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30th OCT 2009 ISSUE 1356 VOL 73
THE UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM’S STUDENT NEWSPAPER SINCE 1936
Guild redevelopment behind schedule
Follow up on the plight of first year Chelwood residents.
With the advent of digital media has the art of Mixtaping been lost?
Georgina Killick grabs a cycle helmet and saddles up.
Part of Phase Two of the Guild redevelopment plan that has been completed to date Photo: Lucy Percival
Jack Davis Scott Steinberg PLANS to revolutionise part of the Guild are set to be delayed, as new developments reveal that the refurbishment is two months behind schedule due to budgeting problems. The University approved the Guild's budget for the refurbishment in April this year, but this September cost predictions spiralled to £4.4 million, which would have exceeded the original budget by £400,000. The
Guild then had to scale down costs in order to ensure that plans came in within budget. To address the issue, the Guild were forced to redesign certain aspects of the refurbishment, and after a new quote for various elements from the contractor, the proposed costs were lowered back to £3.9 million, within the original budget. However, this issue has caused noticable delays to the Guild redevelopment. The next stage of the refurbishment, to relocate and renovate Joe's Bar, was proposed to be completed
by January 2010, but due to delays, the renovation may not even begin until this date. It was also agreed this week that the entire project will be completed by mid-June, around two months behind schedule. Despite the problems with delays in the redevelopment, Tom Guise (VPDR) said; 'The Guild building was seen by students as just the place where Joe's Bar is and where 'Fab took place, but it will become so much more.' He also added: 'At all stages of the project, the priority for the Guild has always
been its students. We believe that the decisions made are in the best interests of students and will enable us to deliver relevant services to our members.' Currently, two out of the four stages of the redevelopment are complete. This has included the renovation of some of the toilet facilities, including those next to the Beorma Bar. Phase two has also seen the introduction of a new retail area with clothes store Zest, Spar and the student housing service SHAC.
REDBRICK 1356 / 30th OCTOBER 2009
Contributors: Ned Murray, Becky Shewell, Natalie Vincent Jack Straw pays visit to School of Law LORD Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, the Rt Hon Jack Straw, delivered a lecture on sentencing policy last night. The government minister spoke as a part of the ninth annual series of lectures on issues in criminal justice, held in the School of Law. The Justice Secretary joins a list of well-known, highly respected speakers to address the Law School in recent years. These include Baroness Scotland, Shami Chakrabarti and outspoken former government minister minister Charles Clarke. The Issues in Criminal Justice lecture series is an annual series of lectures held at the University of Birmingham Law School focusing on the most pertinent and problematic issues in criminal justice. About to begin the ninth series of lectures, the Issues in Criminal Justice series is an opportunity
for students, professionals and practitioners alike to engage in high-level debate on the shape and structure of the criminal justice system. The talk, that had been postponed from May, talked about in great detail out current sentencing policies in our criminal justice system. University of Birmingham given grant to investigate consumer based brand equality in Europe. THE university has been awarded an Economic and Social Research Council grant to investigate the measurement of consumer based brand equity in the hope that the results will improve managerial practice. It will involve collecting data from the UK, Germany, and Greece in order to develop and measure consumer based brand equity in Europe.
University of Birmingham Sing-along The Great Hall Sunday 1st November, doors open at 2.30pm, rehearsal is from 3.15pm5.15pm, and performance begins at 6pm, £5 for students. IN support of the new University Music Building two world-renowned musicians will be rehearsing and performing coronation anthems by Handel and Parry and an anthem by Elgar first performed at Westminster Abbey in 1912. Simon Halsey, Chorus Director of the CBSO, and Thomas Trotter, City of Birmingham Organist will join in the fun at this public fundraising sing-along. All proceeds will go towards the public fundraising campaign to support the University’s proposed new home for music in Chancellor’s Court which will include a 450 seat au-
Picture of the week Lucy Percival
View of everyday life in Venice, Italy
ditorium. Participation fee is £15, but a reduced entry fee of £5 for students will be given. Music will also be included within this fee. Please book online, or by completing the postal booking form, or by calling 0121 414 3280. Admission by advance booking only: early booking is advised as places are limited.
by DJ Ali Marchant and Guild Society, Purple Mermaid Circus. Following the event, Joes is offereing a pound for a pint between 9pm until 1am. The event is bound to be a success after last years event, which saw thousands of people making their way down to the Vale for a fun-filled evening.
Voice Of Black 2009 (VOBO's)
The Great Hall
Thursday 5th November, funfair 7.30pm, fireworks 9pm, entry free
Saturday 31st October, 6.30pm
ON Thursday 5th November the Guild of Students in conjunction with the University of Bimringham are once again bringing you Vale Fireworks. The event is set to a fun-filled event, with entertainment including a spectcular fireworks display run in co-ordination
THIS Saturday, is the Grand Final of the international competition for Black and Asian singers from across the Commonwealth. It is open to professional singers or final year students. Among those performing will include Grace Bumbry, a legendary African-American Mezzo and
Soprano singer and Soprano Maria Ewing. Whoever wins the competition, will receive the title 'Voice of Black Opera 2009' and the 'Sir Willard White' award. Other awards include the Samuel Coleridge Taylor award and the Brixtonian trophy which will be awarded to those who display a high standard in other performance attributes. The event aims to promote and recognise excellene among Black and Asian clasical singers. To add to this, the event aims to encourage young people to get involved with classical music. Tickets are available from the Student Development Office on a first come first basis as from late Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with collection from the student Guild Office. The evening's event will be filmed by the BBC for a later broadcast, with a live broadcast via BBC Radio 3.
REDBRICK 1356 / 30th OCTOBER 2009
'350' Climate Change event disrupted by University Security Helen Crane CLIMATE-conscious students gathered on the University of Birmingham's campus last Friday to raise awareness about carbon levels, only to be interrupted by Guild security. Around 70 people attended the event in Chancellor's Court, which culminated in an aerial photograph of the participants assembled in the form of the digits of 350. The event was one of 4641 taking place in 71 countries worldwide, which intended to highlight the need to reduce carbon levels in the atmosphere from the current 389 particles per million to a safer 350. University security officials arrived shortly after the students had assembled in order to remove photographers assembled on the roof balcony of the Law building. Angela Freezer, the University security department's Crime Prevention and Training Officer who was at the scene, said: 'It
was purely a health and safety issue. The door used to access the roof area should have been
locked, and requests for access should have been made to the Hall Estates and Maintenance
Department'. Third-year English student Kate Weiler, who was responsible for organ-
ising the demonstration, commented that 'the presence of security was a bit overwhelming, as we
Students taking part in one of the 4641 '350' climate change events happening across the globe Photo provided by: Helen Crane
didn't think we needed approval to access an unsecured area'. Doubts have also arisen about whether the University will allow the final photograph to be published on the official '350' website (www.350.org) due to affiliation. Aside from this the demonstration was a resounding success. Weiler also commented that: 'It was really good to get people together who are passionate about the cause. I expected a lot of the participants to be people I knew, but it was encouraging to see some new faces'. The protest comes in advance of the UN Copenhagen Climate talks which are set to go ahead this Decemeber. Ahead of this there will be a 'How old will you be in 2050?' week on campus from 16th â€“ 21st November which will attempt to address the issue of climate change. To find out more information about the 350 event that took place, see the website: www.350.org
Students call for 'more publicity' in the Guild Council elections Nadia Tavana IT appears that this year the Guild Council and Guild Officer elections have been kept under wraps, as less students than ever have cast their vote. The Guild Council (GC) elections run every year, and comprise of 160 places (although this is the first year that all positions have been elected at the same time), which allow students to represent their peers in an attempt to improve services and departments within the University. However, it appears that this year, the elections have had a very low profile and when the results were announced on Wednesday many students had been unaware that there were elections taking place and it seemed that some did not know who was running. Each school is represented in the GC, which
means that voices all across the University have the ability to be heard. Campaigning for both sets of elections began on the 13th October, right up until 21st October when voting closed, which again went ahead with little awareness. Student opinion has confirmed worries that there has not been enough awareness about the elections on campus. Second year BA Political Science student, Emma Facer, said: 'I knew the elections were going on, but only through emails. I won't be voting, and donâ€™t think there was enough publicity on the elections.' Another first year student, Joshua LindsayTurner, studying BA Philosophy and Political Science, commented: 'I knew the elections were going on, but only from asking at the Guild stall at freshers. I am going to vote, but think there has been little publicity for the elections.'
The results of the elections revealed the extent to which students were not adequately informed. Although numbers were not available for each position filled (because voting only takes place in contested positions), there were two positions which were contested. One of which was the Ordinary Guild Councillor for School of Biosciences which had only 21 votes cast. The second contested position, the Ordinary Guild Councillor for School of Philosophy, Theology and Religion was marginally better, drawing fifty votes. The Guild Officer byelections, which further show how little student participation there is, included the International Students Officer and Postgraduate and Mature Students Officer positions. PMSO only saw 221 votes, a small percentage of the student population, which currently stands at
around 30,000. Despite the problems surrounding awareness about the elections, Tom Guise, VP Democracy and Resources, said of the election: 'This is the largest election [for Guild Councillors] we've ever run in terms of number of positions. I'm really
encouraged and I think we're going to have a great year on Guild Council judging by the quality of the new Councillors I met at some of the training events we've held.' However, it is clear that more students need to participate in order to fully represent the stu-
dent population at the University of Birmingham. Voting took place through the my.bham. ac.uk portal for the officer by-elections and by paper ballot for Guild Councillor elections.
This year's Guild Officer team elected in March 2009 Photo: Sven Richardson
REDBRICK 1356 / 30th OCTOBER 2009
University and Local News
Disappointed students lose battle to stay in Chelwood Natalie Vincent THE fate of the 22 students currently living in Chelwood University Accommodation was decided in a small meeting this week, where it was confirmed that after the Christmas holiday, they would be moved on to other accommodation. Leslie Stewart, (the Vale Manager), Ed Sparkes, (Vice President for Housing and Community) Mark Harrop, (President of Aitken wing) and a small number of residents met to discuss the situation. They vowed their support for the students during the time of transition and aim to try and keep as many students together as possible. The hard decision was made as the University has entered into a contractual agreement to use the building for conferences for 2 out of the 12 weeks of next semester and unless they cancel and no more conference requests are made, the students are set to move out permanently over Christmas.
200 students signed a petition from a variety of halls of residents in protest over the students being removed from what will have been their home for 12 weeks. Mark Harrop, President of Aiken Wing, said the situation was 'frustrating' and added 'I would be personally very disappointed if they [the students] had to move out and I think that in these exceptional circumstanc-
THE Basketball squad have been raising money for their team by taking part in community and welfare projects. The basketballers have been working in liason with Besure, the chlamydia testing company, encouraging students to be tested and raising the awareness of the importance of sexual health. The squad are also looking out for our fitness, running an Active Lifestyle class at the Munrow Centre every Tuesday, and organising a fundraising 3-on-3 basketball tournament for a few weeks time. Off campus, the team are using their skills to reach out to the local community. The basketballers work closely with Birmingham City Council, acting as one-on-one rolemodels and mentors for school children in the local area. First-team Captain, Will Barker, also coaches at King Edwards School in Edgbaston as well as coaching the
issue now. The University is also going to sit down with small groups of students at a time and try to move as many as possible into their chosen accommodation with someone else from Chelwood, therefore hopefully minimizing the stresses of moving again and easing the transition.
Students protesting against their removal from Chelwood Wing Photo: Laura Rainsford
Basketball to bounce back Catrin Shi
es, they [the University] should have made an exception.' Some students have felt that the University have put business before the students in this situation with two conference bookings over ruling the wishes of 22 students, however it was stressed how the University is contractually bound and so there is nothing that can be done to rectify the
University second-team himself, to save money. 'The AU give us a yearly budget, and for the past four years we have overrun that budget' explains Will. 'This year I'm making sure we do not do that again, and we're paying back what we owe to the AU.' Money is tight with the basketballers as well as many other AU squads. With the AU only having a certain amount of money to dispense on its teams, committees of sports teams work hard to try and keep to their budget with fundraising efforts, however often overrun due to high expenditures such as room or court hire. The cost of running a single basketball game can be anything up to ÂŁ400. The outlook is promising this year, with a confident team and a small turnover of players. 'The whole squad is really optimistic about the University basketball for this year' says Will, 'but we do need the help of the University and its students for it all to come together.'
Anti-fascists lobby the Beeb Samuel Lear THE BBC in Birmingham were girdled with protesters as they came under intense scrutiny over their decision to allow the leader of the British National Party, Nick Griffin, to appear on Question Time last Thursday. Up to one hundred anti-fascist demonstrators converged outside the Mailbox as part of a 'symbolic protest' which was being held outside various BBC television studios across the United Kingdom. The BBC's chief political adviser, Ric Bailey, stated that, 'the BBC is obliged to treat all political parties registered with the Electoral Commission and operating within the law with due impartiality.' Doug Morgan, president of the NUT, disagreed: 'The BBC's excuse that it has a duty to be impartial is nonsense. They would not invite Harold Shipman on a show to debate the pros and cons of murder or a rapist to discuss their thoughts
so why invite a fascist?' He also warned that 'attacks [may occur] on people because of the colour of their skin and we may see these attacks in Birmingham and elsewhere in the days and weeks to come.' Other high profile people have also weighed in on the debate. The Bishop of Birmingham described Nick Griffin's comments as 'petty' but felt that the city of Birmingham would remain unaffected by any comments made during his apperance on the long running programme. Labour MP for Edgbaston, Gisela Stuart, said 'it did not do anything for political debate - it was unpleasant.' She went on to say 'If the BBC wanted a real debate they could have chosen a different forum.' Although the BNP are claiming to have gained thousands more members after Nick Griffin's debut on Question Time, it clearly has caused as much, if not more negative reactions, demonstrated in nation wide protests.
Cheeky boy Lembit Opik livens up debate in the Guild Samuel Lear THE jocularity and wit of guest debater Lembit Opik MP failed to prevent a swing towards the proposition, who successfully argued in favour of prohibiting the entrance of 'controversial individuals.' Mr. Opik MP, a Liberal Democrat, teamed up with Conservative Sahar Rezazadeh for the Opposition, whose main argument centred around the consequences of such restrictions, which included the degeneration of democratic process and the erosion of the Human Rights Act. Rhydian Morgan, who opened for the Proposition, gave a composed speech which highlighted the paradox that arises of a 'tolerant society tolerating intolerance'. Moreover, Mr. Morgan argued audaciously that the 'freedom of speech' would not be impeded by such a restriction, merely the propensity for the controversial views to proliferate. The Proposition also
argued that permitting polemic individuals could lead to the 'incitement of racial hatred' which would 'threaten a fair and tolerant society'. The debate then opened up to the floor.
the proposition's definition of 'controversial', by suggesting that President Bush could fall into that category; whereas Glen Moutrie highlighted how debates could not exist without controversy.
Matt Fiddy questioned
However, Tim Lees stole
the show, and arguably the swing, with some cutting observations of how it is the 'duty of the state to protect society and individuals from racial hatred.'
Lembit Opik with the debating panel Photo: Tom Flathers
REDBRICK 1356 / 30th OCTOBER 2009
Groups lobby for film studio Helen Crane BIRMINGHAM could soon be playing host to an influx of Hollywood stars, should a new proposal of a film studio get the goahead. Pinewood Shepperton plc, who have been the filming location for bigbudget films such as James Bond and The Dark Knight, have recently been denied council permission to expand their Iver Heath site in Buckinghamshire, due to concerns over the protected green belt land. This has led to the former MG Rover site in Longbridge being advocated by film industry figureheads, pressure groups, and Birmingham MP's as an alternative home for the ÂŁ2million development. If approved, the plans would see 20 new sets being built on the site, most of them carbon copies of popular
filming locations such as New York and Paris. This would bring in some of film's most famous faces to the region on location, generating a huge increase in tourism. The construction of the studios would also create thousands of new jobs for Birmingham's skilled craftsmen during this time of economic hardship. Edgbaston MP Gisela Stuart is a firm supporter of the plans to relocate Pinewood Studios. She said: 'It's the perfect site and infrastructure in terms of labour force, artistry and geography. They need 100 acres, we've got 400 and on a site in need of redevelopment. This is something Longbridge has been waiting for.' Film experts have predicted that the Rover's Longbridge site could turn the area into 'the new Hollywood' if the proposal gets the new go ahead.
Heroic fireman saves kittens and gets the 'purr'-fect reward Samina Amin A BIRMINGHAM firefighter who rescued a kitten during a callout last week has decided to adopt it after an emotional rescue. Mike Jenkins, based at the Hay Mills fire station, received a call about a litter of kittens trapped in a garden in the Sparkbrook area of Birmingham. He said of the unusual operation: 'We dug around the area where we thought they were. We found three but then we could hear another one crying. Eventually we found her under a pile of wood, a ladder and then more wood. There was no way she would have been able to get herself out.' Upon rescuing the kitten from a four-day entrapment, Jenkins named her Sparkle. After a brief look over by a vet, who found that she was fine although very weak, she was given the all-clear
and Mike decided to keep Sparkle as a replacement for his daughter's kitten who was killed just over a month ago. The story was fea-
tured on the Birmingham Mail website, where one observer commented that 'fate' had brought them together and congratulated Mike on finding the
families newest addition. Mike and Sparkle are both doing well and learning to live with one another.
Fireman Mike Jenkins and his adopted kitten Sparkle Photo: playboy
Drop out levels exacerbated by Student Loans Company delay Rachel Moore UNIVERSITIES are claiming they are experiencing the highest levels of 'dropouts' within the first semester of a course in over a decade. With David Lammy, the Universities Minister, ordering an inquiry into the crisis-ridden Student Loans Company this week, it has come to light that 88,000 students are still left waiting, many without explanation, to receive their Government loans and grants. First year students have been worst hit by the delays this year: only 28 per cent of the 1,091,653 applications submitted have been processed. Due to this many students are now unable to cover their accomodation and living costs and have been left with the only option of having to abandon their higher education ambitions or struggle on with financial help from family and friends. The Student Loans Company, who are respon-
sible for managing student finance in the UK, released a statement blaming errors with their new electronic scanning equipment for the delays with processing and awarding claims for finance. However, this rather bland and non-specific excuse has given little consolation to the thousands of students left struggling and desperate in an already poor economic climate. Sian Gray, a secondyear English student, said: 'The Student Loans Company are yet to send me my loan. They haven't made contact with me and I have had to constantly ring them for updates. With their disorganisation and the planned postal strikes accross the country, it won't be for at least another two weeks before my loan comes through, meaning I have had to increase my overdraft and live off my savings.' This story has been repeated numerous times by students across the country with a fellow student adding, 'I have had great difficulties in finding the
money to pay for my simple living costs, including food and toiletries, and have found myself selling personal possessions, including some of my course books to feed myself.' The SLC has managed to pay some of these students provisional payments to cover their accomodation and immediate living costs but the percentage that they have managed to help does not
begin to compensate for the unprecedented failure of the company. With a predicted date of loan payments being set for the beginning of November, it seems that many will find themselves continuing to struggle to get by for a few more weeks. Any students that have been having issues should contact the ARC in the Guild
Money which students aren't receiving promptly due to delays from the Student Loans Company
Postal strikes hit Birmingham Edwina Moorhouse DESPITE the recent national strikes and ongoing talks, it is anticipated that the Royal Mail will announce more strikes across the UK this week, which will no doubt further affect students on a national scale. In the past fortnight, workers have come together through their union to campaign for greater job security, modernisation and a wage increase, leading to general strikes including one on October 22nd which included 42,000 staff across the UK. According to the Birmingham Mail a further 120,000 workers are poised to start a fresh round of strikes this week, with little hope for the new negotiations taking place. It has been estimated that around 2 million letters and parcels will go undelivered during the strikes, and occurring so early in the academic year means that some students will encounter problems.
