “prestigious” institution.

QMSU.org relaunch Queen Mary Students’ Union is finally providing the cyberspace representation we’ve all been waiting for as this week we celebrate the rejuvenation of the ailing QMSU website. Previous incarnations of the university’s favourite web space have been marred by unavailable slide-out menu bars, a senseless layout and an overwhelming lack of useful information. Thankfully this ‘Milton Keynes’ of a web page and the navigation problems therein has been casually bulldozed aside to make way for the virtual monument of warm neon colours and seductive typeface we see today. The new site boasts a host of handy links including events and club night information to much needed contact details for all those clubs and societies you forgot to sign up to at Fresher’s Fair. Log on and get yourself in the know at: http://www.qmsu.org/

Queen Mary has been nominated for an outstanding five awards at this year’s Times Higher Education Supplement Awards. Judges have shortlisted the university for some of the toughest and most prestigious categories, including ‘University of the Year’. The university jumped eight places to be ranked 30 in The Sunday Times University league tables, excelling in the area of graduate prospects once completing a degree. Furthermore, Queen Mary is now ranked in the top eight in subjects such as English, beating off stiff opposition from universities such as Bristol and St. Andrews. The university has been shortlisted in the category of ‘Most Improved Student Experience’, based on anonymous student feedback. This is no doubt the return on the heavy investment Queen Mary has put into improving facilities for students across the entire campus. The university is also one of the first to be nominated for the ‘Serendipity Award’, sponsored by the Research Council. Professor John Stark from the School of Engineering and Materials Science has been nominated for the award in recognition of entrepreneurial spirit promoted in the university. In addition, Dr Paul Curzon of the School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science has been nominated for ‘Most Innova-

tive Teacher of the Year’. Dr Curzon is currently part of a major new research project called CHI+MED, with the aim to improve the usability and safety of interactive medical devices. Lastly, Dr Kairbaan Hodivala-Dilke from the Institute of Cancer has

been nominated for ‘Research Project of the Year’. Dr Hodivala-Dilke is a leading researcher in angiogenesis, the process of how new blood vessels form. All cancers rely on new blood vessels to supply the tumour cells, so discovering different ways to block angiogenesis is the first

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step on the road to developing new cancer drugs. The winners will be announced at the awards evening on 15th October 2009.

Queen Mary has made the shortlist for University of the Year in the Times Higher Education awards for 2009

Extra marks for turning up Nikki Lynch

A scheme that rewards extra marks to university students who regularly attend classes is being introduced across the country in a bid to improve grades and to get students back into lectures. The idea, which has received mixed reviews since it was rolled out in 2007, has recently been stepped up in what has been described as a desperate attempt to prevent students dropping out of education. Although low attendance in lecture halls is no new phenomenon, the recent concern has been sparked by speculation that modern school leavers who are under-qualified and low-skilled are feeling the

pressure to make the grades in university. By awarding marks based purely on attendance in seminars and lectures, academics hope it will act as an incentive to students to attend classes thereby improving their overall learning experience. However, the scheme has received criticism with some arguing that it is little more than a safeguarding system for university funding. Although it may act to improve grades, it will also secure funding by ensuring students don’t drop out as a result of poor grades. Other critics have argued that by artificially improving students’ degrees, the process will effectively undermine the ethic of hard work and the true value of the final grade. One such critic of the scheme

is Professor Frank Furedi of Kent University. He describes the policy as “bribery”. He explained in the Times Higher Education supplement: “The real problem with rewarding time keeping is that it implicitly devalues the work and effort made by students who are genuinely interested in regarding the seminar room as a place of intellectual engagement rather than as a dropin centre.” At institutions including Glasgow University, Northampton University and the Heriot- Watt University in Edinburgh, ten percent of final marks in selected courses are based purely upon attendance. In the English department of the Kent University, students can a gain 5 percent mark-up simply for showing up.

The strategy has been defended by some who insist the ‘marks for attendance’ system will be beneficial. A spokesperson for Glasgow University explained to the Times Online the need for introducing the scheme, explaining its purpose was “to encourage a culture of attendance among new students unaccustomed to the amount of responsibility for their studies that university places on them”. Head of the School of European Culture and Languages at Kent University, Laurence Goldstein, said: “If a bit of coercion awakens them to the joys of learning, then it is probably justified.” And just went you thought lectures couldn’t get any better...


News

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The President

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Uni funding cuts proposed Edward Martin

Well, term has started and the campus is vibrant and exciting, this is my personal favourite time of year, and I’m always upset as the year goes on, the weather gets colder, people stop talking to each other as much and it gets really quiet. So that being said it is one of my main priorities to try and keep this lovely vibrant atmosphere for as long as possible. I’m going to try and have more outdoor events, in particular the music events on the stage outside the curve which I think gives our beautiful campus such a buzz. I would urge you all to keep that positive, friendly, vibrant and lovely atmosphere on campus by sticking around after lectures for a few hours before rushing back home or to your rooms, and just hang out for a bit and meet new people, lets push our shyness aside for a bit and not be afraid to walk up to people and introduce ourselves, what has the world come to when we are afraid of perfectly normal social engagements with people we don’t know? Perhaps subconsciously we are all still programmed to ‘not talk to strangers’, but around campus we aren’t strangers! We are colleagues and fellow students of higher learning so let’s re-programme our minds to be more warm, friendly and inclusive of one another. We have such an amazing campus lets use it to the max! Lets also remember we have students from over 100 countries studying here at QM, imagine the amount of knowledge that you could acquire through just speaking to a quarter of these students, about culture and life style! What an opportunity! Back to our beautiful campus, though, my personal favourite spots are the library square and the space outside the curve, there always the most lively places on campus, and if you want a more scenic quieter chill out, then use the space behind France House (the green building), the canal and park can sometimes be really beautiful.

Nasir Tarmann

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Earlier this month Peter Mandelson proposed, on behalf of his Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, a radical overhaul of university funding in all aspects of the country’s university system as part of the government’s current attempt to cut public spending. In this proposal Lord Mandelson aims to remove funding for overlapping courses and bureaucracy as well as changing funding to focus on more ‘economically viable’ degree courses through the Higher Education Funding Council for England. According to Lord Mandelson this will be “a comprehensive review of the role played by national level institutions – such as Hefce, the Skills Funding Agency, the Research Councils and Technology Strategy Board – and their relationship to central government will have the aim of cutting out overlapping bureaucracy and duplicated programmes.” As a result of this paradigm shift in the fundamental mode of distributing university funding

could potentially see the humanities suffering due to universities being forced to focus more on the sciences and technical courses as well as creating an even more noticeable gap between the stronger universities and those lower down on the league tables which will be unable to compete for funding. This is a concern not only to me as a humanities student but also due to the fact that this could create a university system where universities and students themselves are deprived of choice as universities are forced to tailor themselves to a government image or face losing funding threatening academic freedom as David Willetts, the shadow universities secretary, pointed out. Although in this time of economic hardship funding cuts for universities are inevitable the current proposals are a radical shift from the labour government’s previous policy of equality in universities and would create a far more elitist university system than already exists in England today.

Lord Mandelson has proposed cutting government funding of education

Universities may lose students to Scandinavia Matthew Gordon At least 4,200 degree courses are now taught only in English in European countries outside the UK and Ireland, a study by the Academic Co-operation Association found last year. Almost all of these courses are based in the Netherlands or Scandinavia. Anders Flodström, the university chancellor of Sweden, predicts that all university-level education will be delivered in English in Sweden within the next 10 to 15 years. With Sweden offering free higher education to all, including international students, the UK government seem indifferent when it comes to studying alongside our Viking counterparts. A spokeswoman for the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills has said “We know that more European countries are now offering courses in the English language, and we recognise the cultur-

al and economic benefits that studying abroad can bring. Students who study in other countries can gain an important understanding of other cultures and languages, as well as gaining skills that make them an asset to the UK on their return”. Others however, are more anxious. The switch to English-taught degrees in Scandinavia and the Netherlands puts UK higher education “on its metal”, says Dominic Scott, chief executive of the UK Council for International Student Affairs. Now that more than 25 countries offer degrees in English, Mr Scott feels that “We can no longer see the fact that our degrees are taught in English as our unique selling point.” Even so, Scott says, Scandinavian and Dutch universities are currently only seen as the third layer of competition, after universities in countries where English is the native language and those in China and India. We can be comforted by the fact

that “the UK is a long way ahead in terms of our years of experience in designing courses for a global student community,” he says. “Just because these Scandinavian univer-

sities are switching to teaching in English, it doesn’t mean that they have the infrastructure to deal with students from all over the world.”