It has been widely reported that students have been frustrated due to several delays and setbacks to their loans that have already occured this academic year, and many are still waiting on final notifications from student finance agencies. It may only be a small minority of individuals waiting for this paperwork, but this makes it no less significant; it simply adds more hassle to an already stressful situation for many. Furthermore, important paperwork such as bills and bank statements will also be prevented from arriving on time during the strikes, something that will cause frustration among all British households, not just with students. Workers seem adamant that they will not cease in their picketing and strikes, but it can only be hoped that some kind of resolution will be found as soon as possible, allowing the local economy and everyday life to return to normal.
REDBRICK 1356 / 30th OCTOBER 2009
Comment: Teenage freedom Jennifer Waghorn asks whether some youngsters simply have too much too young REMEMBER being sixteen? The 'hardship' of AS-Levels, the heartbreak of 'relationships' and the general pressures of being a teenager. How about embarking on a solo voyage round the world in a small yacht? On 18th October, Jessica Watson, a sixteen year old girl from Australia, set out to break the record for being the world's youngest circumnavigator, embarking on a 28,000 mile journey that's predicted to last eight weeks. But she's not the only one. Zac Sunderland, a seventeen year old from California, broke the previous record in July - only to be beaten by the even younger seventeen year old Brit, Mike Perham, in August. Only last month a thirteen year old Dutch girl, desperately keen to break the record herself, was taken into state care to prevent her from attempting the voyage; the authorities (unlike her parents) felt that she was too young for such a venture. Circumnavigation is, understandably, full of potential hazards: storms, collisions and the threat of pirates being just a few. Watson's plans for the voyage have caused considerable concern for
Teenage kicks: ever wanted to just sail away? Photo: Mike Roberts the Australian Transport Safety Bureau in the past few months. Her trial run in September sparked serious worries. It ended
cargo ship off the Australian coast. Watson, said to be 'napping' before the collision occurred, was unharmed by the crash,
'As students, some of us are only a couple of years older than these teenage sailors' abruptly after less than 24 hours when she collided with a 63,000 tonne
while the boat sustained minor damage. She later stated: 'I came through
the whole thing feeling confident.' Does this really count as sufficient preparation for a teenager to undertake a solo voyage round the world? Might this confidence be a little misguided? I talked to various students at the University of Birmingham to see what they thought about teenagers younger than themselves undertaking such big challenges. One student said that he was 'amazed that these kids have been given their own
yachts, let alone being allowed to sail thousands of miles alone in them,' adding that his parents are still uneasy about occasionally lending him their car. While these young sailors' parents must have a lot of faith in their children's ability, is it possible that the potential fame of breaking the 'youngestever' record has led to 'pushy parent syndrome'? In the case of Jessica Watson, a website has been set up by her friends and family, including updates on every step of her voyage, daily blogs, and even extensive 'Jessica' merchandise. After his daughter had set off on her voyage, Jessica Watson's father responded to fears of the voyage's potential dangers by telling the press: 'It would be devastating if we lost her ... but I still think it would be worse to say "No, you can't go."' While Watson's parents clearly want to let her 'pursue her dream,' surely this is taking things a bit far? As well as remarking on the influence of parents, some students thought that the psychological effects on the young sailors, especially the loneliness and responsibility of independence,
seemed too much for them to have to face at that age. Others reckoned that they would probably be mature and responsible enough to cope with the challenges, 'or they wouldn't be doing it in the first place.' Whatever the influences and pressures leading Jessica Watson and the others to undertake such daunting voyages, those who have already made the trip successfully have clearly been responsible, independent and skilled enough to face the challenges. As students, some of us are only a couple of years older than these teenage sailors. We're supposedly learning how to take responsibility for ourselves and live independently (although, let's face it, a lot of us would still be completely stuck without our parents to help out occasionally). As for Jessica Watson; as one first-year student remarked, 'good luck to her: if that's really what she wants to do, why not? The rest of of us are happy being normal teenagers, thanks.' Let's hope Jessica makes it round the world successfully; she might be allowed to drive a car by the time she sails back home.
Comment: BNP appearance on Question Time Callum Anderson reflects on the impact of Nick Griffin's first TV grilling
Griffin's presence and comments have aroused widespread controversy BATTLE commenced last week at the BBC studio, as BNP leader Nick Griffin appeared on Question Time for the first time. There had been angry, fiery protests against Griffin's participation outside the BBC centre, many claiming that he had no place on our television screens. As much as I despise Griffin, I was glad he appeared; anyone who watched Question Time
would have witnessed the BNP exposed for what they really are â€“ a vicious, despicable party. A party that is very much stuck on the far right of politics, completely out of touch with the British people and certainly not worthy of their two seats in the European Parliament. Somehow Griffin managed to alienate and insult every group possible. According to the party
leader, Islam is a 'wicked and vicious faith', which evidently ignores the love and compassion that the majority of Muslims hold for others. Furthermore, seeing two grown men kissing was 'creepy'; that it was 'a shame' that people, who come from two ethnic groups (like myself) exist because it was damaging the genetic make-up of the 'indigenous population.' The audience were
quick to question Griffin about what he meant by 'indigenous population', but all Griffin could muster was drivel about people who have lived in Britain for 17,000 years were the 'indigenous', forgetting that Romans, Vikings and Normans (to mention just a few) had come to this country in that time. One has to wonder whether Griffin himself is 'pure' English. Unsurprisingly many of his comments were challenged by the audience, especially by Black and Asian members, who quizzed Griffin on where he thought they should be repatriated to. Griffin's views were similarly challenged by the panel, particularly by Justice Secretary Jack Straw, Baroness Warsi and the American playwright Bonnie Greer. All three were successful in dismantling the smarmy, deceitful bubble that Griffin inhabits. When the excellent Jack Straw pointed out that many ethnic minorities had fought alongside white British citizens in both the World Wars, Griffin had no meaningful response. It was hard not to be satisfied to watch the
hapless, speechless Griffin as he struggled, with a remarkable lack of conviction, to defend any of his values. Moreover, when challenged over past remarks, he seemed to think that if he just denied the comments that are all over YouTube, people would think he was a moderate. He was to be very disappointed.
if Winston Churchill were alive today, he would be a BNP member. If he thought that anyone was going to take him seriously then he really demonstrated how out of touch he is with reality. Ultimately this episode of Question Time was a success because it allowed Griffin's racist and homophobic nature to be exposed to its multi-racial
'It was hard not to be satisfied watching the hapless, speechless Griffin as he struggled to defend any of his values' Yet Griffin did reveal himself to be quite the comedian, stating that David Duke, a former Klu Klux Klan member, was 'nonviolent' and the assertion that 'the government and the political elite was committing genocide against its own people', by allowing immigrants to come to this country. For someone who had been to university, Griffin showed a massive lack of sensitivity, even claiming that
and rightly hostile audience, both in the studio and at home. The scrutinising of BNP policy was a victory for the freedom of speech and simultaneously ensured that the public saw what an idiotic, bigoted party they really are. In my opinion, only if the media perseveres with this policy then we will have a chance in marginalising the BNP.
REDBRICK 1356 / 30th OCTOBER 2009
Value for money Are tuition fees proportionate to our contact hours? Stephanie Harvey investigates TUITION fees versus subject hours is a debate that has been raging for years. It will continue to do so for the foreseeable future as the inequalities between funding and contact hours become more and more apparent. In the current climate of consoli-
English Literature and Drama student, the primary means of learning is through books – directed in self-study and currently guided by a one hour lecture per week. As a joint honours student the English part of my course requires two hours per week
How is the University’s grant split up?
the same amount despite the differing hours and resources required for each subject. If this does not particularly bother you at the moment, remember that, unless you are of a select few, you shall have a debt of on average £20,000 when you
How much does your contact time actually cost?
Widening participation & student success funding
the grant the University receives for the 09/10 academic year
£29 Languages; Sports; Political Sciences
Medical & Science
GRAPHIC Credit: Thomas Walters dating money and making of contact time; very little. each penny stretch a little It is also strongly recomfurther, is it fair that we mended we buy the books all pay the same fees but we study: Last year as a have vast differences in fresher, I was required to our contact time? We are buy £200 worth of books all meant to be equal, but in my first week. are some more equal than I am currently receivothers? ing a 50 minute seminar The reality of the situ- and 50 minute lecture ation regarding tuition per week for the English hours and the vast dis- side of my degree, totalcrepancies between the ling 100 minutes of conresources required for tact time per week. Mildifferent courses is not ton's Paradise Lost was challenging to reveal: ask whizzed through in a 50 a cross section of stu- minute lecture, which left dents and it doesn't take a me frustrated as I barely mathematician to see the had the chance to study pattern. In the Humanities one of the most complex corner we have Rachel, a second year History student whose lecture and seminar hours average four hours per week. Sophie, a final year single honours Music student whose studies average six to eight hours per week and Ross, a third year Ancient History student who receives four hours per week in his final year of an undergraduate degree. Students studying degrees in the arts department pay on average and revolutionary literary £29.00 per hour for their pieces ever written. lectures. Asking my lecturer In the second tier of why we only received one subject hours, we have hour's worth of contact languages, sports and time for this module per political sciences. They week despite the content pay an average of £12 per clearly deserving more, I hour for their lectures. was told the department Medical and science could not afford to hire a based subjects pay around lecturer for another hour. £4 an hour. So where is my money goResources that are ing? necessary for each subWe know that as stuject differ greatly. As an dents we are all paying
leave university. Statistics reveal that it will be more difficult for some graduates in arts subjects to get a job after graduating, let alone to expect the £30,000 that a medical student can expect to earn after graduation. How can the students get involved and change the situation? The issues raised are only the tip of the iceberg and they are also topical: there is currently a Governmental debate on whether to remove the cap on student fees. Over the past week, hundreds of stu-
'Students studying arts degrees pay £29 per lecture... medical students pay £4' dents from the University of Bristol have been in protest against the lack of funding for students from low socio-economic backgrounds, organised through a movement by the National Union of Students (NUS). The University of Bristol is able to invest approximately £7,000 on each student per year – and only 14 per cent of those students are from low socio-economic
Clocking Off Jude Hill
backgrounds. In contrast, at the University of West England, where over 30 per cent of its students are from the latter economic group, just £3,400 is spent on each student. The inequality is clear when we consider that we all pay the same fee – but the level of tuition and resources are plainly far higher at certain institutions. The argument that 'arts subjects work that way – it's all about doing it yourself' just doesn't ring true with me. While I think the lecturers on my course are fantastic and the content enthralling, I am not satisfied with the lack of hours and resources available to me as an arts student. I am not unintelligent – and neither are any of the humanities students I have spoken to – but it is difficult to keep up a high level of focussed and motivated study when your contact hours are so few. It seems many arts students fall into a habit of procrastination, and not unsurprisingly when we consider how demanding the content of the course is whilst the guidance can be so little. The result is large numbers of students possibly not fulfilling their potential or receiving the attention they deserve at degree level. The Guardian table for university funding in 2009 shows the amounts awarded to each university for teaching. For the 2009/10 academic year the University of Birmingham is receiving £82,033,000. Of this amount, £2,647,000 is being spent on widening participation and student success funding – in contrast, a massive £45 million is spent on research funding. Perhaps, the cost of an extra hour's English lecture on Milton could be drawn from the pools of resources such as these? There are approximately 16,500 undergraduate students at the University of Birmingham and 8,000 post-graduate students. If funding for teaching is currently £82,033,000 and there are approximately 24,500 home students, then funding for each individual student works out at £3348. Therefore, our tuition fee is only slightly less than the actual cost of our tuition. And some subjects are receiving the money, whilst others it seems, are not receiving the attention they deserve.
BONFIRE Night looms, where we celebrate the attempt by Guy Fawkes to blow up the Houses of Parliament. Did Fawkes set a precedent in his actions? Evidently, this kind of rebellion against the Government has not been seen since that time. But is this a good thing or bad thing? Having spent the summer watching V For Vendetta and various conspiracy films, I have come to realise that this type of rebellion is not the work of just a few individuals, but attributable to most people. This is why I got so excited when I saw a particularly good conspiracy film the other day. It made me realise that, to a certain extent, rebellion had become popular. I know that for many of you, saying 'a particularly good conspiracy film' is the equivalent of saying 'a particularly good way of being stabbed' i.e. not pleasant, but the best option available. However there are a few which do make a lot of sense to me. The most convincing conspiracy films are the ones that allow you to make up your own mind; for example, a film I watched about Obama's first ten days in power. We are going to be covering a conference in Redbrick next week on what has been achieved during Obama's first 300 days as president. I wonder if it will allude to how, within ten days of being elected as President, Obama had gone against all of his own promises before he came into office. People have argued to me that this is due to the pressures of the US government. Even if this is the case, the American people elected him, not the people around him. The most compelling film that I have seen, however, is the infamous Zeitgeist film series, which talks about the 911 theories, the monetary system and religion. The argument that chilled me the most in these series of films was the one about global warming. After all, this is something that is now widely accepted; even the most outrageous anti-government bodies protest in the belief that this is true.
It is the sole reason that Gordon Brown can hike up the price of petrol, demand more money from the biggest companies and put excessive and seemingly pointless prices on things that have a 'higher carbon footprint.' It is what people have described as the single most dangerous thing that is happening in our world right now. But how do we know that it's happening? How do we know that this isn't something that we are being told by the Government in order to push up prices and justify excessive taxation? Scientific evidence is lacking on the subject. We know that there have been periods of extreme heat and extreme cold in the past. The temperature of the Earth fluctuates, so why do we think that we are responsible? Maybe we have changed the amount of carbon dioxide in the air; but think about it this way, the ocean gives off about 97 per cent of all the world's CO2. To think that we are anything more than a minor irritation to the world is arrogance. It has survived worse things than humans: it has had meteorites, it has had volcanoes and it has been almost totally covered in ice. Jeremy Clarkson's new car does not make much difference in the grand scheme of things. To take the words of comedian George Carlin: 'The planet is fine. The people are f*cked... the planet'll shake us off like a bad case of fleas.' So perhaps it is time that we began to look at Guy Fawkes and wonder whether he was so crazy to go against the government, whether he set a path all those years ago that we should be treading today. Maybe blowing up Parliament is excessive, but we can all do our part by making sure that we continue to hold the Government to account, that we question everything we are told and remember that we are, ultimately, just small fleas on the back of a far more powerful and robust creature. A lot of what the Government says is like a candle in the wind – unreliable.
REDBRICK 1356 / 30th OCTOBER 2009
Debate: Should fatism be made illegal? Two writers take sides over the movement to outlaw discrimination against the obese Tia Zacharias: FOR A BIG-BONED girl came up to me last week and complained about a joke I'd made. She said to me, 'I think you're fatist.' I said, 'No love, I think you're fattest.' Despite being entertaining, Jimmy Carr's joke does highlight the striking lack of respect that our otherwise highly sensitive culture devotes to the overweight. Banning this so-called 'fat-ism' may be seen as censorious, reactionary and unfounded but would Carr's gag have been received so warmly if he had been promoting racism, sexism or homophobia? No, because legislation has imposed upon us an understanding of how important these issues are. We need to change the way in which overweight people are seen, from figures of ridicule to human beings with genuine feelings, problems and, when it comes down to it, the right to make their own choices without being condemned by those around them. If it is necessary for the law to intercede where reasoned argument has failed then so be it. One distorting factor in this debate is the artificially narrow concept of the 'healthy body', which most of us fall prey to at least once in a while. When one considers how easily the medically-endorsed Body Mass Index can mislead (for instance, many athletes' BMI are in the overweight range just because muscle weighs more than fat), it seems ludicrous even to attempt to gauge a person's
go on to attack anybody who falls outside of this narrow little range with spiteful jokes and selfrighteous judgments. Is it unreasonable for overweight people to desire legal protection from this?
Seb Mann: AGAINST FATISM, the clumsy term for the widely targeted discrimination of those considered obese, is a contentious issue. And
Fatist ot fattest? Photo: Mike Roberts Statistics source: www.ic.nhs.uk/pubs/opadjan08 Another popular misconception stems from the idea that fat people are self-destructive burdens on the healthcare system. It is far too easy to forget that medically-recognised obesity is often the manifestation, rather than the cause, of serious medical problems. Physical syndromes like Prader-Willi and Polycystic Ovaries control a sufferer’s ap-
'The estimated cost to the national economy of recent inflated levels of obesity is close to £15 billion' health by their dress size or appearance. And yet it seems that many of us are programmed to do just that, categorising friends, celebrities and passers-by as 'underweight', 'normal' and 'overweight' with no reference point more authoritative than mediadetermined stereotypes. Then, armed with our subjective and arbitrary definition of what constitutes a healthy physique, we
ly-needed medical help. This is devastating for the patients who are suffering unnecessarily, and equally harmful to the NHS when it is forced to rectify severe problems that could easily have
petite and metabolism, whilst psychological issues like depression and poor self-image can be equally threatening. By dismissing all overweight people with the same sweeping and insensitive diagnosis – 'patient lacks self-control and needs to eat fewer pies' – our society may well be conditioning legions of people to bow down to stigma rather than seek urgent-
been prevented. In these cases, condoning 'fat-ism' is tantamount to criminalising a symptom, and this is something we simply cannot afford to do. On a more positive note, I would like to close with a few words on behalf of the blessed majority of overweight people: those who are not struggling with morbid obesity or underlying medical disorders, and are perfectly happy with their weight. People who are fine exactly the way they are. Our concept of what is healthy changes dramatically over time; just as tobacco was once recommended by doctors as a source of mental refreshment, the ample and varied diet of those who 'overeat' by today's standards may one day be seen as a healthier alternative to living off salad and snacking on supplements. Having a large frame or a few curves doesn’t necessarily indicate an impending health problem or a lack of self-restraint. We should support overweight people who are secure enough in themselves to remain unaffected by spiteful jokes and half-baked ideas, not least for the sake of those who are less resilient. And for once, let's all make a joke at the fatists' expense.
even as I tentatively type this I remain fully aware of how dangerously close I am to coming across as prejudiced. For this reason I shall try to stick as tightly to the concrete facts of the matter as I can. Campaigners against fatism, who belong to the Size Acceptance Movement, argue that this kind of discrimination should be considered in the same vein as racial and sexual discrimination. This would essentially make it as unlawful to not employ someone on the basis of weight as it is to not employ someone based on race. The approach being called for, modelled on a law recently introduced in San Francisco, would even extend to restriction of doctors' powers to encourage the overweight to slim down. I'm reasonably certain I'm not alone in taking issue with this.
of men are classified as 'overweight' It will come as a surprise to no one, due to the saturation of the media with alarming statistics, that being seriously overweight increases your risk of developing cancer,
heart disease and diabetes, to name but a few. But it might come as a surprise
And it is true that the overweight have been subject to flagrantly unjustified
'Would Carr have been funny if he had been promoting racism, sexism or homophobia?' to some to learn that, according to England's chief medical officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, the estimated cost to the national economy of recent inflated levels of obesity is close to £15 billion. The result of greater health service demand, lost industrial productivity and increased incapacity benefit payments, this figure makes the full extent of the antifatist's proposed agenda, which asks for a more relaxed treatment of obesity, a hard one to defend. Integral to the Size Acceptance Movement's campaign is the vanquishing of weight based discrimination in the workplace. They argue that surveys have shown that '93 per cent of employers would rather employ a thin person than a fat one even if they are equally qualified.' Is this as unfair as it initially sounds though? Can an employer, aware of the risks associated with being seriously overweight, really be shunned for choosing to employ a thinner (and therefore likely more healthy) individual over one who is obese? For a start, it's likely that of the employers questioned, a substantial proportion of them work in areas of industry or business where being overweight puts an individual at a physical disadvantage. So in cases such as these, being equally as qualified as someone thinner can justifiably take a backseat. Also, as a speculative investment, hiring someone has to take into account the risks to the company involved. Knowing the increased health risks of being seriously overweight, an employer can, I think reasonably, discriminate between someone who is more likely to suffer from serious illness (and therefore potentially cost the company through absence) and someone who is not. Perhaps I am being unfair; discrimination in the workplace based solely on personal prejudices probably does exist, even if only on a minority level.
abuse, occasionally even extending as far as physical attack. However, I'm still reluctant to believe that the legislation being called for is really the way to tackle the issue. By comparing weight-based discrimination to sexual and racial discrimination it seems that campaigners are devaluing the seriousness of the latter, ignoring the fact that weight is something that an individual largely has control over. Moreover, if we illegalise weight-based
of adults classed as obese in 2007 discrimination, don't we open the floodgates to a whole range of personal prejudices that lead to discrimination and ultimately risk losing all sense of moral obligation to tightly imposed laws?
Do you have any thoughts on this topic or any of the other articles in the features section? Comment and debate online:www. redbrickonline. co.uk If you would like to write for the features or comment section, please come along to our meetings on Tuesday at 5pm or email us your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org
REDBRICK 1356 / 30th OCTOBER 2009
Deposit disasters Tom Lane shares his experiences on the issue of nightmare landlords TWO years ago a story briefly made the news about a crooked landlord in Leeds who had taken the deposits of some eighty students and done a runner. It turns out the guy used to gamble compulsively on stocks and shares, and not very effectively. Presumably he had squandered these deposits by investing in a combination of Woolworths, Lehman Brothers and the 3.10 at Haymarket, because when the tenants asked for their money back he didn't have any. In the past this kind of thing happened all the time. A 2003 report estimated that student landlords wrongfully withheld deposits to the value of £5.5M each year. Since 2007, legislation has forced them to register all payments, so they can no longer take them straight down to Grosvenor Casino. If you fancy some free money, why not check whether your deposit has been protected under the MyDeposits scheme and promptly sue your landlord if you find it isn't. Things are better now, but student tenancy re-
mains a decidedly murky area. One third year that I know had the bailiffs come round to her house on Alton Road due to some or other shady activity on the landlord's part. When I asked what he'd done she said 'Oh, I'm not sure. I think he owed someone a lot of money. And someone else was taking him to court because he hadn’t registered himself properly – oh, and the house he was letting didn't belong to him.' It's not just the dodgy ones you need to look out for. Our land-baron last year was a prim, pedantic lady, the apparent model of middle-class tedium and respectability. When we moved in, my housemate had the misfortune of being treated to a 'welcome tour' where she walked around the house for two hours, spouting such banal sentiments as, 'I'm not sure how familiar you will be with the workings of a Henry vacuum cleaner,' and, 'now, the main problem people tend to encounter with this particular laundry machine is attempting to use it without first
A landlord checks the inventory of a student house Photo: Lucy Percival setting the mode to 'on'. She also carried around a sheet of paper on which she meticulously ticked off items like 'two Jenny Lund cushions (green).' At one point she noticed
an error on the inventory and with a squeal of horror corrected 'picture of a goose in frame' to 'picture of a zebra in frame.' Well, we should have known what we were get-
ting ourselves in for. After the end of the tenancy she returned the inventory to us with additional comments such as 'shoe rack – heavily soiled' and 'dishwasher tablets – missing;
need replacement', along with a bill for £1800. It must be said she was nothing but precise. She sent attached receipts, an itemised expenses sheet ('200 cups of tea for Northfield Building Services - £11.21…emotional trauma invoked by burns in carpet - £25.07') and somewhat less itemised threats of what would happen if she didn't receive payment. The worst part of all is that there really is not much you can do with a crazed landlord. Following our ordeal, I phoned the lady and demanded to know whether she derived sick pleasure from impoverishing students, then followed it up with an email asking her to pay 37 pence for the cost of the call – but it didn't seem enough. Sometimes I think the only way to really deal with troublesome proprietors would be to name and shame them in newspaper articles, but of course it would be crassly unprofessional for me to mention ours.
I think, therefore I can Martin Theaker takes a look at your right to choose what you study 'WHAT are you doing that for? You may as well do a BA in Cheese Appreciation, mate.' Standard banter down at the pub. At some point, everyone will get into a discussion about the importance of their degree and will be expected to defend it. So, let's for once revel in some stereotypes. Maths is too hard, history is boring and physics is far too nerdy. Insert your degree course here, and I'm sure you can come up with one of your own. Our choice of degree says much about who we are, and about whether we like to solve problems, build things, or in some cases, have a borderline unhealthy obsession with eighteenthcentury firearms. With the recession biting, university departments are increasingly coming under pressure to make their research have a greater impact on society. This is particularly prevalent in the humanities, but affects science too. 'Blue sky' thinking, which encourages research without respect to application, is very much
off the cards. In some ways this is a shame, not least because it means my magnum opus on gorgonzola will be shelved for the foreseeable future. Silly examples aside, this is pretty important, as the money a department receives for research often affects the quantity and quality of teaching it provides. So, this trend brings up a couple of questions. Does something need a measurable real-world impact to be considered valuable? How far can you take a line of thinking before it becomes pointless? The issue is basically one of whether you think universities are for job training or exploring interests. Ideally of course, it'd be both. The Government has continually stressed the importance of getting more people into what it has termed 'stem' subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths), and to an extent they have succeeded. The number of medical students has gone up by over a fifth in the last five years whilst the
numbers of history and languages students has remained fairly steady. In the current climate it's inevitable that there will be some kneejerk reactions demanding greater efficiency and return for the investments made into higher education. However, students seem to be resisting this move. A discussion I was involved with at a society only the other day revealed that most of participants had chosen their subjects through intellectual curiosity before they considered future employment. This is by no means atypical; lots of students continue to apply for academic courses even when incentives are offered for doing subjects in which graduates are in short supply. The general mood is, as long as students are paying for their education then they should have at least some say in what they study. After all, their degree will probably direct their future career path (at least here everyone is equal – there are no jobs anyway). The way research
funding is dished out will ultimately affect the choices available to potential undergraduates, so it's good to see students continuing to demand to be taught what they find valuable rather than bending to Government targets.
At the end of the day, it is impossible to say how useful it is to decide if Henry VIII would have benefited from marriage counselling or if Genghis Khan could have used anger management classes. So what this all boils down to is the
question 'is it enough for knowledge to be an objective in itself'? In this case, the choice is up to the person paying for it – you. Just don't expect me to be interested in your musket collection.
Will you be reading art or science books? Photo: Lucy Percival
REDBRICK 1356 / 30th OCTOBER 2009
Film of the Week
Matt Davis is seriously unimpressed with Jennifers Body Director: Karyn Kusama Cast: Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried Cert: 15
Alex Jacques Rosie Willmot WELCOME to another joint Film editorial, and it's our section's time to shine in terms of seasonal relevance – it's Halloween, people! 'In the normal world, Halloween is the time when kids dress up and beg for candy. In girl world, you generally just wear underwear, and some form of animal ears.' That quote, as seen in the awesome Mean Girls, basically sums up the concept of Halloween for us (well, for Rosie), but our writers have a lot more to say on the matter. To sum up some of the 'horrific' articles (see what we did there?), Jack 'The Ripper' Brumby revels in the gratuitous violence of the latest Saw offering, Simon 'Slasher' Fairbanks tells us why the
original Scream film pushes his proverbial buttons and Rachael 'Hostel' Hewison gives us her top ten horror films of all time. In other news, Matt 'Urban Legend' Davis reviews the much-anticipated Jennifer's Body, starring the super-hot Megan Fox, and Sam 'Psycho' Jansen takes a look at Law Abiding Citizen (never heard of it? No, neither have we. Basically, it's Gerard Butler's desperate attempt to scramble back from the horror film of the year – The Ugly Truth) Dan 'Dawn of the Dead' Richford gives us a sneakpeek in what’s coming up in the world of film, and Holly 'Exorcist' Edwards and Elmley 'Evil Dead' De La Cour take sides on the controversial actor Russell Crowe. Happy Halloween everyone, don't eat too many toffee apples, and try not to kill anyone.
JENNIFER'S Body is a new film on the block that hosts a couple of Hollywood's hottest new, ahem, talent: the striking Megan Fox and recently celebrated Juno screenwriter DiabloCody. The film is set in the peaceful town of Devils Kettle, Minnesota, where Megan Fox plays Jennifer, a cheerleader who has a catalogue of boys waiting to date her. After a rock band offers Jennifer a lift in the night, she returns to the town with a disturbing physical change. Her evil transformation has cannibalistic consequences for the inhabitants of this sleepy neighbourhood and Jennifer now needs a human banquet in order to ensure her survival. Amanda Seyfried plays the character Needy, Jennifer's 'plain-Jane' friend and she must attempt to stop the murderer at all costs. Jennifer's Body should have been a captivating evening of blood, guts and teenage comedy. Instead the film putridly discharges a
somewhat discouraging and tame performance. Kusama, the new director in Hollywood, commits a cascade of mistakes but sticks religiously to the governing clichés of horror. It isn't the stereotypes that spoil this film – the mysterious woodlands, derelict swimming pools or abandoned houses. Jennifer's Body needs to be an 18 certificate- a big screen viewing flaunting a collection of decomposing limbs, flyinfested bodies and the occasional sporadic teenage nudity. However, the film has been released as a 15, and the
diluted translation of terror that follows is just not good enough. Though the film comprises simple dialogue and a substandard level of acting, there are rare moments of plot sophistication. The camera shows Needy to possess a sexual appetite for Jennifer, this onesided craving is paralleled by the complication that Jennifer has been harbouring a bizarre jealousy towards Needy. These key issues should have had a significant impact upon the film, but instead these erotic and perturbing renditions are surpris-
up. Only at the very end of the film is the core theme – don't make deals with murderers – briefly and unsubtly returned to, but by then it's far too late to save what has, at this point, turned into another action-thriller with seemingly more C4 than substance. Between the explosions and the consequent deaths, moreover, lies a plot which is strung together by implausible development after implausible development, where characters make decisions with a basis in rationality akin to that of entering a
lion's cage wearing a garland of pork chops. Gerard Butler gets naked for no logical reason other than because it is what Gerard Butler does best, whilst Foxx tries so hard to play the cold, amoral lawyer fihure that he looks as if somebody rammed a tent pole up through his lower orifice. Glimmers of competency are evident when Foxx and Butler get together in the highly typical prison 'bird-cage' scenes, but these are too few to make up for the overall sense of inadequacy that is felt throughout.
ingly discarded and the only remnant of intelligence quietly escapes.
VERDICT Jennifer's Body not only fails as a dark-comedy but also manages to produce an eccentric, nonsensical ending that stains the cinematic screen with dire use of modern CGI. Furthermore, Fox disappointingly doesn’t even bare any flesh, and sadly, it'll only be the pre-pubescent goon who will find any satisfaction in this post Halloween production.
Law Abiding Citizen Sam Jansen Director: F. Gary Gray Cast: Jaime Foxx, Gerard Butler Cert: 15
Dan Richford THIS week we saw the first pictures of The A-Team and it looks awesome. Bradley Cooper is Faceman, Quinton Jackson is BA Baracus, Sharlto Copley is Murdock, Liam Neeson is Hannibal, and personally, I cannot wait for it. But that's not out until next year, and there's plenty to see before then. An Education is out this week, a Nick Hornby screenplay (the guy who wrote About a Boy) about 60s England and a young girl who gives up her dreams of Oxford for a romance with an older guy. Sounds a tad unoriginal, but it won awards at this years Sundance festival and Hornby's writing doesn't normally let us down so I'm hopeful this'll be a winner. However, Dead Man Running doesn't look quite so credible. An excon is given 24 hours to
raise £100,000 by a New York gangster, and the film follows him as he embarks on frantic race round England to try and come up with the cash. The casting of Danny Dyer and 50 Cent tells us all we need know about this one methinks; probably one to miss. Also, if it's not bad enough having Christmas adverts transmitted in bloody October, A Christmas Carol is out next week, quite ridiculously. The 3D animation does look good though, and even with Jim Carrey doing about nineteen of the voices, it may be worth a watch. Looking slightly further ahead, we have the latest apocalyptic special effects bonanza that is 2012. The film explores the idea that the end of the world will coincide with the end of the Mayan calendar and with a budget of 200 million dollars it is bound to be an absolute epic.
CLYDE Shelton (Butler) is having a bad day. First he sees his wife and daughter murdered by burglars, and then he watches in despair as one of the criminals makes a deal in court and gets off pretty lightly. Attorney Nick Rice (Foxx) puts it down to how the system works, but Clyde decides the system needs an overhaul and takes matters into his own hands. Fast-forward ten years and Clyde sets his fiendish plan in motion. All around, people connected with the old case are dying, and it's up to Rice to end Clyde's twisted revengekick. The problem is, how do you stop a man who’s already in prison? There's always a potential problem with films with a message, in that the moral of the story can become lost in the action and suspense. Law Abiding Citizen takes this to an extreme, carefully laying out the issues with America's justice system before setting it all to one side in order to blow stuff
VERDICT 'It's gonna be biblical,' warns Gerard Butler at one point. It's hard to share his sense of proportion for Law Abiding Citizen, as its heavyweight potential rapidly dissipates. After last week's empty promise, the groundbreaking inaugarual Film podcast will be available early next week through the Redbrick website and on iTunes.
12 Film Top Ten: Horror Films suffers possibly one of the goriest deaths in this genre.
Rachael Hewison I HAVE a confession. I am a horror film addict. I was the kid that had every Point Horror book and so before I list my top ten, let me give you a few tips for this coming Halloween: never try to outrun your killer, even if they walk slowly they will still manage to get you, and you are also likely to fall over in the process numerous times; if your friend is captured it's probably best to just leave them behind; children are evil; and lastly, you may have to kill the killer a number of times, because otherwise they'll be back for the sequel (even if you have shot them/stabbed them/ripped off their limbs).
10) Halloween One of the most notorious slashers in screen history. Another seven Halloween films and two remakes followed showing that Michael Myers is one of the most famous serial killers ever.
Rich, psychopathic people buy backpackers that they can do anything to, and they mean anything. Chainsaws, sickles and
9) Carrie Stephen King is a genius of horror, so one of his films had to be included. The moral of the film: never bully people, particularly those with telekinetic powers.
Director: Kevin Greutert Cast: Tobin Bell, Costas Mandylor Cert: 18 FIRST-time director Kevin Greutert refreshes the annual Halloween gorefest by giving the film a contemporary issue to sink its bloody teeth into: the American healthcare system. This time the person playing Jigsaw's games is a slick corporate executive, who accepts and rejects people for health insurance according to whether or not they will lose his business money. Though its new-found topicality is refreshing, people paying to see a Saw film aren't looking
Scream relaunched the slasher genre in the 90s and has perhaps the most iconic costume and voice in horror.
The twist at the end has to be one of the greatest in film history. Two men find themselves chained in a chamber with a dead man between them. They realise they are playing the notorious Jigsawâ€™s psychopathic game and survival is their prize.
5) The Orphan In order to repair their family, Kate and John decide to adopt nine-yearold Esther, who seems like an angelic little girl. In reality, she will harm anyone that gets in her way.
3 3) The Descent A group of climbers get stuck in underground caves when a clan of bloodthirsty creatures start hunting them down. This film is so scary my ex-boyfriend jumped and punched me in the face. Beware: this film may cause you to act violently.
A couple staying in an isolated holiday home are stalked by three masked strangers. There are so many jumps and scares and you never see the people under the masks. It's based on a true story, so they could be your flatmate, your lecturer or your girlfriend...
4 4) The Orphanage
7 drills are just a few examples. According to the special features there are actually places like this. You won't look at the film the same again will you?
Kiefer Sutherland works in a fire-damaged department store where he discovers there's something sinister about the mirrors he has to clean. His sister
REDBRICK 1356 / 30th OCTOBER 2009
Proof that Spain can deliver excellent horrors. It tells the story of Laura who reopens her old orphanage, and finds it haunted by the children she lived with.
for a political statement; they want decapitations and people eating their own faces. The film manages to be cringey and shocking in all the right places, even if you have seen the preceding five films' worth of fake blood and pig fat. Greutert has the tricky task of balancing deathtraps with the increasingly complicated Saw mythology. Flashbacks are crammed into the film as the narrative tries to deal with characters competing for screen time and Jigsaw's plans are becoming difficult to follow. Saw VI is tighter and faster than recent entries, and has a wicked ingenuity not seen since the early films; one particular trap will ensure that you
never look at roundabouts the same way again. However, visually the series is becoming familiar and uninspired. Why can't we have someone wake up in a boobytrapped zoo next time? Animals are always fun. Anything but the endless procession of dreary industrial buildings that these people have to stumble through. VERDICT A solid entry for the franchise with a plot that twists and turns without feeling too laboured, but the trademarks of the series appear worn out. And just how long can Jigsaw manipulate people from beyond the grave? The guy must have done some serious planning.