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HE funding taskforce Gitika Bhardwaj

Well, it’s been a very busy time for Provide and its projects over the last fortnight – with Freshers Fair and various information sessions for charities and projects. Not to worry if you wanted to come along and couldn’t make it, or you are now interested in volunteering – its not too late! Check out www.providevolunteering.org for the ways in which you can get involved and register as a volunteer.

We have some one-off volunteering coming up including:

The CBI higher education taskforce has struck a proposal about the funding of higher education. The controversial suggestion, which involves increasing tuition fees and taxes on student loans as well as subsiding maintenance grants altogether, has lifted the lid of a Pandora’s Box, leaving various political parties and The National Union of Students fierily at each other’s throats. For some in support of the CBI’s claims, Britain’s tertiary education sector is a comical joke. With more and more students applying for and graduating from, university then was the case 20 years ago; this is an issue of particular importance. As the current economic climate is head in deep in recession, universities have been left bulging with more students then ever before and as a consequence of this, the funding available per student is depleting. Not least of all, thousands upon thousands of students have been left stranded, having been rejected from numerous universities. The Government itself has pushed for the introduction of a plethora of job seeker schemes, traineeships and internships to be available for the students who have been left with no university place, or on the contrary de-

cided that all of the current hassle, what with proposed increases in tuition fees and higher-taxed loans, really isn’t worth it. However what those of the supporting public fail to realise is that this could be a potentially dangerous situation; according to some analysts, expansion means progress and so the Government’s successful attempts to rocket the number of young people attending university from the 14% that it was some 15 years ago, to a figure over 40% should be seen as nothing less of a major accomplishment, especially as this indicates economic growth and deals with raising the bar on expectations concerning the young population. But the critics still circle hungrily and believe that more is not necessarily better. As it is, we are in an era of no money and all the major parties do agree that spending should be cut, but surely is Higher education the prime area for scrutiny? The rise in higher education students has indeed reduced average expenditure per student and with the serious gulf between state school and private school education widening (and therefore the ambitious students of poorer backgrounds suffering) is this really the best way forward? Well for the moment the Government feel that an increase in student

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numbers is pivotal for economic development but at the same time wish to keep Britain’s highly-respected academic status in the world. It is certainly a tricky one, and arguments for and against pose interesting arguments, but as a student I am obliged to condemning the figures proposed as the “real” fees for university education, being something rivalling the amount non-EU students pay, especially as I myself am from an under-privileged background and also face the lofty claims to scrap Maintenance grants altogether. It follows then, that the CBI is wrong to recommend (as a buffer to the potential implications of scraping the Maintenance Grant system altogether) that the level of family earnings at which students qualify for full-maintenance grants be reduced from £25, 000. This would only fuel the earlier mentioned gulf that separates students from poorer and wealthier backgrounds and will do nothing noble for the aspiring and talented students from such deprived backgrounds prevalent across the country. But I’ll leave it up to you as it is inevitable that we will relate to the situation in very different ways no doubt. But the question begs; is education a right or a privilege? Have your say and join the debate.

Royal Parks Half Marathon- Sunday 11th October, 7.30am-1.30pm Thousands of runners will be completing the 13.1 mile course across 4 of London’s Royal parks. Provide volunteering will be based on a water station at Hyde Park where we will be giving out Lucozade and water to the runners and cheering them on! If you would like to find out more or apply for this opportunity, please register as a volunteer on www.providevolunteering. org, and search for ‘Royal Parks’ in the search box at the top of the website. Hope to see you there!

The debate on higher education funding rages on with the CBI HE Taskforce suggesting higher fees and taxes on loans


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What’s going on in America? QM’s Nick Thomson reports from across the Atlantic

Got a news story? news@qmessenger.co.uk

Capitalists corrupt freshers James McMillan Guardian reporter Patrick Collinson made an interesting point in his column this month: Freshers Week is an “exercise in consumerism”. QMessenger took note of this and decided to investigate the extent to which this holds true.

After three and a half months of doing a tremendous amount of nothing, and despite the jet lag, I am pretty ready to return to the salt mines and do some learning at UCSC. Oh, wait...there’s a strike. Earlier this week, on the first day of teaching at the University of California Santa Cruz, I woke up a scab. I had apparently crossed the picket line in my sleep. (Apologies to my fellow comrade students and teachers at UCSC!). Despite moaning earlier this week that the University of California is more bolshy than Bob Crow, the git behind the tube strikes, I found out that the lecturers are entirely justifed in their actions. I went down to check out the picket line and to find out what all the commotion was about. With scores of Toyota Priuses all parked up like an environmentally wagon circle, I found various union members and lecturers making speeches using a microphone attached to a generator powered by some poor soul on a bicycle in the baking afternoon sun. (This sort of greeny thing has become the instigator for the phrase ‘that’s so Santa Cruz’). Here I learnt the predicament that the students and staff of the University of California were in. Essentially, the state is broke. This deficit has fallen hard on the university, and because the university’s main income source is now private, this means that it has fallen hard on the students. There were several tuition fee hikes over the summer and there are plans to raise them to $20,000. Professor Massoud, a lecturer in politics in Santa Cruz, has warned that, “If the university would want to return to the standards of 2001, then they would have to charge 27,000 per student.” Though the UK government’s Department of Innovation, Universities and Skills is in no great financial shape and we are constantly under the shadow of potential tuition fee hikes, from doubling it, making each university charge what they like or some sort of graduate tax. We complain about our tuition fees, but i guess the predicament that Californian students puts it into perspective of how bad it really could could be.

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On the surface of things it appears that Mr Collinson could have a credible point. Freshers Fair in particular is notorious for attracting swathes of random intuitions that clear an area of the rainforest the size of Wales just to produce enough paper for their yearly “stuff a student with fliers” campaigns. In consideration of the fact that the vast majority of these fliers go straight from rainforest to distributor to bin without passing a hall of residence door, one could be forgiven for having some misgivings. But are these distributors of fliers all that unreasonable? Maybe, but at the end of the day most of them are advertising either club nights or insurance which we all attend, enjoy or purchase anyway so “meh” is this reporters official position. Mr Collinson goes on to at-

tack Nottingham Univeristy for encouraging students to suck their parents savings dry to indulge in a week of reckless hedonism. Since Mr Collingwood went to press it appears to be the case that Nottingham have since altered the areas of their website which lead this impression thus implying it was not quite the image they intended to portray. In defence of Nottingham their range of activities does appear to make a good effort in representing a wide range of student tastes outside of the corporate sponsored club nights etc so perhaps the story there is a little tamer than The Guardian suggests. While a week of drunken consumerist hedonism is certainly an option at QM with various club nights organised it is certainly not the sole path freshers can take with other event such as comedy nights being just as actively promoted. Students at Aberdeen university have taken things a step further offering an “insight into Aberdeen’s more subversive side, offering new and existing student’s an alternative to the same drab commercialism of freshers’ weeks past” organised unofficially by

those seeking to stand out from the consumerist crowd or “Freshers franchise” as they refer to it. In contrast, students at QM offer a largely indifferent response to the pressures of freshers consumerism claiming “Yes it’s an elongated excuse to get drunk, However, it’s a good social week, So does break down boundaries for people who have to live with each other for years. So i think it’s a good idea. Just maybe sometimes excessive”. Perhaps an obvious point to make

is that freshers fair did indeed set aside several stalls to outside companies wanting to sell us pizza insurance and the like. Predictably, a representative of the student union argues that the money these organisations pay does in fact go some way to subsidising the costs of the freshers fair event as a whole. Overall, it appears that there is no easy method of assessing whether freshers week is consumerist or merely pragmatic.

British HE plummeting in world rankings ...Continued from front page of the country. In light of this report, the Government’s restriction on student numbers looks even more short-sighted. We understand the pressures on public finances, but the Government would do well to seek savings in other areas of public expenditure rather than rationing educational opportunity.” He fears that the governments current course will “condemn an entire generation of young people to long-term unemployment”. The criticism comes after a difficult summer for UK higher institutions as the number of students applying for university rose by 60,000 but the government only provided funding for an extra 13,000 places. Andreas Schleicher, senior analyst at the OECD’s education division, says that this discrepancy highlights the governments policy to slow university growth, which weakens the UK’s chances of recovering quickly from the global recession.

The report also cites the UK’s policy of charging foreign students large tuition fees as a reason for its poor showing in the rankings, saying it is forcing international students to apply elsewhere. Sally Hunt, general secretaty of the University and College Unions says “These figures make very disturbing reading...we simply cannot afford to be left behind when it comes to funding our universities, yet we are investing considerably less of our GDP than competitor countries.” David Lammy, the Higher Education Minister, feels that the negative aspects of the report are being over-exaggerated and is quick to remind the public that over 2.8 million students are enrolled in UK universities and that, after the US, they attract more international students that any other country.

HE Minister David Lammy claims problems are not as bad as they seem


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Queen Mary’s fortnightly student newspaper.

QMessenger 06/10/2009


QMessenger 06/10/2009

Freshers Fortnight in pictures...

Queen Mary’s fortnightly student newspaper.

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Student Comment

06/10/2009

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The Liberal Democrats Do Matter George McFarlane

Returning from the Liberal Democrats’ party conference in Bournemouth, my flatmates compelled me to watch an episode of Mock the Week they had recorded. OK, I said, plodding towards the TV with a fixed grin and a feeling of resignation. Cards on the table. Not only do I vote Liberal Democrat and hold an appropriately yellow party card, but I work for the (Lib Dem) Member of Parliament for Richmond Park. So when David Mitchell suggested that

the Lib Dems are “unpatriotic,” because the good ideas we put forward have to be ignored by the two “real” parties, he tarnished me with the same brush. Ditto, when Russell Howard likened Vince Cable to an impotent, voyeuristic grandfather, because he will never be able to put his ideas into practice. As light hearted as the jibes may be, they are symptomatic of a deeper accusation: that we are at best irrelevant and at worst a nuisance. The Liberal Democrats opposed the Iraq war, warned against the irresponsible lending that led to the financial crisis, campaigned for the environment long before doing so became trendy, and have fought tirelessly and consistently to protect civil liberties. Despite Mitchell’s quip, our ideas often find their way into Labour and Tory manifestos (al-

beit without being adequately implemented). Let’s review the field. We are presented with a red team that, whilst ostensibly left-wing, still presides over child poverty, public services that don’t work well enough for those who rely on them the most, an authoritarian state and a foreign policy based on bilateral posturing rather than international law. They demand that students pay for their education and then don’t create enough places at university (and that’s before we consider the recent farce with student loans). Contrariwise, the blue team offers a callous indifference to human suffering, repugnant social policies and a dangerous antipathy towards our continental neighbours. They would pay heterosexuals to marry and think the state should have stood idly by

when the economy imploded and unemployment skyrocketed. I haven’t discussed the conference itself; there were the many brilliant seminars and a few inspiring speeches. I could even write about the spectacle of Paddy Ashdown on stage in his shirt sleeves, holding a pint of Guinness and making fart noises into a microphone. By doing so I would fail to address the elephant in the room; the assertion that we don’t matter. Few are Liberal Democrats by default. Many Tory and Labour supporters blindly copy their parents’ political allegiance or indulge in faux

class warfare. Being a Lib Dem is first down to principles. We take as given that civil liberties are inalienable, climate change is the biggest challenge faced by our generation and international law is a fact rather than an inconvenience. We defend people’s right to lead their personal lives free of state interference and believe that equality of opportunity must be absolute. We should not settle for any less. Britain deserves better than red versus blue.

What Can Humans Do For the Environment? Tom Maltby

Global warming is increasingly seen as the most serious issue facing humanity. Yet with most of the power in the hands of big governments and corporations, how much of a difference can we really make? In international politics, the latest news has come from the UN summit in New York. This was called to try to build momentum towards achieving a new deal on cutting emissions at the UN climate change summit in Copenhagen in December. As UN secretary general, Ban Ki-Moon has said, “China and the US will be the two key countries.” Both are jointly responsible for 40% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. The two countries have shown positive signs, with Barack Obama insisting that the US commits to a new global treaty and Chinese President, Hu Jintao declaring that his country would generate 15% of its energy needs from renewable sources within a decade. It is hard to imagine Obama

travelling to Denmark and signing a comprehensive pact without action having first been taken in the Senate, which is currently focused on the President’s controversial healthcare proposals. China, moreover, is urbanising rapidly, with its CO2 emissions from fossil fuels soaring by 129% between 1990 and 2005. The desire of developing countries to industrialise has been one of the largest obstacles to reducing emissions. In this light, Gordon Brown has proposed a $100bna-year (£61bn) payment by 2020 from industrialized to developing countries to combat climate change and it seems that a substan- t i a l amount of money will have to be involved. What can individuals do? Climate change has gained huge prominence in the public consciousness,

playing, the empty speeches, and the petty diplomatic games.”

yet there is still a gulf between this and the actions of political leaders. Even French President, Nicolas Sarkozy has declared that we must “transcend the role

There are obvious ways in which we can make a difference such as recycling, taking pub-

lic transport, veganism, better insulation of your home, and so on. It is, however, important that such lifestyle changes aren’t adopted merely through routine. As a species, the mechanical-social systems we have put in place have dissociated people from spiritual self-realization, in conflict with truths expostulated by serious-minded thinkers from the Buddha to D.H. Lawrence: “my individualism is really an illusion. I am part of the great whole [cosmos], and I can never escape. But I can deny my connections, break them, and become a fragment. Then I am wretched.” As the problems exacerbate, humanity’s response will be shaped by the level of self-realization amongst individuals. Society will have to adapt, either within the existing mechanical and materialistic society, towards authoritarianism and the submission of humans to increasingly lifeless, if more ecofriendly routines, or we will build a more progressive one of fully conscious human beings, living harmoniously with the world around us. Queen Mary Autonomous Group and ‘Green Mary’ are organising an environmental forum on campus on 27th October with speakers from groups such as CCC and UKYCC.


Science & Environment

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06/10/2009

Scientists misrepresented in The Press? The Science Minister has offered to begin investigations into cases of scientists who believe they have been misrepresented in the press. The move came as Lord Drayson aims to spur scientists towards “greater public engagement.” He further argued, to an audience at the Royal Institution last week, that science journalism has improved significantly over the past 10 years as specialist journalists were now

given the reins over science reporting. He commended the state of modern media, which had moved on from “scare stories” and now deserved commendation for top-quality coverage of science issues. He further went on to appeal to scientists to contact him about cases related to misrepresentation. However, Lord Drayson’s claims were attacked by his opponent Dr Goldacre, who maintained

that scientists were in fact right to be cautious of engaging with the press. He encouraged scientists to communicate with the wider world through more direct mediums=2C such as blogs.Speaking to the same audience, Dr Goldacre said “the era of scare stories and bad journalism isn’t over” and that misrepresentative reporting of science “remains a problem we need to talk about.”

Bart’s Professor wins LifeTime Achievement Award Professor Andrew Lister, who is Centre Lead for Medical Oncology at Barts and The London Medical School, has been internationally recognised with this year, HamiltonFairley Award for a lifetime, achievements in clinical research and science. Professor Lister’s research has contributed to a variety of medical fields, namely improving the outcome for patients with cancers of

the blood. The Centre for Medical Oncology that he directs is one of the country’s leading centres for research into lymphoma and leukaemia. On receiving the award, Professor Lister said, “I am delighted to accept it on behalf of the team supported by Cancer Research UK in the Medical Oncology Unit at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry. The award carries a special significance for Professor List-

er and Gordon Hamilton-Fairley, as both his mentor and role model. Queen Mary, as a member of the 1994 Group of research-focused universities, has made a strategic commitment to the highest quality of research, but also to the best possible educational, cultural and social experience for its students.

decades. If they are successful there should be no need to screen women that have been vaccinated at all. Professor Cuzick told a European cancer conference in Berlin, “That’s the long term future: vaccination and no screening. After about 50 years we could see cervical cancer disappearing.” The news comes as the death of a 14-year-old girl who died following a cervical cancer vaccine at school is widely reported in the media. Natalie Mort on died in hospital on Monday 28th September after receiving the jab at her school. According to experts, there have been suspected reaction’s to Cervarix from more than 1.4m doses. The batch of the vaccine used has been put into quarantine as a precautionary measure.