Simon Fairbanks HALLOWEEN is upon us, and cinematically you are spoilt for choice. Ninety years of popular cinema have led to the creation of supernatural thrillers (The Omen), Stephen King adaptations (The Shining), Japanese remakes (The Ring) and hyper-violent gore-fests (Saw). However, this week I am celebrating the revival of the slasher genre, which hacked its way onto our screens in the mid-90s: Scream. The 90s had not contributed anything original to the horror genre aside from stale sequels to earlier slashers, such as Halloween and Friday the 13th. Our generation needed its own franchise, and who better to direct
than a veteran of the old school: Wes Craven. Armed with a horrorpacked CV and bags of red corn syrup, the nineties had a saviour. Craven's Scream meets the requirements of a good slasher flick: young attractive cast, gruesome deaths and an iconic killer. Crucially, Craven and screenwriter Kevin Williamson reinforced Scream with the originality it needed: irony. The film is littered with references to classic horror films, showing a self-awareness of the genre it is operating within. The killer quizzes Casey about Jason Voorhees (Friday the 13th), Billy's surname is Loomis (Halloween), Linda Blair cameos (The Exorcist), the janitor is called Freddy
(Elm Street); the list goes on. Most famously, Jamie Kennedy's film-geek Randy recites the rules of surviving a horror movie: no drugs, no sex and never say, 'I'll be right back!' Scream not only reinvented horror. It cast Courtney Cox against types such as bad-ass journalist Gale Weathers and famously revived Drew Barrymore's career via a short-lived but memorable performance as the first victim. Next year, Williamson is back with a second trilogy, and with a whole decade of new horror films to reference, we can expect the whodunit slasher genre to return once more. In 2010, everyone will hear you scream.
REDBRICK 1356 / 30th OCTOBER 2009
Justified existence: Russell Crowe
Russell Crowe is the Marmite of the cinematic world, but are you a lover or a hater? Two of our writers pick a side and fight it out phone-throwing style. Elmley de la Cour SINCE his appearance in L.A Confidential, Crowe has excelled in the alphamale role with pictures such as Master and Commander: The Far side of the World, and deservedly won an Oscar for Gladiator. Far from being type-cast, Crowe has an impressive range and is not afraid of going 'nonsexy.' In A Beautiful Mind he handles mental illness and vulnerability convincingly, and for Body of Lies he gained sixty-three pounds to do little but talk on a phone. The key to Crowe is that he is compelling throughout, and is just as effective slicing a man's head off with two swords as he is at struggling with equations in a library. He injects intelligence and energy into all of his roles, and through his skill with mannerisms and accents (notably his English accent) is able to totally inhabit his characters. However, despite his three Oscar nominations and his choice of interesting and challenging projects, praise for Crowe is not universal. Offscreen he can come across
as arrogant, and his somewhat fiery temper has led him into several police incidents. However, it seems to be for these reasons that people tend to criticise Crowe, in essence for reasons that have nothing to do with his acting. If he is to have the personality size that his critics claim then surely that makes his acting achievements even greater? Putting his own character aside to play the troubled, socially inept John Nash in A Beautiful Mind, or the down-and-out boxer in Cinderella Man with the sincerity and emotional depth that he does, is surely the greatest testament to his abilities. Crowe's diversity has been mentioned but what
really makes him special is his consistency. He brings a power to every role he plays. On-screen he seems to have this aura that draws in audience attention, and is this presence that makes his action sequences in Gladiator so thrilling and his deeper scenes, such as the sixty-second interview in The Insider, so powerful. It wasn't a fantastic film but it was Crowe's performance as the enigmatic Ben Wade that made it worth watching. This constant cinematic presence, within every character he seems to play, is the crux of Russell Crowe's quality and the reason for his success. Guys, 'are you not entertained?'
Holly Edwards I DON'T object to Russell Crowe because I believe him to be a very poor actor. I object to him because he is rude and violent to fans, staff and crew members. The most infamous incident was where he injured a hotel employee with a phone, but there are many others. Another example was the BAFTA Awards where part of his speech was cut short and consequently Crowe pinned a producer against the wall and threatened to make sure he never worked again. Why is an actor's private life relevant? I like to think that the money I pay to watch these films goes to people who at the very least, are respectful
towards those around them. This is why people with minimal talent but seemingly nice personalities, such as Jennifer Aniston, manage to be so popular. Now I shall admit that if Russell Crowe was an amazing actor, I might be able to overlook this 'diva' behaviour. But he's not. He is 'ok'. He says his lines in a reasonably coherent fashion. He looks moody at the right points. But that's kind of it. That's all he can do. There is no magical transformation or really anything he can do that another actor couldn't do just as well or probably better. Take Gladiator. Would it really have been a different film with someone else looking troubled and
then fighting people? Maybe someone else could even have injected some more personality into Maximus, which is the only thing I ever felt that film lacked. Besides, another actor probably wouldn't have told the writer 'Your lines are garbage but I'm the greatest actor in the world and I can make even garbage sound good'. Now maybe I'm being too sensitive here, but I think that pretty much shows what an arrogant, rude, arsehole Russell Crowe is. Why should the rules of common decency not apply to Russell Crowe just because he's an actor? Why should he get away with this sort of behaviour? It's not like he has the talent to make up for it.
REDBRICK 1356 / 30th OCTOBER 2009
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Voice of the voiceless Nick Petrie Several events over the past few weeks have led me to question why students are so quiet and so passive over major campus issues. It really bothers me how as a group we manage to be totally unaffected by what is happening to our peers. I understand that as students we are as varied a group as they come, but I do not understand how we fail to stand up for each other, stand side by side with each other. The incident that has sparked me off regarding such levels of disinterest in the plight of fellow students is that of the Chelwood students who are being removed from their current accommodation, friendship groups and first term experiences. Mark Harrop, president of Aitken halls – who was given the responsibility of looking after the temporary Chelwood residents – started a petition alongside the more formal methods he employed to raise the profile of the situation and generate support. This petition only received in the region of 200 signatures. Out of thousands of first year students only 200 took the time to show support for peers in an awful situation; I find this incredibly disappointing and yet I didn't expect much else. Except that I did - i thought that this time it would be different, that other first years would think 'how terrible if that was happening to me?' Trying to mobilise students is notoriously difficult and I wonder what response someone like Ed Sparkes (Guild Housing and Community Officer) will get when he campaigns on halls fees later this year - it won't directly affect anyone currently at Birmingham, yet if halls fees are allowed to continue to spiral out of control then it will begin to change the dynamic of going to university. Students will be less inclined or less able to move out when they first arrive at university – or will end up in much larger amounts of debt than we currently experience. Yet within all of this negativity we show moments where we stand up to be counted – last year we had the highest turnout ever at Guild Officer elections at 18 per cent – more than double on the previous year and nine per cent above the national average. At a debate on allowing controversial individuals to enter the UK there was fantastic student attendance and participation. Yet in the small vote on promotion of a new fertility clinic by the Guild on the Redbrick website there were 14 votes. The Guild making a decision on whether or not to promote sperm or egg donation for fertility Editor Nick Petrie Deputy Editors Jessica Tarrant Nadine Baldwick Online Editor Pete Blakemore Treasurer Rosie Aggett Pictures Editor Thomas Walters Chief Photographer Tom Flathers firstname.lastname@example.org
Guild Council Seats purposes is a massive decision and one that they are not taking lightly and yet student feedback has been poor, close to nonexistent. We all have opinions, perhaps I have more than most, but many of you are prepared to let me know what you think of x or y in the paper but won't stand side by side on issues of real importance and gravitas. The Chelwood students are having their first year turned around and although the University is taking steps to minimise the disturbance to their year, it is a poor second option and I think we failed them. Will we make ourselves heard against the BNP and fascism when the general election comes around and show that there is no place for racism or homophobia within our society? Will we step up and use the Guild and Guild Council, our most powerful means of change and influence to have a positive impact on the lives of all students at this University, presently and in the coming years? The Guild Officers cannot do it alone, without our guidance or support. I say that you are failing, you do not engage, you do not stand up to be counted when it matters most and you are prepared to allow the status quo to remain, I do not understand how students can care so little.
Total Guild Councillor Seats
The School of Biosciences
The School of Philosophy; Theology; and Religion
Guild Officer Team
Representation of Guild Council seats Graphic: Tom Walters Graphic representative of Guild Council composition, although not exactly proportional – Guild Officers cannot vote at Guild Council.
Question Time Live Blog
We wrongly accredited a writer for the article on the New Street Development last week. Her name was Helen Crane not Helen Clough.
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Goodbye It is with no pleasure at all that we say goodbye to one of our News Editors this week. Becky Shewell has been a dedicated servant to the Redbrick cause and she is a great loss to the paper and the team as a whole. We would like to say thank you to Becky and wish her the best of luck in her new endeavours.
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Comments [From Guest] it is almost unfortunate that the other panalists are sometimes too rigid in their criticism and allow him to sound as though he's being reasonable. Still i like to think that rationally minded people couldn't possibly be induced to vote BNP based on his performance here. i very much think it's right to show up the dangers of the party on national TV.
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16 Arts & Culture
REDBRICK 1356 / 30th OCTOBER 2009
BBC Big Band: Gershwin & Soul @ Town Hall Becky White GERSHWIN, BBC Radio 2 and Jaki Graham, all big names for a big band night! The Town Hall provided the impressive setting to transport the audience back to a scene of war-time jazz, American swing and Broadway glamour. The concert opened with the subtle humour of Strike up the Band, the title song from one of Gershwin's hit musicals. The classic I've got rhythm and They all laughed had the audience jigging in their seats. The rendition of My man's gone now had an impressive trumpet solo and the Oscar nominated They can't take that away from me from the 1937 hit film Shall we dance, was also stunning. Jaki Graham, the local born Brummie, made her debut appearance with the band, singing what is perhaps Gershwin's most iconic song Summertime. Porgy and Bess is perhaps the most critically acclaimed American opera of the 20th century and Graham sung its classic hit with soul and vivacity. Graham's short chiffon
sparkly dress was toned down by the introduction of a woodwind section. O doctor Jesu also from Porgy and Bess changed the tone of the evening with more sombre, dramatically intense timbre with chromatic scales, silent rests and percussion. In a strange twist of events the conductor Mark Nightingale opened the second half by exchanging his baton for the trombone and playing the solo in Love walked in. Tommy Lawrence had perfectly arranged some
of Gershwin's greats and O Lord I'm on my way was the finale with a succession of solos from practically every member of the band. The true spirit of jazz improvisation was realised. Despite the slightly grating, over enthusiastic BBC radio presenter with her RP accent, the BBC all male, penguin clad big band were quite simply swinging and you can tune in and listen to the concert broadcast on BBC Radio 2 on 23rd November.
Photo courtesy of Town Hall
A Window @ The REP James Reevell AS the author of the last banned play in England, it is to be expected that a play by Bond will shock, and hopefully, contain a few home truths about the social conditions that we exist in. So it was with high hopes of outrage and walkouts that this reviewer entered a crowded Studio at the Rep. This play is most definitely a series of upsetting events, with the opening scene yielding a pregnancy revelation and the abandonment of the mother. It then manages to encapsulate drug addiction, prostitution and suicide in a series of scenes not for the faint hearted. It is Bond's depiction of social depravity that made him such an influential playwright, yet this play has the sense that it is just an update of his original formula. By pasting a veneer of today's problems onto his play, Bond appears to be grasping for relevancy and authenticity; something he achieves only intermittently. Still, the dialogue remains crisp and tight throughout, and with consistent portrayal of characters the three man cast makes the play eminently
Battle of the comedians: Two different English comedians, two very different venues Simon Amstell @ Wolverhampton Grand Theatre Jess Blackburn THE jewfro is back! While most people seem to be lamenting over Simon Amstell's abandonment of Never Mind The Buzzcocks he doesn't seem all that fussed. After all, hosting the show for three years must get boring after a while. Far from the brash, extroverted persona Amstell wears on TV, this latest tour mainly targets his own insecurities. With the audience hanging on his every word, hushed as he weaves his stories (broken only by the laughter and guffaw of a man on the balcony), he seems unsure even now of his own success. Among the self-ridiculing stories he tells is the fixation with 'thin boys' and a crippling crush on Jared Leto in My So-Called Life when he was younger which has since informed his type. There's also the student who he only meets because his straight best friend is better at flirting with men than he is and the posh 18-year-old student who was left by his mother as a 'present' (Amstell's voice positively squeaks
in disbelief). And yet, he can't seem to get laid and Simon has an inkling why: whiny voices just aren't that sexy. There's also the reason why his brother's girlfriend isn't welcome at family dinners (she isn't Jewish): 'We mustn't judge them â€“ it's just because they have a strong belief in racism'. Amstell is a big believer in living in the moment, even if that's at odds with his usual over-analytical method. Lanky and awkward, Amstell seems to have finally grown into himself as a performer and whilst he's retained the digs at his Jewish roots and his sexuality, h e ' s branched out into dating.
Eddie Izzard @ NIA (on 17th/18th November) Rebecca Gresley-Jones AS one of the country's most continuously successful stand-up comedians, Eddie Izzard has a lot to live up to with his new show, Stripped. Die-hard fans will be expecting only the best from the man who once asked the nowlegendary question, 'cake or death?' and explored the world of the Deathstar canteen. In Stripped, Izzard sticks to the material that he is most comfortable with, the history of the world. Taking the audience through the various points in history, for example, the day the Stone Age began, Eddie does not disappoint. His ability to per-
fectly embody a character is as astonishing and hilarious as ever, and whilst impersonating a giraffe playing charades in the event of a tiger attack (yes, seriously), you realise why his acting career has been so successful as well. If you have tickets to up-coming dates of the tour, then you are in for a treat, with a night of learning about jazz chickens, smoking cows, the story of Moses, the seemingly pointless process of downloading computer updates, the naming of Jesus, Farm-Hard and why Bruce Willis doesn't star in enough farm-based films. Unlikely subjects they may be, but delivered by Eddie, ones that will probably become well-recognised by stand-up fans all over the country by the time Stripped is released on DVD. Overall, while older fans are likely to compare this show to his previous (and frankly, hard to top) shows, both newcomers and those familiar to Eddie's brand of comedy are sure to love Stripped.
watchable. A late reunion of father and son provides both the play's climax and highlight. Involving what can only be described as light bondage with Oedipal undertones, bizarrely it is here where the play becomes truly believable. Danny O'Grady's portrayal of Dan is noteworthy, with a convincing performance as an angry young man. Perhaps, it is a sad
statement about the desensitising of our society, but at no point did this play truly shock, despite this appearing to be its main intent. Still as a social commentary it is hard to fault, and with several well chosen directorial touches it is a heartfelt and thought provoking production. Don't expect any walkouts.
Photo courtesy of The REP
Limbo @ The Old Joint Stock David Lewis
Carter's script is grounded in the ordinary and the mundane, but Bessant's performance makes it highly enjoyable. There are scattered moments of observational humour, but it is balanced with moments of genuine emotion, without being mawkish. The script is a witty mediation on regret and the unpredictablity of life. However, the ending overstates the message of appreciating individual moments, and misjudges the line between comedy and pathos. It blights an otherwise interesting and involving hour of theatre that encourages us to seize the day.
KEVIN didn't expect to find himself dead. But here he is, waiting around in limbo to find out whether he goes up or down. The 'middle' is seen as a bureaucratic nightmare, an almost endless wait for judgement, but we don't really delve deeply into the theological implications. Instead, Limbo is much more concerned with the reflections and regrets of ordinary life. This one man show has a minimum set, which serves to focus all the attention onto the performance of Stephan Bessant as Kevin. Luckily, he has a great presence and energy that allows him to engage the small audience in the story, with a range of clearly defined characters also informing his performance. His default accent isn't too clearly defined, and his direct address to the audience grates at times. Mostly though, this is a confident piece of storytelling. The story itself is simple; Kevin wants to get back to Earth, to comfort his grieving girlfriend. Simon Photo courtesy of The OJS
Arts & Culture
REDBRICK 1356 / 30th OCTOBER 2009
Gotta Sing, Gotta Dance @ The Alexandra
Markus The Sadist @ The Drum
Teodora Barzakova Rosie Price
A STORY about the musical theatre of the last century, Chris Jordan's new show Gotta Sing, Gotta Dance toured through the stage of the Alexandra Theatre last Friday. The cast of six talented and energetic song and dance performers took the audience on a 2 hour journey with moments from musicals like Les Miserables, Chicago, Singin' In The Rain, Mamma Mia! and High School Musical. Instead of a plot, there were informative and sometimes funny short dialogues in-between the broad selection of wellknown songs, scenes and a well-made slide show. The show made a tribute, not only to the classics of Gershwin, Gene Kelly, Bob Fosse and Andrew LloydWebber, but also to the modern hits on Broadway such as Wicked, Rent and Hairspray. The brilliant choreography, set and costume diversity was supported by the live music of Robert Cousins' big band. The first half mainly consisted of older classics from the likes of My Fair Lady, however, the lively cast put several in-
THE term 'rap opera' should normally instil a feeling of fear. Anyone who's ever stumbled across R Kelly's Trapped in the Closet on Youtube can account for this (especially the bit with the midget in the cupboard). So it was with trepidation that I sat down at The Drum to watch Jonzi D's Markus the Sadist as it comes to the close of it's tour around the country. Looking back, my initial wariness leaves me feeling like a bigot, because it was an immensely entertaining show. The 'rap opera' only demonstrated the impact that rhythm and metre can have on a play's language, which at times gave it a bizarre, if pleasant, Shakespearean quality. Markus the Sadist presents us with the titular protagonist, brilliantly played by hip-hop artist and actor Bashy; initially an upcoming grime MC, propelled into superstardom and forced to become the face of gangster rap in order to appease his manager and the heinous economic forces behind the music industry. Bashy manages to act superbly
Photo courtesy of The Alexandra novative, modern spins cluded a musical movie on their performances. montage, a three and half When performing a song minute history of the enfrom The Sound of Mu- tire West End, a bizarre sic, the mother superior track mix of High School was portrayed by a rather Musical and old classics energetic puppet; three like Frank Sinatra. The members of the cast per- cast made excellent use of formed Singin' in The Rain: props, somehow managed one miming the words (as to dance in tight suits in the film), one singing and really high heels, and and the final tap dancing. even adjusted their acThe second half in- cents to make the songs
Semyon Faibisovich @ Ikon Gallery Sian Gray IN the mid-1990s the Russian artist Semyon Faibisovich abandoned painting. Now, over a decade later, he has returned with a brilliant exhibition that provides an uneasy insight into the citizens of the Russian town Razgulyai. The exhibition named simply Razgulyai is darkly ironic for it loosely translates into Russian as a kind of extravagant fun, consisting of wasting money and primarily enjoyed by the bourgeoisie. His paintings however display alcoholics, the poor and the homeless, living in a withdrawn, schizoid community, representative of Russia's retreat to its past Soviet system. In the serenity of the gallery the reality of today's Russia is exposed. The titles of Faibisovich's pieces are thought provoking and cruel; I love Moscow (2008) depicts two women staring coldly into the camera whilst Take The Weight Off Your Feet (2008) unapologetically displays a woman sitting on the roadside, unable to move or just too tired to continue. Apart from the subjects, Faibisovich's work
is interesting because of the effect of the technology he uses to create them. The process of making his art is an unusual one. Faibisovich uses an obsolete mobile phone camera to take photos of the forgotten citizens. The images are then Photoshopped, printed and painted over; the light and dark are enhanced but never detract from the truth. In fact, Faibisovich's phone camera and use of Photoshop simply adds another dimension to the art without sugar coating the subject. The enlarged pixels delicately magnify the detail of a raw reality. The paintings are disturbing and captivating simultaneously. They force you think on a multiple levels. Razgulyai is a small exhibition but ultimately one that should be visited. Exhibition on until 15th November.
sound as genuine as possible. I think we speak for the whole audience when we say we've no idea how the actors kept going for so long. They certainly did, as Gershwin would say, have rhythm but they also had an extraordinary amount of stamina and energy.