Did you know...

nUK Scientists at the Met Office have suggested that the global average temperature could rise by 4C (7.2F) as early as 2060. Good news for current QM students who can look forward to a sunny UK retirement. Bad news for Penguins.

nNasa’s Messenger probe is about to enter its third and last fly-by of the planet Mercury. Passing just 228km from the surface the probe will make use of the planet’s gravity to decelerate enough to enter into orbit in 2011. The time of the closest approach will be 21.55 GMT on Tuesday 29th September and as the spacecraft and its antenna will

QMUL welcome bees to The Hive Anna Hiscocks

Vaccine could wipe out cervical cancer within 50 years Leading expert Professor Jack Cuzick, from the Wolfson Institute at the Barts and The London Medical School, has said that cervical cancer could be eradicated within five decades by screening and vaccination programmes. Calling on European governments to help eradicate this disease, Professor Cuzick claimed that currently vaccines exist which have the potential to protect women against two strains of the Human Papilloma Virus that causes this type of cancer. These vaccines alone had the potential to eradicate a further three quarters of cancers. However, new vaccines in development will be effective against all nine strains of the virus, which raises the prospect of wiping out the disease completely within five

QM Environment

Final year student Emma Hyner said “I think that given the recent worries it should be taken with caution but any developments that help towards fighting cervical cancer should be at the forefront of medical interest. If the current vaccine is ineffective or causes side effects then this new one may be extremely relevant.” For the time being, according to Professor Cuzick, vaccinated women would still require screening for the rest of their lives as the vaccine was not effective in women who had already been exposed to the virus. He placed further emphasis on the importance of replacing the traditional smear test which looks for abnormal cervical cells with automated screening for the HPV.

be turned away from the Earth during the observations, the first data is not expected to reach earth until several hours later.

“If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live. No more bees, no more pollination …. No more men!” wether it is true that Albert Einstein said this or not, it is certainly a phrase known among the scientists of today. Bees are dying across the world at an alarming rate, entire populations have simply vanished in a condition known as colony collapse disorder (CCD). Karen Mace, Head Gardener at Queen Mary proposed introducing a functioning Beehive on campus and has the backing of Hassan Falahat, Senior Project Manager responsible for ‘the hive’ project, John Elam, Environmental and Energy Manager and Jake Scott, Environmental Manager/Champion. We now have a functioning hive on campus and they are looking to introduce more. The population of honeybees in the UK and throughout the world is suffering a severe decline which is turning into a crisis. A combination

nResearchers at the University of Oxford, in collaboration with teams across the country including here in London, have begun the first trial of Britain’s two swine flu vaccines. Both are expected to be licensed in the next few weeks and QM students could be looking forward to immunization within the year. (The new vaccine, however, is unlikely to success-

of negative effects has contributed to breaking a vital link in the ecosystem that could threaten more than just the production of honey. The group study area known as ‘The Hive’ in the catering building overlooks a small secluded garden space deemed to be the perfect setting to house a beehive. Students would be able to look down onto the real beehive and observe the comings and goings of the bees busily going about their business. John Cowley, from the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, has agreed to look after the hive. He is an experienced beekeeper and previously looked after two hives on the roof of the biology building. Both he and John Elam, as enthusiastic beekeepers have surveyed the proposed site and concluded it is safe. There is a very low risk of people on campus being in the flight path of the bees and being stung. This provides a great symbol to QMUL’s commitment to being an environmentally friendly organisation and directly contributes to our Environmental Policy.

fully immunise individuals against the popular Fresher’s or Man strains of the virus)


10

Reviews

Written a review? reviews@qmessenger.co.uk

06/10/2009

Music Mew, No More Stories

Adrian Banting

This Danish group made a huge impact on me when I picked up their previous album on a whim two years ago – ‘And The Glass Handed Kites’ was incredible, dark pop fused with bombastic prog rock, fronted by a girlishly voiced Dane. What Mew do so well is write great, unabashedly cheesy pop hooks, then pin them up against highly crafted, vast walls of guitar and synth. Setting them apart is their fantastic musicianship, with songs encompassing all manner of

time signatures and unusual chords in an incredibly playful manner. Thankfully this never devolves into self-indulgence as with the majority of prog inspired acts. There’s not a ton of new ground covered by ‘No More Stories...’ comparedto previous efforts, but the beautiful ‘Silas the Magic Car’ and ‘Cartoons and Macrame Wounds’ with its immense swell of vocal layers, recapture a freshness and inspire confidence that Mew still have much to offer, even after this, their fifth album. In spite of my unbridled enthusiasm, the songs have an unabashedly cheesy, 80s feel to them that I could see being a put off for some. For those of you not averse to enjoying hearton-sleeve records like The Cure’s ‘Pictures of You’ or Cyndi Lauper’s ‘Time After Time’, I wholeheartedly suggest giving Mew a try. Stylistically they’re out there but underneath the veneer, a familiar style would love to give you a great big aural hug. As for those who dislike the aforementioned classics, be thankful I’m not running Judgement Day.

Michael Jackson, Invincible Album

Alexander Penn

Rating 7/10

‘Invincible’ is by no means Jackson’s greatest work, but for the worst album of his career, my lord is it good. The late king of pop’s last album was widely slated by critics, given an abysmal 2/5 stars by the Guardian and criticised as being too long. If you were to ask this reviewer, he’d say that such criticism is grossly misguided. The immeasurable quality of ‘Thriller’, ‘Bad’ and his other earlier albums were as much

glimmering glass doors. Although relatively small in comparison to the other Mayfair clubs, Vendome’s interior designer evidently paid attention to every swanky square-millimetre. Even the mirrored steps leading down to the club are accompanied by a snakeskin patterned handrail. It would be hypocritical of me if I were to bang on about the ‘plastic’ stereotype – who isn’t partial to a lick of fake tan? I swear by my hair straighteners and I enjoy the notion of dress to impress. Whether you have curves that tessellate Beyonce or legs slimmer than twiglets, if you have the style and confidence to flaunt then flaunt! However, be prepared for the consequences. The Mayfair clubs are ‘exclusive’ and designed to cater for a narcissistic breed - where a man’s ego is as big as his wallet. Would it be too discourteous of me to presume that there is an unwritten policy of ‘No Trolls Allowed’ on the Vendome entry list? The girls inside were not just plastic but genuinely beautiful – their hair extensions, false eyelashes, tan and nails may have been fake, but their fakeries were mere accessories to their text-book-perfection flawlessly sculptured frames. With mirrors for walls – vanity would not allow a single hair to fall out of place to ruin a perfected pose practised for potential lingering paparazzi. Being guest-listed has its advantages as girls gained free entry before 11pm. I liked the idea of pretending to be part of an A-lister venue, but my cynical realism knew I was just part of the approved cattle being packed into the

club; bait dressed in tiny skirts and 6 inch heels. Unless you have a rich daddy, complete with a sky’s-the-limit credit card, its best to befriend a promoter on the clubbing circuit. If you are like me, an impoverished student wanting to experience a night in the high-life, this is the way to do it. Our promoter introduced himself as a ‘Mr. ClubKing’ and insisted on wearing dark shades all night - despite the fact we were in a low-lit underground club. He had a personalised, diamante encrusted belt in the shape of the crown jewels – which basically said ‘look at my crown jewels’. But, pimped-accessories aside, he was a nice guy who was good at his networking job. I spent a total of £3 all evening (which was just the taxi fare home). With free entry, free table, free ice buckets of 3ltr Belvedere Vodka and mixers and two free bottles of Moet & Chandon Champagne – it was a classy contrast to the Sainsbury’s Basics wine we’d glugged down in our university halls a couple of hours beforehand. Away from the VIP area it’s best to order spirits or bottled beer. But if you have money or the nerve/lack of self-respect to flirt with a sugar daddy – the cocktails are fabulous; the perfect premeditated balance of flavour and alcohol to knock-out your taste-buds and your overdraft. Surrounded by the elite, it’s best not to let on that you’re a freeloading student, but (like a good con-artist) have the nerve to act as stuck-up an aloof as the rest of the self-labelled ‘exclusives’. When approached by photographers just drape yourself against your slinky

a curse as a blessing –creating a huge air of expectation for everything he did. With ‘Invincible’, you should drop this expectation and look at it as any other album, NOT a Michael Jackson album. Throughout the album, Jackson’s eclectic style shines as bright as ever before. We got the vintage, rocking brilliance of ‘You Rock my World’, ‘Unbreakable’ and ‘Threatened’ to the red hot mellow of ‘Break of Dawn’. With the exception of maybe ‘Privacy’, Jackson seems to abandon the social conscience of his music. We’re spared from hearing such anti-society earbanging power ballads like ‘Scream’ (HIStory), ‘Leave Me Alone’ (Bad) and ‘Tabloid Junkie’ (HIStory). ‘Invincible’ is instead a much lighter musical experience, with beautiful ballads like ‘You Are My Life’, soft rock tunes like ‘Whatever Happens’ and heart-warming compassion pieces like ‘The Lost Children’. The more up-beat tracks see Jackson return to the style that made him famous, ‘You Rock

my World’, ‘Invincible’ and ‘Unbreakable’ are magnificently raw rock tunes. As a whole, ‘Invincible’ is a triumphant album, selling 13 million copies and having a stunning library of songs. Yes, it doesn’t measure up to Jackson’s past work but as a standalone album, one can only sit back, plug your ipod in and admire. Was Michael Jackson Invincible? Without a doubt.

Rating 8/10

Club Vendome

A Night in the A-Listed Underworld

Rebecca Wynter

Now I’m not a person who knows a lot about football, but I can recognise a haven of WAGs dreams when I enter one. Vendome is one of London’s most upmarket clubs located next to the Ritz and designed to entertain only the filthy rich. On a mission to review and freeload on behalf of the less affluent, I leapt at the chance to sponge a night to rub shoulders with the bold and the beautiful. The club is seriously sexy. A billiondollar-budget promiscuity-promoting RnB music video is the granny’s nipples to this place. Just stepping into the club would sizzle the chastity belt off any hardcore nun. A circular DJ booth rotates in the middle of the dance floor, illuminated by a ring of technicolor LED floor lighting with enough dazzling sequences to stun an OCD lighting designer. Two shiny-black, chrome-accessorised bars glisten at opposite ends of the ovalshaped club tended by tight-shirted men and mysterious blondes. The walls are camouflaged by mirrors etched with the golden swirls of Vendome’s logo and the reflection of the dance floor lights sparkle on the glossy black ceiling. VIP areas furnished with white leather sofas and glass tables snuggle in the outer edges of the oval. Private-hire booths are tunnelled into the walls of the underground chamber, coated with gleaming white wallpaper and sectioned off with

counterparts and pout convincingly. When asked “who are you wearing?” resist the urge to tell the truthful answer of “Primark’s cheapest” and casually drop some made up brand name, adding it’s a limited edition only available in Dubai. Nobody cares about the answer; it’s just a polite opening for their own boast of deluded self-worth. If you’re willing to endure the hostile atmosphere, and laugh at the DOjudge-a-book-by-its-cover attitude, Vendome is a fun night out – especially if you’re a keen fan of the sport of people-watching like me. No, I don’t mean stalking, I mean observing the variety of people displaying an array of exaggerated wealth. It’s fun to assume an elusive identity for a night. The music is also a stylish mix of upbeat house, underground drum ‘n’ bass synched with commercial chart toppers. The launch party in 2008 was hosted by DJ Dimitri, who also opened Madonna’s Paris Show, and the club has continued to be a desti-

nation venue for DJ excellence. Although I initially labelled the venue as ‘WAG heaven’, it became clear that the people here were actually a level above trying to bag themselves a sugar-daddy or hook a quick fling to sell to Heat. I bumped into politician’s daughters, investment bankers, diamond flaunting gangsters, and England footballers. Realising afterwards that I’d actually attended the End Of Season Players Party; I felt a bit stupid. The tall guy my friend had danced with briefly, who looked a bit like Peter Crouch – actually was Peter Crouch. Then again, this is the same girl who did not recognise Dale Winton when asking him where the nearest loos were outside the Ritz; exhaling a dainty puff of smoke, his Idon’t-give-a-shit reply had been “A lady never says loo, she says toilet.”

Rating 6/10


Film

Like films? film@qmessenger.co.uk

11

06/10/2009

Fish Tank

Alex MacDonald

Y’know, it’s pretty hard to find films which are so universally awful in every respect and yet can be guaranteed to receive acclaim, awards and a seal of critical approval. Well, this is one of those films. Fish Tank has no original ideas, not an ounce of creativity, but a deeply cynical attitude that attempts to tick every factor that could caress the egos of hundreds of pretentious, high-brow film connoisseurs. The film is ostensibly a social realist piece and somehow manages to squeeze every single cliché of the genre into the story – our protagonist, Mia (Katie Jarvis), is a 15 year old Vicky Pollard clone living Dorian Gray

Alexander Penn

on a council estate (of course) with her single mum (of course) who’s an alcoholic (of course), swears all the time (of course) and simply doesn’t understand her daughter, who is basically angry and unhappy all the time, speaks with a staggeringly exaggerated accent and never says a single line in the film that is not shouted. Everyone is working class, speaks with a heavy accent, is completely simple minded, angry or manipulative and listens to nothing but R&B and hip-hop. The council estate is a dump and is never free from the sound of crying babies, loud music, shouting and other generally antisocial behaviour. But then, onto the scene comes Mia’s mum’s new boyfriend! (Michael Fassbender) He’s clean cut, speaks with a normal accent, listens to Bobby Womack (don’t ask), is generally friendly and seems poised to free Mia from her horrible, horrible existence. What could go wrong?! Guess... Basically, it’s presenting a snapshot of life which it ascertains to be the very bottom end of human society and the people who inhabit it

as being either tragically sad or simply ignorant filth. It’s the kind of film which allows pseudo-intellectual snobs to go and ease their consciences over the “suffering of the poor folks” while simultaneously ridiculing and deriding them. It’s exploitation of the worst kind, but to be honest, none of that would matter if the film worked on a technical level. But it doesn’t – the dialogue is so utterly banal and hackneyed as to be unintentionally comical and steals every cliché of the working class social realist film (at one point, apropos of nothing, Mia’s mother tells her “you could have been an abortion”) without a single witty, thought-provoking or even memorable line that could have taken more than 5 seconds and a few episodes of Eastenders to think of. The camerawork is totally uninspired, static and lifeless. The cinematography tries to be “REAL” in that there’s no effort put in whatsoever – dull, documentary-like colours that have been used in a hundred Channel 4 dramas. The acting is atrocious – like I said, every character just shouts and

Oscar Wilde has always been known for his boundless wit – to see the beloved playwright’s only novel be adapted to the screen should be a pleasure right? Haha, Nope not by a long shot! ‘Dorian Gray’ follows the story of a young English bureaucrat whose blind pursuit of hedonism lands him into a world of supernatural trouble. Visually, the film was stunning - the audience were frequently daz-

zled by a myriad of immaculate cinematography showcasing the artificial mess that was 19th Century London. That was the good thing, now let’s get onto the bad. After the first 25 minutes, the film ran out of steam, it transformed into a lengthy, predictable chore. Furthermore, the film boasts some sort of philosophical edge that is bound to make the ears of some budding pseudo-sophistos to flare up. Once you get

Film Soc Screening

Night On Earth - dir. Jim Jarmusch (USA, 1991) - screeining October 8th This quirky comedy from the king of the American underground, Jim Jarmusch, takes a sardonic look at the human condition through the lens of five taxi rides happening simultaneously in different corners of the world. Tom Wait’s throbbing score accompanies us as Jarmusch’s unique brand of off-kilter humour zips from L.A. to Helsinki via New York, Paris and Rome. Probably Jarmusch’s most immediately accessible film, it’s also his least seen. It’s lyrical and loose writing lends itself perfectly to the ad-libbing of the talented cast. Robert Benigni’s hyperactive performance as a cabbie confessing his teenage indiscretions to his priestly fare is a particular highlight.

You Only Live Once - dir. Fritz Lang (USA, 1937) - screening October 15th So, some context: Fritz Lang arrives in America in 1936, where he directs two films later credited with anticipating the themes and formal techniques of Film Noir. In particular, the second of these – You Only Live Once – can be seen as a forerunner to the ‘young lovers on the run’ subgenre, which includes Gun Crazy and Badlands. The film follows Taylor (Henry Fonda; frustrated, vulnerable), recently released from prison with few prospects, comforted only by his wife, Joan (Sylvia Sidney; appropriately delicate).  What must have seemed especially subversive in 1937 is the sympathy the film generates for its criminal protagonists; the relentless hardships inflicted – sometimes to the point of heavyhandedness – drive them inevitably to desperate ends. Their story is realised through many striking images – including Taylor’s cell, where shadows cause the bars to stretch far beyond his living space – creating an oppressive environment for their tragic tale to unfold in.