Lodovico Einaudi @ Symphony Hall Ruth Cumiskey James Reevell
sic presents an utterly relaxing way to spend an evening, and despite leaving the concert hall with a slight urge to take up meditation, it is hard not to like this introspective Italian composer. With charming self-indulgence, he egged the audience on in their appreciation of his performance, and it was only after three encores of his old favourites that Einaudi and his ensemble finally left the stage, to a rousing standing ovation. It is obvious that despite the clear progression of Nightbook, it is still very much the same Einaudi underneath, and fans will definitely not be disappointed by this latest offering.
A FAVOURITE with mums everywhere, this Italian maestro wowed a Symphony Hall filled to the rafters with his (mostly) middle-aged fan club. From the beginning it was clear that Nightbook was to be a new direction for Einaudi. His ensemble of string players emerged from the back of the hall and made their way through the audience to the stage, completely enveloping the audience in the ethereal dreamworld of Einaudi's music. A much wider use of percussion and strings invigorated and strengthened his fluid piano style, which benefits from an often more rhythmic sound. His characteristic lyrical melodies and hypnotic piano playing were made still more emotive by the use of minimalist electro sounds, creating a world which was both evocative and reflective. His multi-talented ensemble provided a myriad of different sounds to bulk out the piano-centric sound, and add variety and drama where needed. As ever, his muPhoto courtesy of The REP
both a shy boy slowly discovering his potential, and a swaggering, arrogant superstar - complete with realistic American accent. He deserves full credit for being able to support the strange idea of a 'rap opera' and managed to carry the entire play from start to finish. That said, both Rob Broderick (Irish comedian/ rapper) and Colleen Joseph (femme fatale with knockout dance moves) both added waves to the overall show, although each actor and actress involved deserves full credit for a confident and convincing performance. On top of this, the play utilised lighting and visual props with a large degree of success, culminating in my personal highlight: the shooting of an especially clichĂŠd music video. Overall, despite the play wearing a bit thin towards the end, and the plot unexpectedly going all Orwellian, the end result was hugely entertaining, cleverly put together and extremely engaging. I really hope this play goes on tour again as it carries waves of charisma and originality that so many other musical productions lack.
Animal Farm @ Deb Hall Jenny Stevens Rebecca Targett THE first 48-hour production from Watch This chose George Orwell's Animal Farm to put their acting ability to the test. The play begins with the overthrowing Farmer Jones (charismatically played by Leo West), with the animals taking control of the farm. They establish their own rule and assert that here all animals are equal. However, as time goes on Napoleon (brilliantly portrayed by Tom Green) and his right hand man Squealer (Luke Harris) begin to take control of the farm. It becomes obvious that some animals are more equal than others. The cast were given two weeks to learn lines, one week- end to rehearse
Photo credit: Sarah Lines
and only one night to get it right. If characters forgot their lines they were humorously promoted by their narrator (Luke Nicholson), who adopted a rather dodgy Welsh accent. This was all taken in the spirit of the production and encouraged by the enthusiastic audience. The strength of the production was the ensemble that played the farm animals. All the costumes were imaginatively homemade, the cows had pink washing up gloves for udders and the sheep were wrapped in woollen rugs. Each actor cleverly took on the characteristics of the animal they were playing. All in all this was a very enjoyable evening and we can expect more performances of the same high calibre from Watch This in the future.
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REDBRICK 1356 / 30th OCTOBER 2009
Bodies Revealed @ The Custard Factory Lexie Frost Noel Byrne THE English are a nation not known for their easy tolerance of the dead, but the Bodies Revealed exhibition at the Custard Factory aims to change this when it starts its three month run on 30th October. It showcases real body parts and full size cadavers. If your stomach is already turning at the thought of corpses on display, don't worry! They don't smell rancid, they aren't particularly gruesome and it certainly isn't a freak show (which some may find a tad disappointing; this display isn't the
shock horror you're looking for this Halloween). Chief medical director Dr Roy Glover assured Redbrick that this exhibition was purely an educational endeavour. He hopes that this type of exhibition will be beneficial to people of all ages, but particularly to young people, who are the most at risk to some of the diseases on show such as lung cancer and cirrhosis of the liver. Dr Glover told Redbrick that one of the primary aims of this installation was to inform young people about what lies beneath their skin and how important it is to take care of it. This exhibition primarily aims to show the
The shows and performances that'll blow your mind with sheer awesomeness! John Willams' Heroes @ Symphony Hall, Friday, 30th October, 7.30pm . A celebration of the legendary composers many film scores featuring the soundtracks of Star Wars, ET, Superman and many more. Tickets £9.50 - £39.50. Love Sax and All That Jazz @ The Crescent, Saturday, 31st October, 7.30 pm - A theatrical production incorporating music, drama comedy and spoken word. Written by Mobo nominated artist Alan Charles, this production aims to decipher the nature of relationships. Tickets £12. The Rocky Horror Picture Show @ The Hippodrome, Monday, 2nd November - Saturday, 7th November, 7.30pm The classic, insanely absurd musical comes back to Birmingham due to popular demand. Tickets £15 - £30.
Photos courtesy of Noel Byrne and Lexie Frost public a side to human anatomy that normally only medical students would see. On display are fascinating human circulatory systems in vibrantly colours so that you can see exactly how blood is pumped around our vital organs. Also on show are complex dissections and partitions of the human anatomy from the brain to the sex organs. All are accompanied by informative, jargonless descriptions; audio tours are also available. Despite the wide range of organs on offer
Live Reviews Jack Peñate 22/10 @ The Rainbow Warehouse Helen Crane AS a self-confessed music snob, I agreed to go and see Jack Peñate having only the vaguest idea who he was. I'd just handed in a particularly grim essay, I was desperate to leave my house and the ticket was relatively cheap. I'd envisioned some kind of James Blunt-style, Mumfriendly nightmare in a checked shirt. Although it couldn't exactly claim to be a lifeaffirming musical experience, it actually ended up being, dare I say it, quite
fun. Torn on the Platform and Second Minute or Hour were crowd favourites (judging by the reaction of the girl behind, who managed to give me a snakebite bath middance). The more downbeat Spit at Stars was better, but after a while the songs all melted into one big lukewarm indie-pop soup. But I was dancing along happily by the end. Not one for the record books, but cheery enough as a bit of no-strings guilty pleasure.
(syphilitic liver anyone?), Bodies Revealed is surprisingly short. At the time of viewing, the exhibition was still being set up and the staff seemed to be rushing about to get it open on time, but they assured us that visitors will have an informative and enlightening experience. For more information on this exhibition you can visit the website: www.bodiesrevealed. com or to watch some amazing videos of the exhibition search 'Bodies Revealed' on Youtube.
Bowling For Soup 22/10 @ The O2 Academy Aisling Marks MC Lars and Zebrahead each deliver a sound performance. This delighted the crowd, even when Zebrahead rework Avril Lavigne's Girlfriend (taken from an upcoming covers album, in which they aim to take the worst songs ever written, and make them worse). Inbetween acts, the Academy seems to acquire the atmospheric charm of a festival; the mandatory blown-up condom floating over the audience alongside heavy anticipation for the headline act almost elevates the intimate venue to something far more exciting. As they strode onto the stage,
Pride and Prejudice @ The REP, Tuesday 3rd November - Saturday, 7th November 7.30pm - The ultimate romantic comedy makes an appearance at the REP. Tickets £12 - £32. Stephen K Amos @ The Alexandra, Thursday 5th November, 8.00pm. The feel-good, natural entertainer appears to radiate charm and warmth. An acute and clever performer. Tickets £16.50.
Stephen K Amos. Photo courtesy of the The Alexandra
Phoenix 25/10 @ The O2 Academy Sam Langtree frontman Jaret Reddick announced dubiously: 'We are the best rock'n'roll band ever'. Yes, Bowling for Soup need to be taken with several pinches of salt. Despite too many interludes where innocuous banter was inflicted on us, alongside other acts of banality, it shows testament to a band to have such a dedicated fan-base who know every song inside out. Even a cover of Katy Perry's Hot and Cold went down a treat, as well as the usual crowd pleasers, 1985 and Girl all the Bad Guys Want. Being received so well confirms the Soup's ability to drive fans of all ages bonkers.
FREQUENTLY labelled as a softer incarnation of The Strokes, Phoenix have really come into their own of late. Phoenix went straight into their most recent album with songs such as Lizstomania and Fences before launching into a ten minute instrumental, Love Like A Sunset which managed to sound exactly like it did on the album. They then played through some of their earlier stuff, which had a much more synthpop feel. Singer Thomas Mars showed off his credentials as an extremely self-assured front man, constantly demonstrating an ability to
produce great showmanship without a hint of arrogance. This culminated with the highlight of the night, where towards the last song he chose to dive into the crowd and to personally thank as many audience members as possible, walking straight to the back of academy 3 in his efforts to do this. Overall the music was lush and the band produced a great, stylish performance. Though they may still be compared to the Strokes, they are definitely beginning to find their own niche and with this a cult fan base which could be seen in the surprisingly diverse crowd.
REDBRICK 1356 / 30th October 2009
Redbrick Meets... Kate Walsh bel. It's just not worth it. As soon as I lose control, and the first-hand experience of what's going on... all the little successes... all the little things like the Twitters, the Facebooks. When you're on a label you don't get to see that. I'd really miss all of that. It becomes very impersonal, and I need it to stay personal, because the music is very personal.
Rachael Hogg meets the Take That-beating one-woman force known as Kate Walsh FOR our readers that may not have heard your music, could you explain your sound in five words? Melancholic, acoustic, honest, lovey-dovey and sincere. If you could open for any artist on tour now who would it be? Midlake, definitely. Have you heard of them? It's like Neil Young meets Radiohead, meets The Eagles, or Crosby Stills and Nash. It's amazing. When or what event led you to create music? I always wrote poetry when I was little, and I started learning the guitar when I was 14. It seemed a natural progression from poetry to songwriting. Because I was a teenager I wasn't just into practicing classical music anymore, and I was more into the outpouring of adolescent emotion. Your songs always appear very personal. What's in your heart when you write your songs? Well it's about longing and yearning. It's funny though. I'm not in that
space anymore. I've had a life-changing year. Up until a year ago, my songs were about wanting things I didn't have, and being a bit bitter. So much has opened up for me this year though. My songwriting is changing a lot now. Album number four is going to be very different.
Charlie Bailey GREATEST concept ever. Simple. Nobody else would have the deranged genius to construct an album following the ex-
You write all your own music, so where do you draw your inspiration from? Real experiences. I can't just make up an idea for a song in my head. I wish I could. A lot of my friends think, 'I've had a great idea for a song', things like that, but I have to happen to be at my piano or guitar and feel a certain way about something that has happened to me. I can't write about things I'm not 100% about. I only know about me and what
Do you prefer having your own record label? Oh definitely, hands down. I would have to be offered an obscene amount of money now to be signed to a major la-
If you're desperate to hear any of the albums our writers have so eloquently flattered, go to bit. ly/2Dq7WF for a Spotify playlist of a couple of top tracks from each album as the list unfolds. Devin Townsend Ziltoid the Omniscient 2007
It's called Tim's House, the album. In his living room one side had been made into a studio and the other half was a living room. Apart from the drums and the bass the third album was recorded in his house too.
It was absolutely hilarious. Because I released it on my own label, we had a small hope it would go into the top forty or something. Then it got into the top 10 and kept creeping up a space every couple of hours, and then it was number one. We just couldn't believe it. We'd done it ourselves, not because of a big marketing campaign. It was purely because people were telling their friends about it and wanting to share it.
The Top 40 Best Albums of The 21st Century: #35 - 31 33
Didn't you record your second album in your friend's bedroom?
How did you feel when your second album Tim's House went to number one and knocked Take That off the top spot?
ploits of an intergalactic being in search of the ultimate cup of coffee. The album takes in every style of music imaginable in listenable songs (none of that prog rubbish), never losing sight of the humour with daft interludes and voices. Simply put, Devin Townsend has exceeded his own standards with an album that moves from brutality to beautiful soundscapes, often in the space of one song. Perhaps most remarkable is the fact that Townsend wrote and produced the entire album himself. You have no reason not to pick up a copy of the best album of the decade.
Photo: Rachael Hogg
Mew Frengers 2003
Erica Anne Vernon MEW drew from their previous two albums to produce something worthy of their then newly acquired major label status.
Lostprophets Start Something 2004
William Hunter THE second Lostprophets album deserves its place in the list due to its impressive hit list. The band rarely put a foot wrong
Frengers is surrounded by many interesting back-stories; but simply analysing them as a collection of songs, they gel well. The first three tracks provide an energetic and slightly pop-ish start. Others such as Eight Flew Over, One Was Destroyed are slower and more vocally dominated. If you listen carefully to both the lyrics and the music, a darkly sinister and yet magical side of Mew is revealed. Don't think you've heard this all before. You haven't. Their sound is undeniably unique. Mew have created a niche and still to this day, they're completely alone in it. during the whole album. Chart singles like Last Train Home and Last Summer have become singalong anthems that have the power to unite a stadium, or bring you closer to your mates. From the hard guitar riffs of Burn Burn to the chilled out sounds of Sway, the band show just how different they can make each song sound. Yet even with the variation between each song, the album plays through seamlessly. The band channels pure energy throughout the album, electrifying the listening experience, and making it a pure pleasure to listen to.
P!nk I'm Not Dead 2006
Ellen Tout P!NK'S fourth album proved once again that P!nk is far from afraid of speaking up and letting the world know how
Death Cab For Cutie Transatlanticism 2007
Lexie Frost SINCE its 2003 release, the title track has been the go-to song for meaningful montages in Wedding Crashers, Californication,
I'm doing and what I'm going through. What's your favourite thing to do when you're not writing songs? I'm really getting into the hula-hoop at the moment. It's so good for your tummy muscles! You can do it anywhere; it's free once you've bought the hulahoop. I love it and I've got it in the tour-bus. It's brilliant. If you put some good tunes on, I like to do it to Stevie Wonder and get down with it. Where do you see yourself in ten years time? I'm just going to go with the flow. I am however really interested in Music Therapy. As much as I love this, with everything that is happening in my life and my positive outlook. The thing is, when I'm sad, and I've got all this stuff in my head, that's when I write my songs. I don't write them for anyone else. They're self-indulgent, wallowing songs. Now I'm happy, I don't need to write a song about it. Maybe I'll be able to write about good stuff or won't need to write songs anymore.
she feels. Although best known for singles like Stupid Girls, there is a lot more to this album than meets the eye. The title track for example, is full of guitar riffs and striking vocal imagery, whilst acoustic tracks The One That Got Away and Dear Mr. President show a very different side to P!nk's music. The latter song takes the form of a metaphorical letter to the former President, asking much needed questions. However, this album is not just about P!nk sharing her opinions, it truly is a journey through her emotions and experiences. Disturbia et al. Thank God it was too edgy for Grey's Anatomy. Transatlanticism has been well and truly Seth Cohen'ed; as seen on the poster above his bed and in his 'Chrismukkah' starter pack - but try not to let that colour your view. I actually had a painfully earnest extended metaphor ready to go here but thankfully there are not enough words to play with... A collection of melancholy, wistful, longing. As undulating as the Big Sur coastal tempests that helped inspire it. Ben Gibbard gives voice to the timid, suburban dreamer. Quietly powerful.
REDBRICK 1356 / 30th OCTOBER 2009
Album Reviews Chairlift Does You Inspire You
8 Ellen Tout TAKE Ladyhawke, add a dash of MGMT, and throw in some French here and there for good measure. The result would be something close to the debut album from American trio Chairlift. Although I was at first sceptical, Does You Inspire You soon won me over with its blend of 80's pop and enchanting elecThe Lightstreams The Lost EP
3 Jonathan Craven THIS is the debut EP from Leeds based band, The Lightstreams. From a city that has brought us bands such as the Kaiser Chiefs and The Long Blondes, this motley crew, including a cellist and keyboard player is the city's latest offering. Supposedly incorporating a varied range of musical influences from adrenalinecharged punk to 'Beatlesesque psychedelia', you'd think this group would be producing a pretty inter-
tro sounds. The opening track, Garbage sets a surreal tone for the album; layered with percussion and echoing lyrics. You're sure to be grabbed by the sound of Caroline Polachek's raw yet striking voice. Meanwhile, I found myself sitting in a lecture singing along the strangely catchy Le Flying Saucer Hat. Equally, you can't help but like the synthy sound of Bruises. This track is quirky, but loveable and tells the turbulent story of a coupleeach recounting their problems. Chairlift really do seem to have more to offer with each listen. Although some songs sound like they should make up the soundtrack to a 1930's French horror film, it's definitely a good thing.
esting sound. Wrong. The fact is, The Lightstreams are just another generic indie band producing yet another set of generic indie tunes, no Beatles-esque psychedelia here that's for sure. With the exception of a few nice harmonies in Caroline – the first track on the EP – I didn't once stop to admire the musical creativity of these songs, primarily because this is what is so lacking within this EP. The songs rarely deviate from the all too predictable set of guitar chords and ordinary vocal patterns that dominate this release. The monotony of this sound is thankfully broken up by one folky ballad that comes in the form of the track Save Me. Lets hope – for their sakes – that there’s a small group of people that might care for this quite frankly boring music.
Maps Turning the Mind
10 Ross Fisher LIKE many people out there with a discerning interest in music, I am not easily impressed. I have never written a ten star album review before, and I don't really know where to begin. I know I mustn't gush – that would be unprofessional – but damn do I want to. Turning the Mind is a collection of songs that are so wonderfully put together Newton Faulkner Rebuilt by Humans
8 Dan Richford WITH his sensational debut in 2007, Newton deservedly rose to fame as a fascinating idiosyncrasy in a scene of pretty samey singer-songwriters. His new offering carries on in the same vein and will not disappoint fans or newcomers to his work. The album spans a range of songs, from big pop numbers like Over and Out to chilled acoustic romance in Resin On My Heart Strings, even to the upbeat country ram-
that it has me grinning like a complete fool just to listen to them. The new Maps' sound retains the same laidback synthesized vocals that helped their debut We Can Create bag a Mercury nomination, but the instrumentation has changed dramatically, with more keyboards, synthesizers and their ilk. Maps put these to good use on this album, producing euphoric electro anthems, haunting post-rock lullabies and all the musical ground in between. If I had to pick out a single fault in the album – to prove that I am not irredeemably besotted with it – I would dispute the use of a swearword on the track I Dream of Crystal. Such a mellow song is sadly soiled by such an aggressive inclusion.