Cult classic: Reflections in a Golden Eye - dir. John Huston (USA, 1967)

Alex MacDonald

This is a peculiar film if there ever was one. Released in 1967, directed by John Huston and starring Marlon Brando and Elizabeth Taylor, it’s a curiously overlooked film despite all the heavyweight names involved in it. The plot is kind of obscure – it revolves around the crumbling lives of sexually and emotionally suppressed army Major Weldon Penterton (Marlon Brando) and his flighty wife Leonora (Elizabeth Taylor). Various bizarre occurrences, mainly involving the strange presence of a introverted voyeuristic private from the local barracks, eventually lead to tragedy and psychological breakdown. Cru-

gets angry, nothing else. Allegedly, Katie Jarvis had never acted before this film and I can believe it. As far as metaphors and the like go, there’s one really cringe-inducing reoccurring theme with a horse on a chain which Katie Jarvis tries to break free (JUST LIKE SHE IS, GET IT?!) Perhaps the thing I hate most about this film is that it is one of that breed of reactionary, cynical films that revels in nihilism and negativity simply because it know that the faux-intellectuals of the world will smother it in praise and adoration for it. This is a film that was designed to receive plaudits from film festivals and has no personality, no ingenuity or anything approaching sincerity or real passion. In this sense, it’s worse than the worst brainless, manufactured Hollywood crap, because they are at least occasionally entertaining, whereas this is simply boring, offensive, worthless, exploitative gutter trash. Avoid, please...

RATING *

past the obvious moral, the film is painfully shallow. At times, the film slid over to something you’d find in an old, perverted Italian film rather than a British Costume Drama. But anyway, ‘Dorian Gray’ was a borefest – I thought of calling it Sweeney Todd’s more mature older brother but I really wouldn’t want to place it in such a high-flying gene-pool...

Other views on Fish Tank Sam Creighton

I had very high expectations of this film but it met them with ease. Angela Arnold is one of the most proficient directors currently working in this country and she succeeds again with this sad and poignant character study of a child lost in the world. Some of the symbolism is heavy handed, but the acting is phenomenal, with Micheal Fassbender and newcomer Katie Jarvis really standing out and their relationship remaining gripping to the very end. Jarvis’s vulnerability and violent over-compensation comes across almost painfully. The closing moments are very well worked, made even more sad because they are hopeful. A very realistic account of the everyday happenings of a particular sub-culture, some might argue that not much happens, but then, after all, life has no plot. James McMillan

RATING ** cial to the perturbing, dream-like atmosphere of the film is the constant sepia-toned cinematography – the golden eye – that gives a constant feeling of surreal intrigue. Also key is the acting. This film obliterates the view that Brando was only any good in the 50’s and early 70’s – his performance here is one of his best, even if his accent is even weirder than in the Godfather. Still, that’s when he’s in his element – subverting a potentially camp character by injecting it with pathos and vulnerability and this is one of the best examples of this. His monologue about soldier camaraderie towards the end is one of his finest and most sensitive deliveries. Also worth noting is Brian Keith’s tragic and understated performance as a Lieutenant suffering his with a mentally disturbed wife. All-in-all a vastly underrated film with an ensemble cast, that is well worth seeking out.

The overarching reason d’etre for this film seemed unclear to me; was it a realist study of the miseries of the nations depraved? Or was it was deliberately trying to not to make any points at all? Personally I don’t know. As a story though, it was diverting if a little predictable and minimal on character development. Although I did find myself rooting for the fortunes of the films protagonists I felt the consequences of their actions were relentlessly anti-climactic. I feel this makes the films “success” too hard to judge as nothing seemed so terrible that it couldn’t be resolved so I didn’t feel particularly depressed by their grizzly lives, but neither did I feel terribly optimistic that things would improve. As the film is clearly not there to entertain or excite or just look beautiful I can only conclude it was supposed to move me which frankly it didn’t.


Games

12

06/10/2009

Sports Club & Society listings... Stuck for something to do? Get involved! QMUL ACS RECRUITMENT AND INTERNSHIP EVENT QMUL ACS are hosting a recruitment and internship event on Tuesday 13th October featuring various schemes aimed at recruitment and diversity (these are still to be confirmed). Invited groups include: Rare Recruitment, SEO, Legal Lauch Pad, Windsor Fellowship, Law Society, Target, Civil Service Fast Stream, Reach uni of London, Diversity Group, Diversity Careers Show, Deviation Network and Careers Group. This event will feature presentations alongside an area to network, collect information and ask questions. LINKS’ FIRST AID AWARENESS COURSE PART TWO First Aid Awareness Course Part Two: Monday 12th Oct, 16:30 in Mile End. also, member revalidation night for all current first aid level membersthis is a must to continue on in the coming year! LINKS is the student branch of St John Ambulance. We can teach you all sorts of first aid skills, and give

you the chance to go out and practise what you’ve learned at some of London’s top events! We’re a funloving, friendly bunch, so come along and save some lives. Catholic Soc first weekly meeting of the year Queen Mary Catholic Society is a society dedicated towards devotions towards God, promote a greater understanding of our catholic faith, as well as fellowship amongst young catholics. We meet weekly and our first meeting will be on the 7th of October, Wednesday at 2pm (half an hour after mass) for a meet and greet amongst fellow catholics. Everyone is welcome to come! Please let us know at qmulcathsoc@gmail.com so that we can bring food for you! Engineering Soc meet and greet Why not come meet us all as well at our ‘Meet N’Greet’ event where you can get free food! It will be in the Whitehead Aero Lab, Engineering building on Wednes-

Crossword No. 2

day 7th October, time TBA (email qm.engsoc@gmail.com if you’re interested). And one more thing; follow us on FACEBOOK! Search for ‘QM Engineering Soc’ and voila! Join the group and follow our activities online. QM Stop the War Society public meeting Public Meeting- “Does Obabma’s 2 state solution for Israel/Palestine put the Middle East on the roadmap to peace?” Time: 7pm, date: Tuesday 6th October, place: Skeel Lecture Theatre, Peoples Palace, QMUL. Speakers include: Dr Azzam Tamimi, Lowkey, Lindsey German, others tbc. Free entry, all welcome. Called by Queen Mary Stop the War Society. GEOG SOC POKER NIGHT The Geography Society is running a poker night on 12th October at the New Globe pub. Games start shortly after 7pm. Entry £4 for members and £6 for everyone else.

Suduko No. 3 & 4

Across 1. Winged child (6) 4. Vigorous attack (5) 8. Side (4) 9. Ball of hair (8) 10. Employment vacancy (7) 12. Accumulate (5) 13. Narcotic (4) 14. Research deeply (5) 17. Tumbles (5) 20. Edible fat (4) 22. Fastening device (5) 23. Pulpit (7) 24. 8th President of the U.S. (3,5) 25. Hybrid (4) 26. Wooded (5)

Medium

Hard

27. Animosity (6)

Last week’s solution (Crossword no.1)

Down 1. London suburb (7) 2. Imperial dynasty of Russia (7) 3. At the rear of (6) 5. Crossbred dog (7) 6. Burdensome work (7) 7. Ran away (4) 11. South Wales peninsula (5) 15. Apprentice (7) 16. Marry (7) 18. Best (7) 19. Like summer (7) 21. Resident of a town (6) 22. Guinea pig (4)

Last week’s solutions (Sudukos no.1 & 2)

Medium

Hard


Sport

Interested in sport? sports@qmessenger.co.uk

13

06/10/2009

VP Activities Speaks...

Hey guys, I hope you all enjoyed the epic last couple of weeks and are slowly recovering from all the fun and frolics. I hope you’re all settling into your lectures but make sure your still having some fun. Wednesday and Thursday saw the majority of students descend on the Marquee in Library Square and the Sports Hall where we exhibited all our sports clubs and societies. It was a great two days that displayed the truly multi-cultural university that we are. If there was anything you were interested in, please make sure you sign up! Being part of a club or society will definitely improve your time here as you will meet so many new people and get involved in loads of fun events and activities. Our new website www.qmsu.org now allows you to easily pay your memberships online; it’s really simple so when you have some free time check it out. I also want to remind you of the last Freshers’ event on the 8th October, the Freshers Ball. It’s a great way to finish Freshers’ fortnight. Tickets are limited and are selling out fast so make sure you get your hands on them before they are all gone. Finally, are you interested in raising money for charity at Queen Mary? If you are then make sure you join RAG. To join, send an e-mail to rag@qmsu. org. RAG’s welcome meeting is on Wednesday 7th October in Ground (Costa Coffee) at 5pm-7pm. Come along for a free coffee and a presentation from the children’s charity, ‘Place2Be’. For more information, join the RAG Facebook group. Remeber, if you have any queries about clubs and societies then come and see me at the Blomeley Centre or email me at vpactivities@qmsu.org and I’ll be able to help.