Alice in Chains Black Gives Way to Blue
blings of She's Got the Time. Amongst all this he's definitely got a bit more experimental and veered somewhat from his trademark acoustic sound. Tracks like the odd, erratically clappy Badman and the pop-funk Lipstick Jungle are unexpected but entirely enjoyable. However, the best songs on the album are those that are just Newton and his guitar. Tracks like Been Thinking About It and I'm Not Giving Up Yet are beautifully raw and, for me, what he should be doing more of. Other tracks like Won't Let Go and Let’s Get Together seem slightly over-produced and detract from the simple acousticsoul sound that endeared us all to Newton in the first place. Overall, Rebuilt By Humans isn't quite as good as his first due to a couple of dud songs, but it cements Newton's place as a credible, and pretty unique singer-songwriter.
8 Charlie Bailey NOT many bands can survive the death of a figurehead vocalist. Nirvana imploded, and rightly so, when Kurt Cobain killed himself. So we arrive at the problem facing Alice in Chains. Following the death of their original vocalist in 2002 from a drug overdose, and having been effectively on hiatus for the best part of 13 years, the
band now have to convince us that they aren't just running short on change. The result? Success. With Jerry Cantrell churning out the familiar dirgelike riffs that will seem familiar to any AiC fan, and a modern production job that does justice to every drum beat and guitar lick, things are certainly sounding sweet. Songs like Somebody Check my Brain and Last of my Kind are just the sort of anthemic grunge they peaked with on their Dirt album. My only real complaints are: William DuVall’s vocals become some creepily accurate tribute to Layne Stanley, and some of the acoustic songs are destined for playlisting hell when we should all be listening to the majesty of A Looking In View.
Music Diary Friday 30th
P!nk NIA Misty's Big Adventure Hare and Hounds Wishbone Ash Town Hall My Sad Captains The Flapper Delphic The Rainbow
The Imperial Never Say Die! Tour O2 Academy 2 P!nk NIA
Passion Pit O2 Academy 2 Ugly Duckling Hare and Hounds
A-Ha NIA The Haunted O2 Academy 2 Electric Eel Shock O2 Academy 3
Tuesday 3rd Fleetwood Mac NIA Alesha Dixon Symphony Hall
Wednesday 28th Exit Calm O2 Academy
Thursday 29th Steve Earle Town Hall Puressence O2 Academy 2
Spotlight On... The Lost Art of Mixtape-ing Casanova-with-a-cassette-recorder Neil Chanchlani lets us in on his sexy secrets PLAY. Fast forward about two seconds. Stop. Record and play (together). The beginning of the perfect mixtape. You remember them? Mixtapes - those things that had two sides, about 90 minutes of music, and a ridiculous amount of chickenscratch all over it's case. One second they were there, and then all of the sudden, they weren’t. Their successors being the CD and, nowadays, the .mp3 file. As if these are valid substitutes. For those of you who sat by the radio, hour after hour, waiting for that one song to replay, or if you've ever spent hours recording the perfect track list (in almost breathless silence), those of you who smiled ear-to-ear when
handed that ridiculously large plastic case with illegible writing; mixtapes were for you. A perfectly made mix tape was more than just music on magnetic tape; it was a big-up to the music industry, and a thank you to the artist. 'Yes, I spent three hours creating this 90 minute masterpiece. Yes, I missed dinner. Yes, it was worth it.' Songs were carefully selected – almost as picky as one is with choosing friends. Character, sound, appearance (longer titles more likely to be avoided), and how well one track gets along with another were all very valid considerations. Rob Gordon in High Fidelity said it best: 'Now, the making of a good
Picture: Alex Spencer compilation tape is a very subtle art. Many do's and don'ts. You're using someone else's poetry to express how you feel.' And feel you did. Hearing the playback of a successfully made mix tape is
more gratifying than any CD or playlist- knowing that hours spent was invested in something bigger than a disc, and yes, bigger than an iPod. You had recorded emotion, and most importantly of
all - yourself. Add in background noise, tape hiss, and dead space, and no, you don't have bad quality, but room tone – a feature yet again lost today. Rob Sheffield, author of Love is a Mix Tape,
claimed, 'There are all kinds of mix tapes. There is always a reason to make one.' And not only did mixtapes fit every occasion, they generally had a unifying theme. Bloc Party following the Beatles? Sinatra on the same side as the Smiths? Vampire Weekend next to Tinchy? How dare you. Let’s not forget that you had to work hard for your money, and didn’t bother with filler songs. No doubt, Tinchy would have been the first to go. For those of you who do still mixtape (yes, I have upgraded from noun to verb), I salute you. You may be a dying breed, but your appreciation for the mixtape is not obsolete. Not much can be said for the click of a keyboard button, but the recording of a TDK D-60 cassette? Culture.
REDBRICK 1356 / 30th OCTOBER 2009
Catwalk: Hola to all you Lifestyle How to look good this Halloween readers! WEEK five and it's official - we're taking over Redbrick. Not only have we got our up and coming podcast but now we have fought, bitten and even on one occasion slept with the Editor, (both of us that is), in order to get an extra half a page! Never before in Lifestyle history has this feat been achieved. This means that not only have our wonderful writers got a bit more space but we are on the way to eliminating every other section. Film's going first (watch out Alex Jacques). We had our first social this week and what a social it was! We had a right old giggle and got to know each other in ways that no one ever should... This week in the office we've been lubing each other up and generally causing some pretty inappropriate situations – we love doing that. Our seriously bursting-at-theseams issue includes debates on the Big O, how to look good this Halloween and Durex tried and tested. We have a lot of testosterone flying around this week with Joe's article on dating politics, Daniel's outlook on male fitness and Neil's here to give us some much needed advice on the hazards of mobile phones. Byyyyee! (off to Frape Pete Blakemore... again)
Sarah Musgrove AS many a great intellect has said, life is about facing challenges, overcoming obstacles and always looking gorgeous (well, probably). Drawing nearer to us is one of the trickiest annual events for those of us who, whilst spending far more than reasonable and going through a great deal of heartache, simply want to look stylish, imaginative, fun, flattered and fabulous. Is that really too much to ask this Halloween? Our first obstacle is avoiding falling into the Halloween fancy dress trap. It's far too cliché anymore to go for anything overtly sexy, while the other extreme of going for genuinely scary attire will leave the neighbours screaming and trick-or-treaters running from you in the streets. Remember the dilemma Miranda of SATC faced? As a woman, your choice in a shop-bought costume is either sexy kitten, or witch. Definitely not recommended. However, with this season's vast array of trends, there really is no excuse to go out looking anything less than fantastic. So, using a little creativity, here are a few ideas to get you started on your quest. Hell's Angel
Add a feminine touch to the traditional toughman-on-a-motorbike look. Splurge on leather and distressed denim, and layer generously with studs and chains – bonus points if your jacket has leather fringing. Think fierce; adorn any visible flesh with temporary tattoos for extra 'My Boyfriend owns a Harley' attitude. Un-Dead 80s Also known as the Ghost of Fashions Past. Get some lace gloves, legwarmers, and piles and piles of statement jewellery. Tease your hair and smudge your make-up – we're going for Madonna in her heyday, with a crawled-from-the-graveyard twist. Some rips in your clothing will make the outfit more authentic, but don't tear up anything that's expensive, or that you want to wear again! Glam Rock Vampire Top off your fangs with some Bowie-esque make up and swap the traditional cape for spectacular power-shoulders – the more exaggerated and dangerous to others, the better. Top tip: Primark do some great sequin leggings for £11, which everyone but everyone will mistake for Topshop. Spend your saved pennies on blood red lipstick and glossy black nail varnish instead. Russell(e) Brand Failing all else, throw on
a crucifix or three, peel on your skinnies and backcomb your hair like there's no tomorrow. Slouchy leather ankle boots or winkle pickers will work well with a lowslung studded belt, and don't forget to pack some kohl eyeliner in your bag to top up as the evening wears on. Don't fret if it smudges; it will only improve your Gothic-Casanova look. Finally, if none of these ideas capture your imagination, take inspiration from celebrities and designers – for example, Alexa Chung's blood-stained Marie Antionette or Luella's pumpkin coloured tights and witch hats. Happy Trickor-Treating!
THESE days you cannot avoid the superficial culture that is sweeping through our consumerist society. Fake nails, spray tans and buckets of makeup are rudimentary elements of many females and increasingly, to an extent, males as well. Alongside this false culture one could surely attribute female's fake orgasms. In the same way as women should not wear fake nails they should not fake orgasm. Firstly if the woman is faking it during a 'one night stand', there really is no point. Both the guy and the girl are there to get themselves off and/or console their loneliness as they can't find someone they actually want to sleep with more than once and perhaps even have a proper relationship with. So don't waste your energy faking on a one nighter; the guy most likely does not care if he satis-
Elizabeth: For ON reading the question above for the first time, I'm sure all women would unanimously answer 'No! I never have to fake it… My sex life is amazing!'… however, from tentative discussions that I've had with close friends and drunken strangers I would have to conclude that all (yes ALL) women have faked an orgasm at least once in their lives, and most do so more than any egotistical boy would imagine. But, is this necessarily a bad thing? I don't think so… life is full of brilliant sexual exploits and rubbish ones, they can't all
BONFIRE night - the smell of the bonfire, the sparklers, the toffee apples, the gloves/scarf combo. Aah it's that time of year again! So grab yourself a member of the other sex and enjoy one of the most romantic nights of the year. The return of The Hills- no matter how much we'll miss Lauren for some reason we just can't take our eyes of the inevitable car-crash between Kristin, Audrina and (our guilty crush) Justin Bobby. TV gold. Macclesfield! If you don't know where this is then you should! Both our lovely editors are from this great town, situated in Cheshire, approximately half an hour outside of Manchester. Definitely worth a visit, but then we are biased... Halloween! It's that time of year again where everyone goes just a little bit crazy... since when did dressing as a pumpkin become cool? Danyl Jones - feeling a tad sorry for him this week after his surprise relegation to bottom two. Come on, he's so pretty and he can sing! Where has the love gone?
Robert Pattinson - just so we can put a picture of him in. Isn't he beautiful...
Finished HALLOWEEN effort - Okay, so we all love Halloween but trawling for hours to find a suitable outfit that doesn't make you look like either a 6 year-old deliquant or a poledancer is a fine balance and frankly a chore. Bin-liner anyone?
Robert Atkinson and Elizabeth Jordan investigate. fies you anyway. In contrast a guy most likely would care about pleasuring a girl if they were in a relationship together. However, this premise still does not make a woman's fake orgasm in a relationship right. If you fake in a relationship then you are lying. As far as I'm concerned dishonesty in a relationship is never a good thing and is ultimately detrimental for all those concerned. If a couple are in a committed relationship then they should be able to talk to each other, discover each other. Consequently with practise and building the right connection the real thing will most likely come along eventually.
Having far too much fun with lube. If you read our tried and tested this week, that should explain things.
Debate: Should women fake orgasms? Robert: Against
be good… if you are reading this as a sometimes faker, chances are you're in a relationship and have way more real Os than fake ones, but every so often your body just won't respond to anything that to try to do with it; whether it be that you're tired, you've got a lot on your mind, you simply just fancy a cuddle and a chat. But as the other half is so persistent, why not make him happy, give him an ego boost just this once and then roll over and go to sleep? Chances are it means a lot more to him than its worth in hurting his feelings. I know I would. Of course it goes without saying that we deserve orgasms more often than not and so, if your man's not satisfying you, show him how… and absolutely never put up with faking if you're single and enjoying new sexual experiences… why bother in the first place?!
Christmas merchandise - it's still only October for God's sake!! We love Christmas but this is just down right inappropriate, not to mention reminds us how skint we all are. Great. Wisdom teeth - it seems that most of us have reached the age where baby teeth are long gone (hopefully) and instead we have these horrible painful lumps of enamel instead. Fabulous. Rachel Adadeji - ok sorry to be mean, but come on, what was that ridiculous display after her perfomance on Saturday; you're not Stacey, you're not cute so stop that please. The ever changing Sugababes - for god's sake pick your members and stick to them! Soon people are likely to start breeding Sugababies specifically designed to take the place of the slightly uglier, more abrasive 'Babe' for six months until they get bored and swap. Bodycon - it's totally inappropriate for winter. The reason we love winter in the first place is that we can all cover up and gain a bit of insulation and wearing a dress that looks like your second skin is frankly sickening. Getting dark at around 1pm - ok, slight exaggeration but instead of making us want to go for a walk or get us in a good mood for Gatecrasher, now all we want is a nice mug of hot chocolate and our duvets but somehow work still doesn't get done.
Website of the week: Fmylife.com
No website can make us feel any better about our lives then the equally cringe/hilarious fmylife.com. This is our fave entry this week: 'Today, me and my girlfriend were getting it on when suddenly she yelled 'STOP!'- I stopped scared I was hurting her when she then yelled 'HAMMER TIME' and started dancing. We never finished. FML'
An apple a day: Mobile phones
Neil Chanchlani THEY'RE everywhere. And with good reason too. How else can I find out my roommate's culinary plan for the evening? Similarly, how else would I be able to check my emails 10 times a day in case I get something important? And when in a boring lecture, listening to some professor ramble on, is there any better time to get my news fix-up for the day? No one is denying the need for a mobile phone in todays society, but more importantly, can we then fully deny that we put ourselves at a higher risk of health problems later on in life? Your phone and you have a very special relationship – your ear and cheek can often be seen hugging the device at many points throughout the day – on the way to uni, in the supermarket, at the bus stop, etc… But the truth is, your phone may have ulterior motives - constant use of mobile phones may be damaging to your health! It's simple really – like any other electrical device, such as a microwave, or television – your phone uses radio frequency in order to connect to the satellite gods above and beyond. This is how you are able to text, call, and surf. However, a consequence of connecting to these satellite stations is electromagnetic radiation. There, I dropped it. The 'R' bomb. This isn't meant to scare– only to inform. Yes, mobile phones release radiation, but as mentioned before so do so many other things around you. What matters is the dose that you are exposing yourself to – which, let's face it, is very small, if not miniscule. However, this is not meant to encourage you to spend three hours chatting to your flatmate about what to wear to Fab 'N' Fresh on Saturday night, with no concern in the world. Whilst there is no conclusive evidence that mobile phones have any definitive direct link to health problems, there
have been many correlations discovered. The strength – unknown. The possibility – present. Side effects of extremely overactive mobile phone use may include: mild fatigue, a rise in blood pressure, brain warming, and sleep disturbances. Whilst most of these may return back to normal once you click 'end', it's important to be aware of the possible consequences. There have been some links made regarding the excessive use of mobile phones and cancer. One Swedish study stated that benign acoustic neuromas were twice as common in mobile phone users. Similarly, some studies have incorporated age as a factor and have noted that those who start chatting away before 20, may have an increased risk of getting a brain tumour. Perhaps, but unlikely. And lastly, loads of studies have concluded that long-term exposure to mobile phones is generally unhealthy and should be resisted. Now before you all bin your new state-of-the-art iPhones and Crackberrys, again, these are all just possibilities and correlations. Nothing has actually been proven! But you definitely suffer no harm by reducing your exposure to electromagnetic radiation. Things like hands-free sets and Bluetooth activation to your SatNav are now commonplace. As the Green Party would say, 'It's the little things that can make a big difference.' And next time you're on your mobile, perhaps round up that three hour conversation into one – your brain will thank itself later.
LIFESTYLE NEWS! LOOK out for the Lifestyle Podcast coming very soon! Keep checking redbrickonline.co.uk for more Lifestyle lovin'! And thank you to all those who came to our social on Tuesday and made it such a fab night! Here's to many more to come!
REDBRICK 1356 / 30th OCTOBER 2009
Culture: Dating politics Joseph McNamara I'M Sat at home relaxing in front of the television and waiting for a text. I've been waiting for a good while now for the latest love interest to reply to a message I sent her yesterday. Am I beginning to feel more and more into her with every second that passes that she ignores me? Is it keeping me guessing as to whether she's some kind of international woman of mystery and I should feel honoured when she eventually finds time in her day to text me back? Unfortunately not I'm afraid! Actually I'm just beginning to tire of the scenario and think she's clearly either not interested or playing annoying games designed to impress me. In actual fact, I'm this close to just texting the girl I met last night and see how long it takes her to respond. We've all been there, boys and girls alike, and we’ve all got our techniques of defying the conventions of texting in order to make ourselves more attractive by keeping a safe distance. The only advice is: you’re walking a tightrope if you think the constant gam-
ing isn't going to irritate people, and irritate them fairly quickly at that. So the next time you receive a text, write a reply, save it to your drafts and send it four hours later to keep him / her waiting, think about just how honest you’re actually being with yourself, never mind the person who's going to forget they're even expecting a text from you after ten minutes without reply.
If you genuinely feel there's a romantic flame with somebody why feel compelled to play them like a game? We all want the movie-made relationship but there's nothing romantic about basically
ignoring somebody for two days and then getting back to them with absolutely no apology or explanation. Do you want someone to fall for the you that grins and giggles a bit when they receive a text from somebody who makes them feel a little weird inside? Or, do you want to trick somebody into thinking your some kind of unemotional machine who couldn't give one about whether they’re falling into an infatuation or not? To conclude I'd like to finish by saying that as a lad who's confident and self-respecting enough not to chase every girl that passes his line of sight (unless he's had a few!), I won't be waiting by the phone for you to text me back, no matter who you are. I'll think a lot more of you if you play an honest game and show me the same respect by replying as soon as comfortably possible. So let's cut the games out and get dating. If someone doesn’t explain themselves after keeping you waiting for days, they're just not worth your time or 10p for a text. If love is really a game, then attack is the best form of defence in the pursuit of the winning goal!
WE WANT YOU!
LOVE Lifestyle? Do you flick through Redbrick every week straight to our section? This is obviously the place for you! We're currently trying to find our very own male columinst- if you read Belle De Brum last year- you'll get an idea of what we here at Lifestyle Towers are looking for. We want a lovely young anonymous man-abouttown to give us a weekly insight into his excitingly sordid life. If you think you might be the guy for us or another angle for a male column then email us on email@example.com Looking forward to being inundated with all your eager emails! Love Alex and Jess x
Issue: Gym'll fix it Daniel Styles WHY should it? Alcohol consumption, drugs and anti-social behaviour. Almost anything can be linked to peer pressure in some way; but what about health, physique and fitness? Can these daily issues succumb to the force our friends, colleagues and even family members put us under? With Tiverton Pool offering free gym membership for students in the Selly Oak area, noone has an excuse not to get in shape. Rubbish – what if we don't want to. Despite this article being aimed predominantly at you guys, I know that the exact same can be argued from a female perspective – it's just that women's bodies are always under the public limelight, whereas the slander towards a man's is down-played somewhat.
There are three types of guys in the world (slightly generalising here). The ones who are in the gym day in, day out, who possess the body of a god, the fitness of a cheetah, and the strength of a tribe. There are those who wouldn't know what a gym looked like if it bit them on the arse and couldn't care less about ever working out in one. The last type of man is the inspiration of this article. They are the ones who don’t fit into either category – they want to go to the gym, not so much for personal reasons and achieving personal goals, but to live up to the expectations imposed on them. They suddenly feel the need to achieve the good looking six-pack and bulging biceps that they are constantly made aware of in everyday life. Why the sudden change of heart? Simple – social at-
titudes towards the male physique from the media, from other guys, and most importantly, from girls. In adverts, films, even on billboards, you only ever see fit (in shape), good looking men flaunting what they've got (despite the layers of airbrushing that has gone into most of it). From a brand perspective this is business, no one would buy the D&G aftershave if they had used Rick Waller instead of Fernando Fernandes. But these images that are constantly drilled into our psyche create the social issues and pressures that are then forced on us by the people around us. You don't even have to know the person; a look, a glare, a turn-up of the nose as you walk past. People judge the way you look every day. Women's bodies are always under scrutiny in magazines, papers, and in general everyday gossip. Men's on the other hand are not so publically analysed. The social attitude towards the male body is just as strong as that of females. There are stereotypes all around us concerning what a man should look like; toned, flat, muscle-packed stomach – definitely no beer bellies. It's both guys and girls alike who create this schema, and reinforce
it until it sticks. Generally speaking, the guys that girls will approach first in a club will be the well built one and not the podgy friend. (Before you think this is a rant from the podgy guy's side, I’ll tell you I’m not the podgy guy). In fact deep down, the person that they might be better suited with is the friend, yet they don't even give him a chance. Why should men have to conform to the 'socially acceptable' physique? Men and all people in general, should be allowed to treat their bodies in any way they see fit. They should not feel pressured into being something that they are not comfortable being. Not every man wants to go to the gym all the time. Society today, and it is most evident as a student, has a pre-ordained view of how a man should look. What does it matter to society? If a man feels comfortable as he is, he shouldn't feel pressured into eating specific foods and straining himself at the gym. ASHLEY Edwards would like to apologise for 'my poor research of LGBTQ' and 'that the opinions of nightclubs were my own'. For more information visit www.lgbtq.co.uk.
REDBRICK 1356 / 30th October 2009
Tried and Tested: Durex products exposed Sam Langtree and Sarah Verrall investigate.
Beauty: Accessorize like a Gossip Girl! Ellen Fitzpatrick and Charlotte Crowley
Sam: Durex 2in1 Massage Gel LOOKING at the strikingly pink liquid slowly swill around the bottle, I'm given the impression of someone who, though you constantly reject and deny, you know that secretly if you let them, they could be the one. Your shoulder to cry on. The one who unexpectedly gives you flowers and chocolate and clothes and will always be the big spoon when you fall asleep at night. Though Durex Play Massage 2in1 clearly doesn't seem to be offering much more than a helping hand to those alone, or a way of getting more engaged with your other half, it really does have much more potential. In the past five days this unsettlingly phallic bottle of lube has been my partner in crime. Rubbing it on door handles and toilet seats is the perfect way to play pranks on your housemates, and if you ever run out of food, you could survive on Durex lube with it's weird 'is it cherry? Is it strawberry?' taste. You could even potentially use it to flavour ice cream. This
doesn't even take into consideration the lube slide, whereby covering your corridor in cling film and yourself in lube, endless pleasures could be acquired. All in all, Durex Play Massage 2in1 has become a valuable friend these past few days and if it weren't so god damn sticky maybe it'd find its way into other uses… As it is I'm now considering it as an adhesive for my posters.
Sarah: Durex Play O WHEN presented with an array of Durex products to pick from, I obviously immediately grab Play O, an orgasm gel for women, designed to give you 'the most intense orgasms you've ever experienced'. Sounds good right? Wrong. It's, well, not so great. For starters it smells like mouthwash; chemists and dentists all rolled into one teensy bottle. I don't know about
you but I don't find any of those things in the least bit arousing, let alone orgasmic. It certainly didn't get any better when my boyfriend clarified the procedure in these terms: 'So, you just plop a dollop on your private parts?' Not hot. The sensation is definitely a little bit tingly and as weird as it might sound, cold (like mouthwash I guess, which kind of explains the odd smell) but I didn't feel like this was particularly adding to the experience. It may be a total oxymoron but the end result was a bit of an anticlimax, in that it certainly wasn't any more intense than your average orgasm, despite the packet essentially telling me I was likely to explode. On the plus side it does kind of act as a lubricant, but it's definitely an expensive way of doing it, at £15 a pop. Personally, I think the whole thing is a little bit of a placebo. I gave it a go out of curiosity but definitely wouldn't be rushing out to stock up for life. I say stick to the good oldfashioned methods and give the Play O a miss.
SO we may not live on the upper east side and we may not have their trust funds, but Gossip Girl is a sure-fire hit as far as fashion inspiration is concerned. As always, the wardrobe of the opening episode was bang on trend (who wasn't coveting Serena's amazing Dries van Noten blazer?), but for us mere mortals accessorizing is the easiest way to go from Wannabe to Queen-Bee. From Downtown to Uptown the Gossip Girls were rocking the layered necklace trend, and luckily for us it's easy to recreate on the British high street. River Island has some fab statement necklaces from £9.99, which can inject that bit of glamour into the student staple of skinny jeans and vest top. Or why not recreate the look by layering several simple necklaces you already own, and don't believe those who say you can't mix gold and silver! If earrings are more your thing, look no further than the gorgeous chandelier pair worn by
depressingly cool school girl Jenny Humphrey. Bold earrings are everywhere at the moment, from Primark to Accessorize, and are perfect for the upcoming party season. We particularly like the 'Amelia Jeweled' pair, £14 at Accessorize; or why not check out the vintage kingdom of Digbeth for some genuine individuality. But accessorizing isn't just for the girls: even Chuck and co. are at it. Practical and quirky is the return of braces – not just for your Grandad and more of a statement than a belt. You'll be assured to find the pair for you in Topman, and whilst there why not pick up another trend that's just not going away - the MAN BAG! Gone are the days of a nylon Adidas backpack (practical, yes, but hardly screaming style); man bags today are neutral, leather and over the shoulder. Though we can't guarantee it will get you noticed by Serena Van Der Woodsen, it's the perfect mix of function and style.
Simon Fairbanks asks whether The X-Factor forms the basis of a new kind of democracy in Britain today... IT is a widely-known problem across the UK that students are apathetic. Most will not vote in regional, national or European elections. In fact, most don't even vote in their own Students' Union elections. The highest turnout the Guild has ever had for its Executive Elections was recorded last March: 4,723 votes. But even that monumental achievement is only 18 per cent of the student population. The irony, of course, is that students are exercising their right to vote every week. Well, specifically, every weekend. Not only that, but they are actually paying for the privilege. Yes, I am referring to The X-Factor and Strictly Come Dancing: the democracy of the 21st century. It also extends to the rest of the reality TV canon, including Big Brother, I'm A Celebrity… and Dancing On Ice. So, with a General Election due next year, will this generation of reality TV voters snap out of their apathy? The notion isn't too far-fetched. Reality television and politics are not a world apart. I'm going to use The X-Factor as my primary example,
seeing as the Cowell Empire is dominating Twitter each weekend. The comparison plays out like this: each contestant is a candidate standing for election and the viewers are the constituents. Their three months of live performances are the hustings. Instead of heading down to a ballot station (or logging onto my.bham), the constituents vote via text, mobile or their Virgin Media Red Button. And, as with any election, the power lies with the people. Typical of an election, the candidates come armed with gimmicks. However, unlike typical Guild election gimmicks, they are much more subtle: Jamie has an afro; Ricky wore stupid hats; Miss Frank rapped every so often. Some of the gimmicks come in the form of a sob-story: for instance, Stacey hardly gets to see her child. But as with all gimmicks, they are there to cloud judgement and trick people into voting subjectively or on a whim. Also, it wouldn't be an election without a joke candidate. Well, we all know who the joke candidates are this year: enter John and Edward. And fair play to them: elec-
tions are tough and joke candidates are essential in dispersing some of that tension. John and Edward do this every week. Whether wearing skin-tight red leather or dancing alongside scantily-clad women, the boys make the 'election' a lot more engaging. Now for the Judges: quite simply, they are political parties. The factions of Simon, Cheryl, Dannii and Louis are obviously not in-line with Labour, Conservative, Lib Dem and Green – but they are certainly political and definitely have their own set of beliefs. Simon is looking for a commercial success and nothing else. Cheryl is champion of the underdog. Dannii doesn't have a clue but strives to keep
all of the voters happy. And Louis is looking for someone Irish - pure and simple. They operate like political parties, constantly starting mini-smear campaigns against each other with their incessant bickering. They also know that their comments influence the voters, so they are particularly hard on 'candidates' from a different 'party' that threaten their own. Danyl Johnson receiving luke-warm comments from Cheryl and Dannii is the perfect example of this. And as for Cheryl, she is the most false party leader of all. She knows she has a legion of Girls Aloud worshippers hanging off her every word. To these fans,
whatever Cheryl says becomes scripture and they will vote accordingly. It's really not that surprising that Alexandra Burke beat JLS when Alexandra was the 'Cheryl Cole-endorsed candidate.' More manipulation occurred in week two when Cheryl cried after Lloyd messed-up. Her tears blatantly saved the lad from eviction, momentarily making Simon look like the bad guy. Well, until he gave her a cuddle and swung the votes back over onto his side. It is an ever-shifting, exhausting political environment. It's also great fun. So, without doubt, The X-Factor is the new democracy. But will this encourage more people to vote nationally? It's a nice thought, but probably not. The X-Factor is easier to engage with. Politics is a complicated arena, whereas anyone can have an opinion on who is entertaining. Singing and dancing are also a lot more appealing than looking over policy folders and manifestos. It would take a lot more than two hours a week to digest all of that information. The X-Factor candidates are also celeb-
ritised. They have makeovers, we meet their families, we watch them goof around on The Xtra Factor – we don't get any of this with politicians. Maybe we vote for singers but not politicians because we can relate to them. ITV do a great job to ensure that their personalities shine through. By comparison, politics is too mechanical, too careful. We cannot warm to figures in suits but we can warm to cheeky Olly Murs. My housemate also pointed out that, 'If you could vote nationally with the little Red Button then maybe more people would vote.' He's got a point. You can vote on The X-Factor without ever leaving your sofa, whereas we don't even have e-voting for national elections in this country. The iPhone generation demand something easier than traipsing out to find a ballot box. Every day I pass an X-Factor billboard that says: 'On Sunday the Nation Speaks.' Well, it certainly does. But will it speak in the General Election next year? Unfortunately, I think the gap is still too great between pop and parliament.
Top Ten: Series Endings
Emily Board and Jenny Brown take us through those moments that have stuck with us long after the credits finished rolling... 1. Blackadder No one can forget the dramatic ending to this hilarious sitcom: the final episode had us in a state as Blackadder and company charged into no-mans land and the scene faded to a field of poppies. The sombre ending created an image that haunts fans, and it kept us laughing until the tragic end. 2. Friends Ten years of our favourite Friends ended with laughter and tears as Monica and Chandler moved, Ross and Rachel made it work and Phoebe married the lovely Mike… We'll just ignore the Joey spin-off! The continuous laughter and heartfelt moments, make perfect tea-time telly on E4. 3. The Office The cult hit and major part of TV comedy history brought us Ricky Gervais' unforgettable David Brent and that fatefully embarrassing dance. Gervais gave us two series before he ended The Office after its second Christmas special, uniting Dawn and Tim and seeing Brent possibly romancing a real-life woman! 4. Buffy the Vampire Slayer Sarah Michelle Geller spent six years battling vampires and demons whilst trying to maintain her education in the hugely popular supernatural drama. Featuring the gorgeous David Boreanaz, Buffy came to a dramatic close with most of the cast just escaping their home town of Sunnydale falling into the Hellmouth. 5. Sex and the City Big finally swept Carrie off her feet and left us all in a very soppy mood after six years of relationship turbulence. With the knowledge that these four women spent the last six years together, being there for each other and making their audience laugh, it felt like the end of an era… until the movie. 6. E.R. This medical drama ran for a colossal fifteen years, won countless awards and gave George Clooney his big break. The final series ended by bringing back some well known and loved characters, as well as making us cry by killing a few off, before pulling at our heart strings with happily-ever-afters. 7. Only Fools and Horses Over seven series, Rodney and Del Boy were engaged in hilarious antics that kept us glued to the screen, until we finally saw the brothers become millionaires. It was another classic British television show that people today still feel nostalgic about. 8. Skins – Series Two We loved this truly original drama when it included teens of our own age doing what we'd never dare to. The sometimes completely unrealistic drama was part of its charm and managed to pull our heartstrings when the loveable Chris sadly died and Tony finally stepped up for Sid to help him find Cassie. 9. Charmed During eight series, the Charmed trio went through maniac boyfriends, angelic sons and destructive demons and managed to survive it all (apart from poor Prue). The final shot of Leo and Piper walking up the stairs and the photo of the three witches reminded us of the magical times we'd shared. 10. The OC Although it displayed unrealistic ideas about teenage life, we felt The OC's ending deserved to be here. It was perfectly in-keeping with what the show was all about. It showed the development of Ryan Atwood as he walked through the house containing all those memories and finally ended with him finding a young boy in need of help... what a cliché!
REDBRICK 1356 / 30th OCTOBER 2009
Up Dawson's Creek... Sara Sherwood and Harriet Tisdall remember the best and worst of the angstfilled world of Dawson's Creek... DAWSON'S Creek gets an undeserved reputation as the show for the angsty and verbose. However, as two 'angsty' and 'verbose' people ourselves, we believe that it's clever, analytical and truer to life than any other teen drama. The main reasons for unashamedly loving this show are the unexpectedly sweet moments between Joey Potter (Katie Holmes) and Pacey Witter (Joshua Jackson), the realism of the dramatic lives of teenagers and a case of late nineties fashion nostalgia. Despite our disdain for lead character Dawson (James Van Der Beek), we can overcome this to appreciate his analytical commentary of his own life. So, keep your aspirational Gossip Girls and fantastical Gilmore Girls; we swear allegiance to the church of Dawson and the Creek. The Best Moments: 1. Pacey buys Joey a wall Possibly the most romantic event ever! After Joey fails to save her political Principal, Pacey shows he truly understands her by buying her a wall to paint her feelings onto. The romantic gesture proves how Pacey accepts Joey's artistic side, melting both her sarcastic, prickly heart and ours. 2. True Love Shamelessly
Dawson (resulting in the infamous Dawson crying face), Joey runs to find Pacey, who is about to leave on his boat, True Love. Declaring her love to him, our favourite couple sail off into the sunset, bickering and bantering in a modern fairytale ending. 3. Jack and Jen Jen, the ultimate girl crush with her philosophical, witty one-liners and amazing hair, and Jack, the beautiful gay football player, officially make the greatest best friend pairing in TV history. 4. 'I remember everything' Pacey Witter has totally ruined our expectations of future boyfriends after this amazing moment. After being forbidden by Dawson to go near Joey, Pacey innocently dances with his true love at the anti-prom. Pacey then goes on to notice her bracelet and recalls the story that Joey must have told him about it. Confused but complimented, Joey asks how Pacey remembers this, so he whispers that he 'remembers everything'. The moment left us, like Joey, utterly in love with the sweetest boy of the nineties. 5. Icing on the Cake On his sixteenth birthday, in a fit of depression, Dawson gets drunk with Andie, embarrasses the viewer by singing
and, after giving a long judgemental speech to 'Little Joey Potter', falls face first into his own birthday cake. Genius. The Worst Moments: 1. Jen's death Even though we still maintain it should have been Dawson that died (there's a reason he ends up alone!), beautiful Jen's death makes us sob uncontrollably every time we watch it. Her emotional goodbyes to Jack and her baby daughter Amy, are simply heartbreaking. 2. Pacey dumps Joey at Prom After the Dawson's Creek writers mistakenly decided to refocus on the nauseating Joey and Dawson storyline, Pacey (in his one bad move) shouts and humiliates Joey at prom breaking her heart, as well as ours. 3. Dawson's dad dies Dawson's dream from the outset has been to go to film school, motivated by his Peter Pan-esque love of Steven Spielberg. However, when the overanalysing Dawson finally goes to LA, he discovers it’s not for him and drops out within weeks. After informing his father of this, Mitch Leery tells Dawson exactly what we’re thinking: go back to LA and grow up. After Dawson storms off in typical self-righteous fashion, Mitch is killed off after crashing his car,
and his last words to his son were, 'I've never been more ashamed of you'. 4. The boat race After discovering his former best friend Pacey is in love with Joey, Dawson goes on the offensive and acts like the complete fool he really is. After entering a boat race that Pacey, professional sailor, is competing in for Dawson's own mother, Dawson cheats and wins the race, causing the viewer to stand and shout obscenities at the television. 5. Dawson and Joey have sex After dragging out their contrived relationship for six seasons, in the opening episode of the final season Dawson and Joey's relationship finally gets sexual. Shot with a rather disgusting slow-motion effect, as though to extend the pain of watching such a sight, we don't recommend you eat whilst watching this particular scene.
Is there a Doctor in the House? With Hugh Laurie's return to our screens as the egotistical genius Greg House, Natalie Timmins discusses whether the diagnosis looks positive for the show's future… AS a keen fan of House, I was ridiculously excited to see that Sky had decided to run the sixth series straight after the end of the fifth, desperate to know if our favourite maverick doctor could survive the mental illness plaguing him in the forms of Amber and Kutner. The first couple of episodes disappointed in some ways. In just two hours, House was cured and able to get his recommendation to return to medicine. Yes, we saw
House fall for someone, get hurt and actually have an adult conversation about his feelings, but it felt incredibly staged. Not due a lack of effort: Hugh Laurie has an amazing talent for going from his humorous best to a serious actor in seconds flat. That was all we could recognise: as brilliant as his surrounding actors were, they weren't known and weren't going to affect how we watched the show. It felt like the props had been readied for House's scenario, and not like a natural series of events. It's not like Wilson or Cuddy could have legitimately fitted in either: House was all alone, and the loneliness just didn't take for this writer. Sunday's episode was promising from the start with the old team back together actually standing on their own two feet, without a cane in sight…
as if! Greg House returned to his medical marvel self, thankfully putting the irritatingly power-crazy Foreman in his place whilst showing off his brilliance. The ability to instantly get under his new neighbour's skin hasn't gone amiss either, letting us know that despite his newfound humility that let him help the war veteran's imaginary hand feel better, our favourite sarcastic doc is still lurking within the psycho-analysed shell of Gregory House. The humbling, 'I need this, in my life…it's a process, I'm learning', coming from the ego-maniac was proof enough that he'd been through a massive overhaul, perhaps indicating that while we didn't see the full process of his recovery, we'll see the effects, making those first two episodes more important as the series progresses.