Vratislav Domalip III VP Activities

Freshers Crew win Team of the Month Sports Desk The ‘Freshers Crew’, a group of students who give up their time to help new students move in to halls of residence and provide a helpful presence on campus during Freshers Week, won ‘Team of the Month’ in the Students’ Union awards. The monthly award, given out at the sports and society night ‘Hail Mary’, usually goes to the club or society who have been most active or achieved the most success over the previous month. The win was particularly suprising as the Freshers Crew are not actually an affiliated club or society, and the award has never been given to a team who do not fall under either of these categories. Student Activities Sabbatical Officer Vraj Domalip, who gave out the award and is one of the people who decide on who deserves the award, had this to say about the winners: “At our first Hail Mary of the year, the Team of the Month was awarded to a very deserving crew, for the first time in history this prestigious award has been awarded to a group that

The Students’ Union Freshers Crew became the first ever non sports club or society to win Team of the Month isn’t either a sports club or society. It was a collection of 100 student volunteers who helped the thousands of Freshers move into their new homes for the year. They helped with everything from carrying luggage up to rooms to giving guided tours of campus

and made many scared and lonely first years feel welcome. I hope you will join me in congratulating the FRESHERS CREW for all their fantastic work over Freshers week!”. Over recent years, the Freshers Crew have grown substantial-

ly in their numbers and presence on campus, doubling from 50 volunteers last year to over now over 100. This award is recognition for their hard work over the last few weeks.

The problem with Twenty20 Sport Ops: Got an opinion about sport? Email it to sports@qmessenger.co.uk Darren McGuinness

There are so many ways that I feel I could argue the issue of Twenty20 cricket: it’s not really cricket, it’s English baseball, it’s where Football fans go to get drunk and shout when the Football season’s over. But instead I have chosen to go with the lack of romance that the game offers, that it requires speed but not haste. Its bigger, older, more established and more dignified grandfather, Test Cricket, is now suffering because of the shorter bang-bang version of the game that we all, at some level or other, know that we love. The majestic cover drive that has so often brought genuine happiness to those who are lucky enough to watch it has been lost to the big slog over cow-corner. The end result is often the same, but the manner in which one gets to their destination is habitually the defining factor to how one is received. Take, for example, the artist who has toiled away for decades as he slowly begins to not only under-

stand but also define his trade. His work becomes collectable, and then everything that he has done before increases in value because of what he has been able to achieve; you can see the progression of a man’s life as his innings reaches its peak. But then some trumped-up graffiti artist comes along and achieves the same fame and popularity from seemingly nowhere, undermining the integrity of the profession. In an objective sense, perhaps it is the graffiti artist who is somehow more powerful. He has achieved ‘greatness’ without wasting time, money, effort and resources to get to where he always felt he had to be, while the true craftsmen took seemingly forever, in relation, to find his place. But as I said before, the character of the man is revealed by the determination and transformation experienced during the journey of his life. Twenty20 Cricket doesn’t offer that to anyone. You’re in, you’re out and you’re fielding before the sun has come up for the next day. You play in floodlights because people

want you to work around them, else they’ve no interest in your success. You are, to them, a source of entertainment and nothing more. Test Cricket affords the man the chance to show that he is as valuable as everyone else, that he goes to work each day knowing that his task is to be doing exactly that for much of the next week, and in a Test Series he’s got a contract to work all summer. People take the day off work to come to see him, in essence he is THE attraction, whether batting or bowling. As WG Grace once said, people didn’t come to see the umpire doing his job but rather him doing his. How many Twenty20 Cricket ‘stars’ can honestly have that much arrogance, while justified, without then leaving a legacy of being a bit of a twat? My despise of Twenty20 Cricket isn’t simply that it’s all brash and colourful, but rather than the irony of the game is lost on its casual fan. In many ways it brings all the best bits of cricket together over a very brief period. The best batsmen still

play proper shots, the best bowlers still tease the batsmen and the best fielders have just as much time to get the catch or run the batsmen out as they would do in Test Cricket, but unfortunately people don’t really seem to understand that. Instead it’s just an excuse to get drunk after work with your friends in a live venue. It’s like a pub, except you’re a little more exposed to the weather. We live in a society where everything needs to be done yesterday and tomorrow’s ideas have been devised three weeks ago. Test Cricket has always been played on its merits, each ball and each shot deserves the respect of the person who has delivered the beautiful thing. But Twenty20 shows a blatant disregard for humankind, and what’s worse is that it merely encourages people to be worse in their personal and professional lives. In its simplicity is its most frustrating characteristic, in my opinion. It perpetuates impatience. And despite what the adverts say, that is NOT a virtue.


14

Sport

Interested in sport? sports@qmessenger.co.uk

06/10/2009

Sports psych not just for quacks Deanne Roberts

What do you think when you hear the word Psychologist? People having difficulties managing their lives and needing help? Someone lying down on a couch and talking about his/her childhood whilst a “shrink” listens thoughtfully and assesses the patient’s level of sanity and

solvency? These are amongst the most common misconceptions that people have about Psychologists, which usually makes them reluctant to seek advice or help from one. You may have heard about athletes and sports people using Sport Psychologists to get the edge over their opponents (including GB and China teams, amongst others,

Don’t fall over the edge, get some help from a Sports Psychologist

at the Beijing Olympics, and top sports people, such as Tiger Woods and Chris Hoy). In 2004, the British Psychological Society (BPS) formed the Division for Sport and Exercise Psychology, as increasing numbers of athletes began to realise the importance of the mental side of sport, as opposed to just the physical.  So, what does a Sport Psychologist do? Well, this really depends on the individual athletes, but the main areas include: controlling anxiety; increasing motivation; increasing concentration (skills from these could also be used by students in exam situations); increasing team spirit and cohesion; increasing selfconfidence; preventing over-training and aiding the recovery from injuries. So what can Sport Psychology do for you? Here’s a technique that you can use in situations where you become nervous and feel out of control (so this can be used in both sports settings and in University before an important presentation or exam):

Close your eyes (well, read the other steps before closing your eyes or this might not work!)

Breathe in and out slowly and deeply (through your nose, not mouth) and concentrate on each breath). Do this for about 30 seconds.

Choose an image that relaxes you and that can move back and forth (i.e., a wave, a buoy bobbing in the ocean, or a curtain blowing in the breeze, girl on top etc.). Focus on this image and make it as vivid as possible - include bright colours, but keep the image simple. Breathe in when the image moves one way and breathe out when the image moves the other way.

Finally, choose a word (such as “relax” or “calm”) and repeat this word (in your head) every time you breathe out. This will become over time your very own mantra.

You should practice this technique for approximately five minutes a day (or longer if possible, or you’re able(!)) and will be able to eventually use it for sport or University situations when you become nervous. With practice you will be able to relax yourself after just a few seconds of using this exercise. This technique can be tricky at first, but with some perseverance it can substantially decrease your anxiety levels and lead to increases in your performance levels. Just remember to keep the image strong and if you become distracted and your mind begins to wander, refocus and start again. Deanne Roberts is a recent Masters graduate in Sports Psychology from London Metropolitan University. She is currently in the process of becoming a fully-fledged Sports Psychologist, so if anyone or any Club feels they would like her help then send her an email to: dee11@hotmail. co.uk