So, is there still a doctor in the House? It's weird seeing a House that doesn't inhale vicodin every five minutes, but I think that the mental-illness route bought House a few more series, reviving the interest in the psychology of the grumpy doc by creating a new side to explore. Plus, if the guest stars follow the same spectacular show that James Earl Jones (sounding particularly Vader-esque it must be said) put on, House has some fantastic support to lean on. The prognosis is looking good, and we're waiting with baited breath for the heart-stopping moments to come, and after Foreman's cover-up for Chace, it doesn't look like we'll have to wait long…
REDBRICK 1356 / 30th OCTOBER 2009
Cycling not as easy as riding a bike
In the first of our new monthly feature in which we take a closer look at a lower profile sport, Georgina Killick puts her pedal to the metal with the university's cycling club
The cycling team ready to ride THE idea of a long Sunday afternoon ride around the streets of Birmingham sounded, in principle, like a good way to pass the day. Cycling is brilliant exercise, a good way to meet people and a great way to get to know the local area a little better so why not give it a go? The proposed thirty mile distance caused a bit of trepidation but I figured several years of rowing training would see me through. It was agreed that I would meet the other cycling enthusiasts outside the Munrow Sports Centre at one o'clock before presumably trundling off together for a leisurely ride. The first sign that I was in serious trouble came when I arrived to see the attire of the people arriving for the ride. I had expected the club president, Mark Brown, and a few of the more serious riders to be kitted out with the fancy road bike and specially designed lycra clothing, but everyone was wearing it! As I stood outside the gym looking like an amateur, I realised that the sport of cycling required the right equipment. My little seven year old mountain bike, of which I have never before had cause to be ashamed,
looked a joke next to the highly polished streamlined machines everybody else proudly stood next to. 'It'll be ok', I thought, 'I might have to work a bit harder but they'll be nice
Photo: Tom Flathers for an interview after he had completed the ride and, in the rain, I made my steady, sorry way home. In the pub a few hours later Mark was very sympathetic. 'A road bike and
'If the club wanted to be home before nightfall, they were going to have to leave me behind' to me, we can do this!'. I was wrong. I was very wrong actually, although not about the fact that the others riders were extremely friendly and supportive. The problem was simply that I was only able to go at half their speed. It took us all of about 500 metres and a small incline to realise my participation was going to be a bit of a joke. There was no way I was going to keep up. If the club wanted to be home before nightfall they were going to have to leave me behind. Disappointed and a little embarrassed, I subtly arranged to meet Mark
clips like we had would have made it much easier' he reassured me, clips being the pedals which attach to the soles of your shoes and allow a rider to pull on the way up as well as pushing the pedal down. 'You were unlucky that we went off at the speed we did. The conditions were perfect and everyone was feeling confident today'. I wasn't going to argue with that, my fellow riders had all looked capable of challenging Chris Hoy. I was upset to learn that there is normally a slower ride which goes out at the same time but which hadn't been running on
the day I decided to join in. In spite of my challenging experience, Mark assured me that there is room in the club for those new to the sport and that once you have the equipment, extreme fitness isn't a requirement. He claimed two people had even done the route a week or so before on mountain bikes although they struggled. The club is not all about elite cyclists. Brown was keen to emphasise that he is trying to install more of a sense of community within the group of riders and is keen to find methods of rewarding athletes for commitment and improvement as well as competitive success. In spite of being a competitive university team, the cycling club currently has no coach and are not able to do many gym sessions together. They have access to all of the Club Development facilities, with strength and conditioning sessions and physiotherapy popular with members, and use the support to prepare for the large annual races. The club takes part in BUCS events every year and has a history of performing well in the 10 and 25 mile time trials held in the final term. Last year,
club member Xavier Disley managed a brilliant second place in the 10 mile and Rachel Turner, a postgraduate student, finished 11th at the National Track 500m time trial which was won by Olympic Champion Victoria Pendleton. The overwhelming feeling I got from the club is that they are a group of people with a passion for cycling who meet up twice a week. The club also comprises of a university cross country and mountain bike club which operates in much the same way with trips to surrounding country routes and which is suitable for adventurous riders seeking either fitness or serious competition. The club currently works on a two-tier membership system meaning those who join for fitness or fun will cost less than those that sign up to race competitively. It is also free for tri-athletes to go out with the cycling club and many use it as a great supplement to their training. This year, the club will attempt to encourage more of its members to have a go at track racing at the Manchester Velodrome. Up until now it has been difficult to or-
ganise such opportunities but Brown is certain that the trip will take place if there is enough support from riders. Having the chance to race on the indoor track used by the highly successful winning British cycling team would no doubt be exhilarating for any cycling enthusiast. Alas my day as a university cyclist didn't go as stunningly well as I had imagined. But, having learnt more about the club, I really feel there is more opportunity for novices than much of campus realises. I won't lie and tell you anyone could cycle thirty miles with ease, because a certain level of fitness is required and having access to ride a proper road bike is a must, although spending more than ÂŁ250 on one isn't necessary. If, like me, you find the idea of these long and energetic rides appealing then I would certainly encourage you to take a look at what the cycling club have to offer. They have a Facebook group, 'Birmingham University Cycling Club 09/10' that anybody is welcome to join and I can personally vouch for the friendliness of the people you will meet. I only hope you get further than I did.
Saturday 7th November - xpLosION Birmingham Lions versus Loughborough Aces If you can't get down to Bournbrook pitch you can follow all the action with our live coverage at www.redbrickonline.co.uk and read the exclusive online report on Sunday You can also twitter @redbricksport with your thoughts throughout the game Photo: Pete Blakemore
REDBRICK 1356 / 30th October 2009
Women stand and deliver to assert title ambitions Women's Rugby Union 1st: Birmingham v Nottingham 32 - 0 James Phillips BIRMINGHAM women's rugby union 1st team overcame a scrappy, frustrating first half against Nottingham at the Metchley pitches to claim a welldeserved victory, maintaining their 100 per cent record for this season. On an overcast, breezy Wednesday afternoon in front of a crowd largely made up of rowdy beer-guzzling Nottingham men's rugby players, the Brum girls gave their opposition a masterclass. There were tries for winger Faye Hamp, two for captain Jo Coe, a brace from fly-half Ellie Webb and a late effort from substitute Chloe Mulcahy. The visitors played without numbers on the back of their shirts, which was reflective of their anonymity as none of them seemed to
stand out. The match started off slowly, with play being held up and several scrums being awarded within the first five minutes, as Birmingham appeared to be the only team capable of applying any sort of pressure. The speedy duo of Coe and Hamp both looked threatening but the hosts had to wait 15 minutes before the breakthrough. Second year Hamp, affectionately nicknamed 'Homo' by her team-mates after a reputed dodgy handwriting incident, capitalised on a great charging run from Chloe Downer down the left wing to score the first try. Unfortunately, fullback Lindsey Wood failed to score the conversion from a difficult angle. Nottingham responded by briefly venturing towards Birmingham's try-line but they could not sustain the pressure and the home side were soon back on the attack. Outside-centre Coe took advantage of Nottingham's poor tackling and scored the second try in the 26th minute to make the score 10-0 to the dismay of the onlooking loudmouthed Nottingham men. It was Downer's turn to attempt the conver-
sion, but unfortunately she couldn't put the ball through the posts. Flanker Alex Harrison-Wolff had to leave the pitch with a bloody mouth after being punched in the face by a Nottingham player and she was briefly replaced by substitute Katy-Jo Reid but returned to the field of play only a couple of minutes later. It was then the turn of two Nottingham players' to require treatment after they collided head-on in an attempt to take down Birmingham's impressive Hamp who charged straight past them. This held up play for a few minutes ensuring that no further breakthrough could be made in the first half. Coach Ade Shiner was not happy with his team's first half performance despite them looking comfortable, and gave a lengthy team talk demanding more from his players. The second half started with the Birmingham team playing into a glaring sun, which had emerged from behind the clouds to make visibility difficult. Nottingham seemed to have the momentum for the first few minutes of the second period but a great run from flanker Fran Aphawes opened up
room for captain Coe, who ran half the length of the pitch to increase the lead to 15-0. Full-back Wood was unlucky to see her conversion attempt hit the post. An injury to lock Emily James saw substitute Reid introduced for a second time and Birmingham seemed to go from strength to strength. Flyhalf Webb pulled away from the pack to make it 20-0 on 56 minutes and this time Downer made no mistake with the conversion to increase the lead to 22-0. The coach gave opportunities to substitutes Lauren Ferretti, Chloe Mulcahy and Kate Grover but the change in personnel didn't affect the team's fluidity. Mulcahy even scored the last try after Webb had scored her second of the day. The match finished 32-0 which follows a 3222 defeat of Warwick and a resounding 71-0 victory over the Nottingham 2nd XV. Coach Shiner said 'It was a good second half performance. The first half was scrappy and though the girls got a bit tired, it was a good game all round. They've set themselves a standard for the season; our aim is promotion and three wins out
Photo: Laura Rainsford of three is a good start.' Captain Coe was also pleased with the team's efforts. 'It was a scrappy first half but we picked our heads up for the second half. I enjoyed it, the backs pulled off well and
the team all played a part in the tries. We can definitely achieve promotion, I'm confident we'll finish top.' The girls will be looking to continue their push for promotion against Leicester in two weeks.
Relentless Birmingham crush northern rivals Nick Ansell
Big Joe looks on as Brum stroll to victory on Wednesday morning
Photo: Tom Flathers
THE Golf 1st team comfortably defeated Durham 1st team 5 Â˝ - Â˝ this Wednesday at Edgbaston Golf Club. David Wilson led the team out and fought hard, gaining half a point. Wilson was extremely unlucky on the 17th hole with an unfortunate lie in the bunker, costing him the hole and the overall win of the game. Dan Beattie gave another solid performance, maintaining his 100 per cent record this season. Thomas Devine and Tim Bamber also played very well to win 3&2 and 4&3 respectively. This guaranteed Birmingham the overall victory. Nick Ansell fought back from 2 down with a string of birdies on the back 9, to win 3&2. A convincing performance from Anthony Nash gave him a 5&4 victory, making this the biggest victory of the day. These extra 2 points from the last 2 players gave a very resounding victory and puts the team in a strong position in the league. Birmingham take on Northumbria next week, confident of victory.
REDBRICK 1356 / 30th October 2009
League hit new low but can hold heads high Men's Rugby League 1st: Birmingham v Loughborough 0 - 88 Mesh Johal THE men's rugby league 1st team's winless streak in the 'Super Eight' competition continued after a thumping defeat by Loughborough at the Metchley pitches. With fifteen players,
including captain Aiden Oakley, unavailable due to injury, Birmingham faced a huge uphill battle against their in-form visitors. Loughborough came into the game having defeated back to back BUCS champions Leeds Met away at the Headingley Carnegie Stadium last week. Loughborough's confidence was clearly evident in the early stages as they raced to an early lead. Quick hands and offloading was the key to their success as they were able to continuously create overlaps on both flanks. Winger Tom Mansfield showed his elusiveness and trying scoring pedigree as he helped himself
to a first half hat-trick. Missed tackles in midfield did not help Birmingham's cause and Loughborough were able to gain attacking field position thanks to these errors. Whilst mistakes contributed to Brum's downfall, Loughborough's class and attacking prowess couldn't be over-looked. Great support often kept plays alive and the cutting of great attacking lines helped overwhelm the host's defence. Coming into the second half 0-60 down, Birmingham could have been forgiven for completely capitulating. However, with increased urgency and spirit, the home team
did try and fight back. Fred Woods' bustling run culminated with a huge shot on the oppositions centre which helped raise confidence within the team. Also great interplay by Rhys Eaton Llewllyn and Matt Sharp saw Brum close in on their opponent's try line. Llewllyn's direct running and line cutting was one of the few real positives to take from the game, whilst stand-in Captain Mike Stuart Buttle and Greg Stewart also performed admirably in both attack and defence. In a more even second half, it was now Birmingham's injury count which really began to count against them and, at one
Birmingham can only look on as Loughborough slot another two points between the posts
Photo: Lucy Percival
point, only eleven Birmingham players were fit enough to take the field. Loughborough were able to capitalise, with the visitors impressive half back pairing of Dan Kerr and Mark Quinn able to pull the strings to help the visitors score another twenty eight unanswered points. The final score of 0-88 was one of real disappointment for Birmingham. Talking after the game, Oakley, the captain, could only convey his frustration of the game. 'It was horrid. We were poor in the first half and Loughborough made us pay. With the amount of injuries we had before and during the game, it was always going to be difficult. This coincided with a red hot Loughborough team, meant it was always going to be an uphill task. Their team has played together for a couple of years and were really tight and very well drilled. The lads got stuck in the second half and put up a valiant effort, but were no match'. The game was billed as the Rugby League's own 'Big Event' and was supposed to be played under flood lights at the Bournbrook pitch. However miscommunication between the AU and the ground staff saw the game's venue changed at the last minute. On the matter Oakley said, 'We had originally booked this game to be played on Bournbrook under lights. However the ground staff refused to put rugby league markings on the pitch so we were forced to play at Metchley. They knew in advance about the game and I feel really disappointed that the
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Sponsored by Waterstone's at the University of Birmingham The prize this week is the book Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith
1. ___________, Classic by George Eliot (11) 6. ______ Mandela, former South African President (6) 8. Winning serve in Tennis (3) 9. ___Cruise, Mission Impossible actor (3) 10. _____ Porter, author of The Dying Light (5) 12. Part of neck (4) 14. ____, Terry Pratchett novel (4) 15. Danielle _____, US Romantic novelist (5) 16. ___Cattrall, Sex and The City actor (3) 18. Unit of electric current (3) 19. My ______, comedy starring Robert Lindsay (6) 21. Adapt to new conditions (11)
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game had to get moved'. Under Super Eight rules, all games must be played on a pitch with flood light facilities and barriers for spectators. With this in mind, the League team has not played on Bournbrook for two years, usually playing second fiddle to both men's and women's rugby union. The battle for players between the two codes is an ongoing problem as well. In a union-dominated university, Oakley feels that a lack of support for the rugby league club is a reason for their downfall of late. 'Rugby Union is a focus sport at the university and gets a lot of support. I sometimes feel that league doesn't get the same level of help. We understand the majority of rugby players at the university have played union before but we don't really get the opportunity to showcase off the sport of rugby league'. 'Playing on Bournbrook was an opportunity to promote our sport at the university but moving pitches has decreased the amount of people who potentially could have watched. We asked UBS for posters to try and sell the game similar to the unions game against Nottingham but we got nothing'. Oakley now has the hard task of trying to pick up his players after another heavy loss. With a lack of scholarship players and Club Development's decision to withdraw the 2nd XIII from BUCS competition, Oakley will be hoping that his hard work both on and off the field can eventually help Birmingham Rugby League turn a corner.
Last issue's solutions:
mockingbird== a=a=c===o==== c=trial=thumb nic=n===a===e i=haggis=eden f=e==r=t====e i=r=louis=u=f c====o=n==l=i eton=mighty=c n===o===a=ski tulip=wells=a ====u===v=e=r ==dostoyevsky Think you've cracked it? Pop your completed crosswords (and bribes, naturally) in to the Redbrick office with your NAME, COURSE, YEAR and EMAIL ADDRESS for a chance to win Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith from the University's Waterstone's branch. The deadline for the crossword is Tuesday 3rd November 2009. Last issue's winner was Hannah McGarty, 3rd year Mathematics. We will send you an email to confirm a time to collect your prize.
REDBRICK 1356 / 30th OCTOBER 2009
27 Rugby League The men's super 8's take on Loughborough
26 Golf Durham defeated by a brilliant Birmingham
Brave fight ends in failure for fencers Women's Fencing 1st: Birmingham v Durham 83 - 135 Jessica Blackburn DESPITE a strong and determined display on Wednesday the Birmingham women's fencing 1st team lost to Durham with an accumulated score of 83-135. Fencing has a complicated scoring system. Each weapon is used in one match but each match has three competitors from each team playing each other, so that nine bouts of fencing are played. The first team to 45 points overall wins. This is then repeated with both foil and then sabre. The first match to be played was using épée, the modern version of the rapier. Whilst this isn't the fastest weapon used in fencing, it is not restricted by target area or the 'right of way' rule. The best aspect is that double touching is allowed, so for the referee it is a much more straightforward job. In this match, Birmingham took a strong lead with Eryn Spinlove's first five points, echoed quickly by those of Lizzy Hopkinson and Becky Mason. By the fifth bout Birmingham were winning 25-14. Un-
fortunately for Mason, a combination of a powerful Durham opponent and a faulty weapon meant that Birmingham slipped behind for the first time to a score of 26-30. The match ended fairly close on a score of 37-45 with Birmingham desperate to close the gap. Foil was the weapon of choice for the second match, with captain Jen Waghorn up first against Durham's Kira Roberts who just happens to be British Universities Sabre Champion and British Senior bronze medalist. Durham got an early lead with ten points against Birmingham's 1 but in the third bout Bee Towers managed to gain 11 points to push the score to 12-15. By the seventh bout Miriam Wesslén Dechicha managed a further four points but Durham had already established a comfortable lead and the end score was a frustrating 27-45. The weapon for the third match was sabre, a light, thrusting and cutting weapon, noted for the fast-pace and aggressive play. Birmingham managed to keep up initially with a score of 8-15 at the end of the third bout. In the fifth, Spinlove managed to win five points bringing the score to 13-25. Birmingham were dominated by Durham towards the end of the match, with Bogucki, Spinlove and Wesslén Dechicha only managing to land blows a further six times which brought the final score for this match a paltry 19-45. Sabre is wickedly fast and
Birmingham struggled to keep up with their opponents on Wednesday Photo: Tom Flathers as a spectator it was often difficult to see where the weapons were and who had scored, even with the aid of the scoring box. Despite the defeat, this result is encouraging for a number of reasons: Birmingham lost half of their women's team when certain players graduated at the beginning of the summer. But luckily with this year's first year
intake the team have increased from five to eight fencers. Some of the team members have been playing for years and others, like Anna Bogucki, have only been playing a year. This is only the second match of the year for Birmingham and they are likely to improve and hopefully try and match last year's second place in the Premier Women's
North League when they finished behind Edinburgh. Also, a lot of the scoring, especially with both foil and sabre, relies heavily on the scoring box which is attached up to the weapons and the kit that they wear. A couple of weapons seemed to be malfunctioning at different points of the match and that can heavily influence the scoring.
With these factors in mind, this was not a bad result for the hosts and was certainly an improvement on their previous match against Edinburgh on October 14th that ended in a score of 55-135. Captain Waghorn said it was a 'definite improvement'. The team will hope to continue this progression when they face Newcastle 1sts next week.
Birmingham battle with Newcastle Go to www.redbrickonline.co.uk for Jon Gilbert's match report on Wednesday's men's 1st XV rugby union match from Bournbrook
Photo: Tom Flathers
Published on Nov 2, 2009