Make your mark at Queen Mary Darren McGuinness

Few things mean as much to me as Sport, so knowing that the many Clubs that both Queen Mary and Barts run are not only dedicated to themselves but to the individual all the way to the institution brings more than a tear to my eye; it brings pride to my heart. Whether you have signed up to become another Great Griffin (Barts) or wish to create a Leopards Legacy (Queen Mary), nothing and no one should stand in your way. As the season fast approaches and training steps up in preparation for the first set of BUCS fixtures on 14th October, all teams are anticipating a big year for their Universities, culminating in the famous Merger Cup. For those who are new to the game, the Merger Cup is THE annual sporting event, much like the Varsity competitions run between local Universities across the country, where Barts and Queen Mary pit their skills against one another on the many hallowed turfs that, for the season preceding the fixtures, they have lost blood, sweat and tears fighting for that crucial victory. Last year Barts took back the Cup after three years of Queen Mary triumphs, although it must

be said that throughout the season it looked as though the Leopards would take the trophy based on their performances in the numerous competitions. The Queen Mary Footballers had arguably a better season last year than in recent times, and the Rugby boys missed out on promotion by the smallest of margins (so small that even Lucozade haven’t produced anything that could have given them that tiny edge that was required). Both Men’s and Women’s Basketball made it to the ULU Cup finals, whilst the Squash Club and Badminton Club both performed brilliantly. Barts had their fair share of success, too, although the Hockey Club for one had lost a lot of important members from the previous season. When it came to the crunch, though, clearly it was the sense of comradery produced by the Medics and Dentists that pushed them that extra few yards and their win was well earned. Sports at both Universities is more than a key part of the experience, but more a way of life. People say that the friends you make during your time studying will stay with you, but the best way to build relationships is by standing toe-to-toe with your sporting buddies, those heroes and heroines that pull on the same jersey as you and set out

Queen Mary and Barts’ rugby clubs lock horns in last year’s Merger Cup as Barts went on to win the Cup to win, to succeed, to come home victorious. Because without this sense of pride, without this loyalty to your team, then what’s the point? Even in what some might consider to be solo sports, such as Fencing, Tennis, Squash, Badminton and Swimming, where the winner is much more clearly defined, they will be able to tell you that it is the

support of their teammates, their fellow Leopards and Griffins, that spurs them on. So I urge you now, especially you Freshers, if you haven’t yet joined a team, do so. These are the people who will stay with you through thick and thin. And if you really don’t think it’s for you, why not come and sup-

port your friends and your University? Transport to games is available, or they’re played locally anyway, so there are no excuses for spending your Wednesday afternoons not doing Student Activities. After all, it’s on your timetables.


Sport

Interested in sport? sports@qmessenger.co.uk

15

06/10/2009

McGuinness’ Moment

Dom Bell: Sports Officer

Striking the balance

Sports Desk

As so many people will have told you, probably most notably those who have cared and nurtured, reared and paid for you for a significant portion of your life, you’re here at University to study and attain a degree. In my opinion that’s only a fair assessment, and by no means is your subject of choice the be-all and endall of what’s important. You cannot be expected to develop as a person without trying something new, you cannot expect to be wholly employable without something else aside from your degree on your CV. Which is why some people play Sports. Most who represent either their respective Leopards or Griffins on the fields of play here at Queen Mary and Barts’ and the London colleges do so because they want to. And not just that they want to, but they feel as though they would be letting not only themselves but also their teammates down. And nothing in this world is more important than being committed to something. Sure, there have been instances where this loyalty is perhaps taken too far and the bigger picture is lost; from my time at the University of Brighton I can cite a couple of cases where people just started to think that the lecturers were going to encourage them to fail their final year in order to win leagues and trophies. That was not, and never will be, the case. We’re not an American-style University where Sports means everything, but nor are we simply an academic and research institute where people play Sports to blow off steam. There’s a balance to be struck, and it is in finding where you stand on the board that will determine who you are. Many of us are able to easily be a part of one AND the other, some struggle to keep up with one and others tend to go fully into the other. It is not for me to tell you what to do; for someone who has chosen his path already I cannot judge you for choosing yours. But I would run through a few things to consider: The degree is going to cost more than any amounts of subs or training fees you pay. The degree won’t be there when you are having problems in your personal life. Your teammates will have degrees of their own. While that perhaps hasn’t made this any clearer for you, be sure that you manage to strike a balance, else you could either go tumbling down into a spiral of academic exclusion, or you could end up socially retarded.

Darren McGuinness

Dom Bell stood unopposed as the Sports Officer last year, but in truth it probably wouldn’t have made much of a difference; Sportsdesk can reveal here and now that they thought he would have been the best candidate even if he hadn’t gone for the position. Find out now why QSports backs Bell’s bid for brilliance… Why did you stand as Sports Officer last year? To be honest it was all rather a rushed decision. I got a phone call the day of the deadline asking if I would like to take the job. I remember I was in the library writing an essay at the time and as time passed I thought less and less about my essay and more and more about this job. I didn’t really get time to think about the issues I wanted to resolve in becoming Sports Officer. I simply thought, yes, I’d be good at this. What are you hoping to achieve in your tenure?

I’m all about performance, but I can’t realistically push it that hard at QM. What I do want to do is help the Clubs support themselves, i.e. make them money, help them fundraise, help them advertise and teach them how to be self-sufficient. My experience with the Clubs is that they rely too heavily on the SU and government grant etc. and when they run out of money instead of doing something about it they just give up and whine. SU money is more of a starter pack, so if you want a decent Club you have to take the initiative. Did you learn much from the previous Officer (Nick Cowell)? I got some pointers from Nick but I think I want to make this my own. I don’t think the Sports teams have really taken advantage of the fact that they’ve got someone available to help them with the functioning of their Clubs. The Clubs for some reason see the Sports Officer as a completely separate entity filling his time with stuff of more importance, but really I’m waiting for them to speak up. As you’re also the President for

Dom Bell (left) winning the Boat Club’s first Regatta trophy for a decade

the Boat Club this year, will you find it hard managing the two or risk bias towards QMBC? It might be hard to balance the two but that’s how I roll. I like having my time filled. I work better under pressure. Bias? Would you believe me even if I said no? The fact of the matter is there isn’t really any bias to give. In other words I don’t even know, as Sports Officer, how I could bias the Boat Club. As it stands, who is the best Sports Club on campus in your opinion? This is a bit of a harsh question! God I don’t know. Definitely in terms of performance last year the Cheerleaders were the best. We hope they can carry on their good form. However, right now it’s too soon to tell. Where do you hope your role will take you next year and beyond? Would you want to stay at University as a Sabbatical Officer as well? I have mentioned before that hobbies can result in careers too. It does open up new possibilities as to what

I may do with my life. I have thought about using this as a springboard for a sabbatical position next year but it’s a decision by no means set in stone. Who is your favourite Sports Star or Sports Team of all time? And if you could play anything professionally, what would it be? When I was a lot younger I always wanted to be a swimmer. I mean they’re just gods aren’t they? They look amazing and in some respects it takes more dedication to be a swimmer than anything else because you have to train for so much longer than you do in any other sport. So of late I have been swept away by Michael Phelps. I realise he’s had a recent blip in form but what he achieved at the last Olympics is truly unsurpassable. If that hasn’t been a ‘ringing’ endorsement for Mr. Bell then Sportsdesk is out of ways to persuade you, except by making sure you pay attention to his column when it appears and by keeping up with the progress that will inevitably be made by the Sports Clubs at Queen Mary.

Fencing frolics ...Continued from back page who appeared alongside 007 in ‘Die Another Day’, runs our Club. We meet every Wednesday in the Sports Hall from 2-5pm. There is also an extra training session on Saturdays for those who wish to have extra lessons and training. We are one of the most successful Clubs at the University, the Women’s Team being the only one from Queen Mary to qualify for the BUCS Championships held in Sheffield in

March earlier this year. We may train hard, but we also play hard! There are lots of social events organised every term, and we can be found in the local Wetherspoon’s every Wednesday evening after a hard day’s work. If you want any further information, please find our group on Facebook, email qmbl_fencingclub@ hotmail.com, or come along to the Sports Hall at 2pm on a Wednesday . Hope to see you there!


QSPORT

Bringing you all the latest fixtures and results from the QM Sports teams Sports Editor: Darren McGuinness sports@qmessenger.co.uk Sub Editor: Rebecca Ngakane 06th Oct ‘09 • Issue 14 • FREE

Blades out in East London

Have you ever tried to Swash your Buckle? Ever wanted to be the next Zorro? One of last year’s most successful clubs tells you what they’re all about.

Frederica Sheehan-Greatorex

Queen Mary’s Fencing Club welcomes all keen sword-wielders, from experienced competitor to ‘fresher’. We offer all three weapons: Foil, Épée and Sabre. For those of you who are not familiar:

The Foil is descended from the rapier; it is the lightest of the three weapons. It is a stabbing sword and the target is the chest and back. Novices generally start on the foil, and can progress to another weapon later if they wish. The Épée is a larger version of

the Foil with the target being the entire body. The Sabre, like its cousin the military Sabre, is more of a slashing weapon. This time the target is the chest, arms and head. Our coach, Jonathon Weekes, Continued page 15...

QMessenger 14  

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